9th May - 5th June 2014 Vol. 78. Issue 1449. www.redbrick.me
Guild Referenda Extended After Low Turnout Redbrick's Guide to the Referenda News / Page 6
The Referendum that No One Knows About Comment / Page 7
Sport / Pullout
Dominic Worku debates the morality of selling your virginity
Ashley Kirk interviews Joseph Sale about his novel
Jessica Green reviews thriller film, 'Locke', with Tom Hardy
Matt Moody reviews Damon Albarn's debut solo album
Comment / Page 11
Arts / Page 17
Film / Page 18
Music / Page 21
9th May - 5th June 2014
News Tweet of the Week
Mountaineering (UBMC) UBMC is a society which offers students the chance to enjoy traditional and sport rock climbing, bouldering and mountaineering. They have an extensive social calendar, with events running fortnightly. The club welcomes new and experienced climbers and provides gear, training, socialising and encouragement.
Gloal Street Art @globalstreetart
'Big ups to the @ GuildofStudents - lots of peeps playing #surfthegalaxy!!!'
Contact details: Email - firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook - University of Birmingham Mountaineering Website - www.ubmc.co.uk
Online in Redbrick
Food writer Rosie Twells documents her culinary escapades whilst on holiday in Yorkshire
The Rise of Corporate Dystopia Comment writer Aqib Khan speaks on the corruptin that lies within milti-national corporation
Album Review: Lapland
Music writer Anya Hancock reviews the latest album from John Mease, deeming it ' whay would happen if Brian Wilson and Claude Debussy decided to make an album together'
Photo of the Week: 'Express Yourself' Charlotte Wilson
Redbrick Editorial Team Editors Josh Holder James Phillips email@example.com
Comment Editors Julia Bayer Charlie Moloney Jonathan Simpson firstname.lastname@example.org
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Life&Style Editors Amy Wakeham Bethany Barley Lizzie Green firstname.lastname@example.org Travel Editors Hannah Stevens Jessica Flanagan Sara Tryon email@example.com Television Editors Hannah Mason Daisy Follett Rochelle Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org
Crossword Editors Matthew Robinson Thomas Hutchinson
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Editorial Assistants Molly Garfoot Bethany Tilston Ellie Jarvis Ella Parsons Toria Brook-Hill Michael Smith Lucy Moseley Emily Trivette
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9th May - 5th June 2014
West Midlands European Parliament Hustings Held at UoB Duncan Kenyon News Writer
On May 1st, the Schools of Government and Society and Institute of German Studies jointly held the West Midland European Parliament Hustings. Seven of the ten parties standing for the election on May 22nd sent candidates to participate in the debate. The European Parliament is the European Union’s only directly elected institution. The UK elects 73 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) every 5 years through proportional representation. These 73 MEPs
meet with other MEPs from the other 27 member states of the EU to sit in the European Parliament in Strasburg and Brussels. Currently, no UK MEPs sit in the largest grouping of MEPs in the European Parliament (European People’s Party) but there are UK MEPs in all of the other political groupings. Guests at the event included Phil Bennion, Liberal Democrat MEP, Will Duckworth, Green Party candidate, William Etheridge, UK Independence Party candidate, Neena Gill, Labour Party candidate, Anthea McIntyre, Conservative Party MEP and Nikki Sinclaire, MEP for the ‘We Demand a
Referendum Now’ Party. Each candidate introduced themselves, their party and their aims for 3 minutes. After this, the floor was opened for questions from the audience. All questions had to be addressed to all of the candidates and could not be directed at anybody in particular.The audience asked questions that included the issues of racism, the proposed EU referendum in 2017 and controversy about the closed-list proportional representation electoral system employed by the UK. All candidates had equal time to answer all of the questions asked, which lasted for just over one hour each.
After the talk, Dr. Hertner was thanked for organising and chairing the debate. A wine reception followed where people had the opportunity to meet the candidates and question them personally. The candidates were varied, ranging from across the political spectrum, and most of the parties standing in this election were represented in this event. Second year Political Sciene student commented, 'It was a really informative and thought-provoking event helped me to decide who I will vote for later this month.' Voting for the European Parliament and local elections takes place on May 22nd.
UCU Calls off Marking Ban After Accepting 2% Pay Offer Duncan Kenyon News Writer
Sabrina Dougall News Editor
The University and Colleges Union (UCU) have put an end to a planned marking boycott after a new pay offer from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). At a ballot taken at the end of last week, 83.7% of members who voted, indicated that they accepted the 2% pay offer and wanted to call off the marking boycott. Just over half of UCU members voted in the ballot, with a turnout of 52.6%. The planned marking boycott would have gone ahead from 6th May. This was due to a
dispute over pay increases in the year 20132014, when the UCEA had promised a 1% pay rise to staff. A boycott planned for 28th April had been postponed pending this ballot. Trade Unions had claimed that the 1% offer was unfair, as it was below inflation and would have meant a cut in real term wages. Additionally, it had been seen as unfair to have the lowest paid staff on such a small wage increase when university vicechancellors saw an average of 6% increase last year, according to UCU reports. The UCEA offered a 2% pay increase for university staff for the academic year 20142015. This is up from a 1% increase that was offered to staff in 2013-2014, which resulted in industrial strikes. The decision comes despite the UCU’s claim that real term wages have decreased by 15% since the 2006-2008 pay deal. Additionally, with the Retail Price Index (RPI) at 2.7%, the union had argued that a
wage increase of 2% would likely see another loss in real term wages. The UCEA had warned that this increase of 2% is the limit of affordability for Higher Education institutions. The UCEA have also pointed out that this 2% increase, combined with wage increments that 43% of staff are entitled to, will mean a 3.2% pay increase for most staff below the living wage. The National Union of Students (NUS) and Unison have said that this will bring 12,500 staff, who are currently working for below the living wage, to either match or exceed it. This comes after the pledge of the University of Birmingham’s to offer staff a living wage on 5th March. This is separate from the UCEA’s pay packet, and is due to come into effect across the University from 1st August 2014 and will affect all staff. NUS President, Toni Pearce, has commented that the NUS ‘have consistently supported the case for fair pay in higher educa-
tion, particularly for the lowest paid’. She had welcomed the idea of postponing the marking ban because of the disruption it would bring to students. Nevertheless, a minority of UCU members have raised objections to the union’s decision. 16% of union members indicated their preference ‘To reject the offer and commence the marking boycott at the earliest opportunity possible’. One commented, ‘I am utterly disgusted by this whole campaign. We fought over five years plus of deflation in our pay and were encouraged to accept a deal that fell far short of what was reasonable to accept.’ The acceptance of the 2% offer now settles the pay dispute for the next academic year. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'UCU members have made it overwhelmingly clear that they wish to accept the 2% pay offer and call off the proposed marking boycott. My thanks go to UCU members for their support in this dispute'.
UB Sport Pledges with UK Anti-Doping to ‘Keep Sport Clean’ Vedika Bahl News Editor
The University of Birmingham Sport (UBSport) has joined forces with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and become one of the first UK universities to officially pledge to keep sport free of illegal drugs. UKAD has invested heavily into a four-year plan to ensure prevention, as well as educate and support all athletes as well as their support systems, about the usage of drugs in sport. Through this tiein with UKAD, UBSport will be in the process of becoming an accredited Clean Sport University, which will acknowledge
the efforts carried out by the institution to promote the code of clean sport.UBSport Performance Sport Manager, Alex Taylor said: ‘Many of our elite athletes have trained and competed within the university system (BUCS) and hence UKAD accreditation scheme is a great opportunity for us to influence the attitudes and behaviours of the next generation of athletes.’ She continued, ‘We, at UBSport are passionate about sport - how we support and educate our student athletes is key to what we do. Promoting clean sport principles and ethics is important to us as many of our students will be the athletes, coaches and support personnel of the
future.’ Out of the 3 tiers of accreditation, UBSport will be pursuing the secondlevel, Advanced tier in the schemes inaugural year. However the process is progressive and universities will be given the opportunity to upgrade their status. Teaching Fellow at the University of Birmingham School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, Ceri Fellows, who will be part of the implementation team, stated: ‘By linking with UKAD to develop this initiative, we are improving the employability of our students, who will be graduating into the sports industry, better informed and educated regarding the issues surrounding doping'.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Student in Charity Roadtrip to Mongolia Ella Cohen News Reporter
A Birmingham student and three friends are driving to Mongolia in efforts to raise money for Cancer Research and Cool Earth. The slightly unorthodox element to their quest is that they will be taking to the road in a - soon to be - fully functioning ice cream van, bought on EBay. They hope to be selling treats throughout the course of their journey. The team, from Devon, begin their journey from London on the 20th of July and hope to complete the round-trip of around 13,000 miles in approximately 6 weeks. Cosmo Crocker, a student at the University of Birmingham and one third of the team, spoke to Redbrick about the
'They hope to sell treats throughout the course of their journey' upcoming challenge. The boys are taking part in the Mongol Rally, a car rally which was set up in 2004 by ‘The Adventurists’, to raise money for charity, whilst embarking on the trip of a lifetime. The organisation requires teams to raise at least £1000 for charity, £500 of which must be donated to ‘Cool Earth’, a charity aimed at saving the rainforest. This team are aiming to raise around £1250 for Cancer Research and are looking for donations. All other costs incurred must be covered by the teams themselves, including the entry fee of the competition, visas, insurance and other expenses. Fortunately however, Cosmo’s team, ‘Eddies Delicious Ice-Creams’ have man-
aged to obtain some sponsorship to help cover the considerable price of the trip. The race is not a race as such, with the ‘finish line’ being in place for some weeks, to allow as many teams to complete the challenge as possible. Cosmo also mentioned the social aspect to the trip, with over 200 teams taking part and meeting along the way, most notably at a party in the Czech Republic on the 22nd July. According to Cosmo, friends and fam-
ily have been, on the whole very supportive, with his mum’s only worry being that he is not organised enough. Although, Cosmo did comment on the problems the current political situation in Ukraine has caused for the trip, with the route being changed to avoid the country altogether. Indeed the team will have to travel through much of Eastern Europe to reach their end point, and the tensions in the region might be something they will have to take into account on the course of their journey.
When asked what he will miss the most, Cosmo listed the internet and social media, as well as proper showers and toilets, which are meant to be ‘dire’ where they are going according to previous participants. However, he spoke of his excitement at the upcoming departure date. If anyone wants to find out more information about the team and their challenge, they have a website which contains all the relevant information: http://www. eddies-delicious-ice-creams.co.uk/.
Library Hermit Defends Accusations of 'Narcissism' Tara Dein News Editor
Vedika Bahl News Editor
An anonymous student nicknamed the ‘Library Hermit’ has been challenged £30,000 - covering the cost of his degree - to live in the library for the next 6 weeks. This has sparked an increasing amount of attention both on campus and nationally. The student alleges he needs an average of 72% in his final exams to pass his degree. He has constrained himself to only 45 minutes per day outside of the library. The Hermit expressed his disbelief at the number of people who are now following the Facebook page, which now has a total of over 12000 likes. ‘When I started this page I was expecting my extended social circle, with maybe 500-1000 followers’. The Hermit has told Redbrick, ‘This is spiralling out of control completely. The page is for entertainment purposes and for students only, as to some extent they can relate to the stress I’m going through’. Recently, the Hermit has also been contacted by news agencies, charities and national newspapers but has voiced his con-
cern regarding any further publicity, with the risk of the public misinterpreting his intentions. ‘It could change their perceptions of the University, and I don’t want that to happen because our University is awesome’. ‘I’ll keep posting for the amazing people that follow me, but I’ll be very careful as to not attract any more outside attention’ The Hermit has received hundreds of messages containing ‘support and advice’. However he has also faced criticism both online and around campus. Many students have doubted the authenticity of his claims and accuse his ploy of being ‘simply attention- seeking’. Recently, a parody page has emerged, satirically named the the ‘Library Hermit Crab’. In response to the criticism, the Hermit posted on his Facebook page ‘It’s just 6 weeks as part of a stupid bet with a Facebook page to make light of the situation’ The Hermit has also received messages telling him to donate the £30,000 to a charity. This comes 4 weeks after ‘LongLoanLockin’, where 3 UOB students spent one week living in the library for the Birmingham Nightline Charity. The Hermit has countered this claim, stating , ‘creating my own JustGiving account seems unnecessary and narcissistic. Ultimately this page is purely for entertainment purposes’.
9th May - 5th June 2014
£20 Million Overhaul for Selfridges Beth Coveney News Writer
Ten years since it first opened in the Bullring, Selfridges have released plans for a £20 million refurbishment of the city’s landmark store. The redevelopment, which has already begun, will include an extended beauty section, a window dressing layout similar to that of the Oxford Street store, and a new ‘beauty workshop’ offering services such as spray-tanning and manicures – Selfridges’ only one outside of London. The refit will also bring a host of new brands to Birmingham, several of which are exclusive to the city, including The Kooples, Maje, Boy London and Burberry. The development is predicted to create 70 new jobs over two years. However, Amy Knott, a second-year UOB student, was skeptical about the need for redevelopment. ‘I suppose it’s good that it’s creating jobs. £20 million is a lot, though – Selfridges is already pretty nice’. In contrast, English student Alex Lee was excited
about the project, ‘as long as it doesn’t get in the way of my shopping’, pointing out that, with the first phase due to be finished before Christmas, they may be cutting it a bit fine. Selfridges’ investment comes at an exciting time for Birmingham city centre, with the year ahead promising the opening of the New Street Grand Central (including a huge new John Lewis store and over 40 other stores) as well as completion of The Mailbox’s £50 million upgrade. Sue West, director of operations at Selfridges, recognised the importance of Birmingham’s position in the centre of the
"It's good that it's creating jobs." country and also as one of Europe’s youngest and most diverse cities. She claimed the new Selfridges would also have a focus on culture, entertainment and events, saying ‘It’s not so much about shopping, we see ourselves very much as a destination. We really invest in the customer experience’.
UoB Centre for Research Strengthens bid for HS2 College Lucy Moseley News Writer
Alongside Chiltern Railways, Carillion, and nearly 60 other businesses, The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham is backing the £20 million bid for the new high-speed national rail college to be situated in Birmingham. Balfour Beatty, the company that currently holds the contract for the new Midland Metro construction in the city center is also one of the 60 bidders. This is in spite of the recent report that the Chief Executive has stepped down following a £30 million shortfall in the group’s UK construction arm. Crewe, Milton Keynes and Derby are also reportedly competing to host the college, which is needed to train the 2,000 employees needed to build HS2. The plan is for the college to be up and running by 2017, the same year that construction for HS2 will begin. There are four sites that have been set aside provided Birmingham win the bid: Eastside Locks, Science Park Aston, Riverside in Perry Barr and Jennens Road in Eastside. The successful bidder will be
revealed this summer. Steve Hollis, deputy chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) felt confident of the second city’s chance of winning the bid, citing ‘the jewel in the crown of our proposals: the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education.’ He added that Birmingham is ‘already a world-leader in rail research with global experience of engaging both the public and private sectors.’ Hollis explained, ‘We know that HS2 will have a huge economic impact on Greater Birmingham – our aim is to maximise this, make the most of the Government’s investment in the project and rebalance the economy.’ However, there still remains widespread opposition to the £50 billion High Speed 2 rail link, with two Conservative ministers threatening to resign from the government if David Cameron refuses to make changes to the project that will devastate the natural beauty of the Chiltern Hills. MPs are yet to vote and make a final decision on whether to allow the project to proceed. If plans for HS2 are accepted, construction of Phase 1 will be due to be completed by 2026.
THURSDAY 22ND MAY
Guild Council Chamber, Guild Building, 6pm With 100 elected student representatives meeting seven times this year, Guild Council is the democratic voice of students at the University of Birmingham. Through Guild Council, students at the University of account and ensure it’s working for its members. Guild members have submitted a number of motions on a range of topics, if you would like to know what is being discussed, email email@example.com. And, as always, a chance for you to about the work they have been doing for you!
