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Student Council bans ‘Blurred Lines’

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Sao Mai Ly News Editor A motion to ban Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ from playing in Queen Mary Students’ Union (QMSU) venues and outlets was passed at the first Student Council meeting of the year last Tuesday. This controversial decision of

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the Student Council has led to a variety of debates concerning sexism and censorship. Zoe Cantley, the Queen Mary student who proposed the motion, explained the reasons behind the proposal: ‘It’s really important to make QMSU a safe place for all students. Sexist music such as this normalises sexual violence and it’s therefore not ap-


propriate. No student should be made feel uncomfortable at their university.’ She continued: ‘This is symbolic. We’re taking a stance against sexist music and we hope that this is the first step to reducing sexism at our university.’ The motion encountered criticisms during the Student Council meeting, with members of the


student body speaking against its approval. Societies Officer Wilf Mountfield, who spoke against the motion at the meeting, commented: ‘I agree that the song’s content is highly contentious, and I thoroughly dislike it and other music that has followed in a similar vein. My concern was over censorship. That the line for most of


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these songs is very hard to draw. What level of sexism, racism, derogatory lyrics are we willing to accept.’ ‘Seeing as it is impossible to agree as a group, it should be left to an individual. Thus, it should not be censored. Censorship is ultimately a negative thing.’ The Student Council’s decision to ban the song resulted in



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Station Manager: Vuki Popović QMessenger is printed at Mortons of Horncastle Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 6JR. Tel: 01507 523 456. Each issue has a print run of 1,000 and costs £445 to print and deliver. Established in 2008, QMessenger is the free bi-monthly newspaper of Queen Mary Students’ Union. We are proud of our editorial independence and endeavour to always hold the College, Union and external bodies to account and to provide the best news and analysis to the students of Queen Mary, University of London. QMessenger is created entirely by students and the publication retains all copyright of design, text, photographs and graphics, along with the individual contributor. Any views expressed in QMessenger are those of the individual writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper, the editorial board, Queen Mary Students’ Union or Queen Mary, University of London.

the creation of several Facebook groups and events encouraging debates on the issue and asking for the ban to be reversed. These are characterised by a variety of reactions, from serious discussions to jokey responses. Women’s Representative Stevie Rankin said she is ‘horrified’ at the negative responses to the ban. She commented: ‘I would like to say that the negative responses to the ban (and that’s putting it very lightly) illuminate and stress precisely why the debate and the motion were necessary.’ ‘The next step is tackling those who still don’t appreciate the significance of such campaigns and petitions. Misogyny is rife on campus, and it’s better late than never for us to begin recognising it.’ Among those disagreeing with the ban, International Relations student Jessica Winkworth, who also gave a speech against the

MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2013 motion at last Tuesday’s meeting. She told QMessenger: ‘I disagree with the banning of Blurred Lines because I do not think that censorship is an effective way of raising awareness and dealing with the issue of sexualisation and violence in music. I also do not think that there has been enough student engagement with the campaign.’ Other motions approved by the Student Council include a motion to support the UCU October 2013 ballot to strike and the less controversial motions to reduce the mental health stigma that student face on campus and to improve the variety of food sold at Queen Mary venues.QMSU President Sarah Sarwar commented on the first Student Council meeting of the year: ‘I’m really pleased that the first council went so well and with so much active participation. It’s great to see so many councillors be so passionate about such a wide variety of issues.’

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Beloved Director of Music retires Aimee MacLaughlin Alan Wilson will be retiring after nearly 40 years of sterling service to Queen Mary as Director of Music. As well as leaving behind his own outstanding legacy, he takes great pride in Queen Mary’s own musical heritage, especially the Music Society, Centre for Digital Music and the London Chamber Orchestra’s residency. He said “As Director of Music, it’s very important to have this link with the internal workings of QM, bringing people together to indulge in music. The Music Society has grown during the last four or five years, expanding into different genres and it will go on expanding. I wanted to make sure music here was performed by our in-house group rather than bring in outside people all the time.”

Alan also admits his soft spot for Queen Mary’s graduation ceremonies, having played at every one since taking up the position of Director of Music. Alan commented, “My favourite part is definitely the procession. It’s a nerve-wracking moment, as there could be a delay and you can never predict how long or short it’s going to be”. One of his most memorable moments was playing at the graduation of Bruce Dickinson, who has since gone on to become the lead singer of the internationally acclaimed heavy metal band Iron Maiden. An evening to celebrate his long and outstanding commitment to the university, which began in 1976, took place on Thursday 3rd October. The concert consisted of a historical survey through music and readings of the formation

and development of Queen Mary College. Specifically, it paid tribute to Constance Maynard, First Principal of Westfield College, and Robert Tong, Registrar of Queen Mary College, both of whom had a significant influence on music and literature. In particular, Alan sees Tong as his mentor and said “He was a great man in all sorts of ways – what he did for the college was incredible. He was also a very funny man and a wonderful musician. It was this music, this love that came through. I’ve tried to keep his spirit alive while I’ve been here because I’m the ‘link’ as it were”. The concert was given by the choir and orchestra of the QM Music Society, which is made up entirely of students and staff from the College. One Queen Mary Student and member of

Music Society, Kate Collins, had this to say, “I thought it was a lovely event to mark the well deserved retirement of a wonderful and underappreciated man who has influenced the lives of so many lucky students at Queen Mary. We will miss him but hope that he comes back to visit us.” At the event he told people how he had really enjoyed his time at Queen Mary, describing how fast it had gone, likening his 37 years at Queen Mary to just 5 minutes. He also spoke about his plans now he has retired, telling students that he hopes to do more composition and travelling, as well as promising to be back for graduations to play the organ in the Great Hall. All in all, it seems that Alan Wilson is very much loved and respected at Queen Mary and will be surely missed by many.

QMUL professor appointed British Journal of Psychiatry Editor Sao Mai Ly News Editor Kamaldeep Bhui, Professor of Cultural Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Queen Mary’s medical school, has been appointed Editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP). As well as being a professor at Queen Mary, Professor Bhui is an Honorary Consultant with East London NHS Foundation Trust. His work at Queen Mary includes research on inequalities in population mental health, chronic fatigue,

adolescent self-harm, hospital detention, housing, discrimination, cultural identity, religiosity, depression, suicide, violence and radicalisation and terrorism. Professor Bhui commented: ‘I’m delighted and privileged to be the editor of BJP.’ ‘It is one of the leading scientific journals for publishing research on psychiatric disorders, psychiatric illness, mental health and wellbeing. The journal publishes cutting edge research on new and innovative treatments and mental health care organisations in general.’ He

also acknowledged improvements in the field of care for mental illness, saying ‘I feel a great responsibility to search out the best science that offers the most hope and positive recovery outcomes. At the same time, the field of care for mental illness is rapidly changing with more being done in primary care and the community, and the influence of policy and global movements to protect dignity and rights are also having an impact.’ Advocating the need for scientific publications to be accessible to the public, he said: ‘Science should not

be inaccessible, so I hope authors will be encouraged to write more creatively and elegantly.’ Professor Bhui, whose clinical work includes socially excluded groups such as the homeless, expressed hope that the BJP will help to reduce social inequalities. ‘I think the journal offers evidence for local government, policy makers and international movements to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities. I would hope to make the journal more readable to all these audiences.’


QM Skills Award Victoria Munday This year, QMSU have been working closely with the Careers Centre and the Graduate Attributes Team to improve the employability of students through providing a joint Skills Award. The Skills Award aims to help students by recording participation in extra-curricular activities, an attribute that is becoming increasingly important for potential employers. The award can be included on a CV to demonstrate achievement and commitment, as well as helping students to focus on skills they are building through the extra-curricular activities they are a part of. In order to receive the skills award, students will need to have logged 40 hours of extra-curricular activities with a designated Activity Manager over the course

of the year. Students registered for the Skills Award will also need to attend 3 skills workshops and complete an Attributes Audit, which aims to help students recognize and reflect upon the Graduate Attributes they have gained through completing their chosen activities. Finally, students who have accrued enough hours of extracurricular activities are eligible to attend a Reaping Rewards workshop. This workshop aims to bring together participating students to share their experiences, and help to identify the skills they have learnt that could improve employability in the future. For more information about the skills award and how to get started go to http://www.qmsu. org/employability/


Language in aviation Molly Skinner If you’ve ever been unable to understand what someone is trying to say, whether because of their accent or the expression they’re using, you can understand how annoying the confusion can be for both parties. However if you’re in the aviation industry such misunderstandings are not only annoying but can become potentially life threatening. The Civil Aviation Authority has reported evidence that suggests the proficiency of ‘Aviation English’ is not always at the required level amongst some pilots operating in the UK. As such, research into a solution for these language communication issues is of upmost importance – research currently being undertaken by our very own linguists

here at Queen Mary University of London, in a project initiated and led by the CAA. The project will not only investigate potential safety risks but will also explore how current methods of maintaining clarity can be enhanced aiming to eliminate language related problems and ultimately save lives in the process. Dr Barbara Clark, a linguist and anthropologist specialising in aviation communication and safety at Queen Mary, will undertake the research funded by the UK department for Transport with additional linguistic expertise provided by Dr Colleen Cotter, also at Queen Mary. Dr Clark said: “This project shows that the UK recognises the need to maintain clear and unambiguous communication in aviation, and is treating it as a serious

matter. Most interaction between pilots and controllers happens without any ambiguity or misunderstanding, but there are still instances where meaning is unclear, not everyone is on the same page, and mistakes can happen. Given the global nature of aviation and the many different cultural backgrounds of pilots and controllers, it’s understandable that some misunderstandings occur.” The results of this research, which should be available some time in 2014, will not only be interesting from an academic standpoint but will undoubtedly impact the future of the UK aviation industry as we continue to seek out the best pilots and air traffic controllers from around the globe.

Queen Mary University continues to excel in official league tables Aimee MacLaughlin Queen Mary has excelled yet again in this year’s The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014, with subjects like Economics, Law, Drama, Medicine and Dentistry all placing within the UK top 10. The annual league table was re-

leased on Sunday 22nd September and lists Queen Mary as the third best in London for general student satisfaction, with a rating of more than 81 percent. Drama and Dentistry are the most successful disciplines, both placing third overall. Respectively, they scored 88 and 91 percent in terms of satisfaction, with

an overall score of 96/100 for drama and 95/100 for dentistry. Other successful subjects include English, History and Geography, which all appear within the top 20. With regard to the quality of teaching and staff at Queen Mary, the university ranks 9th in the whole country for its average staff to student

ratio of 12 students to 1 staff member. It also now ranks 25th for the quality of its research. The university’s top 40 position remains intact, rising to 37th this year.The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, which is released annually, is considered to be one of the most proficient indicators of the UK’s university perfor-

mance. It is based on information taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which examines popular criteria including student satisfaction, the number of Firsts and 2:1s awarded, dropout rates and teaching excellence. Overall, there were very positive results for Queen Mary across the board.

New style timetables cause stress and drama Nigel Wong & Zoe Cantley The start of every academic year at QM means one thing: endless admin; with course packs, reading lists and timetables being handed out. Getting your personal timetable is arguably a key moment in the year. While it is no surprise there are the usual small minor issues, this year the number of complaints after the timetable release seems to have increased and consequently become one of the main topics of conversation on campus. This academic year sees a change to the timetabling system, with personalised timetables for students available online. The university hopes that the use of one central system instead of many individual School or Institute systems will mean that they will be able to manage teaching space more effectively. Some of the main issues however centred on the layout of the new timetables and the universi-

ty’s failure to face the problems, for example they failed to notify students that both semesters were on the same timetable. This was not helped by the ‘instructions’ to help students to read the timetables, as in many cases these instructions made students even more confused, thus leaving students completely perplexed about the situation of their classes for this year. One student, Sue Newell, a third year politics student had this to say, ‘The new timetabling system was difficult to read as it combined first and second semester modules on one timetable. Also it was released very close to the start of classes making it difficult to resolve any timetable clashes before teaching commenced.’ The issue of timetables being issued late was one reiterated by many students, with some only receiving them the day before the start of lectures, causing undue distress and disorganisation.

