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22nd JANUARY 2010 ISSUE 1362 VOL 74
THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM'S STUDENT NEWSPAPER SINCE 1936
Students rally for Haiti
Virgin Media taken to task by Birmimgham students
Bursting with content to sooth your culture pains.
Interview with The Lovely Bones star Susan Sarandon
Sport 27 Low-down on our own 'fresher champions' Students gather in the Law building to discuss fundraising for the people of Haiti Photo: Lucy Percival Helen Crane Jessica Tarrant Aftershocks of the magnitude 7.0 shock earthquake in Haiti continue to cause devastation in Port-au Prince and the surrounding areas. According to the EU an estimated 200,000 people have been killed, 250,000 injured and 1.5 million left homeless. With another 4,000 US troops being dispatched on Wednesday and warnings of further possible aftershocks, aid workers continue to struggle against the cataclysmic damage caused to the city.
University of Birmingham students are now rallying together to raise funds in support of this crisis. Various organisations, societies and individuals met in an open forum on Wednesday evening to arrange a week of collective fundraising beginning Monday 25th January. Representatives from UNICEF, JABSoc, Circus Society and various Resident's Associations combined to organise a series of events ranging from rag raids and film screenings to on-campus busking and speed-dating, culminating in a band night at the Bristol Pear on Friday 29th January.
The University Oxfam society has also agreed to donate all profits from its existing fundraiser night on 2nd February, Rainbox, to the cause. Co-ordinator Laura Rainsford, a second year Political Science student who is spearheading the campaign, said: 'After seeing photographs of Haiti, I wanted to organise a collected effort. This university has a large number of students; together we can make a big impact.' Impressing the importance of a united effort, she added, 'If every undergraduate gave just one pound it would make a real difference. The quality of life in Haiti was poor before the earth-
quake and the scale of destruction has been huge.' Third year English student Phillipa Treharne-Jones added: 'It's important for students to show that we have relevance in the wider world. It can be very easy to live in a bubble.' Bham Action for Haiti and Redbrick urge you to join the 1,300 members of the Facebook group and to get involved and support the events taking place throughout the week. For more details, search 'Bham action for Haiti' or email Laura Rainsford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calendar Bishop of Birmingham visits University Sunday 24th January, 6.30pm. Rt. Reverend David Urquhart is attending the University Anglican Society's weekly meeting in St. Francis Hall. Get Involved Societies Fair Monday 25 January, 11am – 4pm, Guild of Students. Your chance to find out about societies, student groups and volunteering projects. Get Involved Taster Sessions 26th January – 12th February. Student groups are running taster sessions and introductory meetings. See events calendar on the Guild website for details. CV and interview workshop Wednesday 27th January, 1-2pm, Mandela Room, Guild of Students. Advice on completing application forms for part-time work. Farmer's Market returns The ever-popular Farmer's Market takes place on Wednesday 27th Janaury, 9am – 3pm outside University Centre and Staff House. There will be 20-plus stalls selling ostrich meat, cheese, cider – as well as some arts and crafts. Healthy Living Cooking Showcases Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th January from 6pm at Shackleton, The Vale. For a healthy start to 2010, learn how to cook, win prizes and strive for healthy living. Rainbox music event for University Oxfam Society Tuesday 2nd February, 7.30pm, The Rainbow pub, Digbeth. Various bands including the July Days and SDF, with all proceeds going to the Haiti appeal. Work Experience Fair Wednesday 3rd February, 11am – 3.30pm, Great Hall, Aston Webb. For information on placements, internships, volunteering, part-time work and vacation jobs.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Author speaks Boost for Uni cancer research on Zionism Jen Anderson Last week, comedian Joe Pasquale presented a £30,000 donation made by Debenhams to the Birmingham University Breast Cancer research team. The money will aid the research of Dr. Fedor Berditchevski, who has been studying the molecule CD9 in detail as it is thought to play an important role in the spreading of cancer cells to other areas of the body. Pasquale, who is currently starring in the critically acclaimed pantomime Sleeping Beauty at the Birmingham Hippodrome, stated that he felt honoured to be involved: 'The work they do is incredible and it has been an honour to find out more about their research.' Cancer researchers at the University also made a breakthrough discovery this week, having found an alternative treatment to chemotherapy for AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) sufferers. AML is a particularly dreaded cancer of the white blood
cells and often sufferers are too frail to undergo chemotherapy. The new treatment consists of a combination of a contraceptive pill and a cholesterol lowering drug which work together to kill the AML cells. The scientists tested the drugs on 20 AML patients and found that none of them suffered the side effects that are associated with chemotherapy. Chris Bunce, who led the team, said: 'Normal chemotherapy can be fatal for frail patients because it attacks healthy blood cells as well as the leukaemia cells.' 'This new treatment for AML is very exciting because it only targets the leukaemia cells.' The treatment lengthened the survival of all of the patients significantly, as shown by the results of the British Journal of Haematology. Some lived as long as several months more than expected and Bunce and his team are hopeful that they can improve results even further for future patients.
Edwina Moorhouse Joel Kovel began the first of a series of IsraelPalestine centred talks being held on campus this week, discussing his once suspended book 'Overcoming Zionism.' The American scholar and activist spoke of the controversial impact of his book and his condemnation of the Zionist movement. This is defined as a movement by the Jewish people, as one nation, to establish a settlement in an area regarded as a historic homeland perceived by some to be the Land of Israel, and others Palestine. Kovel is firmly against this movement, declaring that 'ideas do not have rights.' Kovel justified his book, which was accused of being anti-Semitic, as a means of calling the legitimacy of Zionist movement into question and using this to explain why he disapproves of the current set-up by Israel. Israel, he expressed, is trapped and 'cannot
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escape its own racism' because of the 'religious political force' Zionism has become. He spoke of the importance of pursuing a cause even if, you face a 'price to pay'. In his case citing the Orwellian sounding 'Zionist thought police.' Kovel was also eager to allow as much time as possible for questions from the audience, which lasted nearly an hour. Audience members were keen to discuss whether the 'one state solution' he proposed was ideal, and the comparisons and contrasts between the current situation and that of South Africa not long ago. The night closed in traditional fashion with an appeal to students. Foremost, Kovel urged the audience to get behind the Palestinian 'right of return' whilst a young female who had recently returned from Palestine appealed for student volunteers at the refugee camps in the country, that are so desperate for foreign aid.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Birmingham student campaigns to get better service from Virgin Catrin Shi A campaign has been launched by a University of Birmingham student against a leading media company after having received a consistently poor level of service. Adam Caplan, a third year Geography student, is voicing the frustrations of many Birmingham students to the media giant Virgin Media, from what initially started out as a single Facebook group. 'I was frustrated as an individual with not being able to get very far in complaining about the service being poor', says Caplan. 'I started with trying to get 100 people to join the group and put pressure on Virgin through complaints.' The Facebook group now has over 1,600 members, and the campaign is growing. Caplan has already been in discussion with the Chief Executive of Virgin Media and his operations team and is now tackling the problem from a political angle by getting in contact with local councillors. The campaign has also been featured on local radio. The next step, explains Caplan, is to con-
tinue to expand the campaign on Facebook in order to get an improvement in services in the area for students. Caplan is also regularly speaking with the prospective MP for the Selly Oak constituency, Dave Radcliffe, who will get Caplan in contact with the Minister for Technology, to put further demands on Virgin.
'I hope to have the whole student area upgraded by the end of the academic year, and have people receiving compensation for loss of service,' explains Caplan. He feels that he may be able to achieve this if the numbers on the Facebook group continue to grow. 'Join the group and add comments of your ex-
periences. If we keep putting pressure on the company for compensation or refunds, hopefully we should see an overall improvement in service, and better standards from Virgin in general', he says. If you have suffered similar problems join the group by searching 'Virgin Media in Birmingham' on Facebook.
Many students have complained about the quality of service provided by Virgin Media. Photo: pcpro.co.uk
Snowy problems for students Helen Clough PRETTY as the heavy snow that covered Birmingham for much of the Christmas holidays and right through the first week of term was, it still caused many problems for students. Many students could not even return to Birmingham because the snow affected transport links so badly. Those who did make it back had a number of other problems. On returning to her Selly Oak house the Saturday before term started, 2nd year Biology student Alice Jackson found that both the hot water and the heating were broken and on calling her landlord was informed she would have to wait until Monday to have it fixed. She said: 'It was the same temperature in the house as outside. My housemates and I had to go and stay with local relatives but we could have been stuck in the house with no way of keeping warm.' For some however, the snow came as a nice surprise, with people refinding their inner child, with snowball fights and snowmen a common
sight. It has also proved advantageous for sixth formers going through the process of applying to university as UCAS moved their deadline from January 15th to today, January 22nd. Laura Smith, a sixth former applying for a place at university to study English, said: 'It was a very welcome surprise to have an extra week to perfect my personal statement,' although she was worried using the extra time meant students who applied earlier would get priority. The cold spell is being reported as the longest since 1981 and has claimed a number of lives, including two brothers who fell through the ice on a frozen pond in Leicestershire two weeks ago. The snow has gone for now but more is expected for Thursday and there are further warnings that the thaw may bring with it a risk of flooding. If you have suffered any problems with heating or hot water in your student homes, contact Ed Sparkes at vphc@guild. bham.ac.uk or the ARC.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
David Starkey calls for Brummie institution Cadbury's sold to Kraft gold hoard to stay Jack Davis THE board of directors at Cadbury have advised shareholders to accept a renewed takeover offer from US food giant Kraft. The new offer from Kraft stands at 850p-ashare, an increase on the original offer, which was 770p. This values the entire takeover at around £12bn, and eliminates any prospect of a bid from US chocolate company Hershey, who were also considering a takeover of Cadbury. Union officials are warning that Kraft will be facing tough decisions owing to the fact that the agreement would leave them to deal with around £22bn of debt. Thousands of jobs could now be at risk if the takeover offer goes ahead. Jennie Formby of the Unite union said: 'The sad truth is that when they have to pay down that debt, the soft option is jobs and conditions. When you have to make cost savings of the magnitude they will need to make,
you have to ask where those cost savings will be made.' Cadbury has fought hard to retain its independence recently, however despite these possible losses the chances of the shareholders rejecting this renewed offer is unlikely, although not impossible. It means that Cadbury are the latest casualty to foreign takeovers of
THE Chief Executive of Centro, the West Midlands transport authority, last week insisted that Government ministers must make a final decision before the General Election on the proposals for a new tram system in Birmingham city centre. The flagship element of the new service is a suggested tram service operating overground from Birmingham New Street to Snow Hill Station, with the line running through the heart of the city centre. Details of the £55m proposals, which link up with the existing light rail service from Wolverhampton, were initially presented to the Department for Transport back in 2005, but have consequently struggled to come to fruition due to a series of setbacks. Chief Executive Geoff Inskip met with several MPs and the Transport Minister Chris Mole MP in Westminster last week, as
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The Cadbury's factory at Bournville. Photo: panaromio.com
Debate over new trams James Williams
British companies, joining fifty other British companies such as Jaguar, Land Rover, BAA and Boots.
he urged them to accept the formal business case that was finally submitted to the Government in October 2009. He said: 'The Midland Metro extension is something that we want to see happen quickly.' The plans have shrunk from their original state which incorporated a much more ambitious expansion of the existing rail network across the West Midlands and the Black Country, including the purchasing of new trams, and proposals to extend the length of many platforms along existing routes. Centro officials are hoping that a decision will be made before the summer, as they fear further delays if a new government takes office and they warned that: 'Birmingham will find itself strangled by gridlock in the near future unless such a tram network is constructed as part of a quality public transport system'.
Caroline Mortimer THE campaign to keep the 'Staffordshire Hoard', which was excavated by University of Birmingham archaeologists in Birmingham has been given a boost by high profile figures. The popular historian David Starkey, as well as author and broadcaster Michael Palin, have spoken in support of the fundraising drive aiming to raise £3.3million by 17th April, which the Treasure Valuation Committee decided the Hoard was worth back in November. If the money is raised, the hoard of approximately 1,500 items made of gold, silver and precious stones will be shared by the Birmingham Museum, the Potteries Museum, and the Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent; if the money is not raised it will likely become the private property of the man that discovered the treasure initially and the farmer on whose land it was found. Over 1,800 items were collected by Terry Herbert, a metal detector-
ist, in a field near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, which saw 1,419 gold and silver items that are estimated to be more than 1,300 years old. The £3.3million will be shared by Mr. Herbert, as well as the farmer who owns the field. Starkey said it was vital that the Hoard remains in one piece as: 'the Staffordshire Hoard is the largest and most valuable collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever – it's the most important find for over half a century and... [to] break it up or move it and its meaning is lost. It must stay here, together and intact, to be studied and displayed here in the West Midlands, the foundation of whose history it will now become.' Palin added: 'The Staffordshire Hoard is an extraordinary discovery and it should surely stay near to where it was found, in a public place, to be enjoyed by all.' The Art Fund Director, Stephen Deuchar, who started the appeal by announcing an Art Fund grant of £300,000 said: 'For years to come the treasure will be a source
of awe and inspiration for all to experience. We, along with the rest of the nation, are very much looking forward to discovering its story.' Birmingham City Council and Stoke-onTrent Council have also contributed a further £100,000 each, bringing the total up to £500,000 already. Fundraising events will be conducted throughout the West Midlands over the course of the next 13 weeks to raise money and awareness of the Hoard campaign. In addition to the £3.3 million needed to acquire the Hoard, there are also plans to organise another fundraising effort to raise a further £1.7m needed to preserve, study and display the finds. As well as the donation, the Art Fund has set up a website where people can donate any amount to the cause at http://www.artfund.org/ staffordshire_hoard/.
Digbeth's Bodies Exhibition reveals more than just parts Anna Robin THE Bodies Revealed exhibition at the Custard Factory may reveal more than just body parts, a doctor has claimed. Human rights activist, doctor, and columnist for news website 'The Stirrer', Dr David Nicholls, recently queried where the human cadavers which make up the exhibition were coming from. Dr Nicholls became concerned when the website for the exhibition failed to have any information concerning the origin of the bodies. In an interview given formerly the medical director of Premier Exhibitions, the US company behind Bodies Revealed, let it be known that the bodies came from China. According to Nicholls, the majority of living and dead organs coming from China are from executed prisoners. The organisers state that their supplier confirmed that all bodies and
organs used came from specific and willing donations. However, Dr Nicholls is convinced that they are from torture victims and calls the fourteen pound entrance fee 'blood money.' Earlier this month, the
British Liver Trust withdrew its previous support for the exhibition. According to Dr Alison Roger, the chief executive of the trust, Bodies Revealed could not prove conclusively that the bodies did not come from executed prisoners.
Premier Exhibitions is no stranger to scandal: in the 90s they spent over £15 million on bodies from China. The truth regarding the origin of the bodies remains a matter of conjecture.
The Bodies Revealed exhibition at the Custard Factory. Photo: Tom Flathers
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Study shows students post-xmas depression Jen Anderson Researchers at the University of Leicester have completed a three year study on the way that students experience their time in higher education. They conducted a video diary project in which 40 undergraduates kept a diary for two years, talking to the camera about anything that mattered to them from work to friendships. Professor Annette Cashmore has commented on the findings of the study, stating that issues had been raised that staff 'hadn't really appreciated the impact of'. For example, the issue of friendship appeared to be a common concern amongst students, particularly first years, and whether or not their newly established bonds would still exist after a month at home. Other students felt that the stress of exams dominated the holiday for them, so that the first week back in January was overshadowed by angst
and worry. Ultimately, the study is trying to discern what causes students to decide to drop out of university and how to try and support them to prevent them from doing so. The process of dropping out is expensive and demoralising for the student as well as being bad for the university's reputation. However, around 35,000 students fail to complete their degree course every year. In response to the study, staff at the University of Leicester are considering moving the first set of first-year exams to reduce the stress that they might cause some students. Cashmore has also suggested other methods that could be put in place to help tackle the rising drop-out rate: 'When students first come to uni, there are lots of things put on to support them, such as mentoring and meeting with personal tutors, but it's not just in October that it's needed, it's needed in January, too'. Throughout their university career, students
are on a voyage of discovery– a discovery of themselves as they become adults and venture out into the big wide world. This study has been about trying to put new measures in place to help students cope. The feelings of Birmingham students on the issue appear to be mixed. T h i r d - y e a r International Relations student David Masek said: 'I think one of the main reasons people decide to leave in January are its particular circumstances.' 'If you're in the position that you've not really enjoyed your time at uni up until this point, and were thinking of dropping out, going back home has a massive effect on your decision making.' However, others seem to relish the prospect of returning to university. Megan Wallwork, second-year French and German student said: 'Personally, I really look forward to coming back to uni after Christmas because I prefer the independence and social life at uni to being at home.'
