THE LION returns See insert for the finest coverage of University sport
The University of Birmingham's Student Newspaper since 1936
Friday 3rd December 2010 Volume 75 | Issue 1380 redbrickonline.co.uk
Tuition fee rises What should be prioritised? P4
Exclusive interview Sebastian Egerton-Read P3
Birmingham take on Loughborough
Ed Miliband Labour needs to reform itself
interviews Matt Davis meets Danny Boyle and James Franco, P16
Exclusive: Sarah Hailan chats with The Drums, P14
3rd December 2010
New Chelsea nightclub 'Maggies' themed on the Iron Lady herself
Siobhan Palmer, Comment and Features p7
Redbrick Editorial Editor Samuel Lear Deputy Editors Victoria Shires Sam Langtree Thomas Walters Online Editor Micaela Winter Treasurer Jonathan Craven Art Director Thomas Walters Chief Photographer Mike Roberts email@example.com Technical Director Jeremy Levett News Editors Helen Crane Glen Moutrie Anna Hughes Owen Earwicker firstname.lastname@example.org Features Editors Rosa McMahon Seb Mann email@example.com Film Editors Elmley de la Cour Matt Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Arts & Culture Editors Sian Gray James Reevell Alexander Blanchard email@example.com Music Editors Will Franklin Charlie Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org Television Editors Natalie Timmins Joe McGrath tv@redbrickonline. co.uk
Food Editors Harriet Constable Dami Olugbode email@example.com Travel Editors Ed Gordon James Cull firstname.lastname@example.org Sport Editors James Phillips Simon Hall email@example.com Technology Editors Stuart Gittings Manpreet Pangli firstname.lastname@example.org Crossword Editor John Rizkallah Editorial Assistants Victoria Bull Rochelle Balach Laura Hewitt Vikki Jeff Will Hunter Kate Selvaratnam Online Editorial Assistants Charmaine Katz Becky Sibson Danielle Fox Sophie MurrayMorris Junior Art Directors Lauren Wheatley Jazzarie Lee Photography Editor Bethany Richardson Copy Editors Anna Lumsden Sian Stanfield Olivia Wilson Caroline Mortimer
now covers the North Yorkshire Dales. This week's snowfall has been the earliest recorded in the country for 17 years. Gatwick airport has cancelled 600 flights, and Edinburgh 300. Rosa McMahon Send your pictures and a brief summary to email@example.com
Copyright (C) Redbrick 2010
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Redbrick is printed through www.quotemeprint.com: 08451 300667. Advertising: Contact Aimee Fitzpatrick in Guild Marketing on 0121 251 2524 or a.fitzpatrick@guild. bham.ac.uk
CBSO CENTRE, 4 DECEMBER, 8PM Award-winning saxophonist Soweto Kinch performs music from his new album The New Emancipation, which combines modern jazz and hip-hop, and reapplies the blues to life in the 21st century. Tickets £12, see https://tickets.thsh.co.uk for bookings and further details.
Sports Women's Basketball MUNROW SPORTS HALL, 8 DECEMBER, 7PM Birmingham's women's basketball take on Leeds Met Carnegie. Come and show your support.
Henry V DEB HALL, 9-11 DECEMBER, 7.30PM, Article 19 student theatre company present William Shakespeare's Henry V. Tickets £4 members, £5 students. Email email@example.com for more information and ticket enquiries.
To contact us:
Music & Nightlife Soweto Quartet
Lifestyle Editors Briony Singh Rob Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org
Redbrick strives to uphold the NUJ Code of Conduct. The views expressed in Redbrick do not necessarily reflect those of the editors, the Guild or the publishers. If you find an error of fact in our pages, please write to the Editor. Our policy is to correct mistakes promptly in print and to apologise where appropriate. We reserve the right to edit any article, letter or email submitted for publication.
Full events listings available online
THE MAC, 9 DECEMBER, 7.30PM Five amazing poets, five distinctive voices - and five different places to call home. Come discover their worlds and let them dazzle you with their wordplay. Student tickets £5; see http://www.macarts.co.uk for details and booking.
Women's Lacrosse Soweto Kinch Quartet
HMV INSTITUTE, 4 DECEMBER, 7PM John Cooper Clarke, the Bard of Salford, takes his rapid-fire punk poetry to the road this winter. Tickets £15, see http://venues.meanfiddler.com/hmv-institute for details.
METCHLEY PITCHES, 8 DECEMBER, 1PM Women's lacrosse 2nd team against Nottingham Trent. Come and cheer on at their biggest game of the season!
Workshops & Events Nightline’s Clothes Swap-Shop UNDERGROUND, 8 DECEMBER, 8PM Come along and exchange an old outfit for a shiny new one! Either wear your swap items or bring them with you. The event includes a fire display from Purple Mermaid Circus, music from JaBSoc and DJs, and KnitSoc will be holding a workshop and selling homemade creations. Tickets £3 on the door.
Japanese Food Fair ST FRANCIS HALL, 4 DECEMBER, 12PM - 3PM Your chance to enjoy real Japanese food. Dishes will be cooked from scratch and served as an all you can eat buffet. Tickets are £5 for members, £8 for non-members. £10 tickets on the door.
Talk on the future of British politics
GUILD COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 8 DECEMBER, 8PM Take Back Parliament present a Question-time style panel discussion including lecturers and representatives from political parties.
Editors – Helen Crane, Glen Moutrie and Anna Hughes
Birmingham lead protestor: Vice Chancellor 'too greedy'
The student protests at the Aston Webb building Mike Roberts James Brilliant Reporter
Sebastian Egerton-Read, student and voice of the 'Stop Fees and Cuts in Birmingham' protest group, spoke to Redbrick about last week's campus demonstration campaigning against the proposed raising of the tuition fee cap and higher education cuts. On the subject of last Wednesday's demonstration, Sebastian said: 'It was projected by the press – BBC, ITV – in a positive way, unlike the protest in London, and we got into some quite strong negotiations with the University.' 'Amongst other things they made a pledge that the University would avoid all 'preventable' cuts, and that there is the possibility of publicising the University's Sustainable Excellence document [the document outlining plans for cuts] which is currently only available to staff'. He added that although students were willing to negotiate in order to draw the sit-in taking place in Vice-Chancellor David Eastwood's office to a peaceful conclusion, the protesters were far from satisfied with the University's offers of compromise. Sebastian was also keen to emphasise Stop Fees and Cuts' dis-
appointment the Guild of Students, particularly with reference to their lack of support for the sit-in protest. 'They criticised sit-ins as ineffective, but their arguments are not particularly valid, and their position is disappointing'. However, he was eager to praise the Guild of Students on their active role in lobbying Members of Parliament over the government's decision to lift the cap on tuition fees. Sebastian gave a balanced analysis on the violent student protest in London: 'There is a belief within our group that violence should not be encouraged, but the group also recognised that violence happens inherently in these situations, it is unavoidable, and the government can't be that surprised.' When asked if the group would encourage further violence if it helped them achieve their aims Sebastian said: 'Not if it causes serious injury, but violence as means of protest cannot be entirely disregarded.' Some students have adopted an apathetic approach towards fees and cuts as they don't believe they will be affected by the changes which will not be put into practice until 2012. Sebastian said: 'We must do more regarding political apathy. I
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
think people need to realise that these cuts are going to affect everyone and they're going to make a lot more people unemployed and reduce social equality. It's only the people right at the top who aren't going to be affected by these cuts, and this is why the last three Economics Nobel Laureates have all come out against the cuts'. Regarding potential students who will be affected by the cuts and increased tuition fees, Sebastian said: 'I definitely think that the ability for poor people to apply will be reduced. Reports show that current tuition fee levels influence 70% of poor people over whether or not to apply to university, and this will only increase. It's certainly likely that people will look to apply abroad, too.' But why, in a time of economic instability when most social groups are making some form of economic sacrifice, should students be exempt? Sebastian disputes both the Tory argument that 'we're all in it together' – a 'narrative' he feels must be exposed – and the idea that the nation is suffering an economic crisis, which he attributes to a somewhat hysterical media. 'This is not economic reality. Every pound the government puts into education it gets three pounds out, so there is no economic grounding for these cuts. Education is an investment, and the government is not showing the potential to invest. It's purely ideological, based on the idea that the state needs to be smaller'. So what would they do differently? His approach was firm and concise: 'We would deal with the deficit in a different way by raising income tax and taxing the rich, not by making poor people pay.' Regarding the calls for Vice Chancellor David Eastwood to resign Sebastian said 'It is entirely reasonable to ask him to resign. He has doubled his salary over the last five years, which is not in any way in line with general salary increases.' Sebastian concluded 'If Professor Eastwood actually had the thoughts of his students of this university in his heart, he would not be making these cuts. But he's far too greedy to listen to anything we say.'
University fees and cuts: the latest
Edwina Moorhouse Senior Reporter
Clegg could theoretically be 'recalled' from power In a move similar to what exists in the US, the British government has stated its intention to bring in a power of recall for MPs, potentially by November 2011. If an MP was found guilty of 'serious wrongdoing' (for example fraud) by a parliamentary committee, then public could get involved, through a petition in the MP's constituency and then ballot. However, Jennie Bowser, of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said: 'A successful recall is very rare at a state-wide level. It happens much more frequently with local officials and legislators in state senates and houses of representatives.' Vince Cable may abstain from fees vote Business secretary Vince Cable said he was willing to abstain from voting on government policy towards fees, and his own proposals, in favour of party unity if that is what other Liberal Democrat MPs agreed. Mr Cable said 'If we all abstain then that is the position I am happy to go along with. There is an option that we all abstain together and we are considering that.' Nick Clegg asks Aaron Porter to stop the protests After admitting recently that he 'regrets' signing the NUS pledge to oppose tuition fees, Nick Clegg has written a person plea to NUS President Aaron Porter. In the letter he explains: 'I do not expect
If we all abstain then that is the position I am happy to go along with. There is an option that we all abstain together and we are considering that Vince Cable to change your current position, nor am I trying to stop you continuing to campaign for what you believe in… But I do believe that the nature of that debate, and the language we use, is important if it is not to have consequences that none of us want.' NUS President talks about the fees debate so far In an interview with The Independent, Aaron Porter has described how he has received hate mail from Conservative and far left supports alike over the Milibank riots, but reaffirmed 'Of course, I want to stand in solidarity with our members. But I will never stand in solidarity with someone who threw a fire extinguisher off a roof.' He criticised politicians universally saying 'They need to talk more about principles. We often get sold cheap gimmicks' but attacked Nick Clegg personally for being someone who says what he says because it fits at the time.'
University Watch Italy
Italian students have taken to blockading the Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, the Senate Hall in Rome, railroad tracks in Palermo in protest against the government's planned overhaul of university education and cuts of nine billion Euros.
Yale University in Connecticut, USA, has agreed to return thousands of Incan artefacts taken from Machu Picchu in Peru between 1911 and 1915 by scholar Hiram Bingham III.
A hacker from Knightsbridge has been fined £21,000 by Southwark Crown Court for posing as a student at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) to gain access to email passwords of thousands of staff and students in order to steal their personal and financial information by using the university's computer room.
Lanzhou University in China has concluded from DNA tests on inhabitants of villagers in Liquan on the fringes of the Gobi Desert that they are probably descended from a lost legion of the Roman army that fled and settled Eastwards after a disastrous military defeat around 53BC.
Cambridge's university paper is to feature its first topless photo shoot inspired by the eco knitwear line designed by supermodel Lily Cole who is studying Art History at King's College. Caroline Mortimer
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Helen Crane, Glen Moutrie and Anna Hughes
This week in statistics
The amount of stitches Barack Obama received after being hit in the lip when playing a basketball game.
$1, 000, 000 The amount of money to be raised for charity 'Keep a Child Alive' before celebrities including Lady Gaga, Usher and Justin Timberlake rejoin social networking websites Facebook and Twitter.
The height in metres of the chocolate Christmas tree French chocolatier Patrick Roger has created in his laboratory in Paris for charity.
The value of a collection of 271 previously unknown pieces by Picasso, owned by Pierre Le Guennec.
Selly Oak MP Steve McCabe on university funding: 'Liberal Democrats need to square the circle' Ed Robinson and Sinead McVeigh Reporters
Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Selly Oak, visited the University of Birmingham on 26th November to discuss the proposed changes to university funding. The event, hosted by Birmingham University Labour Students (BULS), saw Mr McCabe open the meeting with some remarks of his own before taking questions from the floor. Mr McCabe was keen to discuss how he thought it best for students and the Guild to respond to the Coalition’s proposals. He said that he believes it 'is
not good enough for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain' in the forthcoming parliamentary vote on the funding proposals, and that they should actively vote against the government programme. The Liberal Democrat candidate running for Mr McCabe's seat in fact spoke at the University in the week before polling day in May and pledged that, if elected, he would work for the abolition of tuition fees. Considering parliamentary arithmetic, it would require a significant Lib Dem rebellion to vote down the funding plans and if Liberal Democrat MPs do abstain it is expected the Coalition proposals will pass and become law.
Protest funding Edwina Moorhouse Senior Reporter
The Guild of Students received a donation towards the cost of Birmingham students' attendance at the NUS organised London protest, it has been revealed. The £100 donation was received from the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (GMB), after a request was sent out in September to six trade unions asking for donations towards the 'Fund Our Future' campaign. Although the Guild of Students is officially a non-Party political organisation, the donation received from the GMB carries political weight since the GMB is one of the three largest benefactors to the Labour Party. In regard to finances, on the official website the Guild declares itself to be 'a self funding organisation, which receives a block grant from the University' with no mention of external funding. The donation received from GMB was not given with any conditions attached. In the letter sent out at the start of the term, it asks: 'We are writing to you to ask if…[the organisation] would be willing to make a contribution to the cost of the coaches for the demonstration.' Speaking to Redbrick, VicePresident for Education and Access Rob Hunter argued that donations amongst student unions were 'fairly commonplace' and the donation was asked for to offset costs incurred from the delivery of the campaign. The decision was made after they had 'explored lots of options' and at the time, 'nobody [in the Officer team] considered this a big political issue.' The protest, which took place on 10th November, cost the Guild
initially £1770.52 across coach hire, t-shirts, marketing materials, printing materials, paint for placards and banners. This cost was later offset by £375, courtesy of t-shirt sales and the GMB donation, leaving the final cost to the Guild as being £1395.52, which the Guild met from its campaigns budget. Students who travelled to London were not aware of how the cost of their attendance had been subsidised, with all participants in the protest paying the small sum of £3 , which included a t-shirt. In the lead up to the 'National Demo' there was no announcement of the donation on the website, in Redbrick, nor via the Guild newsletter which is frequently circulated. In an official statement to Redbrick, Mr. Hunter said: 'I understand the concerns raised but this was a legitimate donation that does not contradict our principles. Let's not let this story cloud the real issue here which is the need to stand firm against devastating cuts and higher fees.' It should be noted that external funding is not unsual in students' unions as donations can be given considering the Guild's charitable status. Editorial note: Throughout this investigation, the students who have been made privy to this information have expressed their confusion of being unaware of the Guild's policy on donations, and funding. As a result, it is my view that the Guild needs to be more clear with students with regards to their policy, and a fuller definition of what constitutes party political affiliation needs to be made with greater clarity. Considering Trade Union influence on the Labour Party, could our links be misconstrued as being political?
Despite admitting that the former Labour Government’s stance on top-up fees was not 'our finest hour', Mr McCabe reserved his anger for the Liberal Democrats and their leadership, who since the General Election have reneged on a pledge to not support an increase in university tuition fees. Mr McCabe stated that 'a pledge to me means a promise' and that we are 'witnessing a government that’s doesn’t really get it about higher education.' Mr McCabe followed by saying the lower middle classes will be significantly squeezed by the proposals which will make universities more elitist institutions. He added that the Liberal
Democrats 'can't square the circle' on tuition fees. Mr McCabe also touched briefly on plans to reduce some education spending in the form of cuts to education maintenance allowance, which is paid to eligible secondary schools pupils. Earlier this year McCabe signed an NUS pledge to stop an increase in tuition fees. In an earlier interview McCabe said: 'I will honour the pledge, unlike the Liberal MPs.' When asked what the best course of action would be to get the student voice heard Mr McCabe advocated 'bombarding' local Liberal Democrat MPs, councillors and The Birmingham Post with letters and emails.
What should £9,000 get you?
Polls conducted by Owen Earwicker and Freddie Herzog Owen Earwicker Reporter
This week, Redbrick asked students where they would most want to see the money from higher tuition fees going. More contact hours came out top of the poll; this is an issue which varies widely between departments. Currently, a typical medical student can have around 30 hours per week whilst those studying arts subjects may have fewer than five. When asked in an interview with Redbrick what improvements were likely to be made, Vice Chancellor David Eastwood said that: 'I don’t want to get into a position where we just focus on
and make a fetish out of contact hours. However, we are looking very actively at contact hours on all the key programmes and where we need make additional investment in contact hours, especially in first and second years.' A close second in the poll result is a demand for better lecturers. Better library provision also has a large number, at 35 of the 201 asked. At present the library stays open until 10.00pm on weekdays, with an earlier closure at weekends. In contrast, the University of Southampton’s Hartley Library, also a Russell Group university, closes at midnight every day of the week including weekends. The Vice Chancellor added
that: 'I'm certain that the deal for students won’t be that you’ll find larger size classes, you won’t find reductions in teaching, you won’t be taught in shabby or declining learning environments.' However, as the Government is looking to both cut its funding to higher education as well as increase the financial input from students. any increases in expenditure on student services is unlikely to occur. For next week's poll we are asking students in rented accomodation: Are you happy with your landlord? Email your answer - yes or no - to news@redbrickonline. co.uk
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Helen Crane, Glen Moutrie and Anna Hughes
34 minutes the approximate amount of time it takes before a woman begins to feel the pinch in a new pair of high heels
The estimated amount of people who die each year worldwide because of passive smoking
2 weeks the estimated length of time that the current snow and icy spells could last in Scotland and Northern England
McDonald's start business management degrees
the age of Sir Cliff Richard who is currently beating JLS and Justin Bieber in selling his bestselling male celebrity calendar on Amazon
Student guilty of protest violence
Laura Frost Reporter
Thomas Byrne Reporter
Next year McDonald's employees will have the opportunity to study a Foundation Degree in Managing Business Operations, in collaboration with the Manchester Metropolitan University. Staff adult certificates in English and Maths are also available. These options will be available in careers advice centres across the United Kingdom. McDonald's commented that they have been working for the past five years to create a scheme which can offer a wide range of qualifications. They launched an apprenticeship scheme eighteen months ago, which Ofsted awarded a 'good' rating. This has the capacity to provide ten-thousand staff per year with apprenticeships, which McDonald's have reportedly said will challenge the 'snobbish' misconceptions about McDonald's and its staff. David Fairhurst, Chief People Officer at McDonald's UK & Northern Europe said 'At McDonald's, we provide a learning ladder that our people can ascend while they work.' Fairhurst also said that jobs and education 'should no longer be parallel universes.' He added 'people want to study at a stage in their life when it's convenient for them.'
The student who threw a fire extinguisher 70ft from the top of Millbank Tower during the protests against higher tuition fees has pleaded guilty. 18-year-old Edward Woollard appeared at City of Westminster magistrates' court charged with violent disorder, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. An estimated 50,000 students marched in London against cuts to university spending. His solicitor, Matt Foot, said: 'Mr. Woollard is pleading guilty and I make it very clear he is very sorry for his actions.' In court, the teenager spoke only to confirm his name, address, date of birth and plea, as his parents watched on from the public gallery. Prosecutor Robert Short deemed the case unsuitable for sentencing at the magistrates' court, instead referring it to Southwark Crown Court stating that the risk of Mr. Woollard's actions was 'considerable'. Woollard was arrested in his hometown of Southampton five days after the incident in question. He has now been released on conditional bail whilst he awaits his sentence.
McDonald's degrees will begin next year According to McDonald's the Foundation Degree has been created based on the need for both business and academia and claim there is no longer a need for people to choose between education and work. Fifty-three of its restaurant managers are to begin the twoyear Foundation Degree programme next month. Fairhust said 'Our full range of
education programmes increases productivity, efficiency, and staff confidence and staff turnover is now lower than it's ever been.' He also said that the new two year Foundation Degree demonstrates how seriously the company takes the training of its staff. The staff taking the qualification will be taught by a combination of training in the workplace, classroom study and e-learning.
