REGENT The student newspaper for all schools in Regent’s College
Issue 6 Winter 2010
Take an escort For over two years Regent’s College has offered to escort lone female students or staff members to and from the college and the Outer Circle after dark. Recently the College has stepped up its publicity of this service, in hopes of getting the message across that no-one should feel at risk when they need to travel. ‘We have four security people on site from when it’s dark to the early hours of the morning and they are always available to walk someone,’ says Frank Davidson, Regent’s security manager. “We will either walk with you or pair you up with someone so you won’t have to walk alone.” The college is targeting those who may be the worse for wear after a night out. Recently one student was
followed on her way back to the college in the early hours of the morning and had her phone snatched. There are also plans to hire a minibus in the next few months to transport students. “The initiative for a bus came from the Student Union, who approached the senior management to see if one could be provided to transport students to and from Baker Street,” CEO Aldwyn Cooper said. “Following discussions with the directorate, the chairman of trustees has decided to provide a bus that will run from dusk until late in the evening on a first come, first served basis. To arrange an escort either come to the front desk of the college or ring: 020 7487 7495 (before 7pm) or 020 7487 7492 (after 7pm).
Ding dong merrily on high A favourite tree to mark a tragedy by Leslie Viney
photo: Philip Grey
Regent’s College choir members practice their carols for the concert on 6 December under the direction of LSFMP student Charlotte Richardson. This is the first event of the new Regent’s Music Society, set up to bring together singers and instrumentalists who would like to play and perform on campus. From left: Yuki Mori, EBS, Adrian Jeakins, Imperial College, Kari Sayers, Marymount College visiting lecturer, Yuri Kaizaki, EBS, Elvira Majia Lozoya, RBS, Sara Bourgeu, RACL, Isabel Canto, lecturer BAM, Jenny Bratheton, lecturer, BAM,
The tragic death of Regent’s College student Martine Magnussen was marked at a tree planting ceremony near the college’s ‘secret garden.’ A Silver Birch (Betula pendula), which was one of Martine’s favourite trees, was chosen by the Magnussen family in Martine’s memory. Martine’s father, Odd Petter, mother Kristin, brother Magnus and sister Mathilde unveiled a dedication plaque, while their Priest, Regent’s CEO Aldwyn Cooper, Martine’s friends, staff and faculty also attended. “This is a fantastic gesture and we are grateful for everyone sharing
it with us,” said Mr. Magnussen. “Our situation is that we lost our daughter and when we see this grow it will make some kind of continuity.” “A Birch tree is for Spring and a reminder of Constitution Day in Norway on 17th May, “said Mrs. Magnussen. “I can see her in her national costume, which everyone wears for this day.” CEO Aldwyn Cooper told the group gathered around the enclosed space that the loss of any member of the Regent’s family is sad, “however it is all the more distressing when we are faced with the loss of our friends from violence and criminal activity.” For the family to receive justice, “perpetrators should be called
photo: Philip Grey
to task. In this globalising world, as we grow to respect cultural differences, we do not accept that national boundaries should be barriers to justice. I am humbled by the dignified and ethical approach that the Magnussens have adopted to seek justice,” the CEO said, referring to the lack of an extradition agreement between the UK and Yemen, where Martine’s alleged murderer is believed to be living. Other memorials on campus include those to staff members Simon Hamm and Freddie Strasser and Regent’s students Elyse Jeanne Saraceni and Beth Ann Johnson, who were killed in the Lockerbie bombing over Scotland in 1988.
LSFMP students go Balinese; Quidditch takes flight; lots of kissy-kissy; and Dragons breathe new fire into Regent’s Den
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College News Welcome to the Dragon’s Den
photo: Jason Pittock
Budding entrepreneurs: right to left - Musharaf Dhanji (the eventual winner), Veyza Rodriguez, Robert Peveling Oberhag and Darius Ghesmati all pitched their business ideas to a panel of Regent’s Dragons, made up of former alumni and mentors.
Dhanji, Christopher Ax, Robert Peveling Oberhag and Darius Ghesmati. Each student was given three minutes to pitch their idea to the Dragons and try to win their votes. Due to the non-disclosure agreement signed by everyone in the audience, their ideas cannot be revealed. After the three minutes were up the judges held a round of intense questioning. If they liked the plan they voted “in” and if they thought it needed work or would not gain public interest they voted “out”. Along with the votes, the judges offered constructive criticism and advice on how the entrepreneurs could make their ideas more successful. All participants showed
The first recruitment advertisement for teaching staff at Regent’s College
Regent’s silver anniversary by Sophie Laws
by Jessica Paulsen Regent’s College hosted its own Dragon’s Den with a panel of alumni Dragons returning to the college to hear the potential money spinning business ideas of student entrepreneurs. The first time event, held on 7 October, was modelled on the BBC Television programme Dragon’s Den, in which entrepreneurs have a set amount of time in which to pitch their business ideas to the judges in hopes of gaining their financial investment. The idea for the Dragon’s Den came from an article in the August edition of the EBS London Magazine that focused on the success of the newly-added mentor programme at the college. It caught the interest of Senior Alumni Relations Officer Andy Harris, and his colleagues. “We wanted to do something to showcase
the creative ideas of the student body,” he said. The three alumni Dragons for the event were Bryan Train, RBS graduate, who now works in property, Anthony Ganjou, EBS alumni and founder and MD of his own media company, and Judy Piatkus, who graduated from SPCP and is a well known strategic consultant and keynote speaker who specialises in teaching how to expand businesses. The final judge, Stewart Baird, is a mentor for the college and works as an investment director at Bridges Ventures. Andy Harris explained: “We spent a lot of time looking through our databases to find a diverse group of alumni judges to give feedback and make all the students feel like a part of the community.” The first student to go up against the Dragons was international exchange student, Veyza Rodriguez. The other students were Musharaf
photo: Jessica Paulsen
Alumni dragon Judy Piatkus great enthusiasm while presenting their ideas and appreciation of the dragons’ feedback and ideas. The prize for the night included a mentoring package tailored to the winner’s business plan. Musharaf Dhanji, the overall winner of the night was voted into the Den by all four judges. He will now develop his idea further with the help of Neri Karra, the mentor awarded to him.
editorial As the sixth issue of the Regent goes to press, the attention of the world is focused on the Wikileaks exposure of 50 thousand dispatches from U.S. embassies around the world. They offer readers the candid view of what embassy officials, with their eyes and ears on the ground, thought of the regional risks, and the characters and competence of the men and women running the countries where they were stationed.
On September 1985 the first semester began at the new Regent’s College. It had been established the previous September, as the brass plate at the entrance to the college records, by Rockford College, Illinois. Fourteen courses, from King Arthur to Winston Churchill as Statesman were offered, and one on Roman Britain is still offered today by Lady Sophie Laws. Rockford College sent some of its own teaching faculty, and 30 students, but the College had also advertised expressly for British staff, something they would not be allowed to do now. In came a select – or, at any rate, selected - group: Nicholas Dromgoole, ballet critic of The Sunday Telegraph; Louis Halsey, composer and conducter; Roland Quinault, beginning his work on the Churchill papers; Boris Rankov, classicist, Oxford oarsman and coach of the Athenian trireme; Sophie Laws, theologian. The programme was presided over by Dain Trafton as Academic Director: wine was served at faculty meetings, and the semester was marked by a procession in academic dress through the gardens, to an amazed audience of squirrels. The Evening Standard filed a story commenting on the chic cream sofas in the front hall and on the lavatories: “Regent’s College now has the finest plumbing that money can buy.” Newspaper reporting students: Printed through www.quotemeprint.com 0845 230 1590
Whether or not you agree with the controversial methods used by Wikileaks, who state as their purpose, to ‘reveal unethical behavior in [their] governments and corporations,’ the story has a huge following. The public has a hunger to know what is going on, uncensored, behind the scenes. This allows individuals to make judgments for themselves about the issues, and enables journalists to do their job of adding context and informed comment. It may seem a big jump from reading how Americans see David
Cameron as a leader, or how the King of Saudi Arabia views the Iranian nuclear risk, to the news covered in the Regent newspaper. But in reality there are many similarities. Good journalism wherever it appears, can uncover truth, provoke action, breed community and stimulate discussion. The Regent seeks to do this by including stories that concern and celebrate the members of the community. Within the limits of the law, anyone can express their opinion and try to effect change. But while the paper is inevitably
praised by people who pick it up, the contribution by the students is far smaller than would be anticipated from such a truly international school of high-flyers. Is the amount of journalistic expression in opposite proportion to the freedom we have in our lives? Sometimes that’s how it seems. Perhaps what we need next is to find our own version of Wikileaks at Regent’s. That will surely get us writing in droves. Thanks go to all the contributors from this issue:
Jamin Felder and Veronika Ilinskaya Reporters: Jessica Paulsen, Tanya Sharkova, Victoria Gucci-Losio, Maria Alexandra Serrander, Eliza Macintosh, Annie Raff, Sheila Fey, Sarah Wiecek, Kevin Maxwell, Shannon Clark, Erin Hindalong, David Bolton, Max Kaplan, Zach Brengard, Valerie Kaneko-Lucas, Edouard-Henri Desforges, Vetra Davis, Dr. Ian Brown, Alan Sitkin, Katherine O’Kelly, Katie Bangs Photographers: Carmen Melo, Martin Casperson, Jason Pittock, Laura Wiecek
According to the Regent’s College website, for each credit hour you miss, you are costing your parents £400.” Thinking of sleeping in? Think again. p.4
Dunn on the run for charity
photo: Victoria Gucci-Losio
Carrie Dunn, lecturer in Journalism at Regent’s College, put on her racing shoes for the Royal Park’s half-marathon, in London’s Hyde Park, in October. Carrie supported the Bobby Moore Fund and the Alzheimer’s Society on the 13.1 mile course, as one of 13 thousand participants who raised £3 million for charity.
In a democracy you should not be consumers but regulators, and not just sit there and whinge.” Kate Adie
Regent’s rolls out refurbishments by Tanya Sharkova After months of using the temporary toilets outside the Tuke Building, Regent’s College students were finally rewarded with brand new lavatories in both Tuke and Herringham Hall. Featuring marble floors, glass doors and ample mirrors and lighting, Shahram Shojaey, EBS student remarked, “Now I can finally see what our tuition money is being spent on.” The first floor of the Tuke building has also been refurbished with new green and grey carpet, new lighting, repainted walls and new classroom doors. Everything looks very bright and brand new, though the other floors now look shabby in comparison. From Christmas onwards the rest of the Tuke building will be finished. The improvements came about as a result of student concerns expressed in the Student Survey carried out in the Spring, according to CEO Aldwyn Cooper, who described the other improvements taking place on campus at the Town Hall meeting in October. Space is one of students’ biggest concerns, according to the survey and with a new school and increased student numbers, the crush is being
photo: Carmen Melo
Students enjoy the luxurious new toilets, but worry about the lack of wi-fi network connections in some part of the campus. felt. The library, another source of student concern in the survey, was recently reconfigured, though the lack of free computers and study space is still proving a problem. To overcome this, the CEO said that any unused and available space in the college will be transformed into additional study space for students. The wireless network has been improved across the college, though it still seems to lack a connection in some of the rooms in the Tuke building and in the
back garden. This also seems to be the main problem for the T22 room where design modules take place. When students are given a task to research visual material for presentations, the lack of internet connection in the room makes this impossible. ‘The school got new toilets but they can’t improve WiFi,” one RBS student said, adding, “This is ridiculous!” In the future, the Tuke building, Tuke theatre and the rest of the lavatories will be refurbished, along
with whatever is needed during the mandatory four-year maintenance that is coming up soon . In addition, Cooper plans to upgrade the Botany building, with a design by Alan Short, a distinguished sustainability architect from Cambridge University, contracted to both enlarge and make the Botany building more environmentally friendly. In other development plans, new students at the London School of Film Media and Performance can expect a new television studio which will be located in Tuke basement. However, the establishment of this new school has raised additional space problems. “There is no space to breathe,” one LSFMP student complained. The space problem also affects the refectory and coffee shops. “We get five minute breaks and there just is not enough time to buy coffee,” said a girl in the queue outside the coffee shop. The College is looking at turning the Sports bar into a place where food and coffee will be available at any time. From next semester space should be less of a problem when Student Services, Housing and the Student Union move to the Conferencing Centre in the Acland Building.
