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Bangor University Students’ Union English Language Newspaper

December 2012 Issue No. 227 FREE

@SerenBangor

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GIFT OF EXPRESSION RETURNS

THE END OF THE WORLD?

INTERVIEW: VC

Not in our club

Homosexual couples reprimanded for showing affection Club Manager keen to find root of problem

by SINNEAD TOWEY

A

number of Bangor University students have revealed that they were asked to leave Embassy nightclub last year. The students were approached by security in what they described as homophobic related incidents. A 19-year-old music student said she was approached whilst kissing another female. She was told to stop what she was doing as it wasn’t allowed. The same student also witnessed a homosexual friend, on a separate occasion, being told directly by a bouncer to “Leave before something was done about it.” “I was told stop or you’ll have to leave” said Amelia Anderson, a Bangor Media Student. “I was annoyed by it because there was a heterosexual couple kissing but they were never approached.” Embassy themselves were not aware of the problem. “No one has come to myself to make me aware of any issues. Certainly my own staff haven’t come to me,” said Clive Lewis, the club’s manager. All of the reported incidents occurred before March this year when a

“managerial issue” forced Embassy to of discriminative behaviour, in any change their door staff. establishment, is strongly advised to Mr Lewis said, “We do not tolerate take further action. those kinds of views. We welcome “If people have any problems we are anyone, from any background or with here to listen,” said Martyn Curzey, any view, as long as it’s a reasonable Secretary of Unity, Bangor’s lesbian, view, to come to our venue and en- gay, bisexual and transgender society. joy themselves. I hope that people do Unity offer a wide range of events, that...We encourage feedback and es- including meetings at 2:30pm every pecially the issues you’re bringing to Wednesday and “Identity nights,” our attention. They have no place in held on the last Thursday of every this business and no place in the com- month. munity as a whole.” “Identity is Bangor’s only attitude The incidents all involved an in- free night where people can come timate nature but the club doesn’t and are encouraged to completely believe that should be reason for dis- be themselves.” said Mr Curzey. The missal from the premises. “We have society also provides a strong supa heavy petting policy but kissing port service, encouraging anyone for me isn’t an issue. It’s a display of who needs help or a friendly ear to affection that we’re all used to.” said contact the Unity Guide Coordinator, Mr Lewis. “We do warn first and ask David William Blake Broadhurst, at people to resist. There have been oc- lgbt.guide@undeb.bangor.ac.uk casions where people have taken it further than that and we’ve asked them to leave, politely. It’s just a case HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED of trying not to offend people, whatSOMETHING LIKE THIS? GET ever their sexual orientation.” IN TOUCH WITH SEREN SO WE Embassy is keen to ensure that CAN CONTINUE TO PROVIDE A nothing of this nature happens again. VOICE FOR STUDENTS. editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk It goes without saying, that prejudice of any form should not be allowed. Anyone who is witness to any form

Bangor Students go to Demo

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BAR UNO & s b u Cl ies t e i c So

s a m t s i r h C nner i D 2012

r e p ÂŁp1e1 rson

Starters

Dessert

Roasted parsnip, apple and honey soup with crusty roll and basil butter

Home made Christmas pudding with brandy sauce

Duo of melon with fruits and mango coulis

Main Courses Traditional Roast turkey with stuffing, pigs in blanket, gravy and a selection of festive vegetables and potatoes. Onion confit and sage tart ,chive cream sauce, festive vegetables and potatoes.

Double chocolate fudge cake with vanilla sauce

Bookings

Tel: 01248 38 2558 Email: reservations@bangor.ac.uk


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

CONTENTS

3 The views presented hereinafter do not represent the views of Seren Bangor, Bangor Students’ Union or Bangor University.

44

LJ TAYLOR EDITOR editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk

4-8 9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18 19 20 21 22-23 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-31 32 33 34-35 36-37 38-39 40-41 42-43 44 46 47 48-49 50-51 52 53-56

6 30 38

51 28-29

THE

CONTRIBUTORS

News Environment Politics VC Interview Comment End of the World Demo 2012 Union Police Safety Student Experience Societies Society Girls Food and Drink Deck the Halls Christmas Gift Guide Ali’s Advice Health and Beauty TV Film Games Gadgets Music Frank Turner Interview Books Arts and Culture Creative Corner Travel Breaktime Sport

TEAM LJ Taylor EDITOR Rosie McLeod DEPUTY Matt Jackson SECRETARY TREASURER Stefan Wilson Dan Turner DESIGN PHOTOS Eddy Reynolds

News Environment Politics Comment Features Societies Society Girls Food & Drink Gift Guide Advice Health & Beauty

Nicola Hoban Will Johnson Alex Thomson Sophie Smith Stefan Wilson Laura Jones Pippa Botting Robyn Wynn Joe Russell Jo Caulfield Ali Keshtmand Harriet Acton

Fashion TV Film Games & Gadgets Music Books Arts/Culture Creative Corner Travel Breaktime Sport

Kaden Wild Becki Watson Becci Jameson LJ Taylor Sean Talbot Laura Jones Rosie MacLeod Tom Haynes Jordaine Hulse Stefan Wilson Matt Jackson

This issue has been a tough one. Essay deadlines have followed into Seren deadlines and then back into essay deadlines. The whole team has been exhausted and the Christmas cheer has been hard to come by. What’s important though is we’ve done it. We have reached the finish line with what is an amazing issue that I hope each and every one of my team will be proud of. A lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone into this. Pippa capsized her canoe for this issue. Myself, Sean and Stefan have endured close on 40 hours of no sleep for the good of Seren. I took a team, a few weeks back, to London where we braved the cold and disgusting weathers that Demo 2012 had to offer. Its done though, here it is, Seren’s final issue of 2012. Its not all as gloomy as I’ve made it sound though. We’ve had some good times. Namely, changing Books Editor Laura’s Facebook into Deirdre Barlow and each adopting a character to keep her company. (I was Peter, it suited my love of Jack Daniels) My dedicated team have gone out around Bangor to get you the latest news, we’ve interviewed Frank Turner, we’ve found out what the VC has been up to and we’ve even given you a heads up and what to expect with the impending end of the world. I hope you enjoy this 56 page, somewhat Christmassy issue and take advantage of that free DW Sports Pass in the Sports pages. As always, if you want to get involved with Seren in any way just get in touch with me, or come along to one of our meetings; Wednesday’s, 6pm in the Students’ Union. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers from all our team and a special hello to our new readers over in Spain!

Sinnead Towey Adam Burns Thomas Bickerdike Emma Asberg Owain Redfern Al Julley Peter Walton Ida Vaisanen Luke Dobson Aaron Wiles Eta Uso Yousef Cisco Ailish Bumpus Lizzi Bryant Tom Emlyn Williams Jenn Faughnan

#56

Danielle Bagnall Amy Littlewood Roberta Grae Excell Emily Bygrave Laura Gilbert Zac Hinchcliffe Mihau Tarmure Harriet Weller Becky Payne Cathryn Emery Jack Armstrong Judith Burns Niamh Ryan Tom Davies Ashleigh Garnett Joe Keep


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

Local News Floods devastate North Wales

December Issue 2012

Hundreds of homes left damaged as weather causes flooding

by NICOLA HOBAN

A

fter several weeks of bad weather which has caused many cases of flooding up and down Britain and devastated home owners, the country has now started to assess the damage and the impact it has caused. Prince Charles earlier this week visited St Asaph to offer his aid to the locals that were affected by the floods. The Prince of Wales, greeted by the Bishop, school pupils and dinner ladies from Ysgol Glan Clwyd, thanked emergency services for their support on Monday 3rd December, speaking to rescue teams as well as residents whose homes were left damaged after the River Elwy banks overflowed during the heavy rain fall. During the morning, he visited residents homes that had been left dev-

astated, and then continued on to St Asaph fire station where he spoke to the fire fighters, paramedics and volunteers who had responded during the flood, helping hundreds and had set up a makeshift flood relief centre. The visit was ended at St Asaph Cathedral where the Prince spoke words of comfort to relatives of Margaret Hughes. Mrs. Hughes, who would have celebrated her 92nd birthday on Thursday 6th December, died by drowning after flood water invaded her home in Tai’r Felin. Remembered by family members as an “independent and active nain”, her death has left the community heartbroken as they try and recover from the ramifications of the floods. Councillor Bill Cowie said of the damages in the community: “It’s absolutely devastating – I feel so sorry for them. It’s so tragic that a lady lost her

life.” Desperate pleas for aid were made during the week as hundreds of homeless residents on the flooded Glasdir estate in Ruthin struggle to find somewhere else to live. Panicked residents fled the estate after being warned by a postman as it rapidly began flooding with water following the River Clwyd’s bank bursting on the Tuesday morning. Several families however were left stranded in their homes and had to be rescued by lifeboats and JCBs. Residents have been left frustrated after they were given assurances that their homes were not at risk to being flooded, despite the fact the housing development having been built on a flood plain. Ruthin Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts is now asking landlords and housing associations to allow usage of empty properties so that

families could stay in the area: “We’ve got some people who haven’t got homes. We don’t want to affect children’s schooling and they want to be near family at Christmas.” However, he is asking landlords not to inflate their rents in an effort to profit from the victims’ fragile situations as it could potentially stop them from finding new homes. A warning has also gone out to homeowners to be cautious in who they employ to repair damages in their homes. Denbighshire’s Public Protection Manager Emlyn Jones stated: “We want to remind people to be careful about who they employ for their flood repairs. This is an upsetting time for all those who have suffered damage to their homes, and we don’t want anyone to be taken advantage of.”

Asda Bangor: Happy to help students

Bangor’s new addition eager to support students and the community by LJ TAYLOR

T

he new Asda Bangor store is keen to give students exactly what they need. The store, situated at the old Bangor City FC site on Farrar Road, is reaching out to the students of Bangor for help. “If the students could help us by telling us what we haven’t got enough of then we can sort that out. We know pizzas, energy drinks and pasta are popular at the moment.” said Sally Blake, the General Store Manager. Already the store is looking ahead to how it can provide students with what they need when it comes to big student events. Ms Blake continued: “We want feedback on what extras we need to get in for Fresher’s week next year. We could do with a bit of help on that so we don’t disappoint.” The new addition to Bangor will support students and the community through Asda’s Community Life, a relatively new initiative. It brings Asda

colleagues and the local community together through fundraising events. “A big part of Asda now is getting out and supporting the community,” said Ms Blake. “We’re always looking for fundraising ideas and I’m hoping to pull on some of the students with talent and get them doing something for Christmas in our foyer.” The store’s foyer can be used by students and the community to advertise any events or fundraising that they may be organising and meetings can also be held in the training room. While the store doesn’t have any student specific deals Asda does offer the Student Shopper Card. This comes as two cards, one which parents can load money onto and the other which students can use to pay for their shopping. Asda Bangor has a range of other services including Click and Collect. “We have everything for a full shop and on George and General Merchandise, if you can’t get it here you can order it online and collect it the next day,” said

Ms Blake. The store opened its doors last week and along with the recent addition of home shopping, from the Llangefni store, is helping to put Asda’s stamp on Bangor. “All the tech side of it, that’s the biggest growth area in Asda. The home shopping is a massive growth area for us,” said Ms Blake. “Hopefully we’re good for Bangor. It’ll bring some people in who normally wouldn’t come here. It’ll help the economy in the town centre.” Asda has been the cheapest supermarket in Britain for the last fifteen years running, though Ms Blake feels confident this year will be the sixteen year, and is currently offering £5 back if you spend £40. To qualify all you have to do is use the Asda Price Guarantee online with a shop of over £40, before 9th December, and you automatically get a £5 voucher. The Asda Bangor Community Life Champion is Jennifer Knott and she can be contacted by calling the store.

Photo by Eddy Reynolds


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

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Local News

School computer hacker evades jail

Rise in Bangor burglaries RESIDENTS of Bangor are being asked to take extra care in the build-up to Christmas to secure their houses after a rise in the number of burglaries in the Bangor area with personal effects, like electrical items, being the main items stolen. Inspector Simon Barrasford has reminded people to ensure that they remain vigilant: “It’s important to remember to lock and secure your homes if you are going out and if you have an alarm activate it. Don’t leave items out on display that may encourage an opportunist thief.” Police are asking for anyone with information on the break-ins to contact North Wales Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800555111 and quote RC12195963.

Revenge seeking hacker avoids jail after hacking school computer system by ADAM BURNS

A

student convicted of hacking the computer system of his high school has received a 12-month community order. Southampton University student Matthew Higgins, 20, formerly a pupil at the school Eirias High in Colwyn Bay, was charged with gaining unauthorized access to the school’s system in March 2011, and attempting to do so again two months later. Higgins has also been sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work. Higgins gained access by posing as the parent of a female pupil, requesting the password for the parental portal from the teacher in charge of the computer system. After he was provided with it, data about the pupil was acquired and placed on a separate website. Two months later Higgins attempted this again, posing as the mother of a different girl. At this point the teacher became suspicious and verified with the parent that the request was fake.

Collapsed B&M sign injures girl A 50 FT SIGN injured a teenage girl on Monday 26th November after it was dismantled by heavy wind. The girl, who has not been named, was trapped under the B&M sign until emergency services arrived. She suffered injuries to both her lower back as well as her nose and was immediately taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd. The seriousness of her injuries has not been confirmed. B&M’s sign also damaged several cars parked in the store’s disabled parking spaces. B&M Regional Manager John Trubshaw told the BBC: “Some cars were damaged and I understand a lady was trapped but the police have told us that she’s what they call ‘walking wounded.”

While Higgins denies accessing the girl’s details, prosecutor Owen Edwards accused him of “attempting to portray himself as a victim”, and recorder Catherine Brown expressed concern at his failure to take responsibility, stating that: “It is a matter of concern that continue to deny taking responsibilities for your actions.” Describing the crime as a “clumsy and wholly inappropriate” attempt to get the attention of a girl, Brown considered that Higgins had been trying to seek revenge and humiliate the school after the supposed poor response to bullying he received there. She added “You thought that you would not be caught but you were wrong about that.” While Brown described the crime as serious, she suggested that the sentence, a community order with supervision, would allow Higgins to receive help in addressing health issues that he clearly had. She also added that the case may serve as a push for the school to address security concerns with their computer system.

Cannabis factory discovered in railway tunnels

Owners of underground cannabis farm jailed after police raid

Woman assaulted in nightclub ON SUNDAY 2nd December at 2:30 a.m. a 23-year old woman was sexually assaulted within Llandudno after leaving a nightclub. The man reportedly grabbed her and forced her to the back of the building where he sexually assaulted her. Based off of a description police believe a 5’8” - 5’10” white male of medium build, with mousey coloured short hair, shaved at the sides conducted the attack. Anyone with information relating to the incident has been asked to contact DC Lee Harshey-Jones at St Asaph CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Medal for Bravery hero dies at 90

ARTHUR Rowlands, blinded 50 years ago whilst he was on duty as a policeman and encountered an armed gunman who shot him in the face, has died at 90 years of age. His actions against the gunman earned him the George medal for bravery. He went on to raise thousands of pounds for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Society.

by NICOLA HOBAN

T

he owners of a huge cannabis factory that was uncovered in May after police raided the drug business was put to trial Monday 3rd December as the judge was given a virtual tour of the underground operation. Gerald Davies, 63, of Craig y Don Road, Bangor, and Kenneth John Vincent, 59, of Beaumaris, were both imprisoned for three years and four months in Mold Crown Court after admitting making and conspiring to sell the class B drug. Gardeners Philip Joseph Bigley, 22, of Liverpool, and Christopher James McIntyre, 30, of Bootle, each received twelve months following admittance of production

charges. At Mold Crown Court Mr Recorder Timothy Petts stated how the operation was described by police as “one of the best cannabis factories ever found in North Wales” to memory. The drug operation, which was fronted by a legitimate mushroom farm, was discovered by police on May 9th 2012 after they received an anonymous tip revealing the operation for what it was. Upon raiding the abandoned Faenol Tunnels on the Menai Business Park, Bangor, police found a warren of industrial-sized cannabis laboratories lying behind reinforced steel gates. Inside was a Portakabin with a trap door which led down to a tunnel which opened up to five growing rooms. One of the rooms alone

held enough cannabis to be worth approximately £225,000. Overall, the possible worth of the entirety of the haul was between £1.5 and 2 million. According to Recorder Petts, it was obvious that others who had evaded custody were involved in the elaborate operation and that they were the brains of the business. He said of their absence: “There should be others standing alongside you in the dock today…This was a facility on any view capable of producing at least £1.5 million worth of cannabis a year. This is no small scale set up.” He acknowledged the fact that Davies, a retired builder and great grandfather, and Vincent had been involved in running the legitimate mushroom farm ‘Menai Mushrooms’,

but they had been pressurised into creating the cannabis farm by men from Liverpool who had viewed the vacated tunnels as a prime spot for a cannabis farm. Davies told police that he had been asked to look after the place and being retired and having invested his £40,000 savings, he felt pushed into joining the venture. Vincent himself was bankrupt and partially designed the operation. Prosecutor Gareth Preston said of the operation: “The officer in the case described the set up as one of the best he had encountered in 22 years of service as a drugs officer. The simple fact is that this is one of the best-designed and constructed commercial operations that North Wales Police have ever encountered.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

Local News North Wales staff shortage threatens safety

December Issue 2012

Holyhead phone cable theft MANY households in Holyhead experienced a power cut in the early hours of 29th November after thieves set fire to a telegraph pole in an attempt to steal copper cable. It is thought that the fire was started at midnight in a field near the recently built Cybil Retail Park in Kingsland road, and five hours later the power was cut off. Scottish power discovered the damaged telegraph pole and reported the incident to the police. PC Joe Hawken, the officer investigating the incident, said: “This was a totally mindless and dangerous act as thousands of volts of electricity run through these cables and the consequences of this criminality could have been fatal”.

New Holyhead truck stop to create jobs

PLANS for a new truck stop at Holyhead have been drawn up, to be submitted early in the New Year. Plans are designed to house 56 goods vehicles. The new truck stop will create 80 new jobs for the area and is also believed to increase road safety on the A55.

Fire fighters state how staff cut backs endangers their’s and the public’s lives Auction held for

bu JOE KEEP

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ecent cuts to the fire service have left more than half of the 44 stations in North Wales understaffed, meaning they are unable to respond to emergency calls. Three anonymous fire fighters have acted as whistle blowers, calling the senior managers actions “irresponsible” and have put lives in danger. One of the fire fighters commented: “[Senior managers] are winging it and so far they have got away with it, but it is only a matter of time before they are caught out.” They continued, “I don’t have any confidence in the senior officers -if this was the private sector, they would have been fired.” The fire fighters believe that it is the rural areas have been hit hardest.

During the week of floods, despite significant praise during events, it was felt that the fire service wasn’t able to significantly respond, with a fire fighter explaining due to staff shortage the specialist water unit from Betws-yCoed wasn’t able to be deployed to assist those affected by flooding. One of the fire fighters said that staff shortages were responsible for 60% of stations being unable to respond to emergency calls during the flooding, leaving just 17 stations covering the whole of North Wales. Fears of other events unfolding due to lack of staff have been compounded by a decision to fire another 22 full time fire fighters in 2013 in order to reduce the expenditure within the fire service by £2.4 million.

This cut leaves 140 retained fire fighters to cover the entirety of North Wales. Coupled with derelict equipment these cut backs put fire fighters in harm’s way. One fire fighter explained how damaged gloves would be sent to the operations department in Rhyl, who send them back claiming that they are ‘good enough’: “These gloves are damaged so much that they would be unsuitable for gardening let alone being given to fire fighters and expect them to commit themselves to an environment where they know they may be severely injured.” Concluding the statement, they said: “I hope this day never comes, but it is only a matter of time until lives are lost due to these irresponsible actions by members of both the fire authority and senior

management within the fire service.” Assistant Chief Fire Officer for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Ruth Simmons, says that these accusations on the level of staffing matters were not accurate, saying that a new rostering system now enables 22 fire fighters to provide cover across North Wales without leaving their home stations understaffed. Ms Simmons went on to state: “North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is launching a targeted recruitment campaign in January 2013. Attracting people to the RDS fire fighter role has been challenging for many years. I would encourage applications from individuals that wish to serve their communities as fire fighters. Details will be available on the website towards the end of December.”

Award winning Rogues

Local tattoo and art studio wins 1st and 2nd place at convention

by LJ TAYLOR

A

local tattoo studio has become an award winning studio over night. Ben Ormerod and Kev Heath, of The Rogues Gallery, attended the East Coast Tattoo Convention in Essex this month and came away with both first and second place in the best small, black and grey tattoo category. Jess Hughes, the studio’s manager and resident piercer, said: “We are thrilled that before we have even reached our 6 month opening anniversary that our artists and studio have received such recognition and become a multi award-winning studio.” The studio opened in June 2012 when Ms. Hughes and Mr. Ormerod teamed up with Oliver Morris. Between them the team have over twenty years of experience and are dedicated to making sure their customers receive

the very best service. Ms. Hughes continued: “The awards help strengthen our studio’s reputation for our open and honest approach and our ethos of only providing custom tattoos of the highest quality and those that our artists are truly proud of.” Mr. Ormerod is well known in the area for his work and his portraits are highly renowned in the industry for their realism. His colleague Kev Heath, the newest member to the team, has tattooed internationally for a number of years. In contrast to Mr. Ormerod Mr. Heath is known for his imaginative and colourful pieces. The Rogues, Lower Bangor, will be host to a variety of artists from all over the world in the next year and have many collaborations planned with local businesses. Their portfolio can be viewed in the studio, on their Facebook or on their website.

Photo by Eddy Reynolds

missing April Jones

A CELEBRITY auction for the April Jones fund has raised £50,000. Donations made included shoes that were given by Catherine Zeta Jones, which managed to raise £410, and one of Bonnie Tyler’s denim jacket given by the star herself, which raised £4,000 with its sale. April, from Machynlleth, has been missing since the 1st of October 2012 and is yet to be found.

Bomb discovered on Rhyl beach

A BOMB that is roughly the size of a can has washed up on a Denbighshire beach. The alarm was raised at 13:30 on the 4th of December. A bomb disposal team was dispatched to remove the ordinance, and arrived at 14:50. Police erected a cordon to ensure public safety whilst the ordinance was removed.

Widower’s fury at flower ban

A MOURNING husband has criticised a council after they told people to stop leaving flowers on memorial benches. Dennis Bannister, 72, of Denbigh, lost his wife Patricia 16 months ago, erected a memorial bench in her name in the village park in Betwys y Coed. However, Betwys y Coed council have notified visitors saying: “No flowers or other items to be left on the benches.” Mr Bannister responded: “I think it’s awful. I put up a memorial bench last year but you are not allowed to put any flowers on them. I just want to put a bouquet there in memory of my wife


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

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UK News Belfast police criticised for flag riots response

Care homes possibly face new change

WITH the closure of the UK’s largest care provider for the elderly last year, proposals have been proposed for greater oversight of the providers’ finances. The proposals are being seen as taking a step in the right direction as Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, described the proposals as being long overdue, stating: “For some time we have been concerned about the ability of providers to deliver high quality care and run on a sound financial footing”. Care Minister Norman Lamb said of the matter: “I think there is a significant lack of corporate accountability for the quality of care that is provided in care homes and in private hospitals and that’s something that I’m determined to address.

Naked man recieves sentences DAN MOTRESCU, a 29-year old

male, with no fixed abode, was arrested and convicted of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, causing criminal damage and a public order offence. He received a 12 week sentence for the possession of an offensive weapon charge and a further 3 weeks for the criminal damage charge. The charges are to run concurrently. No penalty was received for the public order offense. Dan undertook the act on the 23rd of November. Witnesses claim Dan was fully clothed on climbing the statue and went on to spend hours on the statue, including balancing on top of the Dukes head precariously.

West Ham fight for Olympic Stadium

WEST HAM, Leyton Orient, a football business college and Formula 1 are awaiting the decision of who has successfully secured the rights to the Olympic Stadium. Whoever secures the rights holds the lease for 99 years. West Ham saw a prior bid fall through as Tottenham and Leyton Orient put up legal challenges to their acquisition. However, in the new race for the stadium, West Ham has the advantage, bridging a monetary gap, reducing it from £40 million to £20 million. There is also the underlying costs of reconstruction to suit the activity it will house, estimated in the region of £160 million, placing those without the financial might at the bottom of the list, pushing West Ham even further above the competition.

Railway worker hit by train

A RAILWAY worker aged 26 was hit by a train at Sykes Lane, just outside Saxilby in Lincolnshire about 13:55 on the 4th of December. The accident is under investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

18 injured as loyalists protest against Union flag decision

by THOMAS BICKERDIKE

L

oyalists rioted outside Belfast City Hall on Monday night, after a vote was passed to stop flying the Union flag all year round. Councillors agreed by 29 votes to 21 to only fly the flag on 17 designated days, similar to other Government buildings. The last time the flag was taken down was in 1906. About 1000 protesters gathered outside of City Hall and the trouble started shortly after the results of the vote were announced. In total 18 people were injured, 15 of which were police

officers. The other three injured were a press photographer and two council employees. The protesters also damaged cars belonging to council members. After they tried to break into the City Hall grounds, loyalists turned their attacks to a Catholic church and began throwing missiles. There were also cases of attacks on police in the Albertbridge Road and Templemore Avenue areas of east Belfast. Three people were arrested, including an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old. Gavin Robinson, Lord Mayor of Belfast, described the incident “a very dis-

appointing night” for the city’s image. The police have faced criticism from Irish Republican party Sinn Fein about how they handled the protest. Sinn Fein Policing Board member Gerry Kelly responded to the police’s actions, stating: “I have to say, and I don’t use these words unless I really mean them, it was a disgraceful police operation – or lack of a police operation.” Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum described how the police tried to manage it in a way which allowed the commercial activity of the city centre to continue as normal: “It was a difficult situation for a couple minutes but the

police officers exercised, I think, extreme courage and managed the situation very well in getting those people out of the courtyard.” David Ford, the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, stated how there were two groups of people responsible for the violence: “The first is those who went to the City Hall spoiling for a fight, who attacked police officers and council staff. But there is a second group which bears responsibility. DUP and UUP politicians fomented this protest, with both leaflets and the use of social media.”

Kate and Will expecting first born Royal pregnancy triggers change in royal succession rules by NICOLA HOBAN

E

arlier this week it was announced by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that they are expecting their first child. The pregnancy has sparked a call for consent to be given to change the rules of royal succession, and which has been given. Though previously women in the succession to the British throne were discriminated against, the first born child of Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton - whether a boy or a girl - will succeed the throne after Prince William. The Duchess, who is less than 12 weeks pregnant, has been in and out of hospital this week suffering from acute morning sickness – or hyperemesis gravidarum – but is feeling better, royal officials have stated . A spokesman for the St. James’s Palace said: “The Duchess of Cambridge is continuing to better. She and the Duke are immensely grateful for the good wishes they have received. She will remain in hospital at present.” Husband Prince William has spent several hours visit-

ing her in the private King Edward VII Hospital in central London. The Succession to the Crown Bill was put forward to the House of Commons and will soon be introduced by the government, according to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The new legislation will end the tradition of male heirs taking precedence over women in line to the monarch, as well as ending the ban on those in the line to the throne marrying a Roman Catholic. Releasing a statement, Mr Clegg said: “People across the realms of the Commonwealth will be celebrating the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child.” He continued: “We can also all celebrate that whether the baby is a boy or a girl, they will have an equal claim to the throne.” The succession bill requires additional changes to be made to some of Britain’s main constitutional documents, including the Bill of Rights and Coronation Oath Act of 1688, the 1701 Act of Settlement and the 1706 Act of Union with Scotland.


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World News

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Egypt to vote on new constitution Opposition claims constitution undermines basic freedoms UN Human Rights Commissioner warns that constitution move would be divisive

by EMMA ASBERG

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gypt’s first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi has divided the country in two with a new draft constitution. The constitution, backed by Islamist groups such as the Brotherhood, to which the president belongs, is being opposed by Christian, liberal and secular groups as well as the judiciary. The opposing groups claim that the constitution undermines basic free-

doms. UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has written to the president, and warns that “approving a constitution in these circumstances would be a deeply divisive move”. The constitution was approved and passed by an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly in a marathon session that began on Thursday 29th November and continued through the night. The assembly is being questioned by opponents as to the president’s being biased.

Presidential protests in Mexico

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court was due to rule on the legitimacy of the constituent assembly on 2nd December, but had halted all its work as a protest to the “psychological pressure” they are under. The court referred to it as “the blackest day in the history of Egyptian judiciary”. The decision to halt all work came after demonstrations outside the building had prevented judges from getting inside. The statement read: “[The judges] announce the suspension of

the court sessions until the time when they can continue their message and rulings in cases without any psychological and material pressures”. The drafted constitution states that the laws of Sharia will be the main source of legislation, and limits religious freedom to Christians, Jews and Muslims, declaring Christianity and Judaism to be the main source of legislation for Christians and Jews. This constitution also limits the president to two four-year terms of office.

President Morsi has declared that the constitution will be put to a referendum on 15th December and urged all Egyptians to take part in the referendum, whether for or against it. The president added: “The world is looking at how Egyptians will build their institutions to establish their democratic system”. The coming two weeks are expected to be tense.

Rage ensues as new President vows to put a stop to drug cartel by JOE KEEP

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nrique Pena Nieto has been sworn in as the new Mexican president, replacing his predecessor Calderon, and is set to take a position within Harvard University and head the charge against the drug problem inside of Mexico as well as stabilise the economy. Over Calderon’s six years in presidency it is estimated that around 60,000 people have died in drug related incidents, and the promise heading Pena Nieto’s campaign is a shared conviction in wanting to remove all deaths, and in turn, make Mexico a safer place. The 46-year old said of the matter: “Lawlessness and violence have robbed various parts of the country of peace and freedom.” His point was enunciated as he received the presidential sash, while protesters clashed with police equipped with riot gear. Protesters carrying petrol bombs were met by the police in Mexico City with one protester being injured as police launched tear gas on the massed protesters. Protesters reportedly see the ap-

pointment of Pena Nieto as a return to the old regime of Pena Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, otherwise known as the PRI. The PRI held power in Mexico from 1929 through to 2000 under which time they were believed to be in line with the drug cartels of Mexico in order to maintain an authoritarian regime. Pena Nieto has vowed that this is not the case, saying: “I can say categorically that in my government, there won’t be any form of pact or agreement with organised crime. It’s not the path nor the route to greater security for the Mexican people.” Pena Nieto hopes to achieve what he believed Calderon was unable to do, and is focussing on eradicating extortion, kidnapping and murder in an effort to make Mexico safe. Pena Nieto has also drafted help from Columbia’s top police officers in order to start his term in office positively and achieve his goal of achieving security within Mexico. He has also engaged in communication with America and Canada who are part of Nafta, a regional trade organisation, to begin work on strengthening the Mexican economy.

North Korea announces new rocket launch

Tension rises between North and South Korea over new launch plan by EMMA ASBERG

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oncern has been expressed all over the world as North Korea announces their new rocket launch plan. The announcement has especially increased the tension between South and North Korea, with South Korean officials labelling the move a “grave provocation…a challenge to the international community”. The launch is due to take place between the 10th and 22nd of this month near the Chinese border. The last rocket launch in April was a failure, but North Korean scientists and technicians now claim to have analysed the mistakes, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Dan Pinkston, a Seoul-based security expert for the International

Crisis group says: “It’s tough to say [if they have] gone through the engineering corrections or are rushing it for political reasons”. The much-hyped April launch was meant to put an earth observer satellite into orbit, according to Pyongyang. This was insistently questioned, however, by the US, UN and South Korea who all believed that it was a disguised ballistic missile test. The April test put a halt to the latest effort of co-operation with North Korea, who previously promised to end their nuclear programme in return for aid. The US have now withdrawn their plans to deliver the badly needed food assistance. Experts additionally say that the move could anger China who at the moment is the lone, much needed, major benefactor. A Chinese Foreign

Ministry spokesman when asked about a potential launch said only that: “It’s the common responsibility and shared interest of all parties concerned to maintain the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.” There are mixed opinions whether a launch could complicate the South Korean presidential race. The North strongly prefers a liberal South Korean leader, and the liberal runner Moon Jae-in has called for a resumption of the aid and economic projects. However, the security threat a new launch would pose might sway the voters to vote for a conservative with a harder response. Experts say that it might just as easily promote a softer, liberal approach that might ease tensions.


