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Bangor Students’ Union’s English Language Newspaper


Issue No. 221

Christmas Issue 2011

INSIDE: Amazing Christmas pullout!

Christmas dinner!

• Students once again without running water • Bryn Dinas and Cefyn - y - Coed affected Lj Taylor


undreds of Bangor students were left without water this month when Ffriddoedd Site encountered a number of problems. Over 300 students living in both JMJ Bryn Dinas and Blocks J-K of Cefyn y Coed were affected by the shortage. The water in the Cefyn y Coed blocks went off on Saturday 19th around midday and residents tell us it didn’t return until about 4pm Monday. Water was intermittent to all seven floors of Bryn Dinas over the same weekend. Students affected weren’t contacted by the halls office regarding the issue until the Monday, two days after the water first went off. “The University engineers are working with Welsh Water to investigate water pressure problems which may be causing the intermittent lack of

water” the email said. The affected halls were issued with bottled water; four bottles to each corridor of eight residents, to use for washing and drinking each day. This is half the amount that was provided last year when Bryn Dinas students were given a bottle each per day; eight bottles to a corridor of eight. The paying residents of both Bryn Dinas and Cefyn y Coed were told by the halls office, in the email, that the shower facilities in Maes Glas, Ffriddoedd’s sports centre, would be available for them to use. Thomas Love, a Postgraduate student living in Cefyn y Coed’s J Block, said that it has been an ongoing problem. “We were told if we had to buy any additional water then if we kept the receipts we would be reimbursed for it” he said about the small amount of water provided to the students.

Another Cefyn y Coed occupant said that they had gone four days without water and that wasn’t the only problem he had faced since moving in. “There was no water and my heater hasn’t worked properly in three weeks despite me constantly speaking to my warden and handing in maintenance requests.” He said. “Its winter here now and its freezing but I feel like nobody seems to care” In an attempt to sort out the problems, the Halls Office scheduled maintenance time and this, for some Bryn Dinas residents, was the only time they noticed a cut to their supply. This wasn’t the same for all though. “We were literally pouring the water out of our kettle” Jack Nolan, a Bryn Dinas resident, said. “We haven’t heard anything about any compensation and we didn’t receive any bottles of water.” Jo Caulfield, President of the Stu-

dents’ Union said: “I was encouraged by the swift action taken by the Estates Department to investigate and deal with the issue as soon as possible, however it seems there was less of an organised effort undertaken by the Halls Office to give students information. Wardens and residents alike were left with very little information about the longevity of the issue, not to mention the lacklustre attempt to provide them with bottled water. The fact is: students were left for a whole weekend without any running water and no one from the Halls Office was available to help. This is massively unacceptable. The Halls Office may only be open Monday – Friday, but students pay to live in halls 7 days a week.”

Continued on page 3...

The latest games reviewed!

Seren meets Madina Lake!


Christmas Issue 2011



Welcome to the Christmas Issue of Seren! It’s fair to say I’m really excited about this one, you’re currently gazing your eyes upon the biggest Seren we’ve ever produced, a massive 48 pages full of new features especially for you! So what can you expect inside? How about the coolest Christmas pullout you’ve ever seen? We’ve covered all the basics in it including gifts, decorations and how not to react to a gift that’s not so great. As well as the pullout we have a new feature in the form of a brand new business page, and the environment page created in the last issue has gone from strength to strength so be sure to check it out. Standard features include your food & drinks pages which are also Christmas related. Let’s just say that everything is pretty much Christmas related. Here is where I’m going to include the obligatory get involved sentence, if you do want to (which I’m sure you do) you can attend our weekly meetings every Wednesday at 6pm in the Students’ Union, or you can email me at


News 3-5 Politics 6-7 Comment 8-9 Features 10-11 Societies 12-13 Union 14-15 Creative Corner 16 Classics 17 Christmas Pullout 19-28 Centrefold 24-25 Ashleigh Answers 26 Breaktime 27 Environment 29 Food & Drink 30-31 Film & TV 32-33 Music 34-35 Fashion 36-37 Health & Beauty 38 Games & Gadgets 40-41 Travel 42-43 Business 44 Sport 45-48

Aaron Wiles

I’ll finish by saying I hope you all have amazing Christmases, incredible New Year’s and that you all stay safe. Merry Christmas!

The Seren Team

Editor: Aaron Wiles Deputy Editor: LJ Taylor News: Steven Freeman Politics: Anna Hatfield Features: Rosie McLeod Creative Corner: Tom Haynes Music: Joey McNally Food and Drink: Joe Russell Film & TV: Heather Boyles & Amy Westlake Music: Joey McNally Fashion: Kaden Wild Health & Beauty: Emily Tearle & Sara Royle Advice: Ashleigh Garnett Travel: Rowena Nathan Sport: Tom Knott Secretary: Luke Dobson Design: Dan Turner

This month’s contributors Alex Thomson Esme Baylis Chris Buckingham Hannah Baker Gemma Ellis Rebecca Watson Matt Jackson Jennifer Krase Rob King Antony Butcher Jonathon Spencer Siobhan Donaghy Emily Bygrave Jecelyn Latimer Georgia Mannion Yousef Cisco Will Johnson

Katrin Lloyd Sean Talbot Will Osborn Rob Young Jordaine Hulse Guy Hutchinson Timothy Jacobson Samantha Austin Josh Watkins-Smith The Sabbs: Jo Caulfield Danielle Buckley Danielle Giles Rich Gorman Rhys Dart

Christmas Issue 2011

Prince William Helps Rescue Stranded Seamen

Steven Freeman


rince William aided in the rescue of stranded seamen after their ship sank 10 miles west of the Llyn Peninsula in the Irish Sea.

The sunken Russian vessel MV Swanland, began to sink at around 2.30AM of Sunday 27th November after it became a victim of the rough seas. Air and sea rescue services were scrambled to try and locate and rescue the sailors, and in total 6 RAF rescue helicopters, 2 Irish Coastguard helicopter, 1 Irish Coastguard fixed wing aircraft and 4 lifeboat crews worked together in the rescue effort.

The search was postponed at 4.45AM due to poor lighting, but commenced later that morning. Prince William who was piloting a rescue helicopter from RAF Valley 22 Squadron recovered one seamen who was taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor. Another seaman was later recovered, but was unfortunately found dead. The search is still on for the 5 other seamen who formed part of the crew of 8, but as time goes on the hope of finding the remaining men alive is fading.

The MV Swanland before the tragedy

Gwynedd Council Health And Safety Gone Mad?

Jez Harvey


wynedd Council have been criticised recently for placing health and safety warnings on a group of rocks on a beach in Cardigan Bay. The group of rocks, that might in some

peoples eyes be viewed as perfect for larking about on, are in fact a danger to life and limb for anyone foolhardy enough to go near them, according to the council.

A spokesperson for the council said that the rocks contain, “significant voids” which when combined with the slipperiness of being near the sea, make them dangerous to people. They said that the council has a duty of care to the public and wanted to inform the public that there are apparently dangers of standing on large, wet rocks with “significant voids”. Some local people are unhappy with the move, claiming that they give off entirely the wrong image, as the beach is in an area with significant income from tourism. “It’s as if they have seen people enjoying themselves on the rocks and want to stop it”.

Girl From North Wales Warned Not To Horse Around Jez Harvey


o you ever suffer from those long sleepless nights when your mind decides that rather than sleep, it’s going to replay the Top Ten Most Embarrassing Moments of your life? Well, it could be much worse. A student at the University of Derby, but originally hailing from North Wales, became trapped in a clothes horse and required help from the Fire Service to be freed.

Danielle Morgan was apparently “mucking about” and fell off her friend’s bed and somehow became entangled in the clothes horse. Bolt croppers were required to free the

student, whose friends very kindly and helpfully recorded every moment of the ordeal, just to ensure that the memory would live in on posterity. A friend of Ms Morgan phoned the emergency services on her behalf and apparently had trouble convincing them of the situation. “I don’t think they quite believed it to begin with”. Here’s hoping Ms Morgan has learnt of the dangers of (clothes) horsing around.


Local News

Front Page Continued...

Last year a number of the University-owned halls were hit with water problems. A water pressure issue left all seven floors of Bryn Dinas students without the running water for an entire week. No real compensation was offered for the inconvenience to the 150 plus students but residents were provided with a bottle of water each, per day, and were given free meals at Bar Uno on the Saturday and Sunday. International students living in the Bryn Eithin halls of residence on St Mary’s Site last year were also the victims of problems. Hot water, heating, Internet and laundrette facilities, were intermittent in the hall over a period of four months. Once the issue was brought to the attention of the Students’ Union the problems were finally resolved providing each affected student with £897 of compensation; the equivalent of half a month’s rent for each month they were without these essential services. Rob King, a third year music student, remembers back to his first year

when similar problems arose; “We were left without any cold water for several days. Twice over.” He said. “No replacement water was given and we had to go and buy it ourselves from Morrisons. The only explanation we received was that there was a burst pipe somewhere in Bangor.” Compensation, once again, wasn’t received by the Enlli residents. It seems that Bangor’s halls of residence are unable to go a year without encountering any water problems and is perhaps something that should receive quite a bit of attention in the summer months to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The Halls Office advises students to use maintenance forms and visit them directly if there’s a bigger issue. We’re also told they are currently looking into out of hour’s procedures to ensure information and services are available to students throughout the week. At time of print there has been no mention of compensation.

Lecturers Strike: Views From The Picket Line

Steven Freeman

On Wednesday 30th September the biggest strike in 30 years took place all over the UK over the issue of Public Sector pensions. The mass support for striking came after the news that Public Sector workers would contribute considerably more to their pensions but have to work for longer before they were entitled to them. After lengthy negotiations between Trade Unions and the Government that seemed fruitless, it was not surprising that such mass support was present as the strikes got underway. The strikes caused much disruption through the UK effecting universities, schools, airports, ports, council offices, hospitals and many other areas of the Public Sector. Ministers had to call in staff from British embassies throughout the world in order to man the immigration controls at airports and ports to try and prevent as much disruption as possible. Education Minister Michael Gove in the lead up to the

strike commented that teachers were simply “itching for a fight” and that he wanted teachers to pause and reflect on the situation. He continued, that teachers should think about parents who were having to pay out for childcare for the day of the strike and that they would not be able to afford a day less pay in the run up to Christmas. The fact of the matter is, this small talk was irrelevant and it seems quite worrying to think that senior politicians believed that such a large strike could have been diverted by them pleading on such petty grounds. With such a mass supported strike, only time will tell whether the Trade Unions still hold as much power as they have done throughout history, and whether a negotiation will be reached regarding Public Sector pensions. Until then, we can reflect upon the situation of today and ask ourselves, are we seeing the revival of the 80’s?


Christmas Issue 2011

UK News

Murdoch Quits, Counter-Terrorism And Borders: The Lowdown Gets Re-instated Alex Thomson


ection 1 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 allows the Home Secretary to impose any obligation that he, or a Court, “considers necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting involvement by that individual in terrorism related activity.” In practice the restrictions can be almost unlimited and allow for a suspect to be under house arrest. These Control Orders can last for a maximum of 12 months but can be renewed. Control Orders do require permission from the High Court, so in a sense the Home Secretary does need some permission before the control order is imposed, except where the Home Secretary certifies circumstances of urgency. Since its introduction, the Control Order regime under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 has received considerable judicial scrutiny where Courts have interpreted and made a judgement about the particulars of the legislation, for example 29 June 2006; a High Court judge abolished six Control Orders as he believed they were incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights, saying “I am left in no doubt whatsoever that the cumulative effect of the order has been to deprive the respondents of their liberty, in breach of article 5”. The Home Office said “extensive preparations” were ongoing for the new Terrorism Prevention and Investigation measures. These new measures are set to come into effect early in 2012. But there are signs that some senior officers at Scotland Yard who deal with counter-terrorism feel the police are not ready for a January start so they want a delay of several months. Eleven people are currently under Control Orders. Their movements and

Luke Dobson

their access to communications are severely restricted because they are deemed to be a threat to national security. But the law is changing following a commitment in the coalition agreement to “urgently review control orders”. One of the biggest changes will be the end of relocation, which gives the authorities the power to force suspects

to move away from their homes and close associates. This applies to most of the current orders. But until now, the government has been asked to extend the transition period by just two weeks. Also in the news recently is the ‘border controls’ being relaxed by the UK Border Agency, with Theresa May said to have authorised a certain relaxation of border controls in certain situations. Brodie Clark, the former head of the border agency, who was forced out of the UK Border Agency for waiving bor-

der controls - in particular fingerprint matching - without ministerial permission, has accepted that normal border checks were regularly suspended, he did know about it and he did not inform the Home Secretary. However, Clark insists that this was all to do with “normal practice” and long-standing policy for dealing with situations when the health and safety of passengers and staff were at risk. The misunderstanding between Brodie Clark and the Home Secretary Theresa May stems from the suspension of fingerprint matching. He asked for permission to do this as part of a pilot scheme for intelligence-led border checks. May did deny that permission and one of her permanent secretaries, Dame Helen Ghosh, agreeing with the Home Secretary, saying that Clark also never mentioned relaxation of border controls to non-Europeans in his written reports. However, he was informed about and approved the suspension of fingerprint checking by Heathrow without seeking the Home Secretary’s permission, under a policy relating to “health and safety at ports” dating back to 2007. One problem - fingerprint matching was only introduced in 2010 and, therefore, not mentioned in that policy so is Clark the liar or is May? It’s up to you to make your own minds up, but I think it’s likely for a busy Cabinet minister like Theresa May to miss or overlook the checks with Clark. What emerged this morning with startling clarity is the extraordinary way this whole saga has been handled. Brodie Clark was initially offered the opportunity to retire with “a good package” and “a good reference” by his boss, only for that to be withdrawn.


ast week saw James Murdoch resign from the executive boards which run The Sun and The Times. Mr Murdoch, son and heir apparent of the media mogul Rupert, had played an integral role in defending his father’s company in over the past couple of months. It has become clear, however, that James was as embroiled in the scandal as any other player; thus this would appear to be a pre-emptive action ahead of calls for his resignation from the company as a whole. The scandal, which has now achieved levels of infamy, seems to be spreading further into News International with every passing day. Mr Murdoch was head of the subsidiary company which oversaw the now-defunct newspaper; as such enquiries into the phone hacking allegations have ultimately led back to him as the authority behind the Editors’ Even though it has been acknowledged that he did know of the illegal actions that were being carried out, a recent Select Committee meeting has absolved him of all but incompetence and blind ignorance. This resignation is only a small part of recent news concerning this scandal. The Levenson Inquiry is an ongoing investigation into the ethics and practices of the media in this country, with the ultimate aim of recommending new press regulations. Several celebrities, those people who were targeted by the phone hacking, have been called to give evidence. Hugh Grant, who previously played a

large role in exposing the scandal, has already testified about his experience with News International papers. He also delivered a damning report stating that it was entirely possible that The Mail on Sunday had also hacked his phone in 2007; if this turns out to be true then Rupert Murdoch’s media empire will be joined by The Daily Mail and General Trust in an ever growing web of journalistic failure. J K Rowling also testified, calling for greater regulation of the media. She told the inquiry that she had had to stop newspapers from publishing photographs of her eight year old daughter in a bikini; in her own words, “a child, no matter who their parents are, deserves privacy.” The general feeling of animosity towards the tabloid press, paparazzi and their privacy-encroaching attitudes is wielding a large amount of sway at the Inquiry and in the public at the moment. There are those, however, who believe that greater press regulations could lead to a diminishing of the free press. From one company’s foolish use of illegal journalistic devices, to the very nature of free speech – this scandal far surpasses one man’s resignation. More recently, Murdoch managed to be re-appointed as BSkyB Chairman although a fifth of investors voted against him. This shows that for the Murdoch empire dodging bullets and tactical decision-making is all part of the daily proceedings of business.

Emergency Care At Weekends Is Second Rate Public Sector Vs. Pensions T O Steven Freeman

Steven Freeman

n Wednesday 30th September the biggest strike in 30 years took place nationwide over the issue of Public Sector pensions. The mass support for striking came after the news that Public Sector workers would contribute considerably more to their pensions but have to work for longer before they were entitled to them. After lengthy negotiations between Trade Unions and the Government that seemed fruitless, it was not surprising that such mass support was present as the strikes got underway. The strikes caused much disruption through the UK effecting universities, schools, airports, ports, council offices, hospitals and many other areas of the Public Sector. Ministers had to call in staff from British embassies throughout the world in or-

der to man the immigration controls at airports and ports to try to prevent as much disruption as possible. Education Minister Michael Gove in the lead up to the strike commented that teachers were simply “itching for a fight” and that he wanted teachers to pause and reflect on the situation.

He continued, that teachers should think about parents who were having to pay out for childcare for the day of the strike and that they would not be able to afford a day less pay in the run up to Christmas. The fact of the matter is, this small talk was irrelevant and it seems quite worrying to think that senior politicians believed that such a large strike could have been diverted by them pleading on such petty grounds. With such a mass supported strike, only time will tell whether the Trade Unions still hold as much power as they have done throughout history, and whether a negotiation will be reached regarding Public Sector pensions. Until then, we can reflect upon the situation of today and ask ourselves, are we seeing the revival of the 80’s?

he annual Hospital Guide published by research company Dr. Foster has shown that you are more likely to die if you are admitted to hospital in need of life saving treatment on the weekend. The report said that it would appear some deaths could have been avoided if there was better access to diagnostic equipment, and if there was generally better staffing on weekends. It also suggests that hospital emergency departments are only staffing adequately for a five day week, leaving

mostly junior doctors and nurses to deal with the majority of patients at the weekend. In essence, senior consultants are not likely to be on-site on weekends meaning that a patient in a critical condition may be waiting for the senior consultant on call to arrive at the hospital before receiving specialist treatment. Cases such as these severely reduce the ‘golden hour’ which is the hour when a critically ill patient’s chances of survival are at their highest. This study comes after the recent case at Stafford Hospital where low staffing is considered partly to blame for the appalling care patients received. The report also highlights many other issues with hospital care and Dr. Foster are said to be working closely with the Department of Health who agree that some issues need dealing with urgently.

Christmas Issue 2011


World News

Continued Unrest Anders Breivik Declared Insane In Syria Steven Freeman


nders Breivik, who was responsible for the Norway massacre in July this year, has been declared insane by Norwegian psychiatrists. Psychiatrists believe that Breivik was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he killed 77 people and injured 151 in a massacre that shook the world. Breivik admitted killing and injuring the many victims but declared that the attacks were necessary. An online manifesto expresses Breivik’s views, and he comments that he was protecting Europe from the Muslim Invasion, which was being allowed by the cultural Marxists of the Norwegian Labour Party. Psychiatrists, quoted “Breivik was in his own delusional universe where all his thoughts and acts are guided by his delusions". The psychiatrists’ judgement that Breivik was mentally insane could

Jez Harvey


vents in Syria continue to raise concerns in some parts of the international scene. A popular uprising started in March at the same time as the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings. Unlike the uprisings there however, the regime was swift to crack down, using force on the rallies. So far, over 1,600 people have been killed, and another 10,000 have fled to Turkey. There are broad similarities between the Syrian and other Arab Spring uprisings. Syria has been ruled for over 40 years by the Assad family, with “emergency law” being in place for even longer. Extrajudicial killing, torture and imprisonment have been widespread, with only a very limited and highly criticised version of democracy being allowed. The demands of the opposition leaders have been very clear and direct. They want Assad to step down, free and open elections and an end to the police state that has seen many hundreds killed or imprisoned for political reasons. So far, little has been granted by the leadership. Despite revoking the “emergency” law that was in place, over 1,300 of the 1,600 killed by the security forces were killed after that announcement. A further 10,000 have been arrested. There are good reasons why the Assad family have held on to power for so long. Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, they have been far more willing to use violent force against the protestors and unlike Libya, there has been little international support, especially from the Arab League (the Arab-wide regional organisation), for the opposition.

This is changing, however. Despite the violence of the crackdowns, the resistance to the Assad regime remains strong and vocal. As well as this, internal politics within the region has meant that Syria, previously a major player in the League, has started to lose influence. States like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, that have managed to avoid large scale protest, are keen that further protests don’t spread. Representatives of the opposition leaders have been invited to the Arab League buildings to help coordinate their efforts, in the hopes that the sooner the revolution is shut down, the less likely it is to spread. The reason they have chosen to support the opposition as opposed to Assad is that he has long been a thorn in the side of these other states. Syria has

mean that Breivik will no longer be tried in the normal criminal justice system. The report will be reviewed by the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine, and if declared valid, changes will be made to the trial which is due to begin in April next year. If this is the case, Breivik could avoid a lengthy jail sentence in a state prison and instead be held in a psychiatric care facility. As Norway is still getting over the devastation caused by Anders Breivik, Norwegian officials have said that Breivik will be detained either way, and it is just criminal proceedings that will differ. Nevertheless, as this news is released, many Norwegian citizens who witnessed at firsthand such devastation and terror will most likely not sympathise with the psychiatrists opinions.

strong links with Iran, a regime that makes states like Saudi Arabia nervous due to their links with the U.S. By ensuring that Assad falls, they hope that they can engage the good will of the new regime in the hopes that Iran will be weakened. People continue to die however, and it is sad to see that many of the new regimes that have arisen from the Arab Spring continue to exert overt force, and make little moves towards a more democratic society. Syria is likely to fall. However, it must be remembered that none of the states that have fallen were particularly pleasant. It can only be hoped that whatever eventually arises in the region manages to be democratic and open. Too many lives have been lost.

Egypt Holds First Free Election Weird and Wonderful: Zombies Infest Mexico City O Steven Freeman

Steven Freeman


ver 10,000 people donned their best zombie gear and took to the streets in Mexico City in an attempt to break the world

record for zombie walking. Men, women and children from all walks of life got into the spirit from dressing in dirty rags to costumes that

would make Hollywood jealous to take part in this bizarre event. The current official world record stands at 4,093 people, who gathered at Asbury Park in 2010 to walk the streets as Zombies. A group in Brisbane recently laid claim to having a zombie walk with around 8,000 participants last month, but this amount has not yet been verified by Guinness World Records. The event in Mexico, which has topped this number, is just a sign of things to come as Zombies are becoming incredibly more fashionable, with ample movies, books and merchandise all relating to these ghoulish beings. Some cultural commentators have tried to liken this Zombie behaviour to social and political reasoning, such as the way it reflects the economic austerity, but most participants have reported they do it simply for fun.

n the 28th of November Egyptians voted for the first time since the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. The elections mark a milestone in Egyptian history, as for the first time in over 30 years Egyptians were able to vote without fear of intimidation from Mubarak’s men. The elections had a high turnout, and in many instances, it has been reported that there were long queues present outside polling stations throughout most of the day, the longest stretching an impressive 3km. The polls opened late due to administrative problems, but officials later extended the closing hours until midnight to compensate for this. However, amongst the liberated feeling in Egypt on the day, the rioting in

Tahrir Square in Cairo continued as some still believed that Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi and his council should step down, for Egypt would not truly be free until this happens. However, after nine days of rioting and protest and with over 2000 injured and 41 killed, the elections went ahead as scheduled. Shortly after the polls opened there was an explosion in a gas pipeline between Jordan and Israel, but no particular group has claimed responsibility for the attack and it is not yet known whether the attack was related to the discontent in Egypt. The future for Egypt is far from certain, but it could be seen that the direction of such a broken country is towards recovery.


Christmas Issue 2011

Euro Crash


he Eurozone crisis seems never ending. First Britain joined the E.U twenty years after it started and ever since we’ve been labelled the awkward partner. Most of us just don’t want to be seen as being European or needing Europe. The House of Commons is full of Euro sceptics, we rage when our PM signs treaties without our say so and we throw a fit when we give our hard earned money to help bail them out. Europe is just not Britain’s thing. Having to counter a petition to hold a referendum about our very membership did not see the other leading nations crack a smile in our direction.

- can they? Yes, you see new pictures of European unity in the press every day with Merkel, Sarkosy and the new Italian PM Mario Monti all cosying up to each other. And yes, every day they state how committed they are to making the Euro work, but underneath their constant quacking what do they propose to do? With fall outs over the role of the European Central Bank and the apparent need for ever deeper integration, Euro-

"holding the pound aloft and doing a giddy dance" They decided to turn around and ask if they even want us to be a part of what everyone sees as ‘their Union’. Yet irrespective of our membership, the Eurozone is in trouble. Yes we have a completely different currency to them but that doesn’t mean we will be able to walk away scott free, holding our pound aloft doing a giddy dance while watching the Euro crumble and falter into the nothing it was 15 years ago. As we have seen with the global financial crisis, economies are interlinked. So what the Euro goes through, so does the pound. No, we won’t lose the currency we have been hell bent on retaining but if the Euro does collapse what will actually happen? Will the states go back to their original currencies such as the Deutchmark, the lira

pean communication lines are evaporating; fast. Germany wants the ECB to have a bigger role, while France and Italy oppose such powers. They all seem to forget that new treaties need to be forged to legitimate such levels of integration and that these then need to be ratified by their people. With the Euro sinking and the leaders clasping at straws to save their economies what will happen? Can the markets cause any more damage? Will Greece be forced to leave the Euro? With recession forecast before the year is out, no one has any answers. The leaders can show their unity all they like, but they know the outcome of this crisis as much as you and me. In other words, nada.