All students can come to Guild Council and speak on any of the agenda items. All you need to do is turn up to the Guild Council Chamber on the night of the meeting. If you can’t attend the meeting, follow what’s happening on twitter using #guildcouncil
For further information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
9th May - 5th June 2014
Guild Holds Referenda on Democratic Structures Fears grow over whether enough votes will be cast to secure a result that represents students James Phillips Editor-elect
Democratic Structures Review in a nutshell - A website would be set up to allow students to introduce ideas for the Guild debate. This could entail anything from adjusting the beliefs and commitments of the Guild to mandating a demonstration or campaign. - If a suggested idea receives at least 65 expressions of interest from other students online, it will be debated in an open assembly - Any student can debate the idea, and a vote is held - Ideas receiving over 67% of the vote will be put into policy - Policy suggestions which receive between 33% and 66% of an assembly vote will be sent to an all-student referendum
Deadline Extended by 6 weeks James Phillips Editor-elect
On 2nd May, The Guild of Students announced a six week extension to the voting period for the two referenda on the Democratic Structures Review and Officer Review. After five days of voting, students were granted an extended period of time in which to register their vote. Votes are now able to be placed up until June 13th, meaning an extension of the voting period from five to forty-seven days. The two questions give students the ability to change the way the Guild operates and how the Officer team is made up. As of 4pm on Friday 2nd May, only 828 votes had been placed on the Democratic Structures Review, and 867 had been placed on the Officer Review. In order for the referenda to reach quoracy - allowing for a decision to be accepted - 3070 votes need to have been placed on each question. In a statement released on the website, the Guild claimed that the extension was granted due to the referenda taking place during the exam period and around assignment deadlines. The Guild also stated that
they are 'keen to ensure you [students] all have enough time to read the support documents, digest the information and make an informed decision'. The statement ends with the Guild expressing their thanks to those who have already voted and encourages all other students to do so in the extended period. The announcement was made within the final thirty minutes of the original voting period. Soon after the statement was published, students questioned the Guild's decision. Vice President-elect (Democracy, Resources and Sustainability), Bethan Dovey, raised concerns over whether the Sabbatical Officer team, who made the decision, had the power to extend the period. A second-year political science student told Redbrick that she thought the extension was a 'farcical and desperate decision.' She added that the Guild should 'concede that they have got it hopelessly wrong and apologise to the students who will be adversely affected by these undemocratic, privileged and management-focused proposals should they go ahead.' All students can vote in the Guild referenda by logging into my.bham or on the Guild of Students website.
The Guild of Students is currently asking students how they believe the Guild and its structures should be organised in the future. The Guild is posing two questions to University of Birmingham students which will, if accepted, change how Guild policy is made and how the Officer Team is organised. The two questions ask whether or not students accept or reject the proposed Democratic Structures Review (DSR) and the Officer Team Review. Attempting to ‘enable as much participation from the student body at every level’. The DSR hopes to improve student engagement with the Guild by providing more direct opportunities to vote on Guild policies. The Officer Team Review is aimed at improving leadership from the Sabbatical Officer team and increase awareness of its role. Campaign groups for the referenda have already formed and started promoting their arguments over social media. As yet, there has been no Yes campaign in support of the DSR and Officer Team Review. A spokesperson for the No Campaign told Redbrick: ‘The review has cherrypicked data from an unrepresentative set of respondents to create a model which only increases the failures of the current system. It has removed many key points of change that students democratically voted for in an attempt to improve the appalling model given to us.’ Meanwhile the Abstain Campaign told us of their ‘displeasure’ at the two options the referenda provide: ‘The new proposed model is a system whereby any student can participate in making change in their Students' Union but only twice a year. Yet our current
model sees a small collective of students passing policy approximately four times a year.’ The Democratic Structures Review analysed the ways in which students have been getting involved in Guild politics and how they would get involved in formulating Guild Policy. According to the Guild of Students documentation, the proposed model ‘aims to be a quicker and easier way to introduce ideas from the student body with less formality in structure and content placed into a public forum for an online discussion and vote.’ Currently, policy is decided by Guild Council, a representative decision-making body that meets once a month during termtime. Policies are presented in the form of 'motions' which any student can submit. They are then debated, amended and voted upon in the open meeting. All students can attend, but only elected Guild Councillors can vote. The motions are then implemented in the time frame specified. Guild Council is also able to mandate officers to carry out an action, and it is also an opportunity to hold officers to account. The new model proposes to replace this system with online submissions and general assemblies. Students can submit a policy idea to an online forum where other students can discuss and vote on whether the idea should be implemented. General Assemblies will be held once a term for all students to discuss popular ideas, resulting in another vote. Ideas which receive less than 33% of the vote will be rejected and those over 66% will be accepted and implemented immediately. Any idea that achieves between 33% and 66% inclusive will be sent to an all-student referendum which will happen twice a year. In addition to the General Assemblies, chairs of Liberation and Representation Associations will attend a regular meeting in order to discuss issues - this forum will then liaise with the Officer Team.
Officer Team Review in a nutshell - Would abolish the Non-Sabbatical Officer team altogether - ‘Associations and Committees’ will be set up instead to link students to the Sabbatical Officers - Chairs of these groups will be expected to ensure online discussion forums allow equal opportunity for students to be included
9th May - 5th June 2014
The Referendum Nobody Knows About Ashley Kirk Digital Editor
Did you know that there’s currently a campus-wide referendum at Birmingham? Did you know we have a chance to get rid of Guild Council and rethink how students can control our university lives? No, me neither – until this morning. On 28th April, perfectly timed to coincide with exam revision, the Guild gave us a chance to vote on its future. How it’s ran; who runs it; how students can get involved with it. Apparently an email’s been sent out to inform us. Apparently there are actual campaigns on campus I must have missed them. Where’s the social media presence? Where are the visible campaigns? Where’s, well, anything? Now, for the sake of this argument, say that Guild Council is effective (it isn’t). Say that Guild Councillors are representative (they aren’t). Say that Guild politics has real clout (it doesn’t). Regardless, many students took hours and hours to debate this reform – and it is most likely to be for nothing when it doesn't reach its target of 3,000 votes. It hasn’t been marketed; it hasn’t been explained; its campaigns aren't visible: people don’t even know about it. So how can we expect to vote?
The whole process of changing the Guild’s ‘democratic structures’ has been so remote from students. We can see this from one of the brilliantly-phrased questions in the referendum: ‘Do you believe that the Guild of Students should adopt the proposed new democratic structures model?’ Erm, what is this 'proposed new democratic structures model'? Well, it’s a 70-page document outlining a new model that changes from the old model because it’s a better democratic model. Get it? Out with the old ineffective model and in with the new ineffective model. Happy reading - who cares for revision? There is a wonderful array of reasons as to why students don’t know – or care – about this, but none of it matters if people don’t even know that there is an opportunity to change it. Now, I count myself as knowing (unfortunately) a fair bit about Guild politics. If I don’t know that we have this chance to have our say, I can guarantee the majority of Redbrick's readers don’t. Well-meaning students have taken time to try to tackle the issues of student engagement and democracy at Birmingham and no one even knows about it. To rush through a poorly-explained referendum during exam time is, frankly, one of the most ridiculous decisions I’ve ever witnessed at the Guild – it’s almost as if they’ve done it on purpose.
The Referendum Nobody Asked For The No Campaign Team
Ashley Kirk mentioned in his previous piece that the Guild has given us the opportunity to get rid of Guild Council, an organisation considered controversial at best, and loathed at worst. However, while the Guild may have called for this referendum, students didn’t call for it. Officers didn’t call for it. Guild Council didn’t call for it. This referendum has been called by the Trustee Board. Our
"Students had no say in these reforms other than selectively picked data" Guild is highly unusual in that most Students' Unions have elected trustees, while ours are appointed by a small committee away from any public scrutiny. The Guild is not run by students. Would students call for a vote on the very future of their organisation in the middle of the exam
"Where is the 'Yes' campaign?" period? If I were more cynical, I would suspect that this would be a way of preventing any debate while the Guild pushes through changes people haven’t asked for, and have had no chance to digest. This much is obvious from the online presence of the campaigns which, as Ashley apparently didn’t notice, so far consist of a “No” campaign and a fairly curious “Abstain” campaign. Where is the “Yes”
campaign? Ashley rightly points out that elected councillors took many hours to debate these proposed changes. What he didn’t mention was all of that debate was rendered worthless as, once the changes were voted through, the Trustee Board blocked them on the basis of ‘Market Research’, ignoring the fact that they have the ability to veto proposals from Guild Council only on legal, financial and reputation grounds. This will still happen regardless of which system we go for. Students had no say in these ‘reforms’ other than the data that was selectively picked out of the 70 pages of ‘research’.
"Nowhere does it say that students want to get rid of Non-Sabbatical officers" What’s worse, while the market research this referendum was based on highlighted the serious issues we all know the Guild has, the proposed structures almost completely fail to address them. Nowhere does it say that students want to get rid of Non-Sabbatical officers representing marginalised groups. Students don’t want to remove the ability to actually hold officers to their policies. They haven’t asked for a three stage motion submission process offering yet more tedium and bureaucracy to trying to make change happen in the Guild. If we want the Guild to fully represent us, we can’t allow badly thought out rushed out systems to be pushed upon us with no input from students. We need to look at serious changes to the Guild and how our trustees and management influence it. We need elected trustees, not half-baked proposals.
9th May - 5th June 2014
The UKIP 'People's Army' Marches On George Reeves Commentator
The last general election saw a revolution in British politics, as the two-party system which seemed to have such an iron grip on power was blown open by a resurgent Liberal Democrat Party. The ruling Labour government had come to power offering so much, but after thirteen years in power and with Gordon Brown now at the helm they appeared tired, stale and worn out. Likewise, the Conservative opposition had floated from one failed party leader to another and although the latest appointment, David Cameron, had managed to make the party at least resemble an electable force, he could not attract widespread public enthusiasm. In the midst of such disaffection, it was the previously little-known Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, who seized the moment and almost overnight became the country's most popular and exciting politician. Four years later, Clegg has quite literally gone from hero to zero, and with the Liberal
"In Farage they find a kindred spirit, an ordinary person who is more likely to be found downing a pint (or three) in his local pub than attending Hampstead drinks parties with the rich and powerful" Democrats routinely losing their deposit in a series of humiliating by-elections it is fair to say that the public's love-in with the
political centre-ground is over. Now it is all about previously little-known Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, who seized
"Instead, the mainstream parties need to stop obsessing over focus groups and polling data and go out into the streets in order to understand the concerns of the ordinary UKIP voter" the moment and almost overnight became the country's most popular and exciting politician. Four years later, Clegg has quite literally gone from hero to zero, and with the Liberal Democrats routinely losing their deposit in a series of humiliating by-elections it is fair to say that the public's love-in with the political centre-ground is over. Now it is all about UKIP, and their rise seems unstoppable despite the negative press they are receiving from all corners of the mainstream media on practically a daily basis. UKIP are an unlikely group of revolutionaries; their traditional support base is a mixture of old-school ex-Tories, small government libertarians and social conservatives, most of whom live below the M4 and are of retirement age. However, the populist message of the right wing party is slowly creeping out of these traditional heartlands and finding favour amongst a different type of voter. Nigel Farage is proud of the growing number of ex-Labour voters who are now flocking to UKIP, disaffected by the
Westminster establishment and the largely middle-class leadership of the Labour Party. These voters would never dream of backing the Conservatives, but yet in Farage they find a kindred spirit, an ordinary person who is more likely to be found downing a pint (or three) in his local pub than attending Hampstead drinks parties with the rich and powerful. This is an image which understandably scares the political elite; the Conservatives especially know that it was Margaret Thatcher's appeal to the aspirational working classes - the 'Essex man' voter - which helped her to win three consecutive elections. Likewise, the issue of immigration is one which particularly affects the working classes, those who fear for the future of their communities and who worry about the lack of jobs. This is a fear which Farage has successfully tapped into, fusing pledges to reduce immigration and prioritise jobs for British workers with a populist form of flag-
"It is fair to say that the public's love-in with the political centre-ground is over. Now it is all about UKIP, and their rise seems unstoppable" waving patriotism. The evidence of UKIP's appeal to the working class voter can be found in recent by-election results, with the party coming second in the Labour seats of Wythenshawe, South Shields, Rotherham, Middlesbrough and Barnsley - a bit of a far cry from the tweed-wearing ex-colonels of the West Country largely depicted as the standard UKIP voter. With European elections looming, the
political establishment is pulling out all the stops to discredit UKIP, aided by their friends in the media. The former Conservative MP Matthew Parris wrote an article for The Times recently comparing UKIP to the
"Their traditional support base is a mixture of oldschool ex-Tories, small government libertarians and social conservatives, most of whom... are of retirement age" Nazis, whilst there are regular reports of racist and extremist candidates with a range of disgraceful and repugnant views. Farage has rightly acted quickly to expel these members, as well as pointing out that every party contains bigots at a local level. However, the misdeeds of Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat members has gone unreported by the media, who only seem to care about depicting UKIP as 'the BNP in blazers.' Such a negative press has failed to dent the popularity of Farage's party, who stand a strong chance of winning the European elections at the end of the month. Likewise, Farage has now pledged to highlight and draw attention to the party's many ethnic minority candidates and members. The political establishment need to learn that constant negative attacks on UKIP won't prevent their rise, but will simply propagate the image of an out of touch Westminster elite. Instead, the mainstream parties need to stop obsessing over focus groups and polling data and go out into the streets in order to understand the concerns of the ordinary UKIP voter.
9th May - 5th June 2014
The Fall of Maria Miller: A Turning Point in Our Democracy? Adam Isaacs Commentator
It wasn’t long ago that we were being preached to by mercurial figure Russell Brand, the pre-eminent part of his soliloquy advocating the end of democracy on the grounds that voting is a waste of time- ‘a political hokey cokey’. He pronounced with fitful vigour that the democratic system is only to the advantage of a narrow cross section of society and for us as a country it just doesn’t work. Whilst Brand was largely lamented by the political intelligentsia, his point did linger in the back of one’s mind as new esoteric political issues arose and effervesced away. Much like a waltz- minus the grace. And so this pattern remained until the fall of Maria Miller. Far from inconsequential, Miller’s resignation was undoubtedly multicausal. But possibly the overbearing implication of the demise is that it was provoked foremostly by social media: the first parliamentary sacking necessitated by social media action? As of the time of writing, a change.org petition started by Twitter user Matthew Lawrence received over 184,000 signatures urging the now ex- Culture Secretary to
‘either pay back £45,000 in fraudulent expense claims or resign’. It was this petition which replaced Tory MP’s indifference with urgency, displayed firstly by Lord Tebbit, in an urgent attempt to remove a black mark on the party from the party- potentially cancerous to its chances in the elections of 2014 and 2015. Despite the public backing of senior Tories; Iain Duncan-Smith, David Cameron, Boris Johnson, and the large indifference of the Commons, Miller was eventually deposed. Arrogance, gross misconduct and unethical action may have been the reasons why trouble arose, yet it was ultimately social media which provided the push that was needed to see the end of Miller’s reign as Culture Secretary. Democracy at work. Several questions emerge in the wake of Miller’s resignation: the actions taken by those on social media- are those a blueprint for a form of recall elections or something of the sort? Would recalls even be needed if e-petitions are sufficient? Is apathy not a disease but a symptom of a politically engaged but disinterested franchise? How much more can be achieved via social media? How can we maximise political participation and democracy through tools available such as the internet and social media? Answers would all be hypotheticals, yet the importance of the questions are not to be
understated. The internet is a voice of a living political culture within British society- a voice which has maybe been stifled by political developments being outpaced by technological and cultural advances. Many seem to have a political opinion when one scours the internet- a notion which just isn’t backed up by physical participation at the ballot box. The concept of using technology to advance democracy seems packed with
potential, and maybe this is the method to remedy the stagnation of interest Brand seemed to be addressing. No doubt, the fall of Miller is a pivotal moment in politics; maybe it is just the start for social media’s involvement in the affairs of the country; maybe it is the beginning of an era, an era without apathy, an era of accountability and real democracy. We can only hope, and push, one tweet, one blog at a time.
9th May - 5th June 2014
The Rise of Corporate Dystopia and the Chaos of Online Democracy Aqib Khan Commentator
To misquote Martin Luther King: a nation that continues year after year to allow giant multi-national corporations to spend more and more on its politics on the alter of Corporatocracy is approaching dystopia. Let’s take one recent example, NSA spying. The Congressional vote to defund mass warrantless NSA spying on civilians lost at a vote of 215-207. A detailed study of voting patterns of individual congressmen and the
"A nation that continues year after year to allow giant multi-national corporations to spend more and more on its politics on the alter of Corporatocracy is approaching dystopia" donations they received from giant defence contractors, found congressmen who voted to not stop mass warrantless spying received more than double (122% to be precise) the financial contribution (bribe) than congressmen in favour of repealing it. What an amazing chance occurrence. The NSA amongst other activities, has spied on politically active academics, on the orders ‘to get them’ as one former CIA employee expressed and monitors the online
pornographic habits of citizens deemed a ‘potential political’ threat, so they can be defamed later. Closer to home, David Cameron ordered an inquiry into whether the British branch of the Muslim Brotherhood should be designated a terrorist organization and banned, following Saudi Arabia who did so last month. The head of the inquiry is Sir John Jenkins, the current ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The month before, Saudi Arabia finalized an arms deal with British manufacturer BAE to the tune of billions of pounds (the exact figures aren’t given) with the help of the British state, following a few visits from Charles and the Prime Minister paying visit to the Kingdom. Proving Saudi Arabia undeniable influence over Downing Street through its financial influence is of course impossible without, ironically, spying on the innards of Whitehall. But it is not beyond ones imagination. Tony Blair, that great lion heart, prevented an inquiry into the bribery occurring between British arms manufacturers and Saudi princes after one warned of ‘another 7/7’ in London had it not been stopped. Not only are we strengthening an autocracy (which also designated atheists to be terrorists) whilst simultaneously sanctioning one across the Gulf (Iran at the very least has elections), we’re also hollowing the very essence of the democratic system by allowing money to dictate policy both here and across the Atlantic. Or maybe not. Modern technology has turned the world into a giant village. Pictures I take on my smartphone in London are uploaded onto computer servers in California before being
seen by my friend in Egypt, in the matter of seconds. This compression of space and time has hyperventilated and megaphoned voices to the point small utterances can cause huge ripples and reach great distances. Take Obama’s ‘red line’ comment on Syria in 2012. It was completely off the cuff.