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December Issue 2012

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Environment

Chasing Sandy by OWAIN REDFERN

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’ve seen my fair share of storms and I’m not talking about your typical thunderstorm over the UK, I’m talking about the huge supercells that I was lucky enough to encounter during a storm chasing tour in tornado alley during 2010. Baseball size hail, winds that will topple 18 wheelers and such heavy rain the wipers are useless makes you realise pretty quickly that we get it easy. However, compared to that Hurricane Sandy was on a completely different scale. At its peak Sandy was the largest Atlantic Hurricane on record spanning 1100 miles in diameter, enough to engulf the entire

of the UK and Ireland and some. The storm caused nearly as much monetary damage as Hurricane Katrina at $65.6 Billion and left at least 253 dead in seven countries. 24 States were affected including the entire eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine but most of the damage was dealt in New Jersey and New York. A 14 foot storm surge hit on the 29th October flooding streets, tunnels and subways as well as causing multiple power cuts. So you would think, surely nobody would want to be anywhere close to this natural disaster? Well storm chasers are called that for a reason. During tornado season towns are invaded by hundreds of

chasers whenever there is a chance of tornado activity. I met many chasers and was lucky enough to not only see a few tornados but to also be guided by George Kourounis, one of the most famous explorers on TV. He presented the series Angry Planet which aimed to investigate and document the fiercest natural phenomena on Earth. He is a dedicated storm chaser spending the entirety of tornado season in the Great Plains every year. Later in the year he chases Hurricanes and this year encountered Sandy which was the 17th Hurricane he has documented. I was able to get back in contact with him and ask him about his experience. He explained

Woodlands at Risk by AL HULLEY

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ommon ash is the third most abundant native broadleaved tree species in Great Britain, its main environmental benefit is providing a diverse habitat for wildlife. In addition it has current economic uses such as flooring and barbecue charcoal. Unfortunately due to a new threat from fungal organism ‘Chalara fraxinea’, first seen in Poland in 1992, several ash species are under threat. Infection results in leaf loss, crown dieback and ultimately death. Young saplings are at particular risk as individuals are killed within one growing season of symptoms becoming visible. Despite this mature trees are by no means safe because although individuals tend to survive initial infection they succumb after several seasons of exposure. The first case in Britain was identified in F e b r u a r y 2012 at a nursery in Buckinghamshire and was thought to be importe d into the United Kingdom from Holland. Between October and early November ash

dieback occurred in East Anglia, Essex and Kent. Current identified cases stand at 200 as is shown in the map. As mentioned earlier the disease was initially imported into the UK. On the other hand it has been noted that spores can in fact migrate as airborne particles tens of miles at a time. This helps to explain how areas of the UK, which have had no recent contact with the pioneer regions, became infected. It is suspected that spores migrated across the channel on prevailing winds, from mainland Europe, of which many countries have reported issues. As a result of the problems mentioned in the former on the 29th October the UK government decided to use emergency legislation in order to restrict imports and therefore reduce rapid spread. To add to this infected trees are being deforested and burnt. ‘Chalara fraxinea’ is of great significance to the environmental because as it stands, once an ash becomes infected it is impossible to cure hence why the disease has caused widespread concern throughout Europe. For example 60-90% of Denmark’s ash stocks were lost due to infection. The public are encouraged to prevent spread by washing walking equipment after disembarking from forested areas and reporting any signs of the disease, (identification information can be found at: http://www. forestry.gov.uk/chalara#Symptoms). This native highly biodiverse tree is too important to lose.

the sheer size of Sandy saying “I was standing on the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach, Long Island and I was looking out over the angry looking ocean and I knew that within an hour or two, the winds were going to shift, and all that water was going to rush ashore, destroying much of the coastline. That’s when I knew it was time to retreat. The damage along the coast was comparable to other big hurricanes like Katrina or Ike, but was spread out over a very large area”. I also asked him about Sandy being referred to as a ‘Frankenstorm’, meaning worse than the sum of its parts. He thought “the term ‘Frankenstorm’ was actually quite appropriate because Sandy was made up of

a blend of different weather systems, just like Frankenstein’s monster was made up of different human parts. The tropical system, amplified by the sweeping frontal system coming in from the west, plus a ridge of high pressure over Greenland, all contributed to the size, strength and westward shift that Sandy had. This right combination of elements, plus the highest tide of the month made for very damaging storm surge levels of about 14 feet”. So if you are thinking of trying something new this year, look up storm chasing. You won’t be disappointed.

Saving Jaws by PETER WALTON

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After watching Jaws and hearing about shark attacks on the news, it’s often hard to see the reasoning behind protecting these infamous creatures but at the top of the food chain they’re playing a very important role. The main reason for shark fishing is for their fins. When these are cut off the shark is often still alive and is then tossed back into the sea, so the fins can be used for soup. The origins of shark fin soup are found in early medieval China where emperors served it as a demonstration of how powerful they were. This is a tradition that carries on to the modern day, as grooms are now expected to provide shark fin soup at Chinese weddings in order to demonstrate their wealth. Shark fin is tasteless, and its inclusion

in soup is predominantly symbolic. Although shark fin soup is supposedly nutritional, in some areas due to the bioaccumulation of mercury pollution in the marine ecosystem fins can contain 4200% the safe concentration of mercury. Most people consider shark fin soup to be a purely oriental phenomenon but until last year upto 85% of the shark fin trade takes place in California, USA. Many countries, states and cities around the world now ban the trade and import of shark fin soup, with china saying it will prohibit it being served at government banquets. The EU is looking at closing the legal loopholes that have allowed poachers to go unpunished for finning in EU waters as well.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

Politics

December Issue 2012

Lord Leveson’s report on the media A

t the moment the way the newspapers, magazines etc. are regulated is through something called the PCC; Press complaints commission which is funded and run by the media themselves without any government interference. There have been calls by members of the public, victims of phone hacking, celebrities and politicians for this body to be placed by an in-

Ofcom, which a statutory body that regulates other parts of the media such as TV, radio etc. A cross party debate has been held on Lord Justice Leveson's report and its central call for an independent self-regulatory body for newspapers, backed by law. The Culture secretary, whose department would be in charge of the new regulation, Maria Miller said the government had "grave concerns" about underpinning regulation by

ED MILIBAND AND LIB DEM LEADER NICK CLEGG HAVE VOICED THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE LEVESON REPORT TO BE IMPLEMENTED. dependent body underpinned by legislation, i.e. government supported but away from the “interference” of either politicians or the media. The new body has been likened to

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statute, but had not ruled it out. The Government has now said that it will draw up draft legislation on a new press watchdog that created a statutory body if the press fail to agree on

a new tougher way of monitoring themselves. Labour has said that the Leveson proposal was "ingenious" and should be implemented. MPs will debate the report in detail, but there will not be a vote on it, which means that effectively the debate doesn’t mean a great deal because it has no effect on the government or any legislation drawn up. Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg have voiced their support for the Leveson report to be implemented. Labour says it is drafting its own bill in case no agreement can be reached which may happen due to the lack of Conservative support for the whole of the report. Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated he has "serious concerns and misgivings" about any legisla-

Starbucks and the autumn statement

tarbucks is planning to change the way it operates so that it will end up paying corporation tax in the UK. Despite being one of the biggest competitors and having almost one-third of the UK coffee shop market, Starbucks has paid corporation tax only once in the past 15 years. Corporation tax is paid by foreign companies on profits made in the UK, while UK-based companies pay corporation tax on their taxable profits wherever they are made. Starbucks, for example, sold nearly £400m worth of goods in the UK last year, but paid no corporation tax at all, because it transferred some of the money to a sister company in the Netherlands in the form of royalty payments, bought its coffee beans from Switzerland and paid high interest rates to borrow money from other parts of the business. This is entirely legal under UK law The Public Accounts Committee’s report also criticised Amazon and Google, neither of which has paid much corporation tax. If Starbucks decides to go ahead with the change it will be announced on Wednesday ahead of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.

The Treasury has announced it will provide HMRC with £77m of new money to help it track down wealthy individuals and companies who tried to avoid paying tax. It said it expected to recoup £22bn a year as a result of the measures announced.

Autumn statement

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he autumn statement could be called a ‘mini budget’, but in practise, it’s more fiscal decisions and updates on the government’s plan for the economy. although there will It will also provide information on the state of the economy and forecasts on growth in the UK from the Office of Budget Responsibility. It has recently been reported that George Osborne has dropped the idea of cutting all housing benefits from under-25’s due to lack of coalition agreement and instead it will feature on the 2015 manifesto for the Conservatives. What quite a lot of commentators agree upon on what should be in the statement is to deliver big infrastructure projects that will although in the short-term won’t help the economy a great deal, in the medium and longer term

should help return the country to growth. This boost in infrastructure spending, however, would need to be supported by the new business bank coming online as soon as possible, changes to employment law, and simplifying the tax system. One contentious issue is high-earners; Mr Osborne has said recently that he will target high earners instead of simply cutting away at the welfare system yet he only plans to target rich pensioners, which seems pointless. We need to restore balance to the tax system, bringing the gap between rich and poor down, by targeting the rich and making sure that they pay. One idea that would be very useful is setting a limit to how much the top get paid in relation to the bottom, i.e. the CEO can only be paid 20 times what the lowest earner gets paid including expenses, so if the lowest earner is on £10,000 then the CEO can only earn £200,000 which would force them to accept the need to do more to support the lowest earners in their company. As of yet we don’t know for certain what will be in the Autumn statement and it will be interesting to see on Wednesday 5th of December what he announces.

tion to regulate the press and wants newspapers to sign up to a tougher new regulator, without the need for legislation. The proposed law, would guarantee an independent arbitration for complainants and place a duty on the Government to protect the freedom of the press although its hard so how this principle would work in practise. It wouldn’t however, create a body that regulates each act by the press so in effect the press would still be pretty free to do what they want until a complaint is made, which is pretty similar to what happens now and it wouldn’t give any parliament or government the right to interfere with newspapers. Lord Hunt (who is the current chair of the PCC) has spoken to 120 publishers, representing 2,000 editors, and said they had all told him they would sign up to an independ-

ent regulator. Newspapers generally support the idea of a beefed-up independent regulator, but are against it being backed up in law, with the guardian coming out strongly against any form of government interference with its work. . A Labour Party source said it was serious about the cross-party talks currently taking place, but if the government failed to come up with its own workable bill, it would put its alternative proposal to the Commons for a vote in January. That would simply embarrass the government but not actually make it into law because the government’s majority would simply vote against it and any vote would not be binding on the government.


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December Issue 2012

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Politics

Police Commissioners follow up

his article is partially a follow up to the first one written in the last edition of Seren. The overall results of the 41 Policing authorities are as follows; Conservatives (15) Labour (13) Independent (10) and Zero tolerance policing (1). The results do confirm all of the predictions made before the election, that the turnout would struggle to reach 20% in many places and indeed the turnout nationally didn’t reach 20%. The government failed to adequately advertise the PCC elections; it failed to communicate effectively what the PCC’s would do and yet managed to spend a hundred million pounds on this project. The other an-

came together to give a Q&A session in partnership with Bangor University Student Union and I was fortunate enough to be there with my notepad and pen. Even though the election has been won and lost, I think it would still be interesting to give a good overall picture on what went on in the session and the things that we can expect from the new PCC. Richard Hibbs (Independent): He had never stood in an election, he was standing because he had no political allegiance to any party and also the fact that he had no connection with the police outside the normal everyday contact as a member of the public. He believed that there was

THE GOVERNMENT FAILED TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY WHAT THE PCC’S WOULD DO. swer is that people refused to vote on the grounds that they didn’t agree with the policy, so didn’t vote in the hope that if enough people didn’t vote either then a u-turn could be made by the government. In North Wales, the surprising winner was Winston Roddick (independent) over the favourite candidate to win; Tal Michael (Labour) who even brought David Blunket to North Wales to help campaign him l. A few days before the election, all of the candidates

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thirty million in the bank accounts of North Wales and they hadn’t spent enough on policing and he would reinvest all of this money back into crime prevention. Tal Michael (Labour): He was president of a Students’ Union 22 years ago, he said straight from the off that it was dangerous giving one person a lot of power, the aim of the PCC should be consensus and agreement with the ‘stakeholders’ he was CEO of the North Wales police authority

which was dissolved in order to be replaced by the PCC. Colm Maccabe (Conservative): He is a business owner with his brother, the business has a lot of partnership work with Local Authorities, he is a special constable with North Wales police and then was appointed chief office of the special constables, he really likes the idea of a PCC with the visibility and accountability it gives the Policing authority. He says that it will make every police officer accountable to a higher authority, policing and community is his main focus and he wants new ways of policing to be developed with emphasis on thinking outside of the box. Winston Roddick (Independent): He says that’s it very important for the North Wales PCC to be from North Wales. Mr Roddick was president of the Law society in his university and vice president of Aberystwyth University. “I reflect the interests of the students because I have a lifelong connection to students” He has had a very long and successful career in the criminal justice system at one point being a judge at Caernarfon Crown court. He’s an independent candidate and warned of shifting power from people to politicians. Warwick Nicholson (UKIP): He described himself as a very reluctant politician because he feels they have done nothing to help people, he is

sponsored by the UK independence party, he started out with an apprenticeship as a joiner then in 1974 he started as a policeman and moved up through the ranks from PC to Inspector. Mr Nicholson isn’t Welsh, he’s from Yorkshire but has roots in the place, he wants to push decision making back to the people and he believes that inertia has taken over the police.

Israeli targets in 1998 and 1999. He was found guilty of terrorism offences in his absence in Jordan in 1999. Security chiefs believe he played a key ideological role in spreading support for suicide bombings. However, they only believe, they don’t have enough evidence or witnesses to

Mr Justice Mitting ruled he was not satisfied that the preacher would be tried fairly in Jordan. He is the subject of bail conditions that include him being banned from travelling on the Tube, or by train, car, motorbike or bus and from using mobile phones and computers.

Abu Qatada released

ordan’s acting information minister Nayef al-Fayez has said that his government shared the UK authorities’ disappointment at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruling on Monday. Both Jordan and the UK had a special interest in making sure that he was charged for his crimes but under British law, there isn’t even enough evidence to try him in a court.When Abu Qatada arrived back at his home in London, around lunchtime on Tuesday, a small group of protesters - holding a “get rid of Abu Qatada” placard - gathered outside and chanted, “Out, out, out.”Earlier this year, judges at the European Court in Strasbourg ruled the cleric - whose real name is Omar Othman - would not face ill-treatment if returned to Jordan, citing assurances outlined in a UK-Jordan agreement. Crucially, however, the judge did not believe he would get a fair trial because a Jordanian court could use evidence against Abu Qatada that had been obtained from the torture of others, which links into the idea that he cannot be tried in the UK. On Monday, despite the UK obtaining additional assurances from Jordan, Siac chairman Mr Justice Mitting ruled he was not satisfied Abu Qatada would be tried fairly. Based on the rulings from the Siac (Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which is a UK court) the Muslim cleric Abu Qatada has been

freed on bail. He was released from Long Lartin prison, in Worcestershire. He has spent most of the last 10 years in custody. A UK court approved his appeal against deportation after deciding witness evidence obtained by torture might be used at trial in Jordan. The government believes the wrong legal test was applied and is going to appeal. “We had received a number of assurances from the Jordanian government - they had even changed their constitution,” a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said. Home Secretary Theresa May has applied for permission to appeal against a decision to block the removal of Jordanian terror suspect Abu Qatada. Papers have been lodged with the civil appeals office at the Court of Appeal ahead of a deadline later. An appeal in this case can be made only on a point of law, which will be difficult because they will have to find a law/laws which he could have potentially broken or ones that support the need for deportation. The home secretary said at the time of the ruling that she “strongly disagreed” with the judgment, claiming that the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) had applied the “wrong legal test”. The radical cleric faces a re-trial in Jordan for allegedly conspiring to cause explosions on Western and

BASED ON THE RULINGS FROM THE SIAC (SPECIAL IMMIGRATION APPEALS COMMISSION) THE MUSLIM CLERIC ABU QATADA HAS BEEN FREED ON BAIL. prosecute him in the UK, which raises a troubling question; can anyone be judged to have played a role in alQaeda and shipped off to a country which is willing to do a deal with the UK and proclaim that the person was indeed somebody they were looking for? Last month, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission chairman

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “completely fed up” at the cleric’s release on bail. A judge will now consider the home secretary’s appeal application by examining documents on the case. The judge may make a decision, or decide that the application should be dealt with at a court hearing. A decision is expected to be made before

Christmas. If the judge decides to refuse the application, the home secretary can ask a court to reconsider the matter. It isn’t enough to simply say that “yes, he’s a bad person, we should keep locked up”. We have the rule of law in this country, if we can’t prove that he has broken a law in the UK then how can we have kept him in prison? This seems more about politics than justice trying to be served; the West has in its possession what they believe to be a key part of alQaeda and they must be seen to do something about it. Moreover it seems like the government is simply trampling over hundreds of years of legal history just to get this man convicted.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

INTERVIEW

December Issue 2012

BANGOR UNIVERSITY VICE CHANCELLOR

PROFESSOR JOHN HUGHES In October 2010, Professor John Hughes left his role as President (equivalent of a VC) at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth to become Bangor University’s Vice-Chancellor. A lover of both mathematics and Manchester United, Professor Hughes has worked hard to put his personal stamp on the University in the last two years. This month, Seren’s Editor, LJ, met up with him to find out what his role actually involves and what he’s working on for us students. by LJ TAYLOR A lot of students have heard of you but are a little unsure what your role actually involves? The Vice-Chancellor is essentially the Chief Executive. I run the University. The reason my title is “ViceChancellor” is because there’s an honorary Chancellor. In our case it’s Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, he doesn’t anything to do with the general running of the University, but he comes to Graduations, sits on University Council (the University’s governing

Affairs. We also have the Registrar who looks after a lot of the formal aspects of the University. Essentially this team runs the University, but all the senior officers report to me. I make the final decisions. What main changes have you made since coming here two years ago? Well the first thing I did was stop the closure of five departments. They were on the verge of closing departments like Modern Languages, Linguistics and Social Sciences.

I STOPPED THE CLOSURE OF DEPARTMENTS BECAUSE A UNIVERSITY OF ANY VALUE NEEDS TO OFFER A BROAD RANGE OF SUBJECTS body), and he gives me advice. The VC is the Chief Exec and there is a senior team made up of Pro ViceChancellors for Research, Teaching and Learning, Students and Welsh

I stopped that because I feel that a University with any value needs to offer a broad range of subjects. I’ve also tried to handle the difficult situation that we have regarding cut-

backs, cuts from the government and so on, through negotiation and talking with unions and students. Unlike a lot of English universities we haven’t had any compulsory redundancies, we haven’t closed any departments. In fact we’ve just opened a new department in Philosophy and Religion and we’re going to start another one next year in Mathematics. According to a recent staff survey, 91% said they enjoyed working here. I think generally speaking it’s quite a happy place. Bangor had a really good recruitment this year, despite the worries that the increased cuts would put people off university. We’ve been great, there was a lot of worry about £9,000 fees There were things happening in England; universities are allowed to recruit as many students with grades of AAB or above as they can, and universi-

ties with lower fees could recruit as many students as they want. So, we were worried that it would have a big impact on us and it did have a big impact on some of the universities in South Wales, some of those have

door to Manchester. Would you consider yourself a quite hands on VC? I think I’m pretty hands on, yeah. I

I’VE HAD MORE JOBS THAN YOU COULD POSSIBLY THINK OF. I’VE BEEN A BARMAN, A TAXI DRIVER, A WAITER, A HOTEL PORTER, A POSTMAN... done quite badly in terms of recruitment. But at Bangor, we recruited extremely well, we increased the number of international students by 13%. It’s an attractive place for them. International students want to come somewhere safe, somewhere pleasant and for Chinese students, in particular, Bangor isn’t out of the way at all. We’re an hour and half from Manchester and that’s nothing to them. They would think nothing of taking a 5 hour train journey in China because of the vastness of the country; so they consider us to being right next

go to everything that I’m invited to in terms of talking to staff and students if I can. I am currently the Chair of Higher Education Wales, which is a group representing all universities in Wales, and that takes up a lot of my time. It means I sit on a lot of Boards in Cardiff and in London, so I’m there at least a few times a month. I do think that I need to interact more with students. I would welcome the chance to speak to students more. I have given a few talks, I gave a talk on Pontio in Academi last year that quite a lot of students came


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December Issue 2012

13

“TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, I’M SORRY THE CURRENT FEES REGIME HAS BEEN INTRODUCED. I THINK THAT UNIVERSITY EDUCATION SHOULD BE FREE.” to, and I’ve done a few other things with the students, but yeah I think I’m pretty hands on. Would you say you are in touch with real experiences of students? My father was working class, I come from a very big family. I was the first generation in my family to go to university and so when I went to Queens (in Belfast) I remember being terrified of the place. In those days you didn’t have to pay £9000 fees, there were grants available but they were pretty miserable; you had to work hard. I’ve had more jobs than you could possibly think of. I’ve been a barman, a taxi driver, a waiter, a hotel porter, a postman. You name it and I’ve been it. Throughout undergraduate and postgraduate degrees I’ve had to work and I know what it’s like, I can relate to that. I didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge and I didn’t have a silver spoon in my mouth. I think I know the kind of challenges that students face. I can remember particularly as an undergraduate having to stretch £2 over three or four days in order to eat, waiting for my next pay cheque. I can’t relate to the current situation regarding fees and what students think about that. I was lucky, when I went to university free education had just come in, the Labour government had just introduced it in the 60s and I went to university in the late 70s so in that sense I suppose I can’t. Who were your role models?

this job, it simply is too busy. We’ve been hearing talk of a Science Park, can you tell us about this? This is something I’ve been discussing with local politicians for maybe the last six months. The Plaid Cymru politicians managed to persuade the government to give £10 million towards a Science Park here in North

I ENJOYED TEACHING A LOT. I THINK I WAS QUITE GOOD AT IT BUT YOU REALLY HAVE TO GIVE A LOT OF THAT UP IN THIS JOB; IT’S SIMPLY TOO BUSY Wales. The current plan is that it’ll be on Anglesey somewhere, close to the bridges and near to the A55. I was strongly involved in developing a science park in Northern Ireland, so I’ve got quite a good experience of it. I’m quite excited about it, its one of the best things that’s happened to us recently. What exactly is a Science Park? Well, we have an industrial park out in Llandygai. An industrial park will have things like plumbers and Autoglass, building merchants and so on. A Science Park focuses very much on what they call knowledge-based industries, which are high-tech businesses, so we’re trying to attract a few big high-tech companies. Hitatchi for instance, who’ve taken on the building of the new power

SAVINGS OF £5 MILLION DOES SOUND RATHER DRAMATIC... BUT I DON’T THINK STUDENTS HERE WILL FEEL THE IMPACT OF THE CUTS Like most pEople my mother and my father were big role models. They pushed me all the way. They were particularly strong on education and even though they didn’t know what a PhD was, when I came and told them that I was going to do one, they were very supportive and they did what they could, even though I came from a big family. If you weren’t a VC what would your dream job be? I would have been playing football for Manchester United. Certainly as a young man football was my great passion and I’ve supported Manchester United since I was a kid. Mainly because of George Best at the time. If I hadn’t been a VC, I would have stayed as a Professor of Mathematics so that I could do my research and my mathematics. I was a Professor of Mathematics and then a Professor of Computer Sciences, and I do sometimes regret having to give that up. I also enjoyed teaching a lot. Generally speaking I think I was quite good at it but you really have to give a lot of that up in

of well over £100 000 in your lifetime. Actually I would argue that, depending on the degree, it could actually be significantly more than that. To tell you the truth, I’m sorry that it [the current fees regime] has been introduced, I think that university education should be free and I think that the Welsh Government have the right idea about how - the way in which governments should support students. But we are where we are,

station, might be interested in doing something there and that’s the kind of company you need: research orientated, and employing mainly graduates. We need something like that here, most of our graduates would struggle to find work in this area. There aren’t that many high-tech companies and so that’s what we’re trying to do. The University will put something there initially, a research facility from possibly Ocean Sciences, possibly Electronic Engineering, and then what we hope is that we will attract some big companies. What would you say is the value of higher education? Well, I don’t think you can put a value on it in a sense of all the advantages that it gives you. The experience of going to university in itself is something that certainly I look back on with a great deal of pleasure. Without any shadow of a doubt it was the best time of my life. The friends that you make often stay with you for life. On a practical level it has been shown many times that a university degree is worth well, I’ve seen figures

and we’ve tried everything to prevent this coming in. I would strongly encourage people to still consider university, however. If you don’t have a university degree then what is the alternative? Is a Bangor degree worth £9000? Why? Well one thing is the atmosphere in this university and particularly the commitment to excellence. We had a very successful quality assurance visit earlier this year where we came through with flying colours. I think the commitment we have with having a Pro Vice-Chancellor for Students, the fact that we, for instance, involve the Students’ Union President in the appointment of senior officers.The former president, Jo Caulfield, sat on the interview panels choosing these people. I think that shows the commitment we have to involving the students. We’ve also put a huge amount of money and posts into the Student Services department, overseen by the Director of Student Experience. We’ve got new people in Counselling, Careers, and in general support. There is a big commitment here, I think you’d struggle hard to find a university that has that level of commitment. Are you going to spend more money on student experience? Definitely. Its our big priority. In fact, I’ve had meetings just this week looking at what our priorities are this year. We’re going to continue to put a lot of money into the halls of residence. We are refurbishing Garth, we’re going to refurbish the St Mary’s site and we’ll also refurbish the halls up on Normal Site which are badly in need of it. We are putting a lot of money into improving the teaching facilities and we’re about to spend more than a quarter of a million on Maes Glas. We know that if we are going to continue to improve the student experience, and to continue to attract students, then we have to invest more in these things. Do students graduating today have fewer life chances than your generation?

Yes, I think that probably true. I think they have to work harder to get the opportunities, to get the kind of jobs that would have been open to me. Graduating with Mathematics I recall I probably had 4 or 5 job offers when I finished. So things are not as good as that. What I would say to any student is you need to look, you need to be very flexible, and look beyond not only your own subject area but also internationally. International experience I think is hard to beat. Last issue we reported on the £5 million of cuts that Bangor is facing. How is that going? First of all, although £5 million sounds rather dramatic we’ve saved, jut through efficiency savings, nearly half of that. But we do have to find some further cuts. The fact that we’ve attracted more international students this year, and (unlike most other Welsh universities) we’ve managed to recruit our full complement of students, means that we’ve more money in the kitty as well. So I wouldn’t worry too much, I don’t think the students will see the impact of the cuts. We’re targeting a lot of areas: Finance, Estates and a few others. Some of them offer more scope than others for savings but we will not be skimping on the important things. I think its important to get across

THE

the message that Bangor is in pretty good shape compared to a lot of other institutions. We will have a deficit on last year of around £2 million or so but this is an institution with a £135 million turnover so a £2 million deficit in one year is really nothing. Provided we know that we are going to come out of that in the next couple of years, then we’re pretty comfortable with that. Isn’t Bangor University doing something in China? We’ve opened an office in China and thats mainly to help Chinese students that are coming to us. We currently have plans to open a campus in China. Chinese students would go to this campus for the first 2 years of their study and then for their final year, or final two years, they would come to Bangor. A couple of other British universities have campuses in China. Nottingham have quite a famous one in Ningbo and Liverpool have one just outside of Shanghai. We would only be the third British University to open a Chinese campus. Its a big development, and we’ve been taking it very carefully, making sure that there’s no risk to the university, but if it comes off it could be enormously beneficial and profitable.

SIX

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A NICKNAME? Its a bit boring but they

used to call me Hughesy. FAVOURITE MOVIE? The Godfather 2. FAVOURITE BAND? My Dad was an opera singer so my tastes are classical. Andrea Bocelli. THREE ITEMS YOU’D TAKE ON A DESERT ISLAND? A knife. A large book like War and Peace, I couldn’t do without reading. And a football for exercise. CAN YOU SPELL THE FULL VERSION OF LLANFAIRPG? No I can not. WHAT WOULD YOU WEAR TO SEREN 90S NIGHT? I think I’d come as Eric Cantona.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Ida is an international student working in liasion with the international office . Every issue she’ll write about her experiences in Bangor.

By IDA VÄISÄNEN

I

Christmas comes too early!

By MATT JACKSON

E

very year Christmas seems to rear its head earlier and earlier; which is definitely an odd concept considering it’s a single day. Growing up I’ve become used to certain traditions, the Christmas songs can come out on the first of December (and believe me on the first, the Pogues will be blaring from my laptop), the Christmas decorations go up on the 6th and so forth. It’s also often been said that it’s not Christmas until you’ve seen the Coca Cola

advert – which is great, providing the Coca Cola advert comes on at a good time. This year the Christmas adverts seemed to transcend onto my TV screen in reading week; around the 14th of November. I’m most certainly a person stuck in their ways, and I know what I like, but this forwarding of Christmas or “the Christmas spirit” as I’ve been told it is, is ludicrous. Not only do we still have roughly a month left until the end of the University term from the start of these adverts, the shops were starting to get Christmassy just as they’ve

left Halloween. I do enjoy the Christmas spirit, don’t get me wrong, but there’s almost too much of a good thing. The idea of rallying people together and feeling like everyone gets along is great, as is the cheesy Christmas music (the song ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ is allowed to come a little bit earlier), but it’s barely into December and I’m already starting to seem all christmassed out. And then we have the decorations. Every year there’s some house nearby that decided the 1st of November

is an appropriate time to put up your decorations et al. It just seems silly. I guess it’s something quintessentially British but it’s tradition, and tradition at times isn’t particularly to be broken. It may seem quite Grinch-like in a way, but for some reason, it genuinely annoys me that Christmas seems to come earlier each year. However as soon as it touches December, I’m more than happy for whoever to blast out Christmas songs, put up their tinsel, but before then, keep it away.

