re:new It’s your time. Use it.
Change a life
Inspirational volunteering stories to get you started
THE END OF PAPERBACKS?
New e-book technology uncovered
GET TO GRIPS WITH A GREENER DIET Recipes, eateries & grow-it-yourself know how
for perfect holiday photos
n behalf of my team, I would like to welcome you to the launch issue of re:new. We offer you the best of what’s out there in terms of travel, reviews and volunteering, and invite you to try them at your leisure, now that you have it. With the weather finally starting to thaw after months of snow and ice, the few bright days that we have had lately might even convince us that spring is on its way. If you feel like braving the elements, Ruth Harrison shows you the perfect February walk on page nine. Alternatively, plan your whistlestop tour of the country’s best literary festivals, each with its own unique take on the world of books, with a little help from Josie Allchin’s guide on page 18. As news continues to filter through about the devastation of Haiti, and the tragic statistics seem to increase daily, it is easy to feel powerless. We spoke to three volunteers who all found themselves faced with an opportunity to use their skills and determination to help others (p.10). These inspirational people are proof that something can be done to make a difference, and they told re:new how best to get involved. With so many different ways to take advantage of your new-found time, we’d like to thank you for picking up re:new and for helping us to redefine retirement.
Three adventurous individuals left behind their everyday lives to make a difference by volunteering abroad 10
We take a look at the breaking news this month, including the devastating earthquake in Haiti 4
Can technology boost your fitness? New and inventive ways to keep active, including Nintendo Wii Fit 8
re:vitalise Angharad Jones editor, re:new
Are you addicted to the coffee bean? re:new looks at the darker side of drinking eight cups a day 13
contents Editor Angharad Jones Deputy Editor Ruth Harrison Production Editor Mia Valimaki Features Editors Bethan John Lisa Blake Picture Editor Heather Steele Chief Sub Emma Davies Design Editor Claire Packer Designers Vinny Forrester Ella Walker Online Content Editor Josie Allchin Blogging Editor Jac Bond Online Design Editor Aimee Steen Social Media Editor Monica Horridge Travel photography to make your pulse race 22
Literary festivals are booming across the UK, so we profile those taking place in the upcoming weeks 18
Real luxury comes in many forms. Reclaim the art of a smooth shave with the double-edged razor 20
Sometimes, even Fido needs a holiday. Dog-friendly ideas for when the pooch comes with you 24
Photographer Daniel Meadows speaks about his iconic Factory Records images from the Eighties 26
re:new magazine Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF 10 3NB
Top photo: Richard Rees Opposite top: IFRC/ Eric Quintero @ Flickr Opposite bottom: JcOlivera.com @ Flickr This page top: mthomps00 @ Flickr This page bottom: CP
THAT WAS THE NEWS THAT WAS re:new takes a look at the month’s news as chewed up and spat out by Fleet Street’s finest
In the wake of one of the most devastating earthquakes on record, Peter Hallward, writing in the Guardian, blamed the United States’ colonial legacy – “perhaps the most brutal system of colonial exploitation in world history” – for exacerbating the impact of the natural disaster. The Daily Telegraph’s Janet Daley was more concerned with the politics of the relief effort, dismissing French claims that the US was occupying Haiti: “If ever there was a classic case of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t,’ this is it.” Several commentators, including Charlie Brooker and Time writer Amanda Ripley, accused the media of exaggerating reports of looting and violence in the country.
Blair at the Iraq Inquiry Tony Blair’s much-anticipated appearance at the Iraq inquiry left the Evening Standard’s Anne McElvoy frustrated: “He was annoying, consummate and as hard to nail down as a jellyfish – but then, he always was.” The Guardian was less impressed by the former prime minister, accusing him of living in a world where “certainties dissolve and falsehoods become truths.”
The Equality Bill
The press were generally in support of Harriet Harman’s efforts to remove mandatory retirement in the UK, with Victor Keegan arguing in the Guardian that “if a compulsory retirement age didn’t exist, no political party would dare to invent it.” However, the Daily Express’s Ross Clark lamented that such a move was merely a result of the fact that working later in life is becoming essential “because the cost of paying pensions is threatening to cripple the country.”
Edlington torture children
According to Simon Heffer in the Telegraph, responsibility for the torture in Edlington lies with the welfare system, which allows people “to abdicate their role as parents.” The Daily Mail’s Peter Hitchens went further, blaming “our cultural revolution” and calling for “the end of subsidies for fatherless homes, the reintroduction of hard discipline in schools, measures to make divorce difficult again, the freeing of the police from liberal codes of practice [and] the restoration of the powers of adults to discipline children.” The Guardian’s Marcel Berlins focused instead on the misunderstanding of the boys’ sentence, saying, “The problem with such indeterminate
Your views on the month’s news Margaret McCabe, 55, from Cardiff, on assisted suicide: “I might feel differently if I had somebody close to me, but I think it leaves way to opening the floodgates. Are we all playing God now?”
John Roper, 65, from Blackwood, on the Edlington torturers: “It’s the way families are brought up. People don’t know how to control their children. I was controlled, like lots of people; we knew the difference between right and wrong.”
Meurig Thomas, 68, from Cardiff, on Cadbury’s: “Cadbury is a British institution and it’s a shame. But I suppose if I owned a few thousand Cadbury shares, I’d say, ‘Yes, Kraft, come and get it, thank you very much.’”
Patricia True, 67, from Rhondda, watched Blair’s Iraq performance: “I think he’s a liar. Being in the profession he was in before, he knows how to work it; he knows how to play the camera. He’s a very clever man.”
sentences, coupled with a minimum term, is that it is the minimum figure that sticks in people’s minds and makes them dissatisfied.”
Krafty takeover Opinion about Cadbury’s change of ownership was split at the Guardian. Andrew Clark insisted that Kraft will benefit from Cadbury’s “shrewd distribution strategy” in its attempts to grow internationally, while Felicity Lawrence warned that growth “has been achieved by taking on debt, closing factories, selling off assets, and eliminating direct employment.” The Sun’s Steve Hawkes pointed out that UK investors could have done more to support British firms, as nearly half of Cadbury’s shareholders are foreign. Right to die According to the Telegraph, Terry Pratchett’s position on assisted suicide is widely supported, with 80 per cent of the country saying that relatives should not be prosecuted if they help terminally ill loved ones to die. Nonetheless, wrote the newspaper’s George Pitcher, “We cannot allow the euthanasia lobby to ride roughshod over the democratic process... The country isn’t governed by an endless system of referendums.”
After the headlines
The story of Paul and Rachel Chandler hit the headlines in November when they were captured by Somali pirates but, since then, media coverage has all but dried up. Recent photos released by the pirates showed that the couple’s health had deteriorated significantly. A doctor from the pirates’ tribe said that Mrs Chandler in particular was suffering and deteriorating psychologically. The pair have been held in solitary confinement for over 100 days. Demands for a £4.5 million ransom have been refused by the Foreign Office, in keeping with government policy that substantive concessions will not be made to hostage takers. Do you support the Foreign Office’s position? Join the debate at: www.journalism.cf.ac.uk/renew
the boom of digital books Apple’s long-awaited iPad poses new competition for existing e-readers, as Aimee Steen finds out
ave you ever read a novel without paper? E-books have been around for several years and, as thousands of books get transferred into digital format, yet another electronic giant has developed a device for displaying them – Apple. After months of speculation, the company that developed the iPod has unveiled the iPad. A touch-screen tablet device, Apple claims it is the definitive stop-gap between smartphones and laptops. As well as allowing users to browse the internet, play games and manage photos, it also functions as an e-reader and will be stiff competition for current providers. Following on from the launch of Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s range of e-readers, it is the latest in a string of machines to display books digitally, and will be accompanied by an online iBooks store. Resembling a large iPhone, the iPad will cost between $499 and $829 in the US, but price details for the UK are yet to be released. Its 9.7-inch colour display puts it above other, greyscale e-readers currently available, raising the bar for developers and adding fuel to the
debate on the future of digital books. Many retailers have faced dwindling business after online book stores’ growing popularity, with plenty disappearing altogether as a result – the recent closure of Borders, despite its attempts to keep up with digital developments, dismayed book-lovers everywhere. E-readers pose another threat to the survival of traditional books, but some stores are exploiting the trend rather than fighting it. Waterstone’s launched its e-book site in 2008 and now has over 24,000 e-books available. Rather than seeing e-books take business away from physical books, they have experienced something different. “The fact that somebody has bought an e-book reader hasn’t meant that they’ve gone on to buy fewer physical books,” says Jon Howells, Waterstone’s representative. “We’ve seen that they’ve gone to slightly older buyers, heavy duty book buyers.” Indeed, they sold 80,000 e-books over the Christmas period. Sales figures from online retailer Amazon tell a different story, though – for the first time ever, sales of e-books overtook print orders on Christmas Day last year.