Survey: Students have 10 min attention span Anna Brown A SURVEY has concluded that the average student has an attention span of only ten minutes. The survey, by technology firm Olympus, also claims that many are ill-prepared for both learning and living the life of a modern university student. A quarter of the 1,000 participants were unable to cope with living independently and struggled to manage their own money. Nearly half of all students feared they would finish their degree with huge debts and no job, with a quarter of students fearing they would not stand out to employers once they had graduated. One in ten said they feared their university degree would be a waste of money. According to the survey results, the biggest hurdles for students are lectures and money. Last month's survey revealed that students could only concentrate in lectures for an average of ten min-
Act now or return to two-tier system, says Mandelson Anna Brown THE FUTURE of the traditional higher education system is under threat from budget cuts, meaning that universities may have to close, merge with others or return to the two-tier structure of the 1960s. Last week, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, announced that universi-
ties must save £135 million in the next academic year. This comes after the cutting of £518 million from the university funding budget, which also comes on top of the £180 million efficiency savings announced earlier in 2009. According to Lord Mandelson, this means that universities must focus less on traditional
Mandy: universities must save. Photo: Worldpress
three year courses and turn more to fast-track and part-time degrees. There will have to be serious restructuring of the higher education institutions, and perhaps a return to the two-tier system of universities and polytechnics. Whilst Lord Mandelson proposed these funding cuts, he has protected the research budget, meaning that traditional universities such as Birmingham will not suffer as much as newer ones that rely on teaching grants. Despite this, many older universities have been told to make substantial savings, which may lead to thousands of redundancies. Many newer universities are former polytechnics, and they may have to return to their original system, dropping some courses and specialising in others. A large amount of academics are appalled and outraged by the proposed future spending on higher education. Phil Willis, chairman of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee, described the cuts as 'the
beginning of the end of the university system as we know it.' He went on to say that the rapid expansion of higher education has been unsustainable for the last decade, and that Britain 'has reached a tipping point: we're going to see significant mergers and downsizing among the newer universities.' According to Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education at the University of Buckingham, it is the more expensive degrees that will suffer, such as engineering. He went on to state that: 'You can't just cut down a three-year course to fit it into two years – it undermines the "higher" in higher education. The Government is just thinking of this in money terms.' Wendy Piatt, directorgeneral of the Russell Group of leading universities, said: 'With other countries investing more, not less, in their leading universities, we are in severe danger of losing our international competitive edge.'
utes, with a third blaming lack of sleep and being overworked for their short attention span. The survey revealed that a high number of students have taken up parttime work to fund their studies. 17 per cent of those surveyed said they were forced to prioritise parttime work over lectures, while 13 per cent admitted to missing as much as five hours of lectures per week. 21 per cent said that they were struggling to complete their work on time because of their part-time job.
Wes Streeting, President of the National Union of Students, said: 'Given that students are graduating with record levels of debt, and job prospects are at an alltime low, it is no surprise that so many are having to take on part-time work which is adversely affecting their studies.' The fears over job prospects come as no surprise to the thousands of students in Britain today, as many face graduating into a recession where employment is at the lowest it has been for years.
Too tired to work? Photo: Worldpress
Class sizes to inflate by 2013 Kate Mansell UK universities may have some of the world's largest class sizes by 2013, according to UCU, the University and College Union. Ministers announced in the latest pre-budget report that they will sever £600 million from the higher education sector, on top of the £180m the Government asked universities to find in 'efficiency savings' by 2011, and the £135m cut in the same period requested by Lord Mandelson. This would result in some of the biggest classes in the world, as the UK is already higher than the worldwide average of 15.3 students per lecturer. Top universities have accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of ruining the progress made over 800 years of higher education in the United Kingdom. This comes shortly after the review on whether the cap on tuition fees should be lifted to allow universities to charge up to £7,000 per annum. David Lammy, the
minister of higher education, stated that the Government is 'absolutely clear that a high-quality student experience with excellent teaching is vital to maintaining the worldclass higher education we enjoy in this country', and that the suggestion that cuts will bring higher education 'to its knees' is misleading. The cuts are however estimated to lead to the redundancies of around 14,000 academics, and the disappearance of at least 30 universities across the UK. An article written by two academics and published in the Guardian Online argued that the cuts would be devastating not only for students and staff, but also for Britain's international competiveness, and our overall ability to recover from the recession. Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the UCU has warned that: 'if the Government does not make bold decisions to back education now then we have little doubt that the fallout from that decision will be felt in years to come.'
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
The hidden histories of Selly Oak There is more to our favourite Birmingham district than meets the eye, discovers Stephanie Harvey
THE mysteries of Selly Oak began over five thousand years ago when a small piece of Neolithic flint, an arrowhead from the last era of the Stone Age, was discovered at St Mary's Hospice on Raddlebarn Road by Selly Park. The trail continues on Dog Pool Lane near the River Rea, where the blackened pebbles of a burnt mound are evidence of a Bronze Age barbeque. Roman occupation But its value as an intersection for many important routes – as it is today – was not neglected by the invaders, and in the hands of the Roman occupation three roads met, although the exact location is unknown. Evidence has led experts to consider the Selly Park Recreation ground as the meeting place for these roads – so next time you feel the urge to indulge the inner child and play on the swings, remember you are making something of a cultural trip to tread on ancient territory! But the only concrete evidence we have for 400 years of Roman occupation is a coin of Constantine I (who ruled 306-337) found on
Frederick Road and a Roman spindle whorl found on Raddlebarn Road which is indicative of weaving. 'Escalie'
A large leap to the eleventh century must be made to find the first record of Selly Oak as an actual place. It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Escalie', a typographical name from Ye Olde English 'scylf leah' meaning 'clearing on a shelf of land'. Consider this 'escalie' is formed
glo saxon Lords who had previously owned different parts of 'Escalie' were dramatically supplanted by his Norman supporters. The value of Selly Oak decreased in the upheaval and at just 75 shillings (around £7,500 in today's terms) in 1086 it was by no means expensive. Heart of the Oak But how did Selly Oak earn its name? Officially the centre of the borough is the junction of Oak Tree Lane and the Bristol Road and this is where the
'Legend has it that 'Selly' was actually 'Sally', a local witch who was either hanged from an oak tree or buried nearby with an oak stake through her heart' from glacial deposits of a now dissolved lake and the hill we hike up regularly takes on a more exhilarating significance. But after the arrival of William the Conqueror, Selly Oak was in turbulence. The An-
original Selly 'Oak' stood, an oak tree planted to commemorate the coronation of William IV in 1830. The tree stood strong until 1909 when it had to be felled, its roots unfortunately but eternally dam-
aged by the building of nearby houses. The original Oak can still be found in Selly Oak Park where it was ceremoniously placed with a plaque that reads 'Butt of Old Oak from which the name Selly Oak was derived'. For the new millennia a new Selly 'Oak' was planted on Oak Tree Lane as the original's replacement. However the derivations for the name 'Selly' are more uncertain. Legend has it that 'Selly' was actually 'Sally', a local witch who was either hanged from an oak tree or buried nearby with an oak stake through her heart that later grew into an oak tree. Chocolate revolution It was the Industrial Revolution that transformed Selly Oak into an important road, canal and rail intersection. The canal enabled the rapid expansion of Birmingham as it imported grain and building materials, and later salt from the 1830s to flavour the Birmingham cuisine. Cadbury's also saw the advantage of using the canal to import masses of raw chocolate ingredients to its factory, enabling historic chocolate-making on a tremendous scale to commence from the early twentieth century. Selly Oak has many hidden histories to be discovered in the places we frequent; the Country Girl pub was once a workhouse, as was Selly Oak Hospital until transformed in 1877; The Goose used to have a large lawn and in the 19th century a travelling Australian cricket team played there to a crowd of 12,000! And, once you start searching, you find an interesting story everywhere you look... even if it's just remembered whilst sipping on a pint.
Clocking Off Features Editorial
The New Year can be an exciting time, but for Jude Hill it is a time for reflection HELLO, and welcome back to 2010. January for most people has the depressing qualities of typically being wet, cold and generally melancholy. For me it has so far meant a post–ice age Birmingham, and too many people looking around my house. However, certain memories mean this time takes on an extra sadness for me. I was with my mother, pulling out of a crossroads 100 metres from my house. Just as we began to pull out of the junction there was a huge crashing noise and to my left I saw that a car had hit an oncoming van. This was not just a bump, the car that I could see twenty metres up the road from myself was fully split in half, and I could see three boys inside. I ran up to the car, and pulled the driver and three of the passengers out whilst calling the police. All this time my mother was dealing with the man in the van further up the road. I turned off the ignition and made sure that the boys were fine. They were all friends of my sixteen-year-old sister. They were all asking me how Vitu was. I had no idea who this was, until a minute later I turned back to the car, to see feet sticking from beneath the twisted metal. There was a boy still stuck inside the car, and I had not seen him for the two minutes that I had been on the scene. I managed to rip the metal away from around him and helped to move his unconscious body onto the pavement for my mother and another man to do CPR on him. I could do nothing more
as I watched my mother trying desperately to save this boy. I cannot tell you much about what happened, the majority of what you have just read is second hand information, because I can only remember select moments. It turned out that Vitu was a boy who had come over from Malawi, and was the boyfriend of a family friend; he died on 31st January 2007 at the age of 16. This was a tragic event. It was a huge loss to his family and friends. It left me with post-traumatic stress for months after. Dave Cole, the father of Vitu's girlfriend, has now created a programme bringing Malawian children to be educated in the UK, so that they can then go back and teach in Malawi. He has built a nature reserve to improve the economy, and he has created many jobs in the region. I can now tell people with authority that road safety isn't something pathetic that the police go on about to s e ve n t e e n - y e a r - o l ds . The unsafe driving of one individual has deeply scarred a family, a friendship group and has changed me forever. Until somebody sees what a car can do when out of control, it is impossible to comprehend. You may be able to relate to similar circumstances, and if so I hope that the outcome was more positive than what happened here. Overall we need to take responsibility not just for ourselves but for the safety of others, too.
Comment & Features
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd January 2010
Prisoner in your own home
Hannah Ali rediscovers childhood magic in the snow AS my fingers went past the point of numbness into a kind of stabbing pain I realised that I had spent too much time in the snow and began to question whether or not I
Snow makes kids of us all Photo: Lucy Percival was stuck in the middle of some kind of quarter-life crisis. Earlier that week I'd contemplated making a den in my room out of bed sheets and various bits of furniture, jumped up and
down on my bed, climbed a tree until nerves got the better of me (four foot high) and spent countless hours in the snow building an army of snowmen and lying on the ground like an idiot making a snow angel. So what actually triggered my childlike behaviour? I don't know whether to blame the arrival of the white stuff; the fact I was back home in the place I grew up; that I spent most of the holiday watching children's adventure films like Where the Wild Things Are and Spirited Away or the fact that for the past few years I've mourned the loss of the magic and excitement of Christmastime and perhaps have now subconsciously regressed in a desperate attempt to restore some fun and imagination into my holiday. Unfortunately, I discovered that most of the things I used to do wayback-when are not so fun anymore, probably because I am actually no longer a child or that I did these things to death back
when I was. I'm not sure if this is a normal reaction at age 22 or whether this now means that I am going to be more susceptible to a mid-life crisis in 20-30 years, but I have seen a fair amount of snow-based play in Selly Oak since I've been back which makes me think I'm not alone. Although most activities are exciting for about three minutes before growing dull, some stuff is still pretty good, for example any kind of art attack, jumping on trampolines, and playing on the swings. But I find that the idea of undertaking the activity is often the most exciting bit and it all deteriorates from there, never reaching the levels of enjoyment as a junior. As a wise man in Seth Rogen's Knocked Up once said, 'I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.' So maybe leave the childrens' things to the children and the student stuff to the students/ midlife crisis victims.
The gift of blood Why are people scared of giving blood? By Ben Wilkins THE National Blood Service tells me that 96 per cent of us depend on the blood donations of the remaining 4 per cent. This is probably exaggeration, but it does address a recurring problem; too many people die because too few people donate blood needed for life-saving transfusions. Now, I'm not telling you this to make you feel guilty – you've probably given blood already – but because one of the most fascinating and altruistic acts in this life is that of a human donating blood to save a fellow human who he or she may never even meet. It makes no sense to Darwinists, who state that selfishness motivates all biological actions; it dumbfounds economists who don't understand why humans do irrational things like leave tips for restaurants they never return to; and it is admired by men and women of all backgrounds. It even gives donors a boost in self-esteem afterwards. Yet some of us hesitate to give. Why? In fact this is perfectly natural and to be expected. There are risks concerning the transfer of diseases – as recently as
2009, there have been incidents over patients who received blood contaminated with HIV. Pregnant women and those taking antibiotics and certain medications are not allowed to give blood because this would adversely affect their health (and that of the recipients). In fact, the NBS take a small drop of blood first to ensure potential donors will not suffer from anaemia as a result of blood loss.
pints of blood available on 20th January 2010
registered blood donors
people must donate blood every week in order to to fulfil the UK’s needs
But these risks are the exceptions rather than the rules. What concerns most of us could be ignorance
of the procedure. It may simply be because blood is not a widely discussed subject, or that it instinctively makes us feel uneasy. The NHS practice, at least, consists of taking one pint of blood from a donor's body, but before you get too woozy just remember that the body can afford to lose this 13 per cent of its blood supply and can recover the lost red blood cells in a matter of weeks, provided it is given enough iron from body stores and food. I bring this up mostly in response to the blood donation drive on Friday 22nd January – a blood donation team are coming to the Guild of Students to accept blood donated by volunteers. Partly because I am a kind person, and partly because I'm a journalist who'd shock myself just to write an article on electricity, I have signed up for the donation. I was only just in time – there was only one place left on the list (the reservation list, in fact). I intend to see for myself what goes on inside the blood collection van, and report on it next week.
Izzi Robinson IF you're the type of person who would face an intruder in your home rather than hide in the closet, then recent news stories will have you reconsidering your bravery. Ambiguity in the law on self-defence has led to cases resulting in the victims becoming the ones winding up in jail. The law as it stands states that a homeowner is allowed to use 'reasonable force' to protect their family and home. Reasonable force? To me that seems a fairly vague description on the legal level of selfdefence. This ambigu-
ity led to a farmer, Tony Martin, being convicted of murder for shooting an intruder and Myleene Klass was even chastised for waving a knife when her home was threatened by intrusive paparazzi. Since
The sentence given to Tony Martin for shooting a burglar on his property when did the law lie on the side of the criminal? The Tory Party's call for strengthening the rights of householders who tackle burglars on their property was dismissed outright by the Di-
rector of Public Prosecutions, who seemed to think the law was working well. To me, a law that is illdefined and leads to victims being prosecuted for self-defence is most certainly not 'working well'. Without a clearly defined law these victims are ending up punished for reacting to a threat on their families. To expect a victim to stand there and judge their actions to defend themselves if they are in danger will result in prosecution is ridiculous. We shouldn't be afraid to defend ourselves in fear of retribution by a non-specific law for protecting our home against a crime that is already being committed.
Extra course costs Martin Theaker UNIVERSITY is an expensive business, but it's not necessarily the tuition fees that make it that way. There's rent, food, transport, clothes and drink to take care of, meaning that any additional costs are going to be inconvenient at least. Even so, many undergraduate courses expect their students to travel around the country at their own expense collecting information from archives and libraries. I'm not denying that doing archival research develops skills that employers might find useful later on; my question is just how
appropriate it is for undergraduates to be doing it without any financial assistance. In my own experience, I've quite enjoyed the new challenges but were it not for the fact that my friend was willing to offer me her floor and food, I'd still have been quite heavily out of pocket. Transport to London from Birmingham is not expensive if booked early enough in advance, but these expectations should be better advertised; undergraduate degrees normally imply being taught whereas postgraduate work is about conducting your own research. From the university's perspective, getting students to carry
out original work certainly raises the standard and profile of the department responsible. Students benefit too, because it does add to your CV and allows you to explore career options that might have remained closed. The issue that needs to be addressed is how
300% The amount student debt has increased by in 20 years prepared undergraduates are for some of the things that are expected of them, which is something prospective students should be made aware of.
No to cuts in spending Caroline Mortimer THE United Kingdom has a reputation, second only to the USA for excellent universities. 18 UK universities (including Birmingham) are listed amongst the top 100 universities in the world. After the proposed cuts to university spending were announced, the Russell
18 The number of UK universities in the top 100 universities in the world Group told the Guardian, 'it has taken more than 800 years to create one of the world's greatest education systems, and it looks like it will take just
six months to bring it to its knees'. The proposals seem laughable considering that the government is also planning to raise tuition fees; thus, students will be paying more for less. Why should we pay more money for a lower quality of education? In order to make up the numbers, the lecturers' union UCU claims class sizes will have to increase dramatically, devaluing a degree even more than it already is with the current trend of more graduates competing for employment. With the anxiety about the prospect of students becoming disenfranchised with long term unemployed, it is ludicrous that Labour should expect prospective students to want to go to university. Would it be worth it if the
costs are so high and the benefits so small? Understandably, New Labour are looking for ways to cut public spending, but these plans will
£398m 2010 cuts in government spending have an untold effect on the economy. The quality of graduates will be diminished by not only poorer standards of teaching but by some of the brightest and best people being left behind. In their desperate bid to fix the problems that face the nation's economy, Labour is creating even more problems for the economy in the future.
8 Comment & Features
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Crime and amusement Lasering planes? Stick 'em up Santas? Tom Lane on crimes that are funny as well as stupid
Americans clearly have an affinity with driving cars into shops Photo: NJ.com THE news broke last week, and it is as we feared. Plane dazzlings are up by 1700 per cent. I don't wish to cause alarm, but perhaps you should cancel that flight to Mallorca and go on holiday to Skegness instead this year. The number of cases of pranksters (or 'laser louts' as the BBC has described them) pointing bright beams of light at low altitude aeroplanes soared to 500 in 2009. In some instances pilots have reported suffering mild eye irritation. A CAA
(Civil Aviation Authority) member described the trend as 'very dangerous' and stressed the need to re-educate youngsters in order to avoid devastating consequences. Will they listen? It seems doubtful, in today's crime-ridden society. This month a Scottish couple were charged with reckless conduct after driving half a mile down the frozen Union Canal for fun. They narrowly avoided death when the ice gave way, but were not so lucky to escape the contempt of
the Chief Fire Officers Association, whose spokesman described their behaviour as an 'unnecessary risk'. All I can say is be thankful that we don't live in America. Motorists there have even less inclination to stick to tarmac, not least one elderly sedan driver who smashed through the front window of a Florida diner, calmly exited his vehicle and then ordered breakfast whilst waiting for the police to arrive. Perhaps crime is sim-
ply a side effect of winter. Just before Christmas a bank in Nashville, Tennessee was held at gunpoint by a robber dressed as Santa Claus. He was acting, according to witnesses, in a 'jovial' manner, and insisted he needed the money to pay for his elves. On the other hand, it may be the sad case of a world brought to its knees by alcohol and drugs. Take the case of the Colorado father and son who drunkenly decided to bond by burgling a house together. The boy fell asleep in the house he was attempting to rob, and his dad chose to flee without him. Coincidentally, it emerged that the neighbour who alerted the authorities was the unconscious thief's grandfather. Then last October there was the incident in Philadelphia involving a bewildered looking man in a convenience store. It was late at night, and the guy was studying the inside of his baseball cap, evidently expecting to find something there. An officer approached him and asked, 'Is this what you're looking for?' as he peeled off a bag of cannabis that had become stuck
to the hapless person's forehead. That man may have realised he was on the wrong side of the law, but not everyone is quite so sure of their place. A drug dealer in Michigan actually phoned 911 to announce that two strangers had broken into her home and depleted her stock of
he was being sentenced. His complaint? 'Can you hurry this up? I don't have time for this.' Most impressive was the conduct of Craig 'Lazie' Lynch, who made himself into a minor celebrity last year when he escaped from a Suffolk prison and then set up a Facebook page taunting
'A bank in Nashville, Tennessee was held at gunpoint by a robber dressed as Santa Claus. He was acting in a "jovial" manner and insisted he needed the money to pay for his elves' marijuana plants. It must be admitted that there is a certain elegance in the refusal of some criminals to show deference to the legal system even once it catches up with them. This was wonderfully demonstrated by another American bank robber who used his allocated phone calls from custody to inform an accomplice where he had hidden the loot, and then interrupted the judge as
police about their inability to recapture him. The criminal had 40,000 fans at his peak, and although he is now back in custody, you may be pleased to know that he lasted long enough to post a photograph of himself with a Christmas turkey around the neck, supplemented by many misspelled obscenities.