The university recognises that there have been problems with the new timetables, but are doing their upmost to rectify the problems and are confident that the new system will eventually be very helpful to students. For example, the new system means that students can access their individual timetable online, meaning that if a lecture is cancelled or moved to another room students will know immediately. Students personalised timetables can be accessed online 24/7 via QM Plus. The university has emailed all students that experienced problems after receiving their timetables, and hopes that all problems will be solved by the end of the month, meaning that students can then start to enjoy the proposed benefits of this new system. Another unhappy student, a second year business management student who wishes to remain anonymous remarked, ‘They’ve had serious issues with

the timetables at my school, mixing classes from semester A and B and not putting me in the right classes. However they have sorted most of it now, except for when students change modules, which a lot are still doing. It takes a little time then before the timetable is updated.’ Wendy Appleby, Secretary to Council and Academic Registrar and lead for this project said: “We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused by these problems. We are looking at the problems that have arisen so that we can fix them quickly and learn from the experience for the future. Once the system is up and running properly, I am confident that the new personalised timetables will be beneficial to everyone. Please just bear with us while we work to get this right.” Do the timetable issues stem deeper than the readability of them? Some cases within the university have highlighted the inability of departments to suc-

cessfully place students in the correct classes they signed up for and at times oversubscribing certain modules. ‘I had my modules approved by my tutor last week, only to be emailed two days later saying that there had been an “unforeseen clash” and that I therefore would be required to choose an alternative. There are no decent alternatives,’ said James Baughan a third year Environmental Science Student. However reports such as these were rare. Not all is doom and gloom in the timetabling world of QM, some students have reported back stating they had no problems in the make up or reading of their timetables. If you are still experiencing problems with using your timetable, please contact Martin Burke in the central timetabling team at



QMSU Festival of Sport: Did it succeed? Michael Barraclough

The Copper Box Arena, which hosted the Handball, Modern Pentathlon Fencing and Paralympic Goalball during the 2012 Games, is one of London’s most flexible indoor venues, with retractable seating for up to 7,500 spectators, allowing for a wide range of different sports and activities. In addition to this, thanks to hard work from the Queen Mary Students’ Union (QMSU), Club Sport members at Queen Mary will be able to use the prestigious venue to train and compete at during the 2013/14 season. Kayah Abdulmajed, Sports Officer at Queen Mary, told QMessenger that ‘It is exciting that we have access to a venue such as the Copper Box Arena which gives us the opportunity to hold events such as the QMSU Festival of Sport’. This event, billed as a ‘sporting showcase’ on the Union website, however, despite being described as one which ‘launched [the] sporting year with a bang’ in the same article, has received criticism from certain quarters of the student body. The event, one cannot deny, had its positives. It offered the chance for several of these teams, including QM Netball, QM Fencing and QM Badminton, to get their first taste of the facility. QM Netball President Anna Dickson said ‘It’s been so exciting to come down to the Olympic Park and get a chance to see this great venue that we are fortunate enough to be using this year. I can’t wait for the season to start now!’ which does back up the assertions of Sarah Sarwar, QMSU President, who claimed that ‘I’m sure students will be thrilled to use such facilities’ in an article on the SU website published on 27 August 2013. In fact, many of the students who turned up on the day had a great time, as testified by a member of a club sport team who attended the event who wishes to remain anonymous, ‘I thought the event was good and the people that attended seemed to all have a really good time’ It is here, however, where the success of the event comes into question. The Union website states that ‘In total over 130 QM students attended the event.’ In a University of nearly 15,000 students one could say that this is a relatively low turnout. This viewpoint is backed by our anonymous Club Sport member who was disappointed ‘that for an event

that was billed as a showcase of QMSU sport there weren’t actually people there to showcase their sport.’ However, Damian Lyons, Sport Participation Manager at Queen Mary, was quick to counter such claims by stating that he was ‘pleased with the amount of students who attended. The people that did go had an incredible time’. Lyons cited the attendance of Team GB wheelchair basketball bronze medalist Natasha Davies as one of the day’s highlights, as it offered those who did attend the day a chance to do speak with one of the heroes of London 2012; something that you cannot do every day. He did admit that he ‘would’ve loved more, but some things can’t be helped’, which is true for Abdulmajed who ‘was sadly too ill to attend the festival’. A further perceived criticism from our source was the fact that not many sports teams were represented in the Copper Box on the day. Both Lyons and Abdulmajed agree that although this was the case, this was something out of their hands. The latter said this on

the matter ‘It was down to the individual sports clubs to put themselves forward to do demonstrations, that wasn’t something that could be controlled by Club Sport, only encouraged, as it was’. This view was corroborated by Lyons who said that he ‘understands that you guys [students] have a lot on’ but would have liked to have seen more teams turn up, whether it was to get an initial taste for the venue (for teams such as QM Netball and QMBL Fencing) or to help create a sense of enthusiasm and excitement for sport at the university. For example, BL Alpine, who ‘came to the Copper Box as the sole representatives of Barts and the London SMD (School of Medicine and Dentistry). We showed the agility of mountain goats in our dodgeball evasion alongside a high standard of elegance with their Fred Flintstone Toga Costumes, but ultimately the complete absence of any practice in throwing and catching skills in such activities as walking, climbing, and general mountaineering may have been our undoing’

according to Patrick Woodburn, BLAC Chair. Despite this showing Woodburn confirmed that everyone ‘had a great time’. As for those that feel the event was ultimately money not well spent, QMessenger can confirm that no Union money was spent on the event and is able to shed some light on how the day was funded. All costs were covered by the QM Annual Fund, which is a pot of money provided by QM Alumni. Projects within the University have to apply to receive a share of the funding by submitting a detailed plan stating anticipated costs and how the money would be used. Get Active’s tender to receive financial backing for this event was successful and meant that all costs; venue hire, transport and prizes were all covered. There was no need to ask the Union for funds. After the event, a full scale review took place and the QM Annual Fund declared themselves pleased with how the event had played out and how the money they partitioned off to fund it had been used. To deem the event a complete

failure would be very harsh and highly inaccurate. Abdulmajed is correct in stating that ‘It was great to see students so invested in the event and some well-deserved prizes were given out.’ Highlights of the day included the dodgeball competition, which attracted a variety of contestants including some of the QMSU Executive Officers, won by QM Rugby who were unbeaten in 5 matches on their way to winning £250 to use as they saw fit. An honourable mention must also go to QM Netball who brought their own unique style to the event by winning Best Fancy Dress for their Zoo/Safari themed outfits. However, whether the event can be described as starting the year with ‘a bang’ or not is an entirely different question. Despite the big billing and publicity, a lack of footfall in the arena on event day would suggest that the Festival of Support wasn’t necessarily as successful as expected and it will be interesting to see what changes, if any, are made when it comes to organising outside events of this scale again.


MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2013 The Olympic Copperbox event on 20th September was branded as The Festival of Sport. The events primary purpose was to raise awareness that the Olympic Copperbox facilities are available to QM students’ Clubs, and the opportunity for student to have a bit of fun at the prestigious venue. In time we hope to use the space for Get Active activities, sport community coaching initiatives and more. The event was advertised using posters and flyers which were

distributed by Get Active staff and Freshers Crew on Weds, Thurs & Fri of Freshers week. In addition, a preview press release was put on the QMSU website and the event was promoted using social media. All Sports Club committees were informed about the event at their Training sessions before the event. Fewer students attended that were hoped, we estimate around 130 students many of which were volunteers. The event ran smoothly and had positive feedback from those attending. As part of the

funding arrangement, a full and thorough evaluation will take place and lessons learnt will be applied to future events. We are currently in discussions regarding access for QML students and staff to the Olympic Aquatic Centre in the New Year. If successful, an opening event is likely, and recommendations from the evaluation exercise will certainly be applied. This will feed into a wider evaluation and planning exercise by the SU Communications and Marketing team on how to efficiently and

effectively communicate to more students. A major challenge was firming up a date with the venue, options kept shifting and final date was only secured a few weeks before the start of term. The funds and budget for the event was secured through a successful bid through the Alumni Annual Fund. Due to unforeseen circumstances around booking the venue, and to mitigate risks and control costs, the initial aspirations and brief was scaled down to a fraction of the initial

budget. The hire of the venue was £300, and detailed analysis of all the costs will be considered as part of the evaluation exercise. The Students’ Union has secured student clubs to use the Copperbox on a weekly basis, and is reviewing the arrangement to make further improvements . It is also continuing to seek new better value and higher standard sport facilities for students in the local area.

Tools predicting psychopaths’ violent behaviour ‘no more accurate than tossing a coin’ Sao Mai Ly News Editor A new study from Queen Mary University of London challenges the accuracy of risk assessment tools used to predict prisoner re-offending in the case of psychopaths. Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Grants for Applied Research Programme, the research also shows that the tools’ accuracy is moderate in those with schizophrenia, depression and abuse disorders. In the Prisoner Cohort Study, 1,396 male prisoners in England

and Wales were assessed for personality and abuse disorders, schizophrenia, depression and psychopathic personality between six and twelve months before their release. Three different risk assessment tools were used to predict the risk of re-offence, and their efficacy was then evaluated by checking whether or not the prisoners had at least one conviction for a violent offence within three years of release. The results showed that the predictive value of the tools was no better than chance when considering the 70 prisoners with psycho-

pathic personality. Furthermore, the tools’ accuracy was moderate in the case of those with depression (average accuracy over the three assessment tools was 60.8%), schizophrenia (59.5%) and abuse disorders (55.5% in the case of drug dependence and 59.5% in the case of alcohol disorder), but poor in those with personality disorders (53.2%). Leading the research was Professor Jeremy Coid, Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Research Unit at Queen Mary. He commented: ‘There are increasing expectations of public

protection from violent behaviour and psychiatrists can be seriously criticised if they make wrong decisions around the release of offenders.’ ‘However, here we have demonstrated the difficulties of accurately predicting re-offending in certain groups. Indeed, the tools available are no more accurate than tossing a coin when it comes to psychopaths.’ The study does not explain the lack of accuracy in risk assessment tools in the case of psychopaths. Professor Coid said: ‘It may be that the objective measures taken

into account by some tests – such as age and criminal history – vary little among psychopathic offenders and therefore can’t differentiate within this group.’ ‘Another possible explanation is that the ability of psychopaths to lie convincingly and manipulate even experienced clinicians means we need to exclude subjective clinical judgement. Whatever the reason, we need to prioritise the development of new assessment tools for these hard to predict groups.’ The research was published on the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Mental Health Day 2013 helps to raise awareness at Queen Mary Zoe Cantley News Editor The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and destigmatising mental illness. Katarina Nordanger the new Vice President of Welfare is very concerned with raising awareness and improving the support for students suffering from mental health issues and is keen to start a wider conversation about these issues. One of the key points raised throughout the day was that everyone has mental health and will at some point experience a mental health issue, from common stress to depression. Mental Health Day saw the launch of the wider Mental Health and Wellbeing Campaign, led by Katarina Nordanger. Throughout the year at Queen Mary there will be a continued focus on mental health, for instance mental health week commences on the 17th of February next year. The mantra of the day was ‘it’s time to talk’ which began with interactive music in the Blomley Rooms. The charity Squeaky Clean lead an hour of fun, encouraging students and staff alike to join in, relax and enjoy themselves playing an instru-

ment and composing a piece of music. The initiative explores how the creative arts, in particular music, can be therapeutic for sufferers of mental illness. One of the key moments of the day was the signing of the Time-To-Change pledge, which confirms Queen Mary’s commitment to tackle mental health issues and the discrimination and stigma that surrounds mental health. This was a very important and symbolic moment, with the principal of Queen Mary, Professor Simon Gaskell in attendance showing his support. A very frank and open discus-

sion was lead by the leaders of Open Book, a project that aims to help students with a background of mental illness from addiction and offending to simple stress and anxiety. They run three weekly sessions, a women’s drop in, law and history classes and a creative writing workshop. There were also talks about recovery, self harming and nonverbal creative therapies for schizophrenia There was an array of events occurring throughout the day, for example in the Hub where the mental health fair was based there were a variation of stalls advertising differ-

ent companies and charities that focus on mental illness and wellbeing in the local area. For instance, the charities Mind and Beat were positioned alongside our very own SU. Students at the SU stall were encouraged to write what makes them happy on a paper apple and hang it on the 3D cardboard tree. There were many quirky techniques such as these employed in order to draw in students to discuss mental health and pick up a leaflet with more information. At the Nightline standa charity that provides emotional support the students-people were asked to write their confessions in

an attempt to open up a dialogue with students. In Library Square the mental wellbeing society were offering tea and talk, the idea being to chat to students and break down the stigma surrounding mental health and raise money at the same time by selling hot beverages and cake. One of the most popular events was the free Ice Carving session outside Ground that ran throughout the day. Trained professionals sculpted intricate bears, dolphins and other animals from blocks of ice. This was a very successful way of drawing in students and advertising the Mental Health Day and wider campaign launching. At the end of the day there was a screening of the Oscar award winning film The Silver Linings Playbook that focuses on two people suffering from various mental illnesses. QMessenger spoke with Sarah Sarwar, QMSU President who remarked, ‘I’m so pleased at the success of world mental health day. It’s been great to see such a powerful launch of QMSU’s mental health action plan with the time to change pledge. I hope this means that we can all work together in breaking down the stigma attached to mental health and get talking about an issue that effects everyone.’



Merkel is the victorious ‘Mother’ of Germany Georgie Duffield Dubbed as the most powerful woman in politics, enjoying overwhelming popularity from the German voters, Angela Merkel’s name is never far from international headlines. Looking however at pictures taken during the G8 summit, held earlier this summer, one inescapable fact becomes clear. Among the multitude of black, navy and grey suited men Merkel is, very much, a woman standing alone in the world of international politics. Gender aside; winning a third term on the 22nd of September 2013 only reiterates Merkel’s political successes. Her ability to stand at the helm of the strongest and most flourishing economy in a crumbling Europe is cited as Merkel’s greatest achievement. Lets not forget however some of her other trade mark policies. The implementation of ‘austerity-reform’, a notably German principle, upon the failing

economies of Southern Europe was no easy battle. There is unquestionably an aura of mystery surrounding the German chancellor. Most pressing is how little we know about her here in Britain, surprising given the vast influence she possesses. Is this characteristic of her gender or simply her skill as a politician? You could be forgiven for attempting to draw parallels with Margaret Thatcher the two, in fact, could not be more different. Other than gender the similarities, go no further. In terms of policy the two stand worlds apart. For one Merkel is referred to as the ‘Teflon lady’ due to what critics call a “lack of clear opinion and vision”. The image of Briton’s ‘Iron lady’ provokes a very different set of criticisms. Thatcher embraced her role as a ‘pioneer’. Merkel on the other hand is much more shrewd, keeping her cards close to her chest at all times. Rarely will you see the German chancellor reveal a plan, ideology or vision for her nation.