Photo: Apple website press shots
How do e-readers measure up to actual books? We take a look at a popular Sony model to find out what they’re really like As a successful provider of e-readers, Sony is one of the iPad’s main competitors. Coming in touch and pocket editions, their readers bear the strongest resemblance to the iPad in on-screen interaction and book-like size. The Sony eReader PRS-600 Touch Edition retails at £259.95 and comes in three colours. With a 6-inch touch sensitive display, it is smaller than the iPad and comes in greyscale rather than colour – not a huge problem given its primary function as a text-reader. It’s similar in size to a book, but not being able to open it
feels strange, though an optional jacket makes it feel slightly more comfortable. Navigation is via a combination of both on-screen and physical buttons. The home screen splits into seven sections, allowing you to browse, continue reading or access audio and picture functions. Pages are turned with a scroll button or by swiping the screen, but the level of sensitivity is far lower than on other touch-screen devices. It can hold around 350 e-books but has room for a memory card, which takes that total to around 13,000.
While some hail the benefits of e-readers – portability, accessibility, convenience – others support the charm of a good old paperback. Andrew McGeachin, manager of one of the UK’s oldest bookshops, Sotheran’s, says, “I think people will always like the physical attributes of a book, how it feels and looks. If you look on the bus or the tube going into work, you see people reading books – I don’t see many people clicking on e-readers.” Though he feels that the advent of electronic books may help to curb the tendency of publishers to over-print books, he champions the printed page as a positive thing: “At work now, we spend so much time in front of a screen; if you’re looking forward to reading something as pleasure, it’s nice not to be looking at a screen.” Whether or not e-readers are a good thing, the advent of the iPad signifies that they’re here to stay and will develop even further. It’s not as cheap as a charity shop paperback and feels rather different, but, on the plus side, you can carry thousands of books in one small device. Just don’t take it in the bath. To combat glare in strong sunlight, the screen is not back-lit and uses electronic ink rather than a standard screen. The only slightly disconcerting product of this is that, as the next page loads, the screen turns black and produces a negative image of the text before displaying the next page. There is no doubt that an e-reader could be useful to serious word-addicts, but there’s no escaping the fact it is a piece of technology and not a book. It’s a data-collation device rather than a feet-up-by-the-fire companion, and though its benefits are clear, there might have to be developments in design and dips in cost before it becomes widely popular. AS
A BITTER BILL A crushing Senate defeat in Massachusetts has left Barack Obamaâ€™s healthcare bill on its last legs. Mia Valimaki asks why the US canâ€™t bring itself to introduce a national health service on a European model
re:act is caused by social problems related to drugs, alcohol, smoking, violence, et cetera. Poverty remains a major cause of illness and only government policy can change that. The NHS can only have limited impact.” The NHS is a point of national pride for many in Britain, but it faced much the same criticism as Obama’s bill faces now when it was established in 1948. The British Medical Association was initially opposed to the idea of a national health system, but it is now an adamant supporter of the NHS and regularly campaigns against the commercialisation of the NHS and its doctors, who it complains are treated like a “collection of profit-driven competing enterprises.” But in the US, persecution of left-leaning thinkers in the 1950s scarred society, and the continuing fear of socialism is scaring people away from anything resembling universal healthcare. The idea of socialism still retains its fear factor in the US, and this fear can easily be used as a club with which to batter any proposed Democratic reforms. Socialism is used as a powerful method of intimidation, but it hides the facts about American healthcare. Healthcare in the US accounts for 15.3 per cent of public spending, compared to only 8.2 percent in the UK, and a significant amount of breakthrough medical research takes place in the US. But comparisons with other European countries’ healthcare systems reveals that the NHS is rather efficient. Germany, for example, has the same life expectancy as the UK but spends more – 10.6 per cent of public money – on healthcare. Systems with multiple operators providing healthcare might be at the root of this cost efficiency. Some American NGOs argue that the reason the UK manages to spend less while being able to cover all of its citizens is that paperwork is involved in running only one organisation, rather than operating several private health insurance companies.
“The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers,” argues Physicians for a National Health Programme, a US organisation advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer health programme. “Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overheads, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy.” The efficiency of the private sector in the UK has also been questioned. Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs) are owned and run by private companies, but contracted to provide large volumes of NHS treatments such as hip replacements. A report by Parliament’s Health Committee showed that work carried out by the first wave of ISTCs was 12 per cent more expensive than the same work carried out by the NHS. France is often complimented on its healthcare system. They spend 11 per cent of public money on healthcare, and reap the reward of a high life expectancy of 81 years. France operates a national insurance program where doctors mainly operate in private clinics but draw their income from publicly-funded insurance funds. The government determines all financial matters and the clinics are left to treat patients, who get a refund of 70 per cent on their bills (100 per cent in cases of longterm illness). The real challenge for President Obama is to convince his citizens that universal healthcare does not equate to communism, that it is merely a way of improving quality of life. The future of American healthcare remains unclear. Whether the proposed healthcare bill passes or not, the current system benefits only a few. Avoiding illness at all cost is no way to live, so clearly something has to change.
Opposite photo: jamesomalley @ Flickr. This photo: hitthatswitch @ Flickr
Something is rotten in the state of Massachusetts. A secure Democratic seat in the Senate, long held by the late Ted Kennedy, has been lost to a little-known Republican, Scott Brown. For the Democratic Party, Brown’s victory represents far more than simply the loss of a safe seat in Congress. President Obama’s healthcare bill is now in grave danger. Having lost their Senate supermajority, the Democrats – and the 30 million Americans without health insurance who would be covered by the bill – are in for a long political slog before the bill has any hope of passing. Despite living in the only Western country without universal healthcare, millions of Americans are keen to keep things as they are. The current system may not be perfect, but the alternative, or so they believe, is unthinkable. To them, the idea of paying for others is a socialist one, going against their definitions of rights and freedom. Collective responsibility is an alien concept that means spending your hard-earned money on someone else. To these Americans, Obama’s ‘socialism’ is only a short step away from communism, the great fear of the 1950s. Lobbying groups, such as Freedom and Individuals Rights in Medicine (FIRM), argue that universal healthcare infringes on individual rights. “There is no such thing as a right to healthcare any more than there is a right to a car or a house,” argues FIRM’s Dr Paul Hirsch. “President Obama’s healthcare plan – or any other form of universal health care – is wrong, because attempting to guarantee an alleged right to healthcare must necessarily violate the actual rights of those forced to provide such care and those forced to pay for it.” The British National Health Service has often been dragged into the American debate, and Dr Hirsch believes that governmental provision of healthcare like that in Britain results in unnecessary bureaucracy. “Whenever the government attempts to guarantee health care, it must necessarily also control it,” he says. “Hence, crucial medical decisions are inevitably made by government bureaucrats, rather than physicians and patients. Healthcare becomes just another privilege to be dispensed at the discretion of bureaucrats.” However, an NHS midwife, who did not want to be named, says that she believes the NHS does serve its purpose – even if there is some room for improvement. “The NHS is the fairest and most efficient way of treating patients with acute illnesses,” she says. “Where it seems less effective is in the treatment of more chronic conditions, relating to old age in particular. In these cases, there needs to be good liaising between health and social services and this isn’t always the case. It can also be frustrating that the NHS is left to pick up the pieces where illness or trauma
US healthcare reform has dogged Democratic presidents for decades
Ever watched a film and found yourself looking at the background rather than the action? West Wycombe Estate steals the show
Keira Knightley wanders through her mournful life in a house as beautiful as her husband is heartless. The film is The Duchess; the place is West Wycombe Estate. West Wycombe house is considered one of the finest examples of neo-Palladian architecture in Europe. This style was derived from the designs of 16th-Century architect Andrea Palladino, which came back into fashion around the time West Wycombe was built in the 18th Century. The interior continues the classic and richly-decorated theme, where much of the original décor remains. The spectacular chandelier in the main dining room rivals the majesty of the grand ballroom as you wander through this opulent building. The grounds are also a stunning example of natural landscape gardening, made
famous by Capability Brown in the 18th Century. Sheep and deer still roam the grounds. What is missing, however, is the full-sized galleon that used to drift on the lake for the indulgent amusement of guests. The house has been home to the Dashwood family since the early part of the 18th Century. One of West Wycombe’s more notorious residents, Sir Francis Dashwood, set up the Hellfire Club, a secret society where the rich could indulge in immoral acts. The club used to meet in the nearby caves, some 300ft underground. The estate boasts some of the finest fishing in Buckinghamshire and if you are a keen shot, the shooting ground is one of the best in the UK. If you’re not satisfied with just seeing the house on screen, you can see the real thing when the house and grounds are open during the summer. JG
West Wycombe Estate shares the limelight with these other glorious filming locations: Marie Antoinette ate cake at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Berkshire, in Sofia Coppola’s eponymous biopic. Visit Belton House, Belton, Lincolnshire to meet your own Mr Darcy. The house appeared in the renowned 1995 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Bond fans will love Stoke Park House, Park Road, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, which has appeared in classics Goldfinger and Tomorrow Never Dies.
The next generation of exercise Can a computer game really help you to build up your fitness levels?