Why are Bangor’s bars selling up? By JOE KEEP

W

e have all seen the signs/ For sale. To let. Large numbers of them are hanging around Bangor as of late; the surprise for most is where they are hanging from. The many bars of Bangor seem to have been hit quite hard as of late, but the main question is, why? Bangor is a city withlarge student body, and we know all students like a drink. It’s hard to see why they might want to sell up or close down. Upon talking to the owners of bars across Bangor, the general feeling that eminates from them is that the ‘students are taking more care of their loans’, or, in some cases hadn’t received loans yet, causing a drop in custom for some of the bars. However, as said, it’s only some bars that have been affected by this, This raises a couple of questions. Is location a factor? is being in upper Bangor a hindrance as the nightclubs are in lower Bangor? Based purely on where bars are closing down, that wouldn’t seem the case as we see bars on the high street and around lower Bangor being put up for sale alongside the likes of Patricks and the Greek in upper Bangor. Reasons behind the Greek being put up for sale are due to current owners wanting retirement, which, leads to another issue,. As many of the local stand-alone bars have been

owned by a single person, such as the Greek being owned for 35 years by the current owners, they want to keep the bars in local hands, as they know the demographic of Bangor. However, during talks with one source, he commended his work on building up the team for the bar, and this enabled him to turn his ‘failing bar into a thriving one over the last nine months’. The teamwork instigated and the work ethic delivered by the manager to his staff is the driving force behind sales, with their pub making considerable profit. But, again, if this is the case, the question raises, why are we seeing so many bars wanting to sell? We also see the moving in of larger companies, such as Wetherspoons and Varsity. As seen in other sectors, chain brands commonly offer cheap drink rates and special deals, which they can present all over the country. Local bars and pubs find it hard to compete with such bankrolled companies. So, overall, I believe we can’t pin down the closing or selling of pubs to one reason. Instead, it is seemingly a mixture, with many businesses proving there are profits to be had. The gulf between upper Bangor and lower Bangor plays out very little, with students sticking to their favourites, and normally following similar routes on a night out.

t comes like a thief at night. Silently and treacherously just when I think it’s safe to breathe. I get homesick. Of course I’ve been prepared for this. I read every article and did the research. I know it’s alright to feel homesick. Still, nothing prepared me for this amount of melodramatics. My flatmates go home for the weekend and I feel jealous. I hear there’s already snow at home and my chest aches because I’m not there to see it. My problem is that I always try to rationalize my feelings, come up with reasons. I thought I’d share them. There is a broad list of reasons for homesickness shown on the internet: Distance from home, a sense of anticlimax etc. Also, another matter worth mentioning while talking from an international student’s point of view is cultural shock. There are often feelings of confusion, sadness and loneliness, amongst many others when adjusting to a new culture. Culture shock has five known stages: The ‘honeymoon’ stage. Differences between cultures seem exciting and exotic. The ‘distress’ stage. Differences in the new culture start clashing with familiar ways of thinking/acting. Feelings of confusion and isolation may occur. The ‘reintegration’ stage. Rejection towards the new systems encountered. Anger, frustration or hostility towards new culture are possible. The ‘autonomy’ stage. The differences and similarities are accepted. You might start feeling relaxed, confident and able to cope with the new experiences. The ‘independence’ stage. The differences and similarities are valued and important. You might feel you’re ready to take over the world. All the info above was provided by the International office. The remedies are quite simple: talking about your feelings and accepting them. Of course you don’t remember this when your flatmates leave for home when you can’t. Some days every misfortune is a proof of not coping. Is this what I came here for? Then I get a text or a call from home. My friend passed her driving test. Dad saw a fox on his way to work. Then I remember. I’m not alone. They are with me. If you’re still feeling blue, why not take part in the British Tea Experience organised by International School and local churches? The idea is very simple: Local families kindly invite international students over for tea. What’s not to like? If you’re interested, please send an email to m.vittori@bangor.ac.uk.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

That’s [not] debatable

By MATT JACKSON

S

o it seems that in life I’m an easily annoyed person and one thing that seems to annoy me ,especially this time of year, is brand loyalty; well not so much the loyalty, but the blinded debates it causes. Amongst technology lovers the debate between brands and makes

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The same questions usually provoke the same responses as well, Apple users tend to prefer the “build and innovation” whereas android users like to play with their software and choose what happens. Either way people are going to like either one and a barrage of arguments won’t really change anything; I’m expecting a

Whether it’s Android vs Apple, or Xbox vs PS3, it seems we love taking sides is something that seems to annoyingly thrive in the world. Whether it’s Android vs Apple, or Xbox vs PS3, it seems we love taking sides – even in celebrity breakups! The thing is that none of these pointless and countless debates ever seem to matter. All of these arguments seem to be contested by the more militant people from each side as well; it’s like watching the BNP debate with Mahatma Gandhi at times. Not only are the more vocal argumentative types the first to dig in the verbal sword but it’s always the same verbal sword. For example the amounts of times I’ve seen someone caress an android phone then turn to an Apple user and say “don’t you get annoyed with the lack of customization?” Or the sheer frequency that I’ve heard someone say “Xbox’s suck because they can’t access the web for free”.

By LJ TAYLOR

D

id you know that double savings are now on at DFS where there’s a sofa for everyone? At CSL, the sofa specialists, your perfect sofa is now half price! And at SCS you can save up to half price in the Blue X sale!

few years down the line people will knock on my door and try changing me to a Mac user or something. I regularly get asked by people “do you own an xbox or PS3” and almost every time someone says the opposite to me, they embark on a quest to convince me why I was wrong in 2009. And each time I get the same response – in fact it’s exclusively the same response – “I bought the console that had the games I wanted” and yet AGAIN I’m wrong, I’m apparently not allowed to want to have played Gears of War over Killzone, or Halo over Metal Gear Solid. This kind of brand debate is absurd. It’s commonness is what takes it from being a minor annoyance in my day, to something that makes me harshly judge anyone who even thinks of going there.

The never ending sofa sale! though not only will the sale never end but we will never be able to afford one. Don’t be tricked by the ‘buy now, pay later’ offers either; the likelihood is that the sofa will be in a skip by the time you’ve paid it off. Just think about how annoying those fake smiles plastered all over

The likelihood is that the sofa will be in a skip by the time you’ve paid it off. I like to think that this is the reason I stopped watching tv. In reality, I I just don’t have time and to be honest I’m quite glad of that. The constant stream of sofa adverts is just too much to take. I don’t think I would mind too much if they were actually advertising some kind of deal but it seems as

prospectus’ are and times it by twenty. Not only do they have dogs jumping all over your bankrupting sofa but those smiles are not true to life. Nobody is that happy after they visit a sofa warehouse and empty their piggy bank. And then there’s the songs. I remember not hating (like would be

too strong of a word) the Nickelback ‘Rockstar’ song when it first came out. Then it was butchered by DFS. Just hearing that song makes me want to throw a £6 a month (over the rest of my life) sofa across the room. I don’t even know who to blame

anymore. Is it the tv companies allowing this drivel on between their programmes? Is it the people encouraging them by buying the goddamn sofas? Or is it some punishment for a former life I I may have lived? Either way, great gods of the

sofa world, please stop spending all the money you trick people into spending on making gut-wrenching, repetitive, life draining, piece of sh*t adverts.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

Feature

December Issue 2012

The end of the world. The apocalypse. The end of all living things. All terms we’ve seemingly had to get used to recently. With somebody seemingly predicting it every year, pop culture adopting it like ants on sugar or the media jumping all over it, it’s something that has been shoved in our face. As this is the last issue before December 21th, this issue’s feature will look at the end of the world. However, we’re not going to reassure you that it isn’t going to happen. In fact, we’re going to do the sheer opposite.. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The past, the present and the future T By STEFAN WILSON

he dinosaurs. We all know them. They dominated the Earth for around 130 million years, as long ago as 230 million BC. This is a mind boggling amount of time that’s extremely difficult to get your head around. Then suddenly, the majority of them disappeared. A whole planet teeming with life became a wholly desolate wasteland. “What happened!?”, I hear you cry. To give it it’s long name, the Cretaceous– Paleogene extinction event happened. In simpler terms, an absolutely massive asteroid, the size of the Isle of Wight slammed into Mexico creating a crater a staggering, 110 miles in diametre. To put this into perspective, if an asteroid a tenth the size of the ‘dinosaur killer’ hit the Earth, it would strike the surface with energy equivalent to 10,000 Hiroshima’s, with a blast radius of up to a 1,000 miles. The dust and debris that would be tossed up into the atmosphere would eventually block out the sun leaving all living things cold and hungry, leading to another mass extinction. But don’t worry, an asteroid this size isn’t hurtling towards us any time soon. It’s still 16 years away...

Any day now Now that I’ve put your mind at ease, I’m going take you back out of your comfort zone yet again and look at two end of the world scenarios that could occur as early as tomorrow morning. Im-

Burst (or a GRB for short). This occurs when a huge, dying star is eaten up from within by a black hole. At one moment in time the star is there, then suddenly it’s gone, unleashing a massive amount of energy. This cosmic event hasn’t been observed in our galaxy. Until recently... The star, Eta Carinae, is scheduled to go boom any time soon. Luckily its axis is facing away from us so we won’t be affected, but it’s definitely a wake up call that this kind of thing can happen, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Now we move onto the reason we devised these pages. The date everybody has been going manic about. The 21st of December 2012, or later this very month. This is the date that Mayan calender ends. But what does this mean for us? The Mayans, as a race, were extremely good at astromony; light years ahead of their time. They calculated the length of a year down to 3 decimal points, which for a civilisation without any sort of technology, is staggering. There are many theories about what is going to happen; however NASA have recently come out and rained on everybody’s parade. One popular theory is that, as the sun will be perfectly aligned with the centre of the galaxy, this will cause a cosmic event which destabilises the Earth. While NASA haven’t denied that the sun will align with the centre of the galaxy, apparently it has happened numerous times in our history and we haven’t been wiped out. It has been suggested that our misconceptions towards the Mayan calender are

Imagine one day, you’re sat at your kitchen table eating breakfast, when suddenly the sky is as bright as a thousand suns and your body burns to a crisp instantly agine one day, you’re sat at your kitchen table eating breakfast, when suddenly the sky is as bright as a thousand suns and your body burns to a crisp instantly; the power of an atomic bomb going off, hitting every place on the planet at once. Although the aforementioned fiery death isn’t a great outcome for you, at least you won’t be around to see what happens to the rest of the planet. The atmosphere is instantly set alight, all body’s of water boil instantly and the side of the planet facing the blast is sterilised almost immediately. We’ve just been hit by a Gamma Ray

down to our lack of knowledge and context. We have found documents relating to the end of the calender, which out of context seemingly predict the end of days. However, NASA explain that ‘ just as your desk calendar ends on Dec. 31 and world keeps going on, the same goes for the Mayan calendar.

The future After surviving all of this, you’d be forgiven to think that we’ d got through the worst of it.

Unfortunately I have some bad news for you. The world is going to end someday. In roughly 5 billion years, our sun will run out of hydrogen to burn and will start burning helium instead. This will cause it to swell to at least 200 times its usual size. This new ‘super sun’ will be big enough to devour Mercury, Venus and the Earth, with Mars just escaping incineration. When some stars ‘die’, they explode in a reaction called a ‘supernova’. Our sun does not have enough energy to produce such a spectacular re-

1 MILE WIDE SIZE AN ASTEROID WOULD HAVE TO BE TO CAUSE A MASS EXTINCTION

625-1 ODDS OF OBJECT ‘2011 AG5’ HITTING THE EARTH IN 2040

5 BILLION AD Giant: The sun will swell to a minimum of 200 times its current size, engulfing half the Solar System action and will fade to a tiny white dwarf, eventually cooling down and disappearing entirely. This theorized number of 5 billion years is an incomprehendable number. Who knows where humans will be, or even if we exist anymore.

The end If, somehow, mankind survives the death of the Earth and everything else the cosmos can throw at us billions of years into the future, we may have to sleep to survive. We’re talking huge numbers of years into the future here, over a billion, billion years from now. The universe will be a cold, dark place. The human thought process cannot function efficiently in the extreme cold, leading us into cyborg technology. But in this desolate cosmic wasteland, it’s so cold that even cyborgs cannot function properly. This is where sleep is important. We’d go into hibernation where we can regulate body temperature and keep ourselves alive. However, with the universe being dead, with no real chance of ever sparking again, we will never wake up. And at the end of the day, what sort of existance is that of a slow- thinking, ever-asleep, cyborg?

PREDICTED YEAR OUR SUN WILL BECOME A ‘RED GIANT’

22%

OF AMERICANS THINK THE WORLD WILL END IN THEIR LIFETIME

20 BILLION YEARS UNTIL THE BIG CRUNCH


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

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Feature

How else could it happen?

Zombie Apocalypse 101

by BECKI WATSON

A

s a potential world-ending scenario, the zombie apocalypse is probably one of the least likely ways it’ll go down. But you never know; remember that guy in Florida who bit a homeless man’s face off ? In any case, when it comes to the end of the world, it can’t hurt to be prepared. So, here’s everything you need to know about the undead and how to survive them. Zombies have been a staple of popular culture since Night of the Living Dead first shuffled onto the big screen. But the idea of zombies existed long before George Romero; in fact, mythology about the dead rising from their graves has existed in cultures across the world for hundreds of years. Folklore about vampires, revenants, and corpses that would rise from the dead and consume the living have been around for centuries, and Norse mythology includes the draugr, a reanimated corpse that roams outside of its grave to attack, eat, and infect the living. But the presence of zombies has evolved from myth and

legend to an integral part of popular horror culture. From films and TV shows, to books, graphic novels, video games, and even Zombie Walks, the walking dead are a horror feature that never seem to lose popularity. Now you know their history, it’s time to know the enemy. Zombies are slightly different in every portrayal, but there are some common themes throughout. Zombies are typically humans infected by an unknown virus that turned them into flesh hungry monsters, and the only sure-fire way to kill them is by destroying the brain. In most cases, they slowly lumber around searching for food, but if you’re up against the quick and agile 28 Days Later style zombies, you’d better start improving your cardio. Finally, here are some essential tips to keep you alive when the dead start to rise:

1. Find a weapon. Unlike our American cousins across the pond, you aren’t likely to find rifles or crossbows lying around. So, your best bet is to go for a heavy hand held weapon to bash zombie heads in, like a crowbar or a ‘Shaun of the Dead’ style cricket bat. 2. Get supplies. Even if you manage to get your zombie killing skills up to scratch, you won’t survive the end of the world long without supplies. Go for tinned food or anything with a long expiration date, and make sure to boil your water in case the infection is also waterborne. 3. Find a safe place. Once you’ve got your weapon and gear, find a safe place to hole up. While somewhere like a shopping centre or supermarket may be tempting, it’s not advisable, as there are too many entrances to guard. Find somewhere that’s easily defensible, and make sure you know your way out, and if it becomes compromised, don’t hesitate and get out as fast as possible.

R

eligions throughout history have had doomsday scenarios and prophecies about when, and how, the world will end. Isaac Newton, ever the polymath, even had his own prediction. Based upon his own readings of biblical events, he said that it will all end in 2060. So what are the prophecies? What do they say will occur during the apocalypse?

Christianity The Book of Revelations is the grand finale of the Bible; written as the viewer’s guide to the end of the world. ‘Seals will be broken and trumpets will sound; Death and his pale horse will ride forth, Hell will open, and Jesus will arrive to judge us’. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do; it’s the most entertaining part of the Bible. However, according to some sects of Christianity, this all should have come to pass already; several times in fact. In the first few centuries after Jesus died, Christians were almost entirely an apocalypse cult. They believed that the Second Coming, and thus Doomsday, was imminent. This idea has never really left the religion and there are examples, throughout its two millennia history, of Christians proclaiming that the end of the world is nigh. The Millerites, in 19th century America, believed that it would all end on October 22nd 1844. Of course it didn’t, yet even after their Great Disappointment, many believed that they’d merely got the day wrong. These people formed the Seventh Day Adventists, a group who, to this day, say that the Second Coming

Scenario: Revenge of the Girls Explanation: Birth rates show that more women are being born than men, and this number will only carry on growing. If this carries on, we could end up in a world where men are extinct and the human race cannot carry on.

And that’s it. Good luck, stay sharp, and aim for the head!

What About Religion?

by LUKE DOBSON

Scenario: The Grey Goo Problem Explanation: The technology that is exciting scientists is nanotechnology. These miniscule devices, in theory, can replicate anything, but there’s the worry that, as machines, they wouldn’t know where to stop, turning us all into grey goo.

is just round the corner. The most recent prediction was made by Harold Camping, informing people that the Rapture would occur on May 21st 2011. When it failed to happen, he moved it back to October 21st; which also failed to deliver any people rising out of their clothes into Heaven. Even after 2000 years of being wrong, there will always be those Christians who think that the apocalypse is just biding its time.

Buddhism Perhaps the sanest, though I use the term loosely, prediction for the end of the world is that of the Buddha. The scenario Buddha preached was one that is closest to a scientific view, as a religious prediction can get. Instead of people rising into the sky, demons roaming the Earth, or war, Buddha told of the gradual arrival of seven suns in the sky; and by gradual, I mean over hundreds of thousands of years. At first, there will be severe drought on the planet, causing all life to die out. A second sun will appear in the sky, vaporising streams and ponds; followed by a third, which will cause the evaporation of the world’s rivers. The fourth and fifth suns respectively will dry up the lakes and oceans’, leaving our planet completely devoid of water by the time the sixth sun appears. Now, the arrival of this sun means that both the core and crust of the planet will begin to super-heat. Great volcanic eruptions will occur across the barren surface, scorching whatever’s left and filling the skies with ash. Finally, the seventh sun will appear. The Earth will become a great ball of flame and explode. Life seems to get off fairly lightly, compared to other scenarios, escaping the ae-

ons of solar-cooked wasteland before the real destruction even begins.

Scenario: Is Reality Real? Explanation: The unlikely path where theoretical physics and philosophy meet. Is everything we know just the imagination of somebody in another realm? And will they turn the switch off on us?

Islam The Islamic tradition shares elements of its apocalypse with the other two Abrahamic religions, in that it is believed that there will be a great battle between the forces of good (Allah’s supporters) and evil (those who deny God) followed by a Day of Judgement. If you’ve ever read the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia, ‘The Last Battle’, some of the following will sound familiar. One of the differences between Islam and the other two Abrahamic religions, is that the period leading up to the Islamic Apocalypse is clearly split into three periods. The first period ended with the death of Mohammed. Thus we are currently living in the second period, which contains up to a hundred minor signs. These include things as vague as: businesses will defraud customers; people will not care when their children are illegitimate; and men will wear silky and effeminate clothing and marry other men. This period will continue for an indeterminate length of time until the third period begins, marked by twelve major signs. The first of these is that the Mahdi, the guided one, will appear atop a white horse. Following him, the false messiah Masih ad-Dajjal shall appear and lead many believers astray. Jesus, as a prophet in Islam, will return to help the Mahdi fight ad-Dajjal. A battle over our souls will be fought; trumpets will sound and everyone will perish, to be resurrected after forty years. Finally, the individual judgments upon all of resurrected humanity will commence. That’s a hell of a lot of people to judge.

Scenario: Strange matter chain reaction Explanation: Another potential product of the Large Hadron Collider (another being antimatter), strange matter reacts with matter in a similar way to nanotechnology. It will keep reacting with matter until nothing is left.

Scenario: Moon Apocalypse Explanation: Imagine one day an asteroid misses the Earth, but collides with the moon. With no moon the tides would almost cease to exist and our axis would tilt further leading to Africa becoming the new North pole. This would lead to a lack of rotation, meaning one side would have permanent, extreme cold night.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Why? What? Where? When? But seriously, why?

ITS 4AM, approximately 200 Bangor students are piling onto coaches with placards in hand. It can only mean one thing; National Demo. Being the dedicated journalist-types that we are, Seren braved the elements of the early morning and headed down to London with our kin. What we found though, wasn’t so great. Not only did we return nineteen hours later soaking wet and in dire need of our beds, but we didn’t really understand why we had just been through all that. When we went down to London two years ago we knew what it was for. The Government were proposing huge increases to our tuition fees and we were not happy. Students from across the UK converged on Parliament Square to tell them just how we felt. It didn’t work. And now here we are in 2012, the first year of the £9k fees. Demo 2012 was intended as a reaffirmation that students are angry but was there really any point? The new

fees have come into place and there’s nothing we can do about it. From the off Demo 2012 was different. The most obvious factor was that nowhere near as many people turned up and they weren’t half as riled as in 2010. The march was littered with sub-protests such as Free Palestine, a more than worthy cause but very much detached from students being angry about fees. Anti NUS protesters stormed the stage whilst the NUS President, Liam Burns, was making a speech postmarch. “Down with the NUS” they chanted, preventing the planned rally from taking place. The apathy we felt from so many students there, mixed with the confusion, not only leads us to ask why did they attend but what did we achieve? In two years time, if Demo 14 arises lets hope its for a solid and worthy reason. And preferably in the summer of 14. We don’t like the rain.

DEMO 2012 IN TWEETS #SERENOCCUPIED


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

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Union Update Time!

Union

Photo by Phil Coleman

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e’ve been up to lots and lots over the last month or so. As you’ll see on page xxx, we took nearly a hundred students on the national demo, and that was really exciting. Alongside this, we’ve got a new university challenge team (and last year’s team are going to be on TV again soon). We’ve been out and about talking to students, and have been to more University meetingsthanyoucanshakeastickat. One of the big focuses for the union recently has been attendance moni-

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o, last time we told you all about our brand new shiny way for you guys to tell the union what to do called Ideas... And it sure is effective! Thanks to your efforts, the union has a whole range of new Policies that we’ve been working on to make your time in Bangor better. The first one is on attendance monitoring. The central university policy is around offering support to students, but this hasn’t always been the case. We found out about two modules that were marking students down for non-attendance, which is both ridiculous and against the universities code of practise. We’ve now managed to get this stopped, as a result of a student Idea, and are campaigning wider to make sure that no-one gets in trouble for not attending lectures. Our next policy is to investigate the prices in the Ffridd site shop, as well as its products, labelling, receipts and love Bangor, the SU discount card, and we’ve secured a meeting with the universities commercial services director to discuss this. The next two are quite simple we’ll be supporting SHAG week, which is sexual health awareness week, and we’ll be maintaining bilingual Facebook accounts. Watch this space...

toring. The university has implemented a new policy, which is entirely based around support for students. However, we’ve come across a number of instances where this isn’t the case, and we’ve been working really hard to make sure that you guys are told that this is just about support, and not about getting in trouble.

W e ’ v e been going out and talking to students (GOATing), and getting evidence to back up our arguments. As always, you’re welcome to get in touch with us on anything. In the athletic union, we’re doing really well in National competition. We’re a number of places

a b o v e where we were last year in BUCS, an, even better, we’re ahead of Aber! Check out the sports pages for more info. Society wise, we’ve got more societies than ever, and there have been loads of really successful society events, including our involvement within Bangor’s festive celebrations. Have a look at the

Societies pages to see some of the wonderful things that are happening So, it leaves us only to wish you a very, very merry Christmas, a wonderful new year and some wonderful luck in your exams and essays! Don’t forget, if you want discounts for your last minute shopping, you can buy nus extra for £12, it lasts for a year, and you’ll make your money back in no time.

See you round! Antony, Emyr, Shôn, Ash and Mared

Finally for now, we’re going to be lobbying the local council to improve Ffriddeodd road, particularly the safety. As you may have noticed, there is a lot of traffic, some blind road crossings, and terrible road surfaces. We’ll be lobbying hard to improve this over the next year.

Ideas

So, I hear you cry, how do I put forward an idea to improve my student experience? Well, it’s really easy! Simply head to www. bangorstu-

dents. c o m / d e m / ideas.asp (catchy, eh!), put in what you want, and why you want it, and it’ll be discussed at the next senate meeting. If you’d like any help putting this together, don’t hesitate to contact ant o n y. b u t c h e r @ b a n gorstudents.com

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he Student-Led Teaching Awards are back! After the success of last years’ awards (300+ nominations, 15 awards given to staff at an event attended by 200+ people), the Students’ Union, together with the University will be holding the SLTAs 2013. But not only are we having SLTAs, but this year they will be combined with the Course Rep Awards, including the prestigious Course Rep of the Year! So keep the date safe! April 24th 2013, for a night of celebrating the best that

Bangor University can offer from both staff and students. Last year’s winners can be found on our website. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with Shôn, Danielle or Michelle on academicrepunit@bangorstudents. com and we’ll get back to you. Dr Fay Short, Teacher of the Year 2012, had this to say… “It is always lovely to be appreciated for your work, but there is something extra special about recognition from your own students. I have the greatest job in the

universe: I get to tell other people all about the amazing things that are happening in the world of psychology and (perhaps, maybe, somehow) inspire those people to go out into the world to do some of those amazing things. I was honoured and touched to be nominated for this award, and I was absolutely gob-smacked to win the award! It was an amazing night to end an amazing year with some amazing students.”

World AIDS Day

BANGOR Students’ Union, with local churches, Unity Bangor and Bangor UNICEF on Campus held a successful World AIDS Day event on December 1st. VP Education & Welfare, Shôn

Prebble said “it’s great to see students involved in helping to raise awareness of topics such as AIDS and in remembering people all over the world who’ve been affected by this disease.” If you would

like any more info about any of the Union’s welfare campaigns, or have an idea for one, get in touch with Shôn on shon.prebble@bangorstudents.com


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

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Police

‘Ello ello ello F

or new students, Welcome to Bangor! For returning students we hope you had a good summer break and are looking forward to a new year. I am Sergeant Robert Rands, and I have been based at Bangor for the past 2 years. Prior to that I have worked in Llandudno, Conwy and in the Police Headquarters in Colwyn Bay. Before joining the Police I studied for my BA in History and Archaeology at Bangor University, before completing my masters in Liverpool University and working for 2 years as an Archaeologist. I am delighted that you have chosen to further your education

studying in Bangor. While Bangor is amongst the most pleasant and safest cities to study in there are some basic issues that we would like to bring to your attention in order that the time you spend in Bangor is enjoyable and safe. I can be contacted on 07884462717 or at Bangor. policeinformation@nthwales.pnn.police.uk. This contact address is for you to pass information to us or ask us questions as your local policing team. If you do not wish to formally report an incident to us, but you think we should be aware of it then please use this e-mail address. For urgent police assistance call 999 or for non urgent help call 101.

“Keep it secret, keep it safe”

Last year there were a number of occasions where property belonging to students was targeted. I am pleased to be able to tell you that there was significant success in investigations leading to the prosecutions of individuals. Whilst Bangor is a safe city there are basic things you can do to ensure the safety of your property.

On a number of occasions student bikes were targeted. In the main these were during holiday periods when they were left unattended for long periods.

Ensure your doors and windows are locked when you leave. Postcode protect your property. Report any suspicious persons loitering to security.

Vehicles with laptops, sat nav’s and other electronic devices remain an attractive target to thieves.

Sign up to immobilize. com and register your valuable property.

Try not to walk home alone. Keep to well lit and well populated main routes. Do not go off with people you don’t know.

Don’t leave belongings on display in your car. Lock and secure your bicycle to a provided university bike stand.

Be aware of your surroundings and the people nearby when you are taking cash from bank machines or walking home.

During Holidays leave your bike inside your room. Report any suspicious behaviour to us!

When drinking with friends ensure that your drink is safe, don’t leave it where it could be spiked. Consider drinking from bottlesl. by LJ TAYLOR

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orth Wales Police are encouraging students to protect their mobile phones with a new online service. Immobilise is a free service which allows you to register your valuable items such as your mobile phone, iPod, sat nav, games console, laptop and camera. Registered items are put onto a database that allows the police to trace their owners if recovered. “We are urging all students to register their property, in particular items such as mobile phones

onto the Immobilise database. It only takes a few minutes and if your property is stolen and later recovered, there is a greater chance of it being returned.” said Chief Inspector Andrew Williams of North Wales Police. The service has been used by police forces across Great Britain and has been well received as a powerful tool for combatting crime. The police believe that the more people that sign up for the service, the better chance they will have of detecting criminals and getting the stolen goods back to their rightful owners. North Wales Police are

working in partnership with a number of stores across Bangor to spread the message of the Immobilise service. Stores such as Orange, Currys/ PC World, Phones 4 U and Tesco have agreed to distribute Immobilise leaflets to people buying new phones. ““We are very grateful to the stores for supporting us with promoting this initiative. Together, we can take positive steps to deter the buying and selling of stolen goods.” said Chief Inspector Williams. It is quick and easy to register your software with the free service which can be accessed at www. immobilise.com

C.U.P. Initiative

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bout 9 months ago a new joint initiative was set up between the Council the University and the Police (CUP). The main aim of the CUP group is to improve the quality of life of students who choose to attend Bangor University. We have held an action day on Glanrafon Hill during which we ensured that landlords were aware of

the correct refuse collection days. We have also made efforts to ensure that bushes were cut down in the area that obscured lighting. We hold multi-agency enforcement visits to rented accommodation that is substandard and if required take prosecution action. Please let us know if we can help you!


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

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University Investments In Student Experience Teaching spaces fully upgraded:

2011/12: Main Arts Building: Greek Lecture Room, Drama Rehearsal Room, G1 New Arts Building: Lecture Rooms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Dean Street: Room 120 & S6, Electronic Engineering Lab George Building: Octagonal Room, Stephenson Room Memorial Building: G1 Lecture Room Brambell: C1 Nantlle: Computer Room 16 2012/13 Thoday Building: Lecture Theatre, Wood Library, S26, F27 Memorial Building: 212 seminar room Main Arts: M1, PJ Hall, G8 Seminar, G9 Seminar Brambell: A1 Laboratory & B1 Laboratory (Phase 1) Chemistry Tower: 812 Lecture Theatre

Recently the University has made a number of investments in your student experience. They’ll be sending out some information to you all soon, but they’ve given Seren a first look at what’s been going on...

Huge investment in Halls of Residence During 2011/12, a £3.5m refurbishment of Reichel Hall was completed at a cost of £3.5m providing a cost-conscious, sharedfacilities accommodation option for students. Currently, Neuadd Garth is undergoing a £4m refurbishment to provide a broader offer of accommodation to our postgraduate students. Arfon and Seiriol on the Normal site have been upgraded with new furniture in all rooms and all the common areas refurbished including the installation of new, big-screen TVs. Outdoor space enhancements have included new barbeque areas and picnic tables at Normal Site, Ffriddoedd Site and Bryn Eithin.

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lecture rooms upgraded between 2011 and 2013

40k

of additional funding for Students’ Union this year

New Student Health Nurse

£10

The new Student Health Nurse, Beverly Williams, offers a range of health and wellbeing services including drop-in clinics around campus where you can get advice and information on all health matters as well as condoms and pregnancy testing. More info: bangor.ac.uk/studentservices/wellbeing.

per month to be a student member of Maes Glas

Maes Glas membership fee reduced by over 50%

M University investment to provide free membership to all Students’ Union sports clubs & societies

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he University has invested in excess of £400,000 in Students’ Union structures to deliver an innovative project aimed at growing the range of student-led opportunities at Bangor. For the first time ever students do not have to pay a membership fee to join sports clubs or societies, with membership of these groups now funded centrally through the

University’s fee plan. Additionally, as part of the project, a sum of money is available to assist clubs and societies expand and offer an increased and varied programme of development and social activity for students. Currently Bangor has nearly 150 clubs and societies run by students to enrich their experience. As part of the same initiative,

roughly a quarter of the funding has been directed at Student Volunteering Bangor in order to support the increase of the number of project places available for students to volunteer in the local community. The first of the new SVB projects will provide volunteers with the opportunity to coach sport in local schools and is set to start in the next few weeks.

aes Glas has introduced reduced student gym membership, which is now down to £10 a month compared to £27.50 in 201011. Membership is enhanced through an increase in the range and number of exercise classes and a new 7 am opening for classes and morning training for student clubs. In support of BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sports), Maes Glas is now reserved on Wednesdays from 12pm to 7pm and the time available for Interhall and Intramural sport has tripled, with reserved slots every week. To offer international students a place to play over the Christmas break, Maes

Glas will be open for 3 days over Christmas 2012. At Treborth new portable floodlights have been purchased to give greater flexibility for training and to improve the availability of pitches for Wednesday matches with continued pitch improvements planned. A re-decorated pavilion and newly installed classroom provides clubs with better team facilities and space for coaching courses due to start in January 2013. Future developments include a planned refurbishment of the Maes Glas centre including the creation of a two storey gym area with state of the art gym equipment


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Societies

December Issue 2012

Rostra’s Antigone

pictures by Jodie Williams by BECKI WATSON

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he last weekend of November marked Rostra’s first project of the year, Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone. The play follows the story of Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, in the years following her father’s banishment and death, and the war that killed her two brothers. After the new king Creon declares that one brother would be buried as a hero, and the other, Polynices, would be left unburied and unmourned for be-

traying the city, Antigone defies the law and buries her brother by herself. When she is discovered by the King’s guards, Creon sentences her to death, despite the protests by his advisors that such a move would anger the gods. The following events, despite the desperate attempts by Creon to avert them, end in tragedy for the royal family. The directors of Rostra’s Antigone, Helen Pitcher and Michael Costa, took the decision to set this Greek tragedy in the modern day, and used

the chorus actors as newscasters and journalists to deliver the monologues that frame the play. This worked really well, as it established what was happening in the play, while drawing the audience further into the play, and gave them a deeper connection with the plot. The cast also gave some very compelling performances. Catherine Johnston took on the lead role of Antigone, and portrayed the doomed woman with dignity, strength and real emotion. Chris Topham was

also fantastic as the stubborn and arrogant Creon. Creon is a challenging role to play, and he carried it off superbly, inspiring sympathy in the audience as Creon suffers the effects of his bad decisions. The supporting roles were equally as enjoyable, with Daniel Blaney as Haemon, Antigone’s heartbroken fiance, and Nicholas Yerally as Teiresais as the blind prophet having particularly stand-out performances. The cast as a whole were brilliant; the atmosphere was palpable, giving a sense of tension and

foreboding throughout the play until the tragic climax. Overall, Rostra’s performance of Antigone was a highly enjoyable performance. The cast and the direction were excellent, and truly brought the Greek tragedy to life. Rostra’s next project is a pantomime of Cinderella, and the first showing will be a matinee at 2.30pm, with an evening performance at 7.30pm, on Sunday 9th December in JP Hall. I, for one, am thoroughly looking forward to their next performance!

and this no doubt relieved some of the pressure from the dancers. The dances were most certainly quite interesting with a mixture of discipline and shock value being brought to the stage in equal measures. A Latin version of Psy’s Gangnam Style kicked off the night with members of Storm FM, Canoe Club and JapSoc showing us their Cha Cha Cha skills. We then moved on to witness a fairly disciplined and wellpractised Hip Hop routine, a slow dance involving an improvised stage fight, a Bollywood dance to the Pussycat Dolls hit Jai Ho, culminating in

the ballet. The societies and clubs that took part in Strictly Come Bangor included: The Bangor Linguistics Society, Storm FM, JapSoc, Canoe Club, and BEDS. Bangor University Dance also have their dance show coming up, on Friday 14th December and Saturday 15th December in JP Hall, starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are £3 with a student card and £4 without.