Kate Adie regales students with tales from the front line of conflict by Philip Grey Veteran BBC correspondent Kate Adie launched the International Speakers Seminars at Regent’s College in September, describing the impact that technological advances have brought to the world of journalism. Speaking to a packed Tuke Common Room, the veteran of the Gulf War and conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Rwanda, China and Sierra Leone, contrasted the early pigeon-carried reports that had taken take days to make their way to a newspaper, with the way Twitter has made news instantaneous today. She recalled how in 1979, BBC reporters covering the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan struggled to find a satellite link using their bulky first-generation satellite dishes. Twenty-four years later, in 200, reporting on the
photo: Jason Pittock
Journalist Kate Adie, left, with RACL’s Yossi Mekelberg Bam earthquake in Iran, pictures were beamed out within just eight minutes. Recalling the obstructive Russian bureaucracy she faced just
to cover the 1988 Spitak earthquake in Armenia, Adie described how it took the crew five days to reach the site, thus preventing pictures of
the disaster that killed 27,000 ever reaching TV screens. Ordinary citizens have always been an important part of journalism, Adie said. “Reporters depend on local voices to build their stories,” and the media increasingly rely on ‘citizen journalists’ for photographs and video footage. In the 2005 London bombings, members of the public provided images well before news crews could get there, she said. Her concern, however, “is that verification and provenance should not be sacrificed in the rush to get a story out.” Despite having an unbelievable amount of information at our fingertips today, Adie warns, “there is an incredible amount of bullshit, particularly on the internet.” Journalists need to be “the educated and discriminating mind that filters through this rubbish.” She definitely sees a
future for journalists to perform this task, however her concern is that an increasingly busy public, preoccupied with games and leisure, will not find the time to support them. More worrying still is “the narrowing of coverage,” as newspapers and broadcasters seek to cut costs by laying-off journalists. Rounding off her hour-long presentation, delivered in true broadcast journalist style without the use of notes, Adie nailed her colours to the flag. Railing against American news imperialism, she said, “Fox are trouncing CNN because they are right wing fascists.” She went on to conclude that “passive audiences are a frightening thing,” advising the student audience in particular that “in a democracy you should not be consumers but regulators,” and “to not just sit there and whinge.”
Landing a job takes more than just luck by Veronika Ilinskaya The biggest desire of college graduates and students is to find work or internships with good companies. Recent graduates have found job searching particularly hard and many are still unemployed. For foreigners, there is even more competition for jobs. Even an unpaid internship is very complicated to find. Here two Regent’s College students, who were able to find the jobs they wanted and are happy to share their experiences and knowledge, give some advice to others on the lookout. Regent’s Business School student Ekaterina Dyukova got her first job working with an employment agency for a luxury market with a help of the college career services department. They advised her on her CV and cover letter, showing that everything should go on one page. She also attended a range of seminars to practice for job interviews. “Employees are looking for experienced workers and sometimes it is hard to find a job matching my criteria. I have applied for nine jobs, out of which three replied,” said Kate. She was offered work as a managing assistant in the upmarket London restaurant L’Anima. Ekaterina says that a combination of her natural skills and the help given by Regent’s college prepared her for the interviews. ”In my opinion the best thing in the interview is to
understand what the main interests of a particular firm are. You should also think, if you were them what kind of employee you’d be looking for. Being formal, punctual as well as relaxed but not too relaxed is very important as well.” Regent’s American College student Alexandra DeClaris also had an internship this summer, working for the fashion department at Tatler
Alex launched her ownby Victo business last year designing and selling handbags. Using the label ‘Alexandra DeClaris,’ the Regent’s college public relations student uses genuine exotic skins such as python and ostrich and sells them at a lower price than the designer retailers. Alex began with clutch bags and has now expanded to handbags and travel bags. At the moment, she has three offshore manufacturers in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Beijing that hand-make her designs, with the highest grade quality of exotic skins. One of the services she offers to customers is a bespoke bag, in which customers can choose what colour and exotic skin they want, and she has it made for them. “The most important factor in creating your own company is passion. As long as you believe in and enjoy what you are doing, you will be successful on many different levels,” she says. Alex has been marketing her bags in London, New York, and Los Angeles. ‘’I set up the company because I love exotic skin handbags, but high end designers sell them for at least £2,000 even though they use the same quality of skins. By outsourcing the bags myself I managed to cut the cost and sell the bags for a more reasonable price. Exotic skin handbags are always in style and are timeless pieces of fashion.”
getting it. “I think for the interview it is important to have a thorough understanding of what the company does and to do a sufficient amount of research on the job environment that is relevant to the company. Also, to bring at least five questions to show you are passionate and interested.” says Alex. Like Ekaterina, Alex went to Regent’s College seminars on
Kate Dyukove, left: “Being formal, punctual, as well as relaxed - but not too relaxed - is very important”
photos: Veronika Ilinskaya
Alexandra DeClaris, right: New young entrepreneur, with bags of confidence
magazine. Alex assisted on photo shoots, styling, and sourcing clothes from the designers. She has applied to numerous jobs and found the more she put more of an effort into getting a job, the better her chance of
interview practice. “I think I got the job because I was well prepared and very enthusiastic about being there. It emphasised the importance of the job to me, and how appreciative I was to get an interview.”
Thinking of sleeping in? Think again New attendance policy is a nightmare for some students as college gets tough on punctuality by Jamin Felder How many times have you woken up for your 9:00 am lecture, decided you were completely unmotivated and could get the notes from a friend, turned over, and went back to sleep? At Regent’s College, this is a common occurrence. However, according to the Regent’s College website, for each credit hour you miss, you are costing your parents £00. That’s right! Every time you hit the snooze button and decide that your time with your pillow will be more productive than your time in a classroom, your parents are doling out a substantial amount of money. You should get up for that lecture tomorrow, but the chances are still not good. So how can this attendance problem be solved? School officials have now taken
matters into their own hands by implementing a new policy that has caused an internal uproar at college. If your unauthorized absences approach 20 percent of your total classes, you will receive a warning email advising you of the situation and recommending you withdraw from the module. Any student arriving in class later than the scheduled start time will now be marked as absent. At the start of the class, some professors will fill out electronic attendance reports. With this system in place, students will no doubt be more inclined to attend classes that they previously believed were not being monitored with regard to student presence. A 2002 study called ‘Improving student attendance: does it improve student learning?’ showed a positive correlation between
student attendance and academic achievement. It found that the more frequently students attend classes, the more likely they are to be able to graduate after having a successful and engaged academic career. Regent’s American College London Director of Webster University Programmes Bill Lynch expressed his concern about late students. “Let’s say everyday someone is ten minutes late; that class can’t start because people are still strolling in. Class meets twice a week. There are 1 weeks of class. That’s 28 sessions. If you lose 10 minutes every session, that’s 280 minutes. That’s nearly two weeks of class. You pay for an educational experience that is valuable and we are here to give that to you.” Is this system fair to students?
While students are expected to attend, all classes they are enrolled in, some students believe that this new system may violate their
feel that the system is being used to treat college students like grade-schoolers. If other staff or faculty at Regent’s feels this way,
privacy and they are being treated as children instead of as decisionmaking college students. Since students and their families are paying for the classes anyway, should it not be the choice of the student if he or she wants to attend the class on a particular day? Emma Kazim, a student studying psychology at Regent’s College voiced her concern on the new policy. “I get it. An effective attendance policy helps the school, but I don’t think our teachers realize that we are adults and penalizing a student for being late is wrong, especially as I am paying for my education.” Students of Regent’s College
the system will not last. It remains to be seen if the system will motivate students to attend class, or simply motivate them to think of ways to challenge the newly implemented system. “Information about the attendance policy was actually firming up a policy that already existed and trying to ensure that the policy has been implemented with fairness to all students,” says Lynch. “I understand that students have been frustrated by the notion that attendance is taken at the beginning of class. In the real world you can’t walk into work late. We are paid to educate and that is what we are going to do.”
A good deal for international students by Victoria Gucci-Losio Many students would agree that Regent’s College has a lot more to offer them than a beautiful campus and fine brasserie. The scenic parks and green space surrounding Regent’s College are significantly different to the surroundings of other universities across London. But these are not the only factors that set Regent’s College apart from other universities. It’s widely believed that fees are significantly higher then those of any other academic institutions in the U.K. Foreign students pay less at British universities than they do at Regent’s College. For example, the yearly fees for a full time EU student this year at Imperial College, which attracts students from across the globe to its
excellent science, technology and medicine courses, is £3,290. This is significantly lower than what a student pays at a private university such as Regent’s. But for overseas students, the fee difference is much less. This year overseas students at Imperial College paid around £22. thousand in tuition, considerably more than Regent’s tuition fees. The state run London School of Economics (LSE) subsidises EU students by charging foreign students nearly four times as much for tuition. At LSE, overseas students pay only £700 less than students at Regent’s College: fees at LSE for non EU students are £13,680 compared to RACL’s: £12,170 + £70 one time fee. UK students pay £3,290. A student from Saudi Arabia said, “It actually works out cheaper for a non-UK student
to attend a private university, such as Regent’s, in comparison to any other university in other parts of the world.” However as LSE is a British institution, its undergraduate programs run for three years, while RACL, as an American degree course runs for four years. For three years an LSE degree will cost a student £41,09, including £19 UCAS fee, while RACL will cost £0,080, including £70 one time non EU fee, £300 alumni fee and £30 registration fee. LSE links its fees to inflation, which are expected to rise three to four percent each year. RACL recently raised its fees by four percent, to £470. The cost of the total degree programme works out to be cheaper per year at Regent’s College, but more expensive overall than a British university.
Dinner time: Imperial College’s refectory, left, and Regent’s College brasserie
photos: Victoria Gucci-Losio
photo: Maria Alexandra Serrander
Regent’s Hidden Places by Maria Alexandra Serrander Regent’s College offers students the opportunity to study in the exciting city of London while being surrounded by the beautiful environment of Regent’s Park. However, some students might not be aware that even inside the gates of college, there are more beautiful sights to see. Behind the main school building next to the Botany Building lies a small garden called the Botany Garden (above). More like a small “oasis,” students can come and relax, study, or just enjoy the small waterfall, colourful flower-filled beds, and a small pond with a fountain. The waterfall, or the “stream,” as the gardeners call it, has been restored to the garden this year after being buried for some time. It formed part of the landscaping when there was
a girls’ school on this site during Victorian times. Now, years later, the college’s gardeners decided to dig it up and remake it into its old shape. Another special place, also behind the main building, is Martine Magnussen’s tree. Planted at the beginning of last summer, it is dedicated to the Norwegian EBS student killed in 2008, while studying at the college. Here, students can come with their grief or simply sit and think in peace on one of the benches placed close by the tree. The last secret hide-away in the garden is close to the college’s car park entrance. Behind the bushes and the tall white flowers, past the old wooden bridge, lies a quiet place right by the water, where students can enjoy the wonderful sights of Regent’s Park as well as the green of the college.
No matter how good students are, they inevitably miss some classes The Regent asked a cross-section of students what their opinions of the new attendance policy are.