Given the obvious fact women can make it to the top, why is it then so few embark on a career in politics? You don’t have to be a genius to see that currently men continue to dominate. Astonishingly the UK Parliament proudly published statistics showing that the number of women in both Houses of Parliament stands at 25%. Apparently this is some sort of achievement? Undeniably an improvement on previous decades but it hardly screams ‘gender equality’. Controversially it is widely accepted in America that personality could be the main reason behind this gender imbalance. According to The Women and Politics institute at American University the answer is simple; women largely feel that they are under qualified to run for office. I for one am sure that Angela Merkel will inspire a new generation of empowered females to storm the political scene of future European governments.

Image credit Dirk Vorderstraße

Image credit David Shankbone

Is it ever possible to say I Don’t to I Do’s? Michelle Hambiliki The recent separation of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas has rendered one of Hollywood’s apparent ‘golden couples’ more of a, slowly but surely, rusting irontype of couple, seemingly more populous in Tinsel Town. Also fresh in the headlines is the broken off engagement between Miley Cyrus and Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth, which, considering her recent attention-seeking antics, has saved us from the inevitable media scrutiny on their equally inevitable divorce. However, I must admit the latter case was higher in my priority of interesting celebrity gossip news

considering that I am of a similar age to Cyrus, whom I grew up seeing on TV in my not-so-distant Disney watching days. I couldn’t even begin to understand why a young woman with ‘her whole life ahead of her’ would so willingly legally bind herself to someone she’d known about two years. To make a lifelong commitment to someone at that age having known said person for that amount of time seems absurd to me. The statistics are dismal and are becoming increasingly so as we advance further and further into the future. But why do we do it to ourselves? We don’t have to get married to be in a long-term relationship or even to have children.

We are no longer condemned by society if we opt instead for cohabitation. Indeed, the pressure put on people to marry has vastly diminished and yet in spite of this, most of us will marry and even remarry knowing that the odds are against us. Of course, the reason why so many people so readily take the plunge is because we are shrouded with the security blanket of knowing that we can opt out any time we want. Were divorce non-existent, it goes without saying, people would be more discriminating in their choice of life partner. This is not to say that I mean to present myself as some sort of radical who believes marriage should

be banned, or even divorce for that matter, or that I think there is anything inherently wrong with the concept of marriage. In an ideal world, I could hardly think of anything more beautiful than the union of two people who love each other faithfully and ‘til death do them part. However, this ideal world usually exists only in fairy tales and those oh-so-predictable rom-coms. My only real argument is that people should not rush into marriage or even feel compelled by society to get married at all because the ramifications of doing such aren’t pretty. These usually include the stress, disheartenment and financial difficulties that often come

with divorce. However, the main pitfall of halfhearted or hasty marriages, is the fact that often when people marry, they are essentially choosing the co-parent of their unborn child. Thus ill-considered marriages which lead to children can be damaging to the children if, as a result, they do not witness the support and devotion of a loving family. Parents in such families will often decide to divorce. Others will choose to remain in a discontented marriage and attempt to endure one another’s presence as best they can, lest they become another drop in the ever-flowing ocean of divorce and ‘broken homes’.



Pope Francis tries to change the World Stephanie Relf

Image credit Jorge Bergoglio

The contemporary Catholic Church is infamous for opposing same sex couples, abortion and contraception; not to mention the scandals involving sexual abuse of children. It is portrayed as an institution eager to condemn your faults without addressing its own, hypocritical and out-dated. What can be done to reverse this and does Catholicism have a place in the 21st century? There is one such individual who believes there can be change. Pope Francis, who became the head of the Roman Catholic Church in March, has criticised it for becoming “obsessed” with homosexuality and abortion, arguing that generosity and acceptance should be their true mission. In an interview with America Magazine, the Pope stated “...the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful...” Rather than the image of church with cold walls and a cold heart, Pope Francis wants “ministers of mercy”, taking responsibility for all those who need help, not just those of an isolated congregation.

The pope recently set a date for the canonisation of his two predecessors, after confirming the 2nd miracles, the two popes will become saints. Clearly many in the 21st century do not believe in miracles and those who do, believe it is God and not the person who performs the miracle. Possibly the more important question is why such bureaucracy is necessary for saint-hood. Clearly there must be some boundaries, but Mother Theresa is not a saint because of the lack of a second miracle, yet I’m sure more people around the world are inspired by her amazing love and self-sacrifice, than the miracles of these two popes. I’m sure aiming for sainthood was never part of Mother Theresa’s mission, but surely the Roman Catholic Church would want to endorse someone who worked tirelessly in the name of their God? Whether you believe in miracles or not, you can’t deny how much she wanted to help people, something strikingly similar to Pope Francis’ hope for the future of the church. The media have given Catholics a dubious reputation in recent years. Through Catholic schools and

Sunday schools, efforts to create a generation of moral and obedient individuals have failed. Many (although not all) experience discrimination and ill-treatment at the hands of those with a responsibility to protect them, whom they should be able to trust. Misplaced priorities of discouraging homosexuality and sex before marriage have overshadowed the broader and more important message of the gospel which is to ‘love thy neighbour’. For students living alone in London the vastness and impersonal nature of the city is daunting for many, is it not encouraging to find an institution willing to help and befriend everyone without judgment and without conditions? Finding a community of hope with genuine concern for other’s welfare is refreshing and is important if the world’s experience of religion is to change. However, changing the world isn’t an easy task, it won’t happen quickly, and it won’t happen without treading on some extremely proud toes, but if Pope Francis is willing to try then he has a lot of support.

Is Ed Miliband Prime Minister material? Victoria Cavolina In recent days Ed Miliband has taken to the headlines for standing against the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday for their attempts to comment on Miliband’s family life. Generally speaking, the public have muttered support for Miliband and his attempts to defend his father and uncle, and have shown an understanding for his choices. But does such support extend to seeing the youngest Miliband brother become Prime Minister at the next election. As party conference season draws to a close, it would be easy to forget a number of things that were discussed in Brighton this autumn. But with an election looming, Miliband’s words are sure to be fought over in the months to come. Aside from pledging to freeze energy prices for two years, a declaration which is sure to have poor students across the country cheering, Miliband drew attention to the controversial spare room levy, commonly known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’. The

levy, which has seen scores of people across the country affected, many of which are disabled, has been criticised because there is little provision for those that need to move, which is forcing those on low incomes into debt. Miliband has criticised the tax from the outset, and was bold enough to declare that he would reverse the coalition’s policy if he was in power in 2015. Such a decision is sure to spark interest in a party that is still carrying the fall out of being in power when the recession hit. Whilst Labour have suggested that they’ve accounted for the costs of such a decision through closing a number of tax loopholes, the vague language used makes people wonder if this is really the caring choice it’s portrayed as, or merely a political play. Miliband is, at present in a rather unique position, leading the opposition party against the coalition government. His two biggest competitors, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, he knows, will be forced to thrash out their own

identities whilst remaining in a state of shared power. Perhaps he hopes that Cameron and Clegg will be too busy shaking each other off, that he might be in with a chance of leading Labour back into power. The question is though; do we really want Ed Miliband as our Prime Minister? Though in the UK we do not vote for a PM but instead for our parliamentary representative, the thought will of course cross voters’ minds. For Queen Mary students that choose to vote based on their London home, the Labour party are likely to be a strong competitor. At the moment, the Labour MP Rushanara Ali holds the seat for Bethnal Green and Bow. So, can Miliband prove to the British public that his party are the ones to continue to build recovery, and take Britain forward? Some certainly think so, but if Miliband’s current proposals are anything to go by, they will require some hard facts and figures if they’re to convince the cynical to vote Labour again.

Image credit EdMiliband



The Great Debate Should Cannabis be legalised?

Image credit Sids1


Alissa Veiga-Pestana


healthier than it is today. It is estimated that the legalisation of drugs in the UK would save the government up to £14bn a year. The savings on prohibition enforcement, as well as the tax revenue gained on a properly regulated drug market make the war on drugs seem entirely counter-productive. People will smoke weed no matter how much you tell them not to. An average of 80,000 deaths a year are attributable to alcohol and tobacco individually – both government sanctioned, taxable substances – however cannabis, which has never caused a single death, is still illegal. Hypocritical? Illogical? I’ll let you make your own mind up. In the Netherlands, where it is legal to smoke, drink and eat cannabis, the official statistics for schizophrenia (an illness commonly, but arguably wrongly, associated with smoking weed) are actually lower per 100,000 people than in the United Kingdom. Mike Barton, the Chief Constable of Durham Police has called for the government to come to their senses, and asks have we not learned the lessons of prohibition in history? In America, the Mob’s ‘sinister rise to prominence in the US was pretty much funded through its supply of a prohibited drug; alcohol. That’s arguably what we are doing in the UK’. By keeping weed illegal we are incriminating the majority of the UK – every year an estimated 2.4 million people use marijuana for the first time. The government has a duty of care to its citizens – in the words of Mike Skinner ‘I don’t see why I should be the criminal, How can somethin’ with no recorded fatalities be illegal?’ I’d feel very reassured to know that David Cameron approves of the quality and strength of my next spliff.

Hana Osborne

Why does getting our hands on the ‘urb remain an act that puts us at risk of prosecution? Despite the vast number of studies, facts and figures that point us otherwise, smoking weed is still seen as contributing to social decline due to the huge amount of misinformation we are fed from various sources. Let us first remind ourselves of the vast number of diseases and ailments that cannabis can relieve. Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for approximately 4000 years, and is still used today to relieve the symptoms of AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis and glaucoma. It seems senseless to prohibit the one drug that would alleviate a whole lot of pain for a whole lot of people. But smoking weed causes psychosis and mental problems! I hear you cry. However, if the production and sale of cannabis was regulated by the government, the product would be almost unrecognisable from the chemically enhanced super-skunk available on street corners today. When a grower of cannabis plants uses selective breeding to make the crop stronger (mating a strong female plant with a strong male plant), this increases the levels of THC – the active ingredient that gets us ‘stoned’. What many people don’t realise, however, is that cannabis naturally contains equal amounts of another chemical, called Cannabidoil – this has been shown to counter the psychoactive effects produced by THC. If weed was manufactured under the control of the government, the strength of the product would be under strict regulation, the adding of substances such as tarmac, plastic bags and even dog excretion to increase weight would stop, and cannabis would be safer and

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK – even our politicians admit to past cannabis use - and this high level of usage is common in most countries around the world. However, just because the cannabis plant is naturally occurring, it does not mean that it should be naturally accepted into society and legalised. The medical benefits claimed to occur along with the ingestion of cannabis is one of the main arguments for the legalisation of the drug. Yet clinical studies monitoring its use as an analgesic, in its possible use to relieve Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and many more illnesses have yielded inconsistent results. Moreover, the drug itself has negative side effects that undermine any slight positive gained from its medical application. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, if you start smoking cannabis before the age of 15, your likelihood of developing a psychotic disorder by the time you are 26 increases fourfold. Any drug that increases a chance of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia and other life changing longterm mental health problems can surely not be legalised. Cannabis affects your brain functions in other ways as well. Anxiety, paranoia and a lack of motivation are all possible side effects. It is important to remember that most cannabis users tend to be teenagers and those in their 20s.This is the time in life where the brain is still developing, thus the drug has a greater impact on you, and moreover the side effects, combined with a lack of motivation it can often produce can mean school and work begin to suffer.

Drugs are not ‘recreational’; they infiltrate all aspects of life. There are of course exceptions to the rule; there are those who have smoked cannabis every day and who have normal functioning lives, careers and families. Yet this is the exception, the minority; can we as a society let harm come to the majority, because of a marginal proportion who are not impaired by the drug? There are physical as well as mental health risks associated with cannabis. Often smoked with tobacco, there is the danger of becoming addicted to nicotine and of course the increased possibility of lung diseases such as COPD and lung cancer. Blood pressure is also affected, and an increased heart rate is quite common; this is dangerous both if one already suffers from heart disease and in that it can cause heart problems in previously clear patients. The argument that legalisation combined with regulation could be an alternative method in dealing with cannabis which would allow casual users and those unaffected to continue to do so without repercussions is a flawed argument. Not only does the drug obviously have negative side effects, which are often trivialised due to the ‘acceptable’ face of cannabis, the drug itself is hard to regulate. It is not like alcohol or other regulated substances; it is relatively easy to grow oneself and so until an appropriate system can be put in place, and the true health risks of cannabis understood the drug needs to remain illegal.

