The Millbank Debate With the fall-out of the National Demonstration a week old, Joe Jervis and Leyla Onal argue over the repercussions Comment and Features, p8
The University of Birmingham's Student Newspaper since 1936
Most Outstanding Society 2010 AU Outstanding Contribution to Sport Friday 19th November 2010 Volume 73 | Issue 1378 redbrickonline.co.uk
Denham: Labour will vote against an increase in fees Glen Moutrie News Editor
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, John Denham, visited the University of Birmingham on Wednesday, stating that his party would vote against the Government's proposed rise in tuition fees. Mr. Denham pushed forward Labour's 'realistic view' of not placing a large portion of the burden to fund universities upon students, even in spite of the 'given limits of public expenditure.' Condemning the coalition's free-market approach, Mr. Denham felt it would effectively end funding for most undergraduate degrees. He believes the Government's decision-making process is the causal problem, as it faces systematic failure when 'all of [their] assumptions start with a cut.' When questioned on his view in correspondence to the Party's line, he stated that the Labour Party would vote against the fee increase, and would look to push through a graduate tax, should the opportunity arise. Redbrick pushed for more specifics on Labour's own policy for tertiary education; however, the Shadow Minister emphasised that for now: 'the detail for [a graduate tax] is for the future.'
Yet Labour could struggle to push through the policy within its own ranks, as suggested in an exclusive Redbrick interview (15 October) with Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart. Ms. Stuart stated that: 'A hypothecated tax for the rest of your life because of events in your earlier life – and one which is applicable only to UK taxpayers, not the ones in government cannot find – I just think the idea is a complete non-runner.' Guild President Dora Meredith met with Mr. Denham, along with the presidents of Birmingham City University and Aston University's student unions, pressing for Labour to 'capitalise on the feeling' within the student body. Mr. Denham's response was that they all must 'work together', and he condemned the Liberal Democrats, some of whom he felt didn't fully appreciate the implications of the motion. A week after the 'Demolition' protest against higher fees in London, the Guild has worked alongside the National Union of Students to push as many MPs as possible to vote against the proposals, with a particular focus upon Liberal Democrats in the region. The Guild, alongside the NUS are set to launch further demonstrations as a means of keeping the matter in the public eye, as further cuts are announced.
Birmingham’s Premier Private Hire Company
Labour frontbencher, John Denham, in the Guild of Students
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INSIDE President Interview>> 4 | Tatchell on Gay Rights >> 9 | Harry Potter >> 16 | Alber Elbaz & Lanvin >> 22 | Derby Destruction >> 27
19th November 2010
Interview with Guild President Dora Meredith on her presidency so far Glen Moutrie, p.4
Redbrick Editorial Editor Samuel Lear Deputy Editors Victoria Shires Sam Langtree Online Editor Micaela Winter Treasurer Jonathan Craven Art Director Thomas Walters Chief Photographer Mike Roberts email@example.com Technical Director Jeremy Levett News Editors Helen Crane Glen Moutrie Anna Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org Features Editors Rosa McMahon Seb Mann email@example.com Film Editors Elmley de la Cour Matt Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Arts & Culture Editors Sian Gray James Reevell email@example.com Music Editors Will Franklin Charlie Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org Television Editors Natalie Timmins Joe McGrath tv@redbrickonline. co.uk
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Copyright (C) Redbrick 2010 Redbrick strives to uphold the NUJ Code of Conduct. The views expressed in Redbrick do not necessarily reflect those of the editors, the Guild or the publishers. If you find an error of fact in our pages, please write to the Editor. Our policy is to correct mistakes promptly in print and to apologise where appropriate. We reserve the right to edit any article, letter or email submitted for publication. To contact us: Redbrick Guild of Students Edgbaston Park Road Birmingham B15 2TU 0121 251 2462 firstname.lastname@example.org www.redbrickonline.co.uk
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he arches of the Law building at night
Music & Nightlife
Theatre Me and My Girl
DEB HALL, TODAY, 7PM The Gilbert and Sullivan Society present the classic Me and My Girl. Tickets cost £3 for students and £5 for non-students.
BROAD STREET 23 NOVEMBER, 7PM ONWARDS Carnival RAG present Sports Carnage, Birmingham's biggest charity barcrawl. Buses leave Joe's bar from 6.30pm until 8pm; the crawl is ending in Gatecrasher. See the group on Facebook for details.
'Celebration' 'The Room'
AMOS ROOM 22-24 NOVEMBER, 7.30PM Infinity Stage Co. present the late Harold Pinter's first and final works, arguably two of his best.
Into the Woods
DEB HALL 30 NOV-4 DEC, 7.30PM NIGHTLY; 2.30PM ON SATURDAY GMTG present Into the Woods based on the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Ticketing information can be found at http://www.gmtg.org
JOE'S BAR 19 NOVEMBER, 8.30PM Jazz & Blues society present the Jabsoc Jam. Free entry for anyone to go and listen or get up and play Jazz, Blues, Soul and Funk music.
Into the Woods
Sports Hockey Header
BOURNBROOK PITCH 24 NOVEMBER WOMEN'S 3.45PM MEN'S 5.15PM Come and cheer the women's BUCS Champions 2009/10 and the men's BUCS quarter finalists on in this nail biting double header. Men's and women's first hockey teams battles it out against arch-rivals Loughborough.
Sports Carnage Women's hockey
Redbrick is printed through www.quotemeprint.com: 08451 300667. Advertising: Contact Aimee Fitzpatrick in Guild Marketing on 0121 251 2524 or a.fitzpatrick@guild. bham.ac.uk
Full events listings available online
Workshops & Events Know Your World AROUND THE GUILD 22-24 NOVEMBER A range of multicultural and internationalism-based events will be going on around the Guild, including music and dance workshops, political debates and guest speakers. See http://www.guildofstudents.com for details.
Housing Roadshow GUILD COMMON ROOM 25 NOVEMBER, 5-6PM Lots of useful information and tips to help you when you're deciding where to live.
Men's Football v Loughborough
Body Love Swap Shop
MUNROW TRACK PITCH 24 NOVEMBER, 5.30PM See the men's football team playing against rivals Loughborough.
UNDERGROUND 25 NOVEMBER, 4PM To take part bring along any unwanted clothing you have, swap it for tokens and use your token to get something new. If you don't have any unwanted clothing you can come along and find your perfect outfit for £2 or less.
Editors – Helen Crane, Glen Moutrie and Anna Hughes
Student protests: The political aftermath Owen Earwicker finds out what last week's demonstration meant for these influential figures David Cameron From Seoul, the Prime Minister stated that protests were a part of democracy, but violence was not. He said: 'I was worried for the safety of people in the building because I know people who work in there, not just the Conservative Party, but other offices as well.' BBC News' Political Editor Nick Robinson suggested to the Prime Minister that perhaps what we saw on Wednesday was a return to the protests witnessed under Margaret Thatcher's administration. Robinson stated that 'he denied that, claiming that the fact that this government is a coalition ensures that this is not a case of back to the future.' Nick Clegg The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, gave an indication of regret regarding his own party's role in the tuition fee situation. On ITV 1's Daybreak programme, Clegg said 'I should have been more careful perhaps in signing the pledge. At the time I thought I could do it.' The Liberal Democrats signed an agreement in the 2010 election campaign to oppose any rise in tuition fees, and the party has been subject to majority of the criticism from s t u d e n t groups. Robert Wright, Selly Oak Liberal Democrat Councillor When asked why Liberal Democrat Robert Wright thought the party
have lost support among students who for so long have been the key focus of the party's election manifesto. He said: 'It is disappointing that we have not yet been able to abolish tuition fees. Of course, no party won the general election, so everyone has had to compromise.' Aaron Porter, NUS President Aaron Porter, President of the NUS, who has led the criticism of the Liberal Democrat MPs that will vote the fee increase through Parliament, believed that NUS members had 'lost a lot of public sympathy.' This sentiment is generally echoed by most students. Porter also said: 'The next stage is about political lobbying. There are strong sentiments among students, but protests have to be conducted in a responsible way.' Birmingham students Lois Braysher, first year, said of the scenes at Millbank that 'it showed people's passion for the cause but it's a shame that the violence was started by and escalated because of a small minority tarnishing the day.' Chris Bates, who attended the protest on the 10th November with other University of Birmingham students, said that 'the actions of the few at Millbank Tower were entirely unjustified and in no way represented the general mood of the march.' He went on to say 'we are angry, we have been betrayed, but we as a movement do not advocate any antisocial or unlawful behaviour. The great work done in London will be continued in the same peaceful manner, hopefully without any more interruption from this minority.' When asked, 'do you think the Liberal Democrats have been damaged at all by recent events?' Nasreen Naujeer, fourth year, said
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
'the party was damaged beforehand; it's lost a lot of credibility'. However, Sophie Padel, fourth year, takes a different view. She feels that the Liberal Democrats role in the coalition government is 'good to balance out the views of the Conservatives' and that the situation 'could be a lot worse' under a Conservative majority government. Police Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched by the police. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said that the police should have been better prepared and that Wednesday's events were an embarrassment for London. Footage obtained by Channel 4 showed police officers standing by as over 50 protesters climbed the stairs making their way to the roof. David Cameron referred to seeing a 'thin blue line' of officers, with the police internal review about to question why it was that only 225 officers were originally deployed for a demonstration that got so violent.
Charlotte Rendall asked 100 students: Do you think the violence undermined the point of last week's protests?
More students choosing US unis Edward Robinson Reporter
The number of British students opting for university education in the United States increased by 2 per cent last year to nearly 9,000. The Open Doors 2010 report, published by the American notfor-profit group the Institute of International Education, showed an increase in the number of British students at US universities to 8,861 in 2009-10. The total number of European students studying in the US fell by 4 per cent. With tuition fees set to increase, the price gap between studying in the UK and the US is closing. Tuition fees for the last academic year at world-leading university Harvard were £21,338 but some US institutions charge a lower £12,000; only £3,000 more than the proposed limit for British
tuition fees. According to the Fulbright Commission, which promotes transatlantic learning, website traffic to its US study website has increased by a third and attendance at its USA College Day was up by 50 per cent this September. Increasingly fierce competition for places at leading UK universities and the generous financial aid on offer from some US institutions is furthering the attraction of studying in the US. Last academic year, Harvard awarded more funding to students from disadvantaged backgrounds than the size of the University of Birmingham's entire endowment. The most popular US universities for British undergraduate students are the University of Southern California, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Brigham Young University and New York University.
Birmingham set to lose nearly half of its funding Research by House of Commons officials has found that Birmingham is set to lose £44 million of government funding - just under half the amount it currently receives for teaching. The University reportedly welcomes the rise in fees, saying that it needs the money to make up for the cut in funding. Professor David Eastwood, the University's Vice-Chancellor, said: 'Following the significant cut to universities' public funding, a cap of £9,000 is the minimum required for leading universities to compete in the global higher education market.' As of yet a full breakdown of spending cuts for individual universities has not been announced by the Government. However, Ministers have said that the total amount of money allocated for higher education will drop from £7.1 billion to £4.2 billion. It is also expected that teaching grants will be cut by 80 per cent. According to Ministers, fund-
ing for arts and humanities courses will be more severely cut than for mathematics, technology, science and engineering degrees. John Denham, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, said: 'The Government has produced the worst of all possible worlds. Universities will need to charge fees of at least £7,500 just to avoid losing money, so those that can't will be forced to cut quality.'
Uni Watch Nottingham
The University of Nottingham has been invited by the Shanghai government to establish a new BritishChinese university. The University has confirmed that a possible location has been identified for the campus, and funding has been offered, but the deal is not yet finalised. The move is seen as part of the Chinese government's push to draw more overseas academic talent to the country.
At Copenhagen University more than 20 languages, including Greek, Latin, Russian, Persian, Hebrew and Polish are under threat due to cuts in state funding, prompting a public outcry. The university are planning to add certain languages to other degree courses. Greek and Latin will merge with each other and offer both Bachelor and Masters degrees, and other Eastern European languages will be offered besides Russian.
A team from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow has developed a pioneering lighting system that can kill bacteria. The technology decontaminates the air and exposes surfaces by bathing them in a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths. The new technology uses violet coloured light, but the research team has produced a warm white lighting system that can be used alongside normal hospital lighting.
Singapore Scientists from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and Rice University are developing an electronic notebook, intended for use by Indian school children who attend schools without electricity. The device would be lean on power requirements and cost effective as it would be charged using solar energy, and are developing the device – which they have called the 'Islate' – to consume as little energy as possible.
Germany A recently opened private university has started teaching just five students, and is said to be running the most expensive university courses in Germany. The Fachhochschule des Mittelstandes, North RhineWestphalia, offers courses in areas such as business management, energy management and environmental management. It has been calculated that if student numbers do not increase, the public will be funding each student with around €100,000 a year.
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Helen Crane, Glen Moutrie and Anna Hughes
This week in statistics
The age in years of Sebastian Vettel, the youngest ever driver to win the Formula One World Championship
£154 million Profits made by budget airline company EasyJet in the 12 months to September. This was almost a threefold increase from their £55m profit a year earlier
The percentage of women at Liverpool Women's hospital opting for an elective caesarean rather than a natural birth, due to being 'too scared to push'
149 miles per hour The top speed of the world's fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa, at Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, which has opened this month
President interview New society wins competition Charlotte Lytton Reporter
Dora Meredith, Guild President Glen Moutrie News Editor
Do you feel that Westminster will give a tangible response to the student protests against the proposed education cuts? Well, I would hope so. I would hope a truly democratic government would realize that over 50,000 people in London is no small achievement. It really shows the strength of feeling around this issue and I think it is very important to realise that this was the start of the campaign. MPs are not set to vote until next Wednesday, so our efforts will continue. I would hope that they would take our views into consideration. What were the achievements of the campaign for you? For me, I was so impressed with the students for the campaign and the fact that people felt that they could get involved. We had students come and help us get others to sign our petition, and we have had people go door knocking and people go on the demo itself. As the campaign goes on students have been writing letters to their local MPs – things like that. One of the main things that I ran my campaign on, and one thing that I have said since being elected, is that it is really important that students feel like they can get involved in the Guild and get involved in the Guild campaigns themselves. That they don't just feel that the Guild is working on their behalf but that feel empowered and that they can make a difference. Some form of cuts is very likely now, if not inevitable. How would you like to see the cuts prioritized within the University? Firstly, I don't think that the cuts are inevitable, but we all agree that we do need to look at the way we do things. Obviously we are facing economic difficulties as a nation and we need to look at trying to be as efficient as we can. However, I think it would make me very uncomfortable if the students union was to be too accommodating of cuts to education. From a personal aspect, I have
Mike Roberts really been saying that you need to view the cuts and fees together. They will both impact students significantly, and as such I think we need to be looking and making sure cuts aren't potentially made to things like widening participation. We need to make sure that things that really do impact students are protected as much as possible. Some societies do receive funding from external sources. Should their funding from the Guild be weighted considering the overall income that they do receive? All the funding of societies is looked at and taken into consideration, including the external funding that they receive, their needs according to student members. It shouldn't be based on money in the bank, it must surely be based on the needs of that society and that society's members. So I think it's a far bigger question that simply 'should we be looking at that society's income.' I think it's a question of looking at what that society can best help its students and making sure that they have the resources available to do that. How would you like to see your policy for more live events in the Guild moving forward? I have already been working with staff in the Guild who can look to see if this is feasible. There are constraints such as space which can make things very difficult. But one of the things that I talked about during my campaign was getting student groups the recognition for their live events. Matt Lamb and myself have been looking for when the Guild improves its website, so we can make it easier for groups to promote their events. I hope that the screens downstairs will be able to be used more by student groups; I think that would be a real improvement. I think that a lot of good live events to go on at the Guild but students don't know about them. So I think this is something that could be helped with promotion. The full interview with Dora can be viewed at www.redbrickonline.co.uk
A new society has teamed up with Innocent smoothies to raise money for charity. KnitSOCK have been made Student Ambassadors for Innocent Smoothies' Big Knit, which aims to make 'winter warmer for old people.' The campaign asks knitters from around the UK to donate knitted 'hats' for their smoothie bottles in order to raise money for charity. This year, they are hoping to reach their target of £200,000 for Age UK, with 25p from each bottle sold going to the charity. For the first time, the Student Ambassador title has been introduced to recognise the work of knitting societies at academic institutions. The University of Birmingham's KnitSOCK have become the Innocent Smoothie Student Ambassadors for 2010 after producing 61 hats in ten days, raising £15.25 for charity. The society was accepted by the Guild three weeks ago, and has enjoyed almost immediate success. KnitSOCK's co-chair, Laura Whitley, said: 'My Co-chair, Rosie Campbell, spotted the competition and just entered us in as we thought it'd be a really good first society project. We were competing with many other student groups across the country from a wide range of universities and
institutions.' Laura decided to set up the society after developing an interest in knitting herself. 'I got into crochet during exams last year as a way of relaxing, and had heard of knitting groups but couldn't find one I liked locally,' she said.
The first meeting of KnitSOCK
'Throughout the history of knitting it has been a fashionable young person's craft, a view which seems to have been lost over the last 20 years or so. Hopefully, we're doing something to help bring back the idea of knitting as an activity for everyone.'
Courtesy of KnitSOCK
Campus talks this week Avi Shlaim: 'Israel and Palestine: Past, Present, and Prospects'
Oxford lecturer Dr Avi Shlaim spoke on the topic of 'Israel and Palestine: Past, Present and Prospects'. In the lecture, organised by the Friends of Palestine society, he talked about his academic publications, and how these fit into what he called 'new history.' The International relations lecturer spoke extensively about Zionism, a movement by the Jewish people to establish a settlement in an area regarded as a historic homeland. This is perceived by some to be Israel, and others Palestine. He described it as 'the second greatest PR story after The Beatles,' and on a more serious note, a propagator of 'nationalistic history'
with a political purpose. He spoke with sadness about the hypocrisy engulfed in the ideas of the movement of Zionism, or its 'rhetoric,' in contrast with the treatment of the Palestinians – 'the reality.' To the professor, Israel has become a 'colonial power' and a 'rogue state.' Dr Shlaim was born in Baghdad to Jewish parents and raised in Israel. He spoke scathingly about Tony Blair; rousing applause when labelling him a 'war criminal.' One controversial subject was the boycotting of Israeli academic institutions. Dr Shlaim said he was against it, but was challenged by a individual who supports the action and offered him an information leaflet. Anti-racism officer Joseph Moses, who attended the talk, said: 'Any boycott involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is fundamentally wrong. Both peoples are human and are suffering, and the best way forward is through promoting dialogue.' Dr Yujin Nagasawa on the Existence of God Birmingham Philosophy professor Dr Yujin Nagasawa led a discussion on 'The Existence of
God'. Hosted by the University Philosophy Society, it drew a large number of students from a range of courses. The talk was based on Dr Nagasawa's forthcoming book The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction. He focused on the idea of 'infinity' and how this can be used to either prove or disprove the existence of an omnipotent being, referring to work by Georg Cantor and 'Craig' a former student, and his thought experiment 'Craig's library'. 'Craig's Library' says that if you have infinity number of books, with half being red and half being blue, if someone borrows all the blue books the collection does not change because infinity minus infinity equals infinity. Although the subject of the event was serious, Dr Nagasawa sometimes took a light-hearted attitude towards the conflicting opinions of students, at one point joking 'I have conscious knowledge of a unicorn but it doesn't mean I have to believe it exists.' When asked what his own views were, he said that he was sympathetic to naturalism but not atheist. Edwina Moorhouse
The number of days British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler were held hostage after their yacht was seized by Somali pirates.
£12.7 million The cost to the taxpayer after the clean-up of London's Olympic site which was 'grossly contaminated' with toxic waste.
Gareth Compton, Conservative Councillor for Erdington ward on the Birmingham City Council, was arrested last week for posting a controversial and offensive tweet. After listening to journalist Ms Yasmin Alibhai-Brown discuss
'Can someone please stone Yasmin AlibhaiBrown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.'
human rights in China on Radio 5 Live Compton posted on Twitter: 'Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.' Ms Alibhai-Brown said in response that, 'If I, as a Muslim woman, had said about him what he said about me then I would be arrested in these times of the war against terror.' Speaking with BBC News, she expressed concern about the nature of Twitter: 'There is this whole world... in which people think they can tweet or blog anything they want about anybody, and there is no accountability.' She claimed the incident went as far as incitement, and has pledged her support to any prosecution that may arise. Sir George Young, Leader of the House of Commons said: 'Stoning to death is a barbarous form of punishment which the government and I am sure every honourable member of this house
deplores, and I hope that no elected person will threaten any member of society with that form of punishment.' Tweeting later, Compton said: 'I did not call for the stoning of anybody. I made an ill-conceived attempt at humour in response to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown saying on Radio 5 Live... that no politician had the right to comment on human rights abuses, even the stoning of women in Iran. I apologise for any offence caused. It was wholly unintentional.' Compton was arrested under section 127 (1a) of the Communications Act 2003, on suspicion of sending an offensive or indecent message. West Midlands Police confirmed that 'he has been bailed pending further inquiries.' The Conservative Party has launched its own investigation, and has suspended Compton from the party indefinitely, stating that the language used was 'not acceptable.'