Interviews and photographs by Veronika Ilinskaya
Azat Niyazov, Turkmenistan, RACL
Armen Alaverdyan, Armenia, RACL
“It’s right from one point. However it doesn’t have to be so strict with the attendance.”
“The classes that start early in the morning (e.g. 9:00 a.m. ones) – the policy shouldn’t be applied to. In the afternoon we are fine to manage to come to the lectures. It used to be tough, now it’s even tougher.”
Masaru Kaga, Switzerland, RACL
Katharina, Germany, RACL
“I think it’s not good – it’s rather de-motivating, because people who really want to achieve something they will come to the classes. This policy should only apply to courses which need participation, where it makes the grade (e.g. acting).”
“I’m a really ambitious student, but I’m an adult and I have more obligations then the college only. I’m responsible to myself to pick up the material which I’ve missed. University is still there to build up an ability to manage yourself. It’s not a system of a university how it should be. It forces negative impact on my sense of ambition.”
Features It’s all in la bise by Eliza Mackintosh What’s in a kiss? In Europe it’s just a way of saying hello. Where greetings in America consist of a wave, firm handshake and the occasional friendly hug, Europeans on the whole will greet you with a series of kisses. The most common name for the air kiss is “la bise.” It is not really a
kiss, but a French kiss… and not the kind with tongue. It’s an air kiss, placed swiftly on each cheek, but never on the lips. Unlike in the US, cheek kissing in Europe is not necessarily a romantic or flirtatious gesture, but it is far more enchanting than a wave, or the courteous, but notoriously awkward hug. However, there is some
College students cool on clubs disagreement over the number of kisses to give. Although in France the accepted procedure is two kisses, travel a few hours north to the Netherlands and you will find yourself dodging a third. The manoeuvre of air kissing can be quite tricky and potentially dangerous. It is extremely easy to misread the type of bise you’re about to receive.
A quick guide to performing the bise correctly ONE KISS England Standard practice for the English is one kiss in greeting. In notes and texts you will often see X instead of XOXO as a signature, which is indicative of the amount of kisses. Among British socialites, and fashionistas, two kisses are generally accepted. Londoner Natasha Lipman says: “I always double cheek kissed, but when I moved to a Jewish school it was a one cheek kiss. It just depends on the group of people you’re with” Belgium The bise in Belgium consists of one kiss if the members of the exchange are the same age, but three if the greeting is with someone older in order to show respect. Unless it’s an old friend, men usually just shake hands. TWO KISSES France “On fait la bise” (we do the doublecheek air kiss). “In France generally you shake hands between men, but with
women, among people your age and also with older people you respect, you bise,” says RACL student, Sebastian Totté of Nice, France. Spain In Spain, a cheek kiss is called un beso. On the whole, the Spanish stick to two kisses, usually starting on the right cheek. “I prefer shaking hands because I think kissing cheeks is too personal. I hate that… people touching me that I don’t know and being very close, but in Spain that’s what you do,” says study abroad EBS student Pablo Majó Boter from Barcelona. “Here, in London I shake hands… sometimes I’ll go to shake hands and the girl pulls me in for a kiss. I don’t like that.” Italy Forget everything you’ve learned about the bise. There are no rules. For close friends or family the number is completely optional and in many cases the kiss might land on the lips. Men kiss women, women kiss women, and men kiss men. There is no standard on which cheek to kiss first, but don’t be concerned, the Italian’s are
simply being friendly. They just want to kiss you…let them. If all else fails, laugh. It is easy for miscommunication to occur in an international setting. You won’t offend anyone by being misinformed as long as you have a good attitude about it. No one is going to blame you for not knowing something so trivial as the appropriate number of air kisses. And there’s always the age-old excuse… “Well, I’m American.” THREE OR MORE KISSES The Netherlands Like Belgium and Switzerland, and some areas in France, a greeting consists of three consecutive kisses in the Netherlands. The general rule is three kisses, but with older people and with men specifically, we do a handshake, says RACL student Stephanie Valerie Peels, originally from Holland. “It’s the worst when I go in for the third kiss and the other person is just standing there like… what? Then I think to myself, oh, well I guess that’s only in my country.”
photos: Martin Caspersen
by Jamin Felder Many at Regent’s College would agree that student involvement is pretty negligible. At my home campus in Albany, NY, I show my school spirit through involvement in a wide variety of student clubs and organizations such as the ALANA. mentoring program, where I am given the opportunity to mentor incoming students for the school year. I do this to share my club experience with new students and those at the college already. I wanted to join a club or group at Regent’s during my study abroad semester in order to meet people of different backgrounds. However, the lack of social involvement and interest expressed by the Regent’s College Student Union directly deprives study abroad students of the chance for making contact with other students. Cristalle Hayes, a student studying psychotherapy at Regent’s College posted a question on Regent’s College Facebook group asking if there were any clubs geared toward the LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender) community. An RC administrator responded that there was currently no LGBT society, however she could contact the Student Union to get help. My question is how would we know that there is a Student Union? All you hear or see of them is merely through advertisements on notice boards throughout the school. I did see a posting for an election, but why would I, as a study abroad vote? What kind of social bureaucracy would the elected official control without any real socializing taking place? However, one student club that’s active at the college is SIFE (Student in Free Enterprise). SIFE is a global non-profit organization that develops sustainable services through advertising. Their aim is to inspire others with business projects and focus on development of marketing, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and social responsibilities, with an emphasis on respect, integrity and intercultural understanding. They are dedicated to helping educate the community by teaching people the skills needed to succeed in the professional world. Thibaud Hartwig Holmgren, President of S.I.F.E at Regent’s stated, “No one is aware of student club activities– it takes conventional marketing strategies
that no one cares about, it has to be in your face, which is something the school is lacking. Last semester there was no Student Union, because there were problems within the operation. They are currently building up their organisation, and what I seem to know is they are improving and actually have an agenda and want to be the voice of the students, although they have some issues with their credibility due to the lack of improvement. We need to have driven students that actually want to do something. I truly believe that there are people here who want to help.” The impact of a study abroad experience is clearly dynamic and far-reaching. Through the study abroad experience, students should be able to understand different cultures they encounter. “I thought part of being abroad was to interact with other international students – most of the time I find myself interacting with the Americans who are studying abroad as well. If there were clubs on campus, maybe I would feel a bit more fulfilled,” said RACL student, Joerelle Bennett. Though there is not a strong Student Union, Regent’s College has a developed student services, which are here on campus to enhance student experience. Regarding clubs on campus, Frank Siegmund, head of Student Services stated, “These things need a certain time to gain momentum. We can try to provide as much as we possibly can. At the moment things are up in the air. But hopefully once its all is sorted out then things will be found. With the study abroad students we have to recognize that whenever something is organized they are not here. Students respond much better to peers, in that sense we need to probably make more of an effort from our point.” Regent’s College historically has been fragmented into different colleges, however, despite now being joined under the Regent’s College umbrella; it is taking time to feel unified. “We are trying to find common interest and still have continuity so that across the school within the college there is more interaction, there is more learning and more opportunities just to meet each other and find common interest across different educational and disciplinary perspectives,” added Regent’s College Director of Webster University Programs Bill Lynch.
Here, in London I shake hands… sometimes I’ll go to shake hands and the girl pulls me in for a kiss. I don’t like that.” It’s all in la bise
Holiday cheer, winter fear
Just met Cheryl Cole in the condiments aisle!!” The Facebook generation
The Facebook generation “Jenny is seriously regretting that final sambucca shot she had last night!”
by Jamin Felder I know it was only months ago that I was wishing for a white Christmas and snow angels, but with December fast approaching and my abroad experience coming to an end, I am ready to say bye-bye to Old Man Winter. This week went from warm fall, to freezing winter, bringing flu back to campus and sending many of us back to a health centre that is not even located on campus, which is the last place anyone wants to be! This whole freezing thing really makes me laugh. Especially because all the “residents of London” probably think it’s a beautiful winter. Let me tell you, I’ve been waiting for the sun to shine on my face since the day I got off the plane. I remember the day I arrived on 2 September. I was greeted with drops of rain and a dark cloud that could kill. I arrived at Regent’s College London with a list of things I wanted to do and see – and expected days of warm sun, as it was still early September. In NYC that means it’s still in the low or mid 80’s. The next few weeks in September came and went, but the rain stayed. How could something so natural, leave me in a dark-minded state, blinded by the dark clouds. One day it was partially sunny and the next day the sun was hidden completely; it was all so confusing. I was promised three months of summer and to my surprise I received only two. What went wrong? How could I make it come back… even just for a weekend? Everyone who visits London knows the weather is not pleasant and mostly rainy! But, I did not anticipate that the next 10 days would be filled with freezing temperatures and rain-soaked weekends. There’s a different kind
of cold here; it may look like fall, but don’t let the red and orange leaves deceive you. Meanwhile we study abroad students, who are heading back north, know it is a sign that our lives are going to be miserable for the next few months. Rain slows everything down, the buses, traffic, stores, but not school. Come rain or come shine, we are expected to haul our tired asses up to campus. And to be honest it’s really starting to get to me. After all isn’t this study abroad? Not study climate change! Upon leaving my room, I always ask myself: why are the windows always open in this college? – It’s freezing. If we pay to come here, then I think we should get a say on whether spending a half hour coming to school, for some class, during a transit strike is worth it. Most of the student population would say it’s not. Although it may seem that it is a discomfort, I thoroughly embrace this new climate because it reminds me that I am truly in a different place. I try and embrace the new weather in hopes of passively becoming a Londoner. It also doesn’t help to come home to find loads of homework that has to be handed in. However, no matter how much I or any other student bitches about the weather, most of us actually will be going to a colder climate for the holidays. Spain and Argentina seem to be popular hot spots to vacation to for fall break, but not for me. London I’m sure could cater to every profession, but they just cut student budgets, so even though I’m now here, there is no reason for me to stay. That’s why I’m keeping my frozen, cranky butt in New York. New York is six hours south, and obviously suffers worse in the snow than London, but I won’t be relying on buses and an unreliable Tube system. Amen to the NYC MTA.
Gay social for students For those of you who are interested, a LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) social is being held on Thursday 9 December at The Edge, 11 Soho Square, London W1D 3QF from 8pm onwards. The Edge is a Central London bar with a relaxed atmosphere, just off Oxford Street. It’ll be an opportunity to meet others from college, in a comfortable environment and establish if there are any specific needs for LGB students at Regent’s. If you’re interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to look out for you on the night!
“Max is surfing the Argos website in pursuit of a toaster- any suggestions?” by Annie Raff Mundane as these tweet-esque facebook status updates may seem, they have come to define a generation. Gone are the days when we discussed last night’s gossip over a latte, now we are more than happy to forego the effort of speech and publicly broadcast our every move to anyone who happens to pass through our profile. It says a lot about the fast-paced society in which we live. Facebook is like our own version of BBC News 24, constantly updating and changing as life events take place. There is something so utterly cringeworthy, though, about plastering one’s innermost thoughts and hourly arrangements all over the internet. It is a constant and candid search for approval. In an ever insecure and image obsessed society, we need others to tell us that the way we live our lives is acceptable. Self-affirmation is no longer enough. The ‘like’ application introduced to Facebook this year - essentially a virtual thumbs up - is a prime example of this. What makes me even more uncomfortable is the idea that I know the intricate details of the day-to-day life of someone who I have met only once, or to whom I have not spoken since I had milk teeth. A friend was recently telling me (in person, not on instant messenger) about a girl she had known in secondary school who added her on Facebook ten years after they left. They had not spoken during this time nor had they been particularly close in the first place. But now, my friend says, she knows everything about this woman’s life from the fact that she lives in Australia to what she eats for breakfast. I can think of few things more embarrassing than meeting someone for the first time in a decade and knowing more about their everyday life than their own mother (assuming she is not on Facebook).