Scrabble squabble Rosa McMahon on the resurgence in popularity of the legendary board game AN economic slump always seems to bring a downer on things. Usually you have no money, sometimes you have no job, and there is nothing worse than suffering from both, which may lead to you having no friends. How awful; just as well we'll have Cameron, Dave to you and me, to make us all rich again by the time May is out. Hugging a hoody in the meantime will certainly lift your mood...
skill, but a union of guns and testosterone. Scrabble on the other hand is almost eighty years old and doesn't look a day over twenty. It encompasses all ages, useful in most situations and has certainly become an international favourite, with one in three American households owning the game. Oh and to think the game was created when an architect was made unemployed during the Great Depression. Phew, there is still
'Scrabble has certainly become an international favourite, with one in three American households owning the game' It hasn't always been this way. In fact often during times of doom, imaginations are fully utilised and wonderful, fantastic, ingenious and high super scoring games develop. Certainly I do not mean Call of Duty, because that does not involve a beautiful marriage of chance and
hope for the rest of us. However as with everything in modernity, time goes by, developments occur and Scrabble is plunged into the virtual world, where it has been transformed in to quite a different character. My memories from playing the super scoring game
as a child were family orientated, where frustratingly clever adults get a ridiculously high score before I can even sort my tiles into a readable order. Then they have the audacity to challenge my word choice, which would have some sort of meaning in some corner of the globe. A small argument erupts, and we play the rest of the game in deep concentrated silence. Of course when playing online none of these social interactions happen. Yes you can get frustrated at your opponents' slow pace, or laugh at their awful word choice, but in reality you are heckling a computer screen, which doesn't carry very much street credibility. It isn't surprising then that word usage in the past few weeks has set the Scrabble fan base alight, and caused a sharp divide between those who play online, and those who don't. 'Is 'et' even a word?' 'Why are we using abbreviations?' 'No, that was a word in the 15th century!' and the loudest outcry of them all â€“ 'what the bloody hell has hap-
pened to Scrabble?' To all of which I agree. It is however, truly a mark of our time that a game so loved by families, and built for groups in sitting rooms, has now morphed into something which is so utterly individualistic, and for the self, available anywhere that a computer can be plugged in. Doubling, tripling,
quadrupling words and letters is any 'Scrabblers' dream come true, even if you are surfing in cyber space, or if you are slumped in an armchair on a Sunday afternoon. I for one much prefer having a cup of tea, with people sat around me when I am laying a word which is surely going to beat the worlds top score. It is
Redbrick, 54 Photo: Lucy Percival
however rather disheartening for my general aura that my own first name only scores one point per letter, making me a girl worth only four points on the Scrabble board, that is the online board, because names are not allowed in the traditional version. Novice.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Comment & Features
Judge, judge and executioner After the first ever trial without a jury, Robyn Harvey considers how the legal system has changed
An empty jury box: the future of law? Photo: Christopher Bonjean HISTORY was made on Tuesday 12th January 2010. It may not have seemed like a significant date, but it was the very first trial in England and Wales since 1641 without a jury. John Twomey, Glen Cameron, Barry Hibberd and Peter Blake are accused of holding up Menzies World warehouse at Heathrow Airport in 2004. With the use of fire-
arms they threatened and tied up sixteen members of staff – also shooting at one of them – and stole £1.75million: significantly less than the £10million they were expecting to steal and the £22million the three trials have allegedly cost. The first trial was suspended when Twomey, suffered a heart attack. The second trial saw the
jury reduced from twelve to nine and unable to reach a verdict and the last trial was cut short due to very strong evidence of jury tampering. It was this evidence that convinced the Lord Chief Justice to give the go ahead to the trial without a jury and with the judge filling in for that role – a ruling that has been legitimate in England and
Wales since 2007 but has not been put into practise until now. This interesting case has created a clear divide between people who see this as an infringement on human rights, and those who believe the justice system has done its job in ensuring that these men do not corrupt the outcome of their trial; but there is so much more to it than that. One major worry is that now that this trial has been allowed to go ahead without a jury, the floodgates will be opened and these trials could become the norm, which eliminates one of our legal system's fundamental rights – trial by a jury of one's peers – and leaves the decisions totally in the hands of one certain type of person: more often than not a judge is still going to be a white, middle class, Oxbridge educated man. Also, there have been accusations of this decision being made simply on the basis of money. Originally, the plan was to have another trial with a police protected jury, but this was rejected on that basis that it would cost £6million. Obviously this is a lot of money, but perhaps not
compared to the £22million that had already been spent and some would argue that a price should not be put on our legal rights. Of course there are issues within the case which explain why the Lord Chief Justice saw fit to approve this type of trial. If they could find no other way to prosecute then there's a risk that they would have to let several men capable of executing a robbery of this kind walk free, or alternatively imprison them without a proper trial: which, as well as not ille-
course, have found some way to get to the family of the jurors instead and that having no jury ensures that these men can put as few people at risk as possible. It is a complex issue. It seems as though in this instance it came down to a choice between the legal rights of this country, and the safety of those involved and either of those things are difficult to sacrifice. But it truly is a historic day when over 400 years of legal tradition, put in place to protect the people who live
'This interesting case has created a clear divide between people who see this as an infringement on human rights, and those who believe the justice system has done its job' gal, would be a far more heinous infringement of human rights. Also, there is a counter argument to the claim that the jury could have just been protected by police to prevent jury tampering: these men could, of
here is broken. Whichever side you are on I think it's fair to agree with Sam Stein QC, a representative of one of the defendants, who claimed that with this decision 'We are breaking history.'
Yes to fees, no to poor degrees Fees must be increased if universities are to remain elite centres of education, says Oliver MacArthur THE university experience is not for everyone. I might be able to blag an essay together but I could never dream of installing a boiler or fixing a car. Right now, sixth formers are being conned by inept career advisers into thinking that going to university, no matter what degree, will benefit their future prospects; only to find that their hardfought efforts are useless in the job market. Anyone for a B.A in David Beckham studies? Perhaps a B.A in Culture and The Beatles? I think not. Few students will disagree that so-called 'Mickey Mouse' degrees do exist. Unfortunately, this is not child's play. According to Douglas Murray, head of the Centre for Social Cohesion 'Britain has more photography graduates than the amount of jobs available in the photography sector for the entire European Union, let alone Britain.' It is awful that the Government will allow its citi-
zens to pay over £9,000 in fees alone (not to mention living costs) only to enter the ever-increasing dole queue after graduation. It is nonsensical that governments can sanction such wastes of public funds in lending without a hope to recoup its in-
for the lash. Tuition fee rises would finish sham degrees and implicitly even question the existence of some universities as to whether they merit their label. The increased price of education will only encourage highly motivated students to en-
'Britain has more photography graduates than the amount of jobs available in the photography sector for the entire European Union, let alone Britain' vestment. Equally, there are concerns that tuition fee rises will incentivise courses that simply maximise earning power, such that classical subjects will be marginalised. A troubling prospect indeed; yet if increased fees puts an end to sham degrees then it is a small price to pay. The rise in fees will marginalise people coming to university simply
ter due to the increased trade-off between the cost of education relative to entering the job market. Furthermore, the reduced graduate job market will increase the relative value of possessing a degree as less people will have them. Implicitly then, we have to question why the current student body protests. Fees should be held
constant or reduced for subjects bracketed under the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (S.T.E.M) programme, all others should rise. Degrees associated within the S.T.E.M initiative are desperately sought after in areas conducive to our future prospects as a nation. As few students study 'S.T.E.M' subjects at GCSE level, the number of technical degrees studied are at an all-time low. Our relative lack of technical skill will continue to put Britain on the back-foot in an increasingly mechanised world. Britain has huge shortages of plumbers and electricians and a refocus on these technical skills is needed. Indeed, humanity's innumerable problems can only be solved by technological improvement. After all, we're not going to stop 'climate change' and cure cancer with a pretty picture. Although one fears that further fee rises may discourage brilliant albeit
underprivileged students from experiencing and benefiting from university life, any increase in fees must be mitigated with substantial increases in scholarships correlated to academic performance. The ability to pay must be considered such that the chances of talented yet underprivileged students slipping through the system is minimised. The higher price of fees will ensure a better quality of lecturer, better facilities and better research that can only enhance the real student experience. America has the best universities for a reason. In the UK, it has been said that the rise in fees will be the 'death-knell to Labour's meritocracy.' So be it; 50 per cent of the population attending university is ridiculous if standards are to be maintained.
Alistair Darling, the man likely to raise fees
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Film of the Week Alex Jacques examines George Clooney's latest awards bandwagon
Alex Jacques & Rosie Willmot So, in the style of every other editorial in the paper â€“ 2010 is here at last! After a pretty unproductive Christmas regarding uni work, dissertations and the like, we return this week to give you the low-down on what you've missed, film-wise, over the holidays. Sherlock Holmes was a nice chance for Guy Ritchie to get to grips with some long words and some heavy CGI construction equipment, and managed to avoid the f-word AND the c-word; good for him. St Trinian's 2 and all the girly screaming that the script required was a waste of perfectly good air. And Avatarâ€Ś? Well, if you haven't seen Avatar, we cannot be held responsible for your lack of input
into any pop-culture-related conversation in the last few weeks. Seriously, where have you been? Love it or hate it, it's always good to have an opinion on the biggest money-maker since Titanic, and two of our writers definitely do, as can be seen in a fantastic Justified/Unjustified this week. We have some extreme reviews of All About Steve and 44 Inch Chest for your reading pleasure. Alex goes Up in the Air and finds it quite nice up there, and Simon Fairbanks gives us a brief (yet succinct) rundown on what we can expect from the film world over the next few months. We also have a glowing Silverscreen from Krupa Suvjani on Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge. Read, enjoy, relax, and if you're feeling stressed this term, go and see a film.
Director: Jason Rietman Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick Cert: 15 About an hour in, there's a moment where the film stops being all angular and snappy and starts dealing with familiar Hollywood territory: the massively important life lesson. Delivered pretty expositionally by Anna Kendrick, the horror looms large across George Clooney's aging brow and yet still, this is immersive compelling drama. (If Jennifer Aniston had told Gerard Butler to stop being a commitmentavoiding workaholic, it would have been so
unconvincing it would have ranked up there with the smile you have to produce when your boyfriend/girlfriend gets you an awful Christmas present.)
leads him to happily have no life of his own. The second half's touching drama is a seamless shift of gear, where the two women who enter his life - Alex (Farmiga) and
'Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left' Due to the superb direction of Rietman, you spend the first hour enjoying the subtle comedy and slick delivery from Ryan (Clooney) whose job of firing people across the country
Natalie (Kendrick) - who are both inch-perfect in their roles, have their effect and leave Ryan questioning what he's been running from all these years. There are moments
where Up in the Air lurches on the predictable, but due to the acting the film is excused of them. It's visually superb from Rietman who I would contend has never made a bad film. Every time you go to see a George Clooney film, you can only remember the smug perma-grin and forget that he is a phenomenal actor. The conflict across his face in the latter stages of the film is some of the finest acting on the screen in years; that's if it was acting. The script's close relation to his own persona isn't lost on anybody in the audience; all the dialogue based upon escape, commitment and families could mess with your head if you were shooting the same line about 'make no mistake everyone dies alone' for the third time. Either way, it's thoroughly enjoyable.
VERDICT Comedy in the key of subtle with Clooney proving he's worth the hype, Reitman's ability to forge unique touching films, oh and there's a bloke with a bonkers moustache in there as well.
The Lovely Bones
In the first of a three-part series, Matt Davis and Michael Brownlee talk to the cast of Jackson's Oscar-tipped drama
Simon Fairbanks 2010 has arrived and, excitingly, so has the long-awaited A-Team trailer. If Mr T's one-liners and Bradley Cooper's torso are not enough, then you can enjoy them flying a tank at a plane. There is no Plan B. Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire have quit Spiderman 4. Their rumoured replacements vary between exciting (500 Days of Summer's Marc Webb for director) and ridiculous (New Moon's Taylor Lautner for Peter Parker). The actors chosen to play the Beatles have been announced for Robert Zemeckis' 3-D remake of Yellow Submarine: Dean Lennox Kelly (John), Peter Serafinowicz (Paul), Cary Elwes (George) and Adam Campbell (Ringo). In sequel news: The Hangover 2 will be released in May 2011, Star Trek 2 in June 2012, and Ivan Reitman is
returning to direct Ghostbusters 3. Most excitingly, Sam Mendes is directing Bond 23! The long-long-awaited Arrested Development movie will begin shooting this year, whilst Michael Bay promises less robots and more story in Transformers 3. Yeah, right. The Golden Globes took place last Sunday, hosted by a cheeky Ricky Gervais: 'I like a drink as much as the next man. Unless the next man is Mel Gibson.' Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Meryl Streep (Julia & Julia), Sandra Bullock (Blind Side) and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) won acting awards. The Hangover received Best Comedy and Redbrick's Film of 2009 Up received Best Animation. Cameron took home Best Director and Best Film for Avatar, proving his twelve-year sabbatical was worthwhile after all.
would be too; it talks of these ties and energy and connection that survives. Everyone has their own way of mourning. I probably had the easiest job; I had all this hair and eyelashes and I never said a word without a cigarette and a drink. I felt at home immediately. I had a great time with her. I always knew where I was depending upon whether I had a drink.
Susan Sarandon, clearly your character is much more than just the comic relief of the film. While she is a domestic disaster she also holds things together when the family are threatening to crumble.
do so. She seems like she has failed miserably with own problems but now she has a chance to step in, perhaps she is better qualified to be a better mother and understand some of the pain and to push through it.
SS: I'm happy to be the comic relief. She says a lot of the things you wish you could say in a very insensitive way and that's always inspiring as an actor, to be able to do the things you can't normally get away with. I think she is important when she unexpectedly holds the family together as she's the least likely person to
Rose [McIver], in the film you do a remarkabe thing, seemingly effortlessly aging from a young 11- to a feisty 18-year old. How was that challenge for you? RM: Luckily, with Saoirse playing my older sister, she is much more mature than I am. I happily fell into the role of her young-
er sister and it was an amazing makeup and costume team. Really it was the people around me who helped me play the transistion of becoming 18. Ms. Sarandon, how did you work out how to play your character? Did you ever read the book before the film? SS: I read the book a long time ago and strangely enough it resurfaced just after 9/11. It was a book a lot of firefighter families gravitated towards. For all of its difficulties it was strangely reassuring and I was hoping that the film
Saoirse [Ronan], was the film mentally draining or upsetting for you? SR: Yes it was. Particularly when I started the movie, it upset me quite a lot. If you have a heart at all and live through that experience for eight months, it's going to get in there sometimes, and it did. I just used to think about how horrible this can be, and I think because it was so intense, I needed to go back to myself.
Catch an interview with Peter Jackson in next week's Redbrick
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
All About Steve
44 Inch Chest
Rebecca GresleyJones Director: Phil Traill Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper Certificate: 12A DO you ever feel like the thing missing from your film-viewing life is a giant extended metaphor about crossword puzzles? Thought not. The trailer for All About Steve invites you in to a conventional rom-com scenario following the quirky crosswordpuzzle-writer Mary (Sandra Bullock) and the man she is set up with, Steve (Bradley Cooper). However where the clever packaging promises a predictable yet mildly amusing romance, what is in fact delivered is a stalkerish, unfunny debacle with a boring plot and unloveable characters, leaving you wishing you'd kept your receipt so you could return it afterwards and get your two hours of life back. Mary is a social oddity, who lives in knee-high
Jack Brumby plastic red boots, and relates everything in life to crosswords. After being set up on a blind date with Steve, she pounces on him in the back of his car until he stops her, realising her unfortunate habit of spouting out half an encyclopaedia every time she opens her mouth. Making excuses, Steve runs and goes back to work as a news cameraman, and jets off to various news hotspots around the country. Mistaking his excuses as an invitation to join him, Mary launches her stalking mission to find him, following the news and making a fool of herself in a cringey, unwatchable way.
The director, Phil Traill, desperately tries to turn this train wreck into a touching journey of self-acceptance for Mary, and achieves a couple of cute moments with Mary and her new hippy friends, yet this is completely cancelled out by the monstrosity that is Thomas Haden Church. His horrendous acting could be over-looked in a better film, but in All About Steve there is little to distract you from it.
VERDICT All About Steve is supposedly a rom-com, yet sadly lacks both the rom and the com.
