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Friday 01.02.13 Volume 62

Issue

MERL receives Heritage What’s inside? Education Award

Games 36 We welcome the return of the Crossword to Fun & Games!

Fashion 24 Hats off to you! Blenheim Palace, where the award was presented by by the Duchess of Marlborough Sophie harrison

The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) has joined the likes of Edinburgh Zoo and Cardiff Castle in being presented with the prestigious Sandford Award. The award recognises “achievements of historical sites in promoting excellence in heritage education” and was chosen to be given to MERL after the Sandford Award

judge observed a group of primary school children taking part in a “Victorian Life in the Palmer House” session organised by the museum. The judge commented: “It was a very good session, with lots of variety and which made very good use of the museum displays [including] the Victorian house which forms part of the premises.” The award was presented at Blenheim Palace by the Duchess

of Marlborough to Museum Attendant, Morryce Maddams, the Curator of Collections & Engagement, Isabel Hughes and the Museum Director, Kate Arnold Forster. The Museum of English Rural Life is situated on Redland Road, just on the edge of the London Road campus. It is open between 9am until 5pm, Tuesday to Friday and 2pm to 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday and is free to visit. MERL also

holds weekly lunchtime talks and afternoon seminars during term time, many of which are given by lecturers from the university. Rebecca Reynolds will be giving a talk about the digitalisation of museums and archive collections, and will also be exploring what is gained and lost during this process. For more information on MERL, you can visit its website at www.reading.ac.uk/merl/

versities against offering the more exotic field work trips in order to entice and advertise each course.

of field work and possibly making all compulsory field work free. The researchers did, however, find that for the time being the fees will not change however a movement to make the trips more cost-effective is in process. A greater use of technology, alternative travel arrangements and possible sponsorship will apply to future trips as well as being run as sustainably as possible including providing students with transferable skills. Dr Alice Mauchline, of the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading, said: “Fieldwork offers students a stimulating, novel learning environment and it is central to teaching in several science subjects.”

She also argues against replacing longer or foreign trips with shorter activities: “Such activities should supplement, not replace, longer field trips as there are significant social benefits to taking students away on residential trips that could be lost if there is too much of a shift towards lowcost and less-diverse day-trips”.

Travel 33 A Year Abroad?

Budget cuts reduce student fieldwork Correy Faccini

A survey conducted by researchers from The Universities of Reading, Sheffield and Chester have confirmed that many British universities are seriously considering different ways to fund all compulsory fieldwork, within the fees that have been set.

Universities have advised against offering more exotic field work This news means that students in the future will have to contribute less, if at all, towards field work included in their course. Those conducting the report did, however, warn uni-

A quarter of bioscience representatives agreed to cut the costs Those conducting the study, from the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Group, asked representatives from biosciences, geography, earth and environmental sciences (GEES) from forty three UK universities about the subject. They found that nearly eighty per cent of GEES and a quarter of the bioscience representatives agreed to bringing down the costs

A sponsorship could apply to future trips The researchers concluded by stating that well-organised and exciting fieldwork is known to encourage students to go into science careers or continue studying at a postgraduate level.

Elections 34 Interview with James Fletcher, RUSU President


2 News

news.spark@reading.ac.uk

Waiting For Godot Correy Faccini

Often described as “the play where nothing happens, twice”, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot has shaped the way that students and scholars alike view modern theatre. Originally deemed a failed play and met by harsh criticism, Godot is now seen as one of the greatest plays of the 21st century and after marking its sixtieth anniversary this month, The University of Reading looks back at what made it so original and influential.

The play marked its sixtieth anniversary this month The University of Reading’s Beckett archive is considered the biggest of its kind, containing over six hundred items of original Beckett material, including drafts of manuscripts, annotated and corrected copies. These amount to nearly five hundred editions of Beckett’s work, in more than twenty languages as well as stage files relating to nearly seven hundred productions. Since its birth in 1971, from the Beckett exhibition, the university has been the very centre of Beckett research worldwide. Professor James Knowlson, Beckett’s biographer describes the archive: “Phenomena, it is so valuable that we all have to talk in hushed tones about it

in the world of scholarship. People come from all over the world to The University of Reading to consult what is considered to be the jewel in our crown.” Waiting for Godot is thought to be one of Beckett’s greatest plays for its alternative outlook on a theatrical performance. Professor Anna McMullan of the Film, Theatre and Television Department stated: “It cleared the stage of furniture and complex plots and really reduced the theatre to human beings on stage, interacting with each other.” It is this minimalistic approach which created such controversy in the early days of the play’s release. To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the play The University of Reading, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, is leading a groundbreaking study into the impact of Beckett’s plays on modern theatre practice in the UK and Ireland.

Waiting for Godot is thought to be one of Beckett’s greatest plays This piece of research will be the very first of its kind. Professor McMullan poses the question, “what was the impact of Beckett’s theatre on the many directors, designers, performers, companies and venues that staged his work the length and breadth of these Islands?”

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

5-a-day isn’t enough Zoe Crook

University of Reading’s Professor Mike Gooding has been making headlines with his theories on crop science. Recently speaking to BBC Radio 4, Gooding discussed the matter of the large amounts of rainfall on fruit and vegetables.

Prof. Mike Gooding has recently been speaking to BBC Radio 4 Featuring on the Farming Today show, he was interviewed on the possibility of whether the nutrition of the fruit and vegetables will have decreased. Often regarded as an expert on crop science, and being the Head of the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the university, it is no surprise that Gooding was asked to appear on the show.

High rainfall could decrease the nurtients in fruit Fellow Reading lecturer, Richard Bennett, a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Reading, also joined the conversation. He discussed the effect that this had on the cost of food, and

Reading reduces gas emissions Ania Wronski

In a recent press release Reading Borough Council announced that it had dramatically reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in 2011/2012. In the current Reading Climate Change Strategy, the Council has made a commitment to reduce its emissions by 4% each year, but in the last year the Council’s emissions were down by 7.5%. Dramatic carbon reductions have been made in their buildings, operations, business travel, fleet, schools and some outsourced services.

They aim to reduce green-house gas emissions each year The Council has received funding to invest in energy efficiency from an independent, not-for-profit company, called Salix Finance Ltd., which is funded by The Department for Energy and Climate Change, The Welsh Assembly Government and The Scottish Government via The Carbon Trust. The Council explain that with this money, they have been able to carry out procedures to reduce their carbon-footprint. The Council

describes the changes it has made: “pipe-work insulation in some schools to reduce heat loss, replacing boilers with more efficient ones and upgrading lighting to more efficient lamps in a variety of buildings.”

Last year the Council’s emissions were down by 7.5% Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Environment and Climate Change, said: “The Council is absolutely committed to reducing carbon emissions and this shows through this excellent reduction of 7.5%. We have to be more efficient in our use of energy, it’s not only good for the environment, but it’s also cheaper for the tax payer in the long run.

This could reduce the effects on climate change by 2100 “We have been fortunate to be able to access a significant amount of invest-to-save money from Salix finance. We will be working on setting new targets for emissions re-

ductions as part of our contribution to the new Climate Change Strategy for Reading due to be made public later this year.” According to new research led by the University of Reading, Walker Institute, tough limits on greenhouse gases could reduce the effects of climate change by 2100. “This research, published in Nature Climate Change, shows that 20-65% of the harmful effects of climate change could be reduced. It considers factors such as, flooding, water availability, crop productivity and energy for heating and cooling, which would be effected by this change.

This new research is led by the university Director of the Walker Institute, Professor Nigel Arnell, said: “Our research clearly identifies the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – less severe impacts on flooding and crops are two areas of particular benefit. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions won’t avoid the impacts of climate change altogether of course, but our research shows it will buy time to make things like buildings, transport systems and agriculture more resilient to climate change.”

whether there was an impact on public health.

There are direct effects from high rainfall and low sunshine Professor Gooding revealed that: “There are some direct effects of things like high rainfall and also low sunshine on the content of produce which would include vegetables, cereals and fruit and orchard crops in ways that can be picked up by consumers.

“Rainfall will often cause leaching and loss of nutrients” “We do know that rainfall will often cause leaching and loss of nutrients from the soil and at certain times that will certainly reduce the amount of protein that ends up in the produce, and protein itself is related to a number of other nutrients that are important such as iron, copper and zinc. “The other thing that you get, especially near to harvest, is reduced sugars and soluble carbohydrates in the product so the actual taste of the fruit and veg will also change as you reduce the balance of sugars and starch and other nutrients.

“It’s unlikely to have a dramatic effect. The poor weather had an effect on yield as well, so if yield goes down more than the nutrient, the concentration will actually go up.”

“It’s unlikely to have a dramatic effect” Bennett added: “Poor weather also disrupts agricultural production and the availability of produce with associated price rises in food stores. This means that a healthy diet becomes more expensive and less accessible especially for those on lower incomes. “For example, some fruit and veg prices in supermarkets have shown some substantial price increases compared to last year.

A healthy diet becomes more expensive and less accessible “Moreover, increased grain prices impact greatly on the costs of livestock production and hence of meat etc in the supermarket - especially pork and chicken where feed costs are around 50% and 60% of total costs respectively.” For more information, listen to the programme on iPlayer.

Professor recieves fellowship Hannah Comisini

Professor Alison Donnell of the Department of English Language and Literature at University of Reading has recently been awarded a prestigious Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, English literature, the creative and performing arts, and many more. As one of seven awarded Fellows this year, Professor Donnell will undertake focused individual research projects alongside research leadership development. Donnell’s passion lies in postcolonial writings and theory with a particular emphasis on Anglophone Caribbean literature and black British writings. The Fellowship will fund her research project, “Caribbean Queer: Desire, dissidence and the constructions of literary subjectivity”. The subject of same-sex relations in the Anglophone Caribbean is considered to be “socially explosive” and her Fellowship project will “make an original intervention in the field of Caribbean sexuality studies by contesting heteronormativity, rather than contesting homophobia.”

Professor Donnell explained: “My project highlights stories of sexual relations, encounters and behaviours that do not necessarily correspond to the dominant framework of ‘gay liberation’ but that nevertheless collectively assert the realities of queer Caribbean lives.” Her literature will be used to explore and discuss sexual categorisation and understanding through public workshops in Trinidad, Jamaica and the UK.

Donnell is one of only seven awarded Fellows this year Professor Mark Llewellyn, Director of Research at the AHRC, commented on her achievement: “We have been delighted with the quality of these first proposals under the revised Fellowships scheme. The range of engagements, partnerships and collaborations our researchers are now able to take to a different level through the funding in this scheme is striking” Not only will Professor Donnell’s contribution strengthen the impact of arts and humanities research to transfer knowledge to other contexts but it will also be an effective advocate for its social, cultural and eco-

nomic significance.


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

news.spark@reading.ac.uk

News 3

University celebrates col- Advances in perlaborative health research sonal nutrition zoe crook

Ania Wronski

The University of Reading held a conference on 11th January which celebrated collaboration in healthcare research across Berkshire. The conference was organised by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Reading. Many healthcare professionals and academic researchers attended the conference and discussed knowledge on best practice. The conference was a great opportunity for professionals and academics to share latest research and celebrated the effects of collaborative research, and the beneficial effects that this has had on healthcare in Berkshire.

Professionals and academics share latest research and best practice It also provided an opportunity to share information on ethical approaches to research, and update their knowledge of the latest collaborative guidelines, set out by the NHS. Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Reading, Professor Richard Ellis, said:

‘We are delighted to welcome so many colleagues from local and regional healthcare providers to the University. Through the provision of training for healthcare professionals in areas such as pharmacy or speech and language therapy as well as wide-training research in psychology, nutrition and other areas, often in collaboration with regional NHS Trusts, the University of Reading is proud to make a strong contribution to healthcare provision in the region.’

High profle speakers highlighted the value and impact of this research Amongst the speakers at the conference were, Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health Research, Dr Jonathan Sheffield OBE, and National Director of INVOLVE, Mr Simon Denegri. They highlighted the value of this research and impact that it has on public healthcare. Other speakers discussed a variety of leading clinical research and studies, concerning subjects such as glucose monitoring, childhood anxiety disorders, instruments for assessing the cognitive delay in infants, dementia and research in emergency medicine. Mrs Valerie Woods, Senior Manager of Thames Valley Compre-

hensive Local Research Network spoke as a representative of the NHS Trusts, said: ‘There is a national drive to deliver high quality clinical research, so that patients can benefit from new and better treatments. In Thames Valley we are committed to this vision by continuing to develop our opportunities for collaboration and delivering world class research which contributes to improving the care and treatments we deliver to patients and the public.’ Other speakers included Dr Liza Keating, Consultant in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, who discussed the challenges of producing research in an emergency environment. Dr Cathy Creswell, delivered the latest research preformed in the Department of Psychology in the University of Reading, on anxiety disorders and depression in children. A Reading professor from the School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, Dr Graham Schafer, described the Early Report by Infant Caregivers (ERIC) project. This project is aimed at helping parents and carers identify symptoms which might indicate a risk of developmental delay in children who had difficult or problematic births.

The University of Reading have joined the ‘Food4Me’ project in an attempt to personalise diets to suit what is the healthiest for individuals. This follows studies that suggest that have suggested that people respond differently to various nutrients.

‘Food4Me’ promotes the concept of different bodies having different needs Rather than advising everyone to eat a certain amount of fruit or vegetables, they promote the concept of each body being different, and eating what is best according to them. They hope that in turn, this project will decrease the amount of obesity-related diseases. The project, which is funded by the European Union, has many partners throughout the continent. It spans fourteen countries, including Spain, Portugal and Greece. There are four institutions within the United Kingdom which form ‘Food4Me’, including University of Reading and Newcastle University. The University’s Department of Food and Nutritional Science and School of Psychology have a particular interest in obesity related diseases. With the intention of encouraging healthy eating and ef-

fective weight regulation, in 2009, the University opened an Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research. They work within the sector of consumer attitudes to personalised nutrition with ‘Food4Me’. This includes researching European consumers’ needs, values, and preferences in regards to personalised nutrition. In turn, they hope that their final report will inform stakeholders about the importance of personalised nutrition. Since the field of nutrigenomics began in 2000, the theory of individualised nutrition began. This studies food in relation to genes, with the idea that diets can be recommended according to an individual person’s genetic profile. They are currently attempting to develop this theory with an upcoming study. This will involve participants being provided with eating advice tailored to their health, lifestyle and genetic make-up. It will be completed via the internet, as a personalised nutrition service will be made. The University of Reading’s Professor Lovegrove, who is involved in the project stated: “Having the ability to design a better diet for someone is one step towards reducing obesity and the diseases that it contributes to. Equally important is understanding what people want and if they think an individual diet is a good idea and would encourage them to change their dietary habits.”

