Friday 26.04.2013 Volume 63
Spotted: Sexism on campus What’s
Inside? News 15
We’ve all seen the ‘Spotted’ pages on Facebook; Reading University campus, the library, the gym, and now even nightclubs. These pages offer students an opportunity to share comical (and often downright odd) observations that they have made whilst going about their daily business on campus. Whether it be applauding some poor unsuspecting student who’s taken a spectacular tumble down the library stairs, or venting irritation about people in the gym who feel that a battle cry is necessary while doing weights, the ‘spotted’ trend is usually just harmless fun.
The page aims to use the popularity of these pages to raise awareness However, currently circulating UK universities is the idea of a page titled ‘Spotted: Sexism on Campus’. The aim is to use the current popularity of these Facebook pages to raise awareness of an issue which many claim to still severely affect the student community. The University of Leicester has already embraced the idea and set up a Spotted page specifically for students to post cases of sexism that they have
Reading FC in hot water over unpaid internships
Have characters like JP from Channel 4’s Fresh Meat encouraged sexism and “lad culture” on campus? observed amongst fellow students; male and female. The popularity of the page was surprising and there was an influx of posts, one of which was “On a field trip discussing our observations, a female student voiced her interpretation, to which a male student responded “Shut up, men are talking.” She was right.” The sheer number of posts reporting cases which range from verbal to physical assault have caused some concern regarding the matter, even sparking the interest of
Women’s and Welfare Officers from a number of different institutions around the country. These professionals have been posting their contact details in the hope that students will get in touch. Is there the risk, however, that students will use it as an excuse to jest about the issue, reporting sexist jokes and cases of sexism on campus that they find amusing? Taking the University of Reading as an example, would students even feel that sexism is currently a
big enough issue on campus to warrant such a page? Though there has been clear success with examples of the page thus far, it is impossible to predict how other universities will respond to the idea. Mark Kelleher, next year’s RUSU president said: “Social media is such an important part of university life and I would hope that all Reading Uni students would refrain from posting anything that could be perceived as offensive to others.”
take up fewer characters due to Twitter’s character limit.
CCHQ have apologised, saying: “We apologise to Rob Wilson for our mistake in passing him a shortened link with the last character missing. This resulted in a quite different website to the one intended being linked from the tweet.” Mr. Wilson accepted the apology saying: “It is right that I should receive an apology for the mistake made by CCHQ, which I have accepted and drawn a line under the matter.”
Coming not long after Tory party leadership told MPs to think before they tweet this certainly highlights the need for those in power to double check their posts before they post updates on social media pages.
Reading MP accidentally tweets porn link By James Hockaday
Rob Wilson, the Conservative MP for Reading East found himself in an uncomfortable situation this month, when he unknowingly shared a link to a porn website with his followers on Twitter.
“It has caused me some embarrassment” The Conservative Campaign HQ (CCHQ) sent Mr. Wilson what they thought was a shortened link to a post by politics blogger Guido Fawkes commenting on the complaints about the BBC interview with the Work and Pensions secretary, Ian Duncan Smith. In the interview Duncan Smith was challenged to live on £53 a week. CCHQ shortened the link so that it would
“We apologise to Rob Wilson for our mistake” It became apparent that somehow when CCHQ had shortened the link and sent it to Mr. Wilson, a character was missing which resulted in him sharing a link to a website of a more adult nature on his Twitter account. The Tweet was removed as soon as the mistake was noticed not long after it had been posted. Mr. Wilson commented: “Somehow a shortened link appeared on a tweet which didn’t direct followers to where it intended to.” He also said: “It has caused me some embarrassment, but CCHQ have issued an apology which I accept and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of the matter.”
Would an airline ‘fat tax’ be fair? Gaming
“Copy the URL from the wrong window by any chance?!” Reactions to the tweet were as would be expected with one follower replying: “copy the URL from the wrong window by any chance?!”
12 The Place Beyond Film
Picture of Reading East MP Rob Wilson from lfe.org.uk
Mount & Blade: Warband
Potential alcohol restrictions to be introduced for under 25s By Abbie Weaving
To help reduce mass binge drinking in the UK, politicians are proposing a restriction on the amount of alcohol under 25s are allowed to drink. The Youth Alcohol Abuse Policy Centre plans to introduce an ‘Alcohol ID card’, which will monitor how many units of alcohol an individual has already purchased each day ‘via pre-paid credit’. In addition to this, the card will be able to ‘restrict purchases to follow health guidelines’.
“The best way to stop young people from over indulging” While the scheme has attracted criticism, its proposal for an ID card is not without reason. Teenage girls in Britain are the biggest binge drinkers in Europe, with more than half of girls aged between 15 and 16 drinking to excess at least once a month. The NHS, however, advises that women should only consume between two and three units a day, the equivalent to a large glass of wine. Meanwhile, men are recommended to only drink between three and four units a day, or one pint of high strength lager, beer or cider. Head of Policy for Solving Social Issues at The Youth Alcohol Abuse Policy Centre, David Mongrey, told The National Student, ‘We need to take drastic action to prevent the
booze-magedon on our streets and the best way is to stop young people from over indulging’. Furthermore, Mr Mongrey warned that binge drinking ‘is an issue that just won’t go away’. He concluded by saying, ‘It has got to the point where we have to make people behave.’ Indeed, according to previous figures, alcohol abuse costs Britain at least £20 billion a year, with a further £7.3 billion a year spent on dealing with alcoholrelated crimes. The Youth Alcohol Abuse Policy Centre, however, has been opposed for its controversial suggestions. Petula Pickles from Mullered Rights, a drinker’s right group, labelled the proposals as ‘disgraceful’. Furthermore, Ms Pickles commented that it ‘is against the human rights of every sensible drinker in the UK. And for those not so sensible drinkers it is within their rights to drink themselves in to whatever state they wish.’
“It is against the human rights of every sensible drinker” The proposals were submitted to the House of Commons on April 2nd 2013 and discussed. If the scheme is accepted, measures will be introduced to the public in September 2014. First year university students in the upcoming academic year could be experiencing a very different Fresher’s Week.
Research shows Atlantic turbulence to increase By Abbie Wearing
Thanks to the University of Reading, new research has shown that flights over the North Atlantic could become more turbulent. Turbulence occurs when a plane encounters vertical, unstable airflow. Jet streams from an aircraft and the majority of the atmosphere’s air, however, flow horizontally. Therefore, when the vertical airflow hits a plane’s wings, it encourages the cabin to bounce, thus causing turbulence.
“Increase in turbulence over the Atlantic has been blamed on climate change” This increase in turbulence over the Atlantic has been blamed on climate change. As Dr Paul Williams explains, climate change does not only make the atmosphere warmer at ground level, but also adjusts wind speed and stability at up to 10km above us. By doing so, airflow is more likely to become unstable, thus creating more turbulence.
Indeed, Dr Williams has estimated an increase in turbulence between 10 and 40% by 2050. This will impact some 600 cross-Atlantic flights which already take place each day between the UK and America. Furthermore, Dr Williams has warned that the cost of flights will rise alongside the turbulence. In order to avoid particularly unstable areas, pilots will use more fuel, costing airlines more money each year. These costs are likely to leak into ticket prices, making flying more expensive for customers. Airlines already spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year, accommodating for fuel costs, damages, and government enquiries. With the addition of more turbulence, these figures will only increase. Such turbulence can be avoided, but only if a pilot is able to detect it before takeoff. Once airborne, it is much harder to identify from the cockpit. In addition, an aircraft’s instruments are not yet sophisticated enough to detect turbulence, making it unexpected, and consequently difficult to sidestep. The cost of air travel will not only change for passengers, but also how long seatbelts must be kept on for during a flight.
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Reading Football Club sparks fury with unpaid internship By Daniel Mitchell
Several Premier League football clubs, including Reading, Wigan and Swansea, have been accused of unfair practices that exploit young interns after advertising seasonlong positions without pay or expenses. Reading Football Club have been heavily criticised for seeking to appoint a full-time postgraduate performance analyst who would not receive pay or expenses. In the advert released by the club, the successful candidate would have had to work unsociable hours, attend match games both home and away and sort out their own accommodation.
“Government guidelines state that employees should be paid at least minimum wage” The unpaid intern will have to carry out detailed match analysis as well as filming and video editing at the club owned by Russian businessman Anton Zingarevich who bought Reading FC from John Madejski for £25 million pounds last year. His family is thought to be worth around £3.4 billion pounds.
The criticism came from a campaign group after the job was listed on a government website although government guidelines state that employees should be paid at least minimum wage if the worker has a contract, has to turn up for work or is promised a contract of future work. Ben Lyons, from campaign group Intern Aware, which campaigns for paid internships, said it would be reporting Reading FC to HMRC because “where interns are doing real work, they are entitled to the minimum wage”. Gus Baker also from Intern Aware, added that the position was “unfair” and “damages the image of the club.” The RUSU President, James Fletcher, stated that: “RUSU believes that all workers should be paid for the job that they do. Unpaid internships inhibit students from low-income backgrounds from having a chance to get the experience that some professions require. Students who wish to make their CVs more attractive often volunteer their time to partake in all sorts of activities. This is fantastic and it is often these students who get the best jobs after university.” He continued by saying: “However, it is important that students get the best opportunity to get a job because they have the correct skillset for it and not because they can afford to run a car for a year and give
up lots of their time for free, like Reading FC are asking students to do. It is also vitally important that whoever gets the job or internship, can afford to do it.” Reading responded to the backlash with a spokesperson saying that: “Internships are an important part of career progression for any individual starting out on the path to their dream job.
“Students are being forced to work for free” “A number of interns have gone on to become full-time members of staff and remain integral to our club. The role represents a great opportunity.” It seems that the clubs are writing off young people who cannot afford to work for free and with Reading having its own University, it appears that the club have made a bad decision with this internship. With experience being so necessary for young people starting out in work, it is evident that students are being forced to work for free to get a decent start in the working world. It may be a great opportunity for someone but with these restrictions, it will not go to the person who best fits the description but will go to the person who can afford to work for free.
Reading Uni featured on C4’s ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ By Lara Sams
Ever wanted to see our University on TV? Now’s your chance. Reading was featured in the opening episode of one of TV’s most popular health programs: ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ on Tuesday, the 23rd of April 2013 at 8pm.
“The show attracts over 1.5 million viewers” The Channel 4 program attracts well over 1.5 million viewers, helping to raise awareness of health issues and de-stigmatise some of the more ‘embarrassing’ conditions that those around us experience. With 3 popular health experts; Dr Christian, Dr Dawn and Dr Pixie, thousands tune in each week to witness more sexual health issues, enlarged body parts, and some graphic treatment procedures. It’s clear that this is not a choice for the squeamish, or in fact (as I have found out) those eating their dinner. As well as entertaining us, the program also plays an important role in offering health advice and
Picture of Dr. Christian, Dr. Dawn and Dr. Pixie taken from guardian.co.uk guidance, and to some can offer a long-awaited lifeline.
“The programme aims to de-stigmatise ‘embarrassing’ conditions” Dr Harper visited Reading earlier this year, when she explored Reading’s Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences and interviewed
Reading’s Dr Gemma Walton. Students at Reading are lucky enough to have this one of a kind department, the largest of its type in the UK.. Dr Walton said “I’m pleased that through this programme, one area of our work in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences will be highlighted to a wider audience.” If you missed the episode make sure you catch up on 4OD. For more stories go to www. sparknewspaper.co.uk
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Junction 11 attends radio conference By Emmeline Walls
In the second week of the Easter holiday, eight presenters from Reading’s own student radio headed to Leicester for the annual Student Radio Association conference, hosted this year by DemonFM at De Montfort University. For the first time, the conference was branded on all material as “#SRACon”, encouraging attendees to tweet about the event, which they did on an unprecedented scale.
Included a trade fair, awards ceremony and a variety of talks from radio professionals Across three days, 450+ delegates had the opportunity to attend a trade fair, an awards ceremony and a vast variety of talks from radio professionals. Some of these were delivered by big names, such as BBC Radio 1/1Xtra controller Ben Cooper, former producer of Chris Moyles’ breakfast show Aled Hayden Jones and student radio’s prominent success story Greg James. Talks were offered on a vast range of subjects, including how to market a student radio station, using scripted comedy to enhance shows, what ‘visualisation’ means for radio and how radio could take
advantage of new technology, to name but a few. Also for the first time, the Student Radio Association made efforts to produce podcasts of every session for those who were unable to attend.
“It was a really rewarding experience” Popular evening entertainment was also offered to delegates. On the first night a special pub quiz was held (complete with a ‘Dildo or Firework?’ round) which encouraged friendly competition between stations, followed by a club night at DMU’s student union. The second night played host to the I Love Student Radio Awards, which included a well-received hog roast. The celebratory mood continued at the Student vs Industry Soundclash, on the decks at the student union. Station managers had the opportunity to vote on behalf of their member stations for the executive committee of the Student Radio Association, the body which works tirelessly to secure opportunities and training for student radio stations across the UK.
“It is an essential part of the year for any student radio station”
Junction11’s own station manager James McCormick commented: “SRACon is an essential part of the year for any student radio station. Junction11, as part of the Student Radio Association, attends the event every year in order to improve the station for Reading students and to create ties with other stations in our region.”
Presenters returned home inspired to take Reading’s student station to new heights The attending presenters all returned home inspired to take Reading’s student station to new heights. Miri Buač, presenter of Tuesday night’s The Alternative, reflected: “It was a really rewarding experience where I learnt so much from the industry experts. It’s really helped me choose which routes to take in radio broadcasting.” You can listen to Junction11 by going to www.rusu.co.uk/junction11 or by downloading the free iPhone App (search for ‘Junction11’). If you would like to get involved in the station, write on our Facebook wall (www.facebook.com/junction11) or send an email to: getinvolved@ junction11radio.co.uk
Rob Wilson shows support for 24 hour library service By Daniel Mitchell
Rob Wilson, the Member of Parliament for Reading East, has joined Reading University students as part of the Library 24 campaign, the University’s campaign for 24 hour access to the Library. Library 24, launched last November by founders James Caldecourt, Emma Willis, Mark Kelleher and volunteers from the Reading University Conservative Association, aims to tackle the University Library’s short opening hours that are currently operated. This campaign is receiving growing support from amongst the student body and has reached over 1,000 signatures from students. Campaigners have starting pushing this even more recently because the University responded to the students’ pressure by creating 24 hour access during the current exam period on a trial basis. However, the campaigners argued that this is still not good enough and would like to see 24 hour access throughout the academic year. Library 24 co-founder James Caldecourt said: “We’ve received an excellent response from students supporting the campaign and are absolutely delighted that the university has decided to trial 24 hour access over the exams season. Library 24 is still committed to achieving permanent around-theclock access and will continue to press for this during the autumn term. We are very grateful to have Rob on board, whose support might
finally help students achieve the high quality service they are clearly asking for.” When visiting the University, Rob also toured the library and spoke to students who were currently revising or working on dissertations. The MP actually studied at Reading University between 1984 and 1988, the final year of which he spent as the President of the Reading University Students’ Union. Rob Wilson MP said: “This is a great grassroots campaign that was started only a short time ago. For a student run petition to gain over 1,000 signatures shows both the level of support for a 24 hour library and the level of dedication that its campaigners have shown.” “As a former Reading University student, I am happy to support this campaign in any way that I can. 24 hour access to the library will mean a better quality higher education offering, which will be beneficial to both students and the University. It is also right that a university that is in the top 1% in the world rankings should provide a similar service to other top ranking universities in the country.” Library 24 is a student run campaign and having 24 hour access to the Library would be very beneficial to every student who studies at the University of Reading. If you are interested in finding out more about the petition or actually signing it, then visit http://www.change. org/en-GB/petitions/library-24. Want to get involved? Search for Spark News on Facebook.
Sir John Madejski on rich list
NUS National Conference elects first FE President
Sir John Madejski, the University of Reading Chancellor, has ranked in the top ten of Britain’s richest University Chancellors in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List. The UoR Chancellor, who took on the honorary position in 2007, polled seventh with a total fortune of £100 million. Other people who placed on the list included the Duke of Westminster, from the University of Chester, who came top with a personal fortune worth £7,800 million, with Lord Paul, from the University of Wolverhampton, who placed second and Anglia Ruskin University’s Lord Ashcroft who came third. Sir John was re-appointed the University’s Chancellor in 2012 and will continue in this position until at least 2017. He has been involved in business for a long time and in 1976, Sir John Madejski founded the Thames Valley Trader, now known as Auto Trader. Following this, he became Chairman of Reading Football Club in 1990 and stayed in this position until January 2012 where he sold a 51% stake of the club to the Russian consortium, Thames Sports Investment, headed by Anton Zingarevich for £25 million.
Toni Pearce, the current Vice President of Further Education for the National Union of Students, has been elected as the next NUS President, which has made headlines primarily because she has not attended university. Following her election, Toni said: “I’m really proud to have been given the opportunity to build the student movement around a vision for public education, and to be leading NUS as we build towards the next general election.” Besides the elections for the NUS’ National Executive Council, many other important decisions were made during this year’s conference, with several controversial motions being heavily debated. The University of Reading sent four delegates to the conference. Three were elected from across the student body: Business School faculty rep Tom Hurrell, fourth-year arts and humanities student Emmeline Walls and third-year computer science student and anti-cuts campaigner Adam Goodkin. The fourth delegate position was designated for an ex officio member; this was filled by Ceri Jones, RUSU’s VP of Democracy and Campaigns.
By Daniel Mitchell
Picture of Sir John Madejski taken from reading.ac.uk Madejski’s presence is one felt throughout the town of Reading. He has given his name to Reading FC’s football stadium as well as being a benefactor to the Royal Academy of Arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Reading. This is also shown on our very own campus as he is the patron of the John Madejski Centre for Reputation at the University’s Henley Business School and has the lecture theatre in Agriculture named after him. Most recently, Sir John helped fund the John Madejski Academy,
a secondary school which is striving to provide the young people of Reading with a new type of creative learning environment. He also has had a heavy involvement in the work of the University’s Malaysian campus. He took part in the ground-breaking ceremony in Malaysia to mark the start of the construction and to celebrate the beginning of the building of the UoR’s first overseas campus. The guide to the nation’s wealth is released this Sunday and will rank Sir John among the top thousand richest people in Britain.
By Emmeline Walls
All four Reading delegates voted independently on the various motions discussed. One motion that proved particularly controversial was motion 701, concerning the possibility of bringing genderbalancing to the NUS Conference. This would mean that female candidates for college/university delegations would be prioritised for 50% of the positions (although for an odd number of positions this would round down), which could lead to female candidates automatically being elected. This was hotly debated, with those in favour of the motion pointing out that the 56% female student body was not represented in the 60-70% male conference floor, and those against arguing that it was undemocratic and could lead to less competent candidates being elected. Motion 701 was also the only motion to be voted on by secret ballot, meaning that delegates voted using electronic pads and no record was kept of how delegates voted. The motion eventually fell by just nine votes. More information on this can be found at www.nusconnect.org.uk/ conference. Students can speak to this year’s delegates at Student Officer Scrutiny at 6pm on May 14th in the RUSU Boardroom.
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Gold medalist drops in for Donor Day By Daniel Mitchell
After her recent success in the London 2012 Olympic Games, gold medalist Anna Watkins showed her appreciation and expressed her gratitude to more than 100 donors who made a financial contribution to the University of Reading. Anna, who is currently studying for a PhD in mathematics here at the University, won a gold medal with Katherine Grainger in the double sculls rowing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She gave an adrenaline filled talk about how the home-crowd support helped her achieve her goals and then joined the University by saying a personal thank you to the donors for their support. The University’s ‘Donor Day’ is an event which celebrates the difference that philanthropy makes to the University and its students. This day also gives the donors an opportunity to see how their donations can make such a difference to the University. Of course, this event closely follows the successful Annual Fund telephone campaign, which saw over 1,000 graduates donate more than £430,500 to the University to help transform the lives of current and prospective students. Diane Lambe (BA English and French 1993) is one of the donors to the University of Reading to have attended the Donor Day. Di-
ane said: ‘’The Greenlands campus was a wonderful venue for Donor Day. The presentations and displays were stimulating and informative, once again demonstrating the wide variety of all that the University of Reading has to offer.” Luke Appleby, who graduated from the University in 2010 with an MSc in Real Estate, is one of the many talented individuals to have benefitted from the generosity of alumni donations. While studying at the University of Reading, Luke received a bursary from the Reading Real Estate Foundation.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without such generous support” Speaking in his presentation to guests, Luke said: ‘’Not long after I started my education at Reading, my place on my course was in jeopardy. The bursary I was awarded by the Reading Real Estate Foundation was invaluable, and allowed me to make the most of my time studying at the University of Reading. As a result, I finished my Masters and went straight into employment. I wouldn’t be where I am today without such generous support so I speak on behalf of all other students who have received a bursary when I say thank you!’’
University shortlisted for awards By Daniel Mitchell
The University of Reading’s Estates and Procurement teams have both been shortlisted for the prestigious awards of Outstanding Estates Team and Outstanding Procurement Team correspondingly in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2013.