Director: Malcom Venville Starring: Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt Certificate: 18 In Sexy Beast, screenwriters Louis Mellis and David Scinto delivered a British movie that married a wellcrafted story to outstanding performances, making it a classic of the gangster genre. It is the film people will measure their collaboration on 44 Inch Chest against, perhaps unfairly. At first glance they are similar: the swearing is there, as is the brutish violence and even some of Sexy Beast's cast (step forward Ray Winstone, Ian McShane). Yet they
are fundamentally different films. 44 Inch Chest puts six men in a room and observes the violence that results. The plot frequently stops moving so that these characters can be looked at in more depth. A different trick to the lively direction and twisting narrative of Sexy Beast, but one that ultimately suffers. The stubborn refusal to propel the plot forwards is frustrating. Too often the moment lingers uncomfortably onscreen once the drama has passed. Thankfully the dialogue is solid and suitably speckled with fourletter words, and pumps some energy into the film when it loses its way. The cast once again deliver strong performances. Winston works
hard, but is overtaken by John Hurt as the perfectly vile Old Man Peanut, while Ian McShane is sinister and enthralling. The film is rescued by its fascinating subjects: their sickening love of violence and their irresistible persuasiveness.
VERDICT 44 Inch Chest is an intriguing movie with some fantastic performances and a gleefully grubby script. Yet these are somewhat neutralised by a plot that hangs around confusingly, dragging its feet towards a subdued climax. It would probably make a great play. But it's not a great play, it is a good film with some big flaws.
Justified vs Unjustified
Fifteen years in the pipeline, Avatar arrived in a hurricane of hype. In terms of box office takings it's the biggest film ever, but is it any good ?
Benjamin Hewitt Firstly, pay no attention to the plot. The storyline only serves the purpose of taking Jake Sully and Neytiri through the locations that make this movie unforgettable and inerasable, and whether you opt for the third dimension or not, the visuals immerse you in the scenes as you roam around Pandora. The hardman colonel creasing up his hideous scar as he scuttles around in a little Matrix-inspired fighting bot might make the critics amongst you cringe, but each original feature that he tramples on the way, the glowing plants, the vast green mazes and
prehistoric creatures are sheer eye candy, not to mention pristinely animated beyond Pixar's wildest dreams (and budgets). Despite cynicism that the environmental message is trumped by the inevitably Hollywood boss battles and archetypal characters, it comes through loud and clear as you observe almost three hours of how beautiful our world could and should be. Kudos to the casting department too, who picked a host of lead roles that look just as good blue as they do in person – the well-acted anger and inquisition are definitely shared by everyone around you in the cinema, of which there is a lot; unlucky if you're
one of them, but you can be sure to enjoy the film giggling couple-free, unless they don't mind the stares of the fat dudes guzzling popcorn packed in on either side. So sit back and lose yourself in this visual masterpiece, clap at the Navi victories, wipe away the drool from your open mouth as night falls over Pandora, soak in the vast levels of originality and inspired creations, and thank Mr Cameron for a breathtaking connection with the big screen. Avatar should certainly never be expelled from existence. Ignore the haters, enter the world! Besides, it would be an epic waste of the odd few hundred million dollars.
Yasmin Armes For a film that has been fifteen years in the making, you would assume that the writers would have been able to form some kind of plot. Oh, how wrong you would be. Avatar may have great special effects (which can incidentally make you feel as if you are watching a computer game instead) but this is the only thing the film has going for it. Leona Lewis plays as the credits roll, need I say any more? Avatar exists as a political message for simpletons – hit home with a sledge hammer. The lack of subtlety or any hint of an original twist is possibly the most infuriating
thing about it. The big bad Americans rush in and destroy the world of the Na'vi in an attempt to obtain the 'unobtanium' (now there's originality for you!). Within seconds of the film beginning the viewer soon realises they are being exposed to (an extremely long) allegory for the rape of the rainforest and Iraq war. The concept of the political message is a great one but the hideous lack of subtlety makes Avatar unbearably cringe-worthy to watch. Is it the cheap pastiche of an army major telling Sully 'Nothin's over while I'm breathin' or Sully's revelation (!) that 'when people are sitting on something you want, you make them your enemy'? These innumera-
ble clichés make for painfully repetitive viewing. The characters' insipid script does not bode well with their lack of individuality; it seems Cameron has created a film of stereotypes rather than believable characters. As Sully tells 'the tree of souls' he's 'probably just talkin' to a tree', you think 'yes Sully you are', now please just predictably hurry up and save the day. And what an absolute surprise – he does just that! Cameron's heart is in the right place but unfortunately rather than challenge us to see a third dimension, he just reinforces bourgeoisie onedimensional stereotypes, as our favourite white western man saves the day, again.
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REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Album Reviews Shearwater The Golden Archipelago
Ross Fisher LISTENING to tracks at random from this CD, you could be forgiven for thinking that you already know this band. The day I come out with a line as insipid as 'the next Simon and Garfunkel' is the day I nail my faithful keyboard to the mantelpiece and return my stolen pen to the Dubai police force. That said, I can kind of see what Shearwater are trying to do here and
it's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Simon & Garfunkel haven't released anything decent recently. There is a market to be filled, and the music is certainly – for want of a better compliment – economically viable. At a push you could probably get me to call it 'nice' and many musicians have built their careers on nice. Just ask David Gray. But people really don't like David Gray – forget the fact that White Ladder was the most popular album of the last decade, people hate him. In fact no one really liked Garfunkel either (even if Paul Simon was okay), and music made for the kind of people who can't spare the time to listen to music is unbecoming of a band who are actually pretty talented. Next time, and bearing in mind they have already released two albums, we expect better.
Sylence Out of the Darkness & Into The Light
5 Matthew Way SYLENCE a.k.a. Solo S, presents a fusion of R&B, hip-hop and rap, covering the usual subject matters of politics, working 9-to-5 and the quest for the top. Listing his influences as everything from Public Enemy to Kate Bush, Sylence shows some talent through this self-produced album, particularly in the single Refreshed, a calypso-tinged electronic number with potential for commercial success.
A Mancunian accent seeps through in the artist's rhymes, giving the album a sense of local importance, as Where U From testifies. Sylence may have the talent for regional success, but the album doesn't seem to have the originality to travel, and the skits wedged in between every few songs just seem like fillers. Rapping about the socially and politically relevant is perfectly fine, but it fails to give the lyrics any fresh meaning. The occasional rhyme is reminiscient of Lethal Bizzle's raw tenacity, but while he offers something raw and tenacious, Sylence just misses the mark. The possibility of Sylence making it in 2009 is promising, and the album shows that he can put together a track that gets in your head. Therefore, step one completed. The next step is to make his voice heard and take a step into the bright lights.
Esmee Denters Outta Here
3 Christopher Hughes HAVING developed international fame covering R&B songs on Youtube, Esmee Denter is the first artist to be signed to Justin Timberlake's record label Tenman Records. The singer-songwriter recently said in an interview: 'Sometimes I just wanna go out and have fun with my girls…But then there's also a deeper side to me that's in there too, where I talk about relationships.' The result is lyrics with the emotional
depth of a Rambo film. Although lyrically bland, collaborations with Rick Rubin do appear to have rubbed off on producer JT, with the album offering a couple of well hidden surprises. Gravity consists of 4 minutes of average pop seamlessly blending into one minute of face melting guitar solo. Highlights of the album are opener Admit It, the kind of massively upbeat song that you'll be trying to get out of your head for hours. Though promising, these moments are sporadic, and JT's influence appears to be slightly too strong with the remainder of the album sounding like recycled Justified beats. Unfortunately for Esmee the pop industry is in no short supply of quality and original songs in the form of Lady Gaga and Britney etc. In order to keep up, Esmee Denter is going to have to up her game considerably.
Spotlight On... Spotify and the Internet Redbrick's official grumpyman Tom Lowe takes a look at the current state of music, sighs disdainfully and points a finger...
HAVE you got Spotify yet? If you haven't, the process goes something like this: first your life goes through an unbelievable improvement as you realise that you can get any music you want, right now, even quicker than YouTube. Then the adverts start. That's fine, you say, it's a small price to pay for all the music in the entire world. But already there's a creeping claustrophobia chipping away your patience day by day, until three weeks later you're throwing kitchen appliances out the window and cooing as yet another newly discovered sonic cathedral is interrupted halfway through by Gaga crooning from the bottom left corner. Oh, you're smiling now. Give it three weeks.
Spotify is the perfect example of why the internet has ruined music in the 21st century. We are over-exposed and over-fed with auditory fast-food thrown down our throats, and there are signs that we are finally full: both legal and illegal downloads decreased in 2008. Music has crept into every aspect of our lives, blaring from televisions as we eat, computers as we work and headphones as we sleep. Until the 1870s the only way to hear music was to see it performed live; now we hardly ever turn it off. Has music just become background noise? Music fans today have rapidly become used to the idea of instant gratification, in the process stripping artists of any mystique. Curiosity in a
new band lasts for the fifteen seconds it takes to locate their MySpace page. Within a week you're bored and you'll never listen to them again. As access to music increases, we are consuming new bands at a faster and faster rate. Artists and scenes rush by in a generic blur, and the music industry in general is moving at an unsustainably rapid pace. Bands are torn out of obscurity and hurled into the limelight for a brief and confusing period of time before being dropped by their label as the scene that was fabricated around them is trashed by the next Next Big Thing. Remember Scroobius Pip? Joe Lean? New bands are treated like battery hens, exploited and discarded before they have a chance
to prove themselves to the industry. A recent DrownedinSound article suggested that by embracing modern trash culture, record labels have forgotten how to nurture so called 'album artists', Radiohead or the Pixies, for example. These bands traditionally make up the alternative scene, which survives on album sales and are less constrained by the pressure to be an instant success which often kills 'singles' artists. These are important to labels as a slow burning means of income; while the bands benefit from their tenure in the wings by being given time to mature as musicians before moving into the pop charts. This began to break down in the '90s when grunge and Britpop
bought alternative bands to mainstream attention. Labels greedily tried to buy into the zeitgeist and unwittingly transformed the whole scene into the same chart-topping production line as the pop industry. Unfortunately this mass-commercialisation came just as the rise of illegal file-sharing was stealing a large proportion of the industry's revenue. Between 1999 and 2003 music sales dropped globally by $6 billion, and labels are less and less inclined to take risks. Note how many established acts and band reunions have taken the limelight in recent years (Take That, Blur, The Verve), and consider how Radio One sounds like a very well-produced smear of white noise flopping
lifelessly from the speakers. Pop music appears to be getting more and more generic, and this might be something to do with our growing dependence on the internet. Never have I doubted the potential of this generation of artists – there is a quota of raw talent out there which never really changes – but the nature of the music industry and the speed with which we consume music as fans has been transformed over the past 10 years. The existence of a genuinely original newmusic industry which doesn't rely on the tried and tested cash cow of revivalism (Libertines, Strokes, Klaxons, admit it) is seriously in jeopardy if the labels don't change their behaviour.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Yeah Yeah Yeahs 09/12 @ O2 Academy Erica Vernon ENERGY, showmanship and bright colours – these are now expected components of a YYYs gig. Not being a dedicated fan myself, I was pleasantly surprised at the seemingly close relationship between the band and their fans. Karen O is certainly a lively performer, bouncing around, spewing water, and visibly feeding off the enthusiastic audience. Things kicked off
with Shake It – at the first pluck of guitar chords the impatiant crowd started to cheer, exploding at the apparation of Karen. She was kitted out in such an extraordinary mix of colours and patterns, surely Joseph's dreamcoat would have looked unimaginative in comparison. Nick and Brian were more sanely dressed, but the set was plastered with electric blue glitter, all centred around a huge eyeball. The setlist was compromised of songs off all three of their albums,
including tracks such as Zero and Heads Will Roll from their most recent album It's Blitz! Monster hit Gold Lion was placed bang in the middle of the setlist, marking a high point in the energy scale. Contrastingly, there were slower numbers such as the accoustic version of Maps, the band's first big hit, from their debut Fever To Tell. Waving arms and lighters came out to salute the band at this point, and there was a sense of unity contained inside the Academy (as corny as that sounds).
Overall, Karen's vocals were strong, and cut through the guitars and powerful drums. The band are clearly very skilled and accustomed now to managing the stage. Even a sea of around three thousand people was nothing compared the the massive music festival crowds they've played for in the past. Groups of friends danced around long after the stage lights had dimmed down. Even while the river of people flowed out the doors, the glittery columns kept the spirit of Yeah Yeah Yeahs alive.
Photos: Erica Anne Vernon
Friday 22nd Kittie O2 Academy 2
Sunday 24th Delta Maid Hare and Hound
Monday 25th Reel Big Fish O2 Academy
Habitual poptimist Alex Spencer takes on the Top 40... YOU remember Christmas: tinsel, presents, over-indulgence. When all you could hear were the classic hits, and the big Christmas Number One. Killing in the Name Of. There's more to say about the event than the pages of this newspaper have room to support. Rage Against The Machine getting to #1 with a song that peaked, nearly two decades ago, at #25. Not just that, but #1 at Christmas, the one chart result the whole country is trained to care about. All the backlash about “oh it's still going to Simon Cowell” (not true, the man doesn't own Sony) or “it's a silly song” (honestly, 17 years removed, it kind of is) isn't the point. What they missed is, do we still
Ocean Colour Scene The Rainbow care about the Top 40? The music in the charts is the world to a certain demographic: the pop-discovering, identityforming young teens. But that spreads through playgrounds and the backseats of buses, through wordof-mouth and mostly, through phones. Playing new songs to your mates; ringtones; Bluetooth... It's this that renders the chart redundant. Who needs a list of new stuff, when you've got your friends skimming for the best bits and playing them to you? No more relying on the general public. But us alternative types, the indie kids, the obscurity seekers, we never should have to care about their taste anyway, should we?
Yet I think the charts are important as a way of making music feel like it matters. You might have sneered at a sudden fan produced by Michael Jackson's death. How much of, say, the Blur/Oasis enjoyment rode on that feeling of being in a gang? Still sneering? Have you ever worn a band tshirt, liked someone because they liked the same type of music? You like being in a gang, admit it. But ultimately, it's all just music, right? Sounds that do or don't vibrate your ear drums the right way to make you feel something. Why should all the trappings matter? Because it makes people interested. Let's look at the Top 40 as I write this (and if you're read-
ing this hot off the press, hopefully still valid). Five and six in the chart right now are the same song, in two versions: Journey's Don't Stop Believin', the original and as performed by the cast of Glee. The song has snuck back into the public consciousness of late – your university life has probably crossed paths with an anthemic singalong at some point – and now it's thrust to the forefront of pop culture. But those are old songs. The Top 40 is a signifier of the new: something fresh every week please, more and more until I'm full. My esteemed colleague Tom Lowe suggests in this very issue that this is dangerous. But how is this desire
any different to the music obsessive's hunt for a new favourite band? Chart music is often hit-and-miss: I hate Iyaz's Replay (#1), I can't help but raise an eyebrow at Owl City's blatant Postal Service rip-off Fireflies (#2, and please, if you like this, seek out their seminal album Give Up). But there's no denying that 'pop music' today is an umbrella that covers a whole lot of ground, a lot of it really interesting. Who'd have thought something that sounded like a Death Cab For Cutie cast-off would ever make it to number two? And more different, good stuff more popular means less overplaying. Only you can prevent another Sex On Fire, kids.
Evile The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
Tuesday 26th Twenty Twenty O2 Academy Real Estate Hare and Hound
Wednesday 27th Iglu and Hartly O2 Academy 3 Slaid Gleaves Kitchen Garden Cafe
Thursday 28th The Boy Who Trapped the Sun Hare & Hounds
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2009
Please send all letters to email@example.com. Letters/emails for publication must be marked 'for publication' and include your name and course title. Letters without these details will not be published. We reserve the right to edit letters.
Stop and face the wall I suppose I should welcome you all back, we can do the christmas thing, the new year thing and the snow thing. Or not, this week I actually do have something to talk about. I'm not sure how many of you will have noticed the European Court of human rights decision on section 44 of the terrorism act (Stop and Search). Not many I would have thought, after all, it was printed (or rather buried) on page 14 of the Guardian over a week ago. So yes you guessed it, this is a civil liberties rant; following a (heated) conversation (argument?) with one of my deputy editors this week regarding stop and search I was surprised to learn that not everyone felt the same way I do (and no, thats not because of my God complex) but purely because I thought it couldn't be taken any other way. Section 44 of the terrorism act allows police officers to stop and search on entirely different grounds than if they were looking for drugs or other such things. They need no substance to the request, they can essentially do as they please. This worries me, but not others – the counter argument is if it makes us safe does it matter, we live in a democracy after all. What danger are we in from the state?
Dear Editors, Lord Carlile, the official reviewer of terrorism laws stated, 'In my view, section 44 is being used far too often on a random basis without any reasoning behind its use,' he said. 'The fundamental point that the court is making is that it increases the possibility of random interference with the legitimate liberties of the citizen.' Our liberties have been slowly disappearing – such as our right to protest in front of Parliament which disappeared in 2005. You need to give the police a minimum of 24 hours notice, but preferably 6 days that you wish to protest and they can impose restrictions on you. So listening to our government suggest that it is going to ignore this ruling as it has done with a similar one on the retention of DNA is worrying to say the least. I do not believe that if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn't worry about being stopped searched – it is about rights and state encroachment. What right does the state have to demand to see the contents of your pockets if you are idly minding your own business. Anyway I am running out of space so thoughts and opinions on a postcard (or better yet email letters@redbrickonline. co.uk)
Writers and photographers workshop On Friday the 29th of January we will be running a news/features/photographers workshop. It is part of the wider 'Get Invovled' campaign that is being run by the Guild to raise the profile of student groups and their activities. The workshop is for all members and any potential writers / photographers who are yet to pick up a pen or a camera. It will run for 2 hours from 12pm and will involve a variety of tasks. You will need: A pen, a pad and the inate curiosity that should come with wanting to be a journalist. The workshop is designed to improve your ability to find stories and to produce copy under pressure.