I myself was a casualty of the omniscience that Facebook grants mere mortals. I innocently posted a proposal on a friend of a friend’s wall that we meet up for coffee. Unbeknownst to me, the original friend had obviously seen my wall post, been outraged that her two separate friends could be meeting up on their own, and decided to gatecrash the occasion (we stupidly posted details). What followed was one of the more embarrassing moments of my life, especially as it
could have been so easily avoided. Word of advice; don’t make precise arrangements i.e dates and times, for all to see. After this episode I decided to make a stand against Facebook; I would not give in to the bluey tones of its welcome screen for a whole week. It worked... largely. I must concede that I did find myself unable to resist checking my junk mail (to which I direct all my Facebook notifications) every time I logged in to my e-mails, just to make sure there was nothing absolutely urgent that needed my attention. Of course there was not. Any plans I make with people are made by text if not by actually speaking to each other down the telephone, despite the risks of awkward silences and parents picking up in the other room. There is, however, a more serious point about the openness that we are encouraging on social networking sites. If we want people to share exactly how they are feeling, we must be prepared for those who are not feeling fine and dandy all the time. I recently encountered an
unfortunate incident in which a boy who went to primary school with me (and to whom I had not spoken since the age of 11) kept updating his status with harrowing proclamations of depression and self harm. I could not help but want to reach out to this person and offer him a cyber shoulder to cry on. It’s all very well writing “Just met Cheryl Cole in the condiments aisle!!”, to let the world know when you’ve spotted a celeb in Tesco. But when these declarations are of a more sombre, indeed worrying nature, how - as onlookers - should we respond? Do we take them seriously, see them as a cry for help and a sign that action must be taken? Or do we simply ignore them and presume that people have support networks in the real world where they can talk through, rather than type out their worries? Readers may recall that prior to the suicide of fashion designer Alexander McQueen he posted tweets implicit of his poor mental state. Does the online community therefore shoulder some responsibility for not preventing the outcome? It is easy to be mistrustful of the social networking phenomenon, saying that things would be better if they ‘just went back to the way they were.’ But not only is this view unrealistic, it also ignores the benefits of Facebook: primarily that it’s a whole lot cheaper than keeping in touch by phone, especially with those who live abroad. What I am suggesting is that perhaps, just like we should think before we speak, maybe we should think before we type. The whole point of the internet is that people cannot be censored, they have a right to publish whatever they like and I am by no means saying that this right should be removed. All I am suggesting is that the ‘all-knowing culture’ engendered by Facebook and Twitter comes at a price. We must recognise both the advantages but also the fallouts of knowing everybody else’s business and everybody else knowing ours.
Giolliti, which opened in 1900 boasts ‘the widest selection of gelato in Italy’.”
Veni, Vidi, Italia
With the crowds gone, autumn is the perfect time to experience the glories of Italy’s three main tourist destinations. Words and pictures: Sheila Fey
Florence: The breathtaking view from the Piazzale Michelangelo The leaves are changing, the weather is taking a turn for the worse, and finals are rapidly approaching. What is a college student to do to escape the dreary winter months in London? The answer is easy: hop on a plane and take a trip to Italy. Italy is a relatively small country but is home to beauty, history, and adventure, not to mention warmer weather than wintery London, with the average temperature staying above 15 degrees Celsius. Spending seven days here is the perfect way to get away from school and take in a new culture, new sights, and new foods. As it is winter, there will not be hordes of tourists milling around with backpacks and baby carriages, so you can get a better feel for the city instead of constantly elbowing fellow tourists in order to see the countless attractions. To begin, book a flight to Venice, as it is normally less expensive than flying to smaller airports like Naples or more popular ones such as Rome Ciampino. Venice is a beautiful, ancient city made up of 117 islands which are connected by countless footbridges. The narrow cobblestone streets are flanked by tiny shops selling beautiful Murano
hand-blown glass made on one of the other islands in the Venice lagoon. A particularly inexpensive hotel located just a five minute walk from the water bus stop Santa Maria del Giglio and Venice’s famous Piazza San Marco, is Hotel y Residenza San Maurizio. It is a picturesque, peachcolored Venetian building with a tile walkway leading up to the
Venice are all within walking distance from the hotel. Caffè Florian, the oldest cafe in Italy; St. Mark’s Basilica, which is especially interesting to see when its entrance is underwater during high tides; and the oldest bridge in Venice, Ponte de Rialto, which holds dozens of shops and gelaterias. One won’t find any TGI Fridays or Wagamamas here in
Venice: Looking down the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge door. The rooms and bathrooms are clean, and a complimentary breakfast is served every morning until 10:30 am. The must-see attractions in
Venice; instead, expect to dine at small, intimate Italian restaurants. One in particular, Ristorante San Stefano, serves the “Best Lasagna in Venice,” and has a cozy atmosphere
mountains and vineyards.
Finally, one cannot possibly visit the city on water without taking a ride in an authentic Venetian gondola. Most gondoliers will charge about 0 euros per boat for a 90 minute ride through the canals. Do not let them charge you per person - inexperienced tourists who have neglected to do their homework on the matter are often significantly overcharged. Alternatively purchase a ticket for a walking tour through the tourism office in Piazza San Marco for 35 euros which will give you an 0 minute walking tour of the city followed by a 40 minute gondola ride. This tends to be a better deal, as you get an informative tour of the city before your relaxing journey through the canals. The small city of Venice can easily be toured in two days, so pack your bags and hop on a 120 minute, 40 euro train ride to the city of Florence. An inexpensive hostel, conveniently located only a ten minute walk from the train station, is Hostel Veronique. The hostel itself is quite small but inexpensive, clean and in a great location. Directly across the street is one of the larger leather markets in the city, selling coats, bags, wallets and any other authentic Italian leather goods one may desire. Although renowned for its leather markets, one must also take the time to see the Duomo, the medieval cathedral and baptistry in the centre of the city that towers above everything else and the Accademia Gallery in which Michelangelo’s famous David stands 17 feet tall. Ponte Veccio, meaning old bridge in Italian, is the oldest bridge in the city where a snapshot with the river and mountains in the background is a must. Make sure to set aside some time (as well as a full picnic basket) to venture outside the city walls to Piazzale Michelangelo, above which is a beautiful medieval church from which you can see the city of Florence in its entirety. It is a magnificent sight and you can spend hours relaxing and simply taking in the city as well as the surrounding
Next, hop on another train for about three hours to Italy’s capital city, Rome. Rome is biggest and busiest of the three cities on the itinerary, so give yourself an extra day here to ensure you get to see at least the main attractions. The Trevi Fountain is a must-see and is more majestic in real life than in the movies; just don’t forget to bring a lucky penny to make your wish along with the countless other tourists there. The Pantheon is located five minutes away and is quite impressive with its architecture and sculptures dating back to 126 AD. Of course, no trip to Rome is complete without a tour of the Colosseum and the ancient ruins next to it. Do not, however,
Rome: The Colosseum book tickets for a tour beforehand; instead, look for the guides outside offering discounted tours of the ruins and Colosseum and fast entry - you get to skip the line and pay only 22 euros for both tours as opposed to 25 for the Colosseum on its own. The same is true for the Vatican and its museum. What kind of tour of Italy is complete without a visit to Rome’s best ice cream shop, Giolliti, which opened in 1900 and boasts “the widest selection of gelato in Italy.” The shop is quite reasonably priced, and entertaining, as the men serving the gelato whip scoops, cones, and ice cream back and forth in such fluid, expert movements it is clear they have had a lot of experience. Keep in mind that winter is a perfect time to see historic Italy because rates are low and availability is high. Take advantage of winter’s downtempo to get the most of this exciting country.
Avoid wearing a coat in winter if you are going out clubbing... Geordies pride themselves on their stout constitutions.”
Sell us your city: Newcastle We can all open a guidebook or consult Wikipedia, but often the best source of information about a place comes from someone who calls that place home. This edition, we are looking at Newcastle upon Tyne with HASS Academic Administrator and native Geordie, Katy Bangs.
When I made it to Llandeilo I was grinning like a Cheshire cat who had just discovered a bowl full of mice doused in double-cream.”
A Landilo by any other name Admissions Officer for SPCP, Sarah Więcek travels to the wilds of Wales in search of her hometown’s namesake ‘inconsequential’ that I found this trip so thrilling, or whether I
Newcastle is a city on the River Tyne in the Northeast of England. Awarded third place in Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice Competition for Best European Nightlife (only losing out to London and Berlin), it is renowned for its stunning Quayside area, historic sites and sing-songaccented locals. Katy was born and raised in the city, and has also lived in Canada and Australia. She moved to London in 2008.
Newcastle’s famed quayside, and some of it’s seven bridges
TO EAT & DRINK
1. First up, Katy highly recommends visiting the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. A mini Tate Modern in the heart of Newcastle, it hosts a diverse, dynamic and ever-changing array of contemporary art (there is no permanent collection). Admission is free, and there is a restaurant at the top with breathtaking panoramic views over the city. South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3BA.
1. Katy recommends trying out Newcastle’s own brew, Newcastle Brown Ale (‘Broon’ for short). Apparently you must have it in a half-pint glass rather than a fullpint glass, because you don’t lose the froth if you’re topping up more frequently. It’s a Geordie tradition to drink it this way, but Katy says she still gets a laugh out of seeing big burly blokes sipping out of halfpint glasses.
2. In Summer, head to Tynemouth Long Sands Beach. Charles Dickens visited the beach and wrote about its beauty back in 1867, and since then little has changed. It is still a ‘blue flag beach’ (one of the cleanest in Britain) and is a perfect destination for surfers, hosting surfing championships every year.
2. Another must-try is a Stottie. A Stottie is a big, soft, thick, flatbread bun packed with deliciously warm and wintry fillings (most commonly ham and pease pudding). The term ‘Stottie’ comes from the Geordie term ‘stott’, meaning ‘to bounce’. However, Katy warns that this refers mainly to the springy texture of the bread and not how sprightly you will feel after eating it: Stotties can be as big as dinner plates.
3. Visit the castle that gave ‘Newcastle’ its name: the Castle Keep. Originally a Roman fort, the stone version was built between 1172 and 1177 by King Henry II on the site of the ‘new castle’ – a wooden motte-and-bailey (mound and courtyard) style construction built in 1080. Nee way man, it’s only £4 to get in! Castle Keep, NE1 1RQ.
