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Bangor Students’ Union’s English Language Newspaper

ISSN 1755-7585

Issue No. 210

February Issue 2010

BRIDGING THE GAP

INSIDE: Willow gets lost in Europe

Ok Go come round for a chat

Bangor landlord blacklist!

Rathbone may be the Union’s home for 2 years, what then? By Georgia Mannion & Jez Harvey

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t was in this edition of Seren that we had hoped to bring to you all the latest news on what is happening with the Students’ Union building. Sadly after a presentation from the executive of the University at the Union’s Senate and at the General Meeting (GM) last week, we are still none the wiser. Just a few months before the site is due to be closed and demolished we are exactly no further in knowing for certain in what will happen to us. The mood from Senate (as well as being thoroughly documented on p.7) was one of disappointment, incredulity and anger. There were hardly any concrete facts we could hold onto and we ran out of time long before everyone’s questions had been answered.

In the new build much emphasis has been placed on building a “bridge” between all sorts of groups, with one of the central phrases, we were told, being “A fob en, bid bont” – If you want to be a leader, be a bridge. Who exactly though, is the Universi-

“The presentation at Senate lasting 25 minutes managed to mention the Union just once” ty building a bridge to? The feeling amongst students seems to be that it is not them when the presentation at Senate lasting 25 minutes managed to mention the Union just once. It did, however, claim to research

preventing things like obesity and cancer which led to several attendees dubbing the development “The Jesus Project”. There is still a major question mark over the loss of venues. The University confirmed that Amser/Time would be open until the end of this academic year. Although this means losing Academi and The Basement, it is better than nothing and is the product of reflection by the University following Senate’s reaction to their previous plans (which had been to lose Amser/Time at Easter). Prof. Sian Hope (Head of Innovation on the Pontio project) reassured us there would be a replacement nightclub “within walking distance of the current SU building” in the interim. The exact spot has been left to speculation but again this shows promise. It could even be kept open when Pontio is finished to make up for the loss of 2 other venues, but nothing has been confirmed.

The general feeling towards students’ need for appropriate venues never felt like it was taken seriously until the question of what clubs and societies will do to fundraise if there is nowhere for them to hold SIN nights, was raised. Although it took a while for University representatives to understand that our venues are used for more than just alcohol consumption, they followed up with promising “all spaces within the building will be bookable for students”. Although this could mean the Union loses square footage, it also seems like a good use of space and more integration with the local community which could be beneficial in the long run for relations between the two groups.

[Continues on p.4]

Stacey brings you student styles!


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EDITORIAL

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

February Issue 2010 Contributors: Jez Harvey Emily Collins Sharyn Williams Cynthia Flapp Luke Dobson Paul Dicken Thom Flint Gemma Brook M. Freddie Collinson Willow Manuel Nick Hughes Lizzie Blowey Aimee Robyn Carter Thomas Owen Dave Johnson Claudia Viviani Kate Parry Emma Jones Hayley Liston Heather Torrence Gemma Brook Joey McNally Pete Stott Hannah Shuker Zoe Perrenoud Tom Sayer Jonnie Howard Stuart Hardy Photography: Jo Caulfield Heather Torrance Special thanks to: Jez Harvey Biya Ashraf Natalie Kenny Proof reading: Emily Collins The Sabbs

Hello readers! This issue came out slightly later than plan ned, what can I say? We just wanted it to be amazing. We tried to clear up some mud over wh at’s happening to the Union but no one really knows anything so you’ll have to keep you r eyes peeled about that. I especially like Books & Box this time, we had too much to put in but hopefully you ’ll keep sending them and we can get them in next time. The film pages are also loo king expecially good this edition, as is Willow Does. All that’s left for me to say is thank you to my lovely team and all the people wh o contributed to this issue, made tea and got fraped. It’s been good. The music that got us through this time were some pure 90s tunes in preparatio n for our SIN night on the 23rd of February in Time. It’s going to be the best thing sinc e Mr Motivator. We even put a poster on page 16 just for you. See you there!

You’ve got the love, Georgia Xx Ps. You can add Seren Bangor on faceboo k or get in touch with me if you want to =) editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk

THE SEREN TEAM

Editor News Features Music Creative Corner Film Travel Sport Design Team

Georgia Mannion Liz Stevens Stacey Gannon Aaron Wiles Gemma Ellis Louise Cotteril Rachel Stretton Martyn Singleton Dan Turner Jo Caulfield

RECYCLE

Here at Seren, there’s nothing we love more than Mother Nature and d’you 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. And Merry Christmas!


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NEWS

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Constitutional changes see introduction of sixth Sabb

t was within the February edition of tions & Events, Sport & Healthy Living supposed to be the corporate arm of the Seren two years ago that the introduc- (remaining the A.U. President), Welsh Union, ensuring that areas such as human tion of the new constitution was herAffairs & Community and Societies & resources and health and safety are all alded. Yet just 24 months later, a substan- Sustainability. looked after in the best way. tial portion of that body has been entirely When asked about the necessity of a It has become clear however, that this replaced, and the rest is due to follow. Why, new Sabbatical Officer Spencer replied, hasn’t been the case under the old system. after so much work went into the new one, “Over the last two years we’ve learnt that In fact, the clearing up of the Board is has so much had to be changed? “There are lots of challenges and I sat down with Spencer George, Depopportunities ahead and hopefully the uty President of the Union, to talk about the changes. To kick off, I asked that very changes will make dealing with them easier” question. He replied, “Despite the good intensome of the previous changes to Sabb rewhere Spencer seems to be the most entions behind the changes made at the end mits haven’t worked out. We’ve also disthusiastic. When asked what he thought of 2007/08, it resulted in a constitution covered that in comparison to other unthe most significant change was, he rethat was inconsistent, confusing and often ions we’re behind the times with regards plied, “That all Sabbs will now be trustees unworkable. It also left many parts open to to catering for new and emerging areas of of the Union. Given the size of the organipersonal interpretation, so much so that at student interest. The increased number sation each Sabb should ultimately be retimes there were no clear lines of account- of remits along with the ever increasing sponsible for ensuring the Union's proper ability for actions and decisions taken. demands from an ever increasing student conduct, both financially and legally, and Some of the changes we've put forward are population means that a 6th Sabb is defiI’m glad that’s now the case.” based on 2 years of hands-on experience; nitely needed if those demands are ever to The third and final change was brought others are for legal reasons, where we have be met.” about in part by the fiasco that was last had a duty to abide by legislation, such as The second area of change is to the year’s A.U. President election; marred by the Education Act 1994 and the new Char- Board of Trustees. The theory behind the uncertainty and problems, highlighting ities Act 2006.” Union at the moment is that there should more than anything the difficulties that The new changes largely deal with three be a clear line of separation between the arise when too much is left to interpretamain areas. First of all, there are changes political decisions the Union takes, and tion. The third section, therefore, is clear to the number and roles of our Sabbatithe corporate side. Senate, the General rules and regulations for each election cal Officers. In addition to the President, Meetings and policy are the embodiconducted by the Union. there will now be 5 Vice Presidents, cov- ment of the political process - the voice But what’s to say that these changes ering Education & Welfare, Communicaof the student body - whilst the Board is don’t suffer the same flaws as the old con-

stitution? Does Spencer think that these changes will stand the test of time? “I don't think it's necessarily about standing the test of time. The constitution will always need to be reviewed and kept up to date so that it’s a fit for purpose document. I think these changes will give the Union a strong foundation for the future and will allow future sabbatical teams to develop other areas of the Union.” For those who know the Sabbs and have been involved in any capacity with the work of the Union over the last 18 months, it is clear that these changes will be the best representation of their body of work; the dedication behind the changes ensuring that they are not simply reflective of short-term needs the long term goal and future of the Union – a reminder of just how essential our Sabbaticals are. Spencer perhaps puts it best, “We care a great deal about the Union and making sure it has a strong base from which to build for the future. There are lots of challenges and opportunities ahead of us and hopefully the constitutional changes we've made will make dealing with them that little bit easier.” In this reporter’s opinion, they definitely will.

Jez Harvey

Chancellors and Chopping Blocks Vice-Chancellor announces retirement amidst rumours of school closures

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n December 12th 2009, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Merfyn Jones announced his intention to retire from his role in October this year; concluding a 6 year tenure within the position. When announcing his intentions, Prof. Jones thanked colleagues for his “happy time at Bangor” describing the excellent progress of the University and his belief this will only continue. Prof. Jones came to the University in 1990, assuming the role of Vice-Chancellor in 2004. Prof. Jones’ announcement, however, has come at a time when the financial future of universities - in particular Welsh universities - is bleak to say the least. Resulting developments have left a wave of controversy in the wake of the announcement. Higher Education Minister David Lammy has warned universities to expect reduced funding in addition to £800 million already cut, whilst admitting that some universities are already struggling to maintain their current teaching and researching model. The deficit to be felt by Welsh Universities, however, is much greater. The Higher Education Funding Coun-

cil for Wales has warned universities to expect dramatic cutbacks. Although the Welsh Assembly are maintaining that the budget for 2010/11 is yet to be finalised, some Vice-Chancellors are already warning that less popular courses may be dropped. Cardiff University Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. Teresa Rees described such a potential move as ‘undermining the infrastructure of the universities.’ Rumours have circulated in Bangor, however, that the aforementioned is im-

support and distaste expressed through a number of ‘Save Our Schools’ groups on Facebook, conveying support for the departments and anger at the rumoured loss of degrees, resources, staff and jobs. The University possesses an estimated workforce of around 2000; the aforementioned departments responsible for around 100 of those appointments. Not only would cuts see a dramatic decrease in the amount of students and diversity of study and research at Bangor, but would leave 100 staff

years to allow current students to finish degrees, although the respective schools have all shown their intention to fight against this scenario becoming reality. A problem likely to continue however is one of staffing; due to the very real cutbacks any staff who leave this academic year are unlikely to be replaced with the possible impact being passed on to current students. The groups on Facebook have also seen requests for closure; fears the adverse publicity may have a negative effect on applications. Closures, at least for now, remain considerations within review - no decision has been taken and no decision will be taken until the new Vice-Chancellor replaces Prof. Jones. This is unlikely to alleviate the rumours or fears of students and staff alike. Similarly the deference of a change will undoubtedly see speculation continue, surely not the scenario the ViceChancellor envisioned for his remaining months in office.

“The outrage expressed amongst students was immediate and profound” minent, speculation fuelled in the local media and elsewhere. The University was reportedly informed in March of last year they were to see cutbacks to the tune of £800,000 forcing dramatic savings. It must be pointed out from the outset that all speculation is indeed just that, but four academic schools were immediately pinpointed as facing the guillotine; Religious Studies, Linguistics, Social Sciences, and Modern Languages, a fifth closure also rumoured – with fears cuts could affect the provision of Welsh language courses. The outrage amongst the student population was immediate and profound;

without employment. The University, and indeed Prof. Jones, were quick to respond to the rumours swiftly gaining momentum. An e-mail was sent to all staff and students reiterating that no decision would be taken regarding the futures of these schools until a new Vice-Chancellor was appointed in late 2010, allowing them to have full input. It has been admitted however, that an Academic Review is currently underway. It is fair to say, however, that these schools will not go down without a fight. If such decisions were to be taken, it would likely be tabled for a certain amount of

Liz Stevens

BANGOR IN BRIEF BANGOR IN BRIEF

Sabbatical Shuffle

BANGOR IN BRIEF BANGOR IN BRIEF BANGOR IN BRIEF BANGOR IN BRIEF

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

EDL to make a return Following an unsuccessful protest in November of last year, the English Defence League (EDL) are once again to descend on Wrexham in another attempt to spread their anti-equality message throughout North Wales. Despite strong police presence, arrests and the opposition of the move by locals, they will once again make their presence felt on the 20th of February. At the time of print student organisers of the previous anti-EDL protest were hoping to repeat the feat of 2009.

SU shop goes green At last SU Senate a policy motion was passed which hopes to see the end of plastic bags in the Students’ Union Shop. The move will see the phasing out of the plastic bags; their use incurring a cost on behalf of the student. Replicating the descision of a number of national outlets, instead students will be encouraged to purchase a reusable canvas bag in an effort to ease the demands on our environment.

SLC sackings Following the diabolical handling of student finance over the academic year, Student Loans Company have made 150 redundancies and relocated 45 posts, following the resignations of their directors of customer services and marketing and of information and communication technology at the end of last year. The move is said to be ushering in a new online system, which was previously blighted with problems, and an improvement in customer experience. It remains to be seen however, whether this will be the case. It has been reported the company are still struggling to process loan payments.

Flog It! Bangor Bangor University are set to play hosts to BBC2 Antiques Show Flog It! on the 14th of February. PJ Hall will host a valuation day; anyone is invited to bring along an antique for valuation – even if they are not selected for auction items will still be valued, and those selected by experts to be sold could make a rather sizeable sum. If any students are strapped for cash and have any antiques lying around, forget Valentine’s, Sunday the 14th could see a windfall!


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NEWS

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

Shadowy Figures?

Continued from the front page article “Bridging the gap”

As you can see, it is not all empty phrases and side-stepped questions from the University. The GM provided an opportunity for students to ask (and tell)

versity have admitted they were at fault with communications and that students should have been involved from the off. If they were more transparent about their

“Senate presented the University’s first communications reality check and they seemed to buck their ideas up for the GM” the University what they wanted. Senate presented the University’s first communications reality check and they seemed to buck their ideas up for the GM where Mike Goodwin (Director of Estates and one of the leaders on the Pontio project) admitted communications had been “appalling”. Sian Hope reminded the meeting of around 300-400 people that communication is a two way street. If facebook groups, questions at Senate and direct emails to the project managers don’t constitute a communicative effort by the student body then I don’t know what does. Although we are (rightly) still raw about how the project has been handled thus far, it is not time to poke holes in current plans, but to make sure we are involved in the creation of the new SU within the Pontio project. My feelings when these plans, ideas and rumours began circling were that it was a £36 million building filled with hot air. It turns out though, that some of the proposed plans are brilliant. The Uni-

plans and could actually confirm some of their “innovations” then life would be easier, not only for them, but for the underappreciated Sabbs who work tirelessly on our behalf. As a concept Pontio is what Bangor needs. It would be wonderful to be able to look down the coast to the Great Orme whilst sitting in a high-tech new learning area. Having a properly equipped Union that isn’t collapsing would also be amazing so perhaps the sacrifice students are being asked to make, that of having no permanent home for 2 years, will be worth it for future students, future Sabbs and the admittedly culturally starved city of Bangor. Keep a look out in your emails for information from the SU to find out the latest on what’s going on. Although we cannot vouch for the communication between students and the University, as soon as the Union know what is happening, so will you.

What can students expect from the Opposition regarding higher education?

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tudents and the Conservative Party 2% of primary school teaching students stereotypically go as well together as and 4% of those learning to be secondary forward planning and the Universchool teachers. sity, yet in the run up to the election, (exIt would perhaps be easy to dismiss pected any time in the next few months) it this as simply “the least binding force of would probably be good to get an underhuman commitment”, if it wasn’t for the standing of what The Opposition say they fact that David Willetts, the Tories Shadwill do to higher and further education ow Minister, is someone it seems students should they be elected. can trust, and get a lot from. It has been said, “Campaign promises He has repeatedly called for more stuare—by long democratic tradition—the dent involvement in the current review of least binding form of human committop-up fees and when he shared a stage ment”. Despite this, I have selflessly with Wes Streeting, the very definitely trawled through the public statements New Labour President of NUS gave him and policy papers of the Tories and Davthe highest compliment a politician can id Willetts, the Tory Shadow Minister perhaps garner by saying he’s never shared for Universities, to see what campaign a stage before with someone he’s agreed promises they have made. Apart from a with 100% before. One of the things that fairly long-winded and incomprehensible has gathered him praise from unexpected policy paper on reform to the FEFC (the circles is when he announced that he beFurther Education lieved Universities Funding Council “It would be easy to dismiss their claims, if it wasn’t for had not earned – yeesh) they have the right to charge the fact the Tories Shadow Minister for Universities is four basic provistudents £3,000, someone it seems students can trust” sions. let alone anymore. away anyone at all. First of all, they will create 10,000 extra So, despite the mistrust that many The Tories have also made plans conUniversity places in 2010. Secondly, they students feel towards the Tories, and cerning student teachers. They have said will introduce a “bonus” for those who rethe lack of solid policy so far (though of that they will pay off student-loans for pay their student loans early. Thirdly, they course, the manifestos haven’t yet been people with Firsts or 2:1’s and go into will make “a fairer deal for part-time and launched), if David Willetts ends up as maths or science teaching, and will remature students”. Fourthly, they will crethe Minister for Universities, even to a move financial support for those with ate a “clearer pathway” from vocational lifelong non-Tory voter like myself, some Thirds or non-honour degrees. This is an routes to further and higher education. of that mistrust may be eased. attempt, the Tories say, to make teaching Nothing particular major, nor particu“brazenly elitist”; however the Training lar upsetting to students. Though this of and Development Agency for Schools in Jez Harvey course is the new caring, sharing ConEngland says that this only covers about servative party that doesn’t want to scare

I want to break free... The architects on the Pontio project also constructed the EMPAC building in New York