Train prices to increase by 6.2% in the New Year Jennifer Anderson Reporter
In an interview with the BBC, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond explained the government's plan to invest £8 billion in Britain's rail system. The plan involves buying around 2,000 new carriages to tackle over-crowding and the electrification of some lines in the North West. The government also intends to push on with the Thameslink programme. However, only 650 of the new carriages will be available by 2014 (which is less than the 1,300 announced by Brown's government) while the Thameslink project is delayed by two years. Proposals to modernise the London-Swansea line are still on hold and it will be the end of the decade before the investment is complete. These setbacks have resulted in the Labour party referring to the plans as 'nothing more than one long series of delays'. According to the BBC 'Passengers will face above-inflation rises in ticket prices to help pay for the investments' and Maria
Caroline Thomas Geography 3rd year
Jon Robinson History and Politics 2nd year
Katy Piller Sportex, 2nd year
Rich Spalding History, 2nd year
'If they go up a significant amount then I think it would change how often I use trains. It would mean that I would drive into town a lot more often, especially to work, as the price difference will reduce.'
'It already costs me £13.30 to make a trip by train which takes 30 minutes by car and costs less than that in petrol! It's a rip-off. Where's the motivation to choose the greener option?'
'If the price increase was less than a pound then I would still use the train, however it would make me think twice about using the train and would go to town less often.'
'If ticket prices were to increase I'd certainly think twice about using the train, especially for shorter journeys. If there was another means of transport I'd be more inclined to take that.'
Eagle, the shadow transport secretary said: 'Commuters will see their fares rise by 3% above inflation next year and they now face waits of up to a decade for the new trains that will ease overcrowding and speed up journeys.' Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, also had a nega-
tive view of the plans, calling them: 'classic political smoke and mirrors'. 'The reality is that the inflation-busting fare increases kick in within weeks while the infrastructure and upgrade works we need to drag the UK's railways out of the slow lane are light years away,' he
said. In response to these remarks Hammond admitted to it being a 'rolling programme' but claimed that improvements would be noticeable 'within the next few months'. With regards to fare increases it is estimated that passengers can
expect a fare rise of about 6.2 per cent in the new year, with some commuters having to face an increase of as much as 12 per cent. This is bad news for cash strapped students who rely on the rail system to travel to and from university, travel home and to travel into the city centre.
3rd December 2010
Comment & Features Editorial Seb Mann
Comment and Features Editor
We need genuine reform from the Left
All the diplomatic errors of recent years are slowly seeping into the public consciousness thanks to a young web-based organisation called WikiLeaks and the liberal press of the US and Europe. Like a shuttlecock, the arguments are flung from one side to the other, governments and diplomats calling the release of 'secret' documents reckless and irresponsible, the press asserting that it is in the interest of public. Both, clearly, have vested interests: governments to look after their own and the press to sell news. But isn't the crux of the issue the fact that, were WikiLeaks or the media to conceal the information with which they were entrusted, they would be pulling the democratic platform on which they stand from under themselves? WikiLeaks exists for a reason; a reason, I think, which is entirely laudable. It exists to free up the information that governments and organisations conceal not for the best interests of the public, but, for the most part, to cover their own backs. The organisation's self-stated belief is that 'better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society's institutions, including government, corporations and other organisations'. An organisation founded on this principle could hardly have censored information once they'd received it, and nor should they wish to. The information released thus far, as the result of cablegate (as it has been imaginatively dubbed) does little more than superficially damage a few international relationships, but what it represents is a democratic freedom of information, which is essential for any semblance of a progressive society to exist. Another facet to the debate is that perhaps papers don't always have the best interests of the public as their only rationale for publication. But is it really the role of the media to cover up international diplomatic mistakes? Surely in any rational framework of understanding it would make more sense to hold accountable those who are directly culpable for the things that have been said in these 'private' conversations, and not the medium through which they are communicated to the public. I think most would agree that the media would be doing the public a disservice if they refused to publish the contents of some of these cables, allowing themselves to become complicit in a duplicitous system. Corruption is inherent (though not necessary) in any political system. Those who comprise it, voted for by the people, do not deserve and should not receive immunity from the criticism of the people.
Which path will Ed Miliband take in his journey to political electability?
n the Redbrick edition of November 19th, James Wickett-Whyte correctly discussed the need for Labour to form an electable opposition rather than simply assume that the unpopularity of the current government would mean a simple stroll back into power at the next election, a lá 1979 to 1994. Since this article was published, Ed Miliband has returned from paternity leave to give a couple of exclusive interviews and a speech to mark the beginning of Labour's policy review. His comments have revealed a worrying trend. Last month the opposition leader promoted the idea that the 50p tax bracket should remain in place after the economic recovery is secure. Shortly afterwards he appeared weak on the issue of the
'It is essential to ensure that government investment is helping the child rather than handing an unconditional gift for the parent' welfare state, stating that there is only a 'small minority' who are immorally claiming benefits which New Labour failed to target. Such a stance may be justified, but it is dangerous in our current political climate to focus on what is too often seen as 'punishing' those with aspiration and rewarding those who do little for the economy. Furthermore, his admission last Friday that he was a 'socialist' is a step firmly in the direction
of political suicide. His choice of phrase casts doubts on the modernity of his ideas in relation to British political philosophy. Forty years ago socialism was popular due to its emphasis on fairness and redistribution of wealth, but the notion that these two ideas are closely linked has been eroding since 1979. It is clear that in order to gain a reputation for fairness, there must now be focus on the equality of opportunity, social mobility and the popular concept that people should 'get what they give'. Ironically, 24 hours later Miliband talked of the need to 'reconnect with the hopes and aspirations of the people.' Only a few days previously, Miliband had induced criticism for his term 'the squeezed middle' which, according to the Conservative camp, he had given six different definitions for, including 'workers earning less than six figures but not the poor' and 'either side of the average income, £26,000'. In other words: about 88 per cent of the UK adult population. What it seems he is trying to express is that Labour is still the party of the average hard-working Briton. However, they have much to do in order to make this claim convincing, especially as the benefit reduction plans brought in by the coalition have done much to satisfy those in the 'squeezed middle' and 'middle England' which Miliband needs to convince. So what could be top of the list on Labour's 'blank page of policy' that Labour think-tanks will be devising over the next 24 months? A good first step would be to adopt a tougher benefit system, similar to that of the coalition which is to set total allowances at a maximum of £26,000 per claimant. This is, according to George Osborne, fair because the figure is
'the average a UK family gets for going to work.' Perhaps after the up-and-coming recession Labour could further reduce this figure in order to show that they are, as the name of the party suggests, in support of workers and not those who opt out of employment. Of course, it must be recognised that those on benefits are often victims struggling from deep-running personal issues rather than job-shy 'lay-abouts' calculating how they can receive the optimum level of free cash. And it is desirable both morally and practically that those out of work are given adequate support while searching for a job, so that they are not forced to turn to crime; a concept that the ruthless coalition seem to have overlooked with their cuts to Jobseeker's Allowance. But this support can be given without the injustice which allows some claimants to earn more sitting at home than by working a regular nine to five. Money saved from the benefit reforms could be invested into the private sector to reduce unemployment. And a slight increase in the minimum wage would add further incentive to find work. Admittedly, though, perhaps not to the extent of Miliband's £7.60 'living wage' which would discourage job creation. The availability of work for the jobless is crucial for this argument to be fair and ethical, and therefore, a pledge by Labour to introduce the policy only once the economic recovery is secure should prove popular in the 2015 election. A more radical step towards winning back middle-England would be the introduction of Child Tax Credit vouchers or swipecards. Such a scheme would allow the subsidy to be spent only on necessities such as food, non-
alcoholic drink, child clothes, car seats, toys and nursery care. The initiative would help obliterate the all-too-common myth that these forms of benefits often contribute towards luxuries such as alcohol, cigarettes or satellite television. Any business would be able to sign up to the scheme that would work in a similar style to book tokens, store credit or grocery vouchers but on a far larger scale. Naturally this system is open to abuse. Therefore, spot checking, along the same lines as the techniques preventing alcohol sales of to underage drinkers, would need to be commonplace and substantial fines would be handed out to those shopkeepers who break the rules. The introduction of such a scheme may increase administration costs but would be desirable not only to gain political support but also on a moral level. If Labour is determined to improve life chances from an early age, it is essential to ensure that government investment is helping the child rather than handing an unconditional gift for the parent. This system may also be appropriate for the soon-to-be-cut Health in Pregnancy Grant, a one-off payment of £190 to those 25 weeks pregnant. This would encourage the grant to do exactly what it says on the tin. Such new and progressive steps would only serve to encourage the public that Labour is a supporter of those with aspiration, while still assisting those who struggle with the demands of society. Ed Miliband has all the attributes and values required for the task at hand, but it is essential that his 'New Generation' entails a substantial slice of pragmatism, beginning with this new attitude towards the welfare state.
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Rosa McMahon, Seb Mann
Are we more comfortable interacting behind a screen than we are with face to face contact?
Comment & Features 7 How do you solve a problem like... embarrassing WikiLeaks by James Reevell and Sian Gray
What compels you to stare, night after night, at all the glittering hokum that has been deliberately put together for you?
A simple guide to stopping your deepest secrets being found on Wikileaks. Codenames – Simply use easily recognisable codenames, for instance, for the Royal Family: Biddy, Racist, Noddy, Leather face, Beloved and Nazi.
(J.B. Priestley) Michaela Walters Commentator
Since the first series of Big Brother in 1999, our television screens have been filled with one reality TV show after another. And they're popular too: the opening episode of this year's X Factor attracted an impressive 11.08 million viewers. While reality shows have often been thought of as entertainment for the unintelligent, a study provided by The Observer has shown that The X Factor, and shows like it, are attracting an audience from both genders and across all social classes. Furthermore, international research agency, Brand Driver's study found that a third of all X Factor viewers have a degree, the household income of a regular viewer is around £3,000 a year more than a non-viewer, and 31%
of viewers also regularly tune into Question Time. With Ed Miliband said to be rooting for One Direction and Stephen Fry supporting the controversial contestant, Wagner, it seems that any social, gender or educational barriers in reality entertainment viewing have been broken. Why is it then that in the last decade or so, shows such as Big Brother and The X Factor have become so dominant not only on our television screens, but in broader society? A recent survey showed that almost a third of The X Factor viewers claimed they felt 'part of a community' when watching it. In an age where we make friends at the click of a computer mouse and one in five of us will never talk to our neighbours, one does wonder: are we more comfortable engaging
with people over a screen than we are over our garden fence? It seems that people easily empathise with Alexandra Burke who grew up in a council house and Susan Boyle who had never been kissed. In a world where many of us never come into contact with the opportunities we so desire, it is quite liberating to feel that we can make a difference to real people's lives. Gladeana McMahon, a physiotherapist who co-wrote the UK's ethical guidelines for reality television claimed 'we like the idea that we can help someone make something out of nothing... It makes us feel: if they can do it, so can I'. Reality show contestants seem not only to fill our hearts with empathy, but also with encouragement. According to Brand Driver's study, 80 per cent of lesbian, gay
and bisexual X Factor viewers felt that the programme helped people to come out as homosexual and helped others to become more accepting of the gay community. Consequently, maybe connecting with someone over a television screen isn't such a bad thing. When Mary Byrne comes on stage showing off her glamorous makeover and sparkling evening gown, some feel part of a community because they don't want to see her go back to her till at Tescos. While reality television's job is primarily to provide the audience with great entertainment, it also clearly provides positive byproducts. Not only do they allow the audience to feel part of a community, encouraging some and connecting with others, but more significantly, it gives the ordinary an extraordinary opportunity.
Perform all meetings in disguise – any high profile meetings should be undertaken in a classic spy film manner. Meetings must be held at a park bench, in trench coats complete with newspaper with inconspicuous eyeholes. Lose it – The British Government are a model organisation for this. Simply take all of your important documents, get on a train and leave them next to a tabloid journalist. Vajazzle – From the Essex school of espionage. Not only will your secrets be fabulous, but it would have been the perfect way for Money Penny to tell Bond her true feelings.
Margaret Thatcher the party snatcher A very different political club has opened in London Siobhan Palmer Commentator
Last Wednesday (the day of the second round of protests against tuition fees), I received a text from my mother telling me she was getting the tube home as her bus stop was on fire. In any setting other than the past few months, that text would probably have troubled rather than amused me. But the recent outbursts of violent protest in London do not signify anarchy; politics is just taking a central role in public debate. Now, if someone is to mention London, the image that comes to my mind is not of the shops or the landmarks, but of government in Westminster; police kettling protesters; the giant graffiti on the old Foundry building in Shoreditch branding Clegg, Cameron and Johnson criminals (now painted over). People's political views are out in the open. And that's why I think the opening of Maggie's in Chelsea is not outlandish or surprising, and definitely not ironic. Maggie's is a new eighties themed club on Fulham Road owned by Charlie Gilkes. It invites
London clubbers in for the full eighties experience (£10.50 entry) with Rubik's cube tables (£250 to hire), murals of the era's icons on the walls, and champagne bottles signed by the Iron Lady herself (£5000). Although the owner refuses to hire out the club to Tory parties, hearing Thatcher's speeches playing in the toilets must surely attract a certain clientele. The décor has clearly neglected to portray certain aspects of Thatcher's era. The club has all the hallmarks of eighties nostalgia for children of that time: one can order snack boxes full of popping candy, wham bars and flying saucers, the walls are plastered with pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mr. T, along with the speech bubble 'I ain't paying no poll tax!' But that is where the incongruity lies. Thatcher is not part of that childhood nostalgia people associate with the eighties. If they really want to bring all aspects of the eighties back, then the club designers have left out pictures of miners' strikes and replica informational leaflets on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. Thatcher has been bizarrely ordained into the innocent world of Rubik's cubes
Josie Byrne In the unlikely event of offending an entire nation, take the following simple steps: The Clinton Doctrine – Put on your nicest pastel coloured pant suit, tell Bill to put it away, head over to Kazakhstan holding a cake with Borat's face on it.
The name says it all and Beano comics, making the club something similar to homage to Maggie herself as opposed to a whimsical recreation of the era. Not being an eighties kid myself I may not be qualified to comment. All I can say is that I would find it quite galling if, 25 years
down the line, I found myself walking into 'Dave's' club, where Cameron's face stared down onto the dance floor along with caricatures of Harry Potter and Hannah Montana, and on entering the bathroom the sound system could again remind me that we were 'All In This happy time Together'.
The Clinton Doctrine (2.0) – Tell Bill to get it out. Pick the highest ranking female government official and take careful aim with Bill's libido. You are guaranteed both blackmail material and severe psychological damaging. Warning: This approach comes with enormous dry cleaning bills. Nick Clegg – Give up on whatever principles you may have, look like a lost child and give them whatever they want. Outkast – Hire Outkast to sing 'I'm Sorry Miss (Insert name of head of state)'. Guaranteed to go down a storm, with anyone from Ahmadinejad to Putin.
8 Comment & Features
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Rosa McMahon, Seb Mann
The cuts are virtually affecting everyone Andy Peck Commentator
At the risk of sounding like an insufferable geek, the budget cuts have finally gone too far as they threaten to affect the UK Games Industry. There is, honestly, more to this statement than the blatant self-interest of a gamer. Economically, the UK games Industry is worth £1.1 billion a year and employs 10,000 people. It has steady growth now, but this could be cut short as George Osborne recently dismissed the entire industry as irrelevant, stating the tax breaks that helped it
the value of the UK games industry
grow and flourish were 'poorly targeted'. The seeming ignorance of anyone in government to fully comprehend the economic damage of such a decision is potentially disastrous. As well as this, film, television and video gaming undeniably are the largest cultural exports of the modern world, affecting public perception more effectively than governments ever can. British games may not be the most graphically or technically impressive; other countries, especially the US, have huge budgets and massive publishers backing them. But the games with quiet wit, fantastic storytelling, smart satire, eccentric subject matter and/or undeniable charm are, with a few notable exceptions, British, and hardly anybody, here or abroad, realises this. Take, for example, 'God Games': a popular genre most would recognise. But no American developer would dare to create a game where the player is literally and explicitly a God, as in Peter Moleneux's quirky, at times surreal best-sellers Black and White and Populous. There are many business management 'Tycoon' games, but Bullfrog Productions took the unconventional step of making a game of managing a hospital; it doesn't sound like fun, but this became the hugely popular and much loved Theme Hospital. No adventure game can match the success of Eidos Interactive with the Tomb Raider series, where
proud Derby residents elected to rename the inner ring road 'Lara Croft Way'. The loveable Worms franchise was developed in Osset, West Yorkshire, and Rockstar Games, formerly DMA from Edinburgh developed the unforgettable Lemmings series, and diversified into Grand Theft Auto. Say what you will about its content, but it was the first game in which the player was free to fully explore a developed city and follow a storyline as and when they pleased. So before he condemns all this and more, to years in the financial wilderness and development hell, I suggest the Chancellor of the Exchequer takes the weekend off. (Don't worry; the Treasury will still be there on Monday morning.) Look at these and other British games of past and present. They are internationally recognised best-sellers, globally loved, and part of a rapidly growing industry, where Britain PLC is a prestigious brand. A generation of graduates with Computer Science, Drama, Art, History, Business Management and many other degrees, could and would find employment in this growing sector. There are hundreds of great British games out there and infinite potential for the future. I implore the government to rethink this policy decision, and the rest of you to do your country, economy and gaming industry proud by playing British. Do your bit to make the 'Age of Austerity' just a bit less austere.
Grand Theft Auto was one of the first 'open world' games developed
'Film, television and video gaming undeniably are the largest cultural exports of the modern world, affecting public perception more effectively than governments ever can'
Redbrick reader response
Why the protests are justified
I'm not a Royalist, but... Alexander Blanchard
It's the announcement of another royal wedding and so the prunes and pedants are out to voice their invaluable opinions about the financial illegitimacy of the Windsor clan. From the Redbrick's cry of 'we cannot afford to have this wedding' – contained within an article that made some phenomenal generalisations, to the flurry of exasperation in the national press – 'the marriage will cost the economy' says The Times; 'taxpayers to pay £20m for Security' says The Mail, it seems that Britons can't wait to complain about a day meant for celebration. The general cynicism is based on the argument that William and Kate have never contributed anything meaningful to the economy, so how dare they empty the public purse and take money out of the economy to waste on some frivolous extravaganza? An argument so fallacious that it is hard to imagine that those who espouse it have given it any thought. Consider the number of people – from the dress-makers to the florists – that must be involved in the organisation of the wedding. It takes only an elementary understanding of economics to know that the 'trickle-down' effect of wages that this will create will be more advantageous to the economy than the cuts that Cameron and Clegg are currently prescribing. Britain's tourist board says the
attraction of royalty already accounts for £500m in tourist spending each year; this is hardly insignificant. News of the wedding has been broadcast across the globe and there are estimates that the wedding day alone could generate £750 million as royal fans worldwide flock to London for the ceremony. The Redbrick article on November 17th (Kate Middleton, Prince Charming and the taxpayer) was far too quick to play down this key economical role of the Royals. That the family itself is not an intrinsic generator of wealth and that they are therefore worthless, follows a general thought-pattern within modern society that it is only those activities or entities which bring profit that should be assigned any worth. Though, by this topsy-turvy reasoning we should be packing poor old Grandma off to the crematorium before she becomes any more of an economical drain. Furthermore, the amount that the public is expected to pay for the policing of the wedding works out at slightly less than 20 pence on average, for every British taxpayer. If that is all I need pay to have a day without cynics and the everpresent economic fear-mongers, then I, for one, am all for it. It seems that the anti-royalist should find another argument, other than the cost of a wedding, to advance their republican agendas.
