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Halloween Issue 2007

NEUADD BILLI$

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STUDENTS’ ANGER OVER EXTRA COSTS IN PRIVATE HALLS

he Neuadd Willis apartments appeared to many to be an ideal living spot. Located in the centre of town in an extensively refurbished, well-furnished building radiating style and sophistication, the halls certainly have many appealing characteristics. The base prices in many cases were similar to the cost of living on the Ffriddoedd Site, and as the accommodation is more luxurious than all other forms of student halls and flats, the deal was lapped up by many people looking forward to a year in upmarket lodgings. But a year after the halls first opened, we uncover why Neuadd Willis is not all it may seem. The management of Neuadd Willis were asked to comment on this article but at the time of going to press, no response had been received. Those opting for a house would usually experience average tenant- landlord relationships, based on a refundable deposit and a plain and simple contract, leaving everyone clear on where they stood. The University halls situation is also clear and

simple, and in fiscal terms, you could easily plan where you will be at the end of the year. Landlords and the Halls Office are not naïve about the type of tenant they are accommodating; students certainly aren’t the cleanest bunch, but the returns on a property let to students are very high and they are generally happy to accept minor damage in exchange for higher rental income than they would get from a family let. But within the last two years, a new type of student accommodation has emerged. A tried and tested part of many big towns and cities, but a new product for the city of Bangor, luxury apartments certainly changed many students’ perspectives when looking for housing. Neuadd Willis was different to standard accommodation in many ways. The first is its location: situated in the centre of Bangor, it was certainly ideal for reaching most key areas of the city. The second is its interior. The luxury rooms and surrounding areas are comprised of newly furnished kitchens, soft carpets and sophisticated living spaces. The en-suite

Inside N!! I WE ARE W s i SCIENTIST Th S TICKETS Issue

rooms are kitted with trendy furnishings and comforting little extras. Indeed, from the outset, Neuadd Willis looks to be a students dream. But while signing your contract, moving your things in and spending your first weeks in luxury, the words ‘too good to be true’ consistently play on your mind, and ‘too good to be true’ certainly is what it is. The price appears reasonable for the quality of the accommodation, but it is only once the deal has been signed that the money starts to roll out. Neuadd Willis presents tenants with a huge, 54-item list of potential charges they can incur in their ‘welcome pack’, so nobody can claim that they haven’t been warned, but what tenants are missing is transparent cost calculations and clear guidelines on how “reasonable wear and tear” is determined. In addition to these potential charges and your rent, you will face a booking fee of £210, which covers internet provision, the rental of an IP telephony handset, insurance and administration costs.

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Sounds fair enough? Perhaps, if it wasn’t for the fact the internet connection is patchy at best, and a download limit was recently introduced, causing many students to reach their limit within a couple of days. Students claim not to have been directed to information about what the download limit is or when the next download allocation will begin. What they do know is that they have to pay additional fees if they want to continue using the internet once they have reached their limit. What about the IP telephony and the insurance? Well, the handset rental covers only the handset rental; there is an additional fee of £11.75 per month if you want to make or receive any external phone calls. And students who already have content insurance may not want or need additional insurance. The “underground” car parking facilities may sound quite attractive to students, but it comes at a cost of £200 per year. On top of this, £250 is charged for water and electricity, leaving some people with bills of up to £700 before they have even paid their first rent instalment.

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SEREN YS PINT A D I R GLASS F N O

During your tenancy, if your flat exceeds its water and electricity entitlement each month you’ll end up stumping up extra cash to pay the difference, even if you personally never flush the toilet or turn on a light. If you don’t take out your kitchen rubbish you will be charged £2.50 per bag removed for you by the cleaners. And if you are not happy with the accommodation once you are in it, you will be charged £50 in administration fees to move either within or out of the accommodation. But Seren has learnt that some students were surprised to receive substantial bills from Neuadd Willis after their tenancy had ended. At the end of the academic year, just when money is tight for students, Neuadd Willis hit these students with bills in the hundreds of pounds for alleged damage to property.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

ICS

ON STEREOPH

HARD-FI

STAR INTERVIEWS


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007 Contributors

Editor: Jack Peat Stephen Davies Willow Manuel Katy Sandford Iain Dalton Zoe Dean Nathan Lee Spencer George Bethan Williams Sophie de L’Orme Bianca Murray Tabitha McGuinness Rachel Eales Rebecca E Hussey Bryn Young-Roberts Rachel Bellian Loran Perkins Sophie Shanahan Katrina Hanford John Jackson Ralph Dutton Ian Davies David Horn Chris Carter Emma Dixon Lee Howson Jack Green Mark Varley Robert Mann Kevin Smith Emma McCall Jen Stanley Laura Reilly Paul Johnson Will Varley Adam Pearce Noellin Imoh Luke May Andy John Siobhan Holt Photos by Laurie Phillips; Tom Hecht; Raju Acharya Proof reading: Lexi Hindley; Carolan Goggin Production Consultants: Daniel Turner; Emma Dodd

EDITORIAL

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elcome once again to all readers in this, our second issue of the year. Halloween is upon us already, often signalling a change in student mentality, shifting from the ‘play hard, work little’ ethic to the ‘I’ve got deadlines’ thought. The few weeks of staring at the computer screen wondering whether it will write itself if you stare hard enough are imminent, but as always, we are here to keep you lightly entertained and hopefully well informed as University life really starts to kick in. 25 years In this issue we are both recognising the past and writing the future. As our 25th anniversary is approaching, we start the first of five issues that will count down to the Silver Anniversary issue, due to be published at the end of the academic year. The prestigious issue will commemorate the life and times of Bangor University’s Seren newspaper, highlighting the success of the past 25 years. The first issues, printed in black and white on A4 paper certainly emphasise how far the paper has come since then. We are certainly not the finished article however, and issues such as this show how much more can be done, and how much further we can be pushed. We have interviews from Stereophonics and Hard Fi, which is certainly an unprecedented change. Interest from bands and promotion companies has certainly highlighted the success of the current paper.

North Wales’ Attractions

In the centre pages, we have included a guide to North Wales’ Attractions. Bangor is located in the centre of some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK. In this light, we have decided to produce a guide to some of the most scenic spots and best attractions. Days out in North Wales can be a really fun thing to do, whether with a group of friends, a romantic trip or just somewhere to clear your head, North Wales certainly provides the answers. For more information look on the web for their sites which will provide you with everything you will need to know.

University Bands compilation

The cover CD in the previous issue proved to be a big success. In light of this, we have decided to make a compilation CD of University bands. The CD will feature on the issue released just after Easter, and should feature most (if not all) bands at Bangor University. It will take the form of either a compilation album, or a live lounge album. If you are in, or know of anybody who is in a band at this University, please contact us on the email address below. As well as being featured on the CD, the bands will have a chance to record their tracks live in the newly revamped Storm studio, and feature at our SIN night in Academi bar in April.

Contributors

My apologies also go out to all the contributors not mentioned on the list in the last issue. This was a technical fault, and all effort will be made to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Once again thankyou to everyone involved in this issue. Enjoy the issue!

Jack Peat

editor@seren. bangor.ac.uk

School of Welsh hosts Record Breaking Event

STAND UP FOR JOURNALISM

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rging solidarity between students nationwide and the general body of the media profession, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is holding a co-ordinated day of action, in defence of quality journalism, on November 5th. Citing a marked decline in job numbers and industry standards, as well as reduced wages despite an increased burden overall in terms of workload commitments, the NUJ is concerned these detriments have been wrought by media conglomerates in the wake of an inordinately profit-led business model. As such the NUJ fears that quality in journalism standards will be adversely affected in light of these changes and point out that the industry’s ability as a collective to speak out against actions from above with autonomy will likewise face compromise. The number of students taking on journalism and media-related university courses has seen significant increases in the last few years. Therefore, the plea from the NUJ acts not only a call to those who value integrity and a strive for objectivity in the media, but also students planning to embark on a career in journalism or its myriad offshoots, be it in television broadcasting or online. Related efforts to increase awareness prior to the day itself include the NUJ’s petition to

register concern over any potential decline in standards, to be found at www.ipetitions. com/petition/standupforjournalism. As a further move, the NUJ is also urging those who wish to get involved to send a postcard to their local MP to sign the Early Day Motion of 1994 which also flags up anxiety over the decline in journalism standards. The Motion makes explicit reference to staff cuts and tumult within the industry stemming from media ownership being tied down to only a few corporate sources. The postcards can be found at the campaign website, which is www.standupforjournalism.org.uk. November 5th, the day of action, is being orchestrated through a number of connected protests across the country, including outside the National Assembly for Wales, the offices of the BBC and the Society of Editors conference in Manchester, the latter forming the crux of the campaign on the day. A related multi-union protest is also taking place in Paris, just one of a number of affiliated protests taking place under the European Federation of Journalists banner, which is also lending support to the initiative. Further campaign information can be found at www.standupforjournalism.org.uk.

Stephen Davies

e n i l n o e l b a l i a v a o s l a : N

SERE

Supplement

This month’s issue of Star, the Seren supplement (only the second, since the idea was relaunched) features stunning original work from the Photography Society on the front page. This is going to be a continuing theme throughout the year with the Star supplement showcasing their work. As well as this, we have provided an entertainment guide, which includes tickets to be won for We Are Scientists and Alan Fletcher (aka Dr Karl Kennedy), as well as TEN, YEAR LONG PASSES to Friday nights at Amser/ Time nightclub. With so many chances to win you’d be crazy to miss out.

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e c e nt l y, B a n g o r ’s School of Welsh played host to a record breaking one day lecture course, attended by over 350 pupils – the largest number yet for such an event! The feat was achieved as a result of an annual course organised by the School of Welsh to assist pupils and teachers with the Welsh First Language AS and A2 syllabus. Invites were sent offering the course to all schools in not only North Wales, but parts of midWales, and pupils attended from all over. According to Professor Gerwyn Wiliams, Head of the School of Welsh, they are eager for more pupils from North Wales to attend this extremely valuable lecture. Not only do the School of Welsh offer assistance to First Language pupils, but according to Prof. Wiliams, earlier in the year, they also organised a revision lecture for Second Language pupils, attended by over 100 pupils. Numbers like this are a great source of pride for Prof. Wiliams, who hopes that not only does this kind of assistance aid pupils with their A-Level studies, but that it encourages more students to consider studying Welsh at Higher Education, in particular at

Bangor, where students enjoy notable success. Not only is the lecture important for students, but it is crucial to the university’s links with local Secondary Schools, where a large proportion of Bangor’s future undergraduates hail from. As for what Prof. Wiliams hopes students took out of this day, not only does he hope that they got a good impression of the School of Welsh, but that they took home useful and relevant information, from noted guest speakers Chief Poet Ceri Wyn Jones, whose cywyddau (alliterative poems) form part of the curriculum, and Dr Sara Elin Roberts. He couldn’t have put it better himself when he said, “We had an excellent day and it was great to see Pritchard Jones Hall full of pupils and students.” Perhaps what is most pleasing for Prof. Wiliams, and the university in general, is when asked later about the course, the schools all gave extremely positive responses – which proves students took out of the day what Prof. Wiliams hoped, as well as offering a possible clue to the destination of future students!

Elizabeth Stevens

LATEST ISSUES COMPETITIONS SURVEYS LINKS CONTACTS

www.seren.bangor.ac.uk


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

ARE THE WELSH REALLY OBSESSED WITH RUGBY?

LOCAL POWERPLANT DISPUTES

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s many Welsh Rugby fans may have noticed, Wales have not got through to the final of the World Cup again. This is surprising as rugby is Wales’ national game. However, Prof. Duncan Tanner has challenged the myth that Welsh people are obsessed with rugby in a lecture that he recently delivered in Nantes. According to Prof. Tanner, on a typical Sunday afternoon more Welsh men would be playing golf rather than playing rugby. Prof. Tanner believes that Rugby is not one of the most popular sports actually played by Welsh men in Wales as he has stated, major football teams in Wales attract more fans to watch them than the major rugby teams. Footballs popularity in Wales can be seen through the many great football players that Wales has produced, such as Ryan Giggs. Prof. Tanner also suggests that if we want an example of a really Rugby obsessed nation we should look to New Zealand where twice as many men actually play rugby and where women’s rugby is also more popular. The fact that Wales is not as obsessed with Rugby as people thought could be a reason

why they appear to under perform, as the Welsh rugby team have never won the rugby World Cup and the performance of the Welsh Rugby team has been in decline since the 1990’s. Prof. Tanner therefore thinks that the slating that the Welsh rugby team receive from the media is unfair. The lack of Welsh men who actually play rugby can also be seen in the Bangor university Rugby teams which are no more popular than the Bangor Football teams. The Bangor University Rugby team is also not comprised mainly of Welsh players as one might expect. This further highlights the fact that not as many Welsh men play Rugby as we may have imagined. Nevertheless, it is undisputable that Rugby is envisaged as part of Welsh culture and Welsh identity. Prof. Tanner states that opinion polls claim that people see rugby as part of being Welsh, more so, he claims than the Welsh language. Many people put on the scarlet shirt and flock to the pub to watch Welsh national games as part of showing their pride in being Welsh. This can be seen in the 2005 match against Scotland

where over 10,000 Welsh rugby fans gathered on “Henson Hill” to watch a big screen of Wales v. Ireland that gave Wales its first Grand Slam since 1978. Part of Wales’ enthusiasm for rugby can also be seen in the opening of Cardiff ’s grand Millennium Stadium in 1999. Are the Welsh really as obsessed with Rugby as we once thought? The answer appears to be no, as Welsh men do not appear to play Rugby as often as the stereotype may suggest. Also because three times as many people turn up to watch Cardiff play football than go to watch Newport Gwent Dragons play rugby. Despite the lack of enthusiasm for actually playing rugby in Wales it is indisputable that there is an immense amount of enthusiasm towards supporting the Welsh rugby team in their National games. It appears that watching Welsh national Rugby is conclusively a way of expressing Welsh national pride, more so than playing Rugby.

Willow Manuel

STUDENT SUPERBUG RISK

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niversity students are one of the groups most at risk of an outbreak of community-acquired MRSA (CMRSA), a close cousin of the hospital superbug that has wreaked havoc throughout the NHS. The close proximity that most students live in, and the sharing of bathroom facilities in many residential halls such as Emrys Evans and Rathbone, means that bacteria is passed quickly and easily between large groups of people. Almost a third of people carry the bacterium S. aureus in its standard form, either on their skin or inside noses. While in most cases it is mostly harmless and very treatable, a strain resistant to the common antibiotics used to treat it was first found in a group of patients in a Chicago hospital almost a decade ago. The case was unusual in that all of the patients had picked up the superbug before they had been admitted to the hospital. Nine years on and the C-MRSA has spread throughout Northern America, Asia, Australia and Europe. In some areas it is now more common than the non-resistant strain. But how do these antibiotic resistant superbugs come about in the first place? In optimum conditions bacteria constantly reproduce themselves; multiplying at a fast rate, and often mutating due to their genetic structure. Within the large range of mutations, a few bacteriua develop the ability to withstand the antibiotics. Through survival of the fittest, the advantageous antibioticresistant bacteria quickly outnumber the original weaker form of the strain. Antibiotic resistance can also spread between different species of bacteria due to DNA-carrying proteins, and viral infections of the cells. The global increase in trade and travel mean

that the bacteria strains are quickly spread around the world. C-MRSA can be more lethal than MRSA due to a pair of genes that produce a deadly toxin called Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL) which distroys the body’s immune system by making holes in the membrane of white blood cells, rendering them useless. This means the infected body is unable

to defend itself against spread of the infection, and in the worst cases can lead to death within hours. Until recently, C-MRSA was treatable with a range of antibiotics such as clindamycin and tetracycline which no longer work on hospital superbugs. However, now it seems the option of these is running out. Robert Skov, head of the Danish National Centre for Antimicrobials and Infection Control stated in New Scientist recently, “Once these community strains get into hospitals I would be

surprised if they don’t pick up more resistance determinants. Every case of MRSA, regardless of whether it causes infection or is just colonisation, is a transmission possibility.” This increase of resistance against antibiotics means that many new drugs are needed to keep up the demand. However the supply of new drugs is not keeping up with the diminishment of the old ones. Development of new antibiotics has decreased by almost 50% over the last 10 years, while more and more of the commonly used older drugs are now useless. Unless something is done soon, there will be little we can do against the spread of resistant superbugs. Professor Robert Daum, an American paediatrician believes “There needs to be a research call to arms.” It seems that a different, more rapid, approach is needed. In the UK some hospitals carry out screening for superbugs on people scheduled for certain types of operations. This means that if an infection is found, it can be treated on the spot and will stop the potential spread of the bug around the hospital. This, however, would be very costly to an already budget-stretched NHS, especially if the practice is extended to all incoming patients, which is what is being called for by some doctors. It is argued that it would save a lot of money in the long term, but whether this is true remains to be seen. The only thing that is clear is that the next few years are vital in the fight against superbugs.

Katy Sandford

ylfa, the nuclear power plant on Anglesey, has been operating there since the 1960’s. It is currently coming towards the end of its life and is due to close in 2010. When the government last year proposed a second generation of nuclear power plants, Anglesey County Council and the local Labour MP, Albert Owen heralded the coming of a new power plant at Wylfa, which they said would bring jobs and prosperity to local community. The reality is far different. The island’s two main employers are Wylfa and Anglesey Aluminium which gets a supply of energy from Wylfa at a discount. Local politicians have argued that if Wylfa closes, so will Anglesey Aluminium with a huge loss of jobs. However, many jobs will be retained in the

that a safe way may be found in the future is just their way of passing the buck and storing up big problems for the future. The precedents for a campaign against another plant on Anglesey, however they are. In the mid-1980’s the Thatcher government proposed a new nuclear power station on the site, which a local campaign (under the same name) organised successfully against, contributing to the proposal being dropped. The present campaign features some of the members of the original group (the organisers continued to monitor the situation between themselves), alongside local community activists and some alternative energy researchers who have been working on proposals on how the area’s energy needs could be met through renewable energy, which

decontamination process that could take several years and workers would be needed to maintain any renewable power generation. Also, Anglesey Aluminium survived for 18 months whilst Wylfa was closed down, so how much of a difference will be made by a permanent shutdown? Even Anglesey Aluminium’s managing director has stated the future of the company doesn’t depend on a new nuclear plant at Wylfa. Furthermore, the local politicians don’t talk about the inherent dangers of nuclear power. British nuclear power generation has far from a spotless safety record and Wylfa itself has been closed several times. Moreover, the big problem with nuclear power is what to do with the waste which stays radioactive for thousands of years. There is currently no safe way of storage. Government suggestions

Anglesey is ideally located to harness. The campaign organised a public meeting of about 40 people last February in Menai Bridge, and has launched an online petition (www.petitiononline.com/nonuke) as well as carrying out leafleting of the whole of the island. Last year the House of Lords threw out Blair’s phony ‘consultation’ on new nuclear power stations and told the government to go back and carry out the a real consultationthey had promised. Since then, the issue has temporarily stalled and the local politicians behind the proposals have kept quiet. The campaign, however, is still active, holding regular stalls in Llangefni and running fundraising events to support the campaign.