Oxford target private schools in outreach events Freddie Herzog Reporter
A Freedom of Information request by the Independent newspaper has found that 21 per cent of the total of Oxford University's outreach events at schools were held at private schools. This is a disproportionate figure as private schools only make up 7 per cent of the total number of UK schools. The request found that while 3666 events were staged at community, grammar and other kinds of state-sector schools, 770 were held at private schools including Eton, St Pauls, Winchester, Rugby and Manchester Grammar. The events are designed to encourage applicants to the university from non-traditional backgrounds. Overall, 53 per cent of Oxford laces were awarded to state school students last year. While pupils from independent schools comprised 39 per cent of applicants, they made up 46 per cent of acceptances. Simon Wood, who helps organise the student-run 'Target Schools' access initiative, said 'with limited resources, it seems nonsensical to target schools like Eton, who already dominate Oxford applications.' However, a spokesman for Oxford University said, 'The
University works hard to ensure that all those with the potential to succeed at Oxford apply – regardless of background.' The statistics also reveal that Oxford is targeting the least deprived state schools. Most of the state schools that Oxford contacted have a lower than average number of pupils on free school meals. This is a common measure of deprivation with a high percentage meaning a high level of deprivation.
£300, 000 The amount of money left in Madeleine McCann's search fund, which initially stood at £2m. The lack of cash has prompted her parents to sign a book deal.
The number of years out of the past 21 Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi has spent under house arrest.
Local councillor arrested after 'stoning' tweet Owen Earwicker Reporter
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Helen Crane, Glen Moutrie and Anna Hughes
Three-fifths of the schools have less than 10 per cent of pupils on free school meals. The national average is 13.4 per cent. Manchester Grammar (fees of £9000 per year) was the school to benefit most from Oxford's Outreach programme with 18 different events last academic year. Headington School in Oxford (with fees of £24,945 per year) was not far behind with 15 events last year.
diamondgeezer on flickr
Sinead McVeigh asked Birmingham students: How useful is the Guild to you?
Crystal Crawford Law with French, Second year 'To me the Guild provides students to be more involved in University life; I associate it with societies, volunteering opportunities, a general student support system and a place to work!'
Andrew Desborough Maths and Management, First year 'I use the Guild maybe twice a week; as a place to work, get something to eat, and meet friends. I often look at the JobZone. I'm not fully aware of what other services the Guild offers.'
Sandeep Singh Economics, First year
Sarah Viggers English, First year
'I don't think the Guild is useful to me personally. Mainly because I am only really concerned with studying. For people seeking extra-curricular activities and jobs I'm sure it is a good help.'
'I think JobZone is a good resource and if I ever need to get a job, it would be the first place I would go. I don't use the Guild often, the food in Joe's is fairly priced and good for a quick lunch.'
HEA to stop teaching inconsistencies Kerrina Gray Reporter
The head of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) has called for a teaching 'licence' to put a stop to inconsistencies in the teacher training which staff have at universities. Despite students paying tuition fees to be taught by academics, some don't have teaching qualifications. Professor Craig Mahoney, Head of the HEA, called university education 'almost the only profession' in which you are able to work without a licence or qualification. Professor Mahoney told the 'Enhancing the Student Experience' conference in London that whilst he does not agree with all of the Browne Review's recommendations. However, he said that he 'wholeheartedly' supports the idea that all new teaching staff in Higher Education should have a teaching qualification.
He believes a qualification would give the general public and potential students more confidence in Higher Education, knowing that they are being taught by 'competent professionals'. This is particularly significant as students are faced with paying more and more for their education. He went on to suggest that universities ought to review their policies on promotions and recognising staff achievement in teaching; not just research. 'At present, there is some inconsistency. Not all institutions require probationary academic staff to undertake a postgraduate certificate in higher education or the equivalent.' 'Even where there is a formal requirement, this may not always be enforced – where, for example, as part of probationary procedures, research activity and outputs become prioritised above completion of a teaching-related qualification.'
19th November 2010
Comment & Features
Editorial Seb Mann
Comment and Features Editor
Our actions must cohere to our beliefs
Everyone saw last week's protest, and as a result almost everyone has an opinion on the actions of a minority who decidedly took democracy into their own hands. It would be easy for me to spout my self-righteous opinion on the issue in what follows, and instead I will leave provocative debate to page 8, where you can find Joe Jervis and Leyla Onal at loggerheads. However, I do think the message of last week's events runs much deeper than it first seems. Whatever you think about the actions of a group of politically disenfranchised students who, it is perhaps important to note, weren't just a bunch of attention hungry anarchists, their actions represent something which is all too easy to forget. That being the fact that it's very easy to believe something, but it takes quite a substantial amount of conviction to actually go ahead and act on what we believe. The perennial student complaint, most commonly the grievance of the art student, is the shortage of contact hours on their course. The question of whether or not this is fair is certainly one that deserves an answer (though there's nowhere near enough space here to answer it). But this complaint, in my experience, is too often an example of neglecting to back-up one's beliefs with actions. Whereas on the one hand we will complain about our lack of contact hours, on the other we incessantly protest about the quantity of work we have hanging over us. And I don't think it's tenuous to say, even, that the same individual who complains about contact hours is the one who struggles to make it every week to their hideous nine o'clock. Our subtle hypocrisy doesn't end here though. Too readily do many dismiss the homeless on the streets with the coarse 'they'll only spend it on booze anyway', when students are some of the largest consumers of alcohol. And if you think about it, they probably won't waste your spare change on a bottle of vodka when they're actually physically starving. The truth is they literally have very few other options. But we do, and are we really prepared to say that we don't have sympathy for the homeless? By occupying and vandalising Conservative HQ last week, a small faction of students (with, of course, many others on the march) afforded substance to their beliefs. And while it's an open question whether this has been detrimental or beneficial to the cause, I don't think we can criticise them for their mostly admirable motivations.
Feminism under threat
Is the famous woman's movement fast becoming unfashionable? Ali Hendy considers
id the title of this article excite you? Did you think, 'Excellent! A piece of writing addressing women's issues!' Perhaps not. Making no claim to read your mind, I state only that it is 2010 and the most likely response to the concept of feminism is apathy or irritation. 'Feminist' is a dirty word. Put most politely it is associated with an obsessive quest for proportional female representation in all arenas, and crudely with a man-hating lesbianism. One student responded to my question 'How do you feel about people who describe themselves as feminists?' with the thought-provoking line, 'they whinge a lot'. Thirty years ago, as the recent film Made in Dagenham portrays, the radical walk-out organised by female staff at a Ford assembly plant was instrumental in triggering the Equal Pay Act 1970. This female mobilisation was more associated with freedom-fighting, and as the film evidences, the type of action and idealism considered to lend itself well to a retro-cool, feel good script. But what happened to feminism in the interim? Professor Angela McRobbie of Goldsmith's College recently suggested in a Radio Four show that during the Nineties, feminism was consistently paired by the media with a blaring antimaleness, so much so, that young modern women 'disidentified' with it. To be a feminist was unattractive; the huge gains made by the boisterous activists of the second wave were perceived by 21st Century feminism as unnecessary. Watch the television or go on the internet, and you will be faced with the effects of the backlash. On Facebook there are groups such as, 'The awkwardness when a woman doesn't choose the iron in a game
Individuals still care about equality in essence, but the fragmentation of the feminist movement has left it without a concrete purpose justifiable to the loyalties of young women Made in Dagenham heroines hide the word 'equality' of monopoly'. And then there's truelad.com: 'Today, I successfully used silicone sealent [sic] for the first time. Proud of my accomplishment, I'm planning on doing the girl next door's boobies. DIY LAD'. In the rational light that all humour is based upon poking fun at someone, it is clear from these sources that feminism is an unfashionable pursuit which runs against the mainstream. In University culture especially, where Lad-ism reigns supreme, students are quick to distance themselves from feminism. Professor Steve Ellis notes the presence of this mentality within his seminars, 'female students, even when they see gender injustice or subordination present in texts, often introduce their remarks with a phrase like 'I don't want to be feminist about this, but ...'. It is as if 'feminism' is something to
apologise for.' Considering that there are a fair few feminist issues flying about at the moment, including the blurted comments of Stephen Fry: '[I] find it difficult to believe that women are as interested in sex as they are', and more seriously, Shadow Welfare Secretary Yvette Cooper's statement that more than 70% of the revenue raised from budget cuts in benefits and tax changes are to come from female taxpayers, the stagnation of the feminist movement is alarming. The problem with the feminist 'brand' is that it is irrevocably steeped in ideas of collectivism and a quest for lumpy androgyny, the very antithesis of the young, modern woman who largely seeks individualism and embraces femininity. Individuals still care about equality in essence, but the fragmentation of the feminist move-
ment has left it without a concrete purpose justifiable to the loyalties of young women. Last month, the first international 'anti-feminism' event was staged in Switzerland with 150 men's right's activists meeting to unite in 'opposing the feminist hatred of men', amongst other issues. This demonstrates confusion between the belief at the core of feminism, equal rights for women, with media representations which concentrate on the crusades of a radical minority. Feminism may be fading, but the reactions it provokes are so tightly bound with wrongly ascribed, negative connotations: a hatred of men, a hatred of sex and a hatred of femininity; that there is no way of knowing how many people truly agree with the principles of feminism, but disassociate themselves with the word and its brand.
Kate Middleton, Prince Charming and the taxpayer Caroline Mortimer Commentator
The country is in the middle of a debt crisis. The coalition's plans to cut the deficit by ÂŁ81bn this year through raising tuition fees, cutting public sector jobs and freezing many forms of benefit are causing much pain, suffering and consternation for the general public. I suppose with the announcement of the Royal Wedding next summer, people are hoping for a spectacle to cheer them up. Too bad they'll probably have to pay for it. Speaking as an anti-royalist who still occasionally mixes up Prince William and his brother, I'm probably not ideally qualified to comment on the excitement that the media is trying to generate. However, I still have to question the logic of paying for a wedding of two people who can not only afford to pay for it themselves, but have never contributed anything meaningful to the
economy. Not to mention the fact that 18 months ago Britain was allegedly perilously close to being bailed out by the IMF. Of course, the private sector will profit from it. The tabloids will undoubtedly sell cheap memorabilia to the masses, the magazines will make a bundle by packaging their '30-page wedding extravaganzas' and if ITV get the rights to broadcast it, all advertising revenues will go into the hands of private TV bosses. When are we going to wake up to the fact that this wedding and the whole family in general are nothing more than a gigantic hole at the bottom of the public purse? Not only can we not afford to have this wedding, we shouldn't have to. Why do we have to pay for the royal family at all? Many people begrudge the long term unemployed ÂŁ60 a week to keep them and their families on the bread line, when what they willingly give one woman who already has so much wealth through an accident of birth, could pay
hundreds of public sector jobs or maintain university budgets and keep tuition fees down. Under New Labour we were supposed to be striving towards a meritocracy but under the coalition government we seem to have abandoned all pretence. Our society can never be meritocratic when the people at the top have no merit. We criticise the underclass for living on what the state gives them and having little drive to improve themselves or their situation, but if the people at the top don't have to, then why should people on the
bottom? In real terms, the royal family contribute nothing to our economy or society other than support for the lingering belief that some people have a right to be superior to others. Their supporters claim they bring tourism to the UK but is this really true? If we were a republic would people really not want to see the Tower of London, ride a Double Decker bus or get one of those ridiculous 'I love London' t-shirts; the Queen is a part of the British brand we could easily do without. They also say she's part of our tradition, but so what? I'm not saying tradition is not important but tradition for tradition's sake is stupid. In any case, what tradition does she represent? A tradition of hierarchy? The election manifesto of all three major parties at the last election was to promise a fairer society for all, but how can they hope to achieve this when limited government funds are still being appropriated for the whims of one family, at the expense of millions of others?
Comment & Features 7 Redbrick
19th Nobvember 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Rosa McMahon, Seb Mann
Don't worry, be happy
How do you solve a problem like...
Why it's important to keep smiling on campus this Winter Laura Hewitt Commentator
My.bham recently showed an announcement about a new advice blog available for students on 'how to keep yourself happy at university.' Articles are posted from the University's Counselling and Guidance service on a range of problems common for students of all years, from time management to homesickness to eating well. This is an excellent idea, and exactly the kind of easy-to-access support that students need. It's free, it's anonymous, and it's a different approach for those who might be unsure about asking for some support. It's also got the right umbrella word: 'happy'. Essentially, this is what everyone wants to be at university. It's no mean feat; most students have to juggle far more balls in the air than they've ever had to before in their lives. Between attending lectures, playing sport, buying food, cooking food, washing clothes, working part-time, preparing for lectures, staying up late and getting up and doing it all over again (to simply name a few
common tasks); between all this sometimes, inevitably, you drop the ball. It's easy to be lulled into thinking that university will be one long succession of great parties and stimulating lectures. If you've just started in September, you may well have thought that for the first few weeks. But for most, the reality is a mixture of positive and negative experiences. Nobody's happy all the time. You may have met some great people, but you might not be making the most of your course. You might be enjoying learning, but not perhaps clicked with anyone yet. You might be working hard, having fun with friends…but forgot to defrost any food and so end up eating chips for dinner. Things will go wrong day-to-day, but learning to achieve a balance is how university prepares you for later life. Every year we hear of at least one tragedy in our wider student community, when someone decides to take their own life. Whether the factors are related to their studying here or not, everyone is in a position to help prevent this from happening. We need to look out for other people, to keep
belly laughs a day
calories burnt off
an eye on them if they seem to be struggling. Knock on people's doors and check they're OK – especially in halls, where the potential is for a strong community structure but also where, so often, people end up feeling isolated. If you're the one who's struggling, help is there if you ask for it. The University and the Guild provide many excellent pastoral services. If you're in halls, contact a Student Mentor for a chat. Call Nightline to talk about anything, anonymously, with another student. Go and see a doctor at the University Medical Practice; go and see your department's welfare tutor. The Counselling and Guidance service at 3 Elms Road offers group sessions (see the blog if you're nervous about going) and individual ones too; these are all free, so make the most of it while you're a student. Two final pieces of advice: look after yourself, and keep busy. Things will always look different when you're feeling well and have several things lined up to do the next day; this is true whether you're at university or not.
Miliband's Labour Party: the future They'll be out of office for a minimum of 5 years, but to avoid a longer period, they will need to develop a credible opposition James Wickett-Whyte Political Commentator
The benefit proposals are 'unfair' and could lead the unemployed into 'a downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair'. The Archbishop of Canterbury's recent comments on the 'Big Society' were met with a level of smugness from those on the political left and in the Labour Party, as the Guardian gleefully pointed out the irony of Iain Duncan Smith being 'one of
idealistic and an excuse to make cuts, with an astonishing 55% not having heard of it at all. This reception has, however, lulled Labour into a false sense of security, allowing a dismissive attitude to foster. The assumption is that they will be back in government in 5 years time, with the Tories and Lib Dems on the end of an electoral hammering as a result of a failed economic policy. This attitude is starkly reminiscent of the first two years of the Thatcher government: an econom-
A screen shot from Prime Minister's Questions the most devout Christians in the cabinet'. This has been combined with constant attacks on the hollowness of the 'Big Society', some of which were amply justified, and backed up by various polls – a September Ipsos MORI poll showing over half of respondents thought it was both
ic downturn, rising unemployment and Labour and Tories neck-andneck in the polls. Then, like now, there was a dismissive attitude from the left, which spectacularly misunderstood Thatcherism and condemned Labour to an effective pressure group, arguably until 1994. This misunderstanding
was based on an assumption that Thatcher's 'project' would inevitably fail, and that there would be a Labour government returned to power at the next election. The similarities continue; Thatcher's development of populist policies focusing on giving power back to the people (not entirely dissimilar to the current government's 'progressive' rhetoric), and large levels of support for policies from identified Labour voters. A recent YouGov poll tracks a similar trend with the current Iain Duncan Smith welfare reforms – unpaid work for long term unemployed; withdrawal of Jobseekers Allowance if a job interview is turned down; stronger testing for Disability Living Allowance; and a £400 maximum claim for housing benefit – all receiving over 50 per cent support from declared Labour voters, with overwhelming support from the total number of interviewees. This could mean one of two key realisations for the Labour Party: either an inability to articulate its own message, or a genuine shift in public opinion, leaving Labour definitively on the wrong side. Either way, a strong, and focused message that appeals to 'middle England' – the effective deciders of elections – is needed if Labour are going to represent a progressive and electable choice in 2015. For this to be achieved, there needs to be a set of ideas around which the Party can unify and challenge the coalition government. Simply saying 'we will not oppose all cuts' doesn't cut the mustard for very long. Labour are not spoilt for choice in this field, but a prominent potential base for a manifesto can be seen in the form of the book by Richard Wilkinson
The assumption is that Labour will be back in government in 5 years time, with the Tories and Lib Dems on the end of an electoral hammering and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level. Predicated on how equality (and a reduced income gap) is beneficial to everyone and not just the poor at the expense of the rich, its biggest advantage is its ability to unify all wings and sections of the party and, if presented well enough, win back the 'middle England' Labour voters lost in 2010. There is a plethora of contending theses, ranging from the revitalisation of the Third Way and New Labour, to the recent works of American economist Paul Krugman. Without a solid base from which to progress, however, Labour faces the very real danger of, once again being caught on the wrong side of public opinion, facing years in the political wilderness. Whatever Tony Blair's current standing in the Labour Party, his 1997 campaign mantra of being 'an alternative government not just an opposition' could hardly be more pressing.
fire extinguisher alternatives by James Reevell
Stuck a top Conservative HQ? Want to throw something but don't want to get arrested for attempted murder? Never fear Redbrick is here with your guide to fun and friendly missiles. Fairy Wings – Simply scatter a selection sparkling fairy wings over the police horde, turning a baton charge into the best hen night you've ever seen. Play an array of Take That songs to complete the effect. Confetti – Simply collect together a scrap of paper, shred and throw to create a wedding in The Bill. Suggested useless paper sources include The Lib Dem Manifesto and the Met Police's Guidelines for Reasonable Force. Ann Widdecombe – Simply lower Ann Widdecombe 'Strictly style' onto the ranks below. Her clumsy but endearing dance moves will skittle the police and most importantly get her extremist views far away as possible from your protest. Any remaining can be taken out with an Eric Pickles wrecking ball. Bed Sheets – Simply cut two holes in your bed sheet, toss over the side and suddenley you have a mass of truncheon wielding Caspers. Emo-ness – Deploy My Chemical Romance on loud speakers and toss eye liners down. This newly angsty dragged up set of Tim Burton will have no choice but to sit around crying and drinking cider. Banana Skins – Although this you should get you a littering fine, the police will be skidding too much to get close to you. Set to Benny Hill music, young and old can enjoy. Wolf – Not the animal but the gladiator. Simply send him down with far too clingy spandex and a foam stick, challenge the police gladiator champion to winner takes all. Your Student Loan – A weight so crushing that even John Prescott orbits it. It is certain to crush all below it, the anhilation of the entire police force ensuring your lack of arrest. The one downside being the hundreds of helicopters required to lift it. Tony Blair's Autobiography – Guaranteed to either cause the Police to fall into an unwakeable stupor, or outrage them enough to join your side.
George Bush's Autobiography – Guaranteed to win friends, and soften your eventual police brutality, due to the Police's deep emotional bond with the former President, created mostly by their matching IQs.