“To be shortlisted for two of these awards is a real achievement” The awards celebrate the sector’s leadership, management, financial and business skills whilst also recognising both the quality of their work and contribution to the University. The Estates team has been shortlisted for their work on the University’s Carbon Management Plan. This set out for the University to reduce its carbon emissions by 35% by the academic year 2015/16 and the University is already well over halfway to meeting this target. The savings of the project in the first 18 months created financial savings of almost £4 million. Waste reduction has also been targeted and this work has been recognised with the EcoCampus Gold
Award, the Green Flag Award for the whole Whiteknights Campus, the Carbon Trust Standard and a top 20 ranking in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme University rankings. Colin Robbins, Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Reading, said: “The Estates Team has set the agenda for the University’s carbon reduction focus through the work they undertake in their own areas, but colleagues in Estates have also shown real leadership in ensuring the whole University community contributes to delivering a sustainable future for the University.”
“Ensuring the whole University community contributes to delivering a sustainable future” The Procurement team however have been shortlisted for their institution wide project of transferring the University’s accommodation and future accommodation development requirements to the private sector partner, UPP. The University was the first ever Higher Education institution to do this which has been very success-
ful and has allowed them to free up its funds to invest on research and teaching facilities. Lisa Jeffries, Head of Procurement, said: “In such a high profile and complex procurement process, communication with a multitude of internal and external stakeholders was vital. The Procurement Team worked closely with colleagues across the University on a daily basis to ensure that we achieved the best result for the University.” To be shortlisted for two of these awards is a real achievement and Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “The successful delivery of these major University projects is down to the work of many staff, working together across our university for a common goal. I would like to pay tribute to everyone who has played a part in our carbon reduction scheme and halls transfer project and to offer particular congratulations to those colleagues who, through their project leadership, have been specifically recognised through these awards.” The winner of the awards will be revealed at an awards ceremony in London on 20 June 2013 so make sure to keep updated and look out for how the teams do.
Spark* weather forecast for the week but this will pass and only a slight breeze should be present on Sunday. Next week is likely to remain unsettled, with periods of sunshine for the South-East, interspersed with moderate showers of rain. Conditions are likely to be colder than usual for the time of year, with daytime averages of around 9-10oC. The Met Office are currently predicting a return
This weekend looks to be relatively pleasant, with a chance of some showers around on Friday and Saturday afternoon, before the Sun returns for a mostly cloudless Sunday. Friday will start off sunny, but temperatures will not rise above approximately 10oC before it
becomes cloudy, with some light to moderate showers. These should have passed by roughly 7pm, and a clear night will mean temperatures drop to around 4oC in the early hours of Saturday. Temperatures will remain the same on Saturday, with highs of 10oC, and sunny spells all day, mixed with cloud and possibly moderate showers in the afternoon. Average day-
time temperatures for Friday and Saturday will be ~9oC, but could feel as low as 4oC on Saturday due to a North-Easterly wind. On Saturday evening the weather will become clear again, leading to a sunny day throughout Sunday, with slightly higher temperatures of up to 14oC in the afternoon. Some windy conditions are possible during Friday and Saturday,
towards warmer weather by the end of the week into next weekend, but this is as yet uncertain. Follow @SparkWeather on Twitter for more regular updates, news and photos. Ask weather-related questions and send your photos of the UoR campus! (Note: This is a student project and forecasts are not a product of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading)
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
SRSH Society host Relax and Recharge Event on to a lecture given by Professor Judi Ellis of Reading’s Psychology department. After recharging with a bit of knowledge, the group relaxed with Mark Laynesmith from the Chaplaincy, and finally rounded off the afternoon making ice cream and art therapy-oriented positive notecards. Needless to say, the most delicious part of the day came last, but all of the activities encouraged students to take care of themselves. Student Run Self Help, the organizer of the event, is a group on campus focused on supporting students who are struggling with eating disorders and raising awareness about the issue
A bright sunny afternoon is perfect for lots of things, but unfortunately hard-core revision for imminent exams cannot be listed among them. But revision must be done, despite the weather’s blatant disregard for the university time-
table. A group of students organized by the Student Run Self Help (SRSH) Society spent Wednesday afternoon Relaxing and Recharging to get the most out of their precious revision minutes. Starting with a fun 45 minutes of stress ball making (the incredibly low budget activity consisting of
funnelling flour into balloons), the group of roughly 20 enjoyed a talk from SRSH’s head office member Elisabeth Reed and had the opportunity to discover some goodfor-you recipes, designed around exam nutrition. The event then continued with the nutrition theme, and followed
here at Reading. Part of a UK wide network, the volunteers are amazingly dedicated, caring and approachable. The society runs fortnightly support groups, and can be contacted via Facebook (SRSH Reading) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Exam time is incredibly stressful, and though sunshine lifts the spirits, it only makes re-reading Emily Dickinson or revising the compilation of soil that much more difficult. But the Relax and Recharge workshop hosted this past week hopefully gave those students a little extra boost in the right direction. And some delicious ice cream too!
6 POLITICAL COMMENT email@example.com
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
POLITICAL COMMENT No triple dip for Osborne News in brief ADAM ROBERTS
Measley Measles I’m amazed it has taken this long, but finally it is the government that is being blamed for the massive outbreak of measles in Wales this month. This outbreak, now in the process of being contained, is the largest in the last decade, and has promted a new Department of Health to respond with a new plan to combat the virus. The “catch-up campaign,” which will be run through local GPs, hospitals, schools and community groups will focus on children aged 10 to 16. The campaign is expected to cost £20m and the Department of Health already has 1.2 million vaccines ready to go, with the aim of full vaccination by September. Vaccination is always a good thing, nice to see something uncotrovestial the government can do.
Blame it on the drugs!! Its not the money. Or the booze, the endless parties, the huge bonuses, the financial scandals or the massive and illigal nature of pre-crash banking. Its the drugs. According to former ‘Drug-Czar” Professor David Nutt, many bankers who took the drug were ‘overconfident’ and so ‘took more risks’ and added cocaine was well suited for their ‘culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more’. Nutt is quoted in the METRO as suggesting “Bankers use cocaine and got us into this terrible mess. It is a “more” drug.” He also took the opportunity to question much of the governments drug policy, and in a rather skitzophrenic nature accused the government of being “absurd and insane” for banning substances such as ecstasy, and yet chickening out on toughening alcohol taxes. This comes after a 2009 paper that brought scorn for comparing, favourably, the pasttimes of Horseriding and taking ecstacy. This paper certaintly does not condone doing both of those at once!
Electing the Electors Once more elections are in the news, as local elections are underway in towns, districts and counties across Great Britain. UKIP seems to be the party to watch. With a strong showing in Eastliegh and with a powerful platform as ‘not one of the three parties that everyone is rather annoyed with’, Farage fancies his chances of gaining a foothold in domestic British politics. It may seem a formality, voting for the usual party and councilers you’ve never heard of, but a majority of real local governing comes directly from these unknowns. My advice, vote wisely. A rebbelious vote for UKIP may put them into more power than you realise. Weather thats a good thing or not? Thats up to you!
The UK economy has avoided falling back into recession. The Office for National Statistic has given its preliminary estimates for GDP at the start of the year, and with a strong and unexpected showing the economy has grown by 0.3% in the first three months of the year.
recession. According to the BBC, The rise in the figures was largely down to strong growth in the services sector and a recovery in North Sea oil and gas output. The news was greeted with varied reaction from the many invested groups. Osborne was quick to jump upon the news as an “encouraging sign”, assumedly that he would be keeping his job in the
Thanks NHS!!! Ed Milliband has nicely thanked the NHS after they helped set his arm after he broke it this month. Miliband was apparently walking with his wife, Justine, on a coastal path in Devon and fell, hitting his left wrist on a rock. The injury only came to light when he visited the accident and emergency unit at University College hospital, London, on Friday because the pain in his wrist was not subsiding. One can speculate greatly on the concequences of this! Will we be seeing a new policy of regular checks for breaks or sprains in the Shadow Cabinet? Perhaps a white paper on ‘slippery bits on Devon coastal paths”? Alternatively, we hope the Leader of the opposition will watch where he is going from now on. While Milliband is known for ignoring minotr pains in his Cabinet. this paper wishes him well, and hopes for a full and hearty recovery!
Good News! What cruel trick is this? There had been fears that the UK would enter a third recession, known in such a short time span as a Triple Dip Recession. The figure means the economy avoided two consecutive quarters of contraction - the technical definition of a
coming months. Ever the peacock, Osbourne preened that: “Today’s figures are an encouraging sign the economy is healing. Despite a tough economic backdrop, we are making progress. The deficit is down by a third, businesses have created over
Counting the costs of the war on drugs Calum Mcintyre Rogers
The Prison Governors Association - the group which represents the interests of Prison authorities in the UK - has publicly endorsed the ‘Count the Costs’ initiative, the joint project between between scores of NGOs, parties and individuals including the International AIDS Society, the Green Party and Richard Branson. ‘Count the Costs’ aims to publicise the impact the ‘war on drugs’ has had on pubInsert headline here - Or Edit the Whole Thing lic health, human rights and the economy throughout the 20th and Political Comment is still on the lookout for writers to fill headlines and 21st centuries - it was formed in get opinions across. You need no background in writing or journalism, 2011, the 50th anniversary of the what we’re looking for are opinions and ideas. ‘UN Single Convention on Narcotic Do you disagree with something we’ve said? Or perhaps want to see Drugs’. your opinion put forward? Or just want to write and beef up the CV. The PGA endorsed ‘Count the Contact us at: Costs’ after reviewing the effect Sparkpolcom@gmail.com on drug prohibition in the UK on prisoners and crime generally. PGA President Eoin Mclennan
Murray wrote in a press release that “The PGA believe that… The war on drugs [creates] victims of acquisitive crime; increasing cost to the taxpayer to accommodate a higher prison population” while letting organised Kingpins profit from the prohibited market.
Drug prohibition in the UK is “desperately required” Eoin commented that a new debate over drug prohibition in the UK is “desperately required” because of this. The Home Office - and the government generally - has a poor record of responding to informed opinion on drugs. And this isn’t confined to the coalition; in 2009 governmental chief drug adviser Professor
a million and a quarter new jobs, and interest rates are at record lows. Shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, Chris Leslie, argued that low growth “isn’t good enough”. “After nearly three years of flat-lining, we need to see decisive evidence that a strong and sustained recovery is finally under way,” he said. Economists, on the other hand (neither of the above truly qualifies), note simply that “the news should give a small psychological boost to consumers and businesses, but the broader picture of the economy remains the same.” Does this mean the economy is finally on the rise? Well any growth is good growth, but it is by no means an open endorsement of the governmnets fiscal policy. Calls for Obsborne’s resignation will not be hampered by the simple fact the U.K.is not currently enjoying another recession, with the actual prospect not fully over the hill yet! Time will tell if this is the beginning of the end, but it could take much more than this lucky avodience before Britain is truly out of the frying pan. With scottish independance, the ever looming Euro-zone threat and Labour’s strong opposition waiting in the fire, theis writer would certaintly not want to walk a mile in George’s shoes this year. Even 0.3% of one.
David Nutt was sacked for his comments regarding the comparative dangers of some prohibited drugs with those of alcohol. And it’s not just expert opinions that have consistently been snubbed by Westminster: high percentages of the public would reportedly support decriminalisation of some drugs including cannabis, and more would support a “comprehensive review” of drug prohibition policy (source: Ipsos MORI February 2013).
There will be little substantial reform within the next decade. Despite this, drug prohibition debates have stayed low on the Westminster agenda and it is looking unlikely that it will be a key item of debate come the imminent 2015 election. Unless there is a major push in public media for a debate over drug decriminalisation this writer thinks there will be little substantial reform within the next decade.
Spark* Friday 26th April 2013
Political comment 7
Abu-Qatada to possibly be deported... Again... Maybe... still evaded deportation for over a decade. His final case will come before the supreme court, but with renewed fears of terrorism after the Boston Bombings, the government seems desperate for a conviction.
The real scope of the debate, however, stems from the possibility of the UK temporarily withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights
Twelve years on and finally it seems Abu Qatada will be deported to face prosecution on terriorism offences in Jordan. Home Secretary Theresa May has signed a mu-
tual assistance treaty with Jordan - complete with guarantees on fair trials - to ensure Abu Qatada can be deported. The treaty will come into play if the Supreme Court rejects the government’s request.
First arrested in 1999, the radical muslim cleric has been top of the Home Office priorities list for the entire Cameron premiership, and despite being released from prison three times, and having at least two unfavourable rulings, Qatada
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac), which adjudicates on national security-related deportations, had ruled last year that Abu Qatada should not be removed from the UK, mostly as his retrial could be tainted by evidence obtained by torturing the cleric’s former co-defendants, and indeed the cleric himself. Giving a statement to the Commons, Mrs May said the treaty would have to be ratified by the UK and, and that she believed it would satisfy concerns that Abu Qatada would not receive a fair trial there, concluding that there was now “every chance” of deporting the cleric. However, Mrs May added that even once the agreement was fully ratified,
Abu Qatada would still be able to launch a legal appeal. This could mean it may still be months before he is deported. Labour were quick to sit on the fence. Forced into somewhat of a corner between arguing for an Islamic fundamentalist or supporting the government (what a choice!), Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said she was willing to work with the government towards Abu Qatada’s deportation, but accused Mrs May in the past of “overstating her legal strategy, which has not worked”. The real scope of the debate, however, stems from the possibility of the UK temporarily withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights. Mrs May, who has often threatened such a move in public comments, said it was her view that the UK needed to “fix that relationship”. The BBC political correspondent Vicki Young said any suspension of the UK’s membership of the ECHR is almost unprecedented and the Lib Dems are insisting they would block it. “We’re told that the failure to deport Abu Qatada makes David Cameron’s blood boil and he’s ordered ministers to find a solution.”The best case scenario for the government is that the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case and rules that Qatada can be deported, but few think that likely.”
Thatcher reaction: Not so proud to be British Adam roberts
Over the summer, the world did change just a little. The death of Margaret Thatcher was not a turning moment. It was not a moment where you will “remember where you were” (unless you were the unfortunate BBC newscaster who described Mrs Thatchers death “after a strike”). But in very small ways, the world of politics and Britain seems just a little different without this figure of high praise and defiant ridicule still within it. There can be no doubt she was one of the defining figures of her era. her legacy remains to this day undecided, there are those who will regail their friends with tales of meeting her (likely over a fine pinot noir and some kind of fish-based dish), while others will drink happily at the thought of the world without her. The debate over her premiership will remain a matter of debate for the historians and the back-of-the-pub politicical commentators, but one cannot deny that she changed our country at a basic level, and justified or not was possibly the only politician in the last half thirty years who one can sanely argue stood true to her
convictions in an age of professional politicians. There have been many memorials, tributes and indeed damning indictments from the press over the course of the month, now largely over following a controvertial state funeral. This writer can think of no better way to pay tribute to this figure in British politics than to follow in her footsteps, and take from my own opinons a good rant on the state of british society. ...Toasting
her demise is
un-British, unconcionable and undenialbly in bad taste. Now, it has already been mentioned that she is a controvesial figure, and you can niether deny that people do hate the very idea of Thatcher, nor that they do in many cases have cause to. What they, nor anyone in a rational mind, has cause to do is celebrate a death. ANY death. I can imagine in a polite, british manner heading down to the local and perhaps drinking a pint a little sweeter at the thought, but taking a familiy figure
over whom many are greiving and pubically toasting her demise is un-British, unconcionable and undenialbly in bad taste. There has been some talk of media censorship as Radio One decided not to play “ding dong, the witch is dead” live on air, and may i say thank god that someone has a clear head in that establishment. But the public celebration, which at least is a matter of freedom of expression. Far worse has been some of the reactions in the media. Television seems to be the medium of the day, with most of the hasbeen polititical classes grabbing at their new-found five minutes and desperatly trying to out-do one another to be the most brazenly offensive. Favorite on my list was Ken Livingston, well noted by Ian Hislop as a man who “thinks the government should pay for everything...apart from a funeral, obvioulsy!”. He had the audacity to compare Thatchers death to that of Gadaffi and Saddam Hussein! Of course, an entirely reasonable opinon in light of her murdering of millions...oh no wait thats not right! Well certaintly she was reviled at her time and the whole
country would overthrow her...oh again not quite right!
Ken Livingston: a man who “thinks the government should pay for everything... Apart from a funeral, obvioulsy! Her dictatorship (whoops!) was overthrown by international press... dear me that’s not correct eitheR.. How dare he declare any deceased former leader of this
country comparable to those men, hideous brutal murderers, and how dare he use it to score cheap popularity points for no reason other than to pout the boot in. The British have abroad something of a reputation. We are said to be too polite, very British about anything terrible and keep our upper lips loyally stiff. Of course, this isn’t true, but I had thought until now that perhaps there was a glimmer of hope in there for us. How wrong could I be. Grow up Britain, there’s worse things to be worrying about and more to be celebrating.
A respectful number of mourners for Mrs Thachers State Funeral
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Getting that vintage feeling Dale Hall
Recent years have seen a vibrant resurgence of everything vintage and retro in popular culture, from design to film, clothes to music, and even whole ways of life. But is there a reason behind this trend? We are positively bombarded everyday with images and ideas from yesteryear and, while this is not necessarily something to complain about, they often supersede new ideas. You must admit, you’ve noticed the widespread trend, how couldn’t you? One of last year’s most popular TV shows, both here and in the USA, was Downton Abbey; The period drama whisking us off to an older time with different values and practices. There’s no definite reason for the rapid emergence of vintage culture, or the need to fill our lives with things from another age, but my favourite theory concerns the recession.
where saving was not so necessary and the key principles of life did not revolve so exclusively around money, a kind of golden age, if you will.
We watch Downton Abbey because we long for a time of prosperity, where we needn’t resist the urge to spend.
We long for a time of prosperity, where we needn’t resist the urge to spend The idea is that we live during times when money is tight and we must resist some of the good things in life for the benefit of our pockets, so naturally we look back to an age
If you have nothing nice to say, just say nothing at all - make more time for you Harriet Weston
Summer term has arrived (albeit with no corresponding weather) and has brought with it its highly anticipated feature: exams. Obviously this is written with irony. Many students dread the pain of revision and the finality of exams, particularly after earning four weeks off to do whatever they so wished to do. And what an eventful four weeks it has been. Even in summary it sounds imposing: Margaret Thatcher’s death, the Boston bombings, North Korea’s nuclear testing.
Aim to please only yourself Cheery stuff. One should not despair, however. The next adventure could be just around the metaphorical corner; one can never know what may happen in a moment. My advice, therefore, is to aim to please only yourself. Sounds selfish? Well, try this one on for size – if you focus on making yourself happy, you can inspire happiness in others and voilà! selfishness cancelled out. It’s time to stop worrying about what others’ expect (or you presume they expect) of you and concentrate on the important task of being happy.
Eat what you crave, buy what you like, do what you want to do
That’s not to say don’t care about others; but everyone at least once a week needs some “me-time”, otherwise life seems overwhelming and you get stressed and irritable. You’re only consequence of this is making the people around you and yourself unhappy. Eat what you crave, buy what you like, do what you want to do: so long as there’s a healthy balance, you’ll be happy.
So, again, concentrate on being happy with yourself before moving onto helping others’, because you’re no help if you’re showing signs akin to fatal levels of PMT. No one likes a moaner, so if you have nothing nice to say; don’t say anything at all.
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Be smart: Don’t shop in ignorance Emma Brown
Unless you have been living under a rock for the first part of 2013, you cannot have failed to have noticed the horsemeat scandal. The experience of tucking into a ‘beef’ lasagne has turned from satisfying to sinister, the words “contaminated”, “cancer-causing” and “illegal” ringing in your ears. The furore has not only affected the public mood but also the economy, with some local butchers in Britain seeing a rise in business of 33% as people rush to their glass counters in the hope of more transparent service. But there is more deceit in the food industry than the innocent shopper might realise. When the smoke clears after the horsemeat scandal, will we see a new generation of critical and savvy shoppers demanding more from their supermarkets? Or will this media storm prove to be just another one trick pony?
There is more deceit in the food industry than the innocent shopper may at first realise ‘British beef’ has been impersonated before without quite so much uproar. The BBC found in 2008 that as much as 20% of steaks from patriotic pubs in the south west of England were foreign, some from as far away as Nigeria. Animal welfare and health standards in these areas are considered incomparable to those in Britain, meaning those conscientiously looking for locally sourced meat might be unpleasantly surprised. Fish doesn’t escape this treatment either. Tuna is one of the most popular fish in Britain, and while your tin is unlikely to contain seahorse, it is worth a closer look at the label. There are several species of edible tuna fish but not all are equally sustainable, some near vanishing completely from over fishing. Tesco proudly labels its chunks in brine to be skipjack, a species of least concern and doing fine. But their tuna steak and everyday tinned chunks remain ambiguous. Could they be from the vulnerable bigeye tuna or from the critically endangered Bluefin which teeters near ex-
At this point vegetarians and vegans may be sporting a smirk, but you’re not in for an easy ride either. Palm oil, which is found in products from cakes to makeup and clearly present on the label, can be blamed for the destruction of pristine environments around the globe. It is one of the key players in the persecution of the orang-utan, with deforestation reducing the resident mammal species to around 14% of their original number. Even the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil is considered by some to be corrupt and inefficient at monitoring its member company’s activities, making even products claiming to contain sustainable palm oil questionable.