Labour of Love

New group seeks to replicate Labour values in Bangor

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tionally and at campus level, spreading the new group has emerged in Banmessage of the Labour movement. They gor, attempting to promote the also seek to promote their social element, values that underpin the Labour Party - democracy, equality, collectivbringing like-minded Labour students together. ism and social justice – they are Bangor Emphasizing the long history of LaLabour Group. bour in both Bangor and North Wales, the They aim to pursue these values as a group is of interest to any student who does student movement to promote and fight for their not wish to beliefs; all “They aim to pursue these values as see David a student movement to promote Cameron the more significant seize powand fight for their beliefs” er come as our general election fast approaches. One of the election time. Students need to be aware of what the parties will guarantee for us; largest national political student organisations, and affiliated to the Labour Party, groups such as this within our reach can the group’s objectives include campaignonly help spread the message, whichever box we tick on that fateful day. ing across all forums to ensure the voice of students is heard at all levels. The group liaises with local Labour candidate Alan Pugh and has attended official campaign meetings for the Arfon Liz Stevens & constituency, in what they state in as effort to fight for change. They play a full Martyn Singleton role in the party’s policy-making process and hold regular policy forums both na-

UMCB members vote to separate from Union

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MCB is one of the most important parts of the Students’ Union for Welsh speakers - it is their voice within the Union and University and is there to represent those who speak Welsh as a first or second language, Welsh learners and those who have a general interest in the Welsh language and culture. Whilst we now know UMCB as the department that organises Clwb Cymru

beginning of the academic year 1979/80. Campaigning for the promotion of the Welsh language and an increase in Welsh speaking students and staff continued into the early 80’s, but as time progressed into the 90’s little steam was left behind UMCB and its voluntary staff. This loss of steam resulted in UMCB following in the footsteps of Aberystwyth’s UMCA in becoming a department of the main Students’

“Much of what will happen next is still uncertain - whether an independent UMCB would continue to have a voice within the Union and University” and other Welsh language and cultural events, it hasn’t always been this way. The origins of a Welsh Union date back to the founding of Bangor University (The University College of North Wales) in 1884, as a society known as Cymdeithas y Cymric; its sole purpose to reprsent Welsh Speakers within the college. Eventually the society succeeded in having people elected on to Union committees, and things ran smoothly until 1976 when a government policy was passed to increase the number of British students in Universities, making Welsh speakers even more of a minority. 4 members of Cymdeithas, including the President, were expelled when a campaign targeted against the University’s language policy; the bond with the Students’ Union deteriorated, resulting in a break away for the group. Bangor was not alone; Aberystwyth University’s UMCA too were a breakaway Welsh Union, gaining funding for a sabbatical officer within the Union at the

Union in 1996. Since then it has become the UMCB that we know today, encapsulating the hive of Welsh life in Bangor; holding regular events, supporting a Welsh learners society, football team, magazine, and now Y Llef (the Union’s Welsh language newspaper). Due to an outcry during the Sabbatical elections of 2009 from members of UMCB who were not aware that those residing outside of JMJ were allowed to vote in the UMCB President elections, an UMCB General Meeting discussed the possibility of reforming the way in which an UMCB president is elected, enabling only members of UMCB to vote in this election. UMCB membership cards were created, meaning that of the near 3000 Welsh speakers and learners who would have automatically been considered members last year, only 210 students were

such on the 15th of December, when 88 of UMCB’s members voted for the department to leave Bangor Students’ Union. Much of what will happen next is still uncertain – whether an independent UMCB would continue to have a voice within the Union and University, what form that voice would take, how UMCB and its president would be funded, and what conditions might be attached still need to be decided by UMCB, the Union and the University. The decision made at the general meeting in December is still to be ratified, which means that UMCB will need to hold another GM before UMCB’s separation for the next academic year is official. The Union however, has already added a Vice-President with the remit of Welsh Affairs and Community to its executive committee - whatever UMCB’s members decide with regards to its future, the Union will continue to work closely with UMCB and to hold the Welsh language and culture at the heart of its vision and values.

Sharyn Williams


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NEWS The Pope is secretly gay *

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

STOP!

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President’s vision of healthcare reform stopped in its tracks by opposition

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arack Obama has been President of the United States for a little over a year now; one of his central and perhaps most challenging domestic policies the reform of health-care. For those that don’t know, the US doesn’t have anything like the NHS. Part of a person’s pay package for some jobs includes health insurance; the poorest can qualify for Medicare/Medicaid. The reason it requires reform is that many people aren’t poor enough to qualify for the Government help, but don’t have jobs that provide insurance, and cannot afford to purchase their own. The U.S. Census estimating that 46.3 million Americans currently don’t have insurance. Obama’s vision has been to see better protection and regulation of the industry, with as many Americans as possible with insurance. Over the Christmas period the reform really gained steam; the two different parts of the American Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives – forming and passing their own bills. These are largely similar bills including much of what Obama wanted; tougher regulations, making it illegal not to have insurance, and the help people need to ensure they can afford it. They also include provision to set up systems similar to Go Compare

(known as ‘insurance exchanges’); so that people can get the best and cheapest insurance with ease. Before this can become law however, the two bills need to be reconciled so that one version can be passed by both the House and the Senate. The problem is that

as seems to be norm, the conservative Republican Party is doing as much as it can to stop and prevent this reform. Because of a quirk of American politics, a minority party can still block bills, as long as they have at least 40 of the 100 Senate seats. Until a few weeks ago, the

“Bizarrely, Sarah Palin claimed death panels would be based on ones at work in the British NHS...which don’t exist” there are two crucial and disparaging differences between the two. Firstly, the House Bill involves “the public option” – this is where it is the Government that would be running the insurance exchanges. The Senate Bill, due to the nature of Senate politics (it tends to be more conservative than the House), doesn’t include it, and faces many opponents. Secondly, as you may expect from a more conservative body, the Senate Bill is cheaper than the House Bill – by $130 billion over 10 years. The House therefore includes several tax rises, the main one being a 5% rise for households earning more than $500,000. But what about the other big split in American politics – the divide between the Democrats and the Republicans? Well,

Republicans had 39 seats – that is until Republican Scott Brown became the newest Senator, having won the special election held to replace Democrat Ted Kennedy – John and Robert Kennedy’s younger brother. All the more galling was that Kennedy had been calling for exactly the reform Obama desired. There’s no real reason the Republicans have given to oppose. The tax-increases are one, but being as they are aimed at those classified as “the super rich”, it has been difficult for them to get any purchase on attacking; thus they have resorted to fairly outlandish statements and claims about “death panels”, a myth popularised by former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. It is claimed that these panels would have the power to decide whether

patients live or die, based on how economic it would be to do so. Bizarrely, Palin even claimed that these panels would be based on ones at work in the NHS. Needless to say, there are no such panels at work in the UK, nor has anything been suggested in either of the bills. Ultimately, there are two reasons why the Republicans are opposed to the plans. Firstly, as a general rule, Republican ideology is towards less intervention from the Government into everyday life – “a smaller Government is a better Government”. Secondly, and rather less ideological, is the insurance companies, who are understandably opposed to the legislation. They have personally donated a lot of money to Senators and Congressman on both sides in an attempt to slow the reform down and stop it. In short, Obama’s plans are now limited. There remain a few tricks up his sleeve, but he can only push this so far before it all starts to collapse. As the centre-piece of what he envisioned for America (stopping the economic collapse isn’t really something he wanted to do, but something he had to do) if this fails, can Obama’s Presidency be said to be a success?

Cynthia Flapp

Plug Pulled

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Google ceases connection with China over censorship furore

o, you come home from a night out and to settle an argument, you want to know who the President was during the moon landings. You head to Google, and instead of pages of instant knowledge, your IP is logged on a Government computer and record is kept of your future movements. You try the wrong search once too often and you get a knock on the door from the police. Hard to imagine that something so seemingly benign and central to our lives in the West could lead to such circumstances anywhere. We think of Google as a saviour in times of strife (e.g. essay time)

and an easy way to find photos of the latest tempts were made to get Google into Chiprising considering the company has been boob-job mishap to befall some E list celeb na, but it wasn’t until 2006 that they were the very definition of the dot.com business allowed to launch google.cn, a version of that would lead the way into 21st Century hoping to become a double-D list celeb. But Google is far more than that. Apart Google that censored itself according to economies. Offices that were more like Chinese laws. The relationship between playgrounds for adults, lax working times, from just their other projects (a browser, an Operating System, phones), Google the two power-houses, from this point, with an enforced 20% time off to work on is the route through projects that you which global knowl- “It may not seem much to you to search for ‘24 want to, and an edge flows. It may not hour pizza Bangor’ but that information is useful entirely new form of economics creseem much to you to somwhere” search for “24 hour ated by their own pizza Bangor”, but that information is usehas been a rocky one, and generally on a in-house economist (usually the reserve ful to somebody somewhere. Knowledge, downward spiral. Less than a year after of Governments) – Google was the future don’t forget, is power, and the one with the the launch, Google admitted that it was a and proof that companies could be not just wildly successful, but also cool and ethical. keys to that knowledge is Google. Sinis- mistake to allow the censoring; that it had damaged the company. Their submission to the whims of the ter or not (and some people 2009 saw relations deteriorating fur- Chinese Government surprised many and certainly think ther and further, with YouTube (Google did nothing to reassure those with serious that Google is owned), Gmail and Google Books all get- worries that Google’s control of the flow sinister), Google ting blocked by the Government. As well of information on the net, including more is fast becoming as that, Google China’s President at the and more personal information as they something that time Kaifu Lee resigned, apparently due launched their new products and software, to the massive pressures from the Chinese could be open to massive abuse. demands, and Government. This step back from China, and its angets, the respect of Governments. By January of this year, Google had nouncement that it will no longer work One place got to the point where it announced that with what is still a despotic tyrant of a that hasn’t re- it was no longer willing to self-censor Government should help them, but with spected Google the web, and was entering negotiations. civil liberties continuing to take knocks and its belief in Human-rights groups rushed to announce in the West, will it be our own Governfree access to its pleasure at the news, but in fact the ments that are making similar demands of knowledge for whole enterprise has shown itself to be a Google? all is China. Atmassive misstep for Google. This is sur-

Jez Harvey

e’s one of the most revered leaders in the world; the religion he heads-up so influential it has its own country. He also has arguably the largest audience-to-jurisdiction ratio of any world leader. Am I talking about Simon Cowell? No; Pope Benedict XVI – the man currently facing a massive backlash. The Equality Bill is a piece of legislation currently going through British Parliament, aiming to ‘strengthen protection, advance equality and simplify the law’. It endeavours to extend ‘antidiscrimination’ laws to make it a public duty to treat people equally regardless of their age, sexuality, gender identity, religion, marital status, race, planet of origin, eye colour etc (the last two might be inferred). Of course, Pope Benedict XVI chose to focus on homosexuality, claiming the provision “violates natural law”. Despite raising a few eyebrows (or pitch forks), it’s hardly out of line with Benedict’s previous statements; before becoming Pope he claimed homosexuality is “a more or less an intrinsic moral evil”. The current drama surrounds his urging of Catholic bishops in England and Wales to fight the Bill with “mission-

“Religious leaders should be trying to eradicate inequality, not perpetuate it” ary zeal”. An interesting choice of words; instead of directing energy into applying the EU equality rules in the Vatican, he has decided to attack UK legislation. The British MEP Stephen Hughes has been quoted in response: “As a Catholic, I am appalled by the attitude of the Pope. Religious leaders should be trying to eradicate inequality, not perpetuate it.” A very valid point. Of course homosexuality, gender identity and associated issues are all widely debated; the Catholic Church’s opinion is well documented. Is there justification for someone in such a powerful position to add fuel to the fire? Many people are persecuted on a daily basis because of the anti-gay mindset; bred almost entirely from religious teaching. Yet in the name of defending the Church’s beliefs homosexuality has – yet again – been touted as one of the world’s worst issues. In a backlash against the comments, Naomi Phillips of The British Humanist Associations said, “Equality laws do not impose unjust restrictions on religious freedom”, also claiming that the Pope wanted religious institutions to be “unfettered by the laws that everyone else in society must abide by and respect.” Can you imagine if a similar leader were to ask for his religion to be exempt from certain laws? Wait, didn’t that happen recently? A whole sect of racism sprung up in response to one of the Grand Ayatollah’s of Islam’s request to see Sharia Law in Britain. Is this so different? It is difficult to see how the Pope can escape without retaliation; the Prime Minister simply says that he respects the Pope but that commenting would be inappropriate. Thanks Mr. Brown. The first papal visit to the UK since 1982 has recently been announced for September. What kind of reception will you be giving him?

Emily Collins *Disclaimer: The Vatican has not confirmed this


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COMMENT

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

Still surviving as a mature fresher Luke Dobson on Unity’s events for LGBT history month

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id you know that it is LGBT His- it was also used to try and combat homoning a series of film nights throughout tory month throughout Februphobic bullying. February in Blue Sky Cafe. Each week the film will be based on one of the initials: ary? No? Neither did I until a Backed by prominent figures such as few weeks ago. Somehow it has managed Sir Ian McKellen, marking this month Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. to pass most people by and considering it has been successful within schools but the They are all educational, entertaining (yes, was established in 2005, in the age of readwider population still don’t seem to know you can have both) and range from a Britily available news and information, this is much about events like the Stonewall riots, ish film from the 1970’s to a 2009 Oscar quite surprising. Harvey Milk’s campaigning in America, winner. There are still many people to inform; According to the LGBT history month the fight against Section 28 here in Britain and how all of this has affected LGBT peo- the story of LGBT people is centuries old. website there are four events happening in Wales over the whole 28 days and that’s it. ple over the years. For it to work, people need to pass on what Of course, there will be more which aren’t What really needs to happen, in my they have learned. If thirty people come to see the films Unity is showing, learn advertised by the website but they will like- opinion, is for either the BBC or Channel 4 something new about gay rights ly draw a meagre crowd of people who were already interested in the “Did you know that it is LGBT and pass it on, soon everyone will progression of gay rights over the something new and interestHistory month throughout learn ing about LGBT history. Eventually past fifty years. So I’m going to give you a summary of what the month February? No? Neither did I.” the month might only be needed for reflection upon a time when LGBT is all about and what Unity is doing here in Bangor. to run one of their seasons of programmes citizens across the globe did not hold the The idea for the month sprung from over the month; interesting documentaries rights they deserve, eventually it might be a the repeal of Section 28 in 2003. It quickly about the social and personal implications purely historical lesson against discrimination and the fight for equality. became apparent that people hardly knew of criminalised homosexuality, LGBT ceanything about the LGBT community and lebrity talking heads revealing how diverse Unity meets at 6pm on Mondays in Bar their fight for civil rights. The month was the community actually is; entertaining Uno, come along to see what we’re about. If you have any questions you can send them chosen as a time to raise awareness for the films that deal with said issues. Here Unity can help you. We are run- to Lgbt.committee@undeb.bangor.ac.uk general public, especially in schools where

Check out Unity’s facebook page for all the dates in February, to get involved, or just to see a good film.

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class values, the likelihood is you too will have some sense of social responsibility. Similarly parents who take fashion over compassion will raise children who think the same, Louis Vuitton pencil cases and all. The schools they attend are an irrelevant footnote for the perusal of university admissions officers. There were many things about my school that I hated but, some of my teachers were brilliant, my friends were tremendous and I was not the only one to leave with my head screwed on. Why should

side to tax-cuts for the rich, some come from single parent families, some of their parents work hard to send them there and some can actually think for themselves. It’s the petty anti-bourgeois working class hero bullshit that gets me down. As much as I hate to admit it now (I was quite the rebel in my time), my school was not run by neo-Nazi sympathisers. I can’t count the number of times my school raised money for charity and encouraged us all to do what we could for people worse off than us. If anything being at a private school made me realise that for every 10 vacant Juicy Couture ambassadors my school churned out, there was someone like me who believed it’s not what school you went to that mattered, it’s what you choose to take from your experiences and what you intend to do with the opportunities you are given that really mean something. Let us be judged on that.

“It’s the petty anti-bourgeois working class hero bullshit that gets me down” anyone, let alone respectable publications, be allowed to make sweeping generalisations about the lives of thousands of people? Why criticise people for trying to give their children what they believe is best for them? Is this an attack on private schooling or the middle classes? It all seems based on the assumption that public school pupils are arrogant, right wing, dim-wits who rely on their father’s pay checks and go fox hunting of a Sunday morning. For anyone who isn’t living in a period drama, the reality is quite different. Some private school children see the down-

in on my laptop to the Bangor web site, my computer screams at me that the Uni has an invalid security certificate? I got to about week six before I realised that I had to set my pace and my tasks. I know, in the words of Basil Fawlty, that’s a statement of the bleedin’ obvious but that led to much midnight oil to catch up. I couldn’t have managed without the gang, especially Neil, who gave me copies of notes and meant I got essays in on time. Exams, however, were a different matter. On Saturday 9th January, two days before the start of exams, I was busy reading about Treweryn and Penyberth when I became of someone calling. I went outside to investigate and discovered my wife Christine had fallen and, as it turned out, broken her leg in seven places. She was getting furious with Rhosyn, our lovely Welsh Collie, who kept bringing her a ball to throw. Clearly, Rhosyn needed to see some Lassie films! I called an ambulance that couldn’t get near our house on the snow (we’re 1028 feet on a mountain-side) so Christine had a dramatic trip in an airambulance to Ysbyty Gwynedd. It played havoc with my exam schedule and I missed three exams but my tutor and the other lecturers could not have been more sympathetic and helpful. She’s home now and I have dusted off old cooking skills as well as clotheswashing, ironing and cleaning skills as Christine can’t weight-bear for three months. Again, the Uni has helped with a car-park pass so I can zoom in and out of lectures and seminars without searching for a parking spot and friends are recording lectures I can’t make. I attended Serendipity 2 with some trepidation after my disappointing experience last time when I was ignored by students who thought I was too old to be an undergraduate. This time it was a delightful event – less crowded, more friendly and easier to speak with people. I stopped to chat at the Chaplaincy stand and one Chaplain introduced me to the Catholic Chaplain who amazed me by asking after Christine and told me they knew of her accident and had been praying. That event summed-up my Bangor experience. I’ve found the people at Bangor University to be a supportive family through my wobbles – my six close friends, my tutor, the lecturers, and several other History students. Now, solve the car-parking problem long-term and I’ll be a happy Bangor bunny - until the next essay deadline.