Britain's tourist board says the attraction of royalty already accounts for £500m in tourist spending each year; this is hardly insignificant
The ongoing stimulus in Japan and the US, as well as the fact that Ireland's deficit actually increased as a result of austerity show that cuts are anything but inevitable
I am writing to Redbrick to try and give people an idea of recent events from what I would call an activist perspective. In his Redbrick interview, David Eastwood put himself across as being forced to raise fees in order to compensate for cuts in public funding. He fails to mention that he actively campaigned for the cuts through his role in the Browne review and that there are other methods of making up for the gap in funding besides raising fees. The university is currently sitting on a budget surplus of £45 million and in the last nine years management pay has risen from £3.15m to £13.3m and the vicechancellors salary has risen 102% to a staggering £342,000. The strain of cuts is not being evenly shared. The assertion that most economists 'agree that our budget deficit needs to be cut radically in order to maintain our AAA credit rating' and that cuts are 'inevitable' (made by Samuel Lear on last week's editorial page) is simply untrue. I don't have time to list all the economists that are against cuts, but three Nobel Laureates have been particularly vocal about their opposition. The ongoing stimulus in Japan and the US, as well as the fact that Ireland's deficit actually increased as a result of austerity show that cuts are anything but inevitable. When talking about activism I think it is important to establish a
philosophical framework. The position of the Guild and practically all students is that we must oppose fees and cuts so this is a conversation of what action to take. Any action needs two things to justify it: 1) that it is morally acceptable and 2) that it will help the cause. I think that considering the destruction the cuts will inflict on the majority of our society, all action taken thus far (except perhaps the fire extinguisher) is justified on the first count. Destroying a few windows or police vans is insignificant compared to the destruction of jobs and life chances. The attitude of 'nothing's ever been achieved on a roof, I don't see the point in it' is completely misplaced. Occupations and sit-ins have been an integral part of almost all popular movements from the Chartists to the Civil Rights Movements. The anger and willingness of students to take part in protests has already moved the Labour Party from their position two weeks ago of wavering over fees to a well publicised and vehement opposition to them. The student movement, and its reception by the country, is encouraging unions that we can fight cuts and that we can win. Any popular movement starts with charges that it cannot change anything and these can only be answered by ensuring that it does. The full version can be read at www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Comment & Features 9
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Rosa McMahon, Seb Mann
The time has come to bridge the generation gap It is a travesty that such a cherished, yet uncomplaining and stoic section of society can be left behind by society.... Amanda Callaghan Commentator
Living in a vast city like Birmingham you might be forgiven for thinking that charitable organisations were few and far between. On closer inspection it becomes apparent that local charities are as thriving as ever before, providing vital services to the communities in the area. My Saturday afternoon was spent in the company of pensioners enjoying a free early Christmas dinner, courtesy of a local charity Karis Neighbour Scheme and volunteers at St John's church in Harborne. I spoke with Mae, 85, before we sat down for the meal and she said, 'I probably wouldn't be doing anything today if it wasn't for this lunch. The Christmas meal is definitely one of the highlights of my year.' From the meticulously laid and decorated tables and to the gifts handed out at the end, those working sought to make the day as special as possible for the elderly guests. A delicious dinner was served by the local Guides and the
guests at my table swapped some exciting wartime memories. Most had children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren and, as one normally finds when talking to pensioners, their lives and histories were incredibly fascinating and varied. Pat and Ron, 95 and 85 respectively, expressed their gratitude for those helping out. They emphasised how the organisation fostered a community spirit amongst the elderly people. Karis Neighbour Scheme also runs a befriending service whereby volunteers offer an hour or two of their time a week to visit elderly people in the local area, some of whom have few local friends or family. Although it may not initially appear a life changing piece of charity work, the visits and events can make a massive difference to the lives of those who may be experiencing loneliness after losing a partner or a family member, or even suffering from poor health. Shockingly, over three million pensioners in the UK can spend an entire week at a time without talking to a friend or family member. It
...but Karis Neighbour Scheme exists to correct this
is a travesty that such a cherished, yet uncomplaining and stoic section of society can be left to their own devices in such a manner and it is something that should be addressed without delay. Older citizens tend to be unrepresented in the media or are often portrayed in a rather one dimensional light. The
Wealth or well-being?
New plans to measure the nation's well-being sound good, but how will they work? Alicia Francis Commentator
How do you measure the success of a nation? In the past it has always been gross domestic product, or GDP, the statistic used to capture the state of the economy, which has determined whether or not a country is successful. But is it enough to judge a country's progress by financial wealth alone? Happiness, many argue, is just as important, if not more so. Previous attempts to 'capture' wellbeing have been made by the UN, and the last Labour government who later abandoned their efforts when it proved too difficult a task. But now it appears to be the turn of David Cameron, who announced last week his plans to introduce 'GWB' (general well-being) onto the national agenda. The result, he admits, 'won't give the full story of the nation's well-being', but 'could give us a picture of whether life is improving', and in turn may be used to influence policy making. So how, exactly, is the government planning on gauging something as intangible and changeable as happiness? The truth of the matter is: they don't know. For a start there is the issue that what makes
people happy varies from person to person. My environmental satisfaction may stem from the fact that renewable energy is making the air cleaner and the earth greener. Yours may stem from the fact that the view from your bedroom window is untarnished by unsightly wind farms. Already we can see the problems the government will face when trying to interpret answers and decide whether anything can make people unanimously happy. Secondly there is the problem of causation. Cameron may argue that his efforts will not be in vain as there has been proven correlations between various different factors and happiness. For example, past surveys have shown that on average, married people are happier than single people. But, was that happiness caused by marriage? Or is it that happy people are more likely to get married? Researchers have tried to curb this problem by measuring happiness over time. But isn't age another factor that affects happiness? Could it not simply be a case of people becoming more confident, comfortable, and less bothered by the things that worried them when they were younger, rather than any specific event that has happened during that time, that has led to an
increase in happiness? Even if the government is successful in coming to some kind of consensus, could it realistically be used to aid decision making? Regardless of what people may hope, it is human nature to like the things that are bad for us. I, for example, like nothing more than treating myself to a double cheese burger with extra large fries. Someone else, however, may get a kick from driving 20 mph over the speed limit when there's a traffic-free road ahead. But it's unlikely that policy makers will look at this and think to replace free apples in schools with free burgers, and not give speeding fines to people who can prove they were enjoying themselves. This also raises the point that what makes a person happy may not improve their wellbeing, so which one should we be measuring? Cameron should be given some credit for trying to take into consideration the nation's happiness, especially after the cuts and imminent rise in tuition fees have led to so much unhappiness amongst the British people. But with little possibility of any plausible answers or of any use for them, it seems as though both the time and money could be better spent elsewhere.
'My environmental satisfaction may stem from the fact that renewable energy is making the air cleaner and the earth greener. Yours may stem from the fact that the view from your bedroom window is untarnished by unsightly wind farms'
Karis scheme offers an alternative to this, as they are able to focus on the individual rather than simply looking at the collective – which has to be imperative when trying to assist any minority group. Those who work for the befriending scheme do not wish to patronise or fuss over the elderly; they simply
offer friendship and conversation to those pensioners who would like it. After our lunch we drank coffee as the Brownies and Rainbows entertained and sung festive songs to the obvious delight of the guests, many of whom joined in with the singing. A particularly rousing rendition of 'Away in Manger' saw the elderly members of the group completely 'out-sing' the considerably younger and fitter Rainbow and Brownie guides. Seeing how much the elderly guests got from the festive lunch, and how appreciative they were for the work done and the friends made at the scheme, gives us insight into how much positivity a small, community orientated charity, can inspire. The afternoon was a definite success and this was evident on the smiles of the pensioners' faces as they left to return home. As much of a cliché it may sound, it was clear that those helping out got as much joy from the afternoon as those benefitting from their efforts. www.karisneighbourscheme.org
Immigration policy James Wickett-Whyte Commentator
'None of us have got perfect answers. But let's at least not pretend that you can put forward these ideas which have got no substance, and haven't been thought through.' Or so said Nick Clegg of the Conservatives' immigration cap during the televised debates. Clegg's remarkably flexible political backbone has been well documented, but these criticisms of the immigration cap are no less accurate now, than they were at the time. It has struggled enormously to gain the backing of the business community, even with its 'intra-company transfers' exception. Vince Cable's distinctly underwhelming 'acceptable' verdict, along with constant criticism from the Financial Times, and a notably guarded welcoming from business leaders betrays the reality of what is essentially a populist, ill-thought out and hastily made pledge before the election, as Cameron watched his commanding lead in the polls disintegrate before his eyes. The most damaging aspect of this is where the cap will hit: the top two tiers in the points system, covering the highest skilled immigrants. Coupled with the inevitable drop in university places, admissions and quality of teaching that will come with the cuts, and the higher education programme the coalition is implementing, there is a real worry that there will be a massive short term drop in skilled workers in Britain. The Labour Party is obviously not without fault in this debate. The fact that immigration was such a key factor in the last election, speaks volumes of Labour's failure to deal with the issue in 13 years of government. It will surely, along with the economy, be the key focus of Ed Miliband's 'blank page'. It is one of the few policy areas where 'hitting the ground running' isn't absolutely necessary, and a more thought
out, considered immigration policy in five years' time will be more electable. What Jacky Ashley called his 'zen socialism' may well be an advantage. The historical problem with immigration for the Labour Party however, has been its inability to grapple the space in which it is popularly discussed - away from the political Right. Tony Blair came closest to this in his 2005 election speech, which was firm and strong on controls, but unequivocally supportive of immigration. Whilst the policies he mentioned in the speech were implemented in the next term – most prominently the points system – they hadn't managed to shift the image of 'soft on immigration', in the way they had done with crime. There is another option (which fans of The Thick Home Secretary Theresa May oversaw the introduction of an immigration cap of It will recognise as 'the PM's legacy' in the Christmas specials): giving immigration policy to an independent or cross-party political body. This would obviously benefit Labour significantly more than Conservatives. It takes the traditionally strong conservative ground out of the political debate. However, the crippling fear of facing The Daily Mail's wrath on anything with a whiff of bureaucracy may well kill this idea in its infancy. To develop a popular immigration position that isn't simply knee-jerk or hastily put together populism, it has to be, what an exspecial advisor called, 'pro migration, but less of it'.
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Redbrick Editorial Apply Within
When the Guardian published an article at the beginning of November, claiming that graduate unemployment was at its highest in seventeen years, I admit that I felt a little nauseous. As we currently survive in this destitute economic climate where even the most employable doctors and intellects are jobless and there are seventy applicants for some graduate jobs, my own career aspirations and thoughts about working in my desired profession after graduation seem increasingly pessimistic. Yet, this week I stumbled upon a potential new age of recruitmentwhereby you inevitably succumb to the preferences of an undesired job. Many of you may have noticed a group of attractive, slightly-cloned, chequered shirts wandering around campus over the past few weeks. They have taken over the library, local nightclubs and even Fab lastSaturday and are on the hunt for new ‘talent’ to work in their highlyanticipated, new American store in the Bullring. Yep, that one by theBull, which, under corporate policy, booms music at 80 decibels and has been known to be adverse to you wearing a Poppy or a prosthetic limb... I have noticed them indiscreetly checking out every person who walks past them, seeing if they have the looks to suit the store’s image, deeming skill and experience as blatantly unnecessary. A friend, who has no retail experience at all, was scouted out a few weeks ago and offered a job as a Model in the new
store. She has since been for fittings and ‘meet and greets’ and has learnt that her role mainly consists of standing at the door and saying the ‘phrase of the season’ which is ‘Hey, what’s up?’, something which is totally alien to her but which she may choose to endure in order to maintain earning a living. The point I want to raise is, in desperate times, are we susceptible enough to go to desperate measures? And where have we got lost along the way to allow for presenting the ‘right’, but false, image for a job takes presidency over expertise and hard work. The above example may be slight, but I wonder if this is a sign of our time. In a world where any employment is surely better than none, are these modern ways of selling yourself out to say you’ve got a job - even if it’s not the job you want - going to take over? Whatever happened to earning an honest living doing something you enjoy and have worked hard to achieve? Being brought up on the notion that you graft in order to be successful and, having got myself in to thousands of pounds worth of debt to put ‘BA (Hons)’ after my name, I have never before considered being plucked from the crowd and given a job because of my face, body or clothes and I am certainly relying on work experience and proof of ambition on my CV to get me anywhere. Yet it would seem that at a time when we are all facing potentially dire career prospects, a way in is to sell out.
Letters to the editor... Now I am not one to criticise the actions of those with stressful positions of authority. Considering I often hear only a sensationalised account of any dubious decisions made by those with power, I refrain from comment as I understand that on limited information I am in no way qualified to give informed opinions on situations that will generally be more complicated that they appear on the outside. However a recent decision made by the Vice Chancellor has made me feel I must speak out... The Oxford definition of a Vice Chancellor’s role, which should be all too familiar to an Honorary Fellow such as Eastwood, states that the position entails “provid[ing] strategic direction and leadership to the collegiate University, and to position and represent the University internationally, nationally and regionally.” As Eastwood is our representative both at home and abroad it is perfectly justifiable to scrutinise his EVERY action, in this case his decision to expel the University of
Birmingham Debating Society from the Senate chamber just hours before our Fresher’s Cup final. Thursday 25th November 2010 would have been our 101st year holding our Fresher’s Cup Final in the Senate Chamber of the Aston Webb building, however Eastwood had other plans. He decided an appropriate response to his irritation over the protests of the day before would be to banish all students from the building after 5.30pm. Rather than being an enjoyable and formal event in a prestigious building as deep rooted in history as our society is, our annual welcoming of new students into the fold took place in the Muirhead Tower where we were told we could not sit in the foyer unless we purchased coffee by Starbucks staff who expected us to stand as we waited for students who did not get the late message about the room change to find us. Frankly I am appalled at this pointless action from David Eastwood in choosing to close the Aston Webb at 5pm although aware
that we had a booking from 6.30pm. The only logical explanation for our expulsion is that Eastwood did not want more students to gain access to the Aston Webb after the occupation of the previous day. Of course his decision to close the building early did not actually serve the purpose of preventing a second occupation as half my committee easily gained entrance by simply walking through the front door and were inside guiding lost finalists to our new location in the Muirhead for around an hour. The fact that the oblivious finalists entered the Aston Webb without even realising they weren’t supposed to be there, shows that kicking us out served no purpose but to ruin our event and end 100 years of tradition. From an academic whose specialism is modern history it seems strange to break 100 years of tradition when no tangible benefit is to be derived from doing so, nor harm to be avoided.
The Guild of Students continues to play a leading role in the resistance to cuts, and campaigns for a better deal for our members and students across the country. Last week, we met two local Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament, John Hemmings and Lorely Burt to deliver personal letters from hundreds of students and a petition of over 3,000 names. On Tuesday we went to meet the Business, Innovation & Skills Secretary of State, Vince Cable to urge him to remember his pledge to students. We continue to lobby the University and engage in essential
dialogue to ensure that student experience is protected, and that Birmingham remains a university where students are admitted based on their ability, not their ability to pay. The student community must support all students who protest peacefully and moreover, we must think of ways to engage the wider public. The Guild stands shoulder to shoulder with the NUS, UCU and our other allies in fighting these proposals and will continue to do so. However, we've got to look out for current students too. This is undoubtedly a critical time for the future of Higher Education, but that
does not mean that we can lose sight of the issues which affect those students currently at Birmingham. The Guild remains committed in preserving on issues such as improvement of international student support, post-graduate learning spaces, and feedback. Arguably, no fight is more imperative than that of the potential trebling of graduate debt, or the purging of government funding. This does not mean we can abandon our current students.
The Redbrick Crossword
Mordo Nahum Puzzles Editor This week's prize is a choice between either 'Superfreakonomics' by Steven Levitt or 'Voodoo Histories' David Aaronovitch
=12_3_4_5_6_7 8=_=_=_=_=_=_ 9____=0______ _=_=_=_=_=_=_ a___=b_______ _=_=c=_=_===_ d_____=e__f__ _===_=g=_=_=_ h_i_____=j___ _=_=_=_=k=_=_ l______=m____ _=_=_=_=_=_=_ n___________= Across
1. Irish poet, Nobel laureate of 1995 (6, 6) 9. Sports car manufacturer; Ross _____, comedian (5) 10. Inflates, grows bigger (7) 11. ____ Lagerfeld, fashion designer for Chanel (4) 12. Proponent; cave toad (anag.) (8) 14. Smoothed, pressed (6) 15. Body of water parted by Moses (3, 3) 18. Cheese; metal men (anag.) (8)
20/19. Little Bear (4, 5) 22. (Medieval) prison cell (7) 23. 1988 anime film set in Neo-Tokyo (5) 24. Computers way of telling you something is wrong? (5, 7)
2. Prohibition (7) 3. Humble (4) 4. ______ Gonzalez, Looney Tunes character (6) 5. Pioneer, trailblazer (8)
6. Japanese assassin (5) 7. Palestinian leader, d. 2004 (6, 6) 8. Delicately poised (2, 1, 5, 4) 13. Caribou (8) 16. Water sport (7) 17. British slang for sandwich (6) 19. See 20 Across 21. Fish; stringed instrument (4)
Rachael Twumasi, Chair of the Debating Society
Dora Meredith, President of the Guild
Video of the week
The objective of the game is to insert the numbers 1-9 into each row, column, and 3x3 box once Medium
GEICO Little Piggy commercial Possibly one of the funniest commercials on Youtube. This advert from 2010 may have a serious insurance related message but its conclusion will have you in stitches. Check it out on youtube.com
Did you know? Hard Last issues solution: lightbrigade= e=i=a=a=a=e=h gogol=delillo i=g=o=i=i=t=u oblongs=leaps n=e===h=e===e nodoff=rothko a===o=s===a=f inter=capital r=r=e=r=l=c=o elusive=usher s=c=g=e=t=e=d =hernancortes There were no correct entries for the crossword last week so we will roll the prizes over to this week. Finished crosswords to be submitted to the Redbrick office. Deadline 08/12/10.
2500 left-handers die each year using products designed for righthanded people. 23 per cent of all photocopier faults worldwide are caused by people sitting on them and photocopying their derriéres. By donating just one pint of blood, four lives can be saved.
Apologies and Clarifications Scribble box
We would like to apologise to Sarah Coe, who should have been credited to the Ellie Goulding review in the Music Section in last week's issue. We would like to clarify that Oliver Beach wrote the Christian Scott review in the Arts section last week.
3rd December 2010
South Bank Awards nominees announced. What do you think? guardian.co.uk/arts
Eighties Art Reborn
Chris Addison at The Alexandra James Reevell
Watching Chris Addison perform comedy is like watching a middleclass monkey on roller skates; unnerving, left wing and highly entertaining. With a gait that lurches across stage, matched by a mouth that staggers through sentences, social grace is clearly not his strong point. This lack of grace is never better illustrated than his opening recollection of destroying his knee ligaments chasing the Sainsbury's delivery man. The joy of hearing Addison relate stories is that he so firmly embodies our idea of middle-classdom, with his everyday humiliation no different from any other person's. However, this is not to say that Addison has relaxed into middle class stupor, in fact railing against this. His insightful dissections of the modern media, and his own prejudices provide a sharp
Kellesimone Waits Sam Langtree
On the back of a 30 per cent cut on the Arts Council of England's spending, we are going to be looking at a significant change in the way that art galleries and museums are presented to us over the next few years. The cuts have been estimated to save the government £457 million over a four year period and in the wake of other cuts such as those on the police force this seems like an effective way of improving the country's economic situation without necessarily impacting upon more essential public services. Though it may seem all doom and gloom for artists and art aficionados alike, it is important to look back to the Tory policy of art in the 80s and what was produced by young artists in retaliation. Like our current government, Margaret Thatcher was in favour of philanthropy and sponsorship as methods of filling the gap. What happened as a result lead to the arts being severely stifled, some-
thing that bodes ominously in the wake of future decreases in spending. However, individuals such as Charles Saatchi worked hard in order to produce and protect the exciting (if debatably skilled) Young British Artists who emerged within the British art scene despite a similar social situation to our current one. If we are comparing the government of now with that of the 80s then there are already visible signs of trends repeating themselves. Last week's much hyped exhibition, ARTS BLITZ, ran in the Transition Gallery in Hackney, London and served as a reminder of what has progressed and reoccurred within the last thirty years. When you consider that the Tory Government are consistently associated with the 'posh arts' and on the back of the coalition spending £20,000 on hanging 16th century battle scenes in their offices; I just hope that regardless of how abstractedly conceptual the art being produced is, it c o n t i n ues its trend of defiantly c r i t i q u ing our society and government.
porary art, The Art Street Journal is not your run of the mill freebie; several full colour pages celebrate street art, feature interviews and detail what, in their opinion, is worth knowing about. Working under the proviso that not 'every nice independent art magazine needs to cost $20', The Art Street Journal is every art loving student's dream. Having gone from a four page black and white newspaper to a full colour magazine in twelve months is a sure sign that getting a subscription whilst The Art Street Journal is still a secret is a good idea – perhaps in another year it'll be available on shelves.. Visit the website to sign up for a free subscription. For more information see www.theartstreetjournal.com
Chris Addison chael McIntyre and Jimmy Carr, his mixture of inoffensive whimsy and thrusting invective towards prejudice; essentially making him the comedy equivalent of a blood thirsty Labradoodle. Addison's major blot of the evening was his decision to use a Q&A session for an encore, However, having performed for a mammoth two and half hours this can be forgiven. Whether Addison can forgive himself and his middleclass brethren is less clear.
Cinderella at The Hippodrome Sian Gray
Neil Philip, author of The Cinderella Story, claims that this fairy tale has a narrative of 'suffering and desire' and although the animated cartoon versions we were used to as children seem to overlook the sinister subplot in favour of courtly romance, this winter the Birmingham Royal Ballet company have put on a stunning production that is nothing if not dark. There was, as there always is in the classic fairy tale, a happy ending but to get there Director David Bintley and Designer John Macfarlane take their audience on a much darker journey than expected. The animal inhabitants of the cellars are magnified and the stage becomes a playground of huge, dancing rats and toads. The cellar is painted with bleak tones of grey and off white to exemplify the miserable life of Cinderella. The step-
Tim Cross sisters are moulded into almost pantomime characters, one being skinny, the other fat. Cinderella's father is never seen but the dancers are dominated by a terrifying and sinister step mother. Although this stance on Cinderella is somewhat haunting and the characters chilling, there is no doubt that it remains as visually stunning as you would expect.