Feeding the world on Agric agenda

Tom Pope

Did you know that there have already been over 10 million births so far this year? It is predicted by 2050 the world population will increase from 7 billion, to at least 9 billion; a staggering increase of 2 billion people in only 37 years!

Increase in population has the potential to lead to massive food shortages This increase has the potential to lead to massive world food shortages in our lifetime. To prevent these shortages food production will have to increase by an estimated 100% on a similar land area to what is being farmed today.

Largest student organised conference in the UK The ‘Commercial Reality’ of this was explored during the annual University of Reading Agricul-

tural Club conference on 24th January, the largest student organised conference in the UK. The conference was in aid of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (RABI) and managed to raise £400. RABI is a charity who supports members of the farming community facing need, hardship, or distress.

Largest student organised conference in the UK Mr Mark Buckingham of Monsanto, one of the biggest plant breeding companies in the world talked about how crop production could be increased to meet future demands. He described how continued scientific development in plant breeding, GM crops and by using IT and economics could improve production by up to 125%. It was suggested GM crops were used as a ‘tool’ and not a ‘silver bullet’ for preventing these food shortages. Mark also described how he felt: ‘Europe is missing out on an opportunity by not allowing GM crops to be grown commer-

cially’ and that ‘European policy should change to value production in agriculture more highly’. Mr Stuart MacLennan from the livestock Mr Stuart MacLennan from the livestock genetics company Genus explained how increases in livestock production are a key part in preventing food shortages. He suggested these increases in production could be found in areas such as fish farming and sheep

production where selective breeding is still largely underdeveloped. Stuart stated how countries such as China, India and the Koreas have the potential for huge genetic improvements within their livestock production systems to meet the global demand forgenetics company Genus explained how increases in livestock production, such as fish farming and sheep, are a key part in preventing food shortages.

Stuart stated how countries such as China, India and the Koreas have the potential for huge genetic improvements within their livestock production systems to meet the global demand for farming and sheep production where selective breeding is still largely underdeveloped. Stuart stated how such countries have the potential for huge genetic improvements within their livestock production


4 NEWS news.spark@reading.ac.uk

Christian Aid Director visits Reading Ania WRONSKI

On Wednesday 16th January the director of the charity Christian Aid, Loretta Minghella, visited the University of Reading and gave the University of Reading Chaplaincy New Year Lecture. The lecture was called: “Christianity, capitalism and the poor – where’s the good news?” and it gave an insight into the war against poverty, and the charity’s aims on how to fight it. Ms Minghella described the complexities of the state of poverty, claiming that it is no longer the case of rich versus poor.

Poverty is no longer a case of rich versus poor She states that: ‘today the main driver of poverty is inequality’. She explains: ‘We’ve all paid a price for the failures in our financial system in recent years but those in poverty have been hit hardest. It’s clear we need different economic models and policies for the future which recognise the dignity of every person and better tackle

the root causes of injustice and inequality.’ Christian Aid is a Christian charity which globally provides urgent assistance to people suffering from poverty. Their work spans over South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. They provide emergency aid to countries which are affected by a crisis, disaster, or are ridden with conflict. As well as tackling the effects of poverty, they also work towards eradicating the causes poverty The charity claims that: “Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of dignity, freedom and hop, of power over their own lives.” Christian’s vision is to put: “an end to poverty”. The charity’s main purpose is to fight poverty, and its causes. It describes its essential aims are: ‘to expose the scandal of poverty, to help in practical ways to root it out from the world, to challenge and change structures and systems that favour the rich and powerful over the poor and marginalised”. During her visit Ms Minghella also viewed the recently built, Minghella Building, in which the Film, Theatre & Television department is

now based. The building is named after her brother, Anthony Minghella, the director of ‘The English Patient’, and was opened last year. Before the lecture, Ms Minghella said: “It is an honour to be asked to give the New Year Reading Chaplaincy Lecture and I am very much looking forward to seeing the university building named after my brother Anthony”. She explained that: “I and the rest of my family were deeply touched when we were told about the tribute… Anthony inspired many people through his life and work and I hope the students who study in the Minghella Building will go on to achieve great things”. Rev. Mark Laynesmith, Chaplain at the University of Reading, said: “Universities aim to prepare their students for better, more prosperous lives once they graduate. But University life can be about far more than that, opening people’s awareness and understanding of the wider world”. For more information on the charity Christian Aid and what they wish to achieve and their activites visit their website: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

Research in weather forecasting Zoe Crook

As temperatures recently hit below -3 degrees celsius, Britain was struck by the freezing weather. Despite many other countries continuing with their daily routine, having received lower temperatures and more snowfall, drivers were warned to stay off the roads and schools were closed.

Freezing predicted advance

weather further in

Research at the University of Reading has indicated that this freezing may be predicted further in advance. This may be done through studying the occurrences high up in the atmosphere. This, in turn, will enable people to predict what is probably going to happen on the ground. Although current weather forecasts focus on a lower area of the atmosphere, the troposphere, there are indications that further areas, such as the stratosphere should be utilised. Professor Ted Shepherd has discovered, in his paper published in

Nature Geoscience, that sudden increases in temperatures over the Arctic could lead to freezing weather in Britain and northern Europe. These ideas have occurred for over ten years, and it is now Professor Shepherd’s research is strongly in favour of it. These sudden warmings have been considered by some to even last up to two months. Professor Shepherd shared: “It is well known that stratospheric sudden warming events can affect weather for a period of up to two months”. He adds: “The seasonal forecasts issued recently by a number of weather centres predict that Britain will be about 1 degree centigrade colder than average through to the end of February. That might not sound like a lot but averaged over a month it makes quite a difference”.

Our research has shown how a sudden warming high in the stratosphere can add extra skill to wintertime seasonal forecasting - which, evidence shows, had previously been very difficult to get right. Our work shows that we can have more confidence in seasonal winter predictions when these high atmosphere warming events occur.’

Reading Tories host Home Secretary Adam Roberts

In a surprising coup, the Reading University Conservative Association (RUCA) played host to Home Secretary Theresa May on the 24th, a very memorable Thursday for all. A name never far away from the headlines, Theresa May has never been the darling of the nation. As she admitted herself last Thursday, she has presided over a particularly scandalous year for the Home Office, but despite this is still held in high regard by party members and politicians alike. One can tell she’s been in a tough job for a while now, but there can be no doubt as to her intention, to be in the home office for a while yet, and an impressive performance certainty showed why she still holds the confidence of many.

With her leopard-print heels and a rather elegant manner, she swept into the hall As a newly minted patron of RUCA, Ms May certainly brought gravitas to the proceedings. With her leopard-print heels and a rather elegant manner she swept into the hall around half seven, almost half an hour late, showing one who supposed time waits for no woman,

even one you could argue was the third most powerful figure in Britain. This did, however, give the audience plenty of time to fill a surprisingly professional space in the Henley Business School, and empty the vast amount of wine available. After a little schmoozing the crowd, she took to the podium to deliver a remarkably memorised speech, longer than this reporter could have managed, with a considerable degree of dignity worthy of the Office she holds.

Delivered a remarkably memorised speech... with a considerable degree of dignity worthy of the Office she held. Its worth nothing at this point this did not feel like a standard student event. RUCA did an excellent job with both the venue, which was immaculate, and the attendees, including notable members of the Conservative Party, some faculty and local party members and finally a mix of students, a feat which many societies would be unable to pull off. As for the speech, it contained many surprises for the evening, particularly a noted championing of the Police & Crime Commissioners, one of the more controversial

Theresa May addresses the crowd in a very professional-looking Henley Business School, Photos © Sam Winslet policies and certainly after the low voter turnout in the elections hardly a success to be lauded. However, with crime and punishment as the traditional purview of the Home Secretary, May showed clearly she had a firm grasp of the job, and after the Mitchell affair police reform seems top of the list, which cant have been easy to hear for the impressive number of Metropolitan officers guarding the building. Between the drugs dogs, and uniformed guards, one couldn’t help but feel very secure indeed!

A brief Q&A session saw some delightful ducking of questions After the speech, a far too brief Q&A session saw some delightful ducking of questions, and again its worth noting that there was a significant balance between students questions and those of the visitors, although time constraints allowed for only five. Afterwards, a lucky

handful were met and, according to those in conversation, were pleasantly surprised by the “down-toearth” nature of the Home Secretary. A few minutes more of this and then all too soon things were wrapped up by the bulky head of security and May was back in the car to London. In all, a pleasant evening unfortunately cut short by the time constraints of high office, and an excellent showing by a Home Secretary that will continue to surprise many.


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

news.spark@reading.ac.uk

News 5

Spark* weather forecast for the week ahead

Rebecca Emerton

The weekend ahead looks to start off wet and windy, with a frontal system moving across through Friday. This system will bring with it blustery conditions and heavy rain throughout the day, persisting until early evening, after which

we may see some light showers. On Saturday, winds will shift and become Northerly, bringing a wind chill throughout Saturday and Sunday, and colder conditions than we experienced earlier this week. Temperatures will cool through Friday, with a likely average of 5oC, but temperatures are unlikely

to reach above 3oC until later on Sunday afternoon, with a wind chill of approximately -2 to -3oC. Temperatures could get down below zero overnight on Saturday, meaning a frost and some icy conditions on Sunday morning. Saturday will remain relatively clear, with some strong winds at times. Showers are forecast for Sunday after 10am, and some showers could turn wintery, with a slight chance of sleet to the East, but this will not persist into the night. Sunday will begin cold, and warm throughout the day as winds shift to a westerly direction once more. Looking into the coming week, temperatures should become milder after the cold northerly winds this weekend, staying around 5-10oC during

the day. Conditions will be unsettled, with showers of rain likely all week, and clear spells at times. During clear conditions there are likely to be frosts overnight across much of the UK. Blustery winds and some gusts are also expected to accompany unsettled, wet weather this week.

Follow @SparkWeather on Twitter for more regular updates, news and photos. Ask weather-related questions and send your photos of interesting weather and sights around campus! (Note: This is a student project and forecasts are not a product of the


6 POLITICAL COMMENT politics.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

POLITICAL COMMENT Grand Old Party - but News in Brief Off Scot Free A whole election commision, hours of debate and careful critique has finally paid off. The Scottish government has agreed to change the wording of its independence referendum question, after concerns it may lead people to vote ‘’Yes’’. SNP ministers wanted to ask voters the yes/no question: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” in autumn 2014. The wording of the question will now be altered to: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. Like many will be, the huge changes in this question baffled me, but in finally getting my head around the taking out of four words and replacing them with one... probably wont make all that much difference. Sorry pollsters, but people are smart enough not to agree just because the word is there... at least, I hope!

Tesco still horsing about ‘Horse-gate’, as this will eventually become, once again hit the headlines this week as Tesco’s threw their supplier under the proverbial hooves of a stampeding media machine. For those of you not following this farcical saga, DNA testing recently uncovered horse in Tescos branded beef-burgers, against UK food standards laws. Apparently this wasn’t a case of “every little helps”, and has officially dropped Silvercrest, part of the ABP Food Group, as a supplier, saying the “breach of trust was simply too great”. Tesco said it would introduce its own DNA testing system for meat products to “ensure the quality” of its goods, which can only be good news to every aspiring Red-Rum out there!

Ecstatic in Colombia Happy news for the cartels in Colombia this week as ecstasy is decriminalised, along with a host of other “synthetic” drugs in the hopes of tackling the growing, or rather grown, problem of drug trafficking in the country. While this is designed mostly for personal use, critics have argued that this will only confuse the issue, and unless the legislation, which includes lower classified drugs such as marijuana allow more legal loopholes for the already lucrative drug trade rampant in the country. Internationally, this could easily be seen as a pilot program, although for many this is little more than an interim measure of a government still losing control of its peoples. Stronger measures will be needed if anything will be fully tackled.

Mali-cious intent The efforts in Mali have been stepped up further as French forces, backed up by European transport aircraft, successfully took the town of Kidal, the deepest in rebel controlled territory since the capture of Timbuktu earlier this week. David Cameron defended western involvement yesterday in Libya, the second stop on his African Tour, where many believe the overthrow of Gaddafi was directly responsible for the attempted Islamist coup. Many are warning that this proxy war, another in a long line of western interventions, could turn south quickly in what is being dubbed a “Shadow war” of assassination, drone strikes and bomb threats. With escalation likely, one can only hope British troops will not be sent into yet another war zone, however good the cause.

Insert headline here Political Comment is still on the lookout for writers to fill headlines and get opinions across. You need no background in writing or journalism, what we’re looking for are opinions and ideas. Do you disagree with something we’ve said? Or perhaps want to see your opinion put forward? Or just want to write and beef up the CV. Contact us at:

Sparkpolcom@gmail.com

are they too old?

Sean oakley

Mitt Romney’s former Iowa campaign adviser, Dave Kochel, recently said on NBC affiliate WHOTV “frankly, the culture wars are kind of over” and that he supported gay marriage, this change in party policy reflects an already evolved American public consciousness.

“...a line in the sand between those who believe in “the land of opportunity”, and those who believe identity is somehow connected to national purity.” The United States is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, yet it also has a long tradition of radicalism as evidenced by the fact the country wouldn’t have existed without the revolutionary thoughts of its founders. Since the influence of the hippie counterculture and civil rights movement in the late 1960’s, and the reaffirmation of traditional social values by the Christian Right soon after, there have been two Americas. Both were accepted by many of its people, but those who identified with one or the other desired the heart of America. The plight of immigrants is one of these defining issues, a line in the sand between those who believe in “the land of opportunity”, and citizens of the US who believe its true identity is somehow connected to ethnic or national purity. The latter outlook, championed so vociferously by the GOP in particular, was shown in the presidential election last year to be entirely without merit or realism; not just morally but in this instance, more importantly, politically. The Republican Party’s history with xenophobia and racism began with the Southern Strategy, a grand plan they enacted in the wake of black emancipation to take the seats of the southern Democrats, who many in the south felt had betrayed them with their approval of legislating racial equality (namely the 1964 Civil Rights Act). The GOP’s affair with social orthodoxy has then been a useful tool by which they’ve won the conservative white vote. However, the last election and changing demograph-

ics have shown that the divisive tactics which placed one ethnic group against another, or the use of a minority to stimulate anti-immigrant sentiment, is no longer politically viable. The vast majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the USA are from an ethnic minority, and since 2011 (for the first time in American history) newborns from non-white ethnic groups outnumbered those of Caucasians.