Anna Hatfield


Politics U.N. Swoops In


nternational Conflict has been strife the past couple of weeks. No country seems to be safe from riots, disrupted elections and crimes against humanity. The United Nations, in a formal 39 page document, have accused Syria of crimes against humanity. Since March over three and a half thousand people have died from the conflicts which have arisen. The U.N’s document focused on the 223 victims and eye witnesses that they have interviewed despite being impeded by being denied entry into Syria. Their investigations have concluded that 256 children have been killed alongside murder, torture and sexual assaults which the people of Syria have been subjected to by their very own government. Yet it is not only the U.N who have dealt measures to Syria. The Arab League have stepped in and imposed their very own sanctions which have provoked an outcry from the Syrian Government. They have now been estimated to have withdrawn 95% of their assets from neighbouring Arab states and the Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al- Mouallem has even labelled the Arab League’s sanctions

as an “economic war on Damascus”. The U.N may be dealing with Syria but they have also become embroiled with the Democratic Republic of Congo recently; 22.000 U.N Troops are at present stationed

there. The DR Congo is currently in the process of counting their ballot results following this week’s elections, but it has been far from an easy ride. First there were the polling station fires, with fifteen being burnt in the West Kasai region alone in retaliation to the people’s frustrations over polling delays. Secondly

they have had to deal with four people dying after gunmen attacked a poll in Lubumbashi. This is not all however. There were concerns that the polling would not even be held at all due to lack of voting material and transport facilities. There were 60,000 polling stations and some polling paraphernalia had to be specially flown in by helicopter just to reach it on the day; even then there were delays. The whole election itself has been marred by accusations of corruption, with favoured nominee 78 year old Etienne Tshisekedi alleging that incumbent President Joseph Kabila will attempt to rig the election. It is almost as though a third party is trying to stall this election for whatever reason. I just hope that after the murders, the arson and the helicopters, the people of the DRC get the result they were hoping for.

Anna Hatfield

Changes of Charles I

t is easy to forget sometimes that in many senses, we are not citizens of a country, but subjects of a hereditary monarch. It is, for some people, hard enough to stomach the idea that a single person could inherit an entire country; it is much harder when it is revealed that the Government has been offering vetos on various bills to the heir to the throne. A constitutional loophole forces the Government to ask permission of the Prince of Wales if a bill touches on his private interests. Unlike Royal Assent which is required for a bill to become law, they must seek permission from the Prince prior to a bill passing. In particular, it is as the Duke of Cornwall (with a private estate worth £700 million) that the Prince’s permission has been sought, on issues varying from gambling to the Olympics. The existence of this legal necessity became clear after an investigation by The Guardian newspaper published last month. It revealed that since 2005, 6 departments have been forced to go to the Prince on 12 different bills. Prince Charles refused to comment on the matter, a spokesman citing “a long-standing convention that protects the heir to the throne’s right to be instructed in the business of government in preparation for his future role as monarch”. How his much admired range of quality, organic biscuits and other food stuffs, as well as his range of ‘alternative’ medicine

(described as “outright quackery” by the UK’s first professor of complimentary medicine) helps to prepare him to be King is unknown. This debacle points to yet another weakness in the British Constitution. Because of the piece-meal development of British Government over many centuries, Britain, unlike many other Western nations, has no written constitution. In the past this has always been explained by the fact that Britain has never had a large scale revolution in the way France or America has. This explanation no longer holds much water. The status of the Corporation of London – the council for the area of London officially known as ‘The City of London’ – has raised eyebrows. Unique to anywhere else, companies get votes in the local elections – the bigger the company, the more votes they have. The City, known as the Square Mile, contains only 9,000 night time residents, but a large number of financial institutions. It is in effect an area of London run by the banks that were recently bailed out. The Lord Mayor of London is little more than a mouth-piece for the interests of big business. Yet again, there are legitimate reasons for how this occurred. Centuries ago, the City of London was inextricably linked to the guilds and merchant men. Over time, these guilds became eclipsed by the size of the companies that surrounded them – however, their influ-

ence did not. Again, this explanation holds little water in the 21st Century. It is easy to see why politicians aren’t keen to introduce a written constitution. The uproar that would occur if the loopholes necessary for the Prince and the City to retain their privileged status would be enormous and the large companies don’t want the issue raised. But this is precisely why a written Constitution is needed. Regardless of whether or not you support a Monarchy or a Republic or some other version, you cannot help but feel that big business or the eldest son of the monarch having more democratic rights than you is an insult to the ideas that our entire society is based on. It is time Britain joined the 21st Century and let go of those parts of the past that hold us back.

Jez Harvey

Public Sector Strikes

ednesday 30th November will see the biggest mobilisation of public sector workers in decades; they are all going to be at it: Heathrow, Schools, NHS workers, Border Forces. In other words, disrupted services right, left and centre. Pensions, that is where it starts and ends. When the NHS was implemented in 1945 it promised a Welfare Service looking after to you from cradle to grave. Generations down the line and that sentiment still remains noble if not completely realistic. Of course everyone wants it, and damn right expects it. Whoever is the first to propose scrapping elements of the welfare system would see catastrophic opinion polls. Who wants

to lose their comfort blanket? But that was before a 60 million plus population combined with everyone living into infinity and beyond. Yes, I want a pension and a ruddy good one! But I know aged twenty that I can’t solely rely on the state to take care of me when I’m old and wrinkly. Plus I hope to be old and wrinkly for a while, especially if I pay my National Insurance for all my working life! Understandably the public sector wants what their bosses have got and what everyone presumes they will have. But with the estimates of the strike causing £500million to our ludicrously fragile economy, surely it is a wee bit irresponsible to be holding

such a debt boosting strike when we’re already rocketing towards calamity? They have had a year of negotiations but when you look at the actual figures, it works out (including percentage of turn out and percentage of actual votes) that only 20% of Union members want to take strike action at all. They might want to go on holiday or need an emergency surgical operation. Oh wait. They can’t! Is any worker ever completely satisfied? The answer, in all probability is no. But you don’t see the private sector walking out and causing colossal damage to our economy. The Government cannot afford to keep paying out for public sector pensions the way it has been. Simple.

I wish it wasn’t but it is. This is only showcased by Ed Miliband’s refusal to publicly back the strike which will see over two million people activated. If the Union safe guarder is against them striking who can they count on for any political support or lee way? Yes, the dispute over pensions needs to be solved, there definitely needs to be a compromise between government and the public sector, but I’m just asking if now is the right time? Instead of building up to the festive season, people are faced with cancelled flights, cancelled operations and cancelled lessons.

Anna Hatfield

Christmas Issue 2011



Crazy Corsica On The Campaigning


orothy Carrington in her book Granite Island: A Portrait of Corsica, describes the first impressions of Corsica on her first visit in 1948. “The mountains surged into the sky, behind, beyond, above one another, ending in rows of cones and spikes and squaretopped knobs like gigantic teeth. Their lower slopes, smothered in vegetation, looked uninhabited and impenetrable.” This mysterious island is not to be underestimated by any stretch, it is home to a people strongly motivated to preserve the traditional Corsica, the natural beauty of the island both physical and cultural, as described by Carrington.

thus allowing slightly more independence, this is demonstrated for example, by the obligatory Corsican language test for all those hoping to become a teacher here. At present, approximately 65% of the population here still speak Corsican but there is also a real push at the moment from the local authorities for a greater usage of the Corsican language in day to day life, rather than the more commonly used French. Their own governing comes in the form of the Corsican Assembly; a unicameral legislative body formed of 51 members, which is based in the Corsican Capital, Ajaccio. In recent times, it has gone further than anonymous graffiti and there have been

I write this, a summary of Corsican politics, from the perspective of an ERASMUS student having lived in Corte, the town in the centre of Corsica, for three months. Nevertheless, in this short time I feel as if I have been exposed to the honest truths of this complicated subject, yet I am not naïve to believe that I have witnessed the full scale of it. An island so isolated and yet so riled with political activism and confrontation, Corsican politics and national beliefs are a daily issue being debated amongst the Corsican people. What the island lacks in terms of the number of inhabitants, barely surpassing 300,000, they make up for in enthusiasm for national pride concerning a desire for autonomy from Metropolitan France and in general. They are not opposed to sharing this political opinion freely. In order to better comprehend the importance of the Corsican nationalist movement, one must simply look at the graffiti found covering the walls, both inside and out, of the university buildings in central Corsica, Corte. No sooner have the messages for independence and letters FLNC (The National Liberation Front of Corsica) been painted out, have they reappeared once more in abundance. Despite Corsica’s continuing struggle to be an independent island from Metropolitan France, it is still in fact one of the 27 regions of France and is therefore under the same form of government. It is in law known as a ‘territorial collectivity’ which means it has an elected local government

forms of terrorism in connection with the extremist political groups within Corsica. Further back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the FLNC carried out bombings concentrating on buildings that represented a French presence on the island, such as tourist facilities, military and police stations and even went as far as bombing some Frenchowned holiday homes. It is important to note that they did not intend for human casualties and so carried out these attacks when the buildings were unoccupied, however there have been known to be human fatalities due to these actions. More recently, from 2004 the number of attacks on holiday homes increased at the same time as the FLNC started to split to divide the more violent members of the party, from those who did not intend to cause such severe damage and avoid human fatality. This being said, Corsica itself is one of the most beautiful places I have been privileged to visit. It must be noted that, although the terrorism and almost xenophobic attitude shared by some of the Corsican population should not be condoned, one can appreciate their desire to preserve the island in its natural form now, in order to avoid a potential loss of tradition and real Corsican culture. What remains to be seen, is how and if the Corsican and French people will work together as one country in the future, or if Corsica will in fact become the independent island it hopes to be.

“An island so isolated and yet riled with political activism”


Trail 2012

ies, rumours and cover-ups have gone hand in hand with American elections since the late 1700’s, where sex scandals, undesirable relatives and the shady exchange of money were all prime ammunition for presidential candidates. The boundaries are removed and outcome the forbidden topics; the popular religious gambits and, hot topics for the White House, war and terrorism. As a result, no candidate will be able to take a debate during their campaign without having a quote or two taken out of context and manipulated with the aim of giving them a public status worthy of Nixon. Take Herman Cain for instance; cancer survivor, patriotic Navy man and high-flying corporate executive. Popularity showed him as a strong contender in the Republican push for the Presidency, scoring higher in polls among Tea Party activists last February than Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. Step forward then accusations of sexual harassment and, coincidently, just in time to question his character for the state level primaries in January. Claims like

Esme Baylis

this, even if they’re unsubstantiated, remain in the public consciousness, especially among voters who remain undecided. Even the most objective of Americans will wonder if

there is no smoke without fire, especially when the media has rolled out an article every day since the headline broke as “gentle” reminders. Anyone appears to be fair game, including the female front runner for the 2012 elections Michelle Bachmann, the first republican woman elected into the House of Representatives. With a past resume as tax litigation attorney and an enthusiastic tea party insurgent, she is running on the premise of simplification all wrapped in a package of Christian-conservative ideals. What wasn’t part of her campaign plan were accusations of questionable mental health, with resistant republicans spanning the line “Stress related condition “incapacitates” presidential candidate; heavy pill

Egyptian Distress:


gypt, Egypt, Egypt; this has not been your year! The 25th of January saw the start of the revolution. Revolts sprang up in Cairo amongst the whirlpool of African rebellion as, after decades of frustrations finally over spilled, rioting was rife across Egypt. Almost one thousand deaths and six thousand injuries were the consequences of the fighting, yet finally on 11 February, their battering was finally worth it. President Mubarak resigned from office. Some would say that the overthrowing of a dictatorship that lasted thirty years would put an end to the trauma and suffering; yet it was only the beginning of the struggle for

Egypt. Free elections, police brutality and below par minimum wages were not going to be solved overnight. Even so, in the run up to the one year anniversary of the start of the riots, Egypt is still marred in political corruption and scandal. Yet Monday 27th of November sees

the start of change in the home of the pyramids; elections are being held for both houses of parliament and democracy is, hopefully, about to be restored. However recent disturbances show that the elections are not the symbol of democracy people had long hoped for. Tensions surrounding the current

use alleged.” Voters should perhaps draw their own conclusions based on some of Bachman’s somewhat questionable debate quotes, “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful, but there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas”. We’re filing that one under ‘suspect’. It seems that even the world’s golden boy, Barack Obama, has crafted a well devised smoke screen, allowing a few below-the-belt punches of his own. There is some evidence to suggest heavy involvement by a senior advisor, David Axelrod, in the prominent smear campaign of the 2012 election. The sexual harassment allegations brought against Herman Cain are just part of a colourful history of sexual misconduct cases aimed at Obama’s opponents. Surprising then that Obama has donned his patriotic halo and plucked at the heart strings of the everyday American by damning the use of smart techniques. “What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics… that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize.” No candidate, it appears, is squeaky clean. However, if you can survive the name calling, the bullying and accusations, you’re sufficiently prepared to lead one of the world’s most powerful nations. Nothing weeds out a weak candidate like the inability to side step a good smear campaign and maintain that everyman image. Darwin eat your heart out, it’s survival of the most adaptable in American politics.

Chris Buckingham and Hannah Baker

Downfall of dictator brings about the first free election in Egypt for 30 years

military rule in Egypt have been paramount, with renewed rioting appearing in Cairo over the past fortnight or so. The public fear that the military leadership, headed by Field Marshall Tantawi are refusing to relinquish their power in government. The last week alone has seen two thousand injuries

and over forty deaths. Military commander Tantawi is trying to push through his candidate for Prime Minister, 78 year old Kamal Ganzouri. Many believe that if he does win the election then it will just be a continuation of Mubarak. So what will all the fighting, the losses and the bloodshed have been for? Yet after all this, the elections have suffered few security scares, even with queues up to two miles in length before polling had begun! With this the only freedom they have, it looks like the Egyptians are going to grab it with both hands.

Anna Hatfield


Christmas Issue 2011



very day as the Leveson enquiry unfolds, we become more shocked and appalled at the inexcusable behaviour of the spotlighted media hounds. This week alone the papers pulled our heart strings when we read ‘She’s Alive’, the headline that depicted the sense of false hope and relief felt by the Dowlers when journalists hacked schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemail. J.K Rowling spoke out about the horror of finding a note from a journalist in the school bag of her five year old daughter, and Sienna Miller told us how she had doubted family and was forced to mistrust her friends. We are hearing more and more stomach churning truths and I too share in the outrage and condemnation of these actions; where I differ though, is the surprise. The handful of journalists responsible for battering the reputation of the profession do not come as a huge and unexpected surprise; they are now representative of what some people believe journalist do. I have heard reports of phone hacking greeted with comments such as ‘outrageous’ and ‘disgusting’ but I have also heard them thought of as ‘typical’, a sentiment which I feel puts the first nail in my journalistic career plan and makes me feel ashamed of the profession I have chosen. It is a shame that when I now tell

people my five year plan and detail my aspirations of writing for the Independent they snigger at me and ask if I will be hacking any phones. Just to clarify, I won’t; but unfortunately for me, and anyone else wishing to go into journalism at the minute, this blanket opinion is spreading and it will be a while before we can shake off this tainted reputation. I am not now, nor ever will be defending the actions of those involved in raiding the sacred privacy of a family worried about their daughter’s whereabouts, or an author intent on writing captivating works of fiction. However, something Paul Vallely recently wrote for the Independent did make me sit up and think. In his piece ‘Why I am proud to be a British journalist’, Vallely described the uncomfortable hypocrisy of footballer’s wife Sheryl Gascoigne ‘who appeared on I'm a Celebrity, wrote a biography, and sold her wedding pictures to Hello! – and [is] now bemoaning invasion of privacy.’ And honestly, I think the man has a point. As well as the questionable ‘woe is me’ attitude of certain celebrities explored in his piece, Vallely’s article poignantly addresses the Leveson smoke screen which has so far distracted the general public from the unforgivable and unhealthy relationship between the government and Murdoch’s empire. Andy Coulson has

rather slipped under the radar amidst the talk of child phone hacking and we seem to have forgotten the cowardice of some political parties against the big media groups. If it wasn’t for the investigative nature of journalists from papers such as the Telegraph and Guardian responsible for uncovering the phone hacking scandal, would we still be in the dark and would Murdoch’s bid for BskyB have been successful? Yes, probably, but really we can never know, and that is all thanks to the law-abiding, self-aware journalists who chose to deal in facts and not fiction, and whose job it is to now scrub away the dirty reputation of the underworld press. Unfortunately, journalists have a mountain to climb to restore public faith in their reporting and some (including the aforementioned Vallely) believe that this will come in the form of press regulation. It is thought that a method of regulating articles and holding journalists to account for what they write, will cleanse the practice and status of the profession (provided that this regulator is not a politician, of course). So far I am not convinced of the idea, though (call me naïve or optimistic) would journalism

not stand a better chance if its reputation was rebuilt by its journalists? I read so many good articles by people who seek to make a difference or an impact, that regulating these articles seems to rather undermine that genuinely good practice. Take Tom Finn, who I currently follow on Twitter for his updates from Yemen, and who is dedicated to telling us the real story of the real people he is meeting. Bringing us a UK perspective, Finn tweets about the views of Yemini civilians and, in my view, brings us good, honest journalism. Reporters such as Finn and those willing to report from countries in famine, are the reason that phone hackers are not representative of all journalists. Despite this current scandal it is the freedom of the press which sup-

ports our free right to speak and our democracy. This includes representing different and sometimes unpopular opinions in the name of social equality and fairness. So, do we need press regulation to redeem journalism? I remain poised for Leveson’s decision on that; needless to say, some careful consideration into how to hold the lawless to account, whilst simultaneously preserving freedom of speech and our democratic right to report, will be a challenge. Really, I just dread to see the phone hacking scandal result in fact-loving journalists watching their backs and becoming scared of their own shadows.

Gemma Ellis

The commercialisation of Christmas Joey talks Christmas values and the hideous Littlewoods advert...


t the time of writing (late November), I find it only just about acceptable to begin talking about Christmas. Every year, it seems that Christmas preparations begin earlier and earlier. It’s hard enough when you see adverts for ‘Christmas 2011’ on Boxing Day 2010, but when shops are putting up displays and setting out

cards in September, then you know something’s going a little awry. Christmas is no longer about family. Regardless of whether you see the festive season as it was meant to be seen, as a celebration of the birth of Jesus (I don’t, personally), no-one can deny that spending some quality time with your family is possibly the most enriching thing about Christmas, and a superb way to round off the year. However, Christmas is increasingly being defined by shallow materialon M (or Mum ism, and proliferate m) eybags Mu spending. Nowhere buys Grandad an is this more shameApple laptop, she fully enshrined than in the Littlewoods buys Uncle Ken a Christmas advert. smartphone, and For the uninitiated she even buys Jen (the lucky ones), let (whoever that is) a me fill you in. The setting: a school digital camera!

play- presumably intended to be a nativity play. The concept: children singing a song about how wonderful their respective mothers are. “Awwh!” I hear you cry, “isn’t that cute?” Well no, actually. In this case, the mother’s supposed ‘loveliness’ is defined by her ability to purchase a deluge of expensive gifts for everyone she’s ever met, spoken to in the street, or sat next to on the bus. Mum (or Moneybags Mum) buys Grandad an Apple laptop, she buys Uncle Ken a smartphone, and she even buys Jen (whoever that is) a digital camera! It’s entirely possible that this advert was made with innocent intent, and is a simple showcase of the array of gifts Littlewoods offers. However, the infinitely more sinister subtext is that you’re not a good mother if you don’t buy everyone hideously expensive gifts, paying for them on credit if you must. We must face facts here: for a lot of people, Christmas is very tough. Not everyone can afford to shower their family with gifts and, unfortunately,

some families circumvent this by buying presents they can’t really afford (often on credit). This results in debts that they struggle to pay off, and inevitably this worsens the Christmas after. It may be slightly contentious to suggest that this advert is a catalyst for this undesirable cycle, but it certainly encapsulates the general attitude that must surely be felt by the unfortunate people who can’t afford to buy their children that extra present. Being self-centred for a moment, I do wonder whether my negative attitude in the run-up to Christmas (not the day itself) is due to having worked in retail. I worked in a generic clothes shop for three years, during which time I presided over three Christmas periods. That includes setting up the sales, putting up Christmas displays, and feeling depressed on Boxing Day as hundreds of people scrambled to return unwanted Christmas gifts. I think all survivors (yes, survivors) of retail at Christmas will empathise when I

say that working over the Christmas period turned me into a Dickensian miser who not even the most persistent ghosts could have stirred some festive cheer from. But the feeling inevitably subsides after a year or two away from retail, which I think is a wonderfully apt metaphor for Christmas as a whole. Distance yourself from commercialisation and materialism this year. Don’t worry about what your family will or will not buy you. Don’t worry about what your boyfriend or girlfriend will get you, and just enjoy the time of year. Have a few drinks, get into the spirit, and spend some quality time with your family. And do me a big favour. If you see me in January, don’t ask me what I ‘got for Christmas’. Because I don’t care.

Joey McNally

Christmas Issue 2011




Jez looks at the reasons that people all over the world are taking to the streets and making their voices heard


f 2010 was a year that will be remembered for the Coalition turning politics on its head, then 2011 should be remembered as the year where the establishment were challenged. Not, of course, by the Coalition Government, but by ordinary people (and in some cases enraged celebrities) taking a stand against what some see as “morally repulsive” inequality (Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC). The start of the year was dominated by the phone hacking scandal and the Arab Spring uprisings. Both demonstrated people taking a stand against autocratic despots’ intent on complete control of people’s lives. The second half has been dominated by the Occupy Movement, started by a group of people gathering together in New York and San Francisco to protest various shortcomings and deficiencies they saw in how the world was run. Using the phrase “We are the 99%”, the movement ballooned into a wide scale and largely peaceful group of protests (apparently numbering over 2500 around the world) against what they see as a vast and growing disparity between the very wealthiest and the rest.

There is evidence to back up their claims. Since 1979 (and these are figures for the US, but similar trends are evident around the world) pre-tax income increased on average $700,000 for the top 1%. For the bottom 90%, pre-tax income dropped $900 on average. In short, whilst everyone else is getting poorer, both in real terms and adjusted for inflation, the 1% are getting richer. In Europe the movement has largely focused on the “austerity” packages many Governments are implementing. In the UK, this is being done by the (sort-of) elected Government. In places like Greece, these are the work of unelected Governments formed after previous elected Governments had collapsed. Many feel that the imbalance between what is being demanded of the majority of the population and what is expected of the richest is unbalanced. The issue in the UK is different again. This week a national strike will have occurred involving over a million people. The issue for many is largely to do with pensions, but other groups are protesting, for example, against student fees, defending the NHS, protecting higher education and other services

from privatisation amongst other issues. Again, the protesters make some valid points. The austerity packages put in place by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government have gone largely unchallenged by Labour – they question the scope, but not the fundamental point. These packages, that affect everybody in the country (and don’t believe they don’t or won’t hurt you), are apparently there to handle the deficit. Yet, two questions are asked of this. Firstly, if the deficit is the problem, why is it us that must make the sacrifices? Roughly half our Government debt is in the form of bank bailout. A further 25% is money that we apparently owe to private companies from PFI deals. These Private Finance Initiatives were introduced by the previous Tory Government and used widely by the Blair/Brown Governments. Meant as a way of getting lots of private capital to build new schools and hospitals, they have become a cash cow for a few very large companies. For roughly £67 billion worth of actual, tangible benefits, these companies are “owed” over £250 billion. The question then is – if the def-

icit is money that banks and businesses are owed, due to exceptionally poor deals, why are we the ones suffering? Secondly, there is little evidence that in anything other than the very short term, these austerity packages will hurt the country. In times of economic downturn, money from the private sector for bank loans for small-business loans or mortgages dries up – it is the job of the public sector to step in and ensure that a flow of money remains to attempt to restart the economy. Part of the deal with the bank bailout was an agreement called Project Merlin – in return for the bailout, banks were supposed to increase lending of this sort so the Government wouldn’t have to. They have failed, and now the Government are being forced to step into make this money available. Yet again, we are paying the cost for the selfishness of the city. It is not just this money that is the problem. For every pound

Military grounded as Search and Rescue is privatised

Rescue operations to be handled by civilian contractors


t was announced recently that the UK’s Search and Rescue Operations would be taken over by civilian contractors, with the RAF and Royal Navy no longer playing a role. This announcement was made after a first attempt to make the change had to be abandoned after irregularities were reported in the bidding process. The first contracts are expected to be awarded in 2013, with the Transport

Secretary Justine Greening claiming that the move would allow the military to focus on front line activities. This announcement is one that has left a pit in my stomach. Generations of my family have spent time at sea; in the armed services, the merchant navy and for pleasure. I have many friends that enjoy mountain climbing and hiking. The idea that their lives could depend on the whims of shareholders, rather

than the skill of highly trained professionals, leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach. For centuries many men and women have volunteered to provide help to those in trouble on the sea and on mountains and the Government has for decades, acknowledged the importance of ensuring that the RNLI and Mountain Rescue have professional support to their work. As people have

that was previously spent on Higher Education, another £1.40 was generated; through research grants, innovation projects and other ways. It makes little sense to cut funding to something that actually creates more. Cuts to the welfare budget will do little more than force more people into poverty – this has demonstrable links to health care, access to education and other social indicators. In conclusion – if you think that the current state of things is fair and makes any sense, then Occupy is something that you won’t agree with. If, on the other hand, you believe as I do that there is a better way then get involved. Ignore the rhetoric that it’s just a bunch of hippies and communists – maybe there aren’t many crystal clear demands, but the beauty is that there doesn’t need to be. The duty of the people is to stand up and say that something is wrong. The duty of our ‘leaders’ is to listen and change. Be the 99%, and stand up.

I have many friends that enjoy mountain climbing and hiking. The idea that their lives could depend on the whims of shareholders, rather than the skill of highly trained professionals, leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach.

less and less understood the importance of the sea in terms of food security and trade, so understanding of the dangers of life at sea have dropped. To put the lives of the many thousands of people who rely heavily on this service into the hands of profit making companies, whose first duty is not to people’s lives but to shareholder dividends, is a shocking sign of the priorities of this Government. To at all

link the two is to say that profit is as important as human life. This should not stand.