The tower of silver, glittering shoes, the sublimely large ticking clock and delicate costumes that floated across the stage on the tiny frames of the impeccable dancers all leave a lasting imprint on the memory. Cinderella is a beautifully constructed ballet marrying the dark side of fairytale with the bright lights of Christmas ballet.
The Kindness Of Strangers at OJS
Magazine Rack – Art Street Tamara Roper Critic Delivering magazines for free to homes, cafes, art galleries and shops in over 150 international cities, is a feat that even Father Christmas would struggle with. Such is the task of Elisa Carmichael; not quite Santa, but editor of The Art Street Journal, a free monthly magazine documenting the best international goings on in the artworld. Refusing to fight the losing battle of print vs pixel, Carmichael and her California based gallery keeps most of their content within the pages of The Art Street Journal, keeping faith in the fact that sometimes, having a paper copy rather than words in front of your face is just, well, nicer. Focusing mainly on contem-
edged contrast to his more whimsical musings. This diversity is a welcome break from the current trend of comedians determined to adhere to a recognizable style. Addison mines the rich British seam of self loathing, frequently taking the audience to task about this very failing. Whether it be their middle class collusion with the Tories, or their own obsession with Waitrose. In many ways Addison fills the gap in the market between Mi-
Capital Plays Alexander Blanchard
The Kindness of Strangers, a play by Vanessa Oakes, is about loneliness, our desire for social interaction and affection, the dependency
and vulnerability of old age and the difficult truths about loss through death. Robert Lister – a seasoned and self-styled 'journey-man actor' – has the aptitude, skill and apparent concentration to hold your unmitigated attention for the houror-so monologue. Through Robert's endearing charm and as his subtle, though occasionally striking, ability to unnerve an audience, you find yourself tentatively following the emotional path of his character, David, though the lows of the sudden loss of his wife Anne, the highs of discovering new friendships and the subsequent humiliation of being manipulated by those you hold close. Domestic violence – never a comfortable subject – can be found in many forms, some of which are not adequately addressed in our society. Vanessa Oakes does well to present the not so obvious form of abuse, that is, the psychological,
in a relatable way that allows us to appreciate the position of dependency and fear of loneliness that prevents a victim from escaping such subjugation and violence.
'What becomes of those whom society tends to forget?' At first it might not seem all that clear why The Kindness of Strangers has been chosen to form part of Capital – a festival of new writing about the current economic climate and Mr Cameron's 'Big Society' – but given a little consideration and it seems disturbingly obvious. With the rolling back of the state, the empowering of communities and the predominance of 'society', what becomes of those whom society tends to forget?
Editors – Sian Gray, James Reevell, Alexander Blanchard
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
The Secret Garden at The Rep Secrets of the Garden Written in 1911 by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Editor's Choice Wil Sylvince
It only became successful after her death, not gaining widespread recognition until the late 20th century. It's many different adaptations includes a Japanese anime. Noel Streatfield's novel, 'The Painted Garden', is about the filming of a Secret Garden movie. Tread The Boards Sophie Cowling & Sophie Rogers
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? The answer is with charm, elegance and a touch of magic in Gary Lyon and Tim Sutton's musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel, now playing at the REP. Mary Lennox, played superbly contrarily by Amy Lennox, is a spoiled yet ignored little girl who is sent from India to Yorkshire to live with her uncle in the mysterious Misselthwaite Manor after
the untimely death of her parents from an outbreak of cholera. She finds herself an inconvenience to all but her chambermaid Martha (a role deftly embraced by Evelyn Hoskins) until she discovers the joy to be found in the outdoors and gardening. It is after this that Mary discovers both the secret garden of her dead aunt, and also her sick cousin Colin, who is hidden in the east wing. The pair, along with Martha's brother Dickon (Thomas Aldridge), secretly tend to the garden and both become stronger as it flourishes under their care. The
Small Play About Big Society at OJS
transformations of the children from sullen and sickly to strong and healthy are a credit to the respective performers, who fully embody the physical changes brought about by the garden. The magical nature of the production owes a lot to the ingenious set design, a rotating stage which lent itself well to the constant changes of scenery and gave a real feeling of transition and progression to the story. The clever choreography was also a particular highlight, with the cast members physically representing walls and corridors, add-
ing to the sense of confusion when Mary is lost within the manor. Their lively and engaging speech during these movement scenes provided a narration imbued with tension-building excitement. The flawless vocals given by all cast members successfully move the story of The Secret Garden from book and film to musical, whilst in the process animating the story for the many children in the audience. It is this magical feel to the production that means you can't help but leave with a warm, fuzzy Christmas vibe.
The Drum 3rd December Never short of controversy this provocative comic takes on all issues and ethnicities. Prepared to be delighted and offended in equal measure. Tickets £10
Dance Club Latino presents Salsa Ball
The Great Hall 4th December With workshops all through the day to get you in shape for the ball in the evening, and all the proceeds going to charity this superb event will leave 'Strictly' in the shade. Tickets £18
Shazia Mirza at The Drum
UoB Choir & Symphony Orchestra
Graeme Braidwood Jessica Bull
The Old Joint Stock is certainly a gem of a venue, the most atmospheric element being the highceilinged, welcoming, warm pub, dating back to 1884. Up the winding stairs you'll find the 'theatre'; an intimate room that plays host to performances under an array of genre. As part of 'Capital', a festival of new writing, Small Plays about Big Society consisted of five short plays in response to the Prime Minister, David Cameron's call for 'people power' and plans for the 'Big Society'. The first play had a cast of one woman and there was a split second Friends moment when she said: 'So you probably think that this will be a normal play and other actors will appear? Well they won't', however, it was an effective performance and the scale of the room helped elevate the message and present the concept of a play within a play. Becky Wright, a Mountview graduate who plays Nic Hanson in The Archers was one of the more talented cast members and also
took on a one-woman performance in The Watched Sea which pictured Conservative's 'Big Society' in futuristic, almost dystopian terms and questioned the loss of the individual in it. Social order, the final play of the evening examined the effects of this concept on small communi-
'So you probably think that this will be a normal play' ties and used comic characterisation and situation in the form of a committee meeting, illustrating the kind of normality that Mr. Cameron could easily have overlooked in his plans. The recent arts cuts were also featured, in the opening performance significantly, as this was used for the reason for the play having a cast of one. This poignant play resulted in the question of arts cuts being present throughout, and questioned the importance of this art form.
Shazia Mirza Laura Schofield
Being from Birmingham this was somewhat of a home coming for comedian and Guardian writer Shazia Mirza as she took to the stage in the Drum on Saturday night. She immediately stormed out into the audience and begun to pick on every person she came across, 'his shoes were ugly', 'she was obviously a divorced women', 'she was behaving in a very typical Asian fashion', 'those two men sat together were obviously gay', 'she was too young to be there!' She made it right to the back of the audience, no one was safe and this very much set the president for the show. Her style of comedy is hard hitting and she is certainly not afraid of crossing lines or offending anyone. She endlessly teased the Asian members in the audience and constantly referred to the white, middle-aged people as 'Guardian readers'. Shazia's show was very much centered round her audience interaction which is a technique that can often backfire on a come-
dian as it allows hecklers the opportunity to speak out. However, only someone truly foolish would have dared heckle Mirza as she was so ferocious towards the members of the audience who hadn't even engaged her, let alone insulted her. There was one particularly bizarre moment when she asked a couple on the front row if they were married, obviously expecting the answer 'yes' and thus leading nicely into a story about her parents. However, the response she received was most unexpected, it transpired that the man was married but not to the women he was there with, he assured Shazia that he was going to get divorced, to which his female companion responded “That's news to me!”. It was incredibly awkward, but hilarious moment, and Shazia stood open mouthed for several seconds, unsure how to proceed. Her natural wit is undeniable, but her constant reference to her Muslim roots was slightly alienating. However, in this case comedy displayed it's ability to transgress cultural boundaries, allowing for a provocative and informing act.
Town Hall 5th December This assortment of classical pieces will feed your inner culture vulture, and the with a Christmas finale will put you firmly in the festive mood. Tickets £5
The Laramie Project
The Amos Room 8th – 11th December Put on by the perennially excellent Inifinty Stage Company. Innovative and dealing with the complex issue of a homophobic murder, this is not one to be missed for any avante garde theatre lover.
3rd December 2010
System Of A Down to headline Download 2011 www.downloadfestival.com
The Drums Sarah Hailan gets up close and personal with The Drums as they bring their surf pop sound to the HMV Institute
William Franklin & Charlie Bailey Music Editors
Jay-Z – 99 Problems (The Prodigy Remix) A landmark in popular hip-hop, 99 Problems is second only to Hallelujah or Changes for its sheer wealth of covers, and for that exact reason it's become a tad stale. However the titans of trance give it their signature treatment with cataclysmic beats and monstrous saw-toothed synth lines. The end result is impressive indeed. Man or mogul, Jay-Z's music has certainly stood the test of time. Brian Eno – Invisible Ambient electronica does not get any better than this. Opening with a spasmodic series of samples (the most audible from fun fair rides) it rapidly dissolves into a shimmering chorus of melodic hums and sparkles. It's so lung-collapsingly lovely that it almost fails as ambient music altogether. The genre pretty much exists to provide unobtrusive background sound while you get on with something productive. Your experience with Eno might be just that, but you're just as likely to be taken inward, on a sprawling journey though your imagination that leaves the essay you were planning to do, far behind. Sunday Girl – Four Floors (Diplo Remix) Yet another gorgeous pop singer/ songwriter? Not exactly; the original Four Floors was a diamond in the rough, with some engaging Robyn-esque synth hooks and damaged-goods vocals. Diplo, though, went a little further, adding some indie-jeans-tight bass, whirring siren synths and the now predictable violin work. Not that that's a bad thing, in fact I've never heard it used so well, adding a measure of grace to this otherwise stomping dubstep number.
Over the weekend, I caught up with indie pop band The Drums at the HMV Institute for a quick interview before their gig later that night. Due to Tom and Jonathan having to get back to rehearsals, they weren't at the interview. Instead I spoke to the lovely drummer Connor Hanwick, who honestly was a pleasure to meet. How are you guys today? Yeah we're all doing really great thanks, pretty tired though. This week has just been so manic, playing two shows in London and all. Barely any time to stop and just chill! But hey, that's what it's all about right? You must miss home a lot of the time then? Yeah loads. People always have this misconception that it's all fun and games but it's really not. You know, we work our butts off and we miss home, our friends and family but it's like any job... any job comes with a bunch of positives and negatives. I do miss my home comforts, we all do. We're doing what we love though and that's the main thing!
Lush instrumental post-rock from a fairly unknown Australian band. Sporting the required pretentious moniker – don't be put off. Stick with this track and you'll be rewarded by cascading guitars and a nice sense of loud-quiet dynamics that really lets the track roar when it gets into its stride.
So how did you guys first get together? Well, Jonathan and Jacob met at summer camp years and years ago. They became great friends and both loved music, so they both formed their own bands. Jon was living in Brooklyn with nothing happening for him, he felt like he was at such a dead end. He called up Jacob, and Jac was like 'Jon, dude just pack your things, move to Florida and move in with me and we can finally start working on that band we always talked about'. And so he did, then myself and Kessler got involved and we all moved back down to Brooklyn. That's why most of our songs are pretty depressing, cause Jon writes most of them, ha!
Contact us: email@example.com & 'Redbrick Music' on Facebook
How did you come about choosing your bands name then?
These Hands Could Seperate The Sky – Patient Is The Sea
Well, you know, back in the day it was so common for people to have a band name with 'the' at the beginning and we kinda loved that... These days, there are so many awful, awful band names - I'm talking embarrassing man - now I don't wanna name any names or put anybody out there but I'm sure you know what I mean. Something I love about our band is that we're not gimmicky. We're all about the music. Now that sounds pretty cheesy right? But it's true. We love instruments and getting on stage and playing our music. We don't come on stage with dancers jumping out of god knows where and costumes made out of feathers and all that. It's music and we want it to be listened to, understood and enjoyed. Gimmicky, theatrical stuff just draws attention away from the music. So that's why we chose the name 'The Drums' – it's straight to the point, direct, all about the music. Who were your inspirations? God, there are so many! We all love the Ramones, Joy Division, The Smiths. I love my rock music so much, I really do. Even though we don't make music that's overly rock or heavy, that's what got me started in the first place. You guys gained success pretty quickly. How was it being shortlisted as one of the 15 music acts for the BBC sound of 2010? That must have given you lots of media attention and recognition. It really did. It meant a lot to us, because to be honest we didn't even think that many people in the UK listened to us or liked us. Apparently it's a massive deal to be put on that shortlist. We were honoured! Hopefully more people in the UK have been listening to us since that list was released. You were also voted 'Best Hope for 2010' in Pitchfork's Readers' Poll. Do you feel like that added more pressure to
make music which stood out? Well, we like to think that we ourselves have our own high expectations, so ever since we started playing music we've been trying to get better and better. We didn't feel pressure due to us being voted in that poll. It meant an incredible amount to us but we work so hard as it is and I don't think we could ever do anymore. We work as hard as we possibly ever could and we're loving it.
set any of our fans.
Do you think you'll ever go in a different direction and make more serious, slow music or is that too far away from what you want to produce? I'm not really sure what you mean but if you mean more emotional songs with slower rhythms then that's just not what we're about. I think some people do see our music as funny, jokey and not serious and that's completely not what we want. We are so serious about this, we love our music. We have an amazing contrast in each song, due to the content and lyrics being meaningful and at times depressing – with upbeat melodies. We want people to dance to our music but still be able to relate to it.
What has been your favourite gig that you have performed so far? We've played in so many great places, like the UK and Japan and just all over the place. But I really think that our favourite gigs have been the ones where we had just started off. Being young and playing to a small crowd of 30 people in New York, where people were excited to listen to us. I feel like when we perform at festivals, as much as I love playing there, people just aren't really listening to us, I definitely prefer playing in smaller venues. People have come purely to see you, not come for one song. It's way more personal and we can really connect with the audience.
When you played at Leeds Festival this summer, you dropped Let's Go Surfing from your set list. Is this because you want people to know you for your other great songs? To be honest, that's exactly why we did it. We don't want to be known as a band who only has one great song. If I do say so myself, all of our songs are great. And we felt like 'Let's Go Surfing', even though that got us a lot of recognition, was overshadowing the other songs on our albums. We don't want people to just come and see us for one song. So I guess deciding not to play Let's Go Surfing meant that people were forced to listen to all of our music, and actually understand us as a band, and not think of us as a one hit wonder or whatever. We are sorry though if we did up-
Do you feel like there is a difference in terms of how a crowd is in Britain and over in the US? Before we were well known, I used to ask myself the exact same thing! But I think wherever we play, everyone has been great and enthusiastic which is amazing. Sometimes I still can't believe it myself.
If you had to make a track with anyone, who would it be? Wow that's really hard. Umm, you know I actually have no idea. Truthfully, we probably wouldn't ever record a song with anyone. No one makes our music better than we do, and collaborating with someone or a band probably wouldn't work. I really doubt we would make a track with anyone.
Finally, what can everyone expect to see from you guys in future? Just expect more of the same stuff really, we never change! We're gonna be touring, making more albums and doing our thing till we're sick of the sight of each other, ha! Seriously, we're gonna continue to work hard and make great tracks that hopefully everyone loves.
Editors – Charlie Bailey, William Franklin
Cee Lo Green
A gorgeously rich, impressively dynamic voice encased in an eclectically iconic pink suit: Cee Lo Green's ultra-cool The Lady Killer persona is infectiously appealing. It's no real surprise then that the fuck cleansed 'Forget You' became the summer sensation of 2010. Blared out in clubs and blasted out of cars, this soulful soover-you song generated the Crazy hype reminiscent of Cee Lo's Gnarls Barkley days back in '06. Unlike Cee Lo's previous two solo albums The Lady Killer offers a deliciously focused retro slice of Motown, soul and 70s funk. Rather than a jarringly eccentric mash up of hip-hop, jazz, rock, psych and soul as found on striking 2002 debut Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections. Sweeping cinematically through the James Bond-esque and film-noir Bodies, Cee Lo expertly mixes melancholy, with pure lust, tearing at and then melt-
Hare and Hounds 22/11/2010
ing your heartstrings with his velvet tones. The album's opening track Bright lights big city, initially lights up a stage which none of the other tracks seem to dull. The lulling sensuality of Wildflower, the upbeat melodies, concealing heart-breaking pain in 'Cry Baby', the throbbing dark military bassline of Bodies, this album is addictive. Although Fuck You is the standout track, The Lady Killer will never be a one-hit album. Smoothly sexual 'Satisfied' with its supreme chorus, capturing Cee Lo's neo-retro sound, plus it includes saxophones and who doesn't love a bit of the sax? The Lady Killer should guarantee Cee Lo Green commercial success; it's a refreshing modern day soul inspired pop record with just enough grit to appeal to a mass audience. Katie Cattell
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Sarah Blasko, an Australian singersongwriter from French descent, definitely has the quirk of the misunderstood European. Support acts got us warmed up, local lass Tara Chinn brought vigour with her energetic band and soulful voice – bears similarity to Joss Stone. Then Allie Moss' delicate presence quietened the crowd, especially when she played 'Corner' (features in the bizarrely touching BT ad). The pace of the evening was spot on – it felt so much more understated than I would expect Sarah Blasko's reputation holds. Voted Female Artist of the Year 2009 in Australia, Blasko's second album What the Sea Wants the Sea Will Have received platinum accreditation and her latest album As Day Follows Night reached no.5 in the Australian Album Chart. She has toured with the likes of Ray LaMontagne and Martha Wainwright, and in 2006, Blasko performed live at the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. As Day Follows Night was produced by Bjorn Yttling, from Peter Bjorn and John and I think the Scandinavian influence is quite apparent. Similar to Swedish songstress Lykke Li, Blasko seemed gentle and confident. Songs like Night and Day created an eerie atmosphere comparable to the likes of Portishead, and the often spacious arrangements of tracks like
Music Diary 3rd– 9th Friday 3rd Aiden O2 Academy 3
Kano The Temple, HMV Institute
Saturday 4th Down on Love made you want to bop like a jack-in-the-box. This wasn't just a woman playing a guitar and singing about love (which separated her from the previous act). She was joined by four men to play various instruments. Over and Over let the whole band contribute to percussion; the marching drums built up atmosphere, with a snippet of Talking Head's Road to Nowhere letting everyone clapping. Maybe it was the modest setting, but somehow everything about her performance had a classy, classic feel to it. Her dancing was endearing, almost like a bird floating along a catwalk. Her delicate voice added to her fragility, she seemed porcelain and composed even when downing a glass of wine. Her earlier jazz-blue experience is apparent in catchy singles All I Want and We Won't Run, which had the audience singing along, even though the majority seemed to be watching her for the first time. We didn't know many of her tracks but she didn't care and joined the audience for a drink afterwards. Eva Hibbs
Echo and the Bunnymen O2 Academy Johhny Flynn HMV Institute
Sunday 5th Meat Loaf NEC
Villagers The Library, HMV Institute
Bullet for my Valentine NIA You Me At Six Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
Taste of Chaos, with: Disturbed NIA
Wednesday 8th Arcade Fire NEC
Thursday 9th Dreadzone O2 Academy 2
The Moulettes Hare and Hounds
3rd December 2010
BFI receives 60% funding increase British Film Institute told by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey that lottery will aid funding
127 Hours – Remember to leave a note...
Film Editor Matt Davis sits down with Danny Boyle and James Franco at the British Film Festival A true story set in Utah, Aron Ralston (Franco) falls into a crevice with his arm caught in a precarious position. For five days, Ralston battles for survival whilst filming his ordeal. career, are that he really looks to challenge himself by approaching different kinds of material that he's not used to, such as subject matter and movies that have technical requirements that force him to make discoveries and pull him out of his comfort zone. He also unashamedly likes to entertain and make exciting movies. One of the things I commonly hear people say is that his movies are unlike any other movie they have seen. I take those two ideas to heart.
How would you like people to feel at the end of the movie? Danny Boyle: There is a sense of euphoria in getting over it, getting life back again. I think James' acting of that pain and process is an extraordinary and empathetic thing that takes you to a place
where you feel very vulnerable. As a director, amongst the many other things you do, what did you learn from Danny specifically? James Franco: The two large things that seem to me to guide his
What did you put yourself through that could compare to Arons experience? JF: Danny mentioned the early scene when the character has just been trapped by the boulder. In the spirit of Danny's exploration, he said to me 'try to pull your arm
out, do anything you can, bash yourself against the rock, yank, pull anything you can'. I said, 'OK, I'll probably be really bruised and exhausted, probably get hurt a little bit' and Danny said 'yeaaaah yeaaaah!' I was completely exhausted and the next day my arm was literally purple, but we figured it out and worked out how to do those scenes. And as an actor, it was incredibly liberating to really experience that. James, how do you think Aron managed to keep his mental strength? JF: Aron showed us the actual videos that he made when he was trapped there. We were sitting there watching a guy who had accepted his own death and didn't realise there was a happy ending. But he wasn't wallowing in selfpity, he was delivering these very personal, dignified messages to his family. To me, that says loads. It says there is great strength there and great connection to his family, and great love to make it last.