You can also use it to share articles you like to Facebook or Twitter and you can send them to friends via email. We really hope that students find this a useful tool and we are very keen to hear your feedback on the app – what else you would like to be able to do and whether you would like to see something on other platforms such as Android.
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 Multimedia Editor Dan Southall
During the First World War, a tactic implemented in the trenches was the 'creeping barrage'; artillery would pound enemy trenches in stages, allowing the infantry to move forward, trench by trench. Birmingham University is being bombarded under an insidious, creeping barrage: George Galloway first, testing the water. Next, the Neturei Karta; a clear attack on our university's Jewish students. Then Tamimi; unopposed by the guarantors of student welfare, he is an advocate of terror, an extremist who has said of suicide bombings: “I would do it if I had the opportunity”. Who will be next? With Tamimi, the red line has not been crossed: it has vanished. Misguided arguments about freedom of speech are being employed for two reasons: firstly, the university claims 'freedom of speech' because it is unwilling to recognise, confront and deal with what seems to be a radicalizing element within the student body. Better to sweep it under the carpet. Secondly, and perhaps more worryingly, some claim to be able to defeat the logic of terror-advocates in an open forum. In both theory and practice, this is impossible. If the self-styled “free speech defenders” had actually attended the Galloway talk, they would have witnessed the relentless harassment of anyone daring to criticise Galloway. The simple fact is: Tamimi represents a fundamental assault on our liberties. He operates through using free speech against us, recognising our weakness. Why is our university unwilling to say that attacking student welfare is wrong? Why do they ignore the Codes of Practice? Now the Guild must lead. Empower our president to protect his students. The Guild Council must make it harder for those who desire division to achieve their ominous ambitions. Advocates of terror, of misogyny, of homophobia have no place in Birmingham, and it is high time the university plucked up the courage to say so. As the barrage continues, it strikes ever closer to the heart of our university; destroying our historic safe space. Student welfare is the casualty. With deepest concern, Ben Curtis and Alex Green Keep Birmingham Uni Hate Free
Section contact information and meeting times
As you may have noticed from the rather large banner on the front page we are launching our very own iPhone (and iPod touch) app today – it can be downloaded from the iTunes store (for FREE) and will serve all of the latest articles and tweets right to you in one place.
Editor Nick Petrie
I am writing to you regarding the failure of the university authorities to fulfil their obligations under the Codes of Practice. Their persistent unwillingness to oppose hate speech on campus has emerged once again with Azzam Tamimi's speech on Wednesday.
News Editors Ned Murray Helen Crane Samuel Lear email@example.com Features Editors Laura Hewitt Jude Hill firstname.lastname@example.org Lifestyle Editors Jessica Geary Alex Beard email@example.com Film Editors Alex Jacques Rosie Willmot firstname.lastname@example.org
Music Editors Erica Vernon Alex Spencer email@example.com Arts & Culture Editors Jess Kim Sam Langtree firstname.lastname@example.org Television Editors Natalie Timmins Matthew Williamson email@example.com Sport Editors Tom Clarke Ben Whitelaw Simon Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
News / email@example.com / Thursday 5pm (Starbucks) Comment and Features / firstname.lastname@example.org / Tuesday 5pm (Stu Dev) Arts and Culture / email@example.com / Wednesday 3pm (Stu Dev) Film / firstname.lastname@example.org / Friday 2pm (Stu Dev) Music / email@example.com / Wednesday 4pm (Stu Dev) Lifestyle / firstname.lastname@example.org / Wednesday 2p, (Stu Dev) TV / email@example.com / Wednesday 3pm (Stu Dev) Sport / firstname.lastname@example.org / Friday 1pm (Stu Dev) Travel / email@example.com / Thursday 3pm (Stu Dev) Technology / firstname.lastname@example.org / Wednesday 4pm (Stu Dev) Photographs email@example.com / Friday 12pm (Stu Dev) Crossword Editor Sephron Mansell Editorial Assistants Natasha Williams Jonathon Gilbert Anna Reynolds Victoria Shires Copy Editors Felix Rehren (head) Kate Ashley Sian Evans James Cull Dani Rosen Hannah Davis Josie Lacey
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REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Arts & Culture
New Term Previews Special Our top cultural events for January – March that we think you'll kick yourself for if you miss them!
Turner's Blenheim House and Park Picture: BMAG
The Mikado Image courtesy of: Town Hall
Dominic Gerrard & Sholto Morgan Photo: The Rep
Turner to Samuel Palmer: British Watercolours 1800-1850 @ BMAG
The Mikado @ Symphony Hall
Spike Milligan's Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall @ The Rep
Saturday 13th March, 7:30pm Indulging in some Gilbert and Sullivan is practically a requirement of attending university – it's up there with watching E4 in the middle of the day, 9am lectures and developing a habit of sniffing everything in your fridge before resolving to eat it. Symphony Hall are putting on a special semi-staged performance to celebrate the 125th anniversary of one of Gilbert & Sullivan's most enduringly popular productions. Written in 1885, Gilbert transports Victorian England into the background of oriental Japan in a hilarious tale satirising the politics - and social politics of the day. Sullivan's bountiful score is a 'sparkling gem, speeding the story along with a host of toe-tapping greats'. The production's appeal is enhanced ten-fold by the always hilarious Alistair McGowan taking on the eponymous role of the Mikado of Japan.
8th – 13th March, 7.30pm Spike Milligan. What a dude. British comedy royalty. His amazing memoirs of WWII are brought to the stage in a gloriously absurd and exuberant comedy and with the original text being solid gold, it would be pretty hard for them to fuck it up. High comedy and tragedy collide, as we follow Gunner Milligan and his jazz quartet, adrift on the tide of great historic events. Using Spike's own words, the show joyously fuses comedy, song and dance – showing how humour, music and comradeship enabled a hapless bunch of young men to prevail against the might of the Nazi war machine. Songs include the jazz greats Chattanooga Choo Choo, Ain't Misbehavin', In The Mood, Honeysuckle Rose, Kalamazoo and many more. If you usually find musicals too saccharine to stomach, here's your antidote.
Tickets: £10.50 – £35.50 For more information and tickets: http://www.thsh.co.uk/view/an-anniversary-performance-of-the-mikado
Tickets: £12 – £32, concessions available For a video preview, more information and tickets: http://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/event/spike-milligan-s-adolf-hitler-my-part-in-his-downfall
23rd January – 2nd May Whether you think of him as a national treasure or not, Turner knew his shit. Other major figures, John Sell Cotman and Peter de Wint, are shown alongside lesser known names like John Glover and George Campion. While mainly landscapes, this display also includes portraiture and figuration, and a final section brings together artists that include William Blake and Samuel Palmer. This exhibition is drawn entirely from the Museums' collection.
Chinese New Year @ The Arcadian Centre Sunday 14th February, 12 noon – 4.30pm. The biggest event in the Chinese calendar, roll along to the Chinese Quarter and experience the cultural performances, music, and firecrackers marking the start of the year 4708 – the Year of the Tiger. The free event will be showcasing Chinese acrobats, singing, the Chinese dragon dance and martial arts displays. Hurst Street will be pedestrianised for the day and a wide range of stalls will be out for visitors wander around.
18 Arts & Culture
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Photography Sensual snaps with an outside vision
Gustav Coyne THE latest photography exhibition to hit London, Sights Unseen, is an innovative and completely original approach to picking up a camera. In this day and age, anyone who owns a camera phone, e.g. the bulk of the population, can claim they're a photographer. So to have a vision presented to us by those who are blind or visually impaired presents a unique opportunity to see photography that relies on senses other then sight, the principal of any standard photo. Instead we are treated to a shot of what it is like to feel a landscape or how a person can be explored through a means other then sight. Although initially this may seem like a bizzare idea, the photos themselves appear to have incredible composition, relying on elements that can be sensed rather than immediately spotted, suggesting that in contemporary times, a photo is much more then a moment captured by one's eyes. The exhibition, taking blind and visually impaired adults from the UK,
Mexico and China worked alongside British charity, PhotoVoice in order to provide a unique experience to both photography and viewer. Certainly it must be said that the photos taken from the exhibition stand level against some of their sighted peers. Whilst it would be hard to decipher whether the photos belonged to someone blind or not, small traits and quirks suggest that the photograph has a character and sense of intuitiveness, lacking in other exhibitions.
Other than this it also certainly puts forward the notion that a work of art doesn't need to have visual involvement in order to be viually accessible. Sights Unseen is only on from the 19th – 23rd January in London's The Association of Photgraphers Gallery and it can only be hoped that it allows greater opportunities for the those with impaired vision to continue to create intresting art. For me, it inspired the opportunity to try photography without use of sight.
Taking initiative with other senses in order to create a unique photo experience.
Art on the 'net: Redbrick recommends the top
spots on the web for you to get your culture shocks Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time – for those of you who enjoy having Radio4 on when you're doing the dishes or catchin' up on your advanced economics reading, or when you just want to feel like you're at home in your mum's kitchen, you'll be familiar with the soothing tones of the Bragg, and his genuinely interesting miniforums on topics ranging from the revenge tragedy to The Wasteland to the evolution of the whale (a personal favourite). If you've missed one or you're unacquainted with 'Our Time, just search for the podcasts on iTunes or go to the website to find the extensive archives of past shows! http://www.bbc.co.uk/ radio4/history/inourtime/ The Penguin website – most publishers have a pretty lax attitude towards their websites, they are don't you know, all about the paper and less about the html. But Penguin have embraced the world wide web and have pimped out their site with the works; they're bloggin', they're twittin', they're podcasting, fuck it, they even have a dating service. Throw in Domi-
nic West reading Nabokov (which they have) and you've got yourself one hell of a literary website. http://www.penguin. co.uk/ The TV Book Club – dammit, do I love 4oD and iPlayer. The world of essay procrastination that opened up when they became available, it's mind boggling. New to Channel 4 is the least lame book club ever, recommending the best in new literature and adding in famous people to help our poor ADD addled minds (including the delightful Alan Davis), the first episode is up for viewage for the next 25 days! http://www.channel4. com/programmes/ thet v -
book-club Friends' blogs – it's what all the cool kids are doing and I'm sure you've got a plethora of friends brainvomitting their thoughts on, well, everything on to the internet. A personal favourite and one of actual merit and recommendations – would be the Delancey Notebook – http://delanceynotebook.blogspot.com/ The Wallpaper* website – pretty much the most attractive, acomplished, beautiful, thought-provoking design publication ever, they've unsurprisingly got a site to match. I won't even try to list all the cool shit they've got going on, just go have a mosey and enjoy. http://www.wallpaper. com/ The Culture Show – a cop-out you say? Nay. An institution. And Lauren Laverne is far more of a dish than Jo Whiley, or Fearn Cotton or any of the other hoards of comparables. With only a week to watch each episode on iPlayer, there is much more pressure with this badboy for you to scurry along to catch up on the week's, well, culture. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ programmes/b006t6c5
Sam Langtree's back-to-school editorial special
Jimmie Wilson as the eponymous hero
Richard Wilson with his Golden masterpiece
Bourne's nausiatingly successful Swan Lake
IF the start of the new decade is anything to go by, your weekly injection of all things arty-cultural is looking on the up. Currently premiering in Frankfurt is Hope! – Das Obama Musical! A new production which, as the name suggests, is pretty much a musical about Obama's life thus far, despite being in office for little over a year. Featuring an all singing, all dancing cast, with portrayals of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, I can only hope this po-faced product of the Obama phenomenom makes it onto UK shores. Back on national soil, in the wake of the recent Tuner prize winner Richard Wright's stunning gold leaf fresco, an enthralling union of craft and concept, the British art movement looks like
works of recent decades, Richard Wilson's 20:50. created by the sculptor in 1987. A bizzare installation that is essentially an oil reservoir, it has been lauded for the unsettling yet beautiful effects it is capable of creating and is definitely worth checking out by anyone who has an interest in installation pieces. Moving away from London to closer territory, the recent find of treasure from the Mercia kingdom who occupied the Midlands in the 700s has been described as 'Gangland bling.' The massive hoard of gold and silver found in Staffordshire, a unique one-off find was shown in Birmingham late last year, capturing a surprisingly enthusiastic interest by the public at large. With a huge effort
sion, theatre, dance and musical continue to saunter on forcefully in our metropolitan. With a host of upcoming ballet productions showing at the Hippodrome, an enthusiast of the dance form has much to look forward to. Pioneer of ballet production, Matthew Bourne comes to the city in early February with his hyped (by my sister) Swan Lake. Noticeable for his allmale ensemble of swans as seen in Billy Elliot, this promises to be a treat for its originality. With this, is the Birmingham Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty amongst other productions. On top of this the ever-reliable Rep theatre has a robust line-up of original and abstract dramas and comedies. The theatre, alongside Aston's
it'll hopefully take another new transformation. As Wright's symmetrically intrinsic work was purposefully destroyed last week, there is definitely room for something new and powerful in the art world. With Damien Hirst's most recent paintings being critically panned almost unanimously, perhaps we could see a return to the importance that artistic ability plays. Anyone who watched BBC2's School of Saatchi over the holidays could account for this, conceptual art, once radical and original is now increasingly stale, especially without artistic merit. Stopping short of completely venting my fustration with conceptual art, the Saatchi Gallery is in fact hosting one of the most well-thought-of
by the Birmingham council currently underway in securing the rest of the Staffordshire hoard, it can be hoped that the city's Museum and Art gallery will see another bigger, grander exhibition underway. As the city of Birmingham cannot compete with the richness of London and up and coming 'art cities' such as Liverpool and Glasgow, increased publicity in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a primary importance in increasing cultural interest in Birmingham as a whole. With the current recession continuing as forcefully as ever, the interest in the hoard is poignant, especially as the Tate galleries have recently reported a £1m loss in funds. Despite all the doom and gloom of the reces-
The Drum, look to continue their reign as the epicentres of alternative visual art. Finally, whether you're a first year slowly cruising through the course, a second year with a worrying pile-up of reading, or a third year who has spent the last week using suspicious substances to remain awake in order to battle that terrifying word count that is your dissatation, embrace the literature, be it new novels or whatever you may be trudging through. I would urge you (to no avail) to drop your Twilight saga novels and pick up something more stimulating than emotional porn. But that would be a hopeless effort, especially as I lack anything close to the genetic make-up of Robert Pattison.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
James Bunting on how
Pete Blakemore looks at why tourism can be
the decade looks to
a disaster-struck country's best hope
Redbrick travel The first decade of the new millennia has been and gone and how the world has changed. Every time a new terminal is opened; every time a faster and more efficient mode of travel is launched; every time the price of round the world flights is slashed we are brought closer to the countries that, until now, had seemed too remote, too far away and, quite frankly, too expensive to be visiting. We live now in an age of low-cost travel, career breaks and, of course, the increasingly popular gap year. The Mintel report in 2005 estimated that the gap year market will have risen £15bn annually by this year; STA claim that the number of 'gappers' rise 11 percent annually and gapyear.com estimates that around 230,000 18-24 year olds take gap years every year. I was one of them in 2008 and when I visited Indonesia this summer I met many people who were doing the same thing as I, and so many others, have done before. So, with more and more people getting out there and seeing the world there will no doubt be hundreds of stories of highs and lows from the road. We asked students for theirs and were inundated with responses of amazing encounters and terrifying tribulations, of sunsets and death threats, and of making friends with monkeys. The best of these tales you can find online and I know you'll enjoy reading them as much as we did. Who knows, maybe one of them will inspire you to get yourself out there and experience it for yourself or maybe they'll make you think twice about your dream trip for fear of ending up looking down the barrel of a gun. Whether good or bad these tales show the world and the road for what it really is…an adventure.
Online this Week: •Yasmine
looks at fat travellers •Alex Cloney tells us her travel essentials •Ed Gordan discusses snow in the third travel podcast
Photos of cruise liners pulling up near Port-au Prince only 100 metres away from the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti only ten days ago, printed on the front page of the Guardian, illustrate the shocking audacity of the tourist industry in the wake of such a disaster. Topping up your tan and sipping on a cocktails in the pool while those on the shore fight over the lack of clean drinking water, does seem to be the last thing on most people's minds. Though it's clear in this case that the companies still visiting the area are helping the relief effort, the scale of the devastation for Haiti makes it hard for both the international community and businesses still visiting the area to ignore. The Boxing day Tsunami of 2004 affected people all over the world, striking an area known for being a hub of activity for student travellers. My parents and I were struck
with fear, realising my sister who was away at the time, was last heard from in this area. Though she was safe and 200km away, that close-call inspired me to visit the places hit the worst and see them for myself when I departed on my own 'year of freedom'. Not content with seeing a recovered traveller destination once I arrived, I set out further north to Burma, a country known for its oppressive nature towards free speech, which in turn affects the media coverage of its poverty. Though it is not seen as the typical place to help people learn English or teach people a new skill in South East Asia, each person that does makes a difference. Spending two weeks in a guarded compound just a stone's throw away from one of the worst humanitarian disasters the world has witnessed in recent years seems at best insensitive. However, the tourism and humani-
Cruises haven't stopped visiting the area, but how much do they actually help?
tarian aid that accompanies these visits does go a small way in making a contribution to the repair the devastation. Those who see the horrendous pictures of the Haiti disaster will be inspired to donate to a worthy cause, and many gap year students will hopefully see a new place to spend a year abroad helping those who need it. It can't be stressed enough the important part tourism plays in rebuilding a shattered country; whether through the aid provided in the days and
weeks after, to supporting the local businesses that break through the rubble left behind. We should not ignore the issues of those who do not make it onto the front pages immediately after the disaster, but support countries who have had worse times and need western help. Re-building schools, volunteering to give the children an education who may have lost a teacher and playing your part in rebuilding a country's infrastructure not only
helps out those who have a low quality of life, but also inspires others to follow in your footsteps. It may not be as fun as getting drunk in Vang Vieng or as spiritually as enlightening as swimming in the Ganges, but travel isn't only about personal gain. Visiting places that are suffering is more likely to show you what others gain from you being a visitor to their land, and who can feel guilty about doing something good for someone else?