Jez Harvey




What the Dickens?!

rom the portraits, of one England’s canonised writers and the greatest of the entire Victorian age looks to have had a moneyed upbringing, a comfortable life and good education. He sits calmly, yet inspired, and looks as if his mind is on the edge of grasping a literary landmark plot or character as it blossoms inside his thoughtful mind. He is habitually portrayed smart and besuited, seated pensively in a fine wooden chair with curved armrests, and appears to be quite at home in an exclusive library or prestigious gentleman’s club. The paintbrush lies. Charles John Huffam Dickens may appear to be the quintessential London Victorian gentleman, setting all of his novels in London apart from A Tale of Two Cities, which also includes Paris. However, he was in fact born in Portsmouth, spent his early childhood in Kent and suffered as a result of his family’s money difficulties. Any “champagne socialist” label is sorely misplaced. The novelist, who is as famous for his characters as Oscar Wilde is for his quotes, produced several works in protest against the Victorian London in which he lived; A class-divided city with few intermediates between the two extremes of wealthy gentry and the impoverished majority struggling to survive


Christmas Issue 2011

on a daily basis. It was the fashion for the rich Victorian lady to be round and plump: to grow fat and merry was an attractive sign of wealth. Dickens lived among the unbelievably poor masses (sic- read on!) and was appalled by their living conditions. They were forced to suffer homelessness and ruthless factory bosses who paid insultingly low wages for work hours that were literally painfully long. Short life expectancies and mothers dying in childbirth meant orphans were commonplace; the Victorian novel is littered with them. The insufferable poverty and need to eat drove the women into making the painful choices of working as prostitutes and sending their children to clean the chimneys of the wealthy; a dangerous and risky endeavour highly detrimental to their lungs. The most notorious yet unchallenged institutions of Victorian London were by far the workhouses and the prisons. To the minds of the modern British population, the common and accepted nature of these establishments, which essentially punished people for being poor, is simply unthinkable, unrecognis- able and intolerable. But exist in large numbers they did, as Charles Dickens himself discovered.

“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

n 1824, when Charles Dickens was only twelve years of age, his father was imprisoned in the Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison after struggling to make ends meet. Due to his father’s fate, Charles Dickens was forced to work in a warehouse that manufactured shoe polish, thereby reluctantly absenting himself from education. This experience was the pivotal point of Charles Dickens’ life; he saw the true extent of poverty and the suffering it brought. He was disgusted at the physical pain and hardships incurred by the workhouses that were cited and intended as an aid, solution and a refuge for poor people. Fortunately, Charles Dickens’ father was released after a matter of months, allowing his son to resume his valued education, which he completed at the age of fifteen. Then, he (Charles) found work as an office boy in an attorney’s headquarters, learning shorthand by night and likely by candlelight. His work with the written word began to intensify and gather momentum from 1830, when he started working as a shorthand reporter, progressing into a career parliament and journalistic reportage. The lyrics of Gilbert and Sullivan, the Lennon and McCartney of the Victorian age, describe the politics of the day, when there was no socialist movement nor Labour party or coalitions, only Whigs (the Left) and Tories (the Right): “Every boy and every gal that’s born into the world alive / is either a little Liberal, or else a little Conservative.” Charles Dickens was certainly born a little Liberal, a leaning that intensified following his workhouse experience. He supported Reformation, a belief he both channels into and convinces readers towards in his novels, by demonstrating how severely the

poor in the London he knew were suffering. Oliver Twist escapes the frying (gruel?) pan of the orphanage only to land in the fire of a gang. The Jewish leader of the gang, Fagin, bullies Oliver and other boys into crime. Anyone who thinks this character is an anti-Semitic jibe on Dickens’ part needs review the situation. If anything, Dickens thereby challenges the stereotype of wealthy Jewry, indicat-

‘‘He saw the true extent of poverty and the suffering it brought’’

ing that poverty affects all segments of society; this hardened, cruel character is the result of a difficult and impoverished upbringing. This gang, headed by “The Jew”, as Dickens refers to him, subject Oliver to a horrific life ‘on the edge’, that was middle of the road for so many in Victorian London. His long-lost grandfather, with whom Twist becomes acquainted at the end of the tale, rescuing his grandson from his ordeal and life of poverty, embodies the caring Reformation Dickens supported and longed to see. Similarly, greedy and misanthropic Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol –this novel contains the first ever examples of the concept of time travel! - personifies how Dickens wanted Victorian society to see the evils it was permitting. Scrooge is taken away from his own comfortable setting and placed in one where the error of his ways, such as treating workers like Bob Cratchett ruthlessly, becomes shockingly, shamefully and unsettlingly evident: he is shown how the Cratchetts are a poor but happy, loving family, who wish the wealthy no ill and and are not parasites. The ‘reformed’ Scrooge becomes happy when he helps and shares his wealth with others. Dickens, who invented the word “boredom” whilst on the London underground and published it for the first time in Bleak House, evokes the Victorian atmosphere in his novels so vividly and powerfully that the reader feels they are having flashback visions akin to those of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve. We can hear the jangle of cast ironmongery as references thereto punctuate Scrooge’s adventures: The novel’s opening lines include the vivid “Marley was dead...Dead as a doornail.” We can smell the cobwebs in Miss Havisham’s room (Great Expectations). Furthermore, it is his honesty, pessimistic yet hopeful for improvement, in depicting the Victorian age that makes Dickens so great. His warts-and-all,

politically-motivated description of life in the London he knew (and maybe loved unconditionally) gives his novels body, structure and unforgettable impact. His faithful description of Victorian Britain shocks his readers into remembering his descriptions. His writings will always be a relevant source of information about how difficult life in Britain then was, and how far we have come.

Rosie MacLeod

A Tale of Two Democracies:


rowing up under the classification of ‘British Asian’ has always helped to provide a security amongst those of South Asian origin, with regards to our national identity. I had always found pride in the ease with which I had found myself being accepted as British. This was only re-enforced by coming to Bangor University, and so it came as a massive shock when after seven months of living in France as an English language Assistant, somebody pointblank refused to accept that I was British. Of course it did not come as that much of a shock: after all, just before I had moved into my own place in Valenciennes – I was given the clear warning to ‘beware of the Algerians’. Even at that point, it was clear that that the person who said this was talking, not only of Algerians who had immigrated to the country – but of their children who had been born in France as well. My preparation for encountering this attitude was in large part due to Dr Jonathan Ervine’s second year module Race & Immigration in France, which had taught me of some attitudes held exclusively toward people of North African descent. What I was not prepared for was that I would go on to be lumped into this ethnic minority and subse-

quently find myself feeling more and more iso- sheep in bathtubs for Eid do not help. That which lated from people. became increasingly clear to me was the fear that Although in the UK there is the complaining is generated toward Arabs; simply from the looks of immigrants and the un-based wails that they I was given every single time I was outside. This come over here to steal what few resources we may sound like me being too sensitive, and I myhave, it does not tend to limit itself to one group. self was at a total loss at first as to why (mostly Indeed, recently the tabloids have enjoyed stig- when I was not dressed for work), so many peomatising Eastern ple refused to ‘‘I have never in my life been made smile back at me, European Immigrants, but generas to why I would to feel like a second-class citizen” ally speaking –the often catch people problem has more to do with xenophobia in gen- watching me with blatant suspicion and often, eral. However, the case is not so simple in France. with distaste. Maybe I was in denial at first, but There, the issue is always to do with immigrants after having my bag searched, for what had to be and children of immigrants who are of a ‘non- the third time in a week whilst purchasing my European’ background. This distinction alone re- groceries at the supermarket – there was no doubt lies on distinguishing an individual based on the left in my mind. colour of their skin and explains much of why life That is how the whole seven months went, and in France for me was so frustrating compared to I would like to state that whilst I have had to deal my life in the UK. with the odd ignorant comment made against IsWhilst in France, a whole new world was lam or immigrants, I have never in my life been opened up – a world where someone needn’t use made to feel like a second-class citizen, potential racial slurs violence to convey racism. The image criminal or come across a system whereupon racof the ‘violent Arab’ is rampant in the mindset ism is so obvious and yet underhand. My patience of many; conditions like Sarkozy’s unnecessary eroded severely near the end of my stay in two warning to Muslims in France to not slaughter separate incidents. The first was during my final

The issues of Racism impacting international students by Syada Fatima Dastagi.

food-shop, when whilst paying for my shopping – the clerk pointed to my rucksack, which I had strategically opened in the bagging area to avoid suspicion, and demanded that I open it wider for her to check. I asked her bluntly if she would like to check my passport as well – to which she politely declined. The second incident was a case of aforementioned refusal to recognise someone as both Asian and British: A man noted the English conversation I was having with my friend and asked us where we were both from. Hannah and I both replied that we were English, to which he started shaking his head at me in stark refusal of this fact. To prove this fact to him, I pulled out my beautiful pink passport and flashed the page where it says clearly in black ink: PLACE OF BIRTH – CROYDON. Whilst this being a trying experience, it is nonetheless an experience which can be taken in order to appreciate the comparably higher levels of acceptance and tolerance we have in Britain. It is these aspects which make us a socially advanced society and personally has helped me reaffirm my pride in being British.

Christmas Issue 2011



While countless fans gently weep: George Harrison I

t does feel like years since he’s been here; this 29th November marks the tenth anniversary of the death of the youngest and quiet Beatle, who lost his battle with lung cancer at the age of 58. George Harrison was the finger-picking genius of the fourpiece, performing the finger style sections in the instrumental breaks of the band’s most memorable hits. Honey Don’t is an early Beatles cover of a Carl Perkins song, in which Ringo Starr -unusually the singer on the trackwarmly instructs “Rock on, George, one time for me”. You can then hear Harrison vocalising through the notes of his solo, conversing with Starr through the frets on his painted Gretsch guitar. Similarly, the iconic track And I Love Her, a Beatles piece they famously performed live at the BBC, contains from its outset a distinctive and muchloved finger style riff that was Harrison’s creation; he composed it spontaneously while Paul McCartney strummed the already-established chord sequence. Living in the Material World, a documentary commissioned by the BBC, explores the life of the quiet Beatle. Within the first ten minutes, McCartney delivers the story of how George Harrison made it into the band. The son of a bus driver was, coincidentally, auditioned by McCartney and John Lennon on the upper level of a doubledecker bus; he delivered a note-perfect recital of a piece called Raunchy and, despite his young age, was admitted to the band that would become The Beatles. This anecdote is a staple of any Beatlemaniac who occasionally talks in their local instead of spending all their time and money at the jukebox, queuing up Beatles tracks and debating whether Abbey Road or Sgt Peppers is the better album (most will opt for the most experiemental Beatles album, Sgt. Peppers). In the initial stages of The Beatles’ career and amid the first screams of Beatlemania, Harrison was often side-stepped and marginalised, despite being, in name at least, their lead guitarist. It was the symmetry of the Lennon-McCartney guitars that dominated atop a stage and any attention that could possibly be diverted from them went to the metronome that was Ringo’s mop head on the raised background platform. Like Harrison’s own lead guitar solos, the man himself was not obvious from the very first moment the music started, but as it continued and entered its different phases, he gained a more blatant and mesmerising presence, coming into his own and developing as both a songwriter and performer. Harrison, The Beatles agreed, would sing one track on each album. The first one of these was Do You Want to Know a Secret?, a Lennon-McCartney penned song on the The Beatles’ debut album,

Please Please Me. On the album Beatles for Sale, (on which the aforementioned track Honey Don’t appears), Harrison memorably performed vocals on Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, another track from the pen of his hero, Carl Perkins. The idea of George

condition known as Beatlemania. Eventually, Harrison was singing his own numbers on Beatles albums which may only be northern songs but which did -and still do- shine and stand out on their own merit. On Rubber Soul, Harrison sings his self-written track If I Needed Someone. The first Beatle to marry wrote this song about his first wife, Patty Boyd. She also appeared as the quintessential Beatlemaniac –young and coy- in the film A Hard Day’s Night, in a memorable scene depicting the Fab Four singing Should Have Known Better over a game of cards. Abbey Road, the band’s last recorded and penultimately released album, features two of Harrison’s trademark songs; Something and Here Comes the Sun. Frank Sinatra- the antithesis of The Beatles as a performer- considered the former “the best love song ever recorded”. He respected it so much he covered it himself, and well. The latter Harrison number was inspired by the emergence of the silver (or possibly golden?) lining and The Beatles’ raised morale in the aftermath of Brian Epstein’s (The Beatles’ manager) death. Harrison wrote this as their mourning and grieving period, their “long, cold, lonely winter”, ended. A respectable and likeable cover has too been made of this track, and also by an American artist; former music teacher Sheryl Crow, whose version featured in the film Bee Movie. On the sombre news of his demise, some of the biggest names in musical history publicly paid their respects to the Beatle. McCartney and Starr called him “my baby brother” and “a best friend of mine” respectively. Bob Dylan, Harrison’s co-performer in super group The Travelling Wilburys, made mention of his “wit and humour”. Indeed, Harrison possessed an upbeat wit and sense of humour that led him to answer the question from a Times journalist “What do you call that haircut you’re wearing?” with “Arthur” and to continue deliberately avoiding taxation throughout his cancer battle, even when his illness looked terminal, his witty and humorous mind was responsible for some of the most catchy, endearing and addictive riffs in the history of popular culture. My mind’s still set on you, George.

George Harrison

Rosie MacLeod.

Harrison’s performing vocals little and -if not often then- certainly regularly, gathered momentum, while innumerable girls un-gently screamed; the commonest symptom of a recognised and incurable

Hail Ceasar! I

f you happened to be passing JP Hall on the 24th, 25th or 27th of November, and saw Roman soldiers, noble ladies and gentlemen with daggers running around, fear not! Following their enormously ambitious - and successful - 48 hour play project, the first full production by the Bangor English Drama Society (BEDS, to those in the know) of the new academic year took place. And what better way to kick off a new semester of theatre than with one of Shakespeare’s Roman histories, Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar is all about politics; it portrays the conspiracy against the Roman ruler Caesar which eventually leads to his assassination, and explores how both his traitors and allies deal with the aftermath. Despite being the title character, Caesar is not the play’s central character. Instead, this history deals with Brutus, the chief conspirator, and explores his struggles with honour, duty and friendship. This production had three directors leading the way: Joshua Pink, Jodie Williams and Christopher Davies. The directors’ choices for the staging was very effective, especially with the enactment of the first scene: this took place in the reception of JP Hall while the audience waited to enter the theatre, the actors playing the citizens intertwined throughout the audience members during Mark Anthony’s solemn speech. This technique was very effective in allowing the audience to feel more involved with the scene, and therefore allowed the audience to gain a deeper connection to the plot. The cast of this play was very strong, and the directors decision to cast numerous actors of the opposite gender to their characters did not hinder the play in any way. Furthermore, it was extremely encourag-

ing to see so many first years taking some of the main roles, showing that BEDS definitely will not be running out of talent any time soon! Leila Gwynne gave a brilliant performance of the conflicted Brutus, and Callum Lewis played the cunning and persuasive Cassius very convincingly; these two actors had great chemistry in their scenes together. Imogen Rowe also portrayed Mark Anthony with great subtlety and emotion, and performed the famous ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen’ speech fantastically. Lauren CourtDobson gave a compelling performance as Caesar and the rest of the ensemble were equally as enjoyable to watch. The atmosphere was palpable, and the intensity and tension of the play was tremendously powerful, especially in scenes such as Caesar’s assassination, which features the famous line “Et tu, Brute?” Overall, the BEDS performance of Julius Caesar was a great production. The superb acting of the cast really brought the play to life, and the excellent staging and direction


developed the audience’s physical and emotional involvement in the production. For those of you who enjoy a bit of theatre, I cannot think of a better night out, and for only £5 entry, you really have no excuse! The next BEDS project will be the original production Our Father in January, and following that will be an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes 221b Baker Street in February. I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening watching Julius Caesar, and I look forward with great anticipation to their next production!

Rebecca Watson


Christmas Issue 2011


ovember saw the arrival of the much anticipated RAG Week. RAG Week is a series of events run by the Union’s Raising and Giving, who each year choose four charities to support with the help of Bangor’s students generosity through a series of light-hearted events. There were some great highlights from among the menu of events. This year RAG hosted its second annual adaptation of the game show Take Me Out that saw sixteen women and several men competing for a date. Special guest Rhodri, RAG’s own mascot, made an appearance to showcase his inspiring dance moves at the centre of the bustling Bar Uno event. This year’s Take Me Out gained less publicity than last year but still drew large crowds prepared to watch the single men be put in the hot seat in front of potential dates. Any contestant who didn’t get a date did experience a bit of “Paddy Love” from RAG’s host Nick Bell; a majority of the people involved walked away with a date and RAG earned a fantastic £811.15. RAG’s deserving charities this year are the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society- NRAS; Shine Charity - Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Information Networking Equality; Crest Cooperative; and PAPYRUS -Prevention of Young Suicide. RAG’s Take Me Out was a fine display of Bangor students up for a fun charitable challenge and great organisation on the part of the RAG team. In addition to Take Me Out and the RAG Belle Vue Q u i z in association with Bangor Comedy, RAG’s Leg Waxing event for men was a fundraising smash hit; not to mention something close to my own.... leg. A

series of victims kindly agreed to get their legs waxed for a minimum of £10 sponsorship, and the top three earners received a prize. Prior to the event I wasn’t entirely sure why I signed up to take part, other than the fact that I saw that people were needed. I also hoped my contribution to RAG would be welcome given all the hard work and dedication that their team had put in. It turns out after the leg wax I feel slightly happier, if only because the RAG team managed to raise an amazing £500, the most they’ve ever raised for a leg waxing event. I’m still not 100% sure what made me agree to the leg waxing; however the silky smooth, yet somewhat patchy nature of my leg is something I can live with. RAG’s four charities definitely deserve every penny from the night. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed each of RAG’s well-executed events during the week. Thankfully they seem to have been as successful as last year, with the Leg Waxing in Rascals and Take Me Out in Bar Uno as the highlights of the fundraising marathon.

Matt Jackson


Rag Wax for Rag Week!

Top Hats and Corsets Grace the Doors of Academi as SVB host Moulin Rouge!

High Tea at Rathbone Hall



t’s been a very busy month for the SVB Promotions Committee, with most of our time going towards reestablishing our Moulin Rouge night in Academi. SVB have run a Moulin Rouge Night annually for many years now. Despite not doing so last year due to the lack of any decent student nightclub in Bangor, this year it was as popular as ever, and SVB managed to raise over £800! The doors to Academi, which had been tastefully decorated with silhouettes of burlesque dancers, red and black stars and plenty of tinsel and glitter, opened at 10pm. The movie was played on the video screens throughout the evening, and we even had an elephant. Okay, so it wasn’t a giant model with a bed inside, but someone did show up wearing an elephant costume which was by far the most crea-

SVB Promotions Committee 2011-2012 tive costume of the evening! The only thing missing was a giant red windmill (we’ll work on one for next year!) By 11pm, the dance floor was reminiscent of a scene from the movie, minus Nicole Kidman hanging from the ceiling (and to be honest, the ceilings are a little low in Academi). However, we had something even better than Ms Kidman – the Bangor University Dance Club! The DJ Society ensured everyone got on their twinkle-toes to the latest tunes and some old favourites too, not to mention some Moulin Rouge-style music to dance the night away. The 1.30am curfew rolled by far too quickly, as everyone left, all glowing from such an awesome evening. I may have mentioned once or twice, that this event was pulled off by the SVB Promotions Committee.

Guess what? We have an opening for one more member! It you want to be part of an awesome team that organises brilliant events like this, and gets the word out about volunteering to students all over Bangor, drop us an email: svb.promotions@undeb.bangor. by Monday 6 December. You can also hunt us down on Facebook – ‘Student Volunteering Bangor’. If promoting ain’t your thing, but you still want to get involved in the wonderful world of student volunteering, you can sign up for our mailing list, which will let you know when various projects are recruiting and also advertise more informal one-off volunteering opportunities, on our website –

unning tea parties for local elderly people is one of SVB’s longest running projects. This year’s annual Christmas Tea Party will be held in Rathbone Hall on Saturday 3rd December. It is an event which is organised by a group of volunteers and aims to welcome members of the elderly community together and provide them with an afternoon of food, fun and games (Bingo is always a winner). It gives both students and the local elderly a chance to befriend one another and

enjoy a nice chat over a plate of sandwiches and a few Christmas carols. The Christmas tea party is an annual tradition and has been running since the 1950's, when it was then organised by Student Community Action (today's SVB). It has always proved a popular event; and we hope that this year will be as successful as it has been in the previous years and that it is enjoyed by all those in attendance and those who made the day possible.

Some local elderly residents enjoying one of our previous tea parties.

Christmas Issue 2011

Bangor Women’s Society

Campaign Update and Upcoming Events for Students Picture by Gaynor Thomas from the North Wales Chronicle.


omen’s Society (WomSoc) are a mostly-campaigning society open to all students, regardless of gender. We do a lot of work on feminist issues (feminism is for everybody!) but we also have nonpolitical activities like our weekly knitting group, who meet every Monday in Blue Sky at 3:30pm. However, this month, we have a very important new campaign that we think will make a big difference for the good of all students at Bangor. There will soon be a survey making the rounds on our own SU website regarding students’ experiences of verbal harassment while they are out on the streets of Bangor and its surrounding communities. You may even have experienced a form of harassment without realising it; but in a nutshell, street harassment is any unwanted comments or other ‘out loud’ behaviour such as shouting, whistling, honking, or lip smacking. It can have sexual, racial, disablist, or homophobic overtones, and it can have a really negative effect on how you feel about being out and about in town. What we at WomSoc would like to know is, how do Bangor students experience this kind of thing, and what can we do to help put a stop to it and make you more confident as you carry out your degree here in North Wales? So with all this in mind, we’d like to ask you along to our big winter event, Reclaim the Night. It’s an annual march

we host that is open to everyone that protests victim blaming and encourages marchers to reclaim their streets as safe spaces which are not intimidating. We used our march last year to raise awareness of the high levels of sexual assault and the intimidation of women students through abuse, harassment, and stalking; this year we’d like to open the floor to you, our student body, to share your experiences. We depart from Main Arts at 5:45 on December 7th, march through College Park and past Octagon, and rally at the town clock around a quarter past 6. If you’d like to carry a placard or poster, please come along the day before to our placard making party at 4pm in the SU committee room. Materials will cost you £1 and we would like to recycle the wood for next year’s march (when we hope to provide the materials for free). If you are more interested in what WomSoc actually do, please come to the FREE day-long event on Normal Site on December 7th, called Sister ACTivist. It is run by NUS Wales Women’s Campaign and is open to self-defining women students. That means if you live your life as a woman, or if you believe you are a woman, you are welcome to come along. To register all you have to do is email jo.caulfield@, our SU President, and she will sort out the rest for you!

Jennifer Krase


The return of Bangor’s Chess Club


inally! Bangor has a chess club again. For nearly five years Bangor students have been deprived of a place where they can go, play chess, make friends and enjoy a good chat. As a relatively new society we offer weekly meetings where we play chess, usually on a Thursday 6pm, in the Welsh seminar room (check Facebook for venue). Afterward we go to the pub and continue our chat there talking about the days events ect. We feel that many people, who would like to play chess casua l l y, are put off by the

fancy moves and strategies more experienced players tend to use. That’s why we offer a no strings attached casual playing venue. Don’t know how to play? We offer coaching too! We will also be organising a grand tournament for every student in Bangor, under or post graduate, with the grand prize being a mysterious unannounced item and the honour of being the reigning Bangor chess champion for that year! Any questions? Don’t hesitate to email us at: and don’t forget to find us on Facebook.



A Christmas Carol B

angor University Music Society is getting into the Christmas spirit and gearing up for its annual Christmas concert. Showcasing the musical talents of Bangor’s students from a variety of courses, such concerts are always great successes; with an eclectic programme of classical, film, pop and Christmas music, the concert on December 10th is set to be no exception. Taking the reins of orchestral director this year, Rob Thompson has selected a variety of music, including the theme tune from Gladiators and Bizet’s Carmen Suite no. 1. “The orchestra has taken really well to some challenging repertoire and a variety of genres”, says Rob, “there has been a fantastic improvement across the semester and it is shaping up to be a great concert. I’m especially looking

forward to the orchestra teaming up with the choir and baritone soloist Rob King for Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols.” This year, Phil Gietzen leads the MuSoc choir. He has selected a fun and varied programme, including ‘Bear Necessities’, Billy Joel’s hit ‘Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)’ and the Christmas classic, ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl. “We have been working hard this semester and have really come along way. It’s great to see so many people enjoying singing together”, he says. “A particular highlight has been working on ‘Fairytale of New York’. If you are coming to the concert expect lots of variety, including your favourite Christmas carols!” Speaking of MuSoc as a whole, Chair Collette Astley-Jones says “Mu-

Soc is open to everyone with any interest in music, whether it’s singing or playing in an orchestra, everybody’s welcome regardless of ability! On top of that, people with a passion for music studying different courses get the opportunity to perform in a laid-back and fun atmosphere”. She continues, “Every member puts a lot of effort in and each year the concerts get better and better. This one is going to be amazing!” Tickets are just £3 for students and children and £5 for adults, so there’s no excuse! Come along to Prichard-Jones hall for a night of fantastic music! For those who are interested in joining MuSoc in semester 2, membership for the semester is only £5. All are welcome, and we hope to see you there!

Rob King

Beaumaris Victorian Day L

30 actors from BEDS transform Beaumaris into a Victorian Christmas paradise ast weekend 30 actors from BEDS took to the streets of Beaumaris to help transform it into a Victorian Christmas paradise, marking a year since BEDS’ first period acting event. In that time, the society has been heavily involved in 5 community events across North Wales, from entertaining the 30,000 visitors that attended the Conwy Feast festival to organising the inter-society Medieval Day out in Beaumaris. This most recent foray was yet another brilliant example of the positive role that students can play in the local commu-

nity; with BEDS being specifically invited back after the success of last year. As well as a series of mock trials in the historic courtroom and a parade through the town, BEDS played a role in the Mayor’s speech, with one character stealing the microphone (in good spirits) and claiming that he was the real mayor, before being led off by costumed policeman, much to the crowd’s delight. The Mayor of Beaumaris said “A great atmosphere was created by all involved and I must commend BEDS on a job very well done.” Throughout the event, the public were obviously

enjoying BEDS’ involvement as much as the actors enjoyed taking part. Alongside the obvious fun that can be had with an event like this, the community benefit of positive engagement activities like this cannot be understated. We would like to thank all the actors that took part and the directors who put such a huge effort into making this event a success. We would also like to thank the organisers for being so amazingly helpful!