Now I don’t intend to scare-monger, the panic instilled by horsemeat has been enough. But I do hope that we will take more away from this heavily publicised scandal than merely a fear of lasagne. Look at labels before you buy. If any details seem ambiguous, ask why. Be critical of your supermarkets, whatever you may be buying. With any luck the revelations within the past year should stop most people from quickly forgetting that food companies might not always be giving you the real deal. Maybe we could be the new generation of savvy shoppers.
tinction? Perhaps they are worth left out of the trolley.
Naivety and Consequence Dale Hall
Disregard the usual implications or stigma attached to naivety, and you’re left with a kind of purity - the purity of the naive child, or the naivety of the pure child - hence naivety becomes something of a virtue. I don’t consider myself naive; I am terrified by consequence.
I don’t consider myself naive; I am terrified by consequence My naivety is forced, for I know this is the only way to experience and to fully enjoy the world. I force myself to be naive about the world because it is the only way I’ll do anything daring or out of character or beyond my comfort zone.
To do anything daring, I must be naive of the consequences
To do anything daring, I must be naive of the consequences; the worldly person is aware of the consequences and, consequently, fails to, or worse still declines to take action out of fear.
The ultimate irony of the truly worldly person is they know the ways of the world, but they have experienced none of them through terror, and are worse off for it.
10 INTERVIEW firstname.lastname@example.org*
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Mary Beard and Lindsey Davis From 3rd to the 6th of April Reading University’s Classics Department hosted the Annual Classics Conference. This annual conference saw 400 delegates from as far afield as Australia and America come to Reading to give papers on ground breaking research in the field. The conference saw some of the most prominent classicists giving lectures on their specialism. This included Professor Alan Sommerstein and Professor Robin Osborne.
Would you like to write for Spark*’s inverview section? You can schedule, attend and edit interview with all kinds of interesting people.
Mary Beard received the Classical Associations Award which she received for her outstanding contribution to the subject and projecting it to a wider audience through her television shows as well as her controversial appearance on Question Time earlier this year. Also attending the conference was Lindsey Davis. Lindsey Davis is a historical novelist who is most famous for her Falco series but has also written various other works of fiction as well as recently releasing the first in her new series of books which is called ‘The Ides of April’. James Clayton
MARY BEARD Congratulations on your OBE this year, did you enjoy the occasion?
Personally I am somewhat ambivalent towards it if I am honest, same as many I am sure. But it was a great thing for the subject – and that makes it something to celebrate. You are a determined user of social media, accepting both the positive and negative aspects. How far do you think freedom of speech that is allowed on these networks can be tolerated before action must be taken?
I am currently working on a new TV programme and going to write a long history of Rome, SPQR.
Going to write a long history of Rome Why do you think it is important for people to study classics?
It is vital for classics to be studied, it is the foundation of so much modern art, philosophy and literature. Western culture grew out of the ancient world and without knowledge of it our understanding of so much of our own world, from Dante to Asterix would be impoverished.
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Mary Beard LINDSEY DAVIS A lot of our readers would not have read your books, why do you think they should and what sort of audience are they aimed at?
I must say first that I am not a classicist, I am a retired civil servant who studied English literature. My audience is very varied, from young to old, male and female. I wrote it as an escape from my job where I was getting depressed, so I hope to pass that escapism on to my readers.
may not mean that Falco is dead I may go back to him in time.
Your new character is Falco’s adopted daughter, is she similar to him in many ways?
It was nice to see my Rome from an outsiders view. My new character is from Britain so is looking into the empire and is set 12 years later. Your writing is a historical novel, where do you draw the line between fact and fiction and how obvious is this too both the specialist and too a reader with no background in Ancient Rome?
There is very little that the law can do in these circumstances. The international nature of these sites means that it is impossible to regulate them, I do however feel it is very important to respond to things that get posted online, whether positive or negative. We have to get a sense that this is not a medium where people are not just vile anonymously, but can be called to account.
I feel it is important to respond to everything online. On a more positive note, what are your current projects and what would you like to do in the near future?
Having been writing the Falco series for 20 years, did you miss the research and writing of your character?
Mary Beard’s most recent publication.
No, not at all. I have been writing his story for 20 years with only a few breaks to write about the civil war, my other interest! But that
I am first and foremost a novelist, and although I have stuck rigidly to history so it is accurate and I have never lied about history. However I do not need to reference, which is nice and I have some artistic license! I do lots of research and I would say it is on going, fuelling my two hobbies!
I have never lied about history. What other work have you published other than your Falco Series?
My other work includes one book in the quick reads which is on the civil war and is aimed at adults that have just learnt to read.
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
The Host: Invasion of the glowy blue things Another strength is the acting. The aliens would be nowhere near as interesting if it wasn’t for Kruger and Ronan bringing them to life. But the biggest standout is Jamie (Chandler Canterbury). This kid outacted everybody else, and deserves a glowing career ahead of him.
Director: Andrew Niccol Starring: Diane Kruger, Saoirse Ronan, Chandler Canterbury, Jake Abel Running time: 125 Minutes Genre: Sci-Fi/Romance Siobhan Whitebread
This is an interesting plot, and is definitely a strength of the film
When I offered to review The Host I immediately dropped to my knees and screamed, “WHY?” When I was recounting my decision to my friends I again dropped to my knees and bellowed, “WHY?” When I’d finished seeing the movie I dropped my one final time and whispered… “Huh, not bad.”
Even if The Host was far better than expected, it still had big flaws Adapted from the novel published by Meyer in 2008, The Host is a story set post-alien invasion. These aliens, called “Souls”, are trying to peacefully assimilate into the human race – but a lot of humans
are not entirely on board with the idea of having their free will stolen and would rather die than allow the creatures in. One such human, Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), goes as far to jump out of a window – but somehow survives, and is implanted with the alien Wanderer. Who soon starts to feel too much sympathy for her host… This is an interesting plot, and is definitely a strength of the film.
must instead stand around while the manly men do all the dangerous stuff. And, finally, the angst. Wanderer actually states that she’s over 1000 years old. Surely a creature that is over a thousand years old can be reasonably expected to be long past teenage angst? Despite this ridiculousness, however, The Host is still a far better film than expected with good ideas
and excellent actors. It tries to be original and interesting – and, even when it fails, still manages to be enjoyable. And, hey, it’s definitely far better than Twilight – What more do you want?
But, even if The Host was far better than expected, it still had big flaws. And these flaws are the ones that have come to be expected from Meyer’s writing – long boring stretches, mild sexism and a level of angst that only teenagers can actually engage with. The movie introduced interesting concepts, and then left them to hang in favour of far too many scenes that could’ve easily been cut. The sexism was, thank god, less extreme than the abuse-glorifying fest that is Twilight – but it was still there. Melanie and Wanderer are both set up as competent characters - and yet are allowed to do absolutely nothing, and
Oblivion: A sci-fi movie that Cruises rather than soars... enhances the emotional moments as well as the general atmosphere of the devastated planet.
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko Running Time: 125mins Genre: Sci-Fi
It’s not actually that bad but it struggles to retain its own identity following decades of similar sci-fi fare
Many praised Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy (2010) as visually stunning but emotionally hollow. Whilst I mildly disagreed with the latter point, I do feel that Oblivion is an improvement, as there is considerably more emotion and more ideas. The only problem is that some of the ideas have been seen before: one in particular in quite a recent sci-fi film. Tom Cruise plays technician Jack Harper, who is responsible for fixing drones that are controlled by the Tect, a command centre that orbits the Earth. The planet has been ruined after the moon was destroyed by invading drones, which
were subsequently destroyed by nuclear weapons launched by the surviving humans. His only companion is Victoria, his lover and fellow technician who controls his trips to Earth. One day, while on the surface, he discovers something that will change his perception of his role. This film easily matches Tron for visual splendour and it is perhaps
all the more impressive because the CGI is combined with breathtaking real landscapes shot in Iceland, giving the ruined Earth an authenticity different from the entirely virtual world of Tron. Kosinski also seems to have a knack for hiring distinctive but unusual composers for his sci-fi films and the French electronic band M83 create a pulsing soundscape that
Tom Cruise is as charismatic as ever as Jack, able to carry off the few action scenes and provide an emotional centre to the film. Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) is also impressive as a survivor of a crash that Jack discovers and Andrea Riseborough makes the most of an underused role. Morgan Freeman is….Morgan Freeman doing his standard ‘say things in an enigmatic voice’ thing very well, which is never a bad thing. Initially, the premise of Oblivion, although recalling some earlier scifi films, manages to be intriguing in its own right. Although it maintains this intrigue for the duration, one
can’t help but feel a certain sense of déjà-vu at some of the plot developments. Joseph Kosinski wanted this to pay homage to sci-fi films of the 70s but when similar ideas have been used in films as recent as Moon (2009), it draws a fine line between homage and rip-off, particularly in a sequence near the end that heavily recalls a certain intelligent machine in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The initial section is also reminiscent of WALL-E (2008) in terms of a technician working on an abandoned Earth. In many ways, Oblivion struggles in the same ways as John Carter (2012): it’s not actually that bad but it struggles to retain its own identity following decades of similar sci-fi fare. It just about manages to, however, following a few surprises and manages to be a visually resplendent experience with some soul lurking underneath.
FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - Scott MacFarlane has allegedly been asked to return to host the 2014 Oscars after a somewhat controversial performance this year
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
The Place Beyond the Pines: In need of some cohesion Directed by: Derek Cianfrance Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta Running Time: 2hr 20mins Genre: Crime drama Jamie Crawford
right and put them together as one. This left me wanting more cohesion between the episodic acts. I say acts because there were three very distinct parts. The first act involving the anti-hero Handsome Luke (Gosling), the heart throb stunt biker turned bank robber. The second act centring on
An art critic once said of Manet’s paintings that they disintegrate before your eyes. When they wrote this what they meant was that the more you looked at the painting and what was going on within it, the more it fell apart. The most famous example of this being “A Bar at the Folies-Bergére” where at first it looks like a well painted scene of a woman stood behind a bar in a theatre with a mirror behind her. It is on closer inspection that it then begins to unravel. The same can be said for The Place Beyond The Pines. Like the paintings, the film falls apart when you examine it and see that really what has happened is Derek Cianfrance has pulled together three story lines that have been a successful film in their own
Avery the policeman, who wants to do the right thing and is put onto the path of politics by his father. And the third which occurs fifteen years later moves its focus from the Avery to his son who is now seventeen.
The film falls apart when you examine it The opening scene is fantastic, one camera follows Luke like he’s the lead singer of a rock and roll band walking from his dressing room and onto the stage where he will perform to thousands of people, but for Luke his stage is the “Globe of death” (youtube this if you don’t know what it is).
All the acting in the film was very good Luke tries to do the right thing with the old flame Romena who has borne him a son. It is the attempt to forge a relationship between a father and his son is what drives the film from the moment Luke
says “He can get his own girl, his own kid, that’s everyman’s right.” We watch as Luke makes it through his first bank job. But it is the get away scene that truly takes your breath away. The sheer volume of nothing but the motorcycle engine as it bolts down a busy road dodging between cars, is all enveloping and surely owes credit to “C’etait un Rendezvous” (again youtube this, turn the lights off,
the volume up and sit real close to the screen). All the acting in the film was very good and the relationship between Gosling and Mendes was the best I have seen between an on-screen couple in a long while. If you can make it past the jolty story line you will see great acting and even better cinematography and sound.
Identity Thief: Not quite ‘comedy of the year’ but still fun Directed by: Seth Gordon Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy Running time: 111mins Genre: Comedy, Crime
bit of everything: gentle, violent, lonely, sexual, cruel, compassionate… a big variety, and closer to the flawed reality of a human being compared to what we often see in comedy films.
Having seen the poster for this film on the side of virtually every Reading Bus, I had to find out once and for all if this film was brilliant or complete trash. However, it failed to conform to my expectations and landed somewhere between the two. The plot is fairly straight-forward: mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson (Bateman) is the unfortunate victim of identity theft after experienced criminal Diana (McCarthy) phishes him and creates copies of his credit card and identity documents. Sandy turns to the police, who are unable to help him, so to prevent himself from being fired from his job in a new firm Sandy crosses the country to track down the fake Sandy. For me, the greatest strength of the film is how it pushes the lead
The greatest strength of the film is how it pushes the lead actors
actors. While Jason Bateman is not unfamiliar with playing a lead role (see Arrested Development) he is typically cast in supporting film roles, often as the ‘straight’ man. Initially Sandy seems to be the same sort of character, but then the law-breaking and car chases kick in. As an atypical action hero, Bateman does a fantastic job and it’s great to see him doing something different.
Melissa McCarthy, who has had several more prominent film roles in recent years, became better known to cinema-going audiences from her supporting role in Bridesmaids. In that she played a butch bridesmaid which attracted laughs through bodily function humour, which seemed a bit degrading for such a great comic actress. Identity Thief provides her with a character that has a
I like how they ended the film) but it seems to be trying to please too many camps. Maybe it would have had more success if it had focused more on the action elements or the character development, rather than both.
Genre is the area in which this film has its faults. It can certainly tick the ‘comedy’ check box but it almost feels like it’s trying to do too many other things at the same time. The exploration of Diana’s character and Sandy’s focus on returning himself and possibly also Diana to a more ‘wholesome’ life seems somewhat ambitious. Also the second official trailer doesn’t sufficiently illustrate just how many car chases and how much complete carnage occurs across the film. Plus the sex scene, though amusing, is rather unexpected. To sum up, the film is an entertaining watch (and, minor spoiler,
FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - after a big box office success 21 Jump Street is returning for a sequal in 2014 with both Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill set to reprise their roles
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Red Dawn: perfect on paper but a shamble on screen open for you to take a break and enjoy a footlong.
Director: Dan Bradley Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson Running Time: 93mins Genre: Action/Adventure
If you like an action film, don’t bother seeing this one
On paper, Red Dawn ticks every box. It has an awesome cast list, a great deal of action and it even throws in a bit of romance and comedy. But after watching it on the big screen, the only box I’d be ticking when reviewing this film would be the one advising all film lovers to avoid it.
The film offers a poorly written script, an earsplitting score and an emotional detachment from any of the characters Red Dawn is a Hollywood remake of the 1984 version directed by John Milius. I’ve never seen the original movie but after doing a bit of research, it quickly became obvious that it’s just as tragic as
the modern version. I question why the film industry thinks it’s a good idea to produce such unnecessary remakes, especially if they fail to make any improvement to the original. I think they do it under the assumption that audiences will approve simply because the movies feature a few well-known faces. The film begins with a long drawn-out montage of video clips, political footage and newsreaders’ announcements. This is supposed to explain the crisis happening between North Korea and America and provide some context for the
subsequent invasion. But really, it is unclear and poorly explained. I suppose the leader of the North Koreans mentions how he doesn’t like the way things are done in America. So I guess that’s good enough. The enemies in this movie were initially Chinese but it was later decided in post-production to change them to North Korean. This was to appeal more to a Chinese market which is supposedly a very profitable market for American films. So we are introduced to US marine Jed (Chris Hemsworth) and brother Matt (Josh Peck) leading
a relatively normal life until one day North Korean troops decide to invade a small US hometown. The brothers team up with a few other young patriots including Robert (Josh Hutcherson) and they flee to a cabin in the woods. It is there they have to make the decision to surrender or fight. The movie wouldn’t be an action if they decided to stay in the cabin and toast marshmallows so what do they do? They acquire some guns, shoot a few Koreans and then go raid Subway. It’s comforting to know that even during a war, you can guarantee there will be a Subway
The young and ‘unlikely heroes’ establish themselves as the Wolverines and continue to fight. The ending doesn’t provide much of an ultimatum which could suggest a possible sequel. I hope not for all our sakes. The film offers a poorly written script, an ear-splitting score and an emotional detachment from any of the characters. When there seems to be some hope of character development, action ensues. The action scenes seem to be continuous. The whole film made me feel like I was watching a very dull game of Call of Duty without having the option to quit and leave the room. If you like an action film, don’t bother seeing this one. It’s not worth it. If you’re seeing it for the actors, which is really the only reason I did, go watch Thor or The Hunger Games. You won’t be disappointed then.
Trance: as mind-bending as Inception but grittier Directed By: Danny Boyle Starring: James Macavoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson Running Time: 101mins Genre: Thriller Jonathan Edney
In 2012, Danny Boyle was organising the Olympics opening ceremony that would shake the world by day, and by night he was
filming this mind-bending thriller, which should be proof enough that he is a force to be reckoned with, if Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours hadn’t already convinced you. In present-day London, an art auctioneer (Macavoy) messes up his role assisting the robbery of a valuable painting and he is taken to hospital after an injury. Following his release, the gang, led by Vincent Cassel’s Franck, torture him to discover the location of the
painting but due to his injury, he cannot remember. They turn to a hypnotherapist (Dawson) as an alternative means of finding the painting.
Those who were left behind by Inception’s complexities should not bother to see this film What follows this synopsis cannot really be put down on paper, partly because it would spoil your enjoyment of the film but mainly because I’m not entirely sure what actually happened. Those who were left behind by Inception’s complexities should not bother to see this film for although not as successful as Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster, it rivals it in terms of demanding your attention to have a remote grasp of what is going on. Just as you think you have understood, the film throws another curveball at you, making you question what you have just seen. The pace never really lets up, so it’s easy to get left behind. The performances are all firstrate, with James Macavoy’s innocent charm combining with an
aggressive edge and Rosario Dawson brings sex appeal and mystery to her role as the hypnotherapist chosen to probe his mind. Vincent Cassel is also impressive as the ruthless gang leader. Some critics have argued that it is difficult to care for these characters, which is true, for they are all pursuing their own agenda and the turbulent nature of events makes you call into question who you have and should be rooting for. This doesn’t, however, make the film any less compelling.
Some may argue that there are too many twists and turns but I found it to be fully gripping throughout for that very reason. Such an attention-grabbing thriller hasn’t been seen since Inception, although it does not have quite the same wow factor, but Danny Boyle has created a challenging film that will leave you wanting to watch it again…and probably again.
FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - cast news for Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary special in November - David Tennant and Billie Piper will be returning to star alongside Matt Smith
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Maniac: Eternal darkness of the psycho mind reminded me of Enter the Void (although Maniac is nowhere as psychedelic).
Directed by: Franck Khalfoun Starring: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, America Olivo Running Time: 89mins Genre: Horror
The plot is simple: a serial killer scalps his victims and places them on mannequins
This review shall contain NO jokes about Lord of the Rings. Sorry to disappoint you... The original Maniac from 1980 was notorious for its excessive violence, including one scene involving a shotgun and Tom Savini’s head. Famed critic Gene Siskel walked out after 40 minutes, because as you know slasher movies need to be completely clean and directed exclusively by John Carpenter. Fans of exploitation cinema have since taken it as a cult classic, particularly due to a fantastically creepy performance Joe Spinnel playing Frank; the psychotic killer with an Oedipal complex. So when the maker’s of the remake were thinking of a baby-faced killer to emphasise this “momma dearest” aspect, where better to go than
Elijah Wood, a man who is doomed/ blessed forever to look 19 years old. The plot is simple: a serial killer scalps his victims and places them on mannequins, whilst simultaneously trying to start a relationship with a photographer (Nora Arnezeder). However, the main “gimmick” of Maniac is that it all takes place from the point of view of the killer. Well, sort of. Occasionally Frank will have an out of body experience, a tactic that
For the most part, this technically is effective in presenting the psyche of a killer, and Elijah proves again that he is fantastic at playing characters with a creepy edge (see Sin City and Eternal Sunshine...). The parts of just him and his hallucinations are especially unsettling. It also has some great of moments of tension between Frank and his victims, and despite one or two jump scares, the movie pays off the frights it builds up without resorting to music. The film was written and produced by Alexandre Aja, who directed The Hills Have Eyes remake, and Maniac is just as gory as THHE when it wishes to be. However it suffers much of the same problems as most recent horror remakes, and it is a crucial one: I was not SCARED by this
movie, only creeped out or disgusted, which are not the same thing. The original had these problems too, but it didn’t have the sense of intellectual dishonesty this one has; Maniac might want us to consider voyeurism in movies, like in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but it ultimately comes across as a generic slasher with an interesting concept at the centre. I noted Maniac referencing Frankenstein , Dr Caligari, Taxi Driver and Drive (particularly in the opening). Of course what inevitably happens because of this is that you end up thinking “Shouldn’t I be watching those better movies?” There are also some sections which could be found by some people as daft, like a psychotic episode with some ducks in the background, or a shot of Frank in TV screens which is eerily similar to Peep Show. Although Maniac is much better executed then many recent horror remakes, it is surely a sign that the horror barrel is near its last scrape. At least I hope so.
A product from the popular cinematic re-vamping of traditional fairytales, comes Jack The Giant Slayer, directed by Bray singer. Brian’s portfolio includes success stories like the X-Men series, and The Usual Suspects, so I was expecting a brilliant movie. I wasn’t entirely disappointed, but I wasn’t left in wonder.
The giants didn’t look quite real in comparison to the humans Jack The Giant Slayer is an entertaining movie that puts a spin on the Jack and the Beanstalk
traditional fairytale. Jack (Nicholas Hoult), is a young man with big dreams, whose father used to fill his head with fairytales of giants. At the beginning of the film, Jack gives his horse to a monk, that his uncle gave him to sell, in exchange for ‘magic beans’ these magic beans are later accidentally planted into the ground, and when it rains they sprout into a giant stalk that carts Jack and princess
Isabelle into the ancient land of the giants.