Iain Dalton

LAGER LIFEGUARDS

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ven though Bangor is one of the safest university towns, students, especially first years, still need to be wary when they go out drinking. It is best never to walk home alone at night wherever you are, but this scenario can become much worse when you have been drinking. I always stick with my friends when I’m drunk because it is really important to look after each other. This is what leading paramedic Steve Evans believes too. With 36 years’ experience and working with the ‘Know Your Limits’ campaign, Evans has seen a lot of students who have put themselves at risk. The ‘Know Your Limits’ campaign was launched in October 2006 by the Department of Health and the Home Office. It is not discouraging people from drinking, just striving to make people aware of the consequences linked to excessive alcohol consumption. To find out more visit www.knowyourlimits.gov.uk. Evans wants students to be ‘Lager Lifeguards’, which basically means looking out for your friends who have had too much to

drink. Paramedics have seen too many student deaths occur after them drinking until they are unconscious; one of the main causes is choking on their own vomit after being left by friends. The survey carried out for ‘Know Your Limits’ found that in the past year 53% of 18-24 year olds agreed that drinking too much ruined their night out. Shockingly, one in four women (26%) admitted to putting their own safety at risk by walking home alone after a night out. The NHS guidelines are 3-4 units of alcohol a day for men and 2-3 units per day for women. If you have been drinking heavily, it is recommended that you give your body a 48 hour break! So just consider Steve Evans’ advice: “If someone in your group really is the worse for wear, make sure they get home safely. Remember, it’s often the quiet ones who will need your help most. They’ll certainly be grateful in the morning.” This advice could come in handy tonight!

Zoe Dean


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Politics A RANT FROM THE RIGHT

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Spencer George

ou may or may not have noticed that in the last week, Sir Menzies Campbell resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrat party. A respected parliamentarian, Sir Ming had only been leader of the party for two years and his resignation came as quite a shock to those in the world of Poli-

tics. Sir Ming said he had resigned “In the interest of the party.” He was right to do so. With ICM polls placing the Lib Dems on a lowly 14%, David Cameron and the Conservative Party taking the political initiative with eye catching policies and a

LEFT LEANINGS

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Nathan Lee

t was a glorious day for Labour. Imagine the scene; after what seemed like an eternity they finally broke the domineering right wing Tory party and shook the electorate with a landslide victory. The Tories were stunned, Labour were jubilant. 97 was gateway into the 21st century, it was new and it was revitalizing. Change was on the agenda, and change we certainly have seen. Many quarrel over the success of the party since that day, but most find it hard to disprove the state it left the Tories in. What The Conservatives are under Cameron is what Labour were under !!!!!!!!. Conservatives opposed the Blair era just as Labour fought Thatcher, how times have changed. The Catalyst of change was certainly Mr Blair. His appearance and political style exuded unmarked creativity and was radiant with anticipation. The party was unrecognizable as the past Socialist, left wing party of welfare and equality, and was now more familiar with the preaching’s of business and prudent finance. Whilst not completely abandoning their roots, they had moved with the times, and promoted a full recognition of the countries current and future needs. It was Labour, but not the Labour you would read about in schools. It was a party of the 21st century, and was more than a worthy advisory of its new designation- New. To date the Tories have struggled. They have toyed and fiddled with various different schemes, leaders of old, leaders of young, catchy slogans and witty manifestos aimed a dubiously duping the voter- all with limited (if any success). Recent events are rather dis-

E V HA UR YOSAY

CHANCE TO COMMENT ON BANGOR’s NIGHTLIFE

The constant twittering, jibes and insults thrown at Bangor’s nightlife are in no way unprecedented. People who come from large towns or cities constantly make disgruntled references to its lack of variety and monotonous predictability. Even those who come from smaller towns would rate their own as better than Bangor. With only three nightclubs, limited space and little incentive there for the big bands and acts to come, Bangor is falling short in many aspects of a good night out. Time and Academi are striving to offer something different. Academi in particular has weekly events ranging throughout all music genres and interests. Time is showcasing some chart topping bands and has also

played hosts to DJ’s such as MR Scruff and MR C. You certainly have to understand the limitations and impracticality of having big night clubs in Bangor, and the infeasibility of sharing the nightlife’s of the bigger towns and cities, but something can be done. As one of the main media outlets (and in this way one of the key student voices) we are to put the question out to the student population. In conjunction with the event organisers, we will strive to get the opinion of the people that really matter, you! Our survey will be online on our website, as well as the one underneath, that can be submitted by post or simply dropped in at the Student Union. So to all those people that have an opinion (of which I am sure most you do) make a difference, and fill in the survey.

* What music would you like to hear more of? *What incentives would make you go to clubs earlier/ stay later? *How would you improve Jocks bar? (Include internet access/ games/ chill out) *How would you improve Main Bar? *How would you improve Time? *Would you like to see non- alcohol related events organised by the Students Union? All questions can be answered at: www.seren.bangor.ac.uk for further information or to submit comments please contact Adam Isbell: adam.isbell@undeb.bangor.ac.uk

Ming Campbell R.I.P. (Retire In Peace)

strange obsession from the media about his age, the pressure simply became too much for poor Ming. Whether he walked the plank, or was pushed I doubt will never be known. However, if he was going to walk then his fellow colleagues certainly weren’t going to stop him. Comments from Vince Cable, Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg in the weeks running up to his resignation certainly didn’t help. When asked by Andrew Marr at the Lib Dem conference whether or not he was a viable candidate for party leader, Nick Clegg’s response was “If there was a vacancy in the near future, I wouldn’t rule myself out as a candidate.” Hardly rousing support for his party leader. And then came the announcement of Ming’s resignation. The statement came not from Ming himself, but instead was delivered by party chairman Simon Hughes and deputy leader Vince Cable. Short of a trilby hat and a New Jersey accent, the scene could have been reminiscent of the Godfather movie. Hughes, the man effectively responsible for this political assassination spoke with an unconvincingly sympathetic tone. “Ming Campbell has resigned with immediate effect” he said, brow furrowed, face pale

and a hint of a tear in his eye. Give the man an Oscar. You could have been forgiven for thinking that we were guests at Sir Menzies’ wake and not the announcement of his resignation. It was left to Vince Cable to offer some humility and professionalism to the announcement. He spoke of the party’s “grati-

“Where’s the body?” screamed the pack of ravenous reporters outside the Lib Dem head quarters. tude, respect, and affection” for Ming. Then with a swift turn of the heels, they headed back into the building, probably to toast a job well done. “Where’s the body?” screamed the pack of ravenous reporters outside the Lib Dem head quarters. Simon Hughes declined to answer. His mind instead must have been focused on where to hide the knife that earlier that day, he had plunged into Sir Menzies Campbell’s back. Ming Campbell finally broke his silence on the matter in an interview with the BBC the next day. However one can’t help but

smirk at the irony of the whole situation. Ming Campbell, the man who only two years ago orchestrated the downfall of Charles Kennedy, was now having to taste his own medicine. I believe they call it Karma. There is a now a huge question mark hanging over the Lib Dem party. Where do they go from here? What direction does the party go in and who do they chose to lead the way? There is no doubt that the resignation of Ming is a huge victory for David Cameron. Marching his party into the centre ground has thrown the Lib Dems into turmoil. Not only that, as much as many people try to deny it, politics is as much about style as it is about policy. Voters don’t just vote for the party, they vote for its leader. Ming Campbell, unfortunately for him, came up against a vibrant, enigmatic and young opponent in David Cameron. Ming was seen as the frail, elderly man who instead of questioning Brown at PMQs, should instead have been tucked up in bed with a blanket and a cup of cocoa. The Lib Dems now need to do two things. They need to choose a younger, charismatic leader who can grab the attention of the media. They then need to come up with some

policies that are going to in capture the imagination of the British public. The problem for the Lib Dems is that with Labour and The Conservatives vying for the centre ground, how can they differentiate them selves and stand out from the crowd? I honestly hope the Lib Dems manage to sort themselves out. I hope they manage to reorganise themselves and once again become an influential player in the playground of politics. For it is only through effective opposition that the Government can be held to account for its action. Andrew Neil on the BBC’s ‘This Week’ asked this simple question. “What is the point of the Liberal Democrat Party?” What ever the answer is, the Lib Dems need to make sure the public are made aware of it and fast. Otherwise, just like Ming Campbell, the party will disappear into political obscurity.

P.S. If you’re a gambling man, I’d put money on Ming becoming the next Speaker of the house of commons. Mr Martins time as speaker is fast approaching an end and Ming, despite recent events, is very well respected by those in Westminster and would be a favourable candidate. Watch this space.

Wilderness Years THE BLUDGEONER similar to what we have seen thus far, but still they were always predictable. We no longer live in a political environment that is sufficed to the dealings of the left and right. Today the UK stands firmly in the middle, giving way to a happy medium of varying policies. This new shift stands as the very reason why New Labour have been able to secure their political powerbase so strongly in the last decade. They dropped the old socialist roots, and borrowed some Thatcher- esque policies. In this way, they have planted themselves right where the British public want them, and dug their heels in. This poses quite a dilemma for the Tories. They know full well that they need to be in that place, but as hard as they may try, there is currently a Scottish political giant squatted right in their place, and he will be unwilling to budge. Cameron’s recent approach in many ways has mirrored Blair’s first move in to power. He has abandoned many traditional Tory ethos. In Blair’s first manifesto, he hardly mentioned Socialism at all and promoted new things such as education, business and finance to be at the top of his agenda. Today on the right, traditional hot-topics such as immigration, were barely mentioned at the recent Tory conference. His pictures mingling with social yobs in the ‘hugging with hoodies’ campaign wasn’t ground breaking politics, it was pathetically dim witted and desperate. Browns recent decision to delay the election is not a sign of a Tory comeback, it is a stark sign that Brown feels comfortable enough to go into election mode if he wants. The changeover between himself and Blair was one that could have broke the party if

it wasn’t handled correctly. It was however, done expertly. The rosy red face of David Cameron as he stood to applaud the Prime Minister at his last question time, and the professional changing of roles as Brown ever so confidently entered at number 10 really capped off a great performance. The nation trembled, but then settled very eloquently back in to position. His strong and powerful figure really emanates all that he has done in the last ten years. He has steered the economy in a prudent and tight-mannered way, overseeing the longest period of sustained economic growth. The population were surely feeling safe in the knowledge that he can do the same to the country. What can we expect from Brown? So what can we expect from Brown? The first is that he knows the country. For months before the changeover he travelled throughout the country, listening to peoples beliefs and views. As a Prime Minister, he will certainly be in touch with the needs of the country. He is a man of modern ways. He is not tied down to strict fundamental Labour folk law, but is a man who “will reach out beyond narrow party interests.” He is dissimilar to many New Labour techniques also, he has interestingly distanced himself away from the legacy of spin, and moved for a far more honest approach to politics. The final bonus he will bring to the country is his ‘reach to the sky’ attitude. “I want the best of chances for everyone. That is my mission - that if we can fulfil the potential and realise the talents of all our people then I’m absolutely sure that Britain can be the great global success story of this century” - Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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he Bludgeoner is terribly distressed this month – he’s afraid that this month’s contribution might not be up to his usual high standard as he has been stuck in a traffic jam on the Deiniol Road for the past three weeks. He wrote an effortlessly witty polemic on the windscreen one night as the mist formed and his teeth chattered fecklessly together, but it disappeared three days later as the sun made an appearance as brief as a schoolgirl’s skirt. The Red Cross very kindly brought food and water, but the rather common-looking family in the SUV behind weren’t quite so lucky as they set upon their rather chubby daughter as starvation set in. The Bludgeoner was very excited to hear the announcement of the wonderful new post of ‘Minister for Students’ by the venerable and honourable Mr Brown of Downing Street. A poisoned chalice if ever there was one, for some poor schmuck who thinks he’s a rising star. Perhaps the post should be like a sabbatical position in a students’ union – the minister could be a 21-year-old on a gap year, mildly stupid, wet behind the ears and willing to be paid peanuts. Of course they’d spend all their time in the Commons Bar, no doubt cutting queues and upsetting

Westminster staffers. It certainly is nice, though, that students are being validated in such a friendly way by the powers-that-be – nothing will be achieved by the creation of the new position, but at least students now have someone official to ignore them. There are of course plenty of things for the minister for students to bring up with the Prime Minister in passing as they sip tea together between cabinet meetings; the doubling of the interest rates on loans over the summer, for instance (the Bludge knew this sort of naughtiness would ensue once the Son of the Manse had sold off student debt to grubby private hands), or the longer licensing hours that were designed to ease the burden of vomiting drunkards on our accident and emergency departments but have in fact eased the burden on our pub and clubs whilst somehow tripling the chaos in episodes of Casualty across the land. Looking through the fascinating NHS Wales website, the Bludgeoner was able to find out that 47% of men in Wales when they drink, drink over the recommended daily guidelines, that when questioned, 19% of adults reported binge drinking in the past week, and that over 800 people were admitted to hospital in 2005/6 with malignant neoplasms of male genital organs. The Bludgeoner blames supermarkets for every little helping by selling cheap vodka by the bucket load, no doubt distilled in some dingy Thai sweatshop by small blind children. Perhaps the Bludgeoner ought to go and have a lie down before his neoplasms come back… The Bludgeoner lives in a camper van on Snowdon with three Russians.


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Mature and International student exclusion?

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angor University boasts a wide cultural diversity with international students from over 70 countries studying here. This, along with many mature students that are accepted onto courses every year, makes Bangor’s range of students one of the widest in the UK. However there are some who feel that mature and international students find it more difficult to integrate into student life. Is this through lack of understanding by the wider student community or simply a clash of age and culture? Seren reporters Bianca and Emma took it upon themselves to find out. After speaking to a number of people both students and officers who represent them within the university, we have discovered a range of reasons as to why this issue has arisen. Overall in academic circumstances mature and international students are accepted within the University and the societies within it. They bring different ideas from their cultures and traditions and ultimately educate us about how other societies are juxtaposed to our own. The number of issues that have risen are mainly domestic and social matters. However, there have been a number of issues raised in regards to living in halls of residence. Mature students mixed in with freshers tends not to be a good combination, especially if they have had a few too many on a Thursday night at Varisty! This can create complications and tension within the halls, and can make living situations uncomfortable for other residents should a dispute arise. The University has proposed moving mature students into halls with post gradu-

Rhi McCrorie & John Jackson, current & former heads of the Mature Students’ Standing Committee

ates should they choose to do so; perhaps living with people who are closer to their age group is more suitable than first years who think flaming sambuca is a good idea at 4am! According to acting Officer for Mature Students, John Jackson there have been issues raised from mature international students about noise levels in halls they share with first years. This situation has meant that hall wardens have been notified and hopefully the problems that have arisen will be dealt with swiftly. Mature students have been welcomed socially thanks to OAPeer Guides. Student Services’ Mature Students’ Adviser Wendy Williams has also been a great help with integrating mature students. To gain a mature student’s opinion we spoke to a Clinical and Health psychology first year who currently lives in halls with 7 standard aged first year students. He said “I haven’t had any interaction with mature students, I have been invited to functions but have not attended through my own choice. I don’t feel I need to socialise with students my own age to fit into college life.” From the perspective of international students the feeling is a little different. After speaking to the International Students Officer Valeria Moreno about how the international students are welcomed and integrated into student life at Bangor, she told us “there are many different cultures within the university, they are welcomed, however I felt that there was not enough information given on arrival particularly in regards to locations before they had the tour of the town.” We felt that this would have created problems in that students did not know where to go and so would not have been able to attend social events arranged for them by their peer guides, ultimately making the transition more awkward. However in regards to Freshers’ Week, Valeria told us that the peer guides were essential as they helped the students mix with other people from different backgrounds that they would be studying with on their courses. “The International Students Officer is vital to the integration and social mixing

of the students, our job is to make the transition into a new life, place and in some cases language, smoother.” To gain an international student’s point of view on this issue Charo, Valeria Moreno, head of the Intera first year lin- national Students’ Commitee guistics student from Hong Kong offered us her opinions on student life in Bangor. “I find [it] very different to life in Hong Kong, there are a lot less people and it is cleaner. I found the town very boring at first but I am becoming more used to the area. My greatest difficulty being here is understanding people because my English is not very good and sometimes people here talk too fast.” This has proven a problem for a lot of international students who come to study at Bangor as there are a lot of different accents that they might have difficulties understanding, therefore creating a language barrier; along with the presence of the Welsh language. Although some students have undertaken Welsh lessons to better understand the place and culture that they are studying in. However this can be improved with people talking slower and understanding that their accent might be difficult for some students to understand. With mature and international students making up a large proportion of the student body perhaps their supposed exclusion from the student lifestyle is not entirely their own fault. Perhaps the barriers of language and age make it difficult for these students to interact with younger students who do not understand their language, culture, interests and views. Possibly more events could be organised during Freshers’ Week to help international and mature students amalgamate with new and current students. Lets be

honest, most of us would not know an international or mature student unless we lived with them or are part of societies that we are members of. Aside from this there appears to be little interaction between these groups and the wider student body that resides here in Bangor. Perhaps the concerns that foreign students will not understand our humour and interests; or that mature students are out of touch with the youth of today makes it more problematic for us to make the effort to get to know them. For many students this is the first time in their lives when they are living with people of different backgrounds, races and nationalities and this can make the prospect of mixing with these students a little daunting. On the other hand maybe the problem does not lie in the barriers of language and age, but interest and lack of understanding of different world societies. So after gaining the viewpoints of mature and international students and their representatives from the University we have drawn the conclusion that they are not entirely excluded from the student lifestyle. In many aspects such as their presence in halls, on various degree courses and various societies makes them generally accepted by the student body. Although it is felt that more of an effort needs to be made by these groups and the university community as a whole to make international and mature students feel more welcome in the social aspect. So the next time you plan a crazy night out around Bangor or a night in with your friends in halls, invite them along; you may be surprised at the perspective you gain about student life from their point of view.

Bianca Murray and Emma McColl At the SU General Meeting on Tuesday 23rd October Rhi McCrorie was elected to replace John Jackson as head of the Mature Students’ Committee. She can be contacted at: mso@undeb.bangor.ac.uk

25 YEARS OF SEREN 1983-2008

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20 03 - 20 0 7

aving a university newspaper is a great thing for Bangor and we’re all familiar with the format of SEREN and the types of stories it covers, but how did it come to be like this? We can trace a student newspaper here at Bangor back to1903. It has gone through many guises: for years it was called ‘Forecast’ and for a brief spell, ‘Graffiti,’ but at the end of this year, we will be marking the twenty fifth birthday of SEREN. Yes, twenty five years ago we gained the name ‘Y SEREN’, meaning The Star in Welsh, and apart from losing the ‘Y’ prefix somewhere along the way, the name has stuck ever since. In the run up to our twenty fifth birthday celebrations, we shall look back at five years of SEREN every issue: the stories, the headlines and the milestones it has encountered along the way.

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Letters have been sent by Neuadd Willis anywhere from two weeks to two months after occupants have finished their tenancy, demanding payment of large amounts of money within the next seven days. Students can be billed for redecorating their whole bedroom (£175) for leaving marks on the wall. Many students have been charged £30 (later reduced to £15) for replacing their shower curtains, something which you would expect to replace each year. There’s also the possibility that the residents of your flat will be charged a minimum of £70 to cover the cost of cleaning your kitchen. Other cleaning jobs are also charged to the student if the management isn’t satisfied, such as the bathroom and bedroom, and students are charged for the disposal of any items left in the room, all of which could add up to a total of £170. In contrast to University halls, where kitchens are cleaned twice a week, Neuadd Willis expects residents to maintain their own shared kitchens. The Government recently introduced a new Tenancy Deposit Scheme to provide for a fair, transparent deposit return process with an independent arbitrator (the Alternative Dispute Resolution service) to settle any disagreements over deductions made and the definition of ‘wear and tear’. This system aims to stop landlords simply billing tenants as they see fit and sets a deadline by which the landlord must return your deposit to prevent landlords retaining your money for months after your tenancy has ended. For more information about deposits in general and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, see http://www.shelter. org.uk. Over the next few months Bangor students, having settled into their current accommodation and current environment, will start thinking about the possibilities of rented accommodation for the next academic year. The choice used to be simple: either move into a house or go back into University Halls of Residence.