"Access to 'radio, television and the internet' is making it much more difficult to govern...It's pulled the wool off people's eyes. Our elected officicials never represented us to begin with" His team of advisors didn’t know anything about a red line walking in to the conference hall. But having made the statement every new event in Syria was framed in an expectation of an American response that was never on the cards to begin with. Obama was pushed and pushed on the statement by a 24 hour news media to the point he tried to deny he ever made such a statement, before reinterpreting what he said, before he gave in and it almost led to the actual bombing of another country, that was until John Kerry said a solution to the standoff would be to remove all chemical weapons from the country. Another off the cuff remark that reversed the effect of Obama’s. But look at what just
happened. A giant Middle Eastern war was almost started and then avoided in less than two sentences. Smaller sentences are of course the popular medium of the day. John Kerry had to dedicate an entire section of his speech on Ukraine on the Russian news network RT (an online phenomenon with more than 70 times the YouTube views of BBC News and three times as much as CNN) because of the very real impact it was having countering Western portrayals of the crisis. The media war is almost as intense as the crisis itself. Pepe Escobar a correspondent for the Asia times summarizes: ‘America's absolutely terrified. Because now it's not only CNN all over the world like during the war in Bosnia or during the first Iraq war. Now there is RT, Al-Jazeera, France 24, Deutche Welle, TVE, CCV, and one day we are going to have Brazilian TV going global, not only in Portuguese. They are terrified of Press TV in Iran, which also broadcasts in English, so they ban Press TV all over the place.’ Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski, who advised the previous 6 presidents on something or another, and a global intellectual elite, complained this ‘global political awakening’ caused by the access to ‘radio, television and the internet’ is making it much more difficult to govern. People can now find out what their government is getting up to. Because of this, it’s pulled the wool off people’s eyes. Our elected officials never represented us to begin with. Since I began by quoting and re-fashioning the words of one civil rights icon, I may as well re-mould another to end: What do I think of democracy? I think it would be a very good idea. - Ghandi.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Our Next Item is My Virginity
Commentator A 27 year old American woman is auctioning off her virginity, and the highest bid is $800,000. Elizabeth Raine, claims to be a med school student and said she already holds two Bachelor's degrees. "The winning bidder will receive a 12-hour date with me, during the course of which he will be offered my virginity," Raine stated on her website. There are a lot of people in England who will respond to this story with derision for the young woman and disgust at the men who are bidding on her. I wonder: is this an outcry from the intensely hypocritical moral arbiters in our society, who condemn exploitation by day but lasciviously scroll through illicit websites by night? Large parts of our society are, and may always be, rapidly
moralistic, ‘good’ people, who know just what is right for everyone, and certainly know better than Raine. The idea of selling or buying sex is, to them, sinful. However, has some of the controversy stemmed from the fact that she is a medical student? By taking up the worlds oldest profession, is she bringing the worlds other oldest profession into disrepute? I myself am a student of medicine, and personally I consider Raine’s position as a medical student as irrelevant to the debate. It is well known that female medical students, struggling to survive with very little money and a shortage of daylight hours to spend working, are turning to night shifts in strip clubs or even brothels. Of course I do not believe that women should have to resort to such means to finance a degree, especially one that stands upon pillars of fairness and ethics.
However, something that I do not agree with is the unrealistic view that people have of medical students. How can we respond with shock when medical students, who are under disgraceful mental and economic strain, take extreme measures to survive. Do we expect them to all be spotless, idealistic bastions of morality? This is, of course, what I hope to be; but it is idyllic and wrong. First and foremost I am human, with self preservation being paramount, and personal gain guiding my every move. If i am put in a compromising situation, where following the rules will lead to me being massively disadvantaged and suffering, then I will respond like any other person. The prospect of auctioning off an evening of my life to be taken out by a wealthy philanderer doesn’t seem so bad in comparison to another night with a gratingly low budget meal, mouldy student accommodation and a
strict revision schedule. If we continue to push young men and women through this spartan lifestyle, and don’t give them more help and support, then we will inevitably see them find their own means of supporting themselves. This story seems to be evidence of that. For me, what is really surprising is more the idea of why a girl of 27 would have treasured her virginity to so many years, only to sell it off to a rich playboy. To me it seems a mockery to give away something so meaningful so freely but it is her choice. On her website she claims: “Believe it or not, I am not without a social conscience and have given considerable thought to the implications of virginity, virginity auctions, and my own actions”. I just wonder has she considered all those women who didn’t have the choice when it was taken away and certainly did not get paid for it?
9th May - 5th June 2014
Science & Technology
Smile for the Camera Will Forster investigates: can facial recognition save the sea turtle? We all have Facebook. We all have photographs. We all get confused when Facebook’s automatic identification system tags Dave as Jeff, and your dog as Aunty Marge. But is it time to share this fun with sea turtles? Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea) have paddled our oceans for more than 100 million years. Humans, by contrast, have trod the earth for only about 200 000 years. And yet in that time, we’ve succeeded in spilling oil, dropping indigestible litter and making turtle-egg omelettes to such a devastating extent that these once numerous and diverse animals are now teetering on the edge of extinction. In the 1960s, around 5000 Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) nests were observed each year across Malaysia but, by the 2000s, you could count the number on both hands. Anyone with a limited knowledge in conservation biology knows this is dangerous. When numbers fall below a particular
threshold, no matter how far we go in arresting the trend of anthropogenic damage and cleaning the environment, the population will never recover without direct, longterm and costly human intervention. To stop the situation from reaching this point, conservationists must implement regulations and manage strategies already in place. But to do this they have to be in the loop as to what turtle populations are doing: Are they declining? Are they increasing? Are they migrating? There are many questions that are incredibly to difficult answer despite their simplicity. Flipper or mutilation tagging has been the most established way of recognising one turtle from another, thereby allowing the populations to be estimated. But for a sea turtle, having an orange piece of plastic attached to your flipper makes you more vulnerable to fishing nets and increases your chance of becoming shark lunch. For such reason, tagging is
forbidden in some locations, such as the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. So how can scientists keep a finger on the pulse?
"There is added hope that we might again see marine turtles fare the seas in great numbers like they once did." Enter facial recognition: For some time now, we’ve been used to the idea of spies accessing locked vaults (or HP-users accessing locked laptops) using only their face and a clever piece of software. We know the concept is out there and that the technology exists, but we have never really encountered it beyond these particular, limited applica-
tions, let alone on sea turtles. But this may soon change. By using advanced ‘matching algorithms’ with sophisticated preprocessing that cleans up and manipulates underwater photographs, computer scientist Professor Chris Town, from the University of Cambridge, and I will investigate a completely new role of facial recognition technology; in identifying sea turtles on the Perhentian Islands. Our research, if successful, would help pave the way to an online database of ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ turtle individuals that could be open to international research groups and casual divers alike (initial thoughts for naming the database include ‘Flipperbook’, but I’d welcome better suggestions!). This would fill a gap in conservationists’ toolsets and enable them to gather more valuable data, including in situations where tagging is impossible. But it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. Sea turtles share their hab-
itats with a plethora of organisms such as algae and barnacles, many of which enjoy hitching onto turtles for a free ride. Drifting sand and - you guessed it - fish also swim the waters. When you throw in nature’s variable lighting conditions, you’re left with an eclectic bunch of factors that can get in the way of a peaceful turtle conservationist and a good quality photograph of Greg the sea turtle. Accuracy and consistency from the program is paramount as it analyses perhaps thousands of images, but requires a capable set of coding algorithms and a reliable methodology for acquiring photographs. But it is possible, and one day it may also become a reality. At the moment, technology is still playing catch-up to the needs of conservationists, and substantial challenges still remain. But with each advance in research, just like this one, there is added hope that we might again see marine turtles fare the seas in great numbers as they once did.
In the 1960s, around 5000 Leatherback nests were observed each year across Malaysia but, by the 2000s, you could count the number on both hands.
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9th May - 5th June 2014
Fire and Ice:
Our hope for the future? Claire Harris
Science and Tech Editor “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice”. One of Robert Frost’s most famous poems, Fire and Ice encapsulates the human race’s trend towards self-destruction. But what if it were both? The most recent advance in the fuel crisis comes in fact from an unlikely source, burning ice. In an age where we are becoming increasingly concerned for the future of energy sources, could our saviour arrive in the form of a most unusual fossil fuel? Hydrocarbons have long been the world’s Achilles heel; we seemingly cannot live without them, yet they are running out at an unparalleled rate. More commonly known as fire ice, methane hydrate is formed in extreme environments at the depths of our oceans. Bubbles of
methane trapped in ice crystals forms swathes of reserves trapped under layers of permafrost and sea water. It is formed under high pressure and low temperature conditions, those usually found where vast continental shelves meet dropoffs to deeper ocean floors. The fire ice easily melts down into water and methane, so is not particularly resource-intensive to deal with. Also, it releases about 160 cubic metres of gas from just one cubic metre of ice, making it an highly energy-intensive fuel. This all sounds perfect but the problems arise when we think about how to actually access these vast ice fields in the depths of our oceans. Tampering with such low temperature and extreme pressure environments runs the risk of causing submarine landslides. Evidently, there is also an issue of making sure the methane hydrate doesn’t break down and escape as soon as it is removed from its areas
of origin. Recent evidence suggests that methane release is around 30 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. Essentially, this would also be prolonging our dependence on hydrocarbon fuel resources, which are destined to run out eventually. However, if used wisely, these new fuels could give us the extra time needed to solve our energy crisis. Certainly the burning of methane is an inevitable addition of further carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which in our current condition, we should be avoiding at all costs. Several countries are already investing research and money into accessing these freezing fuels safely, and there is talk of replacing the methane trapped in the ice with carbon dioxide. If this idea were found to be feasible, it would certainly provide a solution as to where to put our atmospheric greenhouse gases. As for fire ice, only time will tell.
CHAIR ELECTION GUILD COUNCIL MUST ELECT ONE STUDENT TO ACT AS CHAIR OF GUILD COUNCIL FOR THE REST OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2013-14. The Chairs of Guild Council are responsible for chairing all of the meetings of Guild Council. They refrain from demonstrating bias at any point whilst acting meeting is run in a fair and balanced manner, and that it is open and accessible to all full members who wish to attend. The Chairs also have to perform Steering duties before each Guild Council meeting, ensuring that agendas and papers are available to Guild Council members and that minutes and records of Guild Council are kept. The Chair and Deputy Chair may also be asked to perform other duties from time to time, such as sitting on various Guild Committees. Any Full Member may run to be Chair of Guild Council. This election will be held in Guild Council, which is on 22nd May 2014 at 6pm in the Guild Council Chambers. If you wish to stand in this election you can pre-submit your nominations (we just need the name of the person you are nominating) to email@example.com or nominations will be taken in the Guild Council meeting. Please note, you can nominate yourself if you wish. Candidates will be given the opportunity to give a speech on their suitability for the role, and there will be an opportunity for people to ask candidates questions.
For further information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
9th May - 5th June 2014
Redbrick's Food Diary: York Rosie Twells begins her food journey in our most beautiful walled city Rosie Twells Food Writer
The idea of creating a food diary popped into my head on a sunny spring afternoon. With the aim of now being able to share two of my favourite things, travel and food, it sounded like a great opportunity, and here is the first one. I’m hoping that these entries may inspire a visit somewhere new for you! I recently spent a few days with my family in Yorkshire, staying in Harrogate, during the Easter break. Famous for its food using rich ingredients, especially in sweet dishes, Yorkshire is a county striking a pose on the food map of Britain.
One of the restaurants that we dined at was The Fat Badger in Harrogate (HG2 0NF), located centrally in Montpellier Quarter. It is part of the recently refurbished White Hart Hotel which has successfully managed to blend the old with the new. We decided on the set menu – running Monday – Friday, 12:00 – 19:00 – which had 2 courses for £10 or 3 for £14. Although there
is not a fantastic range on this menu, the food available is delicious. The White Hart scampi, skinny fries and tartar sauce were very popular. In addition, the fish in the smoked haddock, parsley risotto with poached hen’s egg was beautifully cooked. All the dishes were extremely well presented.
Yorkshire is home to Terry's, Thorntons, Mackintosh and Rowntrees
Rhubarb: food fact of the day, there is an official Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle in the West part of the county! Measuring 9 square miles, the triangle is famous for producing early forced rhubarb by candlelight. Sweets and chocolates: Yorkshire is home to several sweet manufacturing companies including Rowntrees, Terry’s, Thorntons and Mackintosh. Yorkshire has a
lot to thank for with regards to Chocolate Oranges and tins of Quality Streets! All in all, a quick whistle-stop tour of the food culture in one of Britain’s most beautiful Northern counties there and I hope it has whet your appetite. My summer holiday is now booked, but wait until September to find out where the next Food Diary will be coming from!
For dessert, the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream, toffee sauce and biscuit crumb looked particularly inviting. My other guests tried the crème brulee and chocolate trifle which went down equally well. Throughout the meal the service was impeccable – the brasserie style restaurant that we sat in was extremely clean and there was only a very short wait for the food to arrive. The Fat Badger is a must visit and gets a huge thumbs up from me! There are many traditional foods that are local to Yorkshire. For those with a sweet tooth, this small list provides a few suggestions of what it means to taste the flavours of Yorkshire. Parkin: this is a sweet ginger cake, including treacle and oatmeal as key ingredients. This is different to usual ginger cakes which do not necessarily include these.
Crazy About Cake The Musings of an Addict Millie Walker Food Editor
It's exam season, the sun is shining, the dissertations have been handed in and the baking still continues. Last week one of my favourite neighbours brought me a bouquet of rhubarb. Apparently he and his partner have an excess in their garden and they love to hand it out to unsuspecting students. In all fairness, it was gorgeous and I made a scrumptious rhubarb crumble with it. I'm yet to make a rhubarb cake, but when I do I promise I'll let you know! The cake I would like to share, is the cake I made for Fencing Housemate on the publication of his new book. Director Housemate orchestrated the most fabulous surprise launch party with food, friends, decorations and of course there had to be cake. It didn't take me long to decide what I wanted to do and I must say, I've never been more proud of the way a cake has turned out. With Ninja Housemate at my side, we baked two coffee cakes with vanilla butter cream, cut them down to size and layered them with smooth royal icing (no bumps or holes this time). I had bought online a pot of gel food colouring, a new cupboard essential for me as they are more vibrant, malleable and much less sticky than the normal liquid colours. With it, Ninja Housemate painted the design of The Darkest Touch
onto two panels of royal icing, I cut out the tiny letters, and we created a masterpiece. I can't wait to try new designs like this one, they look so professional and, while they may be time consuming, with a little patience and imagination, they're actually not that hard to create. Before I leave you with the recipe for the coffee cake, I must apologise for not raving more about The Darkest Touch. It's incredible that my housemate has had his first novel published, and it is a gripping read. However, if you turn the page, Ashley Kirk has written a great piece for Arts on it and I'd hate to give anything away! Ingredients 175g Butter 250g Flour 200g Self Raising 3 Large Eggs 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 50ml Milk 3 tsp Espresso Powder 1tsp vanilla extract Method Grease your tin and preheat the oven to 180C Beat together the sugar and butter until pale and creamy, then gradually add the eggs and flour taking care not to let it curdle. Add the milk, baking powder, vanilla extract and coffee, mix everything together and transfer to the tin. Bake for 40-50mins until a skewer comes out clean.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Review: Comptoir Libanais
To suggest ingredient issues that you want solved, email: food@ redbrickonine.co.uk
Safiyyah Gareeboo reviews the new recipe book that's helping her unwind this exam season.