There was an adequate amount of suspense, and a good amount of action As the viewer is introduced to the world of the giants, and the giants
(to get you through exams!) Zoë Annabel Richardson
10. The Princess Bride
What makes the best feel-good feeling? Fun fairy tales, with great characters and eternally quotable lines. You have princesses, pirates, swashbuckling heroes, devious fiends and a great adventure.
9. The Avengers
A fantastic superhero film that doesn’t take itself too seriously with really fun cast and exciting story.
8. Back to the Future
One of the many fun, memorable adventure films to come out in the 80s, it is fantastic and fun that just makes you feel happy, especially Marty’s Johnny B Goode solo.
7. Mean Girls
So quotable, and has a happy ending to a film that is quite relatable (hopefully not too extreme) to many; guaranteed to make you laugh.
All singing, all happy, tackling serious issues in a terrible way, John Travolta in drag, Christopher Walken singing, chubby girls in the 60s somehow getting Zac Efron...
5. Hot Fuzz
Jack the Giant Slayer: A fee-fi-fo-feeble effort Directed By: Bryan Singer Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci Running Time: 114mins Genre: Action, Fantasy, fairytale
The Top 10 Feel Good Movies
themselves, we’re presented with interesting visuals but questionable CGI. The giants didn’t look quite real in comparison to the humans, and that threw me off for the rest of the movie. Even though the plot is mediocre, Stanley Tucci’s delightful performance, and an enthusiastic performance from Nicholas Hoult, makes up for the shady CGI.
I wasn’t entirely disappointed, but I wasn’t left in wonder Despite the set back of computer animation, and storyline, Jack The Giant Slayer is still a decent movie that left me feeling entertained. There was an adequate amount of suspense, and a good amount of action to leave me satisfied.
A hilarious British comedy that takes on both daytime murder mysteries and crosses it with classic action films. You will always be smiling when watching this film.
4. 10 Things I Hate About You
A romcom starring countless actors who went onto great things (mainly Batman films), with great, albeit 90s-cliché characters and Heath Ledger singing and dancing.
3. The Goonies
A fun adventure that we all wished we could go on as kids. An 80’s classics that you can watch your whole life and feel like you are on the adventure as well.
This sweet film about a girl who just wants to make others happy and finding love for herself is ridiculously feel-good and lovely and colourful, with a beautiful soundtrack to boot.
Yes, the first 10 minutes are the most emotional scenes ever put to animation, but the transition from a grumpy old man, set in his ways, to saving birds, kids and making friendships when he had lost his true love makes it so darn sweet. Plus, Dug the dog is one of the greatest animated characters ever.
FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - Ben Stiller’s production company has FINALLY started work on a sequel to the hilarious sport comedy Dodgeball...
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Welcome to the Punch: A little less conversation Starring: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, David Morissey Director: Eran Creevy Running time: 100mins Genre: Thriller
The bits without meaningless action sequences are truly emotionally involving. The characters were hard to care about, but when I started I found that I just couldn’t stop. The grizzled cop hunting his greatest foe has been done many times before, but it felt fresh here and I found myself fully invested in the relationship almost despite myself.
Welcome to the Punch does not really understand how the British mind works, and boy is it obvious. It’s a film filled with action – with high speed chases and explosions and so much gunfire that my ears actually ached a little afterwards… And, to be honest, at this point in the year everybody reading this is probably well aware that this is very much not the case. The British do high speed chases only in a highly reluctant way, explosions only in the abstract and gunfire in the never.
McAvoy is, as ever, wonderful
It’s a film filled with action – with high speed chases and explosions and so much gunfire It means that large chunks of the movie, which would’ve been at least acceptable otherwise, become absolutely stupid. And by this I mean the action sequences – the action sequence at the beginning just wouldn’t work in any realistic setting, the action sequences in the middle are far too frequent, and as for the action sequence at the end… A sequence that almost invalidates the entire film should never be regarded as
a good thing. And that is a pity. Because, in spite of those flaws, Welcome to the Punch is actually a really good film.
in spite of its flaws,
Welcome to the Punch is actually a really good film
The Croods: Historically innacurate fun Directed by: Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders Starring: Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds Running Time: 98mins Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
This fortnight at the RFT... Student Tickets: £5.50 The Reading Film Theatre was established 40 years ago as an independant cinema with a policy to show the best films from around the world. With a mix of mainstream films and independant cinema, as well as foreign-language films, there is something for everyone and all are welcome. Below is a listing of showings for the upcoming fortnight...
From the creators of How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo and Stitch, comes a heartwarming tale about family set in the Stone ages. When I sat down to watch this film, I had no idea that Chris Sanders had directed the movie. But as the plot unfolded I felt the familiar magic that I encountered while watching How to Train your Dragon, and Lilo and Stich. The movie dazzled me from the beginning with stunning visuals, heartwarming performances and light hearted comedy. The Croods takes an interesting approach to the life of the caveman, focusing on a family that is so bent on surviving, that their life doesn’t really extend beyond their cave. However Eep, (Emma Stone) the typical moody rebellious teenage daughter, decides she is tired of living such a shallow life, and her curiosity propels the family into a whirlwind adventure of survival, as their world falls apart
This was at least partially due to the chemistry of the leads. McAvoy is, as ever, wonderful – he acts his grizzled cop to perfection. Mark Strong, opposite him, is an actor that I have less experience with – but he played certain moments so well that I was actually swiping back tears. The backing cast are also all excellent, as expected considering the calibre of actors attached to the film – Andrea Riseborough is a very good example, playing a fascinating cop who really didn’t deserve to be ‘fridged’ (meaning: removed from the action so that the men can do their manly things). Overall, Welcome to the Punch was an excellent film. Immersive, exciting and not afraid to pull at the heart strings – it is only a pity that it lacked the confidence to go more than twenty minutes without an entirely unnecessary action scene, for it truly could’ve been a classic otherwise.
due to the break up of the Pangaea continent.
Eep and her father Grugg were done quite well.
The Croods takes an
The movie dazzled me
interesting approach to
from the beginning
the life of the caveman
with stunning visuals,
On their journey the family meets ‘idea man’ Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who helps them through their journey. The world of The Croods is not realistic, the animals in this Stone Age are not the traditional ancient animals depicted in 20th Century Fox’s Ice Age. Instead the animals in The Croods are big and colorful, with multiple heads and strange abilities. The action sequences in the movie are stunning, and the relationship and plot developments between certain characters, like
heartwarming performances and light hearted comedy I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie; it was heartwarming, and in some instances I even shed a tear. Even though the movie recycles familiar motifs constantly seen in children’s movies, it’s still good solid family entertainment.
Tuesday 30 April (19:45): Argo (15) Wednesday 1 May (19:30): Rear Window (PG) Thursday 2 May (20:00): I Wish (PG) Tuesday 7 May (20:00): McCullin (15)
Prices: Student & Members £5.50 Non-members £7.50 Annual Membership £12.00
FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - Hayley Atwell (The Sweeney, Black Mirror) has stepped up to say she would be interested in a Tomb Raider reboot...we shall see!
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Did Sonata Artica give the gig that Phillip had been waiting for?
Top five The top 5 music choices to get you through revision...
Sonata Artica Tuesday April 26 2013 phillip whittaker library insttute, birmingham
I had been waiting for this day for a while, the day I finally got to see Sonata Arctica live. What made the experience even more incredible was that they were playing in my hometown Birmingham. I felt honoured. Sonata Arctica are a Finnish power metal band who formed in 1995 and are experiencing a surge in their popularity since the release of their latest album Stones Grow Her Name in 2012. The venue was one of the smallest I’ve been to in a while, but this allowed for a more intimate experience with the crowd. The first band that was supporting Sonata Arctica that night was called Neonfly. I thoroughly enjoyed their set and the band has gained me as one of their fans. Their performance was full of energy from start to finish and I’d probably say that their best live song was “A Ship with No Sails”. What made them stick out for me was their bassist’s gorgeous bass and the fact that I caught a drumstick at the end of their set. Next up were Pythia and they weren’t really my cup of tea. Clad in Battle armour, they really did look the part. However, their music left me feeling disappointed as nothing made them seem unique sound wise. Their guitar tone was quite muddy and the lead singer’s voice reminded me of nails on a chalkboard. To be honest they would have been much more at home supporting at a Nightwish gig. The distinctive intro riff of album opener “Only the Broken Hearts (Make you Beautiful)” signalled that Sonata were here to make this
crowd go wild. The crowd’s energy was maintained during the second song, which was the fast-paced classic “Black Sheep” (A personal favourite of mine). Another two tracks of their latest album followed “Alone in Heaven” and “S**tload of Money”. I’ve always liked “Alone in Heaven” on the album and probably jumped the highest in the crowd for the roar about two minutes into the song. I wasn’t too excited for “S**tload of Money” as the recorded version doesn’t tickle my fancy but hearing it live has made me appreciate the guitar work and backing singing much more.
The venue was small... but this allowed for an intimate experience
However, this was tame compared to the response for “Tallulah” and “Full Moon” which is to be expected as “Full Moon” is their most well-known track. However, before “Full Moon” Tony Kakko (Lead Singer) joked around saying that it was “Hard knowing how to start this song” as they play it at virtually every gig. Another one of my favourite songs “Replica” ensued, followed by “Cinderblox”, which made you want to jig along (Tony Kakko (Lead Singer) actually did jig along which filled me with great pleasure. Predictably, the band finished off their set with “Don’t Say a Word” and “Vodka” – an outro where Tony Kakko (Lead
I was surprised to hear the next two tracks as I’ve never heard them played by the band before live. “The Gun” commenced with a flurry of tremolo-picked natural harmonics and the crowd went bonkers as it is catchy as hell. A rare treat indeed. “The Day” followed this and it was cool of Tony Kakko (Lead Singer) to state that this song was one of the most meaningful songs to the band. The concert next peaked when Elias Viljanen (Lead guitarist) went berserk and shredded on his guitar for a solid 2 minutes. This may have bored some people at the gig but as a guitarist, I loved watching one of my idols show off his talents. I was left in awe as “Paid In Full” (off one of their most underrated albums, “Unia”) made an appearance. This song means a lot to me personally and I sang my bloody heart out! The crowd went crazy for (the best track off Stones Grow Her Name), “Losing my Insanity”.
Singer) proclaims Sonata’s love for vodka whilst Elias Viljanen (Lead Guitarist) plays guitar (at a rapidly increasing tempo) behind his head.
At one point Elas Viljanen went berserk and shreded on his guitar for 2 minutes All in all it was an excellent gig. Sonata’s vocal levels were a bit quiet for the first couple of tracks but this was soon rectified. If I could have changed one thing, it would have been for to replace the track “Broken” with either “Kingdom for a Heart” or “Still Loving You” (Scorpions cover).
Its that time of year again. Exams. We do nothing but moan, yet the truth is, we have to do them. So to make the period just a little easier and stress free there are suggestions that music can help to up production, and I think its safe to say that we need all the help we can get. So we have compiled a list of a few artists which may help you get through that dreaded pile of lecture notes. 1. Ed Sheeran- Ed’s first album, + was released some time ago now, yet its popularity has not faded. Record breaking in its success Ed’s fame went through the roof with singles such as ‘A Team’ and ‘ Lego House’, yet there are a bunch of other singles on the album which are equally as beautiful, ‘Grade 8’ and ‘Give Me Love’ to name just two. The album as a whole is a compilation of easy listening tracks which will not divert your concentration when revising but purely give you a little background noise to ease the pain. 2. Ben Howard- Much like Ed Sheeran Ben Howard’s music is quietly unassuming yet a joy to listen to. Songs like ‘Oats in the Water’ and ‘ Only Love’ are utterly beautiful. Ben’s soft vocals are sure to have a calming influence when the stress levels reach boiling point. 3. Coldplay- If its motivational music you are looking for, I think Coldplay is the way to go. Personally, ‘Paradise’ got me through the exam period last year. When I felt
that I was headed for a breakdown I put the song on as loud as possible in my ears and all seemed to be ok. Coldplay have not only a range of song sounds, upbeat and slow but also a massive back catalogue of albums and tracks so you are sure to be stocked for the whole month! 4. Frank Ocean- If the more soulful sound is your kind of thing then Frank Ocean is the one that you want on your itunes. Channel Orange is his first album and the whole record is one full of surprises. Singles like ‘Thinkin’ bout you’ and ‘Forrest Gump’ are soft yet basey and are easy to be played in the background without creating too much of a distraction. 5. Classical Music- Speaking of the genre as a whole rather than one attest, classical music is one of the most widely known things to aid revision. Many say that having it on while you trawl through the books helps them in so many ways, from having a calming effect, to giving you the will power to push through. Composers like Mozart or Beethoven are obvious classics to pop on, but there are a wealth of composers to contemplate. Ludovico Einaudi for example has such beautiful compositions played on the piano that you are sure to keep at the revision for longer than a minute! Siobhan Maguire
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Bowie, JT and Fall Out Boy all make comebacks this week... gether’ is a track that easily rates among their best. The catchy chorus and meandering guitar riffs set it apart from some of the other songs from this album. You’ll have many people saying that this is a tame effort from the band purely because it is a bit of a departure from their old stuff. However, many have already heralded Save Rock and Roll as the triumph that it is. At any rate, it’s easily infinity times better than the album that forced their hiatus, Folie à Deux.
Many have already heralded Save Rock Fall Out Boy Save Rock And Roll Island
This is the triumphant return of Fall Out Boy. Save Rock and Roll is the first album by the band since the end of their hiatus, and plants Fall Out Boy firmly in the spotlight. From the first song to the last, it is clear that this is an album that is as ambitious at its title. Fall Out Boy are back to save us all. The two singles; ‘The Phoenix’ and ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)’ start the album off with a bang,
filled with all the hooks and ridiculous vocals that made the band famous. Save Rock and Roll then diverts away from the bands original sound. It’s an arena album. The sound is larger than that of From Under the Cork Tree or Infinity on High. It’s a more mature sound. The company they keep on this album showcases this (from Elton John to Courtney Love).
It is clear that this is
and Roll as a triumph The final song on the album, ‘Save Rock and Roll’ showcases the musical talents of each band member, and sets the band up to try to live up to their bold claim that they are here to save a genre on its knees. Fall Out Boy may not save rock and roll with this comeback, but they’ve certainly made it more interesting.
as its title
“We don’t talk about the past” Hayley Williams sings in the song ‘Future’ on this self-titled fourth album by Paramore. With this album the band proves that the departure of the brothers Farro in 2010 did not keep them from their music. Instead of desperately trying to maintain their sound they had on their previous albums, singer Hayley Williams and the
After years of speculation as to whether Justin would abandon that slightly dodgy acting career for music again was finally confirmed with the release of this album. Something which caused much excitement among his fans, me included the record has hit the industry in all the right ways. On first listen it is clear to hear that Justin has made a full return, sounds of his past albums all coming together. Justin sticks to what he knows best, smooth tunes infused with classic R&B elements to match his ever surprising range of vocals.
There are some great songs on the album, his single release with Jay Z, ‘Suit and Tie’ and ‘Pusher Love Girl’ to name just two but it is ‘Mirrors’ which really stands out. A beautiful song, timeless in its sound and applicable to every audience I have yet to meet a person who dislikes it. There are a few tracks which admittedly leave a little to be desired, ‘Let The Groove Get In’ being one which I have yet to warm to. However, on the whole, I can’t complain. Justin has made a successful comeback and i could not be more pleased about it.
That’s not to say there isn’t something for diehard fans. ‘Alone To-
There is much to love on this album, the fourth studio album from the group since 2004
fueled by ramen
Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience
an album as ambitious
Paramore shows the heavier rock and punk side of their music in amongst other songs ‘Proof’ and Anklebiters. However, the power of Hayley’s voice is at its highest in the calmer songs. In Hate to see your heart break, Hayley’s voice is crystal clear and breakable, yet not cold.
remaining two band members Jeremy Davis and Taylor York used this as an opportunity to switch up their music. There is much to love on this album. Hayley shows that she is a very skilled vocalist and that she has an enormous range and she is able to show different colours within the songs. She veers from breakable and small to epic and strong seemingly without any trouble. The guitar riffs are sharp and switch as easily as the vocals to all the different styles while never overtaking the vocals. Songs like ‘Now’ and ‘Ain’t It Fun’ have good hooks and will definitely stay in your head for a while.
They also show that lyrically the band can switch from pensive and depressed to happy and fun. In ‘Fast In My Car’ it seems that they sing about the split with the Farro brothers: “Been through the wringer a couple times/I came out callous and cruel/And my two friends know this very well/ Because they went through it too”. The overarching theme of this album appears to be time, in the form of the past, present and future. They play around with words as can be seen in the song ‘Now’: “If there’s a future we want it now”. ‘Hate To See Your Heart Break’ is a good example of a song where music and lyrics do not nec-
essarily match. The music is slow, the vocals veering on the side of too sweet. Yet the lyrics are quite dark: “There is not a single word in the whole world/That could describe the hurt/The dullest knife just sawing back and forth/And ripping through the softest skin there ever was”. The main problem is that the switch up in the styles sometimes feels like they have something to prove and that they do this just because they can, not necessarily because it fits with the music or their sound. The interludes on the album are a nice gimmick but do not really add anything to the album itself. There are a mix of a retro sound with ukulele and vocals, which are fun but divert away too much from the album’s overall theme. The song ‘Ain’t It Fun’ is a perfect example of the switch up in the style. There are a lot of musical influences in just this one song. There are hints of 80’s pop, rock, and even gospel. This makes for a fun number, but a bit chaotic and therefore a little bit misplaced on a rock album.
There are hints of 80’s pop, rock, and even gospel
In the almost eight minutes long song ‘Future’, Hayley sings “Just think of the future and think of your dreams/You’ll get away from here/You’ll get away eventually/ So think of the future, think of a new life/ And don’t get lost in the memories”. It seems that they followed their own advice after the departure of two of their band members and tried to not focus on the past but on their dreams and the future, with a solid album to show for it. It is safe to say we have not seen the last of Paramore; 4 albums in, they’re still showing considerable signs of growth as a band. If they continue on like this, their future is set out to be even bigger.
David Bowie The Next Day iso, columbia rachel price
Whether you’re a fan or not, David Bowie is inarguably one of music’s most iconic superstars. His lightning bolt motif, made famous by the Aladdin Sane album artwork in 1973, is instantly recognisable all over the world. His androgynous persona has been difficult to ignore; his outrageous imagery and poetry influencing a wide spectrum of artists from Boy George to Kurt Cobain. This poses a challenge not to look at The Next Day in comparison to his previous great works. It is undoubtedly and understandably not comparable, but instead serves as a retrospective memory of his
Tyler, The Creator Wolf odd future records/ sony
In an online interview about his upcoming album, Tyler the Creator indicated that he was going for a change of style. Wolf was supposedly going to contain ‘more bragging’, more ‘weird hippie music that people could get high to’, and less of the controversial content that he was previously known for. So, now that it’s finally here, has Tyler kept to his word on Wolf’s new direction? Well... to quote The Simpsons’ Reverend Lovejoy, “short answer, yes with an ‘if’; long answer, no
time in Berlin spent with Lou Reed and Andy Warhol in the late 1970s. Bowie’s intentions for the listener were made clear from the artwork; a white text box pasted over the Heroes LP cover hints at covering up the past, but only just.
David Bowie is inarguably one of music’s most iconic superstars The album starts with a statement energetic title track, in which he shouts “Here I am, not quite dying/ My body left to rot in a hollow tree” - as if we’ve forgotten about him after his last few years spent away from the limelight. This is reiterated by the haunting vocal hook in ‘The Stars (Are Out To-
with a ‘but’”. As much as Tyler’s growing notoriety are the subject of some of Wolf’s tracks, there are also still plenty of examples of the angst, anger and lyrics that can’t be printed here on the grounds of decency that he’s been writing since his first album.
There are moments where Tyler shows his antagonising side It’s clear that he wasn’t lying about ‘more bragging’, at least; lead single ‘Domo23’ has Tyler rapping about sex with supermodels and having to climb ‘eight sets of stairs’ just to get to the roof of his new house. This isn’t necessarily a
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
night)’: “Stars are never sleeping/ The dead ones and the living”. The album’s first single, ‘Where Are We Now?’ encapsulates Bowie’s spectacular ride through Berlin, boasting a delicate piano melody that lifts the track up a notch. Disappointingly, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule. The presence of producer Tony Visconti is reflected in the return to Bowie’s former avantgarde style on tracks such as ‘Dirty Boys’ and ‘If You Can See Me’, though the second half of the album is very much unmemorable filler. Lyrically, David Bowie is still at the top of his game. His words are well-constructed, emotive and retain a sense of painful honesty, making it even more disappointing that the melodies accompanying them are slightly mediocre. The great thing about David Bowie is that you don’t have to know his background inside and out to enjoy his music. You don’t have to own one of his albums to know his songs. You don’t even have to like rock music to appreciate his legacy. The Next Day can be seen as the hangover to the Thin White Duke party, or it can be seen as an old rock star’s attempt to re-emerge into the modern world. It’s no Ziggy Stardust… and as every artist ages, so does their art.