“The bizarrely named ‘Horde’ turned out to be about as friendly as Simon Cowell at a Jedward tribute dinner”

Why do public school kids get so much stick? oday I read an article in the Guardian that made fun of private school kids for no reason. It involved hypothetical pupils called Julius and Horatio (or something equally as obnoxious). The further I read the more disappointed and angered I was by a newspaper I thought I could rely on to be entertaining, well informed and unprejudiced. It usually comes as a surprise to people when they learn that until I was 16 I went to a private school (probably because I don’t talk about our summer villa in Monte Carlo). I don’t know why but it changes how people speak to you, what they think of you and what they think you think of them. As much as I felt privileged to have been somewhere with small classes and pretty cool things like language labs, it never ceased to amaze me how skewed the politics of my classmates were. The majority of girls in my class knew nothing about the government (apart from that awful Tony Blair fellow) and their ideas about tax went something like “why should I give my money to people who can’t be bothered to get jobs?” Much as I pleaded for them to use their brains and championed the need for the NHS, they seemed to wipe my arguments away like marker pen from the whiteboards of their minds. In my opinion, the way people turn out depends almost entirely on the lottery of parenting. If your parents have working

Q

uestion: How long does it take to turn a bright-eyed, enthusiastic, mature-student Bangor undergraduate into an overwhelmed, dazed and confused wreck? Answer: About two weeks, but about the same period to bounce back! In Freshers’ Week I recall being given so much information that I couldn’t recall any of it reliably. Subsequently, I learned to survive by becoming part of a group of seven friends, mostly mature students living between Penygroes and Mold. The whole semester I managed to have someone to follow to the appropriate seminar room or lecture theatre as I could never remember where to go. I wrestled with complex mathematical calculations of how on earth you could do 200 hours reading for each module, plus lectures, seminars, essays and exams. I was either going to have to give up eating (good idea in my case) or sleep. The next complication is the areabased student nightmare of finding a parking space convenient for the University. You either develop your p ark i ng skills for small spaces or settle for a space on Anglesey and walk. M a n y things puzzled me in that first semester. Why are lecture theatres either like saunas or coldstores? How do you get books out of the library for your essays before every title on your list has been taken? Where is RC178.A1 C63 2002 located and is The Stack some Bangor University pop group? As the semester wore on those dreaded essay deadlines take over your life. We’d all been terrified by the stories of summary executions for the culprits of the heinous crime of plagiarism and of floggings for those who use Wikipedia. Into this terrifying atmosphere our word processors agonisingly slowly racked up the word-count to those magical 2000 words. Then suddenly, you’ve somehow reached 2400 and are cutting frantically. The University email system intrigues me. The bizarrely named Horde turned out to be nothing to do with nomadic Mongol tribes but an email client about as friendly as Simon Cowell at a Jedward tribute dinner. It’s no wonder that students prefer to use their Hotmail accounts. Blackboard, however, is a really helpful and easy to use resource. Sadly, not all the lecturers thinks so, with the sad result they don’t use it. In that context, I can’t believe how often I’m asked for my user name and password. You’d think that once you are in a secure area, once would do. But it won’t. I’ve put in mine hundreds and hundreds of times. Also, should I worry that every time I log

Georgia Mannion

Paul Dicken


7

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

Homeopathy: Drugs for mugs? O

n Saturday the 30th January, 400 people around the country walked into Boots and - in act of mass despair - grabbed bottles of pills and medicines from shelves and downed the entire contents. Luckily for them, they were downing bottles of homeopathic medicine. The chance of suffering ill-effects from these pills were about the same as if they were drinking a small glass of water or eating a sugar cube. In effect, they actually were. Whilst I’m not hoping to offend anyone who uses homeopathy; it is actually rubbish. For those that don’t know; homeopathy works on the principle of ‘a little of what’s good for you’. In other words, take ‘a little of what’s good for you’ and dilute it many times over and the goodness will still affect you (honest). For instance, the standard dilution recommended is 1060 (i.e. a 1 with 60 zeroes after it). To give you an idea of scale: this would require giving two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years to deliver a single molecule of the original material to any patient. In other words, rubbish. There are no scientific studies that prove that the homeopathy works anymore than the placebo effect, in some studies the placebo effect even works better than the homeopathic treatment. Despite this the NHS still spends millions on it every year, not to mention the millions spent on nonprescription “home remedies”. Why? If someone told you that sticking twigs up your nose cured headaches, you’d laugh. If a celebrity (paid for their endorsement) does so, people stock up on it like it’s the latest craze - which in effect, it is. When a doctor or scientist says that sticking twigs up your nose definitely has no effect on headaches, they are ignored. We are more willing to believe pseudo-science and quasi-faith healing than listen to actual

experts; respect for the white coat is disappearing. There’s a joke told by particularly stupid people about the black boxes on planes – the ones that record all the data and are crash-proof. Why - these idiots ask - do they just not make the whole plane out of the material they use for the black boxes? Well, you fool; they’d then be far too heavy to allow for flight. Similarly, there’s an attitude creeping into our society that suggests science can be ignored; because all scientists care about is ruining everyone else’s fun and making sure they have lots of funding. Who needs them? You can install your own DVD player, you’re a customer when you go into a hospital so you know best and why bother getting your kid to pay attention in science? Your kid isn’t going to grow up to be a geek. All the while, people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are taking over the world. The amazing growth of China and India isn’t just based on factories and call centres – they don’t just make the phone you use and the medicine you take – they design them. Why? Because science is respected there. Doctors are known by their title and conductors are respectfully referred to as Maestro – why don’t we follow the Germans and do the same for engineers? If you can build a bridge in Germany, you get respect. If you can build a bridge here you’re hounded by the public for the road works you cause. I may be studying for a wimpy B.A. but I respect those that are after B.Scs or B.Engs because they are the ones that will cure my inevitable heart disease and design and the gadgets that make me happy for an exciting 20 minutes. That is why I think the rise of homeopathy is scary; it’s one more example of us turning our back from enlightenment and the rational world t h a t our recent ancestors worked for to return to a world where anyone with the wit to make the world better is accused of being a witch. Any world that elects someone because they are “average” is a world that is settling for less than the best. What’s wrong with being better?

"There are no scientific studies that prove that homeopathy works any better than the placebo effect"

Jez Harvey

Santander Universities was born in Spain in 1996 and since then almost half a billion euros have been distributed to support universities Santander Universities was born in Spain in 1996 and since then almost half a billion areas such in as teaching euros have been in distributed to support universities areas such as teaching and and research, international cooperation, knowledge and technology transfer, research, international cooperation, entrepreneurial initiatives, student mobility and innovation. and technology Bangor Universityknowledge signed an agreement with Santander Universities in March transfer, 2009. The agreement provides scholarships for Bangor students to study in Spain, Portugal initiatives, student or Latin-America entrepreneurial and mobility awards for Bangor students to study and research abroad. mobility and innovation. Part of the agreement is also the support to 2 business incubator spaces, 2 Santander Excellence in Enterprise awards, andUniversity support to a round table thatsigned will Bangor facilitate interaction between the most promising entrepreneurs and experts from the business community. an agreement with Santander Santander Universities has a campus branch centrally located next door to the library. Speak to the staff for products and services designed exclusively for the university community. For your convenience, the branch opens 10am – 6pm Mon – Fri, Wednesdays 9am – 5 pm, where Vessy Vasileva, Branch Manager will be happy to assist you. For students the bank offers at the moment £50 when you switch to a Santander University student bank account. The account offers 5% on the first £500 in your account.

Universities in March 2009. The agreement provides scholarships for Bangor students to study in Spain, Portugal or LatinAmerica and mobility awards for Bangor students to study and research abroad. Part of the agreement is also the support to 2 business incubator spaces, 2 Santander Excellence in Enterprise awards, and support to a round table that will facilitate interaction between the most promising entrepreneurs and experts from the business community. Santander Universities has a

COMMENT

Definitely Maybe 3 months before the proposed demolition of our Students' Union the University are still determined to deal in vagueness

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hen it comes to charming a tough crowd, a snazzy PowerPoint by besuited smooth-talkers seems to be big business’ top tip. And a £36m project like Pontio is probably the biggest business Bangor has seen for quite some time. A Professor of Psychology was the smooth talker selected to charm the pants off the Student Union Senate in what was the first information revealed about the plans since conception years ago. Maybe their choice said something about the methods they deployed. As a Senator, I personally was fascinated by the prospect of learning what this massive undertaking would entail. Construction of the government funded leviathan will see iconic (if haphazard) buildings such as Time, Acadami, and the existing SU flattened. The new complex promises to dominate the city, towering over Bangor, probably into centuries to come. The SU, on and offline, was buzzing with rumours and conjecture. Bewildered students vented their rage into the hushed silence, directing vile and venomous diatribes at Sabbs, the Senate, the SU in general, and anyone else they could pin down. We needed answers. But, as with much of big business, there came none. Not one rumour expelled, not one supposition exposed. We sat and watched as the Vice Chancellor’s smooth talkers exhumed exhaustive lists of answerless, information-free sales pitches. Their flashy, corporate PowerPoint (after they eventually succeeded in activating it) was sizzling with flashy, corporate lingo aimed at lulling investors into a warm cosy place where all is well and £36m is small change. It was a PR guru’s wet dream- envisioning an idyllic seat

of learning, humming with space age technology, a harmonious sanctuary of enlightenment in a world fraught with doubt. We were supposed to be purring by the time the last, chirpy mention of the site’s “playful” design, or its “family friendly” nature faded from the screen. We were not. The distrust was tangible. Quite rightly, in a heartbeat the patronising marketers were confronted with a barrage of unanswered questions. Yet here the trio flexed their PR muscles in such a way as would see Alastair Campbell’s jaw touch the carpet. Perfectly valid questions were sidestepped, dodged and dismissed with insurmountable deftness. Answerless answers were drawn out until time ran short. Duller and

total lack of commitment to those students when they declined to provide them with any information. Evading questions, avoiding debate, these slick salespeople were keen to remind us of all the sterling research this new building may produce (amongst their reasons for justifying the new building was that there was too much research taking place in existing facilities, and that students needed a place to relax), for example into preventing obesity and “Applied Celtic Studies”. They were practically dancing with excitement as they imagined to us their sparkly new 500 seat lecture theatre, forgetting, or perhaps not caring, that below it would rot the rubble of the Union that has served sentinel to students' wellbeing for years. They insisted that the SU would get space, grinning they assured us we would get the best view in the building. Yet when pressed for details, they mumbled of the SU, bars and “storage”. When challenged on the destruction of the twin foundation stones of a Bangor student’s night out- Time and Academi, they remained insistent that “at least one bar” would be provided alongside cafes, shops and other “social activities”. This left us stunned. Surely even they cannot be so out of touch to forget that one of the things that consistently attract new students to a University is the night life? Yet with the two most dependable venues in Bangor bulldozed for a 550 seat theatre, what do they suppose we will say to prospective students when they ask what they can do after 9pm? Seeing Hamlet was not high on the list of things I intended to do during Fresher’s week.

"Their presentation claimed the project is about “students, students, students” yet they declined to provide those students with any information"

campus branch centrally located next door to the library. Speak to the staff for products and services designed exclusively for the university community. For your convenience,

duller became the details, and all the time less substantial, forever fewer definites and always more “certified uncertified”. I personally, as co-Chair of the Equality and Welfare Committee, was pleased at least to establish the location of Student Services following the move from the current site. However no timeframe was available for when it would leave the dilapidated stand-in until finally moving to its permanent new home in Main Arts. We were dumbstruck by their unwillingness to provide us with facts. Their presentation claimed the project was about “students, students, students” (a few slides previously we learned of the wonders of a “child friendly” site, accessible to the elderly which would serve as a meeting place for the public...) yet they proved a

the branch opens 10am – 6pm Mon – Fri, Wednesdays 9am – 5 pm, where Vessy Vasileva, Branch Manager will be happy to assist you. For students the bank offers at the moment £50 when you switch to a Santander University student bank account. The account offers 5% on the first £500 in your account. For staff Santander has just launched exclusive mortgage deals for university staff, with no booking fees and legal costs on selected mortgages, this can save you up to £995. Finally and to mark the re-branding

Thom Flint of Abbey and Bradford & Bingley as Santander, the bank is launching the Zero current account for all customers that have a mortgage with Santander. This account has zero fees on overdrafts and withdrawals with your debit card at cash machines or in shops anywhere in the world. In addition, Santander UK has launched a graduate recruitment programme and is looking to take about 250 graduates on board for this year and about 500 next year. There will be a presentation held in the university opened to all students to attend, date is to be confirmed.


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FEATURES

Bangor’s Got Talent: heat one

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angor’s got talent was a hit on Tuesday the 2nd of February with some brilliant acts showing us that Bangor does indeed have talent. Kicking off the night were SJ and Lizzy showing us the impressive moves of the Dance society with a great track

the crowd’s attention with his outstanding set. Performing his own songs and playing them to a packed Academi was a brave choice. These factors together won him a place in the next heat. The final Contestant who will be

The next round will be held on the 9th of March 2010 in Academi. and an outstanding performance. This performance was so successful it has put them into the next heat. Following SJ and Lizzy into the next heat will be Tom Cole who gave delightful renditions of Black + Gold by Sam Sparrow and Jason Mraz’s, I’m Yours. Although he didn’t write these songs it was very well practised and spiced up with Tom’s own influence. The Rusty Cadillacs (formerly Tom Durkin and The Rusty Cadillacs) were back to hold last year’s title with new material. Being one of Bangor’s hottest bands at the moment (my sources show me they’ve been up to quite a lot, being asked to play local venues) they definitely deserved to win last year’s competition, it will be interesting to see what challenges they face in this year contest. Tom Sayer’s performance grabbed

going through to the next round is Dave Hannaway who performed drum solos. Choosing songs such as Baby Hit Me One More Time by Bowling For soup, showed his true talent. He was the last contestant of the night and it was very refreshing to see something new. Another great performance came from Pete Banks who dedicated his to the lovely Pearl from the SU shop. All the contestants taking part did extremely well, especially Sam Davies as it was the first time he had ever performed live on stage. So I wish to say well done to all those who are through to the next round and better luck next time to the rest of the performers.

Stacey Marie

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

DJ Society N

ow in its fourth year, Bangor University DJ Society is going from strength to strength. Having spent the first 3 years being a rather niche society, it has managed to quadruple its membership over the last 6 months and has recently invested in some state of the art equipment, and for the first time since the society’s inception it is proud to be associated with a sponsor. At the start of the 09/10 academic year they secured a deal with local café bar Fat Cat, providing its members with a weekly opportunity to showcase their talents as well as giving them space to practice and socialise. The society isn’t just for professional DJs however. Its prime objective is to encourage talent and provide a space where people can develop their skills. The society allows people to try their hand at an expensive hobby without having to make an investment in equipment. For a small membership fee of £10 members benefit from weekly lessons given by friendly mentors, people who have been through the same experiences themselves over the past few years. It’s almost like a family passing down a craft, no judgement is passed on ability

and encouragement is given in abundance. The society encourages participation from like minded individuals who have a passion for music and is dedicated to including as many genres of music as possible in their remit. For the more professional DJs there are regular opportunities to play at venues across the local area, and some have even played at the Summer Ball and Student Union award ceremonies. Working closely alongside Stage Crew, the society regularly hires out DJs to entertain the crowds at parties and events held by other societies and clubs, as well as hosting the back room of Academi every Saturday night. Since September you may have enjoyed an AU night on a Wednesday and caught a set from one of the members, or dropped into Fat Cat for Wednesday student nights where you can also catch one of the DJs spinning the turntables. In fact these guys get everywhere, and have just secured some dates in the Octagon as well as at Venue 342 supporting the popular ‘Twist’ night. If you’re interested in getting involved with

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I

’m late, I’m late, for a very important date! So exclaims the White Rabbit (or Welsh rarebit, as actor Illtud Jones would probably prefer) and with that, the trip through the warped mind of this Lewis Carroll’s tale begins. In staging this play in an innovative, creative way, B.E.D.S has captured the strange, day dreamy quality of Carroll’s masterpiece. As the audience journey through the mysterious wonderland with Alice (Laura Kirk), they are treated with a collection of wonderfully acted character portraits by the society’s fine array of actors. Tim Lawlor shines in the role of the Mock Turtle which in his original style he has made his own. The Mad Hatter and March hare (Dan Hughes and Chris Markwell), with their raucous tea

the creativity is at its best. Speaking to the members they said “We always have fun during rehearsals, as well as at socials. There was this pinnacle moment where we gelled as a group during a break in rehearsal.” They are hoping to find more members which they can share these moments with and enjoy their past times. If you are interested in joining and play a brass instrument (not saxophone) email bubb@undeb.bangor. ac.uk . This is where you can find the latest information on their meetings and activities

Stacey Marie & Rachel Streton

Gemma Brook

B.E.D.S in Wonderland party and fun fuelled antics, bring a wonderful hilarity to the piece and are characterised brilliantly from Carroll’s description and the general quality of acting is of such a top notch standard there is not enough to space to give it adequate praise here. Unlike many previous productions, this one contains live music provided by a myriad of musicians whose musical accompaniment adds a superb flavour and brings a totally different dimension to the performance. The originality and freshness of the script (written by the society’s own Kerry Morris) mixed with the great c h a ra c t e r i s a t i o n

Bangor University Brass Band angor University is a great opportunity to take up new and exciting hobbies. The Bangor University Brass Band allows music loving students to get involved and take part in new activities whilst making new friends. Being a newly formed society they are still looking for members that can join and share their enthusiasm. BUBB take part in many activities such as busking and marching down B**** Hill with many other enduring challenges along the way When speaking to the members they said: “We’re all about performing as much as possible, having a laugh and showcasing our talent.” Shortly before Christmas, shoppers on Bangor High Street appreciated their musical talent and watched whilst they played to raise money for their society, however this is not their primary concern. Money that is raised is currently going towards the upkeep of the band, but in the future charitable fundraisers are the further aim as the society gets bigger and better. The band members find the atmosphere open and quite informal, as this is the way in which

the DJ Society then get in touch via djsociety@undeb.bangor. ac.uk for more information, or grab a DJ next time you’re out, no doubt they belong to DJ Soc!