Beth Hostetler, 60, Indiana
hen I first purchased the Wii last year, my husband and I used it almost every evening. It has been easier to use the Wii than for us to join the gym. We live in the country, several miles from the nearest town, and when I get home from work at 6.30pm, I don’t feel like driving to exercise. It has been much more convenient to set up the Wii in the basement and use it whenever I want. I actually think you can get a great workout with the various Wii programs. The yoga is as difficult as you want to make it and the other strength and balance programs can be fairly strenuous.
It elevates heart rate and body temperature, and that is what you would want in a good exercise program. I also lost weight and noticed that my stomach and arms and legs were noticeably firmer. I am quite pleased with the results if I can keep myself on a regular schedule. I enjoy the Wii more than watching a video, but if you like to be with others when you exercise, the gym might be better. For me, it is a great option and it is not extremely expensive.
Catherine Peace, 53, Cardiff
haven’t got time to go to the gym regularly because of my working hours, so the Wii is more convenient. It doesn’t replace my regular exercise; I still walk, cycle and swim. There have been weeks where it has been my main workout. It’s better than nothing. The Wii is just a bit of fun, really – you can do jogging or ski jumping. There is a lovely little step class and I’m hopeless at real step classes; I’m always going one way as everyone else is going the other. I like the interaction you get with the Wii: it encourages me more than a workout tape. The Wii is also more sociable; you can play the games with other people and get a bit of exercise. It’s also useful because it records your data and compares your performances. The only trouble is now I’ve lapsed, I’m scared to go back on because it’s going to be cross with me. For me, the Wii Fit is simply a more active way to spend an evening at home in front of the box. JG, MH
Top photos: West Wycombe Park. Bottom photo: jetalone @ Flickr
In the depths of winter, it can be hard to find the motivation to dust off your running shoes and trek through the snow to an overcrowded gym. A range of games on the Nintendo Wii promise that they can make you fit from the comfort of your own home – and make it fun. Can this really be true? We asked personal trainer Mike Gara, who told us: “Anything that keeps you active, using muscles you wouldn’t use otherwise in your day-to-day activity, will benefit your overall health and fitness levels, as long as it is in the correct moderation and done safely.” We have a look at how you’re doing it…
The majesty of Pen-y-Fan
Winter months can deter the crowds, but Ruth Harrison thinks that this is the perfect time to begin the uplifting challenge of hiking in the mountains When it is bitterly cold outside, you can be forgiven for wanting to curl up in front of the television watching a re-run of an old movie or the highlights from the week’s football. But nothing will make you feel more alive than a winter walk. This weekend, dig out your walking boots from the back of your wardrobe, dust down your thermals and find your matching hat, scarf and gloves and head outside to experience the Earth’s most thrilling drama – the mountains. Pen-y-Fan is Britain’s highest, most southerly summit. Standing magnificently at 2,907ft high, it is nestled within the realms of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park. Approaching from the south, the mountains appear subtle and surmountable; it is only when you begin the ascent that the way ahead becomes thrilling. Leaving the car behind you, the path is well-trodden and easy to climb,
perfect for the first walk of the year. With each step, the glaciated valleys open up beneath you, giving way to breathtaking, panoramic views of the Welsh Valleys. As you gain altitude, the crisp, clear air and icy trails add to the drama of these mountains. The ascent is steep and you may find yourself slightly out of breath, but upon reaching the summit, any discomfort you may have felt on the approach will be dispelled. The table-topped summit beneath you extends out into the distance, the four sharp ridges clawing their way towards the horizon. A multitude of spectacular views extend as far as the Bristol Channel, Shropshire and the rest of the Brecon Beacons. Without the bustling crowds of the summer months, the winter brings a peaceful calm to these graceful mountains and to the walkers who have braved the climb – a drama which is most certainly worth repeating.
Photo: younger2007 @ Flickr
Pamper yourself Spoil yourself after a hard day’s walking and stay at the Nant Ddu Lodge Hotel & Spa. Have your aches massaged away and relax in an award-winning restaurant and bar.
Be prepared Low cloud can quickly descend into the valleys causing the temperature to drop throughout the year, so it is important to wrap up warm and to let someone know
where you have gone before setting off. For further information about weather, routes or accommodation in the Brecon Beacons, visit: www.breconbeaconstourism.co.uk
Nant Ddu Lodge Hotel Cwm Taf, Near Merthyr Tydfil Powys, CF48 2HY Tel: (01685) 379111 www.nant-ddu-lodge.co.uk
A life less or Heather Steele discovers how you can make a difference by volunteering abroad
Wendy Packer was 51 years old when she decided to leave her Birmingham school for two months to help refugee children in the Sudanese region of Khartoum. In 2006, Packer formed part of a group of eight teachers from around the UK, who were accompanied by representatives from the charity Education Action International. First established in 1923 as World University Service, Education Action International has a long history of working with some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the world. Their focus is on developing effective education for UK refugees and countries torn apart by war. In order to participate, Packer had to raise at least £5,000, with at least 25 per cent due before she embarked on the trip. Although she was
fundraising with her school, she also wanted to see how much support she could get from the local community. “I carried on fundraising once I got back from Sudan and took it to local organisations,” she says. “I gave talks to The Rotary Club and secondary schools just to get other people interested, as I didn’t want it all to be on my shoulders. I went into the local community to see what people could do. We raised £7,500 in the end, which was fantastic.” Packer’s experiences have given her the travelling bug, and she plans to volunteer abroad again once she has retired. “My husband’s a qualified engineer and I’m a qualified teacher and I would like to investigate the Volunteering Service Organisation further,” she says. “They’re very keen to recruit people who are
freshly retired to go out and give the benefit of what skills they have in developing countries so it’s certainly something that I’d like to do in the future. They value people’s experience and appreciate that you may have finished your career in this country, but you can put those skills to good use in retirement. I think that’s something many people feel they achieve; even though they’ve kind of given up on paid work, they still have a lot to give.” Whatever your reasons for wanting to volunteer abroad, whether it is for charity, for the travelling or to do something valuable, Packer has one thing to say. “It’s just an amazing experience. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel so glad I was able to have that opportunity.”
rdinary Dolen Cymru is an organisation based in Wales which promotes friendship and awareness between the people of Wales and the people of Lesotho, a small but beautiful country in southern Africa. The charity began its appeal 25 years ago, and through a succession of exchanges by teachers, doctors, church and civic leaders, a shared understanding has grown between the two nations. This is an intrinsic part of Dolen Cymru’s success, as they promote themselves as a people-to-people organisation. Instead of merely giving money to Lesotho, the charity works with the community to help people to develop the skills they need to help themselves. Dr Carl Clowes, President of Dolen Cymru, admits that there are still real challenges within
the health system in Lesotho, with one in five of the population infected with HIV and an estimated 50 people dying from AIDS every day. Due to the huge number of people affected by the virus, Lesotho’s hospitals are extremely understaffed. In one day alone, a single doctor must care for between 70 and 100 people. This highlights the importance of Dolen Cymru’s health project, which gives Welsh GPs and medical students the opportunity to widen their knowledge and experience by volunteering in Lesotho’s hospitals. Dr Goronwy Jones has worked as a GP in Carmarthen in Wales for over 25 years. In 2008 he spent eight weeks on one of Dolen Cymru’s voluntary placements. His main job in Lesotho was as a flying doctor, a role in which he piloted
a light aircraft, combining his love of flying with providing aid to remote areas. When he wasn’t flying, Dr Jones was in the operating theatre working as an anaesthetist. “The year prior to working out in Lesotho, I spent my free time visiting hospitals in Llanelli to brush up on my anaesthetic skills,” he explains. There are only two anaesthetists in the whole of Lesotho. Comparison with the UK health network, in which there are at least two anaesthetists in every hospital, shows how desperate Lesotho’s situation really is. “The hospital conditions were horrendous and extremely basic,” says Dr Jones, “but it is quite incredible how highly skilled the nurses are, and the sheer amount of work that they undertake is simply mind-boggling.”
All photos: Dr Goronwy Jones
One of the main UK charities that help to organise volunteering abroad is the Twin Group’s Work And Volunteer (W&V). Peter Talbot, one of the chief trip organisers for W&V, explains. “We have found that more mature volunteers actually have more to offer in terms of free time and life skills and experience.” Talbot also explains that the organisation’s programmes abroad for over-65s are increasing popular. Over-60s are welcome on most of W&V’s programmes, except for those countries with their own age restrictions.
Whether you fancy working in crocodile conservation in India or constructing buildings in Ghana, W&V can help. “Work and Volunteer are more than happy to welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer,” adds Talbot. “A decent level of fitness is required – for example, trekking in Nepal requires a high level of fitness and health because of the altitude adjustments – but there are no age restrictions.” There are many ways to get in touch with the organisation and discuss your plans for travelling and volunteering abroad. Talbot holds live chats online to discuss travel plans and other people’s
travelling experiences with the company. “Travelling around the world and seeing afamous tourist sights is one way of seeing and experiencing the world,” says Talbot. “However, volunteering offers a completely different insight into the world. Mature volunteers make an important contribution to volunteer projects around the world. As a mature volunteer you are likely to bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding to any volunteer project as well as a certain level of maturity.” Want to get involved with volunteering? Visit our website www.journalism.cf.ac.uk/renew
re:new looks at five ways to fight them for good
r Gordon Lewis has been a GP for 28 years. He’s a keen sportsman and has always led a very active lifestyle, from alpine skiing to cross-country cycling. A serious back injury, though, has recently forced him to slow down – for now, at least. So Gordon understands first-hand how devastating it is to have a health problem that hampers your enjoyment of life and is passionate about giving his patients the knowledge to deal with any problems they face.
