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ISSN 1755-7585

Issue No. 204

February Issue 2009




Summer Ball: Have your Say

Brand new fashion column

Police step in and put Bangor’s second Carnage event in doubt

By Liz Stevens ollowing on from the popularity of the November 2008 Carnage, another night was scheduled to take place in Bangor on Tuesday 3rd March, but disagreements between the organisers and North Wales Police may mean the upcoming event is now in contention. To say that this has been controversial would be an understatement. Carnage is essentially a pub crawl; students move in a pre-selected order from pub to pub (Rascals, The Waterloo Inn, The Ship Inn, Varsity, Yates’ and Academi) before descending on the end venue (Time). To participate, a £7 t-shirt must be purchased, which includes the fancy dress theme for


the evening and a number of tasks to complete along the way. Carnage 2008 was undoubtedly a success, and Carnage 2009 was well on its way to becoming a sell out, but with critics arguing the event promotes binge drinking and promiscuity; there are worries that the plug has been pulled – the question remains, however, why? Speculation began running rife when it was reported that The Waterloo Inn had pulled out, and rumours were circulating that police had stepped in and threatened licensees. This is in fact not the case, with Sgt. Bill Coppack of North Wales Police informing Seren that Carnage had not consulted with the police regarding the second event until January 22nd, by which time t-

shirts were on sale and almost sold out. Sgt. Coppack also explained that inappropriate steps were taken in relation to Carnage 2008, with Carnage incorrectly informing licensees that the police had been consulted regarding safety, when in fact no such liaising had taken place. Sgt. Coppack reiterated that it was each individual licensee’s decision to withdraw from the event, and explained: “It is not the intention of the Police to stop such events taking place, in fact we are pleased to assist in facilitating any event that enhances the perception of Bangor and is safe and well run. To that end we have been in attendance at a recent meeting of license holders and have indicated our will-

ingness to take part in the planning process of any future events. The safety of students is paramount in our minds.” Carnage’s response has been largely optimistic. Varsity Leisure Group Limited, who own Carnage UK said: “Carnage is open to a positive, constructive dialogue with North Wales Police and is more than willing to comply with all positive and reasonable requests the Police make in relation to the event’s organisation. VLGLtd wants the students to have a safe, enjoyable evening and for Bangor to have the benefit of a positive boost to its late night economy, especially at a time of recession.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

Willow Does UOTC

Sheep escape on Ffridd


Luxury ensuite student accommodation situated within walking distance of Bangor University


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EDITORIAL February Issue 2009

Contributors: Georgia Mannion Liz Stevens Aaron Wiles Rhodri Barker Iain Dalton Emily Collins Jamie McNeil Joe Firth Matt Ison Willow Manuel Sophie Griffiths Tom Hecht Laura Winstanley Polly Daszkiewicz Emma Gregory Tom McCarron Biya Ashraf Dwight McCarthy Homan Yousofi Frances Birkett Sion Wyn Laszek Jack Sexty Rosie MacLeod Cat Prince Michael Xavier Henry Tom Durkin Robert Mann Bethan Thomas Alex Stamp Helen Aldred Jenny Brierley

February Issue 2009 ce s like an age sin of 2009. It seem n n ow re / Se t r rs oo fi fl e elcome to th ble / bedroom I hope your coffee ta e. or ed m ac ce gr on t e las we re we ar archive, but he alise sometimes personal Seren r absence, I re ou in pe co e Seren to anaged ent to take. Th you have all m h for one stud uc r day I m he o ot to e be th n st too, in fact ju these things ca in ra st a ball e in th ng up feeli editor curled team have been s quite find the music wa to It ce fi s. of ice y ju m e walked into spill her creativ opportunity to t. begging for an ough, worry no th w no rs to feast She’s ok ing newspape az am disconcerting. u yo ng gi in astounding br y n all ee rs So, in betw ganised a unive or am te k at the n re loo a the Se e? Then have your eyes on, It is my Were you ther lf. ia. se alg ur st yo no ot s night of 90 and try and sp ge pa history is in th n wn or ad Night will go do s pictures which 90 n re essed Se bs e that th n’s Pokemon-o personal belief of our generatio n sio es pr ex st as the greate back next year. ry be we’ll bring it exciting Februa childhood… may pages of this g in er itt ue into gl iss e e th ag to rn Ca on Moving analysed the e ve seen, we’ve attention to th issue. As you’ d like to draw ul wo I r e remedy ve th we is l ho aw – cr b ion submiss organised pu in estion that an est they hold it apparent sugg we could sugg s . ap om rh st Pe cu . e ion cess need of som to Bangor’s re tmas is in desperate ris at Ch th is op th sh ion et a high stre student populat s) us of Bangor’s omy, so it seem tion. I The mass exod the global econ nd (a or offering a solu ng is Ba e ed ag us rn ca Ca ly s nt em se it appare , ch su ues and as do too. at Ffridd site some serious iss opping boards eaking havoc up I’m sure £40 ch wr d d an an , of the at ng th pi ca te salu eep es favourite breed coverage of sh that ur choosing their ho on e an lin We also have lf ad ha t he en e e team have sp d our place. Th th un , (in ro ch e su rk tim as wo g d rd lon an t ha e up with in a It’s nothing bu nuinely thing I’ve com ge st be ve woollen animal. e ha th le be op le might just en it and 2 pe ately particular artic people have se ink I’m moder ion). So far, 5 in y of you lot th op an e r bl he m st me. et hu ain wh my ag ar d he ke to ac st ed e interest the odds ar laughed. I’d be t this far then ason I suspect ugh for some re e, if you’ve go ho m alt m g, fro in us le g quiz on bb am a really excitin ough inane ba e never ing you’ll do is th Right that’s en I’v y xt sa ne t n’ e th do s. I expect ORKING. There, W BE LD congratulation OU SH mething. YOU Facebook or so lp. tried to he


T’ra, od of editing Jo Caulfield - G

Photography: Helen Waller Tom Hecht Gary Smith Jade O’Donoghue Special thanks to: Fiona Braddley Proof reading:

Tom Hecht Spencer George Emily Collins



Editor News Features Music Film Books Travel Sports Design

Jo Caulfield Stephen Davies Bianca Murray Emma Dixon Mark Varley Emma McColl Stef Black Will Varley Dan Turner

RECYCLE Here at Seren, there’s nothing we love more than Mother Nature and d’ya know what she loves? Recycling! After you’ve finished with us, can you put us in your blue box and make sure we get made into something else? Thanks very much.



February Issue 2009

Bangor scores some Mumps Epidemic Engulfs Bangor top RAE results B B angor University’s research enquiries have been highly praised recently, with schools ranging from Psychology to Sports Science having been accredited with particularly lavish praise. The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) attempts to measure the level of research according to how they compare to a world-class benchmark. Nineteen subject areas were assessed in Bangor’s research schools with almost half given the top grading of three and four stars. Electronic Engineering research was heralded as the second best in the UK, while Accounting and Finance, a branch of the University’s Busi-

ness School went one better, claiming the top UK spot for best research. Furthermore, the School of Music, headed underneath the Arts and Humanities umbrella, had 90% of its research staff were listed as being of international quality. The same percentage of world quality research staff was also given of those listed under the Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences field. The University’s Vice-Chancellor was understandably enthused, saying: “The results prove that Bangor has developed over recent years and is now an international research-led university. We are in the research elite for many sub-

jects and this reinforces other evidence demonstrating the quality and scale of our expertise in areas which cross subject boundaries. By working with business, industry, service providers and policy makers the knowledge created at Bangor University is applied to benefit the world.” In addition to the above research recommendations, the schools of Welsh, Psychology and Sports Science all rated within the top 12 in the UK.

Stephen Davies

Bangor students rescued amidst fortnight of tragedy on Snowdon

ecause we at Seren care about you students so much, you should be aware of a suspected outbreak of mumps currently worrying the University population. An email was sent out with a leaflet from The National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS) but in case you missed it, here’s some information on the disease: Mumps is unpleasant but usually mild and infectious. It usually causes pain and swelling of the salivary glands between the ear and the neck. It causes a fever and feelings of general sickness. Most cases see recovery in around a week to ten days. Complications such as inflammation and pain in the testicles or breasts may occur, as can meningitis and deafness, although these are rare symptoms. Symptoms appear two to four weeks after contracting the infection. If you develop symptoms of mumps please contact your doctor and stay off University and away from others until five days after the start of the swelling. The MMR vaccine protects against mumps, measles, and rubella infections.

One dose of MMR protects around 65 per cent of those who receive it against mumps, with a second dose of MMR improving immunity to around 85 per cent of recipients. So it is possible to see mumps in individuals who have been vaccinated with MMR, although this is not common. If you have not had two doses of MMR vaccine you should contact your GP to arrange this. Please inform the surgery when you make the appointment that this is recommended on public health advice. You can also print off a copy of this article and take it with you to the surgery. Women in the first three months of pregnancy who have never had mumps or the MMR vaccine should avoid close contact with people with mumps and should contact their doctor for advice. If you have any concerns you should discuss these with your GP. More information is available from

Georgia Mannion

Gwynedd Museum Safe



angor University students Matthew Jagger, 20 and William Brooks, 26, managed a lucky escape during a fortnight that saw four men lose their lives on Snowdon. The pair were part of a group traversing the mountain on the 7th of February, when they encountered difficulties attributed to the effect of the weather conditions on the terrain. Matthew slipped on a patch of ice and fell 113 metres and was rescued by an RAF Sea King helicopter dispatched from Anglesey only upon spotting his torch light via night vision goggles. William, a PhD student, received serious head and chest injuries upon falling over 300 metres. He was found shouting for help by fellow climbers near the body of 27-year-old Gwyn Norrell of Snailbeach in Shrewsbury; one of the four lives claimed by the

mountain in February. According to the pilot who rescued Matthew, Flight Lieutenant David Moran, the situation could have deteriorated rapidly if not for the rescue crew’s intervention. “[Matthew] was literally digging himself in on an almost sheer face with a 600 feet drop metres from his feet”. Matthew, who is studying geography at Bangor has had years of walking experience on similar terrain, but the advice issued by Ian Henderson, of Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, paints a stark picture about the reality of the dangers of Snowdon even for veteran ramblers and climbers. He stated: “It would be foolish to go on to the mountain without crampons and an ice axe, and unless they know what they’re doing”. Matthew echoed Henderson’s sentiments, declaring his gratitude to his res-

cuers while stating: “It’s kind of sinking in. It’s made me think about how close I was… We just got caught out”. William is now recovering in Broadgreen Hospital in Liverpool. The number of lives claimed has been cogent with an increased number of rescues in the Snowdonia region, with six other rescues carried out in early February. In addition to the death of Gwyn Norrell, a keen photographer, the three other dead men were brothers Christopher and James McCallion of Bristol and Weston Super-Mare respectively, and 70-year-old Brian William Middleton, found on the 11th of February, following a solitary walk on Snowdon.

Stephen Davies

he future of the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery in Bangor has been secured for the next three years following an agreement between the Welsh Assembly Government, Gwynedd Council and Bangor University. Gwynedd Council staff have been working with officials from the Welsh Assembly Government to finalise details of a funding package under the Museum Strategic Grant scheme. Bangor University has also agreed to double its funding of the Museum. First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "I am glad that we have been able to work with Gwynedd Council and Bangor University to safeguard the museum, which has a very important role to play in preserving the history and heritage of north-west Wales." Since the closure of Theatr Gwynedd in October the museum is one of the last statements of culture in the city of Bangor. The mission statement of the museum states that “The aim of Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery is to contribute towards the understanding of the history and culture of Gwynedd and its people by collect-

ing, caring for and by providing access to its collections so that everyone can share its rich heritage.” The museum hosts exciting exhibitions reflecting life of past generations and allowing the public to embrace the traditions and culture that is unique to this area of North Wales. Welcoming the announcement, Gwynedd Councillor Dai Rees Jones, who chairs the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery Working Group, added “This is an important step in our efforts to ensure the long-term future of the Museum. Thanks to hard work and cooperation between Gwynedd Council, Bangor University, the Welsh Assembly Government, and support of the Friends of the Museum, we can now work together to find new and creative ways of securing a sustainable long-term future for the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery.” Professor Merfyn Jones, Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University said “We are pleased to have been able to agree the funding that will secure the Museum’s future in the interests of both the local community and visitors to the area.”

Bianca Murray



February Issue 2009


Are the police right to step in?


1st Year Environmental Science


3rd Year Pyschology


1st year Pyschology

“I think Carnage is a great event for students to have fun! I don’t think the police were right to step in as the previous carnage was a controlled successful event with little trouble, just the police interfering again!” “If during last time there’d been (pardon the word) ‘carnage’ with people getting beaten up and property being damaged then fair enough, but as it wasn’t I can’t see the root of their concerns.” “I can understand why the police may have problems with the event because there have been rumours about alcohol induced violence in some of the bigger cities but I dont think the event itself is to blame.”

Carnage problems ....continued from front page


t seems there are two sides to every story, but what cannot be doubted is that Carnage will not be returning in the near future without serious discussion. But is this good or bad for Bangor and its student population in general? Critics of Carnage have argued that the event promotes binge drinking and promiscuity, with tasks on the back of t-shirts arguably related to the latter – one on the back of a 2008 t-shirt was to ‘frolic with a fresher’. The fancy dress themes for events have also been pulled into disrepute - Bangor Carnage 2008 advertised as ‘dirty porn star’ and Liverpool Carnage 2008 as ‘dirty doctors and nympho nurses’. Students are already portrayed as promiscuous drunks – and an event which perpetuates this image is unlikely to endear itself to the authorities. It also seems that Carnage 2008 did not go quite as seamlessly as one might be led to believe – Sgt. Coppack informed Seren that a number of complaints were received from the public regarding noise and disorder. Seren was also told of damage done to a venue (who wish to remain anonymous) by revellers – although superficial, it was reportedly profane and far in excess of anything seen before. Yet despite this, the overwhelming popularity of the event cannot be denied. It has already been stated that t-shirts for March were almost sold out, and yours truly has spoken to a number of students who attended in 2008, hoping to attend next month, and the general consensus among them is one of overwhelming

Going to Baaa Uno?

disappointment that the event may not take place. Every student spoken to agreed that Carnage was a safe, well organised, and indeed, excellent night out – largely down to the vast presence of appointed responsible stewards and wardens, who are forbidden to drink until the very end, and are vital in ensuring student safety on the evening. One student informed me that they were reminded to drink responsibly, and another said that while they felt the 2008 theme – porn stars – promoted promiscuity, they thought the 2009 theme – superheroes – was more neutral, and felt personally safe for the

“The question remains: what will students do in its place?” entire duration of the evening in November. Carnage was most certainly a hit with students, if not anyone else, but the question remains: what will students do in its place? Groups have sprung up on Facebook urging students to ‘Save Bangor Carnage’, and the answer is slightly worrying if


three possibilities: The Beulah Speckled Face, Derbyshire Gritstone or Welsh Hill Speckled Face Sheep. The most likely, we feel, is the Welsh Hill Speckled Face which is a derivative of the Welsh Mountain Sheep (the most common to North Wales). The breed originated in the Devil’s Bridge area of Mid Wales and is generally larger in size than the Welsh Mountain Sheep with a finer fleece and black markings. Barely two hours after their arrival the

sheep were captured and returned home, much to the disappointment of many students who had congregated to take pictures. Vi, our beloved cleaner said “They’re just sheep, you know what I mean yeah?” How the sheep got onto Ffridd is unknown, all that is certain is students would welcome another visit to liven up their Thursday mornings.