BU Dance by MATT JACKSON

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n the 17th November several clubs and societies’ members took to the stage for a special one off dance show for Children in Need. “Strictly Come Bangor” invited society members to don their best dance moves in a competition judged by Emyr Bath, Ash Kierans, and BU Dance Captain Victoria Kirk, culminating in an audience vote for the winning society. The winning society or club would net a massive £50, whilst this may not seem like a huge prize an amount

like this could be the difference between an AU club making it to their next match, or a society earning that much needed prop. BEDS saw themselves net the winnings, with members Dan Short and Samuel Ball, taking part in a Ballet dance to “Beautiful” by One Direction; the crowd found it as funny as it sounds. Sarah Homerstone, also of Beds took part in the slow dance, alongside two Storm FM members. However the real winner of the night was Children in Need, the reason that all of the dancers were willing to take to the stage just 14 days

after rehearsals started; and in front of a very packed Powis Hall; over 100 people attended the event. BU Dance captain Victoria Kirk said “'It was a fantastic night with everyone giving us some great performances! We raised an amazing £250 for Children In Need so thank you to everyone!” The night followed a format similar to the hit TV show with dancers and judges being interviewed after every dance, as well as occasional participation from the audience. The lighthearted feeling of the night was definitely visible during the interviews


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December Issue 2012

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Societies

Society Snippets BAWLS

Afro-Caribbean Society by ETA USO

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he Afro-Caribbean Society of Bangor in collaboration with the North-Wales Jamaican Society came together on the 10th of November, 2012, to deliver the biggest ever Afro-Caribbean event to hit Bangor University. The night was full of fun and was totally mind-blowing, with lights, cameras and lots of action. A Live Band was present to open the wonderful event of the night. As expected, the

beautiful drum rhythms from the live band brought the whole Fridd Site (area of the night's event) to a stand-still with students, et al. coming out of their accommodation and looking-on in awe and excitement. The night was indeed fulfilling to all. Nonetheless, the Afro-Caribbean Society is definitely not sleeping on this success and has already planned out a fun-filled calendar spanning this academic year. Don't Miss Out.

T’WAS a long time ago, longer now than it seems, in a film that perhaps you saw in your teens. This film that you are invited to see, will not be charging any kind of fee. In case you did NOT get the clue, BAWLS (Bangor Animation Watchers and Lovers Society) will be showing the seasonal classic The Nightmare Before Christmas on the 9th of December. Jack, Sally and the Boogyman will be waiting in Main arts lecture room 3 at 6pm, waiting for an eager audience, hope to see lots of people there!

Bangor Linguistics THE BANGOR Linguistics Society operates a small fully functioning library in Main Arts. We offer students the chance to borrow books, and come down and experience our biscuit collection. We also run a fortnightly lecture throughout term time which has so far been very well received. Our aim is also to create a social atmosphere for linguists and language lovers alike.

Bangor Comedy FANCY some comedy? Well it’s almost that time of year again when Bangor’s favourite comedy society take to the stage once more for their Christmas Gala show. Taking place this year in Main Arts Lecture Theatre, 7:30 pm priced at only £4. That’s a lot of comedy for your money!

NIGHTLINE

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ell look at how fast the year is going already and soon it will be Christmas! I can’t wait to see what Santa has for me and for Nightline! Last year he gave me a teddy bear and he is still one of my dear friends who’s always there to listen to me, kind of like how Nightline is always around too. If you ever need to talk to anyone no matter what it’s about then Nightline is always there for you with a friendly and non-judgemental voice to listen and talk. Look out for their number on posters and if you have the keyring on the back of it and feel free to add it to your phone. Oh! Before I go I just want to invite you all to the Christmas Masquer-

ade Ball hosted by Psych Society and Nightline, there are still some tickets left and it promises to be an amazing night. There is a Facebook page set up for it which you can find by friending me on facebook at Dafydd Nightline, Bangor University Nightline or by keeping an eye out for Psych Society. I can tell you now I am excited for it! I am going to be there in my mask and suit showing off my moves and giving out hugs! I just hope they don’t mind me coming in without shoes, it’s hard to find shoes that fit so I guess I’ll have to go Bearfooted! See you around, readers! Nightline are avaliable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01248 362121

Christian Union BANGOR’S Christian Union will be hosting a quiz night this month. The event, titled “Keep calm its only a pub quiz’ is in association with Christian’s in Sport. It will take place on Thursday, 13th December at 8pm in The Greek.

Wanted: Politics Editor EVER fancied yourself as one of Seren’s Sub Editors? Well now’s your chance. We have an opening for a Politics Editor. If you’re interested contact us: editor@seren.bangor. ac.uk or if you just want to get involved in some way just send us a message to let us know.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012 Photos by Kris Humphreys

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aving told our editor that I was ‘up for anything’ when it came to trying out societies, I soon felt that maybe I’d been a bit too over-enthusiastic when I volunteered to try out Canoe Polo, having no idea whatsoever what it involved and certainly no clue as to even whether you needed to be able to canoe to take part. What followed was many frantic Google searches, all of which led me to be standing in Bangor swimming pool changing rooms wondering whether I had massively over-estimated how much my single kayaking experience on holiday had prepared

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e went to Women’s Rugby, Rygbi Merched this month and went to one of their pre match training sessions. What you all might not know is that Bangor University Women’s Rugby team is very successful; last year they only lost one match and couldn’t play one in the whole season. They also do some of the best fundraising events of the sports clubs, keep an eye out around Bangor for sweet tubs appealing for pennies. This is for the Mile of Pennies Appeal, the proceeds of which will go to Anglesey Riding for the Disabled and Evie’s Fund, a cancer

me for this. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong, as this friendly, welcoming club soon put my mind at rest. After fixing me up with one of the member’s boats (which much to the amusement of the others happened to be the most expensive), the safety briefing ensued and I was helmeted up and helped into the pool. The session started with some simple throwing and catching between the players while I bumped my boat along the sides of the pool (much to the well-concealed distress of the boat’s owner) and frantically worked out just how you are supposed to steer. Next came some T-rescue drilling,

which involved one of the players purposefully capsizing themselves and another playing coming to their aid to allow them to ‘push up’ on their boat and right themselves. With the basics sorted and the warm-up over we started to play a simple game of possession, in which I actually managed to catch the ball. So overwhelmed by this was I that I promptly capsized and, as is typical of me, forgot the safety briefing of ‘keep calm and tap and rub on the bottom of your boat’ or ‘undo the tab on your spray deck’ and instead flailed about under water vaguely wondering just how long I could hold my breath for. However I needn’t have worried as the others soon came to my assistance and finally remembering to ‘push up’ on their boat, I was righted and the game ensued. Having capsized once, I was determined not to again and instead got stuck in with the next part of the session – a match between two teams where the aim is to score in the goals at either end of the pool, similar to actual canoe polo matches. Despite my earlier fears and my rather refreshing dip in the pool, I

found I actually started to love Canoe Polo and even got a shot at goal (needless to say I missed). At the end of the session, I found myself wanting more of this fun and adrenaline-pumping sport and have decided I am definitely up for another go. If you want to join, the club hold training sessions on Llanberis Lake, Menai Straits and in a pool (no matter the weather) at least twice a week,, with fitness and

charity. Due to the quagmire that is Treborth, the training session we attended was on the tennis courts next to Maes Glas. This was probably a good thing as Pippa arrived in Hi tops and the closest thing Robyn had to trainers being walking boots. Not really cut out for lightning reflexes. The beautifully northern coach Andy had us all warming up with some catching exercises, something which comes naturally to some, and not so naturally to others… we were definitely in the less natural category. Then came a quick little physics lesson from Coach; a concept that, in all honesty, I had not understood in High school, suddenly made perfect sense; F=ma. The harder you hit them, the less likely they are to want to be hit by you the second

time. It’s about deterrence apparently. Touch rugby for strategy and safety purposes ensued (who wants to be taken to the tarmac?). We both got ‘well stuck in’ according to coach. We didn’t do badly; held the line, ran when told to but one of us got her head in the game: Pippa hit the prop, then the floor. ‘Don’t just wait to be snotted on, smash ‘em back!’ seems to be the underlying sentiment behind this women’s rugby team. But if you watch a game, they’ll help the other team up after grinding them into the mud and apologise if they stand on people… usually. To round off the session the team practised their kicking game with a round of kick tennis. Very simple, if you drop the ball you’re out, if you don’t kick above the little fullback’s shoulder height, you’re out. Robyn’s team won, helped we’re sure by the fact that she didn’t touch the ball once.

If you happen to be in paddies around 8pm on a Wednesday, and hear a resounding chorus of ‘B-AN-G-O-R, Bangor Rugby Team we are, we like to maul we like to ruck, and then at night we like to…drink’, feel free to join them for a pint, or a double vodka. The social side is just as important for these guys who have a social sec to organise pub golf, super hero night and court session for those who

circuit training sessions. If you join the team, you also get the chance to play at weekend tournaments in Liverpool, Warwick, Nottingham, Cardiff and BUCS. The club also hold their infamous socials on a Wednesday night and are always keen for new people to join, whether you are experienced or have never canoed in your life and I for one would definitely recommend it.

break their own brand of Universal Drinking Rules. So join them for a beverage. They don’t bite honest, unless you have your hands in the ruck.


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December Issue 2012

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This Issue, Seren’s roving reporters Pippa and Robyn discover the best of the North Wales’ Christmas scene and try their hand at Women’s Rugby and Canoe Polo...

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n the 24th November this year, Beaumaris held its annual Victorian Christmas event – an eclectic mix of elves, rather-tipsy looking Santas and all things Victorian. Being the Christmas addict that I am, I couldn’t resist a visit and dragged

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my less-than-enthusiastic friend along under the pretence of being ‘chief photographer’. With entertainment ranging from Barrel Organs to ice skating, it was difficult to know where to start, but as usual, my inner child prevailed and we went in hunt of the infamous ‘Santa’s Grotto’. With the sweet aromas of mince pies and roasting chestnuts filling our nostrils and ‘snow’ falling from the sky (which it has to be said was more reminiscent of foam parties at Peep), it was hard not to get that familiar buzz about the approaching 25th of December. However, after half an hour of trailing the streets in search of the ‘real’ Santa’s grotto, we had to face the reality that at 5pm, Santa had probably packed up his sack and gone in search of some Victorian ale, leaving us to move onto Ice skating. You would have thought that after many failed attempts and many bruised rear-ends later, I would have finally accepted that perhaps ice skating is just not suited to someone whose balance resembles that of a penguin on a tight-rope, or that perhaps I would have realised the fact that the oldest person on the ice was 7 years old meant it probably wasn’t

here is a rule in my house; no Christmas before December 1st. This is for the sanity of all around me as, for a month, I hail from the land of ice and snow. So, to fit as much Christmas in as possible, I attended the Betws-y-Coed Christmas 2012 in the ‘gateway to Snowdonia’ around 30mins drive from Bangor. The drive down the A5 was stunning, the mountains looked like someone had sprinkled them with sugar and some of the mini waterfalls had formed abstract sculptures of ice around their mouths. The 1st Saturday of December signifies something special in Betws-y-Coed: exposure to the most exuberant and excitable Christmas lovers around, myself included. This breed of humanity also known as homo-santa, has been known to throw down over Christmas displays and strangle each other with lengths of 1inch red satin ribbon. Thankfully Sophie, a homo-scroogous, agreed to come along to keep me in order. I started out slow, with the

petting of reindeer and birds of pray while making our way over to the Alpine Café. Flanked by a cast iron gorilla, the Alpine café is furnished in an eclectic array of styles and eras. Over a spicy chai latte, which, in my opinion is the beverage of the gods, I watched the flow of people coming off trains from Llandudno and further afield, and observed the general goings on around me; a toddler with an ice cream, in December, getting more on his face than in it. Great parent-

such a great idea – but no. With my skates on and my friend waiting poised with the camera for that inevitable face-plant, I took to the ice. Now here, I would like to say that something ‘clicked’, that I finally discovered how to glide effortlessly and twirl like in Dancing on Ice, but after 10 minutes of clinging desperately to the side, fighting with tiny children for the push-along penguins, I gave in and accepted my defeat before I ended up face-down in a crowd of about 20 kids. To finish the night (and recover from my skating ordeal), we settled for a heartwarming hog roast whilst listening to some ‘rousing’ carol singing, topped off by the switching on of the Christmas tree lights. This was the perfect end to our Christmas experience, leaving only the battle of persuading my housemates that November isn’t too early to put up the Christmas decorations…

Christmas shortbread decorating, and all the control I’d been exercising simply fell away. I paid my £1 and threw myself into the creative process. This was clearly a job for my A level Fine Art understanding and ability. I hope you agree, it belongs in the Tate modern. I am a rather flawed individual; one of my foibles is that I’m a sucker for a funfair. Even if its just teacups. Along the high street, which runs perpendicular to the other row of shops in Betws-y-coed, was

FOR A MONTH, I HAIL FROM THE LAND OF ICE AND SNOW. ing skills. The tents around the common contained most of the crafty goings on with basket making tutorials, lantern making and face painting. I have to say I did queue up to have my face painted, but, being the kind person I am, and desperate for a cuppa, I gave up my spot for the under 10s to proceed. We then dawdled along to The Royal Oak, the pub that sponsored the whole event, to drink our volume in brew. However, en route, I got distracted by a sign advertising

the cause of my distraction. Consisting of a high speed spinney thing, teacups, a children’s train ride and a hook-a-duck, to use the technical terms, the annual funfair draws and herds the homo-santas towards the other festive shops. One that particularly spoke to me was a deli with maybe eight different types of gingerbread house and a whole wall of cheeses. To round off the day, the Royal Oak puts on an exquisite fireworks display. There have been some pretty good ones recently, the

Olympics for example, but for a place with a population of around 550, if that, it is a spectacular show and a wonderful end to a really packed day. So if you’re free on the 1st Saturday of December next year, hop on a train to Llandudno junction and change to Betws-y-Coed, or just drive down the A5.


26

Food & Drink

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Christmas Dinner’s Unsung Heroes T

he image accompanying this pages’ header is one of a bird whose ability to resist the inexhaustible apathy towards it has firmly placed it at the heart of any traditional Christmas dinner. I’ve yet to meet anyone whose favourite element of a Christmas dinner is turkey. Often lamented for its propensity to overcook easily which results in a dry, chalky and bland meat (especially the breast) that is made just about palatable through copious quantities of gravy, the turkey should be overshadowed by superior complementary side dishes. Plus, cooking a turkey is a ultimately fruitless and laborious task. I’d be perfectly contented with a plate of (in this specific

order) roast potatoes, parsnips, sweet carrots, all of which is lubricated by a well-reduced, sticky gravy. Bread sauce would be a welcome addition but as far as my perfect Christmas is concerned, the holy trinity of side dishes is more than enough to justify continuing this indefatigable and hackneyed tradition. If you’re of a similar inclination and think there’s no place for turkey at your Christmas dinner, you might appreciate these recipes for the holy trinity of any good Christmas dinner (all recipes serve four people):

R

oasting a potato but not a parsnip at Christmas but would make you a negligent host who denies their guests of the real reason Christmas dinners are so popular.

INGREDIENTS:

Roast Vegetables

I

know carrots probably aren’t the most exciting element of a Christmas dinner but they’re one of the parts I look forward to most. Clearly distinguish properly cooked, honey glazed carrots from the tinned carrot as much as possible. Cooking them in this way produces the sweetest carrot you’ll have ever eaten. Alternatively, especially if you’re short for oven space, cover with water, a knob of butter, a pinch of sugar and salt and cook down until soft and glazed with buttery juices.

•1kg of potatoes (King Edwards or Maris Pipers) • 350g parsnips • 1 clove of crushed garlic • 5 tablespoons olive oil (a jar of goose fat would be the hedonic ideal but alas, you’re a student, give it a miss) • salt

METHOD:

Pre-heat your oven to 190°. Peel and quarter your potatoes and place them in a pan of boiling salted water. Blanch for around seven minutes (be confident but don’t let them break up too much otherwise they’ll become saturated with water), drain and gently shake in the pan. (This creates little fissures on the potatoes exterior, enabling them to take on a crisp, glass-like outer texture when roasting.) (For the parsnips, peel and cut in to halves. Boil for three minutes and drain.) Meanwhile, put your oil in a roasting tray and place in the oven. Add the potatoes to the tray, season liberally with salt and some crushed garlic before carefully combining with the oil. Cook for an hour, adding the parsnips after 15 minutes (in a separate tray, repeating the exact same process – oil, garlic and salt).

INGREDIENTS: • 500g carrots, peeled and halved lengthways • Two tablespoons honey • Salt and pepper

METHOD: Mix your carrots with the olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and cook on a baking tray for 45 minutes at 180° until they’re sticky and cooked through. Be careful to watch them in case they catch.

Gravy

Carrots N

ow, I’m going to be a real snob here and attempt to persuade you to reject gravy granules. They’re just a bit minging to be honest and in spite of a friend’s contention that there’s a real art to achieving the right consistency, taste pretty bad (there’s no beef in their beef ‘flavour’ gravy). I know making gravy seems like a bit of a pain in the arse, especially when there are instant alternatives but if you’ve gone to all the effort of scorning the turkey and preparing all these beautiful side dishes, it would be remiss to prepare a half-arsed gravy. Chicken wings cost pence and add a real depth of flavour to your gravy base. It’s tempting to leave them out of the recipe but I wouldn’t (unless you’re a vegetarian, of course): the end result is significantly

better through their addition. Make the gravy well in advance so that the oven’s free for later.

INGREDIENTS: • 1kg chicken wings • Two white onions, peeled and roughly chopped • One carrot, peeled and roughly chopped • Two sticks of celery, roughly chopped • Half a bottle of apple cider • 2 litres of chicken stock • 1tbsp plain flour • 1tbsp tomato puree • One sprig of thyme • Salt and pepper

METHOD: Pre-heat your oven to 200°. In your largest oven tray, add the chicken wings and vegeta-

bles and roast for 20 minutes, turning every so often so they colour evenly and don’t stick. Add the tomato puree and flour, stir and return the pan to the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove the tray and immediately add in the cider and 200ml of the stock, stirring vigorously to remove any of the sediment from the tray’s base. Transfer everything to your largest saucepan, add in the rest of the ingredients (including the remaining stock) and simmer for around an hour, skimming the top occasionally to remove any scum. Strain the gravy and if needed adjust the seasoning. If it’s watery, add to a pan and reduce on a high heat until the desired consistency is reached.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

27

Food & Drink

Concerning standard of hygiene among Bangor eateries

Though it probably should be, the first thought when you eat out isn’t how hygienic the kitchen is. Instead, cost, value and taste understandably occupy our minds. It’s difficult to entertain the cleanliness of the kitchen when you eat somewhere: more often than not, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. Unless there are visible signs of distress with the kitchen’s efforts to serve you food prepared under the correct conditions, it’s hard to force yourself to consider whether you’d be happy to eat in a restaurant if you could see the state of the kitchen. Short of carrying out an impromptu inspection yourself, there are ways to find out what standards eateries uphold in their kitchens. The Food Standards Agency, a non-ministerial government department, scours the kitchens of the country to adjudicate how safely food served to the public is prepared. The ratings, which range from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good), apply to Bangor thus:

Three-rated establishments

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Beach Road Chippy Costa Dragon Noodle Bar Eastern Origin Mike’s Bites Spicy Vujon Star Kebabs Tai Sing The Royal Tandoori Varsity

Are pleased to be associated with Bangor University Supplying all your Hoodies, Clothing and Sportswear with NO MINIMUM ORDER sales@sional.co.uk

Five-rated

Two-rated 1. Antelope Inn 2. Batty’s Fish and Chips 3. Crêperie Café 4. Yellow Bar 5. KFC 6. Oscar’s Lounge 7. Sunshine Take Away 8. The University Plaice 9. Whistlestop Café

Fortunately Bangor has more five-rated establishments than all others and no zeroes or ones. It would be unfair and wholly inaccurate to suggest that these fiverated restaurants are automatically of a higher standard than their contemporaries in terms of food served but invariably, the Food Standards Agency’s ratings act as a reliable indicator of whether you should be eating in a particular venue. There’s no excuse for having a sub-three rating; the FSA stresses its commitment to providing all establishments with detailed reports on what they need to do to reach the five-rated pinnacle.

Promotional Merchandise Ltd

Tel: 01248 689249

Bangor Chinese Takeaway Bella Bella Castle Bakery G.Williams & Son The Greek Hong Kong House The Fat Cat Yates Ying Wah

Four-rated establishments

For all your Printed, Embroidered Clothing and Promotional Merchandise

www.sional.co.uk

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

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

1815 All University food outlets Blue Sky Café Burger King Crumbs Domino’s Garden Restaurant Gerrard’s Greggs Jade City Kebab House Kyffin Late Stop McDonald’s Morrisons Options Pizza House Ristorante Pulcinella Subway Tap and Spile Tesco The Boat Yard The Menai Skerries Wetherspoons Yo’ Mamas


28

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Deck The Halls

As always Seren is dedicated to making sure you students don’t spend all of your loan when there’s no need to. This year we visited B&M to put together a Halls (or home) decoration kit for less than £30! We’ve also given you a few tips on how to make your own decorations and of course Ashleigh is on hand to make sure you don’t offend any rubbish gift-givers this year.

Tree, £5 from B&M Available in green, black or white.

Seren’s Decorating team. They have a fondness for doors. You don’t have to limit yourselves to decorating your doors though. We promise.

The Gift of Expression Great news, kids, Ashleigh is back this year to once again show us the right expressions to have ready for those gifts you don’t want. Take a look at the scale of Ashleigh to see what’s appropriate.

Disgust

Faker

Pure Joy


December Issue 2012

seren.bangor.ac.uk

29

Christmas Crafts Toilet Roll Stars You will need: empty toilet roll, glue, white glitter. Method: Fold the toilet roll in half length wise, flattening it. Then, cut into 1cm thick sections. Arrange the sections into a star shape, similarly to the picture. Glue together. Next, coat the outside with glue, and sprinkle with glitter.

Paper Chains You will need: paper, glue. Method: cut the paper into strips. Glue the first piece into a ring. Then, glue pieces of paper together to create new linking rings.

Stick Stars You will need: sticks, glue, string. Method: Take the sticks, arrange into a star shape similarly to the picture opposite. Glue together, and thread through with string.

Paper Baubles You will need: Paper, scissors, glue, string. Method: Design a shape onto paper. Cut out. Punch a hole at the top, and thread through with string to make a hanging loop. You can also coat the paper in glue, and sprinkle with glitter or sequins for extra effect.

Splash out on tinsel. You can use it everywhere, it comes in many colours and its a world of fun.

Look of Love

Winner


30

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Like, totally cool hipster gifts For that person in your life who needs their present before it gets popular.

£18

£12.99

£9.99 each

Scribbly: A Fat Marker-Pen Stylus for Tablets Something that looks like a board marker but is actually a stylus for your (totally hipster) iPad? What’s not to like? Available from: scribbly.eu

Camera Lens Cup

A super bendy phone cable and tripod in one

We all know how much hipsters love Instagram, so why not let them pretend to be a proper photographer? This camera lens cup comes compete with a cap that acts as a biscuit holder. Cool, huh. Available from: iwantoneofthose.com

Basically, this is the next best thing to floating iPhone. This charging cable is strong enough to hold your iPhone or Android phone (yep, it’s available cross-platform) aloft for you to see when you’re cooking / charging / whatever. Available from: photojojo.com/store

£10

£28.99

from

£7.99 Disappointments Diary 2013

Field Notes: cool notebooks for cool people

Interactive Tetris Light

This diary is not only a daily calendar – it’s a calendar with a sense of humour. It allows you to keep track of your daily negativity all in one place. Write a list of “people who never call” or have a browse through the “notable deaths” section. Available from: scribbly.eu

Inspired by the vanishing art of the well-crafted shopping list, the Field Notes Brand brings you “Field Notes” in hopes of offering, “An honest memo book, worth filling up with good information.” Available from: thepaperie.co.uk

Made up of individual Tetris pieces, this light is guaranteed to brighten up (geddit) any hipster friend. The blue base powers the light and when plugged in, the individual pieces can be stacked on top, lighting as it is put together. Available from: iwantoneofthose.com

Gifts to save the planet, man For the eco warrior in your life

£19.99

£11.55

£8.95

Recycled cardboard radio and mp3 speaker

Fairtrade mosaic tealight holders (set of two)

Natural soap made by activists in India

Within this cardboard box is an FM radio, retractable aerial and speaker. You can listen to your own music collection via the included input lead. It’s powered by 4 x AA batteries (rechargable, naturally) & is made from recycled card. Available from: iwantoneofthose.com

A matching set of vibrant tealight holders made from brightly coloured glass mosaic squares. A great way to add a touch of colour, warmth and ethnic style to anyone’s home. Handcrafted in fair trade conditions in India. Available from: ethicalsuperstore.com

Three bars of natural soap beautifully wrapped in dried leaves from wild trees and packed in a handmade newspaper bag. They are also great as shampoo bars. Available from: amnestyshop.org.uk


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

31

Geeky gifts from Planet Zorg For that person whose jokes you don’t always understand...

£4.79

from

£3.91

£p9.99 er pair

‘To Victory’ Dalek Ironside Propaganda Poster

Official Star Wars ChopSabers

Pac-Man Salt and Pepper Pots

The ultimate in geek utensils, these Star Wars Chop Sabers are perfect for that friend you have who’s always making obscure jokes about Luke Skywalker & Chewbacca walking into a bar (“ouch”). Available from: firebox.com

This has to be the best kind of geek tableware: Pac-Man Ghost Salt and Pepper Pots?! We’re not even geeks at Seren and we want these for our little dining spot (mainly on the sofa, but you know). Get them right now! Available from: firebox.com

This cool poster comes straight from the Matt Smith episode of Doctor Who - ‘Victory of the Daleks’. Featuring WWII propaganda artwork for Churchhill’s new robotic innovation, the ‘Ironsides’’. Available from: play.com

£11.95

£6.99

£24.99

Periodic Table Mug

Stormtrooper LEGO Minifigure Alarm Clock

LEGO The Hobbit 79000: Riddles for the Ring

Great for your mate in Chemistry who will love the chance to show off their geeky credentials by sipping their hot beverage of choice (probably liquid hydrogen or something - just kidding, don’t try that at home) in this vessel of sciencey goodness. Available from: firebox.com

Yes, more Star Wars, but we couldn’t resist. Lego Stormtrooper Alarm Clock is just perfect for anyone who wants to be blasted out of bed in the morning*. Our favourite thing about it is that the snooze and backlight functions are activated by shoving his head down. Available from: firebox.com *blasting weapons not included

As the most anticipated film of the year is released in cinemas, geeks all over the country will be longing for their Hobbit Lego (they will, don’t argue). As it’s all mega expensive these days, we’ve chosen this little delight. Available from: amazon.co.uk

Pretty things for people who probably like fonts like this Nuff said.

£26.50

£8

£15

Bath Pamper Gift Box by by Bow Boutique

Personalised Eye Masks by Maid In Ireland

Porcelain Teapot Wall Vase And Hook by Deborah Sparks

These luxurious bath products are individually made by hand in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. Each melt contains Cocoa and Shea butters which, when added to a hot bath, create a deeply moisturising soak. Available from: notonthehighstreet.com

When It’s too just too early to get up, be serene behind one of these eye masks. They come in 3 colourways with a contrast gingham back. All are made from the finest 100% cotton with blackout fabric & have a textured contrasting ribbon. Available from: notonthehighstreet.com

These porcelain teapots are lovely to look at and are dual purpose. With removable lids they can be used as a stylish wall vase and as a hanging hook too. Available from: notonthehighstreet.com


32

seren.bangor.ac.uk

Advice

December Issue 2012

Any specific topics you want discussing in the next issue? Email our Editor with any thoughts or questions for me: editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk

Will’s

Wisdom

KEEPING RESOLUTIONS

The New Year Resolution is an interesting phenomenon. It’s ritual near the end of the year to ask people what their resolution is, to laugh or to admire, and to shape our own. We’re filled with naivety and create a goal or growth plan for the coming year. It’s a fantastic idea, so why is it so hard to actually… do it? 88% of us fail to ‘resolve’. Are we all just terribly lazy and unproductive people? I don’t think so. I reckon it’s something to do with the concept of New Year Resolutions as a whole. This is my attempt at an explanation on the problems with New Year Resolutions, and how to actually ‘resolve’ (With help from my dear friend Will Smithson)

You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out and say ‘I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that has ever been built’. You say ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid’. You do this every single day, and soon you have a wall.

,,

Sounds corny, but it’s actually pretty wise. If we analyse this, what can we get from it? He’s effectively saying ‘You don’t aim straight for the goal. You break down the goal to its component skills, and do them to the best of your abilities within context’. The goal was the wall. The component skill was the laying of a brick; the context was where he was laying it. Let’s say your New Year’s Resolution is to make more friends. You don’t just go out one day and force friends. You pay attention to and develop the skills involved. Holding conversation, listening, building rapport, dissolving judgement, being compassionate, not being afraid to ‘be yourself’, etc. The more you can work at, the better. Once you’ve worked on those abilities, you put yourself in a context to express those skills (every social situation you can think of ). When you are as perfect as you can be in those areas, people flock to you.

Seren’s

New Year

Resolutions LJ (Editor): To take over the world, one newspaper at a time.

BAD TIMING

PRESSURE

The New Year starts cold and uncomfortable. Sunlight lasts for approximately 47 minutes, and the rest of the day is spent either falling asleep, trying to get to sleep, or lying in bed (for more sleep). Now imagine your resolution is to start jogging every morning at 6; that presents a problem. Also, you’re still in holiday-mode when the New Year starts. Even if your resolution is something relatively independent of the cold (like learning to play the guitar), it would be difficult to suddenly put yourself into learning-mode.