Cold, dark nights that creep into days, miserable grey weather and an overwhelming feeling that we’ve spent far too much money over Christmas can leave all of us feeling rather blue. But, for one in 20 people in the UK, winter leaves them feeling a paler shade of grey. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a specific type of depression that affects certain people during the winter months and is linked to lack of sunlight.
I’ve always loved the gym, but I’ve started noticing the aches and pains more and more over the last year. Is this a sign that I should slow down? Being active will help to prevent the onset of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and possibly even dementia. Just because you are getting older, this doesn’t mean you need to be less active, but as you have found, the aches and pains associated with strenuous exercise seem to come on earlier and take longer to ease. Some discomfort is to be expected during or after vigorous exercise, and may indeed be a sign that the exercise is releasing important chemicals such as endorphins and encephalins, which increase your sense of wellbeing. However, you shouldn’t partake in activities that cause significant pain. It would be more sensible to graduate your exercise and modify your activities. Could you exercise for shorter periods more often, for instance?
Although this is a common impression, there is very little evidence that any specific brain exercises can delay the onset of dementia. But it is well known that memory can be increased, sometimes quite dramatically, by practicing memory games and specific tasks. As memory loss is often one of the early features of dementia, it may be worth looking into. New evidence suggests, however, that regular physical exercise may be far more effective at preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Off to the gym we go!
If these don’t work and all else fails, nothing cures the winter blues like two weeks in the sun. Now, there’s your perfect excuse... GET OUTSIDE Get as much sunlight as possible. Make the most of the short days and go for a walk in the open air. GO NUTS Nuts are rich in potassium, which helps to ward off irritability and reduce the risk of having a low mood. CHOCOLATE ORANGE No, not Terry’s, but chocolate and oranges
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both release serotonin, which boosts energy levels significantly. SLEEP WELL, EAT WELL A healthy lifestyle is essential in winter to avoid getting the moody blues. LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE Sitting beside a specially-constructed lightbox that emits UV rays for 30 minutes every morning can help to improve vitality and increase energy. RH
I’ve heard that increasing your brainpower can stave off dementia. Is this true, and what are the best kinds of mind exercises?
The darker side of the bean It looks innocent enough, but could you be addicted to coffee? These hot teas are caffeine-free and available at most health stores and supermarkets. Give them a try and let us know the outcome. LIQUORICE TEA Good for a morning pick-me-up. It also gently aids digestion. MINT TEA Kind on the stomach with a refreshing taste. Also aids digestion so is a great after-dinner alternative to coffee. GINSENG TEA Believed to reduce fatigue, so can be useful for a morning or afternoon energy boost. ROOIBOS TEA Rich in antioxidants. Can be enjoyed without milk or sugar. Thought to help relieve headaches, asthma, hay fever and also insomnia. ROASTED DANDELION ROOT Pleasant roasted taste, sweet and slightly bitter. Good for detoxifying the liver.
he alarm goes off and you’re in a daze. You plod to the kitchen and pour yourself a large coffee and consume. Minutes later, you feel awake and ready to face the world. But do you think you could start the day without your fix of the black stuff ?
Time to unwind Treat those niggling aches and pains with a shiatsu massage
If the answer is “no”, it may be that you have a dependency. One way to tell for sure is to go without coffee for a day and see if you develop headaches. According to the NHS website, people dependent on caffeine (known as “caffeinism”) who suddenly stop consuming the product can develop withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and anxiety. Other common signs are drowsiness, fatigue and lethargy. You may be wondering, “So what if I am addicted to coffee?” Well, as long as you’re not exceeding the maximum daily intake recommended by the Department of Health (DoH) – seven instant coffees a day – you should be alright. But if you are drinking more than the recommended dose, you may experience some of the negative side-effects of excessive coffee consumption, including increased heart-rate and high blood pressure. Even if you’re not over-doing it, ask yourself if you’re happy relying on caffeine to wake you up and give you energy every day. If you’re not, there are lots of alternatives on the market that don’t carry the same potential risks as coffee and can be equally as refreshing and energy-giving. JB Other types of popular holistic massages include: SWEDISH MASSAGE Massage oils are applied using long smooth strokes, kneading and circular movements. This treatment helps with back pain, arthritis and muscle conditions. HOT STONE MASSAGE Smooth heated stones are placed on certain points of the body to loosen tight muscles. This helps poor circulation.
Top photo: Selma90 @ Flickr. Bottom photo: EW
ancy a massage but worried about getting your body out on show? A shiatsu massage is the answer. Shiatsu, a traditional Chinese healing method dating back 5,000 years, is a safe and effective oil-free body massage that eases aches and pains and leaves you feeling rejuvenated. Loose and comfortable clothing can be worn for the treatment, which usually lasts an hour. The masseuse applies pressure to the body’s acupuncture points using hands, fingers, thumbs, elbows, knuckles, knees and feet. The aim of shiatsu, which translates as “finger pressure”, is to improve the balance and flow of the circulatory system and strengthen organ function. Not only does shiatsu promise
to energise and invigorate you, it has also proven results in helping migraines, cramps, respiratory conditions and digestive problems. Claire Caddock, spa manager at the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel, is a big believer in the treatment. “Shiatsu massage is most popular among clients aged over 50 who find they have small niggles and pains that they want to get rid of,” she says. “Most see a huge difference after their first session, but it takes around three sessions to really feel the benefit.” Caddock advises her clients to book monthly shiatsu sessions to treat any pains and reduce the impact of daily stress. “Shiatsu is a holistic treatment, which means it takes into account the emotional, psychological and spiritual needs
AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE Relaxing and energising oils, such as lavender, are used to reduce stress. of the person as well as the physical condition and needs,” she says. “It’s a feel-good treatment that leaves you happy and relaxed.” Shiatsu also helps treat anxiety, insomnia, tiredness, stress, poor digestion, constipation, depression and recovery from injury.” The massage costs between £40 and £60 for an hour and is often done on a low massage table on the floor. So why not de-stress yourself and take a trip to your local spa? Most UK spas offer shiatsu as part of their holistic range – and you won’t have the worry of stripping down to your underwear to contend with, either. LB
Sustainable Sustenance Ella Walker digs up the greenest options for self-sufficient eating
ou don’t have to survive solely on raw fruit and veg, wheatgrass shots and an aversion to multinational conglomerates to count yourself green anymore. A self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle no longer even requires you to elope to a commune, unless, of course, you really want to. The growing trend for picking Fair Trade and organic in place of “value”, and buying hunks of cheese and locally-reared meat at farmers’ markets instead of supermarkets is becoming second nature for many people. The hope now is that we will ditch nipping to the shops in place of digging up carrots in the back garden, for the sake of our health and the environment. “The consequences of the way we produce and consume our food are unsustainable to our
planet and to ourselves,” warned Hilary Benn, the environment secretary, in a speech at the beginning of this year. “Food security is as important to this country’s future wellbeing, and the world’s, as energy security. We need to produce more food. We need to do it sustainably. And we need to make sure what we eat safeguards our health.” Reducing your carbon footprint and getting your five-a-day cheaply is just a pair of wellies and a set of gardening gloves away. John Harrison, author of The Essential Allotment Guide, runs www.allotment.org, the UK’s most popular allotment website. “I try and help people get to grips with the day-to-day maintenance of their allotment,” he says. “It is becoming much more popular to have your own patch of land and it’s fun. You get such a sense of achievement from growing
Nature at your door If the skies are too grey for planting seeds or you are feeling too lazy to whip out the secateurs, have a look at www.graze.com. Graze is a natural food company that delivers sustainable snacks right to your door. Sign up online, pick your favourite natural treats from their extensive range of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and each week they will deliver a lovely biodegradable box containing a lucky dip from your choices. For £2.99 you can save the planet and satisfy your 4pm cravings without leaving the house.
your own fruit and veg and feeding your family with what you have produced.” John keeps an up-to-date blog on his website about the greenery he is currently tending and gives advice on seasonality, harvesting and ways to get the best out of your allotment.