M. Freddie Collinson went on a magical travel to JP hall to see the wonders of B.E.D.S Alice Wonderland. Here’s his verdict...

by all of the cast and fine directing by Oli Scott, Kathryn Cooke and Luke Stokes make this is a treat of a student production. B.E.D.S, as ever, have not disappointed.


Fashion

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

9

FEATURES

with Stacey Marie

This issue I wanted to concentrate on student styles, so I asked a few students to find me things that they would usually wear going out or just everyday wear and here I am to show them all off.

£20 ns - £15 a e J 0 ket Jac s - £1 e 6 o £ Sh ir t h s S k T coc Pea

Hat £8 Top £1 8 Shoes £3

0

New Lo ok

60 t-£ 5 Coa s - £2 n 5 a 1 e £ J s- 2 e o Sh t - £1 r Shi - £8 a H t £6 Tie Look w e N

22 -£ s 4 oe £1 Sh p - £7 To lt - £5 s Be t - ck Ha aco Pe

? ? e or M o N p, ho S 3 p, ho S 2 p, 1 Sho

I

t may have come to your attention that this is my small corner to rant about the things I hate in the whole fashion quarter. To my great dislike many clothes shops seem to be disappearing such as La Senza, Dorothy Perkins and NOW Select. As we already have a limited source of retail shopping in Bangor, which makes it increasingly hard to find a quick fix for fancy dress or an emergency work shirt that doesn’t cost half of your student loan. Having to go to Liverpool for a decent shopping trip that costs pretty much the same amount as an outfit in most shops is really a waste. I feel this maybe, could be more important than future plans, but hey it’s not set in stone right? On a positive note it’s nice to know that Peacocks are again treating students to 20% off until February the 13th and Manager Specials until March.

Bangor 2012 ??


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UNION

Ever think about your drink? S

ocialising is as much of a part as a joke. If the attack is malicious, of university life as the lectures the attacker may aim to incapacitate a themselves. Recent events victim with the intention to rob or mug have shown how passionate Bangor them, rather than necessarily to sexually students are about nightlife and having assault them. Another misconception opportunities to is that it can only unwind. Tragically Some tips courtesy of North Wales happen to women. therefore, it’s Police on how to keep your drink – 11% of drinks not surprising and yourself- safe. spiking happens that students are to men, usually in regularly affected 1. Never accept drinks from people order to ease theft, by drinks spiking. you don’t know, unless you’ve seen it or, occasionally Almost all of us, being poured or opened. sexual or physical even if we have Equally, 2. Never leave your drink unattended. assault. never been targeted And yes, this includes the toilet. If you people are wrong ourselves, know don’t want to be gross, finish it and get to assume that someone who has. drinks spiking can a new one when you’re back. The term ‘Drinks 3. If possible, avoid drinks from only occur in clubs. Spiking’ tends to large containers such as jugs, pitchers Regardless of conjure up images or bowls. where you are, or of shady men 4. There are some drugs that form whether your drink sliding nondescript crystals or turn blue when added to is alcoholic, you tablets into drinks. If your drink looks weird- don’t can be at risk from women’s glasses drink it. spiking. while they’re Sadly, drinks 5. Equally, don’t assume it’s safe to distracted. In fact drink just because it looks OK. spiking is on the this method is only For 6. Non-alcoholic drinks can be spiked increase. one, stereotypical too. Even tea and coffee. this reason, your manifestation. In 7. If you feel drunk, light headed, Student Union has many cases, it is or ill after just a few drinks then tell resolved to start not drugs such someone. raising awareness as Rohypnol or 8. Watch out for your mates- if they of this kind of Ketamine that are display these symptoms, help them. crime, beginning used. A much more as part of Healthy common drug is, in Living Week. fact, simply more We want to let alcohol. Indeed, alcohol remains by far students know about the dangers of this the most common method used to spike tragic and invasive crime, and how to drinks, as it is both legal and readily avoid it. This will, we hope, allow people available. to relax, unwind and socialise without Equally, it is another misconception to placing themselves in unnecessary assume that spiking has to be a preface danger of being spiked. to sexual assault, or even malicious at all. Many cases of drinks spiking are simply friends placing alcohol in another’s drink

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

e g a s Mes e to th s Sabb Having watched your tireless efforts over the last months, 18 in the case of John, Spencer and Tom, we would just like to thank you for all the hard work you have put in to ensuring that the Students Union has a future in Bangor and the forthcoming developments. We understand the pressures you have faced, the difficulties in communicating information when there has been none, and the issues that you confront daily. We know times have been tough in the Students Union this last year, and difficult decisions have to be made every day, every decision that has been made has been in the best interest of the students and those involved. We know how hard you work for rewards that go beyond money and recognition, your dedication to your jobs have been duly noted and much appreciated, and we just wanted to let you know we appreciate every little thing you do….even you Andy John! Well done, keep up the good work guys! The Students and Staff Bangor Students Union

of

Thom Flint

HEALTHY LIVING WEEK 2010

This is your chance to pile off the pounds and have some fun doing it! There’s loads to get involved with during the week and most of the activities are free! A couple of special events you should definitely lookout for are the Health Fair, Pool Party, and the SUPERSTARS event! There are loads of opportunities to get active right on your doorstep! Why not try something new or something you’ve not done for a while! Wednesday 10th •Support your teams. Come and watch some of your sports teams compete, they want your support! •Lunchtime Walk 12 noon at the SU •Join your sabbatical team for a stroll through Bangor. •Stress and relaxation workshop 12-1 student services (3rd floor of the SU) •Precision cycling 2.10-2.50 meet at Maes Glas Reception Thursday 11th •Boxercise Class 11.10-11.50 meet at Maes Glas Reception •Pool Party 8-10pm, Bangor Pool £2 per person - Race down the slide, scramble through the inflatable and frolic in the pool. What better way of spending the evening?! Friday 12th •Squash club taster session 12.15-2.30 meet at Maes Glas Reception •Mens Strech and conditioning class 5-6 meet in the SU Basement Bar •Kickball tournament 5-7pm meet in Maes Glas Reception Open to all, come and get stuck into this fun game which is not football. •Circuits 6-7.30pm Normal site Gym Meet at the entrance of Normal site if you don’t know where the gym is. Saturday 13th •Walk in Snowdonia meet under the curved lounge of the SU at 9am No denim and preferably walking boots should be worn. •Superstars 2-5pm Maes Glas The climax of healthy living week and the toughest sporting event Bangor has ever seen! Open to staff and students this event will test even the fittest and strongest athletes Bangor has to offer! There’s plenty to see and do at this iconic event so come along to support our future superstars!

I

A word from RAG

f you didn’t already know RAG stands for Raising and Giving. RAG members are just a group of ordinary students who organize and take part in events that raise money for charity; putting the FUN into fundraising. Being a part of RAG requires no minimum level of commitment: that is you can take part in as many events/ be as involved as you want. RAG WEEK 12/03/10 – 19/03/10 Every year we hold a RAG week, which is a whole week devoted to raising money. This year we have loads of events planned such as Auction of Promises, Cuff Couples,

Battle of the Sexes and a couple of unlucky committee members are going to end the week with a bang. Clubs and societies will go head to head to see who can raise the most amount of money. If your club or society has what it takes then get in contact with us. RAG are always looking for volunteers interested in both helping organize the events and attending the events and making everything possible. If you would like more information or just want to be kept up to date then either email rag@undeb.bangor.ac.uk or add RAG BANGOR to facebook. RAG NEEDS YOU!


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February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

This year Willow is breaking Bangor to bring you report free from the confines of Llandudno and Anglesey. Sos from places as exotic as we think you’ll agree that this year promises to be an even better one than the las t.

Dusseldorf!

out ED to be ab as SUPPOS that I e ac his issue w pl a Hungary, us my trip to sit for vario wanted to vi t s ay w al ve ha actually abou is It t. no ever it is on various lf ha reason, how a d d up t a day an how I spen any and ende d out of Germ rf! do el flights into an ss Du ary o days in... go to Hung spending tw s wanted to am I y, ar ng I have alway m Hu ddad was fro ters dissertation as my gran as m y m ch for I have doing resear a place that and it is just airport on r te es on Hungary ch an In M . d that never visited when I hear Friday 29th

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tails. drinking cock d . and women ba en m so s t es no is busin is y self... this th m on to t us gh I thou ppen to could only ha ption after ce re However, as e th we got to used to trip, when we became ething that e were w at th ed queuing (som er ip) we discov tel, we tr Ho is r th ge r er te af genb erger e wrong Stei nb th ge in ei ct St fa e in to be in th d to ed ha os e pp w su ay were r dism t l. To all of ou to the airpor ck Langen hote ba go to a bus, Hotel. When r ou get back on to s another bu e more and get on t there wer to our airpor t up in pu be to we got back d ople who ha pe quickly e up or d m lle d fi an s the next bu d t onto an gh l fi te to Ho d this and we ha

We the fiasco. the end of t ter no es is ch is an th M But back to to go straight le days on ho w decided not o tw ve spent scenes and just ha coming like our days be cided to de e w ’ flights. With al in lm the ‘Term hich is where we from the fi rf w to Dusseldo return n ai tr a t ge er on the ed to transf ree hours at th were suppos r fo g in kfurt ter queu journey. Af nally left Fran t desks we fi ugh the ro th y various ticke ne ur on a train jo ld be to embark agined wou which we im full so er ev w black forest ho e train was ep Th le as . ll ng fe xi ly la re tual to stand, I ac that we had ay ! standing up it. On our w the end of else could This is not g in th no t e we though back, when go wrong w

“After queuing at reception, we discovered that we were in fact in the wrong Steigenberger Hotel” second our flight :00p.m to d I should the r way at 11 utes delaye ing to not even in was 20 min Finally on ou were not go as s. w gs bu it in th at th to at d th heduled to go tel we realise ide the city. have known sc ts Ho r ou as w ou ur ht ho ig t an n’ Our fl t, it was half delay should get up at ur is go to plan. kf to th an d d Fr ha an h e w a Zuric r connecting xt morning pest. We ou ne da Budapest vi e ed Bu Th iss to m ht that we to Zurich get the flig t be on to go lly e m na have meant w a. fi n 00 to 5: d e did. Whe uld still ight relieve fl co a day e ey st th th lo d flight, but w ly at de on boar desk said th er via pest having ev da w Bu t the ho en to t, m gh ay the transfer nt ni oi our w dapest that ne’s disapp en in t get us to Bu . To everyo pest airpor could have be e ng da w yi Bu fl e tim at y is th ad y th announced Frankfurt re d above it n Frankfurt (B re to ai t ve pt go ho ca e d w When we had after we ha by the New York). und out that was CLOSED was followed e plane we fo be put up in inutes! This s with m ld sle y ai ou to run for th rt w e fo d th r an h fo ug that flight rushing thro fering hers. of uc ew d vo cr also missed an n od es bi fo ca ich night with iously) ut of sandw the bv (o bo in ns nd ne ia co ni a hotel for a ar se as our a lot of Hung d beer (it w e went ed w an cid er e in th de w There were e ge , w to at d Vodkas this point th boat as us an got to pest. ng). It was at in the same l’. When we da ni te Bu or Ho m to er go rg e enbe we wer up and not to the ‘Steig ten at night) to just give t about half s hotel with as gl the hotel (a ar st ve was a fi amazed. It

our flight heard that LED. By this en CANCEL home had be tion was not funny. ua point the sit r flight cancelled but ou Not only was going back so grumpy we looked ks that my ec ch security through the to a room in ken away e mum was ta ckily we wer Lu k. ec ch for a second ingham flight rm Bi xt ne put onto the by coach. Manchester and taken to is don’t y or st is th The moral of y with fl t n’ do , ansa fly with Lufth t try and go to don’ that I Swiss and ew am I glad January. Ph Hungary in my chest!! got that off

titles. b u s n a m r e G ra, with e p nd O o h c c e n s e e r h F t w in a s y “We hic org p a r g y r e stor y.” v e a h s t f o t is g e There wa h to be t k o o t e w h ic half, wh the circus th a man from falls in love wi the ad people and de by of tel l ho ful a is s o ed int but the circu rried to a s thankfully book an cus. She is ma ce. The Hotel wa es not need was a ghost cir information offi s my mum r ist cu fou ur cir a to e s th . wa his section do so nt it d ra the least, er my previous horrible man an , I think unusual to say introduction aft ted in an art flying him into a horse but was decora that all of our thinks turned s a very is tel y wa ho ts sa e r n er igh fl sta ca Th e I s. th All d cursed his shoe we got to spen exhausted from ey as So which th in le. lf, ve ha sty d in an ly co nd ef tal de co be the se was not to e meal of German graphic orgy in sseldorf. we went for a of the story. Th t gis ly e lar th two days in Du cu be rti we took to that has pa ce drop was very bbage and beer. pla ck ca ba me a sa e did on Not a town I th t , ar in l I die ying use of digita y about to visit before a Not ones for sta they are not sh day we took appealed to me sseldorf impressive and sseldorf ekend the next Dusseldorf. Du Du we to in joy is s ath th en lve nr r se Be ve st em to We th howe es at out of the city congratulating River Rhine in e tim e rid th y UR all m FO on re tra d re ted we we s ter bo ed in is situa stle. The ground been mention as each charac dience ca s au e ha e e th th d Th it an th o. vis to wi y show German Dusseldorf castle was lovely ting the end of the s since 1135. seum pretty and the ing and shou written record d garden art mu al and has iastically clapp an pit us ca ry th to en ns his l gio ra re ed Opera in jeans rk e natu ma th re to ly ce nt ing sin we became the o jok ne ting. I BRAVO! I als te with Colog ne else was the were.... interes s while everyo been in dispu y a lot let people into and snow boot rteenth centur ey would only we walked th to fou y d at e da th an th s xt er In ne re pp e is. sli we th in black tie. Th o were wearing ral landmarks sdat and wh ctu Alt e on ite e stl s th ch ca er ar d pp ite sli of t of its ng the river, vis Altstadt. A lot e we had to pu alo e ris th rp y su in all re d my s cte wa e city. constru nal form s! The palace got a feel for th visiting ilt in their origi on over our boot synergies intended these were rebu hadn’t s based on rld War. Today wa I Wo urself d nd yo an co a nd t Se fi ee in e u sw rden ver if yo following th osperous house and ga Dusseldorf howe e of the most pr it is a very ssical between the e cla er oth e ne th d d ce of Dusseldorf is on an e on rococo accidently pla and well any and offers symmetrical, tistic place to be cities in Germ boasts pleasant and ar of living. It also ds e ar (L le. a nd sty er sta Op st se ch highe Japane saw Fren worth a visit. proportionate That night we btitles. We the largest th German su Japan. wi of de in) o tsi wh lad ou Pa n eldorf population s about a woma arrived in Duss think that it wa When we finally d we were an rk da ng it was getti

T


February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

Radio Reborn 03/2010 STORM FM NEEDS YOU!!

Over the next few weeks Storm FM has big things lined up for March and needs your help. Fancy joing the Storm Fm Street Team to promote us? Get in touch with exec@stormfm.com. There’s even a free T-shirt in it for you.

INDIAN MASALA HITZ

Vaibhav brings you Bangor’s first and only Indian music show. Your requests mixed in with the current Hindi top hitz are on air from 8.30-9.30pm

The Late Night Jazz And Blues Show

A brilliant way to finish off your weekend with our newest show, to help you wind down for Monday morning. On Air every Sunday between 9.30-10.30pm

Hip Songs HipArtist

Our weekley chart show to tell you the latest updates in music is on a Saturday between 6.00 and 7.00pm

Elections Are Coming!

We will be giving you the latest news on the Sabbatical Elections, with exclusive interviews with the candidates during their campaigning and information on where your nearest poll station is throughout the voting period.

Competitions!

Over the next few weeks we will be holding competitions for all you Storm listeners so keep tuning into Storm FM online and over Ffriddoedd site as there are massive prizes to be won. The only way to win is to tune in.

FULL METAL TUESDAYS THE MADHOUSE THUNDERSTORM TUESDAY’S GONE Finishing off your metallic pummelling is THE MADHOUSE, hosted by Matt Ison. The show will assault your ear holes with unrelenting heaviness, some old-school classics and live favourites from names like Machine Head, Metallica, Slipknot and many more!

After that, it’s time for THUNDERSTORM with Pip and Darren, taking you from 9-11pm. While not exclusively metal, they rock your socks off each and every week with their quirky banter and Darren’s love of power metal.

Kicking us off is TUESDAY’S GONE with Zara and Gaz, taking a more classic rock stance and featuring classics from legends like Iron Maiden! Those guys will keep you banging your head from 8-9pm!