Revision Food Rules
Safiyyah Gareeboo Food Writer
After having been to Comptoir Libanais a few times, I fell in love with the fast, simple texamples of Lebanese food. Let’s be clear, it doesn’t prioritise authenticity, there are many other established restaurants nationwide which do a much better job (and I’m certainly no expert in Lebanese cuisine!); no, what Comptoir Libanais does best is that it’s so accessible to a British audience. As a result, when I saw a copy of their recent recipe book earlier this year in a train station, I knew I had to have it. Four months later I received it as a birthday present and I’ve already tried out many of my favourite dishes. Its introduction highlights the key aspect of accessibility to a British audience, and throughout the book the changes made are often highlighted. Whilst some reviews have described this as lacking a true connection to Lebanese cuisine, I see this as a brilliant way of innovating and developing dishes. If I want an authentic dish, I know I can look elsewhere. What the book does is interpret traditional recipes to appeal to a wider audience. Small changes such as quinoa instead of bulgar wheat means that the ingredients are more readily available in the supermarket, and the fact that the changes are made glaringly obvious allow fastidious cooks to observe tradition more closely. In terms of buying ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many Turkish shops stock key ingredients that are harder to find. Things like rose water, pomegranate molasses and harissa paste are less likely to be in Selly Oak supermarkets, but if you head over to Edgbaston, the superstore there has a brilliant world foods section that may be helpful. However, the Comptoir Libanais recipe book does also have a handy little section towards the end
Remember to Eat
It is absolutely vital that you keep your body full of energy. Otherwise you WILL fall asleep at your desk and waste an afternoon of productivity
Everybody gets peckish while revising. It's normally boredom but never mind! Be sure to have fresh fruit, nuts or seeds to hand so that you're not reaching for the chocolate. The sugar hit won't be good enough to get you to the end of that critical essay. which provides recipes for essential ingredients such as chilli paste and tahini, which are likely to use many student cupboard essentials at very low costs. This is why I think the book is a surprising student essential: the food is simple, and often cheap to make, yet the results are impressive and well worth the effort. There
are many recipes which can be incorporated into other meals, or shortcuts can be taken to create an entire Comptoir-style meal whilst only making one or two elements at home. This is how I have been learning so far; I’ve found that concentrating on one or two dishes, and then buying things like pickles and wraps means that I create a good balance between time and effort, whilst at the same time learning each dish with greater attention to detail. The recipe I was most excited to try was the falafel, a staple item that I’ve never been able to get right and have always loved (especially from the farmers market on campus when Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington is but a distant memory!). Using fava beans and making sure ingredients were dry was something which I hadn’t come across in online recipes, and my previous attempts had always crumbled when frying, but following this recipe worked brilliantly. The falafel held their shape and tasted delicious, but I’d still like to work on the texture. Having pictures for every recipe is now a must for me in recipe books I purchase, as I like to see what I’m working towards. To be honest, my falafel looked nothing like the ones in the picture, but having a point of reference means that I can keep working on them till I’m completely happy. I’d recommend the book to everyone who’s a fan of middle-eastern food, as there’ll be variations on many fan-favourites such as hummus and baba ghanoush. It’s a great summer recipe book as many of the meat and vegetable dishes lend themselves well to barbeque food that will be great for ending the year in the sun after exams. The ‘Lebanese-style home cooking’ that Tony Kitous has developed is something which can easily be prepared as a group over an afternoon and enjoyed together in the summer sun. Wind down after the exam period with lanterns, candles and mint tea in the garden as you get ready for a summer that will be as perfect as this food.
I don't care how early you're getting up to grab the last seat in the quiet section of the library. If you have to get up to buy a sandwich the moment you sit down because your stomach is complaing so loudly you may be kicked out, it means you should have had breakfast.
Eat Brain Food
There are a number of foods that can help you stay focussed during exam season. Adding them into your diet won't take much work but may have hige rewards. Brain Fuel Food's include: Blueberries Oily Fish Whole Grain Tomatoes Broccoli Blackcurrants
We all turn to to tea and coffee to get us through the day, and it does work for some. However, caffiene will dehydrate you, stop you from sleeping and cause fluctuations in your moods. Have one, maybe two a day, but try and get some proper rest instead of relyng on Costa. Your purse will thank you for it.
Have the Odd Treat.
No one wants to pile on the pounds during exam season, We have summer figures to maintain! I'm not advocating a packet of biscuits a day because 'you've earned it' or crying into your ice cream tub when your tired. But the occasional treat will keep you motivated...and let's face it, we have earned it!
9th May - 5th June 2014
Birdsong @ The Rep
Sebastian Faulks' masterpiece is recreated for the stage Charlotte Spence Critic/Upcoming Editor
I will willingly admit that although I was incredibly excited at the opportunity to watch the new Birdsong production part of me was still sceptical. How could anyone condense a 503 page book down into a play? In Sebastian Faulks’ own words: “Why try to make a painting from a sculpture?”
"Is it really right for us to use the First World War as a backdrop for our modern day entertainment?" However the production took the book and made it into something more, something slightly different. But still excellent and thought-provoking. The portrayal of Isabelle by Carolin Stoltz was particularly moving. Particular parts of the production which were especially
clever, including the blending between the present and Stephen’s flashbacks to his time with Isabelle which were directed very well, and worked incredibly effectively. As well as the continuous presence of Evans throughout all of the scenes, just sitting on the higher level helped to remind the audience of the fact that war is not always action packed, helping us to understand some of the realities of war a little better. Although this was a fantastic piece of stage production I
“Why try to make a painting from a sculpture?”
One scene which encapsulated this feeling of keeping the horrors relevant took place between Stephen and Captain Gray in a hospital, between them they were dissecting what it meant to be human, and how that fitted with the horrors and acts which occurred during warfare. This questioning of what it means to be human is something we can all relate to and project onto the world around us. And that is perhaps one of the reasons this story has had such a profound effect on modern readers and audiences all around the world. Although the horrors of the First World War have been left far behind us in terms of history, the issues that they raise are still relevant to our world today.
was left with the question, is it really right for us to use the First World War as a backdrop for our modern day entertainment? Even though in this case it was a serious portrayal and was partially about the horrors of trench warfare it was also another take on a traditional tragic love story. Would it be better for the horrors of war to be left to the pages of history books or is it important that we keep these horrors alive and relevant to people today so that they are never forgotten or dismissed?
War Season @ Birmingham Rep Theatre Catch 22
A Farewell To Arms
20 - 24 May
14 - 17 May
19 - 22 November
Set in the closing months of World War II, a bombardier named Yossarian is trapped in the absurd world of an inescapable war.
Private Peaceful relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn.
“There are some wonderful splintered moments” The Guardian
“Charming, witty, emotional and heart-rending” British Theatre Guide
A premiere of the first UK adaptation based on Ernest Hemingway's real-life experience of war torn Italy in 1918, A Farewell to Arms follows the story of Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver in the Italian army and his relationship with British nurse Catherine Barkley.
Article 19 presents: Jerusalem Elisha Owen and Nicole Rixon direct Jez Butterworth's gem What Butterworth has created, and what Elisha Owen and Nicole Rixon have fantastically directed, is a crook of the Somerset countryside. As an audience, we are forced to team with raw passion over the rightness and structure of the new estate. The audience was fantastically brought in, welcomed with open arms and spoken to. We were invited
Rebekah McDermott Critic
When Jerusalem first hit the world by storm at the Royal Court Theatre in 2009 it received rave reviews. In 2010 it transferred to the West End and by 2011 it had opened on Broadway. Butterworth’s play is one of grief for England, taking place in the Somerset countryside. Set on St George’s day on the morning of the Flintock village fair, this is a play of national identity, probing at what it is to be English in twenty first century society. Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron is a wild drug dealer who underpins his lies with a heart of gold. His caravan dwelling in the woods is under threat of eviction from Avon & Somerset County Council. Jack Fairley played him as anyone would imagine Rooster to be: sweet, angry, passionate and nauseating.
"Fairley did the spirit of the play justice… Tom McCann and Dorian Wainwright were particularly convincing."
"We were invited to witness life lived vastly and excessively. " Butterworth said in an interview with the telegraph that he ‘very much wanted to present a real spirit on stage, not an approximation’. Fairley did this spirit justice, as did the rest of the actors in Article 19’s production of Jerusalem. I believed that these people in front of me were high, drunk, reckless and angry. Tom McCann and Dorian Wainwright were particularly convincing; Nia Tilley and Daisy Tudor were also compelling. As a West Country habitant myself their Somerset accents pulled me straight home, to the rawness of the rolling R’s and ‘gert lush’.
to witness life lived vastly and excessively. The Church of England has long used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven. The set, filled with a caravan, a smashed television and a dirty sofa amongst other things created a unique haven; dusty, dirty and disgusting but home to them. If you were lucky enough to see this production, I’m sure you will agree with me. Jerusalem was done justice.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Redrick Meets: Joseph Sale Upon the publication of his first novel, Redbrick met with student author Joseph Sale to discuss his success Ashley Kirk Digital Editor
After the publishing of his first novel, The Darkest Touch, student Joseph Sale is looking to graduate on a high. I caught up with the author to find out what it’s like to be a novelist and student. University of Birmingham student Joseph Sale recently released his debut novel, The Darkest Touch. Paperback copies sold out in the first week of publishing, and it reached #6 on the Horror bestsellers list for Amazon’s Kindle.
"It’s about what it takes to become a villain and not recognise yourself in the mirror" The twenty-year-old student has selfpublished works in the past, but The Darkest Touch marks the first of many success stories in a promising literary career. I caught up with Joe to talk about his novel. I asked Joe first of all to outline the plot. Put simply, it’s about a post-nuclear world conflict in which people are gifted with terrible powers. He told me he wanted the story to be believable, and so the powers and evil forces within the book are brought home in a way that makes us identify with them: I suppose that at its heart, the novel’s about evil. It’s about what it takes to become a villain and not recognise yourself in the mirror. 'I find the idea of the Apostles compel-
ling: a group of astonishing individuals who become friends because of one even more astonishing person. But I wanted to invert it for my own story – imagine what it would be like if the Apostles, or indeed my own band of friends, went dark.' The writing process, he explained, had to be methodical when balancing it alongside his English with Creative Writing degree. Joe wrote every day until the project was finished, then he forgot about it for several weeks and edited it with 'fresh eyes’. I asked him what the hardest part of the writing process was. 'Probably the first edit. Rewriting a scene always feels hard – more so than writing new material or even cutting material. But maybe that’s just pride.' Joe tells me that he holds Tolkien, Stephen King and Edmund Spenser amongst his biggest literary influences. 'I think Tolkien has always been the big one for me. Some of his scenes are so powerful they shake you down to your deepest core. In the film [Return of the King] there’s only a pale shadow of the horror of the episode with Shelob. In the book it’s nightmarish; the darkness of the cave is beyond imagination. It’s not that the light of Galadriel is a convenient torch, it’s the only light that could possibly perforate that blackness, and even then, it fails at the last moment.' 'Tell me, what’s your earliest memory of writing a story?,” I asked. Year 6, he told me, English Language. A story about a soldier sitting on a defensive barricade, smoking his last ever cigarette before an invasion of out-worlders came to wipe away the last dregs of humanity. 'I was damn proud of it. When I handed the story to the teacher she looked at me over the rim of spectacles. "Are the outworlders aliens?" she said. I said they were. She gave me the story back and told me to
"stop writing about silly things".' So what does a story about a post-apocalyptic world offer the reader? 'A cracking good read', Joe replied. 'People are always talking about their ‘rights’ these days, but in a post-apocalyptic world you have no rights, only what you earn.
"It starts to expose who’s got what it takes to carve out an existence in this life" 'It’s more old fashioned, obviously more dangerous, and it starts to expose who’s got what it takes to carve out an existence in this life and who really has any moral integrity.' Joe told me that The Darkest Touch is an 'entertaining story with interesting and entertaining characters. People have said once you start reading you have to get to the end, and that makes me prouder than anything else.' What advice does Joe have for aspiring writers? Make time and write every day. “If you wanted to be an Olympic athlete but weren’t prepared to train every day you wouldn’t get very far. Just like a runner: the more you write, the longer you can write for and the higher the standard of the writing. 'Juggling writing with other commitments is tough. Normally, I say to write every morning and get it out of the way before anything else, even breakfast. That way you always get your quota, and it also makes you feel really good about yourself. 'My advice is to set yourself a very small quota – only 400 words. That way you don’t feel the chore of doing a huge task, but once you start, you almost always will write more
GMTG Presents: Phantom Rowanne Conway Critic
I met with Josh Sood and Rebecca Maynard, the production’s Musical Director and Stage Manager, who were enthusiastic to discuss the challenges of bringing such a famously striking musical to our Guild’s Deb Hall. For Musical Director Josh, an amateur production of The Phantom of the Opera has been in the running since ‘one drunken night’ last October. After GMTG was granted the license to stage their own production of Phantom in January, things were quickly
"With a £6000 budget, forty cast members and some twenty stagehands, no expense has been spared" underway, with auditions for the lead roles of the Phantom, Christine and the Vicomte held within the week. With Andrew Wilson, Abby Fiddik and Thom Udall as its leads, the production surely cannot fail.
But there are other big concerns aside from big voices when it comes to an amateur production of Phantom. Previously performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, Phantom is a musical made for a grandiose stage.
"Don’t miss the unveiling of Lot 666" But what’s going on in the Deb Hall looks promising. With a £6000 budget, forty cast members and some twenty stagehands, no expense has been spared to not only do the famous 25th anniversary production proud, but also to bring a new life and personality to Phantom. Never mind the twentyseven member strong orchestra which will be filling the Deb Hall with a great flood of sound. Musical Director Josh promises an interesting, abstract interpretation of the original story. Although there is no room for the usual lavish set of Phantom, GMTG’s production guarantees to create the expected
sense of drama while also focusing on the journeys of the individual characters.
"No expense has been spared to bring new life and personality to Phantom" At the centre of the Deb Hall’s expanding stage sits the mysterious shadow of a great golden chandelier, which promises to rise next Tuesday night for the first showing of GMTG’s production of The Phantom of the Opera. Don’t miss the unveiling of Lot 666.
13th to 17th May 2014 Concessions £7, Adults £12 Tickets available online: guildtickets.co.uk/GMTG
because it’s hard to stop.' 'Publishing is always a delayed thing', he tells me. 'I wrote The Darkest Touch around 2 years ago...' After graduation, Joe plans to continue working at home in Bournemouth with Quantum Card Services, whilst working to get the next novel published. 'Oh, and I want to take my girlfriend on a massive holiday. God knows she deserves it.' The Darkest Touch is published by American publishing house Dark Hall Press, and is available online now for £8.86 on Amazon. To find out more, tweet Joseph Sale direct: @josephwordsmith
9th May - 5th June 2014
Review: Locke Critic Jessica Green gives a special review, straight from the Locke premiere...
Details Release date: 25 April 2014 Director: John Curran Cast: Adam Driver, Mia Wasikowska, Emma Booth Running time: 112 minutes IMDB rating: 7.3
Details Release date: 18 April 2014 Director: Steven Knight Cast: Tom Hardy Running time: 85 minutes IMDB rating: 7.7
´´´´´ Jessica Green Critic
This riveting drama is written and directed by Steven Knight, a debatably unknown name when it comes to mainstream cinema. Writer of Peaky Blinders and Eastern Promises, Knight has created what seems the impossible; an intense drama/thriller out of a film consisting of a mere 85 minutes with one central character driving along the motorway. Knight in turn, completely turns the genre of thriller on its head, and reminds the audience of the distinctly compelling nature of British film. Locke stars only Tom Hardy, as the focal protagonist of the film, alongside the voices of several other actors including Olivia Colman (Bethan) and Ruth Wilson (Katrina). The film follows Ivan Locke as he travels from Birmingham to London on the motorway late at night. Hardy’s character, a successful construction manager and family man, is on the brink of the most challenging
contract of his life, when his entire existence is turned upside down after receiving an unexpected phone call. Ivan, upon the realisation that a one night stand has lead to the creation of a child, heads from Birmingham to London to be at the birth of said child. Along the way, Ivan has to grapple with many oncoming obstacles, one of them being; telling his wife the entire truth of the matter, and the other, dealing with the contract he has just abandoned as he leaves for London. The film unfolds as Ivan tries to maintain focus as his family life shatters and his irate colleague attempts to deal with the pressure of completing the contract without the presence of Ivan, and as Ivan attempts to aid him from the very car he is sat in. At the same time, the pregnant woman, Bethan, is heading into labour, and Ivan has to deal with the emotional needs of her, and through all of this, Ivan battles with hallucinations of his father in the backseat, bringing out much of the repressed anger he feels, linking his fathers failures and his own together. The entire film sees Ivan struggling to maintain a sense of control in his life through the phone calls he receives along the way. The subject matter of the film is arguably very simple, Ivan represents a seemingly average welsh guy who has made a bad mistake and is now attempting to set it right, however Ivan’s attempts make very unpredictable turns, bringing his life shattering to the ground. Knight creates an ‘edge of your seat’ atmosphere, whilst also providing a world within the film that is vastly relatable and grounded, which makes it all the more difficult to determine whether Ivan is indeed a protagonist or not. Hardy’s portrayal of Locke makes the issues he faces extremely familiar to the audience; issues of family life, inner conflict and the pressure of balancing a career with a sense of morality. The inner world enables the film to be both thrilling and suspense filled without the need of
dramatic settings and overcomplicated storylines. The premiere of Locke, which took place in Birmingham, allowed me the chance to take part in a question and answer session with Tom Hardy and Steven Knight, and was able to gain a key insight into the foundations of this small scale film. The very layout of the film is an interesting one, as we follow Hardy’s character in a single car journey from Birmingham to London. Knight divulged that the film had been shot “16 times, beginning to end so that we’d have a complete film. And then we’d do it again” This in itself is remarkable, and shows the power of Hardy as an actor and his ability to command the attention of every person for 85 minutes. Hardy even made comment that he had read the script briefly, having only two weeks to learn it, and so much of Locke’s characteristics stem from improvisation. Hardy was also asked whether he preferred to the intimacy of a short scale film such as ‘Locke’ or full scale blockbusters such as ‘Batman’, to which he answered in short, “I like to under- act and I like to overact and I don’t like being rubbish but sometimes I am”, Hardy then went on to elaborate that he enjoyed all kinds of projects, but what attracted him to this independent film was indeed the intimate nature, and how the environment gave way to developing the intricate and conflicted character of Locke in a short amount of time. Locke is essential viewing for those who want to be entertained but also enlightened by a different, more innate style of thriller. Knight wondrously, alongside Hardy, creates an anxious and instinctive environment within the film that presents to its audience a character arc that unfolds unpredictably over the course of the journey. It leaves your palms sweating, pulse racing and your mind morally conflicted over Ivan’s progressive downfall and ultimate redemption. A must see.