HHH bad thing though, as the fallout of Tyler’s new-found status becomes the subject of the album’s best track, ‘Colossus’. Documenting a run-in with some obsessive fans at a theme park, Tyler’s lines quickly escalate the story into an uncomfortable, obsessive territory, creating one of the most interesting single-song narratives he’s written to date. The piano-heavy beat is also an example of the strong production work on Wolf. Tyler’s songs have always had a sound more reminiscent of ambient or jazz music than mainstream rap beats, and musically this is his best work. There are, however, plenty of moments where Tyler shows his more antagonising side, as usual. The introduction literally starts with him telling everybody to go fuck themselves, whereas ‘Pigs’ is another story of a misunderstood, bullied kid who dreams of destroying his school- a subject that sounded dated when he was rapping about it back on 2010’s Goblin. None of this really kills the album; infact, by incorporating it into the plot of the now three-album long story he’s been telling, Tyler makes most of it work. But it does mean that if you’ve never liked his over-thetop style and lyrics before, there’s little here that would change your mind. Not that he’d care.
SINGLES Chris Malinchak So Good To Me
Daft Punk Get Lucky
daft life, columbia
A song that casts you into a summer mood immediately. That is how i would summarise Chris’ newest release. The 26 year old New York deep house producer is in the beginning stages of his career, but has already made waves with ‘So Good To Me’ in the UK with masses of praise coming from the likes of Pete Tong to Annie Mac. The single combines elements of soul with the vocals included from Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell while hinting at a dance vibe. It’s a seamless infusion of genres which is guaranteed to hypnotise, instantly making it sure to be a top tune to start the summer off nicely.
After what seemed like a year of frustrating teasers on YouTube, Daft Punk have finally emerged with their first new song since 2005. And, in a revelation that should surprise no-one, it’s fantastic. The most noticeable aspect of ‘Get Lucky’ is it’s drastic change in style. Whilst most of Daft Punk’s back catalogue is sample-heavy and techno-based, ‘Get Lucky’ brings in vocals from Pharrell Williams and 70s-esque guitar riffs. The result is that this sounds much more like a classic disco song than anything else Daft Punk have done, yet it still maintains the same style that they spent the last decade perfecting.
Noah And The Whale There Will Come A Time
Basement Jaxx Back 2 The Wild
In some ways, ‘There Will Come A Time’ is a bit of a weird listen, if only because of the complete contrast between it and Noah And The Whale’s bouncy, summer-friendly hit ‘5 Years Time’ back in 2008. The ukuleles and female backing singers are long gone, replaced with vocalist Tom Hobden singing about overcoming heartbreak and loneliness to the backdrop of delay-laden guitars. What’s clear on their new single is that Noah and the Whale have found a sound that works- ‘There Will Come A Time’ feels like the perfect soundtrack to a long drive alone at night, which is fitting with the ‘loners and outcasts’ vibe their lyrics are going for.
Maybe it’s just the hype around the new Daft Punk album, but I like to think that 2013 will be the year that everyone remembers dance and club music doesn’t just have to be whatever big beat track Pitbull chose to rap over this week. The new Basement Jaxx single seems to be helping my view- it’s called ‘Back 2 the Wild’, it sounds like everything else they’ve done, and it’s fantastic. The name doesn’t lie either; the track has a great jungle vibe and there’s a girl who shouts the title in cheerleader-esque glee throughout the whole song. Most importantly, it’s fun, and they sound just as good now as they ever have.
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Arts&BOOKS Reading Between The Lines Placement report Lucy Field
During my time at the University of Reading, I have been required to find an academic placement. Thoughts of big shot companies such as Disney, Tesco and Sainsbury’s crossed my mind – the general companies that appear to be helping the public by providing a service, in order to make a profit. After hearing about fellow students who had applied for well-known companies and having their applications disregarded upon a trash heap, I had a stark realisation. This placement was not only an opportunity for me in academic terms; I needed to seize the opportunity I had been given to help myself, and embark upon a different route of businesses that wanted to help others, and would be willing to help me.
Reading Between The Lines theatre group are a Reading based theatre company, that seek to help the youth and community of Reading They employ locals and give volunteers the opportunity to build
upon a career in drama, and they rely on sponsorships and positive community spirit in order to survive. There is a stark contrast between the responsibilities involved in undertaking a placement here, compared to undertaking a place-
The acting skills of the cast were further complimented by the second play, Forty Five Minutes, in which a group of aspiring students were struggling to fill in their UCAS forms. Reading Between The Lines’ ability to deal with
of direction – the founders of the company are giving the youth of reading the chance to not only establish a grounded foot in theatre, but the skills of working in a team and putting on a performance that many aspiring actors/actresses
ment in a national company – I am here to learn, not to purely operate as part of a machine mechanism. Reading Between The Lines recently put on performances of two plays in one evening, titled Chatroom and Forty Five Minutes. Instantly I was struck by the inspirational nature of the performers; many appeared barely older than 16 or 17 years old, and the issues being dealt with were those that the youth of today are dealing with. Chatroom was set around dealing with issues of depression and suicide; the way in which the actors involved in the play dealt with these issues appeared as if they had been professionally trained.
current issues and solve them through drama caught my attention because of the pure simplicity of the idea, yet it is one that is complex on so many levels. I personally would recommend the plays to those looking for a sense
could only wish for. Reading Between The Lines significantly operate on a sponsorship ideology. Good relations with fellow theatre based companies, such as Berkshire Theatre Company, Whitely Arts
I said nothing. The sun was almost nearly absent now. Golden bronze light hovered over the treetops like saintly Haloes. The wind was still. ‘You question my motivation. Well you know my function. I take the souls from life to death. I have a crisis of my own when I see people like you. I have taken millions of souls from unhappy lives, but they were lives in which they had some modicum of joy, which they knew and identified; to see someone experiencing life without knowing joy saddens me.’ ‘I feel flattered by your attention.’ ‘You should not. My interest in you is selfish at heart. I like to think that my role is like a cog
within a machine; if life is not enjoyed, what is its purpose? If life is without purpose, then what is death? I would struggle to rationalise my own existence – an unenviable eventuality for someone doomed to the above in perpetuity.’ I took another cigarette, using the dying stump of the previous to light it. ‘I sympathise. That is a frightening idea’. ‘The offer is still open, unchanged.’ ‘You needn’t repeat it. I have the wording memorised.’ The chairlift crested a small hill. I saw a pine martin dash between trees, though its footprints were obscured by the gloom. I estimated we would reach the top in little more than a few minutes. ‘To take you up on your deal would be ending my life without ‘knowing joy’, to use your phrase.’
The donations of equipment, performance space and advertising are crucial to their success One can therefore thrust across the debate, that Toby Davies and Dani Davies, a brilliant partnership , have opened the doors to the youth of Reading to succeed at an early age, and offer those who take part the ability to understand the
Short story - continued from last issue ‘Ski Lift’- Short story
Festival, Flintlock Theatre and School of The Arts cannot be underestimated – the donations of equipment, performance space and advertising are crucial to the success of Reading Between The Lines, and therefore crucial to the wellbeing of the youth of the community. They were previously given a grant from Reading Borough Council of £500, which was put towards a previous performance of Twelfth Night – it appears evident that even the council are rooting for Reading Between The Lines to succeed. I was astounded at the effort that had been put into the performances of Chatroom and Forty Five Minutes; the requirement of provisions and material ranging from rehearsal space to leaflet printers can only be achieved by hard work.
‘That is not how it sits with my constitution – your soul is the same, its transplantation into another body, into other physical circumstances, would not change its essence.’ ‘I cannot accept that. I feel my soul, to borrow your terminology, is moulded by experience. Taking my clay and reforming it on a figurative potter’s wheel makes me someone else.’ ‘Such certainty in your own judgement could be construed as arrogance.’ ‘I expect so. But is not trust in one’s own judgement a cause of contentedness? To forsake it would surely be the final defeat.’ ‘Your judgement has been a cause of your own misery.’ ‘A cause, but not the sole cause. To what extent one controls one’s
judgement I don’t know. I don’t know what or how to think.’ He did not move to respond for a few moments. ‘Has anything changed since we first talked?’ ‘In terms of circumstances nothing I identify as material.’ ‘You told me you’d try to change.’ ‘To be truthful I don’t think I was speaking to you so much as giving you a transcript of what I tell myself.’ ‘I see.’ We were silent for a few moments more. ‘Almost there.’ The exit to the lift loomed, about two hundred metres away. ‘Have you made your decision?’ ‘I think so. Thank you for taking your time to visit.’ ‘It was my pleasure. I wish you well.’
I heard the sweet sound of alpine choughs whistling among the trees. We opened the safety bar and raised our skis in readiness for landing. I looked again; my passenger was gone. I slid down the incline back on to the slopes, skating around the bend to face back down the mountain. The sun rose over the alps and bathed my face in warm light.
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
History of Art hits Madrid Study Trip Ellen North-Row, Sophie Jefferies and Sam Fisher
During your History of Art undergrad course at Reading, the department put on a study trip at the end of the second term of your Second Year. This year we visited Madrid, a vibrant metropolitan city teaming with modern and classical art galleries full of Spanish masters such as Goya, Velasquez and Picasso. The Prado and the Reina Sofia, the main galleries we visited hold one of the vastest ranges of art works in Europe. From Rubens to Caravaggio, Raphael to Rothko, Bosch to Titian there was a bit of everything there that we had studied on the course.
It was a brilliant summary of the hard work we had put in over the last two years and taught us the Spanish heritage and culture. Spain’s national museum of twentieth-century art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia located in the capital Madrid, is considered to be one of the three in the Golden Triangle of Art amongst its contemporaries the Prado and the Thyssen-Borne-
misza Museum. Dedicated to celebrating Spanish artists, housing one of the most famous twentiethcentury monuments of the Spanish Civil War; Picasso’s Guernica, amongst works by Dali, Miro and Solana and having previously been an eighteenth-century hospital, the opening of the art museum in 1990 was a huge success. The building functioned as the General Hospital of Madrid up until 1968 when new medical and technological advances combined with an expanding population meant that the building’s require-
ments were no longer adequate. Its transformation and renovation added modernity to the city and as the forefront of design in Madrid at the time; Manuel Borja-Villel wanted a “redefinition of the function of museums, on an alternative to the institution's historical models.”
First displayed in the Spanish Pavilion at the World Exhibition Paris in 1937 the year of the bombing of Spanish Basque town Guernica, Picasso’s famous painting Guernica exposed and brought world wide attention to the devastating effects on the innocent civilians’ suffering for their country. Home in the Reina Sofia, Spain’s national museum of twentieth-century art, it’s huge canvas depicting the horrors of war with it’s palette of splutters of white, black and grey leaves a shattering and emotional presence
resounding in the gallery. Sophie Jefferies, History of Art student said “As an extra gallery trip, we visited the Museo Sorolla. This was Joaquin Sorolla’s very own studio and gardens, with his stunning artworks hanging in every room. The Spanish artist produced many portraits and social scenes in the impression-
DADA, the Anti-Art Art movements Fanny Steckle
What you need to know about... DADA, the ANTI-ART In all fairness, what could there be to know about an art movement that literally champions a urinal as its flagship piece? Yet appearances can be utterly deceiving. Naming it Fountain, Marcel Duchamp submitted a re-appropriated urinal to a major art show in 1917. It was rejected from the exhibition, but its ideas were not. And here we arrive at the movement known as Dada. The name is French for “hobby horse”, and was chosen by randomly stabbing a dictionary with a penknife.
The answer was a question: What is really art? Seems entirely arbitrary, yet is actually quite significant to the movement’s spirit, which was
defined by the ridiculous and the random. It was thought art had reached its apotheosis in the early 20th century, so what more was there to create?
Dada artists themselves claim their work means nothing, it purely challenges our conservative sensibilities. Dada came out of a generation of artists disillusioned by the bloody slaughter of World War I (1914-1918), so they began questioning society, materialistic and nationalist values, and finding only moral emptiness, rejected traditional methods of representation and conventional exhibitions. The classic oil-paint-and-canvas were left behind, preferring the element of chance in ready-made and found objects (like the Fountain) to determine a piece’s nature. Its
output was wildly diverse, ranging from performance art to poetry, photography, sculpture, painting and collage. Artists were so intent on opposing bourgeois culture they even rejected their own movement! Dada was fairly short-lived, it only lasted from about 1916 to 1925, yet this anarchic revolt against tradition was massively influential to the modern art movement, creating a lasting interest in a piece’s concept over its execution, as you might be able to tell, if you’ve ever set foot in a modern art gallery.
The classic oil-paintand-canvas were discarded, preferring the element of chance in ready-made and found objects Artists to look at: Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Kurt Schwitters
ist style at the beginning of the 20th century. Having not seen his work before, I was hypnotized by his painting technique: the vivid colours, shimmering water effects and splashes of impasto paint. It was a treat to see so many beautiful paintings all in one place.” Madrid, a vibrant metropolitan city teaming with modern and classical art galleries Sam Fisher, second year Art and History of Art combined student thought that “Madrid is an awesome city, full of beautiful buildings and friendly people, and the best part is, theres a Macca's or a Starbucks on every corner, so it feels just like home."
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
From lackluster limbs to perfect pins
Colour corrective concealer
With summer now approaching (though very slowly), it’s that time of the year again where the sunny season means baring your bare legs… A frightening thought after months of being hidden away under cosy tights and thick jeans. However, follow these tips and tricks to take you from lacklustre limbs to perfect pins!
With so many concealers on the market today, it’s often hard to know which one to choose. Find the right shade for your skin tone is always important, but what about finding the right colour to correct troublesome skin? Below is a guide to perfect colour coverup!
Scrub away dead skin with a gentle body scrub such as Soap and Glory’s Sugar Crush, blended with brown sugar and lime it smells just like a mojito – perfect to get you in the mood for cocktails! 3. Moisturise – For nourished, glowing skin make sure to regularly moisturise. The best time is straight after you get out of the shower when your body is still
damp as the product can trap some of the water left on your legs leading to longer and more thorough hydration. Why not give the body shop body butters a try? 4. Exercise – want trim, toned thighs? A quick run round the block can make a real difference. Or if you run like Phoebe from friends and would rather keep your jogging on the down-low, you
1. Shave – wax, veet or epilate, whatever your preferred method. Whilst waxing removes hairs for longer, shaving leaves skin feeling silky smooth. If you choose to use a razor, its best to invest in a nice shaving gel such as Gilette Satin Care or Queen of… Ta-da! Shaving Gel – but never dry shave! 2. Exfoliate – Let’s be honest, with our legs all tucked up over winter, they may have been neglected.
could always invest in a step up box to exercise from the comfort of your own home. 5. Tan – Whether it’s drinks with the girls or a full on night out, a little tan can take your pins from pasty to perfect. The trick is not to overdo it! Sunshimmer by Rimmel is great for a temporary tan as it slides straight on and then washes off at the end of the night, plus the product comes out dark so you can see where you’re placing it. 6. Make up – A controversial tip, but Caroline Flack swears by it as she admitted to using M.A.C’s Face and Body Foundation on her famous, killer legs. The buildable coverage helps to provide a flawless natural finish, which works to condition the skin whilst also providing a water-resistant coverage to keep those pesky Strongbow spillages from streaking down your legs. WIN!
Vaseline victorious! Our favourite little blue tin Laura Armstrong
10 handy tips for everyone’s handbag favourite (and secret weapon): Vaseline. 1. Luscious Lips: Keep those lips from drying out and keep them looking shiny! 2. Tidy Tan: Stop your tan from peeling by popping some Vaseline in spots where your clothes rub/ overnight and prolong the tan! 3. Longer Lashes: Pop some Vaseline on your eyelashes before you sleep and in time you will have longer and thicker lashes... 4. Perfect Perfume: Apply Vaseline to skin before you apply per-
fume to make the scent last longer. 5. Pearly Whites: If you’re wearing bright lipstick pop a small bit of Vaseline on your teeth to prevent any lipstick stains! 6. Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: Honestly anywhere you are getting dry skin, pop it on before you go to sleep and you’ll wake up with revitalised skin. 7. Beauty Bottles: If you regularly pop some Vaseline onto the neck of your beauty product bottles they are easier to clean and less likely to get stuck... 8. Nice Nails: Not only can a dab of
Vaseline add shine to dull nail polish it is great for your cuticles! 9. Head strong: A small bit of Vaseline can not only hide those split-ends and smooth hair, a small smear across your hairline can protect from damage by chemicals in hair-dyes and products. 10. Experiment: Vaseline can be melted down and re-set, add some lipstick to make cream blush or eye-shadows, even try adding a favourite moisturiser to make a face mask (If it goes hideously wrong the great news is Vaseline is a great make-up remover too!).
Purple – targets yellow sallow skin such as around the mouth. It also targets brown areas such as age spots, freckles and moles. Green – counters redness such as acne and scars. Orange – covers blueness such as under eye circles and veins. Yellow – covers purples such as under eye circles and bruising. Pale pink – covers greyish tinges to the face. These colours are opposites of each other which is why, when they are combined together they create a neutral skin tone. Both e.l.f. and makeup forever provide corrective concealers, available online for around £3.75 and £25 respectively. So give these a try for flawless, neutral skin!!!
Spring-summer 2013 nail trends: Nail it this season! Elle Turner
Tie-dye Nails This clever little trend was featured on Veda’s catwalk and makes for hippy boho nails.
Pale Nails This trend has been popular amongst designers such as Rag and Bone and Maria Grachvogel.
Metallic Mani’s Metallic nails were an eduring trend amongst Erin Featherston and Nicole Miller
Half Moon Manicures This trend was featured by both Peter Som and Kaelen amongst other designers.
Edgy Nails Prabal Gurung avoided pastels by playing with a Gothic edgy nail for the more fashion forward.
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
FASH- ION Coachella festival fashion
Bow down? Only to Beyonce’s fashion
In keeping with Dsquared2’s Spring Summer 2013 collection, Beyonce’s tour costume is being kept strictly under wraps- if for a few juicy rumours. Custom made by the twins, Dean and Dan Caten, the Italian brand is showcasing their “show stopper” outfit for Beyonce, sticking to their S/S 2013 inspiration of Nineties Supermodels. Renowned for their creative and quirky catwalk shows- with hosting scenes from a high school prom, to festival themes and an underground rave- Dsquared2 set their Spring Summer 2013 show in a nineties warehouse. “It’s a celebration of the super girls, super sexy,” they say, “It’s short and flirty, there are a lot of accessories”. And hell, there are! It’s leather and it’s little- cropped shirts and bralets play along miniskirts and tucked-in tees. Cute and edgy are topped off with police-
man-esque leather caps for each look, and gold chains surround waists, necks and wrists all over the catwalk. It has to be said, any fashion week would look practically bland without this couple’s design. The show is brimming with statements- from leather gowns to quilting and lacing, gold chains and glimmers of pearls; everything is overdone, over-the-top, overwhelming. Something to expect from Beyonce, I hear you ask? Rumours have confirmed that she will be wearing a signature piece from the Glamazon show, custom designed by the twins to fit her shows. And how was it to put together? “So much fun!”, the boys have been heard chiming. Expect sexy, eccentric, and glamorous! The Mrs Carter Show world tour goes ahead on Monday, April 15. Beginning in Belgrade, Serbia, running until August 5th and culminating in her final show in Brooklyn.
Star-studded, sunny and stuffed full of serious, summer style. Coachella, it’s the festival for all the young garland-clad hipsters to be seen at. It’s the ultimate chillout spot with a brilliant mash up of music (Chilli Peppers, Moby, Blur for starters), sunshine and hanging out in the Californian desert. Katy Perry and Vanessa Hudgens triumphed as the festival fashionistas of Coachella 2013. Taking inspiration from these ladies; let’s look at 4 features that crowned them the festival queens. Bralets and crop-tops are a favourite for festivals, but these are no plain, humdrum bandeaus! Crocheted, neon, letterman and gingham were all spotted, and pop-princess Katy Perry sported a D&G baroque floral bralet with matching skirt. The Backdrop of palm trees, sunshine and a heat-haze sky make Coachella a perfect snap for Instagram. Statement sunnies proved to be a practical and hipster staple against the dazzling, daytime sunshine. The bands on stage were seen though rainbow coloured lenses by Vanessa
Hudgens, in a frameless, hippie pair. Circle sunglasses and 50’s cat eyes (á la DJ Leigh Lezark and Katy Perry respectively) were also popular, and can be snapped up in many high-streets stores. Micro-shorts were bound to make an entry into the style steaks of this festival. Vanessa Hudgens flaunted a white, eccentric, boho pair in the intense heat. A tricky pair to pull off, unless you are miss Hudgens herself. But, the festival was packed full of alternative, denim versions (high-waisted,
frayed, bleached, dip-dyed) which were well worthy of a tumblr post and a place on your must-have list. One final addition, worn by males and females alike was a pair of desert boots. (Step forward Katy Perry, quite literally.) They added that slightly grungy, tough edge to any outfit they adorned. Worn loose and open during the day, teemed with socks and tightly laced at night when temperatures plummeted in the evening, these boots were the seemingly obvious choice for many a festival-goer.