3. Newcastle has a huge number of bars and pubs to choose from, but Katy recommends Mr Lynch. A popular student destination, it has colourful 160s-themed décor and an
A hallmark of imperialism and colonialism is the scattering of matching place-names across the globe. There’s a London in Canada, a Birmingham in the USA and an Oxford in New Zealand. Richmond can be found in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, New Zealand, the USA, Australia and Canada. With Regent’s College’s large international student body, chances are some of us will have a ‘twin city’ to visit. And, visiting a matching town where ever you are can be well worth the journey. Last weekend I went to a place completely new and yet familiar to me. It was a town I grew up in, and yet I had never been there before. All of the houses and the shops and the signs filled me with nostalgia, yet the memories they brought back were based somewhere entirely different. Confused? Let me wash away the incredible shroud of mystery that is certainly encircling your mind after these Sherlock-stumping sentences and tell you: I visited Llandeilo in South Wales, and I grew up in Llandilo, New South Wales. Much as I love unique tonguetwistery Australian towns like Woolloomooloo, Coonabarabran and
Murwillumbah, I spent the first 20 odd years of my life in a tiny Welshnamed suburb best known for being on the way to somewhere else. People in neighbouring Penrith and Windsor, perhaps with a whiff of English derision, claim never to have heard of the place. I guess you’d call it a ‘one horse town’, but for the fact that horses probably outnumber people in Llandilo. All we have is a fruit and vegetable shop, a post office, a school, a volunteer fire brigade, a fish and chip shop and a Christmas tree farm. There’s also a little church and a little hall which you can rent for your next square dance (call Maud on 7774 3287 to book, but not at 4 o’clock because she’ll be out feeding the horses then). This sounds like rather a lot, but when you consider that footpaths in Llandilo are rarer than caterpillars wearing gumboots, and that the entire population of Llandilo can probably fit into the hall and still have room to practice their latest hula-hooping routines, that should give you a clearer indication of its size. It’s hard to say whether it’s because Llandilo is so
would have been excited even if my hometown was a bustling metropolis, but when I made it to Llandeilo I was grinning like a Cheshire cat who had just discovered a bowl full of mice doused in double-cream. Of course I’ve made comparisons between places I’ve visited before, but nothing like this. Absolutely everything my eyes fell upon sparkled with twincitied enchantment: the flowers on the street became flowers I was seeing in Llandeilo, the car parked on the side of the road became a car parked in Llandeilo, the delicious wild blackberry I ate off a bush carried far more meaning than it would have anywhere else: ‘I am eating a blackberry that grew in Llandeilo!’ Before arriving, I had already learned that, just as ‘Wales’ is pronounced differently by Welsh people (they give it two syllables so it comes out as ‘Way-yels’), ‘Llandeilo’ is not the smoothsounding Australian ‘Landilo’, but is pronounced with a generous injection of phlegm. Llandeilo in Wales is still semi-rural, but it actually has far more to its name than its Australian offspring. This meant that apart from smiling at the flowers, cars and blackberries, I could delight myself even further by noticing: Llandeilo has a bank! Llandeilo has cafés! Llandeilo has a town hall! And, bizarrely, Llandeilo has a luxurious boutique hotel? I’m never usually one for touristy knick-knacks, but here I wanted to buy anything and everything with ‘Llandeilo’ emblazoned on it. We went into a cookwares store (Llandeilo has a cookwares store!) and explained to the shopkeepers that I was looking for something ‘made in Llandeilo’ because I’d come all the way from the other Llandilo in New South Wales, Australia. And, would you believe it, not only had the two shopkeepers been to Llandilo in NSW, they actually got engaged there. They were British, but lived for a time in Richmond, which is just up the road from Llandilo. Unfortunately they didn’t have anything made in Llandeilo, but they did
And remember don’t be great, be fabulous, always!” William Carbury
My night as Elton Shannon meets her namesake by Shannon Clark
All that glitters is William Carbury by Eliza Mackintosh “My foot hadn’t even touched the pavement outside London’s Shadow Lounge club when I was bombarded with screams of, ‘Elton John!’” William Carbury recounts. Just moments earlier, the Elton John look-a-like was riding with friends in a rented Bentley, unaware of what the night ahead would bring. Decked out in a white tuxedo with gold crystal buttons, braided epaulets, pink neon wire lighting which gave the jacket an extra buzz - and 1920’s glittering brooches, Carbury, a.k.a. Glitterboy 2000, was instantly transformed into a star for the evening. William Carbury has insight into something the average person rarely experiences - fame. The UK native works in Regent’s College at the front desk of Reid Hall student residency. He loves wearing anything that sparkles and stands out on a drab London night. According to Carbury, anyone can be sensational - it’s all about your attitude. One of his favourite sayings is, “And remember don’t be great, be fabulous, always!” Being fabulous, he has realised, is no easy job. His experience as Elton John for the evening was a shocking transformation into celebrity. Carbury recalls descending the steps to the dance floor, and the crowd parting like the Red Sea. “A woman jumped on top of me, saying Elton… Elton I have to tell you something!” The woman was Su Pollard, a comedian who appeared in the 1980’s British sitcom Hi-DeHi! A celebrity herself, she was still
completely convinced that Carbury was actually Elton John. The bouncers ushered Carbury through the mass of people and behind a curtain of black fabric into the world of VIPs. Champagne popped, glasses clinked, and glamorous people chattered. The legendary night carried on and Carbury danced with a Vogue model until 5:45am finally, being sent home in a pink limo at the end of the evening. Carbury’s glimpse into the VIP lifestyle spurred his desire to attend the Elton John ‘Out of the Closet III’ rummage sale, at which he purchased shirts, shoes, and jumpers once worn by celebrities such as Eric Clapton and Elton John himself. Events like this make it possible to dress like an icon and even wear their clothes! He went to the sale, “looking for a little piece of glitter,” but what he got was another 15 minutes of fame. After being interviewed by 17 different news networks while waiting in line, he was dubbed Elton’s number-one fan. Carbury’s designer duds have only added to the attention he receives, but none of this has gone to his head. Much of the attire he purchased has since been auctioned to support cancer charities such as Race for Life. Carbury knew he wouldn’t wear the items forever and wanted to do something to benefit others with them. He says it’s important to maintain perspective regarding fame. From his time in the spotlight, Carbury has discovered that celebrities really are - just like us.
Midterm break was right around the corner and I thought it would be a great opportunity to visit Hungary, a beautiful country that I hadn’t been to for many years. But more than seeing famous castles and monuments, there was a very special person I wanted to meet there. It had been over a decade since I last saw my Hungarian ‘sister’. The last time was 6,000 miles away and 15 years ago in California, so this visit was long overdue, and I desperately needed to go. Last month I finally had the privilege to visit my Hungarian ‘family’ on a trip to Budapest. It was an emotional but joyful meeting that brought full circle a relationship that began when I was just a young girl. In my own family, it had always been just the three of us, my mother, sister and me. My parents divorced shortly after my first birthday and I never really saw my father much. We barely had any relatives around since they all lived in Ecuador. My mother wanted
Magdi, right, enjoys a reunion dinner with the two Shannons, and younger daughter Florence to raise my sister and me with multiple cultures and open our eyes to other worlds, so she began hosting international students at our home in San Francisco. It is now almost 25 years since the day my mother began inviting international students to live with us. Many have stayed in our hearts and grown to be a part of our family, but only one woman has truly touched our hearts forever.
profile: Luke Jno Charles
Magdi came from Hungary and lived with us when I was about six years old. She was always tagging along and joining us on family gatherings. She adapted very quickly and seemed to really enjoy herself; however a couple of times my mom found Magdi crying while she held me. One night, my mom asked her what was wrong and finally Magdi
The life and soul of The Sports Bar
by Erin Hindalong Why would you want to search a cold city and empty your wallet if you could enjoy good value and a fun right on your doorstep? Hidden in the Regent’s College basement is the Sports Bar and Grill, where you can relax from studying, enjoy time with your mates, meet new ones, or finish off the night. Open Monday to Friday from 5:00pm to 11:00pm, the bar boasts karaoke, a games room, live sports, drinks, and food served until 10:30pm.
The Bar’s hidden treasure is the bartender himself, Luke Jno Charles. “He is the sports bar,” says Danielle Dixon, a study abroad student here at Regent’s. Students describe Luke as sassy, vibrant, savoury, and energetic. Luke comes from France, but moved to London for a change of scenery. Formerly a chef, he says he wanted “a life,” and found this was a more exciting opportunity. Dressed in a sombrero for the Spirit of Mexico theme night, he responded to the
photo: Erin Hindalong
request for an interview by saying, “Only if you take a tequila shot first.” Luke likes to encourage students to be brave. “Life is about being free with all fears aside. Take a bite out of life just like an apple and let the juices out,” he says. “Don’t be sheep, be wolves. Don’t wait for other people or care about what they think.”
So, next time you think you’re bored on campus, want some fun, or simply need to talk to someone, go pay Luke a visit. Events are always happening at the bar. As Luke says, “You’re the one who creates your own atmosphere,” so go visit the Sports Bar and Grill and make your own night happen.
Winter 2010 11
Just because you can’t see depression, doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. Remember depression kills, especially young men.”
Living with depression - you’re not alone by Kevin Maxwell
On 10 October, the UK celebrated World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise public awareness about mental health issues. This got me thinking - how much do we actually know about mental health at Regent’s College and the stigma that is attached to it? In June last year I was diagnosed with reactive depression, which developed as a result of my experience of racism and homophobia in my UK Public Sector career over the previous eight years. The whole experience was surreal for me. I had severe stomach pains and headaches after returning ary and from travelling in South East Asia out six and ended up at hospital. I thought I agging was going to be told I had malaria or mily something similar, but the next thing y I knew, my General Practitioner was y enjoy telling me I was severely depressed f times and unable to work. g while I thought at first that she had got mom it wrong and that depression didn’t happen to people like me. But she hadn’t and it did. It was this which led me to writing and being part of the first cohort of students at LSFMP, on
the MA Writing for Screen & Stage. It’s been a good way to express myself. I’ve been able to draw upon my life enriching experiences, which are the seedbed of all creative endeavour. For the past 18 months, I have been battling my mental illness, which brought me shame and embarrassment, while fighting for my rights as a mixed-race gay person. It has taken me a long time to realise that I shouldn’t have felt how I did and that depression is actually quite normal. More importantly, I now understand that my illness was brought on by the actions of others, so it wasn’t my fault. At least one in four people experiences a mental health issue at some time in their lives. That’s a quarter of the population – a quarter of the staff and students at Regent’s College. With the British winter fastapproaching and many students being away from their families and friends overseas, I want to send out a clear message: if you’re feeling low, you’re not alone and help is out there. Growing up, I always thought counsellors were for people who were weak, and couldn’t handle life;
I have been re-educated. Talking helps, it really does. I’ve had several counsellors, not because I’m picky, but because it’s about finding the
right one for you, someone you connect with and who understands you. Talking can help you feel better, believe me. Through counselling, I’ve found the courage to stand up for myself and be heard; it’s the only way things will change. It’s important that when things are not fair, that we challenge these and
empower ourselves. Regent’s College actually offers eight ‘free’ counselling sessions to staff and students at the InnerCircle Therapy Centre, which you can contact directly. Philippa Goldsmith, the college’s Disability Officer, is another great source for help and advice and she has an ‘open door’ policy, and naturally everything you discuss with her is confidential. In September, the college held a lunchtime seminar on Raising Awareness of depression. What surprised me wasn’t that I was the only student at it, but that all of the staff there were present because they wanted to help their students and colleagues who they suspect may be depressed or wanted to look out for the signs. A female staff member told me over coffee, that it would be unfair to say that depression isn’t really discussed at the college, as, despite being depressed herself, she has never raised it amongst her colleagues. Depression, she says is however still ‘taboo’ in society and I couldn’t agree with her more None of us knows which of our fellow students
or colleagues are depressed, so it’s important that we don’t stigmatise the illness, which may prevent someone from seeking help. There is no sign around a depressed person’s neck and as the staff member tells me, you probably couldn’t pick the depressed person out from a line-up. There isn’t a typical ‘depression profile,’ although there are some signs of what to look for if you think somebody you know is suffering; they include not sleeping, not eating and low self-esteem. However, some people hide depression exceptionally well. I carried on doing an important public job, never taking a day’s sickness in over eight years, with a good family life and friends, yet it affected me. Because of this, offering more seminars on depression and other mental health conditions would be a great start at Regent’s, but at times when staff and students can attend. Regent’s needs to continue being at the forefront of mental health awareness in education, an emerging world leader. It’s sad but true that you
What ever happened to sport for sport’s sake? by Annie Raff Serena Williams recently admitted that her primary motivation for breaking a sweat on the tennis court is the knowledge that she will look good in a bikini on the beach as a result. Absurd, you might think. Indeed, on first hearing Williams’ sentiments I felt betrayed. The world’s number one female tennis player, amongst the top athletes in the world and very much an alternative role model to the Hollywood set, appeared to be just as superficial as the rest. Surely this woman, who, with her sister Venus, has devoted her life to tennis, who spent her youth practising under her father’s tutelage, must have more of a drive than the desire for a “good body.” It is telling of the society in which we live that it has come to this. Exercise and sport are no longer regarded as enjoyable activities in which to indulge our competitive nature. Rather, exercise is seen as
a means to an end; to attain J.Lo’s firm behind, to achieve Beyonce’s bootylicious curves. Take a look at any of the weekly celebrity gossip magazines. Many of them have a section devoted to ‘health’ or
the pole dancing classes they have undertaken in order to achieve this state of bodily bliss. And we are meant to emulate. Exercise is thus seen as a chore, something else we need to tick off on our checklist of
‘exercise’. In the vast majority of these sections, we see before and after photos of a previously podgy B-list celebrity who now looks borderline anorexic. Underneath we learn of the interval training, the weightlifting,
perfection in addition to diet, beauty products and fake tan. In all this, what we are forgetting is the intrinsic power of exercise. Not only does it keep us in better shape physically, it also benefits our mental
health. Not only does a regular walk in the park ensure that we can climb the stairs without panting, it also gives us the opportunity to clear our heads. Too much emphasis is put on to the visible effects of working out three times a week. What we fail to recognise, however, is what is best for our bodies. In her book ‘Bodies’, Susie Orbach addresses this issue exactly. Of our obsession with thin, she says that the body is “central because it is a vehicle to assert one’s place” in society. Our physicality is merely a way to conform to Western ideals of beauty. Our bodies are no longer our own. Rather they are inanimate objects which we try to preen and mould to society’s requirements. We have lost touch with our bodies. We go to the gym and vow not to leave until we have burnt off 500 calories. In doing so, we turn a blind eye to the individual needs of our bodies, be they to rest and be still or simply to stop when we are exhausted.