Antony Butcher


Christmas Issue 2011

Paintings By Jonathon Spencer



Blank despite its harmless appearance it’s touch is bitter as it melts defencelessly. Nature's naked innocence exposing itself to protect the bare fingers of the trees, glistening.

Like a resting traveller

Like a resting traveller

stooping wearily in an abandoned doorway, it arrives in the dead of the night leaving nothing but a sodden leaf in the wind. - Poem By Siobhan Donaghy

Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds

Bruised, the sky frowns as lightning licks the streets; thunder snapping at my heels.

The Road

The Road

The road stretches towards me like falling into the arms of an old friend. Soaked in sunlight and alone, I try to hitch a ride. Car after car drones by but all I’m given is the hard shoulder. - Poems By Emily Bygrave

Photographs By Jecelyn Latimer

Christmas Issue 2011


Classics Books for Christmas

The master of writing pageturning non-fiction, Bryson has once again delivered with this work about domestic history. Perfect for anyone who has an inquistive mind and a must for Bryson fans.

The epic conclusion to the fantasy series; Inheritance wraps up the story of Eragon, the Last Dragonrider, and his steed & friend Saphira as they lead a rebellion against the totalitarian regime of King Galbatorix.

The prolific King’s first foray into historical fiction, 11.22.63 is a time travelling thriller. If you had the opportunity to travel back to 1958, what would you do: live in the past for five years in an attempt to save JFK?

Set in a dystopian America where selected children have to fight to the death, it’s action packed with an emotional core. Plus the film is due to be released in cinemas soon, so you’ll be preempting the popular rush to the shelves.

This collates all of the recipes from the TV series plus new ones. Based on the multicultral heritage of British food, it includes dishes such as 12 hour stewed rabbit bolognese, amongst many other mouthwatering pieces.

Heralded as one of the best young adult books of the last few years, this book by internet celebrity John Green is a teenage romance thriller - unputdownable and difficult to define. A must read.

The companion to the popular series, this will add to the knowledge you’ve already garnered from listening to Sir Attenborough’s voice over the past few weeks. The best way to learn about the Arctic natural world.

Triumphantly returning after a long break from the public eye, Alan Partridge’s autobiography will have you in fits of laughter. You will be knowing him, Aha!

Golden Oldies

Christmas isn’t just about new things; presents can be from a time before the internet - fancy that! Mortal Engines, the first book in the Hungry City Chronicles, tells the story of a future world where cities roam around feasting on each other for fuel. Based around the first ever mobile city, and now one of the last, London, the tale follows two different storylines. One is of an apprentice to the Guild of Historians who has been dragged off of the city

by a would-be assassin. The other concerns the foiling of a fiendish plot by the Mayor and the Guild of Engineers that could change the face of Municipal Darwinism forever. It’ll be another year until the film hits the big screen but The Hobbit will always be a superb gift as it’s a superb book. The classic story is well-known and loved by all so this will make a brillaint gift for a younger brother, sister, cousin or even a parent; Tolkien’s work is ageless.

A Bookworm’s Lament Classic of the Month

Elsewhere in this paper there is an article about the ineffable growth of eBook readers such as the Kindle. Over the last year these devices have gone from expensive toys to affordable tools available for the majority of people; with the release of even cheaper models there is sure to be increased sales for those buying them for Christmas presents. I have to be honest with you here: I do not like the concept of eBooks; the idea offends my bookwormish sensibilities.

This is a very traditionalistic point of view but, when it comes to books, I’ve always been snobby. The feel of a paper tome in your hands as you delve into a world or find out more about our own planet is inescapably wonderful. Books have had an hypnotic hold on me ever since I began devouring the lending boxes at my primary school and the thought of neglecting them for a screen; well I feel that some of the magic would be lost. We already spend the vast majority of our time nowadays


reading off of a screen so when it comes to the intimate act of reading a novel I think it demands a physical copy of the work - for one, it will never run out of battery or breakdown on you. Many of you will disagree; when I think rationally I do too. Having the ability to carry hundreds of books around with you without needing Father Christmas’ magical sack should be any book lover’s dream, yet I don’t think I’ll be able to get my head around this one technological leap for a long time to come.

Luke Dobson

Marley was dead: to begin with. What other opening line conjures up that ebullient festive feeling that comes from the eerie mid-winter tale that is A Christmas Carol? Possibly the most well-known and retold Christmas story of all time, second only to the Nativity, Dickens’ short work is the perfect little read for the crisp nights leading up to the 25th. Have any of you actually ever read it though? The reason everyone knows the story so well is because the adaptations of it have been so prolific and, unlike other books, faithful. After all, who doesn’t know and love A Muppet’s Christmas Carol or Bill Murray’s modern retelling Scrooged? However good these films are, the book

is still better; darker, yes, but better. This was a social commentary on greed and ignorance towards the plight of your fellow man, so the subject matter is bleak but that’s what makes the redemption of Scrooge so much brighter and uplifting. Pick up a copy and enjoy it whilst sipping on a hot chococlate, surrounded by the lights of Christmas.

Aaronovitch’s London

here are some people, Ben Aaronovitch claims in his new book Moon Over Soho, who are born Londoners, even if they only visit for the first time in their old age. There are others who are born in London who never quite get it, and dream of escape. I fall into the first category. Despite be-

ing born within the gravity of the great city that is London, I am absolutely and incontrovertibly a Londoner at heart. There’s little about the city I don’t love, and as Aaronovitch says, “Every Londoner has their manor - a collection of bits of the city where they feel comfortable”. Everything between the Embankment and Regent’s Park is where I feel most at home. Despite being found firmly in the sci-fi/fantasy section of your lo-

cal bookshop, this book (as well as its predecessor in the series, Rivers of London, in what will eventually be a trilogy) will speak to anyone with a love for the city of London, as well as anyone who enjoys a good piece of fictional storytelling. I am not the biggest fan of sci-fi/fantasy books; generally I find them cold and dull, but there are certain authors in the genre whose books I love, simply because of the way they write. Authors

like Jasper Fforde and his Thursday Next series or Neil Gaiman and everything he’s ever written manage to treat the genre with a humour and tonguein-cheek wit that makes you forget the nerdy overtones of the subject (in this case, jazz vampires and the last apprentice wizard in Britain), and just enjoy a well-told story. For me, that is what reading is all about.

Jez Harvey

sabothol i redeg eich Undeb Myfyrwy You elect sabbatical officers to ru Chi Sydd yn ethol Y swyddogion yn youri redeg students’ union. n ch ra ...Cymerwch erwyn ...Cymran sabothol eich Undeb Myfyrwyr. Sefwch. Ymgyrchwch. Pleidleisiwch. Stand. Campaign. Vote.

’12 ’12

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You elect sabbatical officers to run ...Cymerwch ran yn your students’ union. ...Get Involved ...Get Involved Gallwch CHI Sefyll

elections elections

’ 12 You Could stand elections Gallwch CHI Sefyll


...Get Involved

You Sefwch. Could stand Ymgyrchwch. Pleidleisiwch.


Sefwch. Ymgyrchwch. Pleidleisiwch. eidleisiwch. hwch. PlVote. YmgyrcCampaign. Sefwch.Stand. Stand. Campaign. Vote.


Sabbatical Elections are coming... and now’s the time to think about standing. After Christmas the Students’ UnionVote. Stand. Campaign. will be abuzz with action as we prepare to elect your full-time student representatives for 2011-12.

Chi Sydd yn ethol Y swyddogion n o i g o d d y w s Y l o h First thingsSfiy rst... what is a ‘sabbatical offi cer’? What other stuff should I know about being a Sabb? t e n dd yeich Chii redeg othol Undeb Myfyrwyr. Chi Sydd ynwynyethol Y swyddogion . r r Ynydod fuan: Coming Soon: f y M b e d n U h c i e g l i rede officers dod yn fuan: Coming bothosabbatical saelect to Yn run Chwefror 2012 February 2012Soon: sabothol i redeg eich Undeb Myfyrwyr. n u r o t s r e c i f f o l a c i sabbat union. Chwefror 2012 officers February 20 lectstudents’ You elect sabbatical to run You eyour . n o i n u ’ s t n e d u t s r you your students’ union. Sabbatical officers (‘sabbs’) are current students elected to run your students’ union for a year (July – July) to make sure that the SU is run according to the wishes of the students here in Bangor. This is a one year paid position, with two years being the maximum amount of time anyone can do it for. Every year, by law, the Students’ Union has to organise a poll of its membership to select next year’s sabbs. Any current, registered, Bangor student can put themselves forward to stand in the election. Yes, you. You could stand for election. Think about it... You. Speaking on behalf of 10,000 students. Taking up their issues and concerns from the quality of feedback on an essay, organising sporting, charitable and student-led activities , even discussing the cost of going to Uni in the first place. How brilliant would that be?

The hours are long and the job is varied. You will be expected to be advocates of students’ rights, project leaders, event planners, co-ordinators of a staff team, figureheads of student opinion, organisers of a host of activities, charity trustees, budget holders, and ambassadors from the student body to the University and the wider community. (You may even have time for a social life, but it‘s doubtful.) If that sounds like a lot... don’t panic because you’ll have a team of staff to help you and there’s lots of training and development opportunities available. As a team, Sabbaticals are responsible and held accountable for the entire Union. They make day-to-day decisions about all levels of your Union’s activities. Specifically, you will

- Be a trustee of the Students’ Union - Serve as a member of the Trustee Board - Be responsible for the day to day direction of the Union - Work within the Equality and Diversity policy of the Union - Develop and implement a plan of activities with the rest of the Trustees - Listen to and involve students in areas of your work - Attend Student Community Forums and Scrutiny Committees as required - Sit on a variety of University Committees representing student opinion to the University - Represent the organisation and students to other external organisations e.g. Local Council and NUS e administration, planning and logistics of all competitive and non-competitive sporting activities; runs events and campaigns to encourage students to lead healthier and more active lifestyles.




President: Co-ordinator of the sabbatical team; speaks on behalf of the student body to the University and local community; leads on campaigns relating to education funding, access to university and Bangor’s academic facilities; lead officer responsible for the SU budget.

Vice President, Education & Welfare: Works with the student advice centre to help resolve students’ academic, welfare and social problems; leads on campaigns around issues of both housing and student health; co-ordinates the course representative programme on behalf of the union and university.

Yn dod yn fuan:

Chwefror 2012

Having said all that, being a sabb is fun, it’s creative and great experience. It’s also your chance to contribute to your student community, to create something that will last long after you’ve moved on from Bangor. Sabbatical positions are full time paid positions at the Union. Any student at Bangor University can stand, whether you’re a first year, midway through your course or in your final year. The Sabbatical year of office will begin in late June / early July 2012, so you’ll need to take a year out of your studies or stay in Bangor for a year after you complete your course. This opportunity is open to international students but you may need to get some advice on your visa before you put your name forward.



The next brilliant thing about it is that there are four different positions available, each appealing to different interests and skills:

I Gallwch CHI Sefyll YouGCould stand CHI Sefyll Gallwch CHI Sefyll allwch You Could stand You Could stand

What posts are available?

Coming Soon: Have a think about whether you’d be interested, do you have the skills, experience, ideas and creativity to

FebruaryCYno2012 dod yn fuan: on: o S g in m : Yn dod yn fuan Chwefror 2012 012 2 y r a u r b e

Vice President, Sport & Healthy Living Runs the Athletic Union and is the key contact for sports clubs; liaises with British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS); leads on the administration, planning and logistics of all competitive and non-competitive sporting activities; runs events and campaigns to encourage students to lead healthier and more active lifestyles.

F 2 1 0 2 r o r f e w h

Vice President, Societies & Community Co-ordinates the administration, planning and logistics of all of the union’s societies; encourages student involvement in extra-curricular activity; assists in the creation of new societies; runs events and campaigns to integrate the student and local communities; supports the work of Student Volunteering Bangor; leads on the ‘Love Bangor’ community project.

be the next student leader? You don’t have to make your mind up today as the election process will start in February, so look out for the publicity, and the election itself will take place in March. Keep an eye on as more information will be available there as we get closer to voting. Think about it, next year will be an exciting year and you could be a huge part of that. For more information, come into the Students’ Union and talk to the current sabbaticals, look out for election information sessions or e-mail In addition to the four positions named above, the President of the Welshspeaking Students’ Union (UMCB) will be elected by UMCB members to become the fifth member of the sabbatical team. If you’d like to stand in that election, or would like to make sure you have a vote, you need to be an UMCB member – to join UMCB e-mail its current President, Mair Rowlands : mair.rowlands@

Coming Soon:

February 2012 u

www.myfyrwyrban om/elections www.bangorstudents.c

Restarting The Student Movement I

n late November the National Union of Students held the first Student Activist training event for many years. After several decades largely on the sidelines of British politics, the student movement has re-emerged from its rather stagnant cocoon to once again become a voice against what many see as ideological and flawed ‘reforms’ to education in this country. 2010 saw the largest demonstration by students in many years, and unlike the protests during the Labour

government’s introduction of top—up fees, the ball has not stopped rolling. Protests have continued and spread to other sectors of society affected, both by the cuts and the current system of how the world is run. NUS has launched a new campaign to help train and support a new generation of student activists. Until recently, NUS has concentrated on working and supporting officers in students unions – but these small groups of people can only do so much to promote and run campaigns. The student move-

ment has always relied on students to lead the way and take control of these things, and this campaign aims to help students do exactly that. The first event was held a few weeks ago, and a date for a second one has yet to be announced, but there is a wealth of material and advice available from NUS and your own student union officers. The debate over what’s happening to higher education and indeed across all sectors of society is something that will continue to happen, but if you think that things could be bet-

ter, that the world around you needs to change (whether its big political issues or small, grassroots campaigns) there has never been a better time to get involved and help make a change. This year could be the start of something major – something world changing. People standing up and saying “No” has produced more change around the world this year than has happened in decades. If you think you have a contribution to make, now is the time to take that opportunity.

Jez Harvey

Christmas Pullout! e h t o t e m o lc e W

Full of wonderful festivities including gift ideas, how to make your own cheap and cheerful decorations and what is the best way to react to a crap present. HO HO HO!


Is Your Car Ready for Winter?

ith the holiday season upon us it’s more than likely that a lot of you Seren readers are preparing to make the journey back home. For a lot of you this will mean getting the dreaded Welsh public transport, some of you might be lucky enough to have parents picking you up but for those driving yourselves home we’ve got a few little tips. It’s always important to make sure that your car is fully road worthy but especially so in these cold winter months. If you only filled up the water and put a bit of anti-freeze in the other day that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to double check again. All cars are different, it doesn’t matter whether they are old or new; they still need attention. It’s probably best to check everything just before you set off for your journey, especially if it’s a long journey (like my trip back to Leeds). Anti-Freeze: Through the year you might find yourself needing to top up your car’s cooling system with water. When it gets to winter you need to use anti-freeze which is part water also and will ensure that your engine doesn’t freeze up. Screenwash: Make sure that you washer bottles are topped up with screenwash (you should be doing this all year anyway) so you can clean your wind screen in the impending horrible weather.

Tyres: Again, this is important throughout the year, make sure that all your tyre pressures are correct. The best way to do this is by popping to your local petrol station and using the air machines, all you have to do is put in the required pressure and it’ll let you know when you reach it. If you’re unsure what tyre pressure is correct for your particular car check out your owner’s manual and failing that you should be able to find something online. Not only is it important that your tyre pressures are right but you need to make sure your tyres are in good condition. There’s quite a hefty fine and points on your licence for driving with over-worn tyres; and its dangerous. Lights: Its getting dark by about 4pm these days so its important that when you’re driving you’re able to see where you’re going. You should, ideally, check your lights every week as you never know when they might break. Make sure that your full beams are working as well as your headlights and dipped headlights. To check your back lights either ask a friend to go around the back or reverse up to a wall and you’ll be able to see your lights reflect on it if they are working. De-Icer: There’s little worse than venturing out in the cold to be greeted by something that looks more like an igloo than a car. Make sure you have some De-Icer and an ice scraper handy at all times, and maybe some gloves to keep your hands warm. Oh and before you start scraping I’d suggest

turning on the heat in your car to help defrost some of the ice; especially if its iced over on the inside. Emergency Items: There’s no point thinking you’ll never break down because the truth is none of us know when and where it may happen. You might have a brand new car, it won’t mean there’s no chance of breaking down. The best way to be prepared for this is to just make sure you have all the essentials. Warm clothing or blankets are a must in case you break down in the winter and are stuck waiting for a while, you never know what the fault may be, it might mean you can’t have the heating on. There was talk about making it a legal requirement for everyone to have at least one hi visibility jacket in their car in case of breakdown so its probably best to have one, especially on these dark nights. A couple bottles of water wouldn’t go amiss in case you’re stranded for a while and a first aid kit just in case. A lot of places, like your local supermarket, sell winter kits which have most of the things you’ll need to make sure you and your car are ready for the winter and that long journey. Also, Kwik Fit are currently offering free winter checks so it might be worth popping down in the next couple of weeks.

LJ Taylor

Kung Hei Fat Choy 新年快乐

aka Happy New Year!

2012 = year of the dragon The year of the Dragon is characterised by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity. The Dragon is all about taking unnecessary risks as people born under the Dragon are described as passionate, brave and selfassured. Dragons are very passionate and fall in love quickly, have a natural flair for fashion are the people to consult if you want to catch up on the latest trends. So, if you were born in 1988, this is you!

Here at Seren, we love a bit of Chinese New Year, so we want to help you celebrate!

Give out money an for Don’t cle ays of pa cke ts: leisee. These few d are decorated red the first u o y if Year packets & are filled the New uring eeping d w wit s h even amounts of y n a k do , you ris “lucky money”. this time r y you a w a g in sweep k! good luc Wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the ne w year. An excuse for a new outfit, if ever we heard one.

nes and Tangeri n are ofte n oranges re d il h c out to passed s they a , ts s e h and gu ze wealt symboli . k c lu d and goo

The Chinese New Year tradition is to forget all grudges & sincerely wish peace & happiness for everyone.

The Students’ Union has a Chinese Society who will be organising Chinese New Year Celebrations, so look out for that!

My New Year’s Resolution for 2012 I promise to...

for the next 365 days.

Christmas Issue 2011


ove Music Hate Homophobia (LMHH) is a national campaign that works to tackle homophobic behaviour by shedding light on the issues surrounding it while showcasing local music talent. The event was created through a joint effort between NUS LGBT Campaign and United Against Fascism to counter efforts by fascist groups like the EDL/WDL and BNP. It has gone around the country but never made it to Wales and so an initiative was born to run LMHH in Bangor. Bangor University students teamed up with the Students’ Union, Unity Bangor and Amnesty Bangor to throw one of the best gigs this term. The line up includes Bangor SU president Jo Caulfield and Aberystwyth Guild president Ben Meakin who will be thrashing out Indie Electro tunes throughout the night.


Sama Abdul will finish the night off with a some Progressive Underground Techno. “I think this is a fantastic initiative taken by the Students’ Union and we hope other Universities across Wales follow suit,” said Zahid Raja, who sits on the national Love Music Hate Homophobia steering committee. This event will also work as a model for other events to be run in the area like Love Music Hate Racism, which is set to come to Bangor in March. Many national organisations and charities that work with issues surrounding sexuality and gender have failed to engage North Wales, so this events aims to change this by mainly supporting charities that work in North Wales.


c i s u m Love ophobia hate hom

06.£14 2.20101P1M £3 /

Yousef Cisco






Thurs Dec 8th 1pm The Greek Short Talk Free Lunch Ask Questions


Bangor Christmas Market


n Friday 9th December Bangor University will celebrate the festive season with the 2nd ever Student Christmas Market. There’ll be dozens of stalls run by hundreds of students selling everything you could hope for; jewellery, cards, cakes and lots of other hand-crafted gifts and treats. There’ll be live music from student bands and musicians, including a brass band from members of the Bangor University Music Society, a voice choir and singer/guitarist Tom Cole, and

Food@Bangor will be selling hot turkey rolls, mince pies and mulled wine to keep everyone warm. The market will take place in PJ Hall, Main Arts. Doors will open at 1pm and last entry will be 5:15pm. This event is open to students, staff members and the general public. Search ‘Bangor University Christmas Market 2011’ to find the event on Facebook, or email event organiser Michelle ( further details.

o t e d i u g n e The ser r e h t o M e h T Something

All prices correct at the time of print

bit of Let’s be honest: Mums love a finest her of n ctio sele a e’s Cath, so her ... ion if you’re strapped for inspirat

by Cath Kidson



We find Dads are pretty hard n to buy for, so we feel your pai e com ve we’ r, here. Howeve up with some ideas if you’re desperate. We are. Help!

Headless dad?

Mr. Messy apron & glove

£12.00 John Lewis


Cuticle cream John Lewis

£15.00 amazo .co.ukn


GrandCpharisrtemnats s

Dads love to know everything £13.29 don’t they, so we am co.uakzon. reckon getting them a book to expand their wealth of extraordinary knowledge can only be a good thing...



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Mostly we just wanted a reason to print this cute photo, but it’s important that Buster doesn’t feel left out of the festive fun!


Pets at Home

johnlewis. com

t someone ge u yo en wh nt me mo d ar The awkw , really know or like in Secret Santa you don t We’ve all been there, you get involved with Secret Santa and before you know it, you end up having to buy for the-boyfriendof-your-slightly-oddflatmate-who-nobodyreally-knows... Here’s some failsafe ideas should you be in this horror of a situation:

little This handy pot is a h as St Cash y ring to ke f waterproo spare cash store some u lose yo if at in. Gre can’t or t, iwantonem your wthalerleed to take bo co be ofthose. one out!


How cool is this? For £3.99 you can have an actual Super Mario mushroom full of sweets. They come in 3 colours but alas, without any super powers...



Here’s some lip gloss in a cupcake. Can’t go wrong really, can you?

gifts for the family!

The Brother

All prices correct at the time of print

So, your brother may be pre tty annoying, but you still nee d to buy him a present. Here’s a few ideas in case all you can think of giving him is a dead arm...

DVD box sets

‘Like’ Mugs £5.95

with guns & stuff


You know, some ‘pow, pow’ thing with metal stuff and some American guy in a vest blowing cars up or something...

Well, they aren’t just like mugs, they’re actual mugs; but you know what we mean.

prezz y

£ 9





The Sister



to buy her a present. annoying, but you still need So, your sister may be pretty a dead arm... you can think of giving her is Here’s a few ideas in case all

te in We reckon this is the ultima ssly ele wir t tha bath ducks - one All h! bat the in plays your tunes r you up k hoo is you need to do egg the to MP3 player it ve lea r, itte sm like tran away from the bath and press play. Cool eh?

a This is cute, isn’t it? N’aaw, hot a p kee It’ll ! owl e cute littl r water bottle from scolding you : BER EM REM . skin sister’s it’s very important to not give third for burns degree Christmas, so here’s a handy solution!

£12.99 thepeas

r e t a w t o h l w O b ot t le cover

£1 £iwa 191..999


ntone iwan tonose eofthose ofth .com .com

iDuck Floating Wireless Speaker

Paco R ab an ne Bl ac k X S He adphone G ift Se t n’t Everyone loves perfume (do the and ) they, let’s be honest ells Seren team reckon this sm nt orta imp nice. That’s all that’s it? t isn’ with perfume really,

£29.99 fragrance

Have yourself an eco-friendly Christmas... £11.22

nigelsecostore .com

This makes so much sense! Christmas Day, the Wii controller has died and you are one Mario Kart race away from glory but it’s Christmas Day, ubiquitously the day of no spare batteries! Well, not this Christmas. Why have we only just discovered these?!

USB rechargeable batteries



Amnest.uyskho .org

kind Whether this is the will of gift you give we nesty leave to you, but Am for are selling these environment-lover. the from They are made and FSC certified rubber ans. are suitable for veg an Ever looked for Veg You ts? Boo in s dom con are welcome.

Fa ir tr ade condom s

Recyc le d ci rcu it b o ard

Pretty selfexplanatory and excellent for geeky friends.


secostore m

ple - £9 Safe water for ten peo £12 Train a beekeeper – es on forest Educate communiti £14 ent em manag r - £19 Train a cocoa growe £24 Plant an allotment to own their Help women fight land - £24 y every year Oxfam lead the wa help people, ctly dire to s with gift te or visit bsi we ir the log on to gor for Ban er Low the shop in more information.

O x fa m Unwrapp ed

This year the Seren team went out specially to find out how you students can decora Christmas at a low cost and without creating fire hazards. We even found out how yo make your own decorations to add a personal touch without sacrificing the week’s fo

Salt Dough Decora

Tesco Value Trees

For just 90p you can be the proud, proud owner of one of these delights! They are packaged as one strip of green but the branches do fold out, even if Seren’s editor doubts it! It may look a little spindly and lonely but with the right amount of care (for the right price, of course) you can have your Value tree looking artistic. For an extra 80p spent at Tesco you can get your hands on a packet of small baubles, in a colour of your choice, that won’t test the strength of its weak branches. For a finishing touch, done at the start, we used some snow spray (£1.50 at Tesco) to just give the tree a bit of extra effect. Or, for just £5, Tesco are selling a variety of different coloured trees; we went for a nice classy black but you can also get white, pink and, of course, green. Buy some cheap decorations to put on it, and you could easily have a nice little tree for under a tenner.

1 cup (300g) of fine salt 2 cups (240g) of plain flour 1 cup (240ml/half a pint) of water 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil Makes around 50 ornaments. Preheat your oven to 130 (the dough needs to cook at a low temperature). Mix the salt and flour in a bowl. Then stir in the water and oil, a little at a time. You shouldn’t need any extra if you measured everything. Knead it until you get smooth, clay-like dough. Next, roll it out to about half a centimetre thick and cut out your shapes! You can use cookie cutters or a shark knife. Poke a hole with a toothpick so you can hang it when you’re done. Arrange your shapes on grease-proof paper and bake for 2 hours. Let them cool completely before painting. Don’t use watery paints or they’ll make your ornaments soft.


For a quick and effective Christmas decoration, simply find some pine cones, spray them tastefully with some snow spray and shove them everywhere!