Amar Desai Critic
John Curran's Tracks is very carefully crafted. Given the elements of the story, concerning the real life story of Robyn Davidson's (Mia Wasikowska) 2,700 km walk through the Australian desert, and her relationship with the photographer (Adam Driver) who captured her journey across various stages, it might have been easy to either overindulge in excessive focus on the progress of the journey, or to dampen the film with a ham-fisted romantic sub-plot. Fortunately, Curran does neither. The landscape is beautifully captured, with fantastic scenes that showcase both serenity and danger in an empty world. Nature is amoral; the sun beats down viciously on Davidson in the day, but when night comes, vision becomes constricted, things become confused and the films most harrowing scene plays out. Then the sun rises again and the horrors of the night before are put on display. Similarly, the animals that travel with her emphasise her plight in the beautiful land; they occasionally provide comical relief, but as the film progresses, it becomes apparent just how helpless the traveller is without them. As for the relationship between Wasikowska and Driver, Curran again shows his skill by characterising his cast without making them either clichéd or annoying. Wasikowska's performance plays a key role in this, as she is able to seem relatable but also intriguing. Driver, on the other hand, does well to create a character who is both likably comical but not pathetic. Saying what this film is about is difficult because of its tendency not to play to any particular formulae, it is open to interpretation, but this is not a weakness; it simply shows the richness of this subtle work.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Film News Cassiah Joski-Jethi Critic
The legendary acting star Bob Hoskins died earlier this week at age 71 after suffering from pneumonia. He is famous for playing a variety of roles, from Smee in Hook to Eddie in Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Harold in The Good Long Friday (his feature film breakthrough role) to George in Mona Lisa.
Hugh Jackman has revealed that the potential Wolverine 3 will probably be his last time performing as the infamous Wolverine. According to reports, Jackman has said “if we do another one, I’m 99.91% it would be the last”. This comes at the point when Marvel has just revealed their plans to kill off Wolverine in the comic book series.
Review: Calvary Critic Vafa Motamedi explores the new film from John Michael McDonagh...
Details Release date: 11th April 2014 Director: John Michael McDonagh Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly Running time: 100 minutes IMDB rating: 7.9
ligent and with a strong sense of conviction, Lavelle is a principled man trying to operate in a world that despises him and all that he represents. We live in a world where the idea of the ‘good hero’ seems archaic. Modern film and T.V seem obsessed with morally relativistic worlds and the grim compromised anti-heroes that populate them. Calvary offers a fresh breath of air from all that. Yes, the world it portrays is just as dark, if not more so but though Lavelle possesses demons of his own, he never ceases to maintain his compassion and his integrity. The most difficult task for an actor is to make virtue seem interesting. That Gleeson does it so easily is a testament to his mastery of the craft.
"Lavelle's own faith is constantly tested by the cruel world around him."
Father Lavelle, an Irish Catholic priest, sits in the confessional as a man from his parish, unseen, enters from the other side. The man calmly informs Lavelle that he was sexually abused by another priest as a child. Desiring vengeance against the Catholic Church, the hidden man tells the priest that he will kill him in seven days’ time and promptly leaves. So begins an astonishing piece of cinema that deals with loosening grip of the Catholic Church on the people of Ireland and the repercussions of the crimes it inflicted upon them. Lavelle roams through his small parish, encountering a whole host of interesting characters and over the next seven days, he struggles with his ensuing date with death, along with the theological and moral problems he meets on the way. On a fundamental level, Calvary is the story of a good man amongst cynics. Father Lavelle, perfectly played by the excellent Brendan Gleeson, is a widower who came to priesthood late in life. Open minded, intel-
The film is a fascinating examination of faith and religion. Do these concepts belong in the modern world? If not, what are they replaced with? This is a film all too aware of the problems that come with organized religion and yet seems even more scornful of the rampant nihilism, materialism and hedonism that fill the void left by it. Lavelle’s own faith is constantly tested by the cruel and indifferent world around him. A world, where death, pain and destruction happen frequently and indiscriminately. Where is God in all this? In his wanderings, Lavelle comes across a series of townsfolk and their issues become Lavelle’s trials as he journeys to his own personal Calvary. From the atheistic doctor (who gives one of the most disturbing monologues in cinematic history), to the depressed businessman; the adulterous butcher’s wife to Lavelle’s own suicidal daughter, these characters are brilliantly drawn- humorous and sympathetic as they are loathsome.
Directed and written by John Michael Mcdonagh, this is a beautifully mounted film, with features breath-taking cinematography of the gorgeous Irish seaside and a spine-chilling score. The script is wonderfully observed full to the brim with magnificent moments that range from the hilarious to the utterly chilling. It takes a brave and steady hand to attempt to juggle such wide variations of tone but Mcdonagh not only pulls it off, he makes the tone shifts feel utterly seamless.
"Can we ever forgive and forget crimes that are so utterly reprehensible? Should we?" Questions of forgiveness and sacrifice permeate the film. Can we ever forgive and forget crimes that are so utterly reprehensible? Should we? Must the innocent suffer for the sins of the guilty and what responsibility do we, as a society, have for those sins? Do we run away from suffering or do we face it head on? These are not just Christian questions but basic human ones as well. It is so rare to see a film not only raising these vital questions but also trying to answer them. Too many films refuse take a stance and exist in an apolitical and amoral vacuum where meaning and sincerity of opinion are absent. Not so in Calvary. The answers that are given are not always clear cut and never easy but they are there and it is heartening to see a filmmaker attempt to seriously tackle these themes and to do so in such an intelligent, empathetic and eloquent way. There are some films that entertain, there are some that make you think and then there are some that truly make you feel. Rare is a film that delivers all three. Calvary is such a film and a masterpiece it is too. A tour de force from everybody involved and one that will undoubtedly be talked about for years to come.
The new Star Wars cast has been announced. Harrison Ford will be returning alongside Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, but we will also see Andy Serkis joining the cast with upcoming actors Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley. The cast list comes after a long wait, with ambiguous open calls the past year and potential names being thrown around for months.
Sequels are all the buzz these days, and the next sequel you can expect in 2016 is Beverly Hills Cops 4. Brett Ratner is set to direct with Eddie Murphy set to reprise his role as Axel Foley, with the writers of Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol on board.
9th May – 5th June 2014
Live Review: NME Awards Tour @ The Institute
Album Review: Little Dragon Nabuma Rubberband Rachel Coombes Music Critic
The latest album from Swedish four-piece Little Dragon consolidates the group’s genre-defying eclecticism which came across in their previous three releases. Moving between electro-soul and a dreamier synthpop sound, Nabuma Rubberband is perhaps the hardest yet to categorise. In a recent statement to Rolling Stone magazine the group described Nabuma Rubberband as deriving in part from the 'Janet Jackson slow jams Yukimi used to listen to, wandering around Gothenburg during the unrelenting winter.' 'When you put some of Janet's really slow stuff on you feel like you're floating.'
Ludo Cinelli Music Editor
Circa Waves Having formed less than a year ago, Circa Waves described playing alongside the likes of Interpol as ‘surreal’. The indiepop quartet kicked the night off with six of their energetic guitar-driven tunes, reminding what makes bands like The Wombats and The Vaccines fun to see live. Their songwriting might be a little nondescript, as you’d expect from a band that formed so recently, and they have a hard time being original, but they have their upbeat sound nailed. If they build on this, the Liverpool band could go even further than they already have.
Interpol It was difficult to know what to expect of a band that released their last album four years ago, returning after an extended hiatus. Their self-titled fourth album was not so well-received, after having parted ways with Carlos Dengler, possibly the best bassist of the 2000s. But a sigh of relief was quickly followed by waves of cathartic post-punk as an on-form Interpol took the stage. Paul Banks fronted the band rigorously dressed in black, with slicked back hair and looking right at home where he was. With wry smiles as if to say ‘you
The crowd wasn’t expecting these guys. An explosive bass and drum wielding duo turned the volume up to eleven, blending hard rock, blues rock and noise rock. It is rare to see two people make such a complete sound – comparisons to The White Stripes are inevitable, but also massively favourable. Bassist and singer Mike Kerr had excellent control over the crowd, rallying support for the flawless performance from bear-like drummer Ben Thatcher. With just the right tinge of cockiness, even fans of the lighter sounds heard from the other bands were converts just a couple of songs in. Arctic Monkeys better watch their backs at their Finsbury Park shows this summer, because Royal Blood, one of the support bands, might just blow them out of the water.
This quartet from Kettering gave a less energetic performance than Royal Blood, but their complex psychedelic sounds were nonetheless compelling. Playing a few tracks from their promising debut Sun Structures, the band invited the crowd to listen to their intricacies closely. Warm 60s vibes came from the soft glow of the show’s excellent lighting, while you could get completely lost in the dreamy guitars. It is easy to imagine that the atmosphere at a Temples-headlined gig would be even more immersive than this one, and it is difficult to follow a group with such a radically different sound. And while Temples were not the most exciting band at the concert, there is little more that could be said against them.
thought you’d seen the last of us’, Interpol launched into a career-spanning setlist, with particular emphasis on their breath-taking debut Turn on the Bright Lights. Fan favourite 'PDA' was executed brilliantly for the first time since the band started touring again, with one of the best outros of all time. The band ended the night with the beautifully melancholy fall-in-love-with-aprostitute anthem 'Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down', and as it faded into its six minutes of low-key melodies the crowd wished they could stay longer. Drummer Sam Fogarino never missed a staccato beat, and Daniel Kessler’s guitars
were always in perfect synchrony with Banks’. Brad Truax had some Denglersized shoes to fill, and some of the riffs like the one on ‘Evil’ might have been cleaner. The beautifully jarring contrast between how loud the gig was and how calm and collected the band looked made the imperfections fade away. They also played two promising, complex new songs, hopefully featured on an upcoming album. Interpol are clearly using this tour to reaffirm themselves as unparalleled in post-punk, tightening the grip they were losing on their latest album, having taken some time off to regroup and recover.
The opening track, 'Mirror' provides an appropriately mellow, soul-inflected beginning to an album which relies far less heavily in general on the dance-y vibe of their previous album. Built around only two chords, this track mesmerizes with its textural simplicity, and front-woman Yukimi Nagano’s delicate vocals - although midway through, the song steps up a gear with the entry of a thumping beat, launching the song into a darker mood. 'Klapp Klapp', the first single from the album, offers a complete change of tone, with its urgent synth bassline; but it is rounded off softly with Yukimi crooning 'Fallin' apart, apart, apart, apart, apart'. Both 'Pretty Girls' and 'Paris' have the more upbeat sound of synth-pop, with the prominent use of retro Casio keyboardstyle synths and the pounding effect of the drum machine. These are the more divisive tracks on the album – this more lively ‘poppy’ side to Little Dragon seems less convincing than their more experimental sound (perhaps best embodied by the musically daring Pink Cloud), but is arguably more accessible and catchy. Yukimi’s sultry voice resonates better with the slower-paced and ambient electronic textures of tracks such as 'Underbart', 'Killing Me' and 'Only One', or the R'n'B-influenced 'Cat Rider'. The album’s title track is let down by a rather bland melodic line, but the string pads accompanying the repetitive phrases offer a boost of energy. 'Let Go' presents a strong closing demonstration of the group’s ability to combine a chart-friendly melodic riff with true musical inventiveness. As a whole, then, Nabuma Rubberband is more daring than Little Dragon’s previous work, resulting in an ever richer sonic palette and presenting a greater challenge to anyone wishing to pigeon-hole their sound; but the combination of Yukimi’s silky vocals with a clean and precise synth-heavy bass line offers a quasi-signature sound which is definitely worth hearing.
9th May – 5th June 2014
Tweet of the Week: @Yuckband: "Can't wait to trim my beard. It's getting to be quite a bearden #sundaypunday"
Album Review: Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots Matt Moody Music Editor
Damon Albarn has never been one to shy away from new ideas. Over a twenty-year period in which Britpop arch-rivals the Gallagher brothers never quite managed to transcend the lad-rock that made them household names, Albarn has carved out a reputation as a vanguard of pop music, while refusing to sacrifice success for experimentation – returning to headline Glastonbury after the demise of Blur with a ‘virtual band’ consisting of two-dimensional cartoon characters was no mean feat. It’s this apparent commitment to innovation that makes the subject matter of Albarn’s first true solo album so jarring. The central theme of the record is that of a deep distrust of technology, a melancholy meditation on the 'selfie generation' that’s steeped in a longing for simpler days. Although he just about stops short of committing the ultimate lyrical faux pas of name-checking technology (a one-way ticket to irrelevance a few years down the line – look no further than Beyoncé hoping someone would 'page me right now' on 'Crazy in Love'), lyrics like 'everyday robots just touch thumbs/ stricken in a status sea' are shallow at best, and embarrassingly out of touch at worst. Despite being touted as the album where
Album Review: Half Moon Run Dark Eyes Ellie Cooper Music Critic
Imported from Montreal, Half Moon Run have are most well identified by their harmonies, along with a diversity of sound that places them somewhere in between Rhye, recent Foals and Radiohead’s more quirky years (so much so that 6th track 'Give Up', may have just been stolen from In Rainbows). Naively expectant of a rather mediocre acoustic-pop album, I found Half Moon Run’s debut record Dark Eyes to be a thoroughly pleasant surprise that brings a lot more to the table than singles 'Call Me in the Afternoon' and 'Full Circle' might otherwise suggest. The recent release 'Nerve' caught my attention. At first I’d thought it was Fleet Foxes gone mainstream, but on feverish googling of lyrics I discovered it was these,
apparently already pretty Radio One famous, brilliant guys. These four men fill their sound with as few as two guitars, or a mandolin in some cases, the odd tinkle on the keys, and some pretty soft percussion, but boy is it good. The album owes its simple, ambient melodies to the influence of folk and bluesy soul, especially prominent in the tracks 'Drug You' and 'Fire Escape', and multiple harmonies illuminate vocalist Devon Portielje’s lyrics. Lines such as: ‘knowing full well, your virtue’s my vice’ in 6th track 'Need It', and ‘a sip of gin saves an hour of speech', in 'Nerve', really do make the less pacy songs equally as ardent as the others. For me, the angsty, anthemic 'She Wants to Know' is the track of the album. The layers make what could otherwise be passed off as a grown-up Kodaline track into something with a lot more style and substance. With growing popularity and reputation, this album has comfortably filled a gap in the UK scene which has given them slots at British Summer Time in Hyde Park, alongside fellow Canadian Neil Young, and Somersault in Devon, with their name below acoustic-cool ambassadors Ben Howard and Jack Johnson. Projections are high for these guys, and this is a debut record that sets a high precedent for what is (hopefully) to come.