Emmie, a lawyer from London, concedes that she has to drag herself to the gym because she knows she will feel better for it afterwards. And of course, there is always the image of that bikini lingering in her mind. In my local gym in North London, responses are similar when I ask women their reasons for working out. Phoebe, a drama student, says that she exercises because of the physical and mental effects. “Don’t get me wrong, though” she adds, “the physical definitely comes first!” Government advice for exercise and healthy living is sensible; the NHS website offers examples of how to incorporate activity into one’s everyday life. The gym is not the only option. However, in the age of the media, where young women especially are influenced more by the tabloids than by government, when we are presented with images of seemingly goddess-like celebrities such
Are you an overseas student returning home for the holidays or after a period of study abroad? Why don’t you write something and send it to The Regent?
Two Years On: America barracks Obama by David J. Bolton Harold Wilson, who was lucky enough to be British Prime Minister twice, once remarked that a week was a long time in politics. If that is the case then two years must seem like an eternity for Barak Obama and the Democratic party. Swept to victory on a mandate of change with his slogan, “Yes We Can,” Obama tapped into the frustrations of ordinary Americans, disillusioned with the direction of the Republican Party into foreign disputes and a housing market whose foundations were found to be less than concrete. In Obama’s Brave New World, there would be affordable healthcare for all, climate change would be considered a serious scientific issue, the fat-cats of Wall Street would be brought to task for their profligate risk-taking and the innocents who were unlawfully detained would be given the chance to rebuild their lives. America would no longer be a country to be feared and loathed; the Land of the Free was going to start setting the standards again. When Obama was elected, I was in my last semester at Regent’s and was preparing to move to the USA. I had sold my flat, had identified that Boston was the place to be, ensured that my season ticket to Tottenham Hotspur would go to a good home
and starting reading up on the parts of US history that I was ignorant of. I wanted Obama to succeed, I believed that the US electorate had chosen a leader who would provide the impetus required to move the country out of the doldrums of recession (and allow me to get the job I wanted). Fast Forward to November 2010. The Democrats have just received what can only be described as a hiding in the mid-term elections; a conservative grassroots organization known as the Tea Party has sprung up and changed the political landscape, and the Republicans have managed to take back control of the House of Representatives. Sarah Palin has become a national cheerleader for Fox News and Obama has a noticeable sheen of grey in his hair. In the country, unemployment is just under 10 percent, and the national debt remains massive. The Climate Change Bill is dead in the waters of the Senate and healthcare reform, which was signed into law in March 2010, has been decried by many Americans as a failed liberal experiment – despite the fact that the majority of the bill won’t come into action until 2014. The war with the Taliban in Afghanistan continues to drain resources and whilst combat operations in Iraq have ceased, there is still a significant US presence in a country that still hasn’t elected a government. Just for good measure,
that small detention centre in Cuba, which Obama promised would be shut within a year of him taking office, still remains open. And although I have been working since I arrived here, the majority of the time has been spent learning more about what actually makes America tick and why. Two years after the champagne corks popped in Chicago, President Obama may only have another twenty-four
Somewhere along the line, America began to focus too much on spreading the word of free market capitalism months of living in the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue. Living in Boston, the historic New England town where independence was born and where America learned to stand on it’s own two feet and to make its voice heard over the clamour of other voices, I’ve learned about The American Dream. Millions of people seeking freedom from persecution and a better life came here, built the country into a superpower and watched as alternative ideologies faltered. The nation prospered, became an
influence in how the world was run and exported values that are still adhered to in certain parts of the globe. But somewhere along the line, America began to focus too much on spreading the word of free market capitalism and democratic process to notice what was happening at home. International pressures outweighed domestic requirements, and it is only when you travel across the nation that you see how a country that prides itself on an absence of a class system has actually managed to create one through the very values that made it a world leader. America is so large that the easiest way to travel across it is by using the Interstate network, a vast collection of interconnected highways that get you from A to B and then on to D, whilst ensuring that you don’t have to go through C. That’s the problem. C – smalltown America – is where the majority of Americans actually live. I have driven through smalltown America and seen boardedup businesses and homes, cruised through neighbourhoods that rely on Wal-Mart for their weekly shop, marvelled at gardens filled with rusting vehicles and filled my car with petrol in towns where an English accent is considered exotic. I have drunk Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, which proudly proclaims
that America runs on the stuff and thought to myself that if that is the case then the country is in more trouble than it thinks. I have seen signs offering flu shots for $30, watched as elderly gamblers steer their motorized Medicare-scooters through the slot machines in Las Vegas and stumbled across a London Routemaster Bus in Alabama that the owner had purchased on e-Bay. When Americans voted for change, they were expecting the country to become theirs again, to win back their jobs, their houses and to rediscover their American Dream. Obama made some big promises two years ago, most of which he has been unable to keep because those in opposition have ensured that their agenda is more important. Now he has become a scapegoat for this paralysis between the parties. Sometimes it is hard to believe that it is only two years since ‘Yes We Can’ became Actually, No We Can’t Because They Won’t Let Us. Don’t worry Obama; at least you had a job in the last two years. David J. Bolton graduated from RACL in 2009. Having moved to the U.S. he is trying his best to be a Brit4Hire in a tricky economy, having now fully embraced the world of blogging. He can be found debating the joys of Alien Residency on Limeyview @ http://davidjbolton. wordpress.com
Quidditch sweeps campuses around the world by Max Kaplan
and athletes alike.
Across America and across the world, a new sport is having the magical effect of wooing players away from their lacrosse, football and baseball games. The sport of Quidditch, which began in the pages of the Harry Potter series, has been adapted by American students for real-life play. In J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series, Quidditch is played with flying brooms and balls. With that limitation in mind, in 2005 students at Middlebury College in Vermont, devised a version of the game that mixes rugby, football, tag and dodgeball. The result is a full-contact, strategic sport designed for both Potter fanatics
The sport is played on handcrafted wood brooms far shorter than those used for cleaning, and uses Quidditch balls that include the Quaffle (a volleyball, used for scoring by the Chasers for ten points each); the Bludger (a dodgeball, used to “knock out” other players by Beaters); and the Golden Snitch, a trained runner and wrestler, rather than a ball, dressed in head-to-toe yellow. Players score goals by potting balls through rings, created from pipes and hula-hoops. With a tennis ball in a sock hanging from the back of his shorts, the Snitch has free reign anywhere on the pitch or
surrounding it. The object of each team’s Seeker is to grab the Snitch’s tennis ball to end the game and earn their team an additional 30 points, all the while surviving his take-down moves and superhuman speeds. He’s the wildcard of the game; his acrobatics, player-taunting, and costume make crowds cheer. Since its inception, over 400 colleges and 300 high schools have formed teams including UCL, Oxford University and Cambridge University, in addition to most American Ivy League universities. The International Quidditch Association, a nonprofit organisation with a board of directors made up entirely of current students or recent
graduates under the age of 24, oversees the league of teams and organizes the annual Quidditch World Cup. This year’s Quidditch World Cup, held 13-14 November in New York City, played host to nearly 50 teams, 800 athletes, and over 20,000 spectators. Major American television networks, including MTV, ESPN, CBS and NBC covered the event, in addition to broadcasters from German and Japanese television. It was the seventh most tweeted topic in New York City that weekend. A timely release of the seventh Harry Potter film worked in the event’s favour, but will the sport continue its popularity after the franchise has peaked? Its players
believe it will. “As long as Harry Potter is popular - and it still is, each generation is reading it - Quidditch is going to be here,” player Eliza Farrell told Time magazine. “People are going to accept it, and it’s going to be fabulous.” For more information visit www.internationalquidditch.org Max Kaplan was a 2010 study abroad at Regent’s College where he helped to produce The Regent newspaper. He attends Chestnut Hill College, where he edits The Griffin, the college newspaper. He is also the Social Media Director of the International Quidditch Association, a nonprofit organisation which oversees the league and raises funds for children’s literacy and health.
Winter 2010 13
I enjoyed every minute of my time with them. I think it is quite an achievement that they managed to learn and put together a half-an-hour Kècak in four days.” Ni Madé Pujawati
Friezing me art
LSFMP students learn Balinese dance moves
BA Acting & Global Theatre student Delroy Ogiste as Rahwana, the King of Demons by Valerie Kaneko-Lucas
behalf of the Frieze Art Fair Fund: five black and white silver gelatin prints and engraved plaques from American artist Lorna Simpson; and mixed media work from American Jimmie Dugham and Július Koller from Slovakia. While general admission charge was £25, anyone with student identification card paid just £15. If that was still too much, there was a sculpture park just outside the fair in Regent’s Park. However, the fair was well worth the admission, with over 170 galleries from around the world showing artists’ work. If you couldn’t make it this time round, there’s always next year, from 13-16 October.
Resplendent in black, white and red, actors from the BA Acting and Global Theatre course filled Herringham Hall for ‘The Abduction of Sita,’ the first theatre event of the new London School of Film, Media and Performance. The performance of Balinese Kècak tells a story from the Indian epic, The Ramayana of the noble Rama and his wife Sita, who pursue the Golden Deer, leading to a spectacular fight between Rahwana and Hanuman, the Monkey King. Kècak is a complex form of Balinese multi-layered vocal chant with a three-part interlocking structure: syncopated and unsyncopated. It acts at once as an orchestra, as a chorus and as actors on stage. The performance was the
culmination of the 2010 artist residency, where a master-teacher and practitioner is invited to work intensively with students. After studying Balinese theatre with LSFMP’s Dr. Margaret Coldiron, the young actors were taught by visiting artist, Ni Madé Pujawati, director of Balinese dance. The origins of Kècak are not entirely clear. The conventional account says that it was created in 1933 by the German artist Walter Spies for a film production of Insel der Dämonen (The Island of Demons) by his friend, the Prussian aristocrat, Victor von Plessen. According to the Balinese account, local villagers were trying to develop a dance for the emerging tourist market. Kècak disappeared at the end of the 1930s, and was only resurrected at the start of the 1970s, and has remained popular ever since.