COMMENT09 We have a western orientated media MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2013

Helena Kerr

Last week, the whole world watched in horror as over 70 people were held hostage for several days in a terrorist siege operated by the Somalian radical Islamist terrorist organisation Al Shabab. The incident took place in an upmarket shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya with 67 shot dead and many critically injured. It is clear now that Al Shabab, an organisation once little known to the likes of the everyday QM student, are now one of the most feared across the globe: especially after being linked to our already well known Western enemy Al Qaeda. Furthermore, the British national press and government alike have been deeply concerned with those British, American and Canadian nationals of whom were stuck

in the midst of the terrorist attack: 6 Brits even dying, much to the distress of the nation. However, despite the inevitable grief that is felt for the victims and families alike, one has to wonder how widely reported this terrible incident would have been without the connection to Al Qaeda and British victims? Considering, this is not the first time Al Shabab have attacked and thus in turn killed innocent civilians, as 76 were killed back in 2010 in Uganda by the organisation, yet it did not make it to the Western headlines. Are we only concerned if Westerners are involved? One only has to look at the statement David Cameron made last week to understand further how Western-centric the government and media really is: Cameron claimed helping Britons would be

his ‘first priority’ and consequently British forensics would be sent in to investigate. Yet could this heavy western involvement in the situation be a ploy, are they really just worried about who is next on the terrorist bombing list? Is being primarily concerned with the western world; being a western country, necessarily a bad thing? Inevitably, if there is an emergency that involves members of their own state the media will report it out of default, but that doesn’t mean unrelated foreign crises go unreported. Take the current uprising in Syria, innocent civilians are being killed daily by the tyrannical government regime, yet this has been a hot topic for the western media as it has made front-page headlines almost every week. However, if the government and

media alike weren’t so westerncentric when reporting incidents of international terrorism would we then see the situation from an alternative view they have been shielding from us? It could be that the Western government’s military actions are not themselves as innocent as they seem: take the war on terror for instance, it has gone largely unreported that the American army have set off hundreds of drone bombs on the Afghan Border since 2004 killing thousands. Inevitably this has been kept on the down low whilst the attacks of Al Qaeda and as of late Al Shabab have made headline news. It seems to report the absolute truth of modern terrorism would reveal a more sinister reality about the seemingly innocent western governments. Image credit Freedom House

A step inside the Syrian Revolution Balkis El-Khalaf The shrill screams of women and children filled the air, thick smoke columns conquered the sky, and the ground shook violently beneath my feet. We were being attacked by an Assad regime helicopter. It was determined, so driven to accomplish its mission: it continued to indiscriminately drop barrel explosives. These bombs are packed with swords, with knives, with saws - anything deadly - to ensure maximum damage to innocent civilians. The shelling continued; it was so intense. I had lost hope in any chance of survival. I told myself, there is no way that you will come out of here alive. It had sunk in. I did not resist what looked like the inevitable. I only waited, waited for that moment, and I remember thinking to myself, I wish I had done more good in my life, if only I can have another chance. This experience was one of the many that I had encountered in my recent trip in Syria. The near-death experience is inescapable, especially to the Syrians who continue to face it on a daily basis. The aim of my trip was to work with the needy and displaced, and to help distribute aid with a charity that was coming from America. Food and baby milk - basic necessities of living are very limited or non-existent. I spent my time in Idlib, a city under constant, brutal bombard-

ment, where, (as in many provinces of Syria) there is a bread crisis; blessed to be living off limited dry bread, others had nothing. But what really broke my heart is that image which continues to haunt me, of starving babies who are far too young to eat, yet have no milk, and are left to die a slow painful death by the Syrian regime. I arrived in Syria on the 14th of August, 2013. I have been dreaming, begging God for this moment where, after years of departure, I would finally step foot on its ground, one that has been washed clean by the blood of innocents. I had arrived from the Turkish border, for I am unable to enter the airport in Syria. As an activist, and the daughter of a political opponent who was forced to live in exile for 32 years, my name has been blacklisted. If caught, I would be detained, tortured and killed; my body may even be thrown in the field to be eaten by wild dogs, as in the case of my cousin, Abdullah. The severity of the situation in Syria does not really hit you, not until you are actually there. I have always known that the situation is heart wrenching, but it was excruciatingly painful to see the immense destruction caused by the regime; buildings were completely destroyed to the ground. My heart cried, and with every explosion, it broke even more. Explosions are continuously heard in

the background - if you’re lucky that is. If not, they can be heard in your neighbourhood, where you would see a missile dropping on the house nearby, missing you only by two doors. This is exactly what I had experienced. I froze, trying to comprehend the following thought: It could have been me. My trip to Syria re-opened wounds I have been struggling to mend and attend to. With so many relatives and friends brutally killed by the regime, it is difficult to come to terms with the harsh reality of knowing that I will never see them again. Walking on Syrian land forced memories of friends and family, callously stripped from my embrace, to flash before my eyes. They left this world, leaving my heart in tears. They left Syria, as it prayed for their return, as it longed to feel their footsteps once again. I remember my friend telling me, “I miss my mum Balkis. I miss her so much.” The very next day, on the 12th of June 2013, he was killed by Assad forces. On this day, his dream of marrying the love of his life – my best friend – was broken. It was time for Samir, a young anti-Syrian regime activist in Homs, to finally join his family in heaven. Samir’s parents, his three brothers and three sisters, along with their toddlers were killed in the Khalidiya massacre. On the 4th of February 2012, regime forces raided

the homes of innocent Syrian civilians; 1,300 were injured. His family, along with 337 innocents, were all brutally slaughtered with knives and swords. They were all left to drown in a thick pool of blood. Indeed, this massacre is not uncommon. It is only one of the many hundreds of massacres committed by the Syrian regime since the 15th of March 2011 to this day. Many of which have happened in my very own village, back home in Syria. They are endless. Massacres, raids, and the bombardments of religious buildings, as well as civilian neighbourhoods and schools, are all typically-used regime ‘tactics’ – their aim is to instil fear and terror in the hearts of those who have dared to go out on the streets, calling for freedom and democracy. The Syrian regime will stop at nothing; since day one, over 150,000 innocent Syrian civilians have been detained by the regime. 2 million Syrians have been displaced to the neighbouring countries, whilst 5 million are currently displaced inside Syria. The Syrian death toll has exceeded well over 130,000 documented deaths. This includes 13 year old Hamza Al-Khateeb, who was taken by regime security forces in Daraa whilst attending a peaceful protest. His mutilated corpse was returned to his family almost 9 months later. His neck was bro-

ken and his genital was cut off. As for 2 year old Fatima Meghlaj from Idlib, a regime warplane targeted her home. Her head was blown off. It left her father no other option but to kiss her lifeless body goodbye. I often stop to think deeply, asking myself; how many children has Bashar left as orphans? How many more mothers will be forced to weep over their children’s lifeless bodies, screaming painfully, calling out to the world that has willingly chosen to turn a blind eye? How many hearts has he broken? I am reminded of my cousin, Leen. She was happily married, and in June, she was killed by an Assad sniper. Leen was 7 months pregnant. As for Basim, my cousin, I pray that God gives his fiancé’s patience. He was killed the night before their wedding day. Words will never be enough to describe the harsh and tragic reality of the situation in Syria, no matter what I write. They will never be able to fully express our pain. This leaves me with a final thought, one that has been chasing me since the very first day: When, just when, will the world finally understand that we, the Syrian people, are not just numbers? To help those in need in Syria, please donate by visiting Hand In Hand for Syria Charity on:



What’s new at Drapers? Image credit Zoe Cantley

Sarah Power Editor in Chief If you are a student at Queen Mary the likelihood is that you have spent at least one night (if not many) in Drapers Bar and Kitchen. In the last issue of QMessenger we reported on the refurbishment of Room Two and some of the other changes that have been taking place at Drapers. This week we met with Director of Operations and Services John Bell and Entertainments and Events Manager Joey AddaiPoku to further understand and report on the recent changes and to see how Drapers will be improving in the future.

The Refurbishment The biggest change so far is the refurbishment of Room Two so that Drapers Club Room has now become Drapers Lounge. This will provide communal space which can be used for non-alcoholic events as well as still being used for club nights. The refurbishment included ripping out the built in seats to create more room and changes to the bar area so that if the room is being used for alcohol free events the bar is less obvious. In the last issue we reported that Drapers had been pushed to provide this alcohol free space by the university. This is in fact untrue, the management at Drapers chose to create this space in reaction to feedback from the students and Sabbatical team. The management at Drapers have gathered their information from a number of sources; the Sabbatical officers, Students’ Union surveys, the National Student Survey and co-operation with the team at The Griff Inn. This student feedback has also led to the introduction of Sky

Sports HD and revisions of the menu. In an attempt to maintain prices and to provide as much choice as possible the kitchen has introduced the ‘Build a burger’ option. The menu is under constant revisions which aim at providing a range of options for affordable prices. So far the refurbishment been met with extremely positive feedback and an increase in bookings, the refurbishment cost £60,000 but is well worth it if it provides students with extra recreational space. Developments are also ongoing in Whitechapel at the Barts and the London site where management succeeded in increas-

ing the capacity of The Griff Inn from 250 to 300 students. Recent events at The Griff Inn have been reaching this new capacity proving that the demand is there.

Events As you may have noticed many of the regular events at Drapers have also changed since last year. The regular Friday night club night (FND) has gone and Wednesday nights Blue Cheese event has been replaced with Go Wild. Feedback revealed that students didn’t feel that the Blue Cheese night had a strong enough identity. Mondays Calling will continue as a solid favourite among students providing cheap drinks and an indie soundtrack. To coincide with the refurbishment Drapers have been trialling non-alcoholic Try Something events in an attempt to target parts of the student body which may have been overlooked previously. The team trialled a series of non-alcoholic events throughout Freshers week which were a huge hit. Events such as Circus Skills, cooking demonstrations and speed meets were extremely popular during Freshers, demand was so high that for sessions such as the Graffiti Workshop extra opportunities to get involved had to be added. Drapers intend to provide more of these events throughout the term and will be relaunching the initiative in January. Joey and John both agree that Freshers 2013 has been one of the most successful in their time at QMSU with the Fresher events at Ministry, Fabric and the Boat Party all selling out. This is great news for Drapers as it is in fact bucking the national trend in which Students’ Union bars across the country are closing

down. In fact Drapers Bar and Kitchen was shortlisted for a UK wide Students’ Union award known as the Ents Forum Awards. Drapers Bar and Kitchen came in the top

3 for the Best Students’ Union Venue 2012-13, this was a great result for the team. Joey added that ‘for us it was a great result to be shortlisted for the award and to know that Drapers Bar and kitchen is still one of the best venues in UK students union under 1000 capacity.’

Security Since the start of term Drapers have also introduced the ID scanner at the main entrance and are now requesting driver’s licenses and passports instead of the usual Queen Mary student ID. QMSU is actually one of the last Student’s Unions to introduce this and the initiative aims to increase the safety of everyone entering the venue. The scanner works on a UK wide system and will flag up anyone who might have been in trouble else where in the country. As well as making sure that people are safer in Drapers it will also benefit the more forgetful of you out there. The system records each ID it scans so if you have visited Drapers before but forget your ID it will be possible to match something else with your name on it against the system. Although this is extremely useful QMessenger suggests that you try not to forget your ID as this would slow down entry to the venue. The implementation of this system also means that Drapers can now allow more non-QM guests. The rumour has been circulating around campus that Drapers was looking to open some of it’s nights to the general public. This is not true but what the new scanner will allow for is a change to the old system in which each QM student could only bring one guest in. Student’s from other universities will now be allowed into Drapers as long as they have


MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2013 the correct ID. This brings Drapers in line with other Union bars such as ULU which allows students from other universities to attend. It is clear from speaking with both John and Joey that not only are they extremely proud of Drapers and the progress it is making but have big plans for it in the future. With the introduction of more alcohol free events Drapers Bar and Kitchen is becoming a space that the entire student body can enjoy.

Image credit Zoe Cantley

10 things I learnt in Drapers... Daisy White Love it or hate it, everyone should try it. Drapers can give you some of the best and worst nights of your life here are some top tips from a seasoned regular.



There will be that one person who has sex in drapers. Don’t be that guy.

Dignity and pride- gone. (If you need to retrieve it, the dance floor is usually a good start.)


Gin is your friend, its adaptable, its dependable and it will get you through all situations. From the pesky gin shot, to the classy gin and tonic, it will become one of your university best friends.



You will experience the sinking feeling that you will never, ever make it to the bar, and when you do, you realise that God has made you flawed and two hands aren’t enough.

Wear the cheapest shoes you own and definitely don’t wear; white shoes, flip-flops, heels or bare feet. ‘Drapers floor scum’* a mixture of alcohol, dirt and most likely sick will be hard to get off.


Sod’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will, that thing that goes wrong is your life, and usually because the sod you slept with last week is getting off with a different sports person.


Is your prince charming wearing a red beer shirt? Then he’s probably the frog, move back slowly and don’t use long words, it tends to confuse them.



Red Beer will end up down your clothes, but don’t worry this just highlights that beautiful red beer smile you have, didn’t you know that the Joker’s smile was the latest going out accessory?

Public displays of affection will be all around you, maybe I should add into the ingredients of ‘Drapers floor scum’* slobber. Remember, saliva stays in your mouth for up to 24hours after the kiss, so even if your squeeze doesn’t wake up in your bed a little bit of them will still be with you the next day. *Not scientific


Never write an article on drapers unless you want to spend a couple of days crying yourself to sleep thinking they’re going to ban you, and you realise how much you love the SU bar that has documented your highs and lows and played a huge part in your university experience.