“Studie s sugges builds healthy t beer b SEREN , Octob ones” er 2004

ack in September 2003 SEREN was a twelve page A4 publication, printed in black and white, with a colour banner on the front. Previously in its history, SEREN had made it to a tabloid size, but at the beginning of the academic year 2003-2004 SEREN was working within a small budget and by December had OR F T T U SO proved itself, achieving the size and twenty TMEN S E V CRIE IN T page format we see today. SPOR The Freshers’ Issue 2003 included a   Freshers’ Week Survival Guide’ – top tips   included, at number five, the British fry up, at number three, sleep, and my personal C favourite, at number one, staying drunk Note this survival guide came with a e warning that you followed their advice d i s n I Thise at your own risk! Issu n May 2005, SEREN reported the news that UWB Students’ Union were sending Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles a wedding present. As chancellor of the university, this seems appropriate, the gift, a pink toilet roll holder on the other hand, I think not. sue rs’ Is

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“Bounc eir hands.” er f their cox in th h it w rs u fo e ed y x e co ball.” SE aces jail over s s en m ’s m a te tu REN, F “The rowing ebruary dents explodi 2003 er ng b 2 em 004 ec D , SEREN 05 20 y Ma N, RE “Plas Gwyn is SE in two lectures” Plas Grim!!” SE grows six foot t “Chemical spill disrupts n la p ry REN, February tu n “Treborth ce 2005 07 , September 20 n May 2004 SEREN gave away a year’s supdays.” SEREN ply of condoms. “Politics killed the radio star. ” SEREN, October 2006 Emma Dodd

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25 YEARS OF SEREN


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Features

Is there something strange in your neighbourhood?

who ya gonna call?

THE SPECULATIVE ANALYSIS SOCIETY

“I

felt someone pushing me” recalls ghost hunter, James Etheridge; “Then pulling me in a different direction. Sharyn suddenly had a fit and fainted.” James, a history student here at Bangor University, then saw a shadowy figure approach him. “We were all in the Cradle room at Plas Teg mansion. I saw outlines of people walking around the room. That’s when I got really scared.” Many witnesses recall seeing the same thing. “It was strange” says Nicola Watson, also a third year history student, “I felt someone touch me on the shoulder and then all these shadowy figures that were walking around the room just disappeared.” “Plas Teg is one of the most important Jacobean houses in Wales.” Built near the village of Pontblyddyn between Wrexham and Mold in the early 17th century, the house has a very spooky history. “People were hung in the Indian room of the house,” says Nicola, “sometimes for menial and petty crimes. The presence of the Judge, Sir George John Jeffries, is often felt in there.” “Also, one of the previous owners, Sir John Trevor, murdered his wife in the house during a fit of rage when he discovered she had been having an affair. He later died in the house the following month. These are just some of the reasons why the house is considered to be the most haunted in the country, and why it appeals to so many groups such as ours”. That group is the Speculative Analysis Society, which is also known as the S.A.S. for short. According to James, 21, “it takes the

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courage of someone in the S.A.S. to do some of this stuff. It’s such an adrenaline rush. I would definitely recommend joining to anyone – unless maybe they have a weak heart, of course.” More commonly known as the Parapsychological Group, or “The Spooks Society” by some members, almost all of us have experienced a brush with the paranormal. Founding member Sharyn Williams, has seen “ghostly orbs float about the place” at Plas Teg and is convinced of its ghostly reputation. “It definitely deserves its reputation as North Wales’ most haunted place”. It would appear that at least one famous all-girl pop act would agree with her. “Last

Therefore Samhain (pronounced Sow-ain), otherwise known as Halloween is a very important day for Pagans, as it heralds the beginning and the end of the Wheel of the Year. year Girls Aloud came here to film a Most Haunted special” explains Nicola, who is also one of the society’s founding members. “It scared the hell out of them. It scares the hell out of me too to be honest, but I always come back for more. I think the reason they decided to film here was because you’re more or less guaranteed a ghostly encounter at Plas Teg.”

The 22 year old is quick to point out that however exciting Plas Teg is “it is only one of many trips we do a year. On average I think we do about one a month, and all of them prove to be an interesting experience for the participants. Well, for the living ones at least!” “In fact ghost hunting is only one of the things we do in the society.” Explains Nicola, “We also investigate such things as Spiritual Healing, Meditation, Local Mythology, Divination, Palmistry and Psychic Phenomena, so if you’re too afraid to go ghost hunting then there is still plenty to do in the society. Every now and again we even host a Parapsychological fair so people can come and see what it’s all about.” James is enthusiastic to add that “this year we have decided to add UFOs to the list of our interests” and quips “so now we are being compared to Torchwood, as well as the Scooby Gang!” “Yeah, the Scooby Gang is another of our nicknames, but believe me the society is no cartoon,” says Nicola, “we use some of the latest high-tech gadgets and accommodate many guest speakers on paranormal affairs. Last year we had author Gary M. Rowe give a talk and a Q&A session, and some of his work was an inspiration for an episode of the X-Files!” “We also conduct E.S.P. tests throughout the year in order to view people’s psychic abilities” adds James, “and we’re always looking for volunteers. Unfortunately so far I’ve turned out to be the least psychic member

Pictured: are society members Nicola Watson and Bryn Young-Roberts

of the society!” “We take pride in our spiritual, as well as our scientific approach to uncovering mysteries of paranormal affairs, which is prob-

“Yeah, the Scooby Gang is another of our nicknames, but believe me the society is no cartoon,” ably one of the reasons why the Society has been going from strength to strength. I think people feel comfortable expressing their views in the Society, whether they are convinced of the supernatural world or if they are completely sceptical of it.” Now in its third year the Speculative Analysis Society has “made some adaptions

lately” admits Sharyn, 21, “due to popular demand we now have our own Facebook site and Radio show on Storm Fm. We are also giving more talks and activity sessions this year than ever before.” Speculative Analysis meetings are always open to newcomers and are held on Tuesdays at 7.30 pm Main Arts Lecture Room 5, followed by a social at the Menai Pub at 8.30 pm. The Speculative Analysis Radio Show can be heard on Wednesdays at 7pm – 8pm and the society can be contacted via Facebook as ‘Speculative Analysis’ in the Wales or Bangor University networks.

Bryn Young-Roberts

Earth Religions Society - what on earth is it all about?

angor’s Earth Religions Society, affectionately referred to as ‘UWBERS’ was begun four or so years ago. It was spawned by a local coven of like-minded students, who felt that they should organise a society, affiliated with the Student Union devoted to teaching interested students about the path of religions widely termed as ‘Earth Religions.’ ‘Earth Religions’ includes Paganism, Wicca, Buddhism, Druidism, Odinism and various others and our aim is to learn more from these various fresh minds and perspectives. UWBERS does not make any attempt to net new members apart from a stall at Serendipity. The general consensus is that people will find their

own path, and if that happens to include Earth Religions then the society is there to educate, but never to preach. The Pagan calendar, utilised in general by UWBERS, follows the waxing and waning of the moon, the changing of the seasons and the cycle of the sun throughout the year, taking an approach dedicated to following the cycles of nature. This calendar therefore emphasises the Solstices (winter and summer) and the Equinoxes (spring and autumn) and has eight Sabbats (or festival days) and tracks the progress of the lunar calendar with monthly Esbats (full moon celebrations). For example, the 26th of this month is a full moon, termed as the ‘Blood Moon’. A ‘Blue Moon’

Haunted places in Bangor...

For those of you da ring enough to go out this Halloween in search of ghosts and ghou ls why not head to some of the most haunte d sights in North Wales. One of the most fa mous haunted build ings locally is Beaumaris jail on Anglesey. Ev en ex-Blue Peter presenter, Yv ette Fielding has been seen around this little ha unt presenting her television show, ‘Most Haunted’ . However, if a spoo ky castle is what you are looking for this Ha lloween why not vis it Penrhyn Castle, just on the ed ge of Bangor. You don’t have to walk that far to find haunted places in Bangor, apparently even Rath bo ne Hall is haunted. Althou gh, I was a Rathbo ner in my first year and the only thing I found eerie was various students roam ing the corridors wh ich was due to alcohol cons umption and not gh ostly goings on!

is simply when there is more than one full moon in a month. This happens once a year. Therefore Samhain (pronounced Sowain), otherwise known as Halloween is a very important day for Pagans, as it heralds the beginning and the end of the Wheel of the Year. It would have been when people would have taken stock of their supplies for the coming winter, and made preparations. It is an intercalary day of the old Celtic calendar, therefore a day outside the normal bounds. A day when the veil between the worlds was supposedly thinnest and therefore the spirits of those passed were closer to contact. The candle in a lantern was the origin of our current pumpkin-lantern carving tradition, to welcome and guide back those spirits who

wish to visit the living. This is also the time when the Wild Hunt takes place, continuing throughout winter, when the horned God, Cernunnos gathers up those souls who tarry overlong in this world (reflecting the higher death rate in the winter months). At this time of year the Goddess also takes on her role as Crone (or Wise One), progressing from the fullness of Mother in the summer months. This encourages Pagans to develop a more reflective and introspective manner in order to know themselves and therefore improve themselves in the coming pro-activity of spring. UWBERS always create and carry out a ritual at Samhain, and this year it shall be of a Druidic bent, invoking the elements,

the ancestors and the God and Goddess in order to thank them, offer sacrifice (nothing bloody, just an apple!) and ask for a particular request for the coming year, or to be rid of something negative from the previous year. In the past this has worked to great effect, and has been a very empowering and bonding event, and this year should prove no different.

Happy Samhain to all! If anyone is interested in joining UWBERS email us at bangordryad@undeb.bangor. ac.uk.

Rebecca E. Hussey

Godspell: missing the mark and Gately

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his Halloween our reporter couldn’t make the long journey to our fine capital to see ‘Wicked’, so she made do with Stephen Schwartz’s other main attraction, ‘Godspell’ instead. Rachel Eales took a trip to Llandudno to see if the musical really was spellbinding. My favourite musical of all time is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. In going to see ‘Godspell’, I thus had high expectations. Like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show, Stephen Schwartz’s ‘Godspell’ presents a musical account of the last days of Jesus’ life. The two have often been compared as the religious rock operas of their time. ‘Godspell’ was first performed way back in the seventies and was conceived as a way for a young audience to identify with religion. In the performance I saw at Venue Cymru they had tried to make the piece more relevant to a modern day audience, interspersing anecdotes from adverts, extracts from more recent songs and a variety of jokes into the original show. Whilst the jokes made the audience laugh, the juxtaposition of these with the sombre scene of the crucifixion made the whole piece jarr. Preceding the crucifixion, the piece consisted of miniature performances of stories from the Bible - all of which seemed disjointed and out of place. Without a solid story line the piece lost clarity and was difficult to follow. To begin with I found it difficult to work out which character was Jesus and which character was Judas, they didn’t really define them very well and that’s not a mistake someone should be able to make! The cast had also lost its star member at the last moment, with Stephen Gately (formerly of Boyzone) having to pull out due to what the local paper reported as ‘problems with the contract’. This lead to many disappointed faces on the night, with several young girls wondering “where’s Stephen Gately?” The cast themselves were not phased by his departure, and they pulled off an energetic performance with jokes and gestures that kept the piece as a whole entertaining. They worked hard, and to their credit, they looked good. My expectations aside, a lack of story meant I couldn’t follow the events onstage, the musical numbers were average and they appeared to be promoting Jesus to me rather than telling me his story. Numbers such as “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, a quote I believe by John the Baptist seemed to be preaching as apposed to entertaining. All told, ‘Godspell’ did not inspire me to sing along. Godspell is on in Cardiff and Swansea. For more details see www.godspelluk.com

Rachel Eales


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

THE FOOD CRITICS

Lifestyle

THE OLD GLAN (yellow pub)

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Will Varley

he Yellow Pub is a traditional student pub situated in the heart of Bangor. Sky television, pool tables, jukebox and the all important Itbox are a must now in pubs today but so is good, healthy and affordable food. So how does the Yellow Pub fare in this department? I visited late afternoon after a long day of lectures and simply fancied something quick and tasty that wasn’t going to break the bank balance. The menu was well laid out and featured an extensive range of light snacks along with salads, vegetarian options and main meals. I opted for the chilli con carne for £4.25 which was excellent value as the portion was fine for the price although more could have been given for the side salad. Service was excellent and the food itself was hot and tasty. I was pleased with my choice however previous experiences at the Yellow had been disappointing so things look to be changing for the better. There are a selection of main meals available in the ‘2 for £6.50p’ range so if you’re with a friend then eating at the Yellow is very good value. I have eaten in a lot of pubs/restaurants in Bangor and I’d say that if you’re after value for money, quick service and a pleasant, safe atmosphere then the Yellow pub is the place for you.

Atmosphere: 8 out of 10 Service: 8 Price: 9 Quality of Food: 7.5

STUDENT RECIPES

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and drink to the students of Bangor University. The question remains though, is the food actually any good? Recently, Will (my fellow food critic) and I headed to The Old Glan to answer that very question. Whilst I might not quite match the standards of Anton Ego (Of ‘Ratatouille’ acclaim) I enjoy my food and I know what I do and don’t like. Here is what I made of one of Bangor’s best loved student pubs … Time: 4:30pm Food Ordered: Mango, Strawberry and Cajun Chicken Salad. Atmosphere: Always welcoming and comfortable, the Yellow Pub has a good vibe about the place. (7/10) Service: Service with a smile is what I like and service with a smile is what I got. The bar staff are always friendly, approachable and willing to have a chat. (8/10) Price: The whole menu is great value for money. Whether it’s a quick snack or a full on meal you’re after, the Yellow provides for all, at affordable prices. (9/10) Quality of food: I deliberately ordered a salad because in many respects they are so easy to prepare, yet so easy to get wrong. I was presented with a fresh, vibrant salad that thoroughly pleased the taste buds.(6/10) Overall: The Yellow pub offers good honest food at affordable prices in a comfortable environment fit for any student! (7.5 / 10)

Green Thai Curry Ingredients 2 chicken breasts fresh coriander Rice Green beans Chilli spring Onions Coconut milk Thai grren paste Lime juice

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts 1 onion Read and Green pepper Garlic Paella rice Lemon Tomatos

Parsley Paprika Chilli flakes Black Pepper Stock cubes butter

Preparation

Method

Method pan with the green beans. Chop Gently fry chopped spring onion wock/ to cook through, add a couple of chicken breast and add to pan. Allow add chopped chilli. Add Coconut milk spoons of Thai green curry paste and is . Allow to simmer until maunge tu cooked ughly thouro is n chicke the once to own taste. tender, add corander. Add lime juice

The Great Orme

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Paella

Chop two chicken breasts into chunk s. Chop up the peppers and onion. Chop up the tomatos into chunks.

Preparation Chop chicken breasts, onions.

ell, I have been asked a few times to write about men’s fashion and my response has always been “I don’t know that much about it”. For this I have done some research. I especially think now, that men are catching up with the women in the fashion stakes. In the past, men’s fashion has to me always seemed a bit bland, tasteless, and nothing more than a t-shirt and jeans. But I think men’s fashion has evolved and men themselves pay more attention to what they’re wearing and their own style. Particularly, with the mass spread of the emo culture, you can now see this fashion style from a mile off. The skinny black jeans; Vans; a hoodie with some skulls on; the floppy over the eye hair style, you know what I’m talking about. This is all well and good, but what I stress to the ladies and now

Spencer George

he Yellow is arguably one of the best loved student pubs in Bangor. Its prices, entertainment and food are all aimed at the student market. Placed right in the heart of Bangor, the Yellow Pub is easily accessible and prides itself on providing affordable food

Fry the chicken breasts, peppers, onions and garlic in oil until browned. The add half a packet of paella rice with a pint of boiling water and squeeze in the juice of the lemon. Add the stock cubes, black pepper, quarter tbl spoon chilli and 2 tbl spoon s paprika. Simmer until all the juices are absorb ed. Add more water or white wine if needed. put into an oven dish and put in the oven for 10 minites at 180 degrees c. Remov e from the oven and stir in lemon rind (grated lemon skin), chopped tommatos, fresh parsley and square of butter.

to you is get some originality, it’s a bore for everyone to wear the same. You want to fit in, but that’s one step too far, we’re no longer teenagers and should now feel like we can wear what we want and express our own style, whatever that may be. The chequered scarves are another example of this copycat culture and for the women it’s those tights. Right men, in the season now moving on from summer’s rugged torn denim and t-shirt logos is traditional style mixed with added trendy accessories. You’ve got beanies, shoes, belts and scarves, all of these can be the item that makes your style unique. Take a break from the jeans and get some dark cords and a smart shirt, if you’re a sporty type then get yourself some stylish sports hoodies, which can be worn to the gym or any other time. Get yourself some winter gems; V-neck jumpers that come in a range of styles, you’ve probably noticed stripes are in, checks and also geometric prints. The casual cardigan is back and can add to a nice layered look, don’t be afraid of it, it’s cool and geek chic is back. You can layer yourself with a t-shirt or shirt under a V-neck jumper, top this with a cardigan and you’re set. Some jumpers already come with a shirt attached, it’s simple, stylish and keeping you warm at the same time. Jeans come in plenty of different styles to fit you; straight leg, slouch, bootcut or vintage, try a style that you wouldn’t normally go for and you may be surprised and have vamped up your wardrobe without even

Luke May

trying to. With winter round the corner, get yourself a decent coat. Colours include greys and blacks. Leather is back, but that shouldn’t be your only coat. With coats there are such a range of styles: simple zips, pockets, button coats, the long coat, and the short. To be quite frank, the range is endless. You can smarten your look by teaming your coat with a shirt and jumper underneath or a look I like is a nice coat open, with a hoodie underneath. Boys, the choice is yours, get yourself a few signature winter classics and these can be mixed and matched to whatever style you’re going for. I think we have tried to pass the stereotyping of emo, chav, indie boy or whatever, but make your look fit to your style and not just a copycat stereotype. And the most important thing that goes with a well-dressed lad is if you smell good too. A waft of a nice men’s fragrance as you walk past is yummy. I’ll leave ‘man grooming’ up to you, as you all pretend you don’t do it, but we know you do. Hair-straightener boys and moisturiser users are out there and there is nothing wrong with that. If you want to write about fashion or have an opinion on how important or unimportant it is please write to health@seren. bangor.ac.uk. What I would really like now, is a bloke to write his view on women’s fashion. What do you really think and like?

Sophie de l’ Orme x

Are the Welsh and English languages Equal?