Georgia Mannion

Liz Stevens

Bangor’s definitely got talent

F n the morning of 5th of February, to the surprise and delight of residents, two sheep graced the tarmacked terrain of Ffridd Site. The curious livestock patrolled the grounds around Enlli and Reichel before finally settling on the dilapidated house, currently fenced off, the only feature of the field in its original form before it became home to 1,700 students. The breed of said sheep is unknown. The Seren team have narrowed it down to

a certain group advertising a night of ‘Bedlam’ is to be believed. Bedlam is advertising itself in a similar way to Carnage, but with no restrictions – essentially a night of binge drinking without any responsible supervision, unlike Carnage. Most students spoken to have expressed their desire to just go out anyway - is a supervised night better than unsupervised? Do the cons of Carnage outweigh the pros regardless? As it stands, the future of Carnage is uncertain. A potential disappointment for students but a relief for many others it appears unless reconciliation can be achieved. A number of students have enquired about refunds but at the time of printing, no system is in place. Tuesday 3rd March may yet end up being a huge night out, but not the one the student body expected.

riday 13th saw the second round of Bangor’s Got Talent. This series of auditions which began at the end of Refreshers Week, saw the talented, gifted and downright strange talent of Bangor students take to the stage in the Basement Bar. A packed venue gave some of the performers a case of stage fright but that soon disappeared. The range of talent in the room was nothing short of spectacular, particularly with performances from the beat boxing flutist and ‘The Rusty Cadillacs’. The second heat included stunning performances from Kate Barclay, Steve Neal and Pete Banks, who received an 29/30 for his innovative Seren spoke to Spencer George, Deputy President and judge on the panel for

Bangor’s Got Talent and this is what he had to say about the night: “Bangor’s Got Talent was a huge success and both heats were really enjoyable. I have a huge amount of respect for those students who got up in front of an audience and either sang or played an instrument because I could never do that! I’m really looking forward to the final and I’m confident that whoever wins will go on to do Bangor proud in the nationwide Uni’s Got Talent event. A huge thank you goes out to all those who took part, either as an act or as an audience member, to the other judges and also to Tom Hecht (Societies and Events Officer) who put a lot of time and effort into making this event possible.”

Bianca Murray



February Issue 2009



You guys have been getting in touch with emails, Facebook messages and even old school posted letters! Here are a selection in all their glory...


Par king on Ffridd Site Causing Problems


’d like to bring your attention to the continuing problem of car parking on Ffriddoedd Site. As I’m sure you are aware, students living on Ffridd who own cars are required to pay a yearly parking fee for their permit to park on site, this is approx £10 for the academic year. However, it has become increasingly noticeable (over the past couple of years) that these very same students are often not able to park on Ffridd Site during the evenings when non-residents are using Maes Glas gym and then park on Ffridd due to there being a lack of parking at the gym itself. This obviously causes annoyance – at the very least – for the Ffridd Site residents who can then not park where they are paying a fee park, and either resort to Ffriddoedd Road, where they have a high chance of their car being vandalised, or indeed, still park on site but around the spaces, resulting in the car park attendant issuing them with warning tickets. Now, it is quite right that the Halls Office should provide a parking attendant to patrol non-permit holders, but is it fair that it only ever seems to be the Ffriddoedd Site residents (this is due to the car park attendant only patrolling during the times of 8 am to 5 pm, where there is no parking problem on site due to the gym users generally arriving after 5 pm) that are penalised for unauthorised parking and not the people who are responsible for the problem – Maes Glas gym users? I am sure that Bangor University and its Halls Office are aware of this problem and do nothing about it. Is this, dare I ask, down to Bangor University and the Halls Office reaping the profits of charging students to park on site and then collecting the fine money when they are clamped or towed? I certainly hope not, it would be a very sad state of affairs if this is the case – but will the University of the Halls Office do anything about it? I have my doubts.

Anonymous Ffridd Site Resident

Socialist Students ’ Response to Joh n Jackson n the December 200 8 issue, Seren carried

an interview with Pre Red Day of Action’ and sident John Jackson the Campaign to De on the NUS ‘Students feat Fees referendu referendum policy is in The m. Within this intervie ‘ridiculous’ and thus w Jackson claimed he is opposed to it. Wh The situation studen that the at ts are facing is thu a poor argument! s; tuition fees to be inc many universities aro reased – suggestion und the country hav s are ranging from £7, e stated they would review of the cap on 000 to £10,000 per fees (currently around like year. The governme £3,000 a year) and in far greater debt. nt is starting a is expected to increa The current econom se them. This will lea ic crisis - which has cuts and has already ve students seen many universiti led to cuts to govern es lose money - wil ment grants. In response to this l lead to course, Socialist Students launched the Campai about these issues. gn to Defeat Fees wit Socialist Students arg h a strategy to do ue that a mass cam need to force the gov something paign is needed. Stu ernment to back dow dents, trade unionists n on these plans. The crippling levels of stu and others y also need to go ove dent debt that already r onto the offensive aga exist. Such a campai should also be built inst the gn needs to be built for with the resources in Students’ Unions of the NUS. But what does Jackso locally; but n propose? He just say of the Students’ Un s the fee s policy is ‘ridiculou ion, does not outline s’ and offers no solutio any other strategy Perhaps we could ass n. He, the President to combat the increa ume that he subscr sed financial hardsh ibes to the strategy a fairer funding policy, ip of students. of NUS; they argue but they don’t explain that what is needed what this would be. a tax on university for students is graduates – effectiv However, it can be ass ely umed that they mig a different form of stu convince the govern ht mean dent debt. To achiev ment by lobbying the e this they argue tha m, but this is the sam parliament passed t they can the legislation for top e strategy that failed -up fees. students back in 200 Is there money to fun 4 when d this? Some people may genuinely ask crisis. Yet over £45bill this question, especi ion per year remain ally given the curren s uncollected throug than enough to pay t economic h tax evasion by larg for free education and e companies; this wo living grants for all. Should students avo uld be more id appealing to the general public to sup the experience of Soc port them? Unlike Mr. ialist Students memb Jackson, we would ers, the general pub the amount of debt say no. In lic are often oppose many students hav d to tuition fees and e to get into to finis Within the student h their courses. appalled at movement there are emerging two main believe that the Lab our Party is working political outlooks on in their best interes these issues: NUS The other view is tha ts and that there is trust and t students need to no need to campaign rely on mass protes education. on these issues. ts and building link s with trade unions to fight for free To read the full-le ngth version of thi s open letter, please blog! visit www.seren.b and clic k on our


A slap on the wrist...

write to report my disappointment at your choice of headline for your December issue regarding the ongoing works at the Ffriddoedd Site. Whilst I appreciate the discomfort that the residents are experien cing I see no reason to choose such inappropriate language. In addition, your reporting on the matter should not need to contain exaggerations or comparisons to what the noise level is. Your readership is intelligent enough to realise that construction creates noise. I hope that any future writings on this matter will be less emotive and more factual. Thank you for your time.


Jamie McNeill

Sometimes Seren ventures out into the wild. See if you can spot yourself posing with us...



February Issue 2009

Bringing you the best in news, views,

Gay Times by Emily Collins


here are a number of things I am proud of in my life and some I am ashamed of but my sexuality does not fall under either of these categories; it simply exists. I think that, in recent years, the ‘gaypride’ thing has become a little redundant and overly forceful. Considering how many positive changes have been made over the past few decades, the focus should now be on making sure the rights we have gained aren’t taken away from us, not on shoving our sexuality in people’s faces. I feel we’ve got to point where the huge pride parades and ‘some people are gay, get over it’ campaigns are actually starting to have a negative effect on the way the LGBT community is perceived. It has previously been important to have those ‘out and proud’ LGBT groups in order to raise awareness and remove some of the taboos. Now, however, I feel we have overstepped the mark and seem to be making sexuality into such a big deal that we’re almost requesting special treatment, as opposed to equality. For these reasons I take issue with

“We focus too much on highlighting our differences instead of celebrating our similarities” the ‘Pride’ movement and the general attitude that it is ‘us’ against ‘them’ because I think this is ultimately destructive. We focus too much on highlighting our differences and what allowances should be made for these, instead of celebrating our similarities. Semantically, I will grant that ‘pride’ is, in fact, the opposite of ‘shame’ and so the term ‘gay pride’ has very relevant roots but in my opinion, the time has come for a new direction. We should also take care to be a little appreciative of how far we have come. The fight for equality has been a difficult one, but now LGBT citizens currently have many of the same rights as non-LGBT ones. We now have the ability to legally commit to those we love, to raise children together, apply for jobs without fear of discrimination and constructively combat any homophobia shown towards us. Compared to the early nineteenth century when over two hundred people were executed as punishment for ‘homosexual acts’ I would say that the status quo is fairly favourable. It is noticeable how many positive steps have been taken when you consider that as late as 1973, homosexuality was still officially defined as a ‘mental illness.’ So, it being LGBT history month and all, I would like to say thank you to those who were brave enough to take on the world with their rainbow flags when it was still a taboo; to remember the people who suffered losing support of friends and family in order to fight for our right to love who we want and to aknolwedge the people who work within the system today to maintain our equality. We still have a lot to work towards, but we really do need to just take a moment to appreciate how far we have come.

Emily Collins is LGBT Senator.

Left Leanings A socialist perspective from Iain Dalton


o you go away for Christmas and by the time you come back lots of shops on the High Street have closed down.- about 50 in Bangor alone. So what’s happened? Gordon Brown had claimed that he’d eradicated boom and bust. Today he is laughed at because of that statement. Yet the economic crisis was his saviour. Towards the end of last year New Labour recovered slightly in the polls. This was partially due to Brown leading the charge in reviving elements of Keynesian economics and bailing out the banks, but also because David Cameron and the Tories appear to have no other alternative suggestions apart from another dose of rampant Thatcherism, not an appealing prospect to most of the population. Since the adoption of neo-liberal policies in the 1970’s and particularly under Thatcher in the 1980’s the manufacturing base of the British economy has been devastated. Instead the British economy has been built up on finance and financial services as well as retail. Which is viable for businesses if you’re in a long period of boom like the last 10 to 15 years as people have been loaned cheap money to spend on these things, to invest etc. But come a recession these are exactly the things people spend less on, especially when the boom was sustained by ever growing debt. The British economy has been on thin ice for a while,

and now it’s cracking. Thus after the spectacular collapses and rescues of banks, we have seen the economic crisis spread into the real economy. Some of the manufacturers that are left have been shedding jobs or closing down such as JCB, Hoover and motor manufacturers. But it’s the retail sector that’s really caught the headlines in Bangor. The obvious impact of this the shedding of employment opportunities. Thousands of posts in local council

“The British economy has been on thin ice for a while, and now it’s cracking.” workforces, the civil service and other public sector jobs are expected to be lost. And that’s before discussing the thousands of small businesses that have gone to the wall or will do soon due to lack of credit and decreases in sales. But what does all this mean for students? For one thing it means that there’ll be less part time jobs for people who may have been using the money from that to help finance their way through university.

But perhaps more importantly with estimates that a minimum of 600,000 jobs will be lost in 2009 it will be even more difficult to find a job when people finish university next year. Last year saw a cull of jobs in the finance sector due to the bank crisis but even temporary jobs that people get for a few months after graduation while they look for something else, such as working in a supermarket will be harder to come by. This will also compound the problem of student debt. The main argument in favour of the current fees and loans system is that graduates will be able to afford paying the debt off once they’ve graduated. With no jobs, the debt will hang round students’ necks like a millstone. The Government’s proposed scheme for graduate internships adds

insult to injury, expecting students to work full-time for a paltry £4,500 a year (thousands of pounds a year less than the minimum wage!) with no guarantee of a job at the end. There is a serious need for a campaign for jobs for all but especially for young people (of whom latest figures suggest 1.5 million will be unemployed). Given NUS has recently passed a governance review that will transform it into something more akin to a charity (more on that next issue) it is unlikely it will lead a campaign. Instead, it will fall to others to launch a campaign, which is what the Youth Fight For Jobs ( intends to do with a demonstration and launch conference at the beginning of April.

Offering some thoughts on Bangor’s cultural void...


ccording to folklaw, there was once a bonafide cinema in Bangor: small, wonderful, cosy, albeit slightly commercial by some standards. A layer or two above that, in our excavated geo-cultural past, we find intact the fossil of our dearly missed Theatr Gwynedd, where they projected for us the cream of world independent cinema, along with the good stuff from LA. Even as it lay there dying in her final hour, she coughed out beauties like Into the Wild, Control and There Will Be Blood to Bangor’s students, cinephiles and slightly startled OAP’s. Perhaps more importantly, Theatr Gwynedd was the mainstay for your cultural dose of well produced and sometimes great theatre. Students would be welcomed with smiles, greatly discounted prices, and hushed usherings to those arriving late; they would leave with important things to tell each other, a spring in their step and a

vitality which would even make pleasant screen several wonderfully crafted and the sensations of being splashed by col- edifying films each week in places like lege roads rogue pavement squares. JP Theatre. For those who have not been there, or in my case bunked in there, it It is only fair to point out here that Theatr Gwynedd will eventually be re- is the newly built, nuvo decorated cinplaced, but this may well happen long ema and theatre with awfully nice lookafter many of us have left the University. ing chairs and is, in my opinion, the best Bangor students are myopic moles, whose performance space in Bangor right now. average lifespan are usually no more than Notably, these films are selected by the trendiest of film lec3-4 years, and at “At least one least one generaturers, and the last tion is at risk of go- generation of Bangor few I’ve attended ing through their have included spike degree culturally Students is at risk of Jones’ Adaptation, malnourished and going through their the 90’s German without even being techno (ya) Run degree culturally Lola Run, and Jean angered by what Luc Godard’s sushould be there. malnourished” How do we get per cool, Weekend. through this cavitous cultural quagmire? These screenings have never exceeded One way is to redefine the lines between even half capacity in my experience and conveniently, it is dark when you go in. public and exclusive film screenings. The More legitimately, it is well worth film studies department, for instance,

looking for posters of amongst others, the Amnesty International Society Film Screenings (Sunday 7.00pm) which are legally (and quite conveniently for Amnesty) limited to screenings of political, humanitarian and culturally informative films to students and staff of Bangor University. Perhaps less likely, but still worth a go, is trying to petition the University to allow the theatre troupes who would normally pass through Bangor to perform in places like PJ hall and the JP Theatre whilst Theatr Gwynedd is hurriedly being replaced. Should we have the wherewithal to do so, we can once again walk (directly) out onto splashing paving stones of College Road with a look of a warm pleasure on our faces.