A word from SVB...

E

ven though 2010 has so far consisted for most of us of smelly exams and stoopid revision, here at SVB we’ve spent the last month getting excited about a whole host of new developments. The Wales Council for Voluntary Action have seen fit to award us just over £3000 to run the Millennium Volunteers scheme for another 12 months and Keep Wales Tidy were so excited to hear about our new Beach and City Clean up project, that they’re given us a tidy £500 to help us on our merry way. We’ve also got a new project starting

up in partnership with the RNID. Student Volunteers will be running life skills workshops every other Wednesday evening

in the students union for young people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These sessions will be invalueable to the young

people taking part and will ensure that this group of people from the local community don’t miss out on gaining valuable skills because they’re affected by hearing loss. Our legendary Moulin Rouge night will be taking place on Tuesday 2nd March so guys, dust off the top hat and tails and girls dust off the… well… dust yourselves off (!?!) and join us for what promises to be the best, most awesome and last Moulin Rouge night ever!!! It’s £2 to get in and all money raised on the door goes directly to helping our community projects.

For a lo ng time, Tuesday nights ha ve been the place to be if y ou have a ta the harde r things in ste for life – musically speaking Now Stor that is! m FM bri ngs you night ded a icated to p la y in g rockin’ tu nes and having fu n!


r a post-grad lo oking fo or e, tim t rs fi e th r fo g the ty of halls venturing from the safe if ever - easy. Generally you end up trawlin ne r he es fr a ly anyo Whether you are the right house is rare ns about why you’d be better tenants than ing nd fi e; us tio u have ho es yo h qu your umpteent ering one hundred it doesn’t end when sw t an Bu d . ar an s ye ic cie en em ag ad g ac mp, the leaky sh ower ‘h ome’ for the next Internet, hassling lettin da ll ca of a ill w om u ar yo an e s ac ha pl m e nd th m bedroo arm else until finally you fi may find that your drea om and the sh ower being hotter than lukew u yo r be em pt Se In e. ds the bathro signed on the dotted lin you moved in’ now floo re fo be d xe fi be ds in to that ‘w as going rds that many landlor da an st sic ba e ar e er who fail alace but th seems a lu xury. e houses and landlords expect Buckingham P os n’t th do is) e w at , th ts k, en oo ts ud eb st ac Of course, as ents, “Bangor Studen ody’s best friend (F ud yb st er led ev nt to ru ks sg di an Th by . to oup set up ed anger Bang or fail to live up med and shamed. A gr Members of the group have furiously vent na en be ve ha s rd da to meet the stan to help tenants w ith over 700 members. ay to n aw r ow fa gr o y to ad e re ar al s ho ha landlords w Landlord Advice List!” . Issues include absent . ns tio ac eir threatening behaviour th ed d leg an al ds en lor ev d nd la an s t ou sit ab nants. Go od landlords te of depo s rn iou tu ev re pr nd no e an t th en s, rr ct the talk to the cu problems, dodgy contra you sh ould make use of d property you like – to an a g ing hin nd yt fi an r g te nin af – sig a erty before It’s a go od ide to research their prop ity un rt po op u yo ve ent gi s w ill alw ay ludes Facebo ok!). g.The staff at the Stud inc hin w yt no an h n hic sig u (w yo e re ag fo st t to make prepared be grapevine at this your tenancy agreemen things problems is to be well er or aj ov m ok lo oid ill av w to ) ay ion w Un The best e Student ht. Major the second floor of th u are sure that it is rig ust gi ve you on yo ed re at fo itu be (s g re hin nt yt Ce an e g Advic o signin landlord m Don’t be pressured int go od repair, notice the in ty er op pr e th sure it is appropriate. ep ke u living there (such as y to yo ilit sib on on ns sp tio re ric s d’ st re lor e nd th la d inimum) an to lo ok for are the 4 hours is the legal m (2 ty er op pr e th g rin before ente ing’). ‘no pets’ and ‘no smok

With Nightline at Serendipity 2

!

LD I W E IN TH

Dont you hate it when La Roux reads over your shoulder?


SU Advice Centre Tips: when viewing a house take off coats, gloves etc. to get an accurate gauge of its warmth

Think about bills. is it a cold house? Heating may be expensive – ask current tenants! Check out furniture and ask what’s included in the tenancy. So may have brought their owme tenants don’t take these for gran n items; ted.

Check the outside of the property is in good condition. does the , r a c a e v a h If you e parking? t a iv r p e v a h house permit? Do you need a

The Contract may contain clauses about interest payments on late rent – these can be enforced! Talk to your landlord straight away if you’re having trouble paying rent When you move in, take photos of everything so you can ensure you aren’t blamed for existing damage or stains.

Ensure the contract does anything unexpected of yon’t ask cleaning a chimney or mainu; such as garden. If you’re happy to taining a things, make sure the equi do these pment is provided.

For more information, visit www.tenancyagreementservice. co.uk/tenants-rights

ry at Getting mer Fruit Salad

ris Our Marma namesake

Gemma havin g fun at Serendip ity 2

London baby!

Willow reads about herse lf

Buy a 6” sub & 21oz drink get a 6” sub FREE with this coupon! Regular subs only, Love Bangor card holders get any sub! Coupon only valid at Subway Bangor. Not valid in conjunction with any other offer.

Remember every Sunday 2pm-6pm is BOGOF!


Choose the 90’s.

Seren 90s Night

Choose life. Choose Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Choose The Spice Girls. Choose Ace Ventura. Choose Nintendo 64. Choose Um Bongo.Choose Mr Motivator. Choose The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Choose Fun House. Choose lights in your trainers. Choose a Nokia 3310. Choose Mrs. Doubtfire Choose Mr Blobby. Choose Opal Fruits. Choose B*Witched. Choose Titanic. Choose Kappa. Choose Nickelodeon. Choose Oasis. Choose Blur. Choose Tazos. Choose Toy Story. Choose Power Rangers. Choose BN Biscuits. Choose Orange Soda.

Tuesday 23rd February.

Amser / Time.

£3 or £2 with fancy dress.


17

BOOKS & BOX

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

Are you a Gleek?

I

f you’re into music you won’t have missed the meteoric rise of Glee - a light-hearted comedycome-musical-drama imported from the States. It has taken audiences in the UK by storm. In fact, the release of the first episode’s finale piece - a mind blowing cover of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ - has hoisted the multitalented cast into the top ten (along with the original single). Glee is set in a bog-standard, all-American, sometimes painfully stereotypical High School. The comedy element stems from its satire of the

hierarchies and cliques that exist in every school, Jocks and Cheerleaders at the top of the pyramid; the Glee kids at the bottom. We also find out that the same hierarchies exist amongst the staff. Sue - the cheerleaders’ tyrannical coach - bullies everyone she meets while bleeding the school budget dry to fund her club. Her militaristic style ensures national success for her group – “The Cheerios” – and keeps the Principle from interfering in her ruthless methods. In contrast to The Cheerios; the ‘Glee Club’ is a flop.

Thom Flint is.... increasingly founded upon a terrible secret his wife keeps from him and the hapless teacher falls deeper in love with Emma, the school’s guidance councillor. The first thing that I loved about Glee were the quirky, vibrant characters. Each one is a shameless stereotype; fitting in with the clichéd school perfectly and yet remaining completely individual. The fact that they seem so typecast makes it hard to predict what’s coming next. There is nothing groundbreaking about the overall plot; nothing that hasn’t been

done by countless characters in the past, but Glee handles it all differently. Then there’s the music. At times it’s hard to forget that Glee is more than a vehicle for blistering musical routines, but it’s worth it; the eyepopping numbers performed across the series will haunt the top 40 long after the show leaves our screens. Even without the music Glee is more than just a teen drama; it is serving as the antidote to other teen dramas. The anti-90210. So sit back, sing along, and enjoy what’s fast becoming the first major TV sensation of 2010.

you make stuff as good as Mo all the time. It was the best bit of TV this year. Julie Walters- flawless” and I very much agree with them all. Part of what makes Julie Walters so brilliant is her modesty. Even during the making of Mo she doubted whether she could pull it off well enough, but a wig and a quiet word of encouragement from her agent and she was good to go. The programme begins before the general election when Mo Mowlam discovers she has a brain tumor. She withholds how serious is it to Tony Blair (who she calls “babe”) in order to continue working for the party. Labour win the election and Mo (secretary of the state) goes to Northern Ireland. The story follows how she deals with her cancer treatment, family life and the unrelenting difficulties of politics. She is brazen, quick witted and sharp tongued. Although we’ve never seen Julie Walters in a role like this she is completely believable and takes her part seriously. She tugs heartstrings, make your toes curl and delivers a very funny line or two. Infact, I laughed out loud more than once, maybe it was the

script, maybe it was the performance but I think really it was the accurate portrayal of a charismatic and brilliant politician. Infact, I didn’t quite grasp how Brilliant Mo Mowlem was until I saw this programme. It also showed the fickle life of the House of Commons and portrayed characters such as Gerry Adams, David Trimble and Peter Mandelson in an interestingly unflattering light. It’s not often a programme about politics can balance all these things so well and cater to so many audiences. You don’t need me to tell you what a talented actress Julie Walters is. Even if you know nothing about Mo Mowlam, you’re going to come away from this with increased respect for (some) politicians, renewed love for Ms Walters and a greater appreciation for Channel 4. It was a brilliant show pulling in 3.5 million viewers which is the highest figure in 9 years that the channel has seen for this category. It’s well written, well directed, well acted and well worth 4Oding.

Its members are targets for bullies; tormented and looked-down on by everyone. That is until the charming Spanish teacher Will takes over and vows to turn it around and return it to the success it was when he was a pupil. The rivalry between Sue and Will kicks off from the first episode. I found – happily - it reminded me of Dr. Cox and JD in Scrubs (a tortured mentor-mentee relationship). Meanwhile, the members of both clubs struggle with their own personal issues: Will’s marriage becomes

I Capture The Castle

by Dodie Smith

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M

O

nusually and in a slightly pedantic manner, I am about to tell you to read a book I have not yet finished. Yeah, well, I had exams too; which meant that reading books for fun was replaced by two weeks of brainwashing myself into learning the IPA chart. Naturally, now my exams have finished I thought I would have time to peruse at my own ease, the book which even now, is behind me, waiting patiently on my bedside table to be picked up again. I feel safe in saying that giving this book your attention would not be a complete waste of your time. So far, parts of it are brilliant. I saw the Guardian’s list of 100 Books To Read Before You Kick The Bucket last year and faithfully jotted down a few authors and novels I thought would be interesting; resulting in me receiving this book for Christmas, completely forgetting that I’d asked for it, or what the book itself was about. As I began to read it I slipped easily inside Cassandra’s world and was surprised by how much I could relate to her. The book was published in 1948 and revolves around 19-year old Cassandra Mortmain- (a name I would have considered as a ten year old to christen my fairy story characters) and her family; including her nudist step-mother Topaz, who so far is my favourite character (a bit of exhibitionism always livens things up, I feel). I have been reading a lot of old Penguin classics lately, it gives me a feeling of great smugness, as though I alone read these old books. I have fallen in love with the idea of being shacked up in a dilapidated castle with no money but a thousand opportunities for daydreaming and stories and most of all, a cacophony of chances

for writing. Cassandra lives for her writing and for the romance of living in such a place. The Gothic notion of being shut away from the world by impenetrable walls has always thrilled me and I guarantee you if I could ever afford such a luxury, none of you would see me ever again; except my faithful old butler Mr Stephen Fry (re-christened and capable of doing Blackadder impressions.) The book does get a bit dull round about the time when everyone starts falling in love with each other, but I have been patient and fully expect Cassandra to be married off happily before the end of the book arrives. Anyway, time to get my head out the clouds- back to the reality of 40 pages of syntax to read for tomorrow. Read this book if you need to escape, or if you like castles.

Lizzie Blowey

MO

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t’s not often you come across a programme that’s received so well and so widely as This was. Someone everyone loves, playing someone everyone loves was always going to go down well but I don’t think I’ve heard a bad word said about Julie Walters’ Mo. Whilst I sat watching it, I had my phone out. In the breaks I was tweeting my thoughts on each 25 minute segment (judge me not). There’s a lot to be said for the combination of Twitter and TV. For example, I found that a lot of people thought Thomas was a bad character to start Skins season 4 with. Xfactor is also a brilliant show to tweet through, there’s nothing like slagging off Louis Walsh to an endless stream of people who agree with you and are doing the same. When I was tweeting about Mo, I couldn’t manage to be much more creative than “Julie Walters is amazing!”. Similarly @Caroline_Moss replied with “Amazing amazing, yes!”, @nlk280’s mum loved it, as did @ mikebailey01 (who played Sid in Skins 1 & 2) who said “Dear Channel 4, can

Georgia Mannion


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MUSIC

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

Music Editor, Aaron Wiles, brings you what’s hot and what’s not in music this month.

Alicia Keys Love Is Blind

By Aimee Robyn Carter.

Justin Bieber One Time

I’ve had Alicia’s new album on This fifteen year old is an expert in repeat for days now, and it is very love apparently. good. Although it’s hard to pick a Daisy Dares You favourite, I am gonna have to go Number One Enemy with this one. I’m not your number one enemy, Esser because I don’t have any feelings Work It Out towards you. The fact Chpimunk is Had a playlist created for me which featured doesn’t help, Aaron dare had this in it, I haven’t got it out of you to turn off. my head since. Iyaz -

Timbaland Can You Feel It

Replay

This song came from nowhere and Timbaland’s latest album seems to went straight to the top of the have been released without anyone charts, and I am still struggling to noticing, and although it’s a bit of see why. a dodgy one, there are a few good tracks on it, this being the best. Jedward -

Alphabeat Hole In My Heart

Under Pressure

The second single from their new album expected in March, it’s classic Alpheabeat and just plain good pop, plus it has a cool video.

Seriously, why are they still in existence? This song is so awful, like the worst it can get, ever.

Rated & Reviewed

This Month: emmielouli

Track

Lady Gaga

Times played

Slumdog Millionaire

77 68

Simian Mobile Disco

60

Alanis Morissette

54

Gossip

35

RIhanna

33

La Roux

31

Ladyhawke

29

Kinnie Starr

28

M.I.A

28

Wiles’ comments:

Well, I have to say that I am quite the fan of your music collection. Lady Gaga at the top is already a good start, other artists such as Gossip, La Roux and Ladyhawke confirm to me that you have taste! Well done!

Music Taste Rating: 9/10

How has the first half of your UK tour been? It’s been good; we started in Norwich about 5 days ago. Have you been there before? Yeah the place we played is called the Waterfront actually, that particular club is the first place we ever played in the UK like 6 years ago. Really? Yeah, I remember people there were very honest. Like halfway through the middle of our show, people are usually like “awesome” or “play that song” or, you know, “f*** you” or like whatever it is. Like some guy between songs just yelled “I’m going to get a bag of chips!” and we were just like “really? oh okay”, and then so he left and I was like “guess the guy went to go get a bag of chips”, so then he came back WITH a bag of chips and I wasn’t expecting him to come back! But yeah, it’s been a good tour, we’ve been to London, Sheffield, Birmingham and one other place but I can’t remember. I don’t know, it’s tough on tour sometimes days blend into one, sometimes things a r e tough to remember.

K

e$ha is the h o t t e s t new female artist to cross the water. Her first single ‘Tik-Tok’ has broken records in America where it hit number one and stayed there for six consecutive weeks whilst also setting the highest download record for a female artist. January saw the release of her debut album Animal, which you may be surprised to know took seven years to produce, with over two hundred tracks being recorded and just fourteen making the final cut. The 22 year old who is now known to ‘brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack’, has produced an album with songs that show different sides to her. Bold songs such as ‘Blah Blah Blah’ and ‘Dinosaur’ catch your attention and keep you singing snippets for a very long time! The album features quite a lot of heavy bass, which means songs such as ‘Animal’ and again ‘Dinosaur’ just make you want to dance. Ke$ha’s style reminds me a lot of 90’s Euro dance (such as 2unlimted), revived, updated and relived. It is has been compared to Lady GaGa, however Ke$ha’s music seems to reflect the end of the night where you remember nothing and you dance like no one is watching. This looks to be the aim as many of the songs involve being drunk. Ke$ha uses her p a s t

A cold afternoon in Liverpool saw Seren sit down for a chat with the band that made that video, you know, the one with the treadmills, it was quite popular. Ahead of their new UK tour and the release of their third album, we find out what took them so long to get out new material, and what they have planned for the future.