A charismatic ensemble of Redbrick Film writers debate the sorcerous Radcliffe very successful post-Potter career for Mr. Radcliffe.
A resounding No!
How can you not love Daniel? He's grown up with us and he's one of us! Now, I'm not trying to say that he is the most convincing actor in the world; having just seen The Deathly Hallows such a statement would be verging on hilarious. And yes, he does have the gift of cringe: the bizarre ability to make any given moment pretty awkward. But come on, he's harmless! Radcliffe's geekiness isn't necessarily a bad thing – we all remember his stint on Ricky Gervais' Extras. And the best thing about him is that he's wholly aware of his oddness and clearly embraces it, as we should. He reminds you of your slightly geeky younger brother who collects Star Trek figurines, comes out with odd conversation killers, but who can't cause any lasting damage. To Radcliffe's credit, for the last ten years he has been the face of one of the biggest film franchises of all time and has managed not to turn into a Hollywood monstrosity. Many a child star before him has been condemned to drug abuse, rehab, general trainwreckness, or a blend of all three. But not Daniel, he's got his feet firmly on the ground and just gets on with being his very human self. What definitely tips the scale is Radcliffe's charitable nature. He has worked for a range of good causes in his spare time, making large donations to charitable organisations supporting terminally-ill children, victims of the
Pitt was made famous by roles in films such as Doctor Zhivago and Where Eagles Dare but she was best loved for her successful career in numerous Hammer horror, including The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, The House That Dripped Blood and a small part in The Wicker Man. Born in Poland as Ingoushka Petrov, Pitt and her family managed to survive life in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. She collapsed last week, just two days after her 73rd birthday and died a few days later in hospital.
See next week's issue of Redbrick for a review of 127 Hours
Justified Existence: Daniel Radcliffe Oh Gosh Yes!
It has been reported that Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski will be joining Johnny Depp for the new Lone Ranger film from Disney, based on the 1950s American radio and TV show. The series centred around a masked Texas Ranger fighting injustices in the Wild West with his Native American friend Tonto, who Depp is reportedly going to be playing.
tsunami and even suicidal LGBTQ people. If this alone doesn't justify DanRad's existence, then I don't know what does. He's just a nice, nerdy boy who can't act too well, but makes up for it in charm and likeability.
A Reaffirming Yes! Michael Brownlee Film Writer
Most people think Radcliffe has failed as an actor and that he is one of the main reasons why the Harry Potter films are generally poor in correspondence with the books. I whole-heartedly disagree with these people. I love the Harry Potter books as much as the next person, they are the most popular books of our generation, and I also agree with my fellow Potterreaders that the films have been pretty bad (except Goblet of Fire which was surprisingly good) but Daniel Radcliffe is not to blame! The people to blame are the cretins who adapt the books into screenplays; cutting out important plot details whilst pushing in the romantic comedy tripe which
doesn't work. I'll admit in the first few films Radcliffe couldn't act, none of the kids could, but this didn't bother you because they were small and sweet in their little Hogwarts robes and the films had a certain British charm to them. I think since Goblet of Fire, Radcliffe has proven himself worthy of landing the most lucrative role in film. He handles the darker side of the story very well whilst succeeding in making the audience laugh with the comedy lines written specifically for the films. Radcliffe has proven himself to be a fine actor outside the Potter franchise too. Critics praised him for his West End debut in Equus and I thought he gave a brilliant performance in My Boy Jack; an ITV drama a few years ago where he played Rudyard Kipling's son who fought and died in World War I. Obviously, Radcliffe's main danger is becoming type-cast as Harry Potter and alienating himself from other roles. However, as long as he continues to choose varied and challenging roles, I think The Journey is the Destination will be the start of a
So across the pond the yanks are transfiguring their actors into wand lit superstars and who do we have? Daniel Radcliffe? Really? Apparently so. Well, what can I say... he's braver than Dumbledore going into these films without any of that bewitching Hollywood charm. Firstly, he has glasses. Glasses! Who doesn't have contacts these days?! Secondly, no wizard should know the periodic table that well. Everyone knows science and magic don't go together and everyone knows science and singing don't go together. That's right, I saw him on Graham Norton (he sang the periodic table in case you missed it, which, if we're honest, you probably did). Radcliffe says he enjoys filming the Quidditch (a broomstick sport) scenes the most and while they do look good, I think there's another reason; height. Though he seems to have avoided short man syndrome pretty well on the face of things, this 5'6" guy gets way too big a kick out of being above everyone else for a change. This is no persecution of vertically challenged individuals, but if this guy is going to fly around on a broomstick several hundred feet above the ground just to feel better about himself, well, is this really the kind of person we want representing our beloved country across the globe? He may well be insane.
The Departed star has confirmed he will not be starring in the reboot of this successful franchise. 'There was a director attached who I was a fan of, and he's no longer doing it', said Wahlberg. The director he speaks of is Stephen Norrington, British director of previous comic book adaptations Blade and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Norrington is said to have left because of creative differences with another actor, who decided the film needed a new script.
Slightly strange story to finish off, with the news that The Italian Job is to join classics Reservoir Dogs and Collateral in being remade by Bollywood. Shooting had already begun, but only parts of the cast, including megastar Abhishek Bachchan replacing Michael Caine, are so far known. Well, it can't be any worse than Hollywood's 2003 attempt I guess… Greta Morris
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors - Matt Davis, Elmley de la Cour
Beautiful shots, some good scenes and great acting, it’s a shame about the huge waste-of-space plot, though, and the gaping holes that follow. London Boulevard, converted from the book by Ken Bruen, follows the character of Mitchell (Farrell), a man who has just been released from a 3-year prison sentence and is now trying to start life anew, no longer as a criminal, but apparently working for a retired actress. Mitchell is hired by Charlotte (Knightley) to protect her from the spying eyes of paparazzi. What follows is mostly predictable and eye-
roll worthy. They fall in love within a matter of days. Wham bam thank you ma’am. Hardly any development is seen between these characters to warrant this reaction. One minute they’re having a chat, the next they’re declaring their love. Which to be honest, is highly preposterous. This is too reminiscent of ‘love’ described in the way too popular vampire franchise (not mentioning any names of course). However, with every criminal wanting to come clean there is always that one boss that follows them around like a puppy. Cue Ray Winstone, in a, sad to say, type casted part with yet another distinct lack of character development. This was a shame, because his scenes were probably some of the most enjoyable to watch. The character that did steal the show, however, was Jordan,
Charlotte’s live-in friend and druggy. Played by David Thewlis (think Remus Lupin from Harry Potter), Jordan offered humorous moments within the serious matter with his random comments and actions. Yet he still is left as a dangling character that has no purpose towards the plot or subplot whatsoever. London Boulevard feels rushed, and has too many plot holes to be considered a finished, complete work. That said, there are some well acted scenes, considering the narrative provided, and the long shots used by Monahan are wonderful, showing that the director does have some talent that deserves better than this dreary film.
heather smeeton !
In these modern times of films about planting ideas in people’s dreams, and love triangles with vampires and werewolves, Unstoppable is refreshing in its simplicity. There’s not much character development, it’s not in 3D and there’s no indulgent CGI which action films have been filled with recently. It’s streamlined to the point where you begin to wonder if what is essentially a lot of shots of trains will stay interesting, but the relentless pace and the chemistry between the two leads makes sure that the audience is
never anything other than engrossed. The basic plot is very similar to Speed, only with Dennis Hopper’s evil genius replaced by an idiot (Ethan Suplee, My Name Is Earl) who abandons his train (which, naturally, is carrying toxic chemicals) without applying the brake. It is then left to Frank Barnes (Washington) and Will Colson (Pine) to go against orders, and stop the locomotive by themselves. There are a couple of moments that come dangerously close to countless other cliché-ridden action thrillers. Both characters (one staring retirement in the face, the other with a failing marriage) could have easily have been taken from ‘Writing Action Movies for Idiots’, and a scene of school chil-
This excellent and sadly overlooked film from 2008 is one of the current glut of films to come out of Sweden, of all places. This masterfully atmospheric film goes a long way towards putting the traditional movie producing countries in the shade. The film follows Oskar, a bullied twelve year old boy who lives in a sleepy suburb of Stockholm. The setting is remote and veiled in a permanent layer of snow, sucking out all the colour and detail from the world. It is in this environment that Oskar is trapped. He is frustrated, yet unable to express his emotion; he is waiting and hoping, for something, anything to happen. Happenings commence with the arrival of a mysterious new neighbour, Eli, a young girl who reeks of otherness. There is no mystery that Eli is a vampire; this aspect of her character is of course significant, and there is suspense and plenty of blood, but this is not Twilight again. This film succeeds in every area Twilight failed; it is lip-bitingly romantic, beautiful and also terrifying. The relationship between Oskar and Eli is both awkward and adorable in an incredibly believable way. All the beautifully cringe-inducing pre-teen dialogue and interaction is so sincere, the life experience of the author Aivide Lindqvist is put to good use. The holes in both the children’s lives are filled by the other in a manner which is fulfilling to the viewer. The horror aspects of the film
are done in the same subtle and subdued style focus on the grizzly, real-life issues faced by vampires. Some scenes are pretty horrific, but the film does an excellent job of making you feel sympathetic, and so skilfully avoids losing an audience who might otherwise see the film completely differently. Let the Right One In is an emotionally striking, beautiful and charmingly innocent horror flick that shows there is more to horror than evil spirits and ‘torture-porn’. I dare anyone to not like it. ADAM BRICKNELL
Director: Tony Scott Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine Cert:12A
Redbrick Recommends... Let the Right One In
Director: William Monahan Cast: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightly Cert: 18
Directors: Ethan Maniquis, Robert Rodriguez Cast: Danny Trejo Cert: 18
dren being loaded on to a train before Suplee tells a worker not to bother connecting his airbrakes is ‘facepalm’ inducing. Thankfully, however, director Tony Scott (Top Gun, True Romance) keeps these indiscretions to a minimum. Unstoppable shows that you don’t need high-concept action scenes, futuristic locations, or extraordinary characters like those in Inception to make a good thriller. The stunts feel refreshingly real and the story feels suited to bluecollar Pennsylvania, as do the two main characters. Brilliant proof that a runaway train can still more than compete with alien invasions and terrorists attacks. Matthew Clough !
Violence? Check. Girls? Check. Blade swinging double crossed Mexican agent? Very much check. The film follows an ex federal going by the name of Machete (Danny Trejo) who, following the gruesome murder of his wife and son, makes the crossing into the US. Unfortunately he never really gets the chance to settle down, as it isn’t long before he’s hired to kill the local senator candidate (Robert De Niro). Without wanting to go spoiling it, things go a tad wrong and it becomes very important that Machete kills lots and lots of people. Killing is something which the giant Mexican is quite good at and within the first few minutes of the film, Machete’s already butchered a whole group of bad guys using his beloved, eponymous weapon. If you’re not a fan of violence this may not be the best film for you, as the bloodshed is excessive to say the least. There are some brilliant stunts though, and these get more and more over the top as the film goes on, a particular highlight being when Machete abseils down a building using a man’s unravelling intestine. It’s crammed with big names too; Michelle Rodriguez and Steven Seagal to name a few. Lindsay Lohan also makes an appearance as a gun wielding nun and Jessica Alba is on immigra-
tion control. Sometimes funny, but at others just plain weird, Machete is both loveable and hateable depending on how you look at it. It’s not deep and unlikely to change your life, but if you can leave any expectations of realism at the door and not ask too many questions, it’s great fun. ADAM BRICKNELL !
Top Ten Sex and the City Moments
For six years, we followed four women through their relationships with men, New York and each other. We shared laughter, tears, births and marriages. Here is a selection of just a few of my favourite moments...
Carrie gets shouted at
Although it's horrible to see one of our girls getting a bollocking, it was deserved and proved that even Carrie couldn't get away with sleeping with a married Big.
Miranda eats the cookie
Sexy Doctor Robert gives Miranda a giant cookie with 'I love you' written in icing. Freaked out, she eats the entire thing and pretends it never existed. She then realises it's Steve she loves and accidently blurts it out at Brady's birthday party.
The Home Garden shoot
Charlotte and Trey finally realise after two attempts at their marriage that it's not working. They agree to divorce but not before Trey turns up to the Home and Garden shoot to fulfil Charlotte's life long dream.
The birth of Brady
'It's like suddenly there's a giraffe in the room'. Against the odds with Miranda's lazy ovary and Steve's one testicle, Miranda gets pregnant and decides to keep it, realising there's no right time to have a baby. Carrie is at her side. at the birth.
Harry proposes to Charlotte
Having accidentally told Harry that she was too good for him, he broke up with her. Attempting to find another Jewish man, she turns up to a singles night. Upon seeing Harry at the event, she informs him that she wants to get married, prompting him to propose to her.
'Maybe we can be each others soulmates'
On Carrie's 35th birthday, no one turns up to her birthday meal. When the girls later persuade her to meet up with them, she confesses to how alone she feels without a man in her life. Charlotte suggests that they be each others soulmates and let men be fun things that come and go.
Samantha dances with Richard
Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall)
'Carrie you're the one'
The moment we and Carrie had been waiting for, for 6 long years. Big finally realised that Carrie was the one he wanted to spend his life with and he flew out to Paris to win her back.
Samantha gets cancer
Samantha finds out she has breast cancer and being Samantha she faced it head on, shaved off her hair and came out, even more fabulous than before.
Review of the brand new season redbrickonline.co.uk
Secrets and Lies Reporter
Samantha, who refuses to ever be tied down by a man, finally lets a man into her heart and accepts Richards invitation to dance by the pool.
Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon)
Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah J. Parker)
3rd December 2010
Charlotte York (Kristin Davis)
Having previously seen the ring and thrown up, Carrie is sure she's not the marrying kind. But when Aidan gets down on one knee she knows her answer is yes.
Speaking as an avid X Factor fan, what strikes me most about this year's competition is not the extensive squabbling with my fellow supporters over who will win, but the ever increasing number of scandals. The X Factor is now approaching its ninth live show and a week has not gone by without some form of controversy. First, there was the claim from fans that the initial audition process was technically enhanced with auto-tuning. This set the scandalous ball rolling. Now, with only a few weeks to go before the final, I am asking myself whether or not my years of support have been blinded by a deceitful veil of wool over my eyes. Perhaps, the most shocking rumour is that involving Katie Waissel, or should I say Katie Vogel, or is it Lola Fontaine? It's hard to keep up but Katie has already attempted fame twice in the US. Using the alias Katie Vogel, she has starred in a reality series titled Green Eyed World. Not only that, but she came very close to waving goodbye to her X Factor dream when it was discovered that she had a record deal with Chamberlain Records under the name Lola Fontaine. Although this breaks the X Factor rules, it appears the show's lawyers paid an arm and a leg to terminate her contract and keep her in the competition. Perhaps, this explains why the judges kept her in after four weeks of being in the bottom two.
Epicentre of controversy on The X Factor, Katie Waissel The most infuriating instance was when Simon Cowell chose to keep Katie over the arguably more talented Aiden Grimshaw. This brings me nicely round to my next point of outrage. It has been claimed that the results have been leaked on Twitter before being announced to the public. When Aiden left the show, he stated, 'my friend texted me about half an hour before and said there was a leak on Twitter and I was in the bottom three'. Although such claims have been heavily denied by the producers, it would not be such a surprise given the devious nature of this year's show. With all this crafty behaviour, there is yet another rumour that the show has been fixed to favour Cheryl Cole and her mini-me, Cher
Lloyd. It is hardly surprising then that once again a rebellion rose against the show with the Facebook group 'Wagner to win X Factor'. Let's not forget the great success of last year's revolution that pushed Rage Against the Machine's anti-establishment song, Killing in the Name of, to the Christmas Number 1. Although he was unable to escape the mire of the bottom three this week, Wagner's support and his inability to hit a note even vaguely in tune highlighted the desire of the public to sabotage the credibility of the show. Although this saddens me and as much as I was glad to see Wagner go, I fear the show may be reaping what it has sown. It is possible that The X Factor is finally paying for its lack of integrity.
(Kunal Nayyar) working arrangements lead to some good old-fashioned slapstick. The introduction of Amy Farrah Fowler and the return of Bernadette (Melissa Rauch, True Blood), Howard's girlfriend, have allowed for a whole range of new comedic possibilities, including Amy's attempts to cement her friendship with Penny and Bernadette during a girl's night in, involving an awkward game of truth or dare. Unfortunately, Raj is in danger of becoming a stale character. The running joke involving his inability to talk to women is ultimately too debilitating, in correlation with the increased presence of female characters. In these circumstances, Raj is limited and this seems a shame for a character that has already proved his potential this series, through his strained attempts to work with Sheldon. This series also sees the arrival of a number of occasional characters, including Raj's sister Priya (Aarti Mann), who revisits a secret love affair, and Penny's father (Keith Carradine), who believes Penny and Leonard are still together. The presence of both of these characters create situations with hilarious consequences. The hilarity continues with the introduction of celebrity guests including, Katie Sackhoff, George
Takei, Eliza Dushku and the return of Will Wheaton. The Big Bang Theory is a display of situation comedy at its best, consistently delivering season after season of increasingly funny and intelligent humour.
Comedy Genius Kelly Shrimpton Reporter
The Big Bang Theory began with a simple enough concept: two genius physicists, Leonard (Johnny Galecki, Roseanne) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons, Judging Amy), whose knowledge of the universe and everything in it, ironically, didn't include how to talk to women. So when Penny (Kaley Cuoco, 8 Simple Rules) moves in next door, it's obvious that they're both clueless, and their attempts at social interaction lay the tracks for one of the funniest comedies on TV. Now, the hit US show is back for a forth series with another fix of nerd-based comedy. While Sheldon struggles with the conventions of his relationship with non-girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik, Blossom), Leonard begins to find single life difficult. The eclectic mix of social awkwardness and scientific, nerd-inspired humour that has made The Big Bang Theory a success is once again delivered in abundance. However, the show's creators, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, are not afraid of experimenting with other forms of comedy. Howard's (Simon Helberg) intimacy issues involving a robot arm borders on the blue, while Sheldon's and Raj's
Jim Parsons, as Sheldon Cooper
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Natalie Timmins, Joe McGrath
Cops and Robbers
Panels of Gold Jennifer Anderson looks at the success of comedy panel shows
A new Channel 4 show hit our TV screens this week, with an interesting and refreshing insight into the world of the police force. Although this is not a revelatory idea for the box with shows such as Police, Camera, Action and Road Wars already being broadcast, the dynamic for the show is very different. Instead of focusing on one specific aspect of the police force, Coppers allowed its viewers to gain a taste of a variety of different jobs from varying locations. Ordinarily, when a police show is broadcast we are only treated to high speed chases and specific areas of the country, but we are never shown what happens to the criminals after they have committed the offences. In contrast, the first episode of Coppers took us inside the custody department in Medway, Kent. This episode gave an insight to where criminals go between being arrested and either being charged or released. The narrator asks relevant questions to the staff and we are able to see the interaction between police and criminals at a close level. The brutal task of reprimanding some people is caught red handed on camera for all the viewing public to see. As a result, it is clear to see what a demanding job being a Copper is. Other episodes have focused on the emergency responses, in which we see the abuse that the poor officers are given on the phone-lines. It makes the blood boil with some of the calls that people phone in with that are clearly not emergen-
Have I Got News For You is the ultimate satirical comedy veteran. Running since 1990, it still attracts an audience of about five million on average every week. Other shows following in the footsteps of this comedy great include Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week, Russell Howard's Good News and 8 Out of 10 Cats to name a few. Earlier this month Russell Howard broke the one million viewers mark on BBC Three, and Mock the Week regularly entertains an audience of about 3.5 million, showing that people are still turning to these sorts of shows for their comedy kicks.