Homan Yousofi


February Issue 2009

reviews with nothing to lose...

No one is allowed to be happy. Fact.

With even soaps pumping out the sadness, its official, we live in a smile free-zone.


y name is Liz, and I’m addicted to soaps. Yes, it’s shameful, but it’s true. Every evening, I put my feet up, and tune in to my daily dose of brain numbing, intelligence sapping, soapy goodness. And I love it. But I’ve recently developed a problem with programmes of this nature, much to my chagrin and complete and utter horror. As well as mind numbing, soaps have become a happiness free zone, completely and totally empty - even more so than usual. Eastenders in particular. Gone are the days of at least some attempts at comedy, now all it wants to do is upset us. A recent of choice of storyline centred on the aftermath of Tony, boyfriend of Bianca (the ginger one that screams Rickaaay! a lot) and the discovery of his secret, consensual relationship with her 15-year-old stepdaughter Whitney, whilst maintaining an infatuation with 14 year old Lauren Branning. Having pleaded not guilty to all charges of paedophilia, the family are now struggling to come to terms with what has happened, whilst trying to discover if Ricky is actually father to another one of Bianca’s children. Following? Good, it can get quite confusing.

My problem lies not with the execution of the storyline (being run with the approval and guidance of the NSPCC), but its general nature; the age old formula of soaps – another day, another drama. It is just the latest in a long line of dark, depressing storylines (Max being buried alive, Jase being stabbed, Sean driving Roxy into an icy lake upon the discovery he was not the father of her baby) to come from the EE camp. I could on. And on. And they’re not alone. Point me to a truly happy character in all of Soapland. Go on. I thought not. I genuinely do understand how good soaps are as a platform for raising awareness of these issues (especially in today’s society), but the depression level is being cranked up to an unbearable degree, smacking of desperate attempts to win ratings. And yes, whilst issues like this do exist today, would it kill the programme to make us smile? In the current world of recession, war torn countries and general bottomless doom, how hard would it be for just one broadcaster to make us laugh? The problem is not restricted to soaps alone. Even the staple of cheerfulness, my good ole gossip websites are joining in the

fun, no longer reporting the weird and wonderful, random and ridiculous, but the downright depressing. Chris Brown, Rhianna, Jade Goody, Amy Winehouse, the list goes on of those who are so desperately unhappy that the world needs to know about it. The funniest thing I’ve read in weeks is about a rabbit on Coronation Street getting a personal assistant because of animal welfare laws. Omg, lol. Yes, I am being sarcastic.


came out the last thing I wanted was to It’s a well known fact that the music give iTunes £10 of my loan for something industry has suffered financially at the hands of piracy on the internet, but music which is basically immaterial. Maybe a reason legal downloads aren’t preferable itself? With it blasting from car windows, mobile phones and everybody’s head- is because you don’t really get anything for your money. Of course there’s the phones, its impossible to get away from satisfaction of knowing you can have this music. If you take 95% of this away you’d have nothing but very quiet halls of resi- song on your computer without the worry FBI agents could dence and Radio 1 smash through your left. It would be like “I’m not saying the scene in 28 days window at any time later when Cillian music should be free, and arrest you - but Murphy can’t find the industry would you can’t touch it or put it on your CD anyone in London. collapse, nay the rack or accidentally The world would be an aurally bar- whole world probably leave it in the car. Its intangible, almost ren place. I’m not saying would, but it seems like you’ve paid but received music should be to have been taken haven’t anything. free, the industry would collapse, nay out of official hands.” The government have vowed the whole world probably would, but it seems to have been to “crack down” on internet piracy in taken out of official hands. general but they seem to say this periodiGood albums do well regardless of how cally. That 95% of music is still out there, many people are illegally downloading the only difference seems to be Facebook and YouTube deleting videos that don’t them. When Kings of Leon’s last album

Life, the universe and whatsitsface

The world according to Joe Firth



With news breaking recently of Alfie Patton, the 13-year-old who has become a dad, it is now more glaringly obvious the kind of world we are living in. Is it so wrong to yearn for just a little bit of escapism? I understand soap characters aren’t allowed to be happy, but what about us?

Liz Stevens

Life on a Limewire

ownloading music is a tricky business these days. iTunes is the biggest online music store, taking over the world one iPod at a time, but its estimated that 95% of all music downloads are illegal. The rules on downloading are a bit fluffy but the basic gist is that if you haven’t paid for it, you’re not allowed. But Bearshare sounds so friendly - do not be fooled! Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to you vs. Rihanna’s record company. It all comes under the umbrella ella ella of theft (sorry I couldn’t help myself). Napster made the first waves in the internet piracy pond back in 1999 offering free songs to anyone and everyone. Although it was quickly shut down there was no shortage of people trying to take its place. In fact there were so many authorities have been able to do little to stop these music pirates in the 10 years following. Its like walking out of HMV with Kanye West’s latest offering except so many people are doing the same thing (the doors at HMV are quite wide) that the security guard can’t catch anyone.


own the copyright to the songs they use. You might have paid iTunes for them, or even dragged them from the depths of your dusty CD collection but this is irrelevant to Facebook who threaten to delete the profiles of repeat offenders (remember your life before Facebook? No, me either). This seems quite unfair to me, if anything these videos promote the songs they use. I had a video that endorsed a certain very successful SIN night deleted for this reason. Montell Jordan should be pleased that one hit he had was brought back to the population of Facebook to enjoy again. It seems the authorities have no sense of humour, probably because their efforts against copyright theft have been so fruitless, but possibly also because music is now available to anyone who wants it, not just anyone who can afford it. Whether this is good or not is up to you to decide but until the day that Big Brother really is watching, thank BitTorrent for the music, for giving it to you.

Georgia Mannion

hat did you last buy? A baguette for lunch? A DVD from Amazon? A double vodka orange last night (or this morning if you’re an alcoholic)? Whatever it was, did you really need it? You see, I’ve been attempting to save money recently. Not because I’m languishing in the deep depths of my overdraft, nor because I’m trying to save up to fund a sojourn to the other side of the world. Or even to save, dare I say it, due to the current economic climate (by the way, since when does climate refer to economics, I haven’t seen any money falling from the sky recently). No, I’ve been attempting to save just for the sake of it. To me, it seeems that we have it ridiculously easy and are living way beyond our means. Some of us go out and spend £20 on drinks getting hammered at least once a week, £10 on a couple of lunches out, £10 on the new releases at HMV and £20 now and again on a nice shirt or dress. Suddenly, we’re talking outgoings of £60 a week and hundreds of pounds a month.

“It’s a travesty there’s been no charity set up to help us poor sods” A good example of perceived student life is a money box I received for Christmas (we’ve already had a Christmas rant in Seren right?). On the side it reads ‘starving students’ and asks to ‘give generously so that I can: live on pizzas and pints, buy clothes that aren’t second hand, get a new set of wheels and party all weekend’. It’s a travesty there’s been no charity set up to help us poor sods, isn’t it? Fine, we may have it easy but then it is ludicrously easy to spend money, or rather unreasonably difficult to save. For example, when your friends are all scoffing full English breakfasts whilst you sit there gormless sipping a glass of tap water, you really do start feeling like a poor bugger. ‘Have a chip’, they insist, as if suddenly I’m now some sort of charity appeal. Next they’ll be sending food packages to my house (by the way, I wouldn’t complain if this started happening, however, please bear in mind I don’t like mushrooms). So what’s the solution? I could just simply not go out, stay at home and binge on oats and water. The trouble as soon as we start making a concerted effort to save money by not going out and not spending money we immediately hinder ourselves socially and become insular hermits. We need to go out and interact with each other, stimulate ourselves through entertainment. Alas our intellectual blessing is as much of a curse. Perhaps we should all go under ‘dumbing down’ treatment to diminish our insatiable desire to socialise and consume ‘culture’. On the other hand, this might give an unfair advantage to The Sun and Channel 5 whilst slowing sales of The Guardian and reducing viewing figures for BBC 4. No, as is usually the case, there’s no one sure fire solution. It’s the annoying but effective ‘small cutbacks at a time’ approach which are probably most effective. Looks like I’m going to have to start stocking Tesco value caviar on my Yacht from now on.



February Issue 2009

A day in the life of a


ver the next few weeks the Students’ Union will be launching its ‘OI SABBS’ campaign. The aim of the cam paign is to further promote the Students ’ Union to those who may not yet have got involved with it and also to encourage students to have their say and express their thoughts about what it is the Union should do. Commenting about the cam paign, President John Jackson said “It’s great to see that participation within the Unio n is at its highest level for a very long time this year. However that doesn’t mean we want to rest on our laurels. We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved and have their say about what we do and provide. Whether it’s about democracy, entertainment, communicati on or clubs and societies, if people have an opinion we want to hear it. Students need to tell us what they think so that we can build on the impr ovements already made.”

The Sabbatical team will be rollin g out a poster and postcard campaign in the coming weeks encouraging students to cont act them with their thoughts. As the campaign sugg ests, whether it’s a query, a suggestion a complain t or even praise, the Sabb team want to hear what you’ve got to say! For more information about the campaign, or if you want to get involved and help out, please contact any of the sabbatica l team. All contact details can be found at the SU website – www.

What do you want from your new

Students’ Union building?

the academic year, revealed earlier in s SEREN exclusively dy for a new Arts stu lity sibi fea its d eile the University has unv the new Students’ se hou also will t tre tha working and Innovation Cen Union have been ical team of the all stages of the at Union. The Sabbat ed olv inv are y e that the as such tirelessly to make sur posed new SU and s regarding the pro as. consultation proces ide and ts ugh k your tho nched via Facebook they want to feed bac campaign will be lau The ‘NEW SU 2011’ The aim will be to . sity ver Uni the sed around ts’ Union website. and will be adverti den Stu the on online survey on services and ts direct students to an ugh tho ir the ut students abo new build that the The survey will ask in ed lud inc see ld like to 1. 201 facilities that they wou of end the s pletion toward es and Events is scheduled for com r George and Societi nce Spe nt gn. side Pre Deputy eading the campai have been spearh gn, Spencer pai Officer Tom Hecht cam the of the planning ger When asked about have liked a lot lon “Ideally we would ever, with How s. George commented, ces pro on tati this consul to have planned out h short notice we’ve being unveiled at suc the feasibility study allow us to engage will t tha h a campaign ts and opinions had to come up wit ugh tho ny feedback as ma of time.” Tom with students and iod per rt sho possible in a us with both e into the process as vid pro will t t a survey tha University the Hecht added, “We wan to t sen pre to ntitative data facilities ny ma qualitative and qua the r ive del new build will ect from a exp so that hopefully the to e com students now and services that ts’ Union.” gn and to take modern day Studen tion about the campai For up to date informa tudents. ors ng vey, visit part in the online sur the official Bangor on ts den stu 0+ 2011 or join the 120



ebook group. Students’ Union Fac

Sabbatical Officer



Tom Hecht

Societies and Events Officer


Post a bowl of porridge and a fresh slice of marmite-clad toast – gosh, it’s 7am*. Occasionally, I’ll cheat and read my e-mails whilst walking to work – ‘testing the water’. First stop - the SU Shop and reception; “Bore da! Morning!”. Time to check out what new things Pearl & Jackie have in stock (woot! Fairtrade) and off upstairs. Who’s in? The sign-in board is a real tell-tale! A quick tidy up and shaping of my to-do list for the day is normally necessary as is a fleeting glance at the day’s meetings. *disclaimer: time zone not specified


Lunch can take many varying forms, often resulting in a grazing effort. Tuning into Storm FM brightens up the day (especially when I get to make “nifty little form” requests!). I send something off to Gareth for translation, have a banter with Aled the IT Manager, answer some e-mails, make a brew, sign-off some society invoices, send some e-mails, ask Rob’s AU opinion, chat finance with Sharon & Rachelle, pester John, write a letter, upload photos to the website, organise a cloakroom week, prioritise my to-dos, answer the phone…


Doh, it’s 5pm and there’s still hours of work to go. Around the build-up to each Serendipity anything goes, sleep doesn’t. On a more regular occasion I do like to get out for a climb, nighthike, game of badminton/squash, or, on a less athletic note, the pub. Society and University events are fun to attend of an evening too. If it’s a night in, some toast/a ready meal and a chat with the door staff (post 9pm) are the only perks. A decent stereo system in the office helps filter out unwelcome Academi beats (my tastes are broad but…)



February Issue 2009

9 0 0 2 L L A B R E SUMM y a s r u Have yo

This year the Students’ Union Events Committee has liaised clos ely with the Entertainments Manager of Und eb Trading Cyf., in order to assist in the sha ping of the event. However, we want to hear *your* views and opinions about what *you* want from the Summer Ball, so that we may be best qualified to relate the ‘student voice’. Whilst it’s quite possible tha t you’d like to hear The Killers and have 10 diffe rent fairground rides, our location and the venue size restrict what is at the disposal of the organisers. We’d like to urge you to concentrat e on more than just what bands you’d like to have playing – perhaps you’d like to see jugg lers and a coconut shy this year? And please tell us about your previous experiences of such events (both here in Bangor and elsewhere).

see? o t t n a w t s ost/lea m u o y o d t asion c c • W ha o e h t e we mak rdinar y? n a c w o H • xtrao e d n a e u q i un boat? r u o y s t a o bout W hat fl a ? w … o s n e r k n s e u •G k? Let c i r t re… e a h g w n i e s s l s i e f m to: • Are we ctor’ you’ve heard o them back f o e n o y r eve d each and that ‘x fa please sen 1000, words or a 0 1 n e t it r u’ve w W hether yo

.uk c a . r o g n a b . eb events@und


ntering its fifth year, the National Student Survey (NSS) is an independent census of students in their final year of a course leading to undergraduate credits or qualifications across the UK. The survey gives final year students the chance to have their say about what they liked and didn’t like during their student learning experience here at Bangor University. The Survey encompasses a wide range of topics including course specific issues, services and provisions such as Library and IT facilities and questions about extracurricular activities along with many other topics. Final year students will be contacted over the coming weeks to ask for

their input into the survey and the results will eventually be published on Prospective students and their advisors can then use the results to help them make informed choices of where and what to study in the future. More importantly though, the results will help the University identify where its strengths and weaknesses lie so that it can improve upon the services and facilities it currently offers. Only by knowing what it needs to improve can the University continue to facilitate best practice and enhance the student experience. The results are also incredibly important to the Students’ Union as they can often highlight areas where

it needs to work with the University to make sure improvements are made. Last year’s results showed that students at Bangor University were not happy with the quality of assessment and feedback they were receiving from lecturers regarding their coursework. As a result of these results, the Students’ Union has been working with the University to look at feedback and assessment protocols across the board in all schools of the University Deputy President Spencer George commented that “The NSS is incredibly important both to the University and the SU. I would encourage all final year students to take the time to complete the survey and be completely honest

with their thoughts, whether they are positive or negative. Only by knowing what students truly think can the University look to improve for the future.” The Ipsos MORI team (the organisation rolling out the survey) will be contacting final year students in the very near future. If however you’d like to complete the survey before then, simply visit www. or for more information visit the Students’ Union www.bangorstudents. website com. This is a great opportunity to voice your opinions about all aspects of the University. So as the slogan suggests, make sure you take the time to ‘Be Heard!’