Grow Your Own go tos: Put yourself on the waiting list for an allotment by contacting your local authority. For growing advice and recipe ideas, visit www.allotment.org.uk For information on funding and legislation, contact The National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners, whose website is www.nsalg.org.uk The national charity for growing organic produce, Garden Organic, boasts a heritage seed library and runs research programmes into developing organic farming internationally. For information on visiting the charity’s headquarters, Garden Organic Ryton in Warwickshire, check out their website at www.gardenorganic.org.uk To find out more about living an entirely self-sufficient lifestyle, visit www.self-sufficient.co.uk
Kill it, cook it, eat it: WILD RABBIT
Wild rabbit stew with mushroom and tarragon (feeds four) COOK IT:
1 rabbit, jointed 250g chopped pancetta 250g mushrooms, sliced 2 stalks of celery chopped 1 onion, finely sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard 600ml white wine 375ml chicken stock 125ml single cream 3 tarragon sprigs; 1 whole, 2 chopped
KILL IT: There are over 40 million wild rabbits
in the UK. Every year, they damage hundreds of acres of crops, costing the agricultural industry more than £100 million, so don’t feel too guilty about preparing one for the pot. You can hunt rabbit all year round and the most humane way to do it is with an air rifle. Once you have caught your bunny, immediately expel its urine to avoid tainting the meat. Do this by holding the head and squeezing the lower body. Next gut it by inserting a sharp knife just below the ribcage, making a shallow incision about three inches long. Then, swiftly shake out the entrails by swinging the rabbit abruptly from shoulder height to the floor. You can cut them loose for the birds to nibble on. Ask your butcher to skin and joint the rabbit before you cook it. Do avoid bunnies with bulging eyes, unless you fancy adding a tang of myxomatosis to your dinner menu.
• • • • •
What to do: Fry the pancetta in a deep pan until brown and add the chopped celery, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Season the rabbit and sear on both sides in the pot until golden brown. Remove all ingredients from the pot and set aside, deglaze the pot with the white wine and add the chicken stock. Stir in the mustard, tarragon leaves and sprig. Re-add the rabbit plus the mushrooms, pancetta, celery, onion and garlic and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Simmer for another 30 minutes without the lid on so the sauce thickens, and stir in the cream to finish.
EAT IT: Serve with steamed potatoes, seasonal
vegetables (leeks, carrots and swede) and a fresh white wine.
Top Five Sustainable Eateries: THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE, Islington The Duke takes sustainability and the environment so seriously it doesn’t stock any packaged nibbles, purifies its own water on the premises and only serves organic food. It also uses recycled furniture and composts all its food waste. Mains from £12.50. FACT: The Duke runs solely on solar and wind-generated power. www.dukeorganic.co.uk, 0207 359 3066 WAHACA, Covent Garden Voted Best Cheap Eat by the Observer Food Monthly Awards in 2008, Wahaca serves freshly prepared, ethically and locally sourced Mexican market food. TIP: Pick up a free packet of chilli seeds while you wait to be seated and join Wahaca’s newsletter for ideas on how to use your crop. www.wahaca.co.uk, 0207 240 1883 THE FEATHERS INN, Stocksfield If you have a taste for offal, The Feathers Inn may suit you. Its chefs are committed to using as many parts of an animal as possible in their concoctions to reduce food waste. Mains start from £10. FACT: This northern pub sticks with locally-produced goods and lists the farms which reared their meat on the menu. www.thefeathers.net, 01661 843607 CAFE-KINO, Bristol Café-Kino is a vegetarian and vegan cooperative. It is owned by its workers and run not-for-profit. Aside from selling homemade cakes and light snacks, it is also very ecologically-minded. TIP: Try the falafel sandwich with houmous, sweet chilli sauce and salad for £2.95. www.cafe-kino.com, 01179 249200
All photos: Emma Brunt
RESTAURANT ALIMENTUM, Cambridge Winner of the RSPCA’s Independent Restaurant of the Year Awards 2009, Alimentum offers ethically sourced, affordable fine-dining. Only free range produce and fish from Marine Stewarding Council-accredited sources are served. Mains from £17.50. FACT: Alimentum refuses to use fish caught by trawlers as this decimates the sea bed. www.restaurantalimentum.co.uk, 01223 413000
theatre One-Act Wonders Dialogue Productions have turned Neil LaBute’s new work into three moving performances This triple-bill of Neil LaBute plays, each lasting a single act, is an ambitious project for Dialogue Productions. The company strive to bring international theatre to Britain, and this tour is the national premiere of LaBute’s latest work, The Furies. Over two hours, using only three actors, the performances manage to convey three drastically different scenarios. For any actor, switching roles so quickly is a challenge, but Dialogue have managed to pull it off, resulting in three powerful pieces. The trilogy complement each other with interweaving themes, each presenting a problem faced in a romantic relationship, with frequent nods to classical drama. But it was the central piece, Land of the Dead, which was truly exceptional. The intimacy of the venue and the beautiful simplicity of the staging helped to emphasise Frances Grey’s highly natural performance. The play was written for a benefit on the first anniversary of 9/11, but LaBute manages to avoid heavy-handed sentimentality. He does not pretend that all those killed were heroes, but by focusing on an individual story, LaBute demonstrates how incomprehensible the effects of the tragedy have been.
The cast of The Furies
Despite the occasional waver of the faux-American accents, Dialogue productions should be thanked for bringing dramas like these to our shores. The tour continues to Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow (16-20 February), Greenwich Theatre, London (23-27 February), ARC, Stockton (2 March), Northern Stage, Newcastle (3-5 March), Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury (9-10 March) and Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate (15-17 March). MH
cinema Diluted to death Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lovely Bones may disappoint fans of the novel Readers of Alice Sebold’s bestselling novel The Lovely Bones have keenly anticipated this promising adaptation. Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame, lined up a stellar cast including Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci. Saoirse Ronan, known for her Oscar-nominated performance in Atonement, plays the lead character, Susie Salmon. With this cast, it is difficult to see how Jackson could make the film anything less than brilliant. Despite knowing her fate from the beginning, the tension leading to the death of Susie Salmon is at times unbearable. Jackson handles the suspense deftly throughout, which only makes it more frustrating when the film begins to meander. Following her death, Jackson introduces a strange, multi-coloured fantasy world to represent the “in-between” place. The idea is not a bad one, with aspects of the real world colliding into it in imaginative ways. However, the CGI looks cheap and unconvincing, and the long interruptions from the tension of the “real” world become increasingly grating. At times, it seems like a film made for children. And, in some respects, it is. Glossing over the rape itself leads to confusion over the killer’s motives, despite an excellent performance from Stanley Tucci. His victims smile and hold hands with an uncomfortable camaraderie, giving the film a rather odd message – the victims seem almost better-off after their murders. Jackson’s decision to soften the film to achieve a 12A rating is confusing considering the subject matter. The consequence has been a disappointment of a film: too dark for children, yet too saccharine for adults. Go online to www.journalism.cf.ac.uk/renew for our pick of the best and worst film adaptations. MH
Top photo: theatre press office. Bottom photo: bigtree @ Flickr
A lifetime spent in recluse With the death of JD Salinger, we have lost one of the 20th Century’s finest voices
The figure of Holden Caulfield and his reclusive author JD Salinger seem almost interchangeable. Ex-lover Joyce Maynard claimed, “The only person who might ever have played Holden Caulfield would have been JD Salinger.” Indeed, he constantly rejected film offers for his best-known novel The Catcher in the Rye. Despite the novel’s runaway success, it was not without controversy. In 1979, it was claimed that the book held a unique position – both the most censored book in America, and the second most frequently-taught in high schools. He was lambasted by Christian groups for godlessness in the novel, but later in life Salinger began an avid search for spirituality. Zen Buddhism was his main interest, reflected in his lesser-known but greatly acclaimed work Franny and Zooey, and the unforgettable Teddy from the collection Nine Stories. Salinger was among the first to enter a liberated concentration camp, and later said: “You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose entirely, no matter how long you live.” Traumatised by his experiences, Salinger was reluctant for fame. “Publishing is a great invasion of my privacy,” he said. “I don’t necessarily intend to publish posthumously, but I do like to write for myself.” Leaving behind as many as 15 unpublished novels, perhaps this voice has not been silenced just yet. MH
re:new’s guide to the best of the arts
Dury’s rise to fame from his first, lesser-known band, Kilburn & the High Roads, to his well-known and seminal incarnation, Ian Dury and the Blockheads. The director employs various cinematic effects to unfurl the tale, such as the use of frenzied animation and having the lead character reveal moments in his life to an empty audience.