“Realising their new reality after 75% of latinos and nearly all black people in America voted against them...” Realising their new reality after 75% of latinos and nearly all black people in America (who make up 16% and 13% of the overall population respectively) voted against them, in order to avoid another catastrophic defeat (they’ve lost 3 of the last 4 general or congressional elections) the Republicans have changed their stance on several key issues, with immigration debatably the most prominent amongst them. Republican opposition to immigration is commonly perceived in the US to be reactionary and extreme, and rooted too strongly in racial discrimination, which undoubtedly played a part in their loss of the popular vote at only 47% in 2012, just as their policy on women’s rights (only 20% of respondents in a survey said they would repeal Roe vs. Wade) and gay marriage (53%

were in favour, and 46% against in a Gallup poll last November) was seen to be outmoded by much of electorate – particularly young voters. This defeat must only be more disheartening for the rightwing when one considers Politico’s report, which stated that the GOP’s expenditure on the Romney campaign was around $1 billion.

“the GOP’s expenditure on the Romney campaign was around $1 billion.” This year four Democratic and GOP senators, led by Arizonan incumbent John McCain who declared on ABC News that children brought by their parents into the USA can “no longer live in the shadows”, have brought immigration reform (with a “path to citizenship” that recognized the “already existing amnesty) to Congress. Whilst the Democrats have brought their own more liberal proposal to the table since re-election, the filibuster rules in the GOP-majority House of Representatives stand a good chance of guaranteeing only the bipartisan legislation will be passed. With the hegemonic power the USA possesses on the global stage, for better or worse, their internal affairs influence ours and this socially liberal shift in a nation socially conservative by much of the western world’s standards is a noteworthy but perhaps understated development.


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

politics.spark@reading.ac.uk

Political comment 7

SPARK*: Its nice to be Malala Yousafzai: One in 65 million right once in a while Nathalie Lowe

Security Studies of Tel Aviv opined that Israel risked little in the bombing: “both Syria and Hezbollah are in a situation of extreme weakness, and it doesn’t serve their interests to start such clashes now”. He warned, however, that they could retaliate covertly.

“... Both Syria and Hezbollah are currently in a situation of extreme weakness”

We warned you! Political Comment on Friday April 27th 2012

Calum mcintyre Rogers

Israel this Wednesday launched an airstrike on a Syrian target - either a military research centre or a “scientific research centre” depending on who you ask. Israel has repeatedly voiced concerns over Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles, arguing that it must act to prevent the weapons including VX nerve gas falling into the hands of militant groups such as Hezbollah, in addition to conventional weapons such as Scud strategic missiles and SAMs (surface-to-air missiles).

The collapse of the Libyan Gadaffi regime resulted in the disappearance weaponry The Lebanese army reported a total of three sorties over its

airspace, heading to Syria. The strike was condemned by Russia, the Arab League and Hezbollah; the Russian foreign ministry commented in a statement that “we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it”. Russia is one of Syria’s few allies, having large military and industrial investments in the Assad regime.

In the summer Spark* ran a column by retired Brigadier General Ironglove advocating securing Syria’s WMDs The Israeli government and armed forces have offered little comment on the strike but an Israeli spokesperson for the Institute for National

In the summer Spark* ran a column by retired Brigadier General Rufus Ironglove in which he advocated more active measures to secure Syria’s weapons, conventional and WMDs. This development appears to be a signal that this an attitude Israel is in agreement with. The Guardian reported that Amnon Sofrin, former chief of the world-famous Israeli intelligence service Mossad commented that Israel could go so far as to deploy special forces units into Syria to secure weapons.

An ex-Mossad chief commented that Israel could deploy special forces into Syria This should be deeply alarming for the UK - military operations in North Africa have apparently diverted the governments’ attention from Syria. Though insurrections in North Africa could certainly pose a threat to national and international security, the prospect of missing chemical weapons should be an immediate priority for analysis and action. The Syrian civil war appears to be edging inexo-

Oh yes, Prime Minister Bernard Woolley

After a strong week in the papers, Mr Cameron lost some ground this week to a vibrant opposition in Parliament. Strolling into the house with the air of a prizefighter, he took quick punches from the Labour member for Scunthorpe, who noted a particularly embarrassing flip-flop on defence, with Cameron masterfully ducking the question and coming back swinging, knocking him down with defence spending figures and a solid right hook with modernisa-

tion and balancing budgets, and the crowd went wild! taking a bow with the inevitably

“...a solid right hook with modernisation and balancing budgets, and the crowd went wild!” simpering conservative follow-up, the opening bouts had closed, and into the red corner steps Mr Milliband, cheers and boos welcoming him to the ring. First punch and we

can see its all going to be Europe, a tough fight for Mr Milliband, who’s trash talk has been somewhat lacking of late, with the PM looking the stronger man in the headlines. And indeed, in response to being asked if he would support the “yes” side of his European Referendum, faced the full brunt of an impassioned defence of his European policy, arguing straight out that gate he wanted Britain “part of a reformed and successful European Union”, cries willing him on though a defence of British interests and the swinging uppercut

When 15 year old female rights activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head whilst on her school bus in Pakistan on October the 12th last year, the world was outraged. And rightly so. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that young Malala was “the symbol of the infidels and obscenity.” Malala’s heinous crime had been blogging about how her life had changed after the Taliban established an edict that no girls could attend school. At the time of this being decreed, they had already blown up more than a hundred girls’ schools.

“Only 18% of Pakistani women have received 10 years or more of schooling.” Malala was right to protest. In Pakistan, male literacy is 70.2%, whereas female literacy rate is 46.3% and in some tribal areas just 3%. Only 18% of Pakistani women have received 10 years or more of schooling. But this terrifying issue is not localised to Pakistan. ActionAid report that gender disparity affects education in 62 countries, amounting to 65 million girls not attending school. Four out of five girls don’t attend secondary school in Africa. Most shockingly, according to Childline, in South Africa a girl has a higher chance of being raped than learning to read. Following the attack, Gordon Brown, now the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, launched a petition calling for all countries to outlaw discrimination against girls, for Pakistan to plan to deliver education for every child, and for international organisations to ensure of a deal that’s “Not just good for Britain, but good for Europe too”. Winded but still ready, Milliband struck back, claiming the Prime Minister had not answered the question, apparently having missed the clear “yes” with which the Prime Minister had started his answer, and asked again for a guarantee. Weak blows were punished further when, after re-iterating his position, Cameron launched the accusation, “Does he have a clue what he would do?” Apparently, he does not. With a mildly clumsy defence, he protested his opposition to the referendum and instead claimed Mr Cameron had been “dragged” into holding one by his eurosceptic Conservative back-benchers.

all children were in education by the end of 2015.

“How many more girls will need to be shot in the head before equality in education is taken seriously?” A government committed to eradicating gendered education is truly investing in their country. Ensuring all girls receive full schooling reduces the amount of underage marriages and pregnancies, consequentially reducing the rate of infant mortality. Girls gain vital skills by staying enrolled in school for as long as their male counterparts, therefore reducing unemployment, raising nationwide disposable income and improving Gross Domestic Product. It also enables more women to have the opportunity to be in parliament, moulding the country into a more developed, accepting and progressive one. An educated girl grows up to be an empowered woman with patriarchal emancipation within her reach. As long as it is socially acceptable to keep females out of school purely based on their sex, they will grow up crippled within society. And when half the citizens are unable to properly participate, that society can never truly prosper. Sadly, the real problem here is that governments should not need convincing that an educational system should not be based on discrimination, or indeed even that females deserve schooling. Education is a basic human right. How many more girls will need to be shot in the head before equality in education is taken seriously?

Not good enough, and the PM took the final few swings, insisting that Mr Milliband should “go and get a policy on Europe”, and while he maintained that the referendum was in Britain’s interest, he finished hard with the promise that “we will fight for it in the years ahead”. Ed’s left on the ropes with the speaker counting him out. It’s all over and Milliband is left beaten once again. It may be time for the Labour Party to admit, Milliband may be popular in the Unions but in the ballot box is simply too lightweight, with several missed opportunities despite the PM’s good form. If he doesn’t up his game, the referendum may well come about after all.


8 INTERVIEW

interview.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 1 February 2013

Spark*

interview St John’s Ambulance links with Spark*: more than just ice-packs and plasters You’re not just joining a solitary society but a much larger organisation Kirsten: It is the only society where when you are stood in full uniform people see you and automatically give you respect for the knowledge you have as they don’t see you as a student. Mark: Our members get real opportunities to develop skills they wouldn’t have been able to gain anywhere else. I’m an English Literature student and I wouldn’t have learnt how to put on a spinal collar or deliver entonox in my course. Mark Powney

Many of you may have seen the members of the university St John Ambulance Links society out on a Wednesday afternoon in all weathers supporting the Reading university teams as they compete in the BUCs matches. However there is a lot more to this society than just giving out ice packs and plasters. Members have weekly training sessions in which they learn a variety of different first aid skills and volunteer at a myriad of events such as Royal Ascot week to premiership football matches at Madejski stadium. What made you want to join St John Ambulance in the first place ?

Adrian: I thought learning first aid would be a really useful skill. Mark: I was at freshers fayre and I saw Luma strapped up in the head blocks and tied to a spinal board and I thought that this looks like a laugh. Kirsten: I had done a bit of first aid in the past and I thought it would be a really good idea to try and keep it up. Veena: Actually I only joined sort of accidentally. My flatmate was going along to the first meeting and I decided to go along with her. I’m glad I did because I’ve really enjoyed it since then. Charlotte: It seemed to link quite well with my degree and it looked

like a chance to gain some good experience. What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had within St John Ambulance ?

Adrian: The most memorable experiences I’ve had have been when I was standing at the front of the Garter Parade and at Royal Ascot. Mark: During Royal Ascot week on the first day the Queen walked passed where we were standing on duty and nodded towards at us. Being able to walk through the Royal Enclosure, which is only by invite of the Queen, was pretty amazing.

Walking

through

the

Royal Enclosure, which is by invite of the Queen was amazing Kirsten: I went to part of the olympic torch relay at the Madejski Stadium for the concert. The hype and atmosphere there was really good with all the children dancing and having fun. What makes this society different to any other society within the RUSU?

Adrain: You’re not just joining a solitary society but a much larger organisation that extends beyond the University. I’ve been able to gain opportunities working with young people in the Cadet units.

Veena: Being able to experience events that I would have not have been able to experience otherwise. Such as getting to use these skills at big events like Royal Ascot Week. Omar: I don’t think any other society gives you the access to the Olympic Games, Madejski stadium matches, Royal Ascot as well as providing you with new skills and the chance to go on awesome socials. Charlotte: It is the only society where you can transfer skills directly to the outside world. What is one of the hardest skills to learn or deliver? Adrian: I have found that trying to fill in the paperwork in rough weather can be a complete nightmare.

Talking with confidence under pressure can be quite daunting

If you would like to know more about the St John Ambulance Society at Reading University just visit our page on the official RUSU website http://www.rusu.co.uk/societies/6740/

What is the most common or uncommon injury you’ve seen during your time in St John Ambulance?

or email: Jane.Randall@berks.sja.org.uk.

Omar: I’ve seen a lot of head injuries. Sprains and strains are probably the most common injury I’ve ever treated. Adrian: Probably the time I went to pick someone one up who was having a heart attack. Mark: I once treated someone who was suffering anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction). That was very intense, but I did learn a lot from the Paramedic and Nurse who I was working with on that day.

People die needlessly because no one could give them first aid How important is first aid education?

We believe that it’s absolutely unacceptable that so many people die needlessly – because no one could give them first aid when they needed it.

Mark: The hardest thing I find to do while you are on duty is to take a pulse. After standing out side in the cold your fingers turn to icicles and trying to feel a pulse when you can barely hold a pen becomes quite difficult. Kirsten: Actually talking to the patients once you’ve learnt the skills and putting them into practice is quite hard. Omar: Putting on slings in the wind and rain on a Wednesday afternoon BUCS match is always a challenge Veena: Talking with confidence when you are under pressure can be quite daunting. You want the patient to feel calm and you are just

St John Ambulance teaches people first aid – about 800,000 last year alone – so that they can be the difference between a life lost and a

trying to remember everything.

life saved.

Interview* would like to thank Mark Powney for this insightful article and to the whole St. John’s Ambulance team for their continued efforts within this piece and on campus!

Next week: Within an exciting ‘Elections Issue’ Spark* will quizzing your RUSU Election candidates!