Get on the website & tell ‘em about your time here in Bangor



February Issue 2009

Spencer George: making pennies for losing pounds!



Mentally preparing himself to join in?

s a way to raise money for Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice, Bangor University set up ‘Pennies for Pounds’. For this fundraiser, University staff members take part in a weight-loss challenge and for every pound they lose, 10p is donated to the local hospital in Conwy. The challenge started at the beginning of February, shortly before the launch of Healthy Living Week by the University Nurse Health Practitioner, Joe Patton, as a way for people to improve their fitness levels and raise money at the same time. Spencer George, Deputy President of the Students’ Union, decided to take part.

Spencer joined the gym and with his pedometer (given to him by Joe) will continue with his goal of losing a stone, “now that the weather has picked up I’m going to start walking to work as well.” In its third week of running, Spencer has said that the going is “slow and steady”. With seven weeks still to go, the staff members will finish just in time for Easter Sunday. Although there are several days of fasting during Lent so maybe that will give the participants incentive to keep going. Until then, they’ll just have to forget about such delights as Pancake Day and chocolate crème eggs.

Frances Birkett

Getting ‘closer’ in BEDS

he New Year is in; fresh talent is here with up-and-coming shows which are tickling every taste bud. Two ROSTRA girls went to see the BEDS (Bangor English Dramatic Society) production of Closer. Perhaps better known as the original 2004 film, written by Patrick Marber with Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts, the original play Closer recounts the story of four strangers, Alice, Dan, Larry and Anna. Each character enslaved by desire, their lives become completely entangled and consumed by lies, temptation and betrayal. BEDS decided to perform Closer in the newly refurbished John Philips (JP) hall. The audience were greeted with a warm smile and a programme from the front desk, and shortly we were shown to our seats. The play began quickly and the first scene set a high standard for the rest of the play. The play opens up with the stage black and stark. A nondescript bed. A conventional-looking woman with a common leg injury. Your average man approaches her. Not even a single word yet. The chemistry is instant. This atmospheric, tense and sexually-charged meeting initiates Alice and Dan’s troublesome relationship.

“The pace was fast and exciting” The play moves quickly on, showing the sexually uninhibited side of Dan and Larry’s characters, which were conveyed by the men interacting over an x-rated, online chat room in a scene effectively delivered. Centre stage was a giant screen showing the progression of their deceptive discussion. The appearance of frank, sexualised, even vulgar language in text format added even more comic effect. Assuming the character of his desired Anna, Dan converses as her ghost writer and projects his own fantasies about her into the conversation. This tricks dermatologist Larry into believing he is conversing with a temptress. The plot thickens when fate intervenes and Larry meets Anna, the events of last night’s cyber trickery become apparent and this pivotal rendezvous begins another illfated relationship. The plays’ pace was fast and exciting, without leaving behind any of the audience. The directors showed sheer brilliance and wonderful originality throughout the play, with ideas that included the usage of a split screen. The best of which was shown in a scene exposing the affairs and introverted relationships of all the characters. Another memorable

theatrical device was used when free-spirited and sexually untidy Alice performs in a strip joint. Her references to the security and surveillance, which, she gestured, were based somewhere in front of the stage made the audience feel involved with the play and that the events were all the more real. The characters’ very believable emotional responses to each other succeeded in creating a highly dramatic effect on the audience. These included a heart-broken Dan confronting his love rival Larry pleading for his beloved back, and the former, out of passion and

“The directors showed sheer brilliance and wonderful originality throughout” wrath, striking Alice on the face; a forceful application in a formidable scene which brought the drama to a shocking climax. All mannerisms, clothing and speech tendencies enabled the very strong character development, and Anna’s use of hand movements, typical of creative people, added to an accurate portrayal of an established artist. Each actor made the character their own. Hardly halfway through the first half, and the film was entirely forgotten. The incredible rawness of Larry’s character was portrayed

wonderfully and Dan’s roving eye was evident, without being disgustingly sleazy. Anna and Alice were two

“Hardly halfway through the first half, the film version was entirely forgotten.” completely different women with the characters’ having a big age gap, which was evident. Everything had been thought of, including clothes, make-up, mannerisms and accents. Each actress performed their character without any faults. Last, but definitely not least, the back stage crew worked quickly and quietly with their efficient scene changes, which allowed the play to progress with its’ fast pace and which kept the intensity of the characters and the electric atmosphere at a constant throughout. It is never easy to approach a well-known piece of theatre, and even harder to perform a play that has been made into a film and known by so many. But BEDS took the script by the scruff of the neck and made it their own completely. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

By Emma Gregory and Rosie MacLeod.



February Issue 2009

Red Nose Day 2009

Healthy Living Week Mr Motivator - not part of healthy living week but a big hit at the Seren 90s SIN Night

Main Arts building - not one of the UK landmarks going red for Comic Relief but imagine if it was...


osted by Bangor Students Athletic Union, Healthy Living Week ran from 30th January to the 7th February incorporating a number of activities from taster sessions hosted in Maes Glas to a pool party, which despite the appalling weather, turned out to be one of the highlights of the week. With ever increasing press that students are lazy and spend their days watching Jeremy Kyle, this was an opportunity to show that the students of Bangor are not slaves to Pot Noodle and Xbox. I spoke to Rob Samuel, president of the Athletic Union about his thoughts on Healthy Living Week... Seren: What made you decide to host a Healthy Living Week? Rob: I wanted to promote sport and recreation, and a healthy lifestyle to all students of Bangor. Also I wanted to provide sporting and recreational opportunities and activities that any student could get involved with whether they were a member of the AU or not. Basically the week was mainly aimed at getting more people involved with sport and recreation (not just competitive sport). Seren: What was the most successful event of the week? Rob: The pool party was

extremely successful with 65 people coming down. We had the inflatable out and slide open, which was awesome. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and had lots of fun. The other events were well attended as well though, particularly the free Maes Glas sessions. Seren: Do you think the week was a success and will the students of Bangor be seeing more events like this? Rob: I think it was a huge success with most of the events being well attended, and seeing a good response from the students. I would definitely like to hold more things like this, and I will be recommending these sorts of events to whoever takes over the role next year. It is something that can most definitely be built upon, as well as finding out what other things like this the students actually want to see. Judging by the success that the Athletic Union has seen this year from the various sports clubs and the number of AU Nights and events, whoever will be stepping into Rob Samuels position next year will have very big shoes to fill, not just because Rob wears a size 12.

Bianca Murray



ts that time of year again - Red Nose Day! Since its conception in 1985 by scriptwriter and soppy film maker Richard Curtis, Comic Relief has raised over £600 million. This Friday, 13th of March 2009, we’ll see the twelfth red nose day grace our screens. This year there are three different nose designs to choose from, all with different facial expressions! The event this year will see the revival of old favourite TV shows or even in one case its own stand alone reality TV show. The Saturdays will provide the official single, a cover of ‘Enough’ and Comic Relief’s Chief Exec has announced that the UK’s landmarks will be going red before the big day. David Tennant and Davina McCall will be presenting the first hour of the main live Comic Relief show and Fearne Cotton will be presenting a special Top of The Pops for Red Nose Day 2009. Claudia Winkleman revealed she will be presenting a new Comic Relief show with Steve Jones called ‘Let’s Danc’e. Each week, a celebrity act will perform a number of famous dance routines which will then be voted on by the judging panel and public. The panel will be headed by Anton Du Beke, who will be joined by a team

and the Sarah Jane Adventures will be shown. The BT Red Nose Climb will see nine celebrities attempting to climb all 19,000 feet of Africa’s highest mountain to raise money. On 27 February 2009 Gary Barlow, Ronan Keating, Chris Moyles, Ben Shephard, Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen, Fearne Cotton, and Alesha Dixon will be setting off to Tanzania to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro! Here at Seren we’re hoping you’ll all join in, here are some ideas: - Buy a red nose - Get sponsored for doing something crazy, such as walking around in wellies full of beans - Collect money in lectures

advert for Sir Alan Sugar. A special episode of Gavin and Stacey, based on Nessa and Bryn travelling to Las Vegas for a championship where they meet up with Tom Jones and sing the Bee Gees written “Islands in the Stream” (the second comic relief single) are also to be aired. Special episodes of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps

- Dress up stupidly for lectures - But most importantly, RAISE SOME MONEY FOR CHARITY

Sion Wyn Laszek

You don’t always have to follow the crowd

ashion Staple – The plain white tee. There are certain items of clothing that will never go out of fashion - no matter what your style – it’s likely that you’ll have most of these items in your wardrobe already. The most evident of these is the original white tee with skinnies. To liven this outfit up add a pair of ballet pumps or if you have it, a biker jacket for the tough look. Alternatively for a straight off the cat walk feel add a tailored, cropped jacket or a vintage style baggy boyfriend blazer is always a hit. TIP: A vintage brooch always adds a bit of ‘va va voom’ to any outfit. The original white tee could also make a very glamorous evening outfit. To get the look that’s in at the moment without braking the bank, borrow your boyfriend’s tshirt. This cheap trick means you have a loose fit top that looks effortless and straight off the rails from Topshop, at no cost to you! To customise add a waist belt, leggings and heels then you are set for a night out with the girls! Fancy being the next Agyness Deyn of Bangor? All you have to do is dress to impress and you could be the best dressed in Bangor. Remember individuality is always best. Cheap Student Tricks – scour this website for cheaper versions of some Topshop and River Island garments. Boohoo also do a lovely pair of sequin leggings for £20, usually priced at £30-£40 on the high street. Charity shops are another great idea. Floral prints are big this season so if you spot a Granny top grab it. Alternatively, you could check your Grandmas loft for perfect vintage tricks.

riend Boylfazer b ite & whirts h s t-

of two different guest panellists each show, including Emma Bunton, Paul O’Grady and Michael McIntyre. Other special events being screened on the night will include ‘Comic Relief Does The Apprentice’, featuring celebrities like Carol Vorderman, Gok Wan and Jonathan Ross attempting to make a television

DIY Buy some thick ribbon from a haberdashery, make it into a bow and attach a safety pin. There you have an instant fashion uplift. Hot in hair this season

Big is the way forward. To create this look you can either keep it simple with some backcombing at the roots, or glam it up and step back to the sixties with a backcombed beehive style. To keep the look updated, try a headband with a bow. Cropped boyfriend cuts are low maintenance and very chic. The centre parting of your childhood has made a comeback and is the cheapest way to make a change. Makeup Must-haves: Include some cheap beauty tricks: A tub of Vaseline is essential, whether you’re using it as a lip gloss, cheek highlighter, or on cuts and grazes from falling over drunk, a pot of Vaseline never goes out of beauty fashion! Statement eyes are big this season, but you don’t have to go wild. You can create this look by simply extending your eye liner further than usual, smudging it with Vaseline or brave a new eyeshadow colour. Barry M have some great shades, and Superdrug usually have offers on this brand. Nude lips are all over the catwalks at the moment, and you don’t have to break the bank to achieve this look. Simply blend your concealer onto your lips and cover lightly in clear gloss (or Vaseline!). Alternatively, Natural Collection at boots have a great range of lipsticks all for under £2! These include the nude shade, as well as a Hollywood staple colour - crimson, to get that red carpet look.

Laura Winstanley & Polly Daszkiewicz

Nude Lips

Stat em Eyes ent


Biya Ashraf kindly invite d us to her humble Lower Bang or abode. If you ha


ve traffic co nes galore o to impress g r mess et in touch! editor@seren k


Going Up Lily Allen Seren approves of her latest offering It’s Not Me It’s You.

ot? why n


o Tamag Giant

Being able to like things on facebook We like this!

Snow, apparently You never get this in Hollyoa ks

Kitchen, wit h en suite hygenic!

Is this you? Do you know who it is? If so, then get in touch and you’ll win a HANDPAINTED SEREN MUG! What more could you want? Two lucky people:

Where was our snow? There was scarcely enough to sledge down Bitch Hill on a bin lid

Students causing the recession

Matt & Sophie

Spotted! with their hand painted Seren mug s!




the p issue, (much debated by he expensive high street sho ly high a is k), boo Face on cially students of Bangor - espe ussion. I would personally disc my th wor , one nt importa pounds spending over one hundred like to chastise you for not knives. How dare hen kitc nese Japa ted on blocks of carefully craf drink beer ly warm student houses, you all sit there, in your love to buy not ce choi r You . gold excrete ght constantly, eat steak and brou has GOR BAN IN ter, in the win plastic shoes full of holes, here You skinflints. While I’m te. epu disr into us the rest of to blame for the I remind you, you are all m a y lworths and permanent shutting of Woo the high various other buildings on a global of ct effe the ite desp et, stre dreds of Hun . hing cras omy econ try are people all over the coun re losing jobs left right and cent t, and this is entirely your faul h students in Bangor. Althoug this sad and terrible time of recession is upon us, you are all to blame. Your choice not to spend money on a set of four but glasses, cocktail instead pay food and me. heating bills astounds of ents stud you on e sham So Bangor, shame on you.