This season’s summer bags Charlotte Coster
A summer of colour Erin Harding
It seems like most of 2013 so far has been spent in warm winter coats and cardigans. However, it’s high time we put a stop to this - the weather is on the up, which means that we can opt for something a bit brighter! This summer is set to be a colourful one. An entire palette of neon colours, including shocking pinks and cobalt blues dominated the catwalks of Matthew Williamson, Simone Rocha and Antonio Berardi in London. Brightly coloured cropped jeans are definitely something to look out for and will be perfect for the warm, but not too warm, British summer. Uniqlo, as always, are sporting a range of bright jeans, leggings and trousers to get your hands on. If you want to play it safe, team these with a white, nude or pastel
coloured top. However, if bright colours are your thing, go all out and pair a bright blue shirt with a pair of yellow jeans. Clash those colours and really make a statement! Despite our love for jeans, we’ve been wearing them all year – really, months before the warm weather we look forward to slipping into a summer dress. ASOS’s range of skater dresses is brimming with a rainbow of bright colours, and it is apparent that the skater was made to be bright. If you want a bit of variety, go for one with a cut out designs or stripy pattern. One of the best things about a skater is that it is perfect for a casual event, a special occasion, or even a mixture of the two – Summer Ball, for example?! So be bright, be bold and don’t be afraid to clash, it’s time to embrace a colourful summer!
This season, I am absolutely loving all of the new bags that I have managed to spot so far.
The never ending bright colours are perfect for tempting the sun out from behind its cloud (or they could replace it if it never appears!) and the mix of patterns and shades are certainly making the stores look pretty.
The must have for this summer is the backpack which has made its comeback recently. The brighter they are the better and are a great way to jazz up any AW12 clothes you might still have in your wardrobe. My favourite has to be this zig zag patterned one from Topshop which is a perfect size to be useful but still looks amazing.
Another bag which is really useful is the oversized bag which is still going to be here throughout the summer season. These are perfect for us girls and all the mountains
of items that seem to collect in the bottom of our bags. With this understated yet trendily monochrome bag from H&M you will never have to worry about lack of space again.
Finally, I completely adore the new range of envelope clutches that have the addition of extra detail designed in patterns. They look pretty and are sure to make the dancefloors look extra sparkly this season. This turquoise one from New Look is unusual and very tasteful but this added detail enhances it even further and is perfect if you are wanting quite a bold statement piece to go with your evening wear.
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Spring and Summer trends 2013
Fashion for the Spring and Summer has appeared on the catwalks and here is a round-up of some of the hottest trends that have been on display: Monochrome, mainly in the form of checks and stripes, has been adopted by designers including Marni, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. Bold and stand-out or simple and small, black and white checks
and stripes of all kinds have appeared on the runway. Peek-a-boo style clothes have been put on display by designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry. As seen on Sarah Jessica Parker, the peek-a-boo style can be daring or toned down with sheer material over the cut-outs. Sports style clothing has become a hit with the designers, particularly Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, as the summer weather gets un-
The Iron Lady: an unlikely style icon? Sabina Rouse
Margaret Thatcher might not seem like an obvious choice for a style icon, yet, during her time as Prime Minister, she introduced a previously unseen aesthetic which was to influence the way women would dress for decades to come. Although perhaps not as overtly sexy as Marilyn Monroe, Margaret Thatcher is credited for being one thing: classic. What Thatcher wore, essentially became ‘part of the job’ and therefore she had to dress appropriately, yet this did not mean dully. Suits were an obvious choice; often a skirt and a well-tailored, sharp jacket, Thatcher set the precedent for many other likeminded career driven women to look perfectly smart whilst making a bold fashion statement through a strong block colour such as green, orange, and her favourite; blue. However, these suits were rarely worn alone. One of Maggie’s signature styles which she was almost never seen without were pearls. Worn on earrings, necklaces and broaches, pearls provided a smart yet feminine touch, making them a timeless piece of fashion jewellery which are still favourited by women today. Maggie was also a huge fan of the female equivalent of the tie: the pussy bow blouse. Thatcher had a wide range of pussy bow blouses in different colours and lengths, making the blouse perfect for
almost any occasion. They lent a sophisticated yet pretty air to any outfit, and were seen as one of the biggest fashion statements of the era. One of the elements of her style that still turns women everywhere green with envy today, was her love of Asprey
handbags. A small, simple, black box-shaped handbag with two golden clasps is what pulled together any outfit Margaret wore. The Asprey handbag represented her personality well; strong, solid and classic, was the bag that for so many years was used to demonstrate the force of her expression at meetings. Today, one from her collection has been sold for £25,000 at an auction in Christie’s, proving that the Iron Lady’s influence still reigns on.
derway. Casual, sophisticated and chic, this style has been up and coming. From the days of Charleston dancing in the 1920s, fringing/tasseling has made a comeback. Supported by celebrities, Beyoncé’s new fashion range at H&M sees her modelling a fringed bikini. However, designers have decided it’s out with leather fringing and in with delicate and sleek tasseling.
The decade of big hair, retro patterns, kitten heels, flared trousers and A-line dresses is being given a new lease of life. Mainly headed by Moschino and Louis Vuitton and spotted on Alexa Chung, 60s style fashion appeared at fashion shows this season and included bright, quirky colours. Anna Sui and Valentino have presented low-heeled shoes on the catwalk. These look ultra-feminine and cute not to mention the fact
that they are comfier than highheels. Lastly, you’ll be glad to know that statement sunglasses have landed on the runway once again which means summer is on its way! Big frames were favorable for women and square-framed large sunglasses were popular for men.
The Kate phenomenon
Katherine Middleton’s wardrobe is envied all over the world and enthusiasts, including celebrity Kim Kardashian, follow Kate’s fashion proving that the international popularity in her dress sense is a force to be reckoned with. Many of these admirers follow ‘The Kate Effect’ which means when Kate wears a certain product, sales of it boost immensely. In fact, Kate’s fashion influence has benefitted the British economy by £2 billion. Indeed, Kate’s cream £159 Reiss ‘Nannette’ dress worn for her official engagement photo sold astoundingly at one-per-minute online. Taking these results, I have been researching into what Kate wears and how you can affordably follow ‘The Kate Effect’. On 19th March 2013, Kate was spotted in Oxford Street’s Topshop where it was later discov-
ered she purchased a ‘Peter Pan collar’ black dress for a charity
visit to Child Bereavement UK. This cost her £46.00 and shows how her style can be purchased affordably. Plus, Kate teamed it with a wardrobe must, black tights and
black heels, meaning her whole look can easily be recreated. Alternatively, my personal favourite casual outfit worn by Kate at the London 2012 Olympic sees her wearing navy-blue, a signature colour of Kate’s. This outfit can be simply reconstructed, and would look equally good in black, with wedges, a blazer (which is classic for Kate), skinny jeans and a striped top and is perfect for all seasons. Kate has also mastered wearing lace ever since her Sarah Burton wedding dress. Copies of her navyblue, lace Erdem dress worn to Quebec City Hall have been made and Holly Willoughby models a blue dress for her affordable fashion range which is interestingly, extremely similar. All-in-all, I support ‘The Kate Effect’ because I believe that Kate’s elegant style inspires so many making her a successful fashion icon watched by the world.
Pretty Green opening
Alternative menswear in Reading is getting a treat this month as Pretty Green is set to open it’s twelfth UK store in the Oracle. The brand is founded by Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher - an unlikely fashionista to say the least - who’s casual style is emulated in their most recent collection. Fans of charchoal pumps, green parka jackets and worn-looking
chinos will be able to recreate Gallagher’s trademark style meanwhile the slightly more loan-day pricetag ensures quality good enough to mosh without ripping any seams. Launched in 2009 the brand’s USP is their “Vinyl” selection. Uncommon in most high street fashion stores, Gallagher’s influence is present not only in the clothes, but in the music the store offers. It’s not every day you can pick
up a copy of The Rolling Stones at the same time as a new print shirt. The selection showcases the brand’s greatest influences of British heritage, music and culture. The Oracle are currently holding a competition to win five hundred pounds worth of vouchers for Pretty Green to publicise its launch. So if alternative fashion is your thing (or vintage vinyls for that matter) enter online for your chance of winning.
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
HEALTH Too fat to fly? The fat-tax debate Séana Gatehouse
Keeping inside the luggage weight limit is one of the biggest bugbears for the travellers of today, having to skimp on pairs of flipflops and swimming trunks just to avoid the extra charge for being a couple of kilograms over the baggage limit. But how about having to mind your own body weight just to keep costs down? Dr Bharat P Bhatta, an Economics Professor from Norway has proposed that overweight customers should pay an excess charge to fly. The professor has declared that obese people cause more fuel consumption for planes and change the dynamics of the way in which a plane must be flown. The subject of whether this ‘fat-tax’ should be implemented has been widely debated and various polls have been taken, resulting in a majority of the public voting for this extra charge. However, easy as it is to say that it’s fair to charge overweight people more to fly, many do not
take into account the implications of such a radical concept. Today’s society is full of taxes for this, taxes for that, and to propose yet another, now aimed at bodyweight seems completely unfair and unnecessary. Not only does it make a mockery of any attempt to discourage eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia, it brings the question of ‘where do you stop?’ to mind. It seems discriminatory to charge excess just for those in the ‘obese’ category, and although the professor has proposed an alternative scheme of pay-per-kilo (where everyone pays a certain amount for every kilo they and their baggage weigh) there is still the issue of equality and health. People will only starve themselves on fad diets to get cheaper holidays, which in the end will result in either the re-gaining of weight (and then some) or creating even more eating disorders. It is fair to say that of course, more weight on a plane will mean more fuel consumption therefore
more cost for the airline, and perhaps the want to avoid higher flight costs would work as an incentive to lose weight and create healthier lifestyles. But this is definitely not the best way to promote such an incentive. It is unjust to target solely the obese population of the UK, and will only cause anxiety and loss of any kind of respect or faith people have in community. Especially when there are people who make the decision to body build for example, racking themselves up the weight scale, but aren’t expected to pay any extra because they supposedly look ‘good’. Or even people who naturally weigh more because of their height or bone size. If weight is going to be targeted, every person who weighs more than the UK average, for whatever reason, needs to be addressed, not just those in the obese category. Despite what many people think, losing weight isn’t as simple as working out in the gym each day
and eating nothing but salads. Some people physically cannot lose the weight, either down to a disability or a mental block, in the same way that alcoholics can’t get
off alcohol, or smokers find it hard to give up. Surely, being addicted to the one thing that you actually need to be alive is far harder to curtail than any substance abuse. Overweight people are already subject to huge amounts of discrimination, lack of confidence and depression. No one wants to be overweight, no one is happy being overweight, and it surely won’t make anyone better by making even the joy of going on holiday inaccessible. The ‘fat-tax’ debate will be a long and disputed one, but before any decisions are made, the government and Dr Bhatta maybe need to take a look at making gyms, exercise, and healthy food more accessible as a further effective way of creating an incentive to help Britain lose weight, rather than discriminating against an already victimised population of overweight people.
New health products in Campus Central
This term, Campus Central is doing its best to ensure that we students stay fit, healthy, and well within our budgets, introducing two new products, Freshcig and Danone Yoghurt Shakes to their already wide range of healthy op-
tions. So why should you give them a go? Everyone knows that smoking is one of the hardest habits to beat. Recent statistics show that 70% of smokers say that they want to quit, but only 7% succeed the first time. Less than 3.5% of smokers are able to quit ‘cold turkey’, simply by stopping their smoking habits
altogether, but thankfully, those who use a less damaging alternative to wean themselves off the behaviour are likely to be much more successful. Freshcig is a new brand of rechargeable, electronic cigarettes designed to deliver the flavour, sensation and nicotine hit of smoking, without the dangers.
Normal cigarettes contain over 4500 chemicals, irritants and toxins, including arsenic, which is used in rat poison. Of these, over 50 are known to be carcinogens – chemicals that cause directly cancer in humans. Smoking isn’t only damaging to the smoker, but to everyone around them, as inhaling passive smoke can be __ as damaging as smoking itself. In contrast, when you draw in air through Freshcig, the mechanism is activated, allowing you to inhale a flavoured vapour made up of nicotine, propylene glycol and water. There’s no carbon monoxide fumes, so no passive smoke. But the benefits don’t just stop at health. Over a year, Freshcig works out 75% cheaper than buying regular cigarettes, and smokers can have the freedom to use electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars and clubs, as they are exempt from the smoking ban. If you do decide to give electronic cigarettes a go, you won’t have to travel into town to stock up. The Freshcig range are currently available from Campus Central, located in between the Library and the Student’s Union. First, you choose the sampler (the ‘base’ product) in either classic or menthol, although more flavours,
including strawberry and cappucino, will be available soon. The sampler is priced at £6.99 and is 30 cigarettes worth, working out as less than the average price of 20 regular cigarettes at £7.98. Refills, which are available in 5 flavours, are equal to 150 cigarettes and are priced at £9.99 – so its easy to see how you’ll save money. The second new product in Campus Central can be enjoyed by smokers and non-smokers alike. We all know that yoghurt is a healthy and satisfying snack, but it can be difficult to munch with a spoon while you’re wandering round campus. The solution? Why not try the Danone Yoghurt Shake machine, which mixes a natural yoghurt base with real fruit puree, to create delicious yoghurt shakes. Each drink is made fresh to order in a range of flavours: Berry Blast, Strawberry Splash and Exotic Explosion. The shakes have less than 0.5% fat and less than 150 calories per portion, making them a satisfying low-fat snack, a perfect accompaniment to lunch or a great way to refuel after exercise.
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Food It’s time to stop horsing around Ebba Fredriksen
It would have taken a hermit to miss the horsemeat scandal that has been sweeping Europe. Nevertheless a quick recap; horsemeat has been identified in meat dishes labeled as, for example, 100% beef. It started off with Tesco’s beef burgers and has continued to, among other things, IKEA’s famous Swedish meatballs. Being Swedish myself people often talk to me about how much they like IKEA and how much they love IKEA’s meatballs. Therefore, if I understand it right, it is not actually the taste of horsemeat that makes us upset, as the meatballs were extremely popular, but the fact that we have consumed something other than what we expected. Basically, that we have been given false facts. We have been fooled and cheated by the food industry. If we cannot trust the labels on food packaging to be true then what do we know about our food? This ambiguity in types of meat
is puzzling when compared to, for example, nuts. If a product contains nuts it is clearly stated on the package and that it is made in a “nut handling environment”. This might seem straightforward for an obvious reason as some people with allergies react strongly to nuts. So it is, in some instances, an issue of life and death. But why does it only apply to nuts? Does that mean that personal beliefs are secondary? Food for people with special dietary requirements such as vegetarians and vegans, or those who need kosher and halal, does their food contain what it says it does? The BBC Three programme ‘The Horsemeat Banquet’ tried different takeaways to find out if they were what they said. The Lamb curry was not as it contained unknown meat. Tests showed that it was neither lamb nor horse, nor, indeed, beef, chicken, pork, goat or human flesh. The Chinese beef in black bean sauce was better as it did contain a small amount of beef but was mostly chicken blood and
other bits of chicken. The classic burger had no beef meat in it, but it did have bovine blood and high levels of chicken blood. So a lamb dish does not necessarily contain lamb, beef is also chicken and meat is offal. When comparing the ‘surprise’ takeaways to the categorical labeling of nuts it is strange that the same stringent regulations and tests are not applied. Dr Stefano Mariani, a biologist at the University of Salford said to the BBC that “consumers should be able to go to a shop and know they are eating what they paid for.” So we should be able to know, but, according to Mariani, we do not know. We do not know what our food is made out of, where it came from, or, apparently, even what we are eating. I would argue that this is a battle for our right to know what goes in to our food as well for our morals, dietary requirements and personal believes. We have been and apparently are still fooled and cheated. Some people would no doubt say
that if you want know what is in your food you should make your own. But should we have to? If I buy a package of beef lasagna should the naming of the food not be my guide to the beefiness of the dish and the ingredients printed on the back that tell me that the meat in my lasagna is made of 100% beef and assure me that there are no other meats in it?
So what can we do to change this? Put pressure on the food industry and our politicians for tighter controls. Demand that the content of meats is as important to us as the occurrence of nuts. If we find something unacceptable we have the power to refuse to give the company our money. We are consumers and in that lies our ability to influence.
Thought you knew veganism? Think again!
The vegan diet is slowly creeping its way out of hippie communes and finding its way into mainstream culture, creating vegan celebrities from Ozzy Osbourne
and Pamela Anderson to Bill Clinton and Mike Tyson - but how much do you know about it? Most people know the basics: it means consuming absolutely no animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs and honey. It’s also easy to see the obvious benefits that it has
for animals, but there are many more that you could be benefiting from too. To dispel the first popular myth, veganism won’t deprive you of anything your body needs. The only vitamin or mineral that can’t be found in a vegan diet is vita-
min B12, but this can easily be obtained through fortified cereals and soya milk, a supplement, or, weirdly, Marmite (one serving contains 1/5 of your RDA). The first thing that people will cry when you mention the ‘V’ word is ‘but where will you get your protein?!’ However, there are plenty of vegan sources of protein, including beans, nuts, seeds and soya. People often don’t realise that vegetables also contain protein, especially leafy greens, which are also amazing sources of calcium. Contrary to popular belief, dairy may not be the best source of calcium, and drinking milk has even been linked to osteoporosis. Animal products can create an acidic environment in your body, meaning your body searches for an alkali to bring it back to normal. Unfortunately, the best source of this is in your bones, so your body leaches it out and they actually become weaker. All your mum’s nagging when you were younger that drinking milk makes your bones stronger may not have been true after all! There have also been correlations found between both heart disease and cancer in people with osteoporosis, suggesting that people who eat more dairy are at a
higher risk of several serious diseases. There are, however, loads of ways to get calcium without putting your bones at risk, such as leafy green veggies, tofu, and fortified cereals. If you happen to live in an area with hard water, even simply drinking tap water can provide you with up to a quarter of your RDA. As well as being full of everything you need, a vegan diet is 100% cholesterol free, meaning it can lower blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease. Although, it’s important to remember that eating vegan won’t automatically mean you’re eating well. If done rightly, it’ll help you lose weight and stay at peak physical health, but you have to eat healthily and make sure that you only sparingly eat the many vegan junk food options available these days. If you focus mainly on whole foods and avoid the over-processed, refined vegan goods such as vegan cookies, cakes and brownies, or deep fried vegan snacks, you’ll be fine. So next time someone tells you that the vegan diet is bad for you, or that you should go and eat a steak, you can reassure them veganism can be a balanced and varied way of life… if you do it right!
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Spark* Friday 29 April 2013
SPARK* PASSIM 29
Welcome to Spark* Passim! Here we are bringing you a little â€œblast from the pastâ€? and an insight into the Spark* archives. This week is a quiz from this day, April 26, in 1988 - 35 years ago! We echo the sentiments of the editors in 1988 and accept no responsibility if you base the outcome of your degree on your results of this quiz! If you enjoyed this page or have any suggestions, tweet us @SparkNewspaper
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Climate change and the anthropocene in Britain
Greetings sci-tech readers, I know it’s a busy time of year for all of us, so anyone reading this you sure are a dedicated reader, and thankyou. Well either that or you’re procrastinating! This week is a first for one thing and that is a two issue article. A writer, Mike Bell, wrote such a long article for Sci-Tech Spark* that half of it is in this issue while the next installment will be in the next issue. As always Sci-Tech Spark* is looking for more writers, so if you’re interested please get in contact at the facebook group below. Alternatively you can email me. Just a quick note, a FREE app “of the week” section has been suggested, so if you know of an app which you think should be featured then let me know.
Recent archaeological research has shown that over the last three quarters of a million years, several species of Homo lived in Britain at various times. The gravitational interactions between Earth, Jupiter and Saturn and the milankovitch cycles led to repeated ice ages that made Britain uninhabitable for the Homo species. The end of the last ice age, the beginning of the Holocene era (the period since the last ice age till the present day), provided conditions suitable for the only surviving species of Homo (humans/Homo sapiens) to re-enter Britain on a permanent basis. The global rise in sea level flooded the southern North Sea and cut the English Channel which made it difficult for our Neolithic ancestors to leave Britain. Prior to Britain becoming an island our hunter gatherer forbearers would have followed the migratory herds that ranged across Europe with only a seasonal occupation of Britain. It is possible that the western coasts of Britain supported a permanent population of fisher folk before the Holocene began, but, there is no archaeological evidence to this conjecture.