Ni Madé Pujawati - known to her students as Puja - has been dancing ever since she can remember. She studied at the Indonesian Conservatory of Music before going on to graduate from the Indonesian Institute of Arts. In 2000, Ni Madé Pujawati moved to London, where she set up her own dance company, bringing dancers and musicians with her to teach and perform. She also brought over with her one of Bali’s most beautiful old gamelans. Ni Madé Pujawati is dancer-in-residence with the London-based Gamelan Lila Cita and a regular dancer with the South Bank Javanese gamelan. Puja was enthusiastic about her collaboration with Dr. Coldiron and the students: “I enjoyed every minute of my time with them. I think it is quite an achievement that they managed to learn and put together a half-an-hour Kècak in four days.”
class at the gym. If I didn’t manage this, I beat myself up and felt like I was on the way to losing my toned slender body. The irony is that the time when I felt most happy with my physicality was also the time when I felt the most out of touch with it. Although I could look in the mirror and know that I was ‘acceptable’ by society’s standards, it felt as though it was somebody else’s body I was looking at rather
than my own. As Orbach writes, “Our bodies need to become a place we live from rather than an aspiration always needing to be achieved.” This message was brought home to me one afternoon as I sat on a bench in Parliament Hill, overlooking the sights of London. I had been in the Hampstead Heath area and was due to meet some friends for dinner nearby an hour later. Rather than
go home, change in to my Sweaty Betty gear and go for a run (as I once would have), I decided to sit at a cafe. I happened to bump in to an old friend of mine from school who I had not seen for some years. We got chatting and decided to go for a walk on the Heath together. How brilliant, I thought, that one doesn’t have to designate a specific time slot to exercise but that we can incorporate activity in to our everyday lives, and
even enjoy it! Let me make clear that I am not advocating complete lethargy. I do believe it is important to make ourselves go for a swim every so often, even if we don’t feel like it, knowing that it will release endorphins and ensure a good night’s sleep. But it is the beliefs about why we do exercise that must change if we want to get back in touch with our bodies and look after ourselves.
photo: Zach Brengard
Taxidermy as art. David Shrigley’s plain speaking sculpture by Zach Brengard Each year since 2003, during the second week in October, the Frieze Art Fair visits Regent’s Park. The Fair features contemporary artwork from living artists. A temporary space is constructed to house the fair, which lets in an abundance of natural light, ideal for viewing art. This event now brings in over 60,000 visitors to the area including curators and collectors, gallery owners, agents and the general public. This year over one thousand artists from 29 different countries displayed their work. The Tate Collection bought new works on
as Cheryl Cole, we are tempted to shove any official guidelines out the window in the quest for a thin, desirable figure. It is easy to get consumed in the exercise obsession, thinking that it will make us slim and happy. I myself was a victim of such a fixation for about two years. A week would not go by without at least three forty-minute runs and a
photo: Jason Pittock
Arts budget cuts: What future for our students On 20 October, just four months after the welcome launch of the London School of Film Media and Performance (LSFMP), the new UK Coalition Government announced cuts to the arts, as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review. Kevin Maxwell looks at the proposed cuts to the arts and the potential impact on LSFMP and its graduates. There is public acknowledgement that cuts are needed in the country to help the deficit, but with the arts budget only one percent of the NHS budget, the arts punch above their weight and support a massive industry. Many students on the MA Writing for Screen and Stage are hoping to write scripts for film, television and theatre in the UK, but with the cuts and announcement of the abolition of the UK Film Council, there is a worry as to whether they’ll have this opportunity. Dr. Valerie Kaneko-Lucas, programme director for LSFMP says that cutting the arts will demolish an important source of income for the UK, especially in a globalised world, and will deny a voice to young British talent. Her concerns are shared by many. The UK Film Council is being abolished, at a time when revenues from British films contribute more than £4 billion to UK GDP, and for every £1 spent, £5 is generated. Does it make sense to abolish it, when the UK taxpayer will benefit from the economic growth the arts provide? According to Dr. Kaneko-Lucas, emerging screenwriters may seek opportunities in other Englishspeaking nations like the United States and Canada instead. Scottish Screenwriting and Producing student Sarah, 18, says she is annoyed that the arts are not taken seriously, like other professions. She awaits the day her work is published and performed in the UK, but wonders whether this will happen in her own country, with what’s to come. But the cuts to the arts will still be continuing, long after Sarah has graduated.
Hillary, 20, from the United States, who is studying BA Honours Creative Industries, says she isn’t worried about the cuts because unlike the UK, the US has not announced any cuts to its creative sector, which is still at the forefront of the American economy. If
facing unemployment, the impact on theatre audiences will be devastating. As Dr. Kaneko-Lucas pointed out, people who go to the theatre are not just tourists, but locals, and for every £1 spent in the arts, £2 is returned, according to Arts Council England. In addition,
photos: Martin Caspersen
The lights might go out on London’s West End theatres Britain, which is currently a world leader in the arts, loses overseas talent like Hillary because there is no work here, it can’t be good for our economy. Only the other day, a non-arts student said, “At least theatres won’t be hit because they are private.” This is not true, because UK theatres rely heavily on government subsidy and already several in Wales have been axed by Arts Council Wales. With half a million UK public sector workers
the freezing of the BBC television licence fee for at least three years, and the fact it will now have to pay for more services like BBC World out of it, may undermine the corporation’s ability to make programmes, a view shared by the British Actors’ Equity Association, the UK union for performers. Their current campaign, ‘Theatre Works – Don’t Wreck It!’ shows how strongly the association feels about the forthcoming government cuts.
Delroy, 30, a British student on the BA Honours Acting and Global Theatre says the cuts have made him become more political. A double worry for him is that cuts may prevent acting opportunities and if they do, he would want to teach drama. But, there might not be any teaching jobs, as prospective students won’t be able to afford the tuition fees. Not only might we be losing foreign talent, but future homegrown talent too. Acting Foundation Course student Liam, 21, from the UK, spotted the advert for his course in the London Evening Standard newspaper. He didn’t want to commit to a three-year degree straight away, so the foundation course was ideal for him. Now he questions whether he will continue to study for a degree in the performing arts. Even with the cuts, Regent’s College is committed to providing courses for the creative industries for many years to come, and the LSFMP Open Day in November 2010 demonstrated this with a good turnout. David Hanson, LSFMP head says that writers are always going to be needed, and while Government cuts may change the nature of funding, the script will always be at the heart of the industry. But without any money, there may not be a script. The scenario could be like that faced by Iceland, where Helga, 21, on the BA Honours Screenwriting and Producing degree says that films have stopped being made. Instead, people go outside the country to make them. She understands the cuts, but they don’t make her any less sad.
The Writers’ Guild of Britain, which condemns the cuts, has also voiced its concern for the Public Lending Right agency, which pays authors six pence per loan when books are borrowed from public libraries, and is a notable casualty of the coalition government’s slaughter. There is talk that the PLR scheme will be transferred to Arts Council England, along with the responsibility for film finance from the UK Film Council. This does not fill most writers and performers with confidence. It’s too early to know if government cuts will affect
U.K. Film Council: victim of cuts institutions like LSFMP and future graduates, but it’s clear that they are going to be hard for all. We wouldn’t expect a student to study medicine for five years, only to knock down the local hospital. This is the equivalent for writing and performing arts students at LSFMP. If you want to let your voice be heard, sign up to ‘I Value The Arts,’ a national campaign for the arts, supported by many of the leading industry bodies, at www. ivaluethearts.org.uk.
Shannon meets her namesake, a long-lost ‘sister’ who nearly wasn’t
admitted she was unable to bear children. She had been married for seven years already and was desperate to have a little girl. She explained that though she had seen many doctors, all concluded that it was impossible for her to have children. My mom, being the woman that she is, tried to console her by telling her that as soon as she went back to Hungary she would have a child. As much
as Magdi cried and cried, my mom persisted in telling her that it would happen. When Magdi left, we were heartbroken, but we stayed in contact. A couple months later, we received the news that Magdi was pregnant. We were all ecstatic and decided to visit her in Hungary as soon as the baby was born. Unfortunately, we got there a week before she gave birth, but were told that the baby was to be named Shannon, after me. Magdi and
her husband Lam went through so much to name their daughter Shannon, because in Hungary children must be given Saint’s names. Magdi and Lam eventually had to lie to the government and say that Lam’s grandmother was named Shannon, just so it would be permitted. Magdi brought Shannon to San Francisco to meet us when she was about four years old. Our family was astonished to see how much we resembled each other
and how similar our personalities were. She wanted to do everything I did and we developed a very strong bond; she became my little sister. Jokingly, my mother told Magdi when she was to return to Hungary that she would have another daughter. True enough, she did. It was very emotional to see Magdi and her daughters all grown up. We reminisced, looked back at old photo albums, and listened to, “I left my heart in San Francisco.”
We spent time together as a family and Magdi reciprocated with the same warmth towards me that we showed to her when she first arrived at our home. It was as if time simply froze for those fifteen years, as if nothing had changed. Most importantly, Magdi made it clear to me how much of an impact my mother had had on her life and I learned a valuable lesson. A single person can change so many lives for the better and I want to be that person. I want to change lives too.
Winter 2010 15
Controversial return of fur by Veronika Ilinskaya According to legend, the first celebrity to come out against wearing furs was Jacqueline Kennedy. After the First Lady of America appeared in a leopard coat, others began imitating her, which resulted in the destruction of a quarter of a million leopards, according to what her favourite fashion designer Oleg Cassini, wrote in his autobiography. Hearing this, Kennedy apparently asked him to make a fur coat in which animals wouldn’t be used. Cassini renounced the killing of animals and stuck to his word by introducing micro-fibre fake fur in 1999, a fully synthetic material that retained the feel, warmth, and fashion of real fur. The second most famous woman, who has publicly opposed wearing fur, is Brigitte Bardot, who switched from a career as an actress to one supporting animal rights in the 1980s. Her efforts and those of other animal rights activists briefly made women seriously question the idea of wearing fur in Western countries. By the late 1970s and 1980s, demand for fur hit rock bottom because it was seen as old fashioned, In the ‘90s, designers including Jean Paul Gaultier brought fur back in from the cold and on to clothing, sometimes featuring whole fur pelts complete with eyes, teeth and paws still attached. At the same time campaigning of anti-fur organisations
“I like fur because it’s chic, and fashionable. I’m not the one who killed the animals, they already had been killed.” Maria Timchenko, RACL
get what you pay for. Also, it may be good for the college to highlight external sources of support on the college’s intranet. It wasn’t until speaking with the female staff member that I learned that you can visit the Samaritans in person! Organisations like MIND and our own Student Services, who can help those in need, need more promoting by the college. Another consideration might be a monthly get-together for those suffering with a mental illnes to chat about things and offer each other
like People for the Ethical Trade of Animals (PETA) meant that information on production methods was widely known and publicised. According to the British Fur Trade Association, worldwide sales for fur totalled $13 billion in 2008, an increase of nearly 60 percent compared with the end of the 1990s. Today fur is used by designers from Dolce & Gabbana to Prada, to decorate and trim different types of clothing and accessories. In addition, animal skins, which were never considered as fur, have become fashionable as well. Pony skin, which is hard, thick and not even warm is now an integral part of almost any collection – jackets, coats, bags, shoes and belts, all decorated with pieces of the skins. Despite strong protests against animal fur, recent fashion trends and this year’s collections contain not merely a lot, but an incredible amount of fur. While items of fur have beautiful texture and naturalness, to those who defend animal welfare, including designers Stella McCartney and Betsey Johnson, actresses Drew Barrymore, Alicia Silverstone, Pamela Anderson, Brigitte Bardot, Eva Mendez, and singers Jamelia and Natalie Imbruglia, they are unacceptable. Some do not wear fur at all; others don’t use it in their collections, and replace fur with hightech synthetic materials, which today sometime look almost the same.