Themes throughout include Dury’s admirable determination in coping with a crippling disease and the tempestuous relationships with his wife and girlfriend. But his fiery persona is levelled by his cocky charm, such as when he meets his girlfriend for the first time, telling her he loves women so much he thinks he might be a repressed homosexual. Dury is played by Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) who, despite looking like a young, dishevelled David Jason, plays him so convincingly it’s like watching the man himself. The film was almost worth seeing for Serkis’ performance alone, but other actors were also a treat to watch. Dury’s son, Baxter, is played brilliantly by Bill Milner (Son
of Rambow). When he tries to emulate his father’s punk prowess due to bullying, you feel he is genuinely the son of the frontman. Another notable performance comes from Wesley Nelson (Casualty, Doctors) who plays a younger Dury growing up in a regimented school for disabled children. At 115 minutes, it’s quite a lengthy film but it doesn’t drag, thanks to great acting, a tight script and many laugh-out-loud lines from Dury to keep you engaged throughout – moments such as when a fan asks to touch him and he replies, “Why? I’m not the fucking pope!” Even if you’re not a fan of the man’s music, this film is definitely worth a viewing. JB
Midlake The Courage of Others (Bella Union) One of many bands to gain popularity in Europe before appearing on the radar in their American homeland, Midlake released their first album, Bamnan and Slivercork, on Bella Union – the label started by ex-Cocteau Twins Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie – in 2004. They grew in popularity hugely following the release of their second album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, in 2006, and their third effort, The Courage of Others, further refines their brand of woozy, dreamy guitars and clever, infectious melodies. VF
Corrine Bailey Rae The Sea (EMI) It’s been a tough few years for Corinne Bailey Rae since the death of her husband Jason from an accidental drug overdose two years ago. Recovering from such a tragedy is hard enough, but she has gone one step further by making an album, The Sea, which is a beautiful tribute to his memory. Her soulful pop music isn’t groundbreaking, but the raw emotion of these songs is very powerful. It’s not a perfect album, with some forgettable fillers such as ‘Closer’, but it is a surprisingly affecting and enjoyable listen. VF
Four Tet There is Love in You (Domino) Kieran Hebden is a sickeningly multi-talented musician, whose musical output, as a member of post-rock trio Fridge, collaborator of jazz drummer Steve Reid or ambient electronica artist Four Tet, is always worth a listen. His latest album as Four Tet is his highest charting yet, and probably his best. Previous efforts, while good, have been guilty of slightly drawn-out, indulgent patches, but this newest work has ironed those out and created a wonderfully considered and completely absorbing record. VF
It’s nice to be a lunatic
Photo by smudger888
Ian Dury biopic is a reason to be cheerful Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll is a well-executed biopic of punk pioneer Ian Dury. Its director, Mat Whitehouse, delivers an insightful portrayal of Dury’s life, from contracting polio at the age of seven through to the beginnings of his acting career in the 1980s. Whitehouse also documents
Photo: smudger888 @ Flickr
Barry Manilow The Greatest Love Songs of All Time (Arista) Since re-signing to Arista in 2005, Barry Manilow has been very busy, releasing an album almost every year. He gets a hard time from critics and the public, but he’s still managed to sell 70 million records, so either one of his fans is buying the same CDs many times or some people aren’t admitting to a guilty pleasure. His latest record is an unashamedly cheesy covers collection, but it’s hard to deny that he has a great voice. It’s also worth mentioning that he looks like a Plasticine Thunderbird on the cover. VF
Dates for your diary: Saffron Walden Words Around Britain Festival 5 – 26 March, 2010 Oundle Festival of Literature 6 – 20 March, 2010 London Word Festival 7 March – 1 April, 2010 Huddersfield Literature Festival, 10 – 14 March, 2010 StAnza Poetry Festival, St Andrews 17 – 21 March, 2010 York Literature Festival 18 – 28 March, 2010
Writes of spring
Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival 20 – 28 March, 2010 However, if you find yourself with a spare minute, then why not go for a pint at The Eagle and Child on St Giles street, where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien famously discussed rabbit holes and Hobbits? www.oxfordliteraryfestival.com
Saffron Walden Words Around Britain Festival
“Come, spring!” urges Lord Tennyson in his gushing ode The Progress of Spring; the season seems to inspire, encourage and fill mankind with hope. This year, the effect that a little gentle warmth and the slowly lengthening days can have, especially on the literary world, has not gone unnoticed. re:new has counted over 13 different literary festivals scattered across the UK throughout March, a month which sits on the cusp between the melting winter and the mild spring. If winter has left you feeling cold in both body and spirit, try seeking out one of our top choices of literary events, where you are sure to discover some warmth for 2010.
Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival
Over 270 events have been planned across the ancient city, which has had literature running through its veins for hundreds of years. Readings, debates and discussions will be hosted by novelists, biographers and critics, with input from philosophers, theologians and engineers – reflecting the diversity and vigour of Oxford University’s academic history. Guests ranging from television presenter Dan Cruickshank to authors Ian McEwan and Martin Amis will be speaking in historic venues such as Christ Church, Corpus Christi College and the Bodleian Library. This year, the festival is also launching a series of talks at the spectacular Sheldonian Theatre.
As the festival’s name suggests, this picturesque town in north-west Essex will be hosting a number of events focusing on literature in Britain. Simon Hoggart, political sketch-writer for the Guardian and wine columnist for The Spectator, will be speaking about Westminster, while Matthew Engel, columnist for the Financial Times, will be lamenting our relationship with the British rail system – something everybody has an opinion on. And, not wanting to shy away from controversy, historian Maureen Weller will be dissecting the social implications of marriage. www.hertsevents.co.uk
StAnza Poetry Festival, St Andrews
StAnza is the only festival of its kind in Scotland, dedicated purely to poetry in what couldn’t be a better setting. Not only is poetry embedded into the Scottish mindset (see the proud celebrations of Robert Burns), but the StAnza event organisers have boldly proclaimed its host town of St Andrews as “Scotland’s poetry capital”. But who could blame them? A quarter of the town’s population comprises students studying at Scotland’s oldest university – a mixture of young talent, academia and enthusiasm. The event will also be welcoming
All photos: press shots
Literary festivals are happening all around the UK in the coming weeks, some well known, some under the radar and others just plain unexpected. Josie Allchin picks out the best of the bunch
I over 60 poets from across Europe, including Valerio Magrelli from Rome and Monika Rinck from Berlin. In keeping with festival tradition, themes will be worked into the events. This year two have been chosen – firstly, “myth and legend” and ,secondly, a tribute to long-term festival director Brian Johnstone, who is retiring from the post in May. www.stanzapoetry.org
London Word Festival
London’s Word Festival is one for those who aren’t afraid to push boundaries. Expect multidisciplinary performances and innovative uses of space from a three-week run of events including an evening on “The Art of Story Telling”, which might not be what you’re expecting. The performers will be using puppets, cartoons and a live printing press to tell their own tales. Animator Matthew Robins will be performing extracts from his The Death of Flyboy series – a story which the organisers call “a science-fiction romantic shadow-opera” – with the help of a live band. A temporary “chip shop” will also be erected out of chip-board, creating an up-and-running printing workshop where customers can get whatever words they fancy printed on a piece of wood. www.londonwordfestival.com
All photos: press shots
York Literature Festival
There won’t just be a celebration of literature going on within York’s historic city walls; in fact, this festival is a recognition of all things artistic, poetic and musical as well as the traditional written word. The event itself has only been going for three years but has racked up an impressive list of guests and speakers, including current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and writer Joanne Harris, author of the saucy novel Chocolat, which was later turned into a hugely popular film. This year Kate Atkinson, author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum, will be talking at York St John University after being voted by festival audiences last year as the person they would most like to see. Other highlights include creative
writing workshops, literary walks around the city and a night of erotic poetry and prose. www.yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk
Oundle Festival of Literature
Although Oundle won’t be known to many, this community focused festival should definitely not be underestimated. Located in the east of Northamptonshire, this ancient market town will provide an idyllic setting for interviews, debates and talks with well-known figures including Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray, and Sunday Times columnist Michael Winner. There will also be a specially-commissioned “murder mystery” evening written by local author Nick Perry. As the festival takes place in a more modest location than most, it lends itself to greater audience participation. Look out for the local shops and venues who will have carefully decorated their windows along the lines of literary themes; the winners will be chosen by festival-goers. The festival organisers are also asking people to submit their favourite poem. The top ten will be displayed all over the village, so keep your eyes peeled. www.oundlelitfest.org.uk
Huddersfield Literature Festival
If St Andrews is the Scottish poetry capital, there’s nothing stopping Huddersfield from becoming “the poetry capital of the North” – or so say the organisers of the town’s fledgling literature festival. But even though it sounds like an unlikely tag pulled out of nowhere, this year Huddersfield really does have a literary line-up to match. Activities will include the chance to compose an album in just one day (plus a showcase of the completed work in the evening), workshops on how to adapt fiction into film and how to structure the perfect story, tracing theories back as far as Aristotle. There will also be a question and answer session with representatives from independent publishing companies about what they look for in newly-submitted scripts, and Alexei Sayle will be talking to audiences about his yet-to-befinished memoirs. www.litfest.org.uk
f you feel more than a little inspired by the thought of spring and new beginnings, why not express it by picking up a pen and having a go yourself ?
