Trip: page 3
Official English-language newspaper of UWB Students’ Union
Growing support for fees campaign UWB Vice-Chancellor, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems add their voices to protest
pROTEST: page 5
REVIEW: page 10
OUT!: page 12
SHOPPING: page 19
Report by CATHERINE WALKER News Editor on 13th November a demonstration in protest against tuition fees and student debt was held at the Main Arts building on College Road. A variety of people attended, from students to politicians, to put their viewpoints forward. James Brownsell, Bangor’s SU President, was the first up to speak, proclaiming that this was a demonstration against student hardship. He stated his vehement opposition to tuition fees, as well as to the government’s recent proposal of a graduate tax as an alternative to the present system of paying up-front for higher education. James stated how graduate tax would involve paying 3 or 4 times more money than the present system demands of students. He called for a fair system of student funding, insisting that
Protesters listen and applaud as Ieuan Wyn Jones addresses the crowd “all financial barriers need to be completely removed.” Higher education, according to James, should be based upon the ability to learn,
as opposed to the ability to pay. Roy Evans, Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales, Bangor, pushed the point that higher edu-
cation should be accessible to all who may wish to undertake it, regardless of an individual’s family contd. page 2
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2 SEREN November 2001
Fees protest from page 1 situation. Prof. Evans said that the “best investment the government can make is in the education of its young,” and that “a university education is the best possible preparation to educate young people for professional careers.” He understood the real pressure upon the student financing system at present. Universities now receive only half the amount of money per student that they did 20-25 years ago. There is a state of genuine student poverty and this is completely unacceptable. One of the other major issues raised at the demonstration was that debt has become a major barrier to students entering university. According to NUS research, the average graduate debt is between £12,000-£15,000. The idea of leaving university and entering the workplace with such a large debt hanging over an individual has deterred many potential and more than capable students away. Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader of Plaid Cymru, was adamant that his party stood for the abolition of tuition fees and that maintenance grants were not the answer either. He also called for more power within the National Assembly, to give them the ability to
abolish tuition fees, as has already happened in Scotland. The pressure being placed on the government to radically alter the student funding system is ever increasing. Lembit Öpik, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, gave his support to the action in a statement urging students to continue pushing for the abolition of student fees, using Scotland as an example of how this could work. One issue that seemed to be unanimously supported was that higher education should be free at point of entry. As Ieuan Wyn Jones said, “education is a right and not privilege.” Investment in education needs to be increased by the government, because investing in education means an investment in society. “If you think education is expensive,” said Prof. Evans, “just try ignorance.” Other demonstrations were also taking place across Wales, making it the largest demonstration staged in Wales in over a decade. Steve Brookes, president of the National Union of Students in Wales commented that this was just the start. He said that the demonstrations “show the overwhelming strength of feeling amongst students across Wales. “
De Montfort faces SU rent rebellion De Montfort Student Union is preparing to unleash a major campaign against their university. They were supposed to be receiving a “new student union building,” but now instead are being forced to tender for the building which is already rightfully theirs. The university wants the Students’ Union to pay a total of £1,700,00 for a first floor venue and bar, as well as for a ground floor bar and bistro. This is money that the Union does not have. On top of all that, the university also wants De Montfort Student Union to pay £191,000 rent per year. The Students’ Union sees this as an outrageous demand as the building they have at present is free. This vast amount of investment will force De Montfort Students’ Union to apply for a 70% bank loan, coming to a grand total of £1,190,000. This would cover only the fitting out costs of a new building and would render the union useless in a mere nine months. They feel as though they are effectively being disenfranchised from the university, especially once
De Montfort University: a bad place to be an SU you consider the alternative option set out for them. This would be to reduce the SU building from its present 1,200 capacity down to a single floor which would have to be shared with University conference space and external commercial companies. As of 4.30pm on 5 November, the university was expecting the union to cramp all the services that it offers into an area “approxi-
mately the same size as our night club venue space, which has a capacity of 750.” This action by the university is considered totally unacceptable, and last Friday a student meeting was held to discuss the issue. De Montfort SU President said “the message from the students was a resounding no. They are not going to accept any of the proposed options from the university at this present time.”
UCMC adopts UWB’s Warning over Anti-Charles policy fake money Report by JAMES BROWNSELL SU President the policy of Bangor’s Students’ Union, rightly or wrongly, is to campaign for the resignation of Prince Charles as Chancellor of the University of Wales. At the GM in March, the SU President was mandated by the student body (by a slim eight votes, it should be noted) to take this campaign to UCMC (NUS Wales). UCMC Winter Council was held on Saturday 10th November, hosted by Bangor, where the motion to campaign to remove Charlie-boy was presented. Despite many delegates from the rest of Wales believing that the motion was “a joke,” the majority of delegations saw the sound and logical reasoning behind it. The notion that one person should be given a position of such great distinction and honour merely because they happen to bear a par-
ticular title was agreed to undermine the idea of the equality of all people goes against everything that Students’ Unions stand for. It was argued that the position should instead go to someone democratically elected, in order to recognise the good work and contribution of an individual, rather than being dished out just because a person happens to be heir to the throne. The motion was passed with a clear majority and has now been accepted as an official policy of NUS Wales. Also at Winter Council, James Brownsell (studmuffin) was elected to National Executive in the position of Exec. Without Portfolio, ensuring another voice for Bangor students to be recognised Snubbed: at national level.
the Prince of Wales
Residents of Bangor have been warned of a large amount of counterfeit money in circulation. Forged five, ten and twenty pound notes, as well as a quantity of fake one-pound coins, have been discovered in Bangor. Shoppers are advised by the police to take care and check their change when they are given it. Forged money often goes unreported and so remains in circulation. Busy places, especially pubs and clubs, are a particular target. It is possible to tell a forgery from the real thing, especially when it comes to notes. Real notes not only have a watermark and a foil ribbon that runs through the note (but can not be seen on the reverse side); they are also printed on a unique type of paper with a distinctive texture. With pound coins, people should look out for ones that look the wrong colour or feel too light, and, when scratched, reveal base metal underneath.
Check banknotes carefully for unusual characteristics
SEREN November 2001 3
Fees cut for some foreign students The University of Wales Bangor has announced a bold move to reduce its fees for first degrees and taught Masters degrees by £1,000, to support essential development in poorer countries. The new system will only apply to students from selected EU countries, those with an average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of under £7,000 per person, based on the list published in the National Geographic in 2000. The new strategy has been introduced to provide a small but much needed measure towards redressing the differential in students’ ability to meet fees. The £1,000 reduction will bring the price tag on initial degrees to £6,000 per year and taught Masters courses at the University to £6,500 for a year long course. Dr John Perkins, Assistant Registrar at the University’s Registry said of the remarkable new plans, “Many of our overseas students follow taught Masters courses
which provide them with vocational training in areas which are greatly needed to assist development in those countries. Courses such as Rural Resource Management, Water Resources, Agroforestry and world Animal Production arm the student with valuable skills which will make a valuable contribution to the development of his or her country.“ The reduction is in place as of this current year and so far the University has been able to award discounts to 15 undergraduate and 36 postgraduate students from 35 different countries including Botwsana, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Namibia, Papua, Reunion, Turkey and Thailand. It is hoped that this contribution will be a valuable effort to give aid to the countries that need it most as well as giving the students from “underdeveloped” backgrounds the opportunity to receive a higher education.
A class of Eastern European graduates who may now be able to study in Bangor
Students’ secret projects revealed in Birmingham Two students at the University’s School of Education have finally revealed their top secret projects at the Design and Technology National Exhibition in Birmingham. The exhibition, held on Thursday 8th November, is a forum for some of the best and brightest ideas to come from up and coming designers across the country. Mark Allen, from Caenarfon, and Neil Maliphant from Llanelli, both had to veil their inventions at the public exhibition of students’ work earlier this year due to fears over patenting and marketing. However, the two potential inventors were given a Knowledge Exploitation Fund grant to patent their work and research further development. Allen’s machine, a machine to automatically pour the perfect pint complete with the necessary amount of “head,” is bound to be popular with the beer-buying students. The machine is expected to be further developed for bars or sold to a major brewing company. Maliphant’s design is a machine to deliver golf balls to the tee, and considered perfect for any keen golfers. Both graduates are now teaching Design and Technology, hope-
A chore no more, thanks to Mark Allen’s invention fully to share some of their wisdom and inspiration. Course director John Hughes said, “We have some very talented students on our Design and Technology course which due to the technical element of its content awards a BSc degree although it also contains the educational elements to enable students to become Design
and Technology teachers. I am pleased that these students have the potential to develop their projects to a commercial application and hope that others will draw inspiration from their success so far.” The two inventions are still under development and pending further research into marketing.
Social trip to Dublin There will be a trip arranged by students, for students, to visit Dublin on Saturday 24th November. The journey is an oppurtunity for any overworked university students to visit the Guinness city and relax for the day. It is also a chance to meet new people, as the inviatation is open to all people attending the university. Any interested travellers are expected to meet at 1am Friday night/Saturday morning in Safeway’s car park, to arrive in Dublin at 8am. The coach will arrive back in Bangor at 2am on the Sunday morning. Tickets for the trip are priced at £18 each. For more information on the trip, or to book a seat, contact Luke at email@example.com, or pay on arrival at the coach.
Prize football for charity It’s a win-win situation on Friday 16th, when students can play football for charity and win themselves a crate of lager to boot! The five-aside footie event will raise money for Children in Need, but also offers an incentive for the participants. Each generous soccer fan will get a free T-shirt and a chance to win the coveted boozy prize.
For an entry fee of £5, each five player team can battle it out on the pitch, with the proceeds going to help a good cause. The kickoff is at 2pm at Maes Glas. This time the students are scoring points for something other than their exams.
English courses for overseas students The University of Wales, Bangor, is starting a new initiative to encourage overseas students to improve their written and spoken English. The course will run weekly and is aimed at anyone who is willing to learn more about the language and build on their skills. With the amount of students from foreign countries at the university proportionally high, it is predicted to be a popular and helpful class. The General classes will deal with problems each individual might face with the language, and help improve essential skills such as essay writing and conversation. The course is open to all students keen to suppliment their understanding of English and will be free of charge. Any interested individuals or parties should attend the group, held from 5pm until 7pm in Room 2.3, Hen Goleg.
4 SEREN November 2001
Wildlife up close For anyone who has wanted to get to see real live owls, and even touch them, the exhibition at Llandudno’s Victoria Shopping Centre (1-2 days a week) by the North Wales Bird Trust is a great way of meeting these creatures. The Trust is a registered charity relying on donations to run a sanctuary for birds that cannot be released into the wild for various reasons. The sanctuary is based at Bodafon Farm Park in the Craig Y Don area of Llandudno and is currently caring for about 200 birds—but have had as many as 500 in the past—from tropical birds, including cockatoos and cockatiels to birds of prey—mainly owls.
The Trust also takes the bird displays to schools, steam rallies and other places, aiming to raise awareness of the need to protect these animals and to ensure they are cared for properly. In the UK, breeding birds of prey to make money is legal with the proper paperwork. Unfortunately, these breeders often sell to people who are not skilled or able to take care of the birds. As a result, the birds are often kept in garden sheds or garages, or are released by owners unable to look after them—two large European eagle owls were rescued by the Trust from the streets of Liverpool having been abandoned by unskilled buyers. Seren interviewed Bill Broughton, who runs the sanctuary with his wife Pam. What is the overall aim of your bird display? We are trying to make people aware of threatened bird species, to alter people’s opinions, and perhaps to question the legality of bird sales to non-experts.
I’m tawny; tawny, tawny, tawny
You had a female owl in your display that had been shot. What happened to her? She’s a tawny owl called Feathers and she was shot, but the RSPCA repaired the rest of her wing after a partial amputation. She now lives with three other damaged
Join the Welsh National Opera If you didn’t get a part with SODA, you may want to know about an exciting opportunity to do some serious opera. Welsh National Opera, the award-winning opera company of Wales, is looking for world-class talent. Young people of 16-22 from North Wales will be selected to form the cast of a special production by Welsh National Youth Opera. Students and young adults will rehearse and perform an ambitious double bill at Theatr Gwynedd, from 16-17 February, of Mozart’s Bastien & Bastienne and Weill’s Down in the Valley. Acting and singing will be taught during rehearsals. Bangor’s auditions are 15-16 December. To apply for the auditions, contact Katie Gibson, Education Administrator, WNO Education Depart-
ment, Welsh National Opera, John Street, Cardiff, CF10 5SP, (029) 2046 4666, fax (029) 2048 3050, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org You also need to be confident at reading music, and qualified to Grade 5 or above on any musical instrument. You don’t need previous experience of opera. For more information see the WNO website at http://www.wno.org.uk/.
tawny owls in an aviary. They get on well. She can’t go back into the wild, as she wouldn’t survive. If an owl can be made completely better and it is a native species, it is released but Feathers flies a short distance and then tips over. What sorts of owls do you have? Of the native owls we have tawny owls, barn owls, and little owls. Of the foreign owls we have Turkmanian eagle owls, Toby the African spotted eagle owl—one of the smallest eagle owls—about 4 snowy owls at the moment; and European eagle owls, which are the biggest and most powerful owl species in the world. We also have one American Burrowing Owl, which is very small. As the name suggests, these owls live on the ground and make burrows. How long do the owls live and what do they eat? Most of our owls can live at least 25 years! The smallest are our pair of South American pygmy owls, which are about 10cm long or the size of a Swan Vestas matchbox. Our largest owl is the European Eagle Owl, which weighs 7.5 pounds and has a 6-foot wingspan. They eat rats and mice. In the wild they would eat birds too. What should people do if they find an injured bird of prey?