Albarn ‘finally opens up’, the majority of references to his past and personal life remain shrouded in mystery and metaphor; a recent live appearance billed as ‘Damon Albarn and the Heavy Seas’ suggests he’s still not quite willing to steal the spotlight completely for himself. Aside from the ‘five days on, two days off’ couplet about functional heroin addiction in ‘You and Me’ that has drawn zealous media attention recently, many of Albarn’s lyrics are comparatively impenetrable; even on Hollow Ponds, a straight-up catalogue of memories, references to the heatwave of 1976 or the graffiti that inspired Modern Life is Rubbish don’t offer much in the way of personal introspection. Lyrical themes aside, Everyday Robots boasts thoroughly impressive production and attention to detail. Albarn and producer Richard Russell carry over the shuffling percussion and reggae-indebted bass
"The central theme of the record is that of a deep distrust of technology" trialled on Bobby Womack’s recent album The Bravest Man in the Universe, which the two co-produced. Refined even further on this record, it’s a masterclass in minimalism and the perfect foil for Albarn’s acoustic guitar/piano/voice combination –
Live Review: McBusted @ The LG Arena Beth Coveney Music Critic
Opening the show with a video of James Bourne and Matt Willis leaving Busted (featuring a heartbreaking clip from Busted’s break-up press conference in 2005) and travelling Back To The Future to 2014, before they burst on stage in a DeLorean alongside McFly and pyrotechnics galore – McBusted had an arena full of cheers and screams. They could basically do anything with the next two hours and the audience would have lapped it up. It’s been the case ever since the boys – McFly’s Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd, and twothirds of Busted, James and Matt – revealed their plans to form a McBusted ‘supergroup’ at the end of last year. Response was understandably mixed, but put aside your pop hatred and there’s no denying McFly are an incredibly talented bunch – add nostalgic Busted tunes into the mix and they were onto a winner. The huge tour sold out in no time, and now McBusted had something to prove.
a cutting edge accompaniment to lyrics that already feel dated. Although Womack’s recent endorsement of Albarn as a ‘musical genius’ might be up for debate, there’s no denying he knows his way around a melody: the album’s seven minute centrepiece ‘You and Me’ features
"Albarn has carved out a reputation as a vanguard of pop music" a sublime steel drum transition between what could’ve been two standalone songs, and Albarn’s charming ukulele-led ode to a baby elephant is a gentle slice of cheerfulness on an album that often feels rather heavy-hearted. On album closer ‘Heavy Seas of Love’, venerable producer Brian Eno makes a rare vocal appearance to lend some warmth to a song that can’t quite shake its melancholy feel, despite boasting the album’s most radio-friendly chorus. Everyday Robots will not please everyone; those hoping for the sort of personal introspection so often found on long-inthe-making solo albums will be disappointed, as will those listening for more of the same witty commentary on modern life, only to find lyrical themes of obtuse technophobia. Musically, however, the album sounds like one made by someone with a combination of pure songwriting talent and years of refinement.
The set began with Busted classic 'Air Hostess', relentless energy and an awful lot of synchronised guitar jumps. From this moment on it was clear that this was going to be a night full of non-stop fun, but the polished set and quality musicianship made it more than just fun. They pranced about the stage delivering hit after hit, dispersed with their trademark schoolboy banter which seems to be just as loved as the music. The chemistry within the band was clear and they gelled brilliantly as a six-piece – there was no obvious Busted/McFly divide, even more so as Danny was predictably given the majority of former Busted lead Charlie Simpson’s parts. High-energy tracks like ‘Obviously’, ‘Crashed The Wedding’ and McFly’s debut single ‘Five Colours In Her Hair’ were where the band seemed most comfortable and having the most fun, running and jumping around like school kids, though their musicality was demonstrated in slower numbers like ‘Sleeping With The Light On’ and ‘All About You’ where the flawless fusion of the two bands was clear. The Busted-heavy setlist seemed odd at times – was ‘Nerdy’ really necessary in place of any number of McFly singles that were missed out? Though of course, nostalgic Busted fans have been waiting a decade to hear these songs, so it makes some sense. Contributing to the real ‘show’ aspect of the gig was the genius set design taking full advantage of the arena space – the UFO suspended in the middle of the arena which descended halfway through to become a second stage for a few songs, fittingly including ‘Star Girl’. Add in various hilarious video clips featuring the boys, and it made for a full evening’s entertainment. Closing the show with the brilliant ‘Year 3000’, there was a feeling of ecstasy throughout the arena, with both the band and the audience singing and dancing their hearts out. While McFly are still a wonderful band on their own, this tour is perfectly timed with their popularity arguably in decline – and for the Busted boys, perhaps it’s the farewell tour they never really had. For the fans, it was an incredible evening from start to finish and a great trip down memory lane.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Life & Style
'The Glamour of Italian Fashion' With Italian fashion still the most impressive in the world, Life&Style writer Jorge Rodriguez gives his opinion on one of the latest exhibitions at the iconic Victoria and Albert museum in London. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has been transformed until the 27th of July into ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’, a magnificent display of the best Italian fashion from 1945 to 2014. Sponsored by Bulgari, this exhibition shows off not only many fabulous
"By using the original wardrobe of a real Italian woman and many pieces from some 50s films, we can see how fashion in Italy evolves from a more casual style to an elegant look." handmade garments donated by the greatest Italian fashion designers, but also multiple documents related to the topic, such as letters, pictures and even sketches which help you understand how Italian fashion has evolved through the second half of the 20th century. The show starts by explaining how
Italian women dressed more simply during wartime due to poverty and the lack of materials available. Followed by some amazing gowns and cocktail dresses from the 50s and 60s, it shows the range and skill Italian designers had, being able to create ready-to-wear collections that looked like sophisticated haute couture. The lack of materials available was undoubtedly one of the key factors that forced designers to create clothes made of fabrics and other unusual materials like woven cellophane, mirror or bamboo. By using the original wardrobe of a real Italian woman and many pieces from some 50s films, we can see how fashion in Italy evolves from a more casual style to an elegant look and quickly becomes popular due to its appearances in the media by the likes of Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren and other glamorous Hollywood actresses. The culmination of this exhibition and it could not be otherwise – is a room adorned with garments created by the current and most famous Italian brands like Valentino, Prada, and Pucci, from the mid-90s to this year’s AW collection. A slightly negative side to the exhibition was hearing the designers’ voices with their Italian accents, giving random comments on their amazing garments, which did distract you from the clothing quite a bit. But, like with the fashion
displayed, you couldn't help but feel impressed by the uniqueness and creativity of all their work. Overall, I was expecting a good exhibition, but ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’ was truly amazing. With stu-
"Sponsored by Bulgari, this exhibition shows off many fabulous handmade garments donated by the greatest Italian fashion designers." dent tickets only costing £8, the show covers everything one could want to know about Italian fashion. My only advice is to be sure you have received your student loan before paying a visit to the exhibition shop, as it’s hard to resist the opportunity to buy some tickets for the lectures and workshops they offer about the display. With special editions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and a great number of books available, a visit to the V&A is essential for any fashion lovers.
Top tips for Productive Workspaces Check out Ally Head's top tips for turning your bedroom into the perfect working environment and you'll soon banish those revision blues! So, it’s that time of the year again; the dreaded exam season looms over us all as we attempt to cram a years worth of poorly written lecture notes into our already jam-packed brains. The library is heaving and you daren’t risk the trek to the kitchen in case you get ambushed by one of your equally stressed, sleep-deprived housemates. But how can you possibly revise in your bedroom?! It’s brimming with distractions. Here I will guide you through my 5 top tips to making your uni room a de-cluttered, revision friendly haven, ready for hours of studying fit for a king. Clear your desk of any distractions. Although having your alcohol collection and used plates cluttering up your desk may have suited you just fine until now, having a clear desk space is essential for productivity. The ancient Chinese proverb says it all - Feng Shui is all about a clear space reflecting a clear mind. Give yourself the room to think and your exam grades will thank you for it later. Make your revision tools accessible. Regardless of what you personally use to
revise, it’ll be of no use to you in a crate slowly being forgotten under your bed, or on top of your wardrobe. Perhaps it’s best to retrieve your course books from the suitcase they’ve been collecting dust in since Freshers, or whack out the highlighters from behind the printer. Keeping everything handy will prevent those panicked moments trying to find long-lost lecture notes! Ensure that your revision timetable is visible. This one may seem obvious, but sticking your revision timetable somewhere you can’t avoid it is most likely to motivate you (or just make you feel guilty) - both of which will ultimately spur you to continue working. Take down a couple of the posters or photos to make room for your plan of action and any possible mindmaps for when your notes have been made. Get rid of any notes you don't need. Feel like you’re drowning in paper? Tell me about it. Condensing a years worth of notes can be extremely daunting. Get a spare folder or box and make sure to dis-
pose of any notes you have rewritten up, or old sheets that you simply do not need. This will ensure your revision space stays clear and composed, and will aid you in establishing what is relevant for your exams and what is not. Install site blocking software onto your computer. The golden gem of revision advice – block any distractions on your computer! There are several easy ways to do so, and all it takes is a quick Google. My personal favourite is “SelfControl’ - but there are many to choose from. This will ensure that you are not tempted to stalk the girl you met at Fab last month on Facebook, or spend hours watching funny Vines. As entertaining as they all may seem at the time, a quick break can turn into hours of procrastination, turning a power hour into a structured flop. Don’t let yourself be distracted! And there you go - it’s as easy as that! Take small steps and revision really won’t seem so daunting after all. Happy studying, good luck and just remember – summer is coming!
9th May- 5th June 2014
"How old?! That will never work out." As usual, when a relationship with a large age gap ends, Life&Style Writer it is normally greeted with cries of ‘we told you so’ or ‘we knew it would never work out’ (don’t deny it, we’ve all done it) and most typically, these comments come from people who didn’t even know the couple personally. But why do we have these stereotypes imprinted within ourselves? For if you see a younger girl with an older man, you instantly assume that she is a gold digger (even my mind when typing this can’t stop itself jumping to Hugh Hefner and his new wife), or that an old women with a younger man is a cougar looking for her next ‘prey’. Personally I don’t see anything at all wrong with age gaps within a relationship. I know it does sound a tad cliché to say, but surely if you love someone it shouldn’t matter what the age difference is? And who decided on what the rules for love should be anyway? No one can predict the future, for who knows what time any of us have anyway, so is an age gap really such a big deal? I feel for the couples within the celebrity world, as the scrutiny on their relationships is so much more profound than ‘normal’ couples, yet alone those with larger age gaps. I bet no one in the media world would have believed that Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas would have remained married for fourteen years and had 2 children considering the 25 year age gap. Although they’ve had trouble in their relationship, no one can blame their age gap because surely, as we all know, relationships are hard work whatever age you are and whatever the age difference is. Personally, I think we should all get off our high horses and stop judging people based on what we believe to be ‘right’ or what the norm should look like. All relationships have struggles that have to be overcome and all relationships take work, regardless of the ages of the people involved. I think the main thing to remember is that love should be the deciding factor in relationships, no matter what people think or say.
Birmingham's Hidden Gems: The Oasis Store Life&Style writer Olivia Scott discovers one of the best Vintage stores Birmingham has to offer. As students, we like to think we know all about shopping in Birmingham; the best places to find bargains and the best places to find that perfect outfit for your housemate’s birthday at Fab. We scour the shelves of Topshop and Forever 21 in a desperate bid to find clothes that will make your friends say “Oh my god, I love your top, where did you get it?” Well tucked away in the middle of Birmingham city centre lies the haven that is The Oasis superstore. From the outside, it looks a lot like a 90’s record-store, but inside it’s a very different story. This is a vintage lover's playground: it has everything you could possibly want, from dresses to sweatshirts to checked shirts. The Oasis prides itself on its slogan: the ‘alternative fashion store’, and this is exactly what it is. Not only does it stock goodies for the ultimate fashionista, it sells everything from underground and alternative to punk, plus an array of body jewellery, proving that there really is something for everyone. They even do piercings and tattoos, meaning you could go in and come out with quite literally more than you bargained for. My favourite part of the store was Editions, who stock a mixture of vintage and boutique ranges, which is what I personally love. And it’s reasonably priced too: I purchased a pair of Levi shorts for just £15! And let's face it, you wouldn’t find a bargain like that from Topshop. So, if you’re looking for somewhere new to find some trinkets and treasures, then I recommend The Oasis. With reasonable prices and clothing that you wouldn’t find on high street shelves, you can lose yourselves in the aisles, knowing that it won’t break the bank. You’re bound to find something that is exactly to your taste, so that everyone will ask you, “Just where did you get that top?”.
Beyoncé and Jay Z Tour The world’s hottest couple announced their joint ‘On the run’ tour this week. Absolutely devastated that they’re not coming to the UK! Flights to America anyone?
George Clooney Proposal Much to the shock of, well, pretty much everyone, the silver fox proposed to his British lawyer girlfriend Amal Alamuddin and presented her with a 7 carat ring. How could she say no really?
Kate Moss for Topshop The supermodel launched her first collection in four years on Tuesday to a host of celebs and excited shoppers.
Mean Girls Fever Wednesday 30th April was the 10th anniversary of the release of Mean Girls. Still so fetch.
What to wear, where: Festivals Life&Style writer Pippa Rice tells us the perfect trends to rock at festivals this summer.
Prince Harry and his girlfriend of two years, Cressida, split last weekend. Girls, get in line.
Dissertations Crack out the champaigne and hit Joe's for some tequila shots. Done, finito, complète!
With revision slowly destroying the souls of every university student in Birmingham, the only positive thing to do is look to the festival future. Line ups are bringing the biggest and the best to Britain and so it only seems right that we are ready to welcome them with our
warm fashionable arms. This year, as ever, there are two types of style which will see you through the festival season: the hippie, and the grunge. Here are my top ideas for recreating these fabulous looks, on a friendly student budget.
The online system has been a long time coming.
The grunge: blacks, khakis and ripped denim. It may seem as though this outfit demands you to unleash your inner goth, but with the likes of Millie Mackintosh and Kate Moss being fans of the look, we really can't complain.
The hippie: this looks is all about flowing tops, distressed denim and messy hair. Vanessa Hudgens is the true figurehead of this easy-topull-off look, being caught sporting the hippie vibe every day at Coachella.
The Battle for Fab Tickets
Grad Ball Queues
For now, anyway the struggle for Fab tickets is finí. Last weekend just seventy measly tickets were sold.
Snapchat Now with conversations, text messaging, video calling, stories and more new features than you can shake a stick at bring back the original!
By Katarina Bickley
Hat Miss Selfridge: £25 Shorts River Island: £30 Top Topshop: £26 Boots ASOS: £52
Head Garland ASOS: £12.00 Shorts Topshop: £34.00 Top New Look : £22.99
9th May - 5th June 2014
It's Back... The Trip to Italy Daisy Follett TV Editor
They hardly seem like the most obvious couple. Softy Rob Brydon, the harmless uncle Bryn from Gavin and Stacey, and abrasive, slightly aggressive Steve Coogan. But anyone who saw series one knows that the partnership is comedy gold. Not as
Tuscany in an open top mini, singing their hearts out to Alanis Morisette. Bless. Last time Steve was the naughty one, sleeping with the waitresses and photographer, making a stark contrast against Rob, who ended every episode sat in bed in his PJs calling his wife. The programme even played on Steve's slightly shady reputation for drug use, um-ing and ah-ing over a bit of coke in his hotel ensuite. But this time it's
Rob. While Steve strikes out with the local talent, it's Rob we see returning from a successful night with a girl he actually seems to like. And as he's reeling from this, Steve's photographer turns up. Awkward. It's the kind of comedy you either love or hate. The impressions are amazing, if you don't like impressions this might just change your mind. Seeing them have a Michael Caine-Off is a highlight, but Rob's Terry
Wogan tops my list. The rest veers from the absurdity of Rob practising for a roll as a mobster, to the wonderfully passive aggressive way they try to undermine each other. They're bitter in a way that probably shouldn't be funny but is. The edges of reality here are blurry, they're playing versions of themselves; Rob even teases Steve about his Alan Partridge days. It's partly improvised, so the banter is mostly their own, but the naughty bits are
"The edges of reality heare are blurry, they're playing versions of themselves; Rob even teases Steve about the Alan Partridge Days..."
"It's the kind of comedy you either love or hate, the impressions are amazing; if you don't like them, this might change your mind"
cheeky as Ant and Dec, not as wacky as Bert and Ernie, they might not sound right on paper but somehow it just works; they're the peanut butter and jam of the comedy world. Last series saw them visiting and reviewing restaurants in the north of England, thus time they've gone to Italy. Driving through
scripted. That said, don't watch this expecting a plot, there isn't one. For some this will be a frustration, they tend to meander around without going anywhere. I'm curious for the final episode, is Rob going to return to his wife? And will I ever forgive him?