8 Comment & Features
19th November 2010
Editors – Rosa McMahon, Seb Mann
The Millbank debate: is violence the answer? An effective voice of disapproval Joe Jervis Commentator
Over one week has passed since the chaotic events of DemoLition and the resulting headlines will live long in British memory. The vigorously planned route saw 52,000 protesters march past Whitehall, via Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – growing in numbers and volume, alongside the river Thames, and on to a previously unknown place called Millbank. It's doubtful that others remember the rest, even if they were one of the 40-odd thousand who bothered to watch the NUS speeches, useful only for Nick Clegg to later snigger at as he reaches for his finest bottle of single malt in the comfort of his armchair at his newly acquired stately mansion. Not that one should ever be cynical about the concept of a peaceful protest; they are of course an important aspect of our democracy and the correct way to show displeasure. The only problem is the very minor fact that they never really seem to work. The Iraq War demonstrations of 2003, the G20 protests and attempts to encourage peace in the Middle East are just a few examples of those which have had minimal, if any impact. Indeed it's hard to imagine David Cameron flicking through television channels, seeing students strolling laughing and joking down the streets of Westminster chanting a few clichéd phrases on a thoroughly enjoyable day out. Nice as that thought may be, I can't see that a small newspaper column at the bottom of page five or six, or a minute long clip on the ten o'clock news would have quite that desired impact.
the real animosity start. Secondly, whilst university students aren't always the most celebrated of groups amongst the working public, they haven't yet attained the reputation of being yobs and hooligans. So, even for those who only read the headlines, instant assumptions and stereotypes are unlikely to come into play in the same way that they might have if the protesters were from a more unruly sector of society. There is, of course, a deeper political message behind last Wednesday's riots which goes beyond a student protest against rises in tuition fees and the reduction of the educational maintenance allowance budgets. As the minutes and hours went by, it became apparent that the anti-fee chants of 'no ifs, no buts, no education cuts' were turning into general anti-coalition chants such as the tasteless 'build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put the Tories on the top, put the Lib Dems in the middle and burn the fucking lot.' And the chants of 'you say "cut back" we say "fight back"', 'Once a yellow, now a blue, Nick Clegg; fuck you' and 'Tory scum' further indicated that this was fast becoming an increasingly hostile political message against the pro-cuts government rather than anything else. For some, the opportunity to escalate the hostility felt towards education reforms into full-blown rioting was a little too good to miss. Therefore, this protest may serve as a warning for what is to come for the government. Only a few months into power and before any cuts have come into play, we have already seen the first indications of civil disorder. The Conservatives have been reminded
Stupidity mistaken for reason Leyla Onal Commentator
An estimated 52,000 students More than 50 arrests Over 400 University of Birmingham students 9 people hospitalised
'Peaceful protests are of course an important aspect of our democracy and the correct way to show displeasure. The only problem is the very minor fact that they never really seem to work' The violent scenes which grabbed the headlines the next morning cannot be condoned under any political mantra. The immediate aftermath of the attacks on Conservative HQ saw news bulletins and front pages alike splashed with dark images of masked men, blooded officers, and the destruction of just about every ground floor window. Those students seen throwing the fire extinguisher from the top of the multistorey building face the possibility of an attempted murder charge, such was the seriousness of their mindless actions. But to dismiss the violence as disastrous for the fight against education cuts would be far from accurate. In fact, I would go even further to suggest that in order to achieve the widespread media attention desired by the organisers, the violent scenes were necessary. For starters, almost every news report and article has acknowledged that the destruction caused to Millbank was carried out by small numbers of ultra leftwing radicals and were egged on by only a tiny minority of the 50,000 students marching of which only a minute proportion committed any form of vandalism. And it was correctly noted in most reports that only after the arrival of the 'professional' rioters and anarchists did
just how loathed they are amongst many parts of Britain and the Lib Dems have been dealt a stark warning of the levels of hostility they will face if they continue to cuddle up to the Tories. While we are unlikely to see a return to the rioting of the 1980s, for the older generation the message of 'we won't take this lying down' will undoubtedly rekindle emotions of the fighting spirit shown in the face of the Thatcher regime. Labour MP John McDonnell echoed this notion with a tweet on the day of the March which read; 'this is the biggest workers and students demonstration in decades… we must build on this.' These sentiments will not have been lost on Cameron and his colleagues. So, for those on the march who were more concerned about the bigger picture, the rebellious antics of November 10th may, in time, be seen as the first true demonstration of animosity towards the coalition. And for those concerned solely about raising publicity for the education cuts, the actions of those rouge anarchists and socialist radicals have gained more column inches and will live far longer in the public memory than a friendly student amble along the River Thames could ever have done.
We live in a democratic country. Active citizenship is promoted and we are honoured with the opportunity to promote our political beliefs. The 'Fund our Future' protests were eagerly anticipated as thousands of students were expected to swarm to London in a peaceful protest; to oppose plans to cut education funding and treble University fees. 52,000 students travelled from as far as Scotland to practice their democratic rights, show concern for future generations of students and inspire politicians to listen to their voices. However, as the Conservative party Headquarters at Millbank Tower were targeted by rebels, such an inspiring protest has been overshadowed. Ultimately, violent vicious hotheads who thrive off incriminating behaviour have severely threatened the reputation of today's students. Protestors at Millbank Tower can only be described as showing a 'mob' mentality as chanting crowds smashed the glass entrance with limbs and weapons, and surged forward into the building. CCTV cameras were ripped down ruthlessly by the intruders, chair seats cut up and walls graphitied with 'Tory Scum.' Protestors who occupied the building looked proud and fierce, showing an intense energy which was ruthless and determined. As the fire pit blazed in the centre of the crowd, and the sound of deafening drum and bass was heard, Millbank Tower became a playground for youths who were hungry for attention. Rebels had the audacity to make their way to the top of Millbank and throw items, one student doing the unbelievable and dropping a fire extinguisher from the twelve storey building. This is inexplicable behaviour and I struggle to believe that such actions can be validated as an appropriate action to fight new plans by the coalition. Members of parliament sat within the building and looked out the window to be fronted with shouts of: 'jump, jump' and 'Tory scum.' Consequently, headlines described protestors as 'thugs' and 'brainless' rather than passionate and sincere. The hope is held that the message is not entirely lost, and that the public realises that those who hijacked the protest were the small minority. Perhaps the riots have increased public awareness of the event; of course, a quiet march
As the fire pit blazed in the centre of the crowd, and the sound of deafening drum and bass was heard, Millbank Tower became a playground for youths who were hungry for attention through London would probably not have resulted in such extensive press coverage of the protest. However, has the media described the incredible scenes as thousands of peaceful protesters, brandishing motivational banners marched through London on a crisp and cool November morning? It certainly doesn't seem that way. Are the headlines highlighting the aim of the protest to stop plans to cut education funding? No, violence is at the heart of the media coverage. What is an inquiry called into? Police preparation for the march and punishment of the unlawful protestors. What is the Prime Minister's response to the protest? A vow to stand by the increase in fees. Resolute protesters who came to fight the education cuts, instead of ignorantly causing damage can only be sympathised with. One student held a banner stating: 'cut the fees and not the windows.' As leaders promote themselves as the targets of abuse from mindless youths, it is important that we do not allow such negative publicity damage the future of our campaign. We should show that false promises and elitism from our government will not be accepted, but that neither will the use of violence and terror as a means of protest. If students continue to be diligent I am positive the protests will continue, and the catchy iambic chant 'no ifs, no buts, no education cuts' will be echoed in the near future. But we must ensure scenes are inspiring, professional and safe from those who chose unlawful behaviour and brutality as a means for reason.
19th November 2010
Editors – Rosa McMahon, Seb Mann
You are what you read
Comment & Features 9
Neil Chanchlani investigates the stereotypes we attach with national newspapers
What we read is important – the Telegraph, Metro, Financial Times, Daily Star, the Week, and Private Eye are but a few publications that shape the way we view and think about the world. And whilst we define our values and interests by reading and observing day-to-day news, we can't help but be persuaded by the often, though not always, stellar writing of columnists and reporters. Of course, there are other considerations, such as size of broadsheet, layout, pricing, and availability, that do have an effect on what we read and why we read it. But generally, people pick up a newspaper or magazine because they enjoy the way a story is told, or commented on. So the question remains, does reading a certain newspaper define who you are? Daily Telegraph readers have largely been labelled conservative, with 60 per cent of its readership belonging to upper middle class and/or middle class and stem from a higher managerial and professional occupation. It's known that some Telegraph writers tend to express outcry when the rich are further taxed or when the idea of global warming is put into spotlight, but that certainly isn't express the views of all the readers, nor writers. Additionally, it's been suggested that tabloid newspapers such as The Sun or Daily Mail, are man's working-class information source. But so what? Some might enjoy reading about X Factor's latest gossip or about the three-legged frog that leaped to survival. According to their website,
Guardian readers are self-consciously affluent, well-travelled, more likely to lead an active lifestyle, and more likely to own a piece of technology. Though, how this list of adjectives was fully researched, and published for that matter, remains unknown. While it's easy to write off people with certain newspapers, it's important to ask why they read that newspaper and give them a chance to justify themselves. Metro readers are largely commuters who enjoy quick taking in quick summaries of water-cooler tidbits to chat about in the office, but that doesn't mean they don't read anything else or that they're not interested in analysis. Almost 50 per cent of Guardian readers intended to vote for the Labour party in 2005, which raises another important question: does what you read define your political affiliation? Newspapers have been traditionally attached to the support of particular political parties. The Telegraph and Daily Express are traditionally seen as Tory supporters; the Guardian and Daily Mirror more often than not side with Labour, the Independent declines to affiliate themselves; and one internet forum user claimed the Daily Star supports the candidate with the largest breasts. But just how politically persuasive are these newspapers? When I tell people that I subscribe to the Guardian but also read The Spectator on a bi-weekly basis, they don't really understand why. How can one person read a daily publication that is largely lib-
What you think...
The facts in figures 64% of the Daily Telegraph readership intended to support the Conservative Party, 18% the Liberal Democrats, and 14% Labour 43% of The Independent readership intended to vote for the Liberal Democrats, 38% intended to vote for Labour, and 11% intended to vote for the Conservative Party
Chris Starkey Newspaper: i i stereotype: young, educated, enjoys light-hearted news
57% of the Daily Mail readership intended to vote for the Conservative Party, 24% for Labour, and 14% for the Liberal Democrats eral, whilst reading a magazine that is wholly conservative? (The Spectator was formally edited by Boris Johnson, and is owned by Barclay brothers, who also own the Sunday Telegraph) On top of all that, I voted Labour. In theory, I am unclassifiable, an undecided rogue or an open-minded know-it-all? Call me what you will, but it only makes sense to get the bigger picture from different voices. In order to gain a complete understanding of events, one must take in the full breadth of information out there, dissect it, and form his or her own opinion. This can only
be achieved by reading and digesting a variety of perspectives. It's certainly not hard as a student to do this. Apart from inane social networking or catching up with friends in the pub, that still leaves many of hours throughout the day to learn something, and further define one's views. Appreciate what you're reading and read between the lines; only then you'll start to be able to spot the differences between different newspapers that report the same thing. Beware of the newspaper you attach yourself to, as many think you are what you read.
Alexandra Lanchester Newspaper: Daily Mail Daily Mail stereotype: readers like day to day news, simplicity and continuity
Crystal Crawford Newspaper: The Guardian The Guardian stereotype: young, studenty and left-wing
Activist Peter Tatchell speaks on gay rights Rob Lewis Commentator
A revolutionary human rights activist, tireless LGBTI campaigner and Green party spokesman; Peter Tatchell is nothing if he is not inspirational. Taking the stage at Birmingham Town Hall as part of the Shout Festival he demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge and passion as he guided the audience on a harrowing tour of hotspots of LGBTI oppression worldwide. Against the backdrop of significant progression in pro-LGTBI legislation in the UK, Tatchell's first port of call was Jamaica, where homophobic violence is routine and justice for victims is rare, as a complicit police force do little to stem the tide of hate. The murder of Jodie Dobrowski on Clapham Common in 2005 sparked national outrage here in the UK, whilst the brutal slaying of Jamaica's openly gay Trade Ambassador Peter King aroused little interest. Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy and subscribes to international Human rights conventions, yet opportunities for redress for the victims of hate crimes are shockingly limited. Jamaica represents only the tip of a global iceberg of LGBTI oppression in which punishments for suspected or actual homosexual activity range from short prison
'Tatchell eloquently demonstrated that vigilantly, statesanctioned, casual violence is the day to day reality of LGBTI people worldwide'
sentences to life imprisonment, and in six Islamist states the death penalty. Sickeningly, Commonwealth Countries including Nigeria and Pakistan retain the Sharia derived punishment of death by stoning for homosexual acts. It would seem that not only has the UK failed to influence these countries in terms of fundamental human rights, but actually in some ways supports regimes hostile to LGBTI freedom. Tatchell points squarely at the newly Democratic Iraq where death squads carry out execution style murders as they enact Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's demand that LGBTI persons should be destroyed in 'the worst, most severe way possible.' The Iraqi penal code also exempts the perpetrators of honour killings from punishment, which stands, rather ironically, in opposition to the tacit tolerance of alternate sexualities under Saddam Hussein. Britain's key ally in the Arabian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, recently sentenced a gay man to 500 lashes and five years imprisonment, it is however highly unlikely that he will survive the physical punishment. It's a case of we buy your oil, you buy our guns, no questions asked. The Vatican and various Islamic states have repeatedly blocked UN attempts to enshrine
sexual rights as human rights. For citizens of over 80 countries the right to sexual expression is non-existent and their humanity expressly denied. That said, it was not until 1999 that openly gay service personnel were allowed to serve in the British Armed Forces and only shortly after that did The European Court of Human Rights force the Labour Government to level the age of consent. Out of 192 UN member states only a handful actively pursue a radical LGBTI rights legal agenda, leaving vulnerable citizens of the remaining countries helpless in the eyes of the law. This fact is unsurprising given that the World Health Organisation only saw fit to depathologise homosexuality in 1991. Tatchell eloquently demonstrated that vigilantly, state sanctioned, casual violence is the day to day reality of LGBTI people worldwide while presenting a shocking indictment of many states' failure to prevent sickening intimidation and open persecution of LGBTI minorities. It is a sad fact that the leaders of the three great religions in Russia are all openly homophobic with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church suggesting homosexuality 'destroys human beings'. The catalogue of legislative failure on a national level saw Tatchell criticise South Ameri-
ca's inconsistent legal approach. While the progressive metropolis of São Paulo offers protection to, and even nurtures LGBTI people, death squads operate openly in the north of Brazil. The Obama administration was also earmarked for criticism on its failure to invoke an executive order to end dismissal of LGBTI military personnel. Tatchell provides a voice for the silenced through his arraignment of legal complacency and oppression globally, yet his message was essentially one of hope. He spoke with glee of LGBTI movements both open and clandestine that seek to subvert hatred and through openness change the legal frameworks of the countries in which they operate. He gave a heartening example of the sea change that has taken place over the last decade in Nepal, whose administration are considering full same sex marriage, whereas ten year's ago homosexuality was totally outlawed. The emancipatory impact of the Internet coupled with a shift in social attitudes towards LGBTI people, Tatchell believes, will allow people regardless of geography the right to sexual freedom, the right to see themselves free from the label of mad, bad and very sad and instead be free to love another without fear of intolerance, abuse, violence and death.
Coalition spends ÂŁ20,00 on hanging office art guardian.co.uk/arts
Made in China
Lee Mack at Symphony Hall
Phil Gurney and Rob Hanson
Tate Modern Sian Gray Arts Editor Art is rarely straightforward when conveying its meaning, indeed by its very nature it remains enigmatic. The Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern gallery seems to play host to some of the worlds most unusual and ambiguous pieces of art and none more so than the 100 million tiny porcelain sunflower seeds that currently reside there. Ai Weiwei's installation is unnerving in that in its simplicity it holds so much power. At first glance the seeds scattered over the 1000 square metres look no different to the concrete beneath them. However, as you draw closer the power of such tiny individual seeds slowly begins to take hold. You can practically feel the symbolism in that. Drawing closer the seeds to me seemed to morph together to replicate a bleak beach scene in
19th November 2010
winter or, more accurately, they are representative of the Chinese village Ai Weiwei originates from, Jingdezhen. The village's only economic activity comes from it's porcelain ware. However, more recently this has become heavily commercialised and this idea of production, so often associated with China, is explicit in the image of the millions of supposedly identical seed replicas. Furthermore, Ai Weiwei fully admits that he didn't personally make any of these seeds and that behind the artist was a production team of 1600 workers, each paid a decent wage. Not only are the seeds visually impressive, capturing and holding your attention, but surrounding it are political and social questions which it has achieved in gaining answers to. Through his art, Ai Weiwei has sewn seeds of controversy which cannot be cut down.
Hidden Venue The Door
'Thank you Birmingham for being so fucking weird!' Apt words to finish off a night of top quality comedy, not just from Lee, but also from the sheer oddness of this sample of a Birmingham based audience. Even the quick wit and years of experience wasn't enough for Lee to deal with the bizarre heckles from this audience, not criticising Lees capabilities, but more so emphasising the stranger side of this Birmingham crowd. Lee opened with an unusual start to mainstream stand-up of the 21st century, a visual gag; involving a large box, an unwitting audience member, and several heavy duty chains, a retro take on comedy from the slap-stick era. A predictable finish to this, of which most of the audience knew full well instantly that once in the box, the unfortunate sod would be wheeled
off stage and forgotten. And yet his persona seemed enough to draw out roars of laughter from the time old gag of this almost Tommy Cooper-esque 'magic'. Lee's comedy is based on the intimacy of the structure. The audience is brought on side with a procession of localised gags; mocking the Birmingham accent, and stereotype of slow witted idiocy associated with the Midlands, all by poking fun in the manner of old friends, and it is this charm
The Town Hall that defines him. When not attacking a whole city Lee chooses someone to lightly chastised for the communal interest such as Steve the paedophile and 'the most boring man I've met'. Lee is hilarious precisely because he is the amalgamation of our cheeky mate, the mad bloke down the pub, and the uncle who takes the piss out of everyone because he simply doesn't care if he offends!
Blazin' Fiddles at The Town Hall Lexie Frost Critic Question: 'What do moustaches eat for dinner?' Punchline: 'Moustachios!' On this evidence, it's a good job Blazin' Fiddles are supremely talented violinists because a career in comedy does not surely beckon. Gentle between reel humour aside, this was a superb display of Celtic fiddling and Scottish music. Of particular note was newcomer Jenna Reid whose virtuoso solo work contrasted with her smooth Scots accent. And also Anna Massie whose guitar and fiddle playing leave audiences in no doubt as to why she has been nominated for Scottish Instrumentalist of the Year. Blazin' Fiddles have been tagged 'the Led Zeppelin of the Folk World' by The Scotsman yet their repeated references to cleanliving on the road did dampen this comparison somewhat. Not that the mostly older audience really
want their folk-heroes to be hedonism personified on a Tuesday night. The dedication to the music and ferocity of the fiddling do however put this group in a league of its own. A venue less formal than the Town Hall may have given the audience more room and inclination to get up and dance to the energetic reels the way such music
Blazin Fiddles deserves. The overall effect is like River dance but without the dancing. And these reviewers were a little disappointed that there was no actual fire involved during the set. Still, this is not to take anything away from the music or its performers. Indeed, the fiddlers often couldn't help but jig along as they played. Hand clappin', Foot tappin' tastic.
The Big Fellah at The Rep James Reevell Arts Editor
Located next to the main auditorium Rep lies the spartan but adorable Door theatre. With a stage and walls that look more out of a warehouse than a theatre, the Door's ethos is firmly rooted in quality performance not aesthetic. The beauty of this venue is that it allows avant garde theatre to be performed in a suitably intimate space whilst bestowing it with the Rep's hard earned seal of quality. This means that it can attract large audiences that otherwise would be wary of approaching art that places itself on the subversion of the mainstream. A typical show at the Door can consist of a man removing his heart whilst break dancing, entertaining whilst providing a cutting satire of modern life. Alternatively, it can swing to the
downright dark, with drugs and suicide providing frequent sources of inspiration, perfectly fitting the dark decor. The Door's size is one of its greatest selling points, providing a highly respected venue, that is not so big that small shows end up playing to vast swathes of empty seats. The Door's other great selling point is that it is the venue for up and coming playwrights and directors. It provides an opportunity to see the megastars of tomorrow but in a venue that allows them to still be mad. The Door recommends itself still further by working closely with local companies and schools to provide a venue that strengths local links and challenges ignorance and intolerance. All in all, a little theatre that stands in the shadow of the Rep but this very fact, combined with its charm makes it the main attraction, more often than not.
Matt Saull Critic A week ago, Celtic FC's fans unfurled a banner declaring that the Catholic football club would wear 'no blood stained poppies on our hoops' during Remembrance weekend. Poppies came to signify all that was hated about British Imperial rule for the 'freedom fighters' (and do now for those thirty-five protestors) after, most notably, Bloody Sunday. It was with this in the back of my mind that I sat down to watch Richard
Bean's critically acclaimed play on the Irish troubles, Big Fellah, which begins a week after the massacre, yet this was the best piece of theatre I've seen in a long time. For those who did see it (even disregarding the nudity), Big Fellah was a treat, a marvelously witty account of the Republican struggle from the eyes of the exiled IRA in New York. Ruari O'Drisceoil's (played by Rory Keenan) self deprecating Irish humour was the highlight of a piece that really came alive in the second half, with the first scene
after the half time teas featuring a wonderful stand-off between him and the terrifyingly deadpan Frank McArdle (Fred Ridgeway) â€“ 'I like a good zoo.' Beneath the dark comedy, Bean's play is remarkably accurate historically and sets a new slant on the troubles. The story follows the Irish-American 'Big Fellah' David Costello (Finbar Lynch) and his band of PIRA exiles and American sympathisers over the course of thirty years, starting just after Bloody Sunday and finishing on 9/11. The sub-plots of love and betrayal seem pertinent to the group's reactions to the lessening of the Republican cause over the thirty years. This in particular applies to Ruari, based on real-life dissident Joe Doherty, whose oneliners grew more and more disparaging as the play unfolded. 'I like being in the IRA, but if there's one thing I'd change, it's all the fucking killing.'