Were you brought up in a barn? ‘Cos I was. The RSPCA do bring us birds to look after. Some members of the public will find a bird of prey hit by a vehicle, or will call us out to rescue the bird. We do a rescue service. We always take birds to a vet, who will decide what course of action to take. If a member of the public finds an owl, they should not feed it. They should pick it up with a thick glove and
put it in a box. It should be kept in a dark and quiet place. Call Bodafon Farm Park (01492) 549060 and ask for the North Wales BirdOn Saturda Trust, or call my mobile (07776)there justice 416922. racy, o North Visit Bodafon on the web at y W http://www.bodafon-farmGroun park.co.uk or email them at “Our email@example.com For S Peace assem outsid Green speak CND C The ra being coinci isation Green was e Anoth took p spons lition Muslim Muslim homeless, kids, the elderly, pub-for Ra licity, fundraising, project leadership or conservation to name just a few) then get in touch with me, Andrew, the Student Volunteering Organiser. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or call 388005 or even come down to the 2nd floor of the Students’ Union. Andrew Wilson SCA Organiser
Just don’t read this! Well OK then, if you must (but honestly, if your mother caught you reading this, what would she say?) I warn you, though, this article may change your life; it may turn you into a different person… dare I say, even a better person! You could become the kind of person that people speak about with admiration and respect, the kind of person that always gets a pint bought for them when they go to the pub. And then again… All I want to say to all you lovely, lovely people (I know they say flattery gets you nowhere, but hey, I thought I’d give it a try) is that helping others is an amazing experience. Of course you get to improve your CV, make new friends and you get to help others, but volunteering is about more than that … it’s about YOU… ME… EVERYBODY… EVERYBODY (sorry, I’ll stop right there).
But seriously, volunteering is not something that will make you Mr or Ms Popular, or solve all your problems. What volunteering will provide you with is a challenging and rewarding experience, and a chance to meet some amazing people—both volunteers and people in the local community. If you’re interested in volunteering… no matter what type of volunteering it is (such as working with the
SEREN November 2001 5
Experiments without cruelty Brighton protest Biological science students who object to using live animals in experiments now have an organisation that is dedicated to supporting them. In the past, undergraduates have been forced to vivisect or dissect animals regardless of personal beliefs. Rats, frogs, fish and other animals suffer—killed for dissection, or painfully experimented upon. Sometimes the environment they are caught in is harmed too. Some UK universities still include compulsory animal experiments, with a penalty for not performing them. But students can complete a science degree without harming an animal. EuroNICHE (European Network of Individuals and Campaigns for Humane Education), based in Leicester and Sweden, work with students and education providers, legislators and campaigners to support humane
Scientists can now qualify without harming an animal practices replacing harmful ones. Students can use multimedia computer simulations, experiments on themselves and each other, observation and healing of animals, and dissections on animals found dead. EuroNICHE has annual conferences, outreach visits, alternative teaching-aids advice and loans,
Bangor rally for trade justice On Saturday 10th November there was a rally for trade justice and real democracy, organised by the North Wales Cynefin y Werin/Common Ground group. The “Our World Is Not For Sale” Rally for Peace and Justice assembled at noon outside the Post Office Green, Deiniol Road, with speakers from Christian Aid, CND Cymru, and other groups. The rally in Bangor was one of many being held around the world to coincide with a World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha, Qatar (the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was expected to be near Doha). Another march and demonstration took place at City Hall in Cardiff, sponsored by South Wales Coalition to Stop the War and the Muslim Council for Wales. The Muslim director of the Commission for Racial Equality spoke about the
Protestors for fair trade
need for peace and tolerance. The previous Saturday, thousands of people gathered at a Trade Justice Parade in Central London calling for global trade rules that put people and the environment before profit. At that event Naomi Klein, author of No Logo, said: “The challenge for social justice movements is to connect economic inequality with the security concerns that now grip us all—insisting that justice and equality are the most sustainable strategies against violence and fundamentalism.” More details are available from http://www.tradejustice movement.org.uk/. For local information contact Common Ground. Tel. (01286) 882359 or Email email@example.com Ben Gregory
news, and literature. Publications include Conscientious Objection, Introduction to Alternatives, From Guineapig to Computer Mouse: Alternatives Booklet, and Legislation. For more details contact Nick Jukes, 11 Beckingham Road, Leicester, LE2 1HB, (01162) 553223, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday 2nd November about 20 people from Brighton Against the War occupied the Royal Navy Unit at Sussex University. The occupiers barricaded themselves inside the building for several hours, hanging a banner from the window reading “War I$ State Terrorism!” One of the University’s daily antiwar demonstrations was taking place simultaneously on a different part of campus. On hearing of the occupation, the demo moved to the outside of the occupied building to lend support. A crowd of around 150 gathered outside, chanting and handing out leaflets. Eventually the occupiers announced they were leaving (having shut down the Unit for the whole of their working day) to discuss future actions with the crowd outside. The crowd then attempted to enter the building to meet the occupiers, but were prevented from doing so by the police.
A brief scuffle ensued and bottles of water were tipped out of office windows onto the officers below. Police prevented the occupiers from leaving the building, threatened them with pepper spray and arrested them for Section 5 of the Public Order Act and False Imprisonment. They were held at the University for several hours, had their names and addresses taken and were filmed by evidence gatherers. Despite the arrests, the action was widely regarded as a success and further actions are planned by Brighton Against the War. Part of a statement released by the occupiers stated, “We believe that it is the responsibility of those who oppose the war to do all they can to sabotage the war effort!” To contact Brighton Against the War email: email@example.com or write to Brighton Peace and Environment Centre, 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.
Yurt erected in Bangor A yurt, a type of Mongolian tent, was erected in the grounds of Bangor Cathedral on the 26th of October as part of a peace vigil organised by the Coalition For A Just Peace. The vigil, which lasted between 9pm and 7am, was attended by approximately 30 people and raised £95 for Christian Aid’s campaign for food for Afghanistan. Alex Plows, a spokeswoman for the Coalition, said it had been good to spend several hours together and focus on issues, and to imagine what it would be like
Erected in Bangor: a yurt being an Afghan refugee unsure of the future. Ms Plows was adamant that the vigil was not an anti-Muslim event and local Muslims from Bangor Mosque and from mosques in Rhyl and Colwyn Bay attended
Shaping the future The “Shaping the Future” European Youth Summit (EYS) is to be held on 3rd December 2001 at the European Parliament in Brussels, and we [Hobson Student Services] want to let you know that you may apply to be invited to represent your country at this debate. The EYS is a live broadcast event offering young Europeans a platform to express their views on the future. It is also an opportunity for public and private sectors to hear what “tomorrow’s decision-makers” have to say on a wide range of issues. Any 19-25 year old student, employee or entrepreneur from the twentyeight EU member states and candidate countries is invited to participate.
The event will focus on “The Workplace of the Future,” and will be broadcast live on “Europe by Satellite” and over the internet. In addition, the assembly will vote for the “Shaping the Future Award,” presented for the best information campaign on the introduction of the Euro. The event is backed by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Belgian Presidency of the European Union, as well as several corporate sponsors and media partners. If you would like to participate in the selection process, visit the official European Youth Summit website to find out more at http:/ /www.eys.be/ Hobson Student Services & EYS
to show “we are in this together.” Ms Plows went on to say that it was “outrageous” that the local mosque was attacked, as people who are Muslim are not necessarily sympathetic to the Taliban, and now Afghans are being bombed and people in the UK are being attacked for being Muslim. “The bombing is not helping, it is exacerbating the situation, it is nurturing terrorism.” She added that the West should “look very closely at our own foreign policy and business interests.”
Joke foR the day A horse falls into a mud hole and calls to a chicken to get the farmer to pull him to safety. The chicken runs to the farm but the farmer can’t be found. So he drives the farmer’s Mercedes back to the hole and ties some rope around the bumper. He throws the other end of the rope to the horse, and drives the car forward, pulling him out. A few days later, the chicken and horse are in the same meadow and the chicken falls into the mud hole. The chicken yells to the horse to go and get the farmer. The horse says, “I think I can stand over the hole!” So he stretches over the width of the hole and says, “Grab for my ‘thingy’ and pull yourself up.” And the chicken pulls himself to safety. Moral: if you’re hung like a horse, you don’t need a Mercedes to pick up a chick.
6 SEREN November 2001
IN THE UNION
Decisions, decisions Bob Connerton asks who’s been doing what this month
Officers’ reports PRESIDENT: JAMES BROWNSELL What has our President done, I hear you ask. Well, the President appears to have been busy lately. Visits to Wrexham seeing our nurses and meeting with NUS President Owain James (in Bangor, nevertheless!); working on campaigns; being in contact with Mrs. Betty Williams, the Bangor (technically Conwy) constituency MP (Lab.) and dealing with some campaigning. WELFARE: CATHIE HASLER The Welfare Officer has considered the idea of a campus “Neighbourhood Watch” scheme, where JCR committees talk with Halls officials on issues, as well as being a vehicle for communication. A CCTV camera for Glanrafon Hill is on its way, although it has been delayed by two issues—one of finance; the other of where it should be located. There still is the problem of Lon Pobty and cameras (lack of) though. SCA ORGANISER: ANDY WILSON The SCA Organiser has, unless I am seriously mistaken, done very little for the Union, but more for a charity with similar roles and targets as the SCA Committee: he has attended a Union Health and Safety Meeting and attended a college meeting (Teaching and Learning Development), although no papers were circulated so we don’t actually know what that was all about!
CCSO: MATT TAPPING The Communications, Clubs and Societies Officer (CCSO) has been working on Storm FM (the threeyears-overdue radio station), has been trying to get more cash for the Union and has attended one college meeting of the IS Library Committee. UMCB PRESIDENT: ELLEN DAVIES The Welsh Union President (Llwydd UMCB) has been working on a fair bit; there are chances of a Plaid branch in Bangor shortly; she’s gone to Company Board Meetings (the people who are meant to provide services to the Union); she’s been working with Aber Union and harassing IS over computers in Halls. AU PRESIDENT: JON EWING The AU President’s been busy with the AU—good news from the teams, with Bangor victories in BUSA competitions, and the novel idea of having a Welsh league for when BUSA finishes in February; Inter-Hall 5-a-side too could soon be coming to a sports field near you (well, Maes Glas)! He’s also said that clubs are ordering stuff up now they’ve got some cash, and that 100-odd AU people went to the Main Bar in togas. NON-SABBATICALS As for the non-sabbs—well, it would appear from their reports to Exec meetings that very little is done by the voluntary team, although the LGB Officer seems to be highly engaged in Union affairs, and the Convenor and the Chair are being kept busy as one would expect.
Executive business JOCK’S TO BE PAINTED The Executive have usually had a few things to discuss each week. Perhaps the most significant (although not really a task for our Executive) was the request by Company Ents to suggest a colour to paint Jock’s Bar. This was referred to a sub-group who chose the same style as Time: blue and silver/grey. SPATULAS IN FREDDY’S Feedback has been received over veggies in Freddy’s: separate spatulas are used for meat and veg products. BILINGUALISM ON INTRANET The Executive have discussed the issue of bilingualism (Welsh and English) on the Intranet: despite sanctions already existing in the Union’s bilingual policy, a decision was made that anouncments will be made in Welsh and English, and personal comments in the writer’s native tongue. The Executive want to take this matter to Senedd for revising the Policy. EXEC MINUTES ON INTRANET The Executive is currently investigating a further step in open governance: to place minutes onto some sort of public place. The original idea was on the Intranet, but it has recently been discussed that the Union’s website may be a better place. No action has yet taken place, although the issue is being researched.
Executive Meeting on 15th November 2001 “EXTRA” UNION MONEY The Union has an “extra” £752 from the Church, Tithe and Capitular fund; it is proper that the allocation be discussed by Senedd or General Meeting. The CCSO would like to allocate it to BUMS for Health and Safety training, although recently BUMS have been suspended for not having a health and safety policy in place. UNION MARKETING VIDEO The issue of producing a video of “Union Activities” has recently been discussed; it will be discussed further. My view is rather than produce a video, the Union should be more open and active. GENDER EQUALITY The Executive has been presented with a motion promoting equal status for male and female students and challenging assessment methods—this has been referred to a separate group to report back to the Executive and to Senedd.
Exec training falls flat Training for members of the Executive was (finally) arranged, but not everyone turned up, and one of those who did turn up (on a Sunday incidentally) described it as “a waste of time.” The event was postponed, a trend which (worryingly) seems to recur quite a lot in the current Executive (and, admittedly, previous ones). So we currently have untrained persons allegedly running the Union. Perhaps people should be experienced before they are permitted to stand for election: and only take on the powers and duties of office once appropriate training has been delivered, with power entrusted to an independent commission in the interim. All I want is a Students’ Union that serves students well and professionally.