Exploring current affairs with Dwight McCarthy

And another thing…

The certain popular branded pub crawl issue. I went to the last one, with promises of lewdness and vulgarit y, excessive amounts of drinking and general “carnage”… what I witnessed however, seemed to be a well run, thought-out plan of moving students efficiently around Bangor and eventually herding them all to Time/Academi. The free soft drinks and warden s within earshot generally added to my rejection of the idea that every student involved would have 10 pints and then have sex in some kind of orgy on Glanrafon (aka Bitch) Hill. All in all I’m n o w disappointed that we will no longer get a chance for this to happen again.

Birthday: 8th Feb Hometown: Wallasey

Bangor’s unsung heroes!


They a ffe on a da ct your life ily basi s d o y o u really , but This month: Library Staff know enough aving been expressly “There is no better way than coming disruptive. For instance, about t instructed to make clear that to the library and reading a book. I’d always assumed mobile hem? librarians do not all wear Obviously, you have to take into phones to be the bane of librarians’

pleated skirts, buns in their hair and spectacles on strings, or incessantly shout ‘ssshhh!!!’, I can report, in all honesty, that I encountered none of these things during my time with the lovely gatekeepers of Bangor’s knowledge. Instead I found tears, pigeons and ghosts. First the stats; 850,000 books are held in Bangor University’s six libraries, as well as subscription to over 10,000 e-journals. There are 420,000 book loans and renewals a year with, obscurely enough, A Companion to Latin American Film proving this year’s most borrowed item (49 loans since September fact fans). There are over half a million visits to the library per year, but there could and should be more. “If you’re a student who’s never been to the library, then why not?” asks Sian Robinson, senior library assistant for the Welsh and special collections. It’s a good question.

account that access to information is far more varied than it’s ever been, but there’s nothing that can replace reading a good book. That’s the true way to education.” Bangor’s extensive collections include texts from the fifteenth century and a letter from Elizabeth I,

“It shouldn’t be necessary to add ‘no phone sex’ to library notice boards” but naturally, its libraries must also keep pace with the developments and demands of today. These can be beneficial (self-issue machines, electronic resources, Wi-Fi) or

Tom McCarron

lives. The ‘phone zones’ now dotted around Bangor’s libraries have helped somewhat, but it seems you can’t shake the belief that conversations on your mobile are inaudible to everyone but you. “Students should be a little bit careful about what they’re discussing on their mobile phones in the corridors, because they are public areas” warns Sian. “I work at the top of the building and people’s voices carry up there, and I’ve listened – well, I try not to listen, but it’s very difficult not to when they’re outside your door discussing very intimate subjects”. It shouldn’t be necessary to add ‘no phone sex’ to library notice boards, surely: it’s bad enough your housemates having to hear that through the wall, don’t inflict it on librarians. For the most part however, library staff greatly enjoy their contact with students. Everybody I spoke to cited the interaction with students and the satisfaction gained from helping them as the best aspects of the job. Some even form lasting friendships across the issue desk. “A student from Malaysia used to bring presents back for us when he went home; a pair of trousers, or duty-free cigarettes” recalls Gwyn Williams. “He told us that if we were ever in Malaysia, we could stay with his family”. Even when those familiar library pressures prove too much for students, the staff do as much as they can. For instance, during exam period (“there’s far more crying around that time of

Studying: Psychology Music: RATM, Late of The Pier, Mr Scruff, The Rapture Films: High Fidelity, This Is Spinal Tap, Blow Groups: Coffee and TV Milk Carton Fan Club, The Y Borth Crew, I wish Billie Piper would lighten her black eyebrows, its upsetting

year” observes Sian), “you have to use different skills to work in the library…you have to be patient and considerate and aware”. Access to the library isn’t restricted to the university’s staff and students, either. “The library belongs to the local community as much as it belongs to the university” stresses Sian. All comers are welcome, as long as they cause no trouble. From the homeless who enter Deiniol library for some warmth and shelter, to the family of pigeons who nest behind the clock in the Shankland reading room, to the spectral porter who patrols the Lloyd reading room late at night and, of course, you. “We like students” says Sian, “the more the better”.

Rhodri Barker

Tom’s acceptance speech...

I’m typing this in the midst of a waterfall, from my eyes , to the keyboard. I believe this to be one of the finest moments of my life. Apart from that time I lost The Game. I’d just like to than k my family, friends, the G-O -D man, Morrissey, Mark Zuckerbe rg, Alien Minnows, and Seren for making this all possible. Peac e & Love. Tom

” Fancy a bit of

this? Add us on Facebook to be in the running next month!



February Issue 2009

This year, Seren’s roving reporter, Willow Manuel, is dedicating some time to trying out clubs and societies. All photos of Willow in action taken by Helen Waller


BUMS, a club best preparation for i was perhaps not the uire much get req not s doe it night out in Academ nd like ingly makes it sou ed for Bangor whose name deceiv rally what is requir get up and go is lite ver we Ho go. up and eering Society. fan in the Ogwen University’s Mountain ‘little’ (debatable) Try session took us to club kindly lent me the , ise s-w The BUMS have-a-go the d clo ents. The more ewhat underprepare Valley. Being som t, older than my par t which was, in fac coa to climb up and us wn bro for s ed gth rsiz len g an ove ed ropes of varyin par pre e was secure at s rop ber my clim t d tha ng experience st rope. After checki alle sm ng to fall out of the goi b t sn’ clim wa I I decided to the knowledge that in e saf ng empt climbing bei att to and d ide least ten times th, I quiveringly dec dea my to et mm my harness and plu I would come back up the rock. I was unaware of how d the top, however the bottom. After che to rea eil I , abs ally to e ntu hav Eve uld s informed that I wo n I decided to wa I dow e ror com hor to my ng To refusi down. quarter of an hour, for this agonising e er fac aft k s roc les the the ver clinging to the whole way. Ne ed n alive and eam scr dow and and up ng it attempt abseili self as I had made up lly pleased with my bers bravely climbed clim er oth experience I was rea the of for a second time. All her than the rope hig es tim ee thr ut attempted the climb re abo rock face which we and down pats of the oyed it! enj tried it and the and bed clim had lly proud that I had that I terrifying I was rea b y of improving clim wa the d ng goo ndi lly fi is a rea Despite ilarating. Climbing exh t they allow te (les qui ly you ual ng act ayi bel danger was st the person who is tru y beautiful full the to ng e nci hav erie team work as you a good way of exp It is great exercise and ut. abo on you to fall and die). gs ban Bangor prospectus surroundings that the


face for “After clinging to the rock to come quar ter of an hour, refusing abseiling” down I decided to attempt

UOTC “After stinking and sweating we did ‘sex poses’ to stretch out”


decided to try out the Universit y Officers Training Corps (not that kind of corps) on an evening when the corps was having a formal inspection, meaning that ther e were in effect two inspecto rs present (me being the second). After changing into my greens, which were about five times too big, we had a meeting with the inspector where I discovered what was good and bad about the society. The inspector mentione d a programme which had infur iated him called the ‘The Secr et Soldier’. In this programme he explained how a journalis t had posed as a soldier in order to get inside information, I then got rather worried. From the discu ssion I realised that despite some problems that the UOTC may have, everyone really enjoys the society, and they also get paid to attend! After the meeting we did a pers onal fitness test with targets to pass, I was quite worried as I have done no exercise since I was about 16. However I met and surpassed each target for girls doing 34 press ups in two minutes, 59 sit ups in two minutes and reached 9.4 on the bleep test. After stink ing and sweating we did ‘sex poses’ to stretch out and then went to get changed for drinks in the officer’s mess where drinks are incredibly cheap. I have been told that to fully experience the UOTC I shou ld attend an adventure training weekend where they shoot guns and run around in camouflage (I’m sure that there is more to it than that )! I feel that this is the society that I would be most likely to join as you get so much out of it. Members of the UOT C go on skiing trips etc, they have brilliant socials such as the casino nigh t which is coming up, and learn skills such as discipline, leadership and team work which will stan d you in good stead when applying for a job.

“I was quite worried as I have done no exercise since I was about 16”



February Issue 2009



A Storm member working hard at getting the station online


d Storm article to reetings, friends! This is an interruption to the usually schedule to radio. For too listen Bangor in students way the change will bring news that students on Ffriddoedd long now, Storm FM has only been able to be received by hard work by members of the Site. We at Storm say ‘NO MORE!’ to this and after much ble debate last year, we are team, much discussion with University bods and a memora Sound will be comin’ at proud to announce that as of March 2009, Bangor’s Student ! airwaves the as well as web y’all via the sts: text us, phone What this means for you is more inclusion in Storm broadca Storm will be working us, e-mail us your requests and views and have them heard. of your Students’ Union tirelessly to keep you up to speed with the comings and goings gang! Exciting isn’t quite as well as the usual fun and frolics from everyone in the Storm the word! We’ll be coming in your ears VERY soon!

had a successful exam we’re all hoping that everyone has Happy 2009 to you all! Here at SVB, ster. seme new the to start t ing a grea period and that you’re all experienc r packed full of exciting be sending out a monthly newslette From this month onwards, SVB will of different projects. host e whol a in and how you can get involved news about what’s going on at SVB projects or just fancy attending a ly week lar regu our of one g Whether you’re interested in joinin of commitment. If you haven’t we’ve got something for all levels one off volunteering opportunity, orstu .bang www at can do so online ved with already joined our mailling list, you details of ways you can get invol you ing bring be also we’ll , Starting this Semester come along to the Student you if and unity comm local the volunteering organisations out in can pick up a full list of Floor of the Students’ Union you Volunteering Office on the 2nd opportunities. few weeks for you to opportunities coming up in the next Meanwhile here at SVB, there’s still get involved. Party – 25th April Bangor Elderly Residents Spring Tea the year, following on us put on our second tea party of help to teers volun for ng We’ll be looki recruitment emails the for out Look r. Party held in Decembe from the successful Christmas Tea shortly or email teaparty@undeb.

Peace out. Matt Ison, Station Manager

Monday 08:00-10:00 Ste and Coffee in the Morning 15:00 - 17:00 The Monday After noon Bit 17:00 - 18:00 Four-play 18:00 - 20:00 Time Tunnel 20:00 - 22:00 The Lost Briga de


17:00 - 18:00 Have you hear d? 18:00 - 19:00 Thats Debatable ! 19:00 - 20:00 Ka-Pow! 20:00 - 22:00 Rhagien Ioan ac Iwan 22:00 - 23:00 Chance to Danc e


16:00 - 18:00 The BIG Mix Up 18:00 - 19:00 The Forum 19:00 - 20:00 The Irish Show 20:00 - 21:00 Tuesdays Gone 21:00 - 23:00 Thunder Storm



08:00 - 10:00 Ste and Coffee in the Morning 15:00 - 16:00 Six Nations Rugb y Coverage 18:00 - 19:00 Songs to... 19:00 - 21:00 The Music Team Show 21:00 - 23:00 Sugar and Spic e 23:00 - 00:00 Late Night Quic kie

08:00-10:00 Ste and Coffee in the Morning 13:00 - 14:00 Back To The Futu re 17:00 - 18:30 Decomposing Composers 18:30 - 20:00 Paranormal Soci ety Show 20:00 - 21:00 Distortion


00:00 - 01:00 The Riot 13:00 - 14:00 Cheap as Bean s 17:00 - 18:00 Double A Side 18:00 - 20:00 Any Requests? 20:00 - 21:00 City Anthems...fro m Liverpool


12:00 - 13:00 Bangor Sunday Sport 13:00 - 14:00 Past Force 15:30 - 18:00 Storm Bound 18:00 - 18:30 Squawk Box 18:30 - 20:00 Menage a trois 20:00 - 21:00 Acoustic Room s 21:00 - 22:00 Six Nations Rugb y Coverage

RAG’s Soa k A Sabb fundraiser at Serendi pity 2

ek e W RAG he ranc a M d hav t r a sa great ye get involveds 2ha1 – k ving h t is 16Bangor Rf AcGrazy thinitghs foovreyr otuhetocoming weeeek yo plent

the w ey g off n kickin aising mo g e b o r t llin l, e g o s in o e o p re g Liver will b xes We a n we aid to he se e ega r trust. The attle of t th m f o a b d e his with g ingitis ek, a he en ecom r men ing the we Then at t time raisin ! AG! B updates o f R y e . G r n e t r is A d u n o o R h d u t R r m h s t g... k fo cake nger erpool bu s lots eboo ducin scave Intro nd on Fac iv ’s. Plu and a back to L Barnardo frie n io etit ing y for email comp will be go mone ou can we y k e e r e o w w

a m d out b.bangor. To fin e d n u rag@



February Issue 2009

The View – Which Bitch?

Lily Allen -

It’s Not Me, It’s You



ack at the end of last year, when you could still claim to love critics’ darlings Fleet Foxes without getting a metaphorical kicking from your pointy-shoed, indier-than-thou friends, a consensus emerged in sections of the mainstream music press touting the re-emergence of a troupe of female electronica/soul/folk artists (notably Lady GaGa, La Roux, V.V. Brown and Florence And The Machine). The assumption was that an unstoppable tide of oestrogen fuelled sass was about to engulf the indie-rock dullards of our day, and that no amount of jangly riffs and King Canute pontificating could save them. In truth, this was a contrived exercise in lumping together strong, disparate artists and an exaggeration, as of the four above, only Lady GaGa has made a sizeable breakthrough. Nonetheless, the attendant coverage of new music in 2009 has shifted somewhat and it is into these uncertain climes that The View are releasing Which Bitch?, their second album which showcases a partial evolution of the band as the postArctic Monkeys bandwagon lurches off-course and threatens to plummet into a particularly laddish obscurity. The View hadn’t helped their own cause – Hats Off to the Buskers, their debut album, pretty much exemplified all of what was

wrong about British indie in ’07 as it was strongly lacking in identity. No such problem is presented by Which Bitch? though, which instead displays a band of multiple identities, previously unseen facets of the group nurtured and given the chance to develop. It takes until ‘Temptation Dice’, the album’s fifth track, for all the elements of the band’s debut to again be in alignment; unsurprisingly, it is one of the weakest tunes on here. The album is edgier and darker than its predecessor and the range of influences is often stunning. Tracks like ‘One-Off Pretender’ reference the widescreen ‘90’s indie of Dodgy and Cast, ‘Glass Smash’ sounds like a more playful version of The Cooper Temple Clause at times, and the penultimate song, ‘Give Back The Sun’ has an opening segment reminiscent of soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone! In truth, I set myself up to review this album as a sort of Devil’s Advocate litmus test, having previously dismissed the band. It is far, far better than I anticipated, and although it’s several tracks short of brilliant it makes a convincing case for the band’s creative survival at a time when similar groups are at an impasse.