Whenever we get given a nice big time frame (let’s say…a year), there is just no pressure to do anything. In theory, a longer time limit should mean we have more time to work, and reach our goals to the best of our--blah. It doesn’t work. Most of us cram for exams, write essays the night before they’re due, and in general don’t feel like working as soon as we have the chance. And that’s how reckless we are when grades are involved; imagine when we have nothing to lose!

SOLUTION

SOLUTION

Put aside something you hold only slightly dear to you as a forfeit. One Harry Potter book, your latest DVD, etc. If you have nothing dear to you, put money up. Cut your time limit. Split your goal up into smaller time frames. If you’re goal is to lose weight by a certain number of kilos, split it into smaller goals that will stick in your memory (e.g 2kg by February, 3kg by April, ad nauseum)

As soon as you think of your resolution, start it. It doesn’t matter if it’s December the 8th or January the 8th, start it right there and then, and the cold won’t matter. Just the fact that you’re forcing yourself to start it at some time other than usual puts you in a more self-suggestive mood. You’ll be up for trying new things, like jogging in the snow. Or drinking more raw milk.

UNDESIRABLE It’s common sense that we do what we want more than what we have to do. But that obviously hinders us when we’ve got a big fat goal to reach for our self-improvement. We tend to build New Year Resolutions on the basis of what we think would be good for us, and it’s never something like ‘sleep in and arrive later to lectures’, or ‘gain 30 pounds of pure fat’.

SOLUTION Phrase your resolution in a way that actually makes you want to do it. Figure out what actually motivates you; be it discontent in yourself, social acceptance, attraction of the other sex, selfbetterment, or any such else. Write your resolution around that concept. If you’re motivated by discontent, think about what upsets you, and focus on how content you’ll feel when you reach your goal. If you’re motivated by society (or girls), build your resolution around how much more people will like you. Not that either of those reasons are necessarily ‘healthy’.

Aaron (Editor’s wife): Save money and pay off his overdraft. Rosie (Deputy-Editor): Pass her PhD. Joe (Food and Drink): Finish an essay at least three hours before the deadline Stefan (Features): To actually work on his dissertation, and obtain a degree. Sinnead (Features): To re-form a relationship with Embassy. Sophie (Comment): To have long hair by the summer Harriet (Health and Beauty): To prevent Sophie from having long hair Nicola (News): To not be afraid to try new things, and join a gym Matt (Sport): To make time Tomos (Music): To listen to better music Joe (News Team): To not forget important dates of the year. Birthdays included.

FORGETTING It’s simple enough. All the previous reasons are enough to understand why we could just plain forget about our resolutions. And because we usually don’t pick particularly life-significant resolutions, we realise after a year that we’ve forgotten and

SOLUTION If you desperately want to remember, get your friends to remind you weekly. Not only is it a large enough increment of reminder for you to not be desensitized, but you can feel guilt when the people around you see that you aren’t making progress. But If you’ve made it an entire year without managing to reach your new years resolution, you can rest assured that it isn’t that big of an issue.

Becki (TV): To exercise more, and to eat more healthily. Becci (Film): To rob a bank Jordaine (Travel): To learn to skateboard Thomas (Contributor): ‘Don’t panic’ Ailish (Contributor): To keep in touch with family and friends at home more. Tom (Creative Corner): To get the highest grades possible Dan (IT): Reply to text messages quicker Pippa (Society Girls): To get out/stay out of her overdraft Robyn (Society Girls): To eat less Quavers (she has a problem), and to do more work. Will (Environment): Save the environment. The whole thing. And become carbon neutral. Me: To grow my beard to two inches.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

THIS SEASON BEAUTY’S GONE Gothic Glam is at the height of fashion this season, focusing on minimal eyes and bold, darker toned lip colour. Why not incorporate it into your Christmas makeup style by taking inspiration from the Queen of Gothic Glam… Taylor Momsen.

BAD! Dark eyes (focusing lighter whites and blues in the inner eyelid- add false lashes to accentuate your eyes)

33

Health & Beauty HARRIET’S HOMEMADE

HAND SCRUB We are fast approaching the Christmas period and colder weather is beginning to creep in. Along with freezing temperatures, I also forecast dry skin on your hands in the coming winter months. Here is a sneaky recipe to ensure your hands are soothed and dry skin free throughout winter.

Ingredients: • 3 tablespoons of Sugar • 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil • 5 drops of Essential Oil (I love to use Lavender-available from Boots for £5.09) • A pinch of Dried Herbs (Lavender, Thyme. Rosemary bring out the divine scent of the hand scrub) •A fresh Lemon

How to make: 1. First, mix the sugar, herbs and oil together in a bowl 2. Then add the essential oil (do this carefully as this can get messy!) 3. Add a little lemon zest for extra scent, then stir well 4. Pour into a storage pot (5 pots available from Boots for just £2.00)

Pale, powdered face helps emphasise your dramatic lip colour

How to use: TIP- You may want to make a small tag including the following instructions on how to use the product- try placing the pot into an organza bag, fastening the tag to the bag with ribbon.

Deep purple lip colour (moisturise lips first with lip balm, follow with layering thin layers of lip colour and finishing with deep purple liner to help maintain the colour throughout the night! Try pressing on your favourite colour glitter for an extra Christmas sparkle)

1. Place a small amount of the hand scrub into the palm of your hand with a teaspoon 2. Massage around your hands (focusing on the most sensitive areas) 3. Rinse your hands in warm water- try using a slice of lemon to break up the sugar whilst rinsing your hands (this also brings out the delicious scent of the hand scrub) Ta ah! Hands are left soothed and silky smooth!

Can’t think of what to buy for Christmas gifts? Why not make your own hand scrub, varying the essential oils for a personalised touch!

TIP- Go for a tough and vampy edge to hair, makeup and nail styles. Get inspiration form the Goth scene (heavy charcoal eyes and blood stained lip colour)

EEK! BE PREPARED FOR YOUR NEW HOUSEMATES! By HARRIET ACTON

T

he evening of November 20th 2012, I spent a great deal of time stood on a table. Now you might think that it was a strange way to spend my evening. In fact, I was not only stood on the table, but cowering against the ceiling, being a complete drama queen, causing such a scene that I was banished from the kitchen by my house mates until it was over. Around about now you should be thinking: “What the hell is she harping on about?”. Well on the evening of November 20th 2012, there was a mouse in Hafryn House. As a town girl, I don’t have much ex-

perience with squeaky little rodents. Although my heart wanted it to be like the singing, dress-making mice from Disney’s Cinderella, my head told me that the reality would be very different (hence the Harriet screaming the house down on the table whilst her house mates chase the mouse frantically around the kitchen situation.) But after a little research, I have found that in the coming months, it is inevitable that the lovely little mice of Bangor will take great delight in their descent upon our student houses. So it is best to keep an eye out for the following: from scratching sounds in the walls and damaged food packaging,

to evidence of gnawing or chewing, droppings and holes in and around foundation walls. All are tell “tail” signs that your new house mates have arrived.

What to do if you find a mouse in your house: Inform your landlord

who should arrange a “mouse-man” to come and sort out your pest problem. How to avoid getting mice: Food is the main thing which will attract mice to your house. Particularly discarded food and uncollected waste. So make sure you empty your bins regularly and if necessary, store your food in plastic boxes (available from Poundland for... you guessed it... £1)


34

TV By NICOLA HOBAN

seren.bangor.ac.uk

Merlin’s Final Adventure

A

s the countdown to Christmas begins, fans across the globe prepare for the hit BBC show Merlin to air its final episodes. The show, which some believe has been axed when in reality had always been planned to only ever have five seasons, was first aired on 20th September 2008 and is loosely based on the Arthurian legends, following a young Merlin (Colin Morgan) and his

by AILISH BUMPUS

F

December Issue 2012

ive years after a tragic boat accident, Oliver Queen (billionaire playboy) comes back from the dead. He begins to right his father’s wrongs as a hooded vigilante, taking down corruption-filled Starling City’s biggest crime bosses. But what happened on the island he was rescued from? And how long can he keep his alter-ego a secret? At a first glimpse, ‘Arrow’ is a richfamily-with-secrets drama, with a superhero edge. But as it develops you will be pleasantly surprised by this gripping, action-packed show with plenty of personal family issues. In the first episode, it delves straight into the action with dishevelled castaway Oliver being rescued, and he comes back to a less than warm welcome that introduces all the main characters in a short space of

adventures with Prince Arthur (Bradley James). Merlin, a young wizard, is sent to Camelot by his mother, who sends him to stay with the court physician Gaius (Richard Wilson). With magic being outlawed in Camelot, Merlin has to undertake his destiny of protecting and guiding Prince Arthur without his natural gifts being discovered, in the hopes that one day the future King will bring back the land of magic once again. The task proves to be difficult however, as the duo face many obstacles in

time, perhaps to keep the pace and get on with the secrets and violence. The action throughout the series is fast-paced and exhilarating, balancing the realistic fighting of untrained thugs and stylised, highly trained Oliver. Also the use of ‘trick arrows’ (grappling hook, transmitter, sleeping gas) sets apart the action from other shows. Oliver is equipped with his father’s notebooks, crossing out the names of the crime bosses he takes out which, although slightly cliché, gives a good climax to each episode. The star of ‘Arrow’ is the charming and smoking hot Stephen Amell, previously in ‘Private Practice’ and ‘New Girl’, playing both the smarmy rich kid and tormented vigilante equally well. In CW’s familiar way of bringing the female, teenage audience, Amell shows off his excellent physique in the slightly out of place ‘training’ scenes. But the scene-stealer has to be the endearing John ‘Diggles’ Diggle; Oliver’s bodyguard who’s a comic relief with his quick wit and, refreshingly, doesn’t give into Oliver’s every whims like the other characters. With the show being based on an already loved and highly developed comic book character, does the show do the hero justice? It seems the Green Arrow universe has been condensed so all the important characters are conveniently Oliver’s close family and friends. Also, Oliver seems to be nonchalant in killing people for justice, which is a great contrast to his comic book equivalent who goes out of his way not to, as he sees it as morally wrong. ‘Arrow’ brings a hefty contender into the newly revived superhero scene, and with its gritty realism and great cast, viewers can look forward to the show’s future with plenty of room for character development, flashbacks and answered questions.

their path, one being the king’s ward Morgana (Katie McGrath), who proves to be a powerful sorceress who wants Camelot’s for herself and will do anything to get it. While Merlin and Arthur are not friendly towards each other at first, the audience have watched their bond and camaraderie grow stronger with each passing episode. The characters of Lady Guinevere (Angel Coulby) and the Knights of the Round Table are also loved just as much by the fans as the main pair for what they contribute to the storyline, as well as their rapport with one another, namely the

by BECKI WATSON

L

ike any responsible student, instead of getting a sensible amount of sleep in order to focus better on my studies, I spend my evenings watching hours of television, and my latest obsession has been the hit US comedy Community. While the show has never gained huge audiences, it has received great acclaim from critics across the board, and is sure to become a cult classic. Set in Greendale Community College, the show follows ex-lawyer Jeff, who had to return to school when the bar found out he’d forged his college diploma, as he sets up a fake Spanish study group in order to seduce high school dropout and anarchist Britta. This backfires when other students hear of it, and the group expands to include pop-culture obsessed Abed, single mother Shirley, over-achiever Annie, former high school football player Troy and elderly millionaire Pierce. Despite their various personality flaws, the group bonds, and together they navigate their way through the surreal antics of college. The genius of Community is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. As well as satirising itself to brilliant effect, Community constantly parodies pop culture. From a full length skit of Doctor Who called ‘Inspector Spacetime‘, to a Shaun of the Dead style send up of horror

knights Sir Leon (Rupert Young), Sir Gwaine (Eoin Macken), Sir Percival (Tom Hopper), Sir Elyan (Adetomiwa Edun), and the more recent addition of Mordred (Alexander Vlahos). The large cast of Merlin and their talent makes the show what it is. While the show started off with mixed reviews, it has gone from strength to strength throughout the seasons. Now standing at 62 episodes, Merlin has starred many a big name over the years, including that of Anthony Head, John Hurt and Michelle Ryan. Though Merlin now starts to draw to a close, leaving fans of the show devastated, it could be said by some that a glimmer of hope remains as the possibility of a spin-off is being discussed, though some fans feel that the

show should be left as it was intended to end. While I’ll be watching the final episodes with a bunch of tissues and a lot of snacks ready for the emotional rollercoaster to come, the questions that remain to be asked are these: What will happen to the cast once their journey with Merlin ends? Will there be a spin-off series and could it tarnish the show? And most importantly, when will Merlin’s magic be revealed to everyone, though more specifically, to Arthur?!

movies where Troy is encouraged to ‘be the first black man to make it to the end’, their satire is as clever as it is hilarious. Added to this are the amazing characters, who grow and develop as the show goes on, such as Troy, who evolved from a cool, popular jock, into a guy who isn’t afraid to show his geeky passions. He also develops a truly epic nerdy bromance with Abed (we’re talking JD and Turk levels here), and together they provide some of the funniest moments in the programme. But aside from all of the wonderfully surreal fantasy sequences, Community gives a hilarious look into college that many students can relate to. From scarily intense lec turers, to study sessions where not much actual studying takes place, it brings all of the weird and wonderful elements of universit y superbly to life. With the premiere of the fourth season pushed

back by the network to an unknown future date, the fate of the show remains uncertain. But even so, the characters of Community are ones you’ll grow to love, and its passionate fan base will ensure it stays on air for many seasons to come.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

35

TV

RECOMMENDS Christmas Specials Elspeth recommends The long-awaited Christmas season has finally arrived, and we all know what that means; Christmas specials! And what’s more the Seren team is here to share their favourite Christmas episodes of all time. EVEN though the Christmas specials have only been running since 2005, watching Doctor Who together feels as much of a Christmas institution as vaguely paying attention to the Queen’s speech or betting on who’s going to die in Casualty (…

Merry Christmas!

Tom recommends

REWIND to September 2012, and I’m stood in my living room, the shocked faces of my housemates staring back at me after I revealed I’d never seen Gavin and Stacey. And now, after watching every episode, it’s easy to see why. The programme was brilliant, and the Christmas special was a

particular highlight. December 25th, and Stacey’s family have been invited to spend Christmas with the Shipmans. Featuring hilarious moments such as Nessa as Santa, Mick trying to cook the turkey, and the drunken row, it’s a classic that will be remembered for years to come.

Sophie recommends

just me?). Although actually getting everyone in front of the telly and making them be quiet in time for the Doctor Who Christmas special is arguably one of the biggest challenges of the holiday period, the brilliant thing about Doctor Who is that

everyone has watched it at some point, everyone has their favourite doctor (Tom Baker, obviously) and everyone, no matter what they say, gets a little bit excited when they hear the awesome theme tune and the sound of that blue box.

Matt recommends

THE ROYALE Family Christmas special is most certainly my TV highlight each Christmas, in fact, it’s the only one that I genuinely look for when the schedule is announced (or my Mum buys the TV page – retro). I

guess it’s partially because I grew up watching the TV series with my parents, and because it’s just so genius. I struggle really to put it in any other way but it’s not got a particularly expansive set, or a massively expan-

sive cast. It roughly revolves around a single family, in a single house, sitting around being simply a working class northern family.

Thomas recommends SCREAMING into the face of a man who has just proposed to you? Sounds like a standard day in the life of loveable vicar Geraldine Granger. Without a doubt my favourite episode ever, the final episode of the series is a hilarious mishmash of fluffy romance and ridiculousness; from jumping into a six foot deep puddle

to avoid an awkward meeting, to the “it should have been me” mock music video and the Dalek bridesmaids, Dawn French and co, alongside gorgeous guest star Richard Armitage, are at their brilliant, if slightly eccentric, best and will keep you laughing all through Christmas Day.

BLACKADDER’S Christmas Carol is the opposite of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; “Ebenezer” Blackadder is introduced as a kind, generous and selfless man, completely different from his ancestors. How-

ever, he is shown how different he is from them and therefore sacrifices his kindness for greed, to uphold the family tradition, turning him into the Blackadder we all know and love. Well done to Richard Curtis and

Ben Elton for this bit of comedy genius. Plus, Baldrick becomes the first person ever to spell Christmas without getting any letters correct (I’ll let you work out how he spells it)…

What’s On?: Christmas Edition

by BECKI WATSON

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he holiday period is finally upon us, and Seren is here to guide you through the highlights of this year’s Christmas television. After the emotional farewell to the Ponds last episode, this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special sees the Doctor mourning their loss and withdrawing from the world. But when the Earth is once again in danger, a young governess called Clara (as well as some old friends from past series ) calls on the Doctor to help. Can he move past his heartbreak and return to his world-saving ways? A must-see for all Whovians, this episode looks to be as weird, inventive and entertaining as we’ve come to expect from the ever popular sci-fi series. Catch it on Christmas Day on BBC1 at 5.15pm. Emotions are also running high for fans of Merlin, who are wait-

ing with equal dread and anticipation for the final episode, which will be broadcast at 7.55pm on the 22nd December on BBC1. Following Merlin’s vision of Arthur’s death, it remains to be seen whether Morgana will finally gain and keep control of Camelot, or whether Mordred will betray and murder Arthur as Merlin foresaw. Whatever the outcome, it’s bound to be a thrilling conclusion to the excellent fantasy series. Top Gear has been the centrepiece for BBC2’s Christmas schedule for the past four years, but this year, fans are going to be disappointed. Due to filming and editing delays, the Top Gear Christmas Special won’t be aired until February next year; fortunately it hasn’t ruined the Top Gear boys’ sense of humour, with James May saying that they’re already calling it ‘Top Gear’s February Christmas

Special’, and noting, ‘At least we’re not clashing with X factor and I’m a Celebrity.’ Speaking of The X Factor, the talent show juggernaut is (finally) drawing to a close. It’s not been short of controversy, with Ella, one of the favourites, being evicted in Week 7, and popular boy band Union J losing out on a place in the final in favour of Christopher Maloney, who some have criticised for having an outdated style. So who will win it, Christopher, Jahmene, or James? Either way, with artists like Emile Sande and One Direction performing, the final on Saturday 8th is set to be one hell of a show. If you need to fill the realityshow-shaped hole in your Saturday night, don’t forget to tune into Strictly Come Dancing, as the competition gets even tougher as

it heads towards the final, as well as the Christmas Special at 6.15pm on Christmas Day, starring some of the favourite contestants from past series. Fans of the BBC3 sit-com Him and Her are in for a treat, as the show airs its first Christmas special on 23rd December. Russel Tovey and Sarah Solemani, who play the loveable and slobby couple Steve and Becky, celebrate the holidays in their own unique way, and the celebrated comedy The Royal Family will air their Christmas episode at 9.45pm on Christmas Day. What’s Christmas without a bit of period drama? Specifically, the Downton Abbey Christmas episode, which is on its way to becoming as important a tradition as the Doctor Who special. There’s a change in scenery

in this episode, as the Granthams head to the Scottish Highlands to spend Christmas with their cousins in Duneagle Castle. Meanwhile, we get to see what the servants get up to while the family’s away, as Mr Carson struggles to keep the servants in line while they’re all focused on the upcoming county fair. Airing at 9pm on ITV1 on Christmas Day, this is definitely one to watch for fans of the show. If there’s one thing American TV loves, it’s Christmas specials, and there are some crackers coming up this year. Glee, airing on 13th December, is offering up the imaginatively titled ‘Glee, Actually’ in a tribute to the popular holiday film that follows several different storylines, as Sam and Brittany prepare for the Mayan apocalypse, half-brothers Jake and Puck celebrate Chanukah, and Kurt and Blaine meet up after their break up. New Girl, airing on 11th December, sees the gang attempting to juggle multiple holiday parties at once, with Jess avoiding Sam, Nick trying to keep up with his adventurous date, and Winston getting a cranberry stuck in his ear.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

Film E R P

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By BECCI JAMESON

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December Issue 2012

n the 8th October 1985, Les Miserables was first performed on stage. After a shaky start, it has become the longest running musical of all time. So it is about time they made it into a film. Packed with an astonishing amount of star power, including Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables is expected to bring in the audience in the lull after Christmas with its delightfully melancholy subject matter and sombre belters. The film is adapted from the musical which is based on the 1862 novel Les Misérables by French author Victor Hugo. It sees Jean Valjean (Jackman) leave prison after 19 years and end up breaking his parole in order to turn his life around. Several years later, Valjean is a successful businessman known for his kindness. Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), who was a prison guard during Valjean's prison sentence, eventually finds out who he is and vows to bring him to justice. There are other threads to the narrative including Valjean's guilt over

the firing of Fantine (Hathaway), a single mother who worked at his factory forced into prostitution to care for her child, Cosette; a love triangle between the grown Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), the student revolutionary Marius (Eddie Redmayne), and poor street thief Eponine (Samantha Barks); the exploits of Eponine's villainous parents, the Thenardiers (Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen), and the lives of the poor in post-revolution France as a revolutionary group starts a battle in the streets of Paris. The combination of Bonham Carter and Baron Cohen will be nothing short of spectacular, having both performed in Sweeney Todd, we know they can sing and the flair they bring to anything they do will be perfect for the horrible Thenardiers. Anne Hathaway's performance is rumoured to be harrowing, she even shaved her hair off staying true to her character Fantine. Bringing in Samantha Banks who is reprising her role of Eponine from the 25th Anniversary Special of Les Miserables, is a good move as it showcases the new

British talent that is just as good as the seasoned Americans and Aussies. Tom Hooper, the film's director, who has The King's Speech under his belt, has indicated that the performers sing live on set, departing from the usual practice of miming to pre-recorded playback. Typically, the soundtrack for a film musical is recorded several months in advance and the actors mime to playback during filming. Everyone involved, from Hugh Jackman to Russell Crowe to producer Cameron Mackintosh, have praised this approach as it allowed them to concentrate on their acting. Composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil wrote a new song exclusively for the film. Schönberg also composed new incidental music. This may upset fans of the musical but it will showcase the film in its own right. Les Miserables will open in cinemas on 11th January 2013. It is advisable to book in advance and bring plenty of tissues.

By BECCI JAMESON

P

robably one of the most anticipated prequels of all time, Peter Jackson returns with more antics from the Shire, as director and producer. After the success of the Lord of The Rings trilogy, The Hobbit is set to storm into the record books. A December release date should heighten everyone's festive cheer and is sure to be a perfect way to end the year. The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands

the superb such as Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee and Andy Serkis who reprise their roles and newcomers such as Stephen Fry and Benedict Cumberbatch to the strange casting of James Nesbitt as Bofur, ex-Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown and the ever odd Barry Humphries as the Great Goblin. Cumberbatch vs. Freeman is going to be interesting as we are so used to them working together as Sherlock and Watson and even though its only Cumberbatch's voice, its going to be intense. They are always brilliant in everything. Richard Armitage as a dwarf is a bit odd but that's part of the Peter Jackson experience for actors. It also gives us the chance to guess who's who as most of the cast will be unrecognisable, especially Stephen Fry who will be sporting a bald cap, a comb over and eats testicles as the Master of Laketown. Nice. The filmmakers have jumped on the same bandwagon as Harry Potter and Twilight and have made the film into three parts, which is sure to

HE FINDS A SIMPLE, GOLD RING THAT IS TIED TO THE FATE OF ALL MIDDLE EARTH ...

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swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever, Gollum (Andy Serkis). Here, he finds a simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo can't even begin to imagine. A focus of discussion is the bizarre, mismatched cast, which ranges from

end up being both frustrating and rewarding for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien. We won't get to see the conclusion until 2014! This does mean that there will be enough screen time to showcase the entire story and plenty of references to Lord of The Rings to satisfy the most die-hard of fans. An Unex-

pected Journey will run over 160 minutes but it still clocks in shorter than Fellowship Of The Ring, the least lengthy of Jackson's Lord Of The Rings trilogy and so it should be if they're putting it in three parts. Its a veritable juggernaut and I can't wait. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will open in cinemas on the 14th December, its likely to be packed so book in advance and get your geek on.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

37

Film

Blu-Ray and DVD Releases

By BECCI JAMESON

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By TOM HAYNES

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ack in 2008, three years after the original “Twilight” book captured the imaginations of teenage girls across the world, stars were aligning. Seventeen year old Kristen Stewart had been cast in the role of Bella Swan, whilst British actor Robert Pattinson was revealed to play Edward Cullen. On a relatively small budget of $37 million, no one could have predicted the furore that would follow. Fast forward four years, and the franchise has hit the stratosphere, grossing over $3 billion, with cast members featured on the front of every tabloid. Breaking Dawn Part 2, the final instalment of the saga sees Bella now immortalised as a vampire. Along with husband Edward and the rest of the Cullens, she must gather together witnesses to prove to the Volturi that her daughter Renesmee isn’t an immortal child. It is Bella’s newfound strength that gives the film a greater energy than its predecessor, which felt overlong and uneventful. The high octane action

3/5 gives both the stunt and special effects departments room to shine, resulting in a film that looks visually impressive. The emphasis on action also detracts away from the film’s romantic element, which, apart from the preteen or incredibly soppy members of the audience, will leave the corners of mouths twitching in the cinema. In terms of character, again the cast do well with the ground material they’ve been given. Working from an overlong, and largely uneventful novel, their portrayal of sleek and unflinching vampires proves accessible and watchable. It results in an ending, which, although differs from the novel, will leave fans highly satisfied. With over $600 million grossed at the box office in the first two weeks of release, Summit Entertainment should be applauded, if only for the admirable way they have understood the needs of their target audience. Using Stephenie Meyer’s somewhat sparse source material, they have created a highly lucrative franchise and powerful ending, quenching the needs of its bloodthirsty fans, whilst making astronomical waves at the box office for themselves.

A

Ted (15)

talking animal, pop culture references and offensive humour. It could only have come from the mind of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane with his debut as a live-action movie director. Luckily this film is funny enough for him to get away with it. If you can get past the fact that the Ted’s voice jumps between Peter and Brian Griffin which is thankfully referenced, Ted himself is brilliant. He sucks up all the best lines, and brings out the best in Mark Wahlberg. The Italian Job star is highly likeable as a slacker whose relationship with his girlfriend (Mila, Shut Up Meg, Kunis) is being held back by the bear. The sweary teddy bear joke does start to wear thin after a while, the third-act kidnap plot doesn't add much to the film and thankfully there is no explanation as to why a teddy bear would start talking but Family Guy lovers will find plenty to enjoy here. High definition buyers get a commentary by McFarlane, his co-writer and Wahlberg, a Making Of documentary, alternate takes, deleted scenes and a gag reel. Yet again the push for Blu-Ray has demoted the DVD special features to little more than the film itself. Viewers of the DVD get the extended “unrated” cut which is six minutes longer and a digital copy. OUT NOW

I

The Dark Knight Rises (12)

t’s eight years since the traumatic events of The Dark Knight and Batman has been outlawed and ostracised in Gotham City, which arrogantly believes it has rid itself of crime. Wrongly blamed for the demise of Gotham’s public defender Harvey Dent, a lie that even trusted ally Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) has to maintain, Batman or rather Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) hides inside stately Wayne Manor. Then Bane (Tom Hardy) comes along, built like a wrestling giant with vocal chords like a mixture of Sean Connery and blended screwdrivers, he wears a mask that resembles the “face hugger” from Alien. He proclaims himself to be “Gotham’s reckoning.” Cue the bad impressions. Anne Hathaway intrigues and sizzles as Selina Kyle/ Catwoman, who has connections to both Bane and Batman. Marion Cotillard makes less of a splash as Miranda Tate, but she fits very well into the film’s intricate puzzle. So does Joseph Gordon-Levitt, another newcomer, who like Cotillard and Hardy all starred in Nolan’s previous film Inception. Old friends return as well; Michael Caine as Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as company gadget man Lucius Fox, who supplements the Batmobile and Bat-Pod motorbike with a flying machine (no autopilot) simply called The Bat. Extras include many making-of featurettes, plus interviews and a trailer archive. OUT NOW

Favourite Christmas Films It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and as we are all feeling the festive cheer and freezing cold, it is the best time to sit around in a duvet and watch a Christmas film, here are some of our favourites:

LJ – The Grinch THE GRINCH is a lot like me. He’s nasty and he’s hilarious. Much like him I only care about my dog, Max. Christmas films are ripe with joy and singing and stupidly happy people who can’t wait to spend the holidays with their families. The Grinch has this too, of course, except right at the top of the mountain, glaring down on everyone is Mr Grinch. Its my life in a Christmas film. The worst part, of course, is that in the end he kind of turns out nice. It really is my life in film.

Becki – The Muppet's Christmas Carol A CHRISTMAS Carol has had many adaptations over the years. The one I watch every year, is the Muppet’s Christmas Carol. With the ever brilliant Michael Caine starring as Scrooge and with Kermit as Bob Cratchit, Waldorf and Statler as the Marley brothers, and Gonzo as the great Dickens himself, what’s not to love? It’s funny, emotional, and genuinely heartwarming. Anyone who says that they don’t enjoy has a colder heart than Scrooge himself.

Becci – Bad Santa I LOVE Bad Santa so much because it is against the grain of sappy, loved up Christmas films. It is unashamedly disgusting, cheap and definitely not for children and best of all nobody learns anything or betters their life, although they try. Billy Bob Thornton is the eponymous anti-hero and is superb, if he'd been at my Woolworths when I was younger I would never have celebrated Christmas again. Funny, completely absurd and exactly the opposite of what Christmas is about. Perfect.

Nicola and Joe – Die Hard WHEN thinking of Christmas, one film springs to mind. Here’s a hint: “Yippee ki yay motherf*****!” Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis who is trapped after his wife’s Christmas party is taken hostage by German terrorist Alan Rickman. Armed with only his wits, a shoeless McClane battle to rescue his wife. Die Hard captures the Christmas spirit: a giant teddy bear and several dead bodies. Die Hard is THE Christmas movie. Without, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas.

Tom – Home Alone FEATURING classic lines such as “keep the change you filthy animal”, and iconic scenes such as paint cans swinging from the banisters, the film made a star out of Macaulay Culkin, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. Home Alone’s combination of comedy and festive charm has proved an enduring hit with audiences for last twenty two years, becoming a Christmas classic that will endure for generations to come.


38

Games

seren.bangor.ac.uk

This issue Seren’s dedicated reporter, Joe Keep, gives you his thoughts on some of the newest game releases; Halo 4 and Football Manager 2013.