Thai smiles beat the Gallic shrug An international survey by travel website zoover.co.uk has revealed Thailand to be considered the most hospitable country and France to be the least. Alex Cloney and James Cull share their experiences of the best and the worst the world has to offer. Known as the 'land of smiles', Thailand has always been a country very welcoming and accommodating of tourists, with an estimated 15 million people visiting last year. However, people are often shocked by the degree of Thai people's happiness, especially considering the pollution, low incomes and bad conditions common in Thailand. In my experience, Thai people always seem helpful and happy, even if they don't understand you. Such levels of hospitality often cause misunderstandings for tourists who regularly say, 'don't worry, I'm fine' as a courteous refusal when offered something. To a Thai this will seem like you are avoiding inconveniencing your host so they often think you are indirectly saying yes and offer things without asking. This hospitality stems from the Buddhist tradition in which monks will walk past homes every morning and collect offerings of food. However, the people don't ask what the monks would like because monks aren't allowed to show prefer-
Photo: Hartfried Schmid on Flickr
ence as it encourages temptation. So, Thai people tend to use their own judgement and offer before
'Thai people tend to use their own judgement and offer before being asked' being asked which, from a western perspective, can often be viewed as overhelpful. Also, Thai people view the smile as having a much broader usage than
we do; it can mean anything from happiness to fear or embarrassment. Maybe we only view smiles as a symbol of happiness or politeness due to our own preconceptions, or perhaps this view is just cynical. No matter what the meaning, in a country that relies so heavily on tourism, customer satisfaction is very important and if you smile at a Thai, you are unlikely to not receive one in return. The French on the other hand were, in the same survey, deemed the least hospitable people in the world. Seeing as so
many of us have been to France some time during our lives, this came as a surprise to me. But as I took a trip back down Memory Lane, I found myself agreeing. My first experience of “true” French hospitality was my first homestay in Montpellier, in southern France. I was 14 years old at the time and was sent by my impertinent French teacher who believed that somehow we would come back with impeccable French skills after being away for a week, despite the fact we spent most of the day chatting in English with our friends. Our apartment was on a charmless estate somewhere on the outskirts of Montpellier; My room was no bigger than the average broom cupboard, equipped with what I think was the world's creakiest and most uncomfortable bed; and the hallway was so narrow one person had to give way to another person coming the opposite way. The food was far from haute cuisine and we looked forward to every trip, even if it was to some far out village or some prehistoric aque-
duct, because anything was better than living in that place. France is one of the top holiday destinations in the world, however the French haven't yet seemed to master basic hospitality. Many can seem rude and ignorant to all foreigners, often simply responding with a Gallic
'The French haven't yet seemed to master basic hospitality' shrug only a Frenchman can pull off convincingly. When you do muster up the courage to speak to them in your basic French using skills honed back at GCSE level it is rarely met with gratitude or even comprehension. France is a beautiful country which offers something for everyone, and it is a huge shame that their hospitality seems to fall so short of what would be needed to take France even higher up the ladder of top travel destinations.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010 Alex and Jess' New Year Resolutions: Resolution one: To continue with our fabulous section and amazing writers. 2010 is looking like a big year for Lifestyle so we need to rally the troops for a great start. Resolution two: To change the way people think about pubic hair forever. Say goodbye to hairy moments for good by reading our debate piece. Resolution three: To convince our editor Nick to make this section into its own magazine. We deserve it. Resolution four: To bring out another ohso-scintilating podcast, jam-packed with the latest Lifestyle news, gossip and naughty bits. Resolution five: To re-style all the Redbrick boys... and paint the office pink. And post pictures of ourselves and Robert Pattinson everywhere. Resolution six: Sex up Lifestyle more (if possible).
Resolution seven: Choose two wonderful new Lifestyle editors for next year. We'll keep you updated! Byyyyyyeee (off to shave our beavers).
Catwalk: Four fashion trends for 2010 that fit snugly in your bumbag Claire Cavanagh Lauren Jayne Forse It's January and we all know what this means: a new year, a new set of fashion trends that we're promised are going to be HUGE in 2010. But how far should we trust the fashionistas in magazines this year? Whilst some of the predicted 2009 trends did happily enter our lives (even the ones we initially had doubts about – we swore we'd never go near shoulder pads after years of suffering in school blazers), we didn't see anybody quite pull off harem pants without suffering from saggy-bum syndrome. We've gone to the trouble of whittling down the key trends for 2010 into those that are actually wearable, so there's no need to run out and squander your student loans on startling and, quite frankly, worrying items like bumbags (or 'fannypacks' as our American friends would say, snigger). Trend One: Nautical. Yes, again. The sailorthemed trend was around heavily in 2008, but if you think you can just have a root around for something old in your wardrobe (or floordrobe, if you're anything like us) then you may be out of luck – this Spring think more Parisian chic than Popeye.
Debate: Bush or Bare? Barely there: When it comes to shaving or not shaving I'm like Edward Scissorhands with a razor, I like it off... all off. Feeling uncomfortable? Most girls do when they admit that they have a Hollywood (the technical name for 'fully shaved') as fellow ladies tend to recoil in horror
be honest. The ultimate question is whether or not I look/feel like a five year old. The answer? Unequivocally NO. I'm curvy enough to embrace my womanliness and secure enough in my femininity
Luckily this is popping up everywhere on the High Street at the moment, so for those of us bitterly lacking a Topshop budget it won't be too difficult to find a cheaper alternative. Trend Two: Feminine. Breaking away from our beloved blazers, Spring favours romanticism over the tailored look. With a (slightly scary) mixture of Cinderella crossed with Sleeping Beauty in mind, the things to buy in 2010 are clothes with ruffles, lace and chiffon. Pastels are set to be huge, so make sure your chiffon is chic with muted colours. To avoid looking too much like a five-year old in princess fancy dress, vamp your outfit up with leather or statement jewellery (or a fannypack if you really have the urge). Trend Three: Underwearas-Outerwear. We're seeing this already with some brave girls flashing flesh under lace tops, but it looks as if the trend is going to carry on into 2010. Sheer fabrics such as chiffon will incorporate the feminine trend too, so you'll be killing two birds with one hefty, stylish stone. Corsets are also an obvious choice for this trend, but try to avoid the trashy brothel feel by choosing colours in subtle tones. Christina Aguilera in the video for
Lady Marmalade should not be your inspiration. Trend Four: Ethnic. With Avatar taking over our cinemas, it's not surprising the ethnic trend is back again. But this time, we have two options. If you enjoy getting out the old binoculars on a safari, choose utilitarian pieces in khaki or camel. However, if you prefer bold animal prints or tribal motifs, 2010 looks like a damn good year for you. Shorts are a must for this trend, so we'll see you at the gym in your leopardprint short shorts (because we really ARE going this year, okay?) So when the Bullring calls, be sure to use an African sailor wearing a chiffon corset as inspiration. And please, for everyone's sakes, keep your spare change in a regular purse and not around your waist.
Groomed Hair: Now before you all start thinking that I'm advocating a 'raging bush' as Jess so charmingly puts it, I would like to very quickly point out that this is not
January sales – always a hit or miss topic but you either love them or you can't find your size... simple as that. Ones to look out for are Topshop (obvs) and French Connection to pick up some bargains. Being back at Uni – hear me out. Okay, we all hate the workload, the reading, the lectures, and the early mornings but face it, you can't beat seeing your friends again and having alcohol on hand 24/7. Welcome back! Exchanging dodgy Christmas presents – No, Grandad, I didn't ask for that horrible scarf-mitten combination from River Island but I will totally go for that purse I've been eyeing up. 500 Days of Summer on DVD – the most perfect summer film is now available all year round. The anti-love tale of romance and heartbreak is completely relatable whether you're single or taken. Buy it and relive summer. 2010 baby! – is it just me, or does a year with an even number on the end automatically feel more positive?! It's said every year but 2010 is set to be a fabulous one – hopefully without harem pants. The new spring collections – The British High Street has come up trumps yet again and provided us with some amazing floral pieces this spring. My faves – ASOS.co.uk... I'm in love.
The post-Christmas diet – I knew there was a reason for not having that extra helping of Christmas pudding. Damn. Fab drama – too many Sundays have now been spent hung-over and trying to assess the damage done the night before – argh one too many vodka cokes!
– 'he' being the hypocritical boyfriend. I say hypocritical as I doubt a single one of them would ever consider bearing all for their girlfriend, yet expect her to cater to their every pubic whim – double standards! Now, I have on more than one occasion tried out the shaven look, most-
girl and hair re-growth is just a bitch.'
what I am saying here. Now don't get me wrong, if you like to keep it strictly 'au naturel' in your nether regions then good for you! I however prefer to keep 'it' neatly trimmed. I have many girlfriends who sport the 'Hollywood' cut, and seem perfectly comfortable with it – I would like to add however that all of them say this is because 'he likes it shaved'
the lack of snow – yes, for the time being we can stop waddling down the roads of Birmingham wearing inappropriate shoes and grabbing onto railings/the wall. Snow is not fun. It wrecks plans as well as shoes/hair and life in general.
January blues – it's that depressing time of year again; Christmas/New Year is over, and now all we have to look foward to is a term of essay deadlines and exams – oh and crappy weather. Great.
'I feel like a pubescent
to take hold of my own decision about how I handle down there, after all it's ours to do with what we like, ladies. What do men think about it? Sorry lads but no vagina, no opinion. When it comes to boys they should be bloody happy they're even seeing a vagina so sod them. Be secure and happy with whatever you're sporting and you can't go wrong.
Jess Geary and Alexandra Beard investigate;
'Sorry lads, no vagina no opinion...' or jump onto their feminist soapboxes but before you do, hear me out. Although men may expect a completely shaven lady thanks to the overwhelming influence of porn, that isn't the reason most girls go for the chop, but deep down we would be lying if that wasn't a slight factor in the decision. However if that makes you feel more confident, sexy and empowered then that isn't altogether an awful thing. Personally, I find the barely-there look cleaner, more hygienic and more comfortable – the thought of a raging bush makes me feel a little queasy to
ly out of curiosity – but I just don't like it. I feel like a pubescent girl and hair re-growth is just a bitch. I'm not sure exactly what the beauty industry would describe my lady area as; a 'landing strip' I think is probably the best description; my preferred 'cut' as it is neat and manageable, whilst preserving my modesty somewhat. At the end of the day, it's whatever you feel comfortable with – raging bush or shaven haven – either way it should be your choice and nothing to do with him or what the porn industry tells us is sexy.
January sales – yes in theory they are marvellous. But spending hours rummaging through all of last year's cast-off's, fighting off the slightly unhinged people around you and finally ending up with a skirt that's impractical, still not that cheap and a size too small, just isn't really worth it. Decisions about the future – stop bloody asking me what I'm going to do next year, I don't know the answer! There's nothing worse than come Christmas, every relative feeling the need to ask this silly silly question – less pressure please! Library fines – it is not worth coming back to Brum over the Christmas holiday to take just one book back, especially when it's been recalled; sod off, I got it first! Heather Mills – yes it's great that she's 'brave' enough to go on Dancing on Ice with a prosthetic leg – but I still don't have to like her. I'm not sure what it is about the woman, she is just a real pain in the arse.
Website of the Week: indiaroseknow.blogspot.com This exotic beauty from Chester is a mere dot at only 17 years old but knows her McCartney from her Lim like she's been at it for years. This blog is sleek, well-written, totally relevant and worth a look (if not just to gawp at her lovely accessories).
Bloke de Brum
Has Jack* finally got his comeuppance?
I don't normally make New Year's resolutions, but this year is an exception. I made a resolution to find a girlfriend. I'm sick of seeing my smug housemates roaming around Selly Oak with their girlfriends, all loved up and in a relationship. This year, I want in. The Starbucks dates, the quiet nights in with pizza and most importantly of all: the guarantee of sex at least twice a week. I've never tried to get a girlfriend before; I usually just have a quick one-night stand here, a bit of sex there, but generally nothing too serious, and have certainly never met a girl I wanted to have a relationship with or, for that matter, spend an extended amount of time with, aside from one girl. She was a friend of a friend and we had only met a few times, but she was amazing. We always got on really well, and it was always so natural whenever I spoke to
epic proportions, so as I descended onto the Guild I was drunkenly optimistic about the thought of starting something with this girl. The night was getting under way and after a few visits to the bar I text her asking where she was. In the meantime I ran into a girl I've known for a while off my course, and we made light conversation. She was well known to get round a bit in the bed department and we'd had a brief fling last year. At first I perceived the conversation to be totally innocent, but I gathered it wasn't when she leant in towards my face and whispered exactly what she intended on doing to me later into my ear. I hadn't had a reply from 'Girlfriend Material' and in my drunken state I fell hook, line and sinker for 'One Night Stand' and started to kiss her in the corner of Underground. We didn't stick around at Fab for
'In my drunken state I fell hook, line and sinker for 'One Night Stand' and started to kiss her...' her. We were certainly on good terms and she was the kind of girl that every guy wants. She was stunning to look at, fun to be around, outgoing, spontaneous and had a great body. I figured the first Fab of the term was the perfect place to start my conquest and engage in some groundwork. I wasn't predicting 2.4 children and mortgage, but she was definitely a catch. A harmless bit of Facebook-stalking never goes amiss to discover some common interests and armed with these handy pieces of information, I thoroughly prepared myself for a big night. A spot of flirtly texting was definitely in order pre-Fab and the responses were all equally flirty in reply. If tonight went well, I would definitely ask this girl out for a date. Pre-drinks consisted of a particularly heavy game of ring of fire and a fishbowl mixer of
long; we both knew exactly what we wanted, so we walked back to hers. I woke up the next morning feeling horrific. My head was hurting more than a standard hangover. I looked over to my left where beside me lay a girl I swore I'd never get involved with again. A horrible sense of disappointment gripped my gut and I decided to make a quick and unannounced exit. I put on my clothes from the night before and went for my jeans pocket checking my phone. A missed call and two texts from 'Girlfriend Material' was not the best news. I gather that she was looking for me before catching a glimpse of me and 'One Night Stand' in the corner of Fab. This was not an ideal situation. I seriously doubt my New Year's resolution is going to materialise into reality.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Health: The chocolate diet? Kimberley Smith Chelsie Collins Whoever said chocolate was a sin?! Well, for all you sinners out there, now there is a new sweet treat that is not only good for you but is also 100 per cent natural. What more could a chocoholic want! A new variety of chocolate by Lola Chocs, a Spanish brand, has been proven to suppress your appetite and help you to lose weight. The manufacturers say that special amino acids in the Lola Chocs trick the brain into believing you are full, which stops you from over-eating. Not only does this make chocolate a healthy option but it also tastes exactly the same as normal chocolate, just without the extra 300 calories! The Lola Chocs have already been well-received by sweet-toothed fans in Spain, and the manufacturers are hoping to have some batches ready in England within the next couple of months. Too good to be true? Well, it gets better. The Sweet Sensations website (www.sweetsensations. uk.com) has introduced
the world to the new raw chocolate that you make at home for just £12.50 and is completely free from sugar, dairy, gluten and soy. The kit contains raw chocolate powder, raw cacao butter, coconut oil, agave syrup and your own choice of dried fruit to add flavour and decorate your chocolate to create that finishing touch. This new slimming indulgence has so many benefits it's literally unbelievable. It's an anti-depressant, antiinflammatory, anti-oxi-
dant, low GI, an appetite suppressant and much, much lower in calories than regular chocolate. We didn't believe it ourselves, and decided to try out this amazing recipe to see if it really worked. It was so easy to make. We simply mixed together the ingredients the kit included and added dried strawberries. To save money we put the mix into a sandwich box we had at home instead of buying a chocolate mould and left
it in the fridge overnight to set - however, if you're too eager to wait that long, your mix can be put in the freezer for less time. In the morning we were eager to see our chocolate surprise and were ecstatic when the bar slid out of the mould looking as professional and perfectly rectangular as a bar of Dairy Milk! We were even happier to discover that the taste exceeded our expectations. The rich coco flavour and smooth texture completely satisfied our chocolate cravings. It tasted so good that we were not convinced it would suppress our appetite, but before we knew it, it was lunchtime and our stomachs were not rumbling as they usually would be. It really had worked! For all you chocoholics this is something you must not miss out on. No more worrying about all that weight you are putting on; now you can treat yourself without gaining all those extra pounds. You might even burn a few calories at the same time!
Photo: Tom Flathers
Culture: Have you got the Face- Tried and Tested: Foundations bug? Stacey Barnes has been bitten! gets oily, but avoid exerI'll admit it: I'm one of Those People. Facebook is the first thing I check when I get on the net, and I mention it more times than is acceptable every day. But don't look down on me, I know I'm not alone.
There seems to be a social obligation to have a Facebook account, unrivalled by other similar sites like Bebo, Myspace and Twitter. If you don't log in regularly, you could miss out on social invitations and updates. An event isn't an event until it has its own page, and a night out may as well not have happened if there are no pictures of it to comment on. Facebook stalking is a creepy practice, yet strangely addictive. So, might I add, is Poking. I would even go as far as saying the way we think has changed because of Facebook – are you more likely to Facebook someone or text them about a night out? Do you think
'de-tagging 'THAT' when you're unprepared for that sneaky flash? Do you take a picture with the intention of it becoming your profile picture? Facebook is an especially interesting phenomenon when it comes to relationships. It has brought about the potential for a whole new range of problems we have never before had to deal with. Your activities are out there in pictures and words for the world to see so there really is nowhere to hide. You could even be snapped in the background of a picture doing something incriminating. It seems that a relationship isn't over until your 'relationship status' officially says it is, but then there's the problem of who changes it first. What actually constitutes 'It's Complicated?' Switching full names with someone (it's the new switching numbers) does not make you actual friends, so if you find that your Facebook is more like Fakebook then it's time for a clear out. Facebook has revolutionised the way we communicate, but is it the useful social networking tool we know and love or has it gone too far; wasting too much of our precious 'getting a degree' or 'living my real life' time?