Stephen Davies

ily Allen, it seems, is the sleb who gets away with it. Guilty of many of the horrors of our age (overexposure, rampant gobbiness, life-as-tabloid-fodder existence), she nevertheless avoids the widespread public opprobrium reserved for certain other gossip-rag staples. In large part, perhaps paradoxically, it is her absolute candidness which endears her to the nation (excepting a few squares). While others cynically grasp for column inches and Heat covers, Allen exhibits a refreshing genuineness, a take-me-or-leaveme frankness which renders her both ballsy and vulnerable. This honesty is, as you’d expect, in abundance on her second album, and is by turns admirable, affecting and characteristically unrestrained. Three tracks in, for instance, Lily bemoans the only apparent failing of her otherwise perfect man: you never make me scream, she sings, and that’s before she mentions the wet patch in the middle of the bed. It’s testament to Lily’s delivery that this raises a smile rather than cries of “too much information!” Similarly, the bluntly titled ‘Fuck You’ features an impossibly sweet chorus based on the refrain, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you very very much - ideal for subverting toddlers, such is its sugary catchiness. Elsewhere, however, things are more ambiguous, as on the glacial single, ‘The Fear’. While surely tongue-in-cheek to some extent, Allen’s deadpan, dispassionate vocals lend unnerving self-assurance to lines like, I wanna be rich and I want lots of money / I don’t care about clever, I don’t care about funny. Whether satire or another example of that famed honesty, the song is one of It’s Not Me…’s best. In general, Allen succeeds when she leaves behind the chirpy, cheesy Lily of old, and tackles material more akin to ‘The Fear’; slinkier, shinier,

Lady GaGa -

The Fame

more ‘modern’. ‘Everyone’s At It’ and ‘Back To The Start’ make all the right post-Blackout electronic noises, and she still has a way with a killer couplet (So your daughter’s depressed, well get her straight on the Prozac / But little do you know she already takes crack). Things go wrong when Allen strays too far from the path of observational pop, for which she is best known. Hidden (rightly) near the end of the album is ‘Him’, Lily’s rumination on – oh yes – God. Do you think he’d drive in his car without insurance?... / Do you think he’s any good at


remembering people’s names? / Do you think he’s ever taken smack or cocaine?.... Er, what?! Avoid. The preceding track, ‘Chinese’, thankfully showcases Lily’s strengths. A paean to lazing with a loved one, it transforms the mundane into blissful pop, elevating the art of doing nothing in particular with that special someone to its rightful glorious place. Stick to what you know, Lil.

Rhodri Barker

he came out of nowhere, taking the charts and clubs by storm and leaving behind her a trail of leather and glitter balls. I’m talking about LadyGaga, born in Manhattan she spent the first years of her career writing songs for The Pussycat Dolls and Britney Spears before eventually releasing her debut album The Fame this year. So far its spawned the hit singles ‘Just Dance’ and ‘Pokerface’, the first going straight to the top, and rightly so. It’s a stomping tune as the lady herself says that ‘Just Dance’ is “about being totally wasted at a party. It’s about all the things that happen when you’re out and you totally lose your head. In that situation we never really want to stop the party so we just dance through it.” ‘Pokerface’ follows the trend with a consistent beat that makes it hard to stop dancing to it. If you love the previous tracks then get ready to love ‘The Fame’ and ‘Lovegame’ in which she boasts I want to take a ride on your disco stick. ‘Eh Eh’ has been revealed as the third single to be released from the album, personally releasing this song around summer time would seem more of a good idea to me because it would make such a good summer tune. Lady Gaga calls it her “simple pop song” and I would agree, it is a perfect pop song. There are a few tracks that let the side down though, nothing too terrible but tracks like ‘Brown Eyes’ can be a bit boring compared with the rest of the album. Lady Gaga can definitely do upbeat better than she does ballad. In ‘Paparazzi’ she sings about how she’s going to make you love me, and no matter how wacky she dresses, or how weird she looks it’s hard not to. Expect to be hearing a lot more of her throughout the year as she carries on topping chart all over with what I think would’ve been the album of the year so far had it not been for Lily Allen.

Aaron Wiles



February Issue 2009



eren were lucky enough to meet up with Peredur ap Gwynedd, the guitarist from Pendulum, when the band hit Llandudno back in December. On the back of a huge US tour, and even bigger UK tour thanks to the massive success of In Silico, he was certainly in high spirits and fun to chat with, before going on to play a great set that night.

Seren: How‘s the tour been going for you then? Pendulum: Fantastic. It sold out months ago so there have been packed houses everywhere we go. Seren: Is there something about your sound that makes people so receptive to it? Pendulum:Well, it’s quite exciting and fast I suppose so maybe that’s it, I couldn’t really put my finger on it! Seren: What genre would you classify yourselves as? Pendulum: I couldn’t classify our music, it started off as sort of drum ‘n’ bass. Seren: Would you still put yourselves in that category? Pendulum: Well it doesn’t sound like drum ‘n’ bass does it? I suppose there are influences there still but there’s rock in there and electro. Just a big amalgamation of lots of different things. Seren: What do you plan to do next? Pendulum: God knows we’re always so busy! We’re off to Australia then to the States and then back here doing some festivals. In that

time we’ve got to start recording the third album. Seren: What sort of direction do you think you’ll be going in for this then? Pendulum: No idea. It’s impossible to say when you start a project to predict where you end up. You never know – could be a country and western album! Seren: There’s a big difference between Hold Your Colour and In Silico, what do you think pushed you towards the more rocky sound? Pendulum: I’m not sure really, possibly to do with playing live as we felt that the sound suited that more so I suppose that was a bit of an influence. Seren: Do you see yourself continuing with it? Pendulum: Yes. I mean, we’ve done alright with it so it would be mad not to really! Seren: I think it’s divided the fans a little at times, a lot of people have been saying they don’t like it so much. Pendulum: Fuck them. That’s what I say. If they don’t like it then they can piss off! We don’t do music to please other people we do

music to please ourselves. You are going to get your critics and that’s fair enough, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion Seren: You’ve had a lot more commercial success recently do you think this is because of your new sound? Pendulum: Well it’s obviously to do with the new sound because that’s what the radio has picked up on. If we didn’t have radio friendly songs then they definitely wouldn’t play them. Seren: What about your aspirations? How big do you want to be? Pendulum: As big as possible I suppose. We’ve made roads in Japan, Europe and the States now so I suppose we’d like to copy the success that we’ve had over here worldwide. That’s the next thing on our plates I think, we want as many people as possible to hear our music. Conquer the world!

Michael Xavier Henry and Emma Dixon

Jake Thackray A National Treasure


ollect the ingredients of rambling poetical form, humour, contemporary view points and folk music, mix for ten minuets and then leave to simmer and something along the lines of Jake Thackray will emerge. The Leeds born singer-songwriter with his distinctive British humour and singing style gave him the national respect that he deserved in the 60s and 70s. Sadly, he never actually made it to any higher level of success than this, but you can easily see why he stayed rooted in this country, after you hear a few songs he has written. His distinctive ways didn’t just stop in his music. His stage presence and persona was very much that of a Brit and comedian, frequently one-lining the audience when introducing his songs, for example “This next song is…dirty.” Despite the small following he managed to maintain throughout his career, Thackray still had more than a couple of national album releases

through the EMI record label. You don’t really need to delve much deeper than the greatest hits to get the full picture of his music though, unless you get utterly inspired. Regardless of being a devout Catholic and having being taught in a Catholic school , Thackray wasn’t afraid to turn crude, often fusing together the themes of sex, class and religion in ways that made his audiences cringe, applaud and laugh hysterically. The characteristic soft sounding nylon stringed guitar that he used on recordings, rhythmically punches along underneath his cascading poetical form so perfectly and beautifully. His live performances don’t disappoint either. He entertained both musically and comically. I think the thing that really keeps me hooked on Thackray, and makes him such an interesting act to listen to, is the unpredictability of his songs. Sometimes there will be three words in a line and in the next, maybe twenty. Sometimes there will be a rhyme and sometimes not, and often there will be a long legato style verse followed by a fast staccato style chorus. Listening to him is like a musical journey. It is also the fact that Thackray wasn’t afraid to be so typically British that earns my respect. Being proud

I ♥ Trouble Books

of who you are and where you come from is something that is represented less and less in music, as it becomes so eclectic and diverse. If you want to see what I’m talking about then I seriously recommend you check out “Brother

Clas Rev sic iew

Gorilla” on Youtube, as well as “The Lodger, ” and “The Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker.” Jake Thackray really is worth a listen for all of the above reasons, and most probably more.

Tom Durkin

I’ve been meaning to write about Trouble Books ever since I was first captivated by their brilliantly warm and dreamlike music. Each song sounds to me like a stream of emotions and conjures imagery of pine forests and scattered sunbeams projected into to the back of my mind. Trouble Books are from Akron, Ohio and have an album out called The United Colors Of Trouble Books out though MIE Music. Listen to Trouble Books: www. Buy the record: I � Trouble Books

Emmy The Great First Love Looking back at 2008 there was a lot of indie folk making waves in the charts and in music publications with bands such as Noah & The Whale, Lightspeed Champion, Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn. After having somewhat of an underground following before any of the other acts began to make names for themselves, the only name that for some was obviously missing from this list was Emmy The Great. This might have been for the best as time seems to have provided the chance to fine tune ideas and properly grow into a fuller sound as heard on the samples of new songs featured on the album. It seems on the title track (and first single) from First Love there is a definate growth in confidence and the production sounds fantastic. Despite the majority electronictinged music now fast becoming the focus of many whats hot in 2009 lists I believe Emmy will get the attention she deseves will after a long time of being an indie darling just for those in the know. First 9th

Love is Feb via

released on Rough Trade.

Lee., x




February Issue 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

ritish director Danny Boyle has had an extremely eclectic career, directing films in a wide variety of genres - including science fiction, horror, comedy, drama, romance and thriller. He also brings art-house sentimentalities to the mainstream cinema, and never more so than with his latest film Slumdog Millionaire, already tipped to be a favourite at this years Oscars. Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an 18 yearold orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? But when the show

breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up among vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Freida Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns

to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its storytelling lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love. In turn moving, funny, tense, sweet, romantic and occasionally even disturbing, this is a film that really does have it all and the reason it all comes together so well is the strong direction by Boyle backed up by an extremely well written screenplay by Simon Beaufoy. The love story at its core is very well executed, seeming completely convincing, and avoiding many of the typical clichés that many modern romances are full of. The dialogue is also very good

and one good touch is that, for the most part, the dialogue in the present day scenes is presented in English, while in the flashbacks it is presented in Hindi, which makes it easy to differentiate between the two whilst never seeming forced or out of place. The use of subtitles throughout the film is also quite inventive with Boyle making them more visually appealing than what you usually see. As for Boyle’s direction, this is also fantastic, with Boyle creating a vibrant looking film that also isn’t afraid to show the negative aspects of life in the slums of India. For the most part, the film is very well shot but at times the shaky camera movements and jumpy

editing style are a bit too distracting. This is only a minor criticism though, in a film that has few other flaws. The acting is of an extremely high standard with everyone delivering strong performances but the real stars are undoubtedly Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, who both completely convince in their roles and have a fantastic onscreen chemistry. Overall, Slumdog Millionaire is easily one of Danny Boyle’s best films to date. A truly fresh and different film.

Robert Mann

Role Models



The Wrestler

irstly, this film is not a wrestling version of Rocky! Secondly, it’s sure to be one of this year’s film highlights. Thoroughly entertaining, funny and thought provoking, The Wrestler has it all. Mickey Rourke plays a former professional wrestling superstar who tasted success during the 1980s. Now in present day he cuts a sad, middle aged figure, wrestling in small time auditoriums, still under his stage name, Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson. He drinks in the local strip joint, seeks comfort from an ageing lap dancer, played by the excellent Marisa Tomei, and sleeps

in his van when he can’t afford rent for his trailer. He also has a failed relationship with his daughter whom he hasn’t spoken to in years or rather hasn’t bothered. So in short we have a failed star scraping a living, trying to reconnect with his forgotten daughter and turn back the clock to a time when he was young. However, this is not an underdog story. My personal gripe with sports films, in particular boxing films, is that fight scenes are poorly executed. Yes of course the boxing must be fake but that leaves me to question the need to include

fight scenes. The Wrestler works because wrestling is fake in real life too. Therefore we get to witness the ways in which entertainment wrestling is staged as the film’s humorous side comes from when we see the wrestlers backstage planning their bouts. Shot with a handheld camera, we also get the added feeling of realism to the story. The film mainly works due to the perfect casting of Mickey Rourke. His off screen life has been so hectic and self destructing that he almost appears to be playing himself.

Will Varley

he first pleasant surprise of 2009 comes courtesy of bawdy feel good comedy Role Models. Amazingly, Judd Apatow has no involvement in this one and it benefits from having none of the unnecessary hype that a Judd Apatow film attracts. Also, it doesn’t star the overrated Seth Rogen but the harshly underrated Paul Rudd, best known for his hilarious news reporter Brian Fantana in the memorable Anchorman. ‘Sex Panther’ anyone? Rudd plays it straight here, but has brilliant comic timing and his sarcastic put downs hit the spot every time. Sean William Scott, who is in need of a hit, also impresses. Albeit, he does reprise Stifler effectively but his character here has much more humanity and some of the more heartwarming moments in the film he handles well. Role Models follows Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (William Scott) as a mismatched pair of salesmen, who sell a pretty disgusting energy drink to local school children. Danny is having a really bad day, a beginning of a mid life crises. He hates what he does for a living and his girlfriend

for seven years is contemplating dumping him. A brush with the law lands him and Wheeler with a choice to spend 30 days in jail or 150 hours community service at a mentoring programme. They choose the latter and are assigned to be role models for children. Danny is set to look after Augie (Superbad’s Christopher MintzPlasse) and Wheeler has to endure Ronnie (Bobb’e J Thompson). After day one, they both contemplate going to jail, but, of course, in a feel good comedy they both grow a bond with their new friends and learn important life lessons. As predictable as Role Models is, the sense of fun this film injects is very satisfying. Too many comedies recently have delved too much in realism and bad taste, for the sake of bad taste. Role Models came out of nowhere without any build up of hype and delivered a frequently funny and immensely enjoyable comedy with great comic turns from the entire cast, particularly Bobb’e J Thompson who is destined to become the next Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy.