Bogged down or bogged out? “One of the biggest problems with Time is toilet paper! Where does it all go? Okay, there’s an obvious answer to that! But why can’t someone— the toilet paper fairy, maybe—bring some more? Is that too much to ask? Maybe I should go and ask the bouncers or someone for some bum wiping material but they’re far too scary! Besides, Monday nights wouldn’t be the same without the fight and the exciting search for the roundtree... I mean the loo roll! Timester, sort it out mate!” A. M. Wilkins-Jones
Following on from this, I decided to try and find out what the situation with loo roll is. Loo roll is controlled by the security team, so I went for a quick chat with the head of Security, Mr. Dewi Williams. What he had to say shocked me: Time goes through far more loo roll than any other department of college; he didn’t have the figures at hand, but when we get them, they’ll be published. His second point was that each and every day each cubicle receives
two loo rolls—brand spanking new ones at that. Should those run out, there are always more available: just ask a member of security. His third point was that loo rolls are being wasted, or people aren’t using them properly. Complaints are regularly received about the loos being blocked. The usual culprit is a loo roll (or two or three) lodged in the loo. Squeamish readers may wish to find another article to read at this point, but what is done is quite simple: Mr. Williams (or his deputy) puts on a pair
of rubber gloves, goes to the loo and physically removes the obstacle. Unblocking can be some time after the incident has occurred, so on top of the loo roll(s) there could be the things one would expect to be flushed down the loo. And it’s not just these that can be found in the loos; on occasions there have even been broken bottles in the bowl. For this reason it is a requirement for Mr. Williams to have an Hepatitis B immunisation: he doesn’t know what could be contracted from the
waste, both bodily (it would not be unheard of for couples to have been intimate in cubicles) and external. Mr. Williams felt that tribute should be paid to the domestic staff, who go in after the punters have left the building. He commented that “we are very fortunate indeed to have the domestic staff that we have; no other building in college has such filth.” He went on to express the view that the domestic staff “should be appreciated more” for the excellent job they do.
The Culture Club with the very lovely Kirsty Harrison Unless you’ve sat in a cave for the past year with your head in a bucket of jam, you’ll be fully aware of the phenomenon that is Harry Potter. What with the film coming out and all, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and tell you what I think of the whole shebang. Basically, I agree with the vast majority of the population. They really are a superb collection of books. We should be honoured to live through a period where great chil-
dren’s classics are being written. Imagine, if you will, being amongst the first to read the Chronicles of Narnia, or, if you’re so inclined, Enid Blyton’s works (Mallory Towers, St. Clare’s, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven). Children and adults will be reading about Harry, Hogwarts, Dumbledore and Voldemort for years to come. I for one plan to be smug about it whenever my children and grandchildren tell me how much they love J.K. Rowl-
ing’s magic books. And I don’t care about being 21 and reading “children’s novels,” J.K. herself has stated it was the publisher’s idea to make it a children’s book, not hers, and if you really are that shallow, then you can buy the adult version (with black and white photographed covers instead of cartoons), so you can read it on the train. But, you know, everyone knows what they look like, so you might as well get the proper ones.
The UFO & Vampire Hunter’s Handbooks
Ian McEwan, Jonathan Cape, £16.99 atonement is an outstanding, clever and expertly written novel. Not a lot is explained by the blurb or title, but this novel will enchant you and you’ll find it is simply unputdownable. Opening on the hottest day of 1935, Atonement centres on the lives of Briony Tallis, a thirteenyear-old budding writer, her sister Cecilia, and their childhood friend Robbie. By the end of that day, the lives of all three are changed forever, and Briony has committed a crime for which she will spend her lifetime trying to atone. McEwan explores themes like love, war, childhood, class, forgiveness and absolution in ways that will make you rethink all of them. The way that McEwan writes from different characters’ perspectives means that the reader sees events several times, and each time comes away thinking that they know eve-
Penguin, £4.99 each
McEwan: brilliant rything—only to be proved wrong with a turn of the page. There is so much that I would like to say about this novel, but won’t for fear of spoiling your joy of discovering it for yourself. This is a beautifully written and moving novel which stays with you for a long time afterwards. A must for Christmas, and an inspiration for life. Julie Neild Stop press: Atonement has just been shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Prize for Literature.
Top ten books week ending 9th November 1 A History of Britain, Volume 2 Simon Schama BBC, £25.00 2 Billy Connolly Pamela Stephenson HarperCollins, £17.99 3 Happy Days with the Naked Chef Jamie Oliver Michael Joseph, £20.00 4 The Blue Planet Andrew Byatt et al BBC, £24.99 5 The Last Hero Terry Pratchett & Paul Kidby Gollancz, £17.99
6 Harry Potter Box Set J.K. Rowling Bloomsbury, £25.00 7 Da Gospel According to Ali G Fourth Estate, £12.99 8 Atonement Ian McEwan Jonathan Cape, £16.99 9 A History of Britain, Volume 1 Simon Schama BBC, £25.00 10 Robbie Williams: Somebody Someday Robbie Williams & Mark McCrum Ebury Press, £17.99
Don’t buy these little guides expecting a whole lot of stuff you didn’t know already. The information here is fairly rudimentary: if you’ve seen The X-Files, or Buffy, the rules and regulations aren’t going to be news to you. However, and it’s a big however, if your friend is a huge UFO and/or Angel fan, then you could do nothing better than surprise them with one of these little gems for Xmas. Other than the basics, there are genuine case studies, quizzes to see if you or anyone you know has been abducted/is a vampire, tips for organising your own hunt and a “Hunter’s Pass,” which gives you access to places aliens/vampires would be loth to let you go. The diagrams and captions are funny, the tone of the book is pretty selfmocking, and who knew that aliens were afraid of cats? At a fiver a pop (less on ye olde Internet), these books really are stocking fillers, and amusingly-written holders of factoids.
SEREN November 2001 7
, KirstYy s poetr korner Well done, Miss Greene, on winning the fiver this month. Twice as many entries this issue, but still that’s not saying much, considering there are hundreds of Literature and Creative Writing students, plus the people who write poems in their spare time, and there’s actual money up for grabs. Honest to God, actual money! You too can feel the magic regenerative power’s of Kirsty’s Magic fivers, without spending a single penny. Woooooooooh. Drop me a line, or find me huddled in the corner of a pub spitting at random passers by. There’s something In his frown That makes me Smile. When he’s angry In an instant, When he’s vile. Yes, my boyfriend Hits me, but I hit him harder back, And he’s never Made me bleed a lot, Or put me on the rack. And his frown still makes me giggle, As I know what’s coming next. An argument, a struggle, Two sorrys and great sex. Simone Greene
A field guide to the paranormal: so simple, it’s brilliant
Everybody has won, and all must have prizes Last month, many important distinctions, awards and prizes were given out to well-deserving people in the world of Literature. Here is an abridged version of the winners. Nobel Prize for Literature The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to V.S. Naipaul for his works from over many years, including the magnificent The Enigma of Arrival (Penguin, £7.99), and more recent work A House for Mr Biswas (Penguin, £9.99).
Booker Prize Peter Carey won the Booker Prize with the comma-less True History of the Kelly Gang (Faber and Faber, £7.99). The People’s Booker Prize, voted on by members of the public, went to Atonement (Jonathan Cape, £16.99), reviewed on this page.
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Amongst the Pulitzer awards given for journalism and writing, there is a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which this year went to Michael Chabon, for the comic-book-inspired The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Fourth Estate, £7.99).
8 SEREN November 2001
Album reviews Hit the decks! It’s Seren’s monthly album fantasia
Black Leather Mojo Silverginger 5 (Infernal) Finally, after months of waiting, the formerly Japan-only release from ex-Wildheart Ginger has reached our shores. Re-sequenced, re-mastered and re-lentless, this is an album that sets down the riffs old-style. It’s Rock O’ Clock, people... Coming on like the bastard child of AC/DC and (inevitably) the Wildhearts, this album makes its mission statement clear from opening track “Sonic Shake”—no irony, no knowing smiles, just riffs, swagger, and balls the size of watermelons. Granted, not every track is a hit—“Girls Are Better Than Boys” is a tad too heavy on the cheese for my tastes—but overall the peaks heavily outnumber the troughs. This is a meaty album for those who like their Jack Daniels straight, their hair backcombed and their bands in leather and spandex. If this is you, act quickly. Initial pressings come with a full-length bonus live/acoustic/demo album, worth it for demo track “Walk Like A Motherfucker” alone. More mosh for your moolah—that’s the Silverginger promise. Michael McGeachin
Bridget Jones’ Diary 2 Various Artists (Mercury) THE SECOND soundtrack to be spawned from the hugely successful film based on the hugely superior book is mainly a collection of Motown, soul and more recent pop efforts, all of which would sound more than comfortable on BBC Radio 2. It’s a bland affair and those looking for songs actually featured in the film will be bitterly disappointed. The album does have some merit—fairly soulful and definitely chilled, making it a beautiful background or work CD. Further, the soundtrack is very much aimed at the Christmas market and it does have a sound suited to the festive season—the perfect gift for any mother! En Vogue’s “My Lovin’” still sounds good, as does TLC’s “Waterfalls” and the Motown aspects are also welcome (Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson all make their presence felt). However, also present are the awful “Angels” (Robbie Wil-
liams), “Out Of Reach” (Gabrielle—perfectly good song but who needs it twice?) and some Elvis Costello pap. Basically, I hate this soundtrack: it really is dull and a blatant cash-in: random songs with a picture of Renée Zellweger on the cover. James Dawson
ing to the previous thirteen tracks can suck the perseverance out of all but the most hardened music fan. Repeat listens uncover more of 4hero’s true depth and beauty but to fully appreciate this album can be a hard, gruelling task and most people may not find it particularly worth it. Not for those with short attention spans.
Creating Patterns 4hero (Mercury) Clocking in at a sneeze over seventy-eight minutes, this is a musical odyssey unlike anything this reviewer has heard for a long time. Filled with lush orchestration and tight, jazzy beats Creating Patterns is a quiet listen but by no means an easy one. Soaring melodies and soulful bass blend in a spiritually touching way but over the album it becomes hard to let the music do anything more than wash over you and tunes seem to merge together. The high point of the album is, by far, the fabulous single “Les Fleur,” but listen-
Songs for the Front Row: The Best of... Ocean Colour Scene (Island) After listening to this album a couple of times you realise that OCS are actually a really great band. Over the years they’ve made some cracking records—“The Riverboat Song,” “July,” “Up On The Downside” and “Mechanical Wonder.” The guitar riffs on some of their records are absolutely fantastic— now that’s what I call proper music. In fact, OCS do have quite an old style sound, sometimes a bit like the Beatles and sometimes like one of those 70’s rock bands.
On the bonus second CD there are five tracks recorded at live OCS concerts—a fantastic addition to a solid compilation. OCS haven’t had the success of other bands like Oasis or Blur but, after listening to this, I think you could claim that they are just as good as their more famous contemporaries. All of their songs are easy to listen to and there is hardly a dud track on the album. Highly recommended. Tom Ewens
The Clangers OST (Trunk) In the current glut of nostalgia that bothers us daily (“I Love Children’s Things That I Didn’t Actually See”) it’s nice to find something genuinely soothing. This album compiles the highlights of the incidental music that helped give The Clangers its homemade feel. As with other Smallfilms programmes—Ivor The Engine, Noggin The Nog etc.—Oliver Postgate’s grandfatherly narration was perfectly matched by the compositions of Vernon Elliot. These are sparse and understated, otherworldly yet familiar. Space music from the church hall—just what you’d expect of those friendly woolly mice on their little blue planet. The best bit here is “Act One of A Clangers Opera,” which ends the record. Basically it’s chunks of episodes cobbled together to make a new super-episode, with Iron Chicken, Soup Dragon and all. Postgate narrates and the sound effects of Clangers whistling and scurrying about are a welcome addition that could have benefited the whole album. A labour of love that will calm babies in their cots, amuse teenagers in their rooms and raise smiles in rocking chairs across the country. It’s a shame Pokémon soundtracks aren’t so well thought out. Nat Rowson
I Get Wet Andrew WK (Mercury) as the latest in a long line of last great white hopes, Andrew WK demands a modicum of trepidation to say the least—surely anything with this much hype after only one single can’t deliver the goods. But this album is full of loud, shouty guitar with enough US college pop rock sentiment that you almost expect drunken frat boys to crash into your living room at any moment. It’s fantastic. This is not metal; this is not nu-metal; this is rock, like it used to be done. If you liked “Party Hard” this is a must buy—you get twelve similarly jumping tunes with enough variety to keep you bouncing around your bedroom for hours. And it manages to maintain just a little bit more credibility than your Blink 182’s. If you want quiet introspection, look elsewhere. If you wanna mosh then this is for you.