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ere at Bangor University the Students’ Union prides itself on the fact that it has a bilingual policy that all students have to stick to. This is to ensure that the Welsh language has equal status. However, outside the Union are things the same? You only have to walk down Bangor High Street to see that things are very different. Look into their windows and what do you see? Signs that are written only in English. Go into the shops and you’re faced with more monolingual signs. This is quite alarming especially considering that here in Bangor, we are supposed to be in one of the key areas in North Wales where the Welsh language apparently thrives. Still, it isn’t fair to say that the Welsh language is dying out completely and that very few people speak it- but it’s very restricted. Some shops have a few permanent bilingual signs but even the flyers they have up and the temporary signs are all in English only. Although some shops have Welsh speaking staff, a lot don’t. There have even been cases recently where some shops have not allowed the staff to speak Welsh to one another in their workplace. One county council has even had bilingual road signs removed to replace them with monolingual English ones because apparently bilingual signs are dangerous. How other county councils and other countries in Europe manage bilingual signs then is a mystery! Cymdeithas yr Iaith or the Welsh Language Society, a national pressure group, is calling for a new Welsh language act. What would this entail? They are asking for: 1. The Welsh language to be considered as an official language, 2. A Welsh language commissioner to replace the Welsh Language Board which is going to be dissolved soon 3. The right to use Welsh everywhere. This will all mean a major shake up because the current Welsh Language Act (1993) only includes the public sector. Since then several businesses have moved from the public to the private sector. It also has lead to the creation of the Welsh Language Board which is going to be written off. It’s quite clear to see then that the Welsh Language Act of 1993 is out of date, but why

don’t our politicians agree with the need for a new one? Cymdeithas yr Iaith has been pushing for many years now but the governments haven’t listened. The new Welsh Language Act would mean that all signs in shops and all materials given out would have to be bilingual and this is what is causing the most worry. Shopkeepers and managers worry about extra costs for them. Those against a new Welsh Language Act are using this as ammunition against the idea. They are arguing that small businesses won’t be able to afford the changes. Granted, it may be more difficult for them but it would be something that happens over time, not in a few days or even weeks but years. Recently, a chip shop in Connahs Quay argued that there are very few Welsh speakers in the area, and that they can’t see the benefit of spending money on something that will only profit a small number of people. Why should Welsh speakers in Caernarfon have more right just because they live in an area where more people speak Welsh? Surely, if there are less Welsh speakers then it’s more of a reason to ensure that the Welsh are seen and heard day to day? Some argue that because most, if not all, Welsh speakers today can speak English, what does it matter if the country is bilingual? Well it’s the first language of many Welsh speakers and surely they should be allowed to use and be able to read Welsh in their day to day life. You wouldn’t expect to go to France or Germany and not to see any French or German road signs. About 18% of people living in Wales speak Welsh and it’s important to keep a language with such history alive, the Welsh language is one of the oldest living languages that is still used today. What hope is there for the preservation of the language if restrictions are put in place upon it? Welsh is also more than just a language; there’s a strong historical and cultural tradition that is carried with it. Not all of these traditions are fully dependant on the Welsh language however some are. Without it you would lose them and Wales would just become a country empty of any culture or tradition. So, is the Welsh language equal to English at present? No, not really.

Bethan Williams

Kill Bill Shakespeare: Macbeth Review

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udging by the dry ice and sparse set at the beginning of the performance, I wasn’t expecting much from a flyer that read “What if Quentin Tarantino had directed Macbeth?” How many Tarantino films begin with an empty set and a bloody pregnant bride? OK bad example. However, to say that this performance was humorous from the outset was an understatement, the cast were fantastic in their duplicitous roles throughout the performance. The juxtaposition of classic Shakespearian script with a vast amount of swearing, drug taking, stabbing, crotch grabbing and rather impressive dancing from Macbeth in a kilt was nothing short of pure comic genius. I honestly did not think that combining a classic English tragedy with

the quirky style of Tarantino would gel together quite as well - on the whole it did; however there were certain points that took the edginess of Tarantino a little too far. Perhaps the best example was the dancing scene between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth; it could be argued that this was a bit gratuitous, as it did not seem wholly relevant to the plot. Some of the scenes involving drug taking could be seen as a little too graphic for some of the younger members of the audience, as well as the various sexual innuendos. Yet the cult “Royale with cheese” scene, alluding to Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’, was the perfect way for the actors to introduce the complex narrative, language and dark humour synonymous with both Shakespeare and Tarantino. The play was a Tarantino fan’s dream and a classic literature lover’s nightmare. However, if I could offer one piece of advice to the director it would be wise to invest in a thong for the rather tight jumpsuit that MacDuff sports at the end. Some scenes were not only unsightly for the children!

Bianca Murray and Tabitha McGuinness


8

Travel

Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Britain’s very own shores Fly into London, Not out!

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t’s amazing just how many British people have not once visited London and become a fully fledged tourist, I’m talking Union Jack hat and an I heart London T-shirt! Seriously though, London is just on our doorstep yet we are all so quick to jump on a plane and head abroad. Well if you’re feeling adventurous and can brave the fantastic British weather next summer then London is the place to go. Being a student of course, I tried my best to do things on the cheap, however, the occasional splurge of the money variety was in order. Student discount train tickets will get you there slightly cheaper than normal (depending on where in the country you are travelling from) and transport in the capital is easy, for those that don’t know a pay as you go Oyster card will get you nicely from place to place on public transport. One of the first stops on the map for me had to be Buckingham Palace of course, it was even more impressive than I imagined, the Queen wasn’t in though. Then it was on to the London Eye, of which I was kindly treated to queue jump champagne tickets. It sounds fancy and expensive but a ticket costs £29.50 which is only £15 extra and there was no three hour queuing which is a huge bonus. The views from the top are amazing, on a clear day you get 360 degree views of London which was fantastic. There is an option for a night ‘flight’, this I believe is even more brilliant. Then it was on to Oxford Street which was impressive. Things are a little more expensive in London, but the atmosphere on Oxford Street was just worth the visit, as were the infamous signs in Piccadilly Circus.

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Whilst I was in London I thought it only right to sample just a taste of the high life. A group of us went to ‘Fifteen’ –Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, which was an amazing experience. The menu was a set menu which consisted of Mediterranean delights such as a cured meat, mozzarella, olives and pate starter followed by a sea food risotto that proved very popular with everyone. And the chocolate brownie that followed was to die

for! The bill came to roughly £50 per person, this included wine, beers, cocktails and of course the meal. It sounds expensive but for the experience it is well worth the money. I would highly recommend it to anyone that visits London. The total cost of the weekend came to roughly £200 which included accommodation, food, drinks and even a little something from Harrods! London is a fast paced and exciting city which is full to the brim with history, culture and a million and one things to do, most of which are free. So next time you need a break or are considering where to jet off to, spare a thought for our capital, but if you’re thinking about going next summer, don’t forget your umbrella!

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Newquay

very year on a warm and windy week in September, my friends and I board a train to Newquay for a few days of surfing fun. England’s most popular surfing destination is host to a variety of beaches, surf schools and cheap, hostel-like accommodation to enhance your extreme sports experience. The first year we went we stayed in a surf lodge near Fistral, the most popular surf in Newquay, which was very basic but fine for showers, sleep and Hollyoaks. We were clueless as to what to do with a surfboard so took lessons from the two quirky, incredibly laid-back lodge owners and walked what felt like 3 miles in itchy wetsuits, shoeless and carrying heavy foam boards under our arms. On top of this hideous expedition we had to manoeuvre the big, awkward things down slippery, stone steps and across pebbles in order to reach the sea. And even then we still couldn’t enter our cold, salty destination, as we had to learn the technique of paddle, paddle, paddle, jump facedown in the gritty sand. Slightly less enthusiastic than when we woke up that morning, we entered the sea to have our first attempt. With numb toes we walked out to deeper water to try and catch some surf. The waves on that first day were few and far between, which in retrospect was perfect for bumbling beginners who could barely lie flat on their boards without getting a mouthful of seaweed. Dejected, and performing the ‘wave dance’ to try and entice them to come, we started to believe the holiday had been a silly idea, we were perhaps not cut out for the physical exertion and a

nice cup of tea and bag of chips on the beach would be much better suited. How wrong we were. The first time you stand up on your board and ride a wave all the way to the beach will have you hooked for life. Granted, the first time I managed it I was being pushed and yelled at by the sarcastic surf instructor, but it was amazing. Not only do you think you look ultra cool to all the hot surfer guys around, but the adrenaline rush is fantastic. We were gutted when the two-hour lesson, which started off feeling like manual labour, was over and we had to get the boards back to the lodge. The walk back was even more difficult on tired muscles, but the excitement and gratification at our new skills meant we couldn’t think or talk about anything else. The rest of the day was spent collapsed on the beach, half wanting to hire our own boards and get back in, our bodies more inclined to sleep and soak up the little sun there was. The rest of the week brought much of the same success, and we travelled home with huge smiles on our faces, planning the next year’s trip. Subsequent years saw us face the sea alone, hiring boards and suits from the nearest shack and spending as much time in the icy water as we could manage before the cold forced us back to our lodge for hot showers and afternoon naps. Overall, surfing holidays in Newquay are addictive, exhilarating and completely worth the grizzly start. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a new, exciting, action-packed and cheap holiday.

Katrina Hanford

Rachel Bellian

A day out in Dublin (without even drinking!)

ow I know you’ve already taken advantage of the Holyhead port to cross the Irish Sea for an extended pub crawl and a look round the Guinness factory. But believe me, there’s so much more to Dublin. Go there just for the beer and you’ll be missing it all. Last December I was loitering around Bangor on a dismal grey day and had the sudden urge to escape. My boyfriend likewise felt the tedium, so we legged it to the

river, was surprisingly beautiful. The bridges all lit up reminded me of the centre of Paris, and the cobbled Temple Bar area has a wonderful atmosphere. The next morning we plotted our master plan. I’m no beer girl and my boyfriend had already experienced Guinness-related Dublin, so we focused on the city’s historical and cultural attractions. Dublin’s small size means the major attractions are within walking distance of each other. We fit in:

I’m no beer girl and my boyfriend had already experienced Guinness

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station to flee the country by the fastest means! – Ended up in Dublin around dusk and traipsed around youth hostels in search of a room for the night. The city was decorated for Christmas, so our ‘Any rooms at the inn?’ ‘No rooms at the inn’ act felt kinda festive, though thankfully I was not about to give birth. Anyway we finally found a good apartment for 80€ – reasonable compared to other capitals. Dublin at night, wandering alongside the

The National Museum – amazing. If you only do one place, do this. The (gruesome) highlight is the prehistoric bog bodies, astonishingly well preserved by Ireland’s peat bogs – their hairstyles and even the lines on their palms are still discernable. Also see the finest collection of prehistoric gold jewellery in Western Europe.

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The Book of Kells – exquisite Celtic manuscript well worth a look. The display features enlargements of the illuminations in stunning glowing colours, so the manuscripts themselves at the end of the exhibition are almost an anticlimax. I was fascinated to learn that the blue pigment was

made of lapis lazuli brought all the way from Afghanistan, the ink a mixture of rotten apples, ash and excrement.

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Dublin Castle – more a palace now, though you go underground to see the remains of the old castle. The guided tour through lavish rooms is very informative about the history of Ireland, and shows the throne Queen Victoria sat on, the room Margaret Thatcher stayed in, a portrait of Earl Grey (of the famous tea).

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The National Gallery – lots of quality works here, particularly an exhibition devoted to Irish artist J. B. Yeats.

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The National History Museum – the only disappointment: a large room of stuffed animals. I found it creepy; my boyfriend was devastated by the lack of dinosaurs! All in all, it was great fun and I’ll certainly go again. Maybe I’ll even visit the Guinness factory next time….

Sophie Shanahan

Dublin Castle

A break from Bangor

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i everyone. Some of you will know me, but most of you won’t. I’m Loran and I’m a third year French and Spanish student, which means at the moment, I’m on the first of two Socrates/ Erasmus exchange placements. Up until Christmas, I’m living in Brest (no boob jokes, please). For the geographically challenged amongst you, Brest is located on the very western edge of Brittany, in northwest France. I’ve been here for a month now, studying at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale. Or University of Western Brittany, for non-linguists. Culture-shock isn’t even the word. For the unluckiest students, lectures here start at 8.15am, and can continue until 8pm at night. I am honestly never going to complain about 9am or 5pm lectures in Bangor again. Luckily, my personal tutor here is Irish, so whenever it all gets too confusing for me, she’s there to help. A lot of things are strange here. For a country that has some of the most impatient drivers in the world, the French do a lot of waiting. And this is coming from someone who was born in the land of the orderly queue. You wait for EVERYTHING here. Even something as mundane as buying some stamps in the Post Office takes a good fifteen minutes. There’s no such thing as ‘nipping’ out to buy anything. God help you if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere. Also, the weather here has gone mad lately. It’s in the west, on the coast and close to the Atlantic, so the weather is meant to be very similar to that of Bangor, but for some bizarre reason, it’s been really hot and

The strange behaviour of les Français is a constant mystery to me sunny lately. Last Saturday was absolutely scorching, and today has been more of the same. I’ve actually spent today sat on the beach. With bare legs. Eating ice cream. In OCTOBER. It’s amusing me quite a lot to think of you all getting soaked and cold in Bangor right now. I’m going to close with a piece of advice for any second years heading to France next semester or next year. DO NOT wear short skirts and heels to go out here. French boys get over excited and follow you around. And not just one or two, we’re talking huge, creepy, pervy gangs who ignore you when you tell them to bugger off. And French girls look at you like you’re a complete slut. Yes, my friends and I are still getting these looks, three weeks later, despite the fact that we’ve all worn jeans since then. More from me next issue. In which I will probably be ranting about something else. The strange behaviour of les Français is a constant mystery to me. Don’t get me wrong though, I’d rather be sunning myself here than being rained on in Bangor – despite the 8.15am starts!

Loran Perkins


THE NEW SEREN SUPPLEMENT


GUIDE TO NORTH WALES ATTRACTIONS VENUE CYMRU PILI PALAS CHESTER ZOO

1 Pili Palas Nature World is well known as Wales’ premier butterfly farm, with a steamy environment full of lush vegetation and waterfalls with LIVE butterflies flying all around you.After your encounter with the butterflies and birds, move on to the reptile house and forget about the myths and discover the reality of the snake world. Next door at lizard land you’ll come face to face with iguana, dragons, skinks and geckos from around the world. Then we dare you to visit the tropical lair of tarantulas, scorpions, fire bellied toads and hissing cockroaches. Don’t forget pets corner where the rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils & rats live.

www.pilipalas.co.uk

2 Venue Cymru is located on the promenade in Llandudno on the beautiful North Wales coast. The venue, which consists of a Theatre, Conference Centre, and Arena, has recently undergone an £11million enhancement project to become the largest, purpose built conference and entertainment venue in North Wales. For more information on Venue Cymru follow the links below or visit the Venue Cymru website. Upcoming Acts: The Proclaimers 25/10/07 Freddie Star 14/11/07 Jim Davidson 01/12/07

3 Chester Zoo offers a fun and stimulating day out for everyone, no matter what age or ability. As well as our 500 different species of animals and award-winning gardens, we offer first class facilities that ensure your day out really is as enjoyable as possible. There is a wide range of shops, cafes and ice-cream kiosks located around the Zoo; which cater for all tastes and budgets. If your feet get a bit tired, there is also a monorail and a waterbus that circulate the zoo, as well as some superb catering facilities.

www.chesterzoo.org

www.venuecymru.co.uk/

CONWY CASTLE

CAERNARFON CASTLE

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1

3

6

BEAUMARIS CASTLE

4

HARLECH CASTLE

5

Llanfairpwll

SNOWDONIA

GLASFRYN PARK

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Glasfryn Park is one of the premier places for all you outdoor people. Activities include: Go Karting, Ten pin bowling, Quad trecking, Archery and fishing. Glasfryn Parc is conveniently sited on the A499 just four miles outside of Pwllheli on the way to Caernarfon….just look out for the flags. Positioned at the gateway to the majestical Snowdonia National Park, Glasfryn Parc is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Surrounded by mountains and fringed by miles of sandy beaches, the Llyn Peninsula can be enjoyed by foot, boat, bicycle or car. With all of this as well as the activities we offer, a weekend just isn’t long enough.

www.glasfryn.co.uk/

PORTMEIRION

ROPES AND LADDERS

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FREE ENTRY TO SEREN READERS!!!

The beautiful town of Portmeirion is located on the Welsh peninsular next to Portmadog. Portmeirion welcomes visitors both for the day and to stay the night, either in the Hotel Portmeirion on the shore, in the cottages that make up the village, or in Castell Deudraeth overlooking the estuary. All details of the village’s history and facilities can be found on the website:

http://www.portmeirion-village.com For free entry bring a copy of the paper.

Ropes and Ladders is the new high ropes adventure centre situated in a beautiful woodland setting in the Padarn Country Park, Llanberis. The centre provides instructor led courses around an exciting array of obstacles and challenges high up in the treetops for groups and individuals with all equipment provided. The site is conveniently situated in the Padarn Country Park with spectacular views of the adjacent lake and surrounding mountains.

http://www.ropesandladders.co.uk/


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE Racubah:

After last years knockout shows the Racubah soundsystem welcomes you to another season of funk fuelled party madness.. Our nights are famed for their friendly atmosphere, excellent music selection and great choice of guests. This year we will be delivering the fun across three rooms: In the main room you will hear a diverse mix of all things funky, in the cocktail room Bugalu will be offering Latin of all styles and downstairs in the Dub Shack you will hear a wide range of roots

music. Anything goes: from classic funk to rare groove; from reggae to drum and base; from hip hop to Balkan beats- if its got the funk it is in .. This year also sees us holding our eighth birthday and we will be pulling out all the stops to bring you our best party so far… There will be special guest DJ’s and live band appearances throughout the year so please keep a look out or visit our Myspace site (www.myspace.com/racubah) . Often imitated but never equalled, Racubah is by far the funkiest party in North Wales- come and check it out yourself.

COMPETITIONS

! N I W

A YEAR LONG PASS FOR FRIDAY NIGHTS IN TIME

SEREN HAS

10 TO GIVE AWAY

To enter, simply answer the following question: What is the Welsh for Time?

Loco:

Powered by sheer hands- in- the- air party spirit rather than musical elitism, Loco! Is here to rip up the conceptions about what a club night should be in the 00s- relentlessly eclectic, never cheesy, always banging and first and foremost- A party. Having built up a devoted following in a comparatively short space of time, Team Loco are here to put it down for anyone who knows what Friday nights are really all about!- three rooms, three vibes, always flawless!

Main Room: In Loco!’s main room, you can expect to hear anything from filthy dirty house to bassline breaks, from prog house to indie with one thing in common- the groove. Cocktail Bar: Latin beats and ucy, sultry rhythms will have anyone jiving on the dance floor. The ever relaxed European style atmosphere oozes charm and sophistication, get out your maracas and start ‘livin la vida loca.’ Jocks Bar: A lot can happen at 174 beats per minute- and anything that can happen, will happen in Loco!’s Drummin’ Bassment. www.myspace.com/locoparty

A) B) C)

Amser Lampser Trampser

WIN!

TICKETS TO SEE ALAN FLETCHER aka Karl Kennedy SEREN HAS

4 TO GIVE AWAY

To enter, answer the following question: Which TV Soap Opera does Alan Fletcher star in?

A) B) C)

Home and Away Neighbours Coronation Street

Seren will be interviewing Alan Fletcher for the next issue. If you have any questions you would like us to put to him please e-mail: features@seren.bangor.ac.uk

! N I W

TICKETS FOR WE ARE SCIENTISTS WORTH £12.50

The Blue Room

Bangor’s first electro/ indie night. Playing a hybrid of the indie and dance genres from the best independent labels, made by and played by the people who love music. A playlist not dictated by the radio one masses but music played from the heart. Good quality, danceable tunes with electric guitar sounds and pulsating beats.

And what is more, a different live band showcased each night. Not your fame hungry, music by numbers, treacle paced blandness or local bands still learning how to play their instruments; but dynamic, high tempo bands, here to party. This is not Trash under a different name! www.myspace.com/theblueroomnorthwales

ACADEMI= VARIETY

SEREN HAS

2 TO GIVE AWAY

To enter, answer the following question: Which band do We Are Scientists support the night before Bangor?