How I Met Your Mother Tv Critic Alice Anderson takes a look at one of the generations all time favorites, and reminds us why we all loved it in the ﬁrst place As the long running and somewhat beloved How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) draws to a close, it is easy to see how it’s going to be missed. Back in September 2005 when the first episode aired, a fresh faced Ted Mosby, played by the now familiar Josh Radnor, was just starting his near ten-year tale to his teenage kids. The New York City streets and bars, MacLaren’s Pub in particular, are the backdrop for HIMYM. Giving the show a Friends-esque vibe, but without feeling too much like a copy. The story being told to Ted’s future children gives the sit-com something a little different. The two kids listening and waiting for ten years never seem to grow older, making the viewer sure that the ending must have been planned all along. Ted starts the show living in an apartment with his lovable and comical college friends, Lily and Marshall (played by a fresh-out-of-American-Pie Alyson Hannigan and a pre-Knocked Up Jason Segel). These two set the scene for a lovestruck couple that Ted is aiming to emulate. Yet they’re often faced with their own ups and downs which make them much more than just the side-story to Ted’s tale. Neil Patrick Harris made his fame through HIMYM as the women-obsessed, never-tamed Barney Stinson. Barney’s antics and extravagant pulling methods give him the role of the wing-man in Ted’s search for the one. Often ending Ted in more of a mess than he started, Barney brings light relief to the show. Neil Patrick Harris’s exaggeration and theatrics work perfectly on the small screen as the larger
than life character. The final member of the group enters the first episode as a potential love interest for Ted. Robin (Cobie Smulders) starts off as Ted’s interest but soon becomes a central character in her own right. As her and Ted’s romance ebbs and flows, she has high hopes of becoming a well-known news anchor who is often faced with balmy stories and crazy co-workers. Her backstory of a hardy family life and a history of being a Canadian teen pop sensation, give Robin some of the classic moments in HIMYM. The 9 seasons fly by with many a famous face making an appearance. Singers such as Enrique Iglesias, Britney Spears and Katy Perry star as boyfriends, crazed receptionists and dumb cousins. The familiar faces of Sarah Chalke (Elliot from Scrubs) and Kyle MacLachlan (Orson from Desperate Housewives) also have main plot lines throughout the show and frequently reappear. It’s clear that HIMYM attracted a starstudded cast and will be remembered as a major US sit-com. How I Met Your Mother has been on our screens for nearly ten years and will be remembered by many who stumbled across the E4 re-runs. I’d recommend watching it from the start as there are hidden laughs and storylines that are clever, witty and more complex than you’d expect. With phrases such as “legen – wait for it – dary” and “challenge accepted” it’ll be hard to forget the one liners from this show. I for one will have How I Met Your Mother down as a classic and will definitely miss the missmatched re-runs if they ever leave our screens.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Game of Thrones An Alternative Julia Yan
Whilst entirely recognising the unpopularity of my opinion, I call those, who experience a sense of social exclusion every time a new Facebook post, tweet or an article comes out pronouncing how sensational the new season of Game of Thrones is, to unite and keep their morale, for there is plenty more fish in the sea of TV industry. My reluctance to accept the hype around the show does not mean that I don't recognise its colossal success in mainstream media, immense fan base and numerous accolades. Yet, not everyone is a fan of fantasy, and so I would like to offer an alternative list (not exhaustive) of recent or soon expected TV shows, which, believe me or not, can give you the same amount of thrill at times when it seems that only virtual world can gratify your needs. Mad Men This show is easy to sum up: glamorised tobacco and whiskey consumption, excused by advertising business. After each episode you feel the cigarette taste in your mouth and a phantom hangover. And yet, there is much more to it. Set in 60’s, the series deals with problems more profound than alcoholism, such as racism and sexism, and depicts the very first steps of the emancipation of women. Don Draper alone, a classy, seductive and suited-up heartbreaker, troubled by his love for women, cigarettes and alcohol, indisputably renders the show appealing. Nonetheless, its Peggy’s character of a woman, who is making it up the career ladder in the man’s world, that provides sophistication to the show’s concept. Mad Men has its ups and downs, but it has never failed to indulge its viewer with a classy, pleasantly sombre aura and a gradual storyline development. The new 7th season has just come out recently to bring more chic into your life.
Californication Sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and sex again are the never-ending features of the show. Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny, is a stubbly, fucked-up, 40-something arsehole writer, to whom, surprisingly, a feeling of true love is not alien, as he endlessly loves his ex-wife and tries to get back together with her- a quest, which makes up the dominant storyline. The show has everything to build up an enormous fan base: From the before mentioned David, sex and Californian sunshine to a profoundly idealistic 'true love' story, concealed by the filth and dirt of so conveniently stereotyped LA. The show’s lack of pretentiousness has done its job and it is highly entertaining to watch Hank screwing up his life over and over again. The new, highly anticipated (by me), 7th season, is finally out with the first episode bringing an unexpected twist into the storyline. Amusing, messed up and sexy. Hank you, Moody. Suits Being one of the countless legal dramas, this particular show, however, grips your attention with its freshness and a hint of the 'supernatural', as the main character, Mike Ross, has a phenomenal memory and natural intelligence, thanks to which he practices law in one of the best NY firms, despite having no college degree. Apart from being in court and cutting deals, main characters occasionally communicate via film quotes, indulge in mutual intimidation and try to maintain Mike's secret. Unlike other TV dramas, the show stands out with its thorough development of all, even minor, characters. The roles vary from a cats- and mud-bathobsessed Louis Litt, to an all-knowing and gorgeous secretary Donna; from a suave and brilliant Harvey with a thing for basketball and vinyl, to a strong head of the firm, who also happens to be both female and black. After the end of the season 3, the show has been renewed for a 4th season, which will hopefully soon - remove everyone's withdrawal syndrome.
Season Four's Top Moments So Far Rochelle Stanley TV Editor
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the books or seen the show yet then boo hoo. The boy-king is dead and that fastgrowing congo line is working its way all throughout Westeros. Cersei is spouting fire, Jaime’s a leftie, Tyrion’s in the slammer, Sansa’s made a run for it, Tommen’s getting sex advice from his grandfather, Stannis wants the Iron Throne, Daenerys is freeing slaves left and right, Jon is still apologising to the Night’s Watch, Arya and Needle have been reunited and Bran does that creepy eyes-rolling-tothe-back-of-the-head thing every chance he gets. Season 4 of Game of Thrones is all that it was promised to be, full of action, intrigue, joy and pain. Instead of thinking about – I don’t know, those unimportant assignments – I spent my weeks anticipating another episode from HBO’s best television program on the air. George R. R. Martin is truly a gem. Below, are the top five moments of season 4 so far, in my opinion. If you don’t like it, try writing your own article. The Purple Wedding After seeing Red for so long, fans and mourners of Rob and Cateyln Stark (and
even Ned) finally got a bit of colour in their life in episode 4, The Lion and the Rose. A mystery assailant (maybe not so mysterious) poisoned Joffrey Baratheon, brat-king almighty, just hours after his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, easily the most painful onscreen death ever. His face literally went purple and, like me, I’m sure everyone attempted to cover their eyes for a second – either that, or you were in so much shock and happiness that you could barely move. Take that Joffrey. And as though she doesn’t know her brother is one of the smartest men alive, Cersei is so blinded by grief that she instantly locks up Tyrion for regicide. Think, Cersei. You’re running out of children and you have no time to waste on false imprisonments and long-winded trial proceedings. Sort out your life. Needle’s Back She certainly knows to stick ‘em with the pointy end. Arya gets revenge for Lommy’s death by killing Polliver in the same way and retrieves the sword which Jon had given her way back when. Yes, the events at the Inn at the Crossroads differ from the book, but the Two Swords episode surely knew how to drama things up a little. Arya is, by far, one of the toughest characters. Perhaps a little too hell-bent on revenge, but tough nonethe-
less. The Breaker of Chains Daenerys is on a mission. While all hell is breaking loose in King’s Landing, Dany Targaryen is gathering an unthinkably vast army and freeing slaves from their slavemasters. In episode 3, she marches on Meereen and Dhaario Naharis takes down
"Eiher way, it looks to me like the Lannisters need to watch their backs now more than ever, and everyon in the real world needs to head to Sky Atlantic" their champion with style and ease. The 163 slave children crucified along the road to the wealthy city is more than enough for anyone to want the slave-masters to get their comeuppance. And so they do. Jaime and Brienne I can’t have been the only one who’s in love with this pair. Not only do Jaime and Brienne of Tarth share a crazy-amazing
bond, when Jaime is told by Cersei to kill Sansa and their brother (Sansa’s husband, Tyrion), he sends Brienne to protect the former Lady Stark. And don’t think we didn’t see the love in their eyes as they parted. Equipped with Jaime’s gifted Valyrian steel sword, Oathkeeper, Brienne promises to keep her word as Jaime did. Maybe there is hope for him yet. Oberyn Wants Blood Sex-mad Oberyn Martell wants Tywin’s head on a platter and I, for one, can’t wait to see how this goes down. His sister was the late Elia Martell, raped and killed by The Mountain, wife of the late Rhaegar Targaryen, Dany’s big bro, who was killed by Robert Baratheon but the order to siege was from Tywin. If you followed that, excellent. There’s no wonder this Dornish Prince wants payback but God only knows why he’s going to be helping Tywin prosecute his youngest son. Either way, it looks to me like the Lannisters need to watch their backs now more than ever and everyone in the real world needs to head on over to Sky Atlantic (or the internet, your decision) to watch Game of Thrones. With many explosive episodes surely to come, I know I shan’t be missing them.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Edinburgh: och aye the noo! Why making the trip across the border to the Scottish capital could be the perfect end of exams trip... Sara Tryon Travel Editor
If you’re looking for a fun and interesting weekend away, you need look no further than Edinburgh. Scotland’s capital is only a four hour train ride away from Birmingham New Street, which if booked in advance, is little more than the price of getting to London and back. With iconic landmarks, quintessential cobbled streets and more bars and pubs than you could ever hope to get through in a lifetime all contributing to Edinburgh’s charm, it really is well worth the
"Make the most of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which takes place throughout August." trip north of the border. Edinburgh Castle is situated at the top of the Royal Mile and is the city’s most popular landmark. It’s the prestigious location of the Stone of Destiny and provides beautiful views over the city. For an even more impressive view, take the short hike up to Arthur’s Seat in Hollyrood Park. This extinct volcano has been inactive for over three-hundred million years, and from it you’ll find the best vantage point in the city. After a visit to the castle, take a stroll up the Royal Mile to the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. This unique attraction has been popular with visitors to Edinburgh for over one-hundred-andfifty years. A combination of optical illusions and panoramic views of Edinburgh makes it a great way to spend an afternoon. If you’re planning a trip over the summer, make the most of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which takes place throughout August. It is the largest arts festival in the world, with a range of performances from household names to debut acts in a variety of entertain-
ment genres. The Fringe Festival started life with just eight theatre companies in 1947, but last year alone over forty-five thousand performances took place across the city. With names such as Bill Bailey, Ricky Gervais and John Bishop having performed in recent years, it is clear that the calibre of entertainment is consistently high. Street performers become inescapable, either as independent acts or as advertisements for other shows on across the city. The festival has become a notorious breeding ground for successful debuts from writers, actors and directors alike. Landmark performances in the early stages of many great actors’ careers has launched the festival to almost mythical standards within literary crowds. Alan Bennett, Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry are amongst a variety of names whose success have been associated with the festival. The atmosphere from the festival will certainly permeate the bars and clubs of the city as the festivities continue into the night. However, the nightlife is vibrant and diverse year-round so a trip at any time of year will never leave you with a dull evening. In terms of culture, Edinburgh certainly doesn’t fall short. There is an abundance of museums, most of which offer free-entry. Edinburgh Zoo is home to the UK’s only giant pandas which are on a 10-year loan from China. However, booking tickets in advance is advised if you want to catch a glance at one of the
"The nightlife is vibrant and diverse year-round." world’s most endangered species. The National Museum of Scotland offers free entry and is widely regarded as one of the most extensive museums in the city. The museum displays all manner of science, technology and culture based displays, including stuffed animals and a twelve metre cast of a T-rex skeleton. Additionally, the collection contains jew-
ellery commissioned by Mary Queen of Scots. If you’re looking for art, then the Scottish National Gallery offers another attraction in the city which is free of charge. Featuring a collection of European art from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, and a vast collection of Scottish works, this should be a stop for any art lover. After a healthy dose of culture you can unwind with a bit of retail therapy, as the city has a wealth of options to consider. George Street offers high-end fashion if you fancy spending the best part of your loan on a well-deserved treat. At the other end of the spectrum, Edinburgh Farmers’ Market occurs on a weekly basis
"With an abundance of attractions, pubs and parks, Scotland's capital provides the perfect backdrop." and is the largest of its kind in Scotland. If you’re lucky enough to catch the elusive Scottish sun, there are a number of parks which provide tranquil settings for some summer relaxation. The castle provides a fitting backdrop to the Princes Street Gardens, whilst The Meadows surrounds the university and is a favourite spot for students. Either of these options could be the perfect spot to indulge in the classic Scottish delicacy of a deep-fried Mars bar. For a more authentic cuisine experience, there are plenty of opportunities to try haggis if you fancy it. Whiskey tasting is also readily available, with specialist tours centred on the entwined history of whiskey and the city popular with tourists. If you’re looking for the opportunity to blow-off some steam after exams, Edinburgh is the place to go, and great savings can be made if booked in advance. With an abundance of attractions, pubs and parks, Scotland’s capital provides the perfect backdrop for some well-earned relaxation.
Jessica Flanagan tells us the top serene locations we'd all rather be than revising in the library...
Gili Islands, Indonesia
The white sand beaches and topaz waters is what constantly sells the Seychelles to any holiday makers looking for luxury. Just north of Madagascar, this island is not short of wildlife, including giant tortoises!
The welcoming and kind people of Mauritius truly add to the island's charm, on top of it's beautiful lagoons, national parks and serene beaches. Relax by day, and indulge in the island's party spirit of an evening.
These islands offer tranquility, fun and an excellent chance to scuba dive. Having no police on the island, the locals rely on their very low crime rates to ensure any visitors a truly happy experience.
Known for it's clear blue waters and beautiful beach huts, the island is becoming a popular honeymoon destination, and it's isolated location in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean offers the perfect tranquil setting.
This beautiful greek island can boast not only fantastic cuisine and friendly locals, but may be a more realistic option, in regard to budgets, due to it's European location. With breathtaking views, this is one not to miss out on.
9th May - 5th June 2014
Ancient Historians on Tour Online travel editor Hannah Stevens explains the highs and lows of her cultural expedition to Greece... Greece is an interesting place in many ways, but it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I was visiting Greece as part of my university course and it brought many surprises. Two weeks visiting every temple and monument imaginable may have bored some tourists, but as a self-professed history geek it was a dream come true. It certainly took some dedication to power through the foot ache that came with traipsing around every historical artefact imaginable. It took a few days to get used to the 6am starts, but in the end it was worth it. Particularly when you have the motivation of a good grade at the end of it, but I won’t bore you with the details of the aching feet and endless notes. Instead, I’ll let you know what it is about Greece that disappointed so hugely. Don’t get me wrong, the archaeological sites and museums were astounding and absolutely beautiful. The views from the Acropolis’ at Athens and Corinth are breathtaking, and my inner geek ran rampant in every museum we got the chance to visit. Nothing could compare to the fulfilment of
"The archeological sites and museums were astounding and absolutely beautiful." my younger self’s dream, as cheesy as it sounds. However, there were many factors that disappointed me hugely. Granted our flat was beautiful and the proximity to the beach was not a pitfall in the slightest. But there is an atmosphere in Greece that I didn’t take to; the whole place seemed to emanate a feeling of grime and desolation. The country has gone through some serious financial difficulties lately, but there is an atmosphere that just cannot be eradicated. Maybe it’s just the bad choice of white paint that reveals every speck of dust that lands on the walls, but the feeling of neglect is a little uncomfortable. As much as spe-
cific sites give us tourists something beautiful to look at, the journey there leaves a lot to be desired.
"All in all I was left feeling that the trip was a little anti-climatic." The food was also mostly disappointing, with the availability of proper Greek cuisine being very limited in the areas we visited. Every restaurant had the exact same choices of souvlaki chicken and pork and Saganaki cheese, so things got a little boring. Even though these options were delicious, it wasn’t on par with my expectations of endless options of Greek cuisine I had expected. Perhaps it was due to the length of my stay, but the dishes became a little bland and repetitive by the end of it. Nevertheless, if you are looking for some typical Italian food, there is an abundance of restaurants that will meet your needs, as tourist food is clearly their speciality. Crepes and waffles are available by the bucketload if you want something sweet after a long day of exploring the city, and the local alcohol may not be delicious, but it’s certainly cheap. If you’re still in the mood for something sweet, try one of the many self-service frozen yoghurt places that line the streets of almost every city in Greece. Their friendly service and many delicious flavours, including Nutella and caramel flavoured yoghurt, make them an unmissable treat. Not to mention all of the toppings you can help yourself to, but the trick to remember is not to overload as they charge you by the weight! Overall Greece was amazing when I think about the stunning beauty of the temples on the Athenian Acropolis and the crystal clear waters of their beaches. I was really looking forward to my tour of Greece, but I was left very disappointed with the whole affair. I got to see everything I wanted to see and there were many highlights, but all in all I was left feeling that the trip was a little anti-climactic.