Paper Snowflakes

No one snowflake is identical so the key thing to remember with this is to just ‘go crazy’. You need a sheet of paper that you’ve cut into a square. Fold it in half, and then in half again before getting the scissors out on it. Once you’ve cut as much as you want just unfold to see your masterpiece. Check out the pictures in which you can see the excitement unfold just as quickly as your snowflake!


ate for ou can ood bill!


Be careful! Don’t hang decorations from your smoke alarm, don’t cover them up and using snow spray in your room could very easily set them off, so please do any spraying outside. Try not to leave wires anywhere, take caution with fairy lights and other electrical items and no climbing any Christmas trees! You can buy actual angels for that...

eck The Halls


Christmas Issue 2011

Ashleigh Answers I

heart Christmas more than life itself, I love the Christmas music, tree, lights and one could not forget ‘Christmas in a tin’ (Glade Apple & Cinnamon Room Spray FYI). This year I have been more of an eager Christmas beaver than ever before – decorations went up in the first week of November and all my shopping was done by the 10th November, very proud. So, here I spread some Christmas joy, joy that will reach extreme levels when I open my Selection Box, go straight for the Flake (Obvs) and enjoy its crumbly goodness whilst wearing my onesie all cosy by the fire.

Ashleigh xx

‘Tis the Season to be Single If you’re in a relationship over this festive season, then you may not feel the loneliness singledom brings you. If you are single, they hey, you also must have a good time cocooned in your Ben & Jerry-eating, Greys Anatomy-watching life. Supposing you enjoy your ‘single and ready to mingle existence’, then that fine and enjoy it, but some may feel lonely or empty without someone at Christmas. It’s normal to feel lonely when you’re single, especially at Christmas, and just because your friends are out every day of the week ending in ‘y’ drinking their weight in WKD, doesn’t mean you feel you have to. I guarantee you are not the only one feeling that, and just to give you a heads-up, here are a few celebs who have confessed to wanting to find that ‘special someone’; Taylor Lautner, Kim Kardashian, Olly Murs, 100% of the members of One Direction (but obviously be careful here due to the age of consent, as they are all clearly no older than twelve), Taylor Swift, and we all love a bit of Stephen Merchant (no, don’t do that face, he would made you laugh...ALOT). I mean, you can always stalk them on Twitter instead if all else fails.


mission in this article is to make you feel better by reminding you of some positives of being single and yes, there are some; - The Remote Monster = Top Gear, Everybody Loves Raymond,The Simpsons– NO! Trying to feed your Made In Chelsea/Tool Academy/One Born Every Minute habit when all the boyfriend wants to watch is junk (Tool Academy is amazing and you know it), is not going to happen. Being single = no remotebased problems! Watch whatever the heck you like, whenever you want to watch it, YEY! - Having your own bed with your own space with no hot, sweaty buffalo snuggling like a leech on your back. You can spread out like a starfish or you can at least have the option to lie in the foetal position and not be forced into it by your bedhogging loved one. - I’ve saved the best till last, yes I’m just that kind – buying yourself stuff instead of the other half, with no extra birthday, Christmas or ‘I’m sorry’ presents to save for. Valentine’s Day is the best excuse to buy yourself ten thousand calories-worth of chocolates and sweets, whack on your onesie and put on a delightful Jennifer Anniston rom-com or, even better, Elf. If you feel lonely over the festive period and need someone to talk to then why don’t you try giving Samaritans a call? They are there 24/7 and are completely confidential. 08457 90 90 90

The Gift of Expression The Christmas spirit was truly upon us this issue when Seren’s very own ‘grinch’, Deputy Editor LJ, surprised me with an early Christmas gift. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting so we took the opportunity to give you lovely bunch a heads up on what faces not to pull this year. A* for effort on the christmas jumper, LJ. Not so much for the noodles...

Remember to stay grateful this Christmas and be thankful that you got a gift at all!

The Faces:

Total Lack of Happiness

Just Enough Happiness

The Over-exaggerated Happiness

‘Choose Well’

With the Christmas party season almost upon us, students in Bangor are being encouraged to make better choices when it comes to their health in a new drive to cut unnecessary admissions to hospital Emergency Departments and reduce inappropriate use of the ambulance service.” The above was part of an article sent to Danielle Buckley, VP of Education and Welfare, from the NHS to make you lovely lot aware of the vast amount of unnecessary visits and admissions to hospitals. The next chunk of information you are about to read is designed to help educate us all on the correct way to communicate with the health services and if they are actually required. Of course, when you’re ‘Crazy-Frogged’ up, mid-pee , falling off the toilet hitting your head on the toilet roll holder, the tiny graze you then discover upon your forehead obviously deserves immediate medical attention, NOT. All this simply requires is to kindly ask the soberest person in the room/club/toilets to help clean it with some water. This is just an example some of us may just stumble upon during our university experience. As house parties are even more of a common occurrence during the festive season, it would be useful to learn some stuff about keeping as safe and as well as possible. A statistic to try and enable you to grasp the effect alcohol-related ambulance calls has on the countries healthcare system is that ‘someone dials 999 for an ambulance approximately every eight and a half minutes because of alcohol-related illness or injury’. To help decrease the number of unnecessary 999 calls, the Choose Well campaign for Wales have developed a chart to educate people on what to consider an emergency and what to consider self-care. Self care includes the very common ‘hangover illness’ many of you would have experienced no doubt. The campaign’s colour coded thermometer helps people to link their symptoms with the particular NHS Wales

service right for their needs. So head to uk and print the guide off to stick on up in your kitchen for easy reference when the next health problem arises Here are a few Christmas party tips for party hosts in particular to make sure it runs as smoothly as a delightful glass of Christmas Mint Bailey’s; - Invest in some plastic cups and plastic cutlery if you will be serving food. Yes, I know you’re not five years old at a picnic hosted by your nan, but this will avoid glass-based injuries during an intoxicated game of ‘ring of fire’, and metal-related cutlery wounds during ‘five finger fillet’ (which is apparently the name of the game where someone places a hand on a table and another ‘cool’ person taps the utensil between each finger back and forth whilst building up speed each time... yes, I had to Google to find out the name of this game). You will probably be able to pick some things up from Home Bargains or Tesco. Hide any valuables (especially if you’re holding your party at the ‘rents house) and not just the expensive stuff, but that one hundred year old glass vase your granddad’s brother’s, uncle’s, sister’s, mother’s, father bought for them should also be stowed away somewhere safe; safe does not mean in an easily accessible cupboard surrounded by food (students will demolish anything edible just in case you didn’t already know that). - If you buy alcohol, don’t assume you’re going to be the one consuming it, houses are a ‘grab a;d glug’ zone for university parties, so the best advice is to either drink it before you arrive (which seems to be the case for many boozeindulging students), hide it in someone’s bedroom or even outside, to give the added bonus of being chilled when you choose to devour it, high five for that last treat of a tip!

Christmas Issue 2011



Christmas bingo! Sudoku Eat chocolate for breakfast

Recycle Get drunk your (responsibly) wrapping paper Murder your siblings in a snowball fight

Eat too much turkey (then go back for more)

Watch The Queen’s Speech

Wear pyjamas all day

Argue over Tell an awful the origins Christmas of “Boxing cracker joke Day”

Watch a bloody awful panto

Cry at The Family Stone

Fume at the lack of batteries provided

Black can win in four moves.

What are they? Answers


7 8 2 6 4 7 2

3 9

5 1 8

2 6 6 2 3 9 8 1 4 5 1 7 6









Christmas Issue 2011



The importance of seasonal food and what to eat now


utumn is well and truly upon us and winter is closing in fast; it’s the time of year when we’re wrapping up in scarves and reaching for the soups, stews and other “winter warmers”. But even this time of year we can all pop into Morrisons and buy all the ingredients for a summer salad, months after they’ve been able to grow in Britain’s climate. These out of season ingredients have been imported to the UK from all around the globe in vast quantities releasing equally as vast quantities of carbon dioxide. Last year imports included over a million tonnes of bananas, almost 500 thousand tonnes of apples as well as almost 400 thousand tonnes of fresh tomatoes. Despite these statistics, it’s far from all doom and gloom. A perfect example of how seasonal produce can be profitable is the health food shop Dimensions in Upper Bangor which has been trading in organic and fair trade produce for over 25 years. After speaking with Gillian, a member of staff, it became clear that the people of Bangor do care about where their food comes from. Sourcing their local and seasonal vegetables from a nearby small holding and selling weekly to loyal customers, it demonstrates how simple it can be to eat locally. The student body is also playing its part, with many individuals being aware of where their food is grown and with student societies such as HOG Soc (Horticultural Organic Gardening society). Working with the University, a plot of land off Frriddoedd Road was set aside at the beginning of the 2010/2011 academic year to allow green fingered students the opportunity to get their hands dirty and get growing. Last year’s crop included veg such as potatoes, onions and peas but also more ambitious produce such as planting fruit trees. I have nothing against the humble banana or tomato but shifting away from these highly polluting imports to a more local and seasonal selection of produce would help in the reduction of these unnecessary emissions. A spokesperson from the Food Climate Research Network said, “Eating seasonal field-grown vegetables is a good way to reduce climate change emissions. The more robust the vegetable, the better,” and I don’t think I could put it any better. In season now are apples, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celeriac, chestnuts, cranberries, oranges, parsnips, pomegranate, butternut squash, and satsumas.

Will Johnson




ea by Mark Laita is a collection of unbelievably bright and vivid underwater photography. To win a copy simply answer this question:

What is the name of Bangor Students’ Union’s Ocean Sciences society? a) Endeavor b) Venture c) Believer Send your answer to to enter - good luck!

Cheap ways to lower your energy bills this winter Insulate your windows If you don’t have double glazing (and your landlord isn’t interested in providing it) you can tape cling film over the glass in your windows. Make sure you leave no gaps and use a hairdryer to heat it and create a vacuum. It should last you all winter. Reflect heat from your radiators If you have a gap between your radiators and the wall, stick tinfoil (shiny side out) behind the radiator to reflect the heat back into the room that would otherwise be wasted on heating the wall. Let the sun shine in If and when the sun shines, let it in! The sun will heat your rooms for free. Wrap up! Blankets, woolly socks, bobbly jumpers – ‘Tis the season and heavy knits are in…probably. Block drafts It could not be easier to make your own draft excluder. If you have a pair of old pyjama pants or leggings that you don’t want (and you’ll probably get new ones for Christmas anyway) cut the legs off, stuff them with newspaper (the denser the better) weigh it with something like rice or 2p coins and you’re set to exclude those drafts. Stuffing newspaper down gaps in your windows work well too. Get saving your Banglesey Mails!

Wrapping up: Doing it wrong

Eco-cooking! Leave the oven door open when you’ve finished. Sounds simple because it is and it’ll heat your kitchen up in no time. Remember to turn it off though.

And the sea flowed red with blood Is the whale killing in the Faroe Islands barbaric or necessary?


ongfin pilot whales, like killer whales, are really dolphins. They are sociable cetaceans living in large pods which can communicate through high pitched sounds. Despite having an “unfavourable conservation status” by ASCOBANS, a regional agreement on the protection of small cetaceans (like pilot whales), they are also a staple food for many of our nordic cousins. According to The World Council of Whalers “Many coastal communities rely on the cultural, nutritional and economic sustenance whaling provides”. Though a fair evaluation of the motives for these practices they also say “whaling people today are a far cry

from the industrial whalers of the past century, who slaughtered entire whale populations”. Now these might not be entire populations, but as we’ve seen in the Faroe Islands they are almost certainly entire pods, groups, families of whales. Nor do I detect much of a difference between that and slaughter. You only need look as far as YouTube to be thoroughly sickened by the brutality of bashing and cutting open of whales which thrash wildly in the water flowing red with their own blood. Men with blood splattered faces wade in to swing a blunt hook into their blowhole to drag them ashore. Staple food or not these barbaric scenes are enough to

bring your dinner back. Is it any of our business? Is it our place to attack other cultures? Is this any different to taking pigs to slaughter? The fact that whaling was banned in 1986 to allow populations to recover tells us that it’s not commercially sustainable. Iceland’s annual whale quota is 30, in Canada Inuit groups are limited to 1 whale every 2 years, Japan (somewhat suspiciously) operates whaling for “scientific” reasons after opposing the commercial ban and then withdrawing it after a threat from the US to slash their quota (according to the BBC), Indigenous Alaskan communities are allowed

to catch up to 50 whales a year and Greenland and Russia catch less than 200. When it comes to the Faroe Islands (which would fit into Wales 14 and a half times) there’s a pile of bureaucracy to get to the bottom of why they catch almost 1000 whales a year. The long and short of it is that the Faroe Islands authorities monitor their whaling, not the IWC who imposed the ban nor Denmark of which they are a dependant, but they don’t monitor “small” cetaceans. This means dolphins, small whales and porpoises slip under the radar and as a result, nearly 1000 are killed yearly in these bays. Having said this, the Faroe Islands dedicate an entire website to explain their prac-

tices; the ethics, sustainability and necessity of whaling. With no natural resources the 48,000 people who live there depend on this annual cull. If the practices are the safest and kindest they can be, and (as this has been happening for over 400 years) it appears are sustainable, what can we ask the Faroes to do? If you know where you stand on The Faroes’ practices, Peta have a petition which you can access here: http://tinyurl. com/petawhale, as do Unleashed which you can access here:

Georgia Mannion


Christmas Issue 2011

Food and Drink Christmas Dinner

Recipe Central: to, Roast Ham, Sweet Pota Sprouts and Bread Sauce

Glazed Bacon and Spro uts


roast t, use the fat from your • One joint of ham (I got over £10. To save on cos just t and cos sts and roa us ato of pot r • Two tbsp of honey (ag mine from Morrisons for £4 and it weighed just This fed fou outs. Serve with the sweet spr h wit ain, Morrisons sell little sho on bac of the ect eff from big jar) jars for 30p or so which rt of 500g) bacon to recreate the smokiness that comes save on buying a an unsmoked joint as the s, ket get , • blan can Th in s ree you pig If tbsp te ce. rea of sau oil rec bread ing and salty. In order to wer rpo • Eig k ove ht coo bit e clov and littl es a £2 (fou is r for the smoked variety es from Morrisons for • Two tbsp of white wine ham and four for the bread sauce) le, use 12 chipolata sausag vinegar a Christmas dinner stap . ato • Salt pot et , pep swe per the and as sugar e time • Vegetables – anything them in the oven at the sam like onion, carrot etc. is fine and a a bag of sprout s



o t a t o P t e e w S d e t s a o R

basis of two potatoes per icious recipe. Work on the del but ple sim lly rea a is is Th , I’d recommend putting in conjunction with the ham the same tray if space person. If you’re cooking this roast. You could do them in to in s goe ham r you as them in just could get over powered by – the sweetness of the potato this t ins aga opt d I’ but t is tigh the salty pork fat.


Ingredients • 10-12 sweet potatoes • Olive Oil herbs • Salt, pepper and dried


hed, dirt in cold water. Once was et potatoes to remove any e. tim this oss acr again in the middle, going cut in half lengthways and ce on a baking tray (skin side Pla bs. her ed dri and per pep , salt oil, e oliv h wit s Tos 2) cook for twenty minutes open heat it might burn) and down, if it’s exposed to the (or until cooked through.)

1)Scrub down your swe

Bread Sauce

give or take cranberry part of Christmas. I can ite our fav my is ce sau Bread bread sauce really has to e for gravy too much but sauce and I don’t really car start making it just after g this everything else, I’d be there. If you’re makin to boil. you’ve put your ham on


bread • One loaf of sliced whitek • Two pints of whole mil s • One onion or two shallot knob of butter • Salt, pepper and a little


into small chunks. You can loaf of its crust and tear t make sure it’s slightly bread and buy cheap, jus the of lity qua the on skimp d stale. onion that’s been studde saucepan and add a halved you if ves lea bay 2) Place the milk in a ed dri few some salt , pepper and a with four cloves. Add in have any. . Cover with a lid and e off the heat immediately 3) Bring to the boil and tak d half an hour or so. leave to infuse for aroun low heat and remove all place your pan back on a es, nut mi 30 the er Aft 4) in your bread and stir with just milk. Slowly add the aromats till you’re left ad and milk is combined. fteen minutes till the bre occasionally for ten to fi ving. ser knob of butter before Season and finish with a

1)Start by trimming the


1) In a bowl, mix two tablespoons of honey, three of oil, two of white wine vinegar (don’t worry if you don’t have any ) and season libMllyeth era witod h salt, a little sugar and pep per and any dried herbs you hav e. Cover and place in the fridge till needed. 2) Place your ham in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Ad d in any vegetables you have to hand – I use d four shallots, a carrot and a few dried herbs. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for half an hour (de pends on the size of your joint. Simmer for half an hour per 500g.) You might need to skim the surface to rid it of scum.

against your lip. If it’s hot , it’s ready. If it’s not, put it back in. Take the ham out, cover with tin foil 3) Take your ham out of the water and leave to and rest for twenty minutes whilst you get eve cool on a plate. Turn you ryr oven to 180 and place a thing else sorted. At the bottom of the pan, there roasting tray in it. Meanw hile, take your marinade will be lots of piggy juic es and excess marinade out of the fridge. . Place two tablespoons of this is a frying pan. 4) Place the ham in the marinade and coat well 6) Put your sprouts in a pan of cold salted water, (reserve a little) before tra nsferring to the roasting bring to the boil and coo k for five minutes. Drain tray once the oven has rea ched temperature. Cook in a colander and leave under running cold water for thirty minutes and tak e it out of the oven. Top for thirty seconds. Dry on som up with a little more of the marinade and return 7)Heat your frying pan and add e kitchen paper.. the sprouts with some to the oven for another ten salt and pepper. Cook unt minutes. il they’re glazed all over 5) To see if it’s cooked and ten der. , take a knife and pierce into the middle of the joint. Bri ng out and gently place Di


The Story of the Sprout The Brussels sprout is what Octagon is to Bangor’s night-life, Marmite to toast toppers and Twilight to cinema goers. Chances are, you’ll know someone that can’t get enough of the sweaty, chewing gum ridden floor of Octagon; you’ll probably live with someone that laps up the yeasty tar on their toast every morning and you’ll definitely, without any doubt, know some poor sod that finds Robert Patinson irresistible. And you’ll have had hundreds of conversations in December about the talking point that ensnares every Christmas meal – do you like sprouts? The sprout is an essential Christmas dish but one that’s done out of pity and not grand gesture. We don’t really think, “Christ, those sprouts look pretty tasty.” We just think, “aww, look at him. All grey and pathetic.” “Pass the carrots, Farquar.” Anna Perman recently waxed all genetic on us in the Guardian about why our ancestors may be behind our hatred. The TAS2R38 gene (science

really is boring, isn’t it?) promotes a taste sensation of bitterness. This very gene is found in brassicas, the family that the sprout belongs to. Now, this pesky little gene only affects some people which explains why some people are so intolerant of the sprout – their genetics force this upon them. So, despite this recent revival, all the bacon in the world may not be enough to save the sprout from partial extinction. Let’s look at Christmas dinner as an actual party. Turkey’s there early, he’s been there for hours and is waiting for everyone else to arrive. Potatoes turn up next; everyone loves a good potato at a party, even when he’s mashed. Carrot and Pea follow shortly after; everyone likes them but no-one finds them interesting enough to be best friends. Pig’s a little bit late but she’s brought her blanket. And finally, very late to the party, by the time everyone else is a bit drunk and relaxed, little sprouty pops up. And he’s a bloody legend.

Christmas Issue 2011


Food and Drink

Restaurant Reviews



ith the news this week that Yates’s was closed for refurbishment, Seren went down to check out exactly what would be changing, when it would be reopening and what deals we can expect before Christmas and in the new year. It had been a little while since I last graced Yates and aside from the general décor, quite a lot had changed. Firstly the menu had undergone a bit of a revamp and there appeared to be much more variety than on previous visits. The staff were very pleasant and cheerful, but most of all Yates’s was heaving. Despite having the demands of a full pub, the chef ’s had my food cooked and served in less than 15 minutes and both the lasagne and chilli tested by my party were very good. I was pleased to discover that as it was a Monday I could experience ‘Monday Madness’ and have a meal for £1.99 which obviously appealed to my student pocket, and that desserts were two for one. Not bad, especially towards the end of the year when the budget gets tighter and we switch up cheap wine for even

cheaper wine and pub crawls to pre-drinking, so in that respect I can’t really fault it. It wasn’t all good with Yates’s though. At the time of print (pre-refurb), Yates’s toilets were more than off putting and there definitely wasn’t enough light. However, as this issue goes to print, Yates’s is undergoing £50,000 worth of refurbishment, which is to include scrubbing the toilets and inserting a few more light bulbs. Mainly though, the refurb is also set to give the student friendly pub a fresh new look and more vibrant atmosphere and we are glad to hear it. The manager told us that we could expect more seating and snazzy new décor and he even tried to sell us a Barry card - the Yates equivalent of student discount apparently. All in all my visit was a resounding success and I would definitely go back, mainly for the food but partly to nosy at the sparkling new toilets. It’s no pretentious, over-priced restaurant but suits the student pocket, earning it the Seren student stamp of approval this month.

Gemma Ellis


As December is in Africa’s summer, Christmas dinner is typically eaten outside. In South Africa they pay homage to tradition with roast beef and turkey, suckling pig and local delicacies such as yellow rice with raisins. For afters, plum pudding and paper hats are the order of the day. In Ghana, they feast on rice and fufu, a yam paste, together with okra soup, porridge and assorted meats.


I would write these dishes in Norwegian but I’d only do them an injustice by failing to correctly note all of the accents. Nonetheless, Christmas in Norway sounds pretty tasty – mulled wine washes down whole roast pork ribs, sweet and sour red cabbage, meatballs, ginger and black pepperspiced cookies, and national dishes such as lutefisk, a preserved fish with lye (a corrosive alkaline substance) that has been washed and boiled. To make lutefisk safe for human consumption, it needs several days of soaking in cold water because of the high pH value found in lye.


Noodle One


t was admittedly with some excitement I went to Noodle One with my housemates. Considering myself something of a ‘foodie’, I enjoy sampling new things and having a crack at a culture I haven’t experienced. Unfortunately for me, this has never really extended to Asian cuisine. I love sushi, and like most I’ve had the odd Chinese takeaway. However, as far as authentic Asian food goes, I’ve never partaken. What I can say after visiting Noodle One is that I will be again! To start, me and my three friends shared a chicken satay, which was very tasty (although I’d recommend one each, as we only had one piece of chicken per person - I hadn’t originally intended to share it!). For the main course, I intended to try something that I hadn’t the foggiest idea about, so I ordered a pork and prawn wonton soup. I’m slightly ashamed to admit I didn’t know what wonton was (a pastry parcel with meat inside-a bit like a dumpling), but thoroughly enjoyed it regardless. The broth was hearty and tasty, and was filled to the brim with noodles, vegetables and bamboo shoots. I also


Portuguese Christmas food sounds pretty funky. Bacalhau (cod), cabrito assado (roast goat) and polvo cozido (boiled octopus) only scratch the surface with Bolo-Rei de Chocolate (literally translated as Chocolate King Cake) sounding the most challenging; there are three levels of bolo-rei (King Cake). The first is just a simple fruitcake, the second (bolo-rei Escangalhado) is similar but with the addition of cinnamon and chilacayote jam. Then we get to the last stage which contains the jam, nuts, raisins and, instead of fruit, chocolate chips. And lots of them.


German markets spring up all over Britain in December and many of them offer Christstollen (a fruitcake), Weisswurst (sausages with bacon and things like lemon, parsley and cardamom) and roasted goose.

Mains in Spain consist of roasted meats such as turkey and lamb with seafood like lobster and crab. Things sweeten up with yema, an egg-based dessert, and King Cake known as roscón de Reyes (tortell in Catalan). King Cake is, it’s fair to say, a crazy cake. History has it that the cake takes its name from the three Kings; Catholic tradition says that their journey to Bethlehem took five days and that they arrived to honour Jesus on Epiphany. The season for the cake extends from the twelve days of Christmas through to Mardi Gras day. Famous admirers of the cake include Samuel Pepys who wrote: “we had a brave cake brought us.”


had king prawns in there too, so I was spoilt for choice in terms of variety and texture. This was all washed down with several Tiger beers, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The only downside was that the flavours on offer were very wholehearted and blunt. This is enjoyable food, but probably best enjoyed as a winter warmer, as opposed to a light summer snack. The other negative aspect was self-inflicted, namely when I accidentally ingested a chilli which was giving the broth a delicate spice, and it resulted in me having to take a break f r o m eating whilst I experienced the not altogether w o n derful sensation of my tongue being hot enough to melt steel. Apart from that though, I had a thoroughly enjoyable meal, and would definitely return.

8/10 Joey McNally


The French often bring out the big guns for Christmas; oysters, foie gras and smoked salmon are merely light snacks before the 13 desserts that are made in Provence. These dishes – quince cheese (jelly), walnut cake, almond cake, raisin cake, casse-dents of Allauch (a biscuit), calisson of Aix-en-Provence (a traditional French sweet), nougat blanc and noir au miel, apple cake, pear tart, orange cake, winter melon and fougasse (a Provencal bread) – are representatives of Jesus and his twelve apostles.


Christmas Eve in Denmark is celebrated through the night and to help the festivities along, they eat dishes such as prune-stuffed goose, fried pastries and cinnamon flavoured rice pudding, commonly known as Grod.

This isn’t verified but according to Wikipedia, it is very common in Japan for orders of KFC fried chicken to be placed months in advance such is the shortage of turkey.


A Canadian Christmas pays homage to several different delicacies – the American pumpkin pie, quintessentially British trifle and unusually, satsumas. All of this is washed down by apple cider and eggnog.