Annual 2002 Ministry of Sound ministry have expanded their annual: 62 choons over three CDs—bonzer. The mixing is Ministry standard, with an excellent selection on two of the three CDs. I don’t like CD2 (Pied Piper twice, and the nasty “21 Seconds”), but CD1 has a decent selection, from summer hits “2 People” (Mirwais Extended Mix) and Roger Sanchez’s lovely chill-out “Another Chance” to dance-floor classic Rui Da Silva’s “Touch Me” (Tim Deluxe Mix). CD3 is the gem: Paul Van Dyk’s “Columbia” (PvD remix), the excellent “Fire Wire” (LCF Remix) and N-Trance’s “Set Me Free” (Flip ‘n’ Fill Mix). Cosmic Gate appear later as well, with the Extended Mix of “Exploration of Space.” Although most of this appears on other collections (Euphoria, Kiss etc.) you have to like the box and the mini-Ministry mag—useful when you’re trying to remember what happened that year/month. If you like your dance music, these are well worth having. Bob Bartlett
SEREN November 2001 9
Thank you for the music Music Editor Ian Fallon counts his blessings The live music scene in Bangor, until last year, was dire. Anyone who was there can tell you that. Bands came (occasionally) and very few people would turn up to see them play. Part of this was ‘cos nobody had heard of them, part was ‘cos no one was advertising them and part was due to a clash with the ever-loved Trash. Well, the times they are a-changing. Thanks to our dedicated Ents team—Adam and Shaun—Bangor is now back on the musical map, and while that hardly means that we’ll be seeing the likes of U2 or REM playing here, we are getting some of the most exciting, up-andcoming bands through our doors. Already this year we’ve had the Cosmic Rough Riders and Gorky’s
Zygotic Mynci, but it’s not nearly over. The fantastic Electric Soft Parade are playing in Main Bar on the 23rd along with two superior support bands—Tetra Splendour and Kid Galahad—and for a measly £3! The future’s bright, the future’s Bangor. At least it will be, so long as you, the music-loving public, keep supporting the Union’s ventures by coming along and experiencing the new live music scene as it happens. Also, for all you Trash bunnies out there, check out the brand new Trash website now up and running. Point your cursors to www.undeb.bangor.ac.uk/trash. And keep your eyes open for the forthcoming Trash membership— consider yourself told.
My Vitriol: growing in stature before our eyes
My Vitriol + Seafood + Queen Adreena Time, November 1st The night started badly. A cock-up over the publicised start time meant that many people didn’t even think the doors would be open until the first band was already onstage and several songs into their set. A real shame, but perhaps a forgivable teething problem, as The Session puts bands on a day that won’t clash with the ever-popular Trash. How to make an exciting live performance the Queen Adreena way. Step one: take a trio of staunchly professional musicians, people who know their craft and stand in the classic poses. Guitarist, bassist and drummer all looking every inch the true rock star, resplendent in tight t-shirts and glittery eye makeup. Step two: play solid rock. A very simple task on paper, but one that takes real
tunes and enthusiasm to pull off and these guys have all that. In spades. Step three: add to the mix a strangely volatile front woman. Step four: enjoy. Scaring most of the people present for their set, Katie Jane hurled herself around the stage in a manner much becoming of a person in the throes of a psychotic episode. Hanging off the
This time, they have the lights, the songs and the confidence to deliver the goods. guitarist, flailing her arms around, wrapping the microphone cable around her neck; the lack of banter with the crowd between songs only served to heighten the impression that she was on something— and something very strong by the looks of it. Exciting is too mundane a word for a performance of this intensity—try breath-taking, jawdropping, heart-stopping or just
Coming up: Tetra Splendour
plain amazing. Queen Adreena are going to be huge if they can stop Katie Jane from killing herself or another member of the band. Seafood took the stage and proceeded to fail to live up to what went before. Fast, punky, loud tunes aplenty and an attitude that really started to get the crowd going, only to not make any real lasting impression. They try hard and are good at what they do, no, really, they are, but there’s nothing new in what they’re doing and a thousand other bands before them have done the same only to vanish a year or two down the line. They need something to set them apart from the rest if they ever hope to be anything more than also-rans. At just a little before nine My Vitriol stroll on. They’re cool, they’re confident, they’ve been to Bangor before and they rocked the joint then and this time…? This time they really mean it. This time they have the lights, the songs and the confidence to deliver the goods. And Time goes mental. The hit singles charge the crowd and get them a-moshing. Angst rock—the new wave—is furious and hits home. The band plays for an hour and a half, unrelenting grungeesque tunes for the new millennium and a performance flawless in its execution. They return to roof-lifting cheers for their encore and blow the punters away for one last time. Then thank you Bangor and good night. And a good night it has been: music fans file away into the night, sated from an evening of pure entertainment. The Session once again proves that bands can come to Bangor and be adored. The resurgence of live music in North Wales continues.
Orange enjoymusic Time, November 15th Tonight, matthew, I will be a mind-blowing venue. Following last year’s titanic success, Orange return to take over Time with a night to be proud of. The sometimes awkward décor of the building was done up all posh-like, with flashy Buck Rogers lights in the corridor, projections on the walls and a giant mobile phone screen for texting naughty messages to all and sundry. It’s incredible to see how much can be done to the place with a bit of dedication and flair. And money of course. Seeing big businesses pump money into music runs the risk of breaking the golden “keep it real” rule—artists playing for money not fans, and names chosen for pullingpower, not talent. The night could easily have been a promotional nightmare, with phones rammed down our dancing throats, but the corporate presence was restricted
to cool stuff, like computer games and listening points. Orange gain my respect for this, which was perhaps their reasoning all along… Down to the entertainment. Besides the gimmicks, this night would have been great fun even in the ugliest of venues—in the main room it was impossible to keep still as the bass surged through you. Everyone was dancing rather than the usual gentle arm-shaking and it was refreshing to actually have a reason to face the DJs, who worked the crowd brilliantly. The curved lounge was, as usual, the more chilled environment, although not in its normal silent way. The music here was quieter, but the quality refused to waver— starting with some irresistible funk, the crowd was soon treated to British dance pioneer Norman Jay, who’s set had the lamentably small dance floor full of happy faces. Torn between the rooms, there was nothing for it but to flit back and forth, grinning as you went. The space hoppers chucked out at the end were the icing on the cake—tonight was the best club night in Time since, ooh, last year. Nat Rowson
10 SEREN November 2001
Rowling in the aisles Darien Graham-Smith casts an eye over the film everyone wants to see FILM REVIEW
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Now showing at the Plaza Cinema (Cert. PG) Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past fortnight, you already know that Chris Columbus’ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is “magical,” “spellbinding” and every other equally witty adjective the popular press has been able to muster. But Harry fans—particularly those old enough to, e.g., read Seren—are a discerning bunch. It was always going to take more than a feature in G2 to allay our fears for our newest, fondest hero’s treatment at the hands of the man behind Home Alone. But friends, I’m here to tell you that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is as worthy an adaptation as you’re ever likely to see. And it’s definitely not what many of us feared—a
cutesy Americanised rejig, à la Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, or Alice in Wonderland. From the first scene—a moody, moonlit swoop along Privet Drive—to the last, as the Hogwarts Express puffs its way out of Hogsmeade Station on its way back to King’s Cross, J.K. Rowling’s original vision is the only game in town. Chris Columbus clings with superhuman tenacity not only to the plot of the original, with all its major distractions and diversions, but, perhaps even more importantly, to its spirit. For all its spectacular scenery and fantastic special effects, this is, at bottom, a gritty, understated and essentially British story. For this we can, in the first place, thank Ms. Rowling herself, who held out against a flood of highly lucrative movie offers for a degree of artistic control almost unheard-of in Hollywood. One of her demands—for an all-British cast—led Steven Spielberg, who had wanted Haley Joel Osment to play Harry, to drop out of the bidding to direct. High stakes, then, but the finished product vindicates her wholly, with a dream cast of born-for-the-part stars including Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Maggie Smith (Prof. McGonogall), Alan Rickman (Prof. Snape), Richard Harris (Prof. Dumbledore) and Zoë Wanamaker (Mme. Hooch) delivering backbone in spades. Chris Columbus couldn’t coax
the limp mawkishness of Mrs. Doubtfire out of this lot even if J.K. let him try, which she wouldn’t. Her insistence on the right “look” has paid off equally, as Hogwarts is rendered in breathtaking grandeur, courtesy of a number of historic buildings around Britain and some wonderfully realised special effects. The whole thing reeks of old public school splendour: Columbus’ Hogwarts is, quite simply, everything you could have hoped for. It’s right. But though the scenery and the adult cast can’t be faulted, Harry Potter must stand or fall on the merits of the three leadsHarry, Hermione and Ron. Inevitably, none has the stature of their adult colleagues, but none really lets the movie down. Probably the weakest link is Ron (Rupert Grint), whose wide-eyed cockneyboy delivery often seems more Grange Hill than Hogwarts. Daniel Radcliffe, as Harry, does better: at times he looks a little less than convinced by his own words, but in general his understated delivery works well, and if the movie threatens to veer over the line between the fantastic and the absurd, his gravitas keeps things firmly on the ground. The shining light of the trio, however, is Hermione, played with crystal clarity and perfect pacing by Emma Watson as she tuts and struts around Hogwarts like a miniature Penelope Keith. She also appears likely to grow up
From left: Neville, Ron, Harry, Hermione and some other kids no one really cares about
Hirsute: Richard Harris is Albus Dumbledore to be gorgeous. Rowling (who apparently based Hermione’s character partly on her own) must be very pleased. At around two and a half hours, Harry Potter is a monster of a movie, but even at this length fans of the book will be sad to see Nearly-Headless Nick reduced to around three lines, while Rik Mayall’s Peeves is excised and the Sorting Hat’s song wasn’t even filmed in the first place. Pretty much everything else is here, but often much more economically than in the book, with whole passages deftly reduced to single lines. And this, perhaps, is the root of the film’s biggest weakness. Screenplay writer Steven Kloves has done a superb job of squeezing an awful lot of story into a film of manageable length, but everything is pared down so ruthlessly anyone not au fait with the book may find it hard to keep up. Worse, the faster pacing of the film reduces the weight of each episode, with the result that the earlier scenes (such as Harry’s first flying lesson) seem somehow superficial. We still
share in Harry’s fear and exhilaration as the film draws to its climax, but there’s a sense that everything else was merely a diverting prelude to this, the “money shot,” as it were. The book’s slower prose was better-balanced, but could probably never have been reproduced in under four hours. So, as I said earlier, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is as worthy an adaptation as you’re ever likely to see. The kids aren’t quite perfect, but they’re more than good enough. The pacing’s not quite perfect, but it was this or lose something really iconic. And there’s so much that is perfect—which I’ve barely begun to go into—that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is, without a shadow of a doubt, the definitive film version of the book. Adaptations being what they are, some readers may be disappointed to find the odd detail of Rowling and Columbus’ vision of Hogwarts doesn’t quite fit perfectly with their own; but every Harry fan will find this a major delight.