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Spark* Friday 1 February 2013


10 DEBATE comment.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

Debate Is gun control the answer to America’s problems?

patrick Gaughran

Yes

Gun violence is a problem, as is all violence and as are mental health issues. It is undeniable that America experiences an unacceptably high rate of gun violence and it might also be fair to assume that if the amount of guns in circulation dropped considerably then so would the rate of violent attacks that use them. However, as can be witnessed in countries with far stricter gun controls, people who want them can obtain them and people who are willing to use them are far less likely to be deterred by the illegality of their possession. Thus in the short term gun-control would solve nothing – my argument for why greater gun controls would at least have a positive effect on some of America’s problems rests on the ability of an enforced situation to eventually effect a paradigm change. It can definitely be part of the answer. The reasons for the prevalence of mass shootings and widespread gun violence in America are many and it would be foolish to think that severalhundred-year matured values can be instantly swept away in a river of legislation. Perhaps the most compelling argument for the right to keep and bear arms is the concept of the gun as an equaliser. Less physically able groups of people are able to use guns to dissuade would-be attackers from continuing whatever crime against the person they were looking to commit, and ultimately provide them with the ability to save their life – albeit possibly at the expense of the attackers. Many would-be victims protect themselves in this manner every year. However, a non-lethal alternative might fulfil this role more appropriately when we consider the riskreward ratio of the various options. Tasers, for example, do not broadly require the owner to make an active decision that has a high likelihood of seriously injuring somebody but would still allow them, in theory, to subdue an attacker and save their life. Such devices are used situationally by various police forces as a non-lethal alternative to guns (though often alongside them) and to reasonable effect. This does not, however, equalise a situation as much where the attacker has a

gun as it would if both people did; this same argument holds true for other stun alternatives and truer still for lower impact alternatives such as pepper sprays. This said, there is a reasonable argument for non-lethal alternatives, on balance, being the better alternative despite the aforementioned drawback, and various design concerns. Human life should perhaps be the primary concern. Alternative means of protection, however, are just part of the answer. The issue is that demand creates a supply - whether that is legal or not and in a country such as the USA where gun ownership is culturally meshed with the feeling of it being a right this demand would definitely be considerable. As with making marijuana illegal all this would achieve (at least initially) is a widespread black-market with no regulation and a loss in tax dollars that could be funnelled into education and social programs. Thus tighter controls form only the first part of an answer – a platform to build on. It will take time to erode culturally powerful paradigms and so anyone expecting any kind of quick fix is foolish at best – strictly short-termist policies are so often facile. In conclusion, gun-control will never be the full answer to any of America’s problems – assuming that the question is how do we solve them. It can, however, constitute an important part of a package of changes that in the long term might create circumstances in American society that are less conducive to violence of any kind, including gun violence. It isn’t simply a culture of gun-ownership that needs to be weakened but attitudes towards poverty and education that desperately need to be addressed. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes, just attitudes, situations and the hope that incremental measures will at least go some way towards changing them for the better. Poverty so often breeds crime and the plethora of poverty that exists in America needs to be addressed as part of a whole package of solutions, which include tighter gun controls.

Harriet Weston

A last defence against the government and any persons who desire to do harm

The problem is that demand creates supply

Obama’s proposed gun-control policy hurls citizens into a paranoid frenzy

No

The right for an American citizen to bear arms has been embedded within the country’s constitution since 1791. The Second Amendment, within the Bill of Rights, focuses on the liberty of the people and retaining a sense of individuality within the law, a last defence against the government and any persons who desire to do harm. The wording of the amendment enforces the idea of it supporting the individual and their rights, particularly regarding protection; “being necessary to the security of a free State”. By emphasising the necessity of weapons in relation to being free and retaining freedom, the amendment infers an independence that many citizens do not want to give up. It could be argued that the amendment refers only to a well-regulated militia, however this is a pedantic argument (thanks to a suspiciously-viewed comma) and is generally taken to include the peoples of America. Most recently, the Sandy Hook massacre tore through the community of Newtown, Connecticut, on 14th December 2012. This violence sparked Barack Obama’s proposals to tighten up gun laws, including the abolition of assault weapons and thorough background checks on any persons wanting to buy a gun. His policy was met with a myriad of opinions. However traumatic the story is, many Americans now appreciate the Second Amendment all the more due to the sudden feeling of vulnerability, specifically in smaller towns where law-control is minimal. This insecurity, alongside Obama’s proposed gun-control policy, hurls citizens into a paranoid frenzy and a dizzyingly overwhelming image of the government as omnipotent. In particular, the National Rifle Association (NRA) senses their heritage from their founding fathers being infringed and views such proposals with a Big Brother paranoia; “There’s only two reasons for a federal list on gun owners, to either tax them or take them”, so believes the executive vice-president of NRA, Wayne LaPierre. The argument is a circular one. Citizens who do not desire the policy to be successful do so for wanting to retain their right to

defend themselves against unexpected atrocities like Adam Lanza. A school in Northern Texas even permits several teachers (unpublicised) to carry guns while teaching, as their nearest police station in 30 minutes away. The head teacher believes there is nothing wrong with this, as the knowledge that the children (including his own) can be protected in such situations as the Sandy Hook killings appeases him. The provocatively named campaign, Guns Save Lives, fully supports these choices and a member, John Naese, responded to the brutality in Newtown by saying that it “is just another example of how gun-free zones don’t work” and how “prohibiting guns offers false protection to citizens”. For example, there were over 500 shootings in Chicago last year, a surprising number considering their strict gun laws. However, the criminals there merely hop over into the surrounding states, such as Illinois, where it is far easier to obtain weapons. Such examples advocates the slogan of Guns Save Lives; “ban the criminals, not the guns”. The other side is, of course, take away the guns and you eliminate the risk of another massacre such as the Sandy Hook killings. But the transition into gun-free states launches certain Americans into a sudden, and unknown defencelessness and hence the rise in gun sales following these killings and Obama’s policy to tighten gun laws. Guns are so embedded within the culture of America that the very thought of tightening up the control over guns is absolutely incomprehensible to a large portion of the American society. Some Americans even believe that here in the UK, we are suffocated by the government under the fact that we cannot choose whether to defend ourselves or not, because that choice has already been made for us by this government. With roots reaching back to the history of the founding fathers, various Americans cannot conceive of not having the right to own their instruments of freedom, of protection, and of death.


Spark* Friday 1 Feb 2013 

comment.spark@reading.ac.uk

COMMENT 11

comment Proud not pestering Gabrielle Linnett

When someone feels the joys of success, whether it’s a sporting achievement or academic excellence, does wanting to talk about it equate to boasting?

Everyone has felt the annoyance of a person who simply talks about themselves or their triumphs in a style that can only be described as smug, overly confident or arrogant boastful. And in turn we act in this way too when it is our chance to feel good about something, perhaps purposefully to annoy those who have done it before us. However such behaviour can’t be that pessimistic; nor can we tolerate it to be. Nobody enjoys the repetition of exaggerated stories of brilliance, but neither does anyone like it when they’re told to stop talking and when someone rains on their parade. The alternative interpretation of what seems like boasting is that people who talk about their achievements do so, because they are excited. They may feel overjoyed at their result and want to share the winning spirit with others to spread their cheer. It is normal and good for people to feel pleased with themselves when they are successful and we should encourage each other to be pleased with ourselves more often. Particularly in the university environment, where there are high academic demands and countless opportunities for compe-

tition, it is easy for people to feel intimidated by the achievements or others and believe their own efforts are not enough.

Nobody enjoys the repetition of exaggerated stories of brilliance But if we take more pride in what we do and encourage others to do so too, then maybe we can be more positive in how we receive news of other people’s successes, not feel enraged when a peer receives more recognition than you, and instead be genuinely happy for them with the only reference to yourself being one of feeling inspired. It’s a tough world out there, if we can’t share our excitement or sense of pride when we get good news, when would we be allowed to express how good we feel about ourselves? Apparent ‘boasting’ is a healthy, self esteem boosting exercise that everyone should carry out on occasion, maybe just limit it to one telling per person?

Comment and Debate want you! Send your articles to:

comment.spark@reading.ac.uk

Twitter: for the vain and vacuous Alfie Brierley

The clue is perhaps in the name. Write a blog and you become a blogger, hack into a computer and you become a hacker. So it’s safe to say that when they came up with “Twitter” they weren’t expecting much in the way of intelligent discourse. And so it has proved.

Inanity

is

rapidly

becoming a global art form In 2009 our Prime Minister David Cameron joked that the “trouble with Twitter.... is that too many twits might make a twat.” Never have I heard such sense coming from our very own prime ministers. Inanity is rapidly becoming a global art form and to prove it, the majority of people this New Year’s Eve, on the stroke of midnight reached not for a loved one or a glass of wine, but instead an electronic device in order to type the following vapid statement to no one in particular: Happy New Year.

To question the point of it all is social suicide, in a strange and tragic way, as not only do you receive a mouthful of abuse from friends as to stress your stupidity in not joining the bandwagon and getting your own account, but more importantly, you’re not likely to win any argument surrounding the point of Twitter, as you will be alone in your views. Such is the case with me, and hopefully this article will prove to promote a sense of agreement among the University community. A sad state of affairs, but this does not mean we should give in to the social pressures of moronic individuals does it? All must “tweet” in the modern age......nope, still not convinced, and quite frankly I’m ashamed of anyone who thinks it. Despite the above quote from Mr Cameron, it seems he too, has been weak enough (or politically cunning enough) to sign up to twitter. If it is a case of political strategy then it is no better than him doing it purely for personal reasons. Either way he has been vain and vacuous enough to sign up, which leaves me doubting the future of Britain once more. Call me old fashioned, but I

refuse to give in to such a moronic and brain dead activity such as “tweeting”. Despite this cruel attack on the twittering world I can see one advantage. If you have a genuine message to get out there then why not use Twitter as a public platform which is both free and succinct. This however, is the only advantage, and somehow it has been completely negated by the excessive use of twitter for modern communication In an ideal world, Twitter would be a celebration of human communication, evidence of our social evolution and the existence of our minds independent of our physical bodies even.

It encourages us to dwell on the superficial, to echo the predictable The potential is huge for such a concept, but unfortunately, it is the people who use the site which make it into nothing more than a celebration of vanity and vacuity as opposed to the above. Moreover,

it encourages us to dwell on the superficial, to echo the predictable. Why bother doing anything of any worth, like writing a letter or making a donation. The written word is dead along with the brains that write the word. This does not matter anymore though as we now have the pleasure of, instead doing something meaningful ourselves, re-tweeting someone else’s sentiments making us feel better, almost as if we mean it too. Twitter can be as infuriating as it is often unintentionally entertaining in the hands of the socially insecure, particularly self-obsessed celebrities who are obsessed with projecting “the real me” to their doting followers. Interestingly enough, I wrote an article in this section just before Christmas entitled: “the tragic and ignorant idolising of celebrities must stop”. And so if what I wrote was true, which I vehemently believe it to be, then we’re all doomed. Another main reason why people use twitter is to follow A-Z list celebrities who quite frankly, are no better than any of us.

The idea of wanting to mindlessly idolise celebrities even further on a website such as twitter, it a recipe for cultural disaster and if honest, children of the next generation will be even more brain dead, vacuous, uninspired, and moronic than this generation.

The

written

word

is

dead And so the next time you think about signing up to Twitter, don’t. You will only come to regret it later on in life after having realised that you wasted your whole time and effort in telling people that you feel like pizza or that you’re bored. How does anyone expect to change the world when worrying and tweeting about things such as that? Surely everyone aspires to achieve the best they can. I can tell you for sure that Twitter will not help this but only hinder your chances of success and becoming a more all rounded, grounded and individual person who knows what matters in life and knows what doesn’t.


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FILM&TV 13

FILM&TV Jonathan Edney

Feature Article: Gerry Anderson - The Puppet Master

Many television fans mourned the passing of Gerry Anderson over Christmas. His television programmes, including Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet are embedded in history for their use of puppets in iconic ‘Supermarionation’. His programmes have been part of people’s childhoods for the past sixty years and have influenced filmmakers such as Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit) and Trey Parker (Team America). Gerry Anderson was born in London in 1929. After his education, he began a career in photography, gaining an insight into film production at the Ministry of Information before starting work as a film editor. In 1947, he was called up to National Service in the RAF before returning to production at Pinewood Studios as a dubbing editor. He married Betty Wrightman and had two children with her before leaving Pinewood to join Polytechnic Films until it folded in 1955, when he, along with three colleagues, founded A.P. Films. After six months, the company was approached by children’s author Roberta Leigh to create a series called The Adventures of Twizzle (1957-58), the story of a doll with an ability to ‘twizzle’ his limbs. This was Anderson’s first venture with puppets, hoping that if done well, he would be approached to do more live-action work, an attitude that he maintained for longer than he wished. It was during production that he began an affair with secretary Sylvia Thamm, ultimately divorcing his wife and marrying Sylvia in 1960. The success of Twizzle led to another series with Leigh: Torchy

and his assistant Phones, working for the organisation W.A.S.P (World Aquanaut Security Patrol) in their fight against subterranean enemies.

In 2010, Gerry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and became an ambassador for The Alzheimer’s Society

The Battery Boy (1958-59), which followed a battery-powered doll and his adventures on Topsy Turvy Land.

Many television fans mourned the passing of Gerry Anderson over Christmas Anderson and his collaborators then decided to make their own puppet series, Four Feather Falls (1959-60), backed by Granada Television. The series was partly created by composer Barry Gray, who wrote the music for all of Anderson’s puppet series, creating many

memorable themes in the process. Set in the Wild West, it followed Sheriff Tex Tucker and his adventures after being gifted with four magic feathers. Anderson’s first live-action break was low-budget thriller Crossroads to Crime (1960) but its box-office failure made him return to puppets. However, A.P. Films was in great financial difficulty until ATV boss Lew Grade agreed to finance their next series, Supercar (1961). This marked the official debut of Supermarionation, which used the actors’ pre-recorded voices to move the puppets’ mouths in synchronisation. It followed the adventures of Mike Mercury and the ‘Supercar’, capable of air and water travel, allowing it to rescue those in danger. It was the first Anderson series to include a launch sequence, an iconic feature of his shows. The success of the series led to greater merchandising opportunities and a new series, Fireball XL5 (1962), following the title spaceship, piloted by Steve Zodiac, in its protection of the galaxy. This was the first series to be sold overseas due to its success and saw Lew Grade become managing director of AP Films, with the Andersons as co-directors. The company moved to new studios in Slough to create the first British colour children’s’ programme, Stingray (1964). The title submarine was piloted by Troy Tempest

During production, Anderson was fascinated by a disaster in West Germany in 1963, where fourteen miners were rescued after two weeks trapped underground. This inspired his most famous series, Thunderbirds (1965-66), where the Tracy family, under the name of International Rescue, received distress calls via their space station and flew off in their wondrous machines to rescue those in danger. Each episode felt like a mini movie due to its incredible effects, iconic launch sequences and dramatic music, lightened by humour, often from the British agent Lady Penelope and her chauffeur Parker. Catchphrases such as ‘Thunderbirds are go!’ and ‘F.A.B’ ensured that the series remained popular beyond its original broadcast, spawning two feature films and essential toys such as the Tracy Island set! Shortly after this, Gerry and Sylvia had their first son, Christopher. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967) upgraded to more realistic puppets and followed the indestructible Captain Scarlet and the organisation Spectrum in their war against the Mysterons, a Martian race capable of reconstructing matter. This series was noticeably darker in tone, which led to the next series, Joe 90 (1968) being more child-friendly, following nine-year-old Joe and a machine that transferred the brain patterns of others into his head to help with world security. This was poorly received and after a similar failure with a mix of live-action and Supermarionation in The Secret Service (1969), Anderson was finally given the opportunity to do live-action with the series UFO (1970), The Protectors (1971-72) and Space: 1999 (1975-77).