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Sian Gray, James Reevell
Gay Art: the struggle continues... Sophie Lawrence Critic As Peter Tatchell discusses the LGBTI freedom on an international stage at Birmingham Town Hall, it leads us to question the role of gay art and culture today. For a cultural sphere that has until recently been marginalized, even here in Britain, it is interesting to examine how LGBTI arts and culture can work as a form of protest. Tatchell recognises that LGBTI freedom on a global scale is still 'pretty grim' – a prominent recent example of this being the Saudi Arabian man sentenced to five hundred lashes; effectively a death sentence for the criminal offence of homosexuality. Despite horrific abuses to human and gay rights around the world, Tatchell also notes how far the cause has progressed in recent decades. However, as the driving force for many gay artists and writers is their sexuality. Therefore the face of LGBTI art will alter as the results of struggles and acquisition of rights in parallel alter the gay experience. Peter Tatchell cites the Internet and pop culture as empowering tools for the gay community enabling many young gay and lesbian people from remote parts of the world to be able to take advan-
tage of technology and culture as a means of self-expression. By all accounts, LGBTI culture, what SHOUT! Festival aims to promote, acts, as Peter Tatchell describes, 'a softer level of activism', particularly in countries where freedom of sexuality is restricted. The power of art and culture is to raise awareness of LGBTI through placing the culture within people's consciousness. He spoke of a trip to Moscow with Oscar Wilde's grandson, Merlin Holland, whereby making LGBTI culture apparent on a larger scale raised awareness. Culture can work in powerful ways: whether it be a plot in a soap, (our very own Coronation Street are currently running their first ever lesbian storyline) a film, a poem or a song. By allowing suggestions that would not be possible through immediate political discourse, gay culture is brought into the public consciousness. Of course the gay art in, for example, Iran, is relatively tame in comparison to the avant-garde British tradition. As Tatchell says, all struggles for civil and gay rights are historically and culturally specific, and this is reflected in LGBTI worldwide. Yet, even in these small but effective ways, LGBTI arts and culture can be merged with mainstream culture, and also politically
CBSO 90th Birthday at Symphony Hall
Town Hall 23rd November This qualified GP turned stand -up comic is massively acclaimed. Combining razor sharp wit with impeccable manners, Sinha takes apart all the flaws in our society. Tickets £20
Einaudi The power of art and culture is to raise awareness of LGBTI through placing the culture within people's consciousness engage a wider audience. SHOUT! Festival provides much to inspire, challenge and entertain us; and the blending of LGBTI culture into mainstream consciousness can be nothing but positive.
Birmingham's SHOUT! Festival cites it's major themes as visibility and invisibility: let us uphold the British LGBTI art and culture which is visible to us, but also strive to bring the more invisible side of LGBTI art into the public eye.
The Author at The Rep
Town Hall 24th November Loved by all, particularly by mums, this classical music superstar brings his solo performance show to Birmingham. Take your mum and win some serious brownie points. Tickets £15
Town Hall Sophie Rogers and Alice Young Critics To celebrate exactly 90 years since Elgar lifted the baton at their inaugural performance, the internationally esteemed City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra took to their home stage in the magnificent Symphony Hall to give an outstanding recital, dedicated to an audience they consider family. The conductor, Latvian Andris Nelsons, gave a touching speech in honour of the occasion, before directing the orchestra with musicality and understanding far beyond his 30 years. Far from only using well renowned pieces, the programme also reflected the magnitude of the occasion. Both Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier and Elgar's Violin Concerto were therefore included in the birthday concert, the latter of which was also celebrating a birthday – exactly 100 years to the day since its world premiere. Sandwiched between these two epics, the CBSO fittingly performed Haydn's Symphony no. 90. Kicking off proceedings in style was the suite taken from Strauss' opera Der Rosenkavalier; the decadent melodies and stir-
ring waltzes were performed with electricity, capturing the audience from the first blast of the horns to the final crash of the cymbals. Haydn's 90th symphony was delivered with ceremony and brilliance. Using a far smaller orchestra than later composers, it develops and decorates themes with a clarity and beauty captured immaculately by the CBSO. After an interval being serenaded in the foyer by the rather sweet yet extremely competent 'CBSO Young Voices', the orchestra reassembled to perform Elgar's deeply moving Violin Concerto. Here the orchestra and soloist James Ehnes took the audience on a soulful and intensely romantic journey through what is considered to be Elgar's most personally significant opus. The contrast between the intensity and ease of James Ehnes's rendition was nothing short of breathtaking, and although due to its unusual length, many welcomed its end, all were left spellbound by the lingering final cadenza. A well received encore of Strauss' Salome – Dance of the Seven Veils followed persistent applause from a contented audience. On the night, the CBSO gave an outstanding performance, and Birmingham should be proud to have such talent on its doorstep.
Alex Blanchard Critic Unsettling. Highly unsettling. Was it the unconventional cast positioning and the absence of a stage? The sporadic dimming of the house lights, perhaps? Maybe it was the vivid enactment of a hostage having their throat slit, or the mock interview with a rape victim? Perhaps it was the detailed descriptions of paedophilic acts. Or just maybe it was having the word 'cunt' repetitively screamed at me over High School Musical's 'we're all in this together' candy pop. Tim Crouch's latest play doesn't let you off lightly. The Author is an exploration of morality in art and the depths of depravity that playwrights will go to in order to shock their audiences. Through a mixture of vivid imagery and audience participation, the whole event does just this; leaving you sickened, a little bemused, and above all leaving you questioning the relationship between art, performer, and audience. The absence of a stage is pivotal; there are only two banks of seats facing each other so that audience members are sat facing audience members. Once the doors are closed and the murmur-
ings stop there pervades a drawnout awkward silence that is eventually broken when one of the characters in the play speaks up. However, he is not in front of you, but sat behind you, within the audience, giving a monologue to the faces of bewilderment. A little while later other voices start up, until there is a collection of monologues taking place throughout the audience. There's all this talk of 'feeling safe', and this is something that you are perpetually pondering. Has this at any point become real? Who are the characters, who are the audience? Two people get up and leave, I check the script – my thread back to reality – they were meant to leave. But ten minutes later and another two people leave. This time they were audience members, disgusted by what they were hearing. And this, above all, is what is most unsettling about the play. Given that there is no stage, no scenery, and the actors are sat amongst the audience, leaving you are left to create the imagery of the play in your mind's eye. The Author is nevertheless a terrifyingly brilliant and original play in which the audience take on a genuine presence. However, those who go to see it should be prepared to ask themselves some serious questions.
The Rep 25th November A musical interpretation of a classic children's novel this show is sure to reawaken your inner child, and for the jaded, help you discover that one even existed. Tickets £10
The Alexandra 26th November As seen on pretty much every BBC panel show and In The Thick of It, Chris Addison sets his sights firmly on politics and society. Expect socially awkward, but highly amusing comedy. Tickets £22.50
19th November 2010
For articles on Pontins, and more, check out redbrickonline.co.uk
A Student's Guide: Prague Michael Smallman Writer
Research had been minimal; anticipations were high. Prior to my visit, my knowledge of the capital of the Czech Republic was limited to its infamous reputation for cheap booze and continental dance music – every student's dream. It seemed like the perfect city break for a group of my friends' 21st birthdays. After a group of stags boarded the plane (all wearing their mock-up t-shirts displaying banterous nicknames) Prague's legendary repute seemed to be confirmed and I could not have been more excited. However, the city – by day – does not reflect this booze culture, and offers one of the best cultural experiences in Europe. Truthfully, my expectations of the city's aesthetics were not favourable. Images of Eastern Europe from documentaries on the Cold War displaying dilapidated buildings preceded my judgement; these could not have been more intrusive of the brilliantly gothic buildings that line the streets of Prague. The fully-functional tramsystem only supplemented its quaint qualities, not that we ever needed to utilize public transport. A key advantage of the design of the city is that all the major sights and attractions are within walking distance of each other. Despite our only resources for navigating the city having been a small guide-book that had never been opened and a couple of maps from the hostel reception desk, both were revealed to be essential tools. Most of the landmarks can be enthusiastically attacked in a circulatory route, starting at the picturesque Charles Bridge and ending at Wenceslas Square in the New Town, visiting en route: the Old Town, Prague Castle – reported to be the largest castle in the world – and the Astronomical
Time for a different direction?
Debate Which way to turn? EXPLORE Boat traffic under Prague Castle at dusk Clock – best seen when chiming on the hour. Other highlights include the National Theatre, the National Museum and the old Jewish quarter. Student discounts were available for most of these attractions and was often valued at half the price of an adult ticket. Strapped-for-cash students can also help the bank balance by staying in hostels instead of hotels; often a cheap option but not always a safe bet. Fortunately, Mosaic House proved to be cheap (prices start at £6 per bed/per night), clean (maids cleaned the rooms on alternate days) and secure (safes and lockers were available for personal belongings and free of charge) – perfect for the budding traveller. All rooms included free Wi-Fi, were air-conditioned and some of the smaller (but pricier) rooms were furnished with a plasma TV (swish). A free breakfast buffet complimented online bookings. Food, in general, met a very high standard. Restaurants and cafes were reasonably priced and were good value for money. How-
Martin Sojka on Flikr
ever, beware of the tipping culture as service charge is often compulsory despite the bill stating otherwise. As for local specialities, I recommend sampling the Goulash, but it should be avoided on a hangover if possible. We explored the nightlife on both nights of our stay, which varies from small, but thoroughly enjoyable bars filled with locals to what Prague boasts to be the biggest nightclub in central Europe – Karlovy Lazne – located near Charles Bridge on the New Town side of the river. Entry to the club was around £4 and drink prices were student friendly: a pint of beer cost about £1. Overall, Prague surpassed its reputation for accommodating rowdy tourists and offers a phenomenal night out; however, it is Prague's history and culture that is one of Europe's best kept secrets. Prague: around £200 for 2 nights, 2 days, including flights, transport, accommodation (Mosaic House Hostel), entry to attractions (largely half-price for students) and consumables.
Picture of the Week
Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
Pete Bakke on Flikr
Returning to a holiday destination is a mistake. Whilst I shall permit exceptions to my general rule, attempting to recapture the magic of a destination is a lost cause. You should not try to reengineer good times by trying to reformulate past experiences. In the summer holidays of my seventeenth year, me and my friends went on a 'lads' holiday to Newquay for the week.
You should not try to re-engineer good times by trying to reformulate past experiences We drove down the M4 in a convoy of cars (mostly after just passing our driving tests) and with the fervour of adventure that cannot be replicated. I had the time of my life: the sun, the drink, the beach, the girls and the general sense of freedom was unsurpassed. As a year of college passed, we all finished our A-Levels and we thought that we would go back to Newquay after our exams to do it all again. We stayed in a different campsite and in a different part of Newquay, but we ended up going to the same places and doing the same things. Although still fun, it just didn't have the same excitement as the first time, despite the facts that we were now 18 and were able to get into clubs. It didn't match the joy of getting into a club underage the previous year. By going to the same place more than once you can even damage the memory of the first time you went. While returning will be nice and allow you to reminisce, it cannot match the excited feeling you had when you first went. The world is so big and there is so much to explore that going to the same place is just a waste of your travel. Benjamin Hess
STAY I have been to the same holiday destination every summer since I was born. There, I said it. Don't get me wrong, I go elsewhere too but every summer I return, with family and friends, to the same little town in Mid-Wales. I'm reticent to even reveal the name of the place; it holds (and I know it sounds unbelievably corny) such a special place in my heart. Now I enjoy change and love to experience new countries, new cities, new cultures but no other holiday provides the relaxation or the fun that an hour and a half drive down the M54 gives. After twenty summers, the place now feels like a home away from home – just one without any of the responsibilities of our day to day lives. Holidays to new destinations are challenging and eye-opening, yet almost always stressful and for many a holiday represents one of the few opportunities in the year to truly unwind. So why is it frowned upon to enjoy the comfort of returning to somewhere you have grown to love? One of the critiques people level against returning to the same
After twenty summers, the place now feels like a home away from home holiday destination is that it won't be the same as it was before. Well no, it won't be. Just as we will have changed so will the place, but embrace these changes and view them as an opportunity to make more memories to add to those which drew you back there to begin with. Returning to the same holiday destinations, whether they be in the UK or further afield, should not be at the expense of further exploring the world we live in but it shouldn't be written off either. A holiday is about enjoying ourselves, and wherever we can do that we should embrace it. Ellen Fitzpatrick
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors â€“ Ed Gordon, James Cull
PERILS Of A Female Traveller Rachel Rogers gives some advice to women travelling abroad Most travel guides and Foreign Office advice pages warn women of the dangers of travelling alone in foreign countries. Shocking rape statistics are published which possibly put girls off travelling alone or without male company. But has the danger to women got a lot to do with the culture, or more to the point, the woman's ignorance of the culture? When in Turkey a couple of years ago, wandering around with my four female friends in strappy tops and tiny shorts, it did not occur to us that the extra attention we were getting was not due to our 'movie star good looks' but, worryingly, due to our lack of respect
It didn't occur to us that the extra attention we were getting was not due to our movie star good looks, but more worryingly our lack of respect for the culture...
for the culture. We did not feel threatened most of the time, but there were definitely moments when we quickened our pace away from men in dark alleyways. We learnt from our error and became more aware of how local women tended to dress, which reduces the attention drawn to you. Did we still feel at risk? Possibly no more than at home. A booklet produced by the Foreign Office with advice about travel states the following: 'Avoid risky situations such as travelling or walking alone at night or drinking by yourself in a bar. Getting involved in drugs and alcohol with strangers in an unknown city is a recipe for trouble and best avoided.' Is this advice really any different to advice given to female students at university, and women in the world outside of university? Certainly, I am not implying that the advice should not be followed and that you should not be more wary when abroad, as you should be. But I think it is important to not let fear of getting into bad situations abroad stop you from travelling as, unfortunately, the situations are not so different to those one could be faced with in Selly Oak. You should just be aware of the culture you are entering into and act accordingly, as well as keeping in regular contact with family or friends so that people know where you are. This advice is not unique to female travellers either, as it applies to male travellers too.
Are they the strongest or the weakest link? Lucy Rowland investigates... Travelling is always a unique ex- along with Nomads, which also I happened to witness a hostel perience to everyone; whether has a hostel in Fiji, and jazz hos- worker come in to clean a very you go with family, friends, or tels in the US to name but a few. messy kitchen â€“ actually leaving your other half, each place will So, what's the problem? They it dirtier when she left. Often, as bring you new experiences and offer a friendly environment and the chain hostel workers are acmake new memories. there are plenty of like-minded tually travelling themselves and However, where you stay travellers around. But these hos- work for free accommodation, has a massive impact on your tels may leave you with a negative there is less motivation to keep impressions of a new country or view of an amazing place: staying the place for human habitation. city and if you're a student back- in a 12-bed dorm with a bunch of The smaller hostels are often lopacker, hotels are usually not on strangers can be great fun, but cal businesses, and are generally the cards! Most backpackers opt when a few stumble in at 5am and better kept. A friend of mine came for hostels: they are affordable, puke at the foot of your bed you away from a Nomad's in Austraconvenient, and sociable. But may find you have a bitter taste lia with a nasty case of bedbugs, choose carefully: different hos- in your mouth at the end of your which are usually controlled by tels have drastically different at- stay (pun intended). the independent hostels. Large mospheres! In addition, hundreds of bags are handed out to stop bugs This brings me to the issue of young backpackers living under spreading, and they usually prochain hostels: Base Backpackers, one roof inevitably leads to mess. vide fresh bed linen, which prein Australia and New Zealand, In Base Backpackers, Brisbane, vents bites. At a Magnums chain hostel I was once asked to pay $15 to use a sheet and pillow. Not on. That said, many would rather put up with a bit of untidiness and a room full of synchronised snorers than miss out on the party atmosphere at the chain hostels â€“ it's always buzzing. Nights out are often discounted, with free entry and drink vouchers into some of the best clubs. So if it's the laid back, hippie traveller's vibe you're looking for, shop around for your hostel. Independent ones are sometimes expensive but they are worth it for the personality and chilled out atmosphere. But if it's a good mix of people and some good nights out that you want from your travels, the chains come into their own. Whichever is your preference, enjoy it and make the most out of it. Just watch out for the A good reputation, but does the hostel actually live up to it? bedbugs...
19th November 2010
Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry David team up for The Dictator The comedy masters will begin filming after Cohen has finished with Scorcesee's project The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Is Harry Potter driven by Hollywood's financial thirst?
Michael Smallman leaves Redbrick spellbound with a magical appraisal
Based on the fastest selling book in publication history, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One is one of the most anticipated films of the year: fans eagerly await the adaptation to see some of the most beloved sequences in the series brought to the big screen. However, it begs the question whether the enthusiasm for the penultimate instalment is based on the fan's love of the books or the success of the previous six films. Financially, the films were very successful, grossing $5.4 billion at the worldwide box-office and placing the series comfortably at the top of the list of the most
successful movie franchises: a testament to their popularity, but speaks nothing of their quality. So, are they any good? The first two films, Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, were directed by Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone) and emphasised family themes and tones. They were loved by fans of the books, but received mixed reviews by critics because of their length and – ironically – their loyalty to their subject material. Prisoner of Azkaban came next, with Alfonso Cuarón (Great Expectations, A Little Princess)
sitting in the director's chair this time. Critically acclaimed, this was the first movie to really please movie-goers other than fans of the books. The magic of the books, was not entirely – or largely, even – derived from the epic-style sequences, but it was Rowling's talent for creating an intricately weaved plot that subverted my expectations of characters and events. Azkaban failed to capture this, missing out much loved plot twists that help place the book at the top of many fans' favourites list. The same goes for the Mike Newell's (Donnie Brasco, Mona
Lisa Smile) Goblet of Fire: critics received it with universal acclaim, whilst book fans could not but help but express their disappointment. Critics focused on the stellar performances of Miranda Richardson and Ralph Fiennes and praised the 'British Boarding school' feel of the film; fans were all too aware of the omission of plot details important for story development in the series as a whole. Veteran television director David Yates (State of Play, Sex Traffic) oversaw Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, and Phoenix went some of the way to repair the damage to fans caused by three and four. Fast-paced with spectacular effects, the tone of the book was captured perfectly. Prince finally appeared to have found a medium ground and pleased (most) fans and critics alike. The quality of the Potter films seems to be a debatable issue, with only the later instalments being commended across the board. As Yates is returning for both parts of the final instalments, all we can do is hope that he remains to capture both the magic of the books and prove his dexterity at making high quality films.
Let's kick off film news this week with what is already the most eagerly anticipated film of the decade: The Dark Knight Rises. A release date has been set for Nolan's third and final Batman film: 20th July 2012 and filming will begin in April. There will be no Riddler. It will not be in 3D, but will instead be filmed and screened in Nolan's preferred IMAX format. Nolan is currently holding auditions for the film's two female leads, with one likely to be a love interest for Bruce Wayne and another being a villain. The short list is a who's who of Hollywood's finest actresses: Keira Knightley, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts and Natalie Portman to name a few. Internet rumours have put Weisz as Nolan's preferred choice for the villain, making this film Britbloody-tastic!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Director:David Yates Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint Cert: 12A Director: Daniel Alfredson Cast: Michael Nygvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre Cert: 15 With The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest being the final film of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, one would assume that the plot and characters would be finished off with a bang. Hornet's Nest picks up the aftermath of The Girl Who Played With Fire. Lisbeth is cornered in hospital by police who are awaiting her recovery in order to arrest and commit her to an institution . What follows is heart thumping, full of suspense, and the audience witness Lisbeth make a thrilling fight for freedom. Pieces are all finally connected and the picture is made complete. However, some of this seemed rapidly rushed towards the end as if the director knew he had very little time left to fill in
other pieces of plot. For someone who has read the books, it would seem as if they tried to fit half of plot into the last half an hour, yet it does still work, even with the cutting of some corners. A sense of satisfaction cannot be ignored in a variety of scenes that unfold in splendour before the audience's eyes. However, there are some rather wince worthy scenes that remind us of the violence that follows this trilogy. For those looking for a hardhitting finale full of action, this will probably not be your cup of tea. However, what this film does offer is a round-up of loose ends, with a wonderful ending for a series that deserves more recognition in cinematic history. Although, I'm sure this recognition will be found when Hollywood's remake of this series comes out next year. heather smeeton !
It's the moment the world has been waiting for since Harry Potter exploded into our lives 9 years ago... well, at least half of it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 is the 7th instalment of the magical world of witchcraft and wizardry, and it was definitely worth the wait. The first Harry Potter that isn't based in Hogwarts sees Voldemort and his fearsome following of death eaters wreaking havoc and promoting evil throughout the wizarding community. No place is safe and no person can be trusted for Harry, Ron and Hermione as they apparate up and down the length of the country in a bid to stay alive whilst on the quest to find the remaining Horcruxes – enchanted objects containing fragments of Voldemort's soul. After a suspense filled trip to the infiltrated Ministry of Magic, they finally manage to acquire a Horcrux in the form of a locket. But the threesome have a new problem; not only do they not
have the sword of Gryffindor which is essential to the destruction of the Horcrux, but Ron is suffering at the hands of the green eyed monster, leading to a dramatic departure in everybody's time of need. A very awkward dancing scene and confusing trip involving an attack from a haggard snake/woman later, and Ron is once again reunited with the two, somehow also bringing a guide to the all important sword needed to destroy the Horcruxes. Everything ends very abruptly with Voldemort sinisterly destroying Dumbledore's tomb and getting his evil hands on the most powerful wand ever made... This penultimate instalment is basically setting up the action for the final, with more suspense and explanation than massive battles and spell-binding exits from main characters. However, it is still extremely entertaining... if not a little cheesy in parts. But hey, that's why we love it. Obviously it's not for everyone, but as a massive Harry Potter fan, I can easily say I loved, loved, LOVED this film Gemma Fottles !