Christmas AroundThe World Joe Russell



fter three doses of heart-stopping beauty courtesy of Robert Pattinson, fang-fanatic girls across the world have been waiting for this fourth installment of the Twilight movie franchise. The Twilight Saga tells the age-old story of forbidden love – but with more sparkles and sharper teeth. This fourth film adaptation of the best-selling teen vampire novel series brings to life what happens after “'til death do us part”. Edward Cullen (Pattinson) vows to spend an eternity with Isabella Swan (Kristen Stewart) in this years most anticipated wedding. Elegant dresses and an aisle strewn with white flowers are the breath-taking qualities in this flawless outdoor ceremony, which, for all it's fantastical perfection, is brought back to reality by Jessica's (Anna Kendrick) comically cynical observations. But it's after all the toasts are said and the goodbyes are made that the real story begins. Romantic Rio de Janeiro becomes the beautiful backdrop to an extremely unusual dilemma that once again puts Bella's life at risk. Here, on secluded and seductive Isle Esme, she is faced with the most difficult decision yet. Stewart gives her best performance as Bella, bringing out a cute and amusing side to the character that was previously hidden behind a somewhat emotionally reclusive acting style. In fact, the entire cast have really upped their game. Bella and Edward's relationship is no longer awkward to behold, but has blossomed into a sweetness that's fun to watch, and our heroine's friendship with best pal Jacob (Taylor Launter) is poignant enough to bring a heart-warming “awwww”. The beginning felt a little rushed as the

Christmas Issue 2011

audience is swept suddenly from the wedding preparations, to Edward, rather unnecessarily, revealing his sordid past to his wife-tobe. Although the film soon finds a good pace, the plot line wasn't exactly bursting with excitement, and with curiously hollow scenes peppered throughout these hundredand-seventeen minutes, the audience is left wondering why the last Twilight book needed to be split into two films. The tender moments which bind this group of vampires, werewolves and humans together were executed beautifully, and the soundtrack echoes the music used in the previous Twilight films. It goes without saying that Breaking Dawn is an absolute must-see for all fans of the ever-popular vampire romance genre; but there are uncomfortable and squeamish scenes that are not for the faint hearted.

Katrin Lloyd


ill List was released in cinemas on 2nd September and was only screened in select cinemas based on a limited release. The film is an entirely British film and was filmed in Sheffield and South Yorkshire and is directed by British director Ben Wheatley.

The film tells the story of a British solider who when he returns from Kiev, joins his old friend as a contract killer. But whilst out on the job his disturbed past surfaces and he loses control leading to his employers raising the stakes. The cast includes Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiley and Emma Fryer who really drive the story along. The DVD runs at 95 minutes longs and honestly, it feels like you are watching two separate films. The first half of the film is really driven by the interaction of the four main characters and the audience is drawn into their relationships and everyday lives. After Jay (Neil Maskell) and Gal (Michael Smiley) begin their job, the film seems to be driven into a completely new direction. In parts the film felt confusing and felt like it was moving in at two different paces. This may have been done on purpose in terms of the nar-

rative but it reflected differently on film. Viewers should also be aware that the film becomes very violent and changes from a simple contract killing to complete violent outbursts and this sometimes felt uncomfortable to watch. The actors give a good performance with the material they were given and seeing as the story relies heavily on their interaction, they have a hard job to do. It was hard to relate to the characters and was sometimes hard to relate with their on screen emotions. The film is filmed well but the story lets the final presentation down. Overall the film is confusing and hard to watch and even enjoy. At times it feels like the story will really pick up but it doesn’t and that is disappointing. The final product could have been something really special if a few tweaks where made here and there. Kill List is released on DVD on 26th December. As well as the film the DVD extra features include Making of Kill List, Interviews and Trailers.

Amy Westlake

does Santa deliver all of those Answers the age old question that every child asks, “How presents in one night?” s for people of all ages There is a mixed bag of humour and the story presents laugh


ith the Christmas season just around the corner, Arthur Christmas is the first film to bring audiences into the Christmas mood. Released on 11th November Arthur Christmas tells the story of how the son of Father Christmas (Arthur) try’s to stop one child being missed after her present isn’t delivered. The film is presented in both 3D and 2D and answers the age old question that every child asks, “How does Santa deliver all of those presents in one night?” The audience is introduced early to the whole of the Claus family that includes, as well as Father Christmas, Arthur, Steve and Grandsanta. Arthur Christmas is voiced by a great cast, which includes James MCAvoy (Arthur), Hugh Laurie (Steve), Bill Nighy (Grandsanta), Jim Broadbent (Santa) and Ashley Jensen

(Bryony). The British cast really do bring the film to life and each voice allows the audience to love each individual character. There is a mixed bag of humour and the story presents laughs for people of all ages. Even though the film is predominantly aimed at children, adults will get a good laugh too. In parts the story is slightly slow and it does take a little while for the overall story to kick in after the audience is introduced to everybody necessary. As previously said, the comedy elements are presented for all ages so some of the comedy does fall short for the younger audiences and probably doesn’t get the laughs it deserves. The film is only 97 minutes long and is probably the prefect length to keep people interested. If the story was any longer then people would get bored and it would just be too much to absorb for an animation film.

Overall though, Arthur Christmas is a great film to kick of the 2011 Christmas season. The story is full of Christmas spirit and tells a new, modern and original story. The cast are great and audiences are transported into a world of Christmas joy, children leave still believing in Santa and adults can enjoy the humour and honestly people are bound to leave the film knowing that is has confirmed what we all truly believe and that is, ‘In Santa We Trust’. To wrap it up, people of all ages will enjoy Arthur Christmas and the journey you take with the family of Father Christmas.

Amy Westlake

Christmas Issue 2011

Doctor Who Christmas Special


n BBC Children in Need night we were treated to a special preview clip of ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’. The trailer looked brilliant! They’ll be four special guests: Claire Skinner, Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Alexander Armstrong. Alexander is best known for his role as Mr Smith in the Sarah Jane Adventures. The trailer showed Doctor Who arguably at its best; featuring plenty of twists and turns. It’s hard to say at the moment definitively what this episode will be like. My guesses are based on the fact that Steven Moffat is writing, which means that it could very involve a “timey wimey” element. What I saw in this trailer left me insatiable for the Christmas Special! Two criticisms of this particular episode (from what I’ve seen so far) is that it relies a lot upon the plot of C.S Lewis’s ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and also that it’s set in World War 2, which will make it the fourth time the series has visited this particular time period; by means of Steven Moffat most of the time. The alien species (i.e. the Doctor’s enemy) in the special are, at the moment, unknown but guesses are they are the monsters who look like trees. They could be either the “wood people” (which in my opinion resemble the weeping angels) or the special



guest stars, who are dressed in armour. We’ll just have to find out on Christmas Day! It’s been recently announced that David Yates is making a Doctor Who film (he is known for directing the final four Harry Potter films). There are no real clues as to what the film will be about as of yet. All we know so far is that it is unlikely to feature any of the Doctors who have appeared in the series on the BBC and that Russell T. Davies or Steven Moffat are unlikely to be asked to help with the film. Yates said that "Russell T Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch," he also said that the film would be “quite a radical transformation” from the latest series. The Doctor Who film won’t r e a c h cinemas for several years yet, and as far as we know there is no script, cast or production crew

in place. So we are in the dark as to any of the real details. At the moment the film is set to be split up over two years. There is no news, as yet, about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I’m looking forward to more details about the Doctor Who film and the seventh series!

Alex Thomson

Originally the thought of watching 16-17 year olds destroy my favourite television programme by being young and incompetent filled me with dread. I really believed that their adolescent urges and young person hormones would take over and I could expect tantrums and hook ups galore, and while this would be comedy genius for the first couple of episodes, I would no doubt get bored and crave Stuart Baggs and Raef. So you can imagine my surprise when I realised that not only did I enjoy the Young Apprentice but I am now addicted. In fact as I am writing this part of me wonders why I haven’t sacked it off to get my latest YA fix. The thing about the Young Apprentice is that it doesn’t differ too much from the original. The staple tasks such as buying the listed items for the smallest price, the food production and marketing tasks and the task which require the contestants to shoot their own advertisements are pretty much all the same. In fact,

other than Lord Sugar being more scripted than usual and the obvious age difference, I can see no real difference. The prize for the determined young mind is £25,000 and so far Lord Sugar has ejected six of his 12 young hopefuls. And if, like me, you have been following intently you will agree that most of the fired contestants so far deserved it. I cannot express my anger at the general incompetence of Lewis Roman and his redundant question however even he didn’t tick me off as much as Mahamed Awale who has just won the title of my least favourite Apprentice contestant ever. But the less said about both of them the better. Ones to watch this series are Harry Hitchens and James McCullagh both of whom have shown that they have at least one brain cell so far, I might even go so far as to say they have impressed me. But don’t let me decide for you, check it out Monday at 9pm. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Gemma Ellis

The Mess Factor

hake-ups happen all the time in TV nowadays, and this year, ITV’s hit talent show The X Factor was no exception. With music mogul Simon Cowell having hopped across the Atlantic to remodel the show for the States, Dannii Minogue’s commitments to Australia’s Got Talent and Cheryl Cole being snubbed left, right and centre, an almost entirely new line-up of judges and tweaked format injected some much-needed excitement into a show which had, without doubt, become a little bit repetitive. However, perhaps the producers of The X Factor could have done with listening to that old adage, ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, since the eighth series has been hit by controversy, in-house fighting and ratings sinking faster than a stone in water. The new line-up of judges was most likely the first pitfall. Two in particular have, for me, stuck out like a sore thumb on the show. Some may say Tulisa Contostavlos (from RnB group N-Dubz), never quite seemed the most likely candidate for a judge, and hasn’t quite paid enough of her dues in the music business to judge. Gary Barlow appeared to slot into Cowell’s “Mr Nasty”

role quite well, though perhaps too well. Part of Simon Cowell’s charm was that despite his (often harsh) criticism, he was always fair, something Barlow has failed to grasp. His near-constant slating of contestant Janet Devlin borders on plain mean, and his catty “Amelia [Lily], I felt you shouted your way through that” following her sing-off against his own contestant Craig Colton came across as unprofessional and bitter. The only original judge left standing, Louis Walsh, has almost become that tatty pair of jeans that don’t quite fit, yet you can’t bring yourself to throw away. However, since the fiasco that was Jedward, many have questioned his musical judgement, fuelled by the fact that he has not had an act win the competition since Shane Ward in the second series. Newcomer Kelly Rowland seems to be the only judge who has fitted the mould this year, bringing to the table a fresh sass and constructive, informed and fair criticism, and being very entertaining to watch. For me, unlike Barlow, the success of Destiny’s Child and her own solo career has not gone to her head, and her down-to-earth attitude reflects that of Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue before her. The series has had its fair share of controversies, too. Inhouse feuds between Kelly and Tulisa mirror the tension between Sharon Osbourne and Dannii Minogue in season 5. Louis Walsh has continued to tease the other judges, with spats regularly breaking out across the panel. One member of boy band The Risk walked from the competition, to be replaced by another boy band member who lost out at the judges houses, and Little Mix were forced to change from their former name, Rhythmix, following copyright issues. The biggest controversy arose over the sudden departure of contestant Frankie Cocozza. After weeks of glamorising binge drinking and promiscuity and performing in a lacklustre, under-rehearsed fashion, the contestant was spectacularly given the boot after apparently boasting about taking cocaine. He was then

replaced by former contestant Amelia Lily (ousted by Kelly Rowland in the first week under a judge’s vote) in a slightly messy turn of events. The truth is, as a viewer, this has started to bore me. The talent of the contestants is very often overshadowed by pantomime antics of producers, judges and a few contestants alike, who appear to be there to do little else than cause a stir. All considered it’s quite apparent why The X Factor’s once steely grip on Saturday night ratings has started to weaken. This year even saw viewer figures falling below that of BBC arch-rival Strictly Come Dancing at times, for the first time in years. Perhaps this year’s facelift was one shake-up too far, and as interest in the series begins to wane (I myself, a life-long fan, have struggled to get into it at all), and boss Simon Cowell reportedly unhappy with the series per-

Louis Walsh, has almost become that tatty pair of jeans that don’t quite fit, yet you can’t bring yourself to throw away. formance, you can only wonder how much longer the show will go on. With its star quickly fading (and all of Cowell’s efforts seemingly being poured into the new US version of the talent show), it remains to be seen whether any measure of shake-ups can salvage anything from wreckage of this car-crash series.

Rob King


Christmas Issue 2011

Seren’s Top 20 Albums of the Year! Music 1: The King Blues- Punk and Poetry

2: Hard-Fi- Killer Sounds

There’s nothing that can be said about this album that you won’t pick up just by listening to it. There’s been more creative albums this year, and perhaps there’s even been more well formed albums this year. But this is a slice of gritty, raw, REAL music. It wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve, and screams “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”. The brilliant songs and wonderful poetry help of course, but just for being the most true-to-itself album made this year, it gets the top spot.

Originally languishing down the list, this album made a late resurgence once it’d been given multiple listens. A great album which will no doubt frustrate Hard-Fi as they struggle to top it on the next one. In a year of cheap imitations and bands more than wearing their influences on their sleeve, this stood out as the real deal. A loud, proud, varied, genuinely good quality indie-rock album.

Best tracks: Good For Nothing

Best tracks: Set the World on Fire

Fire in the House Give it Up Release date: 19/08/11

The Future’s Not What It Used To Be Everything Happens For A Reason Release date: 17/05/11

3: PJ Harvey- Let England Shake

7: The View- Bread and Circuses

Deserved winner of the Mercury Music Prize, this is perhaps Harvey’s finest album to date. Sensational.

This third album from the Dundee band is their most mature, well-crafted record yet.

Best tracks: Let England Shake

Best tracks: Grace

The Glorious Land Release date: 11/02/11

4: Viva Brother- Famous First Words

Tragic Magic

Release date: 14/03/11

8: The Vaccines- What Did You Expect...? The Vaccines’ summery sound was a breath of fresh air this year, and this very solid debut album reflects as much.

Snarling and swaggering, Viva Brother’s first offering is an undeniable sign of promising things to come.

Best tracks: New Year’s Day

Best tracks: Wrekin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)

Electric Daydream Release date: 01/08/11

5: WU LYF- Go Tell Fire to the Mountain


Release date: 11/03/11

9: Metronomy- The English Riviera A Mercury Music Prize nominared album, the inventiveness and ingenuity of this album shows why.

Recorded in a church, the debut album from the Manchester outfit sparkles with dangerous intensity

Best tracks: The Bay

Best tracks: We Bros

The Look

LYF Release date: 13/06/11

6: Noel Gallagher- High Flying Birds

Release date: 08/04/11

10: Laura Marliing- A Creature I Don’t Know

Out of the two albums released by the Gallagher brother this year, this is the vastly superior effort.

Best tracks: AKA... What a Life! The Death of You and Me Release date: 17/10/11


11: Anna Calvi- Anna Calvi 12: Frank Turner- England Keep My Bones 13: Lady Gaga- Born This Way 14: White Lies- Ritual 15: Arctic Monkeys- Suck it and See

A beautifully understated and soft album, this is one of the mellower choices on the list, but certainly deserving of a top 10 place.

Best tracks: The Muse Salinas

Release date: 09/11/11

16: Cults- Cults 17: Sum 41- Screaming Bloody Murder 18: The Strokes- Angles 19: Elbow- Build A Rocket Boys! 20: Baxter Dury- Happy Soup

Christmas Issue 2011

Seren’s Top 20 Singles of the Year! 1: The Vaccines - Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) 2: Hard-Fi - Good For Nothing 3: Marina and the Diamonds - Radioactive 4: The View - Grace 5: Arctic Monkeys - Don’t Sit Down... 6: The King Blues - Set The World On Fire 7: Manic Street Preachers - This Is The Day 8: My Chemical Romance - Planetary (GO!) 9: Panic At The Disco - The Ballad of Mona Lisa 10: The Subways - We Don’t Need Money... 11: Noel Gallagher - AKA... What A Life! 12: Azealia Banks - 212 13: Viva Brother - New Year’s Day 14: Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger 15: Hurts - Sunday 16: Rizzle Kicks: Down With The Trumpets 17: The Naked and Famous - Young Blood 18: Eric Saade - Popular 19: The Horrors - Still Life 20: Glasvega - Euphoria Take My Hand

So what made you guys want to get into the music industry? Music is just sort of on and around in your world; it acts as a backdrop to all the experiences that you have. It becomes something that timestamps all those good times that you have. As you go deeper you invest more into it emotionally and you realise it resonates with you. Whoever your favourite band are at the time…you feel they are speaking directly to you; you’re just fully seduced by it, that’s what happened to each of us individually and we found each other.

(laughs) Yeah, we did that just for a joke, we weren’t even in a band yet. I think it’s crap. It’s like these, you can’t even call them musicians, you can’t call them artists; they are singers, or performers – they don’t write their own music. It sucks because it’s a result of well, America is the guilty culprit; that obsession with celebrities. It’s a horrible lifestyle to enact, I know it sounds really judgmental, to each his own of course, but it’s sort of like you’re idolising something that’s not real. If you’re trying to achieve something that’s artificial, you’re just chasing… it’s a futile task.

Are you going to be working on a new album anytime soon or just focusing on touring? We’re just gonna tour for about a year. We’re always writing. When inspiration hits, you know? You can’t really just expect it to hit when you have two months off to write it.

Are you excited to be back? Yeah, very much so; this was…you know after an unexpected year off we all realised that this band is something that we need… bad. So to be back is good. It’s been quite a while, after your trip to ‘Disneyland’, but it’s great to see you back and still strong, still the same guys, same band. Yeah! Thank you. It’s awesome to hear that. We’re very lucky and we’re very happy with the record. To make it to a third record we feel is an achievement, and for 3rd to be our favourite…

Have you discovered any new bands lately that you’ve been inspired by? Smashing Pumpkins, always an inspiration. Foxy Shazam are a new band that we’re into. MC Run. AWOL Nation. Rock music is in a really weakened state right now and those guys are taking it into an interesting direction.

It’s all messed up, you don’t know what anything is anymore, where to look. I mean I always find you guys in the metal section… Exactly! I noticed that on this tour actually, why are we in the metal section?! So, reality TV musicians? Here in the UK a lot of our muscians seem to come from reality TV these days, I know you and Nathan (his twin brother, Madina Lake’s lead singer) did Fear Factor but you didn’t join a band out of it.


Music Following an unexpected year out, a year that the band refers to as Matthew’s ‘trip to Disneyland’, Madina Lake are back on the road promoting their third studio album. ‘World War III’ has been a long time coming after bassist Matthew Leone was critically injured trying to stop a woman being beaten by her husband on the streets of Chicago. Matthew took some time out of his busy schedule and sat down to speak to LJ Taylor at their recent Sheffield gig.

Yeah, there’s a lot of sub genres going on at the moment. Yeah! Sub genre after sub genre, its like a micro mix!

was lucky enough to come across Within Temptation, a symphonic metal band from Holland, about five years ago. It was when I was going through my ‘goth’ stage, one I thankfully left behind (well, mostly) and my friend introduced me to them. This was the same friend that had introduced me to Nightwish, arguably W i t h i n Temptation’s F i n n i s h counterparts, a year or so earlier. At first I admit, I was only into a few songs; namely ‘Stand My Ground’ and ‘Angels’ – the ones that Kerrang TV played most often. The first time she went to see them live I declined thinking I didn’t like the band enough to pay £20 and trail all the way to Manchester. Then I saw them at Download Festival; they were amazing. I attended their next Manchester gig with her, probably a year later, with the mindset that I still didn’t really like them that much. Things have changed.


There are about three, maybe four, bands that I will go see live without fail when they return to the UK; Within Temptation are one of them. Their shows are always amazing, their choice of background videos intriguing and, in my opinion, this latest album their best yet. When it was announced that lead guitarist, Robert Westerholt, would be pulling out of the tours to stay at home and look after his and lead s i n g e r S h a r o n ’s kids, I have to admit I was disappointed. It was of course great to see him prioritising his family without Sharon having to sacrifice the tours, but I was worried it just wouldn’t be the same anymore. How wrong was I? Selling out Manchester’s Academy One, Within Temptation put on one hell of a show and that was with Sharon claiming to have problems with her voice

And you’re still the same humble guys, dedicated to your fans… Its great to hear you say that cause we’ve always been a band who really loved and respected…we don’t call fans ‘fans’…we’re friends…we connect, we have something in common. When we needed you guys, you were there. It means the world (Sweet Relief Fund that fans set up to pay for Matthew’s hospital funds) and we’re eternally grateful. Once the interview was over we hugged. I left. The show was amazing. Madina are well and truly back.

that night. In traditional Within Temptation style there were screens behind them that displayed different videos or graphics throughout the night; the highlights were the displays of the short films that the band have released alongside their singles. The show kicked off with the ‘Mother Maiden’ video, the first short movie to be released as a part of the album’s ‘concept’, and then went

straight into ‘Shot In the Dark’; the first song off of the album. The band played a mixture of songs, old and new with particular fan favourites being ‘Sinead’, ‘Mother Earth’ and ‘Angels’. It was a brilliant set coupled with an amazing performance from not only Sharon but the entire band. After time out Within Temptation are definitely ready to dominate the symphonic scene.

LJ Taylor


Christmas Issue 2011

Wearing THE NEWS

A unique answer to the question of “what is sustainable fashion?” This shoot by Peter Coulson doesn’t just involve the usual mix of clothing and skin, it also recycles newspapers, magazines and drinks cans into wearable art. Styled by Christina Chloe, models Paige and Elita wear collars, cuffs, lapels and bows constructed from recycled materials. It may not be your first choice for what to do with Seren, but oddly enough it works.

Fashion SPICE

Victoria Beckham won a top prize at the British Fashion Awards this week. The popstar-turned-fashionista broke down in tears as she collected the trophy for ‘Designer Brand Of The Year’, beating out the likes of Stella McCartney and Burberry. “I’m so sorry for crying. This is really rubbish of me,” she said whilst collecting her award. “I am so nervous, this means so much to me.” She also took the opportunity to thank her footballer husband David for his continued support. “Without David I wouldn’t have had the courage to do what I’m doing,” she gushed. The British Fashion Council explained Beckham’s win by saying, “She is her own customer and this insight has created a label with many loyal followers across the globe.” Despite losing out to Beckham in the category, McCartney went on to receive the award for ‘Best Red Carpet Designer’ from her friend Kate Hudson. ‘Designer Of The Year’ went to Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, who designed the dress for Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William in April.



Just two weeks since their much-anticipated Versace for H&M collection hit stores (and quickly sold out) H&M have announced their next exciting designer collaboration. For SS12, the high-street retailer has hooked up with Italian label Marni to bring us a collection of womenswear, menswear and accessories, all influenced by the brand’s love of colour and print. Marni for H&M will land in 260 stores worldwide and online on March 8th 2012. Seren is a fan of the recent collabs with H&M. The Lanvin collection seems to be the best so far; Versace were a little too daring for us! What do you think of the H&M designer collabs? A great way to get affordable designer pieces on the high-street? Or is it too much of a good thing? Hit us up on @SerenBangor Twitter or Facebook http://www.

Burberry Fall 2011/12


& RESTRAINT Fetish in Fashion As thematic trends dip in and out from season to season, one of the most fascinating things is seeing how different creative minds go about interpreting them. With a rookery of strict black and white outfits from various designers turning the fetishin-fashion trend from spiked and studded to Helmet Newton-esque, this season it’s all about the balance of liberation and restraint. A new take on the theme is brought to us by Alexander Mcqueen, with brilliant effect, to the gasping corsetry, structured forms, and leathermeets-lace ideals of fetish as fashion sees it right now. The fall looks from Sarah Burton for Mcqueen consisted of snug, figurefitting silhouettes, waists slimmed by wide belts, and domineering shoulders. Mermaid skirts with plays on zippers that become both decorative and constructive elements. Furs that run through the collection, conferring luxury and primitive regality but sensually softening the couture precision of the silhouette. Bustiers in painted and reassembled porcelain jugs, and long princesslike gowns in

raw-edged organza. Dresses with subtle bodices that bloom into corolla skirts in beehive organza. However, all eyes were on the kink that graced the catwalk. Leather belts and S&M style chest cups. Looks resembled gimp outfits, that most girls would say no to wearing, embellished with sexy studs and paired with knee length leather shoes. I Can’t really see these looks going down too well in Academi or Octagon. Somewhere else that fetish can be seen in fashion is in Rihanna’s outfits; daring, and not the most practical examples of how to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe. Instead, look to mix in on-trend accessories like super high, spikestudded heels or studded belts – these can give a fetish edge to pretty much any outfit. How to kink up: For clothing, look for straps, exposed zips, chains, bondage and body con pieces, and leathers. The defining feature of the trend right now is that it should be feminine; avoid looking like a complete dominatrix by bringing in elements of softness and contrasting hard edges with delicate details. Kaden Wild

Christmas Issue 2011


This look is all about playfulness! Look for inspiration in the most unexpected places; think Ugly Betty and Colin Firth in Bridget Jones bashfully wearing their winter jumpers with pride! These unexpected icons are scoring points with this trend’s style, all you fashionable people in Bangor need to do is give your knits a contempory update, then slip on a pair if hiking boots and throw another log on the fire!! All items below are from River Island and Topshop.

Wishing you a fashionable Christmas!


TS £50

TS £34

RI £40

RI £38

TS £50 RI £38



Swagger Jagger returns! This issue we stalked Rob - a 20 year old music student in Bangor. He took us to Topman and River Island... Lets face it, there aren’t better stores in Bangor! So check out his picks and swagger his jagger!







Christmas Issue 2011

Seasonal Snack Swap You’ve spent hours working towards fitting into that perfect party dress, don’t ruin all that hard work on selection boxes and excessive snacking. These delicious alternatives have all the taste and none of the guilt meaning you can stop worrying about calories. Remember; Christmas is all about quality time not Quality Street!

Grande Eggnog Latte =460 Calories Gingerbread Latte with non fat milk and no whipped cream = 200 calories

Health & Beauty Christmas Wish List...

Front Cover Gilt Edged Set £25 Glitter, shimmer and shine from your head to your toes. Compact and lightweight this is great for a spontaneous New Year mini-break .

Say no to the tempting Starbucks extras but still enjoy a seasonal red cup specialitity from the coffee experts.

W7 Earthquake Gold Crackle Nail Polish £4.95 Use over your favourite shade of nail varnish and the cracked effect will add a quirky twist this festive season. Not only that but the gold hue is so on trend!