It was during these series that his marriage to Sylvia detoriated and they separated. Anderson sold his share of AP Films before partnering in another company to produce the series Terrahawks (1983), using ‘Supermacromation’ glove-style puppets, which followed a task force in its defence of Earth against aliens. Over the next decade, he worked on various small projects, varying in success. In 2005, he created New Captain Scarlet, which upgraded the original premise into CGI animation, giving him freedom to achieve more ambitious storylines without strings! In 2010, Gerry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and became an ambassador for The Alzheimer’s

Society before his death from the disease on Boxing Day last year. His coffin bore a floral Thunderbird 2 and ‘F.A.B’ in honour of his greatest achievement. His programmes concerned helping others, reflecting his belief in the possibilities of humanity, something that was, in his view, disappointed. I had the pleasure of meeting him in 2010, where his illness was evident but I still have the covers he signed that day. Although today’s generation may find it difficult to look past the strings, the ambition and creativity behind his projects made them truly unique in their time and they still have great appeal and relevance today. He and they were, and remain, truly ‘F.A.B’!

FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - in an official announcement this week, J.J. Abrams will be taking the directorship of Star Wars Episode VII; what a task he now has!


14 FILM&TV

Friday 18 January 2013  Spark*

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film&TV

Django Unchained: Technically a “Southern”, and also brilliant Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio Running Time: 165mins Genre: Western, Drama Matthew Crowe

This is Tarantino’s first official Western. He’s arguably made them before (Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds), just in different settings, but now he’s formally placed his stamp onto the genre. But is Django Unchained a spaghetti western? A Romance set in the South? An homage to 'slavesploitation'? These are debatable but what’s important is that he’s made a great movie; his best since the much maligned Jackie Brown. From the beginning Columbia Picture credits, the audience know they are in a Tarantino movie, a film that dialogue wise is his funniest since Pulp Fiction.  And in the midst of the pulpy comic violence we are introduced to the plot of freed slave Django, and his quest to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

As usual Tarantino makes reference to many of his beloved exploitation movies. The star of the old Django series (Franco Nero) makes a cameo, Broomhilda’s last name is Shaft and the film contains Mandingo fighting. He even refers to his own Pulp Fiction (“tasty beverage”, “getting into character”). This displays a director at the peak of confidence, and it clearly shows in some of the visuals like

the blood spilling on the white cotton, which in many ways is a good metaphor for the film as a whole; a revenge movie in the same manner of Inglourious.

The acting from the main cast is uniformly excellent And despite the film’s funnier moments, Tarantino never indulges himself in a way that makes the movie indistinguishable from exploitation (unlike Death Proof). The violence feels authentic when it needs to, and in a couple sections I had to look away from the screen. Also the much controversial usage of ‘nigger’ has created some stir, in Django it felt very appropriate for the time, and actually contributes to the movies authenticity (but then again I am a semi-privileged white boy, so we’ll see how others feel). Fans of Tarantino will no doubt want to talk about the music, and the choices here work better and are less distracting than in Inglourious. Even the rap music, which during one shoot-out scene uses sampling as though they were Django’s flashbacks.

The acting from the main cast is uniformly excellent with Christoph Waltz and Sam Jackson born to speak Tarantino’s lines, and DiCaprio bringing a creepy turn that was completely robbed of an Oscar nomination. At the centre however is Jamie Foxx, who brings Tarantino’s most rounded character since Pam Grier in Jackie Brown. Not all characters are great though. Kerry Washington is given very little to do (but does it well) and at one point Tarantino turns up with a TERRIBLE Australian accent before Django blows

him up into a million pop culture references. And at 165 minutes the film is slightly too long. There comes a point after one important handshake that you feel the movie should have ended, but it continues for another 15 minutes. But despite this Django is a superbly acted, funny and visually impressive addition to the Tarantino canon.    Oh, and if you want to see Jamie Foxx’s nuts, go see Django Unchained.

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Movie 43: An early contender for the worst film of 2013 Directed by: Peter Farelly Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry Running Time: 90 mins Genre: Comedy Dan Rawle

Lo and Behold! As the New Year ushers in opportunistic film-makers aiming for Oscar-recognition this season, it’s nice to see that balance has been restored in the

shape of the unfunny, puerile and downright dismal Movie 43. Director Peter Farelly assembles a star-studded cast to match that of this January’s epic Les Miserables, providing a novelty for cinemagoers who can now choose to see Hugh Jackman in either the best or worst film of the year so far. If you are an English Lit student reading this, the term ‘tragicomedy’ resonates as the blanket term for an in-between genre that elicits reactions of fear and then humour, however Movie 43 gives us the ‘tragic-comedy’ as the only pathos from the audience is pity for actors who have the film attached to their name. The film’s narrative consists of a series of convoluted and unfunny sketches, stemming from a group of teenagers’ search for the most controversial video on the internet, utilising the same Teen-American bildungsroman formula successfully used in Road Trip (2000) and Sex Drive (2008), however Movie 43 executes it with significantly clumsier humour and less laughs. Overall, the audience are left confused, as they are

dragged through a tedious frame narrative, stretching the already thin, aimless and mainly dry storyline over 90 minutes. The film’s cast is probably its most redeeming feature, who do not seem fazed by the dialogue and perform flawlessly, possibly incentivised by aninflated payslip in case of damages to the actors’ reputation. A-listers Jackman and Winslet execute a blind-date scene complete with all its awkward hallmarks, as do Steven Merchant and Halle Berry in a bizarrely repetitious scene. Essentially the cast make the best of a bad script, and concrete performances are given across the board. Perhaps the only accolade that this film deserves is for the most subversive trailer, which ostensibly shows the film to be a gold mine of acting talent and slick crude humour, however (deliberately?) throws the prospective audience member off its tone of banality and smut. This film is the manifestation of the degenerate tendency of Hollywood to produce movies on a cash-cow basis, tar-

ring over lazy script-writing and severely reduced standards in favour of audience-luring casts and low-level shock humour in order to propagate notoriety. Perhaps with Movie 43, Hollywood is attempting to jump on the ‘bad B-movie cult status’ bandwagon that has seen some independent films to gain world-wide popularity for their

anti-value; hilariously obvious plot-holes, ludicrous dialogue and downright weird sex-scenes. Movie 43 is a bad film, however viewed in this light it is possible to sympathise with it, whether its shoddy production was intentional or not.

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FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - after a lukewarm box-office performance, Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher is unlikely to get a sequel, not having met the $250 target


Spark* Friday 18 January 2013

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FILM&TV 15

Quartet: So funny yet so, SO granny-ish Directed by: Dustin Hoffman Starring: Maggie Smith, Billy Connelly, Sheridan Smith Runtime: 90mins Genre: drama Charlotte Coster

Looking around me at my fellow cinema goers, it was very clear who this film was be aimed at! Put simply, I was the youngest in the

room by about 40 years! Quartet was definitely not a young person’s film which is the reason why it has received such a minimal amount of advertising despite the amazingness of the cast! And by an amazing cast, I mean incredible! Just a small portion included Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Billy Connelly, Pauline Collins and Tom Courtenay who all play a delightfully talented bunch of musical geriatrics. They live together in the most beautiful nursing home that I have ever seen,

under the watchful eye of head doctor, Sheridan Smith. Together they prepared for the yearly gala to enable the home to stay open, and the film followed sequence of events from persuading certain unwilling members to join in, all the way to the gala actually taking place.

Despite my criticisms, I did really enjoy myself It wasn’t exactly a gripping plot, which could be the reason for the lack of interest by younger audiences. Furthermore there were many holes within it that could not be ignored. For instance, why did the illnesses (that were the reason for the inhabitants of the nursing home to be there in the first place), seem to come and go at random? And how did each performer remember their words if they had so many problems remembering who the other characters in the home were? And, most annoyingly, what was never explained was why the main character needed so much persuasion to sing in the first place, when she had done so for her whole working life?

On the other hand, what was lacking in plot, was made up for in the acting that the whole cast produced. As the plot was almost non existent, this meant that the film was entirely character driven and the actors did their best to shine from the limited starting point that was offered. And they did so very credibly – obviously. Because they are legends. I have to give a special mention to Sheridan Smith, who, despite being not quite in Maggie Smith’s league, almost stole the show keeping her charges

in check with a great mixture of humour and humility. Despite my criticisms, I did really enjoy myself in this very laidback film. If you just need a very easy watch that is not thrilling but still strangely satisfying then this might be for you. Plus, you will get to see Dame Maggie in action which is always a pleasure. So give it a chance, you might just be surprised.

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Lincoln: Demonstrating the most monumental moments of American History Directed by: Steven Spielberg Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph GordonLevitt Running time: 150 mins Genre: Historical, Drama Wandy Badipe

When I heard this film was coming out, I was beyond excited. American history is interesting because it is quite unique; it consists of outcasts, fortune seekers, adventurer’s and zealots who formed a great nation that has become the ultimate symbol of personal freedom and liberty. Yet the battle for freedom, for a nation whose initial goal was the freedom and equality for all men, has been a hard and bloody one since.

The film also explores the family issues Lincoln experienced, along with his political hardships

Lincoln is an excellent movie that demonstrates one of the most monumental moments of American history, the fight to pass the 13th amendment in the House of Representatives. It’s a movie that captures the ongoing struggle for the ultimate American dream, but

it is also a film that brilliantly captures the strain of such an endeavor on a single man. It’s interesting how Spielberg focuses on the impact of such a pivotal decision, and such a costly war on a single man’s disposition. Daniel Day Lewis brings Abraham Lincoln

to life. A soft-spoken man with a love for anecdotes, whose passion and emotion is not outwardly shown, but expressed through his silent dedication. The film mostly takes place in the Whitehouse, in a conference room that Lincoln and his cabinet meet in to talk

about the 13th amendment and the heated political division it created. The room is usually not well lit, it is dark, and throughout the film Lincoln is rarely ever seen outside. Demonstrating the films focus on depicting his dedication to completely fulfill his goal. The film also explores the family issues Lincoln experienced, along with his political hardships, the tension and grief of his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally field), and the inner turmoil of Robert Lincoln, (Joseph Gordan-Levitt), his oldest son. In addition, Tommy Lee Jones’ performance of the sarcastic, witty and passionate Thaddeus Stevens is outstanding; I was immediately drawn to this character whose aim for equality for all people was ruthless. As the film unraveled, I found myself laughing, crying and sitting on the edge of my seat. Steven Spielberg effectively inspires and touches his audiences, and he brings to life beautifully an astonishing and groundbreaking historical moment. Overall the film was breathtaking, and I dare say it deserves all the Oscars it has been nominated for.

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FILM NEWS IN BRIEF: Eva Green is set to play femme fatale Ava Lord in the upcoming Sin City: A Dame To Kill For by director Frank Miller


16 FILM&TV

Friday 18 January 2013  Spark*

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FILM&TV

Gangster Squad: No Badges Directed by: Ruben Fleischer Starring: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling & Sean Penn Runtime: 113 mins Genre: Police Action Nathan Taylor

Gangster Squad: In post-WWII Los Angeles, Jewish mafioso Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has taken total control over the city and turned it into his own personal playground. Any cases against him or his prostitution and protection rackets are thrown out of court due to bribed judges or disappeared witnesses.

It’s a cheap, periodpiece that tries too hard to be gritty Enter the eponymous ‘Gangster Squad’, a small group of experienced police-officers assembled by Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) to go to war with Cohen under the radar and under the table – taking out his brothels and

casinos so that he can’t afford to keep bribing officials to stay out of jail.

The man cannot resist making light of a situation. It’s a cheap, period-piece that tries too hard to be gritty. The viewer is treated to graphic displays of men being tied to vehicles and torn in half, acid being poured on victims and even children being gunned down in the street, but it all rings hollow, there’s no sense of impact, just pretty pictures. The director, Ruben Fleischer, has previously directed comedies such as Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less, and I think that’s why the film feels so confused. Scenes that should be played for drama, such as the Gangster Squad getting arrested, are played for laughs instead. The man cannot resist making light of a situation. It’s prevalent throughout the film, whether an old man with a pistol is shooting out a gatling-gun or a car survives driving over a pipe-bomb with

Top 10 Cinematic Punches (to the face)

nary a scratch, there is a slapstick atmosphere at work that undermines the high stakes. Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen is hammy and over-acted, making grand speeches about manifest destiny in the middle of restaurants. It puts a serious strain on the viewer’s suspension of disbelief that the irritable mobster who can’t focus for three minutes without breaking something (or someone) is capable of constructing and maintaining an empire. Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling are both great actors who demonstrate their ability to act on the rare occasion that they’re permitted to stop being clichés. Emma Stone’s character, on the other hand, feels like nothing more than a cut-and-paste love interest with zero characterisation. To conclude, Gangster Squad has eyes bigger than it’s stomach. An action film by a comedic director set in a dramatic period that subsequently fails to get a sufficient handle on itself to actually succeed in any of these genres, instead just meandering on for two hours before rushing an ending.

10) Hangover (2009) In an unexpected cameo, unless you saw the f*****g trailer) Mike Tyson shows off his aggressive side. That’s what Phil Collins’ music will do to you. 9) Fight Club (1999) “I want you to hit me as hard as you can”. Edward Norton’s character responds with a very pathetic hit around the ear. Still counts. 8) Conan the Barbarian (1982)/ Conan the Destroyer (1984) To get prepared for destroying Predators and T1000s, Mr. Schwarzenegger prepared himself by punching defenseless camels. In a Loincloth. 7) Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) Jason pulling a girl underwater in Friday the 13th may be iconic, but I’ll always remember him punching a man’s head clear off his body. 6) Road House (1989) There are a total of 49 face punches in this movie. Oh and there’s Patrick Swayze ripping out a man’s throat. Those were the 80’s.