When was the last time you were here in the UK? We did do one small show a few months ago in London but that was before the record came out and it was just a sort of like “hey UK how you doing? We’re still here” type of show but before that we were touring on our second record a lot actually in the UK and that was probably about two and a half years ago. Yeah, because this is like the first album since Oh No and that was five years ago. Yeah, you’re right that was five years ago, yeah, basically what ended up happening with that was we made that record Oh No in Sweden, with this producer called Tore Johansson who did like Franz Ferdinand and the Cardigans.. We recorded that record and it took a year for the label to put it out, so we started touring 6 months before and then ended up touring for two and a half years. Then as we were getting ready to stop touring and make our third record we put out this video (that we had done about a year prior) just on YouTube because we thought our fans would really like it and that’s the one of us dancing

experiences to help her write which becomes very clear during ‘Party At Rich Dude’s House’, where she comments on throwing up in someone wardrobe, turned out to be Paris Hilton’s wardrobe to be exact. Certain songs on the album are there to be laughed at when you listen to the lyrics, the most obvious is ‘Stephen’, a grade school teacher whom Ke$ha sings about having a crush on. It is quite c r i n g e worth and brings a sense of Jimmy C a r r where y o u think, ‘Can you

on the treadmills. We thought that about 600,000 people would watch it because that’s how many people watched our first dance video, A Million Ways. On the first day we got like a million views and the second day we got another million views and it just kept on going like that, and that tacked on a whole nother year [yes, he actually said nother], so the two and a half years of touring plus the year it took for our record to be recorded and put out, plus six months for us to come home after and write songs we actually liked and then put them our is how you get to five years between records. I was going to ask about the video, it’s everywhere. Yeah the video has crept its way into modern culture you know, a lot of different avenues. You know it’s been on the Simpsons? We looked on Wikipedia last night and there is actually a list of what it’s been used on.This show called Las Vegas had one whole episode is based around meeting up and wanting to learn how to do that dance which is kind of ridiculous but fun. really say that?’ I feel the highlights of the album are ‘Blah Blah Blah’, ‘Dinosaur’ and ‘Boots and Boys’. ‘Blah Blah Blah’ is confirmed as the next single due to impressive commercial circus following the inital release of the album, it’s definitely worth a listen. ‘Dinosaur’ is one of my favourite because she plays on the words dinosaur and it amuses me, it’s an amusing song and unfortunately more often than not, women will experience this situation. ‘Boots and Boys’ is another of my favourites because it reminds me of the things I love most throughout the world; boots! I think there is at least one song that would grow on anyone who decides to give the album a go. It’s fun and bubbly and will really put you in a good mood!

Stacey Marie

Seren Recommends e Fame Lady GaGa - Th er st Mon

e of the Katy Perr y - On ys Bo


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MUSIC

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

W

What was your proudest moment as a band? We’ve had a lot of proudest moments as a band. When we were first a band our proudest moment was playing for 15 people in Missouri because we’d never played, so just get-

lations with these songs, you love it then you hate it then you love it again. And more so than any other record, we went about making these songs in a very different way than we have ever written and recorded, so in that respect I’m just so excited about

part of my muscle memory now you know. But I do like playing ‘Back from Kathmandu’ live and I really like playing ‘This Too Shall Pass’, it’s a really fun song to play live because there is just crowd participation.

“We thought that about 600,000 people would watch it, on the first day we got like a million views.” ting a show outside of the town we lived in was like “woah! We’re on tour now!” And then our proudest moment was headlining at the big venue in Chicago where the year after we’d been a band, and that was like “woah, we feel like we’ve really made it”. We’ve had a lot of other proudest moments, we won a Grammy for the Here it Goes Again video which was pretty exciting and we performed for a million and a half people at times square on New Year’s Eve. What is your favourite song from this new album? They’re all kind of my favourite. This is the thing, you sit and you nurse these things and you go through all these trials and tribu-

F

or as long as there’s been pop music there’s been a tension between the artistic and the commercial. By its very nature pop aspires to be popular but that shouldn't mean selling out or restricting your sound to what is radio friendly. Every now and then a genuine band will become successful on their own terms; it happened with New Order, Blur, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys to name but a few. Now with a number one album under their belts Vampire Weekend can join those ranks. Although it feels like they never went away it’s been two years since Vampire Weekend released their debut and ‘Contra’ picks up nicely where that left of. First single 'Cousins' led me to believe that this would be a

this thing on the whole because it’s very different from what we’ve done in the past sonically and song writingwise. I’m still kind of getting used to it so it’s hard for me to say “oh I’ve got a favourite” if I really had to pick this week I’m favouring a song called ‘Needing Getting’. I don’t know why last week it was this song called ‘Back from Kathmandu’, so it really does go back and forth a lot, but I’m very proud of this record. What is your favourite song to perform live and do you get bored of any? I never feel like I’m a good enough musician to get bored of anything, there are some songs that we’ve been playing for 6 or 7 years that are similar record to the first, but in fact there has been a lot of progress. It still sounds undeniably like Vampire Weekend (Ezra Koenig's unique vocal style, the clean guitar sound and the African inspired rhythms are still prominent) but a new and better Vampire Weekend. The band combines their traditional instruments with new and unexpected ones. A drum machine features heavily as does a squeaky synth almost as retro as the cover art. Yet it all feels somehow cohesive and logical, which is probably because the songs are all of such high quality. There‘s no ‘Oxford Comma’

What are your plans after this tour? After the UK we go to mainland Europe for a few shows, we go to Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland and France and then we go home for a few weeks and we’re shooting a new video! Then we’re going to Australia, China and Japan, then we come back to the United States after that. So we’re touring the whole year and then we’re hoping to come back to the UK for festivals. We’re hoping to do Leeds, we’ve never done Glastonbury though which I’d really like to do and I don’t know, things like T in The Park in Scotland and Ireland? Hopefully we’ll do reading and Leeds or something like that.

on here, sure, but then again the band clearly aren't going for simple hooks this time around - complexity is the name of the game, accessible complexity at that. 'White Sky', ’Holiday’ and 'Cousins' share the same happy vibe as a number of tracks from the debut but they also present a glimpse of the new, polished sound that defines the record. At times it can feel like these tracks have been produced to within an inch of their lives, they are so clean you could eat a meal off of them, but that has always been Vampire Weekend's way and any fan will be used to the precise style by now (even if I was

hen I first hit play on The Children - Track 1 of Yeasayer’s ‘Odd Blood’ - I thought I had a dodgy copy of the album. Unfortunately, I didn’t. This set me up badly for the rest of the album; the further I listened, the more I could only hear the things I didn’t like about the record. I was expecting another All Hour Cymbals and that’s not what I got. I put it down and resolved to give it another go later, I love Yeasayer too much to lose them on the first listen. What I enjoyed most about All Hour Cymbals was that every track felt like summer; you could sing along to lyrics about concealing a murder, as happy as anything. I found Odd Blood to be a bit darker, but just because it’s not what I expected it doesn’t mean it’s bad. They have more of a synthy, poppy sound. It feels fresh and not like something you would get bored of quickly. There are slow tracks like ‘I Remember’ and ‘Love Me Girl’ the latter building up in a way reminiscent of Loney, Dear’s ‘Airport Surroundings,’ then it suddenly takes a bit of a Hot Chip turn (you’ll know what I mean when you hear it). The random interjections of animal noises remind you it’s still Yeasayer though. It’s an interesting track; but not my favourite. Track 2 is ‘Ambling Alp,’ it is probably one of the catchier songs on the album and withholds some of the warmer folkier tones the band are famous for. NME branded it “A Massive Tune” but don’t let that put you off. It was the first track on the album that I wanted to dance around to. You can get a free

slightly longing for some feedback or grit). Elsewhere the band play with samples and hip hop beats on 'Diplomat's son' whilst retaining that 'New York meets Africa meets Oxford' charm that has become truly theirs. Other highlights include their first ballad 'Taxi Cab' and what sounds like a real hit in the making, 'Giving Up The Gun'. The album ends with a subtlety that even the most ardent fan would have to admit is somewhat lacking on the rest of the album. 'I Think Ur A Contra' is awash with acoustic guitars and falsetto vocals that compliment the song perfectly. 'Contra' is an accomplished second album that confirms Vampire Weekend's position as one of the best bands around. This isn't as enjoyable as their debut and it’s a bit of a hard nut to crack, but it gets better with every listen. Not since 'Kid A' has there been such an

download of it from their acid-trip of a website http://www.amblingalp. com I recommend it highly. ‘Madder Red’ is probably my favourite track on this album. It reminds me of Fleet Foxes and makes me think - in the great family of folk music – that they may be distant cousins… So anyway, ‘O.N.E.’ and ‘Rome’ are two more of my favourites. They’re upbeat and interesting in a way that you don’t hear often in music at the moment. If you’re already a Yeasayer fan you should enjoy this a lot. If you’ve never heard of them you might want to check this album out; even if it’s just to add a musical oddity to your collection.

Georgia Mannion

Seren Recommends

s - East of Taken By Tree Eden ive Animal Collect st Po er th ea Mer riw Pavilion

experimental and ambitious album to hit number one in America - yet at its heart this is a pretty perfect pop album.

Thomas Owen

Seren Recommends Ra Ra Riot ne The Rhumb Li Pheonix eus Wolfgang Amad Pheonix


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CREATIVE

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

R E N R O C E V I T A E R C R E N R O C E V I T A CRE Sioned

After work you came and stood at the bar. Talking, serious then smiling, laughed at my jokes. Your hair, undone, fell down the side of your face showing faint threads of silver so close. The next week, you came again. [Am I reading too much into this?] You sat, sipping chocolate while I, drowning in bitter hoped to remain coherent, trying not to stare back into your pale blue eyes. I can’t see through, though I can’t help wondering. I watch you work, graceful, efficient, ponytail flicks. Following the line from small, swelling breasts down the slow curve of your belly and beyond, sends me dizzy. Reaching for the top shelf your shirt rides up over pale midriff. Still trying not to stare Giddy and bouncing this week we laughed more than usual. Pale, smiling face. Fey, ethereal, questing expression. You seem to want more but don’t know where to look Over here.

Pete Stott

Sunshine

She throws her he ad back, her neck arching high her mouth wide, a sunshine, she laughs to the sky her hair , althoug h still, seems to fly evermore it is golden as sa nd caressed smoo th by the shore Her voice is a cr ying release of he r mirth her eyes seem to shine an extraor dinary girth her body looks liq uid, so free draw s her breath easy within as sh e moves it in jes t At times she is gr ave and I wait fo r her smile but I wonder sh e’s real as we pa use in that while do I glow in her presence or shrin k like a weed? do I possess her a little and like he r in greed? Do we follow th e same steps and dance as a pair or am I left to wa tch, wily above on the stair? Lizz

ie Blowey

Hannah Shuker

A Diary of Tides Morning, the tide leaps left, Swift with purple undercurrents And the spitting disputes Of jaded waves. You wouldn’t cave in, Not for all that freezing water Eroding us from the inside, Hollowing the bones of our understanding. Afternoon, the tide lies low, Slipping away to expose short trails Drawn by drying salt Down the muddy, mottled banks. There is silence in the atmosphere, Fat and fragile as a bubble Brushing up against our backs Sick by now of being squared. Evening, the tide runs right, Bearing home on a steady stream The last of boats, the very first star; The peaceful settling of natural light. Barefoot and travelling up shore, The late mist brittle on my timid skin, I stretch out to recover your hand And pull it close again.

Zoe Perrenoud


21

Hannah Shuker

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

CREATIVE

What To Get My Valentine A dozen beautifully wrapped roses, hand-picked just for her? Ready and waiting to bloom into fully-fledged clichés? A selection of words seldom heard before? From a greeting card, mass-produced by the department store? Chocolates then, for they are nearly as sweet as she? A ordinary but nice girl then is she? So what then? The only things she needs: My time, my hands and my heart on a sleeve.

Tom Sayer

Want to see your creat

This month Seren has de

ive work in print?

cided to spread the lov

Beauty Spot I don’t want to glorify my girl and Raise her above us all, So instead I will place her firmly Under the pedestal. Though there is one quality I admire most, For which, forgive me, I must boast; But I’ll talk lightly of its delicate place, As to hear it bluntly would bring red to ones face. On first glance it is like a chocolate drop Placed upon a mound of white lotion, Still against the wind. Defiant against motion. It sits proudly as Rosa Parks on a crowded bus, Persistent with a lesson to teach us. One prominent hair erupts from the centre, Longer than the whisker of a Chinese mentor. Learned, wise, not unfamiliar to pressure But a padded seat is a welcomed gesture. I will stop here As to not label my initial statement false, (And to) lighten my breath and steady my pulse. But it’s not my fault that my mouth is unable to shut The moment I start describing The mole on my girls butt.

Jonnie Howard

e! So we have a wonderfu l selection of smushy, lov ey stuff for you to feast on. We also have some amazing photogra phy from the local area as well as awesome artw ork. For those art enth usiasts out there, or those who just fancy fi nger painting, we have a new art shop! The Deniol Centre will now keep us fully equiped with all the materials needed to make the creative co rner even more amazing. Remember here at Seren we want your art work , poetry, photography and short stories, and as always you can send them to Gemma at : creative@seren.bangor .ac.uk m: An extract fro

appy Couple etween An Unh B e gu lo ia D e Th t long, I just want to introduce you

worry, you don’t have to stay tha just over there Walk with me a moment, don’t down in the Belle Vue; it’s a pub is m the of one k thin I e. min wide to to a couple of friends of es across the front doors opened gat iron ted rus the h wit e blu d on the left. See, the one painte of course, it’s only anyone and anything… It’s almost empty at the moment up. t ligh bar the see and e gat w before you Come through the r work to calm himself down. No afte k drin a for s goe e her nd six o clock, and our frie Mr John Pterodactyl. He rodactyl. In fact that’s his name: pte a is he : you rn wa st mu I meet him a craggy skinned prehistoric ting thing about him is that he is res inte st mo the t tha g sin res st people just focus finds it dep unique sense of humour but mo a and s litie qua n ow his has ms just like flying reptile. He actyl. However he also has proble rod Pte a is and y gre e, ssiv ma upon the fact that he is w, that look of sadness anyone else. usual, pint of Guinness in his cla as re the r ove is he re the k, loo expression on his Come on in, his eyes as it is hard to raise an m fro ls fee he how tell y onl over his pint, in his eye, you can nt to save room, he sits hunched me mo the at up ed fold gs win long beaked face. His into his mouth. occasionally pouring his drink “Hi there John” “Hey” “How’s things?” ner last night” soned someone who came to din poi nd frie girl my , ible terr h, “O on using cyanide for “Oh that’s terrible” still don’t know why she insists I d. foo ul adf dre g kin ma p hel “Yes, she can’t Stuart Hardy flavouring”


22

FILM

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

Where are all the female directors?

S

pielberg, Tarantino, Cameron, Kubrick... the usual suspects that generally come into play when you’re asked who your favourite film director is. These four names lead to instant connotations of power, strong wills, creativity and success. Whether it be Jaws, Pulp Fiction, The Terminator or A Clockwork Orange, it can’t be argued that the praise given to these directors isn’t unjustified. The official definition of a film director is ‘the person who directs a play, film, etc’. Simple right? The definition of a director is ‘a person who is in charge of a department, organisation or activity.’ At this point you may be wondering why I am quoting the dictionary for definitions that you could have found yourself, stay with me people. Without any help from the internet or your DVD collection, name five female film directors. Three, two, one, go. Unless you’re a film buff, Sofia Coppola, Gurinder Chadha, Jane Campion and perhaps Nancy Myers (at a push) you may have been able to name. With decades among decades of film flown by, why have women been

“Why entrust the ‘unfamiliar’ female with a big film and budget when the oh so ‘familiar’ male is there to direct?” seemingly pushed aside from the director’s chair? The chauvinistic stigma surrounding women and power still seems to surround the film industry. Director Antonio Bird recently stated that on one directing project she was mistaken by the crew for a producers PA rather than the director of the actual film. As we all know, the film industry as a whole is a gigantic money making machine, if a film can be made that will make a decent amount of money, then the film will be made. It’s easy to see from a prehistoric studio heads viewpoint, why entrust the ‘unfamiliar’ female with a big film and budget when the oh so ‘familiar’ male is there to direct? A mere two years ago in 2008, only 9% of Hollywood directors were women, the same figure recorded for ten years previously. Women face sexism way before they’ve even got the chance to walk on the film set, the lack of opportunities and trust is disheartening for any young budding female director to hear. The lack of opportunities, mean lack of working role models for other women trying to break into the industry. The number of films made by women is only going to increase when women have firm role models to aspire to and the trust from studio bigwigs is instilled in them. The women who are getting the opportunities to make films, are making the films they want to make, and for the most part, they are doing it well, often giving a fresh new perspective that a male director would miss. Academy Awards, aka The Oscars, are another area in which female directors are seemingly brushed aside in favour of their XY chromosomed competition. On the 2nd of

“Bigelow is only the fourth woman to be nominated for the directing Oscar in its eighty two year history” February 2010, Kathryn Bigelow was announced as one of the nominees for the best director Oscar for her war epic The Hurt Locker. Bigelow is only the fourth woman to be nominated for the directing Oscar in its eighty two year history. None of the past female nominees won the directing Oscar. While awards are not the be all and end all of a films decency or credibility, recognition from fans and peers always put the film on good footing in the public sphere and of course, the history books. A rather frustrating fact that seems to surround Bigelow’s nomination is her past marriage with fellow nominee James Cameron. The fact that the two are divorced and are going up against one another seems to be a bigger deal than the fact that Bigelow is only one of four women to have ever been nominated for the Oscar in eighty two years. That my friend is not just industry sexism, but also complete idiocy from the world’s media. Bigelow has rightfully spearheaded female directors back into the public’s consciousness recently. The Hurt Locker is not only an interesting take on the Iraq war but a good solid film that lands an almighty punch in the face of film industry sexism. If Bigelow wins the best director Oscar on the 7th of March, the film industry would be flipped on its head and made to listen to the female directors, Bigelow would be that inspiration that aspiring female directors are looking for. Whether Hollywood’s ready for that change is another thing entirely.

Louise Cotterill

I

f you enjoy the more quirky indie comedies that have a dash of Fight Club mentality to them, then Youth in Revolt is for you. Geek favourite Michael Cera stars as Nick Twisp, a cynical young outcast who wants nothing more than to lose his virginity and have a girlfriend. If you’re thinking that the film is going to be a crass, over the top teen comedy, then you’re partly right. Its little quirks are what make this film stand out from the rest of the teen comedy pack. The film provides Cera a chance to fully grasp the lead actor role; most of his previous films have seen him in the supporting actor role, most notably, Juno’s boyfriend, Paulie Bleeker in Juno (2007). When Nick meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) at a holiday park, he decides that she is the love of his life and confesses his love for her. Much to his dismay, Sheeni rejects him, telling him her love for her

Y O U T H

‘Its little quirks are what make this film stand out from the rest of the teen comedy pack.’