Mark Varley



February Issue 2009

DVD Reviews

Taken Death Race I

n Death Race, British hardman Jason Statham attempts an American accent and fails, but succeeds wholly in providing his target audience with some no holds barred action and Death Race delivers in bucket loads. The film is rubbish, explosive, adrenaline pumping rubbish. The acting is questionable, dialogue as it would be in a Jason Statham film but the awesome action covers those cracks. Director Paul Anderson (no not that one) has finally left the awful Resident Evil series alone and gone onto making his best film since sci-fi horror Event Horizon. The story for what its worth has Jason Statham wrongly imprisoned for murder by prison warden Joan Allen so that he can compete in a reality TV sensation ‘Death Race’ which sees notorious prisoners race each other literally to the death. The winner of each

competition is granted freedom. It turns out that Statham is pretty handy behind the wheel which will make the warden’s show ever more popular and destructive. The plot somewhat lacks logic, but you don’t watch Death Race for an intelligent story or a profound message. You know if you’re going to like a film like Death Race as it serves only to entertain and thankfully the film does so with its tongue firmly in cheek. It never takes itself seriously and most of the violence and carnage veers on the cartoonish. Paul Anderson manages to keep his camera still during the hectic race sequences so that you know what’s going on and they are great to watch: breathtaking and impressively staged.

Mark Varley


ome of the most stylish and refreshing action thrillers tend to come courtesy of French movie directors. This has been seen with films like The Transporter, Unleashed, Taxi and The Fifth Element among many others, all films that broke the mould and offered something a bit different to action fans. Now, following in the footsteps of such great French directors as Luc Besson is Pierre Morel, who previously directed French action flick District 13. His second directorial effort Taken is another addition to the growing list of great French produced action thrillers. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a former CIA agent and divorcee who has retired in order to spend more time with his daughter Kim

(Maggie Grace) His ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) is against it, but he is determined to make up for lost time. When Kim is invited to Paris by a friend, Bryan reluctantly agrees to let her go but provided she stays in contact so that he knows she is safe. Shortly after arriving, however, Kim and her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) are kidnapped and Bryan hears the whole thing over the phone. Thus, Bryan immediately heads to Paris to find her and save her. But with only a 96 hour window in which to find her, he must use all the skills he has obtained over his career and won’t let anyone get in his way. Taken is a very slick, stylish and smart action thriller that works exceptionally thanks to terrific execution by director Pierre Morel.

The action and tension is relentless throughout the duration of the movie, and the action sequences are both thrilling and perfectly executed, as well as being completely believable. The action is very violent but never gratuitously so, which only adds to the realism that is portrayed on screen. The effectiveness of the action is heightened considerably thanks to a believable lead character, who could give the likes of James Bond and Jason Bourne a run for their money. This character is brought to life with an excellent performance by an against type Liam Neeson, who delivers an extremely intense, convincing and emotive performance.

Robert Mann

Bafta recognises Bangor’s Boyle (and other people too...) B

ritish Cinema had success at this year’s BAFTA film awards as Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire scooped the most prestigious awards for Best Film and Best Director. The Mumbai set drama starring former Skins regular Dev Patel is hotly tipped to go on and achieve greater success at the Oscars. Boyle has an impressive repertoire of films to back up the claims about Slumdog Millionaire. With iconic movies such as Trainspotting, The Beach and 28 Days Later up his sleeve it’s no wonder Bangor is proud to have spawned such a notable producer of consistently good films. Coming from an Irish catholic family he nearly entered the clergy but was discouraged by a family friend. Boyle claims “I don’t know if he was trying to save me or the priesthood”. Boyle graduated with a degree in English and Drama in 1978. His former lecturers describe him as “a determined and hard-working student”, Prof. Tony Brown said of him “His work is rooted in realism. I know he has been determined to stay away from the Hollywood studio system”. Boyle, who is now an honorary fellow at the university,

returned in 2007 to talk to film students and was understandably well received. Ponte Tower is said to be his latest

“His work is rooted in realism. I know he has been determined to stay away from the Hollywood studio system” project based on a book by Norman Ohler which is set in Apartheid South Africa. With regards to awards it will be a close call between Slumdog Millionaire and David Fincher’s visually stunning The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. More British success came from Kate Winslet who won Best Actress for her turn in The Reader, beating Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie and herself again in Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road. Her acceptance speech wasn’t as entertaining as her Golden Globe win for Revolutionary Road, in which

emotions overcame her and forgot that Angelina Jolie was nominated in her category. Scriptwriting awards were also successful for Britain as Slumdog Millionaire won Best Adapted Screenplay for Full Monty writer Simon Beaufroy and Martin McDonagh won Best Original Screenplay for black comedy In Bruges. Other wins came from Best Sound, Music, Cinematography and Editing. The new Wallace and Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf and Death, shown at Christmas won Best Animated Short. British cinema was given a serious boost with the success of Slumdog Millionaire at the BAFTAs. With the Oscars around the corner, expect the film to achieve just as much success in the States as it did at The BAFTAs. The Oscars will be taking place on the 22nd February. A report on the world famous awards show will feature in the next issue of Seren.

Mark Varley and Georgia Mannion



February Issue 2009

Top romantic novels

Oliver Twist by Charles Cat’s


e all know that this is the time of year were all of the valentine cards, chocolates and ‘the perfect gifts’ are covering the shops. Couples are walking hand in hand down the streets and single’s nights’ are being advertised, but it’s also around this time of year were quite a lot of us decide to read the many different romance novels that are out there. Well here are some of our best romantic novels that will tugg on your heart strings and maybe even get you crying (in which case we are sorry if your mascara does run):


his is the ultimate classic romance novel’s, not only because it is one of the most renowned tales, or the fact that there is always some type of movie or television adaption on it, but because of the different love stories that are in it. Whether it is Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Jane and Mr. Bingley or charlotte and Mr. Collins, we always seem to be intrigued by the dynamics of it all, and in Elizabeth’s case, the sheer determination to avoid fate.


ns his love story has inspired millio ns of lovers and started generatio on of authors and movies based . This forbidden love over the years always is the main love story that is not remembered, even though it does other most like g endin y happ a have play. romance novel, or in this case, Romeo and Juliet Nevertheless it’s the love between one’s hearts and will that has gained a place in every , just don’t watch it if continue to do so for years to come you want to be cheered up.


his new classic has stirred the country, whether it was through the book or in the movie, Ian McEwan created a timeless love story that no one will forget because of its beauty and sorrow. This story has inspired many people to take a chance on love or lose it like Cecelia and Robbie did.


his modern love story is a true heart break story about a widow who keeps receiving envelopes and presents from her dead husband to help her get over him and begin to have a life again. A truly amazing novel that will remind you to make the most of it, or realise that you can move on without forgetting everything.

Both A Major And A Minor Key Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières


here is something romantic about a mandolin. Like the object of your affections, its silhouetted frame draws you closer to discover its anterior beauty. Fittingly, the title character of this love story has extreme aptitude and predilection for the instrument. Set in Cephalonia in 1941, it centres around Italy’s invasion of archipelagian Greece. Pelagia’s, the beautiful daughter of Dr Iannis, life seems complete once engaged to Mandras. Her sense of security is quickly obliterated when her beloved goes to war, severing contact and leaving her unknowing. She finds the illegitimate antidote to her loneliness and anxiety

in Captain Corelli; an Italian invader and assumed enemy. Dr. Iannis, adamant that people belie their belligerent governments, harbours Corelli in his house, yet, devoted to his country, orders that Pelagia hate the resident émigré. Try as she may, Corelli’s dulciloquy and tutelage spark their ardent passion. A perturbing yet sublime love affair between engaged Greek woman and Italian invader ensues, a love which alleviates the horrendous conflict and gives hope; all their blandishments and sweet nothings begin “After the war…” The relationship between love and war is a prevalent theme. Atrocities surpass Mandras’ impassivity and the

lust he once felt for Pelagia becomes an appetite for rape. He returns inured, incorrigibly violent and attempts to make her his next victim. The reader wonders whether Corelli would have been similarly affected without dulcification by romance. The gargantuan, war-induced changes are epitomised by Pelagia’s physiognomy; temporofacial wrinkles and tuffs of grey hair appear a decade too early. The uplifting message is that instinctive human kindness can prevail over oppressive regimes and that, just as a so-called imperfect cadence sounds beautiful, there is always hope of finding rapture in turmoil.

Rosanna MacLeod

s c i s s Cla



hen asked what they know about Oliver Twist most people are likely to respond with either “Please Sir, I want some more” or a passing rendition of songs from Oliver! the 1960s musical based on the book. However, Oliver Twist more than that one scene and is a novel about prostitution, class warfare and murder, among other things. The book begins with Oliver being born into a workhouse, he is put to work by the owner of the, Mr Bumble, by the time he is nine. Due to the amount of work they were expected to do and how little food they given the orphans draw straws for someone to go and ask for more food. This is where the infamous “Please Sir, I want some more” comes in. Oliver is severely reprimanded for daring to ask for more. From this point on Oliver wants to escape, he is sold for five pounds to an undertaker but after a fight with the other apprentice he runs away to London. On his arrival Oliver encounters Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger, and the better known part of the novel begins. Everyone knows the part with Fagin and his gang but a section that is often forgotten is the part involving Mr Brownlow, the Maylies and the man named Monks. A complicated plot follows involving Monks trying to kill Oliver, Fagin’s hanging and the truth about Oliver’s parentage. Conveniently, as often happens with novels of this period, everybody is somehow distantly related. Which leads to a happily ever after for Oliver with his new found family. All in all, Oliver Twist is a complex novel that has a lot more to it than meets the eye. Not my favourite Dickens novel, a spot which is reserved for A Christmas Carol, however well worth a read if only to discover the forgotten parts of the narrative that get omitted in the many adaptations that people seem to favour over the original work today.

By Cat Prince


by Stephenie Meyer


teenage girl. A teenage vampire. A recipe for disaster, or true love? Based in the small town of Forks, in the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, 17-year old Bella Swan is just beginning her new life. She feels like the odd one out in a town where it is freezing cold and rains all the time, nothing at all like her previous home in Phoenix. At first Bella finds it surprisingly easy settling into her new school. Everyone seems friendly enough, everyone that is except, the Cullens. Edward Cullen in particular. The first glance exchanged between them across the cafeteria sets Bella’s mind whirling. She doesn’t understand how he seems to dislike her with one serious glare without even speaking to her. The event which occurs days later, of Edward saving Bella from a speeding car swerving on some ice in the school’s parking lot, intensifies this interest. Bella can’t understand how one minute, Edward is several feet away then, all of a sudden right beside her. At first Edward tries to convince Bella that it is all down to her hitting her head on the ground, but Bella is not so easily fooled and demands answers. Convinced she is going crazy unless she gets some proof, Bella searches the internet, finding some strange

theories. Superhero classics such as radioactive spiders and Kryptonite. Put together with the appearance of Edward, Bella thinks she has found the answer, only she doesn’t quite want to believe it. Edward Cullen, a vampire? Meeting up with an old friend of the family’s, Jacob Black, Bella appears to have her theory confirmed. As the story unfolds and Edward is discovered by Bella, they embark on a dangerous but passionate relationship. Can she be trusted enough with him and his family’s secret, and what lengths will Bella go to in order to keep it? Twilight is the first in a series of four books, also having recently been made into a film. Characters Bella, Edward, Charlie, Jacob and many others will intrigue you, with hidden secrets and dark forces leaving you hungry for more.

Bethan Thomas



February Issue 2009 are in 2009 and four weeks Hi there guys!! Well here we be honest we already need to and ster, seme d secon into the holidays, although I don’t think another break. The Easter them holidays as of course we we are really suppose to call is only six weeks away. So it’s are all meant to be studying, e s ticking and think about wher time to get your travel brain tween all the revision we in-be ing, head be to love you would e a short weekend in the sun will be doing obviously! Mayb I have included a guide to the is just what you need and so lona. And for music lovers amazing Spanish city of Barce hs are not too far away which everywhere the summer mont e So this summer we can mayb means music festival galore. corners of Britain and living enjoy travelling around the four four man tent and wearing the the good traveller’s life in a ! it really is the way to go now! same clothes for three days…




ucked away in the northern east Iberian peninsula coast of Spain is the vibrant and lively city of Barcelona. Best described as the heart of culture in Spain, the capital of Catalonia is the second largest city in Spain. Its modern buildings and parks mixed with history and traditions of its culture make it the place to visit for any travel lover. The city has three airports to fly into;

Gerona, Reus and the nearest to the centre,

Barcelona International. Flights fly daily from Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham with Ryan Air to Girona

Designers mixed in with quirky local boutiques, it is a shopping delight! and Reus with prices ranging from £10 to £40 return including taxes. BMI Baby also flies from Manchester and Birmingham with flights costing around £20-£25. A city where old and new run side by side, the hotels reflect a similar parallel. Montcada is situated in the historical centre of the city, overlooking the Cathedral and is only £60 per night. Hotel Condal is one of the oldest hotels in the city, opening in 1850, and costs only £45 per night. It is located one of the loveliest streets in the historic city centre, the Calle Boquería, just walking distance from the Las Ramblas, the main street the runs from the top to the bottom of Barcelona’s centre. Reasons to visit the streets of

Barcelona come in their hundreds but there are some things that you just have to do. If culture and history is your thing La Sagrada Familia is one of the greatest architectural masterpieces you could ever behold. The best time to see it is first thing in the morning when the sun is just coming up. The reflections off the spirals makes a

of legendary architect Antoni Gaudi remains still in construction 127 years after he first drew up the plans. La Pedrera (Casa Mila) is another of Gaudi’s work and is a one of the strangest architectural designs to see, with its curved shaped roof and the series of catenary arches. If you fancy something more outdoors then head to Gaudi’s Park Guell in the North of the city. It has a mixture of mosaic tilling and

A city where old and new run side by side

photographers dream. The work

fascinating buildings. Look for the number 13 which is inscribed on one of the tiles in the park. And the best thing about it, it is free entry. Barcelona’s artists are world renowned, with a few in particular sticking out. Spanish Surrealist Juan Miro has many of his unusual pieces of work displayed around the city and within Montjuic Park. His museum, Fundació Joan Miró, is

one of the most visited in Barcelona and he has become a cultural icon for the city. Barcelona isn’t all art and architecture though. It has one of the greatest shopping streets in Europe. Las Ramblas is one long street that stretches right to the docks. Lined with rows of mainstream designers mixed in with quirky local boutiques it is a shopping delight. Nightlife is buzzing with an amazing range of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Las Ramblas comes alive at night with street performers and an energetic ambience to amaze every traveller. And after dinner, you will see the real reason why everyone comes to Barcelona besides the shopping, Gaudi, the beaches and the sun; the nightlife and nightclubs. With students, tourists and locals lining the streets there is a great mix of clubs to suit all music tastes, from jazz to tourist techno trash. So when you think about it…why go to Barcelona? Well really how can you not want to now?