Only the end of the ice age allowed for Homo sapiens to inhabit Britain
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Global temperature for the first 5,000 years of the Holocene era remained stable. We know this from proxy measurements such as the thickness of the tree rings which reflect the growing conditions the tree experienced. Archaeologists now have an almost complete record of seasonal growth throughout the duration of the Holocene. However, 5,000 years ago global temperatures started to decline, and reached a low point during
the little ice age, a time when frost fairs were held in London on a frozen river Thames. It is difficult to define when the anthropocene began (the period where human activity has been the dominant influence on the environment and climate). Despite this the decline in global temperature did coincide with the beginning of agriculture, but it is noticeable that the temperature decline took five times as long as the temperature rise – the rise that lead up to the Holocene. It may be that the Earth takes longer to cool than it takes to warm up. There is no doubt that human activity injected and still injects more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere due to agriculture, which is what made civilisation possible. However, as civilisation required more agricultural space the clearance of forests caused the natural carbon cycle to alter which lead to higher levels of atmospheric CO2: A burnt or rotting tree emits CO2; it does not absorb and sequester it like a living tree and the soil around the living tree would. The advent of rice production on flooded paddy fields in south East Asia would also have produced large quantities of methane, an even more potent greenhouse
gas, as anaerobic bacteria released the carbon stored in the soil. Since Milankovitch cycles are relentless, agriculture only delayed the onset of another ice age. Furthermore, it took the industrial revolution with its enormous release of fossil carbon to reverse the decline in global temperature. That’s the history; it is now time to reflect on the present. Presently, global temperature is now as high, maybe slightly higher, than during the warmest periods of the Holocene. Average global temperature has risen 0.8 C above pre-industrial levels, and average arctic temperature has risen 2.0 C within the same period. These warm periods of the Holocene were due to increased sunlight warming the Northern Hemisphere. Although, you can’t say things are what they used to be.
“It’s chaos Jim, just as we know it!” Atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower back then than today the oceans were less acidic: Shellfish and corals were more able to grow their calcium carbonate armour, fish stocks
were not depleted, huge numbers of deep diving cetaceans added nutrients to oceanic surface waters and the dead oceanic zones of today were once thriving ecosystems that must have sequestered carbon, as their bones and shells fell through the water and became part of the ooze on the oceanic floor. Climatologists have ascertained that the jet stream is powered by the temperature difference between the equator and the arctic. The jet stream is no longer the powerful force it once was when it confined arctic air to the Arctic Circle. The weakened jet stream now meanders all over the northern hemisphere, bringing arctic frosts to the orange groves of Florida and winter droughts and floods to north Western Europe. In Britain, weather forecasters refer to these meanders as “blocking events”. These blocking events are unpredictable: a butterfly may flap its wing in Wisconsin and change the course of a blocking event that may occur thousands of miles away and weeks later. It is not possible to have enough sensors connected to sufficient processing power to predict the events of a butterfly’s wing flap on a turbulent, dynamically flexible mixture of dust, atoms and molecules when uncertainty is the hallmark of quantum interactions as Spock may have said, but didn’t “it’s chaos Jim, just as we know it!” What is certain is that as the Arctic warms relative to the Tropics, blocking events will become more frequent and the associated weather will become more extreme. Britain looks set for many more cool wet summers and cold dry windy winters with an increasing flood risk. To be continued...
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Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
A knight in twitter armour
Complaining about your job on twitter can have unpleasant consequences. Despite this, it does not seem to deter people from venting their workplace stresses on Twitter. In one week almost 22,000 people had posted complaints about their job, workplace, co-workers or boss on Twitter (Kawase, University of Hannover).
All these tweets are collected onto the FireMe! website FireMe! is a tracker tool on Twitter that warns people when they have over stepped the mark with inappropriate comments about their workplace. To do this it uses an algorithm which searches for words/phrases that indicate someone is moaning about their workplace. The unhappy employee is then automatically sent the message “Can you imagine if your boss gets to know you said: ‘[insert inflammatory tweet]’. You said
Are you sure? What’s the percentage chance of you getting fired? http://fireme.l3s.uni-hannover.de/fireme.php that on Twitter and the whole world can see it!”. All these tweets are collected onto the FireMe! website where there is a leader board of who has posted the most insults regarding their job.
“On the internet once something is said, you can never take it back!” The aim of FireMe! is to make social media users aware of easily accessible their online
data is to the public, and the website states “on the internet once something is said, you can never take it back!”. As a social media user and blogger I disagree with this statement. It is possible to delete messages from facebook never to be seen again. For other websites, admittedly Google chaches all its web pages, but that does not mean that is chaches all web pages. For instance, I used to be a member of various forums which have sadly gone down, and there are not even cached copies available. Despite this, the statement may be true for Twitter. So, FireMe! advices users to tweet responsibly.
Do not fear. People are not getting fired left right and centre because of this. In the incidences where people have got fired due to inappropriate use of social media, is where a breach of contract is involved, or if that person’s job involves managing social media accounts for other brands. You can follow FireMe! on twitter @whyfired. For those of you who do not use twitter, I personally do not, the lists (“tweets”) are mostly people ranting how much they hate their job and/or their boss; with varying degrees of profanity. In this day and age just be pleased that you have a job!
Scientific American (SA) would like to get rid of the following things. Do you agree? What are your thoughts? If you have an opinion then please write in, and it will be printed in the next issue of Spark* • • • • • • • • • •
Daylight Savings Time The Space Shuttle Teflon Landfills Walled Gardens Dropped Calls Bunker Fuel Gene Patents Human Drivers Bisphenol-A
You can find the article, titled Good Riddance, at: http://tinyurl. com/26sc8rb
And the moral of this story is... who eventually advised that he contact the Harvard professors – Reinhart and Rogoff.
A seminal paper from Harvard has been found to contain major errors. This paper: Growth in a Time of Debt, authored by Reinhart and Rogoff, has been used as evidence by politicians to support decisions in making austerity cuts during the economic crisis. Decisions which have been made based on false information.
Countries under analysis had been missed off the key calculations!
This proved to be an enigma To add insult to injury, the mistakes in the paper were not due to computer error and nor were they intentional. Rather it was down to plain and simple clumsiness – while using excel and highlighting cells for a formula the left mouse button was released a second too soon; yet somehow this went unnoticed. Or it did go by unnoticed until Thomas Herndon chose to use the paper for his homework assignment. The assignment was to choose a study and replicate the findings. At first Thomas
The results were printed but not all the data, but money was shifting http://tinyurl.com/cxfdd6k thought he had made the mistake, as did his professors, but no matter how many times he tried
he could not replicate the results. This proved to be an enigma to Thomas’s professors as well,
After much correspondence the Harvard professors sent Thomas the spread sheets containing the raw data so Thomas could see for himself. When Thomas received the spreadsheets what lay before him was astonishing – 5/20 countries, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada and Denmark, under analysis had been missed off the key calculations! This was to analyse the average growth of Gross Domestic Product, otherwise known as the monetary value of a countries finished goods and services produced within a given time, in countries with high public debt. Also in other parts of the study, Australia, Canada and New Zealand were missing parts of their data altogether!
“I don’t think jobs were destroyed because of this...” With the calculations and statistics corrected and with the data complete the study has been re-published by Herndon and his professors. The main difference between this paper and its predecessor is that the correlations and associations are not as strong as they first seemed to be. Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics at Royal Holloway, University of London, comments “I don’t think jobs were destroyed because of this but it provides an intellectual rationalisation for things that affect how people think about the world. And how people think about the world, especially politicians, eventually affects how the world works.” To finish off, the moral of all this, if you haven’t already guessed, is be careful and vigilant when using excel and working with data - as students this is an important message for us all.
32 GAMING email@example.com
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
GAMING Review: ‘Papers, Please’ by Luke Pope In Patnership with www.ZiiP.co.uk
The number-one document inspection game of 2013 Calum Mcintyre Rogers
Papers, Please is an independently developed PC title by Lucas Pope in which the player takes on the duties of a thankless border staffer charged with admitting and denying, entrants to the prosperous and freedom-loving Republic of Arstotzka. The aim of the title, which is still curently in its beta stage of develpoment, is to make enough money to feed and shelter members of your family in the harsh WarsawPact era nation. Admitting anyone without the correct documentation, or mistakenly denying a rightful applicant entry results in a deduction of your salary. But when the cash begins to run low, will your house
stay cold and your relatives go hungry or will poor little Vladimir not get the medicine he desperately needs to see the next day? The basic principles of the game are easy to pick up. You manually inspect documentation brought to you with the mouse, stamping ‘denied’ or ‘approved’ as appropriate. With each new shift on the job this simple gameplay mechanic is kept fresh and engaging by adding some new item of bureaucracy to memorise and perform. As part of your job you may also have to detain suspicious applicants and watch as they are led away by armed guards never to be seen again. You might even have to turn away a mother from visiting her dying son for lack of the correct entry ticket. But it’s ok,
because you’re just doing your job. Right? Papers, Please is not the first game to be developed by Lucas Pope with a more than slightly dystopian flavour. The Republia Times, an online flash devleoped game, casts you as Editor in Chief of a newspaper charged with ‘improving the loyalty of the public’. We won’t spoil the plot for you, but it’s certainly a hoot. Papers, Please will most likely be in development for a little while yet, but the beta version available for anyone to play and is showing very promising signs indeed. The beta of Papers, Please can be downloaded for absolutely free at www.dukope.com, where you can also find some of Lucas Pope’s other developed titles.
opening tutorial you are left to your own devices. You are truly free to pursue any story you desire, whether that be becoming a noble lord or a ruthless bandit. You are simply constrained only by the limits of your imagination, and the amount of money you have to fund your creative vision. Because of this open and player crafted approach there is no storyline or overlying structure to offer you guidance or nudge you along down a certain path. Within the game lie six kingdoms and it is for you to decide whether you seek to forge alliances or strike out on your own, fighting your way to the top. Gameplay is divided between two sections: the overhead map in which you navigate your troops,
and the battle sections which can take place either on the open battlefield or in a siege. Regardless of the path your character ultimately chooses, much blood will be shed. Fortunately heading into combat is where Mount and Blade really begins to shine. Fighting is intuitive and most importantly, fun. There are many tools in your arsenal for both yourself and your army and all are equally fun and tactically valid. If you’ve ever had an overwhelming desire to create an army made up of heavily armoured men or one that could rival that of Rohan, then this game is for you. The immersion is what really sets this game apart from others similar to it, as you really feel like every action you take has a consequence and the world you’ve crafted can prosper or die in an instant. A clear example of this can be seen within the economics of your kingdom, which can throw up some significant moral choices for you to face. Imagine you are at war with another kingdom, money is tight and you are slowly unable to fund your troops. They are threatening to desert you and you certainly can’t afford to lose the war. What do you do? You could always loot a nearby village and no doubt lose innocent lives? Or you could just abandon your men, flee the kingdom and start up somewhere new? The game throws choices at you that will always make you stop,
Nein. Your papers are not in order
Review: Mount and Blade: Warband Michael Taylor
As you stand atop your castle witnessing the countless hordes of enemies descend upon your once safe haven and the tiny garrison of troops you have stationed there as defense, a thought enters your head. “This is a battle I cannot possibly win, and if I am to lose this castle I’m taking as many men as I can down with it”. It is the journey your character takes, not the epic battles you take part in that is the defining feature of Mount & Blade: Warband. Mount & Blade: Warband is a PC exclusive title and, developed by Taleworlds and published by Paradox, can be considered to be the very definition of ‘sandbox gaming’. Once you complete the
Total control of customisation opens up countless opportunities
Battle on stunning vistas of grass, forest, sand and snow and think. It’ll throw all your hard work and creativity right back at you, never letting you forget it’s your fault you’re even stuck with what decision to make. Alongside the single player campaign there is also a multiplayer mode, which allows you to engage in vast and epicplayer driven battles comprising of up to 250 players. As with the single player, the combat is highly engaging and fun and there is nothing quite as satisfying as scoring a headshot with your longbow from 300 metres away. User created content is also a driving force behind Mount & Blade’s appeal and longevity. The tools to create new levels, items and maps are easy enough to get hold of and understand. A plethora
of modifications exist for you to utilise, and even devloper created content is in ample supply. Despite being a highly immersive and entertaining game there are a few setbacks which sometimes ruin the overall polish of the title. One of the most significant is the all too often bizarre NPCs, exhibiting behaviour which breaks up the flow of battle and shatters the illusions of realism. Graphical glitches can also be a frequent problem resulting in you forcing to quit and relaunch the game. However, even with these current flaws Mount & Blade: Warband is a gem of a game. It is a great addition to any avid PC gamer’s collection and provides a unique experience in immersion that is matched by too few games today.
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
trAvel The Hitch
Top five places to visit in Morocco
A few days ago I landed back in England after a crazy (and incredibly cheap) two weeks hitch hiking through Europe and touring around Morocco. Now you may be wondering how a two week holiday when on a student budget is possible? Well here’s how! In November I signed up to participate in a charity hitch hike through France and Spain to Morocco, with Hitch. Hitch also runs one to Croatia, if going to Morocco doesn’t sound like your cup of tea.
I like waking up not knowing where I’m going and who I am going to meet. In order to take part in the event the charity asks for the participant to raise £375 from fund raising; this goes directly to Link Community Development. The money you raise helps improve the education system in Sub-Saharan Africa. Hitch hiking (safely) is a great
way to travel. I travelled with one of my best friends from university and an American study abroad student at Oxford Brookes who we met on the Link Partnering Forum! We began our adventure in the south of England in the ferry port of Newhaven to Dieppe. When I announced to those around me I was first planning on doing this charity hitchhike it was met with, as one would imagine, bewilderment and cautious words. Before hitchhiking I knew it would be a challenge and from various horror stories knew I was potentially putting myself in a dangerous, vulnerable position. But it was an experience I wanted to have.
Met so many interesting, crazy and lovely people along the way!
Personally, I find it thrilling waking up and not knowing where I’m going to end up, who I am going to meet. It’s exciting. So after going through passport control at the ferry port in France we headed outside. Now where to start hitching from? Before this moment I’d underestimated how random, crazy and difficult this hitch hike all the way to Morocco was going to be. Not letting this thought process stand in my way we all headed towards a nearby roundabout and started jumping around, holding our thumbs out, and pointing towards our whiteboard which had inscribed on it the words: SUD. After fifteen minutes or so, a young couple stopped, ushered us over and announced they were heading to BARCELONA! We said yes, understandably, and took our first hitch lift. The couple were incredibly lovely and took us out to a French restaurant in the evening. The next day they took us to a vineyard and did wine tasting, like true connoisseurs! That night they let us stay the night on their friends boat and we all made and ate homemade pizza and drank wine out of a jam jar... After this lovely hospitality, we managed to get a series of small lifts along the east coast of Spain, meeting so many interesting, diverse, crazy and lovely people!
An amazing feeling when you realise you’ve travelled 1,200 miles by car to get there We next encountered humbling human kindness from a young musician who took us all the way to Alicante. And again from a Spanish mother and her son who took us to Murcia; gave us a tour of the City, bought us free tapas in a local Spanish restaurant followed by taking us round the Spanish festivities at the annual Spring festival – Fiestas de Primavera! We continued getting small lifts from people for the next few days until we made it all the way to Tarifa, our final destination! We completed the trip in six days. It is such an amazing feeling when you arrive in Morocco and realise you travelled 1,200 miles by car to get there. Not only is hitch hiking fun and adventurous but its also very cost efficient and I saved so much money whilst catching lifts with some incredible people!
Morocco, just a ferry ride from Spain yet an entirely different world. Here are our top five places to visit:
Tips for Hitchhiking: 1. Group up. There is safety in numbers- and if you are female this will relieve some worry about your own safety. Also we found being in a group of three a good thing! It kept up our individual morale and encouraged drivers to pick us up to find out what on earth we were doing! 2. Take the essentials.
1.Marrakech - The Tourist Capital, and it is not hard to see why! Check out the famous Jemaa elFnaa square, full of snake charmers, henna, performers and street food. For the best view of the square visit one of the surrounding Cafes, surprisingly cheap for the best spot in town. The souks are full of shopping opportunities. The further you wander from the square, the more bargains can be found. It is easy to navigate around, and you will come across hidden gems such as old palaces and squares, just beware of the fake guides! If you want to take your Moroccan experience to the next level, visit a Hamman! 2. Sahara Desert - Excursions to the desert can be obtained from many areas in Morocco, notably Fez and Marrakech. Spending a night in the desert under the best star show in the world is an experience to tick off the bucket list! Enjoy a two hour camel trek through the dunes as the sun sets before traditional Berber whiskey (mint tea) and a Moroccan meal. One of the best nights of our trip! 3. Fes - The Spiritual Capital of Morocco, and a complete contrast
to Marrakech. Check out the Ville Nouvelle for the best food including tagines, crepes and fresh orange juice. The medina is a lot different to Marrakech and it may be worth getting a guide in order to cover it all. The biggest tanneries in Morocco are based here, as is one of the oldest Medersas and the only two tower Mosque. Try to reach a terrace in time for the call for prayer - an amazing experience. 4. Chefchaoen - We did not get a chance to visit this town on our trip, but word has it that it is one of the most beautiful towns in Morocco. The town is awash with blue doors and lovely shops - if you are in the North take the chance to explore! 5. High Atlas Mountains - Take a trip through the High Atlas Mountains, on the way you will see hidden valleys, monkeys, Nomads, Kasabahs, Moroccan towns, Argun Oil sellers, gorges and stunning views. This area of Morocco is the opposite to the hustle and bustle of the main towns and an eye opener to how diverse Morocco’s landscape actually is.
A tent (In case you end up stuck at a service station, also reduces costs), road maps of the countries you travel through, a whiteboard (change your destination if you wait for a while, for example, to a road name, a closer town or a general direction i.e. A45), foam thumb (or any other props such as onesies to stand out!), snacks and a lot of energy! The more energy we displayed - the better the reaction we gained. And... do NOT lose the whiteboard, like us! 3. Learn the language. In countries where hitchhiking is not so common this will really help. Not only will you be able to hold conversation with drivers, but you will also be able to communicate PRECISELY where you want to go, along with being able to do our next tip... 4. ASK for lifts. Sometimes it is worth biting the bullet and asking. This is easy to do at petrol stations and service stations, sometimes they may be able to take you just slightly further- and any distance helps. 5. Pick locations carefully. The best locations are roundabouts leading to the main highway, petrol stations and service stations. If a location is not working, move on. Just make sure where you are standing is legal and not too remote for safety reasons. 6. Trust your instincts. If one of you has a funny feeling at all during the hitch, follow it! Usually the feeling is right. 7. DO NOT GIVE UP! This is easily done after three hours in the same spot. However you never know when the next lift will come, and you will get somewhere eventually- so hold that smile and jump around, its all part of the experience!
Friday 25 April 2013 Spark*
fun&games Crossword Six Sudoku
This week’s Sudoku
Last week’s answer...
Answers coming in our next issue!
Solve the famous phrase from Apollo 13.
Across 1. Spark feature come wind, rain or shine in it? (7, 8) 9. Bread misunderstood by poser with sober footballer, say (4, 5) 10. Is 10 ruined by break? (5) 12. Canine on top of Els’s scramble to be cowardly (9) 14. Tonic overlord concealed in excuse (5) 15. Look at acorn maybe losing depth (3) 18. Total operation (3) 19. Opposed to street, once more on top (7) 20. Green really stumbled upon hay fever, say (7) 21. Headless animal provided particle (3) 22. 15’s relation to the main? (3) 24. To kip, please lose everyone and stir… (5) 25. …future graduates and future graduates? (9) 31. O rain, come back in a new form to show 4’s status all day? (2, 3) 32. Defeated team maybe climbs on origin of route to cheat’s essay? (9) 33. Loving partnership and this crossword on a long weekend? (3, 7, 5)
Horse to Water Maze Can you bring this horse to water?
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1. Reverse argument before Moscow provides top for wriggler (4) 2. Unknown surrounded by posh booze in shaft (4) 3. Grim Stan mashed under hotel into muscle (9) 4. Old device within prior ad I originated (5) 5. Only individuals left first sunflower, say (3) 6. Refugee once sits on topless heap (5) 7. Tutor’s duty – beast of burden with easy Southern style at first (6) 8. Wield bag (4) 11. Mouth crudely shut up with wind losing a puzzle’s purpose? (6) 13. Someone living screwed up? Um, nah… (5) 16. …as glee did likewise for flighty sorts? (6) 17. Countryside feature is small with floor covering (5) 18. Group go to top cell in reading location (9) 23. A bonfire on fire? (6) 26. Heal Violet inside corner (5) 27. Visual nerve hidden in top tickets (5) 28. Send occupation (4) 29. Fool rubber into touch (4) 30. “He’s my 25th removal”, slurred Annette? (4) 32. Another fool to be found within boa foundations (3)
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
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36 CAREERS email@example.com
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
It’s not too late... Careers Events Events We’ve lots of sessions coming up through the summer term, including a number of RED completion events which you will need to register for via RISIS. Please book your attendance for other events via www.reading.ac.uk/careers/myjobsonline April: Weds 24th - RED Award completion session Tues 30th - RED Award completion session 13.00-13.50pm Where to find Work Experience / summer work for arts and humanities students. Carrington room 101 May: Weds 1st 13.00-13.50pm - Where to Find Work Experience / summer work for science and life sciences students. Carrington Room 101 13.00-14.00 - Get ready for your summer placement. Session run in the Job Shop It’s not too late to find a graduate job, get a summer internship, finish the RED award…… and lots more We know that you’ll be focused on getting those dissertations handed in, revision, exams and last minute touches to final assignments, but we want to reassure you, that if you’ve not managed to secure a job, placement or plan anything beyond exams, then there is still time to find something to suit your interests and needs.
Positive outlook We are still receiving a high volume of placements, summer jobs and believe it or not, vacancies for finalists. Top tip. A wide variety of vacancies are uploaded onto Myjobsonline daily at this time of year, so please remember to set your preferences to the types of opportunities you are looking for and they will be sent to you directly – cutting out hours of trawling online and giving you
more time to revise and rest. We’d also suggest that if you are actively seeking work, but don’t have time to do much job search because of the exams, set your email alerts to daily, so you can dip in and out in between revising and don’t miss application deadlines. If you’re stuck – come and see us in the Carrington building first floor, or pop into the Job Shop in RUSU and we’ll show you how!