IN REVOLT

snobby, poetry writing boyfriend Trent (Jonathan Bradford Wright). To win her over, Nick decides to follow the ‘bad boys always get the girl’ mantra, he strangely develops a rebellious alter ego named Francois Dillinger, a suave, foul mouthed and all round bad version of Nick Twisp. Although you’d expect the over the top rebel Francois to provide many laughs, the film surprisingly drags its heels as it draws further and further towards the end. The crudity provided by Nick’s parents and step parents does however provide a hearty dose of humour among the sometimes awkward and slow plot. Although Cera fits the part well, it does seem to be the same character that we have seen him play before. Youth in Revolt is the perfect film for those in need of easy viewing, cheap laughs and not much else.

Louise Cotterill

Precious: Based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire

G

abbie Sidibe shines like a beacon amongst the deprivation, abuse and the hopelessness that surrounds her. Bearing children by her dad, being physically abused by her mother and made to feel worthless, Precious could easily have become a contemplatable, schaltzy and untrue account of inner-city life in Harlem, but the 1987 setting is bolstered by the powerful characters that inhabit it. The sheer depth and detail washes over any unwarranted sentimentality providing a clear-cut picture of one girls survival in a land with no love. Thankfully unlike American History X Precious has a strong plot and delves in to an issue rather than skirting around it, and this is what makes it look so likely to triumph at the Oscar's. Apart from some displacement during the classroom sessions Precious has enough firepower in actors like Monique, Patten and of course Sidibe to pull the story forward and make it real. Its downbeat but pulls it off in such an engaging array of narration and passion that it is fast becoming my favourite film of the year. Its scale is precise and its focus wide, which means Precious remains one of the finest examples of social depiction. The soundtrack is soulful (courtesy of Mario Grigorov), and executed with such relevant cause in the visual contextualisation that it works brilliantly. The direction has style,

the images are vivid. For example the first meeting between Precious and her teacher in a hallway presents a realistic context. Mrs Rain has no qualms about where Precious came from, and demands that she attend the class within 20 seconds or the door will be closed. This sums up the life chances some of these people have. Her abusive mum is superbly displayed by Mo'nique who very much deserves a shelf of accolades from her multi-layered performance (the ending sequence in Mariah Carey's office was outstanding.) Another surprise in this film was Mariah Carey herself who I have to say had me shocked at her portrayl of a social worker. The stars never overshadow the production and though this is mostly due to the fact that they are mostly unknowns it gives a sense of authenticity to the picture and gives some validity to the films warm, and much deservedly praised message. Precious is a film that is released at the right time and approaches the right social arguments about poverty and certain cultures. Lee Daniels has managed to pull off an outstanding contribution to cinema, plucking young Sidlibe up, who when they met had no acting experience at all, and allowing her to live through such a harrowing story. I loved it. Oscar success for sure.

Callum Rymer

L

THE Lovely BONES

ike so many book to film adaptations before it, The Lovely Bones written by Alice Sebold, has a lot of hype and expectation upon its shoulders. Lord of the Rings titan director Peter Jackson personally bought the rights as he was so eager to direct the film version. So with millions of dedicated book fans eagerly waiting, the question stands, does The Lovely Bones film provide a good adaptation and most importantly, a good film? Overall the film is enjoyable and flows

realises that Harvey is dangerous and tries to escape from the clubhouse. When Susie doesn’t return home from school, her parents are distraught, a huge police search and eventually murder investigation is launched. The film is hugely enjoyable; it manages to fit into a wide variety of genres that will undoubtedly please a wide and varied audience. The film is set during the 1970’s, it manages to capture the time and mood perfectly; a key example is Susie’s airy, alcohol swigging grandmother.

“The emotion conveyed through the acting actually feels real not contrived” well. The assembled cast all piece together perfectly, the emotion conveyed through the acting actually feels real rather than contrived, a hard feat to accomplish within film. The only real grumble that will come out of the film will be from the fans of the book. Key elements of the book have been adapted for a seemingly more general/mainstream audience, a given in most book to film adaptations really. The plot revolves around fourteen year old girl Susie Salmon and her family. Susie is walking home from school one day when she is approached by her neighbour George Harvey. Harvey lures her into a clubhouse that he says he has built for the children of the neighbourhood. Susie soon

Some of the most memorable scenes during the film are when Susie is in the ‘in-between’ place, they are visually stunning, dreamlike and emotionally touching, the real tragedy of Susie’s death can be felt during these scenes. Saoirse Ronan is fantastic as Susie and Mark Wahlberg plays the role of Susie’s distraught, justice seeking father exceptionally well. The Lovely Bones flicks between genres such as crime, romance, tragedy, and thriller easily; it’s one of the key reasons in why it is such a successful book and why it is such an enjoyable film.

Louise Cotterill


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FILM

February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

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AVATAR

t’s been over a decade now since James Cameron raised the Titanic to record-breaking box-office heights, so expectations have been riding pretty high for Avatar. On the 17th of December, Avatar was brought to us in glorious, much-vaunted 3D, its filming budget reflected the GDP for a small country. Although Avatar has been seemingly breaking records here, there and everywhere, the mantel ‘biggest movie of all time’ is a little undercooked to say the least. The film stands as the highest grossing movie ($2 billion dollars and counting) from ticket revenue, but only appears at number 26 on the list (at time of print) in comparison to the number of tickets sold when pared down for inflation and extra 3-D costs. Gone with the Wind may still be the number one film of all time, but it can’t be denied that Avatar is a hell of a lot more fun. Cameron has revolutionised cinema. No really. He has. With Avatar, he’s managed to craft a film that is both 3D and one-dimensional at the same time. See. What. I did. There? But wait, there’s more. To qualify that statement as something more than just glib journalism, let me first shed some light on the details of the film. Avatar is a sci-fi yarn set in the twenty second century on the planet Pandora, a lush paradise where a blue ten-foot high humanoid race called the Na’vi live in perfectly integrated harmony with the eco-system they inhabit. To spoil it all, the ruthless Earth-based RDA mining corporation turns up to mine a much-sought after material dubbed (perhaps wryly) “unobtainium”, creating tensions with the indigenous Pandora-dwellers. From therein we meet Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) a paraplegic former marine who is called in to replace the “avatar” identity of his late brother – the basic premise here being that humans can map their DNA onto “avatars” that resemble the Na’vi in an attempt to improve diplomatic relations with them. Rather than merely acquiesce with the Na’vi, however, RDA has different plans. Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), head of the RDA security forces, enlists Sully to persuade the indigenous Omaticaya tribe to evacuate their beloved Home Tree, a veritable treasure trove for the much-coveted unobtainium. And herein lies the main narrative arc: as Sully begins to learn and love the ways of the Omaticaya people, the RDA company begins to push for the planned evacuation. I won’t spoil it for you, but to be honest it’s not a film that’s jam-packed with surprises. In fact, there’s very little that you won’t see coming several thousand miles away. This, incidentally, is my main contention with the film. It’s all been done before. Dances with Wolves, anybody? Pocahontas? The resemblance is so uncanny that people are already dubbing the film “Dances with Smurfs” and “Pocahontavatar” (in my head). Sully’s blossoming romance with Omaticaya princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) is a further case in point here. As for the philosophy that informs the world of Pandora, it all just comes off as a rather anodyne New-Age quasi-spiritualism taken very literally. And then, of course, there is the writing. There is so much cheesy dialogue in Avatar that you could spread it all on a water biscuit the size of North Korea. Stephen Lang’s evil gung-ho Colonel is especially bad – he’s so clichéd that he seems barely human. He’s more like a life-size action figurine that farts out trite one-liners when you pull the drawstring on his back. Let’s face it, Cameron has never been renowned for the nuance or originality of his writing, but Avatar even feels like a step back for him. This is especially frustrating when you consider that, technically speaking, Avatar is a giant leap forward. Yes, I haven’t forgotten about the technical specs. And how could I really? Let me make this clear, Avatar looks incredible. As a movie-going experience, it is utterly without compare. In 3D, the film is genuinely immersive, and the CGI world of Pandora is stunning to look at, pullulating with sumptuous verdant rainforests and bioluminescent wonders. The Na’vi themselves are also mesmerising to watch, with surely the most palpable motion-capture yet engineered on film. Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri is particularly enchanting, an appealing admixture of feral emotion and dignified beauty. Then again, this sort of technical prowess is really to be expected from old Jim Cameron. But the visual triumphs of the film are ultimately let-down by lazy storytelling, making Avatar a frustrating experience. It’s all so predictable that when the spectacular set-pieces are brought out in the last quarter, your interest has already dwindled too much to make you care. In the end, it’s all a bit like watching paint dry. Very sexy, very shiny paint. But paint nonetheless.

Dave Johnson

FILM FATALE

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ver the past few decades the Asian film industry has been flourishing. Its stories, styles and characters are a breath of fresh air amongst the bold and brashy Hollywood scene. Chugyeogja/ The Chaser (2008) is a South Korean thriller directed and co-written by newcomer Na Hong-jin. The story follows ex-detective turned pimp Joong-ho (Kim Yoon-seok) as he tries to track down the whereabouts and happenings of his girls that have seemingly gone missing from his agency. Joong-ho suspects that his girls are being sold to other agencies for money by another man. Out of desperation for his failing business, Jonng-ho hastily sends one of his last remaining girls Mi-jin (Seo Yeonghee), to a client. After sending Mijin to the waiting client, Joong-ho abruptly realises that all his girls that have gone missing, were last sent to the same phone number of the client that Mijin has just gone to see. Angry and frustrated that the perpetrator behind the phone number is selling his girls, Joong-ho phones Mi-jin and tells her to text him with the address of the client’s home. When there is no word from Mijin, Joong-ho fears for her safety and goes to look for her. When his car collides with another during his search, Joong-ho confronts the driver for insurance details, he notices that the driver’s shirt is blood splattered and worn. A gruelling chase ensues as Joong-ho tries to chase down the now suspect Yeong-min (Ha Jeong-woo). Joong-ho eventually catches the suspect and

takes him to the police station. With only twelve hours to find Yeong-min’s home before he is released due to lack of evidence, Joong-ho and the rest of the police force begin a frantic search in hope that Mi-jin is still alive. The Chaser stands firm among the hordes of serial killer films that have gone before it, the suspense, twists and gut wrenching turns that accompany most thrillers is here, each one slickly pieced together for an original and engaging plot. Director Na Hong-jin adds an unusual dark humour to the film, this is often reflected through Kim Yoonseok’s agitated protagonist Joong-ho. The grimy starkness of the subject matter and streets in which the film is set heighten the tension and grim reality of the situation for the characters involved. The heartbreaking sequence when Mi-jin’s young daughter learns of her mother’s possible murder is shattering to say the least. This really is not a film for those uneasy around blood and gore, brutal scenes between Yeong-min and Mi-jin made me gasp in horror, and I’m a disciple of the church of Tarantino. Chugyeogja/ The Chaser fulfils its duties as a thriller in an entertaining and gritty fashion, well worth a purchase for all of those thriller fans out there.

“The Chaser stands firm among the hordes of serial killer films that have gome before it.”

Louise Cotterill

DVD Review The Time Traveller’s Wife

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ased on the bestselling novel by Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Travellers Wife is a strange film indeed. The story follows Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana), a man who has a genetic disorder which causes him to time travel uncontrollably. Although Henry cannot control where he time travels, he seemingly finds himself travelling to significant moments in his life, often encountering himself at different ages. While trying to deal with his time travelling condition Henry finds himself meeting a young woman named Clare (Rachel McAdams). He first meets Clare when she is only a young girl and he a grown man. Henry who is knowingly married to Clare in the future recognises his wife as a child and he befriends her. Although obviously sceptical and frightened of stranger Henry, the two soon become friends when Henry shows her that he is a time traveller and that he knows her in the future. The film unravels then on as the couple try to live their lives normally, loneliness and heartbreak feature regularly due to Henry’s uncontrollable and dangerous condition. Even though Bana and McAdams put in good acting performances, I couldn’t help but feel cheated when the chemistry between the two didn’t really gel well on screen. Although every film adaptation is expected to be vastly different from the book it is based on, The Time Travellers Wife doesn’t really capture any charm that the book had, the film simply meanders along blandly and lifelessly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfect for those looking for a romance this Valentine’s Day, but anyone expecting anything amazingly different for the genre and film itself then prepare to be disappointed. A shame really as the story itself could have been made into so much more for the big screen.

Louise Cotterill


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February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk of cocktail bars, such as Nebe Celnice Cocktail & Music Bar, which is very stylish and offers fairly priced cocktails.

Czech This out!

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Czech This Out

f you’re wondering where to take your next European break, or even your first European break, head for Central Europe to one of the world’s hidden treasures. In comparison to Paris, Rome and London, Prague doesn’t seem an obvious choice, but look a little deeper and you’ll discover a city bursting with life, history and culture. Prague is the city that caters to all. Whether you are a history boffin aching to see the historical sites, a music fan longing to walk in Mozart’s footsteps or a typical student with a love for alcohol, then Prague is the place for you. The shoppers amongst you will find a huge range of stores with the latest fashion trends that won’t break the bank. First things first though: getting there. Arriving in Prague from the UK couldn’t be easier with daily flights from major airports such as London, Manchester and Birmingham, but if you’d rather take the scenic route and have a stop off in Cologne or Amsterdam then the train is the option for you.

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The cheapest available option comes from lastminute.com. Based on two adults sharing, a centrally located 3* hotel for three nights and flights from Manchester comes to a bargain price of just £160 each, with the train option costing considerably more. As mentioned, Prague is brimming with historical buildings. It is aptly nicknamed Stověžatá Praha, meaning “city of a hundred spires”, and boasts over 11 churches, 4 castles and 18 museums. The difficulty in visiting Prague is where to start. Below is our suggestion for a three night stay in the beautiful city.

Day one

Visit a few museums, galleries and opera houses to get a feel for Prague and its history. Places to note are: the City of Prague Museum, the House of the Black Madonna and Estates Theatre, where the great Mozart held a show of Don Giovanni. Eating and drinking are popular pastimes in Prague; the Czech Republic holds the No.1 position for beer drinking in the world. The local

beer, Pilsner Urquell, costs from £0.65 to £2.15 a pint. The local speciality of pork and dumplings is a must-have for lunch, washed down with a good beer. For the less adventurous there are McDonalds, pizza houses and all you can eat buffets. Along with the local cuisine comes Absinthe, which is offered in literally everything; tea, coffee, breakfast, soft drinks, cakes, and alcoholic drinks. In the evening have a stroll around Old Town, see all the buildings lit up and pop into marionette and souvenir shops.

Day two

Visit Old Town again during the day to see its true beauty and also its small wonders such as the Astronomical Clock, Powder Tower (a truly stunning view of the city from the top) and Charles Bridge. The Jewish Quarter also provides great scenery and is only a short trip down the road. If you aren’t tired after all that walking, Prague offers some great nightlife. Karlovy Lazne is spread over five floors and is the biggest club in Central Europe. There is also a range

Day Three

The last day should be used to see the true gem of Prague that is Prague Castle. Walking up to the castle was a huge mistake on my behalf especially in sweltering July heat with thousands of people also pushing their way up. Word of advice if you are going to walk: don’t eat a big breakfast, and if you’re there in the summer, take water and sun cream. There is the

option of a tram which will take you straight to the castle; however the walk, although hard, is very picturesque. St Vitus Cathedral is also in the castle grounds housing many wonders, a truly magnificent building not to be missed, especially when so close. It would also be a great idea to visit Lesser Town whilst close, to see more churches and palaces. The current exchange rate is around 6000CZK for 200GBP, with an average meal and drink costing 100CZK. The best times to visit Prague are between November and January. It’s cold and wet, but a chance of snow makes Prague look like a fairytale city. It is also less busy between these times and the famous Christmas markets are on with mulled wine, plenty of shopping and even a petting zoo in Old Town Square. Another good time to go is in the summer when it is hot, busy and alive; just remember your sun cream and camera!

Claudia Viviani and Kate Parry

Carnival Capers

was asked to inject some seasonal feeling into this issue’s travel section; that is of course, anything pertaining to the greeting card holiday that is Valentine’s Day. Paris is obviously a city that immediately

It would be wrong, however to leave you with the impression that Carnival is just about alcohol. The parade is impressive, if you can get close enough to see it, and sprung to mind. Leaving aside the Thursday (11th this year) when the you get free chocolate and fact that most of Europe is far too cold party kicks off. Women traditionally sweets, if you can avoid being at the moment to partake in moonlit spend the day assuming power in the knocked unconscious by said strolls along the Seine or other such workplace by cutting the ties off men. confectionary being thrown gag-inducing activities, my memories I couldn’t help wondering what was rather violently from the top of the city are somewhat marred in store as I strolled down deserted of a float. It’s a day where by the car crash I was involved streets littered with paper streamers people party with in during a mad rush to strangers, the airport. “Carnival is all about partying with com- complete and embrace Luckily I was saved the strange and from having to write plete strangers and embracing the unexpected.” unexpected. There a load of codswallop are even some about romantic getaways and empty miniature liquor bottles. rather lovely traditions, by the great tradition that is Friday and Saturday tend to blur which help to explain why Carnival. Originally a religious into one for the Carnival-goer, as the Carnival is celebrated so holiday to mark the beginning process of drinking, masked balls and enthusiastically. Costumes of Lent (which makes the fact parties, drinking, small processions were originally a way of that it is essentially a weekand drinking continues. disguising yourself from long piss-up all the more Sunday is a day of rest (for those God, so that you had intriguing), it is celebrated who don’t have children at least), as free rein to commit sins in many parts of the world, the little people take to the streets in and escape judgement. perhaps most famously adorable costumes and have parades Carnival actually sprung from a need in Brazil and Cologne. of their own. Grown-ups stay home to get all the sins like drinking and During my Erasmus year in and conserve their strength for the promiscuity out of the human system Germany, I decided it would climax of Carnival. before the calmer, more sober period be irresponsible to pass up Rose Monday is the day of the big of lent. First-time Carnival-goers such a perfect opportunity to parade. I was staying a few hours from should look above pub doorways to delve into the local culture Cologne with a friend, whose German find human effigies hanging there. so I hopped on a train and housemates handed us a miniature Even today, these are burnt at the end headed for Germany’s most bottle of Jägermeister each as soon of the Carnival period, to atone for the dedicated Carnival area, as we boarded our train at 8.15am. sins committed during it. the north-west. The rest of the day was a similarly Insider tip: if you’re not dying I arrived on impressive display of dedication to after Rose Monday, head to Weiberfastnacht, the the hooch.