Katie Read Sophie Ellis
Cheapy Cheap – Natural Collection Shine Away. You get what you pay for with this foundation and with an RRP of £1.95 it definitely doesn't bust the student budget. Coverage is reasonably even however after a couple of hours wear it did turn slightly patchy! Not a good look. There was a pretty shine left which progressed into a slick oily layer. This product is certainly a great price but with a non-lasting effect paired with a major grease factor, we do not recommend this for all day everyday wear. Cost: 10/10 Coverage (while it lasted): 7/10 Lasting Effect: 4/10 Medium range – Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid. With a silky texture, this foundation is easy to apply. Coverage is radiantly smooth, providing an even tone to the face which does not deteriorate over the day. It is light and does not cake the pores, giving a deceivingly angelic finish considering the RRP of £7.82. A negative to this product is a slight shine if the skin
cise and you should be fine! Dream Satin Liquid is a bargain given that it is comfortable for all-day wear with the results of a higher end foundation. Cost: 8/10 Coverage: 9/10 Lasting Effect: 9/10 High End – Yves Saint Laurent Perfect Touch. Described as 'Radiance at the Tip of a Brush', this top-end choice is the first ever foundation-in-abrush. Coverage was even, with no red or blotchiness. Another positive point is the non-grease factor, and therefore highly recommended to people with oily skin. This product is a pick-pocket however, with an RRP of £30, but the high price is definitely reflected in the effectiveness and all-day coverage that you get. Cost: 4/10 Coverage: 9/10 Lasting Effect: 8/10
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
The con is back on
Redbrick Television Awards With the 15th annual National Television Awards having taken place on the 20th January, the Redbrick Television writers look into the awards that should have been... Most Obvious Lechery: Simon Cowell, The X Factor. Leaning on the back of Cheryl Cole's chair, putting his arm around her whenever possible and using words to metaphorically pull her pigtails in the big old X Factor playground, Simon quite obviously loves having Cheryl as his right-hand woman, perhaps making it more of the Simon and Cheryl Factor than anything else. Unbelievable Exit: Ianto Jones, Torchwood. And the winner is most definitely Ianto Jones, with the pure shock value alone leaving Torchwood fans everywhere in a state of disbelief. Russell T. Davies and co. let no secrets slip from Children of Earth's plot, and with the departure of Captain Jack's lover, we're left with a witty and charismatic hole in the ever-dwindling team. Insane Amount of Cliched Lines: Gene Hunt, Ashes to Ashes. The award has to go to Philip Glenister's boisterous character, Gene Hunt. The character became a caricature in the writers' attempts to recapture his Life on Mars famed dirty humor. Fortunately, it was toned down throughout the series to give us back the Gene we know and love. Drama Performance: David Tennant, Doctor Who. This year's nominees for best drama performance are all male, and certainly all deserving of the title. With BBC's sweetheart David Tennant, old favourite David Jason, popular man of the law Philip Glenister and unsung talent David Threlfall vying for the award, this will be perhaps the most highly contested trophy of the night. However, at Redbrick we know that if the results were anything near true, our lovely Doctor's swansong will have earned him a shiny trophy. Most Popular Entertainment Presenters: Paul O'Grady Ant and Dec have some stiff competition for their NTA this year with Holly Willoughby, Michael McIntyre and Paul O'Grady fighting for the top spot. In the past, things have always gone in their favour, but with floppy-haired favourite McIntyre in the mix, anything could happen. With Paul O'Grady proving to be a master of daytime telly, his final bow on Channel Four deserves the recognition it gets here at Redbrick. Factual TV Programme: Come Dine With Me. Amusing cookery show Come Dine With Me is nominated for this award for the first time this year.Despite
stiff competition from regular winners Top Gear and entrepreneurial favourite The Apprentice, we think that, unlike their contestants, Come Dine With Me can pull it off. Best Newcomer: Robert Sheehan, Misfits Sheehan's performance as Nathan was the highlight of E4's new teenage superhero drama, Misfits. Cocky, foul-mouthed but infinitely lovable, Nathan steals every scene. It is testament to Sheehan's acting ability that he can bring vulnerability and depth to a role that would otherwise be dismissed as simple comic relief. The unveiling of Nathan's power in the season finale is hilarious and played to perfection. Best Supporting Actor: Bernard Cribbins, Doctor Who. Quintessential grandad Wilfred Mott was the perfect companion for David Tennant in his last outing as Doctor. Both are old men nearing the end of their lives and this led to numerous tear-jerking exchanges as they consider their own mortality. Cribbins brings some boyish charm to the role too. Aged 81, he is clearly enjoying the opportunity to fire at missiles and hang out with aliens. Ultimately, in a double-bill of Timelords, multiple Masters and spiky green aliens, Wilfred is essential as the human anchor and Cribbins dedicates himself entirely to this responsibility. The Most Under-Appreciated Comedy Character Award: Doris, Gavin and Stacey Doris is, without a shadow of a doubt, an absolute comedy legend. Her rant about Nessa and her failure to do the salad was a highlight of the opening episode of the last series. This gran's ability to lower the tone and speak openly about her rampant sex life makes her a unique comedy creation. Long live Doris. The Best New Programme Award: Glee High School Musical pales into insignificance when compared to the new phenomenon Glee. Not only are the songs featured in the programme incredibly catchy, but the show is a brilliant mix of comedy and drama, with some of the most well-portrayed, well-written characters to emerge in recent years â€“ Sue Sylvester is a definite highlight. The Most-Missed Character Award: Blanche Hunt, Coronation Street The death of actress Maggie Jones marked the end of one of Coronation Street's comedy greats in the form of Blanche Hunt. With one-liners like 'Kenneth doesn't want to look at thongs all day, he's an intellectual' and 'Good lucks are a curse, you and Ken should count yourselves lucky', Blanche's irreplacable wit and cattiness will be truly missed on the Street and leave a void in the Barlow household.
Jemma Saunders tells us why, if we haven't already been conned into watching the gripping Hustle, we should give the con a chance. BBC drama Hustle has returned for a sixth series, with Adrian Lester, once again portraying charismatic con man Mickey Bricks as he directs his crew of grifters through various money-making schemes. Contrary to the exploits of Hustle's main characters, I'm about to be totally honest with you and explain why, if you don't already, you should be tuning in to this programme on Monday evenings. So far in this series the team have liberated ÂŁ500,000 in cash from an ex-banker, passed off one member as Kylie Minogue and successfully smuggled a stolen Van Gogh painting back into Britain from Brazil, averting imprisonment on both occasions despite operating whilst under police surveillance. The complexity of some of the cons pulled in Hustle can be bewildering, particularly when the grifters manage to work their way out of a seemingly impossible situation. Therein lies the beauty of the show, however, as the ingenious plotlines cannot help but keep viewers hooked from start to finish. Each episode has an unanticipated twist that is usually explained only when the con has been successfully ex-
ecuted. For example, the crew get one step ahead of the police by calling their 'mark', telling him he's about to be conned, then arriving at his house in the guise of officers and taking his money to keep it 'safe'. A programme such as Hustle could easily become predictable, yet six series in the cons remain just as intricate and entertaining, with the dynamic between Mickey's crew members adding elements of humour and drama to the show. Matt di Angelo and Kelly Adams, newcomers in series five, have returned as brother-sister duo Sean and Emma, while Robert Glenister and Robert Vaughan have reprised their respective roles as old hands Ash and Albert. Although set in London, much of this series was filmed in Birmingham to cut production costs, with Victoria Square being just one identifiable location. So if you haven't already been conned into it, give Hustle a go: it has enticing plots, compelling characters and that occasional opportunity to feel smug when you can point at the television and say they can't fool us on all levels, because, amazing Birmingham students that we are, we know that's not really London.
The 2009 Achievement Award: Jedward,The X-Factor It wouldn't have been 2009 without four months of Jedward in our lives and they fully deserve the 2009 Achievement Award. They did the impossible and survived until week seven of the live shows, winning over the nation with unmissable wierd and whacky performances of Ghostbusters, Britney Spears and Vanilla Ice. They even appeared at our very own Guild of Students. Winning over the nation, including celebrity fans Pixie Lott and David Cameron, it is clear that 2009 was Jedward's year.
Ten things you never knew about... Matthew Morrison Have you become a Gleek? Natalie Timmins gives us ten things every fan should know about the man behind Will Schuester 1. Matthew James Morrison was born on 30th October 1978 in California 2. Matthew's previous television credits include Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Numbers, CSI:Miami, Sex and the City and Ghost Whisperer. His role as Will in Glee is his first major role within a show. 3. However, his original big break happened with his performance as Link Larkin in the Broad-
way production of Hairspray. 4. His film credits include Dan in Real Life, I Think I Love My Wife and Music and Lyrics. 5. Glee may have only just hit UK screens, but in the US Matthew's performance as the loveable Will Schuester has earned him a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical, as well as a nomination with the Screen Actors Guild for Best Performance by
an Ensemble in a Television Series.
6. Before making it big, he was a member of
boy band LMNT before his role in The Rocky Horror Show took him from studio and onto the boards. 7. Proof that you have to work your way to the top: before calling the stage his home Matthew worked in a GAP in New York. 8. Perhaps unable to relate to some of the geekier Glee characters, Matthew was himself a prom king. 9. We'll bet Matthew
is unable to contain his glee at being signed to Mercury Records, with his debut album being released to coincide with the premier of the second series in autumn 2010. 10. Matthew is also one of life's good guys: he appeared in a benefit concert for The California Conservatory of the Arts, a non-profit organisation focusing on pre-professional training for young students in the OC.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
The ultimate walk of shame Simon Fairbanks gives his top tips for a successful TV appearance Having faced the wrath of Anne Robinson myself, I thought I would write a step-by-step guide to advise any of you who auditioned at the Guild last semester and might be about to make your big TV debut.
Step three: The hotel If you are travelling from afar then they will treat you to a plush hotel room for the night. They even throw in free dinner and breakfast. You will find several fellow contes-
Step five: The wait You will be hanging around for a few hours with your eight fellow contestants. This is a little awkward because you will be voting these people off shortly. Nevertheless, the camaraderie helps fight the nerves. There are also several runners who exist solely to bring you free tea.
Step one: The letter If your audition was a success, you will receive a letter confirming your filming date. Congratulations, you are going to be on TV! Step two: The phone call This is hilarious. Two weeks before filming, a researcher will phone you up for a 45-minute conversation during which they will ask pretty much everything there is to know about your life. Unsurprisingly, they are looking for material to fuel Anne's barrage of insults.
Step four: The Studio Cars arrive early in the morning to escort you to Pinewood Studios. This is where they shoot the Bond films and the Harry Potters, so you're in good company.
tants sitting in the hotel bar. I recommend getting a little crew together, although a hangover is a nightmare during filming. Trust me.
Step six: The wardrobe Everyone is put in a different coloured top so the contestants are easier to distinguish for the viewers at home. You are required to bring three outfits but blacks, whites, pastels, logos or patterns are banned. This is how I was lumbered with a bright pink jumper.
Step seven: The makeup The make-up ladies make you look pretty for BBC1. Step eight: The filming The entire show takes about two hours to film. There are five minute breaks between writing
on the cards and spinning them round, during which Anne marches off to read your file and arms herself with insults. Be prepared.
Step nine: The goodbye When you ultimately get voted off, you do the Walk of Shame twice, so they can cover both angles. Very demeaning! They will ask you about ten questions in the exit interview but again, only the best answer is shown on TV. In some ways, it is good to go early because you get to tackle the buffet before the party rings run out. Step ten: The broadcast Three or four months later, your show will air on BBC1. Facebook groups are useful in ensuring you get lots of banterful texts from your mates. You can then look forward to days of iPlayer and people quoting your incorrect answers at you. Ultimately, I didn't win. But it was a great experience and it will remain as my Facebook profile picture for a long time. Or at least until I get on Eggheads.
Redbrick TV needs a new editor! The pressures of third year are taking their toll and we are looking a new TV Editor. We want someone that is passionate about all kinds of TV and radio with plenty of ideas to expand and innovate the section. Please e-mail your details and why you want to join the team to tv@ redbrickonline. co.uk by Wednesday 27th January 2010 at 3pm.
Get your skates on
2010 Preview: The BBC
Matthew Williamson reveals a guilty TV pleasure
Sara Sherwood gives us the lowdown on TV treats to look forward to...
AS guilty TV pleasures go, this is up there with the best. There are all the ingredients of TV we know we shouldn't enjoy: enough sequins to blind you, the presenting team of Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby and the repeated use of the phrase 'our ice panel'. But with the return of Dancing on Ice comes a guarantee of Sunday night entertainment. This year's show is bigger and better than any previous series. With sixteen contestants, a new judge in Emma Bunton and the promise of celebrity performances during the live results shows, it's clear that the big-budget productions of The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent have led bosses to ensure that Dancing On Ice doesn't lose out in comparison. For those who haven't watched the show before, bitchiness between the judges is as rife as any catty comments between Len and Craig on Strictly Come Dancing and there is often a genuine sense of danger with some of
the moves the stars have to perfect â€“ after all, nobody on Strictly ever has to master 'the headbanger'. And let's not forget the potential for genuine comedy gold. Last year, Eastenders actor Todd Carty provided one of the TV moments of the year when he lost his balance so hopelessly that he ended up leaving the ice rink through the entrance, leaving his professional partner pirouetting on the ice alone. The show asks a lot of the celebrity contestants and when it goes wrong, it does so spectacularly. As contestant Heather Mills said in her opening video, her false leg genuinely could fall off on the ice and, as a result, her performances tend to have the viewer on the edge of their seat. OK, so nobody's pretending that the list of contestants reads like an Oscars after-party guest list; Bobby Davro, Gary Lucy, Mikey from Boyzone and the girl Will really fancies from The Inbetweeners are just
some of the crop. But rest assured that the most annoying contestant, and indeed one of the most annoying TV personalities of all time, Sinitta, has already bowed out of the competition, ripping her partner's trousers with her skates in
the process. Now really is the time to get into the show as recent news reports suggest that it will feature more prominently in the schedules come next year. With the 2011 launch of The X Factor USA, it seems Simon Cowell may be moving our favourite shows around and Dancing On Ice could now take The X Factor's slot as the highlight of the winter season. So, if you can get past the fact that Torvill and Dean front the show (how are they not married?!), then Dancing on Ice really is the ultimate guilty pleasureâ€Ś and the perfect Fab hangover remedy.
NEW Year's Day didn't only give us awful hangovers but also a stunningly angular new Doctor as well. The new season for Doctor Who starts in April starring new crush Matt Smith and his flamehaired companion played by Karen Gillan. Little details of how they will
Ashes to Ashes and BBC Two is following in this trend and having a backto-the-eighties retro season. The first of this is the adaptation of Martin Amis's darkly funny novel Money, starring Nick Frost, which tells the story of eighties greed and consumer capitalism.
meet and whether romance will blossom have been released, but keep tuning in to see how Matt Smith develops. Ex-Doctor Who star and ex-Princess of Pop, Billie Piper, as well as starring in the new season of The Secret Diary of a Call Girl on ITV2, will also be in new BBC drama A Passionate Woman. The story follows Betty, the younger incarnation played by Billie Piper and the older played by Sue Johnson, who have dangerous liaisons with a Polish neighbour. There is also the return of hugely popular
The second part of the season is Royal Wedding, which follows the Caddock family in a Welsh village during the time of Charles and Diana's wedding and the depressing
economic climate. BBC Two is also going further back into the past with The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister and The Sinking of The Laconia. Supernatural Being Human will make its triumphant return to BBC Three, along with new contemporary drama Lip Service, which follows the lives of lesbians living in Glasgow. BBC Two will also be showing Dive, the sweet story of teenage lovers, Lindsay and Robert who are faced with an unexpected pregnancy, challenging Lindsay's dream to represent team GB at the Olympics. BBC Four has created a biopic of John Lennon with Lennon Naked starring Christopher Eccleston in the titular role. Also, look out for season three of award-winning American advertising drama Mad Men on BBC Four, which as always promises sex, scotch and skirted secretaries.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Freshers setting standard at university level Many of Birmingham's sportsmen, before coming to university, were regional or national champions, arguably big fish in a small pond. Ben Whitelaw asks three of those sportsmen how they have found their first term of university sport
Paul Koenig â€“
Stoney whilst training with the England squad
Photo: Ben Stoney
Ben Stoney â€“ Where he's from: Ben, born in Sheffield, played for Sheffield Hallam before coming to university. He has played in numerous England age groups and in the past two years, has represented his country for the under 18's. He has played in numerous Four Nation tournaments in Nijmegen, Torun and Cardiff with success. In April 2009, he scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Germany in Seville. Where he is now: Ben has cemented his place in Birmingham's hockey first team with a series of strong performances. 'At the moment I'm enjoying playing. The standard is high, but I know we can
Men's hockey first XI
improve and go further as a team'. Birmingham are well placed in both the BUCS championship, where they have lost one in five games, and the second tier of the England Hockey League, which the team compete in on Saturdays. What he thinks of Birmingham: The university's strong hockey tradition was part of, but not the only reason for studying in the West Midlands. 'One of the reasons I came to Birmingham was because of the good hockey team, but that's definitely not what it's all about for me. At the end of the day, I want to come out of university with a degree. I
try and balance it so I get the best out of both.' Ben studies medicine alongside playing hockey and doing the two is tough but not unmanageable. 'At the moment juggling lectures and sport has been ok. For some away games I've had to miss some lectures but the Med school have told me thats fine as long as I let them know in advance. I've just tried to keep people informed about how much I've got on'
Where he is now: Paul currently participates in the university judo team. However, at the beginning of last term, he ruptured the costal cartilage in between his ribs and couldn't train properly. He has been busy in maintaining his physical con-
dition though. 'The Munrow Sports Centre means I am able to go swimming and to the gym which is very helpful in terms of fitness,' he said. Paul's injury has since healed and he is looking forward to get back into competing. What he thinks of Birmingham: Paul has nothing but praise for the university in terms of its sporting prowess and academia. 'When I chose Birmingham I knew that not only was it a good sports university but also had a good sport and exercise science department. It is only 15 minutes away from where my club trains and fairly local to where I live and therefore was a good all around choice.'