A) B) C)

Kaiser Chiefs Coldplay U2

EMAIL YOUR ANSWERS TO editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Puzzles, Posers & Problems

Name:........................................Bangor Uni E-mail:.............................

WIN

ACROSS 1. To trick ogres, remotely (8) compiled by John Jackson 6. After ski but also 10. How many players are before! (5) there on a Quidditch team? 7. 6 across, anglicised ---FILMS--(5) 11. Which actor played Just for 8. Attack flying mammals Dracula in the 1992 film ---BLOOD--“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”? back (4) 1. What name is given to 12. Which actor played 9. Questions (4) the disease that affects the Dracula in the 1931 film of 10. Marilyn mite have ability of the blood to clot? the same name? one after 7 years (4) 2. What is the liquid part of WHAT TO DO... 13. Which actor 12. Passing seconds blood called? Complete played Frankenstein’s emit backwards (4) 3. Do arteries carry blood (1) X-Word monster in the 1931 film away from or to the heart? 16. Legally remove (5) or (2) SERENoku “Frankenstein”? 4. Who killed the hydra 17. Ploughs through - or you can 14. Which actor played but later died from its toxic cash registers (5) enter both! Frankenstein’s monster blood? 18. A coded artist in a Next, fill in your name in the 1994 film “Mary 5. What colour is a half-shell (8) Shelley’s Frankenstein”? and Bangor Uni e-mail lobster’s blood? 5. In which 1988 film did DOWN address (at the top) ---HARRY POTTER--Alec Baldwin, Geena and hand this page in 1. A greyhound racer 6. What do Harry Potter’s Davies and Michael Keaton to main reception at renamed by Vauxhall (5) author’s initials stand for? play the Students’ Union. 2. The condition of a 7. What is the surname ghosts? Alternatively, you can Scottish lake (4). of Harry’s aunt, uncle and e-mail your answers to: 3. Harvest (4) cousin? from The English “vampire” comes editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk Old 8. What is the name of early 4. Can’t remember being from turn in German “Vampir”, Slavic Winners will be Harry’s owl? seated, cross-legged in Polish “vąper”, in turn from Old “opiri”. selected at random 9. Who plays Hermione “oper” or Old Church Slavonic an Esprit (5) to ed relat ly This Slavic word is very close Granger in the Harry Potter from correct entries nates 5. Honest recipients (8) pyr” (meaning “bat”) and origi “neto films? and will be awarded by root 6. Descended from (8) from the Proto-Indo European 01/12/07. meaning “to fly”. 11. Sounds cold in South America (5) Compiled by John Jackson Seren’s Radio Times 13. Cold abode (5) 14. Hilda’s better half and Marshall’s No.1 (4) 15. Seren (4)

yourself a SEREN pint glass (or 2)!!!

inQUIZitive Fun

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Storm Monda

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07:00 - 09.00 Storm In A Tea Cup morning mix 11:00 - 13.00 Storm Bites - Geek Chic Jack Green and Isa Wilson 13:00 - 14.00 The SU Show with Carolan Goggin, Communications and Societies Officer (CSO) 16:00 - 18.00 Homeward Bound 18:00 - 20.00 The Time Tunnel

Spencer, Lex & Tom with the best of the 60s, 70s & 80s, including the 30 Second Challenge 20:00 - 21.00 John Jackson hosts the debating panel show, with the news team and special guests 21:00 - 22.00 Kate’s Kloset Hip Hop and R&B with Kate Barratt

Tuesday 07:00 - 09.00 Storm In A Tea Cup

Forecast Wednesday

07:00 - 09.00 Storm In A Tea Cup 11:00 - 13.00 Storm Bites

11:00 - 13.00 Storm Bites 13:00 - 14.00 The SU Show 16:00 - 18.00 Homeward Bound Out Loud and Proud Music and chat from Pride with Aimee ‘Cherry’ Hamilton (LGBT Officer)

13:00 - 14.00 The SU Show with Xanthe Larcombe, Education & Welfare Officer 14:00 - 16.00 The Big Mix Up Clare Moore-Smith with mainstream music and chat 16:00 - 18.00 Homeward Bound 18:00 - 19.00 The Society Slot A different society is showcased each week

18:00 - 20.00 The Text Session DJPJ with your requests - text STORM and ur msg to 60300 20:00 - 21.00 Warm Up To Trash Prepare for Trash a night early with Zara 22:00 - 00.00 Bangor’s New Music Storm’s music team review their pick of the latest CDs

19:00 - 20.00 The Speculative Analysis Show Highlights from SpecAnal’s weekly experiments and tours, with music and chat of a spooky variety 20:00 - 22.00 Rock Stock Tom Giddings with a Trash warm-up 22:00 - 02.00 Trash LIVE! coming in January

Thursday 07:00 - 09.00 Storm In A Tea Cup morning mainstream mix

Friday 07:00 - 09.00 Storm In A Tea Cup 11:00 - 13.00 Storm Bites - The Dave and Ryan Show Mainstream music and chat

11:00 - 13.00 Storm Bites

13:00 - 14.00 The SU Show

13:00 - 14.00 The SU Show with Bethan Williams, UMCB President with a Welsh language show

14:00 - 16.00 Plektrum

16:00 - 18.00 Homeward Bound

18:00 - 20.00 Sound of the AU The best of the Athletic Union, hosted by Adam James

18:00 - 20.00 Something Borrowed, Something Blue DJPJ with an eclectic mix of old and brandspanking new 19:00 - 21.00 Ultrasound Lee Howson & Sean Lashec with their Trash cool-off of new, classic and obscure indie 21:00 - 22.00 The Jazz Hour with Jack Baker 22:00 - 00.00 The Underground Alex ‘Colonel’ Kirkham hosting underground dance at its best

16:00 - 18.00 Homeward Bound

21:00 - 23.00 No Added Sugar Winner of the Best Mainstream Show award 2006-07 - hosted by Jack Green and Dave Pallant, with lots of challenges

23:00 - 00.00 The WelshBoy Show Station Manager Mike Walsh - mainstream, with a little edge towards Welsh bands 00:00 - 02.00

The Saturday Sessions

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JUST FOR FUN - ANSWERS 1. Haemophilia; 2. Plasma; 3. Away; 4. Heracles/Hercules; 5. Blue; 6. Joanne Kathleen; 7. Dursley; 8. Hedwig; 9. Emma Watson; 10. 7; 11. Gary Oldman; 12. Bela Lugosi; 13. Boris Karloff; 14. Robert de Niro; 15. Beetlejuice.

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, including Guy The “Gunpowder Plotters” of 1605 to the old close got sby, Cate ert Rob Fawkes and t beneath rcrof unde an out House of Lords by renting with 36 barrels of room the lled fi They nt. ame Parli If they’d succeeded approx. 2.5 tonnes of gunpowder! blast would have the in lighting the fuse, it is estimated that it would’ve and it, with y Abbe ster taken Westmin away!! s mile 5 over been heard well

Saturda

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18:00 - 20.00 Bach A Tew (Little and Phat) Kerry Walton’s Welsh language show

Sports show. If you’re interested in rounding up the weekend’s sporting action, both nationally and locally, then get in touch with Storm’s Programme Controller, Storm FM are currently Peter Banks - peter.banks@ looking for a team to host undeb.bangor.ac.uk their Saturday afternoon

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Sunda

13:00 - 15.00 The Chart Show Weekly countdown 15:00 - 16.00 Around the World in 60 Minutes Em & Jen with a whistle-stop tour around the music world 16:00 - 18.00 The Classical Show Classical tunes you know, mixed with those you may not

18:00 - 18.30 7 into 30 The news team present the week’s happenings in 30 minutes, with Kate Barratt 19:00 - 21.00 The Motel Sarah & Alex with funk and big tunes, including the Helpdesk 21:00 - 22.00 Sin Roc Gymraeg Welsh rock music 22:00 - 00.00 Dead Air Mainstream chat, music and madness!


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Skye: The Misty Isle T

here has always been a lot of romance associated with the Isle of Skye, after all, Bonnie Prince Charlie fled there, dressed as a maid back in the eighteenth century in order to avoid capture by French troops. These days the chances are you won’t be singing ‘Speed Bonnie boat’ on the ferry as you come across from the mainland, as in 1995 construction was finished on the controversial bridge, linking the island to the rest of Scotland. Despite this, a lot of the romance remains. Skye is known as the Misty Isle, but on a clear day, views of and from the moun-

W

ith an expensive gap year ahead of me, the summer of 2004 saw me gathering sponsorship and taking to the road in a big way. The end to end challenge is an established route set up for sports elite as well as fundraisers like myself. The current record for cycling end to end is 41 hours 4 minutes and 22 seconds, having traversed the route in 3 weeks, I cannot comprehend how the aforementioned record is at all possible. As the crow flies the distance between Britains two furthest points is 875 miles, this is impossible to follow to plan though and our end speedometer reading was just short of 1000 miles. My sister had already completed the route once before in a very respectable time of 2 weeks. We left for John O’Groats on the 12th of July and the following day we started our journey. We shook hands as we crossed the start line ( so popular is the challenge that there is actually an official start/ finish line painted on the tarmac at both ends). The road out of John O’Groats is comfortingly all up hill and struggling up there put the inevitable thought into my head of - ‘oh my God what the hell am I doing?’ In the first day we cycled 79 miles, a distance motivated through sheer enthusiasm and determination. Having been on my bike from dawn till dusk the day before, the following morning I was struggling to walk and I had absolutely no enthusiasm to get back on my bike. None the less I did, and we spent the next 3 days travelling along the rather uninspiring A9. We stuck to the eastern side of Scotland, pushing ourselves up hills, relishing going down them. There is nothing better than to be five miles off your destination for the day and find the rest of the way of all down hill- coming into the town of

tains are second to none. Any keen mountain walker is spoilt for choice on Skye with the double benefits of both the Red and Black Cuillins. These ranges offer mountains to suit all abilities and the aptly named Inaccessible Pinnacle, set amongst the Black Cuillins is an open challenge to any self respecting climber. As well as mountains, there are plenty of coastal walks and beaches to explore, including a coral beach. Even if you’re not interested in climbing mountains, they provide a beautiful backdrop for the other activities available on Skye, most notably drinking. The Sligachan Inn at the foot of the Black Cuillins, with a view of Sgurr nan Gillean is a great place to recuperate after a day’s walking, or to just drink and have a meal. Any self respecting Scottish island has its own distillery and Skye is no exception. Tours of the Talisker distillery are fun and informative and even include a wee dram of the Scottish malt to taste. Other attractions on the island include Dunvegan Castle with its interesting history and beautiful gardens. This is the place to go

Cyclists who go “baaa”… Granton-on-Spey I had to refrain from screaming “Weeeeeeee!” all the way down. We made it down to Edinburgh, and just south of there we hit the Grampian mountain range. There is no better way to see the countryside than cycling through it. You can smell the air see all the details you miss when your in a car and it is a beautiful place to be. However when your cycling through a mountain range and dusk is closing in and you can see no sign of the town you expected to find half an hour back, panic does set in. On the plus side it can make you move faster, even up hills. The prettiest thing I saw that day was a sign post to Braemar. Thankfully we made it before dark. The mountains were physically challenging. To the extent that on one occasion,when I had been struggling up a shallow gradient for what seemed like hours, I got off my bike and picked it up, panniers and all, and threw it into the hedge. I proceeded to scream at my frightened looking sister a variety of choice phrases, the gist of it being “I can’t do it!”. A chocolate bar and a short walk later and I was pedalling again. It’s no worse than the dawning moment when you realise that

your essay is due next week and there’s no way around it, you have to work. We crossed into England and shifted gradually over to the west coast, travelling through Carlisle and Lancaster. It was when we got to Lancaster particularly that our luck ran out with the weather, we found a B‘n’B on the outskirts of the city and arrived dripping wet. If you spend so long cycling in the rain, it no longer matters how wet you are. You simply accept it and keep going. You rarely feel the cold. Down past Wales we crossed the Severn bridge and had the daunting task of navigating through Bristol. I am sure to those among us who drive, cyclists are a nuisance, one to be overtaken as quickly as possible. For a cyclist though, traffic is scary. Particularly when the cars are stuck in a traffic jam, and you are not. Motorists are apt to give you looks of disgust as you pass between them and the pavement, travelling at least 10 times faster than they are (them being stationary). This feeling of joy was going to back fire on me later though. Passing a traffic jam at speed down a lovely steep hill never seemed so fun. Until I lost my concentration at Okehamp-

ton and I actually fell off my bike and into a heap on the pavement. Nothing was damaged, except my pride. I ashamedly got up, brushed the blood from my knee and walked until we were on the flat. The pedestrians near by gave me a concerned look. The motorists next to me, didn’t. Travelling through Scotland and the North of England was principally countryside. Here we were use to passing fields of livestock. So much so that it became a personal challenge of ours to make these animals jump at every opportunity. This lead to us cycling along and yelling “Baaaa!” at fields of sheep. We were cycling in silence for most of the day, and this provided a valuable form of entertainment. However rather than making the animals scatter as we had hope, this usually just lead to sheep, yes sheep giving us bizarre looks. It was entertainment none the less. When we reached Padstow in the southern end of Cornwall, we began to cross

if you’re interested in finding out more about Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora McDonald, who helped him escape. There is even a lock of hair, which she kept as a momento of him. Skye’s very own serpentarium is great for kids and big kids alike and they let you hold the snakes. Another great place to visit is the toy museum, where you can play with toys dating back years, including original Meccano sets. The island’s capital is Portree, with its picturesque harbour and independent shops, restaurants and pubs. A happy afternoon can be spent sitting by the harbour eating fish and chips whilst the seagulls try and outdo you for them. There are great opportunities to buy unique gifts at Skye Batiks and Skye Silver. It may be a long way from Bangor, up in the north west reaches of Scotland, but whatever your interests, the Isle of Skye has a diverse mix of attractions for everyone and has a truly beautiful landscape.

Emma Dodd

familiar ground. The camel trail is a marked cycle route that runs from Wadebridge to Padstow. We had come down this way as children, and it provided a nice change to get off the road. The camel trail runs through wooded country-side, and also next to a river. It meant cycling on dirt track, a more difficult terrain, but to not smell car fumes for the afternoon it was worth it. From Padstow to Newquay and from Newquay to Perranporth. We were less than a days ride from Lands End. We arrived early into Perranporth and savoured our last day on the road in anticipation of tomorrow. Our last day of cycling was the easiest I’ve ever done. The road from Penzance to Lands End was horrible, it went up and down far too frequently, which lead to us walking up the last few hills. (Of course it was at this moment that my parents, who had come to meet us, came past in the car, beeping their horns in support. Three weeks of solid cycling and they passed us when we were walking!) From that point on we raced up every hill as if they were nothing. We came into Lands End on the 2nd of August. Few moments since then have come close to the elation I felt as I crossed the finish line that day. Three weeks, a thousand miles and we’d made it. I hugged my sister, my parents, ours friends. Hell, I would have hugged anyone that day I was so happy. I had completed a sporting challenger for the first time in my life. I had seen the length of the country in detail- from campsites, B‘n’Bs and youth hostels to rather disgruntled sheep and motorists. It was an amazing journey, both beautiful and fulfilling. And the best part of it? The certificate that’s hung on my wall. The official slogan reads “I’ve done it!”

Rachel Eales


14

Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Music Babyshambles – Shotter’s Nation

Love him or hate him, Pete Doherty is never out of the media. His tabloid fodder antics have forced nearly everyone to have some sort of opinion about him. Here, two Seren writers with very differing views give their verdict on his band’s new album, Shotter’s Nation.

Hate

O Love

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he influence of The Libertines on British indie can not be understated. Pete Doherty and Carl Barât, practically re-invented indie in the 00’s bringing it back to its independence, from mainstream music. Especially with guerrilla gigs where they were extremely close to their fans, forming a personal relationship with them - not the norm for such a high profile band. Doherty is picked over by the press, this is too harsh, yes he uses drugs, but so did John Lennon, David Bowie and Ozzy Osborn, musical revolutions are nearly always accompanied by prodigious drugs. The skinny tie and black suit were virtually invented by Doherty, and I’ve no doubt many people have seen The Libertine fans in red military jackets. This has even led Pete to become the face of Roberto Cavalli’s autumn fashion range. He is an intellectual man, a fan of great poets such as William Blake. At times referring to Britain as the ship Albion, the old Celtic name, and to the ancient Greek paradise as Arcadia where cigarettes will grow on trees. I was, to tell the truth, a bit worried about what was going to come from Babyshambles the second time round. But they have impressed. Much of the guitar work is admirable and Doherty’s vocals shine throughout. Shotter’s Nation very quickly picks up, ‘Delivery’ is Doherty as his better self, it’s a decent bit of indie rock No wonder it’s the first single of the album. The next track worthy of mention is, ‘Side Of The Road’, with its clever lyrics and fast hard chorus. Then the album seems to go off in another direction. ‘Crumb Begging Baghead’, is something The Stone Roses could have made. ‘French Dog Blues’ provides a perfect warm up to a beautiful little blues number, ‘There She Goes’. It’s a good effort for Doherty and shows off his great musical talent. Continuing on a good streak, ‘Baddie Boogie’ paints a marvellous lyrical picture of some interesting characters, and as well: it’s a damn good tune. Finishing, with a moving internal monologue by Doherty, ‘Lost Art Of Murder’ tells about lost dreams of paradise and his drug addiction. Shotter’s Nation proves Doherty still has more to give. I hope he finds his Arcadia, before the law or the press destroy him.

Ralph Dutton

h Pete. I once had a modicum of respect for you. You were in one of the finest and most influential indie bands of our generation, with squawking, rabid followers wherever you went! You went to jail, but that was okay because you said you had cleaned up, and who was I not to believe that?! Then the Libertines fell apart, and you decided to carry on with a slightly suspect side project, which you’re still clinging on to today. I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, hell, ‘Killamangiro’ wasn’t THAT bad. Then I watched, in person, your performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2005. I stared aghast at your “singing” and “showmanship” croaking over some horribly mistimed playing. It was (excuse the pun) shambolic to say the least. Then the tabloids really got their claws into you. In those two years past, I have come to associate the word “Doherty” with “horrible, writhing pain”. Down in Albion was a horrendous abortion of tunes, and Kate Moss didn’t help either. So,

Sugababes - Change

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like the Sugababes, but I’ve never gone out of my way to buy an album. With a cheap offer I thought ‘Why not? At the number one spot it must be alright, right?’ On first listen of the album I was surprised that I liked most songs, normally an album takes a few listens for me to really enjoy it. If you’re a girly girl, into pop, electro rock, dance beats and catchy lyrics this is the album for you. The main theme throughout is ‘love life’. There is a song for almost every situation you have been in; fallen in love with the wrong bloke, been dumped and then he wants you back, getting over an ex, falling for someone you didn’t want to. If it’s happened it’s on this album somewhere. It’s fabulous - not an album to take seriously - but something you can put on when you’re getting ready for a night out, offering a few slower songs mixed with faster tunes. One particularly cheesy slow song is ‘Back When’, which offers the puke- worthy lyrics: “You promised me we’d plant the seed to love and let it grow. “Joining the cheesy ranks is ‘Mended By You’ which is cute, a little syrupy, but listenable. At the moment it doesn’t seem like I’m selling it to you, but I promise it’s really a catchy little album that has some funky beats. Some of the catchy numbers include ‘My Love Is Pink’ - a little naughty but it will get you bopping around (Seventy different ways to misbehave / Betting that by tonight we’ll make it eighty). Cheesy no doubt, but with a funky under beat it’s a winner. ‘Surprise’ is another goodie; I imagine we have all been there with the best line: While you call me up late at night / Expecting me to wanna die / I’m busy here with some other guy. Brilliant (not the wanting to die part) but being called up by an ex and not wanting him. ‘Back Down’ is a hot number about how they like their men. It’s a song I could imagine in the background of a Coke advert as a gorgeous man graces our screen. It’s like a list, with funny lines including I like my man tough / But he’s gotta be smooth / When he’s giving my love / I like my man clean. Overall it’s a fun, pop-tastic album for anyone and I recommend it; if you liked the single ‘About You Now’ then you should enjoy listening to all. You can never have enough cheese.