The full-length trailer for Little Fockers has now been released. The third, and probably last, in the Meet the Parents franchise is set for release on the 22nd December. The film is set 5 years after Meet the Fockers with Ben Stiller's, Gay Focker, struggling with children, careers and as ever De Niro as his father in law. It looks to be the festive season's biggest film and despite rumours, Dustin Hoffman will feature.
I leave you with news of the upcoming Spiderman reboot. If you saw The Social Network you will have appreciated how great an actor Andrew Garfield is, and I look forward to seeing him as Peter Parker. The film's director, Marc Webber, looks likely to cast his 500 Days of Summer star Zooey Deschanel as Betty Brandt: Parker's new love interest. The film is still in pre-production and can be expected Summer 2012.
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Matt Davis, Elmley de la Cour
Gay & Lesbian Special – part 2
We conclude our look at all things lesbian, gay, bisexual and transvestite in cinema
Director: Richard Lester Cast: Jack Weston, Rita Moreno Rating: 15
Director: J. Fuentes-León Cast: Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo Rating: 15
Who'd have thought someone could have such a ridiculously wacky time in one night? Apparently, for Gaetano Proclo (Weston), this was a high possibility as soon as he entered The Ritz, a homosexual bathhouse. Although, with an insane mobster for a brother-in-law, who has been told by his father to 'get him', where better to hide if he is heterosexual? Next time, though, perhaps Proclo should be more aware of relationships between taxi drivers and his brother in law. The farce that ensues can only come down to one word: hilarious. Proclo manages to meet all types of characters involving a 'chubby chaser', a woman he mistakes for a drag queen, shiny looking topless men and, not to forget, the squeaky voiced detective who has
been hired to kill him. With this amount of characters squeezed into a short period of time, it is surprising that the plot moves so quickly. Cases of mistaken identity lead to masses of one liners, and enough crude jokes to make you curl your toes and cringe. At a few moments, it does feel as though the plot loosely drifts into blandness and revisits jokes that have already been told, especially one that involves the mentioning of jelly rolls. However, the plot is quickly wrapped up and moved onwards to
the final climax, which involves a strange use of a pool, and a bizarre dance that is enough to make you laugh out loud at the craziness. Considering the awkward predicaments Proclo finds himself in, and innuendo's flying around like there's no tomorrow, The Ritz makes for a surprisingly innocent film, mostly because it is shown from the perspective of the protagonist who truly doesn't realise what sort of night he's letting himself in for. heather Smeeton !
Top 10 – LGBTQ 4 Death in Venice (1971) A tragic story of repression and the beauty of youth. Dirk Bogarde finds himself captivated by the young and stunning Björn Andrésen, but cannot bring himself to do anything, other than gaze at him.
3 Victim (1961)
Izzy Sanders Reporter
In part two of this LGBTQ, film fiesta I look at some of the very best films to tackle the issues of homosexuality, and how it is approached in cinema.
10 Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2007)
A feminist, lesbian comedy about a group of college girls and their 'radically feminist' group, an occasionally obvious, but ultimately very funny film about friendship.
subject are, all against a backdrop of intense psychological drama.
7 Taxi Zum Klo (1980)
The tale of a schoolteacher, Frank, who falls into a relationship whilst cruising public bathrooms. Although happy, after a stay in hospital he is forced to address his constant sleeping around and a final confrontation from his boyfriend.
6La Cage aux Folles (1978)
Hilarious and tender, for years this was one of the most successful foreign films to play in the United States. It brought the theme of homosexuality to a broad audience. Ugo Tognazzi is sublime in his role, and anyone who enjoyed the remake The Birdcage (1996). This film is a must see.
5 The Rocky Horror Pic9 Shelter (2007) A beautiful movie, showing how important it is to accept your sexuality. Fabulously cast, and emotively played, this is one of the finest modern films to deal with such issues.
8 The Crying Game (1992)
An immersive thriller that deals with the subject of transexuality, head on. It indicates how wrong the prejudices surrounding the
Swaggering and unashamedly gay, Rocky Horror allows everyone sexual ambiguity. Arriving in his corset and fishnets, Tim Curry seduces anyone, regardless of sex or sexuality. Liberating them in the process.
Fifteen minutes in and Peruvian drama film Undertow (Spanish 'Contracorriente') is looking suspiciously like Brokeback Mountain at the beach. Miguel, a fisherman in a humble coastal village and a model friend, husband and father-to-be, has a secret affair with mysterious painter Santiago, an outsider frowned upon by the local community. However, a somewhat ethereal twist – yet one so subtle it takes a while to click – opens up the storyline and steers this directorial debut in an award-winning direction. Already a winner at this year's Sundance Film Festival, this sensual and emotive film is Peru's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards being held this coming February. Filmed in stunning Cabo Blanco, scenes of passion and heartbreak are linked with shots of dreamy coastline, on top of which lowly stone houses and a community of memorable characters complete the simple setting for a movie that can focus on the emotions of its characters. Miguel's emotional struggles are at the centre of the story and Mercado plays the part resonantly, capturing the complexity of his character's internal conflict as he tries desperately to keep inevi-
• After dinner with Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (Kelly Mcgillis) at her house, Maverick (Tom Cruise) has the opportunity on a plate, yet he leaves.
1 Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Dealing with the horrifying true story of a transgender boy, beaten to death for something he couldn't control. Hilary Swank brings intense realism to her performance, giving much needed attention to a very serious prejudice, painful and arresting.
Macho 80s action flick or secret gay drama? We look at the evidence and give the definitive decision.
Especially poignant set against the backdrop of pre-war Berlin in the sexually liberal Weimar Republic. Cabaret does not make homosexuality the main focus; rather it treats it as a usual occurrence, with cross-dressing dancers, an ambiguous emcee and the delightfully androgynous Liza Minnelli.
Top Gun – The Final Verdict
An award-winning masterpiece. At the risk of repeating myself, this film is ground-breaking in its portrayal of gay men in the early 1960s. Dirk Bogarde (again) is stunningly composed in the face of almost certain public ruin. Gay characters represented in Victim range from manipulative and wicked, to innocent and naïve, with Bogarde holding the plot together, making his choice between career and justice.
2 Cabaret (1972)
table loss at bay. It isn't all doom and gloom however: sporadic moments of well-placed comedy keep the film balanced and rosy around the edges. Despite the clear hostility shown by the village towards Santiago, this is as much a tale of acceptance and forgiveness as it is prejudice. A wordless scene in which Miguel is slowly welcomed back into society is the most emotional of all. As foreign films go, Undertow is one that you can both follow and thoroughly enjoy; not even the English subtitles can distract from this brilliantly composed tale of love and acceptance infused delicately with the supernatural. Jonathan Jordan
• Blackwood has to dress arguably more 'masculine' to regain his attention. • Certain lines: Stinger (James Tolkan) to Maverick, 'I'd like to bust your butt but I can't'. • Air Boss Johnson (Duke Stroud) to Viper, 'I want someone's butt and I want it now!' •
Maverick's reaction when Goose says, 'You must have carnal knowledge of a lady.'
No Way • Maverick does end up with Charlotte Blackwood. • The 'Lost that Loving Feeling' pick-up that Maverick and Goose attempt in the bar, implies they've tried it before. • The pilots' macho, competitive banter doesn't necessarily translate into actual homosexual advances. • Given Cruise's caustic responses to accusations of homosexuality, it is unlikely he would involve himself in a project with known gay subtexts.
Verdict: No! – It's a shame, but the strength of the evidence against it is compelling.
Elmley de la Cour
Television The Top Ten TV Comebacks
The CSI:NY psycho-criminal held Danny's life in his hands at the end of series six, after repeatedly being incarcerated and escaping. After leaving a murder trail on t-shirts, framing Sheldon Hawkes, escaping from jail and holding Danny at gunpoint at the top of a lighthouse, we thought Shane had finally done enough damage. How wrong we were – as the screen turned black, Danny's life hung in the balance: did Casey pull the trigger, or did Lindsay save her man?
After spending a decade in jail for the one crime that he actually didn't commit, Paul Young returned to Wisteria Lane to show his neighbours that he hasn't finished with them yet. With Paul secretly trying to buy the neighbourhood, we have to wonder what he's come back for, and how far his quest for vengeance will take him, and which of our ladies he'll be targeting next...
The Hollyoaks bad boy who survived both the blaze in the Loft and apparently his own burial, Warren looks set to wreak all kinds of havoc. In the line of suspicion for causing the fire at Il Gnosh on the cunning Mandy's behalf, Warren looks set to be worse than ever in his quest to regain what he sees as rightfully his.
Capt. John Hart
Bringing with him a mass Torchwood cast cull, Captain John Hart seemed out to get revenge on our gorgeous hero, Captain Jack Harkness, for spurning his amorous advances, although it turned out this player was well and truly played. Portrayed by the talented James Marsters, John is the definition of twofaced, leaving viewers constantly wondering whose side he's really on, right until the bitter end.
Proof that cocky charm really can get you out of the stickiest situations, viewers saw Nathan survive his own death and burial in E4's fantastic comedy, Misfits. Proclaiming his immortality the ultimate power, Nathan's arrogance and filthy mouth looks set to be defiling our screens for a while yet.
19th November 2010
The barman from Life on Mars made a touching return to its spinoff show, Ashes to Ashes, to see the coppers order their last round in The Railway Arms. Gene's touching acquaintance with the gatekeeper to the big cop-shop in the sky made the story run a full circle – a poignant touch for the dedicated Hunt fans.
'Oh. My. GOD.' These three words were the fanfare accompanying Janice's constant return in the lives of our Friends – whether it's New Years Eve, Rachel giving birth, or Chandler and Monica buying a house, Janice always had a wonderfully loud way of jumping back on screen.
Another one escaping his own grave, Eastenders bad boy Den was supposedly shot on the banks of the canal, but fourteen years later he turned up in Angie's Den to say 'Hello princess' to his shocked daughter, Sharon. Den was later murdered for real by his ex-wife Chrissie after his affair with Zoe Slater was exposed. I think it's safe to say he'll only live twice.
Catch up on all the TV news: redbrickonline.co.uk
Do you get the impression? Rebecca Hardwick
Homer's absentee mother, voiced by Glenn Close, made a dramatic return for her son's accidental funeral, and quickly adapted to the antics of the Simpson household. After being chased out of Springfield again by Mr Burns, Mona has been in three episodes of The Simpsons altogether, making her a favourite cartoon comeback.
The tenth Doctor's one true love, Rose appeared to have been trapped in a parallel universe, perpetually estranged from her Doctor. However, there's no stopping our Rose when the end of the world is coming, with Billie Piper reprising the role for the series four finale, albeit with a slightly irritating lisp and chav-less accent. She even got a Doctor of her own to keep afterwards, awww.
This week the The Impressions Show, starring Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson, returned for a second series. Impression shows are generally seen as a bit dated, nevertheless The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson has a contemporary feel and is continually kept fresh, through its portrayals of current celebrities. Culshaw and Stephenson are very talented impressionists, and even though they may not always look that much like the celebrities they are impersonating, the viewer is left in no doubt about who the unfortunate victim is. In the first series Culshaw and Stephenson carried off a number of very funny and convincing impersonations. Perhaps Culshaw's best impression was that of Ross Kemp, in which he mimicks the actor-turned-presenter in Ross Kemp on Gangs. Culshaw's impression of Kemp plays ironically on his tough guy persona, showing Kemp fleeing from the slightest bit of danger. In one particular sketch Kemp runs from the Morris men 'gang' after being offered some beer, claiming that 'I could see things were about to kick off so I got out of there'. Stephenson also contributes some successful sketches, including an uncanny impersonation of Anne Robinson. However, Culshaw is definitely the star of the show, with Stephenson's material being much weaker, in general. The more surreal
sketches, involving Davina McCall being a prime example. Despite there being some slightly suspect impressions, on the whole they were amusing and provided some light entertainment for the viewer. The second season returned to our screens with a number of new celebrity parodies added to the show's arsenal, including Fearne Cotton, Alan Carr and Derren Brown. A particular favourite of mine was Stephenson's impression of Katie Price in a segment named 'Who Katie Married Next'. The sketch saw Culshaw impersonate Michael Winner, as Katie's new potential husband with Stephenson hilariously capturing every minute detail of Katie's 'di-
Jon Culshaw as celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay
Rumble in the Jungle Sarah Murphy Reporter
Under the influence of recent 'green' initiatives and chefs, such as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver – proponents of eating both healthily and on the cheap – the more hands-on of us have seen a surge in the 'grow your own' phenomenon, with dreams of self-sufficiency as well as the odd trip to Homebase. The latest duo to join the country-life bandwagon are Giles Coren, full-time foodie and part time critic, along with the quick witted and hilarious Sue Perkins and her array of 70s flares and head gear. Much like the pair's previous BBC2 television escapades, Sue and Giles have once again stepped back in time, only this time pausing for a stint in the 1970s. In a bid to bring the concept of clean living and farming into the kitchens and gardens of contemporary Britain, the show's hosts have looked to the BBC television series, The Good Life for inspiration. The Good Life, which was first broadcast in 1975, starring the likes of Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal, featured the lives of Tom Good (Briers) and his wife Barbara (Kendal). A childless couple, the pair become increasingly dissatisfied with their suburban lifestyle. Then, on his 40th birthday Tom decides to leave the world of work behind and lead his wife
va-ish' nature. The set even looked like Katie's house! The episode also saw the return of a few old favourites, such as Simon Cowell, Anne Robinson and Michael McIntyre. Culshaw's impression of McIntyre is fantastic; he brilliantly replicates McIntyre's walk and used his favourite catchphrase 'in my favourite city of them all...' in a sketch promoting McIntyre's new exercise video. All in all, bar a dodgy Lady Gaga impression, it was a very strong start to the season. This may not be the type of comedy which will stand the test of time but it's good for a bit fun and a laugh at celebrities. The Impressions Show is on Sundays at 22.35, BBC1.
down the route of living subsistently, with the produce of their own back garden, along with a goat named Geraldine and a cockerill named Lenin. With these roles in mind, Giles and Sue have been absorbed by 70s life, taking on not only the dress code but moving into (on a part-time basis), a 1970s semi with plenty of room out the back. The show begins with the pair learning how to tackle a coal fuelled fire without burning the house down before putting together a very dated style of chicken coop. However, much to the viewers' amusement, Sue's comic personality emerges as she begins painting the coop pink and straining goats' cheese through old tights. Whilst Giles on the other hand tackles the garden, practically destroying the flower beds in an attempt to 'rotavate' them and fleeing at the first sign of a chicken. Despite its comedic goings on, the show is not without its practical elements. Scintillating special guests, such as chef Rosemary Schrager, lend a helping hand and show the audience how to make bread, as well as other lessons to be learned such as growing vegetables and using small-scale fuel. However, as inviting as the concept is to the hobby farmer it is by no means as easy as it looks and can be seen as just another attempt to show the middle classes how to evade their 'green guilt'.
Despite this, I found the show to be both educational and highly entertaining with just the right amount of historical context and practical gardening advice. This combined with rapid injections of well thought out humour formulate a show well worth watching. This comes highly recommended if The Supersizers Eat... series caught your eye or you want to inspire your inner horticulturalist. It's about time we got caught with our hands dirty! Giles and Sue Live the Good Life is on BBC2, Mondays at 9pm.
Giles and Sue, in the garden
TV Gold: Friends Charlotte Lytton Reporter
Friends is quite possibly the most iconic sitcom of the last decade. Ten years of visits to Central Perk, and constantly wondering whether Ross and Rachel would finally end up together culminated in the series finale in 2004, which was watched by a staggering 52.5 million viewers. Endless re-runs may make it seem like Friends never ended, but when E4 stops its infinite Friendsstream in 2011, an unfilled void will be left in our hearts. What channel can we flick to when we want a dose of Chandler's dry sarcasm? And where will we go when we need some Buffay-based kookiness? Having grown up with this super six-some, it's safe to say that they have defined a generation. When the first episode aired in 1994, no one could have anticipated the continued hit that the show would prove to be. These relative unknowns were thrust into the spotlight as the world's new best friends, beating around six thousand other actors to the parts. Over the incredible 236 episodes broadcast during the programme's history, a stellar cast of guest stars were queuing up to get a cameo in the newest phenomenon. With George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Bruce Willis and quite literally hundreds of other big names constantly thrown in the mix, the sitcom was a sure-fire hit from the get-go. The pilot introduced us to our new surrogate family: we had clean freak Monica, dashing-but-dim
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Natalie Timmins, Joe McGrath
Joey, quirky Phoebe, gel-loving palaeontologist Ross, shopaholic Rachel and resident joker Chandler. This loveable bunch were not without their problems, however. We met them just as Rachel had jilted her husband to-be at the altar, Monica had been caught up in sexual politics with an emotional boyfriend and Ross' ex-wife turned lesbian had just moved in with her new partner. This emotional rollercoaster lasted for the full ten years, with the characters' love lives being the main point of drama and destruction. There are so many great episodes that it becomes near impossible to name favourites, but personal highlights include 'The One With Joey's New Brain', where Ross attempts to learn how to play the bagpipes, and Brad Pitt's Emmy nominated cameo in 'The
Super-zeros: Misfits One With The Rumour'. The final episode is also up there with the best of them: who can forget the sense of anticipation in waiting to see if Rachel got off the plane, and who wasn't shocked when Monica and Chandler found out their surrogate was expecting twins? One thing's for sure – this show was never short on nail-biting storylines. In the end, everything worked out for all of the characters, who did a lot of growing up over the ten years they were on our screens. With four babies, two marriages and a house in the suburbs between them, a lot was about to change for these New Yorkers when we saw them last. With talks of a film in the pipeline, we can only cross our fingers and hope that we'll be reunited with our Friends in the not-so-distant future.
Friends reunited: could Central Perk be back on the big screen?
Sarah Welsby Reporter
So the unconventional E4 drama series Misfits has returned for its second series, and the first episode definitely doesn't disappoint. If you are unfamiliar with Misfits, it is, in my opinion, one of the best programmes currently on television at the moment, a view reflected in its BAFTA for best drama series. Misfits focuses on a group of five young offenders on community service; Curtis, a previous athletics champion, party animal Alisha, deeply sarcastic Irish charmer Nathan, Kelly, who looks and sounds like she has just stepped out of an episode of Jeremy Kyle and the painfully shy Simon. One day their lives are changed forever as a freakish storm occurs and leaves them all with a variety of super powers. Curtis discovers that whenever he regrets doing something, he can rewind time and transform the situation. Alisha discovers that her power makes her irresistible to all men from the moment that they touch her. Although that may sound like a great position to be in, she finds that it interferes with her relationships, especially as far as romance with Curtis is concerned. Secrets are not concealed for long around chavvy loud mouth Kelly as her power enables her to hear other people's thoughts. This makes for some comical viewing, especially as we enter the mind of the cocky yet funny Nathan. Finally, loner Simon discovers that he can make himself invisible, a power that he misuses to get a bit of x-rated pleasure. Ahem. If you didn't find him slightly creepy
Hell on Earth: Heaven on Telly
and weird at first, this definitely presents him as just that. At the end of the first series, it seems that everyone has discovered their special power apart from Nathan, and before he has a chance, he suddenly falls to his death... or so it seems. In the opening episode of the second series, Kelly finds that her special power allows her to hear Nathan's (very rude) thoughts and the gang of Misfits dig up his body to discover that he is in fact very much alive and his annoying self! He is more than pleased with his discovery of his immortality and quotes 'Immortality, that's off the A list!' There is something very appealing about his Irish charm and wit and viewers, including myself, tend to fall in love with his arrogant nature and develop a slight crush on him. What is also interesting to watch is his relationship with Kelly, and it will be interesting to see if this becomes sexual as the series progresses.
Misfits is, in my opinion, one of the best programmes currently on television Although slightly weird at times, Misfits is a quirky and extremely innovative drama that offers humour and a high class of acting to rival that of The Inbetweeners. If you haven't seen this programme yet, catch up with the complete first series on 4OD and tune in on Thursday night at 10pm tn E4 to see the rest of the second series.