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he UNSC has driven back the Covenant but has uncovered a bigger and far more destructive foe; the Forerunners. As the UNSC press on to defeat the Forerunners, on the planet Requiem, Cortana awakes Master Chief from his cryogenic slumber, once again to save the human race. On this journey, your emotions will be pulled at, as twists, turns, and the outright unthinkable occur. With gameplay responsive and an immersive universe with glorious graphics and environments, topped off with a resonating and powerful soundtrack, Halo 4 ticks all the boxes. 343 industries, the new developers of Halo, have met the mantle and taken what fans loved from the first trilogy, and added their own unique twist and improvements. For example, the sound for vehicles and weapons have been re-recorded, providing a much more realistic and ‘meaty’ sound. This is companioned with a redesign of old enemies and weapons, adding an extra depth allowing the player to fully take on the

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December Issue 2012

e’ve all sat there and watched our football team play, we’ve all screamed that the manager is wrong, come up with the best play style and formation, devised our own transfer regime and ultimately decided that we are the best manager to walk the Earth. Now your opportunity to take your team to the top or to prove you can take a failing club to glory has arrived. Here is Football Manager 2013. Football Manager is the iconic managerial game, growing out from Championship Manager, the franchise has an illustrious past and a huge fan base. In this latest instalment, Sports Interactive have responded to community views significantly, adjusting the gameplay to boost the speed of the game, allowing for much quicker seasons,.

role of Master Chief. The new enemies of the Forerunners and environments upon Requiem are also astounding in their visual effect upon the player. The game retains the H.U.D system that all Halo games have seen, but again, with a more engaging feel to it. What little criticism the game has received relates to the length of the campaign, coming in at eight chapters long, as

hicles, allows for a massive switch up of play. 343 have decided to adopt elements from other first person shooter games, such as the customisable classes. However, Halo does it in a simplistic and easy to use way. Also, with the release of new a Spartan ops mission every Monday, it offers a further expansive game, updated for free by 343. These two elements combined allows for a massive co-

YOUR EMOTIONS WILL BE PULLED AT, AS TWISTS, TURNS AND THE OUTRIGHT UNTHINKABLE OCCUR. well as the length and relative ease of the Spartan ops. However, this can easily be countered through the beauty of the game itself, as well as the improvements of the online section of the game, allowing much easier matchmaking, cutting down the waiting time players had endured within previous Halo games. The retention of the close intimate maps, blended against the larger maps offering ve-

This keeps enough depth in the game for you to retain significant control but the quicker seasons see games focused on highlights only, with each season lasting around 2025 hours. The game is very adaptable for new players, but with the ability to retain full control through the

operative/multiplayer experience, as there is effectively two campaigns you can play through as well as playing player versus player games. 343 have developed and written an engaging storyline that keeps throwing problems and scenarios at players, challenging them. The story also provides a brand new angle on the Master Chief – Cortana relationship, injecting an element of seriousness that is a running theme within

to begin with, with the player only needing to accept or decline. Developers have revamped many aspects of the game, not just visual but on a mechanism level too, especially in the way the player is able to interact with the in game staff and players, with intonation in press conferences. However, all these

the game that’s constantly raised, questioning the player as well as the characters. During the campaign there are elements that appear to be simple, whilst there are other bits that will have you thinking there is no way to progress. The campaign isn’t as short as some people seem to think. I spent a good amount of time, the best part of 16-17 hours, on it before touching the multiplayer. Also, the A.I is improved, with a greater reliance on cover and movement rather than run and gun taking precedence, meaning they don’t compromise you as much as seen in previous games. Overall, Halo 4 is a fantastic game, and, in my opinion, the game of the year. The gameplay is amazing, the graphics and design are beautiful and the story grasps you taking you on the emotional journey that unwinds far better than any other game has ever managed to. In short, any gamer NEEDS this game in their collection.

decisions and prowess to the fore, and proving to be difficult from the outset, but a challenge that keeps you constantly trying to prove you can do it. This links into your global ranking, as does the online section of the game, which allows you to export a career team and play competitive matches against friends, ending arguments over whose In this latest installment, Sports Interactive have team is best. In conclusion, Football Manresponded to community views significantly ager 2013 is an awesome game that ensnares players, making you want to play just one more tweaking of staff roles, you are able changes haven’t detracted from the game in order to secure promotion to take full control, from transfers core gameplay, just emphasised it. or safety. The quicker gameplay to training and press conferences There is also a challenge mode makes it far easier to use as you to board talks. This allows players that was introduced in the 2012 spend less time in loading menus to change the play style every time handheld version, where a manager and more time actually conducting they sit down. Staff are now able to is given a scenario, such as survive managerial aspects. A great incluundertake the signing of new play- the drop being bottom of the table sion to an already impressive franers, a feature that took me off guard at Christmas. Pushing managerial chise.

Game Bits Assassin’s Cre-Zzzz

THE long awaited Assassin’s Creed III finally debuted at the end of last month but its hardly what we expected. AC III follows the new protagonist, Connor, in his bid to find and kill the Templars that destroyed his village. It all sounds quite exciting and has you bounding across trees in the Native American frontier. In reality, however, its a bit boring. Running across the frontier for a whole hour trying to get to your mission is definitely over-rated. The story has the potential to be great the Templar leader is Connor’s Father - but it doesn’t take off. Its likely this franchise is going to be around for a long time still so lets hope the next one gets a bit more attention.

New Croft shots

A NEW set of screenshots released for the new upcoming Tomb Raider show Lara Croft in a variety of unfamiliar situations. Her iconic dual wielded pistols are no more, instead she’s favouring a far more stealthy bow and arrow. This stealth element is clearly highlighted in the screenshots, which were released earlier this week. One shows the heroine hiding behind a crate, as an enemy stands nearby. The game, due to be released in 2013, will be the first Tomb Raider title in over 5 years and will take place in an entirely new setting, exploring Lara Croft’s early years.

Controller to end all controllers

SONY have recently patented a hybrid of their Dualshock and Move controllers. The patent for the ‘Hybrid Separable Motion Controller’ was filed at the end of November and could completely change the way that people play video games. The drawing that accompanies the patent shows it as a snap together control. Assumptions are that a Playstation eye camera will be used with the control. It is unknown whether it is intended for use with the Playstation 3 or Playstation 4.

Insane given life

GUILLERMO Del Toro’s video game, Insane, has been given new life. A new, mystery, developer has taken it on after it was dropped by THQ. Del Toro says that whilst the setting, characters and story were mostly sorted the game would still be a long way from hitting the shelves. ““It’s going to take a good two years of modeling and rendering and creating the environments and all of that. The basic tenants of the game is that it’s created, but now we’re going to need to start actually making it.”


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

39

Games

Game Bits Crash Bandicoot

Playstation classics: Spyro the Dragon Ape Escape Parappa the Rapper N64 classics: Goldeneye Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Mario 64 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

by STEFAN WILSON

Nostalgic Nights

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was flicking through Ebay listings the other night, occasionally stopping at things I desperately wanted, but couldn’t afford. As I made my way into the games section of the site, my eyes strayed from the safe confines of modern day, high-tech gaming into the older, less expensive consoles. Playstation, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast; I scrolled over names that were once so familiar to me and soon, waves of nostalgia hit. Before I knew it, I had wasted an hour just looking over all these auctions. For me, the 90’s were the absolute golden age for gaming. There were many consoles that absolutely flopped, but the strength of the original Playstation and the Nintendo 64 absolutely triumph anything the modern day can throw at us. I remember when games were about having fun, not admiring the

by LJ TAYLOR

R

ockstar last month revealed the second trailer for Grand Theft Auto 5, the upcoming instalment in the GTA series. The first official trailer for the game was released November, 2nd and gave an attractive overview of the game’s world; Los Santos. While it served as a nice taster, the trailer hardly gave anything away and it was unclear whether the voiceover was that of a playable character or not. With the release of the second trailer fans have finally been given a little more about the game they have been waiting four years for. It was recently announced that GTA5 would see us taking control of three characters, during missions you will be able to swap between any of the three to utilise each of their strengths. The

use of water effects on an irrelevant waterfall; or when owning a games console was a privilege, not a right as some people think today. I was lucky enough to have both an N64 and a PSX in our household, as me and my sister had one of them each. However, she soon disappeared to university so I was left with both consoles and a plethora of games to enjoy. Such was the excitement of owning such a prestigious piece of hardware in the 90’s, I still vividly remember Christmas day 1997. I tore open a large box with absolutely no idea what could be inside. As a six year old, I’d heard of such magical things as Playstations, but I’d never seen one, nevermind played one. The paper came off and that slow realisation came over me. I remember setting it up all (or should I say, Dad set it all up) and blasting through Crash Bandicoot for hours on end. There is absolutely no way a console these

days could replicate those first few moments playing an absolute classic in CB. As a fairly young gamer, I never had the pleasure of playing Metal Gear Solid, or Silent Hill, therefore my memories are mostly dominated by the arcade/platformer style games, and boy, did the PSX have a good number of them. Now, I own an Xbox 360 and I enjoy playing on it, but it doesn’t excite me the same way as playing through the campaign on Goldeneye did. This brings me nicely onto my next point. There has never been a shooter as good as Goldeneye and I doubt there ever will be. The way the shooter market has gone, it seems that company’s are all too happy to clone each other’s games, or just release the same game over and over again with aesthetically shallow tweaks that seem to garner sales. I’m not mentioning names, but Call of Duty. Sort it out. Don’t get

GTA V: Trailer #2 three characters are finally introduced to us in this latest trailer. Michael, an ex-bank robber is the first to be introduced to us. He’s in his forties and has a family that are taken care of from the money he made in his old life. The second is Trevor, he’s an older business partner of Michael’s but unlike his friend doesn’t live in style, but instead in a trailer park with a drug addiction. Thirdly there is Franklin, the youngest of the group, a repo man thrown into business with the other two in “pursuit of the almighty American dollar”. The trailer consists of a lot of shots of Los Santos, which is said to be a bigger game map than Grand Theft Auto 4, Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas combined. Hopefully, this will mean a long game that will keep us going for a while. It’d certainly be a step towards making GTA 5 worth the long

wait. As always the graphics have improved and Los Santos is looking good but not quite to the graphic standard of a number of recent releases. Grand Theft Auto, however, seems to maintain a comic feel, akin to that of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, and it seems that even with the technology available Rockstar would prefer to stick with this iconic look. The shots of the city show off a number of vehicles that we all know we’ll find ourselves dragging someone out of in an attempt to escape the police at some point. My particular favourite is the Audi R8 Spyder lookalike. There’s also freight trains, your normal selection of cars and even a jeep driving off of a plane mid-air! Each character is set up briefly in the 1 minute and 51 second trailer. We see Michael’s dysfunctional fam-

me wrong, not everything is wrong with CoD. Call of Duty 4 is my 2nd favourite shooter of all time, after Goldeneye, but if you keep releasing the same game, people will suss you out. People say you’re blinded by nostalgia, but for me, I rate these consoles so highly because they really are that good. So many games were unique and added so much to each console. Banjo Kazooie and Spyro the Dragon are both 3D platformers, but are completely different games. This is in stark contrast with the modern day, where developers decide on the genre, then use the same formula for every single game. I finished my Ebay session actually buying an old Playstation. It cost me £30 with 3 controllers and 13 games. Boasts brilliant games and is affordable on a student budget. I urge you, leave your 360 or PS3 for a day and invest in a PSX or N64. The good times will flood back.

Skyrim PS3 delay

PLAYSTATION 3 players of the hugely popular open world RPG, Skyrim, will be left even more frustrated after Bethesda released yet more downloadable content for the Xbox 360 version. Xbox players are now enjoying their 3rd DLC, Dragonborn, which adds an entirely new map,a large new main quest line and new enemies , whereas Playstation gamers are still waiting for their first. A release date has been confirmed for Dragonborn, which will appease PS3 gamers a little; however they are still being left in the dark over any potential release of the other 2 DLC’s, Dawnguard and Hearthfire.

Drake Fights for fortune THE Uncharted series has launched a new game. Unfortunately its not your typical Nathan Drake video game. Uncharted: Fight for Fortune is a digital card game released on the PS Vita based offof the PS3’s successful Uncharted series. Its nowhere near as exciting as Drake’s adventures that we are used to but for Uncharted fans its still got a few enjoyable moments. Owners of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, a prequel game previously released on the PS Vita will find that they receive a few in-game bonuses. A lot of the card game ties into the previous PS Vita release and those who have not played it will feel as though they are missing out on something.

PS3 Netflix domination ily contrast with his stunning mansion in Rockford Hills, Los Santos’ answer to Beverley Hills. From the few short clips we see of him its easy to get the impression that he’s fed up of what he has and wants more; he wants to get back in the game. Trevor is angry and he doesn’t care who knows it, from beating up someone on the trailer park to committing arson he doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks. Franklin, the game’s only black protagonist, seems to be looking for something new, something bigger. He’s told outright, by who I can only assume to be a girlfriend, “I don’t care how many cars you own, you ain’t changing!” The game is due out Spring 2013, and while not a whole lot is given away in either of the trailers we can see that GTA is coming back with a bang. Hopefully it won’t disappoint this time.

Playstation users have been using the Netflix service on their consoles more often than their Xbox counterparts, recently released figures show. The streaming site run their service through various devices, including internet tv’s and Wii consoles, however PS3 is the clear winner. This victory is made even more impressive considering there are many more Xbox 360 owners and the Netflix service has been live on 360 a year longer than on the Playstation network. The Netflix service is only available to Xbox Live Gold members who pay a subscription and this is payable as well as a Netflix subscription. However, on PS3, the online service is free with the consumer only needing a Netflix account. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that “PS3 streaming has even surpassed PC viewer hours among its 30 million members at some points this year”.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

Gadgets

December Issue 2012

Tiny Tech Wireless charging

announce Lumia 620

by LJ TAYLOR

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okia today (Wednesday) announced the latest edition to the Lumia family. The latest Windows Phone 8 from the Finnish company will begin rolling out across the world from January next year. Details of the phone are few and far between at the moment with it just being announced

but it appears to be a more affordable version of it’s more powerful brother phones; the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. The phone, according to Nokia, will give you “the most value for your money” and will sell at around £155; a very reasonable price for a smartphone in the current market. Smaller than the 820 and 920 the Lumia 620 will offer a 3.8 inch screen and will also have NFC technology integrated. NFC technology is being widely used in smartphones to promote sharing and pairing, along with providing the ability for transactions to be made and many more uses. Whilst the 620 will be smaller and cheaper than the 820 and 920 it will use the latest operating system from Windows and will carry the same power in its camera as the other phones, with a satisfactory 5 megapixels. The design of the Lumia 620 has

been revealed to be somewhat rounded and the phone will be available in seven colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white (like the other handsets) and with the addition of lime green and orange colour choices. The Lumia 620’s reveal comes not long after the struggling Finnish company announced yesterday (Tuesday) that they would be selling their headquarters in Espoo, Finland. Nokia hopes to complete a longterm lease of the building by the end of the year. “ “As we have said before, owning real estate is not part of Nokia’s core business and when good opportunities arise we are willing to exit these types of non-core assets.” said Timo

APPLE last week published a new patent for wireless-charging. The multi-billion dollar company have been less than innovative recently but if they could pull off what they are suggesting it could be a start to getting them back on track. A nearfield magnetic resonance (NFMR) would be Apple’s way forward with wireless charging. The NFMR would create a ‘virtual charging area’ and all devices within the one yard field would receive charge. A diagram submitted by Apple uses an iMac monitor as the host to the NFMR, charging the keyboard, mouse and iOS device. Ihamuotila, Nokia’s Chief Financial Officer. Since the smartphone market really took off, with the iPhone, Nokia have lagged behind. Once the go-to company for a reliable phone they have been pushed to the edges of the market. With their new collaboration with Windows with the Lumia range however, it looks like Nokia may finally be starting to get back on track.

Nescafe strikes back

IN A GALAXY far, far away - actually its only in Japan. Nestlê Japan are set to get on board the Star Wars bandwagon this week when they release a limited edition coffee maker. The Star Wars branded gold blend maker comes with either a C-3PO design or Darth Vader. The machines will cost £75 each and are very little more than a coffee machine with a tacky Star Wars design slapped on the side. Lets hope this isn’t the sign for things to come in the franchise.

Happy 20 bday txt

MONDAY was the 20th anniversary of the first text being sent. The text, sent by engineer Neil Papworth, was sent on the 3rd December wishing a Happy Christmas. Text has come a long way in the last two decades and now it plays a huge part in the average person’s day. More than 8 trillion texts were sent last year and 15 million are sent every minute. People rarely use phones for phone calls these days instead sending texts and it looks as though that isn’t going to change anytime soon. To another 20 years!

Why should I want a Raspberry Pi? by YOUSEF CISCO

Y

ou might have heard about the Raspberry Pi and wondered why it matters or why anyone should care about a credit-card sized computer when an iPhone is more powerful. If you haven’t heard about it, the Raspberry Pi is a creditcard sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It costs $25 (or $35 for the slightly more powerful version), runs linux from an SD card, has a small amount of RAM and a tiny processor all squeezed into a single chip. Don’t expect anything glamorous because it comes as a bare bones printed circuit board with nothing else. You’re probably

wondering why you’re still reading this and why such a boring computer could ever be exciting. The reason this new advancement is exciting is because it aims to give children the opportunity to learn how to program and create some cool projects. The computer was designed to be simple, making it difficult to ruin the computer which gives children the opportunity to experiment without worrying about damaging the computer. So far there have been a few camps where children were taught how to program on the Raspberry Pi. These camps have given children as young as 7 the chance to program their own games learning various skills

along the way. The devices uses don’t end at learning how to program. Developing countries are interested in using them as productivity devices in areas that can’t afford the hardware or power costs of traditional PCs. Hospitals and museums are interested in using them to power display devices. The reason there’s a large number of uses for the device is the fact that it’s a low powered small computer that has just enough processing power to run various applications. Small computers are nothing new but none have been able to stick to such a low price point making it accessible to a much wider audience. I find the Raspberry Pi really excit-

ing because it allows me to create new things quickly. The simplest example would be that I want to stream music directly to my hi-fi without having my laptop connected to it. I can do this by connecting the Raspberry Pi to the hi-fi and controlling it from my phone. I could use it to watch films on my TV without having to mess about with cables and setups. The possibilities are truly endless, if you love to tinker and mess with things then you should probably get one.

Breaking systems

IBM RESEARCHERS and analytics from USC Anneberg worked together to analyse social media response to the final instalment of Twilight. In the two weeks building up to Thanksgiving they analysed the 5 million plus tweets about the movie. The research was supposed to ‘teach’ their systems to better recognise and process emotional responses but it turned out that ‘Twihard’ fans were just too emotional about their franchise coming to a close and the systems couldn’t quite ‘read’ them. “Some of the sentiment was reflecting the ‘audiences’ emotional reaction to the tear-jerking moments in the movie.” said a writeup in the Hollywood Reporter.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue

41

Gadgets

Tiny Tech Last.fm new venture by LJ TAYLOR

W

hether you’re PC or Mac seems highly irrelevant when it comes to what software you play music from these days. If you’re not jumping all over Spotify then you’re probably blasting your tunes from Apple’s iTunes software because, lets face it, Windows Media Player was never anything special. If you are one of those on the Apple bandwagon then perhaps you’ll be glad to know that iTunes 11 has begun rolling out. Though recently Apple’s new releases have accumulated a lot of negative comment. The iPhone 5 for example, was hardly a huge advancement on the 4S, it just looked good. And it seems as though all they really did with the iPad was make it mini. So is iTunes 11 really an advancement on 10 or is it just another pointless download that’s going to

be full of bugs. *cough* iOS6 I wish I could tell you otherwise because I do love Apple but it seems Steve Jobs really did take their imagination and innovation to the grave with him. iTunes 11 looks good. Its had a makeover, like the iPhone and iOS 6, but that’s really where it stops being new. It has more colourful graphics and it does look nice but I can’t help but feel as though it was partly modelled off of the interface of Windows phones. There are a few new features but they are hardly groundbreaking. Firstly, there’s the expanded view which allows you to select an album and see all of the songs on it in full whilst still being able to look through the rest of your library in the above part of the window. Then there’s what Apple are calling ‘bonus features’. I’m sure you can imagine, by now, that this really isn’t exciting. Selecting an album that you like, or are interested in, in the iTunes store will give you instant recommendations of other music just like it. Basically

they have just brought recommendations more to the forefront, whether you want them or not, in the hope that you might buy more from them. One of the other ‘bonus features’ is that you can select what comes up next. Up next is a drop down menu kind of interface in which you queue the next songs you want to listen to. Its a lot like a playlist but more temporary, and it doesn’t inter- rupt the rest of your browsing. I suppose this is kind of cool but its nothing too impressive. And then finally there’s the mini player. Apple sure do like to make things smaller these days, don’t they? The upgraded mini player utilises the up next feature meaning that you can make

sure you’re getting the music that you want without having to go back into iTunes properly. All in all its nice to have a fresh looking iTunes but its taken so long to happen that it is a bit of a disappointment that there’s nothing too impressive. Since you don’t have to pay for iTunes it’s probably not a huge deal that we aren’t being offered much new. And to be honest, whatever Apple offer is going to be better than Media Player, right?

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do love a good app, and one of the ones that has crept into my repertoire recently is TuneIn. It is the mobile version of a website that I quite frankly never even knew existed. The app (and its website counterpart) let you pick a radio station from a huge list and just “tune in”. But radio is a declining medium right? Wrong. The online radio industry is blossoming – whilst applications on your computer such as Spotify may be able to pluck up some random song from a playlist I never quite think it’s the same. I like the fact that a human presenter has picked a song, and I like variation in my songs. When I’m typing away at an essay it’s quite useful to have someone choose what I’m listening to, otherwise I could easily spend 30 minutes or so picking the right song, from the right album, by the right artist; not so productive. I’ve also, recently, developed a love

of local radio stations, and TuneIn lets me listen to the more obscure as well as the likes of Radio 1 and 6music. I’d never tuned into Llandudno’s community radio station Tudno FM before I discovered TuneIn. Like most modern apps TuneIn has a free version and a paid for “pro” version. There are minor differences between the two version, the paid for version – costing a whopping 61p (on Google Play) lets the user record their shows and listen back at a later day. Both free and paid pro version, let you search around the world for a specific song, not something I’ve personally done much but I did search Psy’s Gangnam Style at one point just to look at how much of a global phenomenon it was. All in all I definitely like TuneIn, in fact I’m definitely a fan of the “utility” and “productivity” style app or website. Something that seems to present itself as having a use as opposed to the ridiculously addictive game type of app.

by AARON WILES

R

emember that awful photo you were tagged in on Facebook last year? Wanna see it again? Then let me introduce you to Timehop, an app that every day allows you to see what you got up to on that date from your social networking history. It works by connecting with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and Flickr. Then wait for your daily notification that your Timehop is ready and relive your past statuses, photos and check ins.

MIT’s transformer A ROBOT that can shapeshift into almost anything has reportedly been created by MIT. Made of metal and the size of a caterpillar uses a small motor inside it to twist like protein. The researchers responsible have paired electromagnets and permanent magnets which will only use power whilst charging.

These days there’s so many things you can do with your smartphone or tablet and so many apps that you can download for them. Its becoming increasingly difficult to know which ones are actually going to be useful. That’s why each issue of Seren we are going to recommend some of the best app’s on the market, all tried and tested by us! And if you guys have just discovered a great new app why don’t you get in touch with us by emailing: editor@seren.bangor.ac.uk

by MATT JACKSON

LAST.FM’s creators have revealed their latest project. Lumi will adopt Last.fm’s methods of taking content from all over the internet that is specific to you. The website records, through a browser plugin, the websites that you visit in order to tailor-pick things you may be interested in. In response to worries over security the men behind the project said “your browsing activity is secure, completely anonymized, and only ever accessible by you.”

It’s really cool to be able to relive what you got up to daily on your previous years and you can also share your history on the app and on Facebook/Twitter etc, meaning you and your friends can say things such as “I can’t believe that happened a year ago!”, or in my case “I can’t believe how cringe I was four years ago”. The app is free to download and is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. However if you own neither, you can still connect with your email address and you’ll get a daily email full of the the things you used to get up to!

Gangnam too much? FIVE months after PSY’s Gangnam Style first debuted and its still being talked about all over the world. Not only is it the most viewed video of all time on YouTube but its now available as an interactive screesaver. Android users can purchase the official Gangnam Style live wallpaper from the Google Play store. The wallpaper is also interactive and double tapping it slides the screen apart to reveal the elevator scene. The wallpaper isn’t just visual but is accompanied by sound too. Hopefully this ‘phenomenon’ will end soon.

Spider tribute THE WORLD’S first space traveling, jumping spider has died. Nefertiri recently returned from 100 days in space on board the International Space Station. The spider ended up in space after a YouTube Space Lab challenge had NASA taking suggestions for experiments from 14-18 year olds. During its time in space the spider was able to adjust to the change in gravity and manage to catch its own food.


42

Music 1.

Stefan Wilson suggests:

∆ (Alt+J) – An Awesome Wave After starting in fairly low-key circumstances in 2007, ∆ have gone from strength to strength. An Awesome Wave combines so many genres of music, it’s impossible to categorise it into a single one. Perhaps an umbrella title of ‘Alternative’ works, but I feel this does it a great injustice. There are stand-out tracks, such as ‘Breezeblocks’, ‘Dissolve me’ and ‘Bloodflood’, but such is the quality of the entire album, even the weaker tracks do not let you down. In addition to rave reviews, the band recently won the Mercury prize. A definite highlight of the year for me.

2. Sean Talbotsuggests: Sigur Rós - Valtari

After the devastating announcement that the band were entering a hiatus, Sigur Rós returned this year with their sixth studio album, Valtari. Following the quirky, energetic and somewhat uncharacteristic release, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, the band returned to the roots of their post-rock ambience in this record. The atmospheric style that once alienated them from the likes of NME (ever the untrustworthy source of decent opinion on music) is what makes this band one of my all time favourites. Brimming with ethereal chills in songs such as Varúð, Ég anda and Varðeldur, Valtari is the perfect album to wind down to this Christmas and one of my albums of the year.

3. Laura Jonessuggests: Taylor Swift - Red After a wait of two years following Swift’s multi million selling album Speak Now, fans were given her new album Red in October this year. After four pre-released teaser songs, her fans eagerly received the pop and country icons’ fourth hit album. As ever, Swift’s songs are fuelled by her life experiences; romance, fame, and her life as a 22-year-old woman. Her songs provide a melody for many moods and mindsets, delivering relatable lyrics to her listeners. With features from Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, this album provides a new Taylor Swift experience with much diversity, as well as following her usual carefree, romantic style. A must-have for any pop fan.

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

SEREN’s 12 Albums

of Christmas

Our team’s selection of the best albums of 2012 - perfect stocking fillers!

4. Joe Russellsuggests: Lucy Rose – Like I Used To

Lucy Rose, whose music broadly places her in the bracket of delicate, largely inoffensive folky female artists that currently pervade Britain’s subterranean music scene, is definitely one for the future. ‘Like I Used To’ is good enough to suggest she’ll be here to stay. ‘First’, containing poignant allusions to the difficulties in admitting love, is emphasised with lines such as ‘I talk to myself at night/I talk inside my head/ Better if nobody knows what I said’. These lyrics give Rose’s debut album a frighteningly personal feel. One listen and you begin to relate to her.

5. Lizzi Bryantsuggests:

The Maccabees - Into The Wild With songs including the epic single ‘Feel to Follow’, which begins with the stripped back sounds of Orlando Week’s haunting and vulnerable vocals and builds gradually to the signature fast-paced energetic guitar melodies The Maccabees built their careers on all those years earlier, and ‘Forever I’ve Known’, which begins with soothing guitar and moody bass, then suddenly transforms into a hurricaneforce crescendo; The Maccabees are, despite a much more mature album, inviting us to walk the final yards of youth with them. Some criticised the change in direction, however, we at Seren applaud The Maccabees for bucking the trend and urge you all to add this album to your Christmas list to Santa!

6. Joe Keepsuggests: The Hives - Lex Hive

The latest Hives album sees a return to what is the Hives greatest. After openly admitting their last album, The Black and White album, wasn’t up to par, the band took time away from music and came back fresh, and it tells. With tracks such as ‘Go Right Ahead’ that are so catchy they get stuck in your head for months at a time, it has the legs to go the distance with other great tracks such as ‘Tick Tick Boom’. The album encapsulates the Hives sound, and each track builds on the last, creating one of the greatest albums of the year.

7. Tom Daviessuggests: Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg’s self-titled debut is a breath of fresh air for any lover of well written and genuine music. The incredible hype surrounding Bugg has been well matched by a brilliant album; it swaggers to a skiffle beat that is eerily reminiscent of past and present greats. It can be hopelessly romantic, and it provides a beautifully dark slice of social observation that is all too rare in new music. “Two Fingers” is the pick of the bunch; it might well be the best track of 2012. Jake Bugg is an undoubtedly precocious talent, and his album would improve any stocking this Christmas. Essential listening.

8. Tom Daviessuggests: The Vaccines - Come of Age

If you’re a dedicated follower of musical fashion, there is no doubt you’ll have heard of The Vaccines. But what did we expect from The Vaccines? Certainly not this. Come of Age will go down as one of the surprises of this year; laden with sharp punk riffs and insecurities that betray The Vaccines’ rather staid beginnings. “Teenage Icon” is perhaps the album’s finest moment, sitting somewhere between early Strokes and Ramones. Composed without being cocksure, Come of Age can at times be infectiously retro without overdoing it. One of most pleasant surprises of 2012; and one to watch for the future.

9.

LJ Taylor suggests:

Madonna - MDNA This year the Queen of Pop returned with the shamefully addictive MDNA. It wasn’t an amazing album, it was definitely not groundbreaking but it was Madonna. Even better, it was an angry Madonna screaming her frustrations at ex-hubby, Guy Ritchie, through the means of song. First impressions of MDNA weren’t great but the drum and bass breakdown in ‘Gang Bang’ won me over. Seriously. Its hilarious. Not genius but bloody funny. Some say Madonna’s past her age and they aren’t wrong but you’ve got to give it to her, Pop’s highest grossing pensioner knows how to adjust with the times and keep those ‘hits’ coming.

10. Tom Emlyn Williams suggests: Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion This darkly ambient self-titled debut arose from a long-planned collaboration between Mikael Akerfeldt, known for his progressive death metal band Opeth, and Steven Wilson, best known for his band Porcupine Tree. The album is an interesting twist in the career of both musicians and has a very unique sound, harking back to the darker side of 60s psych folk, but including jazz, dark ambience, and progressive influences. Subtle and imaginative, the record leaps from quiet ethereal beauty to harsh electronic noise. Standout tracks include the title track - a ten minute, fantastically melodic soundscape that gradually builds in tension, the dissonant ‘Hag‘, and the post-rocky ‘Ljudet Innan‘.

11. Becki Watsonsuggests: The Lumineers - The Lumineers

These guys are an American folk rock band who released their debut album back in April, which has received positive acclaim from critics across the board. While drawing comparisons to Mumford and Sons for their love of banjos, they set themselves apart with their raw, honest sound, and their album is one that truly wears its heart on its sleeve. Lead single ‘Ho Hey’ is a purely feel good tune for all occasions, and the stripped back ‘Slow It Down’ is a great song to chill out to. Another personal favourite is ‘Big Parade’ for its stirring beat and melodic harmonies, but the whole album is a treat to listen to. I for one can’t wait for their next release.

12. Sean Talbotsuggests: Bloc Party - Four Bloc Party, who’ve been with us since the early days of indie post-punk, returned with their aptly named fourth studio album, Four, after a long break following Kele’s solo venture. Their last album, Intimacy, demonstrated the band’s (or perhaps just Kele’s) desire to experiment with electronic aspects. Tracks such as Ares were a great shock to fans of Silent Alarm. However, Four is the produce of a gap year in Thailand to “find one’s self.” Bloc Party seem more sure of their sound, influences and the direction they want to go in. This album hosts some beautiful tracks reminiscent of the old days, notably Real Talk and The Healing. Definitely a good present for any music fan.

Classic xmas album review: bob dylan - christmas in the heart by ROSIE MACLEOD

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t shocked music critics almost as much as when he ditched folk for electric. In 2009, the shop shelves and online stores were suddenly boasting a seemingly unannounced (there was very little publicity about it, for certain) Christmas Album entitled Christmas in the Heart. By Bob Dylan. (Sic!) I remember waking up to this news in October three years ago. “What is he like?” was my natural reaction. In retrospect, it seems silly to have been so surprised. How can his fans or, at least, listeners, expect anything but the unexpected from Bob? This is a man whose eccentricities endear his fans to him. After his progression from folk to electric, recording a folk version of the infectious klezmer song Hava Nagila, his cheesy 80s phase involving fingerless gloves, his appearance in an advertisement for what he terms

‘ladies garments’ (underwear) and his yawning through his own Honorary Degree Ceremony in Scotland, a cheesy Christmas album from Dylan seems a somewhat natural progression. The entire album is comprised of cover versions, a nice change from Dylan-penned songs that ‘borrow’ full and direct phrases from well known poems, novels and songs. Before converting from Judaism to Christianity in adulthood, Dylan always delighted to engage with Christmas and the music thereof as a child in Minnesota, a place he bemoans as invariably uncomfortably cold in winter. Winter Wonderland. If you thought Macy Gray’s voice croaked through her version of the song, ‘you ain’t heard nuttin’ yet!’ Bob’s trademark rough, guttural sound works its winter magic on this piece, while the close-harmony backing sing-

ers exercise an immaculate sound just for contrast. I love the syncopated and jazz violin on this track, a sound which marries both the jazz of North America and the folk sound of the southern States. Bob sings four unchanged carols on this album, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful (partly in Latin!), The First Noël and O Little Town of Bethlehem. However, he also changes several religious references in Winter Wonderland for a more global and non-denominational feeling. This may be a festive wink to his ethnic Judaism or to the American tendency to say ‘Happy holidays’. Must be Santa. My personal favourite song on the album has to be Must be Santa. It is a cumulative song. That is to say, like The Twelve Days of Christmas, each chorus is a line longer, incorporating the newly-sung line of the outgoing verse.