Sophie de l’Orme

It was shambolic to say the least I come to your follow up, Shotter’s Nation, with a fair amount of trepidation. Despite a slightly disconcerting start, I’m stunned. It’s IN TIME. Your voice isn’t irritating me that much! You might have actually fulfilled a bit of that promise we all knew you had! ‘Delivery’ has been playing on the radio incessantly the past few months, and I find myself singing along to it. Everytime it starts though, I keep expecting Ray Davies to come in on vocals. Can I dislike it because of that? I guess not, but kudos there Pete, you’ve written a nice little pop tune that I can enjoy. The rest of the album is essentially in that vein: surprising. Of course, your voice can still irritate me at times. That tuneless droll which I associate with two years of tabloid hell rears its ugly head at random points. And please Pete, “I like getting leathered” is something that even the bloody Reverend and the Makers would be ashamed of. Let’s have some of the poetry back please! Perhaps what I like best about this album is that you’ve harkened back to a 60s/70s style of rock and roll, especially on ‘Crumb Begging Baghead’. Some of the guitar work is pretty retro, yet utterly compelling. Are you being a bit ironic here? After being likened with the gods of Hendrix and Morrison, is this your pithy comeback at those naysayers? If so, I like it! I’m stopping short of calling it great, because well, it isn’t. It’s a nice album that I’ve enjoyed, but that’s probably because it reminds me of everything that influenced it. ‘Crumb…’, as mentioned is probably the standout track, whilst ‘There She Goes’ playful reminds us of Robert Smith in better days. Apparently, your bandmates essentially blackmailed you into making this album. They should do it more often as it obviously has some kind of positive effect. Bravo sir, you’ve turned my hate and disdain into sullen appreciation. Third time’s the charm eh?

Ian Davies

Foo Fighters Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

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choes, Silence, Patience & Grace is Foo Fighters’ sixth studio album. Whilst it maintains the ‘classic’ Foo Fighters identity through songs such as ‘The Pretender’, this album is also a vehicle for the progression of the band’s sound. The album begins with ‘The Pretender’ which hooks the listener with its infectious feel and sound, a process continued to a degree by ‘Let It Die’ and ‘Erase/Replace’. It could be argued that with the inclusion of these tracks at the beginning of the album the band have opted for the ‘spoon full of sugar approach’. Despite this, the album does offer an impressive range of songs stylistically, ranging from orthodox rock to acoustic/country, whereas the inclusion of ‘Home’ offers a style verging on orchestral, making the album stretch the capabilities and shape future expectations of the band. Both the sound and lyrics of Echoes… mark the band’s maturity when compared with their first albums. Lyrically the album is meaningful and in places deep extolling the importance of family, home and identity, with ‘The Pretender’ questioning “So who are you?”. Songs such as ‘Home’, ‘But, Honestly’ and ‘Come Alive’ highlight an explorative aspect first seen in In Your Honour, showing the band’s desire to develop equally acoustically and in a more mainstream manner. This can be seen through the almost double ending of the record: ‘Home’ brings the album to a thoughtful mature close showcasing a new avenue for the band while the bonus track ‘Once And For All (Demo)’ brings back the Foo Fighters some fans may have been missing; shattering the calm vibe left from ‘Home’. Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace offers a new take on the Foo Fighters’ direction, which is more refined than In Your Honour. This album shows the band’s desire to create a new kind of music whilst wishing to maintain elements of their beginnings. It falls between the extremes of In Your Honour and the early material of albums such as The Colour and the Shape, which makes a good listen for those looking for something both old and new from the band.

David Horn

Radiohead – In Rainbows

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fter releasing one of the best guitar albums ever- The Bends in 1995- Radiohead became progressively more experimental and difficult with each album, alienating all but their most dedicated and open-minded fans. 2003’s Hail to the Thief marked a return to a much more accessible and mainstream sound, but felt like a regression for fans of the bleak and fragile Amnesiac (2001), and was overlong and inconsistent. In Rainbows addresses these problems and is a more concise and consistent effort. It is their most enjoyable and likeable album in over a decade. The album is musically energetic and innovative, without ever losing sight of melody or becoming pretentious. Highlights include the arresting, inventive opener ‘15 Step’, the achingly beautiful ‘Arpeggi’, and the moving and dramatic ‘Reckoner’. ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place’, too, is brilliant -and one of the most melodic and immediately accessible songs of the band’s career. Unfortunately the noisy and scuzzy ‘Bodysnatchers’ jars in tone with the rest of the album and ‘Videotape’ doesn’t quite live up to the closing track standards expected of a Radiohead album – just think of ‘Street Spirit’ at the end of The Bends as a perfect example. These are, however, minor criticisms, and In Rainbows remains an exceptional record. In a now-famous move the band released the album without a set-price, allowing downloaders to decide what to pay for the album. Surely this leaves no excuse for any music fan to be without it.

Chris Carter


15

Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

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NME Fresher’s Tour hits Bangor

o freshers week came and went and the new University year began and with it the hard work began, right? Well, maybe not straight away because the first proper week of the new term saw the triumphant return of live music to Bangor. Music to make the kids to sway, bop and dance the night away. NME Freshers Tour brought some of the hottest young bands around right to our very own doorstep and it was quite exciting really. First up were The Satin Peaches who warmed up the crowd nice and toasty with their very own slice of powerful alt-americana. Although they have been likened to an early Radiohead maybe more than a little unrealistically in a couple of reviews, there is definitely some angst in George Morris’ raw vocals and wave after wave of guitar riffs. Then we had the fresh-faced upstarts all the way from Australia, Operator Please, who long-hauled some fantastic indie-pop gems to the UK with them. Looking like the coolest kids in all of the southern hemisphere had been gathered up, had instuments glued to their hands, then been fed too many sweets - for surely it take an extreme sugar rush to make such frantic pop songs. The highlight was undisputedly the moment that ‘Just A Song About Ping Pong’ kicked in and everyone, including this very reviewer, went a bit ballistic. Air was punched, hips collided, and everyone got just a bit sweaty. In a good way. Finally, headliners The Go! Team came out to show eveyone how its done. As soon as they ran on stage a sonic bombardment to the senses commenced from the light/video extravaganza and hyper-energetic perfomance they managed to pack into the small stage. Searing guitar noise and not one but two drummers kept the rhythm to masses of dancing feet. Frequently swapping members between all the instruments and even vocal duties, from Ninja’s awesome MC skills (whilst dancing like her life depended on it), to Chi’s sugary sweet pop melodies. It didn’t matter if you only knew a handful of songs or none at all, the urge to dance and jump was irresistable. The crowd were hungry for more and two more atomic dance-bombs were dropped in the encore. A fantastic finish to the first of many fantastic gigs heading our way this year. See you at Pigeon Detectives anyone?

Lee Howson

Manu Chao in Manchester

Buen Chico Right to Re-Arrange

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overs of bunny-related artwork and sprightly indie-pop should endeavour to check out the debut album of youthful three-piece Buen Chico. In the post-Arctic Monkeys firmament that is today’s guitar-fixated indie scene too many bands have gotten away with cribbing the now dog-eared blueprint of the same anachronistic post-punk fixated sound for too long with precious little criticism for their meagre and often interchangeable efforts. Although Buen Chico display elements of these Libs/Cribs styled sounds, there are also signs of an effort to remove themselves from these over-grazed musical pastures and into fresher territory. Right To Re-Arrange marks the tentative first steps of this nascent band to carve out their own identity. Tracks such as singles ‘Choosing My Religion’ and ‘Giving Your Gifts’ set up their stall with aplomb; the insistent guitar hooks and subtle tempo changes indicates a band whose little details prove to be significantly more than the sum of their parts. At their best, evidenced in the perky and upbeat guitars of ‘Turning Myself Red’, they bring to mind the work of Canada’s Tokyo Police Club, one of the few ‘80’s influenced indie bands to emerge in recent times who have surpassed those that have gone before as a result of their ability to take those influences and transport them directly to the here and now. I get the feeling that this level of quality is within reach for Buen Chico, if they can up their consistency. The vocal inflections of guitarist and frontman Morgan remain notably English whilst recalling those of James Mercer’s The Shins and Wolf Parade. They survive these

comparisons largely because the hints of promise displayed through the majority of these tracks purports to even better music from this trio. It’s also refreshing to see a band pursue an ecologically-friendly agenda, implicit within the lyric sheet, but writ large on the back with the emblazoned “This CD is carbon neutral” tag. That is not to say, however, that there are not stumbling blocks present on this musical journey. The somewhat downcast lyrical slant often works wonders with the unabashed positivity of their instrumental chops, but it also has a habit of descending into haphazard banality at times when greater focus and insight would aid them greatly. Equally, Morgan’s vocals tend to get lost in the mix at times given the predominance of the guitar sound overall, whilst it’s a shame that bassist Kirsty’s vocal contributions are not towards the forefront more often, but then I am a sucker for female harmonies in bands wherever I can find them. A greater sense of musical adventure and the removal of the small amount of filler lurking within the corners of their music will come later, so to criticise them for playing to their strengths throughout the 40-ish minutes that comprise Right To Re-Arrange seems somewhat churlish. Fans of promising new bands, investigate further. Buen Chico have something to offer you.

Stephen Davies

he Manchester Apollo seemed an austere setting for the frenetic live act that is Manu Chao on October 8th, when he performed one of only four British gigs on his latest tour. Coming in the wake of his new album, La Radiolina, Chao’s rare visit to the UK was met with much delight from fans. Those expecting him to play mainly new tracks from the album would be surprised; the show consisted of a wide mixture of songs, ranging from those on his 1998 album, Clandestino to a few from La Radiolina. Supported by his band, Radio Bemba, as well as the drummer from Mano Negra, the band he fronted before going solo, Chao performed a range of his best loved songs. The atmosphere was lively and almost a little retro. There were several lighters be-

ing waved, as he sang a slow and beautiful rendition of ‘Welcome to Tijuana’ in Spanish. The whiff of marijuana emanating from a joint being smoked by a man beside me, seemed to fit well with the revolutionary bent to the whole gig. He interspersed his songs with short political speeches, but as always with Manu Chao, the music spoke for itself – even the beautiful ‘Que Hora Son?’ Which starts with the lyric Que hora son mi corazon? – What time is it my love?, culminates in a mighty Que hora son en Washington? The most notable absence in his set, however was ‘Politik Kills’, the politically charged stand out track from his latest album. By the way everyone were singing along, his audience was made up of people who’d been fans for years and were more than happy to hear their old favourites played live. In fact, Manu Chao seems to have taught a whole host of Mancunians to speak Spanish. This is certainly not a bad thing for a man who is a multicultural citizen of the

Interview With Nizlopi

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ack: The JCB song was a fantastic song, was there a story behind it to influence its writing? Nizlopi: “It’s based on Luke’s true life as a kid. His Dad’s side of the family is Irish and he has always been in the building business. Luke was writing a song one day, but thought “Ah no, this isn’t right” and went to his dad and was like: “Hey, dad what should I write about?” and he said “what? I dunno... diggers.” So Luke thought “yeah, why not?” So he wrote a song to show what it was like, how he remembers his life because he and his dad and family have always been so proud of what they’ve done.” Jack: What was the biggest gig you’ve played and how did it feel? Nizlopi: (thinks lots) “02 wireless festival. We are used to playing more intimate gigs from places like the day and night to fans’ living rooms. So to play at Hyde Park, outside in

the open air as opposed to underground gigs, in front of a crowd of 20,000 people it was very different and exciting.” Jack:Are you eager to establish yourselves as big names in the UK Top 40? Nizlopi: “No. Independence is a thing we are very proud of and want to keep an individual slant on our music. We take pride in not being commercialised and love to do what we do because it’s something we believe deeply in and want to inspire and change people.” Jack: What is the most bizarre thing you’ve been asked to sign by a fan? (ironically this question was asked just after

world, who sings in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English. The highlight for many was when he came on for his second encore (he performed three encores in total) and played the somewhat silly, but enchanting ‘Bongo Bong’. His album has been eagerly awaited for six years and in this time he has had other projects, such as producing the 2004 album Dimanche a Bamako by Malian duo Amadou and Mariam and I personally have waited four years to see him live, since I originally came across his music and fell in love with it. Manu’s set this month was well worth the wait and I’m sure I’m not the only one to think so.

Emma Dodd Emma will be hosting a new world music radio show, Around the World in Sixty Minutes with co presenter Jenny Holder on Sundays from 3pm til 4 on Storm 87.7FM.

a woman pulled a T-shirt out of her bag and asked them to sign it later) Nizlopi: “A lady’s pregnant belly, by her husband when we were playing in Glasgow, “I think it was a joke”” Jack: Nizlopi is an odd name for a band, where did it come from? Nizlopi: “There was a family in the local area called Nizlopi, a Hungarian name, there was Nina Nizlopi and Di her mother. We were good friends with Nina, I loved Nina, she was great, and one day we were practising in the kitchen and my mum said something about Di Nizlopi and we thought how about Di-Nizlopi as a name? And it sort of just stuck. Sounded cool like a dinosaur or something.” Jack:Last question, The X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing? Nizlopi:(no hesitation, just a laugh) “It’s got to be Strictly Come Dancing!”

Jack Green

(The Storm Pet)

WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!

Alton Towers Tickets

It’s the last chance to get your heart racing and escape to UK’s favourite theme park resort for 2007! Alton Towers’ Adrenalin Week runs 5th-11th November and celebrates the end of the theme park season with nothing but pure adrenalin-pumping thrill rides from 12-6pm everyday. And with almost 2 hours of darkness each day, the most terrifying thrill rides will only get even scarier in the dark! Forget the teacups and kiddie rides, experience the death defying drop of Oblivion, the flaming loops of Nemesis, the exhilarating acceleration of Rita - Queen of Speed and eight more of the UK’s best thrill rides, all for an unbeatable £14 online. Competition To celebrate the Adrenalin Week and end of theme park season, Alton Towers is offering Seren readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to the theme park during the heart racing Adrenalin Week taking place 5th – 11th November. To enter answer this simple question: What is the name of the fastest ride at Alton Towers? A) Air B) Rita Queen of Speed C) Enterprise all entries sent to editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk

WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

Stereophonics Interview – Bassist Richard Jones

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mma: Let’s talk about the new album, ‘Pull The Pin’. How do you feel about it? Richard: Really confident, it was great fun to record and we had a great laugh. We finished recording it last November, it’s been a bit of a wait for it to come out. Emma: Is that because of Kelly releasing his solo work as well? Richard: Well that was recorded at the same time, during the last couple of weeks in the studio. He had the idea of using a few of the tracks that didn’t quite fit the album and start a side project of all girls names, writing stories about them in all different situations and the different things that girls get into. Emma: The title of your album has got quite ‘explosive’ connotations behind it hasn’t it? Richard: Yes, I think it could be quite social with what’s happening with the war in Iraq, but for us the title comes from when we were teenagers, from when we started going out to all the pubs and clubs and if one

We’ve always wanted to be a band which lasts around of us was a little bit indecisive about what to do next then somebody else would just say, well, “Just pull the pin.” It basically just fits in with the confidence and the attitude of the band while we were recording the album and at the moment we’re pretty comfortable. We know what the band is, we haven’t got to prove anything to anybody. Emma: That’s a good attitude to have. Richard: Well out of all the incidents and all the ups and downs that we’ve been through since the You’ve Got To Go There To Come Back album it’s a pretty good place to be. We found ourselves at that time talking more about you know like solicitors and lawyers and accountants rather than playing music, which got us down a bit. The last album just boosted our confidence and we’re back in the

same place as we were at the time of the first two albums – all singing, all dancing and wanting to conquer the world! Emma: Do you have a favourite new track, then? Richard: It tends to change every so often. We’ve been playing them live recently around eastern Europe – tracks like ‘Pass the Buck’ and ‘I Could Lose Ya’, ‘Crush’, the title track ‘Soldiers Make Good Targets’- they’re all kind of really rocking tracks to play live. Emma: The band has been going for ten years now, how does that feel? Richard: Well, we’ve always wanted to be one of those bands that just makes a great catalogue of work and doesn’t stick around for the right styles and right haircuts but that are actually sounding good and playing good live. Emma: There are a lot of good haircuts around at the moment, though. Richard: It’s got to be like that though! The music industry, a lot of it is just about style but what people actually like is the substance. Emma: Well that’s what makes you stick around for ten years. Richard: Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s a long time to get the right haircut! Hopefully we won’t change our hair in the next couple of years now as they seem to be serving us alright! Emma: For many of the students here in Bangor your band will have shaped their teenage years. I can remember being 11, sitting on the school bus and hearing your first album and now here I am interviewing you 10 years later, so how does that feel? Richard: It’s great to be part of somebody’s life. Through what can be a lot of difficult times in your teenage years, with all the shit that goes through your head: “Is this right? Is that right? Am I wrong?” That’s how I find music - it can take you to different places, you can lose yourself in music and to be part of that, it’s amazing. You have people come

up to you and explain that we’ve changed them, a part of their lives with something that we’ve just written and played. Emma: How do you think the band has changed? Richard: I think we’ve changed in the overall confidence in the band. In the beginning we were doing everything to please everybody. We’re beginning to prioritise now and not work ourselves to death because that just ends up being counter-productive. We’ve realised that we don’t need to be changing

You can lose yourself in music and to be part of that, it’s amazing. people’s political views or anything we are entertainers, we’re the ones that people put on in their car or on their I-Pod and just sing along to. Emma: A lot of bands are very politicised nowadays and they think that they can change the world. You hold a very down to earth attitude in comparison. Richard: Well some bands are doing really well, such as Bono from U2, he’s speaking about what he believes in. There needs to be people like that rather than some bands that don’t know fuck all really. To us, we never wanted to mix politics with what we do because out of all the best rock ‘n’ roll bands of the past, they’re all about entertaining people and making people forget about all the bullshit that goes on in the world. Emma: Would you have ever done anything different?

Hard-Fi Interview –

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mma: You’ve just come back from Australia, then, how was that? Kai: Australia was great, it’s just starting to get warm over there. I find it’s a really nice change as it’s so unlike the UK in some respects, and in other respects it isn’t. The audiences in Melbourne were really rowdy, it was like playing a Scottish audience! In Sydney it was a little more like playing a London or Manchester audience. Emma: A bit more reserved? Kai: Yeah, then we went to Tokyo because the album came out there. Emma: Aren’t they really fanatical in Japan? Kai: Yeah they were very keen. They really get excited when they see you, you just have to look at them and wave and some of the younger girls would be really giggly. But they bring you presents.

Emma: Really? Anything unusual then? Kai: Yeah - I got some socks and some collages made out of photos with a beautifully written letter inside it. They’d basically gone to a lot of effort with it. Emma: ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ is your second number one album – how does that feel? Kai: After one week of its release it had gone to the number one spot, which was a real touch because it took so long and it meant people were still waiting for us. The first time round with ‘Stars Of CCTV’ it was a surprise because it happened after so long and at the same time The Editors were right on our tails as well so we didn’t think that we were going to get it. Then Arctic Monkeys were released the next week which just wiped the floor with everything.