Quality Street - 3 sweets contains 16g of sugar! Green and Blacks Dark Chocolate 35g contains 4.5g of sugar If you’re prone to chain eating chocolates whilst watching a repeat of Love Actually on Boxing Day, try breaking old habits and opting for some delicious dark chocolate instead.

Strictly Beautiful Look Book £10 If like us Strictly is your Saturday night guilty pleasure, then you’ll be happy to hear that you can now recreate all of your favourite dramatic looks with these dance inspired sets!

Pringles Original - 16 crisps contains 150mg of salt Tyrrell’s Vegetable Crisps per 100g there is 0.3g of salt Swap the tube of Pringles for tasty vegetable crisps this winter. You could even try making your own!

Editor’s Pick...

Benefit Cresent Row Limited Edition Fragrance Set £29.50 All your favourite Benefit fragrances; but miniature! We love the fun packagaing and word play (‘Ring my Bella’), let’s hope we get them in our Christmas stockings!

The Kyoku Luxury Gift Box is described as the “perfect luxury grooming present for the discerning man”. This 5 part skincare gift set costs a cool £95, making it a great Christmas present idea. We asked Seren’s Editor to see if it lived up to its reputation (and its price tag!) Here’s what he had to say...

So I’ve been using Kyoku products for around a week now and I have to say I’m very impressed. I’ve used a number of different products over the years for my skin and they’ve never really worked and it some cases made my skin feel worse. Kyoku’s daily cleanser and exfoliators however don’t seem to be the case, it was like I could actually feel it cleaning my skin; it’s left it feeling really refreshed. My only gripe with it is that it doesn’t really have a nice fragrance. The lip fuel is also excellent. I have really sore lips at the moment due to a massive cold but it moisturises them really well and leaves a cool peppermint after effect.




Christmas Issue 2011


fter roughly ten brutal hours in which I had climbed up a Himalayan mountain from the dangling ruins of a train (twice!), infiltrated a Turkish prison, singlehandedly destroyed a tank and found the mythical city of Shambhala to then destroy it, I was emotionally and physically (well, my character was) drained. UNCHARTED 2 was finished and I was only 4 hours into the release day; I had managed to get my copy a day early. I was ready for UNCHARTED 3. Since the beginning, Nathan Drake’s adventures have taken us across the globe. From the lost city of El Dorado, in Drake’s Fortune, to the mountains of Tibet in Among Thieves. Naughty Dog’s third instalment begins somewhere a little less exotic; a dark and grungy London pub. ` In true Uncharted fashion, Drake’s Deception opens with a montage that, coupled with the high calibre graphics and Greg Edmonson’s astounding soundtrack, rivals and likely surpasses that of any Hollywood opening scene. Among Thieves’ opening provides a literal cliffhanger and in all honesty would be pretty difficult to top. So kudos to the Uncharted team on their decision to bring the intensity down a notch and use the opening


his year celebrates the 25th anniversary of one of t h e gaming world’s most iconic series. T h e L e ge n d of Zelda continues with the highly-anticipated release of Skyward Sword and, after a quarter of a century, Nintendo have gotten pretty good at making these games evermore t i m e l e s s and spectacular. Born from his humble, 16-pixel-wide roots in 1986, Link has grown, shrunk and changed style many times. But two things have never: his green tunic and his ability to lead you into extravagant, innovative and sometimes frustratingly difficult worlds.


to simply showcase the new hand to hand combat mechanics. After five minutes of being hurled into bathroom tiles by a large Cockney thug and smashing countrymen across the face with a beer bottle, you’ll begin to wonder why there was ever a need for guns in Uncharted. Just as you meet the game’s main villain, the Helen Mirren-esque Katherine Marlowe, you find yourself thrown into Drake’s past; something that has always been very shrouded throughout the games. Playing as a scrawny, teenage Drake, I have to admit, was not my idea of fun but it serves as a brilliant narrative device in showing us how he met Sully, Drake’s mentor and father figure throughout the series. UNCHARTED 3 picks up the pace from there, bringing us back to the present day as Nate and co begin their journey to discover the Atlantis of the Sands before Marlowe and her army of skin-headed thugs. It will come as no surprise when I say that the graphics in Drake’s Deception are stunning, from the rusting metal of a pirate ship, to the intricate designs of a French chateau down to every detailed grain of sand in the Rub’ al Khali desert. The character models, which have progressed tremendously since Drake’s Fortune, are superb. The already realistic characters are even more believable this time around, especially since Naughty Dog have fixed the disturbing eyes that Elena and Chloe had in Among Thieves to show real emotion in this instalment. UNCHARTED 3 has some pretty spectacular levels: fleeing the chateau as it burns down around you, escaping A prequel to Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword delves into the origins of many aspects, items and characters from the Zelda series, including the Master Sword, Ganondorf and the famous green tunic. The set of this release starts in Skyloft, a floating safe-haven arisen by an ancient goddess to protect the humans from the evils that ravished the lands below. Naturally, Zelda falls into a predicament, tied by destiny she falls below the clouds and the adventure begins. Far from a repetitive series that never changes its tune, The Legend of Zelda has always pushed technological boundaries with every game released and Skyward Sword follows this trend with its impressive use of the Motion Plus feature. The developers have managed to create a level of accuracy and precision that no other Wii game has been able to achieve since its release 5 years ago, so much so that almost every enemy you come across in this game requires a specific angle of attack and if you get it wrong, you’ll be punished. No more running around blindly swinging your Wii remote like we all did (admit it) in Twilight Princess, it takes time, thought and accuracy to defeat even the simplest of foes in this adventure.

game that combines dragons, magic and combat with real-world elements such as earning money via jobs and being punished for committing crimes? A tall order for any developer but Bethesda Studios can do epic games. And they do them very well. Skyrim comes from a studio which developed Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; and though each of these games had their flaws, they pushed the boundaries of roleplaying and fantasy games to new heights. However, is Skyrim a step too far? The game follows a typical fantasy plotline, the last of a bloodline with an ability that makes the player the only person capable of saving the land from an ancient evil – in this case Dragons. Bethesda dodges the typical fantasy cliché by immersing the player in a very real world with literally hundreds of other missions or quests to take part in for a multitude of factions. It’s not as complicated as the Game Of Thrones series, but it certainly aims for that level of political and personal intricacy. While this level of scale could have been overpowering, Skyrim manages to give the player

from a flooding pirate ship, boarding a plane before it takes off and chasing down a convoy on the back of a horse; yet somehow it feels empty. Whilst many gamers criticise the Uncharted series for being so linear I’ve always preferred it, the puzzles the game offers are challenging enough without having to find which direction to go. As Playstation’s flagship, Uncharted focuses on showing off the Playstation 3 engine and what can be done with it. While the cutscenes are superbly written, acted out and are beautiful to look at, a lot of them could be incorporated into gameplay. The ending of UNCHARTED 3 is probably its biggest downfall. In Drake’s Fortune, Nate had to go up against his old friend Navarro in order to stop the cursed treasure of El Dorado being taken to the mainland and used by the latter as a tool of evil. 2009’s Among Thieves, put the fortune hunter up against war criminal Zoran Lazarevic as the mythical city of Shambhala collapsed around them. Drake’s Deception; well let’s just say that the fight most akin to a ‘boss battle’ is more than a little disappointing. All in all though UNCHARTED 3: Drake’s Deception is a brilliant game and any fan of the series needs to play it. For those who have yet to ‘holster up’ I’d suggest starting from the beginning, or at least playing the fantastic Among Thieves. The only question now is when, if ever, we will get UNCHARTED 4? Only time will tell and we all know I’ll be waiting eagerly.

LJ Taylor

Though the darkly detailed graphics of Twilight Princess were impressive and stunning, what we have with Skyward Sword is somewhat of the middle-ground between Twilight Princess and the cartoon style of Wind Waker. The game has a brighter, fresher feel and it certainly won’t leave your eyes drowning in tears of disappointment. Once you’ve adjusted to the new improved motion settings and the new artistic approach, you’ll love this game and enjoy the legend better than ever before. The Wii doesn’t have a lot going for it these days, but this addition to the Zelda franchise is certainly a life-line for a console close to the end. Even if you’re not a fan of the series, pick up a Wii remote and embark on this, the greatest game the Wii has to offer and possibly the greatest Zelda game ever made.

Sean Talbot

just the right amount of possibilities without feeling overwhelmed. The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played other Bethesda games, especially Oblivion, with the choice between 1st and 3rd person perspectives. The magic and much vaunted “Shouts” mechanics are well executed, as are the combat elements but the standout feature is that of the levellingup system which rewards specific skills rather than giving the player points to allocate in underused skills. As expected, Skyrim has raised the standard of quality in the Fantasy RPG genre with a high level of graphic detail coupled with the epic scale of the game which immerses the player in a fantasy world that allows multiple styles of play and, let’s be honest, the massive draw is that Skyrim lets you take on Dragons. An immersive game with 300+ hours of gameplay and massive replay value. If this appeals to you, or even tickles your fancy a little, buy it.

Rob Young

Christmas Issue 2011


e-Readers, Your Portable Library The market for e-books has exploded in recent years, with Amazon now selling more e-books than hardbacks and paperbacks combined. You can now get a huge range of books in e-book format, from casual reading to text books. But, you still have to choose which one is best for you, so here’s a break down of the main competitors in the UK. The eReaders in this are all from suppliers, so you can buy e-books directly from the supplier.


t the moment, you can get two types of Amazon Kindle in the UK; the Kindle and the Kindle Keyboard. Both of these have what’s called an e-ink display, that replicates the look of printed text and can easily be read in direct sunlight, unlike normal computer screens that are hard to look at in bright light. Although they’re really easy to read, they don’t have colour screens. All Kindle devices also synchronize with the Amazon online store, so that if you buy an e-book it is automatically available on any Kindle device you own. You can also save bookmarks so that if you put it down, you can pick up in the same place on another device as well as saving clipping and notes. Amazon also supplies a free App for iPhone, iPad and Android.


here’re also three versions of the Kobo Reader available, which are very different; The Kobo Vox, the Kobo Vox Wireless and Kobo Vox Touch. They also use e-ink displays, with the exception of the Kobo Vox. The Kobo Vox is much more of a usual tablet, with a normal screen, and it runs Android, so you have access to the Android Market for apps. Kobo Vox devices have better integration with Facebook and Twitter, so that you can share what you’re reading with your friends. Kobo also supply apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.


Cost: £89 Size: 166 mm x 114 mm x 8.7 mm Weight: 170 grams Stores: Up to about 1,400 books, 2GB Battery life: Up to a month, depending on usage Connectivity: Wi-fi only

Kindle Keyboard

Cost: £150 Size: 190 mm x 123 mm x 8.5 mm Weight: 247 grams Stores: Up to about 3,500 books, 4GB Battery life: Up to 2 months, depending on usage Connectivity: Wi-fi and 3G

Kobo Vox

Cost: £170 Size: 192.4 mm x 128.4 mm x 13.4mm Weight: 402 grams Storage: 8GB Battery life: Up to 7 hours, with Wifi turned off Connectivity: Wifi only

Kobo Vox Touch

Cost: £110 Size: 165mm x 114mm x 10 mm Weight: 185 grams Stores: 2GB, expandable Battery life: Up to 1 month, depending on usage Connectivity: Wi-fi only

Slowly Getting Fast: The 4G Future


nternet on your phones and tablets is becoming more and more important for most people in the UK, and it’s starting to slow everything down. As more people stream video on their mobile devices, or surf the web on the go, it puts more strain on the network and slows it down for everyone. So, how can we fix this? At the moment the fastest mobile internet connection we can get in the UK is 3G, and that’s starting to look a bit aged now; so it’s time for the next generation, 4G. 4G wireless internet would give us connection speeds that are the same as, or even faster than, our internet connections at home, and would free up a huge amount of bandwidth so that more people could enjoy faster mobile internet. Although this may sound like a magic fix that could mean everyone gets to stream films on the go cheaply, that won’t be the case any time soon. There’re a few barriers getting in the way of wireless freedom:


When telephone companies first started getting ready for 3G internet, they had to bid for the licences for it from the government; this cost them a lot more than anyone predicted, with phone companies finally paying a total of £22.5 billion for them. That’s put phone companies on edge; they don’t want to have to pay that much again so they won’t have to charge their customers as much.

TV turn off

It has always been planned that 4G networks would run on the same frequency as terrestrial TV signals, but it has taken longer than originally planned to change everyone over to digital. This has delayed when a 4G network can be put in place by 2 years. You can blame your friends in London, as the last terrestrial TV signal will be turned off there.

Changing the rules

Because it cost so much to buy the licences last time, the phone companies have lobbied to change the auctioning rules so that it’s fairer for them. This has delayed the auction until the end of next year. It’s looking that the first 4G networks will be able to start getting underway no sooner than 2013, so don’t hold your breath. This is behind a lot of other countries, such as the US, Japan and a few other European countries where they’re already rolling out high speed 4G networks to customers. Although there have been delays, companies have already started testing the technology, with BT and Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile) testing networks in Cornwall and O2 testing in more populated areas in London. Hopefully, this means that once the other barriers are out of the way, we will all be able to get on the bandwagon for faster wireless internet. Until then, plans to cover the entire UK with a solid 3G signal are slowly rolling out. We’re slowly getting faster.

Will Osborn

Kobo Vox Wireless

Cost: £90 Size: 184mm x 120mm x 10 mm Weight: 221 grams Stores: 1GB, expandable Battery life: Up to 10 days, depending on usage Connectivity: Wi-fi and Bluetooth

Will Osborn

Robot War(den)s


esearchers working for the Asian Forum of Corrections in South Korea have developed robots that will do the work of prison guards. The robots, which are five foot high, are due to be trialled in a Pohang jail next March. The development of the four-wheeled ‘bots’ so far means they would only take some of the workload off of the existing prison guards but there’s potential for more in the future. The three machines that have been developed ready for next year’s trial will monitor any inmate with abnormal behaviour that could lead to things such as violence or suicide. They are apparently equipped with different kinds of sensors and cameras to help them find abnormalities and then alert the guards. “As we’re almost done with creating its key operating system, we are now working on refining its details to make it look more friendly to inmates” said Professor Lee BaikChu, from Kyonggi University, who led the research project. The project and trial has been funded by the South Korean government, and the latter alone is said to be costing them 1 billion won (which is equivalent to £554,00). The funding comes as South Korea begin to make a real push to be world leaders in the robotics industry.

LJ Taylor


Christmas Issue 2011


Your Year Abroad

At the moment there are a lot of choices being offered to all students. Spend a year abroad. This is such a great opportunitythat you can’t miss it, just contact your administrator and they should have all the details. The only thing you need to worry about is: do you carry on studying, or teach? We chat to two students, who are currently on their year abroad, on why they chose to either study or teach.

Study Study Study! B

onjour from Lyon! At the moment I am on my year abroad in France as part of my French, German and Spanish degree from Bangor University. I have been living in France for three months now and since being here, I have been studying at the Lyon University Jean Moulin 3 as part of my language course. I chose to study at a university instead of working or becoming a teaching assistant because I thought it would be the easiest way of making new friends and meeting people my age. For me this has been a fantastic opportunity and I have met so many people, not only from France but of all nationalities. Meeting these people has allowed me to immerse myself in the French culture and practice my speaking skills. Plus I have discovered that it is so much easier to speak a language over a drink with friends in a casual conversation compared to a

formal classroom situation. Being at university in a different country has been a completely unforgettable learn a whole new meaning of the phrase ‘patience is a virtue’! Firstly, when it comes to French universities, I’ll let you in on a little-known can basically expect them to be fairly disorganised and chaotic (ok, so it is not that much of a secret). No wonder the French have the whole blasé attitude! But after you get over the initial shock you begin to realise that this is the norm in France and their way of life is fairly relaxed and casual. My first experience of this was students still turning up to an hour and a half long lecture an hour into it! Can you imagine us trying that out in Bangor? In order to get the best out of this experience of living abroad I have learnt to try so many new things and not be afraid of change. A year abroad gives you the opportunity to

do and try things that you would never have even dreamt of doing before. Since being here I have had lots of new experiences for example I went ice skating for the first time, learnt to salsa dance, tried frogs legs, took a boat ride on Lake Geneva and experienced my first Canadian Thanksgiving! Other than walking round wearing my beret and with a baguette in hand (just kidding!), there have been lots of things for me to do here and get involved with. On your year abroad most exchange universities have an Erasmus group where they organise meetings for foreign students, these can range from international picnics to themed nights out. They can even help you find somewhere to live by putting you in contact with people who have somewhere to rent or they can help you make friends. The most important thing that I will take away from my year abroad

is the independence that I have developed since being here. You really do learn to fend for yourself and even though you have a great support system from Bangor, at the end of it you feel a sense of achievement of what you have managed to do out in the world all by yourself! I would recommend a year abroad to anyone, so if you ever get the opportunity you should grab it with both hands! A useful tip for anyone thinking about going abroad is to learn to expect the unexpected. Don’t worry, this does not necessarily mean bad things; some of the best times can come out of unforeseen situations! Another useful tip is to make sure you are organised as this can make your time run a lot more smoothly, leaving plenty of time for lots of fun!

Jordaine Hulse

Teach Teach Teach! H

ello, my name is Guy and I am currently in Austria on my year abroad. I’m studying German and Physical Education at Bangor and I’m in my 3rd year and I’m working as an English Language Assistant in two different schools. There were several options for what to do on my year abroad but the British Council Teaching Assistant role caught my eye. I didn’t want to go to university and study something that I had no interest in so I decided to apply for the assistantship programme. The application process was fairly straight forward, I just had to fill in an application form which was about two pages long, say why I wanted to do this and what experience I have had working with children (experience isn’t a necessity but it helps). I applied for this programme because I wanted to do something new, I wanted a challenge and I wanted to meet new people and also I have an interest in teaching and getting the

best out of the pupils. On the application form you had to say whether you wanted to go to Austria or Germany. I chose Austria as I have been here before and I believe that it is a beautiful country with so much to offer. The people are very laid back, friendly, helpful and they always take an interest in what you are doing. If you’re into skiing then this is the place to be – you’re spoilt for choice, if not then there’s lots of mountain biking, hiking, and lots of historic and beautiful towns and villages that still seem to be in a time warp. So you’re probably thinking what do I actually do as an English Language Assistant? Well, I teach a maximum of 13 hours a week (it’s normally less) and the rest of the time I have free to do whatever I want to do. Normally the teacher will say to prepare a topic and you’ve got to present it and teach the students about the topic. It’s not boring grammar or vocabulary. So

far I’ve done lessons on the Loch Ness Monster, English media, controversial advertising, abortion, social problems in England and sports. I teach in two all-girls schools and the pupils are really friendly and are immaculately behaved; they are always keen to learn and improve their English. There is always an English teacher in the classroom with you so if there were any problems then they would sort it out. I’m really enjoying it and you are not an actual teacher – you have no responsibilities and the students invite you to their leavers ball/prom and concerts so you are kind of in between a student and a teacher. As you are a native speaker of English they worship you too, they always come up to you, say hello to you outside of the classroom and every morning it’s fun and enjoyable going to school. If you are interested in doing the assistantship then I would

definitely recommend it, the first 2/3 weeks can be tough trying to figure everyone out and getting into a routine but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded. I’ve learnt so much since being here, my language has improved (both English and German), I’ve met some great people, been to some great parties, and hopefully will be skiing lots too! If you’re outgoing, confident within yourself and want a fun and action packed but challenging year this is definitely the programme for you – oh I forgot to say that you get paid for doing this too which is a massive help! The pay is more than enough to live on which is great. If you are thinking about doing this programme then dive in and do it. It’ll be a great experience for you and it’ll look great on your CV as it shows you can go away, take the initiative, adapt to life in a new country and learn new things too.

Guy Hutchison

Christmas Issue 2011


Travel Gone in 60 minutes: Llandudno Pier

Each issue I will be travelling to a place within one hour from Bangor and telling you the places you must visit before you leave this city!


his magnificent and uniquely shaped pier stands as a testament to Victorian design and architecture. Situated in the seaside resort of Llandudno, this is definitely something not to be over looked. Taking only thirty minutes to reach on the A55, you have no excuses not to visit. At 2,295 feet (700m) the pier is the longest in Wales and fifth longest in the UK. A British Tourist Authority report in 1975 said of it, ‘it zooms out of the sea…a magnificent sight,’ and in 2005, the pier was voted “Pier of the Year 2005” by the members of the National Piers Society. The pier was originally opened in 1858 and was only 242 feet (74m) long when built, on 16 wooden piles. The short pier was built to protect the rights of its owners to a much more ambitious scheme to build a major port in Llandudno Bay. However, unfortunately, the pier was severely damaged in the Royal Charter Storm of 25th October 1859. Although repaired and used for a further 16 years, the pier was too short and could only be used by steam ships at high tide. The present pier was opened to the public on 1st August 1877, however the new landing stage was added in 1891 and re built in 1969. The pier is very unusual in that it

has two entrances; one on the promenade at the north parade and the other, the original entrance, on Happy Valley Road. It was also the site for a Pavilion Theatre. Beginning in 1881 the 3 storey 2,000 seater structure was constructed in the flamboyant Victorian style of the era and was complete with its intricate cast-iron veranda, which ran along the seaward side of the theatre. The pavilion was just over 200ft long, with its width varying from between 84 – 104ft. A strange and unusual incorporation was a swimming pool in the basement of the pavilion, the largest indoor swimming pool in Britain at the time! Sadly for the pier company, problems with water quality meant that this unique feature had to be filled in shortly after opening. One success of the Pavilion was the Rivière’s Orchestra, which was an instant hit, and within a very short period of time had trebled in size to symphonic proportions. It contributed to the development of that great British summer entertainment, the promenade concert. As public tastes changed then so did the pavilions entertainment schedule. This

new variety show era heralded a new beginning for the pavilion and made it a firm favourite for the major artists of the time. People such as George Formby, Petula Clark, Cliff Richard and the Beverley Sisters where just a few of the household names that performed at the pavilion. However despite its long life of 109 years, it closed in 1990 finishing its life as a horror walkthrough waxwork exhibition. The modern pier is now a grade ll listed piece of architecture and features panoramic views of the Happy Valley gardens and with the Great Orme set in its backdrop, what better way to spend a day than strolling down the Victorian pier with ‘olde worlde’ features? The Pier is open 364 days of the year and boasts many different attractions, as well as live entertainment every day through the summer months. Receiving thousands of visitors a year, Llandudno Pier has come to life once again. The pier boasts many different kiosks offering a wide range of products. As you enter the pier off the promenade you are met by the smell of freshly cooked doughnuts, a must for any trip to the seaside. Also available at the front of the pier are hot dogs, candy floss and, of course,

“Voted pier of year in 2005”

Around the world with


If you become the person who takes Seren furthest ‘Around the World’, then you will win a fantastic meal for 2 at a selected restaurant in Bangor, including a bottle of wine! All entries made will automatically be entered into the draw. The winner will be announced via email after the final Seren of the year! So get going, and see how far we can get Seren ‘Around the World!’

the traditional soft ice creams. If you prefer they have a quaint little coffee shop selling fresh ground coffee from the Starbucks range “Seattle’s Best”. Also on the pier there is a fish & chip shop and bar and café so there is plenty of choice for things to eat and drink. During the main summer season you can enjoy having a drink at the bottom of the pier whilst watching the live entertainment every afternoon, with a live jazz band performing every weekend. The pier also has 2 different confectionary kiosks selling local fudge, biscuit and jam whilst also offering a huge pick’n’mix selection and, of course, the customary Llandudno Pier rock. The café offers a wide range of snacks and main meals with the main focus on healthy eating. But if you did fancy something special then why not try the Carte D’or kiosk with over 12 varieties of delicious creamy ice cream. On the pier you can find fun for everyone. There are two arcades on the pier with the main arcade Leisure Island, open all year-round, and you can find all the latest arcade games as well as an all-cash gambling area (over 18s). On the pier you will find

This issue Seren has travelled all the way to Finland! Timothy Jacobson travelled there and has sent us this picture to prove it. Congratulations Timothy you have been entered into the draw to win a meal for two! Finland is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of north-eastern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east. The native languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish and the capital is Helsinki, where five million of the population lives. Finland is a popular destination for many tourists as it is the country of Lapland. Many families travel out with their children who are very excited at the prospect of meeting Santa Claus. It is also a chance for people to see real-life reindeer, and take reindeer sleigh rides. Very exciting for both adults and children!

numerous novelty and gift shops selling a wide range of gifts with some real bargains to be found. There is a children’s play area with a bouncy castle and a huge bumpy slide and if that’s not enough fun for the kids then there are numerous fairground rides and gokarts they could try. Goods sold in shops include leather goods, ceramics, clothes, tapes & CDs, binoculars, lewellery, local photography prints, joke items, sporting goods, Welsh gifts, cards, books and aromatherapy, and there are numerous different gift shops. If you wish to go fishing whilst on the pier you can purchase day fishing tickets from the tackle shop which is found by the Happy Valley entrance to the pier, although be advised fishing is only permitted on the landing stage during the day. Steeped in history, Llandudno Pier is still considered by many to be the finest surviving Victorian pier in Britain. Llandudno pier is definitely worth visiting before you leave, you will find yourself surrounded by arcade games, cafes and shops. But not to forget you will get the opportunity to experience one of the best views in North Wales. Rowena Nathan

This issue of Seren has made it to...

FINLAND Top 5 Fun Facts About Finland: 1. The amount you get fined for speeding on the roads in Finland depends on the amount you earn. 2. It is the land of a thousand lakes - it has over 180,000 lakes. 3. There are no public payphones in Finland; there’s no need for them, everybody has mobile phones. 4. Finns love their sauna - there are around 2.2 million saunas in Finland, 1 for every 2.5 people. 5. Polar nights – there are days in Finland where the sun never rises.

which is 1299 miles away from Bangor!


Christmas Issue 2011


10 Top Tips for Starting Your Own Business.

1. 2.

University is the best time To start a business. Test out your new ideas on the large group of peers available and if you’re receiving funding or working part-time don’t worry if your ideas don’t pay the bills straight away.

Join the Bangor University Business and Enterprise Society (BUBES!). You can socialise with like-minded people, attend trips to large enterprises such as MUFC, meet local entrepreneurs and take part in Dragons’ Dens and other exciting activities (email for more info).