“I think that wearing somebody’s skin is not right. Because it’s very unethical. I personally don’t wear it.” Lucile Clergerie, EBS
support. Make yourselves known if you would like this. So, my message to you is, if you’re suffering or you’re going down a path you can’t control, speak to someone, family and friends too. Even if you do tell someone and you think they don’t understand or want to listen, find somebody else. Equally, for those who don’t suffer with the illness, do not dismiss it as somebody not being able to cope with life because they are weak or feeling sorry for themselves; the opposite is true. If you had a physical illness like a broken leg from football, you would
In Russia, fur and leather have always been an integral part of life, especially in the very cold winter there. Ancient Russians used fur in their households, both for warm clothing in the winter and to make soft beds to sleep on. The fur in ancient Russia was an important component of economic activity: the skins of sable, marten, beaver, and other fur-bearing animals were traded for goods, and skins were taxed. Fur is still a very important part of Russian society, with many manufacturers and purchasers working in the industry. The largest fur markets are China, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, Russia and many of the former Soviet Republics, Spain and the USA with international sales of fur garments reaching a value of $13 billion. Today the the fur trade is centred around fur farms and authorised wildlife hunting, but remains controversial due to alleged cruelty, and negative effects on wildlife conservation and conflicts with the tourism industry. While animal rights organisations oppose the fur trade, supporters often claim that trapping or gassing animals is not cruel, and that the animal stocks are ample and support a traditional lifestyle. In response, the animal rights charity PETA says, “we strongly believes that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for our entertainment or abuse in any way.”
If there wasn’t a market for it, it wouldn’t be done! It’s just cruel.” Rosario Diaz, EBS photos: Veronika Ilinskaya
expect it to be treated. Just because you can’t see depression, doesn’t mean it isn’t as serious. Remember, depression kills, especially in young men. Men are nearly three times more likely to take their own lives than women. For men under 35, suicide is the second most common cause of death. This is often because many men are reluctant to talk about their feelings or to seek help. You can follow my own story of depression and how I continue to battle with the illness at my website, www. kevinmaxwell.co.uk which also links to my blog, Living with Depression.
Alan Sitkin - councillor An interview with newly appointed councillor Alan Sitkin, chair of the London Borough of Enfield environmental scrutiny panel. by Edouard-Henri Desforges Alan Sitkin, pathway leader for the European Business School MA in International Business, was elected councillor for London Borough of Enfield last May. His specific responsibility is to chair the council’s environmental scrutiny panel, whose role he sees as “stresstesting cabinet decisions and above all developing new policy.” Born in California but a UK citizen since 1996, Alan, 54, says that he has no interest in higher office or glory and is only interested in problem-solving. “My panel has a whole array of issues on the cards, including raising energy-efficiency borough-wide and scrutinising retailers for their wasteful over-production of packaging. We’re also deeply involved in waste management – all issues that are relevant to life on campus as well.” Full of ideas for ways of greening Regent’s College and more broadly the Park (through “micro-generation and urban farming”), Alan thinks that it would be useful for Regent’s to further develop its greening policies by joining the 300 other institutions that are part of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC). This raises the question of which body is actually charged within the College structure with driving the green agenda forward. “I’m not aware of any energy management system (EMS) in place at the College nor of any specific consumption reduction targets, but it would be disappointing if that weren’t the case. Not only do we have a responsibility to our students and society as a whole to promote
sustainability, but it makes economic sense to do everything we can to reduce consumption given the likely skyrocketing in energy prices over the next few years,” Sitkin says. He identifies one powerful incentive for institutional greening: the Carbon Reduction Commitment mechanism, whose 6,000 participants are asked to monitor their emissions (paying a carbon price currently set at £12 a ton) before being ranked in a league table where the worst polluters pay a levy to fund rebates for better performers. Many universities have voluntarily joined this scheme and Sitkin believes that Regent’s should as well. When asked what work he has personally done on campus, Alan answered, “In 2007, I started a ‘green campus initiative’ that achieved some tiny progress. For instance, we added green paper recycling bags in staff offices and reduced the consumption of Styrofoam.” He also noted that taps have “at long last” been placed on the radiators in the Tuke building “so it’s no longer necessary to open classroom windows in winter to let out the extra heat that we are paying to consume.” In Sitkin’s view, these small achievements complement much bigger and more consequential work programmes envisaged by colleagues, such as Nick Turner, director of facilities, who looks at things like green building techniques including automatic dimming and natural heating processes. “Nick is a good guy and could do some great things on-campus if he got sufficient funding. I suggest that you interview him next time!”
Puzzle Corner A prize will be awarded for the first correct solution to the two problems below. Send your solutions to Dr Ian Brown, RACL, Regent’s College by e-mail to Browni@regents.ac.uk FEEDING THE FAMILY In a certain family, including the pets, there are 13 mouths to feed, 28 legs, 9 tails. The pets consist of cats, dogs and goldfish, all of which have tails. How many goldfish are there and how many humans? PEELING POTATOES A school cook on her own can peel enough potatoes for the whole school in an hour. To do the same job, the less experienced assistant cook on her own takes 3 hours; the rather work shy deputy assistant cook on her own takes 5 hours; the school leaver on work experience on his own takes 7 hours. How long will it take them if they all work together? Give your answer to the nearest minute and state any assumptions that you make.
Edinburgh thrills A Landilo by any other name >>9
give me a bag with ‘Llandeilo’ written on it, which I filled with postcards (Llandeilo has postcards! Alright, alright. I’ll stop that now) and some other mystery gifts which will be weaving their way home very soon. It’s a well-known fact that when British settlers arrived in Australia they deemed the place ‘terra nullius’ (empty land). They then pulled out their giant cattle-branders and stamped the newly conquered landscape with names from home: Newcastle, Liverpool, Cardiff, Blackheath, Stanmore, Ipswich,
though, I can see from my trip to Llandeilo that there is some comfort to be derived from seeing a word that you know embedded deeply into a patch of land that is not home. The view may be different, the weather may be different, there may be hotels instead of Christmas tree farms, but there is still this glorious name touching everything, and you feel strangely possessive of it and tied to it whether it is really ‘yours’ or not. I wonder if the early settlers ever thought about the full-circle impact this ‘naming’ would have on future generations. To them,
the road a bit from Newcastle. I left Llandeilo with a little bag of stuff and enough photos to fill a bathtub. The next stop will have to be Penrith, which is where I tell everyone I’m from since no one ever knows Llandilo. I’m pretty sure the Penrith in Cumbria will have some stark differences to the Penrith in Western Sydney. When you tell someone in England you’re from Penrith they beam at you, angling to score an invite to your quaint little cottage near the Lake District. When you tell someone from Australia you’re from Penrith, their face drops and they make all sorts of unfair
photo: Katherine O’Kelly
The Royal Mile viewed from the gates of Edinburgh Castle. by Katherine O’Kelly As an American study abroad student at Regent’s College, there are many opportunities to travel around the United Kingdom and Europe. And as most of us are only here for a few months, we want to fit in as many destinations as possible. Weekend trips to easily accessible places are a great way to do this. Edinburgh, in Scotland, has definitely been my favourite trip so far. At just over four hours by train, Edinburgh is easy to get to, and the beautiful ride along the east coast is an experience in itself. The city also boasts some of the richest history, beautiful landscapes, and interesting nightlife in Scotland. Our hostel was centrally located just off the Royal Mile, and my friends and I couldn’t wait to start exploring the city. We decided to try and climb King Arthur’s Seat, a dormant volcano that sits just at
the city’s edge. While the climb was rather tough, the views from the top were incredible. The hostel offered tours and the first night we went on a pubcrawl, to the best bars and clubs in Edinburgh. Two local guides took us to places that we might not normally have found, for a fixed entrance fee. But my favourite tour was of Edinburgh Castle, one of the oldest fully intact castles in the world. It is located on the top of a huge hill in the centre of the town, from where you can see to the ends of the city. I also highly recommend the famous ghost tours, as Edinburgh is known for being one of the most haunted cities in the world! There are activities that cater to all interests, and are great on a student’s budget. Next time you find yourself looking for a travel destination, look no further than Edinburgh.
eclectic, ‘anything goes’ attitude. The Mr Lynch website explains: ‘We don’t care if you’re into your House, Rock, Disco, Techno, Indie, Bhangra, Ska, Soul, Gucci, Pucci, Dior, Diesel, Jimmy Choo, Cons, Prada, Escada, Levi’s, Pork Pies or Curly Fries… Just kick back and enjoy our friendly culture.’ Archbold Ter, NE2 1BF.
bars, restaurants, hotels, cafés, clubs and museums. However, spanning this short stretch of the Tyne are seven bridges, built between 1849 – 2000. Amongst this group, make sure you see the Tyne bridge, whose coat-hanger shape was the inspiration for (or was inspired by, depending on your view of history) the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
2. Visit Newcastle’s MetroCentre, the largest indoor shopping centre in the European Union. It has over 330 stores, and although the indoor theme park, complete with rollercoasters closed in 1998, the centre
1. The seven bridges along the Newcastle Quayside. The Quayside in itself is a popular tourist destination, as it is brimming with
photos: Laura Więcek, left; Sarah Więcek, right
Spot the difference: Llandilo General Store - New South Wales, left; Llandeilo Post Office - Wales, right. The eagleeyed reader will notice that just to confuse matters even more, the Welsh have used the Australian spelling. Salisbury, Stratford, Warwick, Sheffield, Penrith, Swansea, and Lland(e)ilo. I’m not sure whether they chose the names because they saw an actual resemblance to the equivalent town back home, or whether it was just to quash homesickness by surrounding themselves with familiar words. Maybe it was a mixture of both. If we take the ‘familiar words’ angle,
they’d always known the original town first, and its drier, browner, less-densely-populated equivalent second. To us, the children who grew up in the dry, brown, empty namesakes, it could only ever be the other way around. Looking at the map of Australia in comparison to the map of Britain, we might even wonder why on Earth they decided to stick Swansea just down
assumptions about you. I’m sure all those from ‘The Riff’ will agree with me. If you come from a namesake town (or even if you’ve visited London in Ontario, Canada), we’d love to include your experiences in the next edition of The Regent. Just write to us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or wieceks@ regents.ac.uk.
still has an IMAX cinema, an arcade with dodgem-cars and an 18-lane bowling alley. Derwent Haugh Road, NE16 3BL.
tips for those planning a trip to Newcastle. These are: 1. Avoid the city centre when Newcastle is playing Sunderland in Premier League Football. The two teams have a long and intense history of mutual loathing, and fans can become rowdy and violent during (and after) a match.
Why aye man! How do I get there from London? East Coast Trains leave from London King’s Cross Station to Newcastle Station every half hour (3.½ hour journey). Alternatively, if you’re time-rich and cash-poor, you can take a National Express Bus or Megabus from London Victoria Coach Station (6.½ – 8 hours). If you would like to feature your home town in the next edition of The Regent, please get in touch with Sarah Wiecek at wieceks@ regents.ac.uk. Many thanks to Katy Bangs for providing her tips on Newcastle!
3. Hadrian’s Wall is only a 40minute bus ride away from Newcastle. One of the oldest surviving fortifications in Britain (AD 122), Hadrian’s Wall was a stone barrier created by Roman Emperor Hadrian to separate Roman England from the Scottish tribes.
MORE TIPS/SUGGESTIONS Katy has one or two important
2. Avoid wearing a coat in winter if you are going out clubbing. Although this may seem like the opposite of common-sense, Geordies pride themselves on their stout constitutions, and will judge you if they see you wearing a coat over the top of your glad rags.