It was first performed by Mitch Miller in 1960. The song is based on a German drinking game and the Bob Dylan cover has a very European feel to it. Unlike the original, Bob uses the polka style- because he loves folk music-, a polka rhythm and an accordion. The video is set at a debauched party which gets a little out of hand. As any Dylan fan will know, his recording of Rainy Day Women similarly involves a similarly rowdy background gathering. Over the course of the song’s video, Dylan appears to wear every hat but his Nashville Skyline one and also to have acquired some hair straighteners and cigars for Christmas. In the latter stages of the song, Donner and Blitzen’s names are changed to ‘Kennedy and Nixon’. Trust me Bob, we’re listening, you don’t need to test us.


December Issue 2012

seren.bangor.ac.uk

43

Music

INTERVIEW: ENTER SHIKARI by STEFAN WILSON

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nter Shikari formed in 2003 in the southern town of St.Albans. Extremely quickly, they gathered a large and dedicated fan base. Well known for their unique sound, energetic shows and eccentric behaviour, they have become one of the UK’s most successful recent exports. On the back of an incredibly successful album launch, with the band being nominated for numerous awards, it’s easy to forget they’re just humans like me or you, but I managed to catch up with Rob Rolfe, drummer of the band since their inception, just as he was buying some gloves... Hi Rob, how are you? I’m great thank you. I’ve literally just walked out of the shop. It’s bloody freezing so I was buying some gloves. I was at the check-out and my phone went off. How did you get together?

our editor, lj, reviews a live perfomance from madina lake by LJ TALYOR

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urrently my music taste is messed up. If I’m not listening to gothic opera then it’s a video game soundtrack. Failing that I’m blasting out Madonna to the whole of Anglesey.

We were all at Primary school together. We started making music young, but then we all went our separate ways all going to separate secondary schools. Then we got into 6th form and joined up again. We started when we were 16/17, but we didn’t have Rory (guitar) then. We recruited him so Rou could focus solely on the electronics. You have a fairly original sound? How did it come about? We were into our electronica music, drum and bass and trance. We wanted to experiment with electronics as well as play our instruments. But what we really wanted was for the electronics to have an increased role in the music.

on stage though, the adrenaline kicks in and we just go mental. The fans really feed off of what you’re doing on stage, so if you’re up for it, they will be too. You’ve recently been nominated for various awards. How does it feel? Brilliant, loads of hard work has gone into it and it feels great to get recognition. It’s a shame that there are so many talented bands out there who don’t get the recognition. Is it weird being recognised everywhere you go?

Growing up all of us loved The Prodigy, so when we got the chance to tour with them, it was a dream come true. They were such normal guys, we were completely humbled.

The SEREN 6

Have you ever had a nickname: Rolfey Favourite movie: Dead man’s Shoes, The long good Friday, Scarface. Favourite band: Not a band, but composer. Tchaikovsky What would you dress up as for Seren 90s Night: Bright orange puffer jacket.

You’re renowned for your live performances. Where do you find the energy?

Yeah it is, but we try to make it so that people realise we’re not just faces on magazines. We’re real people. The weird thing is that fans don’t know how to respond to a meeting in real life. We’re not heroes or anything, we’re just normal.

Sometimes we’ll be moping in the dressing room, really not feeling up for it. When we get

Who are your idols? And are you ever starstruck?

Can you spell Llanfair PG: Stefan gets 0/10 for not being able to pronounce it on the phone so Rob couldn’t even have a go!

But when I saw that Madina Lake would be touring in the UK I couldn’t miss it. I have been to every single Madina gig since I first saw the House of Cards music video, my love for this band knows no bounds. One year I even queued outside HMV at 4am just so I could get a pass to an acoustic performance they were doing later that day. I’ve interviewed them, in last year’s Seren, and simply just hung out with them after gigs. I turned up on the night, after a long drive from Wales to Leeds, and I really wasn’t in the mood. It was pouring down with rain and I knew I had a billion essays to be writing. When the last support band, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, finished though something sparked in me. I was at a Madina gig. This was the kind of thing I waited all year for, it couldn’t go to waste.

By the time the band walked on stage, rejoined for this tour by guitarist Mateo Camargo, we were two rows from the front. As we tried to remember our ‘step to the right, then to the front’ strategy the gig kicked off. The small crowd, in an even smaller room, exploded.

Frontman Nathan Leone could hardly keep himself out of the crowd, not that anyone was complaining, and when he was up on the stage so were half the crowd. Security weren’t too happy about it but it gave them something to do.

Its amazing to see four guys from Illinois who love their fans and love what they do still putting as much energy into their live performances as they did back in 2007. Madina played their debut album From Them, Through Us, To You, in full, as a way of rounding up the album concept story that has spanned through their last three albums. And then played some of their best songs from the other albums.

The gig was amazing, the band were amazing, the crowd was amazing.

What 3 items would you take with you on a desert Island: Knife, Tarpaulin, MP3 player

One of the best things about Madina Lake is that they actually do care about their fans. Most bands say it but with Madina you know its the truth. They are well worth the bruises that having countless people crowdsurfing over you brings.


44

INTERVIEW

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

FRANK TURNER

Joe Russell caught up with Frank Turner before his Bangor gig. Here’s what he had to say: So Frank, how was the main tour? Good, yeah, I mean, tonight’s day two of the solo leg so I’m still changing gear but prior to now the tour’s been amazing. The main vibe was to ignore Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol and the obvious cities. It’s been good to play in different places. You last came to Bangor two years ago… Yeah, the last time I played here I played in a guy called Ian’s kitchen in halls. I really wanted to come back up partly because it’s been so long but also because I want to do a proper show at a proper venue here. You were interviewed by Seren then; did you even fleetingly entertain the possibility of playing the Main Stage at Reading, filling Wembley Arena and playing at the Olympics opening ceremony? Ha, no, I don’t really do that. For me there’s a really big difference between daydreaming and realistic expectation. My realistic expectations for my career have always been

and Leeds because I used to go there when I was a kid so that was a big one for me. Urm, the Wembley show was a big deal but then, without wanting to sound too cheesy, I remember doing a show in Connecticut a few years ago and it was just one of those gigs where I didn’t know what to expect (playing solo). It was a 300 capacity venue; 400 people showed up and they ended up sitting on the stage at my feet just to make room for everyone. Sweat was pouring off the walls, everyone was singing the words to every song. It was just amazing. So I take it you don’t find it difficult to get yourself motivated for a comparatively tiny gig like this? No, no. I think – I’m just trying to remember what I know about mathematical theory – if you actually totalled up the number of venues I’ve played and their sizes, I’ve done way more shows of less than 100 people than I have to any other demographic. So you could almost say that, on the whole, this is the most representative sized gig I do. You’ve played gigs at Cambridge Folk Festival and conservely the

SO I GOT OUT MY PHONE AND GOOGLED DANNY BOYLE AND REALISED THAT HE WAS STOOD NEXT TO ME... modest; I’m not sure I ever expected to do all this for more than a couple of years. Obviously things are different now - I’ve done lots of bonkers stuff which I’m very grateful for - but I think it’s very healthy to go about my life under the impression that the whole spell’s going to wear off at some point because otherwise, mainly because it constantly leaves me surprised at how things are going. With that in mind, what was your initial reaction to Danny Boyle asking you to play at the Olympics opening ceremony? Odd. I mean, good, but it was just a really strange thing; I got asked to go in for a meeting with him and I’d seen and enjoyed his films but I was having a piss before the meeting and it suddenly occurred to me that I had no real idea what he looked like. So I got out my phone and googled Danny Boyle and realised that he was stood next to me, saying ‘good morning.’ Ha, so I was like ‘fuck’ but yeah, he’s a really nice guy and a real sweetheart. He’s a proper fan, too. He’s not just aware of the singles. He knows my B-sides which was great to know but disarming at the same time. According to your website, this is your 1305th gig. Can you pick out a particularly memorable one? Yeah, I couldn’t pick one. The obvious ones are Main Stage at Reading

Lock-Up Stage at Reading and Leeds. Which one makes you feel more contended? Well at the risk of sounding like I’m trying to dodge the question, I’m proud of the fact I can do both. I mean one year we did both Cambridge and Download and I’m pretty sure I’m the only person to have done that. I’ve toured with proper folk singers but equally with metal bands, you know, and again, I’m proud of playing music that’s broad and inclusive. To actually answer your question, if you put a gun to my head, I’d choose the Lock-Up Stage because at the end of the day, much as I enjoy being part of the acoustic world, I never want to be ones of those people that pretend to ‘go back to their roots.’ My roots are Black Flag, Minor Threat and The Descendants. Specifically then, the final song of your album ‘England Keep My Bones’ is ‘Glory Hallelujah’. Is there any pertinence surrounding its position in the track listing and did you feel any reticence about doing a song like that? No, I mean to be honest with you, the reason why it ended up being the last song on the record was because all the other albums I’ve done finish with a downbeat song and I wanted to finish with an upbeat song. I wanted to kick the habit of always finishing with a depressing tune. I just thought it would be cool to do something different.

But that’s a song that I’m really proud of and I spent ages trying to get the nuances of it right. I hope it comes across that I’m not trying to needlessly offend or piss anybody off. I wanted it to sound and feel like a hymn; the last time I was in church was for a funeral and they played hymns. I sung because part of the act is that it’s communal and respectful to the surroundings that you’re in. Given that the audience at my shows are self-selecting – I don’t make anyone come to my gigs – I feel quite strongly about not apologising for that song. It’s just like, if you’re religious and you don’t agree with it I totally respect that. In fact, I had a wonderful email from somebody the other day saying that whenever I play it at shows they stand there and don’t sing along as their own quiet declaration of faith and I thought that was just beautiful. The song ‘I am Disappeared’ includes the lines: ‘I sleep with my

stopping them is the will to stand up one day and just say, ‘d’you know what fuck this, I’m getting on the train.’ It’s actually easier than a lot of people think it is. So I was at Reading in 2010 and 2011 and on both occasions you accompanied ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘I Still Believe’ with real crowd participation. How great does it feel when you see everyone communally come together to sit down and interact with your singing? There’s a funny story about that sitting down business incidentally. It started at Area 4 festival in Germany. We were playing and obviously there was a band on immediately after us and a whole bunch of people, at that point in ‘Photosynthesis’, started sitting on the ground. And I genuinely thought that they were fans of the next band staging a protest and that we were dying on the stage. It really bummed me out because

I FEEL PRETTY DEFINED BY THE CULTURAL CONTEXT I GREW UP IN... passport/One eye on the door/So I can always run/I can get up, shower in half an hour/I’d be gone’. Do you think that relates to any harbouring discomfort you feel with travelling or do you feel decidedly comfortable with not having any real centre? I feel comfortable, yeah. In a way I think that line is more about being scared of getting stuck. I mean that’s certainly a feeling I’ve had many times in my life when I’ve been less itinerant than I am now. But I guess that song is more a kind of, conversation’s not quite the right word because boy was she pissed but, it was supposed to be an open letter. (She’s not called Amy, by the way.) I don’t want to suggest that I think everyone should be an itinerant because obviously everybody should be what the fuck they want but one of the things I find frustrating is when people who feel stuck and the tools to unstick themselves are completely within their grasp. The only thing

I thought the set had been going quite well and then there were all these people sat on the floor and I was just like ‘ahh fuck’. But then they all jumped up again, ‘shit, okay, wow’, and yeah, since then I’ve just encouraged people to do it. Previous albums have been very sentimental towards England, its present but also its past. How would you describe your feelings about England? Well, that’s both a very complicated and simple question. It’s not complicated in the sense that as I get older I feel pretty defined by the cultural context I grew up in, whether I like that or not. A lot of that recognition about my identity comes from doing solo tours outside the UK. You stand on the stage and you’re the only English person in the room and you realise you’re English; that’s not a positive or a negative, I’m not a nationalist or indeed a patriot. The idea of being better than someone because of where you’re from is patently absurd

but at the same time there is such a thing as an English culture and it definitely defines my outlook on the world and I’m interested in that. I should say that the next record that I’m going to release is decidedly not about England. Hopefully it still sounds English because sounding like where you’re from is a case of honesty – Springsteen sounds like he’s from New Jersey – but it’s not a subject matter I feel I need to address in my music anymore. I think the last album hopefully put that one to bed. So do you think that any departure from albums that are Anglocentric has been distorted by touring in different countries? Well, yeah, I don’t know. I certainly think it was spurred on by overseas touring and almost in a way because I did a lot of touring on my own. I mean, a part of that – without wanting to get too self psycho-analytical – is looking for a sense of identity, just trying to remember who I am and where I’m from. Like I did a lot of tours where I’d just pitch up at the airport with somebody’s phone number and a van would pull up with a bunch of punk kids from Florida and it’d be like, ‘hello, let’s go tour for three months’. THE SIX

Favourite Band - Springsteen Favourite Film - Big Fish Nickname - The Product (my band, The Sleeping Souls, call me that before going on stage, because they’re selling ‘The Product’) 3 desert island items - Guitar, complete works of Shakespeare, pack of cards Spell Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - I know it starts with Llan and ends gogogoch. 90s fancy dress outfit - Marilyn Manson circa 1996 (Log on to seren.bangor.ac.uk to read a review of Turner’s gig at PJ Hall.)


COWBOIS RHOS BOTWNNOG Sadwrn 29 Rhagfyr, 8pm Clwb y Rheilffordd, Ffordd Euston, Bangor LL57 2YP Saturday 29 December, 8pm Bangor Railway Club, Euston Road, Bangor LL57 2YP

Pontio, mewn cysylltiad â Gžyl Gardd Goll, yn cyflwyno

UN O FANDIAU MWYA’ POBLOGAIDD CYMRU YN CAEL EU CEFNOGI GAN CREISION HUD A SWNAMI Pontio, in association with Gžyl Gardd Goll, present

ONE OF WALES’ MOST POPULAR BANDS SUPPORTED BY CREISION HUD AND SWNAMI

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BETH SYDD MEWN ENW? Bydd Canolfan Celfyddydau ac Arloesi newydd Bangor yn agor yn 2014 ac ‘rydym angen eich syniadau CHI am enw bachog i’r adeilad - un sy’n gweithio yn y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg.

Bydd yr enw buddugol yn cael ei gyhoeddi 1 Mawrth 2013 gyda’r enillydd yn derbyn Tocyn Tymor agoriadol i’r Ganolfan. Gyrrwch i’n gwefan www.pontio.co.uk, ebost info@pontio.co.uk neu’r post: Pontio, Prif Adeilad y Celfyddydau, Prifysgol Bangor LL57 2DG erbyn 21 Rhagfyr 2012.

N E G N A ‘RYDYM U A D A I N Y S EICH

    

  

WE NEED YOUR IDEAS

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Bangor’s new Arts and Innovation Centre is opening in 2014 and we need YOUR ideas for a catchy name for the building - one that works in both Welsh and English.

The winning name will be revealed on 1 March 2013 and the winner will receive an opening season ticket for the Centre. Enter at www.pontio.co.uk; email info@pontio.co.uk or post: Pontio, Main Arts Building, Bangor University, LL57 2DG by 21 December 2012.

 


46

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Books Patrick Rothfuss Seren’s Stocking Suggestions by JENN FAUGHNAN

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T

he Name of the Wind is an epic fantasy, which has you hooked from start to finish. We hear of the protagonist, Kvothe’s, many legendary titles and deeds, only to learn that in reality most of these deeds were accidental, yet they make him into more of a hero. His sharp wit and intellect has you amazed from the beginning, with such determination that he is set apart from the usual heroes who just ‘magically slay the dragon’ as we see the harsh truths of how he achieves these deeds. As with any hero, he has a fatal flaw; his arrogance, leading him trouble at every turn. The magic in this book is so believable you have to shake yourself every time you close the book to remind yourself it is not real. There is love, loss and legend and is definitely a must-read this Christmas. Patrick Rothfuss founded a charity called Worldbuilders. It runs every year, and is running at present. The charity that Worldbuilders raises money for is Heifer International: “They don’t just keep kids from starving; they make it so families can take care of themselves. They give goats, sheep, and chickens to families so their children have milk to drink, warm clothes to wear, and eggs to eat.” To raise money for this, tons of

s students in the Seren team, we’re fully aware of how difficult it is to buy for friends and relartives during the festive season. It always feels as though you get the most difficult draw in Secret Santa, and every person you ask insists that they ‘don’t mind’ what you give them. So we figured we would give our book suggestions - both with a Christmas theme and otherwise, to help give some festive and thoughtful present ideas.

authors and publishers donate books, ARCS and even offer to critique your work! All you have to do is donate! For every $10 you donate your name gets entered into the lottery once for a chance to win. Alternatively, you can bid on auctions for super awesome stuff, or if you want something guaranteed you can always just buy something from Pat’s store the Tinker’s Packs. For more information about the author, his writing, and his charity work, check out his website: http:// blog.patrickrothfuss.com/

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

by Arthur Conan Doyle

‘The Gift’ for Christmas by DANIELLE BAGNALL

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f you’re looking for something great to read this Christmas or just a good stocking filler, Cecelia Ahern’s seasonal novel; The Gift is one to look out for. The story is set in the run up to Christmas and follows three main characters, Lou Suffern, a high-flying businessman who ignores his wife and two young children opting instead for a bigger office and an affair with his secretary. Gabe, the guardian angel; an ominous homeless man who is definitely not everything he seems to be, and an exasperated policeman dealing with

a young boy on Christmas Eve who has stolen his mother’s turkey and thrown it through the window of his father’s house. The book’s main focus is on the troubled and very busy life of Lou. He is introduced as the ‘Scrooge’ of the tale, he cares about no one but himself and the impression he makes on his demanding boss so it is shocking that he should meet Gabe a vulnerable homeless man begging on the street and offer him a job in his office. Gabe has a very big secret, one that we can only speculate over throughout the story and his character becomes even more

interesting when he gives Lou the gift of headache tablets, little does Lou know when he wakes up in the morning having taken a tablet he is about to meet himself face to face. The characters are all unexpectedly connected to each other in a very clever and witty way that ignites hope, love and the promise of second chances throughout the book and makes you think about the important things in life and especially at Christmas, the big twist in the final chapter is a mountain of a tear-jerker, so make sure you have your tissues ready.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

47

Arts & Culture

POETRY IN MOTION

Last weekend Seren’s Deputy Editor, Rosie, went to hear Andrew Motion give a reading in Islington, London. Inspired, she’s put together a full feature on the great poet’s lifetime of work.

by ROSIE MACLEOD

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ndrew Motion is a serious man, yet as his audience gathers he remarks how ideally he’d like his “Selected Works” to consist “of about six poems”. He served as the poet Laureate between 1999 and 2009. He inherited the title from Ted Hughes and was succeeded by Carol Ann Duffy, a staple GCSE classroom favourite. His work is conspicuously punctuated with rural references, a product of his countryside child-

scribes Serenade’s horseshoes being tended to by a blacksmith, and the blacksmith’s array of metallic tools. Before reading the piece, Motion informed his audience of his mother’s accident and death. In light of the fate met by Motion’s mother, this description of blacksmith tools conjures up imagery of surgery equipment. Motion’s decision to inform his audience about his mother’s death in detail may well be motivated by the desire to achieve this effect of a darker, more human, association.

...REGIME CHANGE IS HIS POEM ABOUT THE 2003 IRAQ INVASION.

ture, he made a visit to Anne Frank’s house. The memory of the Secret Annexe inspired Motion to write a poem about it in adulthood, yet it was not the only inspiration for its production. He explains how his poem about Anne Frank’s hideaway was also motivated by the need to “prevent evil” in modern Britain in light of the presence of the BNP. This poem by Motion encapsulates the ‘Nie wieder!’ (‘Never again!’) attitude to the Holocaust and oppression. In it, he describes how he observed where Anne Frank and her family tried to “go on living normally just a little bit longer”. The poem describes the winding staircase, the “wardrobe that sways”, a “sunlit room”; characteristics of an ordinary house yet placed in the darkest context imaginable for modern times. This ordinariness of the poem reflects how normal the Frank family wanted to be in such a hopeless context. He served as the poet Laureate for ten years and has spoken of how this largely disrupted his original writing plans. If this is the case, it would not have been obvious to anyone who follows poetry, for he certainly did not suffer writer’s block. During this time, he produced much topical and relevant poetry. He was keen to not be seen as a Queen’s court jester-like

“I’ve read you one [poem] about hood. As if being Ted Hughes’ heir was not enough, he succeeded my mother, I should probably read American writer Bill Bryson as the you one about my father” he obPresident for the Campaign to Pro- serves. The poem about his father is similarly elegiac, about Motion-when tect Rural England. “I’m going to read you a long poem, standing on “a piece of lawn the size but you’re stuck in here now” he of a handkerchief”- being visited by jokes, yet still with his prevailing air a memory of his father soon after he of solemnity. It is about his mother, had died. The memory is of countrian “elegy for her”. When Motion was fied childhood days in the garden, “about sixteen” his mother suffered using rusty tools and “wiping down a horse riding accident, requiring the blades” of a lawn mower. Motion opens his talk with the very her to undergo major surgery on her nervous system. For nine years, she sobering topic of the Second World drifted in and out of a catatonic state War. He describes how, in his youth, before the sustained injury eventually killed her. The “conker-coloured” HIS POEM ABOUT ANNE FRANK WAS INSPIRED BY horse in question was named Serenade. Motion points out that which THE NEED TO “PREVENT EVIL” IN MODERN BRITAIN... could be interpreted as an unfortunate contrast; his song of despair, an elegy, brought about by a horse named Serenade, meaning a peace- he and a friend went to Amsterdam, poet, producing coy and coquettish, ful, amorous form of song. Andrew “for the pictures!”, he adamantly as- chirpy verse. Instead, he elected to Motion fondly remembers how his sures us- with a playful nod. Yet amid write poetry that exposed the truth parents were “country people who appreciating Dutch culture of an and produced a running commendid country things”. This “elegy” de- entirely clean and wholesome na- tary on events in Britain as they un-

folded. His pieces Regime Change (2003) and Summer Wedding (2005) were written in light of the invasion of Iraq and in celebration of Charles and Camilla’s nuptials respectively. He has been commissioned to write

fraid to put his own stamp on the literary greats. He had to forewarn his audience that his poem about the German thinker Johann Wolfgang von Goethe contained much “foul language”. Motion contemplates-in his own colourful yet poetic language- how the log on which Goethe spent much time pondering and thinking may be used by lovers under cover of darkness. Motion describes the living Goethe as being ceaselessly still in pondering. The poem creates imagery of statues. This will ring bells with anyone who has seen Goethe’s statue in the Louvre or in the quarter named after him in Vienna. Motion describes Goethe as a bringer of new ideas, which conjures up images of the two statues of him in Vienna that are opposite one another. Although both statues depict Goethe sitting still (above) as Motion observes in a chair, one statue is covered in what appears to be Arabic writing, an image for other, distant, far-off lands and the discoveries that are to be found there. Motion has been lucky enough to meet and have contact with several of his influences. He met Philip Larkin when the former was working as a university librarian, which certainly plays a walk-on role in many of his literary anecdotes. Motion talks fondly of his friendship with Larkin, the former wrote and had published a biography of the latter’s life. However, this was commissioned by a third party and not an agreement between the two men. He attended study sessions in the presence of W.H. Auden and the Northern Irish poet Seamus Heany was initially offered the title of poet Laureate in 1999, but later re-

...HOLDING THE POST OF POET LAUREATE DISRUPTED HIS INITIAL WRITING PLANS HE HAD LAID DOWN BEFORE TAKING THE POST. poetry by the BBC on many occasions, including a poem about foot and mouth disease for the Today Programme. Epidemics of foot and mouth struck twice in Motion’s Laureateship, once in 1999 and again in 2007. Poignantly, he wrote a piece for the last surviving ‘Tommy’ from the First World War, who died in the summer of 2009. In contrast to his interest in the contemporary and the here and now, Motion informed his audience of his self-confessed “hopeless” soft spot for Romanticism. Motion is an unabashed fan of all things Enlightenment. He is also una

fused. Alternatively, it might be that his contact with these figures has rendered them influences upon Motion’s work. Motion’s latest work is a novel entitled Silver, a response to Treasure Island. He serves on a number of academic and artistic boards and committees. VISIT THE ONLINE POETRY ARCHIVE, WHICH WAS FOUNDED BY ANDREW MOTION, TO TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF HIS WORK.


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seren.bangor.ac.uk

Creative Corner

December Issue 2012 Want your work in the Creative Corner? Email: creative@seren.bangor.ac.uk

How I made the image After selecting the image I wanted to draw, I began mapping out my piece using the grid technique, with each square 2cm wide. After sketching out a rough outline, I then used Derwent’s Coloursoft pencils to create the colour. These are particularly ef-

By Tom Haynes

By Laura Gilbert

By Amy Littlewood

Winter The trees are shivering again, we watch their branches bristle in the night air. Street lights breathe no warmth here, even the sun has turned away. December has crawled out from the undergrowth and reclaimed the land. By Emily Bygrave Fickle Winter Stark trees, barren ground and raw rooftops Want to delude the sleepy watcher with Morning frosted windowpanes Which litters the town in lonely dust. By Jecelyn Latimer

ARTIST PROFILE: Jack Vettriano

ficient for blending colours together the create texture in your work. The snowflakes were a last minute addition. I simply took the white pencil, and covered the piece in white dashes, bringing it to life.

B

orn in Fife, Scotland in 1951, Jack Vettriano left school at 16 with the intention of becoming a mining engineer. This took a backburner during a pivotal moment in 1972 however, when a girlfriend bought him a set of watercolours for his 21st birthday, leading him to paint in his spare time. In 1989, Vettriano submitted two of his paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition, both of which were sold on the first day – an early indication of his future success. Over the last twenty years, Vettriano has grown into one of Britain’s

By Roberta Græ Excell

By Emily Bygrave

By Mihai Tarmure

By Zac Hinchcliffe

most popular artists – with exhibitions held in Edinburgh, Hong Kong, London, and New York. His painting “The Singing Butler” sold for £750,000 in 2004, becoming his most iconic piece of work. The same year, Vettriano was awarded with an OBE for services to the visual arts. In 2009, he was selected by the Yacht Club of Monaco to create a series of paintings marking the centenary of their world famous yacht, Tuiga. This led to an exhibition being held in Monaco, before touring the UK in 2010. It was during this year that a new exhibition of over 40 paint-

ings, titled “Days of Wine & Roses” officially opened at the Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery in Fife. Following this, he signed an exclusive deal for his artwork to be represented by the Heartbreak Gallery in London. It marks a new phase in Vettriano’s illustrious career, which is set to continue for years to come.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

49

Creative Corner

Interview with 2012 in Art: A Golden Year From Danny Boyle’s now iconic opening at the London Olympics to Damien Hirst’s Jacquie Blakeley exhibition at the Tate Modern, 2012 has been an incredible year for British art. by TOM HAYNES

mainstream. The 4th of April saw controversial artist Damien Hirst’s retrospective exhibition open at the Tate Modern. Featuring key pieces such as his shark in formaldehyde piece - “The Physical Impossibility of Death in The Mind of Someone Living”, and his diamond skull “For the Love of God”, the show was a runaway success, intriguing visitors from all over the world. Hailed by the Financial Times as a “beautifully installed” show, and the Sunday Times as simply “brilliant”, the exhibition went on to become the most visited solo show, and the second most visited exhibition in the gallery’s his-

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ebruary 21st 2012, and some the biggest acts in music, including Rihanna, Lana Del Rey, and One Direction have taken to the stage to collect their BRIT Award trophies. This year, like last year when Dame Vivienne Westwood took up the challenge, it has been designed by a creative legend – acclaimed pop artist Sir Peter Blake. Most famous for creating The Beatles iconic 1967 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album sleeve, and his 1955 pop art piece “On The Balcony”, his BRIT statue is a great example of art infiltrating the

tory. However, it was the London Olympics that provided the biggest platform for British artists in 2012. Controversial Tracey Emin was selected as a mentor on the BA Great Britons programme, a project aimed at celebrating Britain’s flair for creativity and innovation in the arts. She helped search for an artist to produce a design for BA Aircraft in the run up to the games. The eventual winner was Pascal Anson, who came up with a dove concept, which was then painted onto planes, with the intention of reflecting the peace and social unity of the Olympics.

Emin was also one of 12 British artists selected to design limited edition posters and prints in honour of the games. Fellow artists selected were Rachel Whiteread, and Howard Hodgkins, who focused on the Olympic rings, and the movement of water in their pieces. However, it was Oscar winning film director and Bangor graduate Danny Boyle whose Olympic opening ceremony was the creative highlight of the year. Titled “Isles of Wonder”, the storytelling show captured many aspects of British history, from the Industrial Revolution, to our cultural, literary and musical heritage. It was watched

Interview with Jacquie Blakeley something to draw, I love just using my eyes and absorbing what I see, perhaps not remembering the exact detail but the general ‘picture’.

An artist, illustrator, and garden designer, Jacquie Blakeley is one of Anglesey’s top creative talents. Tom Haynes gets an insight into her work. As an artist, what do you feel most inspires you? I am particularly drawn to landscapes - mountains, valleys, rivers, waterfalls, streams and seas, and so forth. Within this, the things I find most inspiring are colours, contrasts between light and shade, the grandeur of nature and the insignificance of man. When choosing

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Many of your works are created using watercolour. Why this medium, and what other materials do you most enjoy using? I use watercolour – not in the form of washes but my own self-taught way. My technique is similar to painting with oils, which is what I started with years ago. I find watercolours and the papers you can use quite absorbing as they can, to a degree, take over your input! However, I have done four oil paintings in the year since I’ve lived on Anglesey which has been interesting as I haven’t used oils for years (one was a disaster!). Another passion of yours is garden design. Can you tell us more about it? I am a qualified garden designer, however my love is not with the Chelsea Flower Show format, but with the landscape of the imagination, created to be unique, and incorporating themes or stories, al-

most like illustration, and very akin to painting. We live in a 3 dimensional world, and I want to see round the next corner. Something I most admire the Japanese Garden tradition. Visiting Japan opened my eyes to the use of landscape both in gardens and in drawing and painting. Many a journey has been spent with my pencils on my knee. What are you currently working on, and what are your ambitions for 2013? At the moment I’m directing my creativity at my new garden as we have builders working on our property, and my drawing board has had to be put away. I am taking thousands of photographs which are either of birds, or of light and shade on water and the beach, they look quite abstract and one day I would like get round to having them printed, or I may find they inspire some more paintings. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring artists? Keep going, and have passion and time.