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Zero Dark Thirty: Thirty Minutes Too Long Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton & Chris Pratt Runtime: 157 mins Genre: Historical Drama Nathan Taylor

Zero Dark Thirty is effectively a biopic that follows the CIA Operative known only as Maya as she spends over a decade hunting Al Qaeda, as well as providing background on notorious terrorists attacks such as the 2005 London bombings, the Marriott Hotel bombing and the Camp Chapman Incident.

There is also focus on the torture-processes The film culminates with a reenactment of Operation Neptune Spear – the assault on Osama Bin Laden’s compound that resulted in his death.

There is also focus on the tortureprocesses employed against captured terrorists and the psychological damage torturers receive from doing what they do. First things first, the acting in this film is superb. Jessica Chastain (Lawless, Madagascar 3) does a stellar job of portraying Maya as she grows from a timid rookie uncomfortable with tortur-

ing captives to an emotionallystunted crusader over a ten-year period. A lesser actor would have tanked this role, but she pulls it off with aplomb. Also noteworthy is the performance of Reda Kateb, who has relatively minor role has Maya’s first torture victim.

you know the mood is only being raised so they can drop it again This is by far the most brutal series of scenes in the film and, again, it’s the believability of his performance that prevents this from becoming Human Centipedestyle torture-porn. Unfortunately, that powerful opening is squandered quickly and painfully, as the film repeats the same pattern over and over for more than an hour: Maya finds a lead but nobody believes her. She yells at them until they let her follow the lead but then it doesn’t pan out. Maya wonders why nobody follows her leads.

Every time. Every single Hope Spot is rendered moot because you know the mood is only being raised so they can drop it again. After the third time, the audience just stops caring. Too make things worse, Osama was assassinated during the development of the film. So they decided to film an extra segment portraying the events. This results in a running time of over two and a half hours, turning what could have been a gripping action segment to cap off a dramatic film into mind-numbing exercise in patience. The audience’s attention span is already thoroughly depleted at this point. Zero Dark Thirty could have been a great film. It has drama, action and historical context. Unfortunately, last-minute alterations and bad pacing water that down until it isn’t worth the price of entry. I cannot imagine a single scenario in which I would recommend viewing this film.

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FILM NEWS IN BRIEF -MGM have their beady eye on a new Ben Hur, which will bear more parallels to the life of Jesus Christ

5) Rocky II (1979) There are a few punches in this film, but I’m going for the one so good, it knocked BOTH participants to the floor. The Drama! 4) The Wicker Man (2006) Oscar winner Nicolas Cage dons a bear suit and runs off to punch a woman. And we were expected to take all this seriously. 3) Blazing Saddles (1974) Mongo punches a horse to the ground. The horse must have been well trained, a lot actors can’t get their queues right. Actors: Take notes. 2) Raging Bull (1980) THE iconic boxing movie and an iconic shot of a competitor punched in slow motion. I imagine this didn’t require a lot of takes. 1) Back to the Future (1985) Never has there been a punch more deserving, more heroic and more satisfying; George McFly knocking out Biff and getting the girl. BIFF, BAM, POW!!!


Spark* Friday 18 January 2013

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T.V Review: Miranda By Charlotte Coster

Miranda Hart is one of those people who I have always wanted as my best friend. But I am taking all of her supposed characteristics from her outstandingly popular TV show, even though she keeps on saying it’s not a true representation of herself. The reason for this is that the fictional Miranda is one of the most loved characters on television at the moment, who happens to be outrageously funny as well. It is of a great tribute to Hart’s writing that said character, who has only appeared in 18 half hour episodes, is as valued as she is!

Series 3 had further excitement of an additional love interest, other than Gary And as series three has just ended with the biggest cliffhanger ever, it looks like we can see a little more of her yet. Miranda is a

clumsy 35 year old, running a joke shop with her best friend Stevie (Sarah Hadland), trying to avoid her mother (Patricia Hodge) and attempting to get her friend Gary (Tom Ellis) to fall in love with her. And this has been the basic

premise of the story for the past three years. Series 3 began very slowly, something which even Hart was worried about as she took to Twitter to ask all her fans to ‘Bear with’ while the series got into its full swing. But when it did, from

Do you want to write for us? Writing for Spark* Film and T.V is a great way to extend your skills in journalism and writing for your university’s newspaper is a real CV booster. Plus, we give you free tickets at the Vue cinema for every film you review! We have new writers joining every week and are a friendly and welcoming crowd, so if you are interested in writing for us then come along to one of our meetings held every Friday at 1:30pm in the Lounge (the building behind 360). You can also join our Facebook group by simply searching for Spark* Film and T.V, or drop Ellie Holland and Jack Marshall an email at film.spark@reading.ac.uk

about the second or third episode onwards, they have been absolutely flawless. Some people criticise her for the repetition of jokes but this adds to the charm of the show. By allowing the character to have catchphrases and make the same

FILM&TV 17

mistakes fairly consistently, she appears as much more human. Series 3 had further excitement of an additional love interest, other than Gary. This was a potentially dangerous move for the actor involved, because Gary is so adored. But seeing her interact this way with a new character added further depth to Miranda’s personality and was definitely an interesting development. Plus, we did not miss out on too much Gary action, particularly in this week’s finale which was the best episode by far. Not only was it absolutely hilarious, but there were very poignant moments and some of the cutest kittens I have ever seen! Pretty much everything you could ever want in a TV show. So if you haven’t watched it, I order you to go and view it now – you won’t regret it and the major cliffhanger in episode 6 will definitely have you thirsting for more!

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This fortnight at the RFT... Student Tickets: £4.50 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...

Tuesday 5 February (19:30): Tabu (15) Wednesday 6 February(19:00): Winstanley (PG) Thursday 7 February (20:00): Holy Motors (18) Tuesday 12 February (19:30): Rust and Bone (15) Thusday14th February (20.00): Beast of the Southern Wild (12A)

Prices: Members £4.50 Non-members £6.00 Annual Membership £10.00

FILM NEWS IN BRIEF - Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean is getting a 5th outing with Catch Me If You Can writer Jeff Nathanson writing the script


18 MUSIC

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

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music

INTERVIEWS The rock’n’roll band set to define your life: Say hello to Foxygen. tually playing music on stage. But I’m not that into sitting in a van all day. I’m not too crazy about touring, actually, just because it’s exhausting not doing anything all day and then having to get up and perform every night. It’s really fun and six months ago we literally played a show to maybe five people a night, and now it’s 300 people. We were playing with of Montreal to like a thousand people and it’s wild. It feels really good.

Jamie Milton

Sam France and Jonathan Rado (aka. Foxygen) are proving to be the most divisive of young upstarts. Here’s why: there’s a chorus of musical theorists - largely those holding a copy of critic Simon Reynolds’ ‘Retromania’ book - claiming that pop culture is failing to move on. Everything we hold beloved is making reference to the past. Nothing has any futuristic value. Bands who we loved in the 1980s are still touring the same record, in turn hogging up the arenas and threatening our ability to move on and embrace a sound that’s progressive and of its time. Foxygen, in a way, prove these theorists to be correct. They’re fast becoming 2013’s most talked-about band. But it’s not just down to their Kinks-meets-Velvet Underground-meets every other band you hold close to your heart sound.

They’re fast becoming 2013’s most talkedabout band. Working with singer-songwriter and touring member of The Shins, Richard Swift, they wrote their debut in an excitement-fuelled period of ten days, following Swift’s promise to record with them. The full-length proper follows on from album upon album of unreleased recordings, put together in Rado and France’s youth and shared with close friends at school. The tracks making up the full-length, due for release through Jagjaguwar, are more simple, memorable and immediate. They’re also the band’s best to date. And to think, Foxygen have another 100 songs prepped for

a follow-up. Regardless of whether they’re consumed by fame or riddled with notoriety, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Foxygen in the coming years. No doubt about it. It’s weird because this is strictly speaking a new band interview. But you’re very much a band that’s existed for a very long time. How does it feel to be referred to in this manner? Um, I get it. You know, we’re new to the world and whoever’s finding out about us. But we’ve been in a band since we were 13 years old, so, we’ve been doing this under the same name, under Foxygen for ten years. It’s not new but I get it. I’m not offended by it. We’re just putting out our record. We made other ones but they were never out in the world. Does it feel at all daunting now that it’s such a public experience compared to what it used to be? Yeah it’s sort of intense because we were never really a live band. We just made a lot of records in my room. Yeah it’s strange because we sort of got thrown into this situation where I feel like a lot of bands who have been doing it forever, you know, a lot of bands work really hard to get to the point where we are. And we did, we worked really hard at making records. But not playing live. We don’t have a touring van. We don’t have a proper... we just put together a live band. There were all these things we had to throw together to sort of be a live band, and that was crazy. How have you found it translating, all the online attention and hype into discovering real fans at shows? It’s great, I mean I love touring for the 45 minutes that you’re ac-

But in terms of making music as well, you’ve always been prolific and you’ve always done things on your own terms. Is that going to change now? I think things are going to stay the same. We’re going to do our next record primarily ourselves. We’re going to do some of it with Richard Swift, just because we love Richard and he makes things sound really, really good. I think we’re just gonna do things how we normally would. We’re trying to do all that while doing things on our own terms.

“Bands are cool. That’s what it is.” And the record that’s coming out in the UK next month, all the songs have existed for ages haven’t they? Yeah, it’s coming out in January, we recorded it last January and they’d been written maybe six months before that. And do you still feel a good connection to the songs? Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely our best batch of songs. ‘...Broadway’ was good. We spent a lot of time doing that. But those songs are sort of hard to translate live. I think these songs really work live. We’re constantly writing so the songs that are coming out are so old to us. We have forty new songs ready to go. We just need to record ‘em. Has anything changed recently with the way you write. Are you trying to make songs that are a lot more instant? It feels on this record like you’ve made a slight transition. Yeah I think Take The Kids Off Broadway is very meticulous; everything was structured very carefully and pieced together. I think

this new album was very stream of consciousness. We just sort of wrote these songs and we wrote them in like a week. We wrote a song or two a day. It all came out in one moment. It’s very natural and it’s not too over thought. I think Take the Kids... was really over thought, not to a fault but there was thought put into every single noise. In the sense that it could be quite intimidating to the listener? Exactly and with this new one, it’s just great, good pop songs. I think we were just trying to write really good songs. I think the next one’s gonna be maybe more stripped down or more crazy. It’s always gonna change with every phase of the band. It always has. What kind of a place were you in at the time? You said you made it over a couple of days. What happened is we gave Richard Swift our songs and he said ‘I wanna make a record with you guys’ and we were like ‘great, ok, well we don’t have a record.’ We decided to write an album. We were really inspired about the fact that he wanted to make a record with us and I think we wrote everything to be recorded with him, for that specific purpose. We were so excited to do it. It’s definitely the most inspired I’ve ever felt. Did you have to take quite a lot of time off after that sudden burst of songwriting to look back on what you’d made from a different perspective? I don’t know, we didn’t ever really take a break. We just recorded it and started immediately with touring and being a band. We didn’t really have time to sit down. We recorded it as quickly as we wrote it. There hasn’t really been time to slow down and evaluate everything. I think that’d almost be a bad thing to slow down and start evaluating yourselves. That can lead to bad places. Writing so quickly: does that come from having such a great, long-term writing relationship with Sam? We don’t need to even talk about things anymore. It’s like ‘oh, of course that’s where it’s gonna go’. We rarely disagree, at least songwriting-wise.

And so when you started as a band was it a hobby or a distraction from high school or was it something that you took really seriously from the start? We never took it really seriously. I don’t even know if we take it really seriously right now. I think... when we started it was just fun. We were just trying to make music that sounded like the music we liked and it just sort of evolved into something else. Yeah it was never a serious band. We never played live. We never even showed these records to anybody beyond our friends. That point that you make about music that sounds like the bands that you like - do you ever get irritated by constant comparisons to bands that you undeniably do like, but... Yeah. I think it can be frustrating. We’re not really trying to sound like Bowie or anything. That’s just Sam’s voice. I don’t think he’s doing a Mick Jagger impression. But you could be compared to worse things. I’m glad people don’t say we sound like Tony Bennett, when we really don’t. I like Tony Bennett but you know, we don’t sound like him. But they’re always defining bands that you get compared to. Like the Velvet Underground and the Stones. It’s not a weird collection. People immediately think of other bands when they hear you. Yeah, and I think that’s good. We’re not trying to hide the fact that at certain points we’re blatantly ripping other stuff off or at least building upon it. Yeah, I don’t know. Have you always been inspired by how rock bands act off stage too? Definitely. Bands are cool. That’s what it is. I don’t necessarily wanna be...in 2012 it’s hard to be a rock band. You can’t do anything that really defined those bands. You can’t wreck a hotel room because then you’d have to pay for the hotel room. There’s no money to be a rock band anymore. You have to be polite and not do things that those bands did. Record companies would just shovel out funds. Foxygen’s We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic is out now on Jagjaguwar.


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

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RELEASES

I Am Kloot? Who gives a hoot?! Richard Lewington certainly does...

er side to them, evidenced through songs like Masquerade (my personal favourite) and Some Better Day. These songs sound like a hybrid of Bob Dylan and Noah and the Whale, showcasing the talent of I Am Kloot, and also demonstrating why they have been so popular for so long. The new single, These Days Are Mine, showcases the darker sides

I Am Kloot Let It All In

of the band, with front man John Bramwell’s lyrics and vocals cre-

Shepherd Moon

Zulu Winter Language

ating a powerful atmosphere. In-

Play It Again Sam

Richard Lewington

Let It All In is I Am Kloot’s sixth studio album, following on from their highly-acclaimed and 2010 Barclaycard Mercury Prize nominated fifth album Sky at Night. It’s taken this Manchester-based threepiece almost three years to respond to their career-defining last album, and with pretty much universally positive reviews for Let It All In; it seems the wait was worth it. Just like Sky at Night, Let It All In was produced by Guy Garvey and Craig Potter of the band Elbow. This influence is easy to hear. Even The Stars is a song that sounds as though it has been plucked straight from Elbow’s archives. That’s not to say I Am Kloot are merely an imitation of Elbow. There’s anoth-

The Knife Full Of Fire Mute

Jamie Milton

If the rumours are to be believed, The Knife are about to release an album that spans further than your average Disney film. Full Of Fire, then, for all its nine-minute monstrousness, is only one slim slice of what’s to come in Shaking The Habitual. All things thus far though point to one alarming, clear message: that of spelling out the grim truths of reality and giving you a reason to think and to feel and to fight. Think about it: that album

MUSIC 19

terspersed with these heavier moments are more upbeat sections of the album, including Shoeless. This is a fantastically well balanced album that deserves to receive all of the plaudits that their previous album did. It should comfortably enter into the top 40 in the album charts. I Am Kloot are one of the best bands in the country at the moment. They are currently on tour, and play The Barbican in London next month for anyone wishing to see a band at its peak carving their legacy in British music.