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Rosie Widdrington May tells us why zombies are the new vampires in the new FX series, The Walking Dead With shows like The Vampire Diaries and True Blood dominating the small screen, and Twilight continually reappearing on the silver screen, vampires are definitely the order of the day in supernatural drama – which is why the gloriously gory zombie horror series, The Walking Dead is a breath of fresh air. Originally based on a set of graphic novels, the series follows Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), a deputy sheriff from Georgia, who wakes up from a coma to find that the USA has been over-run by zombies and his family is missing. In terms of plot, comparisons can be drawn with horror flicks such as 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead – a handful of human survivors versus hundreds of undead flesh-eaters – but what makes The Walking Dead a winner is that it's character driven. Still, there's plenty of gore to go around, and The Walking Dead is definitely not one for the squeamish or faint hearted! It's a real nail-biter but completely addictive and will have you hooked from the first episode. In fact, FX have such faith in the show's ability to capture viewers that they have chosen to air it almost completely advertfree. However, as with any show, there are a few issues. Even within the context of a zombie apocalypse there are aspects of the plot which are a bit unrealistic and haven't re-
ally been explained properly: how exactly did Rick manage to remain unconscious in hospital without being found and eaten by the Zombies? Especially given that others in the hospital had been gnawed on… There is always a certain amount of suspending disbelief with shows like this, and if you allow yourself to get swept up in the story then it is really enjoyable and
well cast. English actor Andrew Lincoln (whose American accent is flawless) may not have been the obvious choice for the lead role but proves excellent as the distressed deputy, desperate to find his family. His co-stars, John Bernthal as Shane Walsh and Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break) as Lori Grimes, though somewhat on the periphery at the moment, also gave
solid performances as Rick's best friend and wife. On the whole, The Walking Dead is a really enjoyable show; tense, gory, even funny (in a grossout kind of way) and definitely well worth a watch. Forget handsome vampires sparkling in the sunlight, this blood-thirsty zombie horror has plenty for you to sink your teeth into! Think you could bring something new to Redbrick TV? Cover TV industry news and attract interviews with major stars? If you're enthusiastic and dedicated then we need you! Applications for the editor position must be received by Sunday 28 November (the end of week 8), and interviews will be held in week 9. If you have any questions or would like to apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org Good luck!
Fighting death: Andrew Lincoln and co. in The Walking Dead
19th November 2010
Spotlight On... Kate Walsh
Charlie Bailey & William Franklin Music Editor
Ulver – Christmas Take no notice of the title, this is anything but xmas fodder. Chopped up jazz samples and crooning vocals clash and rebound off each other like the soundtrack to a twisted dream. Not what you'd expect from a black metal band, but expectations are there to be exceeded. Kid Cudi (feat. Cage and St. Vincent) – Maniac Cudi's status as everyone's favourite alternative rapper is only enhanced by this collaborative featuring hipster darling St. Vincent. Her lilting backing vocals contrast nicely with his elastic croaks, which in turn are further compliment by the scrappiness of Cage's raping style. Constructus Corporation – Long Street Remember Die Antwoord? Well before Die Antwoord, there was Constructus Corporation. Taken from their album Ziggurat this track is twisted storytelling over a lazy scratched beat that owes more to trip-hop than gangsta aesthetics. Don't discount them because of 'Enter The Ninja', these guys have serious chops.
Eva Hibbs braved the cold to meet a homegrown heroine A Sunday night seems the most perfect time to meet Kate Walsh; her voice is soothing and her presence comfortable (compared to that of the wind outside and mania from the weekend). The plastic chairs in The Glee Club's disabled toilet-come-interview-room could just be her sofa by the fire. 'I love coming to Birmingham,' – the first thing she says – “I just learnt today that I hold the record for playing at this club…nine times I think!” But that's not the only thing Kate Walsh holds a record for. The immediate success of her second studio album, Tim's House, made her the first ever unsigned artist to top the UK iTunes Charts back in 2007. Even as the popular Your Song and gorgeous Bury Your Head remain as 'some of my
favourite tracks I've ever written,' Walsh's been busy since then too. Released in 2009, Kate's third album Light and Dark carries the same folky, harmonious qualities and lyrics of inner turmoil. In person, however, she is clear-headed and honest: “I have changed a lot in the past two years. I have been trying to focus on more positive things.” Her latest album is a positive thing. Peppermint Radio is a celebration of bands that inspired her as a child. She hopes to 'bring new light to old songs,' by the likes of Radiohead and Annie Lennox as she admits: 'I decided to record songs from my past, songs that are important to me.' Despite being a relatively new artist, she has had recognition from E.M.F on her cover of 'Un-
William Franklin Music Editor
Fuck Buttons – Surf Solar This Bristol pair are the undisputed champs of distortion. They have never made a song that didn't have synths so fuzzy you could light a match off them, or bass pushed so far into the red you risk disintegrating most of your vital organs. 'Surf Solar' is a nine-minute electronic odyssey, (actually ranking as one of their shorter tracks) and the opener of their second album Tarot Sport, critically worshipped and one of the finest albums of last year. follow us: Redbrick Music on facebook email us: email@example.com
Vulgar Display Of Power (1992) Richard Warrell Critic
Vulgar Display of Power was a landmark for extreme music; arguably the most successful extreme metal album ever. Single Walk even made the UK top-40. Whilst a few songs like Walk and Mouth For War remain metal anthems, the entire album was rammed with top quality tunes. Pantera became a rallying cry for metal fans the world over; the album completely went against the grain of the grunge-obsessed mainstream of the time. Where grunge bands were introspective and self-pitying, Pantera were raging, picking fights left, right and centre. The twin assault of Phil Anselmo's guttural shout and Di-
Kate the guitarist strummed older tracks and Kate the pianist showed a marked maturity through her Peppermint Radio covers. The 80s Erasure hit 'A Little Respect' stood out as demure yet provoking. But, guitar in hand, Kate finished with
'I have changed a lot in the past two years, I have been trying to focus on more positive things' 'Fireworks' from her chart-topping album. 'It's that time of year again...' resounded with relevance in an almost acapella honesty. Although I wish the best for you Kate, you really do sound beautiful when heart-broken.
The Week In Music
Nasum – Scoop Short, sharp and very, very nasty; Nasum take grindcore, polish it till it shines, then rip it apart in an onslaught of groove and blast assaults. Over far too quickly, this is a song that never outstays its (very warm) welcome
believable', who said she showed them 'how beautiful the lyrics really were.' Beauty is something that is definitely present in Kate Walsh's voice. It's effortless. You might say almost too effortless; I found myself drifting off as her songs seamlessly blend into one another, despite her darting between guitar and piano. Kate calls her song-writing a form of 'self-therapy' and confessed that, to her, writing and making music is a 'very individual process.' Her songs seem untouchable, almost private in their specificity. Now, though, Kate says she wants to write about 'bigger things' as she sits nervously at the piano. 'I'm not giving stupid men the time of day anymore.' As if she were split in two,
mebag's riffery – arguably the best of their generation at either – are held down perfectly by Vinnie Paul's swaggering pound and Rex Brown's slinking, walking basslines. Classic rock, metal, jazz and blues influences can be heard here, combining excellently with levels of musicianship rarely found in a heavy metal band. The music has many layers, from the soft, bluesy verse of 'This Love' to the visceral assault of 'Fucking Hostile'. Closer, 'Hollow' sums up the band best, with the first half sounding like a power ballad before giving way to a pounding groove metal assault. For general listeners, Vulgar Display of Power may overwhelm at first, but if you can get used to it, you'll never look back. For metal fans, this is your history – know it well, never let it be forgotten.
Whatever deity you pray to (I find Bacchus the most approachable) praise them on high, because California's finest purveyors of surfpop Wavves and Best Coast are collaborating on a Christmas song. This follows their announcement on Twitter last week that the pair would be touring together this holiday season. Glad tidings indeed.
The album Gasoline Rainbows (a charity compilation aiming to provide aid to victims of the Gulf coast oil spill) has some heavy-
weight indie contribution according to PlugInMusic.com. Among others, at this point Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, The National and Phoenix have all lent their talent. If you're at all familiar with the Wu-Tang Clan, then chances are you continue to mourn the loss of Ol' Dirty Bastard, their most outspoken member. You know he bumrushed the stage of the 1998 Grammys? His excuse? He thought Wu-Tang were going to win. Greatest award-ceremony interruption of all time. Well yesterday fellow Wu-Tang comrade Raekwon posted a video in commemoration of this great man and his tragic death six years ago last Sunday. You can watch it on his Twitter page.
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors – Charlie Bailey, William Franklin
Album Reviews The Concretes 4 The Pierces
Love You More – EP
Music rulebook: 'If your lead singer decides to leave the band, it doesn't have to spell disaster. Either a) dust yourselves off and pretend like it never happened or b) re-invent yourselves'. After the departure of lead singer Victoria Bergsman back in 2006, The Concretes consulted the rulebook and played the Phil Collins card. Since Lisa Milberg (the exdrummer) took the helm of the reliable ship Concrete, she's been responsible for producing an album per year. The second album, WYWH, is a distinctly disco-influenced departure from pervious material. Yet it's disco, in the sense of lounging about, is half-hearted in an artsy, nonchalant sort of fashion. Think dreamy slo-motion mirror ball disco rather than John Travolata getting his groove on; it doesn't make you want to dance. That's not to say that The Concretes haven't created a cute, kooky little pop bubble – it's just a disappointingly deflated one. Tracks such as 'My Ways', with its sensually electronic throb and the crisply melodic, desperately lovelorn 'Knck Knck', are charmingly cooed in the husky, lilted voice of Milberg. Sadly, most of the album inspires only a hesitant shrug and a 'yeah guess it's alright' from the listener. 'Sing For Me' is uncomfortably lost in a dreamy-nowhere land of minimalism, whereas 'Crack In The Paint' sounds like a dodgy synth party where only dad dancing is acceptable.
The singer-songwriter sisters, The Pierces, are back with four catchy new songs. With tight harmonies, pretty instrumentals and memorable tunes, this EP is one which is great to chill out to. However, with tracks mostly focusing on love, and all following a fairly formulaic structure, it is not as quirky and innovative as some of their earlier songs. Being raised by 'hippie' parents and having a past of spell casting, the songs have a fairly dark sound. This can be found in the title track 'Love You More', with backing and low harmonies used to create an 'eerie' effect. Unfortunately this song is very repetitive, and thus becomes fairly tedious to listen to after a while. Despite this, there are some gems on the EP. The song 'We Are Stars' particularly stood out for its pleasant melody and simple, yet effective, lyrics. Above all, this song really showed off how well Allison and Catherine's voices blend together. If you're not a fan of love songs, however, this one isn't for you! 'We Can Make It' is another great tune with very dreamy instrumentals, uplifting lyrics, and again an engaging melody. All in all, this EP doesn't stand out in the same way as their previous album, Thirteen Tales of Love & Revenge, but if you want some easy listening with good vocals and catchy melodies, you won't be disappointed.
Girl Talk All Day
Music Diary 19th – 25th Friday 19th A-Ha LG Arena
Bicycle Thieves Hare & Hounds
Saturday 20th Deftones 02 Academy
Released at the start of this week online for free download comes mash-up wizard DJ Girl Talk's latest offering, All Day. For anyone unfamiliar with Girl Talk, you're basically hit with anywhere between 10 to 15 tracks by different artists from all genres, seamlessly mixed together and presented in a bustling and exhaustive 3 – 4 minute ensemble of eclectic interchanges. Opener 'Oh No' is a perfect example launching into Black Sabbath's classic 'War Pigs', only to have Ludacris's 'Move Bitch' flung over and it works perfectly. Within the next five minutes you're rapidly introduced to 2pac, N.W.A, Jay-Z, Eminem, Jane's Addiction, T.I, Trina, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot and the Ramones. Essentially a glorified mix tape, the talents of Girl Talk (real name Gregg Gillis) and his ability to choose the most paradoxical of songs and piece them together, is what gives this album a unique
quality and the mixture of pop, rock, hip-hop and electro gives All Day a universal appeal. With so many songs coming in and out of tracks so fast, the music becomes less about sampling different artists and more about creating entirely new songs out of a range of musical tools and resources. Girl Talk has of course being doing this for many years and it is here on All Day that he seems to be getting closer to perfecting his maniac, interchangeable techniques. The tracks are longer than on previous albums and have a more pop accessible feel. Although there is a slight lack of recent tracks – Big Boi's 'Shutterbug' and Katy Perry's 'California Gurls' are the only ones that appear to be included from the last year – Girl Talk's ability to drop in and out and any musical arena and produce something new and refreshing has never felt more commendable. Sam Langtree
Klaxons HMV Institute
Jimmy Eat World O2 Academy Holy Fuck O2 Academy 2
Monday 22nd The Parlotones O2 Academy 2
Tuesday 23rd Monster Magnet HMV Institute
Wednesday 24th Mike Fantastic 02 Academy 2
Kindred The Family Soul HMV Insitute Qube Live Presents Stangle Kojak & Khaliq 02 Academy 2
Censorship and the BBC
O2 Academy 03/11/2010 Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to the O2 Academy for something other then Propaganda on a Friday night. Foals have been one of my favourite bands since I was 16, when I came across the ever addictive 'Cassius'. Their ability to give conventional indie music (in an industry where, to be honest, everything sounds the same) an electro edge finally gives us music-junkies something new and refreshing. As I entered the extremely small venue and battled 14 year old teenagers to the front, I eagerly awaited Foals on stage. Two supporting acts later and they finally came on, with Yannis (on vocals and guitar) looking miserable as always. Little interaction with the crowd was made, and as they went straight into 'Blue Blood' from their new album Total Life Forever, overexcited teenagers were being taken out almost every minute for attempting to mosh. As they went back and forth playing songs from Antidotes (their first album) and
'Although I was crushed and bruised head to toe, it was an amazing overall performance' then songs from their new album, the crowd were going mental. Out of nowhere, they began en-
Charlie Bailey Music Editor
gaging with the crowd a lot more, coming off stage and hugging the front row. I was lucky enough to get a cheeky hug and have Yannis play about a metre away from me, making the entire thing ten times more amazing. Seeing Yannis climb all over the venue, taking his electric guitar with him and playing to those above in the seated area, was definitely a highlight. A thick drumming instrumental solo half way through got the crowd hyped and favourites such as 'Balloons' and 'Miami' soon followed. Their performance of 'Spanish Sahara' was intense, emotional and calm and saw them lead into 'Red Socks Pugie', throwing the crowd off course and going from such passion and
meaningful song lyrics, to a great dancey track where we could all dance to our hearts content. By finishing with an encore of 'The French Open', 'Hummer' and 'Two Steps Twice', fans of their older music could relive the album which really put Foals on the map in the first place. The atmosphere was buzzing and although I was crushed and bruised head to toe, it was an amazing overall performance. Having the band interact with us and make us feel actually important to them as fans would've made the experience a whole lot better, but performance wise they were a lot better than I anticipated. Sara Hailan
It's nearly Christmas, which can mean only one thing: everybody's favourite Irish export, the Pogues. I'm sure the subject of christmas songs in particular will be brought up soon enough, but what I wanted to examine was the controversy that surrounded this paean to drunkenness and domestics and what it represents in a wider sense. In December 2007, the BBC decided that certain elements of their audience might be offended by the content of the song 'Fairytale Of New York' - specifically language that might be construed as homophobic or misogynistic, and broadcast an edited version on Radio 1. Whilst I have no doubt that certain musicians set out to deliberately offend, it should not be up to the national broadcasting company of a country to dictate the suitability of a song. The BBC's music output should be dictated by popularity. However objectionable I personally find the majority of what Radio 1, 2, and 3 broadcast, they are enjoyed by the majority of the listening population. As such, if a large enough proportion of the populous complained about the content of a song then it might justifiably be pulled, or just allowed to slip gracelessly from the airwaves into obscurity.
But when a national media group effectively decreed in a fairly insidious manner 'thou shalt not listen to this song' without the support of public opinion, it represents a degree of censorship that we ought to have passed. Hopefully society is mature enough not to endorse offensive material, because it is through public support that songs gain airplay in the first place. Perhaps most tellingly in this instance, the Corporation acted based on no verifiable complaints and reversed its decision when it found that public opinion was against them, effectively backing down. Whilst more democratic platforms for music might be undermining the BBC's monopoly on our listening tastes, it remains an influence, blasted from shops and inescapable on a lot of journeys. As such, it has a responsibility to reflect the state of music, not to dictate in a pre-emptive manner and not to censor; that is simply not its prerogative. Censorship is a sad reflection of a society in which media outlets set the agenda and feel the need to reassure the public that nothing offensive will reach their ears. While the Pogues grace the airwaves once more, we should be asking for a bit of sense from our BBC. We pay for it and it should be listening to us, not acting on our behalf 'for our own good', because that sounds a little creepy to me.
19th November 2010
Fierce or Finished?
Style icon Alber Elbaz & Lanvin Alber Elbaz, a Moroccan born and Israeli raised designer, has been the creative brain behind Lanvin since 2001. His early career includes being the creative director at the respected French design house Guy Laroche from 1996-98, moving on to designing Yves Saint Laurent Couture Rive Gauche collections, later being replaced by Tom Ford. However, it seems as though Alber has found his home at Lanvin where he has expressed his vision
Haven't we all dreamed about owning our very own designer piece crafted by a creative genius? On the 23rd of November you have your chance! Lanvin, the oldest French couture house still in operation, is bringing its ideas to life at H&M.
'It was never about making a dress for less. It is about bringing an element of luxury to H&M ' for the past nine years – bringing the brand from then to now with a modern edge to classic wardrobe staples. The much-praised designer has a witty and warm tone as he speaks in a Vogue interview about his work and his beloved Lanvin.
Bring back the date! Grace Owen
Without even trying, I have spent the last 12 months or so in one relationship or another. I've experienced everything from the wonderfully attentive boyfriend (pretty much perfect but unexciting) to the smoker (kissing was not pleasant) to the boy whose personality matched his manhood – disappointing, flaccid and pretty repulsive. Newly equipped with a bucket full of relationship lessons, I have realised that my unavailability over the last year has induced a fatal flaw – my lack of experience in the big old scary world of dating. It's a tricky business; spending hours to get ready, choosing a flattering-but-not-undignified outfit, planning a collection of back-up conversation starters. And that's even before you've left the house. Then comes the 'is-heflirting?' debate, the worry of whether you have lipstick on your teeth, and anticipation of the good-night kiss. I don't, however, feel I am completely to blame for finding dating a particularly foreign and potentially negative experience. The university lifestyle seems to encourage debauchery, where dating involves going home with someone on a night out, 'seeing' (shagging) them for a few weeks and then changing your Facebook relationship status accordingly. Gone are the days where mystery was integral, where the guy would call you to ask you out, have flowers sent before the big event and then say good night with a kiss on the cheek. Maybe I'm just getting old before my time, but does that not seem like a more amazing way to spend an evening than just pulling
someone you sort of fancy in Risa? I can't help but wonder, where has dating gone? I recently went on one of these butterflies-in-stomach dates; whilst the evening just involved dinner (he paid) and a coffee, the excitement was phenomenal. Afterwards we decided that we weren't suited romantically, but I still had an amazing evening with great company, and made a great friend – a much more enjoyable experience than waking up, very hung-over with someone you met the night before at Fab. Dating is a chance to get to know someone and build some good oldfashioned sexual tension. Granted, dating c a n s e e m a little
confusing at times – should you offer to pay for dinner? Should you wait three days before contacting him at all? But the intrigue, excitement and anticipation more than makes up for this confusion. And hey, if you realise he's not for you, at least you've given him a shot and walked away before falling into bed with him and then awkwardly trying to avoid him when you're in Tesco Express for the rest of the year. Who knew, dating can actually be really rather fun.
Elbaz talks about how designing for Lanvin has been about using the brand's history and evolving it rather than destroying it to make it relevant today. Alber explains that the aim of the clothes is to make women and men feel good about themselves adding that if 'it's not comfortable it is no longer modern luxury.' He says that we are stuck in 'sexy' and his clothes reflect his sentiment. Lanvin pieces are beautiful and classic yet modern – they are meant to make the modern woman and man feel beautiful and confident. Elbaz chuckles as he mentions that his mother is very pleased that he is finally married to a woman, Jeanne Lanvin (founder of Lanvin, 1867-1946). Every season he heads down to the Lanvin archives for inspiration revisiting her creations. What inspires him are words and stories. For his second collection at Lanvin he was inspired by a story a friend told him about how the corsets of the Romanov women were bulletproof as they were com-
Fierce pletely lined with diamonds. That story inspired a collection based on protective jewellery. In making a collection for H&M, Alber mentions that it was never about making a 'dress for less' or to modernise Lanvin. It is about being generous and bringing an element of luxury to H&M. The purpose of Lanvin's collection with H&M is to cater a need, a desire that would otherwise carry too expensive a price tag. The collection is a party collection with elegant dresses, trenches, fake furs, jewellery, heels and lipsticks and for the men there are the suits, shirts, sunglasses, metallic shoes and bowties. In the short movie for H&M, Elbaz included three generations of women dancing in the same yellow dress. Reflected in both the video and the Lanvin logo (of a mother and daughter) he says that it is all about being 'more democratic' – a Lanvin dress is for everyone. Being a man of his word, it is now possible for all of us to get our hands on our very own Lanvin piece!