SEREN November 2001 11
My movie’s more magical than yours Chris Chapman goes out on a limb in “Lord of the Rings better than Harry Potter” shock Yeah, yeah, I’m reading it now. Yeah, yeah, I AM. Sigh. There must be few bookloving students who have managed to avoid the phenominominominom that is Harry Potter. Sadly, dear reader, I am one of these evil few that have hidden behind that sheltering rock that Mr Graham-Smith mentions on the previous page. But this will change, I am reading it as we speak, right now, before your very eyes. I’ve just got to the bit where Hagrid takes Harry through a brick wall and ends up somewhere nice— devious stuff. The hype surrounding this month’s HP movie has been colossal (yet mostly media-generated— Warner Bros has been rather laid back in its publicity, smug gits) should mean that the broomstick bonanza should cruise past the massively overrated Shrek to
become the biggest earner of the year. But to be honest, despite the fact that Potter is actually very good, it’s not what I’m excited about at the mo. Oh no. No no no no no. Not even the just-out trailer for Star Wars Episode II could whip me into a proper frenzy (it’s Star Wars for God’s sake, I should be raping bishops to see that film). No, there is just one film for me in the world right now. That film is Lord Of The Rings. The third and final LOTR trailer is accompanying Harry Potter around the country in the latter’s stomp of doom (though this is rather incidental to this reviewer as I’ve watched the Rings trailer dozens of times off the net already), and is the most impressive teaser the movie industry has seen for years, combining great pathos, fantastic
MOVI ES TO RENT
shots and meaty actor bits. It’s just grand. It may well not make as much cash as HP (which has direct access to the lucrative kiddie market and seemingly a brownnosing “Rowling farts!” publicity deal with the tabloids), but I will guarantee you now that LOTR will be a superior film. A ten pound bet with my best mate rests on this, and I actually quite literally cannot afford to lose. I’m going to go a step further into the soulless abyss of film predictions though. Gather round. I will give a penny sweet (white mouse or fried egg, your call) to anyone who grabs me in a pub post-Christmas and clearly makes a case for HP having kicked LOTR’s acronym-based arse. One penny sweet does not a bank balance crumble, I hear you mutter, but just think: if LOTR turns out to
These scared the shite out of Julie when she was little be common or garden bollocks, as opposed to the dog-possessed variety and its two (already halfdone) sequels are rushed straight to video in a frenzy of humble pie, then I could owe the 8,000
students of Bangor £800 worth of fizzy cola bottles. Come on, don’t you want to see me bankrupt? Deal? And if I win, you are all my slaves. Either way, you win…
main weakness is that it does not understand this. The tense scenes don’t work because the there is no effective build up, and as a result these scenes become quite monotonous. In general though, there’s enough bite to make this an entertaining night in. Tom Ewens
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES (15)
THE CONTENDER (15) I have a bias towards political thrillers; they are a rare breed, and somehow I find grown men manipulating each other for absolute power quite exciting and satisfying. So I suggest, dear reader, you approach this review with this angle in mind. I like The Contender, quite a lot actually. The fact of the matter is that it would take me a hell of a lot more than my word limit here to tell you its merits—ranging from a tight script to superb acting by a fine cast—so instead I’ll tell you the bad points, since they are much easier to fit in: the ending. Yes, the ending feels so out of place you might think for a moment that someone in the editing room stuck it on by mistake but alas the truth is much more painful. So, go rent this film. Yes, the ending’s bad, but compared to Pearl Harbor it’s genius, and it’s not eve-
ryday we get movies that have some passing intelligence. Evrim Ersoy
GINGER SNAPS (18) Believe me, Ginger Snaps is a weird film. It’s a Canadian-gothic-high school-horror story about a strange monster that indiscriminately kills and partially eats any people or animals it comes across. Then one of the main characters gets infected by it and turns into a monster herself. The other characters then have to come up with the antidote. There are a lot of unfortunate similarities to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. However, in Ginger Snaps there is a lot more blood and guts, a rather sickening blood drinking scene in particular. However, good horror/thriller films build up the tension slowly and so do not have that many really tense scenes. This film’s
All The Pretty Horses has all the ingredients of a box office hit. Firstly there is the strong cast, led by Matt Damon and Penélope Cruz. Then there is the story line which, without revealing too much, consists of the tried-and-tested formula of “good guy on a journey overcoming obstacles insurmountable to you or me;” seemingly no problem there then. There are the stirring fight scenes, the cowboys and Indians, and there is even that surefire certainty, the romantic subplot complete with moonlight swimming and impossibly beautiful girl. So why then, does this film leave no impression on the viewer whatsoever? Perhaps because it tries so hard for pathos, and produces little; and there is absolutely no chemistry between any of the cast, which has the added effect of destroying that age-old banker, the romantic subplot. Pretty Horses is not a flop, but it tries for brutal poignancy, and finds mediocrity. Matthew Jarratt
PEARL HARBOR (15) Hollywood can sometimes be a very evil cold-blooded thing. Titanic earns cash. Execs happy. Other execs copy formula shamelessly. Other execs end up happy too. It’s an evil world. Pearl Harbor is trite tripe. A three-act movie of which the first is cheesy bollocks, the second technically accomplished but heartless as hell and the third, well, wank. The eye-gougingly contrived Affleck/Beckinsale/Hartnett love triangle may (just) appeal to thirteen-year-old girls who perceive Westlife posters as prime masturbatory material, but to the rest of us its shame faced commercial script writing, and a botched job at even that. Pain is commonplace in the Pearl Harbor viewing experience. Pain at the excruciating Alec Baldwin American Pie General (“It’s a risky mission! Make sure if you go down, you take some of them stinkin’ Japs with ya!”); pain at poor Ewen Bremner’s insulting stutterer comic relief; pain at the final tired unnecessary “Yanks fight back!” hour and pain at the evil evil execs that manufactured this movie as they would manufacture a hydrogen bomb. Explosive, but not nice at all.
All titles available to rent now from Albin’s Video, 4a College Road
12 SEREN November 2001
Grand Theft Auto III Playstation 2 THE KING of the car-pinching, guntoting, bitch-slapping kill frenzy is back—now with an added third dimension! But is this a true departure, or just an eye-catching gimmick? Seren will tell you all... Yes, the game is gorgeous, albeit in a stark, morbid way. Varied weather effects give a wonderful sense of reality to the gloomy proceedings, as do the fantastically drawn and developed characters. The vehicles themselves have all been overhauled and re-named, with many old favourites from the old games still present, but in glorious 3D, bursting into flame alongside new faces, including boats and light aircraft (which don’t fly—
Stronghold PC (550MHz, 64Mb, 750Mb) STRONGHOLD LETS you indulge every history buff ’s fantasy: to build and defend your own medieval castle—from towers and moats to knights in armour, everything is included. Essentially a castle construction kit without the glue and paint, you site your keep, create a resource economy and then give your peasants jobs in production
boo!). Sonically the game is even more impressive. The gang bosses all have their own cut-scenes, which are excellently scripted and performed, and the radio stations are a work of comedic genius. But how does it handle? At first, awkwardly, as eact one of the controllers buttons has a function, but after a short while it all becomes intuitive, and you’ll soon be wiping bits of Triad off your bumper. In terms of longevity, there are plenty of main missions and sub games (including a Crazy Taxi-style fare hunt) to keep you occupied, not to mention the simple catharsis offered by a quick half-hour mowing down pedestrians in a stolen ambulance. In short, this is a practically perfect work of tasteless wonder, perfect for appeasing your inner psychopath, and the extra dimension really puts you in the bloody thick of things. Gentlemen, start your engines...
or the military. Like Age of Kings? Not really. Gone are the robotic slaves that served you no matter what, replaced by peasants with needs and wants and the power to cripple your castle if you ignore them or let them get butchered. Build your castle defences while balancing food production and taxes but keep an eye out for the enemy’s forces equipped with all manner of castle-busting kit. The AI tactics lack variety but fortunately not to the point of complete tedium. You can also opt to attack an enemy castle—much harder than it sounds and fun for
“The king of the car-pinching, gun-toting, bitch-slapping kill frenzy”
the true tactician only as simple mistakes can get your troops massacred in seconds. You can also attack or defend historically accurate castles or just build the castle of your dreams in ‘Free Build’ mode. These extra options, along with the usual LAN and online stuff, give Stronghold a lasting appeal that ensures it will be played for months. The gameplay is satisfying, its features are comprehensive and it includes rotting cow attacks and death by boiling oil. Stronghold is a quality title. Jamie Stewart
Klonoa 2: you might as well jump
MAD! A sly peek into a world of lunacy 2. No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! (1998) Puzzle games are a veritable mine of silliness. Pick up an example of this genre and you’ll doubtless find machine gun-wielding bunnies or men with inflatable spleens. However, none of them can compare to the utterly toast-mad antics of the ambulatory bespeckled cuboid with a demonic sense of humour known as Mr. Domino. Your role is to help this civil little slab set up potentially fatal practical jokes for his various witless foils. Why he does it is unclear, but he is plainly a domino with a mission. With barely suppressed glee he drowns little girls, blows up housewives, and causes a hapless teddy bear to spout blood from its nostrils. Someone, somewhere, is sitting in a dark corner, holding a large pay-cheque, and having a very bad trip. Let’s hope no one lets him in front of a computer ever again.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil Playstation 2 A CUTE and friendly platformer, Klonoa 2 is very easy to advance through, whilst still having reasonably testing puzzles to tax the little grey cells. Even I (renowned for my inability to complete PS games) was able to make steady progress. You play as this little… animal, with overly large ears—useful when you need to float and make longer jumps. Armed with a magic ring, you stun little blobby critters, called Moos, and use them Mariostyle to complete challenges. There’s the standard premise behind the game which means that there are very dull, slow cut
scenes, and you annoyingly have to keep going back to a central point to be talked at by a giant hat (?), but once you find the skip button, the game goes quite smoothly. This is a fun game with good graphics. The action is generally confined to two dimensions, but be aware of secret buttons and extra lives hidden on the back wall that you can fire at to activate. Very useful, whilst also adding a nice 3D twist to the game. Frustratingly, however, you can only save at the end of each world. Therefore, if like me, you get stuck on one annoying little bit, you are doomed to keep working through the whole thing until you can just damn well get it right! Not everyone will like this game. I like it for the mix of challenges with levels where, generally, it’s impossible to fall in to a bottomless void. However, some may find it slow, or even just too easy. Julie Neild
SEREN November 2001 13
Time Crisis 2
“wow!” quoth I. “A game which combines the trick-based thrills of SSX with the streetwise sass of Jet Set Radio! This couldn’t possibly suck any amount of ass!” Oh dear... Granted, the graphics don’t suck, but in a very PS2-standard kind of way (you know the drill—pretty backgrounds, well animated characters, yadda yadda yadda). That said, it is often difficult to distinguish the foreground from the background when travelling at speed. But that’s the least of your worries. Soundwise, some sucking is evident. Enemy characters spout the same few phrases repeatedly, the script is awfully written and badly acted (almost to Resident Evil standards), and the soundtrack is irritating beyond belief. Furthermore, the hero of the piece is a cocky
shoot ‘em ups rule. Or they do if you have a light gun. If you don’t have one then, for the love of God, get one, ‘cos you’ll like this game. The megalomaniacal head of a corporation is sending a nuclear satellite into orbit for undisclosed nefarious reasons and it’s your job as a special agent from an undisclosed agency to stop him by shooting a veritable army of hired goons. Cue overtly camp cut scenes and ridiculously hard-asnails boss fights and you’ve got a winning shoot ‘em up. This game is hard even if you’ve got a light
Red Alert 2: Yuri’s Revenge PC (266MHz, 64Mb, 350Mb; requires Command and Conquer 2) buying pc add-on packs can be a gamble. They range from lazy cashins (e.g. Tiberium Sun’s Firestorm) to truly innovative follow-ups like Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. They can destroy the original’s appeal, or improve it beyond gamers’ wildest fantasies. Westwood studios are aiming for the latter category with this latest addition to the C&C series, with mixed results. Hyped as a “mini sequel,” Yuri’s Revenge comes across as a genuine attempt to improvise, which sadly runs out
The whoop-de-dooper, loop-the-looper, allez-ooper bounce little bollocks who really rubbed me up the wrong way. Not good. However, it is on the subject of gameplay where full mouth/ posterior interface is evident. The hoverboard (reallly the only cool thing about the game—if a tad ‘80s) handles like a cow, with the simple ease of control evident in both SSX and JSR conspicuous in its
absence. The learning curve starts at “hard” and moves swiftly to “bastard difficult”—not that you’d really care, though, as the limp plot doesn’t especially entice you onwards. It’s a crying shame, really. The press release reeks of promise. The game, however, simply reeks.
of steam part way through. The new single player campaigns suffer from a distinct lack of ideas. Map variety remains largely unchanged from RA2, and even the “new” locations are a muddle of old stuff rearranged to look original. You do get to visit the moon, and take a jaunt to Transylvania, but these are only brief distractions. There are some nice touches early on, like cameos from action movie stars, and fights with dinosaurs but they are only minor diversions from the formulaic action. These expansions stand or fall by the selection of structure and unit upgrades included, and while Yuri’s Revenge promises much, it largely fails to deliver. After a few missions you may feel short changed. It becomes clear that there aren’t as many new toys as you expected. There are a few lazy adaptations of familiar units, a handful of genuinely new ones
along with some refugees from skirmish mode. This lack of innovation almost seals the pack’s fate. It’s not all bad however. The Yurified skirmish mode turns the tide firmly in YR’s favour. Simply put, Yuri’s units are beautiful freaks. They range from regular tanks and psychic infantry to the “Brute” (LOL at his “Give me your lunch money!” taunt), a tank-clobbering giant. Add to these the B-movie flying saucers and some EVIL super weapons, and you have the recipe for extreme fun (just add maniacal laughter); stealing enemy minds is just the start. Yuri’s Revenge isn’t a complete turkey, but then it isn’t exactly what Westwood promised either. The Soviet/Allied shortcomings let the pack down badly, but if you are a fan of C&C it is still worth a look. Must try harder, Westwood. Jamie Stewart
TIF 2002 Competition Like football? Got a PS2? Read last month’s Seren? If you answered YES! to all three questions, then we’ve got a competition to make you scream like a big girl. Answer the simple question below, and you could win a fancy-schmancy limited edition press release copy of This Is Football 2002. The prize comes in a funky little hexagonal fold-out sleeve, and contains a copy of the game and press release information relating to it. So, for a truly once-in-a-lifetime, not-available-in-the-shops prize: In his four-star review last month, Signor Daniel Hartley compared TIF 2002 to a certain country’s national football team. Which country was it? Answers to firstname.lastname@example.org in time for the next issue. If no-one enters, I keep the game. Simple.
gun that shoots straight. Three levels of carnage that get progressively harder and no save game option—you play it to the end if you can—keep you on the edge of whatever you sit on. Arcade quality graphics plus the extra games that have been tacked on almost as an afterthought will keep you shooting for hours and special things that apparently you can unlock if you finish the story mode are (hopefully) the shiznit. Namco has produced an almost definitive shooting experience complete with two player and two gun modes. Frankly, if you’re prone to a bit of stress then buy this and kill things in the privacy of your own home. Go on, you’ll enjoy it, believe me. Ian Fallon
Crisis time in Time Crisis
Breath of Fire IV Playstation man the cannons, boatswain— RPG ahoy! Time to welcome with open arms another recruit to an already overpopulated genre. The numbers after the name bode well, but that said there have been countless instalments in the chronic “Green Army Men” series. So what’s it to be—Rated Pure Genius or Rank Pungent Guff? The game looks pretty decent. Rather than try to battle Final Fantasy in a war of lushness, the designers have opted for a more stylised Manga-esque feel (think Pokémon with higher production values) which works rather well. Furthermore, it is presented in isometric 3D, with the facility to rotate the view through 360 degrees. Nice touch. Sound-wise, there is nothing fantastic, but also nothing bowel-
crampinglv awful either. The music is perfectly adequate, and the noises brought forth by the monsters are satisfyingly daft. So far as the game itself goes, things are very much in the FF mould: puzzle solving, bartering and exploration interspersed with turn-based fighting, all wrapped up in a nice, dense plot involving dragons. There are some intriguing sub games, including a fishing game (a feature that is now almost standard in any self-respecting new RPG). BOF IV is an enjoyable, if somewhat generic, game, and it will certainly appeal to fans of the genre. You really can do a lot worse. Verdict: Really Pretty Good.