We’ve plenty of excellent part time roles coming in every day for those of you looking for some extra casual or summer work! These are all on www. reading.ac.uk/careers/myjobsonline
Toddler & Children’s - Let me teach - deadline May 6th
We currently have 11 exciting vacancies for the Reading Internship Scheme which are open to all students and finalists, they include opportunities for marketing interns, graduation assistants, quantity surveying interns and more…. check out http://www.reading.ac.uk/ careers/RIS/current.asp and get applying ASAP more internships are being uploaded as we speak...
Top Job-Shop Jobs Brand Manager - Teach First - deadline April 21st Sports Coaches - Let me Teach - deadline April 29th Sales Assistant - Belle Maison - deadline May1st Activities Leader - British Study Centre - deadline May 3rd
HR Intern -Hitachi Data Systems - deadline May 12th Part time retail assistants - The Oracle, Reading deadline May17th German speaking business development representative - Opsview Ltd - deadline May 22nd Summer Ball staff - RUSUdeadline May 22nd
Thursday 2nd 11.00-13.00 - Kick Start Your Career’ for 1&2nd year Arts, Humanities and Social Science Students – Van Endem Lecture Theatre
Out and About Have a look out for our team who are going to be popping up all over campus this term as part of our ‘It’s not too late campaign’ We’ll be in the library cafe, RUSU, HumSS building, Agriculture building and lots of other places for you to come and have a quick chat about anything relating to your future career, placements and employability. Come over and talk to us (we’ll be the smiley people with a purple CPEC banner), particularly if you’re stuck for ideas and stuck in a rut and we’ll point you in the right direction. Careers support after you’ve graduated! If you are graduating this
year, don’t forget that you can still receive free careers support after you’ve graduated, including oneto-one sessions for the first six months after you leave University. •For full details and updates, visit: www.reading. ac.uk/careers/graduate •Register for access to services, including graduate opportunities and vacancies: www.reading.ac.uk/careers/graduate/register •Sign-up for fortnightly emails, send your name, email and subject to: graduatecareers@reading. ac.uk
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
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A note from the Communications and Supporter Engagement Officer - Olympic champion joins University in saying ‘thank you’ to donors Olympic gold medallist Anna Watkins joined over 100 donors to the University of Reading at this year’s Donor Day, to celebrate the difference that philanthropy makes to the University and its students. The event, which was sponsored by Haslams Chartered Surveyors, took place at the University’s Henley Business School campus at Greenlands, Henley-on-Thames, and marked five years since the University merged with the Henley Management College to create Henley Business School. Anna Watkins, who is studying for a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Reading, won a gold medal in the rowing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Anna took time out of her busy schedule to share the story of her Olympic journey with guests, and to join the University in saying a personal thank you to its many donors for their support. Donor Day closely follows an extremely successful Annual Fund telephone campaign, in which over 1,000 graduates donated more than
£430,500 to transform the lives of current and prospective students. Combined with the financial support of trusts, foundations and corporate sponsors over the last nine years, more than £30 million has been raised to support students and cutting-edge research at the University. As well as hearing an adrenalinefilled talk from Olympic Champion Anna, who shared her experience of winning a gold medal in front of a home crowd, Donor Day provided an opportunity for guests to learn how their donations are making a difference across many different areas of the University, through a series of talks and exhibitions. Diane Lambe (BA English and French 1993) is one of the donors to the University of Reading to have attended the event. Diane said: ‘’The Greenlands campus was a wonderful venue for Donor Day. The presentations and displays were stimulating and informative, once again demonstrating the wide variety of all that the University of
Reading has to offer. There were so many interesting alumni, staff, and students to meet....and the afternoon tea was delicious.’’ Luke Appleby, who graduated from the University in 2010 with an MSc in Real Estate, is one of the many talented individuals to have benefitted from the generosity of alumni donations. While studying at the University of Reading, Luke received a bursary from the Reading Real Estate Foundation. Speaking in his presentation to guests, Luke said: ‘’Not long after I started my education at Reading, my place on my course was in jeopardy. The bursary I was awarded by the Reading Real Estate Foundation was invaluable, and allowed me to make the most of my time studying at the University of Reading. As a result, I finished my Masters and went straight into employment. I wouldn’t be where I am today without such generous support so I speak on behalf of all other students who have received a bursary when I say thank you!’’ Laura Garman
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38 SOCIETY SPOTLIGHT
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
Society Spotlight Reading Knights Canoe club: The Uni’s officially most dedicated sports society Aggie Stentiford
When you mention canoeing and kayaking at Reading University, people often respond with “What? There’s a kayaking society?!”. Unless of course, that person happens to be part of the club or gets involved with the club activities through being friends with members, in which case they’re probably sick of hearing about it! The club meet up twice a week on a Wednesday and a Saturday afternoon to go out paddling on the Thames.
We have river sessions on the Thames twice every week These river sessions allow us to get out on to the water to practice general skills, play games or just go for a leisurely social paddle in an array of boats including kayaks open canoes, playboats and raceboats. The club also run pool sessions at Bulmershe Leisure Centre on a Thursday night. This is a great place to practice a whole range of skills and get involved in a club favourite - water polo. This means that even is the weather isn’t great you can still get involved with the club by attending the warm pool sessions. However canoeing in the sunshine and stopping of for a drink or to practise water skills is great way to get a tan. Our ‘paddle and a pint sessions prove to be very popular!
Our ‘Paddle and a pint’ sessions are very popular! On top of that we try to run two socials a week after the river sessions, which more often than not end at the union. Though we’re not a particularly competitive club we do try to get teams together for a few Polo trips a year. This year we’ve competed at tournaments with Bristol and at BUCs in Doncaster. A lot of what we do on the river in Reading is important preparation for our white water trips. This year we baptised the new Fresher’s down in the Brecon Beacons near Abergavenny over Halloween weekend. I think the
coaches had their work cut out for them keeping us all upright, but by the end of the weekend most of us had at least mastered going in a straight line if nothing else! As well as being on the water we also got to stay in a massive bunker house where we all had a massive fancy dress and the people who swam had to do forfits Later in the term a few brave souls headed down to the Dart in Devon for a pretty chilly December weekend! We run this trip every year and for those that don’t make Fresher’s trip it makes a great first white water experience, with stretches of river for every ability. We finished off first term in style with a fantastic boat party! To add to the excitement, in Spring Term we often run a mystery river trip to a location in the UK. If the committee can keep it to themselves for long enough, you’ll have no idea where you’re headed! This year we headed up to North Wales on our on going hunt for good running water, and had a great weekend with only a few hairy moments! A few weeks after we ran training trip; an annual trip to North Wales that really concentrates on boating skills. We try to operate on a 1:2 student to coach ratio so that everyone gets the best out of the trip. It was definitely one to go on if you planned on doing one of the bigger trips later! Spring term also saw us back at NSR (the National Student Rodeo), the yearly student festival for kayakers from universities all over the country. Although this year we may not have come away with a prize we can all definitely say we had fun taking part. At the end of the spring term we found ourselves nominated for Most Dedicated Club at the Sports Fed Ball, Hopefully you can tell why we deserved to be nominated! Over the Easter holidays came our first big trip; 10 days in Scotland. The rivers are definitely a LOT bigger, though this year they had a bit of trouble finding any water to run, and found themselves taking up a bit of skiing between river hunts! After Easter, even we quieten down a bit for dissertations and exams, though we still run both river sessions, which makes for great stress relief. If we make it through exams though we reckon the third years should have whatever they want, which is why we run Finalists, a trip catering to
their every need (though a trip to Disney World might be a bit of a stretch, we’re probably looking at Wales again!). For our last trip of the year we’re currently planning a huge blow out trip to the French Alps. It’s a trip we’ve run before and looks absolutely incredible, personally I’m just trying not to let the mountain rescue stories put me off! It’s been an absolutely amazing year with RKCC. The committee have worked their socks off to see that we all had a good time and have been brilliant. As the new committee we’re stepping into some pretty big shoes! Over the summer term and in Fresher’s week next year we’ll be recruiting for new members, so if you fancy a break from revision come and join us on the water!
If you fancy a break from revision come and join us on the water! Being one of the largest clubs we expect even more people to join in with the society at next years sign up in fresher’s week. No doubt we’ll be inundated with sign ups; as we were this year, and many years before. Don’t be put off by the price as its only £45 a year to join and that includes acsess to all of the boats and equipment needed to have a great experience in canoeing at Reading!
Spark* Friday 26 April 2013
Don’t let Australia get off Scot-free Ellis Lane discusses the Lions Tour and selection issues rugby union by ELLIS LANE
The Lions selectors, led by New Zealand born Welsh coach Warren Gatland, are currently in the final stages of deciding their Lions 37 man squad which will be announced on the 30th April. The tour of Australia, starting on the 1st of June against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, won’t finish until the 6th of July. The final test against Australia is one of three games against the Wallabies in just two weeks; a challenge for even the fittest of athletes. The Lions will play also play seven provincial games (including the BaaBaas) against Australian club sides over the course of the month, meaning that with ten top flight games in one month the
squad selection is as important as the first team, due to the amount of rest players need. Gatland has already stated that he “would feel uncomfortable if the four home nations were not represented”, but representation is not the sole concern in selecting a Lions squad.
Representation is not the sole concern in selecting a Lions squad In the 2009 Lions squad, of the 37 only four were Scots and none of these four started one of the major games against South Africa. This year however, there should not just be more Scots on the plane,
but more starting in the main games against Australia as the Lions attempt to achieve their first series win since 1997. With Scotland boasting the most potent back 3, we should not be talking about Brown, Goode and Ashton but Maitland, Visser and Hogg to rival the giant Welsh wings. Richie Gray unfortunately struck by injury late on in the Six Nations but could still prove fitness as a late recall. The captain Kelly Brown put in some outstanding performances, but it is the back line of Scotland that has proved most impressive. Tim Visser has been in blistering form all season for Edinburgh and is the leading try scorer in the RaboDirectPro12, two ahead
of rugby’s current hot property George North. He has also shown his international prowess scoring against Italy and France, not to mention two tries against the All Blacks last autumn.
The main name on Scottish Rugby’s lips right now though is Stuart Hogg Sean Maitland also made an impression on the opposite wing scoring on his debut for England and putting in some superb performances in later games. The main name on Scottish Rugby’s lips right now though is Stuart Hogg, the attacking full back can
cut through defences from his own 22 metre line. Hogg does however have a huge amount of competition for the 15 shirt, namely the player of the Six Nations Leigh Halfpenny and the ever reliable Rob Kearney. Both have brilliant defensive qualities and perhaps more importantly far more experience. The Scot however, adds far more in attack which could be what the Lions need in order to beat the Wallabies. The selection headache for this Lions Tour will be how to fit in all these ever-impressing Scottish players. Warren Gatland and his team of selectors have been presented with a welcome dilemma. Maybe 2013 will be the time that Scotland finally get to ‘Hogg’ the limelight.
IPL-county stand-off continues Masters Review 2013 cricket by jack mendel
The IPL (Indian Premier League) is a little bit like a car crash. It is big and loud with lots of carnage and no matter how hard you try to ignore it, you just can’t. Any talented individual would doubtless be tempted by a short stint to earn a few hundred thousand, especially when most county pros earn no more than £40,000, yet few English players participate. The reason behind a lacking of an English presence is due to a clash in fixtures. The County season and the IPL begin very closely together and English players miss out significantly as a result. There is a serious conflict of interest emerging, as County cricket wants to cling onto its major players who want a piece of the IPL cake. Should counties ban players from going like Nottinghamshire have? Or should they allow players like Middlesex? Obviously some will be more able to allow players to go if they have quality in reserves. Others do not. If a county bans players
they may even go freelance. Lots of dilemmas have arisen. It is clear that in a competition that lasts 76 matches, with only 4 overseas players being permitted per game; a player is not going to play all the time, even if they did go. Indeed Luke Wright has played a single game out of six (as of the 22/4) and Eoin Morgan has played all six out of six. Truth be told, another Englishman is in an IPL squad as Owais Shah also ‘plays’, despite not having played a game yet. It could certainly be the case that a county’s decision to let a player go may be on a case by case basis on the grounds of whether it will be worth it. If they are unlikely to play regularly, then what is the point? As yet, the only attempt to solve this rift between players’ desires for IPL cricket, and their commitment to county cricket has been through negotiations between the ECB and BCCI (England and wales Cricket Board and Board of Control for Cricket in India). This has been to secure a change in the IPL fixtures, which would allow more
GOLF by Jack parker
Nottinghamshire county cricket club (pictured) have banned their players from going to the IPL English participation by moving fixtures forward before the county season. The decision is now at the discretion of BCCI, who are notoriously immovable in their stance. In the recent tour to India, they would not even allow non-official photographers. Although it’s clear that the ECB are arguing for a compromise, they will not promote anything that is to the detriment to domestic cricket. The outcome looks bleak as negotiations become stagnant and the standoff continues between IPL and County Cricket.
After seventy-six years, The Masters has provided us with some thrilling encounters, full of jubilation and heartbreak. The Masters is the greatest golf competition in the world. Always situated at the spectacular Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia USA, it can make and break the greatest golfers. It is the place that the best in the sport can become legends. This year the expectations were, as always, high when the seventyodd golfers began to make their way up Magnolia Lane in pursuit of victory. A widely open field was topped by bookies favourite Tiger Woods, who had recently made his way back to the top of the World Rankings and was keen to add to his collection of 4 Masters titles. Tiger finished under par (in tied fourth) for the tournament. but still ahead of rivals Rory McIroy, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson. There were plenty of up and coming amateurs on show too.
Guan Tianlang became the youngest competitor to play at the Masters at the mere age of fourteen. This year the tournament came down to a nervy playoff between Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera. There were joint on seven under par when Scott stood over a twelve-foot putt at the eighteenth. Scott was magnificent with yet another birdie as he punched his clenched fist into the air cheering “C’mon Aussies”.
Cabrera had two shots to push Scott all the way. The Argentine ripped the first straight at the flag landing 4 feet from the hole to leave a simple putt. A truly magnificent strike that made it abundantly clear we were in for a nail-biting finale. It took an extra two holes in the playoff but Scott saw off Carbrera to become Australian in Masters history to wear the green jacket. This was another classic Masters tournament. Highs, lows, new winners and old challengers, the 2013 Masters didn’t disappoint.
Round-up: world and uni sport in brief TOM NEWBOLD
WORLD SPORT Football Manchester City and Wigan Athletic will contest the FA Cup final after they both saw off their semifinal opponents. Wigan beat Millwall 2-0 in a match that will be more remembered for the fan’s violence in the Millwall end as opposed the dull quality of the football. City beat Chelsea 2-1 in an energetic performance that keeps them
in with a shout of silverware this season. Meanwhile Cardiff City have won promotion to the Premier League after comfortably winning the Championship. Hull look set to join them, currently in second place.
in particular feeling Mercedes are not far off challenging Red Bull. Red Bull expectedly lead the Constructor’s standings, with Lotus and Ferrari currently ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
The London Marathon was won by Tsegaye Kebede, in an event that passed without incident after the horror of the Boston Marathon. Mo Farah completed his half-marathon in preparation for racing the whole route in 2014.
Sebastian Vettle won the latest Formula One Grand Prix, in Bahrain, as he leads the drivers standings. Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso trail the German, with Hamilton
Usain Bolt, Jess Ennis, and Farah are among those confirmed for the London Anniversary Games in July. Held at the Olympic Park as part of the IAAF’s Diamond League, record crowds are expected to attend.
UNI SPORT BUCS Competitions Several league victories completed an impressive year for sport at the University of Reading. League titles in Hockey (2), Football, Tennis, Rugby Union,
Badminton and Lacrosse served to highlight the breadth of talent across the university’s sports teams.
Campus Sport Stenton Pirate Weasels won the intramural 11-a-side competition with an extre time 2-1 victory over surprise finalists Sherfield Hall. Unathletic Madrid claimed the 5-a-side title with a 3-0 defeat over Badger in the final. Madrid had won every single one of their matches in the competition and were worthy winners.
Friday 26 April 2013 Spark*
SPORT United crowned champ20ns Inside...
RUGBY: Lions selection CRICKET: IPL clashes with county cricket GOLF: Masters review ROUND-UP: World & Uni sport in brief
20th league title won with class and style Tom newbold
A blistering 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa on Monday evening ensured Manchester United were crowned Premier League champions. Robin van Persie scored all three goals in a masterful hat-trick, as if to remind United who they had to thank for their success. The Dutchman’s arrival has no doubt given the red half of Manchester an edge over their city rivals. In all truth however, it has been far more than the talismanic Van Persie that has won the Red Devils the title. The phenomenon of Sir Alex Ferguson cannot be overlooked. This was Ferguson’s 13th league victory, a truly astonishing feat. United have 20 overall, now two ahead of their fading nemesis’, Liverpool. Ryan Giggs also won his 13th league title, and capped it with another age-defying performance against Villa. Ferguson himself has credited his young players for this season’s triumph, and certainly the likes
of Rafael da Silva, David de Gea, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck have been instrumental in United’s success. Old-heads have been vastly important too, with the consistency of Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick propelling the team to new heights. Are you listening Roy?
A squad full of depth, variation and quality have all played their part in a magnificent league campaign that has been the perfect response to the challenge set by Manchester City last season. United now have four games to reach a record points total. They will receive their trophy on
the day of their last home game, against Swansea on 12th May. For now, Ferguson and his team will be basking in yet another triumph; domination of a league, and swatting aside of their nearest and bitter rivals. This one is possibly the sweetest of the lot.
Reading on the brink of relegation
Defeat for the Royals moves them closer to the drop Mike brown
The Madejski Stadium will almost certainly host Championship football next season as two Norwich goals in the space of 90 seconds effectively confirmed Reading’s relegation from the Premier League. Aston Villa’s defeat at newlyconfirmed champions Manchester United preserved Reading’s officla top-flight status for another week, but it is surely now only a matter of time before the inevitable happens. Reading needed a win at Norwich on Saturday to cling onto any hope, but the writing was on the wall in the 50th minute when Ryan Bennett smashed home from close range following a scramble from a corner. Just a minute later Elliott Bennett lifted the roof off Carrow Road, pouncing on an error from Reading keeper Alex McCarthy who failed to hold on to a cross. Reading battled gamely following the killer blow at the start of the second half and deservedly hauled
themselves back in to the game 18 minutes from time. Gareth McCleary finished off a fine individual run with a terrific, curling strike from the edge of the box to half the deficit. The visitors continued to push but couldn’t find an equaliser, as Norwich held on for a vital win.
TheMadejski Stadium will almost certainly host Championship football next season Nigel Adkins’ men remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League, 10 points from safety with just four games remaining. After a disappointing campaign, the aim now will be to hold on to as many key players as possible in order to achieve an instant return to the top-flight next season. The Royals look set to be joined in the second tier by Queens Park Rangers as they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Stoke City, a result
which eased the visitors relegation worries. Former Rangers striker Peter Crouch came back to haunt the hosts by scoring the first and winning a penalty which was confidently put away by Jon Walters to seal the victory. Meanwhile in the weekend’s other Premier League action, FA Cup finalists Wigan Athletic remain in the third relegation spot as West Ham United accomplished a comfortable 2-0 home victory. Matt Jarvis opened the scoring with a testing cross that evaded everyone, and the result was secured by Kevin Nolan who hammered in his 100th career goal. Arsenal are a step closer to achieving a Champions League spot, despite a disjointed display at London rivals Fulham. Steve Sidwell’s early red card after just 12 minutes handed the initiative to the visitors and they took the lead through Per Mertersacker’s header. One goal proved to be enough against a spirited Fulham side. The Gunners also finished
with 10 men as Oliver Giroud saw red late on. Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland secured an impressive 1-0 victory at home to Everton, a result which saw the home side take a huge stride towards safety. Stephane Sessegnon struck on the stroke of half time to secure the points. Newcastle still have work to do to retain their Premier League status as the spoils were shared with West Brom. Yoan Gouffan’s header was cancelled out by Billy Jones netting his first goal for the Baggies. Elsewhere, Swansea City and Southampton played out a goaless draw in a mid-table clash. Three goals in seven minutes on Sunday afternoon saw Tottenham complete a spectacular comeback over Manchester City to raise their Champions League hopes and end City’s faint hopes of regaining the title. Samir Nasri opened the scoring for City, but three goals in quick succession from Clint Dempsey, Jermain Defoe and
Gareth Bale turned the game on its head to leave the visitors reeling. The result enabed Manchester United to secure the title with their victory on Monday evening. Luis Suarez was both the hero and the villain as Liverpool rescued a well-earned point against Chelsea. A first half header from Oscar gave the Blues the lead, but they were pegged back by Daniel Sturridge’s neat finish. Eden Hazard’s coolly converted penalty looked to have secured a much needed win for the visitors, but Suarez headed home a stoppage time equaliser to rescue a point. An electrifying match will be remembered however for a sour incident though, as Suarez appeared to bite Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. His act will surely result in an extremely lengthy ban, and has only served to further tarnish the Uruguayan’s damaged reputation.