Movember By now you should be looking hot with a bit of stubble boys and all for prostate cancer awareness. Bailey's Hot Chocolate One word: yum. ASOS 20 per cent student discount Surely we can't feel guilty browsing instead of working with this cheeky little NUS offer. Noah Mills D&G's absolutely beautiful, possibly breathtaking main man. Marry me now. Burn fm Hearing your mates on the radio and knowing that they've got the faces for it... perfect. German Christmas Market It's back! Nothing says 'holidays are coming' like a mug of gludvein and deep fried mozzarella. John Lewis Christmas Advert Oh Ellie Goulding, good on you for covering Elton's 'Your Song' for the ad and for getting into the Top 10 after the premier showing of the advert. Very good work indeed. Victoria Shires
Last Friday the UK's first Forever 21 store was opened in Birmingham's Bullring. Redbrick were there to tour the store before it opened. We skipped the queue and were immediately proffered bucks fizz, smoked salmon blinis and chocolate covered strawberries. At first glance the shop looked luxurious with dramatic chandeliers, sky-high billboards and stacks of clothes. The prospect of 53,000 feet of shop was an overwhelming yet exciting. Our tour guide was a flawless American woman who was 'ecstatic to come to BER-MINGHAM.' She took us around the store pointing out how the clothes were arranged into 'key-trends' that were numerous, seemingly never-ending and suspiciously similar to one another. These included, 'Couture for Less', 'ModPop', 'Wanderer', 'Hard Candy', 'Rock Royalty' and 'Wild Things', a section, which portrayed 'femininity with funk and flavour'. Not my choice of words, you understand. As we plunged to the lower floor we hit the 'Heritage Line', which is what Forever 21 thinks best represents their key customer, 'unfussy but fashion forward' personifying the 'Americana Lifestyle'. An excellent asset to the billion other trends was the basics range (prices from £4.50) and budget active wear, along with
pyjamas, underwear and an accessory section that rivals my own jewellery box. The bracelets, necklaces, hats, snoods, hair bands and bags were set out in bowls and stacked onto shelves giving a boutique feel to the cavernous shop. The shoe section focussed on ankle boots, thigh highs, clogs and patterned pumps, all of which the brand manager claimed were 'globally on trend'. Somewhat tagged onto the shop, almost as an afterthought, were the plus size line starting at size 16 and the men's section. Once I dug out my magnifying glass I spotted the latter, tucked into the bowels of the shop, absolutely minute and a twentieth of the women's wear. This seems misguided as the women's national average clothes size is a 16 and the male population are key customers in the UK's high street. Why cut out a huge body of clientele? What struck me most about the shop was the overwhelming amount of clothes and the fact that they had not been specifically focussed to the UK market and were simply repeats of US stock. After recovering from seeing, and almost touching, the brand model Amber Le Bon cutting the ribbon, the shop is the disappointing love child of H&M and River Island, who after a messy divorce spent some time with distant relatives Topshop and New Look. It is worth a look but it won't beat Britain's High Street classics.
Emma Watson You're worth 20million and cute as a button, but you put grease in your hair to walk the red carpet? Why? New drunken mates They love you for a night, add you on Facebook, then you never hear from them again. No thanks. Fire Extinguishers Enough said. Katy and Russell You disturbed the tigers at your culturally imperialist wedding in the jungle. Please stop disturbing us. My misspelling/ misattribution of writers' names in the last issue For this I am sorry! Early wrapping of Christmas presents It's really sad that you've even bought them yet! Overbuying Upgrade your shopping habits. Spend the same, buy better, buy less X Factor First Treyc and now Aiden? We've given up. It's a fix. We can't take it anymore! Forever 21 The much-hyped American store isn't all it's cracked up to be. Brob (Rob and Briony)
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors â€“ Briony Singh, Rob Lewis
Debate: Fur or against? Fashion to die for? Amy Parsons Did you know that an estimated 17 million animals are killed in China each year for their fur? Did you know that 'fur farms' use barbaric killing methods such as electrocution, drowning, gassing, poisoning, and strangulation? Did you know that the psychological distress caused by the confinement of multiple animals results in cannibalism? Did you know that 130-200 chinchillas are killed for one coat? A recent PETA (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) article entitled 'A Shocking Look inside Chinese Fur Farms' describes how animals are hung up by their legs and skinned alive. Animals live a life of misery, fear and suffer severe stress from their confinement in filthy, cramped 2.5Â˛ ft wire cages. Owing to the appalling conditions, many of these animals contract diseases causing life long pain before their death. In an article from the Independent in 2006, undercover animal investigator Peter Joseph witnessed the horrific
death of a single mink: 'It seemed to have resigned itself to its fate and just lay there, its eyes swollen from the ammonia fumes from its urine and faeces and an open wound on its head.' This same fate will be endured by 2, 600, 000, the number of minks killed per year for their fur. Surely these are the real fashion victims? The animals suffer agonising anal electrocution at the hands of workers whose main objective is to avoid damaging the fur at whatever cost. Shockingly this horrific process is not always successful first time and has to be repeated. The fur is then torn from their bodies and they are tossed into a heap of carcasses where they lay still breathing. They blink their eyes and whimper for 5-10 minutes before slowly passing away in agony. Trapping is another barbaric killing method lying in wait for the unsuspecting victim. This particular gruesome form of torture is responsible for providing the US with 30 per cent of its fur. If I haven't shocked you enough, would you believe that domestic animals, such as dogs and
cats are also killed for their fur? In China, it has been estimated that 2 million dogs are bred and killed each year for the sake of the fashion industry. In December 2007, the European Union passed an act banning the trade of cat and dog fur within 27 EU countries. In
'How can the fashion industry be so ignorant and indifferent to the tortuous suffering of millions of animals for profit?' 2000, Parliament passed the 'Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act' which 'prohibits the keeping of animals solely or primarily for slaughter for the value of their fur.' However, the fashion industry still finds it acceptable to import fur from China where these barbaric methods still exist. How can the fashion industry be so ignorant and indifferent
to the suffering of millions of animals for profit? I wrote this article because I am passionate about the fashion industry; however, I am more passionate about questioning the unjustified, savage slaughter of innocent animals for the sake of fashion. The catwalk is a death trap, as designers continue to flaunt fashionable fur, in particular our very own 'Bloody Burberry.' Sadly, today, 400 designers use fur, compared with 45 in 1985. The celebrity world is also littered with avid fur-wearers. A disturbing fact: Keira Knightley's black karakul lambskin coat which she wore to the British Independent Film Awards in 2005 derives from the cruellest form of fur, where lambs' foetuses are cut prematurely from their mothers' wombs before their smooth coats have had a chance to uncurl. Major leading high street stores, including M&S, Topshop and H&M have banned fur from their stores and high end department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Liberty's and Selfridges are saying no to fur! At present, Harrods is the only department store in Britain who stock fur.
There are many celebrities who are taking a stand against the use of fur, in particular, Eva Mendes who recently appeared in PETA's famous campaign: 'Fur? I'd rather go naked.' Stella McCartney, a leading British fashion designer, as well as an avid supporter of PETA states her anger: 'I just don't understand why these beautiful creatures have to die for someone's coat. It is both medieval and barbaric, and I think there are plenty of alternatives out there.' The fashion industry must now listen to PETA, ditch real fur and go 'faux.' However, this month Vogue tells us to 'invest in a fur coat, it's this season's instant glamour hit.' Is trapping an animal and leaving it to die alone in sheer, in-comprehensible agony glamorous? Is an animal chewing off its own limbs in a desperate attempt to free itself from a slow, painful death glamorous? Is skinning an animal alive and throwing it into a heap while its heart still beats for 10 minutes glamorous? I don't think so. Vogue, as the dominant fashion magazine, needs to take the lead and stop splashing their pages with blood.
farming provides much needed income for communities worldwide. Even Namibian Karakul sheep farming, which sits at the 'extreme' end of the fur trade is governed by both IFTF and EU legislation, and is subject to strict national legislation on animal welfare standards. The IFTF refutes claims that unborn lambs are forcibly removed from the uteruses of mother sheep. Why would a Karakul farmer systematically kill its most valuable asset and let his children starve? Once again it's a choice of animal or human.
fur is so repugnant I suggest looking at the trajectory and ethical traces of almost every item that furnishes your lives. You won't wear a rabbit scarf that feels amazing, is beautiful and keeps you warm as the wind howls, but you will use an iPhone that has been assembled by non-unionised migrant workers living and working in cramped authoritarian conditions for little reward. You wear Primark, but won't wear ethically produced fur? Spare me. What do you value more? The dignity of a human being or that of a fox? Times are changing, but it is possible that an age old tradition of farming, trapping, killing and working fur into garments can be somehow with reconciled with our paradoxical 'save the planet/ kill the planet' attitudes. Or why not look at it from the point of view of Kanye West: 'The fresh is an opinion, love is objective, taste is selective, and expression is my favourite elective. No more politics or apologies!' If you want to kill it, skin it and wear it, then do it; if you want to live in the trees naked and become one with the earth, then do it. If you want to find an informed middle ground or whatever is right for you, then do it. Don't listen to what the propagandists tell you; after all, can any movement that views the Holocaust as comparable to modern society's be trusted? Just listen to yourself, and if someone throws red paint on you, don't worry - red is in.
V Kill it, skin it, wear it Rob Lewis Before you write me off as a heartless fashion victim, I'd like to make it clear that I don't condone needless animal cruelty. But even after a somewhat harrowing journey into the world of animal rights, I still will answer 'yes' next time I'm asked the fateful question, 'would you wear fur?' - albeit with a few caveats. I don't own any fur, but wear leather (shoes, jackets, gloves), sit on a leather sofa and have a grey sheep skin rug in my bedroom. Oh, and my bed is leather. I eat meat, fish and sea food, but haven't killed anything personally since I accidentally buried a hibernating hamster with full funeral pomp when I was seven. I don't wear fur, but seeing as the concept of doing so doesn't offend me to the deepest fibres of my being, my gut reaction to the 'would you wear it?' question would be 'yes'. Not an emphatic 'yes' (I mean, it would need to look good on me), but a 'yes' all the same. It's easy to demonise fur and those who wear it when you have a cuddly rabbit as your poster girl, but less easy to justify it with all the incendiary propaganda and obvious concerns that surround the issue. Here's my attempt. There are many a screaming voice fighting to be heard when it comes to the ethics of wearing ani-
mal skins and fur. We're confronted with People For The Ethical Treatment of Animal's (PETA) radical 'Are Animals The New Slaves' slogans, whilst their supporters don the garb of white supremacists just to make a point. Red paint, skinned carcasses and meowing kittens in cages kick harshly against the im-
'The furriers' art embodies traditions and skills of human craftsmanship' ages of luxury, wealth and status that tell us fur is covetable and, dare I day it, cool. Popstar and avid fur wearer Kelis recently remarked: 'If you want to preach, do it about something worthwhile and don't waste my time trying to save the dang chipmunk.' Indeed. Kelis would eat 'Pterodactyl' if you found some and told her that it was 'meaty and delicious.' She is an unashamed carnivore and makes no distinction between wearing an animal and eating one. Kelis' stance seems to come down to the value we place on human and animal lives. Should so much time and energy be devoted to saving the lives of the 'dang chipmunk' when human rights are far from universally enforced? I eat meat and realise that industrial farming practices are a
fact of life and although EU and UK legislation aims to tightly control them, meat production is not pretty. Little piggy doesn't just fall asleep, lamb joints don't just appear on the shelf in Tesco. Livestock live short, joyless lives and the then they die. If you eat bacon and wouldn't wear fur then you're a hypocrite. Simple. That said the same strict national and European legislation that applies to livestock does not apply to the fur trade. The International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) does, however, list approved fur species for hunting and trapping, none of them endangered, and promotes an Origin Assured labelling system that signals to the consumer that fur products come from farms that operate under 'strict codes of practice that meet or exceed established animal welfare standards for wild and farmed fur'. We are told of the excesses of the Chinese fur industry, where domesticated animals are skinned alive, but never in the context of the Chinese relationship with animals generally. The Chinese inhabit a food culture where all protein is edible. I, for one, am not going to begrudge the Chinese ancestral affinity with eating snake or generalise China's mistakes to what is a global industry, but I personally wouldn't wear a fur garment that originates in China. The furriers' art embodies traditions and skills of human craftsmanship that few other modern products do, whilst fur-related
'What do you value more? The dignity of a human being or that of a fox?' Even the Word Wildlife Fund (WWF) recognises that a record population of harp seals in Atlantic Canada should be hunted as there are no conservation grounds for their protection and the seal hunt represents 'an important part of the local economy, culture and heritage of coastal communities'. Added to this, faux fur is a petroleum based product, environmentally damaging and on a visceral level feels like sandpaper in comparison to the real thing! We don't need fur, same as we don't need Tesco or two cars or private schools, but we have them. If
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Apologies and Clarifications
There is something very 'UCAS application' about starting this editorial with a quotation, but it neatly summarises the main point: 'Celebrity: the pursuit of the talent-less, by the mindless. It's become a disease of the twenty-first century. It pollutes our society, and it diminishes all who seek it, and all who worship it.' - Judge John Deed. The more attentive reader will perhaps pick up on the ironic sense of hypocrisy that I should use a quotation from a popular television drama, but there we go. Nevertheless, every Sunday evening, at around 9pm, my Facebook feed is swamped with a plethora of posts about Wagner, Aiden, or Cher. Every Wednesday night, the names change slightly â€“ to Jamie, Chris or Liz. This seems never-ending, and just when a series allegedly finishes, a new one pops up before we know it. For someone who hardly watches television, and especially not ITV, I was impressed with the quality of Downton Abbey, which was not only enjoyable, but focussed on a fascinating epoch that has scarcely been covered by period dramas before. It is pleasing that such a series has obtained the recognition it deserves, and brings some hope for the future of British television, which is being diluted more and more with reality dross, that is as vacuous as the space it fills. That aside, at the start of the
Concerning the Film special in last week's issue, we should like to clarify that the 'T' in LGBT stands for Transgender, and not Transvestite as printed.
Editor year, our house was fortunate enough to not have a television licence, and this forced us to converse with each other, and this was often a pleasant experience. Ever since the fateful day our licence came through the letterbox, the living room has been filled with an empty silence â€“ five faces staring at a small screen. Almost Orwellian. This brings me on to a slight aside, about how celebrity demeans certain events that matter quite a deal to lots of people. Let's take the Poppy Appeal as an example, one judge in Strictly Come Dancing wore a glittering poppy on his lapel, and I am informed that poppies became somewhat of an accessory on X Factor last year. One could take the argument that this is publicising a very worthy cause, or one could take my view, which is that you can publicise a very worthy cause in a less brash way. The accessorising nature of it undermines the meaning behind it the reason why we stand silent for two minutes on 11 November, remembering those who died so bravely for our basic freedoms, and continue to do so as you read this article. This is a sad reflection on those whom we so idolise. Finally, I wish to dedicate my concluding paragraph to my team of section editors and editorial assistants, who produced an outstanding issue in my absence last week. I owe them all a massive thanks.
Apologies to Emma Dukes, who was the correct author of 'Box Bites' in the Television section last week. Apologies also to Rosie Adams, who was the correct author of 'Student Shop - Fresh Asia' in the Food section. Please send all letters to letters@ redbrickonline.co.uk Letters for publication must be marked 'for publication' and include your name and course title. Letters without these details will not be published. We reserve the right to edit letters.
Wanted We are looking for a new Deputy Multimedia Editor. If you have good technical ability with podcasting or live-blogging, we'd love to hear from you. If interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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1. Supreme God in Hinduism, often depicted with 4 arms (6) 7. Vocabulary (7) 8. 1996 film starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny (5, 3) 9. Sacred song in praise of God (5) 10.The Birth of _____, painting by Botticelli (5) 11. Essential item for catching fish (4) 12. The Great _____, on the US/ Canada border (5)
15. Shove; flat-bottomed boat (5) 16. Type of sauce and dance (5) 19. Annoying craving (4) 20. Small motorbike (5) 21. Rabbit's living quarters (5) 22. In the right direction; sour cone (anag.) (2, 6) 23. Federico _______, Italian film director (7) 24. ______ Berlusconi, Italian prime minister (6)
1. Volcano which destroyed Pompeii in AD 79 (8) 2. Whelk (3, 5) 3. Dense (anag.) (5) 4. Stone, jewel (3) 5. Afternoon nap (6) 6. Sheepdog (6) 7. Italian car company (11) 9. Heap, stack (4) 13. Garry ________, Russian chess grandmaster (8) 14. American city; diagnose (anag.) (3, 5) 15. Soak, wash (4) 17. Charm, talisman (6) 18. Island in the Mediterranean (6) 20. Indigenous people of New Zealand (5) 22. Unity (3)
Sudoku The objective of the game is to insert the numbers 1-9 into each row, column, and 3x3 box once Medium
Being a Dickhead's Cool Hipsters, beware. Fast becoming a YouTube must-see for our generation is a dresing-down for all things cool, and all people trying too hard. Catchy, hilarious, and so accurate. Hard
This week's winner is Molly Wright. We will email you with details of collecting your prize. Finished crosswords to be submitted to the Redbrick office. Deadline 23/11/10.
Did you know? Frenchman Michel Litoto, aka 'Mr Eat All', spent two years eating 18 bicycles, 15 shopping carts, 7 TV sets, a computer, numerous razor blades and an areoplane. He died in 2007, incredibly of natural causes.
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Video of the week
The record number of passengers on an airplane was 1,086. They boarded a 747 in Addis Ababa and landed in Jerusalem as part of an operation to evacuate Ethiopian Jews. When they landed there were 1,089; three babies were born on the flight.
On this day In 1969: The Supremes became the first girl band to reach number one in the UK with 'Baby Love.'
19th November 2010
Both men's and women's Badminton take on the mighty Loughborough Brave Brum fall just short, page 27
Irish import kicking up a storm As Gaelic football, one of Ireland's most loved sports, slowly expands beyond the borders of the Emerald Isle, Redbrick Sport's Harry Kitchen delves into the lives of those playing and participating at the University of Birmingham, joining them for a training session
About Gaelic football Gaelic football, or 'Gah' as it is known in its Irish homeland, is extremely popular and has maintained its support ever since its creation in 1887. The 2005 ESRI figures indicate that the sport draws 34 percent of total attendances at sports events in Ireland, with the closest rival, hurling, drawing 23 percent. 'Gah' is seen to be quintessential to Irish culture and is run, along with hurling, by the GAA (the Gaelic Athletic Association). Only in recent years has the sport come to foreign fields, and even then, the areas which has taken on the sport usually have a history of Irish immigration such as Great Britain and the American east coast.
The Brum team show off their skills (left and top right) before posing with St Joseph's at the Sean Hopkins Cup (bottom right) Harry Kitchen Sport Reporter
In only its second season at the University of Birmingham and without being a mainstream sport in Britain, I was curious to see what the traditional Irish sport of Gaelic football was all about. I had been lucky enough to be invited to a weekly training session on a cold Friday night in November on the University astro turf and I certainly wasn't disappointed by my introduction to the sport. Upon arrival at the astro pitches I was met by Matt Bridgeman, a member of the University team who soon eased me in to the intricate rules of the sport. First off Matt told me the basics how of a player moves with the actual Gaelic ball itself. The ball used is very similar to an old fashioned round leather football and is made of 18 stitched leather panels, most commonly produced by Irish companies such as O'Neil's. Movement is dictated by bouncing the ball in a similar motion to a basketball, the only difference being that the 'bounce' has to be every four or five steps and not the continuous routine which is seen in the NBA. To add to this, in-between each bounce the carrier has to perform a 'solo' as the ball may not be bounced more than once in a row, which Matt declared
was the most difficult part of the game for newcomers to get to grips with. The carrier doing a kick up to himself and catching the ball in return performs a 'solo', although this action can be done repeatedly. And indeed this was most certainly the most problematic part of training I had to get my head around! As for the training itself, charismatic coach Shane Waters took charge and the lads started with some traditional exercise drills seen in a wide variety of sports. This warm up consisted of your usual stretches, jogging, high knees and such like. After we had warmed up we moved onto a hand passing drill, the pass itself being executed by a closed fist punting the ball out of the other hand similar to some serves in volleyball; however here it was on the move at the same time. The hand pass is utilised in small proximities and to improve the nature of the team's passing, the drill took place within a small square where three balls were being continuously passed around the team whilst all the players ran around at the same time trying to retrieve the ball calling to the carriers. Each moment of butter fingers was met with appropriate banter from Shane! After a drinks break and a brief highball exercise, the passing exercises were complicated further in 'truck and trailer'. As more of
the exercise went on, the more accustomed I became to the string of double hand passes on the move that made up 'truck and trailer'.
'Despite my best efforts I failed to score, however I was a stalwart in defence' The team worked hard and it was evident that the sport really does live up to its accolade as the second fastest sport in the sporting world. At this point I personally experienced how fitness was such a big factor in Gaelic football as I struggled to keep up with the relentless, continuous pace of the other players. When I finished my hand was very sore and the lads confirmed the most common injuries in Gaelic usually come from either 'finger breaks' or swollen hands. Although good hands are vital to the sport, kicking skill is equally as important and the next two exercises showed how many different qualities you need to pull off in order to become a formidable Gaelic player.