Would you mind stepping out of the car? Behind the scenes on Coppers cies and waste valuable time. Furthermore, traffic cops were followed to show the job that they undertake on the road side. Unlike other previous programmes, Coppers showed the jobs of the Police Officers that have to attend road-side accidents. They have the distressing job of having to inform families of fatal accidents and produce follow-up reports. This was a dramatic episode that captured the difficulties faced by Coppers in their jobs every day. Most recently, Coppers followed officers in Wakefield and Leeds on a typical Saturday night
in the town centre. From this, it is clear to see that blatant disrespect that people have for the people in uniform these days. I know at this point that I do sound like an aging war veteran, but on this evidence it is true. However, the coppers did not do themselves any favours by showing that they can be exceptionally short tempered leading to public frustration when they are reprimanded. It was irritating to watch people being arrested for trivial things, leading to the local custody office being filled very quickly, leaving the real criminals
to be transported to an inconvenient location further away from the arrest area. As suggested in its colloquial title, Coppers is a laid back show that looks to give an accurate insight into the daily trials and tribulations of different aspects of the police force. At times it is a frustrating watch, but one that I tune into every Monday at 9pm. Hopefully, if others have enjoyed this series as much as I have, their will at least be a second one to carry on the investigation. I now evoke my right to remain silent.
Based loosely on the novel by Melinda Metz and adapted for television by Jason Katims, this teenage drama comes highly regarded by fans of Buffy and Angel. The central plot focuses upon the lives of Roswell High School trio, Liz (Applebly), Maria (Majandra Delfino) and Alex (Colin Hanks) who live amongst a constant influx of tourists, often hiding out peacefully in local diner, The Crashdown Cafe... That is, until a dispute between two customers leads to some fatal consequences with Liz being the unintended victim of a shooting. However, amongst the chaos and the rocket ships, she is somehow resurrected by the healing hands of High School outcast Max (Jason Behr), who vanishes almost as quickly as he arrived. After finding her abdominal wound gone but a silver hand print remaining, Liz is determined to expose Max for what he really is. But in doing so risks not only unmasking Max but also his companions Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and Michael (Brendan Fehr), who are fellow alien survivors of the 1947 crash, and bringing them into public turmoil. Yet Max finds himself somehow drawn to Liz and pleads with her to conceal their true identities from not only an alien obsessed public but more importantly the suspicious Sherriff Valenti (William Sadler) and the FBI. This Romeo and Juliet-like tale of these literally 'star-cross'd
lovers', boasts an impressive cast in their early days including Shiri Appleby (Liz) of Charlie Wilson's War and A Life Unexpected, Hollywood heartthrob Jason Behr (Max), and star of both Grey's Anatomy and The Ugly Truth, Katherine Heigl (as Isabel). Created in 1999, the show demonstrated the kind of boymeets-girl-with-a-paranormaltwist theme that was common at that time, and is practically an obligatory requirement on every channel nowadays. Despite its typical storylines, the show made use of an impressive array of special effects and media make-up, creating realistic alien creatures and spacecraft. Not to mention an even more impressive sound track catering to the alternative crowd and those with an ear for nineties grunge music, with tracks from bands such as Garbage, Smashmouth and Dido. The show was to last only three years being axed after three seasons in 2002, much to the disappointment of its fans. With interesting storylines and the continual threat of alien extermination, the show is still worth viewing and is about as historically accurate as conspiracy theories can be, which adds a bit of fun to the drama. So if teenage angst mixed with the strange and unexplainable are your thing then this is surely for you. Forget Mulder and Scully, Roswell really is out of this world!
TV Gold Roswell Sarah Murphy
The sleepy New Mexico town of Roswell is famed for many things, including its vast expanses of desert, its quaint American diners, but also its association with little green men in tinfoil suits. In 1947, a UFO is said to have
crash landed in the desert not far from this town and since then and following the creation of Area 51, Roswell has become a hive of alien fanatic activity. This obsession with all things extra-terrestrial eventually culminated in the creation of the television show Roswell also referred to in the UK as Roswell High.
Roswell that ends well: the cast of the show
million viewers tune in to Have I Got News For You on average every week.
So why do we love it so much? The success of Have I Got news For You and other television shows like it is down to the subject of the comedy – politics. Politics is always relevant, can be controversial (and often is), it affects all of us in one way or another; consequently it is a prime source of comedy ripe for the picking. The appeal of these shows lies in their daring approach to the events in the news and political developments on a weekly basis. The comedians' biting wit, sometimes almost acerbic, makes the shows edgy, to the point of being inappropriate and non politically-correct. Have I Got News For You has nurtured and encouraged its reputation for sailing close to the wind in matters of defamation. In today's over-sanitised environment though, in which everything must be politically correct, gender neutral, race neutral and generally over thought, sometimes it is refreshing to let one's hair down, so to speak, and have a bit of a laugh at society. This is where topical satirical TV shows come in, helping us not to take ourselves too seriously and provide us with a good giggle – or a laugh if you're a guy. In comparison to famous comedy duos such as French and Saunders, Walliams and Lucas, Mitchell and Webb, Mel and Sue and Reeves and Mortimer, who have all made their money acting out sketches in character. These topical satirical TV shows are a much freer form of comedy with an element of improvisation – although it is arguable just how much improvisation actually takes place – that some people prefer. To compare these genres is like comparing an apple with an orange, so I won't pursue it any further, but it is interesting why some forms of televised comedy entertain some people and not others.
What do you think? Do comedy double acts outshine panel shows? Have your say at www.redbrickonline.co.uk
3rd December 2010
Fierce or Finished? Fierce
Laser eye surgery: worth the risk? they’re not exactly student budget friendly. As for contact lenses, they’re fussy, small and easy to lose. That leaves the only other option: laser eye surgery.
Rosie Collins Reporter
If you don’t have to wear glasses or contact lenses, you have no idea how lucky you are. Blurred vision has got to be one of the most infuriating things in my life. You can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to have half a sense missing. For those of you who do, I feel your pain. I was diagnosed as short sighted when I was just 11 years old and since then, it has been a life long battle with opticians, glasses and more recently, contact lenses. Being on holiday and having to wear sunglasses over your specs is really not cool. On top of that, finding a fashionable pair of glasses isn’t exactly easy. There are some on the market, but you have to be willing to fork out for a designer label –
You've all seen the adverts: 'laser eye surgery from only £395 per eye' . Permanent sight correction is now a reality This does involve another high price tag, but for something considered to be a long term treatment for poor sight, maybe it's worth the price. You’ve all seen the adverts: ‘laser eye surgery from only £395 per eye’. Yes, permanent sight correction is now a reality. So what exactly is it? If you’re a bit squeamish I would suggest skipping forward a few lines. Laser eye surgery involves a surgeon cutting a small flap in the cornea (the dome shaped outer covering of the eye). A laser can be used to shave a tiny amount off the surface of the eye where it has lost its ability
to focus. Laser surgery effectively reshapes the cornea to correct the problem. Sounds scary right? But, it is estimated that around 100,000 people per year have laser eye surgery in the UK alone. I for one am not so sure. The risks surrounding the procedure are plentiful. Most prominently, following laser eye surgery many patients suffer dry, itchy and irritated eyes. In some cases people are affected by aberrations such as the halo effect or ghosting , the latter being that annoying thing where you start seeing two of everything – a little like when you’ve had one too many on a night out. In the most serious of cases, patients might suffer a permanent loss of vision if the cornea has been shaped incorrectly or the laser has damaged the eye, and to think that these are only some of the problems associated with the procedure is a little scary. There are also further questions over its permanence, with some patients finding their vision getting worse again far sooner than expected. This isn’t really what you want when you’ve spent so much money. Considering that it is almost inevitable that our sight
will deteriorate with age, is it really worth taking the risk? Nevertheless, laser eye surgery has been effective for a lot of people. Celebrities such as Denise Van Outen and Myleene Klass have undergone successful procedures, and around 99% of patients are pleased with the results and don’t suffer any problems. For many, laser eye surgery provides freedom from glasses and contact lenses that lasts a number of years. For now anyway, I think I’m going to stick to a stylish pair of glasses and my usual monthly contact lenses – at least until I’ve graduated and can afford more than a bottle of cheap vodka. Laser eye surgery certainly has its merits. But quite frankly, at this stage, I’m not sure it’s right for me.
Loud – Rihanna’s brand new album. Collaborations with Drake, Nicki Minaj and Eminem make this album hot stuff. Black– Lace, sequins, leather, whatever trend you're working make sure you buy it in black and embrace the dark side. 21sts – Despite the fact that present buying is eating into our overdrafts, constant celebrations of the big 21 mean an excuse for a new outfit and a great chance to party. The German Market - again! Still Fierce, and if you haven't been yet, what are you waiting for? Make sure you go on an empty stomach and fill up on lots of yummy stuff like the sausages and chocolate waffles. Fur Real or Fake? Whatever you choose, a fur coat is a staple buy this winter. The Family The Channel 4 documentary gives us an entertaining look at the Adesina family. Sarah Welsby
Boys and girls: What turns you off?
Finished Cheap leggings for providing as much arse coverage as a pair of see-through tights. Yes, everyone can see your polka dot panties. Drunken cashpoint visits mental night out- priceless… well actually no, my account is screaming. Buttons for continually popping off, getting lost and being so damn hard to replace.
Vicky Hodgkinson Reporter
Nobody is perfect, but some things are a real turn off in a boy. After some research (salacious gossiping) here is what isn't hot. Initial reaction: My research shows that bad shoes are not sexy. So invest in some stylish footwear to get the girl. And lads – your hair! Less of the gel and wax! We probably want to run our hands through it, not get crappy product all over us. Please don’t call a girl ‘hun’ within five minutes of meeting her, just ask her name and stick with it. Arrogant chat up lines don’t work either – how about you talk about something interesting and make us laugh? Thanks. Seeing each other: You’ve popped round to his house and guess what? He is playing Call of Duty or Fifa and will be for the next six hours. You could probably pull off your top and he wouldn’t
notice. TURN OFF! Then when he does eventually check you out whilst you're looking pretty damn hot, he doesn’t compliment you. A simple ‘You look amazing/beautiful’ will suffice. In the bed room: So you’ve bagged the boy and you’re over his hideous shoes, so what does he go and do? A Dutch Oven. It may be funny to you, but there is no way any girl wants to smell your farts under her duvet. Passion-killingly gross. Then, once you’ve got down to it, please refrain from pushing your girlfriend’s head while she’s giving you some oral attention. She doesn’t want to choke to death and it feels far too porno for our liking. Returning the favour will always be appreciated. Oh and guys, please don’t snuggle up when she is trying to sleep, girls like their personal space. Sort it out boys: put the games console control down, bin the gel and speak to us like we are human beings, not sex objects.
Marcus Abbott Reporter
Guys are just after girls for the sex, right? Well, maybe, but if you are covered in fake tan and not touching your food because you’re worried about that diet you’re on, then don’t expect to come home with (most) of us. We have standards as well you know. Initial reaction: Facial hair came up A LOT in the majority of answers. I'm not sure whether, at our ages, there is a serious problem with girl-beards, but perhaps that razor should make an appearance from time-to-time. Piercings; a tough one. Most would agree that less is more. Let’s not go all Katy Perry and have some massive chain hanging from your nose. We appreciate boobs (seriously who doesn’t) but that sexy black dress looks better when your bangers are on the inside.
Let our imagination run wild. Sense of humour: This is such a big deal. If you can’t have a good laugh then you had better find something pretty special about yourself. Though if you find yourself laughing, make sure there’s no snorting involved. I thought I was out with a woman, not a pig. In the bedroom: You’re not a pornstar. You may have the fake tan and big tits look but screaming loudly like a hyena on crack is not sexy. Good to see you making the effort to enjoy it though. And that cuddling thing you think we do! You definitely always start that and we’re definitely not that into it. You’ve, hopefully, worn me out and I really need some rest. That or I’m sulking because you don’t want round two. Leave me be. Sort it out girls: wash off the fake tan - you can still look good without it, and don't be afraid to have a laugh with us! Oh, and the hard to get game is sometimes fun and always a turn on.
Ice Snow’s evil twin, hates heels, hates boots and hates your face. Macho aggression Cracking someone’s nose only results in blood, anger and tears. You’re supposed to be a big man, so stop acting like a childish twat. Simon Cowell’s hair looking more and more like a dead badger each week. Sexy. Christmas grumpiness it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so stuff yourself full of mince pies and stop with your hating! Unfulfilled pledges because backtracking on promises reeks of hypocrisy. Procrastination maybe, in a minute, I might just finish that… probably. Katie Cattell
Fab falsies or fake faux pas?
Roshni Mistry Reporter Extensions, acrylic nails, fake tan, false eyelashes... we all love to add a bit of extra oomph to an outfit, but are women addicted to the lure of 'fake' beauty products? Make-up and cosmetics make us feel great, accentuate our best features and increase our confidence. However, when you are trowelling on foundation, smelling biscuit-y from fake tan, and back combing your hair like crazy, there is a problem. Perhaps it's like when beauty experts suggest teaming dark eye makeup and light lips, and cleavage or legs (not both) – where you only pick a small concoction of
these artificial products. But too often you see girls wandering around teetering on five inch heels, beehives so large that they can store small bottles of vodka and a trout pout to rival Katie Price. Shouldn't it be everything in moderation? Take the programme 'Snog Marry Avoid?' (which is perfect as a distraction from essays) where the artificial Barbie stereotype comes with a side order of yob culture and binge drinking. The women pride themselves on their appearance – some claiming they take up to three hours to get ready for a night out, (imagine starting to get ready for pre-drinks at 6!) embracing the time consuming application of fake beauty products. The vulgar attention they get from men when they are on a night out would make feminists cringe (namely the POD visitors that take underwear as outerwear to a whole new level) and fire extinguish their bras. When they get their 'natural beauty' makeover, the novelty of less make up and PVC on their body is short lived – some claim they look frumpy and plain. What is worse is the moment when they are re-visited by Jenny Frost and the inner disappointment emanates through her eyes as she sees them still clad in all manner of 'fakery'. Are we a generation of women addicted to cosmetics? I mean, I
The Look Ombre hair am partial to the odd false eyelash (well, two) and a spot of hair dyeing, but I can imagine when pulling in a club and you notice a smear of foundation and a sticky eyelash stuck to the lucky target's cheek, a line has been crossed. It's a great feeling when you are dolled up and ready to hit Broad Street, but that gorgeous outfit you bought specifically for this night out might look even better without the long hair extensions and patchy fake tan. It's important that we know how to use the products, what works and what doesn't, making girls you see in the street think how nice you look, instead of whether you are going to steal their boyfriend tonight.
Ageing gracefully? Sophie Everett and Geraldine Tovey probe the pros and cons of aging
Sophie says: Grow up! Lads. Ladies, let's get a grip. Why are we all so scared of leaving our teenage years behind us? Angst free and hormone stable, we are striding into our early 20s with potentially pretty darn good degrees on our backs, yet all we can think about is how 'old' we are getting. Need I remind you: you are not food produce. You don't actually have a best before date – well, at least not one that a bit of exercise can't alter. We are at the prime of our lives, finally old enough to be taken seriously but still young enough to say words like 'mate' 'lad' and 'gaff' without being ironic. Admittedly being 18 we could get away with being more reckless, but remember my friends with greater responsibility comes greater power. These are our prime years, scientifically and socially, this is our generation, don't let us be remembered for moaning about how decrepit and flaccid we were, neither of which are true. Even though we can no longer blame outlandish behaviour on hormones, we still have enough room on a modest sized birthday
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Briony Singh and Rob Lewis
cake to fit on all the candles and enough vigour to down a bottle of wine in an evening without judgement. For the complainers amongst you, don't worry you'll get your chance when we hit 60, and we're only a third of the way there. Remember growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional, so quit whining and get on with it 'mate'.
Geraldine says: I'm never getting old Nothing scares me more than the thought of getting older (well, maybe spiders). I genuinely do not understand how anyone can see aging as a positive thing. The only good thing about your birthday is the excuse to have a major piss-up. Getting older means you actually have to decide what you are going to do with your life and that terrifies me. When you leave the university bubble, you are on your own and will have to be totally self reliant. I still find using a can opener can be more challenging than some seminars, how on earth will I survive alone? Also, when will it become unacceptable to be immature? I don't want to start being
embarrassed about falling over in Gatecrasher or knowing all of the words to the Pokémon theme tune. The expectations of your twenties are so epic as well in terms of life goals. Hopefully, if I am not destined to be a cat-loving spinster I will have met my future husband and will have a steady job. Over the next decade your direction in life should get a lot more focused and limited as responsibilities will tie you down. The fear of a boring, monotonous life is sometimes all-consuming for me. As much as I sometimes dislike the uncertainty of not knowing what life will bring me, that is what makes it worth living. Looking older also just isn't appealing, wrinkles are simply not attractive! And as much as I love Carrie Bradshaw and co, they often looked like mutton dressed as lamb in the last Sex and the City film. It made me realise that at some point the bodycon dresses will have to be put away and replaced with a twinset. In conclusion, aging sucks! I am sure at some point I will be more accepting of it, but right now I value my youth, my freedom and the fun it brings.
Kirsty Victoria Taylor Reporter If you're a bottle-blonde whose 6 weekly root maintenance appointments are your religion, look away now – this isn't for you! Ombre hair entered the mainstream around spring this year, but I think now is the perfect time to give it a whirl, as your natural summer highlights are well and truly growing out. For those who are in the dark about the term, ombre means a graduated or shaded effect of color. According to the web, 'ombre may range from light to dark tones of one color, or may be a shading of three or more colours for a "rainbow" effect.' It's probably best not to go down the rainbow route when considering your hair though. We're talking about hair that's brown at the roots and much lighter at the ends. It's a trend that like so many others began with SarahJessica Parker (horseshoe necklaces and graffiti print anyone?) whose on screen alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw started letting her roots grow out in the episodes before she went to Paris with The Russian. SJP only had highlights, so when she did it both her roots and the underneath layers of her hair were dark. At the time magazines dismissed it as grungy and slovenly, but for more current celebrity inspiration you should look to Ra-
Blog of the week cocosteaparty.com 'We'd rather go naked than dress badly' – we couldn't agree more. A cut above the average fashion blog, it is well written and engaging. Coco's styling ideas are inspired and some of the celebs on her 'MISS' list should take a look and pick up some tips if they want to up their fashion game.
chel Bilson, who's been heralded for showing subtle ombrage for months now, and for a more extreme example check out Drew Barrymore. It looks like's Drew's stylist decided to let her roots grow out and to touch up just the ends – this really is a trend that looks better the more it grows out, and who can argue with that? And for those of you with much shorter hair than all these ladies, look no further than Lifestyle's last Style Icon, Alexa Chung. Probably the girl who should be credited with popularising the look, Alexa's ombre takes in the dark chocolate to caramel spectrum and (this is the key) never looks like she's put any effort into it. As a little-to-no-hair-maintenance kinda gal, I've never dyed my hair. I'm scared. What if I have to start looking after it? What if it all falls out? What if it goes orange? I'm sure a few of you reading this have the same kind of trepidations every time you step near that hair-
dye aisle. Well, ombre hair might be the trend for you too. If you, like me, are a brunette with mid-length to long hair, you can try this cheaply at home, without it having any awful consequences. This is a flowchart-type explanation of my logic: get to chemist, get hair-dye, dye bottom inch, if yes, proceed to next step, if no proceed to hairdresser for a trim. Next step: dye bottom two inches, thereby increasing lightness of first inch, and adding a mid-tone inch above that. If yes proceed to next step, if no proceed to hairdresser for a slightly bigger trim. Repeat until you have ombre-d as far up your hair as you want to go! Simple. And finally a tip for everyone: to keep the condition of dyed, or winter dried-out hair, slather the ends with Argan Oil or Olive Oil once or twice a week. Either do it after shampooing and leave in for half an hour, or wrap your hair up in a towel and sleep with it in over night for intensive deep-conditioning restorative goodness.