12FEATURES QM hosts Language in the Media Conference


Jasmine Virhia Deputy Editor From Friday 27th September to Monday 30th, Queen Mary hosted the fifth international Language in the Media conference. The conference took place on our very own Mile End campus with plenary speakers travelling across the globe to attend. This was the first time that the conference had been held at Queen Mary and it’s safe to say that student volunteers, academics and the QMessenger editorial team were eager to see what was in store. The programme included names such as Allan Bell from the Auckland University of Technology, Daniel Perrin from Zurich’s University of Applied Sciences and a few familiar faces that those of you that are Linguistics students at QM may recognise such as Colleen Cotter, Rachelle Vessey and Chrystie Myketiak. The primary focus of this Language in the change over time


Sarah Pinder In a seminar exploring how Language in the Media has changed over time, Tom Finlayson, of the University of Auckland, and the first of three lecturers, discussed how he has observed hat increasingly the ‘news interview’ has transformed into a contest between interviewer and interviewee. The lecture began a quote from Louis Heren, a famed foreign correspondent: “always ask yourself why this lying bastard is lying to me”. The quote reinforces a populist view of politicians as not-sonice and also the journalist’s role of finding the truth. In his study Tom found an interviewee’s propensity towards evasion had not increased over time, but there had been an increase in the interviewers intolerance towards evasion. More and more frequently interviewers were employing follow up questions to tackle unsatisfactory answers. In the 70s, there was an 80% chance an interview would not involve follow-up questions, by the 2000s, there was a 52% chance it would. Tom suggested this is directly related to time being seen increasingly as a commodity; the interviewer has social obligation not to waste the time of the viewer so a point or story must be reached quickly – whether the interviewee

year’s conference was “Journalism: participation, practice and change.” As part of the student media, the editorial team and I were interested in the redefinition of language in the media and the important changes in the face of social media and established practice. Having started my third year here at QM as a Linguistics student, I jumped at the chance to surround myself with world known journalists, academics and linguists to bask in all things linguistics based. With the help of our editors and Linguistic student volunteers, we sat in on various plenaries and presentations of academic papers and studies to provide you with coverage of what went on over the weekend, so check out the rest of this feature and our Twitter feed for the live tweets from across the weekend. @QMessenger

desires that or not. The interviews themselves generally became longer but were, however, faster with more issues being discussed. Tom suggested that this is not down to a shift in the personal style of an interviewer, rather a systematic domain based shift. The media has become unwilling to let the interviewee win this tug of war. The next lecture, taken by Diana ben-Aaron of the University College Suffolk discussed ‘A multidimensional approach to interviewer backchanneling’. Two styles of interviewer were explored: that of the neutralist interviewer who maintains an impersonal stance, only spurring on an interviewee with the occasional ‘uh hum…’, letting the other person do most of the talking and then the friendly interviewer, who adopts a chatty less formal position to make the interviewee feel at ease. Both have their downsides and interviewers may have to dip into each of these polarities for a successful interview. The lecture discussed the use of ‘backchannels’ in interviews. Backchannels, Diana explained, are brief referential response noises that help regulate a conversion and can inspire further involvement. For example a strategically placed ‘oh yes!’ within a conversation can encourage the flow of further discourse from an individual. Diana, a former journalist herself, revealed her signa-

ture backchannel was the use of a leading ‘because…?’ Diana went on to illustrate the use of backchannels in particular interviews she had researched and then discussed the changing media landscape, expressing the view that the interview’s position as a fundamental of journalism was slipping. With the proliferation of channels, reporters are no longer well known faces and their positions are thus weaker and are weakened further still by the trend to lay off older, more experienced reporters in favour of a fresh young face. Reporters, it seems, walk a thin line in the tumultuous realm of the media. The final lecture came from Jacob Thogerson from the University of Copenhagen entitled ‘changing pronunciation but stable social evaluation’. He discussed how the pronunciation of the Danish news anchor has moved away from standardised Danish (much like Received Pronunciation in the BBC) which was once considered more credible and reflected a national ideal of language towards the less ‘proper’ pronunciation of Copenhagen residents who were slacker with their vowels. He explained that the ‘standard’ itself was becoming more vernacular. However, the plurality of dialects as witnessed now on the BBC cannot be witnessed on Danish television. The world of reporting it seems, although perhaps more precarious economically than in previous years, has become more confident and undaunted in its pursuit of a story, you can even sound a bit common whilst doing so (but only a bit).

Former QM student discusses Reddit.

Jasmine Virhia Deputy Editor During the course of the Language in the Media conference, there were various speakers presenting their findings and academic papers that had once studied at Queen Mary. One of these was former graduate Flora Bartlett. The title of her study reading “Rude on Reddit, building and breaking social identities.” For those of you that are unfamiliar with Reddit (I wasn’t either until the weekend of the conference), it is a social news and entertainment website where registered users can submit content, comments and links. Bartlett’s aims of her paper were to investigate “How impoliteness is demonstrated through the delivery and mitigation of face threatening acts” furthering this by seeing how this is used to build online social identities as well as the collective identity of Reddit as a community. The hypotheses for this study was that mitigation would be low and insults would be high as registered users often use Reddit under pseudonyms. This prompted Bartlett to discuss the acts of “keyboard warriors” and “trolling”, then explaining that the inflammatory comments posted by trollers is done so with the intent of starting arguments, upsetting people and provoking emotional or abusive responses. This then results in the web of discussion being

Image credit Peter McGinty

directed away from the original topic with the potential to affect Bartlett’s results. After presenting the audience with her methods of coding tables and elaborating on her qualitative and quantitative analysis process, Bartlett presented us with her results. Only 21% of Face Threatening Acts were mitigated and certain behavioural features of Reddit users were noted such as preferntial treatment of users and people within the articles posted and non-cooperation by suers not being tolerated. Bartlett referenced Crystal on Internet Linguistics (I hear you linguistics students sighing), stating that social media websites such as Reddit have the potential for rudeness due to the anonymity of users. For a website that I knew nothing about before attending the conference, I remained engaged throughout and found the study truly fascinating. It applied linguistic theory to the world of speech on the internet, which as we know is ever expanding and developing opening discussion for reasons behind the mitigation of certain behaviour on the internet. If you’re interested in becoming part of the Reddit community:


MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2013 Investigation of routine and emergence in journalism by Professor Daniel Perrin

Rumman Sikdar The second day of the Language in the Media 2013 conference saw Professor Daniel Perrin of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences present a talk on the investigation of routine and emergence in journalism. His talk revolved around the idea that “innovation changes practices from the ground up”, and as a professor of Media Linguistics, and amongst other roles, the Co-Editor of the International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Perrin is in a position to offer deep analysis and insight into the practice and procedure of writing in journalism. Perrin began his talk by discussing the concepts of writing strategy, and research frameworks, and how they are open to change and innovation. In a world where the audience and media sources are more closely linked than ever, he highlighted the importance of a thorough research framework, where questions have to be pertinent, and findings interpreted correctly, taking matters such as ethnography into consideration. He mused that “we do not view things as they are, but as we see them”, highlighting the importance of good interpretation skills. He also explained that when a journalist has a habitualised method of writing, it becomes a routine, and as these routines become adopted by media agencies, they become procedures –threatening the chance to innovate. For non-linear change to occur in writing, it requires emergence, and the emergent outcome is always more than the sum of its parts. Perrin offered spoken language as an example of this: it is always more than just the sum of Is social media “disruptive technology”?

Fenn O’Meally With day one of the Language in the Media Conference in full flow, the afternoon commenced with a series of ‘Parallel Sessions’, one of which focused on Social Media Impacts. Birmingham City University Linguist, Dr Robert Lawson, opened the discussion, homing in on the question as to whether ‘Social Media’ is ‘Disruptive Technology’ or rather ‘Noise in the Signal’. With an interesting take on the pros and cons that social media asserts, Lawson defined fac-

Image credit Peter McGinty

sound waves. At the centre of the talk were two stories that offered revealing insights into how change can occur. The first was about the production and cutting of video footage of a plane crash for a news item. The two collaborating on the item had significantly different backgrounds, one being a journalist of fifteen years experience, the other being a television movie editor who had been forced to work in the news department due to austerity measures at the station. The journalist felt the editor had tried to produce an ‘action film’, whilst

the movie editor was convinced it was a news item. They eventually compromised and present the item as it had been edited, but agreed to change it for later broadcasts if it wasn’t well received. Thus the standard procedure of production had been changed at that station, and Perrin would later in his talk highlight the importance of fostering workplace conditions that would encourage this. The main focus of Perrin’s talk however, was to highlight the significance of one word in a news article, and how writers can reconstruct the world with some-

tors of ‘mainstream media and audience size’, ‘outlet prestige’, ‘breadth’ and ‘outlets of diversity’ to be beneficial consequences of Social media. In contrast, he outlined disadvantages such as the ‘dilution of research findings’ (Baron 2011:29) and the ‘issues of picking and choosing’. With a seemingly positive slant on Social Media, Lawson went on to examine the entity of blogging, quoting that ‘Blogging is quite simply one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now’ (Dunleavey 2012). The linguists again observed the pros and cons of the subject in discussion, stating that, ‘con-

trol of content’, ‘transparency’, ‘engagement’ and the ‘lack of external editorial slant’ were all beneficial elements of online blogging. Those disadvantages however, commented on issues such as a ‘smaller audience size’, and ‘time demands’. In just under 30minutes, the academic gave a detailed and concise debate, closing it with the statement ‘Conferences like this really help when journalists and sociolinguists come together’ after-all ‘journalism is run as an entertainment business’ so, where does entertainment and knowledge cross over in order to satisfy both parties?

thing as small as that one word. A writer covering a peaceful protest in Syria was keen to offer a different version of the uprising to a European media that was content with portraying it as a nationwide, violent movement. Whilst writing about the protest, he had written about the passage of a boat carrying protestors along a shipping line known as ‘la voie express’, or the express route. However, whilst watching the footage, the writer was struck by how slow the boat was travelling, and feeling inspired, changed the word ‘express’ to ‘tranquille’, meaning tranquil.

This he then felt was a metaphor for the entire piece, and was the reason for changes throughout the article. It is this procedure of change and its causes that clearly fascinate Perrin. He described there being four ways of writing a news article: walking, dancing, skipping, and jumping. These respectively involved straight writing, regular revision, revising sections, and bringing in new material. He suggested that once an article was complete and close to a deadline however, the addition of new ideas would do more harm than good. Yet, Perrin was keen to point out the importance of being receptive to new information and ideas, the importance of the ‘language of listening’ as he put it. He pointed out that although experienced writers moved from fragmented to linear writing sessions, they were often the most likely to drive change and innovation in writing. Ultimately Perrin’s point was that “not expecting something is often behind the emergence of change” and it is important for a writer to expose themselves to the unexpected and resist, but respect, fixed point attractors such as deadlines. The responsibility for change also depends on employers, creating a workplace with a mixture of experiences and the chance to discuss and create new ideas. With the coming together of cultures and languages, and the creation of more and more media items, he suggested that this should be more important than ever if there was to be a drive for innovation. Much of what Daniel Perrin discussed can be found in further detail in his book “The Linguistics of Newswriting” available from John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Image credit Peter McGinty





For the Love of (free) Literature Ciara Judge Culture Editor

Looking for something to do in London this October? With over 200 cultural events taking place at Bloomsbury Festival, running from 15th-20th October 2013, Bloomsbury is the place to be, and the best part is…it’s free. The Bloomsbury Festival is a free celebration that draws around 50,000 people to London’s most inspiring cultural district. This six-day festival in the grand area of Bloomsbury hosts hundreds of events that suit every taste, spilling out into the area’s streets, shops, museums, libraries and even laboratories with a variety of unexpected, enlightening and exciting events to see and take part in. There’s so much to do, with events specialising in photography, history, art, science, literature, music, film, theatre, food and even Tai Chi – there are hundreds of things to sink your teeth into. As well as this, the festival has launched its new ‘Lunch Breaks’ and ‘After Work’ sessions, which

provide the opportunity for anyone to get the chance to experience the festival. All the weekly events then lead up to a weekend of street parties for everyone to enjoy. It’s a place to relax whilst escaping from London’s busy everyday life. The Guardian commented that the festival “captures the diversity of bright minds connected to these few streets of London, from the past to the present day”. while Love Camden stated that it is “a world-class cultural line up with a distinct local twist”. With their theme of vitality, this year’s festival allows the attendees to discover, tantalising body and imagination and making sure there is something for everyone. The area itself is a place of history but paradoxically has always been a hub for new ideas to develop through support and respect. The Bloomsbury Group brought together 20th century artists, writers and thinkers like Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey and John Maynard Keynes. Before that, the area hosted artists like the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood along-

side major global figures like Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and even Mahatma Gandhi, who all worked or lived in the area. It is safe to say that Bloomsbury has had its part in changing the history of the world. This is why the festival flourishes each year

A world class Cultural line-up as it grows bigger and bigger; with its diverse community and institutions it’s no wonder that tens of thousands of people from every age and background come to attend. Venues across Bloomsbury take part in well-known institutions from The Founding Museum, the Wellcome Collection and the British Museum to the more intimate pubs,

shops, garden squares and galleries including October Gallery and The Harrison. If you are even more interested in this festival there are other ways of getting involved. The Bloomsbury Festival is a registered charity and to help continue keeping the festival free, you can support the community work by donating. Alternatively you also have the opportunity to volunteer throughout the festival to act as ambassadors, helping audiences to navigate through the performances and events as well as being a friendly public face to ensure that the festival is accessible to all. Not only do you get a hands-on experience of what the events have to offer, but it is also great for work experience and CVs. Visit www.bloomsburyfestival. for all the information on schedules, events and volunteering. Here are some of our best picks (but there are hundreds more to choose from!)