Stef Black

Britain’s Festivals!


lobe trotting round the world is one form of travel, a very expensive one sometimes. However there is a travel trail much closer to home that is just as fun. As the summer approaches it means no lectures, no getting up early and no essays. Instead we have our days to ourselves to do as we please, and what better way than to spend them than travelling about Britain to all the summer musical festivals. With a 1625 rail card and get 1/3 of all rail fares, travelling around the UK is cheaper than you think. Whatever your music taste there are over 50 festivals that take place through the months of June, July, August and September. The great thing about music festivals in the ease of accommodation. Just grab a tent and off you go! At some festivals camping is included in the price of the ticket. Then after the weekend you just pack up your tent and off you go, jumping on the train or bus to your next destination. So where do we begin our journey

of stalking the summer festivals this year? Well it all kicks off in early June. You have Colourfest, for the die hard dance lovers on June 6th in Glasgow, Scotland. Following this is the ever more popular Rockness. Held in Dores near Inverness it’s attracting some big talent this year. Next up we have the biggest of

the festivals, Glastonbury. From the 24th-28th June this gives us the usual spectacle of hippies and mud. Moving into July where there is one festival in each corner of Britain, you will have to choose which one is for you. In England you have Wireless, held in London’s Hyde Park on the 4th and 5th of July. Heading North you have T in the Park at Balado, Scotland running from the 9th to the 13th of July. That same weekend you

might fancy jumping on a cheap Ryan Air flight to County Kildare in Ireland for Oxegen, or venturing back to North Wales for Wakestock in Abersoch. Turning to August you have a small break until V Festival from the 20th-23rd at Hylands Park, Chelmsferd followed by the Reading/Leeds Festival. That same weekend you have Creamfields, which has a new location for 2009 at Daresbury Estate, Cheshire. And to top it all of before coming back to another semester of hard work, venture across to The Isle of Wight for Bestival from the 11th to the 13th of September. So there is your alternative travel guide to this summer. Forget France, forget the Prague, forget The Maldives and instead jump on a train with a rucksack full of beerand a bunch of mates and see what kind of summer you have.

Stef Black

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February Issue 2009

League Team Undefeated Champions Farewell

2008... Bring On 2009!


s years of sport go, 2008 will live long in the memory, so let’s see what lies ahead in


Bangor 48-4 Chester

angor University’s rugby league team completed a successful defence of their Cheshire League Championship with a comprehensive, swift and defining defeat of Chester earlier this month. Chester, reduced to offering no more than verbal abuse, with their defence disintegrating by the minute and attack deflating like a slow puncture, were defeated 48-4. Bangor are only in their fifth year since forming but have enjoyed championship success three times in what has truly been a remarkable journey from the days of making last minute phone calls in hope of making a match day team. Against Chester, Tom Mottram, the sole original survivor from the team’s first year, rolled back the years to claim two well taken tries along with adding two conversions. Max Bracken showed terrific swiftness of foot to twice bedazzle the defence on his way for two tries and Will Varley also added three of his own.


As is always the case for University teams, the influx of new players is key to ensuring the continuation of a club or society and star newcomers Adrian Gunn and Leon Mellor. Each scored one apiece after showing the form that has been characteristic of the two throughout the season. Bracken finished with adding four conversions to help the score along. A special mention must go to all the freshers and new players to the team. Will Roberts Has been an influential addition to the pack; making his debut against Liverpool this year. Indeed everyone has played their part towards the team’s success this year. Luke Donovan impressed particularly in the forwards with eight tries; mostly determined long range efforts, and Liam Morton has made the hard yards week in week out. Bangor have been led superbly by Captain Danny Wright and vice-captain Mark ‘Bernie’ Ward and here’s wishing all the best for next season.

MMU Cheshire 24-28 Bangor Uni


last second try by Craig Spencer gave Bangor victory over Cheshire in a match that will remain long on the memory. Thrilling, tense, frustrating, joyous and bruising are only a few of the words that described the drama as it ebbed and flowed throughout the eighty minutes. The visitors led only 4-0 at half time thanks to a score by Ian Skinner but it was enough to give Bangor the edge over their opponents in a half that also saw them lose a player to the sin bin for ten minutes. It was apparent at this stage that the game would finish close as both teams matched in defence and attack. Former Great Britain international Andy Gregory was at hand to give Bangor some advice but it was down to the players to find the result. Indeed it was in the balance until the very end as, with ten minutes to go, the lead changed hands four times to set up a compelling finale. Even with Cheshire taking the lead with two minutes to go the game was not out of reach for Bangor as quick hands by Tom Cheveus and

Will Varley put Spencer in for the winner. Other try scorers for Bangor in the second half were Luke Donovan 1, Tom Cheveus 1 and Nick Brown 1 with Tom Mottram kicking three conversions helped by Max Bracken who also scored one conversion. There were many nervous errors and frustrations grew which resulted in another sin binning for Bangor but in the end the game was won by the heart and guts shown by the visitors. In terms of game play, however, the two teams were even as Cheshire showed why they were unbeaten with an equally impressive display, scoring quality tries of their own. Impressively, Bangor managed to keep their composure when it was easy to let the situations get the better of them. Both Skinner and Cheveus took huge hits on the field but continued to play their part and Liam Morton produced a solid performance at prop for Bangor, working tirelessly throughout.

Will Varley

Polo Team Scale Snowdon

North Wales Canoe Polo team took upon the challenge of Snowdonia’s Mountains (pictured right). Saturday 10th January 2009 saw 13 members of the club complete the 5hour walk while taking a fleet of canoe polo boats up with them. The club from Bangor University were walking to raise money for new equipment. Social Secretary Sarah Spencer and organiser of the Snowdon event explained why the event took place; “It is important that the club has the success off the pitch as good as it is on the pitch and the sponsored walk up Snowdon just goes to prove how well we do this.” She went on to say “Despite the less than ideal weather conditions those that did the walk managed to raise much needed money that will go towards providing kit to help keep the on-pitch success coming.” Last years BUCS tournament saw the Men’s 1st team placing 3rd. Training is in motion for the upcoming BUCS championships which take place in April.

Charlotte Bewley.

2009! Firstly, you have the footballPremier League, who will win it? Manchester United? Chelsea? Liverpool? Maybe even Aston Villa! All shall be revealed in the coming months. Then there’s the Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup-an exciting few months lie ahead. Rugby, Six Nations-Walescan they repeat their grand slam feats? Ireland? Can they raise their game? France, how good are they really? England? Can they avoid the wooden spoon? Formula One, will Hamilton’s rivals catch him up? Will we see a resurgent Alonso, Raikonnen and Massa rise up? Or will it be the year of Lewis once again? In Cricket, this is a critical year. It’s Ashes fever and everyone should be getting excited. Two teams, one urn, a thousand possibilities, can England tip the form book and win them back? Are Australia like the proverbial wounded animal? Most dangerous when they’re cornered? It promises to be a very exciting summer. Furthermore, we have the World 20/20- which is taking place in England-sixes and wickets aplenty-big hits and stumps flying, all on our very doorstep. Tennis, well he may have missed out on the Australian Open but Andy Murray still has three chances to win that long-awaited Grand Slam, and could he do it at Wimbledon and make himself a true British sporting hero? Or will it be the year of Fed, breaking Sampras’ grand slam record, or will Rafa Nadal prove himself as one of the finest of all time? In the women’s, all eyes will arguably be trained on young Laura Robson, winner of the Wimbledon Girls title, and perhaps the finest young female tennis player we’ve had in a long time. In athletics, will the Brits stand up? On a more intriguing note, can Usain break his own record; perhaps even break the 9.50 mark? In Golf, can Padraig push on, and bring in more silverware or will Tiger Woods dominate? Finally, in boxing, can Ricky ‘the Hit-Man’ Hatton beat arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world in Manny Pacquiao? Can David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye beat the robotic Klitschko brothers and clean up the sorry state of the Heavyweight division? Well there we are, let’s say goodbye to 2008 and bring on 2009, because it promises to be another fantasic sporting year.

Alex Spamp



February Issue 2009

Athletics team running the show T

he last few months have been very busy for Bangor University’s athletics team. We have had competitions almost every weekend; whether cross country, 10km, half marathons or marathons, the team has been out in force. Most recently 18 club members hit the road to Aberdeen for the BUCS cross country championships. Unfortunately, after 9 hours of driving we were told the race was cancelled due to the snow. All was not lost though; all the other universities who had managed to make it to Aberdeen turned up to the race course on the Saturday and staged a huge snow ball fight. A couple of the more ‘elite’ universities decided they would run an unofficial race despite the cancellation; after much discussion Bangor’s team decided to carry on building their snow lady rather than joining in the race and are proud to say that her picture has made it all over the internet and into ‘Athletics Weekly’ magazine. For this I can only congratulate such an achievement. Rob Samuel won the recent Menai Mini Marathon 10km race in a personal best time of just over 32 minutes. Well done Rob; this course is certainly not a ‘personal best’ course so a fantastic achievement here. The rest of the club ran really well too, with Bangor University ladies scooping first (Becki Law), second (Vicki Gottwold), and third places (Jess Bratt). The day before this event a small group ran in the Colwyn Bay Twin Piers 10km; again, another good result with Jenny Brierley winning the Senior Female position in a personal best time and personal bests for Jonny Hardway, Suzy Blandford and Caressa Janssen. Suzy Blandford also recently won the under 20 Helsby half marathon in a personal best time, well done Suzy. Nick Swinburn won the Llandudno

10km on Sunday 8th February for the second year running and also broke the course record. A fantastic achievement, congratulations Nick. The cross country season is almost over, but due to the clubs new affiliation to Welsh Athletics a small team (Suzy, Rob, Jenny and Heather) have managed to gain representation for North Wales in the up coming inter regional cross country championships to be held in Nottingham on the 7th March. Good luck to all who are running there. Jess Bratt and Shaun Mochan were also picked to represent but unfortunately being non-Welsh first year students miss out due to eligibility rules. One first year member, Mark Hughes, is going to be running on behalf of his home county – good luck Mark! Rob and Jenny are also heading to Cardiff in a few weeks to represent North Wales in the inter-regional 10km road race championships. The social events calendar this year had been brilliant and our new kit designs are lovely, well done Andy John. Plans for a good end of year party are currently in the making. Kat Richardson has been busy making it possible for people to gain their Level One athletics coaching awards, and is now working out plans for a Level Two. Angus Mackay continues to run circuit training every Friday, 6-8pm at Normal Site Gym. This is open to anybody: members (free) and non-members (at a cost of £1 a session). Come along and give it a try! There have been so many achievements made so far this year and many more to come I’m sure. If anyone is interested in being part of the athletics club, whether to compete or just for fun drop me an email on

Jenny Brierley

Success for Bangor rowing at Liverpool


arly into December, Bangor’s rowing team made their way to Liverpool docks for their first race of the season. The men took two eights, one senior crew and a novice crew, and the ladies took one novice crew. The senior men were first to race and came first in their category and sixth over the entire regatta with a combined time of 8:07 over two legs of the 1300m course. A special mention must go to Christian Russell-Pollock who was selected to row in this senior boat after only picking up the sport in September. Second to race were the novice men’s crew comprising of almost complete freshers and all competing in their first race. All were nervous as they went over to boat but another excellent performance, the placed them in the top 50% of their category with a combined time of 9:12 and 31st overall. Finally, the women were under pressure to also compete well and they didn’t

Dance team hopeful for success


ur festive show, A Christmas Spectacular, was a great success! With over fifty dancers, seven different genres of dance, an enthusiastic audience and a Christmas tree not to be forgotten, it was a brilliant night had by all! We raised a total of £294 that night, with £150 going to Children’s Hospice, Ty Gobaith. A big thank you to everyone who came to support us! Our next big venture is the focus of our year, the annual Edinburgh University Dance Competition 2009, being held on Saturday 21st February.

disappoint. Coming second in their category the ladies were all very pleased. Again, a special mention must go to Lucy Ferris who had never rowed before September and was placed in the deep end racing with experienced rowers. Congratulations also go to Emma Haynes who coxed superbly in her first race as a non rower. Everyone was shocked by how such a little person could project her voice so far! All those who competed rowed

well and the support for each crew was amazing with everyone pitching in. Thanks also to those who came along in the cold to simply cheer on the crews. A good day was had by all and we returned to Bangor in high spirits. The clubs are looking ahead to events coming up in February and again in March. Good luck to everyone involved.

Helen Aldred

Monday 5pm: Street 6pm: Contemporary Tuesday 5pm: Beginners Ballet 6pm: Advanced Ballet 7pm: Break Wednesday 5pm: Beginners Tap 6pm: Advanced Tap 7pm: Irish

A team of thirty five dancers will head up to Scotland to compete in hip hop, contemporary, advanced ballet, advanced tap, jazz and break. With extra rehearsals on top of our fifteen hour week, it’s certainly a very busy time for BU Dance, but one that will hopefully pay off! To all dancers competing in Edinburgh- break a leg! Finally, to all our new members this semester, we hope to see you very soon in Dance!

Abby-Jay Wilson Bu Dance Captain Thursday 5pm: Beginners Modern 6pm: Advanced Modern Friday 5pm: Fitness (Curved Lounge) 5pm: Break All classes held in Time / Curved Lounge hope to see you there!


FROM JANUARY 2009 MONDAY Tired of being a hair brush Diva? Come and sing your socks off!





THURSDAY Pitch your wits in a battle of the brains!


FRIDAY Get your dancing shoes on!


SATURDAY Fancy yourself as a sharp shooter?

8pm Pool Tournament

Board games available every night — see staff @ Bar Uno - Safle Ffriddoedd Site

Seren - 204 - 2008-2009 - February 2009  

This is the February 2009 issue of Seren, Bangor Univeristy's English Language Newspaper. Produced by students for students.