3. 4. 5. A

Submit your ideas the Business Ideas Competition for a chance to win £200 to help you get your business idea off the ground. Email ( and tell us about your idea in around 200 words by 10th February 2012 (entries will remain confidential and will be judged anonymously).

Visit the Big Ideas Wales website ( It’s been created by Welsh Government specifically to help students start a business and it’s full of inspiring stories about local entrepreneurs, tips for generating business ideas and guidance on how to start up on your own. Complete the Enterprise Catalyst online (www. to find out the content of your ‘enterprise fuel.’ This ten minute quiz will highlight your skills, motivations and attitude to enterprise, and give you top pointers on how to be a real success.

Festive Fun!

s soon as Halloween rolls around, the shops bring the Christmas stock out. This year with the recession riding us, shops are struggling to sell it on. Arcadia has already announced the loss of 260 stores UK wide. It is Christmas time though and all across the UK the effort is being made to provide festive entertainment to the masses. Where ever you are at Christmas this year they’ll be a Christmas market nearby. Here in Bangor, our closest is Liverpool Christmas Market. Open until the 22nd December it offers produce from all over the world, including this year’s new German glühwein bar. If you fancy a little time away at Christmas Center Parcs are offering a Winter Wonderland experience with reindeers, horse and carriage rides, pantomimes and firework displays. Or if, like me, you’ll be spending your holiday on the sofa with the family and an arrangement of food close at hand, television has a few films on for our enjoyment. Over the three days of Christmas, BBC are rumoured to be showing, among the necessary Disney and traditional Christmas films, G-Force, The Magic Roundabout and Young Victoria. ITV will be sticking to tradition and adding a faint penguin theme. Chanel 4 is catering to the reality television fans by providing Christmas specials of their

favourite shows. Chanel 5 will be having a Boxing Day filled with music. Supermarkets have got on board in a big way this Christmas again. M&S are making Christmas as easy as possible this season. Morrisons are giving away a £25 voucher for your Christmas when you spend £40 per week for 6 weeks. Tesco are doubling clubcard vouchers for gifts and clothes. And there are half price deals t hroug hout stores. This year’s Coca-Cola truck tour has already started on its way to visiting 100 towns. If anyone wants to visit it, it’ll be in Liverpool on the 1st and 6th of December. Students will probably only be able to catch it back home if they live in the South. They’ll be a new snow globe advertisement on television this year, and to follow the theme you can make a snow globe wish on their website. To discourage drinking and driving over the festive period, Coco-Cola are offering free drinks to designated drivers from 9th December. Facebook groups are counting down to Christmas and inviting folks to join them in making sure X Factor doesn’t have a number one this Christmas. Samantha Austin

6. 7. 8. 9.

Add B-Enterprising on Facebook ( benterprising) to receive details of local and national opportunities to improve your enterprise skills, take part in competitions and where to get support for your business idea. Attend a B-Enterprising workshop to develop key enterprise skills such as leadership, negotiation and pitching. You can also improve your knowledge of business areas like finance, marketing and sales. Find out what’s on by visiting the website (

To seriously kick-start your start-up efforts, attend a 3 or 4 day Business Start-Up School or Freelancing Bootcamp. They take place in November and March every year, and cover everything you need to know. Check the intranet after Christmas for the date of the next course (www. Use social media to put you and your ideas out there for little or no cost. Creating a Facebook business page will help you market yourself, and getting your LinkedIn profile up to scratch will showcase you to potential customers and help you to network. Email m.hamlet@bangor. for help with social media.


Book a one to one, confidential mentoring session with a professional business advisor (b-enterprising@bangor. to talk about your ideas in more detail. Solidify your plans, get realistic advice and find out about funding opportunities.

How To Save Cash When Buying Those Christmas Goodies!


ith Christmas just around the corner budgeting is starting to become even more of a commodity now than it once was. With a plethora of presents to buy and Christmas cards to find the expenses can soon add up. As we however know the Internet can sometimes be a gift and if used wisely we can find a lot of good ways to save those pounds around the festive season. This list of websites shows a way that you can save a few pounds during the all important end of loan period. The community nature of the Internet means that almost as soon as something is published it is not only up for public scrutiny but public discussion and the website hotukdeals utilises this in order to find the cheapest and best deals out there on the web and around the high streets. It allows users to rate whether or not they found a post useful and the feedback from users lets you compare prices to elsewhere. A similar idea to the hotukdeals website Money Sav- ing Expert has a series of forums that also allow people to submit what they

stumb l e across and share it with the masses. Another website that may be worth a look could be a website dedicated to finding codes that can be used when shopping online in order to make those festive purchases

cheaper. The site has a convenient “top 50” section that shows a quicker way to browse through the site combined with a categories section that allows people to refine their searches. If a book is more up your street whilst some of the larger online shops can seem cheaper and the charity shops may well be a good idea it may well be worth a quick visit to find-a-book . A website that allows users to search for a book and then tries to look in its database to suggest where would be the cheapest place to buy it from. Websites such as Quidco offer not only discounts but sometimes offer money back on purchases however these often seem to be higher end purchases such as mobile phones, games consoles or car insurance however they do claim you could save £100 on an iPhone – I’m not overly sure if that would work however they seem to have been covered by the likes of the BBC and the telegraph. As well as those mentioned so far we have the likes of Kelkoo, for price comparisons, kelkoo searches a plethora of retailers to try and find the cheapest price in a similar way to Google. The internet has a few more websites similar to these however this list is the ones with the most information about them around the web and some of them have had some media coverage in the past only to continue to be overlooked by the general masses. Matt Jackson


Christmas Issue 2011




ary Speed was a Welsh professional footballer, a midfielder who played for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton, Sheffield United and also captained his country at international level. He later went on to manage Sheffield United, before moving to the position he held at the time of his death, as manager of Wales. He was found hanged on the morning of 27th November at his home in Cheshire. The outpouring of grief and emotion over Gary Speed’s death tells us more about the man than anything ever could. With some of the most commonly used words being ‘legend’ and ‘model professional’, in Gary Speed the footballing world had a man to whom both of those terms could be applied without hyperbole. Perhaps the most poignant reminder of just how much of a powerful figure he was and will remain was expressed when the minutes’ silence at the Swansea-Aston Villa match spontaneously erupted into applause, and chants of “There’s only one Gary Speed”. It was probably the most fitting and respectful way to pay tribute. The shockwave from the death of Speed has reached out to touch everyone in the football world and beyond. Tributes to him have been appearing at football grounds around the country, in places like Leeds and Bolton, where he played and captained, to Wrexham, where his son played for the youth

team. Footballers have been queuing up to pay their respects, and perhaps the most heartbreaking was Robbie Savage fighting back tears on BBC News, and his subsequent article where he spoke of his friend as “my captain, my hero, my mate”. On a personal level, I and many people I know have expressed t h e view that it is surprising that the death of someone you don’t know can affect you so deeply, and so much. There are numerous examples of brilliant and heart-wrenching tributes to Speed, but the reaction has been the finest tribute by far. Football has united as a community in both anguish and grief at this tragedy, and this is truly the ultimate example of how football can ultimately bring people together. Speculation over the causes of Speed’s suicide is far too premature, and I

refuse to give any space to rumours that are beginning to fly. What we should remember about Speed, apart from his tremendous ability and legacy as the Premier League player with the third most appearances, was the fact he was a natural leader. At one time or another he captained Everton, Newcastle, Bolton, Sheffield United and Wales. The Welsh national team, under his management, have recently enjoyed a terrific spell, and he has been credited for making big decisions such as giving Aaron Ramsey the captaincy. He looked as if he was adapting quickly and capably to management, and to all intents and purposes had the world at his feet. However, whatever drove Speed to take his own life is not overly important. Of real importance is the fact that both football and wider world have lost a great man, and that a loving wife and two sons have lost a husband and father. Gary Speed’s legend will live on in football for a long time to come, and he will be sorely missed by many.

Career Stats and Honours

Player Stats: Clubs: Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield United. Appearances (all competitions): 840 Goals (all competitions): 134 National Team: Wales Caps: 85 Goals: 7 Honors: Leeds United: Football League Second Division Champions: 1989-90 Football League First Division Champions: 1991-92 FA Charity Shield Winners: 1992 League Cup Finalists: 1996 Newcastle United: FA Cup Finalists: 1998, 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup Finalists: 2001 Premier League Asia Trophy Finalists: 2003 Bolton Wanderers: Premier League Asia Trophy Winners: 2005 Individual: PFA Team of the Year: 1993 Premier League 10 Seasons (1992-93 - 2001-02): Most Apps: 352 Manager: Sheffield United: 2010 Wales National Team: 2010-11

“My Captain, My Hero, My Mate...” The Sporting World Mourns A Legend Robbie Savage Reflects on his team mate and his friend “Everything a footballer should aspire to be.” - Bill Kenwright (Everton Chairman) “He was a fantastic professional and everybody in the game loved him.” - Alex McLeish (Aston Villa Manager) “He was someone we all looked up to and he was a fantastic role model.” - Titus Bramble (Newcastle Team Mate) “I’ll forget the goals but I will never forget his laugh” - Gordon Strachan (Leeds United Team Mate) “He was a real 100 per center in everything he did, nothing was too much for him, he was such a proper man. When it came to it, he helped everyone and was happy to do it...” - Ben Thatcher (Wales Team Mate) “He was a lad that I never, ever heard anybody say a bad word about.” Harry Redknapp (England Manager) “The fact he was such a nice guy makes it harder to accept the news. It’s very tragic.” - Sam Ricketts (Wales International) “On and off the pitch he was an incredible man, he was such a positive person in the dressing room, I cannot believe he has gone.” - El Hadji Diouf (Bolton Wanderers Team Mate) “One of the nicest men in football” - Ryan Giggs (Wales Team Mate) “My first Premier League game was against him, he showed me in that game what British football is about.” - Xabi Alonso (Former Liverpool Midfielder) “The ideal role model” - Ian Rush (Wales Team Mate) “He was a very respected man in and around football, not only for his ability but for the guy as a person.” - Kenny Dalgleish (Manager at Newcastle) “The ultimate pro on and off the pitch.” - Tim Cahill (Everton Midfielder)

I’m looking at the headlines and I still can’t believe it. My captain, my hero, my mate is gone and I can’t understand why, he had the world at his feet and the ironic thing is that he was the guy you would always go to if you ever had a problem. “Since I’ve been doing Strictly [Come Dancing] he’s phoned me every Saturday morning to wish me good luck and have a laugh. We were joking around like usual, talking about football and dancing. One of the last things he said to me was, “don’t get a two off Craig” “Then I found out at 10 o’clock on Sunday and it feels surreal to know I’ll never get that call off Gary again. “I’d grown very close to him over the last year or so. He’d always been a friend. But in that time we’d become best friends. There are people in football who will drop you like a stone when you retire but that’s not Gary. He had time for everyone, always. He was a lovely guy. “It was an honour to know him and an honour to play with him. The first time I met him was when I was called up to the Wales squad for the first time. Some of the other veteran players looked down on me because I was a scrawny kid who played for Crewe, but not him. He treated me the same as if I was Ian Rush or Mark Hughes and that made me feel 10 feet tall. “As a leader and a captain, he was unbeatable. He had skill but he worked his heart out too. He was as fit as a fiddle, what you would call a model professional. He was an inspiration in the dressing room and on the field he was the man you’d want with you in the trenches. “Since I heard, I’ve been thinking about all the times we shared. As team-mates, the best was beating Italy 2-1 at the Millennium in 2002. He played left back that night, doing what he had to do for the team as always. It was a wonderful win, one of the biggest in Welsh history, and I’ll never forget him, so happy and proud afterwards as we jumped on each other in celebration. “I also remember a time when I played Everton with Leicester. We were mates then and our dads would go to Wales matches together. I caught Gary with an unintentional elbow in the nose and about a minute later, he smashed straight through me and gave

me a little wink as he got booked. In the players’ lounge we had a massive row about it in front of our dads, who were amazed. Of course, we had a huge laugh about it later. “We also had a laugh a couple of years ago, when Gary was named the Wales manager and I fancied making an international comeback. “That’s great because I’m looking for a bus driver,” said Gary. Then he carefully and kindly explained to me why he wouldn’t be bringing me back. “If you were 10 years younger, Sav... but you’re not,” he said. He was always so honest and so truthful. “The last time I saw him was three or four weeks ago when he came down to Strictly with his wife. After I’d completed my routine I high-fived him and I can see him sitting there now, a big smile on his face, so happy and so proud of his mate. “That’s how I’ll always think of him. In high spirits with a broad smile, taking pleasure in his life and his friends. “It makes what has happened so much more shocking. There was never a hint of this, never. He had a beautiful wife, two gorgeous kids. He had a great job and a great team and he was on the verge of something big. “I don’t know why this has happened and I don’t think I ever will but I know it was an honour to be his team-mate and his friend.”


Christmas Issue 2011


TENNIS 2011 SEASON RECAP Josh Watkins-Smith


he year of 2011 has been a phenomenal year for men’s tennis. The season is at now at an end and has been a year dominated by one man: Novak Djokovic. It saw him lift three of the four grand slams, so launching him into even greater stardom, and has been hailed by many as one of the greatest individual seasons in the history of the sport. In January the Serbian triumphed over Britain’s Andy Murray to lift the Australian Open for the second time; remaining unbeaten until the semi-finals of the French Open, in which he was defeated by an inspired Roger Federer. Despite this, Djokovic recouped to win Wimbledon, and the US Open, defeating Rafael Nadal on both occasions and dethroning the Spaniard to become the established world number one. “He won everything a person can win; he had the best season in the history of the sport.” said his close friend and fellow-Serb Janko Tipsarevic. Djokovic’s incredible season featured seventy wins compared to just six losses. “I had an unbelievable year,” he said. “Nothing can ruin that. I will always remember this year as the best of my life.” However, all great things must come to an end, and the Serbian star’s season crashed back to earth as he was eliminated from the ATP World Tour Finals in London; his final

match of the season ending in a group stage defeat to Janko Tipsarevic – a replacement for the injured Andy Murray. Murray himself experienced his best ever season on the ATP tour, reaching a final and three semi-finals in the grand slams alongside winning five other titles Murray was in fine form prior to the Finals and his withdrawal was a disappointing end to a fantastic season, but he can now recover and look forward to a promising 2012 season. Rafael Nadal, dethroned as world number one earlier this year, has been surprised by Djokovic’s rise; losing to him six times, all in finals. However, the Spaniard still won the French Open and reached the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open, but any hopes of victory in London were extinguished as he was eliminated in brutal fashion by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who set alight the Finals with a stunning display of power and aggression. He later said, “I probably had a bit less passion for the game because

I was more tired than usual; this was a tough year but I’ll do all to be perfect for the start of 2012.” Whilst others were tiring, 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer indulged the crowds in the O2 Arena to a 6-3 6-0 demolition of fierce rival Rafael Nadal in a truly masterful performance. A tired Nadal had no regrets, accepting that “Roger played a fantastic level. Something very special only one player like Roger can achieve.” Federer is the most successful player of all time and by his very high standards, 2011 had been a disappointing year, as he will end the season without a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002. However after serene progress to the final, The Swiss maestro ended 2011 victorious; celebrating the 100th final of his career with his 70th title and an unprecedented sixth at the ATP World Tour Finals, showing all his class and experience to defeat JoWilfried Tsonga 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-3. In a year dominated by Djokovic, some believe Federer to be in decline, but this victory will send a message to his rivals…. He still has the desire, and this is a quite brilliant reminder of his exceptional, history-making talent.

The AU Review on Storm FM

Join Storm FM’s Harry Bradford and Seren Sports Editor Tom Knott for the AU Review every Sunday from 6-7pm on Storm FM. Over the course of the hour we will be discussing both AU and national sports news as well as talking with a guest captain from one of Bangor Athletic Union’s many clubs and playing some music. Tune in on 87.7fm or listen online at


Victory at Last for American Samoa

nternational Football’s worst team, American Samoa, recorded their first ever Fifa sanctioned win last with a 2-1 victory against neighbours Tonga. Like their 31-0 demolition by Australia in 2001’s record setting goal fest, American Samoa coach Thomas Rongen believes that this victory is going to be a part of football history. Having never scored a goal in World Cup qualifying, Ramin Ott and Kaneti Falela put that record to rest with two

fantastic goals by way of a 40 yard strike a neatly taken lob. Although Tonga did create a scare with two minutes remaining, as Unaloto Faeo reduced the deficit with a headed goal, brave defending kept the score at 2-1 until the final whistle and American Samoa completed an incredibly unexpected victory. With over half the squad not attached to clubs, this is a victory that will be remembered by the players and fans for a long time to come.



LJ Taylor

’ve been a Newcastle United fan ever since I was old enough to realise that my Dad’s club preference (Sheffield Wednesday) wasn’t the only choice. For my ninth birthday my parents took me to St James’ Park for a stadium tour, my Grandparent’s had even tried to get me to be one of the mascots but unfortunately there wasn’t a home game that day. I remember my Mum sitting in Alan Shearer’s spot in the dressing rooms; I vowed never to forgive her. I did. Somewhat. That was the first and last time I visited St James’ Park. On November 10th, Newcastle United bosses made the decision to change the historic stadium’s name to the Sports Direct Arena, after owner Mike Ashley’s company. Derek Llambias, the club’s Managing Director, told the BBC that the reason for the change was that “Stadium rebranding offers a lucrative way for clubs to secure a significant income” So, it’s all about money then?

Matt Jackson


Newcastle, who after coming back up to the Premier League from a brief spat in the Championship, have shown shades of their past so far this season. Just this month they faced their first loss of the season, a feat quite surprising for a team without all the big name players. Unlike teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal, Newcastle don’t have the money or the superpower owners to be able to afford world class players and often make the most of home grown talent; something rare of English clubs these days. But apparently for owner Ashley the club having money is more important. Fans of the club have expressed their dislike towards the change that has broken over 130 years of tradition; St James’ Park has been the home of Newcastle United since 1892. “It feels like they’ve just completely disregarded every bit of history we the fans, and the club in general, have at St

James’ Park” said Dominic Blake, a Newcastle fan. It’s not just the fans that are unhappy with the decision either. Newcastle City Council has also rejected the change in

same week as Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25th year in charge, relatively obscure Dario Gradi stepped down with little publicity. Many say that had he made the step to the premier league his name and story would have been all over the back pages, but by showing commitment and devotion that is so often lacking in the modern game Dario just seemingly slipped away with little interest from the media. Famous for his development of youth talent Dario Gradi has been accredited with launching the careers of some of Britain’s shining stars of the last 28 years. Current Sunderland and Wales midfielder David Vaughan was one of the players to make his name at the Alexandra stadium under the Gradi era as well as one time England international Dean Ashton and current Fulham captain Danny Murphy as well as a series of other talented players such as David Platt and Seth Johnson. Following his res-

ignation, several of the players nurtured by Gradi took to the social media to show their support and offer their thanks to him, current centre half Jordan Connerton, tweeted “Thanks Dario for signing me from non league!”, whereas hot prospect Nick Powell added “Sad that a manager has stepped down after so long, poor way to leave with the boo’s and chants. Still the same players ...” which shows the unfortunate way in which a footballing legend parted with the club. It was after a string of unfortunate displays and points dropped that saw the fans turn on their much loved manager. The fans of the club will always remember the Gradi era, and several fan are calling for the Air Products Stand to be renamed the Dario Gradi stand, similar to what Manchester United did for their long serving gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson, due to Gradi’s 1997 achievement of taking the club into its highest ever league finish. Following the news

name. The council has refused to change any signs in the city to bear the new stadium name and insist that it will always be St James’ Park; “The football club is part of

the beating heart of the city, and while the council values its relationship with the club, it has no plans to change any existing wayfinding signs which bear the name St James’ Park. As far as the fans and Newcastle City Council are concerned, the home of Newcastle United will always be known as St James’ Park.“ said Councillor Henry Murison. St James’ Park was due to be one of the stadiums used for the football tournaments that the Olympic games are to bring to the UK next year. Following the renaming of the O2 arena to the North Greenwich Arena during next years’ games the home of the Magpie’s will not be able to display any sponsorship branding during the tournaments. This comes after Olympic organisers decided that un-paying sponsors should not

benefit from the Olympics. St James’ Park will be officially back; at least for the duration of the tournaments taking place during July and August. Owner, Mike Ashley, claims that the rebranding is only temporary and is a way to make other sponsor’s see that the club is open to rebranding. He hopes that changing the name to the Sports Direct Arena will bring the club ‘much needed’ money with a sponsor looking to rebrand the name again. “Since he bought the club he’s made a lot of decisions that have made fans unhappy, this one probably ranks highest” another Newcastle fan said. It appears that Ashley has a blatant disregard for the club’s history even if he seemingly has good reasoning for the decision. Newcastle United are one of a rising amount of English clubs to be changing their stadium names and probably won’t be the last. Arsenal changed to the Emirates, Manchester City to the Etihad Stadium, and Wigan Athletic to the DW Stadium to name just a few.

the club announced that assistant Steve Davis has taken the reigns and will hopefully have a much brighter career at the club than Gudjon Thordarson, or Steve Holland did during Gradi’s time as technical director. I for one as a fan of Crewe Alexandra will a l-

member Dario stood on the sidelines from when I was child, commanding the players during their most successful stint in the nPower Championship.


n the 10th November 2011 a footballing era came to an end, after 28 years with league two side Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi stepped down to focus more on youth development. Few people amongst the football world won’t recognise the achievements of Dario and the calibre of player that has come through his ranks. In 2004 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame being the 11th manager to be so, this achievement along with his MBE show how much impact Gradi has had during his managerial stint at Crewe. Dario Gradi built Crewe Alexandra during his tenure and quite possibly did more for one club than any other man in football and yet his achievements are still widely overlooked by the lay-public. In the

ways r e -

Christmas Issue 2011




Alex Thomson


artin Johnson has resigned as Coach of the English Rugby team after three-and-a-half years in the

role. He had no coaching experience yet Johnson was appointed team manager of the national England Rugby Union side in April 2008 which may lead to some questions of why Johnson was picked to coach when he had no experience in that field and others had. Johnson’s decision follows a miserable World Cup which ended in quarterfinal defeat by France and also featured a series of offfield controversies which marred his career and will add to the idea that there will be no Johnson legacy. “I have a choice at the moment. If I hadn’t made that decision someone may

have made it for me.” Johnson won 84 caps for England as a player, leading the side to victory in the 2003 World Cup, but during his time as manager England won only 21 of the 38 matches played. Johnson’s departure comes a few days after Mike Tindall, who stood in as captain at the World Cup when Lewis Moody was injured, was removed from the elite player squad and fined £25,000 after misleading the team management over a team night out in New Zealand. The Rugby Football Union’s director of elite rugby Rob Andrew, who has overseen three England managers during his time at Twickenham, said he would not be

following Johnson in leaving his job. Here is a brief timeline to the events that lead to the resignation of Martin Johnson with the World Cup being a severe problem to Johnson with miserable matches. 10 September 2011: England had to fight to win against Argentina 13-9 in their World Cup opener, Johnson’s side having been 9-3 down with 13 minutes left. Ben Youngs saves the day with a late try. 15 September 2011: Martin Johnson is forced to come out in defence of his players following a night out in Queenstown. Mike Tindall, Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley are among the players involved in this incident, which was holding a “Mad Midget Weekender”. Johnson also has to defend the decision to allow some players to go bungee jumping. 24 September 2011: Romania are beaten 67-3 to give Johnson and the rest of the squad some breathing space. 29 September 2011: The Rugby Football Union suspends the assistant coach Dave Alred and the fitness coach Paul Stridgeon from the World Cup game against Scotland after the pair were found to have illegally

changed balls during the victory against from England’s elite player squad following events in Queenstown, while Haskell and Romania. Ashton were given £5,000 suspended fines 3 October 2011: Johnson says that he following an incident in Dunedin. Hartley is angry with Ashton, Hartley and James Haskell for alleged inappropriate harassis cleared. ment of a female hotel employee at the Sce16 November 2011 Johnson resigns. nic Southern Cross hotel. 8 October 2011: England crash out of the World Cup with a 19-12 defeat against a French team that had been in disarray earlier in the tournament. It is an uninspiring defeat that had a lot to do with the decision by Johnson to quit. 9 October 2011: Tuilagi is detained by Auckland police after jumping from a ferry as it was about to berth. The 20-year-old is given a pre-charge warning for disorderly behaviour before being released back to the England team management, which fines him £3,000. Johnson is criticised by certain people for his leadership qualities. 11 November 2011: Tindall 2011: Johnson resigns as England coach is fined £25,000 and removed

ATHLETICS UNION BUCS RESULTS: 23rd November Lancaster W1 Basketball: W1 55-57 John Moores M1 Basketball: M1 54-61 MMU Cheshire M2 Hockey: M2 5-0 Keele W1 Hockey: W1 3-0 John Moores W2 Football: W1 2-1 MMU M1 Football: M1 1-4 Central Lancashire W1 Rugby Union: W1 63-5 Edge Hill M1 Rugby Union: M1 46-10 MMU Cheshire M1 Rugby League: M1 0-48 Newcastle W1 Badminton: W1 4-4 Liverpool Hope W1 Netball: W1 37-35 Netball: W2 46-17 Chester (Warrington) W2 Keele M1 Fencing: M1 93-135 Liverpool Hope M2 Football: M2 1-2 Keele M4 Football: M3 2-1 Lancaster M3 Rugby Union: M2 39-0 Edge Hill M3 Badminton: M3 8-0 Manchester M2 Table Tennis: M1 2-15 Lancaster M2 Badminton: M2 3-5 Hockey: W2 Liverpool W4 3-1 John Moores M1 Badminton: M1 7-1 John Moores M2 Tennis: M2 12-0 Sheffield M1 Tennis: M1 0-12 The complete BUCS results, league tables, and fixtures can be found online at



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Seren - 221 - 2011/12 - December Issue  

This is the December 2011/12 issue of Seren, Bangor Univeristy's English Language Newspaper. Produced by students for students.