Due to the sheer size of the pitch, kicking is practically used for any middle to long pass as no one, unless they have the fists of a Celtic god, can hand pass a ball across the pitch. A Gaelic pitch is similar to a rugby pitch in form but is considerably larger. The grass pitch is rectangular, stretching 130â€“145 metres long and 80â€“90 metres wide. There are H-shaped goalposts at each end, which are usually 7 metres high and set 6.5 metres apart. There is a netted goal similar to association football below the Hshaped goalposts crossbar. Three points are scored if you slot a shot past the goalkeeper defending the net and one point is scored over the goal posts. These can be kicked or fisted whereas only a kick is accepted through the net. The first kicking exercise concentrated on both long ranged passing and catching. Two groups faced each other, with one side running a few yards and kicking the ball to the other. The focus was on accuracy and dexterity as it is rather difficult at first to kick a long distance pass whilst running at full pace. The opposition group then had to catch the ball and hand pass it to the next person in their group who would then repeat the cycle. The final exercise focussed on scoring and defence. A legal tackle is made by slapping the ball out of an opponent's hand and shoulder
to shoulder argy bargy is also allowed. We were put into five pairs in which one person would be a defender and the other an attacker. Shane would call out a number and then the two would tussle for the ball in question. The attacker would then have a chance to score whilst the defender would practice his tackling prowess. Despite my best efforts I failed to score, however I was a stalwart in defence, at least for a rookie! Regardless, like the rest of the training session, the whole experience was thoroughly enjoyably and it's a shame that the sport does not get the numbers it deserves. Gaelic football is open to all years, genders and skill levels at the University of Birmingham and I strongly suggest you come along for training on Wednesdays and Fridays evenings and get involved, particularly if you enjoy sports like rugby, volleyball, association football and Aussie rules. You will certainly have a good laugh and at the same time there is the chance for serious competition within the team with inter-university matches becoming a more and more regular fixture. I thank the team for taking on a rookie in training and hopefully, with the help of a few new players, they will enjoy the success and attention they deserve within the University.
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors â€“ James Phillips, Simon Hall
'Ice Queen' claims win as Cambridge freeze Women's Squash
Stefano Goosey Sport Reporter
On Wednesday, the Birmingham women's squash team staked their claim to be the winners of the BUCS championships as they produced an untouchable performance by beating Cambridge first team 4-0. The home side were unbeatable throughout as they managed to defeat their opponents without even conceding a game. Jonathon Tate's well-trained team were in a relaxed mood ahead of the match and it wasn't hard to see why as Birmingham easily wiped out their opponents. The contest began with Birmingham's Hannah Vaughan playing against Cambridge's Yvonne Ang. Vaughan started well in the first game and it seemed she would runaway with a clear victory. However Ang struggled through and won some points back for Cambridge but it wasn't enough as Vaughan sealed the first game 11-7. From this firm foundation, Vaughan grew stronger and managed to win the second game 11-3 without much trouble. After an encouraging comeback in the third game by Ang, it was the home play-
Brum proved simply too much for Cambridge on the day Tom Flathers er again who edged the win by 11 points to 7 to end the match with a 3-0 victory. It was an encouraging start for Brum as the second match between Macy Coltman and Stephanie Jacquot quickly followed. This was an even easier contest for Birmingham as Coltman ran away with an accomplished 3-0 victory. She was composed throughout and managed to win 11-1, 11-5, 11-1. The hard hitting and skilful Coltman was too much for Cambridge's Jacquot to handle. Having already secured at least a draw at this point, next up was captain Katie Quarterman against Cambridge's Andrea Kuestes, who had a tough contest ahead of her.
Quarterman who is known by the squash club as the 'Ice Queen' took the first game by storm as she won easily 11-0. An interesting event occurred in the second game as a backswing by Kuestes accidently struck Quarterman in the face, which after a short break seemed to improve her game further as she kept performing well to win 11-4. Kuestes seemed to have all but lost the match at this point and she put in a brave performance but the home side's captain proved to be strong as she won 11-3 to complete a 3-0 victory. There was no way back for Cambridge as Birmingham had already secured their victory but the next match between Jenny Tam-
blyn and Becky Palmer was by far the closest contest. Compared to last season Cambridge had a weaker side at their disposal as they no longer had their former top 3 seeds which left Palmer the only remaining member of last year's team. Her experience pushed Tamblyn all the way as she gave the away side some hope of a victory but it wasn't enough as the Brum star won 11-9, 11-7, 11-9. Palmer seemed as if she would win the first game with her hard hitting tactics which troubled Tamblyn, but the latter's stamina and clever movement managed to pull her through. The two following games were also very close and went right to the death but again Tamblyn kept cool was the deserved winner. It was clear from the performances that head coach Tate had a well-trained and determined team who seem capable of improving and going on to better things. Tate was understandably happy with the team's performance, 'It was a great performance and I feel we can challenge for the top 3 with the BUCS championships coming up in two weeks time.' On the 27th and 28th November, the University of Birmingham will be staging the BUCS squash Premier League Stage 2 event at the Munrow New Gym where it seems they have the chance to go all the way and challenge for top honours.
Brilliant Cheeseman seals netball success Netball
Notts Trent 2nds
Joseph Audley Sport Reporter
Birmingham women's netball third team earned a deserved victory against Nottingham Trent seconds in the Munrow Sports Hall with Harriet Cheeseman taking the 'Player of the Match' award for the fourth week running and Ellie Williams dominating the attack. The home side did well to keep the lead throughout the game but it was by no means an easy ride as Cheeseman explained before the game: 'We are apprehensive going into this tie as we lost to Nottingham Trent firsts last week. It's going to be tense but we are ready to show them how it's done!' Although they were in high spirits, the girls had a shaky start to the first quarter with Trent looking organised. As Birmingham settled into the game the passes began to flow and the girls were doing well to find space to work with. A few stray passes by Trent offered Birmingham a way through and Williams scored all the home side's points as Brum took an 11-6 lead after some perfectly placed passes over the visitors' defence. Going into the second quarter Nottingham Trent came out strong and the points were evenly exchanged as Birmingham did well to hold on to the five point advantage. Cheeseman displayed some excellent interceptions in defence and Imogen Cormick did well to provide Williams for the final product. At the half Birmingham lead 19-14, but Trent were putting up a credible fight.
Birmingham stepped up the pace in the third quarter and dominated the play. They were first to most rebounds and constantly pressurised the Trent attack forcing them to make quick decisions, leading to regular mistakes from the visitors. Rachael Clarke did well to exploit the space and increased the lead, with the third quarter finishing 30-21. It started to look like fitness was becoming a key factor in this game as the home side were first to every rebound and executed most attacks to perfection. The hosts were worthy of the lead as they pushed out of defence at pace and were clinical in their finishing. Trent struggled to cope and often gave away possession cheaply through misplaced passes. Liv Tenberg and Cheeseman were first to most rebounds in the fourth quarter which proved vital as the visitors could only manage five goals in this period. Birmingham showed their presence and increased their lead by thirteen, taking the final score to 43-26. It clearly wasn't Nottingham Trent's day as their heads went down and they looked tired towards the closing stages of the tie. Birmingham had a fantastic attitude going into the game and remained positive throughout, with the coaches and substitutes shouting constant encouragement to those on the court. Captain Emma Thomas was thrilled with the side's performance as she reiterated at the end of the game, 'Everyone played fantastically and did their part for the team; we definitely deserved the win. It's our best game yet.' The girls fought hard to earn a deserved victory and were also glad to get some revenge over Nottingham Trent following the previous result against Trent's senior team.
Sport Shorts Active Lifestyle
Active Lifestyle are launching their new Body Training System classes, so head down to the Munrow Sports Centre if you want to get in shape for Christmas. Look out for taster and technique sessions too. For more information on Active Lifestyle classes visit http://www. sport.bham.ac.uk
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Re-live your childhood with the Guild's traditional British sports day theme. Take part in the three legged race, the bean bag relay, the sack race, egg and spoon, space hoppers and tug of war. Enter a team for a chance to win the Guild's "Too Cool for School" award. Go on, make your mum proud! If you would like to enter a team then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't forget the latest in the recent series of guild sports nights takes place next Wednesday. Tickets available from Joes Bar/OMCO/ Raising the Baremail@example.com. ac.uk
First team fixtures Weds 24th Nov Support our clubs! Game of the week: Women's Hockey vs Loughborough 1sts Bournbrook 3.45pm Men's Hockey vs Loughborough 1sts Bournbrook 5.15pm Men's Badminton vs Nottingham 1sts Munrow Sports Hall 12pm Women's Badminton vs Newcastle 1sts Munrow Sports Hall 1pm
A Brum attacker closes down the Trent goalkeeper
Women's Basketball vs Northumbia 1sts Munrow Sports Hall 6pm Women's Fencing vs York 1sts Munrow New Gym 2pm Men's Football vs Loughborough 1sts Munrow Track Pitch 5.30pm Women's Football vs Worcester 1sts Metchley Pitch 2pm Men's Lacrosse vs Northampton 1sts Metchley 3G Pitch 2pm Women's Lacrosse vs Edinburgh 1sts Munrow Track Pitch 2.30pm Women's Rugby Union vs Nottingham Trent 1sts Metchley Pitch 2pm
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors â€“ James Phillips, Simon Hall
Bad day for badminton girls despite battling hard Women's Badminton
Phil Shepka Sport Reporter
Birmingham's women's badminton team were defeated 7-1 by a strong Loughborough outfit at the Munrow Sports Hall on Wednesday afternoon. This result means they now sit third in the North Premier Division, 6 points behind unbeaten Leeds Met. Birmingham had gone into the game in good form after winning convincingly last time out against Durham, whilst the visitors had lost to the league leaders. The hosts were unfortunately missing a few players, which meant that Ellie Crossley had to step into
unfamiliar territory playing in the singles rounds. The first game saw Birmingham's Claire Mort play against the talented Finn Nanna Vainio. Despite a battling performance, Vainio's play at the net proved to be too powerful for her opponent, giving Loughborough an early 1-0 advantage. Crossley was the next Birmingham competitor to play in the singles, facing Laura Mercer. The opening game was a tight affair with Crossley hitting some fantastic forearm smashes. The game stayed equal until 17-17, when Mercer put a string of great shots to win 4 points in a row and take the round. There was more of the same in the second game with both battling hard and making fine recovery shots. However once again, Mercer seemed to move her game up a gear near the end to eventually win the match. The opening doubles match saw Sam Reynolds and Birmingham's captain Alyssa Lim face tough opponents Kelly Blake and Steffi Clark. The game began with the hosts rushing into an early 6-2 lead, with Lim looking determined to win and playing some fantastic shots from the back of the court. As the game progressed, the opponents came into the game more, but Birmingham still kept the lead to see out a convincing 21-14 first game win. The second game was much closer and seemed to favour the
A valiant effort from the Birmingham girls wasn't enough to defeat Loughborough opposition with Blake returning some powerful forehands. Rallies seemed to get longer as the game progressed, a sign that both teams may have begun to tire. Blake and Clark began to find gaps with some superb shots and won the second 21-16. The deciding game was as close as the first up until they changed ends at 11-10 to Birmingham. Reynolds began to play some
excellent drop shots near the net to take the opponents to the sword. It was Reynolds who hit the winning shot between the Loughborough competitors to make the final score 21-15. The other Birmingham pairing Hannah Killick and Lucy Hunter were unfortunately beaten in both of their games, coming closest to winning against Blake and Clark with defeats by 21-15 and 21-17.
Captain Lim said 'There were some close games, it was just a shame we couldn't turn them into wins.' Crossley was also singled out for special praise having come into the side and doing a great job, even though she was unable to prevent the loss. Birmingham's women will now be looking to bounce back with a win against bottom of the league Newcastle in their next game.
Lowden, Lewis, Low and Conway confirm Derby Destruction
Birmingham's table tennis boys were far superior to their cross-city rivals from Aston as they wrapped up the win in style Men's Table Tennis
Birmingham 1sts Aston 1sts
John Wilmott Sport Reporter
The University of Birmingham's table tennis team hit top form this week, securing a maximum point victory over a sorry Aston side that offered little resistance. The final scoreline of 17-0 was fully justified by a skilled Birmingham side that remained unbeaten throughout, securing every rubber. The result was warmly wel-
comed by a Birmingham side that were looking to bounce back after a closely fought battle with Loughborough had seen them lose in the final rubber of the day, seriously harming their title credentials. The Aston team made the short journey without a single win to their name, having only secured 3 rubbers out of a possible 27 previous to the match, and right from the off it appeared as if Brum's first team weren't about to let that statistic get any better. Mike Lowden won the first rubber of the match 3-0, dispatching his opponent often cutting the point short with remarkable ease, with a serve that none of the four Aston players ever got to grips with. The second rubber saw a
similar result with Scott Lewis - an Isle of Man international at junior level - dispatching his opponent with leisure, securing another 3-0 win. The third rubber saw Eric Low bank the first of his four victories of the day, securing 12 games in all across the day without a single loss. The fourth saw debutant Frankie Conway come to the fore, against Aston's best performer on the day, showing the grit and determination of a seasoned professional as he battled from 10-8 down in the fourth game to secure a 12-8 win and an overall triumph of 3-1. With Birmingham's confidence growing by this point, Lowden continued his rich vein of
form, smashing his opponent with series of strong forehand shots that resulted in another 3-0 win. The sixth rubber saw Lewis defending well before stepping it up a gear to win 3-1, followed closely by another commanding performance from Low to leave Birmingham 7-0 up. The result was put beyond doubt minutes later as the two first years, Conway and Lewis, came through their games 3-0 and 3-1 respectively. With the match on excellent form, the Birmingham players pushed on, securing point after point against an increasingly sloppy Aston opposition. Low continued his impressive day, banking a further 3-0 victory which included the destruction of two balls and his
Tom Flathers opponent in the 11th rubber. Following this came the most tightly contested challenge of the day , seeing Lowden keep his composure to come back from two games to one down to win 11-8 in the decider. The match was closed out well in the doubles, with Birmingham winning 51 games out of 56 overall; a result that pleased the players and supporters alike. After the game, Lowden commented: 'It was a good performance, we needed to win here today and we have', with Lewis adding, 'It was a good day's work. Job done.' Brum will look to take this result and use it as a strong foundation as they search for BUCS success.
19th November 2010 www.redbrickonline.co.uk
Editors â€“ James Phillips, Simon Hall
Gaelic Football Special Redbrick Sport get involved in a Gaelic football training session on p25
Gaunt returns to inflict rare home defeat on former pals Women's Lacrosse
Birmingham 1sts Loughborough 1sts
ough's Faram putting the visitors ahead before Birmingham scored three swift goals to turn the game on its head. First, a slaloming run and lay off from Alice Bruynseels set up Keeble, who applied the finish for her second goal to bring the scores level. More sustained pressure allowed Lizzie Sharp to give the home side the lead, before Bruynseels got on the scoresheet herself to make it 4-2 in Birmingham's favour. Coach Abini saw this as a perfect moment to call a time out, in an attempt to slow
down the frenetic nature of the game and impose Brum's passing style onto proceedings. The tactic paid dividends, as co-captain Kirsten Lafferty powered her way through the Loughborough back line to make it 5-2. On 20 minutes, Brum's momentum threatened to be destabilised when Sharp was given a yellow card for dangerous play, but Loughborough couldn't make the extra player count, and were foiled by great work from goalkeeper Chelsea Claridge. The home side looked more threatening going forward, illus-
trated by a fantastic solo effort from the other half of the captaincy Molly Pike to make it 6-2. This prompted the visitors into a change, as they put former Brum and current England No. 1 goalkeeper Catherine Gaunt in between the posts. Her impact was felt immediately as she denied the increasingly influential Pike from point blank range. This crucially kept the score at 6-2, which, as the half time whistle blew, left Loughborough with a mountain to climb. But climb it they did, as they astonishingly put the match back
on level terms in a relentless 10 minute onslaught which the Brum defence could not cope with. The first goal came from Lizzie Waterfield followed by two more from the talismanic Faram, before the equaliser came courtesy of a great effort by Emily Steel, who was occupying the areas behind the goal well. With this, coach Walton called a time out with his side in the ascendancy, inadvertently giving Brum a chance to regroup. However, another quick fire double from the irrepressible Faram (her fifth and sixth of the game) completed an unlikely turn around to put the visitors 8-6 ahead, and even prompt the referee to check the legitimacy of Faram's stick, an amusing moment for the onlookers. On the sideline, the vocal Walton was urging his team to keep it simple and maintain possession, but the hosts showed grit and determination to pull their way back into the tie, Bruynseels scoring twice to level the scores at 8-8, setting up a frantic climax. This proved an emotional rollercoaster for both teams, as Loughborough again went in front courtesy of Jess Cherrill, before a great solo effort from Lafferty made it look like the match would end as a draw. However, the visiting captain Emily Gray had the final say with a last gasp winner to conclude an absorbing match at 10-9 to the visitors. The exciting finale would leave the coaches in contrasting moods, with Abini admitting that the defeat was 'hard to take after being 6-2 up at half time'. Walton gave Birmingham credit for their first half display, but stressed that his side 'always believed they could win'. After a match that could have swung either way, Birmingham find themselves on a 2 game losing run, and will need to bounce back fast to redevelop that aura of invincibility in order to reproduce last seasons terrific exploits.
Leeds Met were ultimately too strong on the day. The action began with Birmingham's Richard Collier's singles match versus Nico Ruponen. It was a tight opening set; the power and athleticism of Ruponen cancelled out by Collier's precision drives and deft flicks. The game was neatly poised at 13-all when Ruponen came out smashing. Collier dug out two of his opponent's excellent drop-shots but was powerless to stop the subsequent smash which made it 16-13 and Ruponen saw out the set comfortably 21-15. Collier began the second set strongly, wrong-footing his opponent with several excellent drop shots to race to a 7-1 lead. Several over-hit drives and unforced errors by the Loughborough ace bolstered Collier's lead to 13-8, and a new
shuttlecock requested by Ruponen failed to improve his fortunes. Collier dug deep and despite some faulty serving, strode to a 21-10 win to level the game at 1-1. However, in typical Loughborough fashion, Ruponen found an extra gear in the decider, cutting out errors from his play and dragging Collier all over the court with a gamut of sensational shots. He hit an incredible jumping smash at 8-4 and Collier, despite a valiant effort, was overwhelmed by the skill and agility of Ruponen who sauntered to a 21-7 win, handing Loughborough a 1-0 lead overall. However, on the other courts Mark Cappelman restored parity with a hard-fought win over Peter Briggs. And Birmingham briefly went ahead 2-1 in the match following captain James Lauder and
Andy Wainwright's epic doubles victory over Loughborough's Victor Liew and captain Andrew Brunning. But Loughborough quickly tied it up again at 2-2. And consecutive wins in the remaining games handed Loughborough a 6-2 victory overall, although the score-line did flatter them. Birmingham coach Lorraine Cole described the men's performance as 'a good effort' but admitted she was 'disappointed', adding, 'We had a couple of games that I think we could have done a bit better with. I don't think we were strong enough to beat them, but I think we could have challenged them in a couple of the other games.' However, Cole still feels her side can compete with Loughborough at this season's BUCS Cham-
pionships: 'We've got some very strong players, but I don't think we've got the depth that Loughborough have got. So, I think our strongest players can [compete], yes, but I think they've got a bit more depth; they've got more quality lower down.' Cole went onto praise Mark Cappelman's performance in his victory over England junior Peter Briggs and said 'James Lauder and Andy Wainwright played really well beating Andrew Brunning and Victor Liew who are recognized tournament players.' Birmingham fought well and perhaps deserved something from the match. But this one-sided scoreline will hurt Birmingham who must now wait until January before their next chance of revenge against their bitter rivals.
Those present on a cold, wet and downright miserable Wednesday afternoon at the Munrow Track Pitch were treated to quite a spectacle, in which Birmingham women's lacrosse first team narrowly lost out to arch rivals Loughborough 10-9, in a match filled with drama and excitement. In the previous week, Brum had seen their incredible 18 match winning streak brought to an end when they lost out to table toppers Durham, giving this match extra significance. To make matters even more interesting, Catherine Gaunt, goalkeeper of Birmingham's championship winning campaign last season, was in the Loughborough squad. Visiting coach John Walton brought with him a wealth of experience, having coached lacrosse at world cup level for England and Wales respectively. He was nonetheless excited about the prospect of a closely contested game, reiterating that 'it's always an enjoyable one, coming to Birmingham.' Brum coach Dave Abini echoed his sentiment, and was ambivalent about losing the unbeaten record in the previous match: 'we needed the defeat to Durham as a reality check to show that we can be beaten'. Even if the unbeaten record had gone, the swagger clearly hadn't, as the hosts got off to a flyer scoring inside a minute, thanks to attacker Fizzy Keeble. However, Loughborough set the tempo for most of the match, equalising with an attack straight from the draw, seeing Claire Faram appearing on the scoresheet. The nip and tuck nature of the game continued, with Loughbor-
Despite Pike and Bruynseels' best efforts, the visitors' attack was too much Tom Flathers, Beth Richardson
Badminton boys beaten by lethal Loughborough opposition
Dave Rudge Sport Reporter
After the men's thumping 8-0 defeat away at Leeds Met Carnegie last week, a visit from in-form rivals Loughborough was not what the doctor ordered. Prior to last week's loss, Birmingham had beaten Sheffield Hallam and Nottingham without dropping a set and they were certainly no pushovers here. But Loughborough, unbeaten this season, and the only side in the Northern Premier division yet to lose to
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