Mönchengladbach to celebrate Violet Tuesday the day after. It’s a city with stamina, as the party continues here and it’s a good opportunity to get a closer look at a parade which, although much smaller, is as good as the one in Cologne the day before. You’ll also be more likely to pick up some of the sweets thrown from the floats. Just watch out for old women using umbrellas as weapons.

Rachel Stretton


February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

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Well I’ll be Amsterdamned! O

n a dark, dark train on a cold, cold winter’s night three girls met their fate... in Amsterdam! Amsterdam is home to whirling windmills, blooming bulb-fields and charming canals. If this appeals you too then don’t go in January! On the plus side, there are no queues. After years of talking about going, on a whim and since prices were cheap, we booked our tickets. We thought it would be fun to go away whilst most people were stuck in Bangor doing exams.

You think Britain’s been cold lately? Well let me tell you something, it ain’t. Compared to Amsterdam, we endured a heat wave! Five layers is your bare minimum and don’t forget a spare for when the sun goes down, or you’ll regret it. A must do on everyone’s itinerary is the Heineken Brewery. It was on our to-do list, until we saw the price! Our budget alternative was to find ourselves a pub and create our own ‘Heineken experience’. The National Monument is located in Dam Square, which is, erm,

Heather Torrance breaks out of Australian suburbia to bring you part one of her Outback adventure.

Down and Out Down Under A

fter working my butt off doing two jobs I hated in the land of Fosters, Rolf Harris and boomerangs, my brother suggested it would be nice to go travelling for a bit and actually see the country I was living in. It sounded like a fair plan and it meant I could put my hard earned dollars to something more useful than things like cork hats and gum nut figurines – yes, these do exist. I booked my tour online through a company called Western Xposure, specifically designed for those with limited time and who want to cram in as much as possible. On the day of leaving Perth, I arrived at 5am in the middle of the city for the tour, which would take four days to drive the equivalent of London to Fort William and back, whilst stopping to let us do stupid things like throw ourselves off sand dunes. The bus we were in was quite questionable. It was to seat 12 of us, built for offroading and looked almost as old as me, but I chucked my bags in the trailer and got in. After a very long blink - about 2 hours - I was surrounded by fields and we had pulled into a roadhouse. These things are special. They’re petrol stations with shops, cafes, hotels and zoos attached. Well, this one had a zoo. I wandered over to the side (avoiding the classic “dunny” which I could smell a mile off ) and stared curiously into the cages of birds and lizards before we got back on our way. The first stop we made was The Pinnacles Desert, which you probably haven’t heard of unless you’ve seen Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Australia – this is the bit where he dances naked around the strange tall rocks. This place makes you feel as if you’re on a different planet with no one around you for hundreds of miles (which is almost true, actually) as it is a desert with seven to eight foot tall rocks standing around randomly. It must be seen to be believed.

We walked around for about an hour, getting whip-lashed by the wind and sand and once again, set off further up north for our lunch. Food was provided in the back of the trailer, but we all opted for a booze stop, when most of us bought a four pack of Toohey’s, apart from two of the Irish lads who bought crates. The booze helped the conversation flow very well. After only a fifteen minute drive, we

came past with one of our numbers before we could cross them off. Simple! It kept us entertained for hours. We pulled into the side for a minute and got out to observe something quite strange. Where we stood has some of the fastest winds in Western Australia and this has affected the scenery somewhat. There was a horizontal tree! It had started growing straight up but because of the wind, ended up growing sideways. Night fell as we were speeding along the highway to our overnight stop. Everyone was drifting off to sleep when the bus swerved and we heard an almighty bang. We had hit a kangaroo. Australians know that if you do hit a kangaroo on a highway, you are more likely to die than it – plus your car gets wrecked. It took a real effort to turn the bus around to go and see, however nothing was there, not even blood on the road. The only thing left was an artistic roo-shaped dent in the side. We arrived in Kalbarri finally – a small fishing town which Perth-ites tend to use for holiday breaks (however not in summer – they’d burn to a crisp). I have never stayed in a hostel before and had heard some horror stories from friends. I was unsure as to whether I’d get any sleep or come out disease free. Thankfully this place was really nice – and it was clean! Girls were in one room; the guys were in the other. I hadn’t stayed in a bunk bed for about seven or eight years, so this made it kind of nostalgic for me. I don’t know whether it was the fact that we had travelled so much or whether it was because my alarm that morning had gone off at 4am, but I had an amazing nights sleep. Only problem was we had to get up at 6am the next morning for a full day of heat stroke ahead of us.

“We were told to throw ourselves off sand dunes. I suddenly regretted that lunchtime beer.” stopped at a beach and were handed what looked like long old skateboards without any wheels or brackets. We carried them off down the beach, only to be met by an enormous sand dune which we were told we had to throw ourselves off. The beer at lunch was starting to look less of a good idea. Waxing the bottom of the board would make us go faster. This I did and I really shouldn’t have. Liz, an Irish girl, demonstrated how painful hurtling into a wire fence could be and after seeing this, I decided two goes throwing myself off this thing was enough. Unfortunately for the risk-takers among us, we had to press on if we were to reach Kalbarri in the evening. I was surprised how fun this long drive was, having spent a lot of my life travelling to and from Glasgow and wanting to strangle myself with the seatbelt out of boredom. Lizzie, our tour guide, handed us each a whiteboard marker with which to doodle on the window. I drew a big picture of Bangor, purely because I knew it’d take me a while to do and it’s slightly more picturesque than my native area of Southeast London. My masterpiece got cut short when we were to play “car registration bingo”. Because seeing a car coming in the opposite direction is quite rare in these parts of Australia, it was a lot easier to play than if we were in heavy traffic. We had to write ten numbers ranging from zero to nine, and wait until a car

a monument and opposite some lovely scaffolding covering the (apparently beautiful) Royal Palace. But fortunately, fun can be found in a giant clog. Small, but essential is the visit to Anne Frank’s House. Another must is a canal trip to perceive the beautiful city from a unique perspective, and it gives your legs a rest! The Red Light District was as seedy as expected. Last of all, Amsterdam wouldn’t be Amsterdam without its, ahem… tulips. And let us assure you, they are out of this world!

If like us you are fool enough to go in January here are our top tips: • Ignore the cars, it’s the bikes you need to look out for! • Ensure your coffee shop is in close proximity to your hostel. • Take ear-plugs- there will be a snorer!

Emma Jones and Hayley Liston


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February Issue 2010 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

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February Issue 2009 www.seren.bangor.ac.uk

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SPORT

Squash Club

he long awaited reform ation of a popular AU club took shape last November with the Bangor Unive rsity Squash Club once again hitting the courts of Maes Glas. With a brand new committee and alre ady into its successful fourth month, the club now has 3 sessions a week on court and is rapidly expanding wit h much interest com ing from members of the other racket sport clubs, in particular badminton, and has even tempted the AU Pre sident out of his offi ce. The club provides an opportunity for pla yers of all levels to pit the mselves against wo rthy challengers from complete beginners to advanced standard. The more compet itive players can enjoy fast paced matches with competent oppone nts and the club has become a haven for those with a desire to further develop the ir skills and improv e their techniques. The intr oduction of a lad der system has also pro ved popular among st the members who can challenge their opp onents to the best of 5 ma tches for the chance to move up the rankin gs. The club is not all about winnin g however, a huge em phasis has been pla ced on participation, and squash virgins are encouraged to com e along and try out the game. Many memb ers have only rec ently taken up the spo rt and the club is the

perfect opportunity to develop their gam e through utilising the support and trainin g provided by players who are either curren tly or have formerly competed at county and international level. The recent excitin g introduction of a roc k/paper/scissors sys tem to determine who serves first has cer tainly caused a stir among st the clubs memb ers, who are often found in fits of laughter as they frantically vie for an advantage. Our Top Tip – scissors rarely wins! Having recently inv ested in club kit you wouldn’t even nee d your own racket , just drop in during one of the sessions, get on court and test the water, and if you think it’s the club for you seek out a commit tee member for more det ails on how to join. Club sessions are MONDAYS: 7pm – 9.15pm, FRIDAYS: 12.15pm – 2.30pm & SUNDAYS: 2.30pm – 5pm and your first week is FREE. Me mbership is curren tly at the bargain price of £10 and you will nee d to produce a valid AU card upon joining . For more information che ck out squash@unde b. bangor.ac.uk or loo k out for the Facebo ok group Bangor Unive rsity Squash Club.

Rowing Club Challenge

On the 22nd of Ma rch 2010, members of Bangor’s rowing over 1,100 miles, from Toulouse in sou club will be trekki ng thern France to Lon desperate need of don town. The club new equipment, inc is in lud ing this opportunity as state-of-the-art boa a fundraiser. ts, and will be using The four woman tea m comprises of LAU REN EVANS, FRANK and BYRONY. Althou IE PERRY, VANESSA gh only Lauren and EDDY Frankie will be doing competing at the ‘Su the Trek; they will perowing 2010 Boa all be t Race’ in Toulouse, return flight, and so they have not boo will be reling on the ked a good will of French provide accomodation university rowing clu , and their wits to get bs to back to the UK. Planning is still in the early stages, so kee Anyone interesting p a look out in the in helping the club or SU and on Facebook. wish to learn more contact them at; about the club, then please www.undeb.bango

r.ac.uk/rowing

or e-mail

rowingclub@unde

b.bangor.ac.uk

Gemma Brook

A Cr usade Too Far?

T

he history of the Cru saders Rugby League club (formerly Celtic Moss bought the Cru Crusaders and Celtic saders franchise. Warriors) is one wh This means that the ich, in their few sho Crusaders will rt years, has had mo now play eleven of their re twists and turns home games than an Eastenders omnibus. admittedly not at the Racecourse Ground, home of much as Rugby The club began as Cel Wr exh am FC, and tic Warriors in the We two on the road in lsh Rugby Union in 200 League differs Neath, at The Gnoll. 3, representing the spotlight again with region of Mid-Glamorgan largely live games on Sky Spo The mo from ve to Wrexham is a Valleys, and essent rts .”. Som e foo definite positive tball fans on redpas ially being an amalgam Union, for the Crusaders sion.co.uk (the this me ans ation of Pontypridd tha the t ms Wr som exh elv es, as they get to e Wrexham fans hav am FC fans forum and Bridgend’s Rugby Un play in an internation ) also feel positiv e been understandably unh ion clubs. When the ally renowned ground about the move e app y owner in rec of the Pontypridd hal wit , ent and h they experience an weeks over the user ‘standman’ the move. Added f of the club sold up ownership which has posting that the mo to the request by to the already owner of the Bridge ve “may help invest seen them make sig G.A.P. Recruitment to spo nd half, Leighton Sam ment nings like Jamie Tha into the nso Rac r eco the uel urs s, Crusaders (G.A.P. who in turn sold the e future and will brin ckary who formerly played formerly sponsored g money club onto the WRU, for into Hu the ll, and tow WF Vin n such as trade in pub C), the arrival of ce Mellars the club was liquidated who had played for Crusaders, and the s and hotels by the WRU. the Sydney Rooste so it is a good thing.”. G.A.P. deal has led rs. The When Leighton Sam However, not all fan catchment area of Wr some to bel iev uels decided to resurr s e fee exh the as l am opt Cru imistic. also tops 100,000, saders are underm ect the Celtic Warriors so there is a definite ining the foo tba franchise, he decide ll clu aud b. ien Eve A large gripe that a ce for the Crusaders n fans who are pos d that they should play in lot of Wrexham fans if the marketing can itive about the move, such as the Rugby League have with this move is tha be done properly. ‘baz’ on the Wrexh system as opposed to Union With t, as it is the club is interest high in the am fans for um . The Rugby League sta los tes that “given tha ing mo bui ney ld , up and to has the had t the football club wanted a South Wa been for the last Leeds game on January 29t has gone downhill few years lian franchise for h, sin Wr ce exh com und am ing er Foo a out of administration the Moss regime you long tball Club time, so they acc season ticket holder do wonder what the . Now whilst epted his offer. The s were also called this doesn’t endang y can do for a new Celtic up and Crusaders were bor er the club immedi offered team playing a new sport n. After a successfu ate ly, the beh aviour of the owner in a new area. You l first season in National Geoff Moss and the have to think that Moss League Two of the will make sure he Rugby League, in 2008 the benefits ahead of any sportin Crusaders applied g outfit.”. for a Super League licence However these pro and were accepted. blems are an aside In October 2009, the to what goes on on the Crusaders announced pitch for a lot of peo some changes to ple, and the opening game their plans for 2010. at the Racecourse They became ‘Crusa attracted 10,344 fan ders’ instead of ‘Ce s (a near sell-out, ltic Crusaders’, and also due to only 3 sides of the unveiled a new logo. ground being open), Also, they said they were and resulted in a 34-6 planning to play the loss at a snowy Rac ir home games at Newport ecourse for the Crusaders for the next two yea , despite an imp rs, a move which Rugby ressive performance with League chiefs were a Gareth Raynor not impressed by, and told discounted prices for try and Michael Witt penalty the Crusaders that Wr the exh gam am e. . Tim Vill Fan age (the parent com e will tell the succes their s of both home venues had the Rugby Club and of the Crusaders pany owning s to be up to scratch the Football Club do WFC) directors does. franchise, and wh by the next period of licensi have However that’s a diff positive views about ether it benefits Wrexham FC ng in 2011, or they ere the nt ma mo tte ve, r, so discarding that with Crusaders and would the not be granted a new tow n’s sea tra son for now, Wrexham de as a ticket holder Lew whole, but one thin license. However this fans have asked: is Clark saying g is evident, for Ge was negated when, in Why buy a Rugby “Wrexham now has off Moss and co, this latest December 2009, Wr League year round sport wit franchise when the Cru sad exham e is businessman and ow all h re are problems the or nothing in rugby league season terms of popularity. ner of Wrexham FC at the Football Club? Add adding to the foo Geoff ed to this the potent tball season. It will also ial for put the Racecourse the pitc h hav ing extra wear and tea into the r (although

“Wrexham now ha s year round spor t with the rugby leag ue season adding to the football season. It will also put the Racecours e into the spotlight with live games on Sky Sports”

Joey McNally


Dosbarthiadau Ffitrwydd - Fitness Classes Dydd Llun - Monday Hwbio’r Hŷn yn Heini

11.00-12.00pm

Super Seniors

Erobeg Amser Cinio

1.10-1.50pm

Lunchtime Aerobics

Seiclo Sicr

5.00-5.45pm

Precision Cycling

Cylchdaith y Bwystfil

6.00-7.00pm

The ‘Beast’ Circuit

Cicerobeg

7.00-8.00pm

Kickaerobics

Peltio

1.10-1.50pm

Balltastic

Seiclo Sicr

5.15-6.00pm

Precision Cycling

Cyfuniad Step

6.00-7.00pm

Step Combo

Dydd Mawrth - Tuesday

Dydd Mercher - Wednesday Cymysgedd y Bore

9.10-9.50am

Morning Mix

Hanner cant ac Iach

10.00-11.00am

Nifty Fifties

Tonio amser Cinio

1.10-1.50pm

Lunchtime Toning

Boxercise

5.10-5.50pm

Boxercise

Cylchdaith Corff

6.00-7.00pm

Circuits

Erobeg

7.00-8.00pm

Aerobics

Boxercise

12.10-12.50pm

Boxercise

Seiclo Sicr

5.15-6.00pm

Precision Cycling

Stumog, Clun a Tin

6.00-7.00pm

Legs, Bums & Tums

Peltio

7.00-8.00pm

Balltastic

Dydd Iau - Thursday

Dydd Gwener - Friday Cryfder Corff

1.10 - 1.50pm

Body Max

Seiclo Sicr

5.15 - 6.00pm

Precision Cycling

Cardio a Tonio

6.00 - 7.00pm

Cardio and Tone

Boxercise

7.10-7.50pm

Boxercise

Dydd Sadwrn - Saturday

Seiclo Sicr Seiclo Sicr

11.15-12.00pm

Precision Cycling

9.15-10.00am

Precision Cycling

Dydd Sul - Sunday

Maes Glas Chwaraeon a Hamdden Sports and Leisure Ffriddoed Road Bangor LL57 2EH

Rhif Ffon/Telephone:

01248 382571

maesglas@bangor.ac.uk www.maesglas.co.uk

Seren - 210 - 2009-2010 - February 2010  

This is the February 2010 issue of Seren, Bangor Univeristy's English Language Newspaper. Produced by students for students.

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