Sam Llewellyn is the author of many novels, including sea-faring thrillers and children’s literature. He also writes opinion columns for a number of sailing magazines, and has kindly leant re:new readers his top hints for novice writers. Write about what you know. If you don’t know anything about anything, use an unreliable narrator or try science fiction. Write a lot. Set yourself a minimum target every day, and stick to it. One page a day is 365 pages a year. Five pages a day is a blockbuster in six months. Rewrite. A writer needs a huge wastepaper basket. Read your work aloud to check for rhythm and authenticity of dialogue. If you can find anyone who will listen, cross out the bits where they fall asleep. When you submit your work, send three chapters and a synopsis, A4, one side of the paper, double spaced, with email backup, to an agent who represents authors who write books similar to yours. Ask yourself if you’ve got anything to say. If you haven’t, you may be a reader, not a writer – which could be more fun in the end, anyway. Never wear linen when you’re being interviewed on TV. It creases. For Q & As and more information go to www.journalism.cf.ac.uk/renew
pring is always a nightmare of a time, coat-wise. You need something capable of facing every whimsical bit of rain, sunshine or frost. The only conceivable way of managing this is to own a trench coat. The trench is categorically a superhero suit for the ordinary man, even if it does make you run the risk of looking like a stripper. If you are going to opt for the trench over a waxy Barbour or a generic padded monstrosity, you might as well do it properly: the Burberry trench. The Holy Grail of trenches. It is the coat that miraculously gathers every cluttered aspect of your life into coherent togetherness. It smoothes you out and scythes every frayed edge of your personality with a swathe of clean lines and a deftly knotted waist belt. Even if underneath you are an utter mess, a Burberry trench will fool everyone into thinking you are as smart and slick as your coat. Really, the trench is quite the weapon of mass delusion. Even if you were hit by a bus and had obscene underwear on underneath,
A Burberry Trench will fool everyone into thinking you are as smart and chic as your coat onlookers wouldn’t give a toss because they would be so struck by your effortless chic. You could chuck on a Parka and drown your woes in orange padding and faux fur, but I don’t think it would have quite the same effect. The trench says something, and Burberry’s recent “Art of the Trench” collaborative photography project, documenting how people wear it, proves just how versatile and ageless it is. Shove one over a classic little black dress or dinner suit, pair with floral summery dresses and raggedy jeans, and somehow, bizarrely, you still look like you didn’t just frenetically rip any old thing off the hanger when you got up. A trench nonchalantly slots over your life and holds you all in – unlike most overcoat contraptions, which seem to insist on either fitting your shoulders or looking attractive buttoned up: never both. Also, that off-white khaki is the sort of beige which slathers you in sophistication and eases every situation – grubby fingered grandchildren, sea-spray on beach rambles, war zones, business meetings, classy minibreaks, robberies, the lot. The only thing it doesn’t go with is a uniform. But the fact it goes best with nothing on underneath more than enough makes up for that.
The art of shaving
Why the double-edged razor is far superior to the disposable
o thought goes into the modern shave. You hastily slap on some foam from a can, scrape a threebladed disposable across your face and that’s it, you’re done and dissatisfied. Whatever happened to the art of traditional shaving? In my twenties, I remember taking time shaving with a double-edged razor, not like how I rush today with a disposable. Wanting to experience a shave similar to the one I used to have, I set about finding traditional grooming equipment on the internet. I soon came across a website that sold old-style shaving gear, so I bought a starter kit. It contained a badger-haired brush (Edwin Jagger), lavender shaving cream, a robust double-edged safety razor (Merkur) and replacement blades. When the time came to have a shave I set about doing it properly. I began by wrapping a hot flannel around my
beard to open the pores of my skin. I then submerged the badger-haired brush in warm water and swirled it around in the shaving cream tub. Using the brush to lather up the cream around my face prepared my bristles for the blades by taking away any dead skin, something that is almost unheard of now. Taking the razor, I shaved, being careful not to press down too hard; a habit formed from years of using a disposable. These tools provided me with a shave I haven’t had for many years. The cream and brush helped to prepare my skin, which it wasn’t used to, and the double-edged razor cut hairs closer than a disposable ever did – making my skin feel akin to a newborn’s posterior. Disposing of the disposable was a good step for me. Rediscovering the art of the traditional shave means I won’t suffer the dissatisfaction modern shaving brings ever again. JB
A moment in fashion T D ’ S he octor s n 1974, costume designer James Acheson gave an extremely efficient find something to rival knitter named Begonia Pope a bag of the sprawling majesty of wool and asked her to create a scarf for Baker’s neckwear the new lead in Doctor Who. The result was It’s understandable really: a 14ft-long creation that wound around The Doctor, with his long Tom Baker’s neck as he battled aliens and stripy scarf, always had travelled through time. No wonder sales of a girl on his arm wool soared that year. or in his Doctor Who scarves stayed in fashion for TARDIS. about two years in the ‘70s, but they have He reappeared countless times since, on both could do catwalks and city streets. just about Of all the Doctors there have been, anything Baker’s trademark appearance sticks with his sonic most in people’s mind: more so than screwdriver, and John Pertwee’s ruffled dinner shirt, Peter he saved the world Davison’s cricket kit or the recently on a weekly basis. departed David Tennant’s Converse It’s small mercy trainers and skinny suit. The Doctor has that the wayward regenerated 11 times, and his new costume curls and dodgy has always been as eagerly-awaited as his cape didn’t catch new catchphrase and companion. But, on. AJ in my humble opinion, we have yet to
Top photo: tadfad @ Flickr. Bottom photo AndrewSherman @ Flickr
re:fined re:new went out on the Cardiff streets to track down some of our most stylish readers
atherine, left, is wearing Wallis leggings with a John Lewis cardigan and John Lewis coat. The length of the cardigan means it can be worn as a dress over leggings without being risque. This style doesn’t have to be a young trend; leggings and a cardigan can be a comfortable and stylish look. Boots work best with this outfit as they give a better silhouette.
All photos: JG
ynn bought her jacket from Gallery, a boutique in Newport. Boutiques can offer you something different, as they buy from various independent designers. Boutique owners are great for advice, as they choose their stock personally and know the garments well. You’re also guaranteed not to be caught out wearing the same as anyone else.
ooking good for men doesn’t always have to mean wearing a suit. David’s sportswear outfit is casual and stylish, but probably wouldn’t work in half measures, as the khaki trousers only work with the sports jacket. Having said that, these jackets have been picked up by fashion-forward men of all ages, so perhaps this is one of those rare universal trends. The matching colours in this outfit pull it together, but shouldn’t be relied upon; different hues of greens might look good, but try the same thing with black, brown or white and it’s a potential fashion disaster.
ne of the quickest ways to look fashionable is to buy something on-trend, and the High Street is the best place to find this. Ivoreen is ahead of the trend here with her Navajo print jacket from River Island. This print first appeared in the American store Open Ceremony’s autumn/winter collection. Since then, the Native American pattern has also appeared on the fashion sites Facehunter and The Sartorialist. Be warned: use this trend sparingly, as it can easily start to look brash. The pattern on Ivoreen’s coat works perfectly because of the natural colours. The duffle coat style is a winter classic, but the shape gives it a modern look as it is tailored and cut shorter on the body. The style is also perfect for Ivoreen’s body type, as the tailoring makes sure that the coat does not swamp her.
Troubleshooting Documentary filmmaker and photographer Richard Rees shares his infallible tips on how to get that perfect holiday picture with Angharad Jones 22
All photos: Richard Rees
As well as looking at the big mountain range or the skyscrapers, look at the single tree standing out in the landscape or the gargoyles on the little church tucked away between the skyscrapers. Out in the wilds, look at the colours of the leaves on the floor; the moss on the trees; the little flowers growing through the undergrowth; the peculiar insects running around that old rotting tree trunk.
Keep all of your equipment clean and dry. Invest in a case that will keep dust and dirt out of your camera and lenses, and a plastic bag for unexpected downpours. If you have an SLR-type camera on which you can change the lenses, beg, steal or borrow a telephoto or zoom lens. A lens of between 300mm and 500mm focal length is ideal for most types of wildlife photography. To protect them, put a plain glass or UV filter over the front of your lens. This will protect the high quality glass in your lens from getting scratched and damaged.
An iceberg in the South Pole
Take your time to think about your photograph, experiment with the zoom and, if you can, wait for the best light. Ideally, take your landscapes earlier or later in the day; this will give a softer light, as more shadow adds depth to your images.
Make wildlife photography a little easier for yourself. Find out what times are best to see the animals. Do they roost at a particular time? If you are visiting a nature reserve, do they have hides for photography? When photographing people, take a few shots and you might catch a different expression or mood.
Penguins bask on the ice
The re:new competition Fancy having your own travel photographs featured in re:new? Send them in, or email them to email@example.com for a chance for your pictures to be shown on the website and in the magazine.
Give the dog a break
Claire Packer investigates where to take Fido on holiday
only allowed on the beach at certain times of the year, so checking ahead is a must. For something a bit more unusual, why not head to the centre of the Earth and visit Halliggye Fogou? Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust, it is a series of complex caves associated with the Cornish Iron Age settlements. Fido will have the chance to look for distant relatives, because he too can go exploring in the caves (though he must be kept on a lead). Book a cottage in Helston on cornishcottageholidays.co.uk and then plan your break from there.
A quick search on peakcottages.com revealed several properties in the area where pets are welcome. Garden Cottage in Ashford-in-theWater looked lovely and was perfect for what I needed: a one-bedroom cottage which slept two people and was dog friendly. Now I had my base camp sorted, it was time to see what there is to do. Just 20 minutes south of Bakewell, off the A515, there are lots of places to visit, including the beautiful Dovedale, with its dramatic limestone scenery and excellent dog-walking opportunities. Head in the opposite direction and there is the Longshaw Estate, which boasts more fantastic walks. It also has its own shop, so one of us can wait outside while the other buys some hot chocolate. Perfect.