Koenig (blue) competing in the UK School Games
Striking a balance between sport and studying is important for Koenig, like all athletes. 'I have to prioritise commitments and make sure I maintain a balance between working, sport and socialising. Where he's going: Paul's goals are twofold. 'My goal in terms of my judo is to get onto the U20 British Junior Team and perform well in all the other Junior home country events in Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland. Koenig continues: 'Also, I'd like to help Birmingham be successful at the BUCS as well as medal internationally in the competitions abroad.' As for his studies University wise 'I'd like to enjoy my studies and work as hard as possible.'
Photo: Paul Koenig
Where he's going: Many are predicting a bright future for Stoney but he has more short term goals, 'I would love to win BUCS and get the first team promoted into the Premier England Hockey League.'
Richard Shellam â€“ Where he's from: Richard originates from Gosforth, Newcastle. Before coming to university, he was North of England Champion, Northumbria County Closed Champion and represented Northumbria county in the North East championships. In September 2009, Richard accepted a proposal by Kino Creative, with a
Where he's from: Born and bred in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, Paul's judo credentials prior to coming to university speak for themselves. Last year, he was UK School Games Champion 2009 and followed that up with a bronze medal at the British Championships. He has been in the England squad for five years and has represented his country internationally in Bremen and Lugi.
view to being sponsored by the North-East basedwebsite design company. The money has helped Richard play at an intensive training programme in Pontefract, near Leeds. Where he is now: With Birmingham's outstanding squash squad (the club have been BUCS Team Champions for the past six years), Richard has done
Squash second team well to make the second team at the first attempt. He played particularly well in the match against Imperial College London in November, which he cruised 3-0. The second team have won every game convincingly, meaning they are one of the favourites going into the knock-out stages. In addition to his form for the university, Richard also finished 12th in recent under 19 Nationals.
What he thinks of Birmingham: His short squash career at Birmingham has thus far not disappointed Shellam. 'It has certainly lived up to my expectations. The standard here at Birmingham is very high and the facilities, including the courts, are some of the best in the country. As squash is a priority sport this definitely helps'. As for his studies, Richard, who studies Geology and Geography, is
unconcerned. 'At the moment, the work load has not been too bad. I'm hoping it stays that way!' Where he's going: When asked about his immediate goals, Shellam is quick to respond. 'I really want to get into the first team! Also I have some big tournaments that could push my ranking up. 2010 could be a big year for me in terms of squash.'
26 Sport Birmingham just Toogood for Brookes
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Women's Tennis 1st: Birmingham v Oxford Brookes 10-0 Tom Fuller THE Birmingham women's tennis team showed why they are pushing for a Premier League place this season with a comfortable display against Oxford Brookes. Birmingham whitewashed their opponents 10–0 in a marriage of doubles and singles matches over the afternoon.
The two doubles matches, whilst both victories, were the antithesis of each other. The Brum team of Marina Lavarello and Faye Dixey proved far too strong a team for Lyndsay Barnes and Tasha Barry of Oxford Brookes, the duo coming through a comfortable eight game set 8–1. Their superior net coverage along with booming first serves set up an easy victory. The second doubles encounter proved a far closer affair. Laura Gilbert and Kerry Smith held their nerve in a close set to prevail 8–6 against Dori Danes and Penny Toogood, giving Birmingham a strong two point lead. The singles matches followed and provided some very competent performances from the Birmingham team. The
closest Brookes came to snatching a few points came in clash of the two first seeds, Gilbert and Danes. The former had a frustrating first set against the impressive Danes, who hit eight forehand winners to Gilbert's three in the first set. Danes reaped the rewards and secured a 6–2 victory in thirty minutes. However, the tide turned at this point. Gilbert's serve began to find the corners of the service box and, at the beginning of the second, she sent three aces whizzing out wide on the deuce side and one up the tee in the advantage court. Meanwhile, Danes' game faltered. Her powerful forehand crosscourt began to hit the net, her movement slowed and her confidence diminished. However, up until 2–2, play went with serve.
Gilbert intelligently began to change it up, using the drop shot to great success and showing great finesse to win the second set by the same score line, 6–2. Gilbert raised her game further in the final set, defending the initial tide of frustration from Danes as blistering forehands were sliced back with ease. Gilbert broke early in the set and never looked back. Punishing rallies took their toll and Danes finally capitulated 6–1. Gilbert had secured her team an extra two points to take Brum's aggregate to 4–0 over Oxford Brookes. Lavarello of Birmingham exploited all of the weakness in Tasha Barry's game in order to win her match 6–0, 6–0. Lavarello hit a host of winners from the back of the court and
forced her opponent on the run throughout the encounter. Barry commented afterwards that 'I could never find any rhythm out there' and Lavarello's dominance made the winning margin 6-0. On another court, Birmingham's Kerry Smith dismantled her opponent Lynsday Barnes in the third singles match. Barnes never managed to take control of the sets and was constantly behind the mark in the rallies, allowing Smith to run out a victor 6–2, 6–1. The Oxford Brookes player commented afterwards: 'I never felt comfortable' and Birmingham looked to have a whitewash in their sights. Captain Faye Dixey then took to the court with a view to sealing victory for Birmingham.
A Birmingham player punishes the short return as she strikes a forehand winner
Her opponent was fellow second seed Penny Toogood and the pair tussled out the final match of the tie. Dixey's strong cross court back-hand allowed her to control the majority of the baseline rallies and, when Toogood came to the net, she was dismantled by poor volleying and weak approaches to the net. Dixey secured the first set easily 6–2 and faced a closer second set. Error crept into Toogood's game and Dixey exploited her weaker wing and capitalised winning the final set 6–3. Birmingham, in the end, proved just too good for Oxford Brookes and secured a 10-0 whitewash with something to spare. It was no surprise that they headed out on a celebratory social to commemorate their good work.
Photo: Tom Flathers
Power-ful performance gives squash boys win Men's Squash 1st: Birmingham v Oxford 3-2 James Phillips AN impressive victory from first seed Luke Power over his Oxford counterpart Simon Roach saw the University of Birmingham's men's squash second team edge out their opponents 3-2 overall at the Edgbaston Priory Club. Power had been justifiably confident before
the match, claiming that 'Oxford don't usually travel well' and citing the fact that the home team had won all their previous matches this season. He backed up his comments with an assured performance in the decisive final match, claiming a 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 11-2 win over Roach. The visiting player had shown some quality and performed consistently until the final game where third-year geography student class finally told, including a run of seven straight points. However, Oxford's team did live up to home player Adam Tatlow's billing, who had stated that the away match had been the hardest match prior to Christmas. In the first game of the afternoon, which got underway three quarters
of an hour late due to the away players' late arrival, Cornwall-born Tatlow took on visitor Will Clark in what turned out to be a scintillating match. The diminutive Tatlow initially seemed to be exhausted from his extended warmup and fell to two heavy defeats, 3-11 and 5-11 to the fresher-looking Clark. However, the fourth-year player got into his stride in the third game and stormed into a 4-0 lead; Clark battled his way back to 7-10 but Tatlow kept his composure and managed an impressive turnaround to claim the third game 12-10. The comeback was on and a couple of impressive drop shots helped Tatlow on his way to a hard-fought 11-8 victory which brought the scores level at 2-2. The deciding game remained tight with
both players playing well but from 8-8 the visitor pulled ahead and edged the game 8-11, securing the comeback 2-3. Meanwhile, on the other court, second-year Sam Mullins was cruising to a classy 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 victory over opponent Rod Shepherd. This levelled the overall score at 1-1 leading into the next two matches. Rich Shellam, originally from Newcastle, was pitted against Mark Blundell and club captain Henry Birch went head-tohead with Ed Mortimere. Shellam put in arguably the performance of the day hitting a series outrageously powerful shots into the nick, which saw him win the fast paced game comfortably, 11-6, 11-7 and 11-4. Guernsey-born Birch, who has suffered a loss
of form recently, looked decidedly unhappy when Mortimere powered into a 6-1 lead early on, but he found his feet and pulled it back to 8-8 only to succumb to three quick points and lose the first game 8-11. The left-hander wasn't giving up the fight though and he dominated the second game, leading 9-2 and eventually winning 11-4 as Mortimere was audibly and visibly frustrated. The game seesawed as the Oxford player and then Birch took it in turns to win games 11-8 and went to a fifth game with their score level at 2-2. With Power's match on the other court only just underway, Birch could have claimed victory for the whole team and took a 6-3 lead as both players look exhausted. However, Mortimere managed
to turn things around and eventually defeated the disheartened Birch 8-11 to make Power's game with Roach the decider. The three-times squash champions were therefore delighted when Power claimed his victory. The match-winner exclaimed, 'It was a hard match, I lost to Roach away but I think today I was fitter than him and played better.' When asked if he felt his team were on course for another title winning season he replied confidently. 'Definitely, it was a bit of a slow start for us after a long christmas break, but we did well. It was a particularly great performance from Shellam.' There was little time for rest for the team as their next fixture against Nottingham was due later on Wednesday evening.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
Women waltz past lifeless Leicester Women's Rugby 1st: Birmingham v Leicester 55-0 Toby Maxwell THREE tries from inspirational captain Jo Coe led Birmingham to a stunning 55-0 victory over lowly Leicester at the Bournbrook pitch. The win maintains an unbeaten record that stretches back to the start of the season and is perfect preparation for next week's game against title rivals Cambridge. After a timid start to the game, the hosts clicked into gear and opened the scoring. Coe surged through the Leicester pack to score after good handling from her supporting teammates. This timely try galvanised the league leaders and three more tries were to arrive before the break. This dominance was in spite of influential vicecaptain Fran Athawes being sent to the sin bin for repeated offences. However, Athawes' absence didn't deter the team from adding to their lead, with winger Ellie Webb gracefully weaving past at least four opponents to score. Birmingham seemed too powerful for Leicester and impressive handling and intelligent interplay throughout saw them push on relentlessly, illustrated by tries for Abby Mead-
ows and England Women's international winger Garnett Mckinder. Leicester simply had no answer and must have been glad to hear the half-time whistle with the hosts 24-0 up. The visitor's luck did not look like changing and immediately after the interval Coe picked up her second try of the game. The play was then delayed for 40 minutes due to a serious injury to a Leicester player meaning that an ambulance had to be called. Both teams ran drills to keep warm on a bitterly cold afternoon, and when play eventually recommenced, the home side had lost none of their momentum. Coe scored her third try, followed rapidly by another, scored by substitute Lauren Ferreighty, who benefited from a strong surge by number eight Chloe Downer, who timed her offload to perfection. The visitors, now thoroughly demoralised, suffered from further good running from the excellent Meadows that enabled Mckinder to score her second. Webb ran, unchallenged, to score under the posts to complete the scoring and Brum's biggest win of an exciting season. The final whistle brought scenes of joy and celebration amongst the home players who had shown real professionalism and flair on the way to this resounding win. Coe said that the team were '100% confident' of continuing their unbeaten run next week against Cambridge, a game which will have a huge bearing on the destination of the league title.
Photo courtesy of Liz Egan
Brum duo take medals in Dublin Thomas Clarke FOR most of us the idea of running 6000m in the middle of December would be as mind boggling as a Christmas without over indulgence. But for two University of Birmingham athletes, it proved the perfect time to seal some success. Nick Goolab and James Wilkinson sealed silver and bronze respectively in the Junior Mens race at the European Cross Country Championships held in Dublin on 13th December 2009. The race was a keenly contested affair with Wilkinson and Norway's Sondre Nordstrad Moen, heading the leading pack early on. Goolab waited and held his nerve
for most of the race before making a storming finish to steal second from the consistently strong Wilkinson. The finish to the race was so tight in fact that both men were awarded the same time of 18:47, just a second behind race winner, Belgium's Gerard D'Hoedt. The podium finishes for the Birmingham athletes helped the Great Britain men's contingent to team Gold on the day to cap a very successful Championship. As is customary with most athletes, Wilkinson, who studies Sports and Exercise Sciences, couldn't help but analyse his performance. 'Going into the final lap I thought 'there are too many of us here'
and I found myself at the front somehow and maybe I pushed a little too hard early on. I got it down to three [competitors] and then I maybe should have eased off a little bit because I let them back in again.' He was, however, happy with the result, 'I'm really pleased. We've been a good team this weekend. I thought I was going to win it but I'm really pleased I've won two European medals this year so it's been a great year.' Silver medalist Goolab commented that everything seemed to click for him during the race, 'I set off pretty hard on the first lap because I needed to be more aggressive. After about 400m or so, I could see the leaders were there
=the===redbrick==crossword= Sephron Mansell
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Sponsored by Waterstone's at the University of Birmingham The prize this week is a £10 voucher from Waterstone's
1. Circular line dividing Northern and Southern hemispheres (7) 4. ____Party, indie band, whose hits include One More Chance (4) 6. Lethargic, slow (6) 8. Rose colour (5) 10. Lets, rents (6) 12. Marine molusc (6) 14. Stephanie _____, Twilight author (5) 15. Field; plain (6) 16. The Temper ____, Australian band with hits such as Sweet Disposition (4) 17. Subatomic particle without any electric charge (7)
1. Beautification, exaggeration (13) 2. Assumes, chooses (6) 3. Crushed, persecuted (9) 5. Alliance; association (13) 7. Legendary city from Ancient Greek texts (4) 9. The Museum of _________, Orphan Pamuk's latest novel (9) 11. Ebony; black (4) 13. The ______Scripture, 2009 Sebastian Barry novel (6)
and I couldn't believe I was in contention. It was the perfect start, the best start I've ever had.' This good start was followed by an even stronger conclusion to his race, 'I just went into another world at the finish. I turned into a different animal. At 800m out I put a kick in and gave it everything I had. I knew there was a medal there and I really wanted it.' There was further reason for cheer in the Junior Womens race where second year medic Lauren Howarth returned from seven months out injured by finishing in a miraculous sixth place. Howarth, along with Katie Knowles, helped Great Britain to team silver to cap a succesful end to the year.
Last issue's solutions:
nutcracker=o= i=e=o=y====n= gulch=p=carob h=f=i=r===o=e t=o=noun==y=g i=r=t=s=d===u n=d=o===a=e=i g===n=g=u=u=l a=b==frug=g=e l=e===a=h=e=m ennui=p=tense =e====e=e=i=n =d=maastricht 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 the £10 voucher from the University's Waterstone's branch. The deadline for the crossword is Tuesday 26th January 2010. Last issue's winner was Isobel Harris, 1st year, Medicine.
REDBRICK 1362 / 22nd JANUARY 2010
27 Rugby Women continue outstanding run in 55-0 thrashing
26 Tennis Women whitewash Oxford Brookes at the Priory Photo: Lucy Percival
Paramedics worked hard to ensure Cousins was comfortable and settled whilst they waited for an ambulance
Injury and access issues cancel cup clash Edward Conlon ON a grey and drizzly afternoon on the Metchley 3G astro turf, the University of Birmingham Men's 3rd team cup game against Harper Adams, was dramatically abandoned after 16 minutes of play. Birmingham's loose head prop, John Cousins, remained on the floor for over an hour and a half before paramedics were able to take him to hospital. With both teams out of action since early December, most players concerned were lacking serious match practice. This showed immediately, as Adams' fly half sent the opening kick straight into touch. The home side looked to find an early breakthrough and the strong tackles were flying in. However, any territory the hosts were gaining was being wasted by illdiscipline in the rucks and early penalties being conceded. The away side were unable to capitalise on these Birmingham mistakes with Adams' number 10 missing an early attempt at goal, leaving the game scoreless. Brum's aggressive and positive approach soon paid dividends. Af-
ter winning a penalty in their opponent's half, the home side showed quick hands to move the ball swiftly from left to right. Adams' defence was left wanting as Birmingham winger, Henry McVittee, surged down the flank to score a well worked try, the missed conversion meaning the home side led 5-0. Five minutes later, Adam's kicker converted a penalty to reduce the deficit two points. However, the major incident of the game was yet to come. Birmingham moved the ball well and forced their opponents back into their half. Then, after a strong Adams' tackle, loose head prop, John Cousins, fell awkwardly in the ruck and the referee immediately blew his whistle. Cousins was on the end of a hard, but not malicious, hit, being caught in the lower back. Two paramedics were called over to attend, a shock blanket was applied and he was kept in a stable position. Although conscious and able to speak, extra help was called for the player but when this help arrived, 30 minutes later, it was clear that the access to the pitch was inadequate. Cousins needed
to be moved off the pitch, around the path and onto the road by Pritchatts Halls, but it was too dangerous to move the prop as he was carrying a back injury. At this point word broke out that a helicopter was on the way, but
it would be another half hour before it arrived. The referee, already pressed for time because of other engagements, decided to abandon the game at 3pm. The situation appeared increasingly farcical to both players and spectators as it transpired that
the helicopter had been diverted and another ambulance was on its way. As time passed,Cousins remained on his back in the opponent's half. Eventually at 4pm, 1 hour and 40 minutes after the injury occured, a second ambulance arrived.
The teams in action before play was halted
Cousins was finally taken to hospital and at the time of going to print, Redbrick was unaware of his condition. Meanwhile, his team must ensure they show the same early aggression and commitment when the fixture is rearranged.
Photo: Lucy Percival
Redbrick Sport editors WANTED – Are you committed to covering all aspects of University sport? – Are you interested in producing The Lion, produced in March to cover the University's success in the BUCS Championships? – Do you want to be part of the legendary Redbrick Sport podcasts? If you would like to be interviewed for the position of sport editor, email email@example.com