Richard: Definitely not. All the mistakes we’ve made we’ve learnt from. We’ve stuck by everything with our hands on our hearts. When people have slagged us off we’ve been like, “Well fuck you! We believe in it!” As a result some people stuck with us and some people didn’t which is all just part of the parcel. Emma: So do you have any highlights then from the past ten years of being in the band? Richard: I suppose playing with all of our heroes. We’ve been fortunate to tour with U2, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Doing festivals with people like Beck and R.E.M. Being in the band and playing with all these bands that you grew up listening to and speaking to these people and realising who they are, just normal people just in the same situation as we are. Emma: Do you still get starstruck then? Richard: I still get starstruck. You’ve got to. A big highlight was 2001, and playing Glastonbury and V Festival so that in the space of about six weeks we ended up playing to about 400,000 people in four gigs. It was really surreal because you don’t actually soak it up when you’re there because you’re more focused on what you’re doing but then when you watch it back on DVD, to us it was like, “Fucking hell, we did that as well!”

Emma: So what do you think the future holds for you, do you think you’ll be getting back to that? Richard: Yeah, definitely. We’ve got a UK tour coming up in November and we’re just looking forward to playing the album live. Hopefully we can get in some festivals next year and after the tour cycle finishes we’ll probably get back into the studio and be recording the new album. We’ve always wanted to be a band which lasts around and you can only do that by making good albums and making sure you play good live in order to entertain people when they come see us.Me and Kelly have always wanted to be the sort of band that has recorded perhaps ten, twenty albums. We didn’t get into it to become superstars we were in it to be in a band and record music and play live. Emma: Well thankyou very much, I’m going to have to say goodbye now. Richard: Give my love to all the students in Bangor, goodbye.

Emma Dixon

Bassist Kai Stephens

Emma: You went back to Staines then to record the new album? Kai: Yep we recorded it in pretty much the same place as we recorded the first one so instead of spending our money on a really posh studio we bought our own equipment – monitors, mixing desks, some new amps,

Would you have wanted to have been my friend beforehand? When I was working for Rentokill? guitars and some decent microphones and a computer. We didn’t pay any attention to basic amenities such as running water and

we lived off microwave meals for quite a long time but it felt really good to kind of do it our own way again. We also recorded a song for Radio 1 there, a cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’. Every band got given a year to choose a song from, if we had been given say ‘67 or maybe ‘71 or ‘77 it would have been a bit more up our street - but no, we got 2004.

Emma: We’re going to have to go on to the whole ‘No Cover Art’ issue – I bet you’re really bored of that by now! Kai: Not really because we’re bringing out ‘Can’t Get Along’ as our second single at the moment and emails are flying backwards and forwards saying “Come on, what are we putting on the front?” Obviously it’s going to be the theme now. We really like it! It’s given us a concept to work with for our whole campaign. It came about because we were having a reaction to the pressure on us to market us in a certain way. We just didn’t agree with that. The album ran over and we weren’t thinking of artwork until people were starting to pull their hair out so when the ‘No Cover Art’ was suggested it was unanimous – everyone really liked it and I think people who have not liked it were the people who didn’t like us anyway. We believe with another band, maybe with more of an intellectual claim than Hard-Fi, like Radiohead, had come up with that concept… Emma: Oh it would have been genius! Kai: Yes, exactly. It’s almost as if Hard-Fi aren’t allowed to be intellectual. Emma: You certainly do have your supporters though: Mick Jones is a big fan of yours and you’ve played with Neville Staples, Jerry Dammers, Paul Weller. Kai: I’ve got a picture up on the wall actually of me playing onstage with Neville Staples and Jerry Dammers performing ‘Ghost Town’ - that’s something that will be with me forever. Also when we played the 5 nights at Brixton Academy in 2006 one of the nights Paul Weller was up there and another night

Mick Jones, there was one time when it all broke down and the only thing that was going were my voice and Mick Jones’s voice. I was singing with Mick Jones at Brixton Academy. For me, Weller was the one where it was sort of like, “Where do you go after Paul Weller?” Emma: With the success of this album you’re clearly on the cusp of something huge, does that scare you at all? Do you ever get frightened? Kai: No not at all I’m definitely not scared. I’m still quite a normal person - I’ve got a baby daughter and a girlfriend so when I come back from Hard-Fi I just come back to my house and just chill out or whatever

We didn’t pay any attention to basic amenities such as running water

watch telly and just get loads of early nights. Emma: So no famous girlfriends for you lot then? Kai: Well I don’t know about the other lads! I meet people all the time and it’s just seems a bit superficial it’s like “Would you have wanted to have been my friend beforehand? When I was working for Rentokill? Would you have wanted to know me? When I was up in attics killing wasp nests and stuff?” I met my girl before all Hard-Fi came about so I know she loves me for who I really am. Emma: For the pest-controller in you. Kai: For the pest-control, yes. Emma: Well, I’d better leave you now but I’d just like to ask, as this is going to be in our Halloween issue, what will you be dressing up as this year do you think? Kai: A Vampire. Yeah I haven’t done that before, they always seem a bit too obvious but I’m going to be a vampire this year.

Emma Dixon


Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

RATATOUILLE rating:

F

*****

ollowing in the footsteps of last year’s ‘Flushed Away’ from DreamWorks and Aardman, Pixar’s latest animation effort tells the tale of a rat who has found himself in a world that he is not familiar with. However, that is pretty much where the similarities with that film end as ‘Ratatouille’ is completely devoid of the pop culture references and more lowbrow/slapstick style humour, instead delivering a far more sophisticated movie with a much greater emphasis on plot than on humour. That’s not to say that it isn’t funny, though, just that the humour doesn’t come from the same source as many other modern day animated movies, particularly ones produced by Pixar’s main animation rival DreamWorks animation. As with Pixar’s other movies the humour comes from the heart with the laughs being of the variety that both children and adults alike can enjoy. It is because of this that ‘Ratatouille’ stands out from all the other recent computer animated movies. Unlike this summer’s ‘Shrek the Third’ this is a film that everyone can enjoy, not just younger and far less demanding viewers. ‘Ratatouille’ tells the tale of a small rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who has an uncanny sense of smell which allows him to detect the different odours given off by a variety of food ingredients. Unlike his family and colony Remy doesn’t want to settle for eating garbage and constantly seeks the finer things in the world of food. Dreaming of becoming a chef, in the footsteps of his idol, the top French cook Gusteau (Brad Garrett), Remy soon finds himself in the sewers of Paris and separated from his family. And it just happens that he is right beneath the restaurant of his now deceased culinary hero Gusteau. Looking into the window he sees gormless garbage boy Linguini (Lou Romano) accidentally ruin the soup then Remy steps in to fix it. When the soup is served to a customer who loves it Linguini suddenly finds himself in demand by the customers but there is one problem - he can’t cook. Conversely, Remy, is a great cook but being a rat finds the kitchen a dan-

CLASSIC DVD REVIEW

Audition. 18. ****

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n 1999, controversial Japanese director Takashi Miike made his name to western audiences by delivering arguably, one of the greatest horror films with Audition. A rarity with horror films, Audition manages to be genuinely chilling. The story follows a widower of eight years, Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) whose son thinks that it’s time for him to find a new wife. Lonely for eight years, Aoyama doesn’t have the confidence to simply go out and meet someone until his movie producer friend suggests holding a fake audition for a female lead so Aoyama can seek for a new wife. Through the audition process Aoyama thinks he’s found the right woman in the

gerous and unwelcoming place. When Linguini realises that it was Remy who fixed the soup a partnership is born between the two and soon they are shot to stardom in Paris for their unique brand of cookery. At first their partnership goes well but things start to go wrong when Remy’ family find him and encourage him to get them food from the kitchen, and when Linguini’s scheming boss Skinner (Ian Holm) cottons on to what he is up to and tries to put a stop to it. At the same time Linguini and Remy must prepare for a visit by the dreaded food critic Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole), who with one review will make or break them. ‘Ratatouille’ is undoubtedly one of the more

original ideas that Pixar has come up with and this is one of the things that makes this film so great. Unlike many other computer animated movies of later this does not rely on the audiences knowledge of pop culture to be funny or entertaining. The screenplay is expertly written by Brad Bird, one of Pixar’s top chefs, combining witty dialogue with a charming and original storyline. Brad Bird also delivers cooks up a treat as director too, perfectly bringing the story to life with superb animation, which could quite possibly be the best that Pixar has ever produced. The attention to detail is simply astounding with the food really looking good enough to eat. The animation really is that beautiful and is form of Asami (Eihi Shiina). Up until around 45 minutes, the film seems to be a gentle romantic tale of two lost souls that have been lucky enough to meet. However, Asami doesn’t appear to be the woman she makes out, as the film delivers some stark warning signs of impending doom for Aoyama, one of which is guaranteed to frighten you.

Also, scenes of normality between the couple now begin to ooze menace. This is one of the best skills brought forward by director Takashi Miike: the ability to turn something ordinary into something eerie. During a romantic weekend away, Asami suddenly

a triumph, even by Pixar’s standards. The voice cast is another area where this film delivers excellence. The voice actors all manage to grasp their characters perfectly and are clearly well chosen for the parts, but while they are do a very good job, they also never overpower or undermine any of the other elements of the films. This is in part because of the decision to cast voice actors for being talented rather than for being big names, like with many other computer animated movies. The humour is one of the film’s strongest points, though, with the kind of laughs that you’re unlikely to find in any other movies this year. The laughs all come from the situations, never from pop culture references or in jokes, and every time you laugh it is almost like you are laughing with the characters rather than at. This is testament to the shear heart that the humour is built around, with the Pixar team not simply settling to make you laugh, rather trying to make something that you will remember. This is why Pixar is so different to other animation studios. They don’t just want to make a film that you will enjoy once and never think of again. They want to make a film that will stay with you for a long time and this is exactly that kind of film. Also, the humour has appeal for a broad audience with both children and adults being catered for, even though younger children may not fully appreciate the more sophisticated humour. The reason this film works so well isn’t any of the individual elements but all the elements combined. The animation, the story, the voices and the humour all work together to make the film so good, like they are a recipe for success. Overall, ‘Ratatouille’ is one of Pixar’s best looking and most enjoyable movies. It is also about as sophisticated a family movie as you’re ever likely to find. If you are looking for an animated movie that has something different to offer then you should definitely check out ‘Ratatouille’. It is a piece of delicious family entertainment that is cooked to perfection and really should be appreciated for what it is.

Robert Mann search of her. From here on, the film becomes a scary and surreal nightmare for both Aoyama and the audience as Asami’s true colours are exposed to psychotic effect. Director Miike ratchets up the tension to almost exceedingly intense heights with potent imagery and unnerving use of sound encased in a menacing atmosphere, until a climax of prolonged torture, which gives the Saw and Hostel movies a run for their money. The harrowing final half hour is however slightly confusing as the director never makes clear whether what Aoyama is going through is an attack of psychological guilty conscience, an all too real nightmare or a combination of both. Audition won’t be for everyone, it’s an uncomfortable watch and isn’t much fun as it aims only to terrify you. Personally, horror films don’t appeal to me but Audition is a true original, one that manages to be scary and not overly gratuitous in its violence, a classic of the genre and a great one to watch this Halloween.

Mark Varley.

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Film

TOO MANY JUMPED OVER SHARKS IN THE WORLD

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nyone who saw Spider-Man 3 will have endured the sight of Tobey Maguire impersonating John Travolta circa Saturday Night Fever complete with Emo haircut, a bizarre concoction, made all the more horrifying because it was supposed to show that Mr Maguire had “revenge in his heart”. Such moments of madness in popular culture have their own special term, ‘jumping the shark’, first realised by fans of Happy Days upon seeing that their beloved TV show had openly embraced a doomed-to-failure level of absurdity when the character of The Fonz jet-skied over a shark. The series never recovered, committing a piece of YouTubery forever destined to remind creative minds how not to handle their intellectual property...or so it seemed. The brooding chins on display in ‘Batman Begins’ went some way to freeing us from the misery of that one point in history when somebody put latex nipples on a vigilante psychopath and, even more chillingly, Warner Bros executives thought it a good thing. Indeed, such folly is human nature but when it is caused by people appointed with protecting our icons, it cannot help but

unsettle the very core of our being. For me, the ‘Halloween’ series jumped the shark when unstoppable murderer Michael Myers was Kung Fu’d by Pussycat Dolls collaborator Busta Rhymes. Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake attempts to take Myers back to his dark roots, but in the process crucially loses the suspense of the 1978 original in favour of relentless violence, which is simply nasty and fatally not frightening. As well as being indicative of the state of contemporary horror, it goes to no length in attempting to eradicate the memory of Busta’s lamentable martial arts display. Instead of looking at why the character worked in the first place, Zombie has selfishly acceded to the Torture Porn School of Film-making and unjustifiably de-mystified his leading man. As Batman Begins proved, there are ways to overcome jumping the shark, but it’s a great shame when people who should know better positively welcome the chance to hop on The Fonz’s water-skis.

Kevin Smith

Are You a Movie B.U.F.F. ?

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ove watching films? Want the chance to make your own and meet other likeminded individuals? Well, if you do, you should most definitely check out B.U.F.F.S. (Bangor University Film Foundation Society). Run by film fans for film fans, B.U.F.F.S. was created several years ago and has since overseen the production of a number of student films. Offering equipment and resources such as video cameras and computer editing software, the society gives Bangor university students the chance to bring their own film ideas to life. In addi-

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tion to the chance to make your own films, B.U.F.F.S. is also planning film screenings for anyone who likes to watch films. So, whether you like watching films or you want to make your own, why not check out the Bangor University Film Foundation Society and if you have any film ideas bring them along. Meetings are held on Sundays in Varsity at 6.30. If you would like to know more you can email the society president at buffs@undeb. bangor.ac.uk.

Robert Mann

HORROR MOVIES THIS HALLOWEEN PSYCHO

ALIEN

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Nightmare on elm street

Night of the living dead

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

HALLOWEEN SHINING


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Books

Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: OLD AND NEW OLD CLASSICS

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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his novel is recognised as the basis of the horror genre through the use of language to describe the monster

to us. To begin with Shelley is able to portray Victor Frankenstein as the god like character who has only made a mistake. However the further this characteristic is portrayed, the more Shelley reveals about the monsters feelings. This area of the novel is an eye opener for first time readers. The story begins with a journal entry with Captain Walton; from here we learn that he has seen both Frankenstein and his monster. From here we hear Victor Frankenstein recapping his story of the monster he created and then tried to destroy. At times within this novel there are emotional scenes

where the monster is coping with human feelings or when he unleashes his anger at Victor Frankenstein and tries to kill him. This horror novel does justice for the classic horror novels. It excludes all of the elements that ensure that it is a classic, horror, fear, anger and the classic murder scenes. This is a novel for those who enjoy there horror novels to be slightly tame and subdued.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

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his classic horror book created the basis for nearly all of our horror movies and typical stereotypes of the horror sense, including Halloween. This novel begins with Jonathan Harker leaving England to visit a client in his Transylvanian castle. From the beginning the reader can see that this novel will be full of different plots including Dracula’s plot to travel to England and prey on the young and vulnerable. This includes another main character Mina Murray, Jonathan’s fiancé and Van Helsing. This novel shows the beginning of the feud between Dracula and Van Helsing. The various areas where this novel is at it’s best are the hunting scenes where we can see Dracula hunting for fresh blood and then Jonathan and Van Hesling trying to track down and kill Dracula.

This novel is the prefect read again and again no matter what the mood you are in. the suspense is built up through the different areas of horror that have influenced us over the years.

OTHER POPULAR Nazareth Hill Ramsey Cambell HORRORS A rebellious teenager’s tense relationship with her The 37th father liberates fearsome Mandala monsters of English history. Amy Priestly has always Marc Laiddreaded ‘the spider house, ‘ as she privately calls the law

When Derek Crowe attempts to turn the unseen mandalas into guardian spirits to enrich his bank account, the cynical New Age charlatan uncovers the reasons past occult masters have left them alone.

abandoned Nazareth Hill monastery. When she and her father, Oswald, move into an apartment in the newly gentrified ‘Nazarill, ‘ her fears are reinforced by the building’s gloom-crawly things seem to crouch in its shadowy hallways. Worse, her father is becoming increasingly tyrannical. (publishers Weekly)

by Emma McColl We all

know the basis of the horror genre which is why the old classic novels are of great importance, but the question is… Are they better than the modern horror writers? For this Halloween edition the old classics will be compared to the modern horrors. For this I will be reviewing Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dracula by Bram Stoker for the old classics and Misery by Stephen King and Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris for the modern horrors.

FREEZER BURN JOE R LANSDALE

Bill has no job, no money and no mother ‘... his mother was dead and kind of freezedried in her bedroom’. She doesn’t smell as bad as she used to, but her welfare checks are piling up and Bill doesn’t feel smart enough to forge her signature. So he decides to rob a firecracker stand across the highway from his house, for cash and may be a few loud bangs into the bargain. The heist goes horribly wrong and Bill winds up on the run with a freak show. Could it be that Bill’s loser days are over? Nope ... ‘Should please Lansdale’s many devoted followers . . . Fast, furious, finger-lickin’ pages’ The Times

GIANT FELLING AT THE BOOKERS

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his year’s Booker prize has just been announced and you’d be forgiven for saying “Who?” when you’re informed of the winner. In a shake up that has had the literary world divided, this year’s Booker prize has overlooked many well established authors, focussing on books, whose sales up until recently have been relatively few. In fact, from the beginning, things have been different. The long list was relatively short, with only thirteen books appearing on it, where there are normally eighteen and Ian McEwan being the only author which you’re likely to have heard of. Writers, such as Jeanette Winterson have spoken out in horror and the judges have been criticised for the speed in which they read, and in fact dismissed many of the candidate novels put forward for the prize. The judges have gone on record saying that they read the books at a speed of eighty pages an hour and many say that it would be impossible for them to judge fairly under such pressure. It is reported that the judges, a group of Oxbridge graduates ranging from poets and journalists to the actor,

Imogen Stubbs, all got on well whilst making their decisions. This level of agreement is rare in the history of judging the Booker prize and credit must be given to Sir Howard Davis of the London School of Economics who chaired the judges. The books that made it to the shortlist included two immensely political works: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid and Animal’s People by Ludra Sinha. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan and Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones were the two that had been heralded as most likely to win, with the immense Darkmans by Nicola Barker and The Gathering by Anne Enright the rank outsiders. It was the latter, Irish writer, Enright, who was inspired by the likes of James Joyce, growing up in Dublin, who scooped the £50,000

prize. This will presumably have a huge effect on the writer and boost her book sales, something not really necessary for McEwan, who despite missing out on the prize has sold more copies of On Chesil Beach than the rest of the books on the shortlist combined. So maybe it’s a good thing that this year’s prize focussed on the dwarves instead of the giants of the literary world.

Emma Dodd

MODERN HORRORS

Misery by Stephen King

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his modern horror novel has formed the basis for the horror kidnappings. With amazing characters and situations you can see that King is the mastermind that everyone knew he was. This Novel Begins with a distant memory suddenly abandoned by the main character Paul Sheldon. From this point we experience everything the way he wants us to causing the reader to be entrapped in the novel. King uses this novel to show that horrors are not always full of abnormal monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula. In this novel we just have Annie Wilkes, a villain in a whole new level. This novel is perfect for those who enjoy

suspense more than horror as there are always situations where you are afraid to turn the page in case the worst has happened. This novel gives a new meaning to the once innocent line ‘I’m your number one fan.’

Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris

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homas Harris is recognised for such horror classics as ‘Red Dragon’, ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Hannibal’. With the release of his new novel ‘Hannibal Rising’, horror fans will have a new level to take the Lecter to. This new novel has the ‘origin story’ of Harris’ most renowned character, ‘Hannibal Lecter’, the cannibal who can lure his unwitting victims to their untimely death. This novel begins with the reader witnessing the Lecters’ childhood and how it haunts him. The main area of this torment is when the Lecter witnesses his family dying and his 12 year old sister being taken away and eaten by a gang of local Nazi sympathising thugs. This is one of the main starting points of the novel which leads to the Lecters first killings, ironically those of the Local thugs who killed his sister. By seeing the Lecter as such a young age killing helps the reader to understand his urge to kill and why he kills certain people.

Understanding this helps us to see that Harris has established the Lecters character through his bitterly troubled past and how he only killed for revenge at the beginning of the novel. This novel uses a new perspective to help the reader see the villain through. Harris says “Hannibal had entered his hearts long winter. He slept soundly and was not visited in dreams as humans are.” This is used to create a new level of fear of the horror genre and it works. This novel shows Harris’ gift for the horror genre and how he can make the reader weary of everything, especially those dark nights were a young teenager stops you and is exceedingly nice to you.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

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ate Morton’s first novel, The House at Riverton, has gained much attention since it was put on the reading list for The Richard and Judy Book Club this summer. Since then it has been subject to rave reviews, and not without cause. It’s no wonder that Morton’s debut went down so well with the public, using easily accessible language and a highly accessible storyline through the memories of the main character, Grace. The story begins in Southern England in 1998, but the main bulk of the story is set at Riverton Manor between 1914 and 1924. Spanning the Great War and the roaring twenties, the novel addresses some of the forgotten issues in British history across the classes, always looking at how they affect the individual characters as the century unfolds. Morton manages to explore the highs and lows of both upper and lower class life through some of the most pivotal events and times that have affected life to make it what it is today. It may sound like a historical novel, but all the events and issues are cleverly explored through the characters’ experiences and emotions. The characters in this novel are Morton’s greatest accomplishment. As a reader, you can sympathise with all of the younger gen-

eration and what it is to grow up with social expectations in the aftermath of the Great War and the beginning of a new age with a new set of aspirations. In particular, we observe the frustrations of the Hartford sisters, Hannah and Emmeline, through the eyes of Grace for a decade. The sisters are at the heart of the story and it is their complicated relationship that makes this novel such a rewarding read. We also have an insight into the changes below stairs as well. If you have any interest in filling a hole in your historical knowledge or you just enjoy a good love story, The House at Riverton can fulfil that and more. At 600 pages, it’s a big read, but all the more to explore.

Jen Stanley


Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

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WOMEN’S BADMINTON

angor University’s Women’s Badminton Club has been promoted to the highest league in their division and they expect to face some strong competition as a reward. They will be hoping for more success in their next set of matches at home when they will have more players available

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for selection. Unfortunately on Wednesday 17th the women’s team lost 7-1 to Lancaster whereas the men’s 2nd team were unlucky to lose 5-3 to Liverpool, though this score is under dispute at the moment. A terrific performance by the men’s first team saw them triumph 6-2 against Liv-

erpool John Moores and they’ll have to put on another top performance in their next set of matches at Manchester to maintain their winning streak.

surance. Walking is one of the easiest exercises you can do without realising it. It is fun and entertains, cheap and easy to adopt. Unlike visiting the gym, you can add walking on your daily or weekly routine and stick to

The weather is not that bad this autumn, giving a bit of sunshine every now and then, can not only set you into the mood, it makes it much easier. Running is also a good exercise. The hill from Morrisons down to the Student’s Union is a perfect one or you can also enjoy a good run at the seaside. Walking in University of Bangor is seen by students as a big job. Nobody wants to do it, they choose the easy way to lectures and back. Even when they’ve got that spare time at home, they prefer to relax on their couch and watch TV. That is cool, but can also be wrong sometimes. Challenge yourself and go for a walk to see what hidden treasures Bangor has to offer. Also give yourself a treat sometime by eating foods that give you energy and vitamins. Food like vegetables and fruit, they give you an extra strength that makes you wonder sometime, “what can I do now, I’m so bored. Right! I will take a walk”. Don’t forget to drink a lot of water as well. You should watch out for the amount of alcohol you take in every week because this can be a nightmare for the whole programme and would make a big difference. Come on, hurry up before the autumn ends and shed those little pounds off. If you can’t make it over the winter, you can take some months off and start in spring and be ready for the summer. You don’t really have to plan much for a walk. You can do it with friends or without as it’s just a walk after all.

Laura Reilly

WHY NOT WALK OUT?!

o you really have to apply for a gym card, pay for it and use it once in a blue moon? Do you really have t o make up your mind every now and then to register with a gym class? Or have you al-

ways thought of doing some exercise some point in time? Why not walk it out? Bangor is one of the best places for a walk, coming from upper Bangor to “lower Bangor”, from the high street and heading to the pier or up the hills at St Mary’s. Not only that, there are many places for you to exercise your legs too. The hills, seaside and mountains are a great as-

it. An easy going stress it is! About 65 percent of students are worried about their weight and do nothing about it. Some engage in foods like weight watchers, slim fast, slimming pills etc. I don’t think that will work if you don’t add a little effort of exercise into it. Majority of students like exercising and sports, but don’t take it that seriously.

University of Liverpool 26-28 Bangor University.

WALKING

ave you ever looked up at the hills behind Bangor and thought to yourself “I wonder what the world looks like from up there?”, or even “I wonder what it would be like to climb that”? Well the University Mountain Walking Club do just that every week during term time. Leaving for walks and scrambles from the Students’ Union every Saturday morning, the UMWC provides a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of Bangor’s unique location. As if that weren’t

enough, we also offer unique away trips to the Lake District, Scotland and beyond! Walking less your style? Don’t worry, as the Walking Club also enjoys an active social scene, meeting every Tuesday at 8pm in the Albion. Events last year included a trip to the Caernarfon Fun Centre, pub crawls, pub golf and more. Interested? Find out more at our website www. umwc.org.uk.

Bangor University 58-4 Aberwystryth University

ATHLETICS

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the dam that had been set up by the Welsh defence. The score was now 22-20 to Bangor and it was looking as if all of Bangor’s hard work was going to go to waste. Liverpool once again threw all that they had left at Bangor but were forced to knock on at the halfway line. The player that put Bangor two scores up again was Charlie Parker. Picking the ball up directly from the base of the scrum, he broke through two tackles to score a try under the posts from fifty metres out. Now 28-20, with Bradfield’s third successful conversion, it looked like the game was safe again. It was in these last eight minutes that Bangor began to dominate physically with the home defence rusting away like a piece of metal left out in the rain too long. Fleming controlled the play from dummy half and Ian Skinner kept his cool to spread the ball when the options were there. Liam Morton’s power sapped the

Sport Adam Pearce

Noellin Imoh

RUGBY LEAGUE MATCH REPORTS

hat a start to the new rugby league season for Bangor! Yet to secure a single league victory over Liverpool in four years, suffering sizeable defeats in the process, Bangor produced a performance of championship quality, showing bravery, courage and utter determination to crush what was probably the strongest Liverpool side that Bangor had faced to date. Despite the nightmare start, Bangor were soon finding their rhythm and midway through the first half Liverpool started to falter. Their second row forward left the pitch after a heavy tackle by Will Varley and Francis and a sin bin followed immediately afterwards to reduce the home side to twelve men. The introduction of debutant Max Bracken at centre boosted Bangor’s attack as the Irishman scored a fine individual try with his first touch of the match. Francis crashed over to bring the scores level and Bracken’s boot took Bangor into the lead by landing the conversion. Brett Chandler was safe as houses in defence at full back helped by wingers Mark Varley and John Wilkins in returning the ball to begin attacks. Olly Rowley and Phil Holland played their part in the three quarters defence too. In the second half Bangor furthered their lead with two excellent solo efforts by Wright and Tom Bradfield, each charging through a number of attempted tackles on their way to the line. Throughout the match Bangor’s scrambling defence was superb; holding Liverpool out from close range time after time. However the pressure eventually told shortly after the visitor’s fourth try when Liverpool hit back with two tries of their own to breach

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energy out of Liverpool with a fine display on his debut helped by the other Bangor forwards. Just when it looked like Bangor were home and dry an intercepted pass led to a try that gave Liverpool a chance but in the dying seconds a knock on by the home side meant that Bangor had defeated the champions of the last two years. All eighteen players played out of their skin and rewarded head coach Gerrard Keenen for all of his hard work and dedication in coaching them. Next for Bangor is a home tie against arch rivals Manchester Met whom they defeated away last season in another classic contest. After this performance the possibilities are endless!

Reports by Will Varley

angor University’s new look rugby league team began their season with a friendly win over Aberystwyth who were competing in their first ever game of rugby league. It was the visitors though that started the match with more composure which enabled them to pressurise the Bangor line on more than one occasion, without ever breaching it. Bangor broke the deadlock on the fifteen minute mark and didn’t look back after that. Eleven tries were scored by Bangor throughout the match. Tom Mottram scored seven conversions to add to the score. Mark Varley scored his try on his debut for the team and Gethin Francis made a welcome return after missing last season due to work placement and injury. Bangor’s rugby league team is now enjoying its fourth year in BUSA and the team has come a long way since their first season defeats to Manchester Met: 72-0 and 74-1 (the latter being a cause for celebration for at least scoring a point down to a last minute Tom Mottram drop goal!) Through the years the club has become a success story, winning the spirit of the AU in 2005 and the Team of the Year award in 2006. The club now has an active squad of over thirty players and is looking to establish an ‘A’ team to ensure that everybody will get to play a game in the newly formed Merit League. Unfortunately Aberystwyth will have to wait until next year to join a BUSA league. By that time they will undoubtedly be ready for competition because they showed great enthusiasm against Bangor and scored a well taken try in the second half after mounting substantial pressure against the hosts. Bangor meanwhile will be looking forward to what promises to be a tough but successful year.

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re you looking to improve your fitness or simply enjoy a great workout? The Athletics Club run a circuit training session every Friday at 6pm at the Normal Site gym. Well planned with a variety of exercises in a friendly atmosphere, circuit training will improve your general fitness, strength, power and endurance and for a very reasonable price. Participation is free if you are a paying member of the Athletics Club (£10 for the full year) and only 50p per session if you are a non-member. It is definitely the most challenging circuit that I’ve tested, so come and give it a go! If you’re interested in joining the Athletics Club you can come along to any of our training sessions. There are groups for sprinting, middle distance, field events and we will have several groups for long distance of varying ability. From beginners to those who have experience in their event. Also if you’re interested in competing then we have many opportunities for you to do so, including BUSA events, open competitions, cross-country races, and road races, but don’t feel you have to compete. We train on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm to 7.30pm at Treborth athletics track near Menai Bridge. (Long distance starts at the athletics track and go on some great routes around the Bangor and Menai Bridge area). We have a FREE mini bus leaving at 5.30pm from the Ffridd security lodge, and Normal site main entrance at 5.40pm. The bus will of course drop people of at both sites after training. If you want any more information then feel free to e-mail me at the above address or psu4a1@bangor.ac.uk or ring me on 07849300898 Hope to see you soon!

Andy John


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Seren - Halloween Issue 2007

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owing in Bangor; not many people know we even have a club, and we’re not as recognisable as Oxford and Cambridge, but the club at Bangor is growing and developing. With this season being the most successful for a long time, building on 2006/07 successes, we are appealing for more people to join and make this year a year to remember for Bangor University Rowing Club, one of the Athletic Union’s oldest clubs being established in 1901. Rowing as a sport has several benefits. The rowing stroke encompasses all of the major muscle groups, with no impact, reducing the risk of injury. Socially Rowing introduces you to a group of friends that work together in a crew for a single goal, sharing the highs of winning and the lows of total exhaustion together, as a team. Stresses of University study can be released when rowing, both through exercise and the calming effects of being on the water. The enjoyment for the sport is always shared, with the boat’s crew, Cox, coach and the club as a whole. So far the club has held numerous taster sessions to allow people a chance to row the Menai Straits in the club’s racing eight man boats. The events were heavily attended and we retained a large amount for further training into the season. The club is extremely active in both training and racing at a national level through BUSA and the ARA (Amateur Rowing Association.) We attained all the major student regattas through BUSA competing against Oxbridge, and other rowing heavyweights such as Durham and Newcastle, claiming some massive scalps along the way. The club also competes at a regional and national level, attending the prestigious Head of the River races through central London, the events attract over four hundred crews from all over the World, and Bangor will be there in 2008. Regional regattas such as Chester and Northwich are also important to us, this season we are defending the ‘Admiral of the Dee’ title the club won last year,

ROWING IN BANGOR

Paul Johnson rowing in the Menai Straits winning both the Men’s 4 and 8 at Chester Regatta. We are based in our own boathouse, nestling on the banks of the Menai Straits, near Normal Site. This gives the club a truly spectacular stretch of water on which to train and prepare for race seasons. This facility has been with the club for decades and allows us to train independently from other clubs in the local area, an option that few University clubs retain. After much appealing to the Students’ Union, we received vast funding through the Estates Department for some new decking and steps which has made the boathouse a brilliant facility once again. The club owns a range of boats; eights,

BANGOR CITY FC UPDATES

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here’s always a warm welcome at the Look out for exciting players in City colours Farrar Road Stadium – home of Ban- such as goal-hungry strikers Ashley Stott, gor City Football Club. Playing in Mark Smyth and Les Davies (nicknamed the Principality League of Wales, City is one The Runaway Truck) and classy defenders of the most successful and best supported Lee Webber and Martin Beattie. Keep up with all City news at www.bansides in Welsh football. Always challenging for honours, City is picking up momentum gorcityfc.com, check out the fans’ site www. in league and cup competitions after a slow citizens-choice.co.uk, or why not enjoy start to the season, and under the shrewd yourself at fans’ events, and help raise funds management of former Tranmere Rovers for City through our hard-working Supportprofessional and City legend Neville Powell, ers’ Association www.bcfcsa.com we are sure to be there or thereabouts come next spring. Will Varley City has a great history, having won our F ri 30 No national league twice, and with cup honours v v Llan aplenty. We also have a proud European gef record – playing in various competitions KO 7.30 ni Town over eight seasons – and recently campaigns STUD ENTS A have taken us to Romania, Yugoslavia and F D R E E TO THI MITTED Latvia. Look out for more European advenS MATCH BRING tures at the end of this season. YOUR The future is also exciting as we are gearNUS CA – RD ing up for a move to a new out-of town staAS ID dium at Nantporth on the Holyhead Road.

fours, doubles and singles, with our own safety launch to aid coaching. Coaching in the club is at its strongest for many years, with many experienced members and a dedicated coaching setup aiding development of novices to seasoned oarsman by the regatta season in spring. The socials at the club are a big feature; our AU night in Freshers’ Week was a great success, supported by hundreds of freshers in truly appalling attire. The three main socials of the year: the Club Introductions, the Christmas Dinner and the end of the year Pimms Party are ‘oarsome’ events, which are heavily attended by the club. Each week we hold socials after our training sessions at

Patrick’s Bar at 9pm; an ideal opportunity to come and meet the club. If you think Rowing is the sport for you, there is still time to get involved with the men’s and women’s teams as they prepare for the inaugural race of the season. The BUSA Splash ‘n’ Dash is aimed squarely at freshers and novices of the sport and this could be the opportunity for you to represent your University. For some people, competitive training can be just a tad too much, the club appreciates this. If you want to join, and row when the sun shines, without committing to all of the training, and come to the legendary socials, that’s fine with us, please still get in touch.

The club meets throughout the week, water training is split between men’s and women’s training on alternate mornings, the club holds circuit sessions at Normal Site Gym at 6pm with Ergo (rowing machine) and cross training sessions organised during the week. Remember with the club you can do as much, or as little as you like. If you would like any more information on the club, visit our new website at www. undeb.bangor.ac.uk/rowing or email the club at rowingclub@bangor.ac.uk

Paul Johnson

FIRST CHAIR OF UK UNIVERSITIES’ SPORT APPOINTED F ollowing an extensive recruitment process, Ed Smith has been appointed as the first chair of UK Universities Sport, the new body established to oversee delivery of sport within the Higher Education Sector. Ed retires as the Global Assurance Chief Operating Officer for PricewaterhouseCoopers in December, where he has also been a Senior Partner and the Global Assurance Chief Strategist for this leading Accountancy firm. Ed is also on the main board of HEFCE, the funding body for Higher Education in England where, amongst other things, he is chairing the group working on the review of league tables within the sector. Ed has a passion

for sport (he is even training to do his first London Marathon in 2008!) and currently has two children active within sport in the University sector. Ed will officially begin his role in January and, as well as overseeing the appointment of the CEO for UK Universities Sport, he will lead the organisation to its formal launch in the summer of 2008 at which stage the predecessor bodies, BUSA and UCS, will cease to operate. Both the Chairs of BUSA, Philip Attwell and UCS, Stewart Ross have expressed their delight at Smith’s appointment and look forward to working closely with him throughout the transition to this exciting new organisation. On the confirmation of his

appointment Mr. Smith said “I am delighted to take on the Chair of this important new organisation to help drive University Sport in the UK to even higher levels and to ensure it plays a full part in student and community life. Whether you watch, participate or volunteer, sport is a fantastic motivator and it is a powerful tool for people in developing themselves as individuals and as team players. I look forward to building on this through the new organisation. We will also be working to ensure that we support and leverage the great national profile the UK will have with the 2012 Olympics already in our sights and placing HE Sport at the heart of the national sporting agenda.”

CYCLE PATHS IN NORTH WALES

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o you have a keen interest in cycling? North Wales is home to some of the best cycle routes in the country and there are few to rival the breathtaking setting of the Lon Eifion cycle track, starting at Caernarfon (6 miles west of Bangor). Some people might say that Lon Eifion is the most well-known and well-used cycle route on the national cycle network. Lon Eifion is a green avenue of trees and plants that stretches between the busy historical town of Caernarfon (the cycle path starts 400 yards south of Caernarfon Castle car park) and the rural village of Bryncir to the south. The scenic 12.5 mile cycle path has recently been

upgraded and now has an excellent hard surface all the way except for the first 100 yards at Caernarfon and half a mile near Dinas. For much of its course it is wider than most cycle paths- as wide in fact as many country lanes. The important thing to remember is that this cycle path is suitable for racing bikes as well as mountain bikes and people of all ages can enjoy it. Adjacent to (but just off ) the path there is a café at Inigo Jones slate museum about 5 miles south of Caernarfon. It is open all year from 10am till 4pm, so if you’re after a relatively short cycle and a cup of tea then this is the cycle path for you! Take the chance to

wander off the path and explore local attractions such as Glynllifon Country Park, and the scenic Nantle Valley with its old quarries from where you can see the impressive sight which is Snowdon. Why not combine your visit with a trip on the narrow gauge Welsh Highland Railway, that runs parallel to Lon Eifion for 5km (3 miles) from Caernarfon to Dinas station? Lon Eifion is part of Lon Las Cymru, route number 8 on the National Cycle Network.

Will Varley

Seren - 195 - 2007-2008 - October 2007  
Seren - 195 - 2007-2008 - October 2007  

This is the October 2007 issue of Seren, Bangor Univeristy's English Language Newspaper. Produced by students for students.

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