World vs. Food Each week, Travel brings you an iconic dish from around the world. Experience the delights of foreign cuisine, without having to dig out your passport...
Fancy yourself as a bit of a globe-trotter? We want to hear from you!
Vietnamese Chicken Pho This tasty dish originates from the South East Asian country of Vietnam. Being quick and easy to make, it's known as a staple dish within the cusine; providing a healthy balance of vegetable, meat, and noodles. It could easily be made vegetarian friendly, by swapping the meat for tofu and using vegetable stock instead. Here is the need to know about the Pho... Origin: Vietnam Main Ingredients: Chicken, Thai-style rice noodles, bean sprouts, spring onions, chicken stock, chillis, ginger, lime juice, mint elaves, coriander, soy sauce. Where best to find in Vietnam: Pho Hòa, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Where best is find in the UK: Com Viet, Covent Garden, London
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9th May - 5th June 2014
Miracle on Merseyside for golf 3rds
Luke Gorman Golf club captain
The University of Birmingham Golf third team won the BUCS National Trophy Final at Formby Golf Club on Wednesday after an immense fight back in the afternoon singles took the Trophy Final to a deciding playoff. With the winner being the first to reach five points, Bournemouth 2nds had led after the morning foursomes 3-0 which was far from an ideal start for Birmingham. However, the afternoon singles got off to a great start with Sam Truman, Joe Way and Alex Bagnall all registering big wins which tied the match up at 3-3. Bournemouth then clinched another point which left them on the brink of victory but Luke Gorman squared the match at 4-4 with a decisive seven foot putt on the 18th green to win 1 up and make it a winner-takes-all final match
involving Mikey Major which came down the 18th all square. Major found the rough from his drive and was on the green for three but Bournemouth three-putted from the back of the green leaving Major with a three foot putt to take the match to a playoff which he comfortably holed. The afternoon singles had been won 4.5 – 1.5 which was an immense achievement after the whitewash in the foursomes.
"Luke Gorman took responsibility of tackling the playoff and had the advantage of on the approach shots after splitting the fairway with his drive."
tory. Birmingham Captain Mikey Major said about the win: ‘It’s been a fantastic cup run and the players’ determination to fight back in the afternoon shows what it means to them. Special mention to Matt Bridge, Paul Eales, Andrew Turner, Jack Bamford, Alex Higgs and Cian Hurley for their support throughout the day which has turned out to be a ‘Miracle on Merseyside!’
"Two putts would be enough to win the trophy for Birmingham and Gorman held his nerve to slot his remaining three footer away for victory."
Luke Gorman took the responsibility of tackling the playoff and had the advantage on the approach shots after splitting the fairway with his drive. Bournemouth found the bunker from their second shot which Gorman took advantage of by putting his approach shot to 35 feet on the green. Two putts would be enough to win the trophy for Birmingham and Gorman held his nerve to slot his remaining three footer away for vic-
"It's been a fantastic cup run and the players' determination to fight back in the afternoon shows what it means to them."
9th May - 5th June 2014
Is the Natwest T20 Blast going to be a half-baked IPL? With the Natwest T20 campaign soon to start, Felix Keith explores whether the English game will just be a half-baked of the successful IPL model Felix Keith
The promotional video talks of ‘colour, fun and general mayhem’. I don’t know about you but the bits I like about T20 are
The domestic T20 competition seems to have undergone something of a rebrand this year with the NatWest T20 Blast taking over from last year’s Friends Life T20. On the 6th June I am going to see the Birmingham Bears take on the Durham Jets at Edgbaston. I do not know what to expect. Is it just going to become a half-baked IPL?
"I don't know about you but the bits I like about T20 are generally cricket related, not the razzmatazz that accompanies it."
"On the 6th June I am going to see the Birmingham Bears take on Durham Jets at Edgbaston. I do not know what to expect. Is it just going to become a halfbaked IPL?"
generally cricket related, not the razzmatazz that accompanies it. I like the 100 metre MS Dhoni helicopter shot over mid-wicket, not the music, descriptive phrase on the big screen and the frantic camera shot of the fans that follows it. I like the outrageous one-handed catch in the final over to win the match, not the ‘Kanna Keep Calm Award’ that follows it. The ECB however obviously enjoyed the random jolts of Gangnam Style and Ke$ha that fans are treated to in IPL games so much that they have decided to create a ‘NatWest T20 Summer Soundtrack Anthems’ to ‘represent T20’s brand of exciting cricket’.
Each of the 18 clubs has put forward a song that fans are encouraged to vote for which they want played throughout the season. The ‘songs that encapsulate the summer for cricket fans’ include such modern day classics as Avicii’s Levels, Pitbull’s Don’t Stop The Party and Flo Rida’s Good Feeling. The fact that nearly 70% of matches will be on a Friday is undoubtedly a good thing, but do we really need a ‘soundtrack’? To create an atmosphere you do not need music. Of all the gimmicks to borrow from the IPL surely the pitch-side DJ is only outdone on the irritant scale by the incessantly cheery trumpet noise and the strategic timeouts? Is the next step dead behind the eyes
"The cricket will most likely be of a high standard. Names like Jos Butler, Ben Stokes and Glenn Maxwell (if the IPL is anything to go by) should encourage excitement."
"On every Friday this summer Graeme Swann will be watching the cricket and having a rave. I will be joining him, somewhat begrudgingly, will you?" cheerleaders? Excessive sponsorship, silly commentators, strange camera angles and over-the-top graphics are all gimmicks T20 coverage can do without but they do not really affect the product. The music may seem like a small step, but it may be a significant one. The cricket will most likely be of a high standard. Names like Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Glenn Maxwell (if the IPL is anything to go by) should encourage excitement. The added atmosphere enhancing noises are a price worth paying. A half-baked IPL is still worth watching in my eyes. On every Friday this summer Graeme Swann will be watching the cricket and having a rave. I will be joining him, somewhat begrudgingly, will you?
9th May - 5th June 2014
An age in the wilderness for Midlands football After yet another disappointing campaign for football in the Midlands, Alex McKenna explores what has gone wrong and why the fans of the clubs deserve better. Alex McKenna Sports Reporter
Another year has almost passed on the football calendar, and for supporters of Midlands Clubs it has been a year of desperately uninspiring impotence, both on and off the field. The only cause for celebration has come in the form of relief, that our teams have narrowly avoided subjecting us to a further degree of misery. The rate of regression would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, yet we now see Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City narrowly avoiding relegation whilst Wolverhampton Wanderers secured promotion to the Championship – hardly a cause for euphoria given that the club had previously suffered consecutive relegations from the Premiership to League One.
"The rate of regression would have been unimaginable just a few years ago." Midlands football now finds itself in a steep downward spiral and left behind, whilst the teams of Liverpool, Manchester and London continue to grow. One could perhaps surmise that Birmingham with its vast array of suburbs is not exactly the most enticing place for a top player to ply his trade. In recent history, its status has been supplanted by the growing enticements of London, Liverpool and indeed Manchester. But the problem is not as simple as mere geography; it is the result of numerous factors including bad decision making from the boards, poor management, indebted ownership and unambitious intentions.
"Midlands football now finds itself in a steep downward spiral and left behind, whilst the teams of Liverpool, Manchester and London continue to grow." The image of an elated Lee Clark running down the touchline this weekend to greet the Birmingham fans, after scraping survival in the 92nd minute, perhaps encapsulates this appeasement. In February of 2011, Birmingham City was a club in the top flight and had just triumphed over Arsenal to lift the League Cup. Three years on, the club is mired in debt, with owner Carson Yeung in jail for six years after being convicted by a Hong Kong court for money laundering. What a predicament. Survival this year has temporarily created a piteous form of joy for the fans, but I fear that much worse lies ahead unless ownership of the club is hastily resolved. The latest accounts make painful reading for the club, showing a loss of £9million for the 2012-13 season. Lee Clark, if he remains in charge, faces the impossible task of trying to build a club out of loan signings and free transfers whilst
simultaneously selling what quality the Blues have left in their ranks. Aston Villa’s stagnation has been evident since the departure of Martin O’Neill in 2010. Since that point their ambition has been downgraded, selling numerous top players including James Milner and Ashley Young, and replacing them with relatively substandard acquisitions. The past two years signal that the board and Lambert are united in their settlement for mediocrity - and for a club with such a proud heritage (once European Champions) it is somewhat dis-
"The image of an elated Lee Clarke running down the touchline this weekend to greet the Birmingham fans, after scrapping survival in the 92nd minute, perhaps encapsulated this appeasement."
"It is now high time that this great footballing region got up off its knees and provided some overdue success to its longdeprived supporters." heartening to see them now starved of ambition and void of any on-field endeavour. This period under Paul Lambert has been blighted by discontentment from the stands; Lambert’s unwillingness to concede that his side have played poorly has only exacerbated their disillusion. Post-match interviews usually consist of three minutes of uninspiring excuses of “We have a young team” (even though he consistently bought young players), and “We were fantastic” - it is this bunker mentality which vexes Villa supporters most of all. There is a massive potential for Midlands football to thrive and compete once again,
yet the present situation looks bleak. Aston Villa’s owner Randy Lerner has recently been coy on speculation that he is set to sell the club, which perhaps breeds some degree of hope for the future. Birmingham City must also follow suit, and suggestions have recently emerged regarding a takeover of the club, which again offers some degree of hope. With the prospect of sufficient investment coming in, the Midlands is a region which has the fans and infrastructure to capably compete at the highest level. It is now high time that this great footballing region got up off its knees and provided some overdue success to its long-deprived supporters.
"There is a massive potential for Midlands football to thrive and compete once again."
9th May - 5th June 2014
Things to look out for in May
Performance of the week
Tweet of the week
1. The Barclays Premier League season comes to an end on Sunday 11th of May and will more than likely see Manchester City crowned champions. With the Top 4 decided and Norwich seemingly relegated, Liverpool and Man City are the only two teams with anthing to play for, although Liverpool would require an unlikely favour from former players Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing at the Etihad.
@robert_huth 'Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban' Mark Selby looked to be heading for a crushing defeat in the Snooker World Championship Final against Ronnie O'Sullivan, before coming back from 10-5 down to win 18-14. Selby managed to beat the five-time World Champion after winning ten out of 12 frames. It was Selby's first World Championship win and the 30-year old dedicated the win to his father, who died two months prior to him turning pro.
2. Lewis Hamilton will hope to continue his excellent run for Mercedes at the Spanish Grand Prix, having won his last 3 races after failing to finish the opener in Australia. Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg both currently sit at the top of the standings with 75 and 79 points respectively, 34 points clear of Fernando Alonso in 3rd.
Lighter side of Sport
3. Arsenal take on Hull in the FA Cup final at Wembley on the 17th of May and the Gunners will be hoping finally to end their nine year trophy drought. Should Arsenal lose there will be plenty of speculation as to whether Arsene Wenger will continue his reign. 4. England take on Sri Lanka in the Royal London One-Day International Series, starting on the 22nd of May at the Oval and finishing at Edgbaston on the 3rd of June.
Photo of the week
5. The Champions League final will be contested between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in what is sure to be a lively affair. It promises to be a close game as both clubs are also currently battling it out for La Liga.
Louis Van Gaal is reportedly top of the Manchester United owners' shortlist for the manager's job, to replace David Moyes for the 2014/15 season. Van Gaal is known to be a fiery character, and with the speculation that he is set to take over at Old Trafford, the infamous story of his changing room 'incident' is again doing the rounds. Whilst manager of Bayern Munich, Van Gaal reportedly dropped his trousers to prove to his players that he had the balls to drop anyone from the team. Perhaps if David Moyes had used this tactic he may still be employed although perhaps not....
Online this week
1. Which team has scored the most Premier League goals? 2. Who was the 100th driver to win a Grand Prix? 3. How many singles titles did Elena Baltacha win over her career?
Warwickshire cricket Aman Harees visited Edgbaston and met up with a selection of Warwickshire players. Read his account online.
The Lion Look out for a copy of The Lion, an 8 page pull-out reviewing the year's sporting highlights at the University of Birmingham.
5. Who is the all-time leading Champions League goal-scorer? 1.Chelsea (103) 2.Heikki Kovalainen 3.11 4.16 5.Raul (71)
Neymar - The Brazilian Wonderboy After a mixed debut season at Barcelona James Dolton takes an in-depth look at the 22-year old on whom Brazil's World Cup hopes will be pinned.
4. How old was Mark Selby when he turned professional?
The Redbrick Crossword
Prizes are an arguably overrated addition to an increasingly materialistic modern life. As such, Redbrick encourages the promotion of self-pleasure and self-growth a la the Victorian middle class and will not be awarding a prize to the winner of the completed crossword. Instead, feel free to imbue yourself with a self-satisfied smugness like the bourgeois pig you are. Please complete this form before you hand in your completed crossword to the Redbrick office or send a photograph to firstname.lastname@example.org Name: Email Address: Phone Number:
5. Love potion (11) 7. Omit (4) 8. Quicker way (5,3) 9. Hold affectionately (7) 11. Repeatedly (5) 13. Grind (teeth) (5) 14. Reduce - jet engine inventor (7) 16. Type of wallpaper (8) 17. Lower jaw (4) 18. Tyrannical court (4,7)
1. Store - workplace (4) 2. Russian cavalrymen (7) 3. Of lesser importance (5) 4. Hermetically sealed (8) 5. Bitter (11) 6. Vegetable (11) 10. Left over (8) 12. Pedlar - translator of Homer (7) 15. Crudley built hut (5) 17. ____ for the boys (4)
1 2 3 4 5`````````6 ` ` ` ` ` ` 7``` 8``````` ` ` ` ` ` 9``0``` -```` ` ` ` = ` ` q```` w`````` ` ` e ` ` r``````` t``` ` ` ` ` ` ` y`````````` ` ` ` `
9th May - 5th June 2014
P 28 - Luke Gorman reports on an exciting finale to the golf season for the 3rds.
Birmingham Lions strike gold
61 "Megan Parrot put in what
could be described as her Lancaster 51 best performance of the season, using her speed Eleanor Minter and agility on the fast Basketball Captain break to put away an The University of Birmingham women’s incredible 19 points for basketball 1sts came up against Lancaster in Birmingham!" the BUCS Trophy Final 2014, in what proved to be an electric game. The first quarter began with strong performances from both teams and it soon became clear that this was not going to be an easy ride for the mighty Lions. Maeve Higham and Eleanor Minter worked hard in the paint,
"Coach Liam Sheridan pulled out all the stops with a passionate half-time speech and a great tactical defensive change to give a fresh look to the Lions' game."
taking a battering from the Lancaster defence, and putting precious points on the scoreboard for the Lions. Although the first half finished on a high with a sweet three point shot from Holly Kirkham, the Lions were chasing Lancaster with a four point deficit. Coach Liam Sheridan pulled out all the stops with a passionate half-time speech and a great tactical defensive change to give a fresh look to the Lions' game. The second half started with strong defensive play from the Lions, with Annie Torgbi and Holly Kirkham leading the way at the front of the defence and shutting the Lancaster guards down. From great defensive play came great
offensive play and Megan Parrot put in what could be described as her best performance of the season, using her speed and agility on the fast break to put away an incredible 19 points for Birmingham! The final quarter arrived and although the Lions were up by four points, they were by no means safe yet. The Lions put in an outstanding performance; giving it everything they had left on defence to stop Lancaster from scoring. However, Lancaster were not going down without a fight and their fast play continued to make them a big offensive threat. Antoinette ‘leaping salmon’ Torgbi soon put a stop to this with a signature monster block on Lancaster’s starting guard. This statement play pushed the Lions to put away a few more baskets to secure their lead; finishing on an outstanding 61-51 win. The win left the side ecstatic as they had
"The win left the side ecstatic having now achieved a goal that they trained so hard for this season."
"We are so much more than just teammates and we played our hearts out for each other - our win is down to the hard work and determination of every single member of the team." now achieved a goal that they had trained so hard for this season. Special thanks was offered to supporters of the team who came along and cheered for them in the stands, with the team saying that they could not have done it without them. Speaking after the game, final year Eleanor Minter paid tribute to her amazing teammates and coach ‘for putting in the work to make my final year playing basketball the best ever. We are so much more than just teammates and we played our hearts out for each other – our win is down to the hard work and determination of every single member of the team. WE ARE BUCS CHAMPIONS!’ Charlotte Wilson