HHHHH

title is about as revolutionary in message as they come these days. And Full Of Fire, unless we’re completely off the ball, is a determined sucker-punch to some of society’s misgivings.

It’s one piece of muscular, industrial electronica And beaming out these nasty truths is one pulsating pressurechange. Describing all the song’s components at once would be like trying to count all the ants emerging from a busied nest. Let’s just say it begins as a tense, ominous

Richard Lewington

Formed in 2011, Zulu Winter are an exciting indie rock band from London, whose debut album Language has received critical acclaim in both the UK and the US. The album has been out for a few months now, but with the release of each new single, Language accumulates a set of new fans. Five songs from this album have already been released as singles, each garnering significant airplay. In truth, every song on Language has the potential to be a single. In particular, the fantastic Bitter Moon, which is a song that will have you singing along in no time. This is, overall, a very strong album. A personal highlight is Silver Tongue (the third single), which is being and it concludes in much the same state, only a hundred times more tense and ominous. Karin Dreijer’s voice is in full disguise as the song comes to its close, robotic cries of “Let’s talk about gender baby / Let’s talk about you and me” bringing the gigantic rallying cry to its logical, extraordinary conclusion. Her vocals go from effectstripped and clear to something unrecognisably hysterical. It shows very little in common with the more striking immediacy of previous album Silent Shout, its dark discoball drama a thing of the past now. If anything it’s like the Deep Cuts record reduced of all its sheen and stretched out into one piece of muscular, industrial electronica. These albums were full of tracks with their own messages, there’s no doubting that, but Full of Fire seems to represent something of a turning point. There’s no doubting this track is full of fire - overflowing with it, even - and simply imagining it fitting into the surroundings of an album is one daunting prospect. But if anyone can pull it off, The Knife can.

a catchy tune that recreates the sound heard on Keane’s Under the Iron Sea. Language features multiple throwbacks to Zulu Winter’s predecessors, including Coldplay and Friendly Fires. If you like either of these bands, you’ll like Zulu Winter. Since this bands inception, they’ve been tipped for big things. They’ve played a slot on the Festival Republic Stage at last year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals, made Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record In The World multiple times, and won Steve Lamacq’s Rebel Playlist competition. The buzz continues to build for Zulu Winter, and it’s easy to see why. Language is such a varied album, from the indie-pop Words That I Wield, to the almost spacerock sounding Moment’s Drift. Anyone who wants to see them is in luck. Zulu Winter are currently supporting Kaiser Chiefs at various venues around the country, including at Brixton Academy on March 1st. That’s sure to be an amazing show, combining the excellent musicianship of Zulu Winter with the anthems and stage presence of the Kaiser Chiefs. Language is an album that should be listened to by anyone who likes indie in any of its forms. Zulu Winter must surely be on the road to great things.

HHHH

Paramore Now Fueled By Ramen

Rachel Pilcher

Paramore have had a tough few years, with the departure of two members surrounded by controversy thanks to a questionable postleaving statement. Not letting that deter them, Paramore are back as a trio, with new single Now. Despite losing two members, it seems the band has lost none of its spirit nor energy. Hayley’s vocals are as powerful as ever, though this time having somewhat of a more ‘pop-y’ edge to them, fitting

Swim Deep The Sea RCA

Rhys Williams

For Birmingham four-piece Swim Deep, everything seems to be falling into place. Securing themselves a headline tour this February along with many great support slots in recent times, Swim Deep have been touring relentlessly and recording great music along the way. Third single The Sea has a different feel to previous singles King City and Honey – slightly more relaxed, but just as spacious and bright. Beginning with a slow picked riff the song bursts into life with characteristic soaring vocals and smooth basslines, creating the dreamy feel we’ve come to expect from Swim Deep. With a catchy hook in the chorus and a growling rhythm guitar in the verses, Swim Deep have yet again shown us their brand of grunge-surf-pop, but have failed to produce something quite as brilliant as either of their first two singles. Of course, we won’t begrudge them, seeing as what they’ve already given us shines so brightly.

HHH

the direction this new track seems to go in. Instrumentally, Now has the rawness and determination that Paramore have perfected over the years, making it almost impossible to remember that there are only three members of this band now (aside from a studio drummer). Paramore have seemingly come back fighting, pulling no punches, giving us a track that shows us why they still deserve their place in the music industry. Clearly their sound has progressed, but this can only be considered a good thing. Welcome back guys.

HHHH


20 MUSIC

music.spark@reading.ac.uk

RELEASES

Dan Smith’s Bastille project is about to go MASSIVE. We’re excited. either. From the opening seconds of Pompeii, there’s a feeling of empowerment and optimism, needed for most at this miserable time of year. Aided by the lyrics “how am I gonna be an optimist about this,” and a simple yet intricate musical arrangement, particularly the drum solos, there’s nothing not to love about this.

There’s a feeling of empowerment and optimism Bastille Pompeii EMI

Rachel Pilcher

In the three years they’ve been together, Bastille haven’t done too badly for themselves. Performing at various festivals, securing major tour support slots and having their songs featuring on Made in Chelsea

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

and Dancing on Ice to name just a few achievements, it seems they’ve set themselves up for a pretty successful 2013. Starting as a solo project and developing into a quartet, Dan Smith’s incarnation seems set to break the swarms of generic ‘alternative’ band we’ve had over the years. A major record deal on EMI won’t hide the fact that the intention’s always been to go big, but Bastille aren’t trying to hide that

There are so many layers to this song that’s it’s almost impossible to fit them all into one review. It’s an experience that’s best enjoyed as something immersive and free of distraction. 2013 is most definitely going to be the year for Bastille, and that’s fine by us. Now, anyone for summer?

HHHHH

Disclosure White Noise (ft. Aluna Francis) PMR Jamie Milton

It’s difficult to envisage any collaboration between new artists causing as much of a stir as this one. Simply seeing AlunaGeorge and Disclosure in the same track name is enough to render us speechless. So with the thrill of anticipation also comes a backdrop of caution. There’s a heap of expectation being placed both on brothers Lawrence and AlunaGeorge. It’d be a job

well done if either of these artists get that little bit closer to threatening the charts, let alone storming them. White Noise, however, isn’t just a brilliantly self-assured effort, free from outside pressure. It also paints a more thorough picture of where these guys are heading in 2013. White Noise will soundtrack every club over the country. Even beyond its star-studded cast, if it emerged out of the blue by a group of unknowns it wouldn’t fail to have a similar effect. Like the Jessie Ware Running remix that so dominated the year preceding, Guy and Howard place Aluna’s sweet-ascandy vocals in unchartered territory. It’s the sound of some of the country’s most exciting talents getting carried along in their own wave of momentum. Aware of an ever-increasing audience, it aims to soundtrack every moment of youth and vital escapism. And it’s bound to succeed in doing just that.

HHHHH

PLAYLIST Here’s a few of our picks from some of the most promising new artists around. Picks: Jamie Milton

Doldrums Anomoly When I spoke to Doldrums’ Airick Woodhead for DIY Magazine, beyond what’s published he said some interesting, fairly profound stuff about a revolution, and it had something to do with technology, and I pretended to understand but really I didn’t. And it all but confirmed that Airick’s on a completely different level to normal folks like ourselves. New track Anomaly is the nail in the coffin. How anyone can rummage around in samples, tech glitches, euphoric synths, put all of these things together and make the whole piece sound like a pop track, is frankly beyond me. Anomaly is Doldrums at his most immediate and enjoyable. He’s never sounded better. We can’t wait for the Lesser Evil debut (due for release on 25th February, through Souterrain Transmissions (Europe) and Arbutus (Canada, US)). Hear more: Soundcloud.com/Doldrumss

Factory Floor Fall Back

Newcomer Sivu’s found a route into Charlie Andrew’s studio (the producer who’s best known for being at the desk for Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave). Andrew’s been tasked with something a little different this time round. Sivu applies a more glossy touch to progressive pop, neatly adding a Wild Beasts’ style of intimate delivery to a sweet, swelling track. “You’re such a better man than he”, he repeats with cutting conviction. Some might suggest he’s addressing himself. Sivu is quite the talent.

Professional songwriters rooted in L.A. or someplace else where the music’s goldmines are discovered: these people can spend years penned up in studios attempting to write choruses suitable for the popstar du jour. As well as being instant, gravitating towards current trends and being repeatable, chantable, it all boils down to a question of power. Does this chorus hit you right in the centre? Perhaps. But I’m betting nothing comes close to the sheer force of this Factory Floor track. Sure, Fall Back is similar to much of the group’s work in that it’s propulsive, energetic, suited for large venues where every member of the audience looks on either bewildered, thrilled or both. Fall Back is the finest we’ve heard Factory Floor to date; its eight minutes a perfectly-executed remedy to the numbing slumber of January.

Hear more: soundcloud.com/sivusignals

Hear more: soundcloud.com/factory-floor

Sivu Better Man Than Me

Brolin Another Year Who knew romantics carried Roland samplers in their backpack? Rather than offering his loved one a rose and a kiss on the cheek, Brolin goes full blown serenade-style. He sits ‘the one’ down, settles them in for the night, and tells them reassuring things: “I’ll sing for you by candlelight”/ “I know in time you’ll be my forever”/ “Angel, it will be alright”. I just can’t get past those lyrics. They’re stark, beautifully delivered, true to the very core. Brolin isn’t just a bedroom-based

beatmaker. He shares a kind of musical talent that only comes along every so often. Another Year is up there with Youth Lagoon at his most daringly intimate; the xx as police sirens echo in the background of their recordings. It’s a dramatic insight into the mind of someone happy to put his emotions in the shop window. And it makes for a beautiful companion to the otherwise stagnating winter chill. Hear more: soundcloud.com/iambrolin


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

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22 ARTS&BOOKS

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

arts.spark@reading.ac.uk

Arts&BOOKS Grease is STILL the word Review musical

of

Grease

ever, it is very clear how both still long to be together - even though Danny must keep his reputation in the T-Birds, and Sandy as the virginal saint, it is the journey both characters undergo that teaches the audience what we do for love and self identity. The classic hits: Summer Loving, Grease Lightning, Hopelessly Devoted To You, Sandy, You’re the One That I Want and We Go Together, are just some of the many delights that fit so well within the teenage filled plot of Rydell High! The show provides scenes of the guys and girls, allowing different perspectives and social behaviour between the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds. So

the

Lucy Snow

I comfortably took position in my red velvety chair surrounded by pink ladies (and many others) humming the legendary tunes of this epic musical. As I sat waiting for the show to start with Galaxy Minstrels planted in my hand, I thought to myself: “although I’ve seen Grease many times on stage and on the silver screen, there is something about the story that is timeless and puts a lovable energy through my veins”.

Grease explores this comically and yet so beautifully in fact. I know what you’re thinking - she obviously adores musicals here, so a cheesy show set in a 1950’s American high school may not be your cup of tea? Well the answer is YES IT IS! Although Grease is full of romance, singing, dancing and an explosion of energy, in the heart of this show is something much deeper - the relatable themes of growing up and identity. As we all know, high school can be a challenging time with hormones flying around everywhere and everyone thinking

how independent they are, and Grease explores this comically and yet so beautifully. There’s the Pink Ladies and the T-birds (and the others in between) who are all experiencing the most exciting and crucial part of their adolescent life... throw in some catchy tunes, humour, sex, some incredible acting and it’s Grease Lightning!

Although Grease is full of romance, singing, dancing and an explosion of energy

if you go along with your Dad, brother or boyfriend, the levels of theatrical oestrogen will be at a balanced and truly enjoyable level!

This is the musical you will stay hopelessly devoted to, and it’s clear to say Grease is still the word!! So there you have it... This is the musical you will stay hopelessly devoted to, and it’s clear to say Grease is still the word!!

The show begins when innocent Sandy joins a brand new high school. She had spent the summer with her first love the “sweet, just turned eighteen” Danny Zuko. However, little does she know that this perfect gentleman is in fact the crazy leader of the pack and the most popular guy in school. When their two paths cross at an American football game, they are thrilled to see each other, but very soon Sandy realises this isn’t the Danny she knew all summer and now must work her way into new friendships and the ultimate social survival within Rydell High! How-

Open Air Shakespeare: Macbeth Progress Theatre show and auditions

Macbeth

Progress Theatre has announced that it will again be staging its annual Open Air Shakespeare in 2013, and will be presenting Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play”, Macbeth, from Thursday 18th to Saturday 27th July 2013.

A theatrical masterpiece- not to be missed! This is the 16th Summer OpenAir Shakespeare staged by Progress Theatre. A number of actors regularly seen on television have performed with Progress Theatre over the years, and Kenneth Branagh first took to the stage as a prominent member of its Student Group a number of years ago.

Progress Theatre is now almost 60 years old and is a self-funded community theatre group wholly staffed by volunteers, and is a registered charity. This year, once again, the event will be held within the newly refurbished gardens of Caversham Court by the Thames, surrounded by beautiful gardens and specimen trees, as it has been for the last two years. Preparations for this summer’s event are now well under way, and will include open auditions, rehearsals, publicity, and stage building. This will be a much simpler production than previous productions in The Abbey Ruins. The audience can bring their own chairs, blankets or ground sheets (although some seating can be rented), but there will be a stage with simpler lighting and a more minimalist approach to scenery and props.