3rd December 2010
@redbricktravel Redbrick Travel
The Other Ways To Celebrate Christmas Debate Spending Christmas David Franklin Reporter
Think of Christmas, think of commercialisation, presents and large red bearded men in costumes. Whilst we Brits do enjoy a heart warming spectacle of tinsel, roast turkey, trees and the inevitable seat on Santa's unnervingly shaky knee, this isn't a scene that's repeated all over the world. Far from it in fact, perhaps a barbeque on the beach would be preferable, or would we feel a little put out by having to receive presents in our shoes? Here are some of the weird and wonderful ways that Christmas is celebrated outside of Blighty. Australia Largely similar to our experience of Christmas except for the fact that it's the middle of summer. Except Santa to be more hot and sweaty than usual as he sits in his grotto adorned with sunglasses and furry red shorts. Perhaps it goes against everything we stand for to be eating turkey sandwiches on the beach as we open presents. But really, it doesn't sound too bad! United States
The poor turkeys of the USA have quite a hard time at this end of the thanks to the feast of thanksgiving (late November) For this reason, Americans tend to resort to ham or beef on the dinner table, in copious amounts. We can thank our allies from across the pond for most of the commercialisation that has come with Christmas. Germany You couldn't talk about German Christmas without paying homage to the great institution of the Weihnachtsmarkt (that's Christmas market to you and I) As a prominent feature of many German cities, which have been imported to the UK, stall owners provide a wonderful heart warming mix of traditional goods, savoury foods and of course, alcohol. The German celebration of Christmas involves a lot of preparation. As early as December 5th (St. Nicholas Eve) children place their shoes overnight on the doorstep. If they've been good, they'll receive sweets and treats in their shoes, if they've been naughty, Santa brings them twigs. On Christmas Eve, a big meal is eaten late in the evening (the hungry are tormented by demons, so the legend goes) As the origin of the Christmas tree, it is
Whitehaven Beach, Australia Any preferences for where to spend Christmas this year?
a staple of every German's Christmas. However, it is covered with sweets and chocolate on Christmas Eve. Children aren't allowed to take part in decoration, but are fully welcome to gorge themselves on the decorations. Catalonia Perhaps some of the more interesting Christmas rituals occur in the Spanish region of Catalonia. Christmas in this corner of the world features the Caga Tió (shit stick). Children place this hollow wooden log partly into the fireplace and beat it with sticks hoping that it will 'poop' nice gifts for them. The Catalonian obsession with all things faecal continues; local homes feature nativity scenes, so good so far. However, in addition to the standard donkey, baby jesus and wise men models, the Caganer features. This is in fact a man having a poo. Supposed to represent fertility and equality, the figure is hidden somewhere in the nativity scene for children to find. (I daren't wonder what rewards the child receives for the discovery) In recent times, the Caganer has come to replicate a variety of figures, political and traditional though, still defecating. At least they're consistent.
Lofsdalen, Sweden kevgibbo/EveUppsala on Flickr
Picture of the Week
Christmas can fill some of us with a desire to escape the harsh sleet of a British winter and jet out east to bask in the sun and BBQ our Christmas dinners. But, for me, Christmas is where the home is, and wouldn't be the same if it were not. Each year I drive to Ilford in East-London to celebrate with my family, and as I travel and I look out of my window onto what is more-often-than-not a mild Christmas day, with shops still open and people still working, and I think of all the places could be.
Now, I'm no Grinch; I quite enjoy the atmosphere that encompasses Christmas, the unanimous happiness, the all-round love and obviously, the presents. But there can be much more to Christmas than sitting in front of the television at home like you obediently do every year, re-watching the same Christmas classics, retelling the same jokes and the not-so-funnyanymore family tales. Christmas is a time for family, I agree; and alas, anything else would defeat the point of Christmas. But is there a need for the cold? Is there a need for the stress that inevitably overcomes your parents at the thought of a house flooded with relatives? I would say no; and the solution is getting away. There is nothing that brings a family together like exploring a new place. Being the tropical creature that I am, I'm all for Christmas in the sun. We're all older now, so surely one of the joys of aging is getting rid of the cliché expectations of Christmas. Getting a tan, whilst sipping cocktails (obviously a red one, perhaps with a green cherry to emphasise the festivities) by the pool followed by a barbequed Christmas dinner with a palm tree to substitute the out-fashioned pine, sounds much more appealing to me. However, I realise that others might disagree with this image, though, admittedly, the belief that Christmas is only truly fulfilled when it's freezing outside is beyond me! Even if you're just going somewhere cold or somewhere abroad – things that won't require a drastic change from an ordinary British Christmas. I would say that isolating your family and getting away from the distraction of your friends and everyday routine is what Christmas is about. Besides which, it will give your family something to talk about for the rest of the year!
As I walk into my aunty's kitchen, and see all the effort she's gone to, to make Christmas perfect... I can think of no place I'd rather be... I could play in real Christmas snow in Canada, indulge in a T.V. Christmas in New York, or grill on beaches in Asia or Australia. But as I walk into my aunty's kitchen, and see all the effort she's gone to, to make Christmas perfect for our family, (even if that means that the potatoes may be a little too crispy) I can think of nowhere I'd rather be. Christmas isn't about your surroundings or your location; it's about people, it's about family. It is who with, not where, that makes Christmas special. Spending Christmas at home means you can spoil yourself in home comforts, and Christmas Eve too just would not be the same if we could not carry out the same rituals every year. Whilst a home Christmas can seem repetitive, it is from this repetitiveness that nostalgia is derived. Christmas wouldn't feel complete if it wasn't for the itchy anticipation in the morning, the journey to the relatives, the uncle's sarcastic comments, the brother's inevitable tantrum, the bloated feeling of eating too much, the endless cycle of Slade or Wizzard, and above all the tipsy viewing of classic Christmas films. Well, it wouldn't for me anyway.
The solution is getting away... there is nothing that brings a family together like exploring a new place...
Write for Travel... Fancy writing for Travel next year? Just send us an e-mail to travel@ redbrickonline.co.uk with any article ideas and we'll look at them over the Christmas break. Grand Central Station, New York
Benjamin Hess reports on an economic way to travel around India whilst helping out...
Mumbai public transport If you are interested in travel, you will probably be interested in going to India. However, on a student budget, making this a reality is not something I (and I imagine the majority of students) could afford, but let me tell you about something called the Study India Programme. In the summer I was fortunate enough to be selected to take part in the Study India Programme with two-hundred other UK undergraduates. This three week subsidised study initiative is open to all UK undergraduates and is truly an experience of a lifetime. The scheme is part funded and all you have to pay for is your flights to and from India (approximately £400) and your visa (varies, but around £40). The hotel and food,
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Ed Gordon & James Cull
Benjamin Hess which were both excellent, is provided for, as well as trips to various places of interest. I assure you, it is a very good deal! The programme is even part run by the University of Birmingham's International Office, yet I have found it to be relatively unpublicised for such a great opportunity within our University. The programme is based in either Delhi or Mumbai and your organised time is spent learning about the culture of India, going on excursions, having genuinely interesting lectures (I promise!), being taught Hindi and even indulging in a bit of Bollywood dancing. I was lucky enough to be placed in Mumbai, the business hub of India where 14 million people manage to live together in a
city of absolute contrast. Two weeks of the programme was spent learning about things like Indian business and marketing, religion, history and the trip to Ghandi's old house was memorable. The other week was spent on placement with an NGO and I was involved in helping street children to learn and generally improve their horizons. The week with the street children really allows you to get to understand the issues in India and why the country is how it is. Throughout the weeks you are facilitated by Indian students from Mumbai University and they really do make this experience special and unique. They told us what they really thought of Britain, explained a lot of Indian customs in an objective way and even came out clubbing with us. The programme allows for sufficient time to explore on your own and with your newly made friends. Highlights of my time in Mumbai include: having a buffet lunch at the five star Taj Mahal Hotel; going to Mumbai's High Court; going to the top of the stock exchange building and having a bird's eye view of Mumbai; going to Mumbai's best nightspots and a weekend trip to the perfect beaches of Goa. The application process takes place from January and I would recommend applying as early as possible. I promise you, as frustratingly dirty, hot and unorganised as India can be, there is a certain magic gravity that just makes you want to go back to understand the complete anomaly that India is. www.studyindia.org.uk
An Alternative Night Out Zara Sekhavati gives us a PG-rated tour of the Dutch capital Amsterdam isn't all coffee shops and the red light district. Yes, of course, we all know that that's what many people (well, students) go there in search of. However, the capital of Holland really does have some famous landmarks and places to explore, which don't involve a portrait of Bob Marley in the background with a spliff in hand. An alternative to the usual tourist routine of the Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank's house is a comedy show. Amsterdam's fantastic comedy scene ranges from stand-up gigs to improvisation shows, so there is always something to make you chuckle. Well-known comedians such as Eddie Izzard have also performed there. Whilst in the Leidseplein, special discounted tickets were available to see a Boom Chicago comedy
A view over one of the canals
show. After inter-railing for three weeks and lugging around a heavy backpack, a comedy show sounded like an ideal way to enjoy the city. The tickets were reasonably priced and included a free burger meal. Of course, as hungry travellers, we couldn't say no to free food! We really didn't know what to expect, and didn't even know if they would speak English; they did, thankfully, and it was hilarious! The sketch and improvisation show were extremely impressive and we really did laugh out loud for the whole night. After being called on stage myself to do some improv and feeling as nervous as could be, I appreciated their wit and humour even more! So if you're looking for something different to do in Amsterdam that doesn't conform to the usual stereotype, a comedy show is definitely your best bet!
Claudio Ar on Flickr
A Hitchhiker's Guide to Hitchhiking Laura Cofield Reporter
Huddled in the torrential rain on a dark November morning in Mermaid Square, ten brave students prepared to commence on a perilous two day hitchhike to Amsterdam all in the name of charity. It was at this point, with my feet already sodden, that I began to question why I was doing this. But the idea of hitchhiking intrigued me. When I saw the Carnival Rag poster a few weeks earlier, I had jumped at the chance to participate, and raise money for some good causes along the way. And so, after persuading my dubious friend Claire to accompany me, there we were, looking at each other with trepidation, wondering what we had let ourselves in for. Hitchhiking is a means of transportation whereby you attempt to get lifts for free from drivers and by using public transport (as long as you can get away without paying). Our mission was to travel in teams of two or three from Birmingham to Hull, then catch a pre-paid overnight ferry down to Zebrugge in Belgium, and resume the next day from Zebrugge to Amsterdam. That first day of hitchhiking was probably the proudest and most exhausting day of my life. We learnt pretty quickly that hitchhiking is all about good fortune. After getting a lift pretty speedily to the
Aston Expressway, we were feeling quite impressed with ourselves and our excellent hitchhiking talents. However, when we got there, and realised it was a no stopping zone and the nearest petrol station was closed down, our previous smugness seemed a little too premature. Six hours later, still in Birmingham, and trench foot setting in, we were about to give up hope
The first day of hitchhiking was probably the proudest and most exhausting day of my life... and call it a day, when thankfully our luck began to change with the arrival of a new team mate, after his companion had to pull out due to illness. As soon as he arrived we got a lift out of the city with a guy who worked for Esso and treated us to a lovely cup of tea when we got to his station. After that it was a breeze right
up to Hull – we even managed to hitch a lorry at one point which was definitely a highlight of the day. The second day was not so successful. After a rocky night at sea we docked in Belgium four hours later than planned. We finally got defeated outside Antwerp with darkness setting in, and ended up paying for a train up to Amsterdam. It turned out that only one team had managed to go the whole two days without cheating but everyone was in high spirits when we arrived at the hostel, and all had amusing hitching stories to share. The best thing about the entire experience was meeting so many generous and interesting people on our travels. We learnt a lot of valuable information such as where in Small Heath to buy fried chicken, and met a BNP-loving café owner who seemed terribly hostile to students, but then offered us free bacon sarnies. Hitchhiking is honestly one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding and something I recommend everyone should try. It wasn't as daunting as I thought it would be getting into a car with a total stranger, in fact it was liberating and exciting to think that this could potentially be an alternative to conventional modes of transport, perfect for the spontaneous adventure, just as long as you have the time and patience to spare.
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Technology Tweet tweet? Manpreet Pangli Technology Editor
As more students connect online, Twitter has become an important platform for messaging friends, expressing uncensored views and keeping up to date with events around the world. But what is the main reason behind Twitter's growth to such popularity? Recently, it seems that this success is due to the amount of celebrities tweeting, which, of course, feeds the nation's obsession with celebrities. Many people may question whether it is actually the real celebrity tweeting, as it is impossible for them to be getting married in Vegas, doing an interview for OK magazine and tweeting all at the same time. Regardless, we follow celebrities because we have some kind of interest in what they do. It is reported that four per cent of all Twitter traffic is Justin Bieberrelated, which I think is terrifying, to say the least. If something important is going on in the world, and you use Twitter regularly, the probability is that you will know the news before it can be announced by mainstream media. For me this is one of the greatest attractions of Twitter: to be ahead of the news broadcasters themselves, and have access to personalised and uncensored news from a person you are following. Another reason why I am drawn to Twitter is because when popular shows are broadcast, such as ITV 1's X Factor, it is possible to search the tag of the shows name, and gather a real perspective of what the population really think about a particular singer. Many users feel that the X Factor judges are biased towards certain singers, and Twitter offers us a greater understanding of the collective thoughts of the nation, which I personally find invaluable when making a decision. A new feature which has recently been developed for Twitter is 'UKsnow'. This allows people to tweet their post code, and rate out of 10 how much snow is falling in their area with a comment. This is then put onto a map of the country, and users can easily identify in near real time the areas of country where it is snowing. At the moment Twitter shows virtually no sign of stopping. The ever-increasing numbers of people using it has made it become a more interactive, attractive and informative networking device.
@redbricktech for up-to-date information about future articles, section meeting times and links to any interesting tech-related features which we happen to stumble across online.
Editors â€“ Stuart Gittings, Manpreet Pangli
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Cyber Warfare: Stuxnet Cyber Warfare: Stuxnet Adam Ball discusses the super virus which could mean the beginning of a new form of terrorism When people think of viruses they usually imagine their computer breaking or the theft of their banking information. Earlier this year, however, a new virus emerged that has shown how future computer attacks could become a great deal more dangerous. The virus, branded Stuxnet, was discovered earlier this year by VirusBlokAda, a security firm based in Belarus. This particular virus was designed to infiltrate and take control of industrial control systems that are used in processes from food production facilities to power stations. Stuxnet specifically exploits weaknesses in Microsoft Windows used on Siemens systems. The worm works by burrowing into the computer's operating system, and once activated can start to repro-
gram and corrupt aspects of the system. This potentially means that whoever is in control of the worm could then take remote control of the system and either shut it down or potentially even send new instructions to it. So far it is unknown who is responsible for the creation of the worm. Due to the complexity of the program, some security experts believe it could have been sanctioned by a nation state for the purposes of industrial sabotage; if this is found to be true then it could have severe political ramifications. Whilst the virus has infected massive quantities of computers across the world, it seems Iran has been the true target of the attack, with security developer Symantec saying that 60 per cent of the target computer systems were Iranian.
Undoubtedly, the biggest story of the year involving the Stuxnet virus was how it was able to successfully infect Iran's nuclear power plants. Reports indicate that its plant in Bushehr was affected and experienced substantial delays in its nuclear development program. This attack comes as there is mounting pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear development program. The most alarming fact is that this is the first worm that has been able to affect and attack the real world, being able to take control of machinery and potentially shut down key infrastructures within a country. Now the Stuxnet virus has been identified, numbers of security companies across the world are analyzing the viruses code. Analysts feel it is only a matter of time before other hackers can potentially develop a customized version of the worm to sell on the black market. The Iran nuclear incident, however, shows how the creators of this virus seem to have lost this initial skirmish, as the virus did not fully infect the predicted targets and bring the Iranian nuclear enrichment to its knees, meaning a significant investment of their time and resources has gone to waste. So what does this mean for the future of cyber attacks? David Cameron has already come out this year to say that cyber attacks are
The world may be starting to fight its battles on a new battlefield: a digital one the biggest threat to British security with international terrorism. The head of British Intelligence and Security Committee has said that cyber attacks on British computer systems could be 'the next Pearl Harbor'. With the ever increasing complexity of cyber attacks this poses a real and very serious threat for the future. The world may be starting to fight its battles on a new battlefield: a digital one. As Stuxnet has shown, it seems that there could be more and more cyber attacks in the future which demonstrate an even greater severity. The most frightening prospect of all, however, is that the creator of Stuxnet is still anonymous and at large. This makes it uncertain as to whether another more deadly virus is currently being designed to succeed its predecessor.
Renewable energy: does wind power offer the solution to the problem? Vinayak Ashok Writer
The clock is ticking. With everdepleting fossil fuel reserves (coal, oil and natural gas) and an everincreasing focus on renewable energy, it is no wonder that terms like 'sustainable', 'zero emissions' and 'low carbon footprint' have become buzz words in today's world. In a developed economy like the UK, the situation is no different. The UK's most extensively used renewable energy source is wind power. It has been estimated that by 2020 about 20 per cent of the UK's electricity will be generated exclusively from wind power. Considering that at present, only two per cent, according to the Department of Energy, of electricity production in the UK comes from wind power, it is simply staggering to expect such a rise in a decade. Only time will tell whether the predicted figure will become an achievable goal. The UK has the largest wind farm industry in the world. The heavy reliance on wind farms, especially on offshore wind farms is down to the fact that the UK is an island nation. Recently, the UK Government has justified its interest in wind power by investing a massive ÂŁ800 million on what is now the largest wind farm in the world, off the coast of Kent. It has more than a 100 turbines and when in full production (250 megawatts) can supply electricity to more than 200,000 homes. Not surprisingly,
the UK government has hailed it as the 'energy for the future'. Many energy experts, however, have criticized the government's over-dependence on offshore wind farms, stating that such projects are expensive and through investing in them the government is starving other renewable options. This opens up another debate on what the future holds for renewable energy in the UK, especially at a time when in Birmingham, there is a growing market for other clean sources of energy such as hydrogen fuel cells. This has seen the first hydrogen-powered vehicle, the first hydrogen-powered house and the first hydrogen refueling station, as a result of the extensive work done by the Fuel Cells Group of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University Of Birmingham. In the last couple of years, the energy market has found itself in an interesting predicament, with an increased focus on solar power with upcoming CSP (concentrated solar power) plant projects in other parts of the world like the Middle East, Northern Africa and California which receive 2400KW/ m2/year and 2000KW/m2/year of incident sunshine respectively. Unfortunately, in the UK solar power has still not become as popular as many of the other renewable energy sources. Every form of renewable energy, of course, has certain advantages and disadvantages of its own. The pros of wind power are rel-
atively self-explanatory. The large amount of electricity that can be produced from running the wind farm, the very life span of the wind farm (normally 20-25 years) and the clean energy source of wind. These benefits make it clear why the UK government is making the construction of wind farms one of its key energy initiatives. Wind power, however, has certain disadvantages of its own. One of the major drawbacks of wind power has been its storage, which means that on less windy days it may not be able to supply sufficient energy. T0 date, there has been no existing technology to deal with this problem. From
the consumer's perspective, it is also disadvantageous because the energy is highly subsidised, which ultimately results in higher electricity bills. In terms of the environment, there are issues like noise pollution and bird accidents. Many feel that since the offshore wind farms are well out into the sea, the noise pollution becomes a minor issue but is certainly more significant with onshore wind farms. It appears that although wind power has the future potential to provide millions of UK homes with energy, it is, however, very much a concept in its early stages concept in its early stages.
3rd December 2010
Men's table tennis team come up against the UEA
Heavy defeat for the hosts, p27
Bellis chiming about unbeaten start
Prior to the impressive 3-1 home victory over rivals Loughborough, Rory Millar caught up with first team football captain Dave Bellis to discuss the season so far and look ahead to the future in his first season as skipper of the side
Bellis shows his dominance both on the ball (left) and in the air (bottom right) and performs the captain's duties (top right) Dmitry Trushchenkov In only his second year of studying as an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham, Dave Bellis is skippering the first team football side, and even at this early stage of the season there is little doubt that he is doing a fine job. When asked about how the season had begun, Bellis replied, 'It has been a decent start; we are unbeaten and have managed to collect seven points from our opening three fixtures.' Since this interview, Birmingham have gone on to beat Loughborough 3-1 and are currently sitting at the summit of the BUCS Northern Premier division despite having a game in hand on their nearest rivals, Stirling and Loughborough. The defeat of Loughborough was the East Midlands side's first of the season and Bellis cited the draw against Stirling as being his favourite result so far. 'We were two down with ten minutes to play on the opening day against Stirling, but managed to pull it back to 2-2 which shows the amount of character the boys have' he said. This also goes to show the belief he has given the players since taking charge of the side. After this exciting start, Bellis' hopes of improving on last year's third place finish and finishing on top of the division at the end of the season are realistic. 'We have
got to believe that we can win the league, because that is what we have set out to do. Loughborough are probably the favourites so it is going to be tough but our chances are high.' The side has changed from last season in a number of positions with a few key players leaving after graduating back in June, most notably prolific striker Sam Youngs. However these places have been filled by more than competent players and the side has instantly gelled and are already working well as a team. 'It is hard to compare the side from last year to this one. We have three new lads in the squad who are all playing first team football: Mike Wardell, Christian Burgess and Scott Powell. They have all really stepped up and have already established themselves as regulars, whilst players who have moved up from the seconds have also done well.' When asked about the loss of Youngs, Bellis said, 'it was tough to take because it was unexpected. He scored about 10 league goals last season so it's obviously a big loss.' He went on to say that 'his dressing room character will also be missed but fortunately one of the new lads, Chrisitan Burgess has stepped up!' Although captaining the university side is a unique experience for Bellis, he does not lack
any experience as skipper having captained at school level and for his Sunday League side back in his hometown, Reading. He said that 'captaining is really enjoyable. Despite the added pressure, I like the responsibility and it is nice to help the new boys settle in.' The side has talent in abundance and many of the players were on the books at professional clubs at some point in their youth.