Breath of Fire pic (v. tiny)
14 SEREN November 2001
Home of the free?
As British students decry their £12,000 debts, some Ivy League students are paying £25,000 a year. This month, Seren examines Higher Education in the USA When you’ve just come out of a three hour lecture to find that it’s raining buckets, it can be more than a little tempting to wish that you had chosen a university in a slightly dryer climate—Florida perhaps. But what is university in America actually like? Variety is definitely the name of the game. Not only are there many single-sex Universities, but there are also a range of religiouslyaffiliated institutes. For example, Naropa University is Buddhistinspired and offers courses such as Contemplative Psychology. And, unlike the UK, Universities (or “colleges” as they are better known.) don’t all cost the same. Harvard estimates $37,750 (£25,973) per year for its students, including tuition, board and personal expenses while Eastern Illinois University estimates $8,954 (£6161). However, financial aid is available and should mean that students and their parents just pay what they can afford, no matter how much the actual fees are. Although we all know how well that idea works. A bachelor’s degree in America has three elements: a general education course in a wide range of subjects; major, or concentrated field of study; and a range of free-choice electives. Many students don’t even declare a major until the second or third year. And whilst UK students might panic at the fact that you have to get 90% on an assignment or exam to be awarded an A or 70% for a C, the papers are marked slightly less harshly to allow for this. Depending on how you look at it, another bonus is that exams are usually at the end of each term, meaning that you actually get to relax in the holidays without worrying about revision. The accommodation is also vastly different and, unlike Bangor, most American Universities insist that students live on campus for at least the first year. Considering that, due to the size of the country, students could be going to university in a different time zone from their homes, It’s not hard to see the logic behind this. Forget those nice single ensuite rooms on the Fridd’ site—it’s very rare for new students to get singles at all. Surprisingly, most people find that having a roommate isn’t
Part of New York’s Cornell University, one of the USA’s premier institutions of Higher Education so bad and it tends to be much easier to swap rooms than it is here. Mutual roommate requests are accommodated by most universities, so students don’t necessarily have to share with a stranger. Even if they don’t have any friends
gated according to other factors, there are smoke free sections and quiet living areas for students looking for a quieter lifestyle. Rebecca Hill, an American student about to graduate had this to say: “You can have some next-door
in the traditional dining centres) and “dining dollars” (which can be used in the fast food outlets as well.) Students choose from a selection of plans, perhaps having five “meal swipes” and sixty “dining dollars” per week.
“Forget those nice single ensuites on the Ffridd’ site—it’s very rare for new students to get singles at all.” going to the same place, there is usually some personality matching, usually along the lines of “would you be bothered by a roommate who smokes?” There also tends to be more communal space, such as study rooms and TV lounges. Which is probably essential to maintaining student sanity on campus. Because of the more communal nature of the accommodation, many dorms are single-sex, and even if they are mixed, men and women are usually on separate floors. Housing is more segre-
neighbours who party all night long, with ones on the other side trying to cram for an organic chemistry test, and you end up sympathising with both.” Sound familiar? The vast majority, if not all, dorms are catered, but in a completely different way. At Eastern Illinois University, for example, there are 9 different catering outlets, including a pizza parlour and Subway. Now there’s an idea—a McDonald’s on the Fridd’ site. These are paid for by a system of “meal swipes” (which can be used
Socially, by far the biggest contrast is alcohol. In most states, the drinking age is twenty-one and this is very strictly enforced. Often, pubs will ask for ID just to get in. However, the student social life doesn’t have to suffer, there is still plenty of fun to be had. One student commented that “there is loads of live music around—open mic sessions in the coffee shops are usually pretty good.” Like Bangor, American Universities often have clubs and societies to join. Graham Foster, who spent his second year at the University
of Maine had this to say: “On campus you can pursue most pastimes. You can play sports, including basketball, soccer, softball ect. You can also get involved in theatre, as they have open auditions for all of their productions. The music department encourages you to join bands or have lessons. You can also get involved with the many on-campus publications such as an English magazine or the newspaper.” Of course, as Hollywood has shown us time and again, there are fraternities and sororities. “Think of many different, but interlinked, groups of young freemasons living in ‘society houses’—each with their own Greek name and rituals,” advises Inga, who spent a year at the Oregon State University. But some things never change. American students, just like their counterparts in this country, can tell no end of hilarious stories all about the weird and wonderful adventures they have had, with or without alcohol. So, it appears that, when it comes down to it, students are students, whichever side of the Atlantic you happen to be on.
SEREN November 2001 15
“One for the money and the free rides...”
Tom Ewens looks ahead and sees the single European currency close at hand The introduction of a European single currency is not some distant event far off in the future. Actually, very soon it will be reality. From the 1st of January 2002, less than two months away, the euro will become legal tender in twelve EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Between the 1st of January and the end of February in these countries the euro and the original currency will both be in use, but after February only the euro will still be legal tender. This means that if you go over to Dublin, say, on a shopping trip, only euros will be accepted in shops and restaurants. However, most people here in Britain won’t be affected too much by the introduction of the euro. So much so in fact that I think many people in Britain are ignorant about the euro. I myself didn’t know that Ireland was joining the euro until I started my research for this article. Shows how much I know. All this doesn’t matter too much then… unless we join up to the single currency ourselves. This is a distinct possibility and it would affect us students greatly if it did happen. Why does the issue matter then? Well, it matters because we would probably have to use the euro for the rest of our lives. We are the people who are going to have to use the euro at work if it is introduced. We are going to have to live with the consequences of it if the county does or doesn’t join up. The current Labour government is still unsure about that issue. Apparently it is “in favour of the euro in principle” but is still sitting on the fence, waiting to see if the euro is a success in other countries before deciding whether or not to join up. What would probably happen then is that a referendum would be called. This means that everybody eligible will be able to vote either “yes” or “no” to a question such as “would you be in favour of Britain joining the single European currency?” If more than two thirds of the votes
were “yes” then Britain could then join the euro and stop using the pound. If we are going to decide whether to join the euro or not we need to make a decision by looking at both sides of the argument. But what are some of the pros and cons of the euro. What exactly are the advantages, and the disadvantages of joining up? Well, the advantages for the country as a whole could be very great. At the moment over half of British exports go over to other parts of Europe. We trade with Europe far more than we do with America or Asia. If we joined the euro it would mean that Britain could trade with Europe even more because we wouldn’t have to keep trading pounds for francs or deutschmarks. This would mean more jobs would be made and businesses would make more money. The country as a whole would be even more prosperous than it is now, and the British economy would be very strong. I’m no economist but even I know that that’s a good thing. We’d all be more likely to get jobs when we have to start earning some money in a full time job to pay off loans. This is the main reason why the government would like to join the euro: the economic benefits would be enormous. It would also be easier when travelling to other countries. There’d be no need to exchange pounds for drachmas before you went to Greece on holiday, which could really save you money since exchange rates never work out exactly even. There would be no problem at all with exchange rates or anything if you wanted to buy something from say, Germany, over the Internet. And, of course, it would be much easier for countries to trade on a larger scale. In general it would be much easier to deal with other European countries if we all had the same currency. However, there are many disadvantages to joining up. First of all, it would take a long time to get used to the new currency. It would be very easy to get con-
fused between the two currencies. We would have to try and start thinking in euros rather than in pounds. Is 23 euros a good price for a CD? It is also argued that if we joined the single currency we would be throwing away part of our national heritage and losing part of our national identity, part of what makes us British— although, we have already lost our original currency (pounds, shillings and pence). The Conservative party argues that it will cost £36bn to
change our currency from pounds to euros (how much is £36bn in euros then?). They also argue that Britain would lose more power to the European Union if we joined the euro. The government would not be able to set interest rates any more. That would be done in Brussels by the EU instead, which comes down one point: do we trust the EU to run our economy? On top of that, if an economic disaster happened in another part of Europe,
Get used to them: the new euro notes, legal tender in many countries from 1st January 2002
Britain would be affected very badly and there would be little we could do about it. On a smaller scale, we would also be affected by smaller fluctuations in other members’ economies. The basic pros and cons for joining the euro can be argued over and debated. Both sides have quite strong arguments. It is also quite an emotive issue, especially for people with xenophobic feelings. Personally I am still undecided on whether I want Britain to join the euro or not. However my opinion is not necessarily the right one: you the reader can make your mind up for yourself.
16 SEREN November 2001
EDITORIAL + CAMPAIGN
Students’ Union, Deiniol Road, Bangor LL57 2TH
Tel: 01248 388017 Fax: 01248 388020 http://seren.bangor.ac.uk
The falling value of a degree
Darien Graham-Smith email@example.com
Fight for fairer funding An extract from James Brownsell’s speech to the Rally Against Student Hardship on 13th November:
We have been lied to over and over again by our government. In 1997, Tony Blair came to power under the promise of “Education, education, education.” In 1998, however, we saw massive financial barriers imposed on participation in Higher Education. Even our own MP, Betty Williams, despite claiming to have knowledge of student hardship, voted for the introduction of tuition fees and the abolition of maintenance grants, a move resulting in massive student debt. Does that make you angry? Because it should. Thanks Betty! It’s time to tell Betty and her friends in Whitehall that we have had enough. We need a fair system of student funding that removes all financial barriers to Higher and Further Education and recognises education as a right, not as a privilege. We must tell the government that it is time to create access to Higher Education on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.
One does not have to look far to see evidence of “dumbing down” at Universities. The percentage of students achieving top marks in degree courses has increased dramatically over the last twenty years; yet almost half the British companies approached by a recent BBC survey said that they now have to train new graduates in skills and knowledge previously taught at university. Labour supporter Richard Singer argues that less exacting degree courses are in line with government policy: “if you want to give more people the benefit of a University education,” he explained at Serendipity this year, “of course you’re going to have to cater for a wider range of abilities.” This pleasingly egalitarian-sounding argument is, sadly, quite vacuous. Since the most gifted and accomplished scholars already attend University, the spread of abilities can only be extended downwards, and any significant increase in the student population must result in one of two outcomes. One possibility is a disproportionate increase in the number of students failing or dropping out of courses. This would be a major embarrassment to the government and anathema to Universities, whose funding is proportional to their student numbers. More likely, therefore, the result would be a further lowering of academic standards to maintain present pass rates. Indeed, as more and more pupils pass A-levels there is evidence that this is already happening: Professor John Walton, an external examiner in history who resigned over falling standards, is convinced that universities resist failing more than a certain proportion of students to ensure a certain level of funding. Most of our readers will probably not, at this stage in their careers, see easier degree courses as a great evil. But as qualifications become easier to attain, so they lose their value. The head of management development and selection at British Steel, David John, says: “There was a time when you could say ‘a graduate is a graduate is a graduate’. That’s no longer the case.” If half of the population is to attain a bachelor’s degree, the academic standard cannot be any higher than A-level. Far from “giving more people the benefit of a University education,” the effect will be the demolition of what we now recognise as a University education; once-proud institutions will be reduced to the academic level of the sixth-form college by their need to retain ever-increasing numbers of students. “There are students who haven’t worked, who stay in the system because the system needs them and who shouldn’t be there,” insisted Professor Walton. Already we see graduates burdened with vast debts forced to take ever-higher degrees simply to distinguish themselves from the crowd. This can only become more commonplace as a bachelor’s degree is progressively cheapened. This is not to say that Seren would deny anyone, of whatever academic ability, the chance to study and be examined at University, and to pass or fail, be lauded or sent down, on the standard of their work. But for a degree to have any value it should mark an academic achievement qualitatively beyond A-level—and we stress an academic achievement. Not every school leaver is, or wishes to be, an academic, and the government should do more to promote vocational and practical qualifications for those who have no interest in lectures. It is a mystery to Seren why there should be any more shame in being a capable electrician or chef than in being a graduate in (say) history, and indeed it is easy to argue that both offer a greater benefit to society. Estelle Morris would do well to take a wider view of the choices facing school-leavers, and to consider carefully the implications of awarding a degree to every other school leaver. An academic qualification can never be a social leveller: by definition it has to distinguish between people. Otherwise it is worthless.
To the right we reproduce a letter that all Bangor students are urged to fill in and send to Betty Williams MP.