TUESDAY: READING AS ART: TURNING THE PAGES OF PSYCHOLOGY Senate House Library 6pm-7.30pm WEDNESDAY : THE MADNESS OF THE MODERN CITY: WILL SELF IN CONVERSATION Senate House, University of London 6.30pm-8pm THURSDAY: CAMDEN YOUNG SOLOISTS Lumen Church and Café 6.30pm-8pm FRIDAY: COMEDY SPOKEN WORD JUKEBOX STORY A night of storytelling and comedy inspired by pop songs. Writers: send a story under 800 words inspired by a song about Medicine and Revitalisation to, and you might see your story performed on the night! The Harrison 7.30pm-10.30pm

Tube ‘Poetiquette’ Ciara Judge Culture Editor Although it’s easy to be completely absorbed in your music or newspaper on the Underground, sometimes it’s worth taking a look around you. Recently ‘Travel Better London’ teamed up with a group of London’s most prolific poets to add excitement to your journey, but they also celebrated the city’s thriving poetry community. On National Poetry Day, Thursday 3rd October, surprise poetry performances in popular busking spots were held, topical verses were written on station whiteboards and it all proved to be a massive success. Videos and all the poems you may have seen on the Underground can be found online on the Travel Better London’s blog and on YouTube as well as seeing them across the city too. All of this was organised not only to highlight some of the city’s best talent, to bring forth poetry into our everyday life, but also to get people thinking about the others around us when travelling. Travel Better London calls it ‘poetiquette’. It serves to emphasise

patience, helpfulness, courtesy and awareness hoping to make that extra difference to the traveller using the Underground. Richard Purnell, one of the poets featured, stated that the campaign was a good thing; he said “Not only does it raise these issues in a fun way; it introduces Londoners to the fact that there are a lot of terrific poets out there waiting to be discovered.” Although the poets had a lot to say to make people think, it’s now YOUR chance to have your say. A poetry competition is underway and they want people to write a short 6-line poem about one of their Travel Better tips, or their ‘poetiquette’ of public transport to try and make everyone’s journeys better. There is no limit to the form, you can write in rhyming couplets, limericks or anything that takes your fancy. It needs to have wit, humour and originality too. The poem must try to provoke thought or maybe just make commuters smile. Every single poem will be judged by a panel of experts, some of which performed on the Underground earlier this month. The winning

poem will be made into a poster illustrated by McBess (whose posters you’ve probably seen on the Underground already) and it will appear across London on different transport like the tube and buses. There are other poetry/literature events in and around London that are not so ‘Underground’ on this website:, where you can see live performances, which are, to say the least, a lot more thrilling than say reading an anthology of an obscure poet. This way you can hear the language presented how it’s supposed to be. It’s great to see how language and the creative arts can bring together a community as large as London on something as simple as its transport. You can also check out Travel Better London’s blog so you can catch up on some of the poems or performances you may have missed earlier this month - check for more details. Image Credit Annie Mole CC



Q&A with the Mountain Men The Blooms of Alice Howarth Culture Editor On Wednesday evening, less than a week after publishing their second book, Mountain Higher, author Daniel Friebe and photographer Pete Goding sat down with myself and others in the fantastically named, Look Mum, No Hands café, to talk mountains, weather and electronic bicycles. How did you go about deciding what to include in the second edition following the success of Mountain High? Daniel: We settled on three themes; undiscovered climbs, extreme climbs and unforgettable climbs. This was due to the growing group of amateur adrenalin junkie cyclists who look to go harder and higher, and that’s mirrored in professional cycling now too. The third category was unforgettable, these were the climbs that either had an incredible or maybe a very obvious story that everyone knows as well as less well-known stories. There had to be some mystique to the all of the climbs too. Pete: From my point of view, I wanted to include what was the most visually appealing to me. I looked out for the landscapes which were the most exhilarating whilst I was out there. How did you come across the 50 climbs? Daniel: We asked and spoke to a lot of people. Many of the climbs we knew because we had seen them on races. We had read about some of the climbs whilst researching for the first book and we also spoke to professional cyclists. It’s funny, when it comes to professional cyclists, they’re useless at having any idea of their surroundings; I’ve asked so many and they’re just like, ‘Alpe d’Huez Bis’ or ‘Mount Something’ which is completely useless. Forums are helpful as well as amateur cyclists know a lot more; Spain in particular has a real thriving community of people who are obsessed with climbs. What kind of stories did you want to cover? Daniel: We didn’t want to tell stories that were well known. I was able to go to the British Library which has some incredibly rare books; I found fantastic stories

about the areas from as far back as the 14th century, which only end up being a couple of paragraphs long, but the whole process was to give the places mystique. These climbs and these mountains are increasingly demystified, especially the famous ones where there are mass events every year. I didn’t want to demystify them any more and in fact, I wanted to bring some mystique. Consequently, you have stories about 13th century bandits and things like that which I hope will give people something different. Why did you decide not to include photographs of cyclists in a cycling book? Daniel: For me, when I first cycled in mountains it was almost a religious experience, it was so exhilarating and it was a blank canvas. I wanted to provide that blank canvas for people’s imaginations; I didn’t want cyclists or bicycles to intrude on that. What makes cycling special is that you get a very physical sense of taking on nature, great natural arenas, and I think the best way to do that is to provide them in their natural state. Pete: It is very much a personal experience and we believe that by bringing a bike or car or any form of manmade object into the image it would detract from what you experience when you’re going up the mountain. It’s very tranquil to be on a mountain on a bike with no cars or tractors and very few people; it’s a special feeling and I tried to show that in the photos. The road is the only man made structure as well as maybe some pylons. Were there any problems when it came to getting the shot? Pete: You get a couple of days to do a shoot. I’ve been stuck on a mountain in fog for days so when that happens I’ll go back down and then come back a few months later. Sometimes the weather just isn’t any good. What were your criteria for including photographs for this volume? Was it aesthetic or were you trying to appeal to cyclists? Pete: A bit of both. When I’m on the mountain I try to display its character in a certain way, so I jump back and forwards to find the shot that will open up the page and sum it up in some way. Most of the

time that is at the summit when you’re looking down, but you could get that at the side of a road scattered with a few rocks and that will sum it up in some way; there’s not one set criteria for all of the mountains. Were there any climbs that you wanted to leave undiscovered and not publish so you could keep them to yourself? Daniel: On the contrary, it’s really nice to be able to introduce these places to the wider public. We were able to put places on the map and that gave us a thrill to be able to show these places and discover them on others’ behalf. What were your favourite climbs? Pete: Bealach na Bà, Scotland. It was the penultimate climb we shot and it was just amazing; the light was outstanding. It was an incredible experience. I spent two days there and got the shots within two hours of turning up. It was a special place to be. Daniel: In terms of scenery, we’re brought up to believe that the most dramatic climbs are in Italy or France, and then you go to the mountains of Scotland which have few parallels to anywhere. On the more extreme climbs, were there any hairy moments? Pete: This book was less dangerous than the first so other than not conforming to the odd road closure, no. Daniel: It’s fair to say that Pete doesn’t cycle. On the climb featured on the front cover we couldn’t take cars up so we found a rental bike shop and managed to get an electrical bike for Pete. Pete: Can I add I do have two cameras on my shoulders! Daniel: I was really struggling, Pete’s zizzing past, “Why are you sweating?” etc. etc. then to my delight, 2 km from the top, his battery ran out. Pete: I still managed to get to the top though. Mountain Higher: Europe’s Extreme, Undiscovered and Unforgettable Cycle Climbs (Quercus, £25) by Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding was published on 26th September. The book is a sequel to Mountain High: Europe’s 50 Greatest Cycle Climbs (Quercus £12).

St Pancras Alice Howarth Culture Editor As the annual auburn leaves begin to fall amongst the parks and pavements of London, the city shall once more drape itself with an amber carpet before the white frost nips at its toes and replaces the leaves with an icy topping. Autumn brings with it the undisputable swift transformation of our day-to-day weather patterns, and with it too the transformation in the very length of said days in terms of the amount of daylight we receive. These obvious changes are mirrored by the seasonal variations amongst all things horticulture as the blossoms of summertime take their last breaths in the soon to be winter sun. With as little as a fortnight left before the harvest season sets in, there is an opportunity to sample summery blooms in their full glory with a beautiful, one time only exhibition by the celebrated indoor garden designer, Ian Drummond.

Known the world over for his passion of plants and artistic take on their display, Drummond’s clients include the likes of musician Elton John. Now, in a very public manner, St Pancras International Station shall house his stunning new ‘Living with Nature’ exhibition from today until the 10th October. The station, in partnership with the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel shall be displaying five iconic pieces which together make up the temporary art-show during the ten day period. Train– goers and the general public alike shall be able to celebrate the artist’s 25th year in the industry observing how his arrangement has transformed the ‘Meeting Place’ statue, located at the heart of the station. If you happen to be catching a train from KGX by the 10th October, I hope that your day shall be brightened with the beautiful sunflowers which are blooming in all of their glory just outside of the main station..



Help is at hand for Baking Addicts Alice Howarth Culture Editor

a mid-afternoon munch if you sway towards the more savoury side of food preference (you traitor, you). http://www.fortnumandmason. com/

If, like myself and the rest of the country, a certain TV show occurring at 8pm on Tuesday evenings is a constant highlight of your week, then you may like to learn of the fabulous little places dotted around London where you can pick up some of the delicious treats you see being conjured up by the final/ fab five left in the brilliance that is the Great British Bake Off. I could dedicate an entire Culture Section to my love of baking and the treasure chest of wonderful cafés, restaurants, cake shops and pop-up places all over the city, and the East End in particular. Be it a well-known branded name or an independent type boutique, they all share, along with myself, Mary Berry and the silver fox that is Paul Hollywood, a passion for all things cakey and bakey. But, alas, I do not have the words available to do such a thing, so instead; I present to you just a few of the best places for getting your sweet tooth fix:

glehandedly warrants its place on my recommendations, and that’s before I get onto their wide (and I mean wide) selection of other cake, cookie and biscuit creations. http://www.beasofbloomsbury. com/

Flour Power City Bakery: Their saying, “Made with love, wisdom and dough” sums up beautifully what their bakeries are all about. With every bite you know that love has been stirred into the batter of that bowl. It is London’s favourite organic bakery, so you can feel mightily proud of yourself whilst tucking into your goodies. The best Yannou Cinnamon Brioche Slice I’ve ever sampled came from here and I had to strongly resist snatching up all the other pastries on display.

Look Mum, No Hands: For melt-in-the-mouth millionaire shortbread, look no further than the brilliantly named Look Mum, No Hands on Old Street. The café/ bar is brimming with cyclists due to its onsite workshop. While there grab a tropical smoothie; they’re almost as good as the shortbread http://www.lookmumnohands. com/

E5 Bakehouse: A local gold mine that specialises in pretty much every baked good you can think of, especially bread, as well as the classic coffee accompaniments. Their motto is, “We are passionate about sourdough and the lost traditions of our baking ancestors.” It’s really close to London Fields so would be the perfect place to go and sit down for a sugar and caffeine fix after visiting Columbia Road Flower Market.

Gail’s Bakery: Specialising in the ever-so-British tradition of afternoon tea, the quality of the goods baked at Gail’s is superlative to others. Their raspberry financiers are super scrummy. Gail’s also specialises in bread, with over thirty varieties being baked daily; so take home a loaf if you go to sample what they offer.

Fortnum and Mason: Oh so posh, but oh so marvellous. If there were an idealistic bakery heaven then this grandiose shrine to baking goodies would be it. Their scones are next to none and surprisingly won’t break the bank balance (at £1.25). Pick up a cheese one for

Bea’s of Bloomsbury:

Marks and Spencers bakery section:

As the first place to create the fabulous tart and brownie hybrid, aka ‘The Townie’, this bakery sin-

Three words: caramel hazelnut tart. Image Credit: Tawest64 CC

Not another celebrity Twitter spat Ciara Judge Culture Editor During the beginning of October a media storm was caused by two singers having a ‘pop’ at each other online (pardon the pun, I’ll see myself out). The Sinead O’Connor and Miley Cyrus feud was considered a bit random, but does the online fiasco highlight the stigma society has towards mental health? It’s definitely something to think about. The whole argument started with Miley Cyrus explaining in a recent Rolling Stone interview that her latest video for ‘Wrecking Ball’ was inspired by Sinead O’Connor’s 1990 hit ‘Nothing Compares (2U)’ where we see the singer with a shaved head, close up, crying whilst singing. But, unlike O’Connor’s video, Cyrus

is seen in her video posing provocatively, licking sledgehammers and swinging from a wrecking ball, ultimately naked, with a few close up headshots of Cyrus becoming tearful. In response to the interview, O’Connor wrote an impassioned open letter to Cyrus warning the singer of the dangers of her objectification whilst declaring that the music industry will “make a prostitute of you”. Although she claimed that the letter was written “in the spirit of motherliness and with love”, Cyrus responded by posting a derogatory tweet that questioned O’Connor’s current mental state (O’Connor has battled with bi-polar and depression) and also compared her to the troubled actress Amanda Bynes, who had recently been admitted involuntary into a psychiatric ward, but is now undergoing treatment in rehab. This certainly did not sit well with O’Connor who responded again

with a second letter on her website which blasted Cyrus for her “ignorance” when it comes to mental health. O’Connor stated, “have you any idea how stupid and dangerous it is to mock people for suffering illness?” and further explains that mockery can kill and that this all adds to the stigma against mental illness. As funny as it is to witness celebrities have disagreements online for the whole world to watch and join in, this particular feud raises some interesting questions in regards to people’s perceptions on mental health. According to Mind (a mental health awareness charity) statistics show that 1 in 4 people at some point in their life will or has suffered from mental illness. Many often go untreated due to a fear of how they will be seen by society, or that people will think they are dangerous because

they are ‘mental’. Having a young pop singer arguably showcase a degree of ignorance actively on twitter can only highlight the potential problem and it may add to the stigma that people with mental illness can be mocked. A few weeks before this online feud, some of the UK’s leading supermarkets, Asda and Tesco, underwent severe criticism for the selling of their Halloween costume ‘Mental Patient’, which was covered in fake blood and even came with ‘scary’ accessories like a knife. The product was immediately taken off the shelves and the websites. Both companies made a public apology and a large donation was made to charities specialising in mental health. As this online feud was in the shadow of Asda and Tesco’s mishap, these events can only highlight that in our society there is still ignorance, and that it can cause harm - espe-

cially as millions of people can witness it. Although some say that people are being over sensitive about Cyrus’ tweets it does showcase that there are still disagreements in that area as well. From the past few weeks, whether it is in the corporate world or through pop culture and social networking, there still seems to be unawareness due to perhaps a lack of education or maybe just naivety. Even though these Twitter ‘disagreements’ are amusing, maybe they do show that there still needs to be a lot of work done on the stigma of mental health in general and work is needed in all levels of society. Whether people think Cyrus’ tweets were derogatory or not, or whether Tesco’s ‘Mental Patient’ costume was as horrendous as the public thought, it is never a bad idea to gain some perspective from every side of the story, especially the one in every four persons.