'Captaining is really enjoyable. Despite the added pressure, I like the responsibility' Bellis himself was briefly at Southampton, with the south coast club doing a lot of scouting in his home county of Berkshire. 'I think many players were in academies when they were younger, but a few of the lads were at big clubs until just before they made the decision to carry on studying and not pursue their footballing ambitions.' Second year Wardell who has just started playing university football this season was at Wolverhampton Wanderers until the age of 18 and Tony Boto was at Ipswich Town until the same age. Tom Siddons also played
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for the England Schoolboys under18 side. Despite the immense commitment of playing university football, there are still opportunities for squad members to play club football at weekends. Bellis said that 'there are many semi-pro clubs situated in the Birmingham area that look at our players and we have a number of people who make the most of these chances and get paid to play.' Bellis himself, when at home plays semi-pro football for Wokingham Town near his hometown who play in the Hellenic League (the ninth tier of English football). When asked if anyone had any aspirations of playing professional football after university, he said that 'the chances of becoming a professional at this stage are almost certainly gone. At this stage it is almost impossible to get in but I suppose you just have to wait and see. 'He was also keen to point out that everyone is content with just playing the highest level of semipro football. 'A couple of boys, Michael Roche and Jamie Williams, have been playing for Halesowen in the Zamoretto League, which is as high as you could probably play whilst still at university.' The side also has a new coach, Paul Rodway. The change seems to be working so far with the team
Name Dave Bellis Year 2nd Position Centre midfield Course Mathematics Halls last year Maple Bank Home-town Reading Club supported Newcastle United Other sport Cricket Playing history Southampton Academy, Wokingham Town currently flying high. Bellis said, 'he has settled in really well. He is similar to the previous coach, because he also has experience of working at Birmingham City Football Club. He is adopting the same regime, with four hours of training a week, which is absolutely fine.' Bellis admitted that it is a huge commitment to be part of the squad and said that 'we can get involved in other things but unfortunately it is just not feasible to represent the University at any other sport.' Bellis himself is a good cricketer having played to district level back at home and many of the other players in the club also have other sporting talents but have opted to focus on football. He said that the best aspect of it is the competition with other universities. 'Representing the University is great because it makes you really feel part of the place, while it also gives us something else to focus on other than our work.' So with an unbeaten start to the season whilst sitting at the top of the Northern Premier division, it looks as though the future is bright for the side. If they maintain their form throughout the long football season, they can really have a chance of going all the way to winning a trophy this season and perhaps even the league and cup double.
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors â€“ James Phillips, Simon Hall
UEA prove too strong for the Brum boys
Men's Table Tennis
Birmingham 1sts UEA 1sts
On Saturday, Birmingham's archers produced a magnificent performance to finish second in a competition featuring eight different teams with Nottingham Trent playing host. The team racked up an extremely impressive score of 2224, the highest score the team has ever shot. GB archer Naomi Folkard featured in a Brum team on top form. The team were equally impressive individually with Steven Johnson narrowly edging out Jack Bryant for the bronze medal.
Harry Kitchen Sport Reporter
The University of East Anglia's Sam Collins declared he was out for 'revenge' on Birmingham, in response to last year's table tennis fixture in which Brum were victorious. Some say revenge is a dish best served cold and this was certainly the case as a much-improved UEA side ruthlessly dispatched the University of Birmingham's table tennis team 15-2 at the New Munrow Gym. The away side won eleven matches on the trot until Brum team captain Ed Slot clawed back some pride in the twelfth match against Jonathan Bisphamn, a newcomer to the opposition side. UEA went on to win three games until Slot again stained the away side's statistics with a comfortable win against Collins but unfortunately the home pair, consisting of Slot and Scott Lewis, failed to beat Collins and Tony Zeqiri in the final match of the afternoon. Interestingly, if UEA had lost they would have dropped as low as fourth, but the win meant they won the league ahead of Loughborough East Anglia's team captain Matthew Haynes lived up to his reputation as a 'chopper', toying with Brum through well-executed slices, strong spin work and focussed defensive play forcing the home side to make mistakes which made up the majority of the UEA's
Mike Lowden (left) and Mohammad Faizal tried their hardest but UEA prevailed points. Haynes and Zeqiri were solid throughout, wining all five matches they took part in, contributing a third of the points tally in the process. The defensive play from both men was much more advanced than any other player in the gym, guarding their line with both gusto and poise. The scoreline, however, does not entirely reflect the fixture's result as Mohammad Faizal, Mike Lowden Lewis and Slot made life difficult for the East Anglia team. There were some impressive forehands seen in the later matches, most notably in Faizal's contest
against Collins and Slot's victory against Bisphamn, which saw some very aggressive play with all players leaning forward trying to gain the momentum, constantly seeking out unprotected gaps on the table. Having said that, this is also the area which led to the away side's vast points cushion. Despite the best efforts of Slot and his team, the UEA squad nearly always came out on top, proving the more experienced, skilled and dedicated side. UEA wanted it more and were very vocal; after every big point the away side (in particular Haynes and Bisphamn) boomed
'ball' around the New Gym providing a new match of psychological fortitude. Lowden stated before the game that unforced errors 'have to be minimal' and that 'steady forehands' would be key for this 'big game.' Ironically this was to be the case as UEA won on both fronts despite Brum's best efforts and Slot's resilience. Slot commented post match that UEA were simply 'too strong' and that he wishes to bounce back with a successful next season despite being 'pleased' with a mid table finish in the BUCS league.
Warwick weave way past hosts Women's Squash
Birmingham women's squash third team went down 3-1 to the Warwick first team on Wednesday in a BUCS Midlands Conference tie. With all the outdoor fixtures cancelled this week, the focus was on the indoor sports taking place inside the Munrow Sports Centre. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of Warwick's day was getting to the venue, a treacherous road trip in arctic conditions for the girls. However, the team arrived in one piece, albeit slightly late, and the warm-ups indicated that they had come to win. Indeed, visiting captain ZoĂŤ Balkwell said that her team 'expected victory', having achieved a resounding first win of the season in the previous match against bottom team Oxford seconds. They now faced a Birmingham outfit one place below them in the lower echelons of the league table, and whom league leaders Nottingham had convincingly beaten in their last outing.
Valiant efforts from the 3rds couldn't quite match the visitors Tom Flathers
The first match pitted top seeds Millie Batten of Birmingham and Genevieve Gay of Warwick against each other in a one-sided encounter that was finished quickly. It was an authoritative performance from Gay, who combined clever serving to the back of the court with clinical low shots to the corner, which Batten had no chance of returning. Gay raced through the first two games, winning 11-3 and 11-4, but Batten let off the shackles in the
third game, providing some resistance but ultimately Gay's class shone through as she prevailed 3-0 overall, with an 11-6 scoreline in the final game. However, news soon emerged from the other court that the hosts' Trudy Tok had recorded a 3-1 victory over her Warwick counterpart Rachel Tang with an impressive variety of stroke play to level proceedings at 1-1. Naomi Madeiros was next up
against Warwick captain Balkwell, a much closer game which made for entertaining viewing. Madeiros powered into a lead with good agility around the court, only for Balkwell to claw it back and then secure the game 12-10. However, Maderios battled back with an impressive array of shots, winning the second game 11-7 to put things back on an even keel. The nip and tuck nature of the match continued with Balkwell storming to an 11-2 win in the third, her positional play epitomising everything good about her squash attributes as she dominated the T area. She was growing in stature and began the fourth game in formidable fashion, but when Madeiros reproduced her battling qualities to take the lead it looked like the match would go the full distance. It was not to be, however, Madeiros lacking a cutting edge and eventually going down 3-1 to the Warwick skipper. An eye-catching display from Jane Larcombe of Warwick to beat Josie Adams 3-0 gave the travellers a deserved victory overall of 3-1. Nonetheless, this was a Birmingham third team featuring three first years, so to run a first team like Warwick close will give them encouragement for the future, as Adams acknowledged after the contest.
On Sunday, Rebecca Sindall (1st year PhD Civil Engineering) competed at the National Finals of the RLSS National Lifesaving Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield. She finished 5th in both the Aquatic Initiative Test and the Life Support Initiative Test and took 3rd in Line Throw with a time of 15.94s and 3rd in Swim and Tow with a time of 1:37.83. Overall, she took the bronze for the Ladies Individuals, missing out on silver by 1 point. She said, 'I really didn't know what to expect today as it's my first time competing here, but I couldn't have asked for a better result!'
Unfortunately, this week's heavy snowfall wreaked havoc with the University of Birmingham's sport teams. This meant that all outdoor fixtures were cancelled including big games for the hockey, football and rugby union teams.
Award for Gym
The Munrow Gym won the National Fitness Awards 2010 Gym of the Year for Midlands and Wales on Thursday 25th November. The judges were particularly impressed with the high level of staff training and the Thrive campaign. Luke Peel
First team fixtures Weds 8th December Support our clubs! Game of the week: Women's Basketball vs Leeds Met 1st. Munrow Sports Hall. 7pm Men's Badminton vs Sheffield Hallam 1st. Munrow Sports Hall. 2pm Women's Badminton vs Leeds Met 1st. Munrow Sports Hall. 2pm. Women's Fencing vs Durham 1st. Munrow New Gym. 2pm Men's Hockey vs Nottingham Trent 1st. Bournbrook. 2.30pm Women's Hockey vs Manchester 1st. Bournbrook. 2.15pm Women's Lacrosse vs Newcastle 1st. Munrow Track Pitch. 3pm Men's Rugby Union vs Harper Adams 1st. Bournbrook. 4pm Men's Tennis vs Nottingham 1st. Priory Club. 1pm Men's Volleyball vs Staffordshire 1st. Munrow New Gym. 7.15pm
3rd December 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors â€“ James Phillips, Simon
Volleyball women defiant in defeat as relegation looms
Oxford squash Brum
Langdon-Bates reaches for a backhand Men's Squash
Wall of defence: At times the Loughborough defence was impenetrable Women's Volleyball
Matthew Sharpe Sport Reporter
The Birmingham women's volleyball team were narrowly defeated 3-1 by Loughborough in a closely fought encounter at the Munrow New Gym on Wednesday evening. In the reverse fixture in October, Loughborough ran out rather more comfortable winners, winning 3-0 on that occasion. Heading into the match however, Loughborough had suffered a recent dip in form which had seen them win only one of their last three games, albeit one of those defeats was to Cambridge, who are still yet to suffer defeat in this season's Midlands Conference. Birmingham have still, after this result, tasted victory only once this season against Cranfield, sit second from bottom and now face an uphill task to avoid relegation following rule changes last year meaning that now two of the sixteams in the league are relegated. The match started in a fairly cagey fashion with neither side able to gain the initiative until midway through the first set, when a combination of good serving and excellent set up play from Beth Lowney and captain Annabel Chetham in particular, saw the visitors open up a lead which they didn't relinquish, closing out the first set by 25 points to 18. The hosts were certainly not lacking in commitment however, middle blocker Elise David-Bordier producing several outstanding dives as well as a header to keep Birmingham in the set. Ultimately though, Loughborough had too much for Birmingham in the opening set and picked up where they left off by racing into an early 6-1 lead in the second. A key factor in their dominance had been the impressive net play from the forward players; Anita Cooper
Number of unreturned serves
and Rhian McCarroll produced a number of crucial blocks to deny Birmingham a route back into the game. Nevertheless, the hosts did work their way back into the set, largely thanks to some outstanding serving from Tina Lechtaler, who produced an ace and several excellent serves to put Loughborough on the back foot. The set was finely poised at 10-10, but Loughbor-
ough showed why they have only been defeated twice all season, by fighting back to maintain a steady lead throughout the rest of the set, eventually winning 25-22 to open up a 2-0 lead. The third set initally followed a similar pattern to those previous, but with the score at 16-11 to Loughborough, a time-out was called and Birmingham's coach Bertrand Olie injected a newfound focus and intensity into the hosts' play. Birmingham subsequently won nine points in a row and one could certainly sense the shift in momentum. They eventually secured the third set by 25 points to 22 to force a fourth set. Loughborough, without a coach present at the game, relied on captain Chetam to rally the team together and try and rediscover the form that had seen them win the first set relatively comfortably. Into the fourth set and Birmingham again found themselves down early on, Lowney providing an excellent focal point of attack for the visitors as they raced into a 15-7 lead. Birmingham though, urged on by a now very animated coach Olie, who could certainly sense a way back into the match, continually showed commendable fighting spirit as they clawed their way back to level the set at 18-a-piece and looked the most likely to win the set. Rachel Copestake in particular produced some fine digging from the back of the court. Loughborough decided to call a time-out at this point and managed to see out the rest of the set by 25 points to 21 to secure an overall 3-1 victory. Afterwards, both Copestake and coach Olie agreed that Birmingham had been slightly unfortunate to lose the game. 'We were slightly unfortunate to lose out and we were quite inconsistent overall which is frustrating' claimed Olie. Birmingham head to Nottingham next Wednesday in the next round of fixtures, hoping to secure their illusive second win of the season against yet more tough opponents.
Joel Lamy Sport Reporter
A relegation six pointer took place at the Munrow Squash Courts on Wednesday where Birmingham men's squash third team went down 3-2 to Oxford. The hosts went into the game knowing a win would see them go level with their opponents who were just outside the relegation zone. With both teams desperate for the win, they ended up playing a highly dramatic match which Birmingham will be disappointed to have lost.
Birmingham's third team are in the relegation zone of the Midlands Division 1A but the 2nd team are top of the same league after beating Warwick 1sts 4-1 away The first two matches set the tone for occasion. Paul MacDonald lost a tight match 3-0 with all three games going to 9-9. The first two he went on to lose 11-9, with the difference being the number of shots he hit below the bottom line. In the third game he saved match point after flinging himself all over the court to keep the point alive, before continuing to miss a game point himself. This was punished
with his opponent, Tom Lowish, winning the final game 14-12. At the same time, Jordan Langdon-Bates had won the first game of his match against Miles Jackson and had further chances to extend his lead at 6-3 up in the second game and at game point in the third, but lost both 11-7 and 13-11. He succumbed 11-5 in the fourth game and blamed 'basic errors' for his defeat. With the overall score being 2-0 to Oxford, the hosts mounted a spirited comeback, epitomised by captain Tom Barker coming from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 against Simon Colver whilst on the other court Martin Swzaba was 2-0 up against Mike Molinari in a match where the umpire found his 'let' calls being constantly questioned. Barker lost the fourth game of his match 11-1 after a dip in form and was 10-6 down in the fifth, staring at defeat for his side. Incredibly, he saved all four match points, before saving a fifth after a series of long, exhausting rallies. In a twist of fate, Barker then missed a match point of his own and Colver won the next two points to win an incredible match 15-13. Swzaba won his own nail-biter three games to two after being dragged back by to two all by his opponent. This left top seed Stuart Lord against his opposite number Will Buckfield in a dead rubber, although it was not played like one. The first two games were split, with Buckfield winning the first 1614 and Lord the second 17-15 with both players missing game points. Like the other matches, this one swayed one way then the other. Lord lost the third game 11-6 before winning the next two 11-4 and 11-9 to give the scoreline the respectability it deserved. The result will be a bitter blow for Birmingham, but skipper Barker believes Birmingham have 'still got a chance' of escaping. Certainly, they can take heart from a spirited performance, epitomised by the 'never-say-die' attitude which almost saw them snatch victory, but it was not quite enough in the end. Oxford, meanwhile, are buoyant and now firmly believe that they are safe from relegation, something the hosts will hope is misguided faith.
Redbrick Sport talk about all things football with first team captain Dave Bellis, p25
Local rivals prove to be no match for Lucas' ladies Women's Basketball
Loughborough 2nds 33 John Wilmott
The Birmingham netballers stormed to the top of the league with a hard fought win over fellow title contenders, Loughborough, outplaying the previous championship leaders in a physical game. A strong showing in the final two quarters saw Kate Roberts' team record their fifth and most important win of the season leapfrogging their rivals with only three games to go. The win was even more enjoyable given that these were the opponents who had denied Brum the BUCS cup, winning the final 60-29 back in March. After a disappointing result away at Loughborough earlier in the season, a strong showing in Nottingham set up the crunch match with first playing second. Opposition captain Michelle Drayne described it as the 'biggest game of the season', stating her belief that the victors would go on to win the midlands conference premier division, giving way to a challenge for a place in the highest tier of university netball. The game started at a frantic pace, with neither side able to create many shooting opportunities, Laura Brocklebank showing good balance and composure to convert the few opportunities the home side created early on. With a couple of uncharacteristic errors creeping in from the away side, Birmingham were able to capitalise and bring up a 9-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. The response from Loughborough was instant, showing a strong determined start to the second quarter. Attackers Charlotte Roye and Helen Hancook on fine form when shooting, turning the score around to take the lead 1411. The home side kept in touch but couldn't avoid a half time deficit of 19-16 against an in form Roye and Hancook. With Birmingham's season hanging in the balance, the large crowd that had gathered were rewarded with one of the best
Editors â€“ James Phillips, Simon Hall
Life as the skipper
Revenge is sweet for netballers
It was a very happy day for the netball girls quarters of the season. The fired up home side controlled the pace of the game, dominating a Loughborough side that had clearly become unsettled. Within minutes the 16-19 half time score had been turned on its head, with the home team creating chance after chance and gaining a strong 24-21 lead, scoring five without reply. After an altercation with an official, opposition wing attack Ellie Rogers cut a frustrated figure as Birmingham ran riot. By the end of the quarter the clearly agitated visitors found themselves four points down, unable to cope with the home side who managed to create nineteen shooting opportunities across the
Shot Conversion Ratio By Quarter
3rd December 2010
quarter. Closing out the game was initially tricky against one of the fittest teams in the league but a physical and strong performance from goalkeeper Lucia Karonias backed up by the best shooting of the match from Brocklebank and Kennedy saw Birmingham pull away in the latter stages of the match recording a final score of 41-33, a result that pleased the large crowd. After the game a clearly ecstatic captain Roberts described the new league leaders performance as 'phenomenal,' saying that they now had 'a great chance to win this league,' and 'really deserved it.' Her excitement was matched by coach Joan Hunter who put the win down to having the ability to 'control the pace,' and 'not rushing,' she went on to say ' we didn't make many errors today and kept the ball well, we knew they would come at us in the last fifteen but we held strong, I'm delighted with the result.' It is a result which puts the first team netballers in pole position going into the Birmingham university derby next week, and with only three games to go they really will believe that they can win the Midlands Conference Premier League and fight to play their netball at the top level for university sport.
Off the back of a disappointing home defeat to Warwick last week, the Birmingham women's basketball second team responded superbly with a comprehensive victory over local rivals Aston 1sts on Wednesday afternoon. With Aston beginning the day rooted to the foot of the table and without a win this season, Birmingham sensed an opportunity to get their season back on track, with the added bonus of sticking it to rivals from across the city. The match began half an hour behind schedule after the referees were held up by the blizzard outdoors. But in the warmth of the Munrow Sports Hall Birmingham started the match brightly and swiftly raced into a 6-0 lead. Childinma Obi, operating from point guard, ran a series of counter attacks in the opening exchanges. The Aston defence were unable to cope and were simply overrun early on. However, Aston's centre Anthea Smith gradually began to impose herself on the match and started dominating the paint, collecting rebound after rebound and hauling Aston back into the match, the score at the end of the first quarter reading 8-7 in favour of Aston. To deal with this threat Saghi Mirhasseinivakilli was brought into the game and her influence in attack yielded its rewards. Nine offensive rebounds were racked up by Birmingham in the second
quarter and their ability to get to rebounds first reciprocated nicely with points on the scoreboard. By half time Birmingham had scored 17 unanswered points giving them a commanding 24-8 lead with Aston being prevented from scoring a single point in the second quarter. The third quarter continued in much the same vein, Brum dominating the rebounds thanks to a solid collective effort in defence and good defensive positioning around the hoop. Unfortunately, they were unable to really extentheir lead, scoring only 2 points in the third. Aston's Smith came back into the game with a couple of late baskets, trimming the girls lead to 8 points by the end of the quarter, but Birmingham were under little sustained pressure due to an effective half court press. The final quarter saw the withdrawal of Smith who picked up what seemed to be a nasty ankle injury but the home team professionally saw the game out, eventually winning by a margin of 36 to 14. This wrapped up an extremely impressive performance from the whole team, each of whom contributed to the victory especially in the defensive phases of the game. Limiting Aston to only 14 points is testament to the work rate and organisation of the Birmingham defence and captain Emily Lucas was quick to praise 'the excellent comeback after last week's disappointment, especially when you consider that we have a lot of new players in the team this year.' Today's win will help propel Birmingham up the table and no doubt they will look to carry forward that upward momentum into next week's visit to the University of Staffordshire.
Two Brum girls sandwich an Aston opponent
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