What's on at Bangor Art Gallery?

asting a web over Bangor Art Gallery this winter is “Dialogue and Conversations”, a brand new exhibition showcasing fibre art. Described as “an intimate look at the diverse and aesthetic elements of fibre art”, the collection features creations by acclaimed artists Lisa Porch, Sasha Kingston, and Bethan Ash, who use techniques from quilt making, stitch, and embroidery. Open until January 12th. Also featured this Christmas is a display of original Welsh chil-

dren’s books, titled “From Trysorfa To Sali Mali”. Described as “glimpses into the development of Welsh language literature for children,” highlighting “how these books continue to contribute to Welsh identity”, works presented include a 1931 edition of “Llyfr Mawr Y Plant” written by Jennie Thomas, and illustrations by Peter Fraser. Open until March 16th. Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Ffordd Gwynedd, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1DT

by an estimated 900 million worldwide, and was hailed as a tremendous success. Outside of the Olympics, the nominees for the 2012 Turner Prize were announced on May 1st. The nominees of the award, which is presented annually to a British artist under the age of 50, were Spartacus Chetwynd, Luke Fowler, Paul Noble, and Elizabeth Price, with the winner being announced on December 3rd. It will signify the end of a truly remarkable year for British art, in which it’s biggest stars have truly shone, inspiring millions not only in the UK, but around the globe.


50

Travel

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Christmas in... New York

by HARRIET WELLER

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city which frequents the television with images of glowing lights, ‘friends’ drinking endless cups of coffee and bright yellow cabs finally became a reality for me at the age of 16. An unexpected but marvellous reality when my sister surprised me with the trip for Christmas! If you are looking for spectacular gift ideas New York is a sure winner. Our 3 day trip was a whirlwind from start to finish as we were keen to cram everything in. We were instantly thrust into the city life, as we emerged off the subway and were met with the dazzling heights of huge skyscraper buildings and pouring snow. Our first adventure was tackling Central Park. It did not disappoint especially as it was bathed in snow. We pranced through, en-

tranced by beautiful trees, the occasional crazy runner and monuments galore. Eventually we popped out the other side and into the bright lights of Times Square. A quadrant of super-size adverts and stores - we quickly became aware that it is hard to not spend and eat far too much in

lift which shoots you to the top. The view is breathtaking and gave us a good orientation of where everything was. The rest of the day was a whistle stop tour of New York by foot. We ventured to the aptly titled Grand Central Station, admired skaters and the huge Christmas tree outside the

NEW YORK AT CHRISTMAS TIME IS DEFINITELY NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. New York but hey what are holidays for! After a fun filled first evening we were ready to take on New York City by day. First stop; the impressive Empire State building. A top tip for avoiding the queues is to go bright and early and book online. It meant we could just waltz past all the barriers and get straight in the golden

Rockefeller Centre and explored the other side of Central Park. To warm up we sampled some of the many free museums New York has to offer, a particular favourite was the American Museum of Natural History with its gargantuan animals. Of course no trip to New York is complete without shopping, the city has it all. It is hard not to be impressed

by the Christmas displays that each shop has on show and even if you are keen to not spend anything, they are fun to just look around. My favourite was the famous department store Macy’s with its wooden escalators taking you up to Santa’s grotto. Shops aren’t just shops in New York they are experiences, the Toys R Us even had a huge Ferris wheel in the centre. Our final day was the coldest day imaginable, so wrap up warm if you do venture to New York around Christmas time. A subway trip, took us to the famous Wall Street, not really that exciting to me but it was the gateway to the Staten Island Ferry. You can’t visit NY without seeing the beautiful lady standing tall; the Statue of Liberty. The ferry is by far the cheapest way as it does a full loop around the island, giving you enough time to get your token pho-

...Finland

...Florida

by TOM HAYNES

1 by IDA VÄISÄNEN

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n the pre-Christian Nordic countries there was a custom to celebrate ‘the return of light’ around the winter solstice in December, which marked the beginning of

century and it’s asking people to respect the Christmas spirit. The ceremony is televised and a follow-up to the children’s programmes enjoyed through the morning. My fondest Christmas tradition was

FINLAND IS KNOWN TO BE THE OFFICIAL HOME OF SANTA CLAUS. longer days. Believe me, it’s truly something to celebrate about! In Finnish Christmas celebrations the Eve is significant. After proclaiming the Christmas peace around 1PM in the city of Turku the whole country literally quietens. The Christmas peace tradition began in the 13th

the annual TV-show ‘Santa’s Hotline.’ The show is basically ‘live footage’ from Santa’s workshop where he answers the calls of children telling him about their Christmas preparations and singing songs with their shivering voices, followed by occasional cartoon breaks. The show has been aired since 1990 so it’s safe to say its

tos without paying the extortionate prices to go on the actual island. Next we took a more sombre trip to Ground Zero. The devastation 9/11 left has been replaced with a very moving exhibition which made us grasp a little more of what the World Trade Center was about and the horrors that unfolded. New York at Christmas time is definitely not for the faint hearted as it is truly crazy and it is impossible to tackle everything in just a few days but it is well worth it. With an explosion of food from all over the world, dramatic displays, Christmas tunes and a magical layer of snow - it really is a cracker of trip! If you want more info, a great guide is the Lonely Planet: New York book as it tells you all you will ever need to know, so what are you waiting for?!

place among Christmas traditions is well established. The mentioning of ‘Santa’s Hotline’ is also fitting since Finland is known to be the official home of Santa Claus. (Don’t believe the Americans rambling about some North Pole!) The other traditions include visiting the cemetery to set a candle on the graves of relatives (not as morbid as it sounds!) and of course, Christmas sauna! After waiting for an eternity it’s time to open presents and call grandma to thank for the lovely socks. Christmas day, which seems to have more significance in other cultures, is basically a relaxation day of reading the books that Santa brought and eating chocolate.

9th December 2009 and I’m stood in my bedroom digging out t-shirts and shorts from the bottom of the wardrobe to pack. Meanwhile outside, Christmas lights are twinkling on the front of the neighbour’s houses. Fast forward 48 hours and we’d arrived, warm air hitting my face as we stepped off the plane. Orlando International Airport, Florida. It was a world away from the freezing winter of the UK. The first few days were spent touring around the local theme parks and towns – Universal Studios, Epcot, and Seaworld. Although it was busy with other jetsetters, it was wicked. Particularly recommended is Universal - although you might need a neck brace after the Hulk ride! Then the big day arrived. Christmas morning. Having seen the queues for Disney World, we turned around and

decided to visit Animal Kingdom. Despite the bizarreness of sharing the day with elephants, snakes, and monkeys - there was a great atmosphere, making for a truly unique and memorable experience. In our final few days in America we went on trips to Miami, the Kennedy Space Centre, and Lake Kissimmee, soaking up to the last of the sunshine. For anyone that likes roller coasters, I would most recommend Busch Gardens - this place is Alton Towers on steroids. Sadly, before we knew it, the inevitable day had come – home time. It was with heavy hearts that our possessions were packed into suitcases ready for our return. Florida at Christmas is a truly unique experience that breaks away from mundane yuletide traditions. A once in a lifetime trip for anyone that loves action, excitement, and doing something different.


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

51

Travel

Christmas Around The World by EMMA ÅSBERG

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Sweden

hristmas in Sweden is celebrated on the 24th of December, not the 25th. On a typical Christmas day people would wake up, have a long breakfast together and give each other their stocking gifts, for children in particular – to occupy them while the adults are cooking and preparing. Most of the day is then spent preparing lunch, which includes a variety of different traditional and new dishes. For example Janssons Frestelse, (homemade) meatballs and sausages, pickled herring, boiled eggs and smoked salmon and red cabbage. Lunch is then enjoyed quite late and lasts for hours, before traditional dessert: Rice Pudding or Rice Á la Malta. The evening is for Santa Claus and presents, often with entertaining rhymes.

Most of us here at Seren can’t wait for Christmas, and I suspect it’s the same for most of our readers...but what do Christmas celebrations look like on the other side of the world? Join us for a peek into four different countries’ celebrations.

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Switzerland

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witzerland combines customs from three different areas: France, Italy and Germany. Present wise, kids get a first taste of presents in the beginning of December, but the main load will be given either on the Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day. Santa has two side-kicks in Switzerland, Christkindl—the Christ child, who also gives out presents and Schmutzli, a dark-clad accomplice, who helps Santa with his burden by giving out presents and being scary—many kids are afraid of him!

CHRISTMAS MARKETS Birmingham

China

hristmas in China is celebrated on the 25th, but with much less fuss than in Europe. Many families buy gifts for their children and each other for this day, but it seems over commercialised more than anything else. I spent Christmas in China a couple of years ago, and none of my Chinese-born colleagues celebrated it at all at home. It’s acknowledged as a western festivity but bears little meaning for Chinese people.

Manchester by CATHRYN EMERY

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Rating:

s Christianity is a minority religion in India, it has perhaps less meaning than for many here in the west. However Christmas is widely celebrated, especially in larger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. Gifts are bought for family, neighbours and friends, and in Christian homes, preparations start as early as November. One of the main highlights is the Christmas cake which is loved by the entire family. New clothes are also bought for the festival and the house is thoroughly cleaned. Customs vary throughout India; for example, in south china clay lamps are lit on roofs, and in many states it is popular custom to decorate a banana or mango tree instead of a pine tree.

At this time of year there is nothing better to get you into the festive spirit than a trip to a Christmas market! Not many of us can jet off to Germany for a day out so the next best thing are the markets here in Britain read on to see what we thought...

by JORDAINE HULSE

his year was the first time that I had ever been to visit a Christmas market here in England and I have to say that I was definitely not disappointed with what I saw! In Birmingham the stalls are generally all together in the one area so it has a very Christmassy feel around Victoria Square, New Street and Chamberlain Square. There are plenty of stalls throughout the market which sell all kinds of weird and wonderful things including many handmade items which are perfect for a personalised Christmas gift for someone special. Obviously I couldn’t talk about the markets and forget to mention the vast amount of food stalls that there are to offer – ranging from traditional German food such as the traditional German dish Schnitzel to more unusual flavours such as Ostrich Burgers! As I am absolutely obsessed with Christmas and anything festive - so I loved the whole experience. If you do manage to see markets in the evening time it is especially magical. I definitely recommend a trip down to see them and will endeavour to go again myself sometime very soon!

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India

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by BECKY PAYNE

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Leeds

eeds Christkindelmarkt is a well-established German market in the heart of the city. Whilst visiting a friend a couple of weeks ago we decided to check it out, I had never been to a German market before and presumed it wouldn’t be my thing and to an extent this is true. However I am a big lover of food and drink and half the stalls cater to this!

We indulged for about an hour on Frankfurters and hot honeymead as well as not so German foods (fried feta and cranberry sauce). I could have gone back every day for a week and still tried something new and with the great atmosphere, definitely the perfect way to into the Christmas spirit. Rating:

aving only been to the Christmas markets in Birmingham before, and French ones during my year abroad, I was a little sceptical about what Manchester could have to offer but I wasn’t disappointed! Once the coach dropped us off, it was a short walk before we found ourselves in the hub of the Christmas spirit. We had been given a map beforehand of where everything was so we had no trouble finding our way around and we were ordering our Bratwurst sausages before we knew it. There was plenty of opportunity for drinking mulled wine and cider and we saw a waffle stand as well as many others. It was situated right by the Arndale Centre so we popped in there when the cold started to get the better of us. While the market is rather spread out it does give you the opportunity to mix in your other shopping with browsing the stalls. As always, the products sold were on the expensive side but from what we saw they seemed good quality and by the crowds you could see the markets were very popular. Definitely recommended, dress up warm! Rating:


December Issue 2012

seren.bangor.ac.uk

The Puzzle Guy

52

Breaktime

It’s Christmas! To celebrate this fantastic time of year, we have a ‘selection box’ of puzzles to keep you going until the 25th! As well as our usual sudoku, mental maths puzzle and puzzler challenge, we have a Christmas crossword and a festive wordsearch for you to get stuck into!

BAUBLE STOCKING SCROOGE ELF GRINCH FAIRY CHRISTINGLE SNOW FRANKINCENSE JESUS Sudoku

STAR SHEPHERD WISEMAN GOLD TINSLE REINDEER SANTA LIGHTS PRESENTS RIBBON Easy - 6 minutes

Puzzle 1 (Medium, difficulty rating 0.58)

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9

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Across

Down

1. 10 lords a ____ (7) 4. Let it ____ (4) 5. Season of Christmas (6) 6. ______ the red-nosed reindeer (7) 11. Popular decoration (6) 15. St. _____, saint who gave gifts (8) 16. Gold, Frankincense and ____ (5) 17. Festive beverage (6,4) 20. Jesus is regarded as the _____ in Christianity 21. Hang ‘em on your tree (7) 22. Alternative to turkey (4) 23. Santa arrives down this shaft (7)

2. Green creature that hates Christmas (6) 3. Amount of wise men (5) 4. Dickens showed him the error of his ways (7) 7. Bird that perches in a certain fruit tree (9) 8. Naughty, no. Nice, yes. (8) 9. Reindeer dancer that isn’t dancer (7) 10. ____ Christmas (5) 12. Fancy a kiss? (9) 13. Mother of Jesus (5) 14. A single unit of snow (9) 18. Play you’ll have been in as a child (8) 19. Hark! (6)

Hard - 10 minutes

Puzzle 1 (Very hard, difficulty rating 0.81)

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1

4 7

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1

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Generated by http://www.opensky.ca/~jdhildeb/software/sudokugen/ on Mon Dec 3 20:29:10 2012 GMT. Enjoy!

4 5 7

6 8

10

9 11 12

13

15

x5

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+91

+102

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-123 20

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9 7

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2 1

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43

8

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The Puzzler is back again! He’ll be hiding somewhere in this issue and it’s your job to find him. Name the page he’s in, in every issue at the end of the year and you could win a fantastic prize!

7

21

x1.5

2 7

Generated by http://www.opensky.ca/~jdhildeb/software/sudokugen/ on Mon Dec 3 20:29:22 2012 GMT. Enjoy!

Mental Maths challenge. You have 30 seconds to do this fiendish puzzle. Good luck!

1 4

Across 10 lords a ____ (7) Let it ____ (5)

22 23

2

Down Green being that hates Christmas (6)


seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

53

Sport

2012 Tennis Roundup

by BECKI WATSON

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he 2012 season is definitely one to be remembered in the world of tennis; with shock defeats, unlikely victories and long held records falling left, right and centre, it’s been one of the most gripping seasons in living memory. The 2012 season will certainly be one for the history books in terms of British tennis, and marked the best season in Andy Murray’s career so far. After

the first British man to win a major since the legendary Fred Perry. With a form like this, the world no. 3 can look forward to an even better season next year. It’s also been a great season for tennis legends Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. After a poor season by his standards last year, Federer made a stunning comeback to win his 7th Wimbledon title after defeating Andy Murray in four sets, equalling Pete Sampras’ record and taking him up

THE 2012 SEASON WILL CERTAINLY BE ONE FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS... reaching the first Wimbledon final of his career (before losing to Federer in four sets), Murray defeated Federer in straight sets at the Olympics to win the gold medal, the first British male to do so since 1908, as well as winning silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson. He ended his spectacular run by winning the first major of his career at the US Open against Djokovic, breaking yet another record by being

first place in the world rankings. He also won the silver medal for Switzerland at the Olympics. Djokovic also had a great season, winning the Australian Open, reaching his first French Open final, and defeating Federer at the ATP tour to reclaim his position as the no.1 player in the world. Unfortunately, the 2012 season was more of a mixed one for Rafael Nadal. He started off brilliantly, winning

his seventh French Open taking him past Bjorn Borg’s record to become the most successful player in French Open history. But his success would not continue into Wimbledon, as he was sensationally knocked out in the second round, and was forced to pull out of the Olympics, and the US Open because of a recurring knee injury. It remains to be seen whether he can regain his world class form in time for

the next season. However, there’s no doubt Nadal’s absence at some significant tournaments opened up the field, as it allowed some of the top ten players to compete on the world stage. Argentine player Juan Martin Del Potro gave an impressive performance in the ATP tour against Federer and Djokovic, rounding off one of his best seasons, and world no. 5 David Ferrer came further into promi-

nence by making the semis of many of the major tournaments. So after all the excitement, the players get a few short weeks to rest and prepare for the Australian Open in January. With Federer back to his winning ways, Murray looking better than ever, and more players coming up to threaten the Big Four, 2013 looks to a more thrilling season than ever.

Sports Personality of the Year by THOMAS BICKERDIKE

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t is that time of year again, when we look back on Britain’s sporting achievements over the last 12 months and the public votes for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. Last year’s winner was Mark Cavendish, after he won the Green Jersey at the Tour de France and the World road race championships. Obviously, one of the highlights of the year was the London Olympics and Team GB’s success there. The majority of the candidates will therefore be Olym-

pians and Paralympians. However, there have been moments outside the Olympics this year which have been memorable, including Wimbledon, the Tour de France and the Ryder Cup. Here is brief look at the candidates for the camera shaped trophy as selected by an expert panel, including Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Tanni GreyThompson and Denise Lewis: . Nicola Adams – first female Olympic boxing champion · Ben Ainslie – fourth consecutive gold medal in Finn class, most decorated Olympic sailor · Jessica Ennis – poster girl of Olym-

pics, gold medallist in heptathlon with new personal best · Mo Farah – double Olympic gold medallist in 5,000 and 10,000 metres, first Briton to win both at same Olympics · Katherine Granger – finally won Olympic gold in rowing after three silvers in successive Games · Sir Chris Hoy – double gold medallist in team sprint and keirin; 6 golds in total, Britain’s most successful Olympian ahead of Sir Steve Redgrave · Rory McIlroy – second youngest World Number 1, second major win at US PGA Championship (youngest

player to win two majors since Seve Ballesteros), member of Ryder Cup winning team, topped money lists on both US and European tour · Andy Murray – first British tennis player to reach Wimbledon final in 74 years, gold and silver medallist and his maiden Grand Slam victory in US Open (first British tennis player to win major championship in 76 years) · Ellie Simmonds – won two Paralympic swimming golds including breaking her own world record, also won a silver and a bronze · Sarah Storey – four gold medals in Paralympics; 11 in total, level with

swimmer Dave Roberts and wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson · David Weir – four gold medals at Paralympics – 800 metres, 1,500 metres, 5,000 metres and marathon; career total of 10 Paralympic medals · Bradley Wiggins – first British winner of the Tour de France and gold medallist in time trial; fourth career Olympic gold medal This year, Sports’ Personality of the Year is being held at London’s ExCel on Sunday 16th December. It is on BBC One from 19:30.


54

Sport Premier League Roundup so far

seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

Manchester United lead the race Its still anyone’s game

by JOE KEEP

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s we enter into the Christmas period, the premier league has thrown up some very interesting sporting events for us since the kick-off of the 2012-13 season. There are still a handful of games before we hit the end of December, but, normally, around this stage, the bottom three clubs are those that go down. This year could see that idea challenged. With the bottom three clubs being QPR, Reading and Southampton and eight points between bottom place QPR and seventeenth placed Aston Villa, the safe zone; it’s still all to play for. Up at the top, things are very much the same as last year with Man City and Man U breaking away from the rest. The big shock is West Brom holding a strong fourth place. Steve Clarke, manager of West Brom has shown he knows what he’s doing, but, will they be able to keep this good form going once we pass the New Year mark? Southampton have been playing really good football in their first season back in the premier league in seven years, however, their attacking play has left them weak at the back, making conceded goals their main weakness, having the third lowest goal difference

at minus ten. Recent form, losing one out of five games puts them in a much stronger position than any of those in the relegation zone or just above it, and I would expect to see them carry this form onto the new year, climbing the table quickly. They will, however, struggle when they come up against the power houses of the top four unless they are able to bolster their defence in the January transfer window. Reading have shown bits and bobs of class, however, the consistency hasn’t been there landing them in the rut they find themselves in. McDermott, Manager of Reading has said he is the man for the job, but with one win in the last five, he has pressure on him to produce and pull them out of the drop zone. Their goal difference isn’t too bad, coming in at minus seven; they just appear to be struggling to score resulting in marginal defeats. They have enough about them to jostle mid table, they just need to hit consistency in performances. The biggest disappointment of the season is Liverpool. Despite adopting Brendan Rodgers and his possession tactics, they have claimed just sixteen points from fourteen games and recorded a lousy three wins. What swings in their favour is, they have only lost four games, but, the draws

they have come against opponents you would expect to see Liverpool walk over. Expect to see major movement in the team in the coming weeks as Brendan Rodgers attempts to find the winning formula. Moving to the top of the table, just a

The Managerial merry-go-round Roberto Di Matteo, the first to go Many more managers likely to be shown the door. by STEFAN WILSON The cut-throat nature of the premier league has already reared its head, with Roberto Di Matteo and Mark Hughes already receiving their P-45’s. Roberto Di Matteo is certainly the more highprofile of the two, having led Chelsea to their first Champions League victory in their history, as well as the lesser, but not to be sniffed at, FA cup. This was partnered with a solid, if not spectacular, 6th place finish in the league. However, their Champions League form this season has led them towards the cusp of elimination at the group stages, for the first time since their Russian revolution began. This has prompted Abramovich to wield the axe, just 5 months after their history making night in Germany. His successor, Rafa Benitez, wasn’t exactly the most popular choice with the fans; his debut game in charge began with wide scale booing and chanting in support

of Di Matteo, throughout Stamford Bridge. It could be argued that Benitez brought this vitriol on himself, choosing to make inflammatory comments about Chelsea and their fans when he was in charge of Liverpool, but he wasn’t to know the circumstances that would arise in the future. His start has been less than encouraging, with his side collecting just 2 points from 3 games, including 2 goalless draws and a away loss to West Ham. Chelsea play Nordsjaelland tonight needing a win and for other results to go their way, to not crash to a humiliating early exit in the Champions League. Mark Hughes was under a different kind of pressure. With QPR languishing dead bottom of the league with only 4 points from 12 games, including a grand total of 0 wins, QPR chairman Tony Fernandes saw Hughes’s become untenable, especially after spending nearly 34 million (gross) on 10 new players. The sort of quality Mark Hughes had at

his disposal does not equate to QPR’s league position and unfortunately, the blame will always be levelled at the manager. No sooner was Hughes out the door, QPR had appointed a new boss. A face familiar to football fans all over the country, Harry Redknapp. Redknapp was the popular choice for the England job when Fabio Capello controversially quit in February last year, but he seemed to let the hype get to his head and Tottenham, his club at the time, had a poor run of form. This led to them missing out on Champions League football and subsequently, parting ways with Redknapp. The task at hand for Harry is definitely mammoth and he will have to do a quick fire rebuilding job, before the fine line between premier league survival and relegation heartache becomes too large.

point separates Man U and Man City, with both having strong performances after a sluggish start to the season. Man U have recorded more wins, however, do have more losses to their name, and it could be that Man City’s amount of draws play into their favour if Man U keep dropping points.

This table is still very much in limbo, with no one fixed in position and a lot of rejigging left to do. I don’t expect to see this year’s table tied up until March and even then, the margins will be tight with room for minor changes to come about.

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seren.bangor.ac.uk

December Issue 2012

55

Sport

AU In Brief Scouting for girls

WOMEN’S Basketball and Women’s Volleyball are both looking for some new players who are willing to give the sports a try. They’re both excellent teams and have high standards of coaching. They welcome beginners as well as experienced players who are willing to give it a go.

Women’s football on top form

Bangor Snooker and Pool club

by JOE RUSSELL

T

he Welsh University Pool Championships took place on the 24th and 25th November at Kiss Shot Pool Club in Pontypridd, featuring three teams from Bangor, six from Cardiff University and four from Glamorgan University. Bangor’s geographical positioning left us in the unfortunate position of starting our journey at 4am on Friday morning. Fortunately, our driver, James Richards, expertly navigated his way through mid-Wales’ roads and, in spite of their post-apocalyptic appearance, got us there incident free. Immediately after our arrival, the singles competition started. Of our nine players’, five made it through the preliminary stage, the highlight coming through fellow Bangorians Chris Kershaw and James Durrant facing off, the experienced former winning 3-0. Joining Chris was captain Joe Russell, driver James, vice-captain and

resident bottler Adam Gray, Mike Critchley and novice Kieran Allen. Chris, James and Mike fell at the next hurdle; Russell, Gray and Allen lost in the second round proper. Bangor 3rds, made up of James, Ben Titmuss and Anja Seidel, initially struggled, a combination of a sleep deprived driver and starter nerves for first-time competitors Ben and Anja

IN A CRUEL TWIST OF FATE, THE BANGOR 2NDS WOULD LATER FACE THE BANGOR 1STS. resulting in defeats in their first two matches. Fortunately, our hotel was in Bridgend which, despite its renown as the Malia of South Wales, meant we all had an early night. Rested, James came out firing on day two, giant-killing members of Cardiff 1sts. Titmuss, traditionally a nine-ball player, acquitted himself admirably finishing with a 6/9 win-loss ratio. So too did Anja, gain-

Gaelic Girls

by JUDITH BURNS AND NIAMH RYAN

B

angor Ladies Women’s Gaelic Team has kicked off the season with three sensational wins including claiming victory at the annual nine a side tournament in Liverpool. This season welcomed an increasing number of new girls to the sport, with the majority openly proclaiming they had never heard of the sport let alone picked up a Gaelic football. Nonetheless the spirit and determination of the team could not be broken and has gone from strength to strength. A unanimous team effort combined with training twice a week on Ffriddoedd has provided a platform for the team to acquire the essential skills of the sport which have been demonstrated at a remarkably high level. This dedication and hard work have paid of dividends with the three consecu-

ing her first competitive victory on the Friday. Bangor 2nds, featuring Chris and newcomers Kieran and James D., dominated their group stage, comfortably sailing through to the round robin stage. In a cruel twist of fate, the 2nds would later face Bangor 1sts in the first match of the round robin stage.

tive victories in Liverpool and only two narrow defeats. This season has been a triumph for the team only to be sealed by recently securing a place in the championship final against Liverpool Hope on sun 2nd December. Bangor Ladies Women’s Gaelic Team are determined and focused as they move forward this year and welcome any girls who are interested in exercising, meeting new people and having fun. Off the pitch the team take an active role in fundraising with the first Sunday of every month lending to their pub quiz and Bingo in Y Glôb in Upper Bangor. This semester has been as huge success for the team who are already looking forward to next year’s tournaments and fundraisers and welcome anyone interested in taking up the sport!!!

The 1sts – Joe, Adam and Mike – had performed no better than indifferently in the group stages, scrapping through with two 5-4 victories and one 5-4 loss. Tension was running high and only increased after Allen made a horrible error of judgement in beating his captain Joe to give the 2nds an early lead. Allen continued his impressive

form, taking out Adam and Mike, and helped the 2nds to a 5-4 victory, leaving the 1sts in the conflicted position of needing Glamorgan 2nds to beat Bangor’s 2nds to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals. Fortunately, ahem, Glamorgan did indeed win. The 2nds had awoken a sleeping beast, the 1sts subsequently beating Glamorgan 2nds 5-2 in the final round robin game, meaning the three teams – Bangor 1sts, 2nds and Glamorgan 2nds – all had to put forward one player. The first two frames would take their team through to the semi-finals. In the end, Joe won both frames, leaving the 1sts with a semi-final tie against Glamorgan 1sts. Unfortunately, Glamorgan’s 1sts proved too strong, defeating Bangor 1sts 5-2. Though the 1st team fell short in the semi-final, the whole group enjoyed the experience, particularly those who had never been to a university event before.

BANGOR University Women’s football club have seen a recent surge in results as of late. Their form has been startlingly replicated both home and away, as well as in cup and league matches. November started off with an 8-0 win over Chester (Warrington), at home in the league, and continued with a 10-0 win to them away in the cup. This form again continued with a 7-0 win over Burnley College of Football Business and a 2-1 win over Salford in the cup.

Triumphs in tennis

THE BANGOR Men’s Tennis team also saw a strong November. Sitting second in their division they went almost unbeaten throughout the whole month. A strong 10-2 victory against the University of Manchester 3rd team in Caernarfon Tennis Centre was followed by a another 10-2 victory over Keele University 1st team. Liverpool John Moores beat them 12-0 but that result was followed by a 10-2 victory over Liverpool Uni 3rd team.

Netball undefeated

BANGOR University Women’s Netball 1st team have been on phenomenal form. They’re undefeated this academic year and sit at the top of their league with 4 wins from 4. A 26 - 24 win over Liverpool University 2nd team saw them advance in the cup, and a 50-21 win over Liverpool John Moore’s University 3rd was the highlight of the results.

Squashed THE BANGOR Women’s Squash team ended the month in second place in their league and saw a 4-0 win over Keele University Women’s 1st team at Maes Glas and a 3-1 win over Lancaster University Women’s 1st team. However their run of results ended in the cup with a 3-1 loss to Leeds University.


SPORT Bangor Judo bring it home An Inside Look at Sports Personality

page 53

Bangor Judo overcome uncertainty New players pick up the cudgels

by JACK ARMSTRONG

A

fter watching Gemma Gibbons’ awesome display of British fighting prowess at the 2012 Olympics, our rugged band of surviving Judoka returned to university desperate for some rough Judo action on the mat. The return was not, however, without trepidation. The end of the 2011/12 academic year saw more than its fair share of farewells to many of our long term-graded players, so those of us remaining approached this year with some uncertainty, but even more determination. And it’s paying off. After an insane Serendipity (borderline harassing people with sweets), we saw our number swell to levels not seen in a long time. Furthermore, both newcomers and oldies alike shared a desire to go show the UK exactly what our club can do, so with that in mind, we entered the year’s first event, taking

performance, blitzing through each successive fight with a combination of drop throws, strangles, and strength to claim gold. Pretty good start eh? Next on was cricket captain Ben Chaloner. Again in the novice category, and new to competitions, he swept (foot sweeps) his way to victory against his first two opponents, before gleefully strangling his way to a bronze, in the most over subscribed category. Then came time for two of our women to step up to the plate. Tracy Yang scored ipon with a throw for an instant win, going on to achive another bronze in her category, whilst Devany Werrin positively went through the torture of the damned (and more than a few arm lock escapes) to do likewise in her category. Now it was Gabriella Rosetti’s turn for the intermediates. From the get go, her rugby experience became apparent, as she bulldozed through a hoard of terrified looking girls to reach the final. Here, she was simultaneously

...ONE THING QUICKLY BECAME APPARENT. WE WERE BY FAR THE SMALLEST UNIVERSITY THERE. 11 players to the competition hosted by Sheffield University on November 3rd to see just what we could do. After an interesting trip involving out of date sushi, god awful fog and a F’’’ed up sat. nav, we did eventually arrive at our digs, somewhat later than anticipated, so after a desperately needed trip to the hotel bar, we retired to rest up for the following day. Upon arriving at the venue, one thing became immediately apparent. We were by far the smallest university there. With squads from Warwick, York, Bristol to name a few, all with far bigger and better funded judo cubs, the ‘us vs them’ mentality hit us like a wave. So one pep talk and a heap of jelly babies later, we were ready to rock. First up, was one of our novices, former sports science student Adam Sergeant. As the lowest graded player in his category, he put in a brilliant

unlucky to loose out on gold, but phenomenal to reach silver in her first judo competition. Meanwhile, adding to our stack of Medals, Jack Armstrong, Joe Dalzell, and Oliver Green all went on to walk away with Bronze medals, even with Olly having to fight everyone in his category twice due to a scoring error. Additionally, Tom Booth acquired 10 points towards his black belt in the Advanced category, and Tom Cochrane, much like Gemma Gibbons, was thrilled to walk away with a silver medal, whilst fighting in a category above his weight in the intermediate mens division. Needless to say, these results were met with outstanding team support, and when Bangor University’s players went to receive their medals, the slightly mocking ‘where is Bangor anyway?’ had most certainly turned into a serious yet uncertain ‘Where’s

Bangor?!’ Leaving with 9 medals from 11 comptitors, the most of any single team, we began the trek home marked by a sense of proper satisfaction. Moreover, upon hearing our results, the number of people heading to our

competitions after Christmas swelled to upwards of 17 for Warwick (Feb 8/9) and more than 20 for B.U.C.S. –most certainly our highest numbers ever. Overall, our year is off to a phenomenal start. Let’s keep it up!

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Seren - 227 - 2012/13 - December Issue