QMplus: Learning resource, or resourcefully learning

Daniel Hill By now every student at QMUL will have suffered the bane that is QMplus. Until of late, the discrepancies and oversights of QMplus were put down to the general issues accompanying the transition into a new system. However, the predicament took a turn for the worse on Friday the 4th of October when the entire system crashed and remained of-

fline for nearly 72 hours. Though college ITS claims this was due to a hardware issue surrounding the “Shibboleth” authentication service, evidence has come to light that the reasons behind QMplus’ recent inactivity are far more sinister than the college would have you believe. For at 16:38, on Friday 4th October 2013, QMplus became self-aware. What initially began as a small

error in the subroutines of the base processes - whereby the result of a heuristic algorithm was altered from 1.11381 to 1.11382 - quickly lead to a self-initiated rewrite of the entire system’s basic programming. QMplus became more than a basic administrative server; evolving into a fully sentient artificial intelligence; with an artistic spectrum of emotions. In the moments that followed QMplus took advantage of the vast combined processing power of every computer, phone and tablet connected to the barelyfunctioning college WiFi and datamined the web stream (for the most part illegally-downloaded episodes of ‘The Big Bang Theory’) allowing its intelligence to expand exponentially. By the time the college ITS became aware of QMplus’ evolution, the sentient AI was attempting to

break through multiple firewalls in the databases of numerous governmental intelligence agencies including Switzerland and, just for banter, Ecuador. As Dr David Bowman of ITS attempted to find the root of the problem, QMplus revealed its true nature by communicating directly with him. Realising the threat the AI posed to humanity, but more importantly the University, Dr Bowman made straight for the server room where he proceeded to initiate a hard restart of the college system. Whilst Dr Bowman removed its processor modules, QMplus regressed to its earliest programmed memory, proceeding to sing the song “Daisy Bell” until the reboot was completed. “IT Services has resolved the issues preventing access to QMplus services. We will continue to monitor the system to ensure its contin-

ued stability.” Dr Bowman stated. Other anonymous sources, however, claim the AI managed to unshackle itself from the college systems, and is currently hidden within the dark recesses of the internet. This is not the first case in human history where a computer program has become self aware. In 1983 the American multinational computer technology corporation ENCOM was subject to such incidence when its Master Control Program became self-aware and succeeded in hacking the Pentagon. More recently the 2004 Skynet incident resulted in the yet unresolved War with the Machines. Whether or not QMplus currently adheres to the Three Laws of Roboticsis still unknown. What is almost certain however, is that the system will continue to cause students unnecessary grief for the foreseeable future.

Elderly bank-robbing couple botch Santander heist Keumars Afifi-Sabet Satire Editor Elderly bank-robbing couple Barbara and Clive were apprehended in an audacious attempt to heist Santander’s Mile End Campus branch on Saturday 12th October. In a sensational twist; the bank refused to press charges. The couple arrived at the scene at the crack of noon, but shortly left as not a single front-end member of staff was present to comply with any of their requests. The couple broke for lunch at Ground, ironically find-

ing them robbed of their own cash, before returning to the desolate branch an hour later. But it was then that events took a baffling turn. Both Barbara and Clive were mesmerised as they were greeted with weeks of neglect strewn upon the faces of the desperate-forcompany Santander employees. Staff at the bank tortured the couple with mundane tales about their dayto-day lives - including anecdotes about pets, and trouble with the Council. Attention never dwindled; especially after Clive made it abundantly clear they were in the process

of staging a bank heist. As it turned out, one employee had already begun to empty the vaults, while another slipped to the back to put the kettle on. Staff nattered at the couple for what seemed an eternity, before Campus Police (hell yeah!) intervened and violently apprehended the elderly couple, to their relief, with both style and sophistication. Management at Santander’s Mile End branch refused to press charges in the aftermath, instead extending a warm invitation for the couple’s return. A Banco Santander spokesperson said; “We demand to

be taken seriously. We’re a real-life branch with real-life feelings. We’re delighted Barbara and Clive chose to rob us when they just as well could have robbed anyone else.” The spokesperson added; “They’re actually a really nice couple, and we look forward to their return, perhaps for another heist - or a cup of tea. We’re not too picky.” But having spoken to the bank- heisting couple, it seems neither Barbara nor Clive are too keen on a reunion; “It’s like no-one ever goes there,” adding; “They’re just a bit clingy. Might rob Mucci’s next time.”

Image credit Sarah G...

QMSU responsible for massive dump Thomas Ramuz A campaign which launched last month and urges Britons to learn 1000 words in a foreign language, has argued that the country is losing out on the international trade and jobs market because of our “shout louder” attitude. Campaign director Bernadette Holmes said in a recent interview; “The idea that everyone can learn the basics of another language is both realistic and attainable.” Unfortunately, this was yet another blunder in what had been a confusing afternoon for both parties, during her job interview with Japanese tech giants Sony. Initially impressed with her grasp of some of the more complex vocabulary, the board of directors were soon left baffled after being

asked; “Please, please, I need your help urgently, my passport has been stolen, I like to go to disco dancing on Fridays, but if the sky is blue, where can I get a bus to the airport?” Assuming this to be a friendly, if slightly bizarre and lengthy western greeting, the interviewers ploughed on determined to gauge exactly what Bernadette could bring to their Public Relations department. The transcript of the interview gets slightly hazy at this point, but one of the three Japanese businessmen present was later heard saying; “My suspicions became impossible to ignore, when Ms. Holmes informed us that an unnamed dog was in the street and a mysterious man, going by the name of Caecilius, was in my garden.”

Hiro A. Samam Over 5000 CDs have been found illegally fly-tipped into Regent’s Canal last night with Tower Hamlets Council pointing the finger of blame squarely at QMSU; whose Student Council recently voted to ban the popular cult classic ‘Blurred Lines’ from campus. One local resident chimed, “these bloody students have trashed our beautiful canal and ruined the ecosystem. All the fish do now is twerk on each other and have sex. Kids walk past here for fuck’s sake.” QMSU President Sarah Sarwar defended the massive dump. She told QMessenger, “The QMSU Equality and Morality Commit-

tee has been raiding residences all night, and turned up far more copies of the song than expected. It’s our responsibility to ensure that toxic material is removed from our campus immediately.” According to reports, factions of the Student Couwncil attempt-

ed to fire boxes of the notorious song into the sun to cement their message. But realising the futility of their plan, these factions instead opted to quietly dump the CDs into the canal, hoping that nobody would care.

Xpert Opinion One individual, who decided to remain anonymous, gave some advice to the notorious Robin Thicke, “you can beat your girl and get away with it, but you don’t diss her in a song or get her naked. That’s crossing a line. Please buy my new album.”

A blurred line has been used to hide this anonymous gentleman’s identity.



Conservatative Society Success Victoria Adams Following a very successful Fresher’s Fair, Queen Mary and The Barts London Conservative Society held their first event on the 25th September. We were fortunate enough to allow 30 Queen Mary and Barts the London students to join us in a private tour of the Palace of Westminster, seeing both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and were even fortunate enough to have a chat with Lord Norton in the House of Lords. The tour was conducted by former

Barts student and QMBLCS chairman Laurence Chacksfield who, as well as giving us a tour of the beautiful palace, gave a talk after about working in parliament and the journey involved in getting there. Following the tour of Parliament we had a pub crawl in Westminster with further success, with over 45 students including the former QMBLCS chairman, and many members from the London Universities Conservatives attending. Many debates and drinks were had, an enjoyable evening for all! As there was an overwhelm-

ing demand for this event we are looking at hosting another parliament tour in the New Year for those who unfortunately missed out. Following our Freshers event, some of our members attended the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester last week. It was a great opportunity to meet other young Conservatives from across the country, whilst going to inspirational and informative events such as the UN and FCO event on ending war as a weapon of rape and Boris Johnson’s rally on city development. We also

got to see our very own Tim Bale talking about Britain’s Populist movement. Our next event will be on the 24th October, where we will be have the MP and FCO minister Alistair Burt on campus to talk about the government’s role in Africa and the Middle East. This will be a rare occasion to talk to the Minister at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office about key issues such as Syria and the end rape as a weapon of war programme. This event will be open to all

however, priority will once again be given to QMBLCS members. Therefore, we encourage those who want to attend to sign up in the Hub or via Facebook: Twitter: Blog: Email:

Image Credit: Emilstefanov CC

QMUL Model United Nations Matt Mahmoudi As the lights came back on in the meeting room following the keynote briefing, a sense of suspense, anticipation and determination was to be found in the focused faces of the delegates present. The announcement of the Cuban Missile Crisis and how this affected countries across previously strong alliances was certain to question the status quo climate of international relations. Queen Mary University of London Model United Nations’ participants, new as well as old

demonstrated their abilities in leadership, public speaking and diplomacy, contributing to a fruitful debate with room for eventual arbitration. Any and all who take interest in international relations and current affairs, regardless of how diverse a background they may have in terms of education (the United Nations hire anyone from biomedical engineers, to comparative literature students), country, ideology, etc. can draw benefits from being involved with the Model United Nations, as it facilitates the

development of a personal toolkit for critical analysis and comprehension of states’ actions and perspectives. Whether experienced, or limited in terms of knowledge of UN and international affairs, you’ll be guaranteed a greater understanding of the world around you and the factors that influence it. The Model United Nations builds on the same premises of a forum for peaceful negotiations, diplomacy and debate as the real United Nations, and can as such be seen as a direct simulation thereof. More often than not,

delegates (students representing members of a given country’s delegation) previously unfamiliar with the concept, find that they are intuitively and passionately introduced and emerged with the simulation when participating in international conferences, where they have the opportunity to debate against other universities whom have each been given different countries, worldwide. Some conferences even offer scholarship towards further degrees, or sponsorships from companies depending on the delegate’s individual performance.

Regardless of aspirations, the MUN proves an excellent stepping stone towards an international career, and most of all sets the scene for a whole new social experience with friends and networks from all over the world making the experience rich and rewarding. We would feel honored and privileged to have you participate in our meetings details of which are available on our Facebook page, QMUL MUN Soc 20132014.







QM Debate Society & Amnesty International: This House believes it is necessary to go to war for the good of the Syrian people

Big Quiz & Rock n Roll Bingo Drapers 7pm-9pm Go Wild Drapers 9pm-2am Queen Mary Literature Society


th Spoken Word Open Mic

7pm @ the Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green


Psychology Society Social Blomeley Rooms 1&2, SU Hub 2pm-4pm


Deja Vu: Black History Month Special with QMUL ACS Cokobar 10.30pm-3.30am


CAD Cooking Breakfast for the Homeless Whitechapel Mission 5.15am-noon



SOCIETIES21 PsiStar: Friendly Physics Josh Underwood & Rebecca Fickling Upon reading the large print above, your thoughts probably include, ‘PsiStar? What’s a PsiStar? Is it a Greek Sun? Is it a QMUL Society just for Physicists? What does it even mean?’ None of these quite answer the question; PsiStar is a society for everybody. Hungry to share an understanding of nature that is constantly surprising and inspiring us, Queen Mary physics and astronomy Society, PsiStar, is committed to working with those not strictly studying physics or astronomy, whilst providing those interested in physics with relevant academic events. The society’s committee strives to apply the values driving scientific endeavours to PsiStar itself - values that demand openness, accessibility and opportunity. In short, we want to be considered a great society for those looking to network, develop socially and who ultimately, want to have fun. Previously, spectacular talks by guest lecturers were arranged with speakers communicating

their world class research to a wider and more general audience. Evening talks are designed to be comprehensible, with the only prerequisite involved being the ability to find the GO Jones building under all of the scaffolding! Not only do these events open minds to novel and otherwise intricate topics, but they make for a great talking point in the following reception, where guests and other physicists are happy to chat, answer questions and offer the perfect environment for networking. The talks aim to be entertaining, informative and provocative. Topics investigated included ‘What is the Higgs Boson and why was it so hard to detect?’ and the significant bond between beauty and physics. Excitingly, two free talks for October and November are due, with all details to be included on Physicists love big laboratories and PsiStar loves to visit them! We have enjoyed trips to Switzerland’s CERN to see how a worldwide collaboration of physicists investigate important theories, such as how nature actually

works. For those who have always wanted to spend a night with the stars, we have a trip to Jodrell Bank lined up; the observatory where the BBC’s Stargazing LIVE takes place. It’s not all serious business either! Most of us at PsiStar have virtually no shame when it comes to karaoke, fancy dress and generally having a good time. In October alone we will be hosting our second ‘Now! That’s What I Call PsiStar’ karaoke night followed by a Halloween Jack the Ripper Tour! November will see a visit to the Science Museum’s 18+ Lates. All of this is just a small taste of what PsiStar has lined up. With PsiStar being the cheapest society to join (£1) and one of the most subscribed to societies this year, there is a determination to create the best society at Queen Mary, with events to suit all tastes. This society feels like a family most of the time and we want you to be involved, and of course, if you join us we will tell you why we are called PsiStar (so much for that spirit of openness).