Betty Williams MP House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Dear Mrs Williams, I am a constituent of yours in the seat of Conwy. As a student, I am deeply worried and concerned about the issue of student funding in the Higher and Further Education systems. As a direct result of being a student at University in Bangor, I am £________ in debt. According to the latest banking surveys, the average debt with which students leave University has now risen to £12,500. According to the latest figures from the National Union of Students, 16% of students nationwide live in accommodation infested with either rats or cockroaches. So you see, as a student, hardship is something that I am genuinely anxious about. As my representative in Westminster, I would like to know your thoughts on this issue. As a member of your constituency, I would like to ask for your opinion on the current state of student funding, and why, in June 1998, you voted for the introduction of tuition fees. I would also like to know what you are planning on doing in order to ensure that students get a fair system of funding instated as a result of the current review, announced by your party recently. I look forward to your response, as I know that, as a recent graduate, you have “first hand experience of students’ problems in making ends meet.” My name is __________________________________________ My address is __________________________________________ __________________________________________ Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Yours truly, _________________________
WRITING FOR SEREN To join the Seren staff writers’ email list, send an email to listserver @undeb.bangor.ac.uk, with subject: subscribe seren. Alternatively, you can get directly in touch with any of the Section Editors via the email address at the top of the relevant page. The next issue of Seren goes to print on Monday, 3rd December. Submissions for inclusions should reach the relevant Section Editor at least one week in advance.
EDITORIAL STAFF Editor-in-Chief ������� Darien Graham-Smith Production.......... Julie Neild Assoc. Ed..... Chris Chapman Sub-Editor............ Ian Fallon Distrib......... Frankie O’Dowd News......... Catherine Walker Academic. ........ Lola Kidney Community........... Karl Sadil SU . .............. Bob Connerton Culture......... Kirsty Harrison Music................... Ian Fallon Movies......... Chris Chapman Games. ..... Mike McGeachin Features........... Dawn Slade Lifestyle......... Alison Beedle Sport.................... Jon Ewing
Late publication of last month’s issue We apologise again for the late publication of October’s Seren. Until Friday, November 9th, Seren’s advertising and printing was administered by the BAM Agency, a company specialising in providing these services to student publications. Unfortunately, for reasons unclear to anyone in Bangor, this agency did not arrange for last month’s Seren to be printed—an oversight which became apparent only after the issue had been completed and sent to print. As a result, the earliest Seren could be fitted into the printers’ schedule was five days after the advertised date. Seren assures its readers that the BAM Agency is no longer in a position to cause any such delay in the future.
SEREN November 2001 17
Letters to the Editor Send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters must include a name and contact details. Names will be withheld on request.
Taxi drivers defended
Bob Connerton: students’ champion or embittered troublemaker?
SIR—I read with interest the article in October’s Seren on students being “insulted” by taxi drivers. As someone with taxi trade family connections, as and a frequent user of late night taxis, I would dispute that the drivers dislike taking students on short journeys. I have always received the most courteous service from Tryfan for my short journeys. In fact, with student funding as it is, such short journeys—pubs to halls—are no longer common, and most drivers miss the income from them. Some students, on the other hand, have no idea of common courtesy or other obligations towards hard-working taxi drivers. First of all, no taxi is obliged to take a fare. Many drivers refuse to carry people who are obviously badly drunk, and quite right too. Such people are often aggressive and/or vomit in the taxi. Unfortunately, students are frequent offenders in this way, and I know many then miss no opportunity to bad-mouth drivers who have refused them. Two other offences are also unfortunately quite common. A student gets their £2 or £3 fare up to halls: then, when they arrive, they make a great fuss about only having £1 or even 50p. “Will that do?” They then get abusive when the driver tells them it will not and threatens to call the police. It is surprising how often they then suddenly find the extra. Linked to this is the other offence of saying they will just pop up to their room and come back with the money. Of course, all too often they do not. Often a group of students will get out and all run into the hall laughing, with none paying. Far too many students who would never dream of shoplifting from Safeway seem to think it perfectly acceptable to steal off taxi drivers in this way, and would get quite offended if the police were called to search for them. Drivers also get fed up having to grit their teeth and listen to young know-all male students showing off in front of the girls
SIR—Is it really necessary to clog up Seren with three pages of Bob Connerton’s prejudiced ramblings? Having finally rid ourselves of the diatribe that was last year’s “Analysis,” surely we should indulge in some interesting articles? Whilst Mr. Connerton’s style is certainly not at fault the content of his piece is. Should the SU pages of Seren be subject to personal attack on the Union [sic] from someone who resents the fact that he is no longer “needed” by it? Surely accurate, unsubjective critical analysis would be more appropriate? Politics is about the possible, not the theoretical (stolen line!). SU politics should be enjoyed; it is intended to work in favour of the students. Don’t get caught up (or out) on the constitution— remember that to make things work, sometimes you have to give a little. Name not supplied SIR—Many years ago there dwelt in the city of London a humble MOD’s son whose name was Robert Connerton, known far and wide as “Bob.” From his earliest years, he was filled with a detestation of the cold-hearted forces of capitalism, and a mighty hatred of the rich and the powerful. “When I become a man,” little
by abusively lecturing them— men who are often old enough to be their fathers—about some minor point or other. Taxi drivers have a living to make, for which they work hard at an often thankless job. If they refuse to take drunken students home, or demand cash up front before they take a group back to halls, then in the circumstances they cannot be blamed. Oh, and by the way, is Alison Davies living in a time warp? We in Bangor live under the auspices Gwynedd Council. Caernarfon County Council ceased to exist many years ago. Ron Watts
Bob confided to his old granny, “I shall tear down the rotting fabric of the Establishment, so that the workers of the world can walk tall and inherit the earth.” “And above all,” he said, his eyes burning with passion, “I shall smash that corrupt and tyrannical seat of privilege, the Students’ Union in Bangor.” As little Bob grew, he achieved his life long dream of becoming a Union hack, and set forward his plan to bore the shit out of every fucker and write long unproductive rants in said institution’s paper of power, “Seren.” Moral: if you can’t join them, set yourself up as the guardian of “truth” and rant bollocks. “Jimmy McSporran”
It makes you wonder whether Mr. Connerton really is looking out for the students, or if he just gets off on causing trouble. Name not supplied
SIR—It’s easy for Bob Connerton to complain about the Union’s budget, but it was noticeable at the General Meeting at which it was debated that neither he nor his fellow crony Richard Singer could offer any realistic alternative for the short term. Nevertheless, the two of them together set out to torpedo the budget on a constitutionally legal but morally indefensible technicality, with the result that Clubs and Societies, who had already had to accommodate members for over a month without grants, nearly didn’t get even the £5,994 Bob deemed so “feeble.”
Bob Connerton adds: Far from resenting my “no longer being needed” by the Union, I chose to take a break this year and did not seek election. I opposed the budget because I maintain that £5,994 is a tiny grant to support all of the Union’s clubs and societies. If my actions in doing so were “morally indefensible” I can only say that I consider it no more defensible to waste money that should be for the benefit of all students. You may consider my articles “unproductive,” but they have at least provoked a response and hopefully some discussion of these important issues.
Seren replies: Bob’s articles, and his subsequent performance at the General Meeting, certainly provoked quite a reaction among readers. It was noticeable, however, how much correspondence was directed straight to the Editor. Bob invites comments and criticisms of his section, and is happy to respond, by email or in print, to any messages sent to email@example.com. It is also striking that not a single letter relating to Bob’s section was signed. Whatvever you may think of Bob’s views, he is at least prepared to put his name to them.
Cosmics: sorry about the gig SIR—I’d like to say a big giant SORRY to all the students of Bangor University. Our gig was a nightmare. The sound on stage was particularly loud that night— so loud I had ringing in my ears for two weeks after the gig. When we came off stage, I couldn’t hear right; that’s why I couldn’t go back on for an encore. We the band were entirely to blame by playing too loud. Our drummer seems to be the loudest drummer in the world!—so everyone else in the band turns up too loud in order to hear themselves. There’s only
so loud a vocal monitor can go before it feeds back, so I couldn’t hear what I was singing.... This had been happening to a lesser extent at previous gigs, and things just came to a head that night. No slur on Bangor was intended. If it’s possible to make it up to the students of Bangor in the future, we’ll go out of our way to do so. Please pass on our apologies to anyone who was there that night—we’re really sorry. Love and best wishes to everyone... Daniel Wylie Cosmic Rough Riders
18 SEREN November 2001
UWB Sub-Aqua Club Do you want to go down deeper, stay down longer, and come up wetter? We can show you how. We also go diving… Firstly, we are fantastic, probably the best dive club in the world. Run by an elite group of SAS trained drinkers, we are all season ticket holders at the local recompression chamber! We have 30 new trainees this year after a very successful Serendipity and Try-Dive (which will be repeated after Christmas). If you’re an existing diver, you can enjoy the lovely sites of North Wales and relive the chaos of your old club. You can dive locally with dolphins, seals, Mersey trout, killer whales, soft corals, crabs and, most excitingly, seaweed! There are plans to dive with sharks at the Blue Planet aquarium, as well as the annual club holiday to Malta, or, if our students loans won’t stretch that far, possibly Oban or Abersoch (as we have done before.) We also dive locally at sites such as the Strait, Treaddur Bay, Puffin Island, Ravens Point, local quarries and the Bangor pool (!?!). The club has its own antique equipment as well as two boats— “MV Mary Celeste and MV Titanic” —and we will also (grudgingly) arrange helicopter trips (CAUTION—only for the bent.) We have an active social side to the club—there is a Christmas Social, everyone is welcome, and we have had the first of many pubcrawls. Our social evening is on Tuesdays at 9.00pm at the Skerries Pub, come along and talk to us to find out more—“only happy when we’re going down.” www.undeb.bangor.ac.uk/uwbsac
Members of UWBSAC prepare to dive into the underwater world...
... which looks like this
Women’s football Last season was quite a testing time for the Women’s football team, what with the flooding of the pitches and a problem getting a team together for away games. However we still fared pretty well, managing to put 24 goals past Cardiff Medics in the last game of the season. The awards social saw Susie Cunningham named “Player of the Year,” Catriona Barker “Player’s Player” and Helen Bainbridge “Most Improved Player.” This season we have had an influx of new talent and with a bunch of new players comes the inevitable initiations! The old team members gathered in force at
O’Shea’s Irish Bar to welcome the new players into the fold by drinking Baileys in an ashtray on the floor with no hands; dressing up; wearing baby bibs all night and, to top it all off, we also did a spot of fundraising that night by holding a raffle. The night was a huge success and we managed to raise a decent amount for the club so huge thanks to everyone who came along and bought tickets. Despite the fact that teams keep pulling out of our games (we still haven’t managed to get a run out this season) the team morale is high and we are just waiting for the chance to let off some steam
and play some good football. The plan is to go to the Isle of Man in March to take part in the Student Festival of Sport and, hopefully, we should do well. We are a lively team open to all standards of players and we train on Mondays and Thursday evenings at the
Ffridd Site Astro pitch. Our training times and forthcoming socials are on the website, so if you fancy joining us for a kick about or a pint just come along. For further information contact Maz: firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah: email@example.com.
It’s been a busy few weeks for our sports teams playing in BUSA competitions, and some of them are putting other (far bigger) Universities to shame! Of sixty games played across a range of ten different sports, our lot have emerged victorious on thirty-three occasions—a high success rate considering the standard of opposition. Some teams have fared better than others. Our Men’s Tennis and Women’s Hockey 1st teams are top of their respective merit leagues, having won all of their fixtures so far (Women’s Hockey might want to take it easy actually—beating Warrington 27-0 is taking things a bit too far, but well done!). Now, I don’t want it to sound as though I’m picking on Warrington but they also took one hell of a beating from our Netball 1st team. 66-18 was the final score. The netball girls are doing well actually and, since an opening game blip against Lancaster, they’ve kept a 100% record. The Football team has come on in leaps and bounds since last season, with the second team performing particularly well. A defeat against Liverpool has been the only negative aspect of their year to date, having picked up three points against Keele, Liverpool Hope and NEWI. The third and fourth teams are also refusing to lie down and are progressing well. Unfortunately for the Women’s team, for one reason or another, every game so far has been called off—are the opposition running scared? Both Rugby teams have had mixed starts to the year. Both were promoted last season and are competing against tougher opposition, but that didn’t intimidate the Women’s Rugby team when they came up against Lancaster. A 68-5 victory was slightly better than their 40-5 win over Crewe & Alsager the previous week! Despite losing to Newcastle last week, spirits remain high, and club captain Glenys Jones remains optimistic that the team can push for honours this season. With winter closing in, many games are being cancelled due to the terrible state of the pitches at Treborth, but rest assured Bangor’s teams won’t be afraid to get stuck in! Jon Ewing
SEREN November 2001 19
Net your Christmas gifts Make-up tips Sally Reynolds takes you shopping on the web
with Danni Mangano
It’s only five weeks until that time when you have to exchange lots of sparkly and spangled presents over to members of your family. Socks again? Gaaaaah! Don’t want to get them the same sort of thing again? Looked at all the shops in Bangor and can’t find anything for Uncle Michael and Auntie Doris. Here are some fab sites on the internet to inspire. Shopping without getting cold? Good idea!
Make-up is probably the hardest aspect of your outfit to get right. Knowing which colours of foundation, eyeshadow and lipstick to use and how to apply them is always difficult. You could end up looking like a throw back from the eighties or David Hasselhoff orange is you don’t get it just right. With that in mind, I have compiled this list of tips from my own knowledge and experience, and that of my house mates as well.