Britain’s first national park, the Peak District, occupies over 500 square miles of beautiful countryside in the heart of England. Here you West Cornwall will find rolling hills and lively waterfalls. My dogs love getting their paws wet. They Ringing ahead is very important, love charging into the waves at the “After and even though it is obviously beach, though they always seem outdoors, I thought it would they’ve surprised by how wet they get. be best to check where been in the After they’ve been in the water, dogs are allowed. Lorraine McKechnie-Ryder, National water, as soon as as soon as your dog’s tail starts shaking, it’s time to run! If you Trust spokesperson for the South Peak District, your dog’s tail starts want to have a complete break filled me in on the canine shaking, it’s time from city life, I suggest a coastal holiday, where humans and guidelines. “You must always to run!” canines alike can have a paddle in keep your dog on a lead and the Atlantic. keep it within sight and under There are plenty of opportunities to control,” she said. “It is also worth get your feet wet and experience the sounds checking where you can take your dog of crashing waves and salty sea air in West when you go to specific properties.” Cornwall. Many sites there are managed by the A good central location is important, so National Trust, including the dramatic coastline I plumped for the rural town of Bakewell, of The Lizard and Byname Cove. Dogs are located in the south of the Peak District.
All photos: CP
n my experience, three can be a crowd – especially when the third person is of the canine variety. If you’re planning a short break and there is no-one available to dog-sit, why not bring the dog? Taking your dog on holiday can be great fun, especially as having a dog makes you get out into the fresh air more. But before Fido packs his suitcase, it’s important to make sure you have thought in advance about your destination’s dog-friendly credentials. With this in mind, I looked into three places my partner, our dogs and I can go. Read on to see which idea is perfect for you, but remember to keep your canine companion in mind.
Welcome to Bronte country. Unleash your romantic side and take Fido for a walk among the hills that inspired Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Ripon, near Harrogate, is a perfect base, with wonderful walks all around. Harrogateholidays.co.uk offers lots of stunning properties, such as Cowsgate Cottage, which sleeps five to six people and charges £20 per dog. With over 400 acres of woods and moorlands to explore, Brimham Rocks is a great day out, though sturdy footwear, flasks of hot drinks and waterproofs are definitely recommended. Owned by the National Trust, it welcomes dogs, but they must be kept on leads, especially during April, May and June, when there are ground-nesting birds in the area. For a more sedate and relaxing day out, I suggest the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden. Dubbed “the Wonder of the North”, it is Yorkshire’s first World Heritage Site, with the largest monastic ruins in the country. There are itineraries available from the visitor centre which offer suggestions for a one-day walk, a half-day walk and a two-hour walk. An adult ticket is £8.25 but your canine companion goes for free.
Escape to Exeter
Looking to book a winter city break? Emma Davies explores the excitements of Exeter
estled away in south-west England, it’s easy to pass over Exeter when choosing your weekend break. If you’ve ever fancied visiting Devon, though, Exeter is the best hub for your trip – easily accessible by road and rail and with good transport links to the rest of the West Country. Its location – close to both breathtaking beaches and rugged moorlands – coupled with its vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere, makes it the ideal choice for a relaxing winter getaway.
Top photo: JoeDunckley @ Flickr. Bottom photo Glamhag @ Flickr
If it’s luxury you’re after, look no further than Exeter’s ABode hotel. Situated on Cathedral Yard – less than a minute’s walk from the High Street – it combines the convenience of centrality with opulently elegant design. Rooms start at £99 per night for a “comfortable” room and go up to £250 per night for a “fabulous” room. Western Way’s recentlyopened Jurys Inn also offers comfortable accommodation at affordable prices. The hotel is around five minutes’ walk from the city’s main shopping areas and is close to public car parking facilities. Rooms booked in advance start at £59 per night for room only, or at £84 per night for bed and breakfast. For a warm, family-orientated welcome, the city’s New North Road area offers a multitude of B&Bs – including the Woodbine Guesthouse, Locomotive Inn and Braeside Guesthouse – with rooms starting at around £50 per night.
Above: The charmingly-cobbled Gandy Street
Above: Exeter Cathedral is a one of the city’s top attractions
Two of Exeter’s best-kept lunchtime secrets can be found on Gandy Street, just a few minutes from the High Street. John Gandy’s offers a wide range of meals for just £5, made from the best locally-sourced ingredients. Just opposite, stylish wine bar Coolings has a daily-changing specials menu (around £7.50) and a formidably-stocked home-made salad bar. Great Italian food is also in abundant supply, with family-run restaurant Nico’s (St Bartholomew Street East) renowned as the best place in the city for a hearty Italian meal – main courses start at around £8. Pizza fans should also consider visting On the Waterfront, located on the quayside, where you can enjoy exquisite views of the river along with one of their famous “dustbin lid” 16” sharing pizzas (around £15). Fans of gourmet cuisine will be enchanted with Michael Caines’ restaurant at the ABode hotel, which features a menu of seasonal local produce starting at around £22 for a main course.
Exeter is now one of the south west’s most desirable shopping locations, thanks to the 2007 opening of its Princesshay retail redevelopment. The large pedestrianised precinct features more than 50 shops and restaurants, from the high-end fashion of Reiss to the High Street stylings of Next. If you fancy a break from the retail therapy, Exeshed’s cocktails are divine. For something more individual, the charmingly-cobbled Gandy Street provides some of the city’s independent stores, as does Fore Street. There is also a weekly farmers’ market between 9am and 2pm on Thursdays, situated at the top of South Street. The market features retailers from across Devon, selling delicious, reasonablypriced produce which takes in everything from cider to cheese and from preserves to pasties.
Exeter’s beautiful cathedral is one of its most-visited attractions, featuring the longest uninterrupted Gothic vaulting in the world. Entrance costs £5 per person, and the cathedral is open from 9am until 4.45pm. At the very heart of the city, the surrounding Cathedral Green is also immensely popular as a relaxation spot for tourists and locals alike. More historic interest in the city centre can be found at Rougemont Castle. The volcanic stone ruins date back to the days of William the Conqueror, as do the remnants of the city wall. The Castle also has small yet stunningly verdant gardens which are well worth a visit. On the outskirts of the city centre, Exeter Quay is another site of interest. In addition to its many cafés and trinket shops, this is the perfect spot for an enjoyable walk along the banks of the River Exe – or even a trip across the river on the quirky cable ferry which has been going since the 17th Century.
There’s a lot to see in Devon beyond Exeter’s city limits, so it’s really rewarding to venture a little further if you’ve got the time. Less than half an hour away by road or rail, the beaches of Dawlish Warren or Exmouth are sure to bring back a flush of nostalgia for childhood seaside holidays. These are equally lovely against a backdrop of stormy seas, so they’re perfect destinations for a winter daytrip. Also easily accessible by car is the rough-hewn landscaping of Dartmoor. Among the most popular destinations are the famous Hay Tor – the highest point above sea level on the moor – and the beautiful riverside spot of Bellever. For more information about Exeter, have a look at re:new’s website www.journalism.cf.ac.uk/renew for details.
Offcamera: Daniel Meadows
His story of the iconic Factory Records photos
Top photo: Daniel Meadows. Bottom photo: CP
“The first Factory night I went to had I first got into photography after seeing a TV programme by a man [performance poet] John Cooper Clarke called Bruce Davidson in 1969, called and The Buzzcocks playing. Tony knew I Beautiful Beautiful. He was, at that time, was a photographer and he asked me if I’d photographing a project called East 11th do some pictures of his bands. I went to Street about people living in Harlem in photograph Vini Reilly of Durutti Column New York, and I was very moved by these and it happened that all the Joy Division pictures and I was particularly moved by gang were around at this celebrated flat in South Manchester where one of Tony’s what he told me. “He said: ‘I poise, not pose, people. cronies lived: it was a kind of meeting place People have an innate dignity and they for all the bands. “I only photographed Joy Division once will set themselves before the camera in a dignified way; they will choose what they performing and once in the studio. That was in January and February 1980, and I don’t will give.’ “I saw him doing that and I thought ‘I’d remember anything about the studio. I was much more interested quite like to have a go’, in the producer and I wasn’t any good Martin Hannet. at doing anything else. I “It was Hannet, went to art school and I did photography. He used to say to me, ‘Let’s basically, who was charge; he had a “I got involved with go and do some pictures’ in vision for what the Factory when I was music would be like working as a researcher and told them what he at Granada Television in wanted them to do. I Manchester. I started at found this fascinating, the end of ‘78 and went through to the end of ’80, and at one stage hearing the sounds back and how he mixed I found myself sharing a large open-plan them all up. office with lots of people, including Tony “I went to photograph a Joy Divison gig Wilson, who had just started Factory. They because they needed some action pictures. had a community centre in Hulme that they The conventional picture of Ian Curtis is of him doing his mad, fly dance, but I’ve rented and they had got a picture where he’s just turned to look Factory nights. “Tony was just a mate in the office; it back; he looks absolutely exhausted. At that was a time of massive over-employment in time he was getting a lot of epileptic fits – TV, so you had a lot of time sitting around it was in February and he killed himself in doing very little. He used to say to me, May. That’s a picture which I think is rather good. ‘Let’s go and do some pictures.’
Interview with Emma Davies
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