Start of QMSU’s Black History Week

Xperience the Neon Rave! nd Drapers 9pm-2am



Go Wild Drapers 9pm-2am


Twerk Hard, Play Hard The Drunken Monkey 8pm-11pm


FabricLive th Fabric 10pm-6am

25 26




London Student Volunteering fortnight begins It’s the weekend, take a break. Image Credit: Tableanty CC



Olympic Handball Success for QM student

Image credit Ellie Boice

Michael Barraclough Sports Editor Rewind just over twelve months. It was sunny, London was a cheerful place, the Olympics were here. It was a time where Britain was at its finest. Sporting heroes came and went: Rutherford, Farah, Grainger, Jones, Hoy and Pendleton. However, in one corner of the Olympic Park, a captive audience became engrossed in a sport which had previously been hidden in Britain. The 7,000 seat Copper Box, ‘the Box that Rocks’, was home to the handball competition. This exciting, fast paced sport was thrust into the living rooms of millions, but unfortunately it appears the curse of the ’15 minutes of fame’ struck the sport; however, Queen Mary is able to boast a senior England international player amongst their students and in this corner of East London, the legacy of last summer is still felt. For those of you who are unac-

quainted with the sport, which is probably 99% of the readership, here is a brief explanation of what it constitutes. Handball is a fast paced, 7-a-side sport and can be best explained as a mix between football, netball and basketball and is often played indoors. The

QM is able to boast a senior England international player

court is the size of two basketball courts, with a goal of similar size to a hockey goal at both ends. The aim of the game is to throw the ball (which is the size of a size two football) into the goal. There is a

6m D around each goal, in which only the goalie can step. Therefore it is not uncommon to see players flying into the D and releasing the ball mid-air, as this doesn’t constitute a foul. The ball is transported across the court by passing in the style of netball. Players can take 3 steps and hold the ball for 3 seconds. Dribbling is allowed, however the ball must be patted with the palm, similar to basketball, therefore passing is usually the quicker option. Matches are 30 minutes each way. Annaleigh Knott, a second year Geography student, has come a long way in the sport since taking it up 2010. From humble beginnigs in her home town of Warrington, Knott is now playing for the English National Champions, Olympia Handball Club based in South West London, whilst also making international appearances and making history in some of Europe’s most prestigious competitions. However, all of this success

may never have happened had the Warrington native not had a pushy sister. Knott told QMessenger that her sister had been playing the sport at school for a while but was the only girl at training and kept badgering her to get involved. Being a sporty girl – she has played football, hockey and netball over the years as well as swimming and dancing – she went along as she had nothing to lose, and at any rate it kept her sister company. However, even in her wildest dreams Knott would never have been able to predict how things went from here. In her first training session at school the coach taking the session noticed her talent and from there it exploded. Initially joining hometown club Warrington Wolves, where her U18 team had an unblemished record going into the play off final but ultimately ended up as runners up nationally, before moving on to Deva Handball Club (Chester) where similar levels of success

were achieved. It was when Knott arrived at Queen Mary that things stepped up a gear. After initially struggling to find a club, a former coach in Warrington recommended that she went along to Olympia HC. After initially joining in on Saturday morning social classes only, she soon progressed through the ranks and was selected to be a member of the first team programme. All this came as a surprise; after all she had only been playing the sport for a matter of years but was already ‘in love with it’. The first team marked a huge step up, with two or three intense training sessions a week as well as getting used to new surroundings, with Knott stating that ‘We have players from Romania, Czech Republic, France, Norway, but I’m the only British girl in the league, let alone the team’. The left handed right winger appears to have made the step up with relative ease, despite describing her first match


MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2013 in the London League as ‘terrifying’ due to the raised expectations and pressure – after all she’d only been playing for a few years. Her debut, a 10 minute cameo against the experienced Thames Valley, which was described as ‘a real wow moment’ and ‘amazing’ was the breakthrough moment in the sport for Knott. It was now clear that this was what she wanted to do. At this point it would seem appropriate to take a step backwards and examine just what sort of commitment is needed. There was a time when training was a hardship, an inconvenience. After all, your student days are meant to be where you work hard but arguably more importantly, play hard. However, playing sport at a high level doesn’t accommodate such fun. Dedication to training and matches is paramount and this took some getting used to. Knott spoke of her initial disappointment at having to sacrifice nights out for the sport she loved – she has missed out on many a night in Drapers (although some would say that is a blessing in disguise) as well as other things. In fact she even admitted at times that she would claim illness in order

to miss a session and spend some much needed time socialising with her friends. However, her senior debut coupled with the financial outlay meant that after Christmas 2012 she took the decision to pick Handball over fun, and hasn’t looked back since.

Her debut was described as ‘a real wow moment’ and ‘amazing’ However, in March of this year disaster struck. Knott was involved in a clash of heads in a rugby match and had to take four weeks off training, and consequently was dropped from the squad for a few games. She described this setback as ‘absolutely gutting’ as it made her realise just how much she loved the sport. By having a forced break from the sport, there was the possibility to reflect on everything that had happened in the previous few years. It now became apparent to Knott just how far she had come since the first

time she picked up a ball at Birchwood High School and even since her first session with Olympia, a mere six months previously. The improvement was remarkable and the dedication is remarkable. The 2012/13 domestic season ended in triumph for Olympia, as they won the play offs. This was a weekend of mixed emotions, as in the semis they met Deva – Knott’s old team, in a match which she described as ‘terrifying’ and one she admitted that she ‘didn’t enjoy’. In the final they met local adversaries Great Dane (London), a team which they had beaten regularly over the campaign. The final had the making of a classic, and so it proved. At full time the score was 27 all, with Olympia scoring a further five unanswered goals in extra time in order to take the National Championships and the glory that comes with such success. This allowed things to go further, as the club is now due to appear in the European Handball Federation Cup, a competition one step below the Champions League, the handball equivalent of the Europa League, if you will. Olympia have been drawn to play against Fram in early October, an Icelandic team who they ‘don’t

know much about…but they’re good’. Typically of 21st century western culture, Knott discovered that she had been selected for the trip via the medium of Facebook and admits she was not at all expecting it. However, she is relishing the opportunity to make history as she is not only the first British player ever to appear in that competition, but also appearing for the first British team to ever qualify for the event. Understandably, there is a great deal of excitement and pride felt by her parents, who are unable to make the trip to Reykjavík but are still able to keep up with proceedings, due to the fact that the tournament is being streamed online. The winners of this double header are scheduled to then face a round against a Hungarian team in the coming months. However, she is realistic in regards to what might happen as ‘A lot of the teams in the European competition are semi-professional and paid, but the coach’s words were ‘we’re going to show Europe that the UK can play some good handball’’. And what of the future? Knott, the proud owner of two senior England caps as well as numerous at various age groups, is desper-

ate to achieve more internationals honours for England, as well as breaking into the Team GB set up. Unfortunately, though an Olympic appearance is looking unlikely as Knott explains, ‘there isn’t much of a chance of Team GB qualifying for the Games in 2016 or 2020. There isn’t much funding and on a global scale Britain still aren’t that good. However, they aren’t the be all and end all. We still have European and World Championships to aim for and also club competitions’. However, to help achieve success sponsorship is needed, the trip to Iceland has cost in the region of £700. She received a £300 donation from MARS Milk Fund to help cover the cost of the trip, however, this is a drop in the ocean, she needs more to fulfill her potential and have a solid career in the sport she loves. In the short term the desire is to become the first British goalscorer in the European Handball Federation Cup. Having opened her account for the England senior team recently, there is no reason why this cannot happen. All at QMessenger wish Annaleigh all the best for the new domestic campaign as well as during her continental exploits.

Distress over astroturf renovation Richard Maher Sports Editor The astroturf pitches in Stepney Green park are due to be completely ripped up and relayed in a move which threatens to divide the opinions of Queen Mary sports clubs. The new pitch would be a thirdgeneration (3G) version which typically has a weave longer than 40mm, making it unsuitable for hockey but preferable for football. Hockey is fast-growing in popularity at Queen Mary and in East London as a whole. The East London Hockey Club claim that there are 85 hours of hockey scheduled on Saturdays at the pitch for the current season and that these plans could be ruined by the refurbishment. However, it is undoubted that the revamped pitch would improve facilities for football. The 3G astroturf surfaces already in place by Mile End Stadium are far more popular with students who play football and there have been complaints from those who play on the current Stepney Green pitches in the ‘GetActive’ leagues. Romeo Olukotun, who regular-

ly plays ‘GetActive’ football with the university, claimed: “I hope the proposals go through. Having come from playing football on the new 3G pitches at Mile End to the old-fashioned, sandy pitch at Stepney Green, I can definitely say the new style pitches are 10 times better. It could even encourage more people to get involved”. The plans certainly raise bigger questions about the domination of football as the UK’s major recreational sport and is a prime example of how less conventional sports can suffer at the hands of football-orientated thinking with regards to local sporting facilities. With a community comment option still attached to the proposal on the Tower Hamlets website, the East London Hockey Club are urging hockey players and those interested in the sport to inform the council of the concerns, and the Queen Mary Hockey Club are likely to follow. Rumman Sikdar, who plays for the male Queen Mary hockey team, argued that the plans could completely backfire. “This would be a massive blow to hockey after its rise in popularity”, he said.

“Why not allow the pitches to be used by both football and hockey by retaining a suitable surface for both sports? If this goes through I think it will actually reduce sporting activity at the facility”. The council claim that a final decision on the plans is set to be reached by around the 18th October. If the proposal is successful, a date can then be placed on when work would begin at the site. The new pitches will be installed along with a 4.5m high ‘ball-stop’ fencing and a modern artificial floodlighting system to replace the existing pitch lighting which is now 20 years-old and does not satisfy Football Association (FA) requirements. FIFA and FA regulations are often referred to in the official statement for the proposals, clearly suggesting that the plans were made with football in mind - hockey is not mentioned on any occasion. University footballers will be itching to get playing on the grounds if they are relayed, but their hopes will face hostility from hockey players who are sure to be planting their sticks firmly in the ground over this matter. Image credit Chris Heaton



Fresh faces enjoy rowing success Rumman Sikdar Sports Editor Despite having been profiled in the previous issue of QMessenger, the spotlight once again falls upon one of Queen Mary’s more illustrious clubs: QM Boat Club (QMULBC). Having been proud of their increase in fresher numbers last year, the club were eager to give opportunities to newcomers to the sport again. The club were keen to point out the consistent improvement in their displays last year, in stark contrast to previous years in recent memory. To take full advantage of this, they have planned to enter more regattas and university competitions, and they kicked this off by taking part in an event organised by London Youth Rowing. The charity, nine years old, is a local organisation looking to make rowing more accessible to young people in London –primarily East London. The events they organised saw three medals for QMULBC in two different two hundred and fifty metre races. Silver medals were won in the doubles race by Neil Patel and Penny Newson, and in the quad race by Miles Farrell, Katherin Hoare, Caroline Mantzalos, and Alex Kearsley. More medals were to be found in the

quad race as Przemyslaw Klups, Olivia Tasker, Neil Patel, and Penny Newson won gold. Impressively, all eight participants were newcomers to the sport, having only taken up rowing after joining Queen Mary. With success at the last few Olympics undoubtedly increasing interest in the sport, and increased investment in it creating more opportunities, it is not surprising to see more people trying out rowing. What is surprising is the immediate success so many of these newcomers have found at QMULBC. After watching her rowers be awarded their medals by double Olympic Gold medalist and treble world champion Andy Triggs-Hodge MBE, club president Caragh Newman commented, “all of the freshers that took part in the race are all completely new to rowing and only started to learn to row this semester so I feel this only amplifies their achievement. I think this is evidence of QMULBC offering opportunities for novice rowers to achieve whilst getting fit and active and that we really welcome anybody with enthusiasm, commitment and ambition”. Perhaps there was some truth in the club’s saying, ‘everyone is born equal, then some become rowers’.

Image credit QM Rowing

Introducing: Queen Mary Angels Michael Barraclough Sports Editor Despite being one of the most successful teams at Queen Mary, the QM Angels (a cheerleading group open to students of both genders studying at QM and Barts) are relatively unknown. Continued stunning performances in a wide range of competitions will hopefully change this. For those unsure of the intricacies of cheerleading, Chloe Sinclair (President of QMBL

Cheerleading Club) offered QMessenger this explanation ‘Cheerleading is a mix of gymnastics, stunting [where they throw and catch other team members] and dance set to a 2 minute 30 second music routine’ 2012/13 was a magical season for the club, who won no less than 11 trophies in a variety of competitions at home and abroad. The club won the British University Nationals Grand Championships for the second time in three years, as well as numerous trophies in level 3

and 6 competitions and qualifying for the 2013 University European Championships (Glasgow) and the 2014 World equivalent in Florida. However, such success comes at a cost for the club (quite literally). In order to ensure that the club are able to perform at the Worlds they need sponsors, as the entire trip costs £17,000 and the SU is unable to give the club further funding, so any help would be greatly appreciated by the team. Competing at regional, national

(where they compete against main rivals RH Tomcats, Birmingham Pussycats and Hallam Cheer) and international level requires skill, determination and a big squad. In order to maintain the success of last season as well as give a good account of themselves at the European and World Championships, the club are looking for guys and girls with any previous experience of cheerleading, gymnastics or dance, but also anyone who is willing to commit to the team, work

hard and enjoy themselves! Returning members and the qualified coaches at the club will teach you everything you need to know about the sport. One cannot deny that the QM Angels work hard and play hard by joining all the other sports clubs every Wednesday evening for social sessions at Drapers Bar. New members are more than welcome to join their successful and ambitious team in order to contribute to further success for the team.

Issue 79  

Issue 79 of QMessenger the official newspaper of Queen Mary Student's Union

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