For the hippy, Eco-warrior or environment aware member of your family, I’d like to recommend www.ecozone.co.uk. It has an online Christmas catalogue featuring items like recycled single use cameras (£6.99), organic unisex fragrance with fruit and berry oils (£17.95), stunt kites(£14.95) and the ultimate new age Christmas present, five pairs of organic socks for £14.95! I like this site because it’s easy to use and offers ecologically sound goods for prices similar to the high street. Does anyone want to own Robbie’s pants? How about buying a pair like that from the Rock DJ video from www.asseenonscreen.com Also to be had are Sunnydale High t-shirts like those on Buffy, pyjamas as seen on Friends and Ally McBeal, and trousers that were inspired by Kylie’s latest video. Goods designed by those who design for the stars are obtainable too. Who doesn’t like music? For those who do, there is www.cd-wow.com. It offers their top twenty CD’s for £8.99 each and offers free delivery! Currently in their top twenty there is Britney by Britney Spears, Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park and Fever by Kylie
Minogue. I bet you know someone who would like one of those!
Wa n t to give something that’s not run of the mill? I suggest a certificate for an acre on the moon for £19.99 from www.alt-gifts.com. If that doesn’t take your fancy, how about an aromatherapy scarf (£14.98) or a candy floss maker for £39.99. I’ve bought one of those scarves for my sister in law, and it arrived after only two days. Excellent service! Under wear shopping is made easy at www.figleaves.com. You can search for the right undies by size, mood, or temperature. They have a huge range of sizes and styles, so boys are bound to find something for the laydee in their life. If you know a girl who is big on top (or are one) who can’t find underwear then look no further than www.bravissimo.co.uk. They stock bras, briefs, bustiers, teddies, vest tops and swimwear in styles that aren’t frumpy up to a J cup. Say no more. Know someone who likes to be pampered? A huge range of shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics and hair dye that normally is only found at hairdress-
ers and specialist stores is at www.lookfantastic.com. Join up with them and receive an immediate discount of atleast 15% on such makes as Aveda, Paul Mitchell, Wella, Tigi, Redken and American Crew. The hair dye range includes the mad Fudge range, a comprehnsive rainbow including canary yellow, kingfisher green, pillar box red and good oldfashioned black. Trash nutters definitely need to have a look! The best website for a high street store that I’ve found is www.lush.co.uk. You’ll find all their best sellers here, from their yummy bath bombs, hand made soaps, freshly made skincare products and henna hair dye blocks. Maybe that party animal you know would like their beer shampoo, or for real “real men” with tough facial growth, get them Razorantium shaving cream for their comfort. If the “real man” is your boyfriend, get it him for your comfort.
Have no idea what to get? The solution lies at www.teddy.co.uk, the cute capital of the web. Get a Bear-O-Gram delivered to their door (from £9.99) with a message on their knitted jumper. Also offered are Bear-O-Grams dressed as firemen, businessmen, Sherlock Holmes, ballerinas, or a bride and groom. They also have limited edition bears for connoisseurs, and a range of teddy themed gifts from teddy rucksacks, mugs, keyrings, t-shirts, badges, passports for teddies and outfits for teddies. For £1, you can have a cardboard gift box for teddy with airholes cut into so that teddy can breathe while he waits for his new owner. Happy shopping y’all.
Foundation is one aspect of your make-up that you should never try to save money on. If you do you, could end up with very dry skin, or suffer an outbreak of spots. So, avoid cheap foundation. But you needn’t spend a fortune either. Oil of Olay, Almay and Maybelline foundations tend to be very good. Each giving a good, even cover, and they won’t increase your student debt by a ridiculous amount! Although make-up artists advise application of foundation with a sponge, it is not always the best idea. Use your fingers for a smooth even cover. Foundation sponges get very dirty very quickly, and can lead to spots if not cleaned properly. [Also, with a sponge, you’ll just use up your foundation quicker because it all ends up in the sponge and not on your face—Sub Ed.] If you have dry skin, avoid stick foundations and powders. They will only serve to dry out your skin more. Never put moisturisers, or any other creams, under foundation. It could cause the foundation to wear
off very quickly and clump around the greasiest areas of your face. Finally, and probably most importantly, if you don’t need to wear foundation, don’t. It will look obvious and will probably give you problems with your skin. Stick with concealer where you need it and a light dusting of translucent powder.
With a concealer, you can afford to buy a cheaper brand (such as Rimmel’s “Clear Complexion cover stick.” However, if you do opt for a cheaper brand you must be sure to apply it before you apply your foundation. If you don’t, it can dry out and become very obvious. If you spend a little more on a cover stick (try Neutrogena’s for example) you can apply it on top of your foundation without fear of it clumping together as the day goes on. Doing so can even lead to a smoother look and better cover. It’s a good idea to apply concealer with a brush for a smoother and less obvious line along your jaw line. Smooth it over you chin as you apply it and always check that it is blended properly.
Choosing a colour
Choosing your foundation colour is always difficult. If you don’t get it right you can end up looking too orange or too pink. Before buying, always try a little on the underside of your wrist and look at it in natural light. If you are still unsure ask an assistant to help you, that’s what they are there for. Next month: Eye make-up
A compact, just like this, is your friend
20 SEREN November 2001
AOB + LISTINGS
What’s on in Bangor
A free service provided by Seren. Email event details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Aquarius Jan 20-Feb 18 Leo July 23-Aug 22 Stop stalling, and get a grip. Compromise or else noth Tie up any loose ends and ing will happen. Beware
November Friday 16th
AMSER/TIME Jukebox 8-1am MAIN BAR Racubah 8-1am BARRELS Disco Night 9pm OCTAGON Party NIght Free B49, £4 after. THEATR GWYNEDD Stand Up John Oliver, Noel Fielding, Richard Ayoade. 7.30pm £5, £8
AMSER/TIME Oblivion 8-1am MAIN BAR Nation 8-1am, £1.50 BARRELS DJ Zippi 9pm YR HEN GLAN Live DJ’s 8pm OCTAGON Dance Night, £4 B4 9, £5, £1 all draught B4 9. THEATR GWYNEDD OPERA The Lighthouse. 7.30pm £6, £9.
AMSER/TIME 60s70s80s with DJ Randy Lustpants + Tribute Band. Free entry, 8-1am YR HEN GLAN Karaoke Free, 8.30-11.30 BLACK BULL Monday Club Selected bottles £1
£5 OCTAGON Party NIght Free B49, £4 after.
AMSER/TIME Elevate 8-1am, £3 MAIN BAR Nation 8-1am, £1.50 BARRELS DJ Zippi 9pm THEATR GWYNEDD Diversions Dance Company, 7.30pm, £9, £7.50, £5 YR HEN GLAN Live DJ’s 8pm OCTAGON Dance Night, £4 B4 9, £5, £1 all draught B4 9.
AMSER/TIME 60s70s80s with DJ Randy Lustpants + Tribute Band. Free entry, 8-1am YR HEN GLAN Karaoke Free, 8.30-11.30 BLACK BULL Monday Club Selected bottles £1
THE CASTLE Quiz £2 entry, £20 1st prize, 9.30 start THE WATERLOO Quiz 50p per person, free sandwiches, 9pm-ish YR HEN GLAN It’s a Quid Night. All draught beer and bottles (except Smirnoff Ice) £1
THE CASTLE Quiz £2 entry, £20 1st prize, 9.30 start THE WATERLOO Quiz 50p per person, free sandwiches, 9pm-ish YR HEN GLAN It’s a Quid Night. All draught beer and bottles (except Smirnoff Ice) £1 THEATR GWYNEDD To Kill A Mockingbird. 12.30pm & 7.30pm, £5 (children), £7.50 con, £9.
MAIN BAR Trash Free entry, Indie Room and Rock Room, 8-1am YR HEN GLAN Disco and mini quiz, 8-11pm. OCTAGON Student Night. 8-1am, £1 (NUS), £3, selected drinks 50p B4 9, selected drinks £1 after 9.
MAIN BAR Clwb Cymru YR HEN GLAN Quiz, 9.30pm, 1st prize £75 vouchers, 2nd prize £25 vouchers, 3rd prize minute behind the bar.
AMSER/TIME Jukebox 8-1am MAIN BAR The Session presents: The Electric Soft Parade + Kid Galahad + Tetra Splendour BARRELS Disco Night 9pm THEATR GWYNEDD Diversions Dance Company7.30pm £9, £7.50,
MAIN BAR Trash Free entry, Indie Room and Rock Room, 8.00-1am (Doors close 11pm) THE OCTAGON Bliss Free (NUS) B4 8.30pm, £1 (NUS) B4 9pm, £2 onwards, £3 non NUS. YR HEN GLAN Disco and mini quiz Free 8.30pm, promotional drinks available
MAIN BAR AU YR HEN GLAN Quiz, 9.30pm, 1st prize £75 vouchers, 2nd prize £25 vouchers, 3rd prize minute behind the bar.
AMSER/TIME Jukebox 8-1am MAIN BAR Marmite finger presents: A Night of Funky Breakbeats with DJ Adam Isbell 8-1am, £1.50 B4 9, £2 B4 10, £3 thereafter! BARRELS Disco Night 9pm
DECEMBER Saturday 1st
AMSER/TIME Future Funk 8-1am MAIN BAR Nation 8-1am, £1.50 BARRELS DJ Zippi 9pm YR HEN GLAN Live DJ’s 8pm OCTAGON Dance Night, £4 B4 9,
£5, £1 all draught B4 9. THEATR GWYNEDD Red Riding Hood. 2.00pm & 7.30pm £6.50 £4.50
THEATR GWYNEDD Red Riding Hood. 2.00pm £6.50 £4.50.
AMSER/TIME 60s70s80s with DJ Randy Lustpants + Tribute Band. Free entry, 8-1am YR HEN GLAN Karaoke Free, 8.30-11.30 BLACK BULL Monday Club Selected bottles £1
THE CASTLE Quiz £2 entry, £20 1st prize, 9.30 start THE WATERLOO Quiz 50p per person, free sandwiches, 9pm-ish YR HEN GLAN It’s a Quid Night. All draught beer and bottles (except Smirnoff Ice) £1
MAIN BAR Trash Free entry, Indie Room and Rock Room, 8.00-1am (Doors close 11pm) YR HEN GLAN Disco Music Free 8.30pm, promotional drinks available OCTAGON Student Night. 8-1am, £1 (NUS), £3, selected drinks 50p B4 9, selected drinks £1 after 9. THEATR GWYNEDD Red Riding Hood 7.30pm £6.50, £4.50
Pisces Feb 19-Mar 20 Virgo Aug 23-Sep 22 If everything’s good: well What a mess! Clean up. Be done! If not, dump your cruel to be kind and get rubbish and the ties that bind.
out of that chaos.
Aries March 21-April 19 Libra Sep 23-Oct 23 Count pennies and blessBe cool. Be calm. Be at ings. Avoid financial com- the centre. You’ll be great, mitments and fireworks.
attractive, rich and happy.
Taurus April 20-May 20 Scorpio Oct 24-Nov 21 Don’t fear the future. Accept Slow down! Resistance is the inevitable and help your futile, against fate at least. health and bank balance.
Put the past behind you.
Gemini May 21-June 21 Sagittarius Nov 22-Dec 21 Grit your teeth and just do If you’ve been lazy, then it. If you don’t, it’ll only watch out. If you’ve been come back to get you!
good, you’ll have great karma!
Cancer June 22-July 22 Capricorn Dec 22-Jan 19 Sort out money and get Move from the things that luck in your future. Oh, and have hurt you and give your join a new club.
inner self time to mend.
The Seren quick crossword 1
MAIN BAR Clwb Cymru YR HEN GLAN Quiz, 9.30pm, 1st prize £75 vouchers, 2nd prize £25 vouchers, 3rd prize minute behind the bar.
AMSER/TIME Jukebox 8-1am MAIN BAR Inertia 8-1am
AMSER/TIME - 01248 388027 BARRELS - 01248 372040 THE BULKLEY HOTEL, BEAUMARIS - 01248 810415 THE CASTLE - 01248 355866 MAIN BAR - 01248 388039 NORTH WALES THEATRE - 01492 872000
THE OCTAGON - 01248 354977 YR HEN GLAN - 01248 361842 THEATR GWYNEDD - 01248 351708 THE WATERLOO - 01248 355520
Across 1 Sift, colander (5) 2 Accepts (6) 7 Sorry (10) 9 Paid killer (8) 11 Ancient (Scot.) (4) 12 Work (4) 15 Kneecaps (8) 17 Stereotype (10) 18 Slice of bacon (6) 19 Fastener, clutch (5)
Down 1 Egyptian beetle (6) 3 Activate explosive (8) 4 Yellow sandwich spread (10) 5 Philosophical sufferer (5) 6 A long time, eras (4) 8 Gullet (10) 10 Tension (8) 13 Somnolent (6) 14 Relating to the moon (5) 16 Bitter, strumpet (4)
Last month’s answers—Across: 1 Amok, 3 Sash, 5 Urn, 6 Pagan, 7 Ally, 8 Falcon, 10 Vacuum, 12 Epic, 13 Empty, 14 Err, 15 Tear, 16 Edge Down: 1 Adam’s Apple, 2 Kung Fu, 3 Snail, 4 Silhouette, 9 Ampere, 11 Ulcer