Progress Theatre has also announced that it will be shortly holding auditions for the 2013 Reading Open-Air Shakespeare: Macbeth, and are seeking 10 male and 4 female actors.

Preparations for this summer’s event are now well under way! “We are looking for talented, enthusiastic performers who are very much team players,” director Glynn Oram said today. “Clearly, experience is an asset, but nobody with a passion for Shakespeare and real commitment to this project should feel that they do not stand a chance. This means that everyone must work as a team for this very special event, an event right at the heart of the cultural life of Reading.”

Progress Theatre is holding two sessions of auditions in Reading for the production. The audition, for the principal roles of Lord and Lady Macbeth, is on Friday 8th February at 7pm. Further auditions for the other roles will take place on Sunday 3rd and Sunday 10th March at 2.30pm. Anyone interested should attend at least one of these sessions. All auditions take place at Progress Theatre, which is on The Mount, off Christchurch Road, in Reading.

Progress Theatre is holding two sessions of auditions in Reading The auditions are open to all, but unfortunately, due to Child Protection regulations, all auditionees must be over 16 years old.

Further information is available from the director by email at director2013@readingopenair.com, or on our website readingopenair.com.


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

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ARTS&BOOKS 23

WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2013

Hockney: A Bigger Splash 14 November 2012 – 1 April 2013, Tate Modern Looking at the dynamic relationship between performance and painting since 1950 described as action painting. Hockney, Pollock and Cindy Sherman are amongst the artists displayed.

Damien Hirst: revamps Brit Awards Ellen North-Row

Hirst’s legacy in the art world and powerful iconic works commanded his ambitious retrospective exhibition last summer, flourishing with intelligence, self-confidence and oozing with artistic brilliance while exposing the underlying themes of mortality, aesthetic desire and the conflict between religion and science.

Hirst’s legacy in the art world and powerful iconic works commanded his ambitious retrospective exhibition last summer

Roy Lichtenstein: Retrospective 21 February - 27 May 2013, Tate Modern The American Pop-artist is back with his first retrospective in more than 20 years. Not to be missed.

Hirst studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London, where he became the most prominent member of the Young British Artist’s (YBA) along with his contemporary Tracey Emin. With the support of Saatchi, the Young British Artists’ flourished in the new contemporary world and became some of the most influential and respected art-

recognisably throughout his retrospective exhibition Hirst exploited the progression of life and death that fascinated him from an early age and captivated the viewer through his honest, intelligent and thought-provoking works. Now, he has followed Dame Vivienne Westwood and Sir Peter Blake in revamping the prestigious Brit

The Bride and the Bachelors 14 February – 9 June 2013, Barbican A collaboration between composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, who by looking at the influential avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp, have produced an impressive portfolio of music, performance and visual art. David Bowie is 23 March - 28 July, V&A Stepping back into 1970s pop culture taking a peek at Bowie’s original costumes, sets designs, fashion, photography, film, music videos and instruments. Moore and Rodin March 29- 27 October, Perry Green, Hertfordshire Visit the Henry Moore Foundation for its spring reopening which compares Moore and the French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s works. Hop on the train, it’ll be worth the trip. Sarah Lucas 2 October – 15 December, Whitechapel Gallery Sarah Lucas, one of the Young British Artists, emerged in the 1990s with her brash, confident and sexually vulgar works that played with gender ideals in a provocative and humorous way. “Her subject matter was serious, but cleverly refracted through the raucous, boozy prism of unreconstructed sexism and consequence-free hedonism sanctioned by that decade’s pop culture.” She is now starring in her first major solo exhibition, which focuses on her feminist views and the joys of British art.

Britain’s wealthiest and most influential artist Damien Hirst displayed his first major retrospective exhibition last summer, which took the art world by storm. Drawing in around 463,000 visitors, it has become known as the most popular solo exhibition in Tate history. His innovative, outrageous and challenging practices highlight the avant-garde nature of modern and contemporary art to date. Experimenting with the transgression of boundaries and mortality, Hirst captivates his audience with controversial and radical works. The socially charged, ambitious exhibition re-introduced a vast selection of Damien Hirst’s most well-known and thought-provoking pieces such as For the Love of God, A Thousand Years, as well as his infamous formaldehyde encased shark titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.

ists of the 20th century.He became Hirst’s biggest collector, displaying his work at Saatchi’s 1997 “Sensation” exhibition. The discovery of Damien Hirst completely transformed and developed the contemporary and modern art scenes. Saatchi “[believes] many people in the art world…cannot tell a good artist from a weak one, until the artist has enjoyed the validation of others”. It is through Hirst’s spectacle, ridicule, versatile practices and wide-scale media attention that he has gained his position in the contemporary art world, his work “[representing] a defining moment in British art”. Damien Hirst has come a long way since, winning the Turner Prize in 1995 with his formaldehyde- preserved sculpture Mother and Child Divided from his Natural History collection and one of his renowned spot paintings which are both central works in this Retrospective exhibition. Most

Award trophy.

His innovative, outrageous and challenging practices highlight the avantgarde nature of modern and contemporary art His confident spot paintings stand as some of the most recognisable works of contemporary, modern and conceptual art to date. Already one of the most iconic prints, Hirst opted to plaster the trophy with his trademark spot pattern. Brits chairman David Joseph said: “Damien is truly one of the most important British artists and his reimagining of the statue will make winning a 2013 Brits an even more special proposition.” Look out for Damien Hirst this year.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year In its 49th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the year competition showcases iconic and spectacular images and regarded as the most prestigious wildlife photography contest in the world. Displayed outside the National History Museum, go check out the 2012 winners and runners up while it’s hot.


24 FASHION

fashion.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

FASHION Men’s fashion week

Top tips for sales shopping Emily Glanfield

Sale shopping can be daunting and stressful but, don’t let this put you off! Follow these 5 easy tips for a stress free and bargain filled shopping trip.

1.

Leave plenty of time.

Sale shopping involves a lot of searching through rails and endless amounts of trips to and from changing rooms. For a stress free shopping trip, you should really set aside an entire day so you don’t feel the pressure to rush and you can account for any mishaps.

2.

Dress comfortably.

Sale shopping means lots of mind changing and therefore a lot of trying on. Belts, necklaces and tights are just a few things that are certain to get in the way and make the changing rooms a time-consuming hassle. A pair of leggings and a top will suffice.

3.

Try everything.

Don’t buy that top just because it’s 50% off and it “might look okay 3 sizes too big”. The sales are not an excuse for buying rubbish – you will just regret it! A trip to the changing rooms is all it takes.

4.

Make a wish-list.

This gives you something to focus your searching on and helps you to budget.

5.

Stick to the basics.

Stick to classic, timeless pieces like jeans, shirts and heels. These don’t go out of fashion and it’s hard to go wrong. This way you’ll be able to wear them for many seasons to come.

Samantha Yates

Kicking off on Monday 7th January, London’s first fully dedicated Men’s Fashion Week came to town. The ‘week’ technically only lasts three days, but it’s a massive step up from the previous day tagged onto the end of Women’s fashion week. This means that there is finally space for British menswear designers to showcase their collections in the light it deserves. Here are just some of the collections that caught our eye. Racking your brains about where you’ve heard about J.W. Anderson before? That’s because he collaborated with Topshop last year. His wacky designs aim to bridge the

gender gap with dresses, pleats and the trademark knee-high boots - showing a lot of leg for a sex so hairy. Winner of the 2012 Menswear Emerging Talent Award, Jonathan Saunders was always going to bring big things to the catwalk. Clashing colours, a broad range of textures and some very practical A/W layering, Saunders made a designer collection very wearable. He also jumped on the horizontal stripe bandwagon with the likes of Oliver Spencer, Hardy Amies and Shaun Samson (all names to look out for over the next few years). Thought you knew oversized? Think again. Sibling do oversized and they do it well. Their flowery

Great Gatsby Nicole Correia

I have always wished that I could draw. Drawing pieces of fruit and shading in bits of landscape at school never really excited me. Clothing sketches, on the other hand, leave us all in awe, do they not? Perhaps it’s because we know that those clothes are soon going to be made real, and draped upon those spindly-looking models, just as the sketches show. I specifically wish I could draw just like Miuccida Prada, in fact, because her latest sketches for the costume design of The Great Gatsby are so, so pretty.

The Great Gatsby is due to appear on our screens in the summer. Prada has collaborated with Catherine Martin, costume designer, to create more than 40 looks for the film. Just as you imagine, the designs are glitzy, oozing with ‘European glamour’ and with rich, velvety materials. I think that in releasing the sketches, Prada has heightened the anticipation for the film ever more; on the big screen we will soon see the gorgeous casting of our British actress, Carey Mulligan, and, of course, Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in her designs.

“please kill me” motif on super soft knitwear seems so incongruous, but it works. The designers Sid Bryan, Joe Bates and Cozette McCreery love juxtapositions like their intrusively bright red leopard print trousers against cute and cuddly baby blues and pinks. Richard Nicoll’s spaceman theme seemed to transcend all earthly fashion boundaries. As an award winning womenswear designer we were on tenterhooks anticipating his first menswear collection. He delivered with metallic jumpsuits, structured bomber jackets and the hue of A/W13: “safety orange”. Plus, we all love a good beanie.

Hats off to you Avnita Shergill

As the saying goes: hats off to those of you that ventured out to work and lectures the past two weeks despite the catastrophic weather conditions. It seems that although this country has struggled to adapt to these versatile weather forms, we don’t have the same problem! With the help of our high street brands and online favourites we can make travelling in such bitter temperatures a walk in the park! In fact speaking of walks in the park; if you are deciding to channel your inner child and have fun in the snow you should definitely make use of the winter warmers that are making statements as we speak... in particular hats, hats and more hats! Although spring collections are bursting onto the racks it’s not time to bury the winter clothing just yet. So, if you are in need of a good warm hat to plough through the last of this snow then rest assured it is my job to deliver the very best to our readers. Asos.com have a great selection including a black knitted beanie embellished with gold brocade jew-

ellery detailing the front - going with the Rihanna rock-chic vibe it certainly won’t disappoint on the fashion front.

Faux fur trapper hats are bang on trend this season whilst keeping your hair under wraps from the wet weather. Two favourites would be River Island’s zebra inspired fur trapper or Boohoo.com’s version offering a crème knit lined with fur. Coloured Berrets are also a great find, in particular scouring through H&M’s in store sale many were reduced to under £5. We’ve also seen in a craze in beanie hats designed with feline ears, when 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord was spotted wearing one last week. Retailers such as Missguided.co.uk have copied the look by promoting similar ‘cat beanies’ available on their site.


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

fashion.spark@reading.ac.uk

FASHION 25

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for M&S Jenny Purves

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to buy yourself a confidence boost in form of new underwear! Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, an all time celebrity crush for many you I’m sure, has just debuted her new spring collection for Autograph at Marks and Spencer and what a treat it is! The stunning vintage-inspired silk and lace lingerie collection were all designed in mind of Valentine’s Day and with a palette of soft pinks and warm nude colours, they will flatter on any skin tone. Rosie’s signature plunge bra featuring a beautiful design of an original Art Nouveau rose motif will make you feel beau-

tiful from the inside out, something that Rosie has always endeavoured to achieve with her designs. Of course, when investing in a bra then you must also invest in the matching knickers, and why would you not when the print is a vintage inspired, flirty floral one? Her collection also features other styles of bras catering to everyone’s individual preferences, and as sizes go up to a G, there will always be one that is the perfect fit. The range hits the nail on the head with a delicate balance of feminine and romantic feel that oozes sensuality and confidence and is available from Marks and Spencer from 20th January.

Big vs small bags Valentines gift ideas Sophie O’Neill

Aside from carrying the essentials, a bag makes a fashion statement. This may explain why many women are forgoing the ‘carrying’ aspect of them, and opting for miniature bags. The new trend has popped up along the high street in recent months, with stars the like of Alexa Chung hopping on the bag-wagon, and stepping out with the latest tiny totes. However, are the more practical, and just as fashionable, larger bags actually doing the job better? They can carry a lot more clutter, but do they make the same fashion statement as their increasingly smaller sisters? On the high street, both styles seem to fly off the shelves, with pretty much every major store showcasing a collection of both sizes, including New Look, Topshop, and Miss Selfridge.

Away from the high street, Mulberry have just launched a new range of shrunken-down versions of their signature styles, making sure that no matter how little or how much you like to carry around with you, there’ll be no umm-ing or aah-ing over style points. What it really comes down to is quality not quantity - you shouldn’t carry an enormous bag for practicality, if it’s about as fashionable as a balaclava, just as you shouldn’t opt for a miniature bag just to follow the trend, without ensuring it’ll complete every day-to-night outfit. At the end of the day, does size really matter? It’s more about the place, the time, and let’s be honest, size aside, just scooping up as many gorgeous bags as your student loan will let you.

Lily Brown

Valentine’s Day is meant to be a dream but for many out there it will be a nightmare... The cliché cards and soppy presents can be a letdown so here is the Valentine’s Day fairy godmother to help you out. Honeymoon period So, you have only been seeing each other for a couple of weeks and you are desperately trying to find the right gift. You don’t want to spend too much and scare them away or go to the other extreme buying something that you have not put any thought in to. Been seeing each other for less than 3 months? It’s probably best to stay away from

Molly Morgan

underwear unless you are sure of their size and taste!

For Him This could be your chance to update his wardrobe or to drop a casual hint about taking you somewhere a bit more upmarket than a fast food restaurant by getting him a dapper new shirt. There is currently a sale on the Zara website including the gorgeous needle cord shirt with contrasting collar. For Her If she keeps borrowing your jumper then pick one up for her too; New Look, River Island and Dorothy Perkins all have a wide range. Avoid the ‘his-and-hers’ look by

making sure they’re not too similar! “You’re the One!” For Her If you are in it for the long haul take heed of the hints she’s been dropping and splash out on a handbag. It doesn’t have to be too expensive, but keep it simple and timeless with the tan structured leather tote from River Island at £70 and you won’t go wrong. Warning: she may love it more than you. For Him A watch is a classic gift for a reason and does not have to break the bank. To make the gift truly personal opt to have it engraved with a short message or date. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Naughty or nice?

A stylish solution to the freezing weather has arrived in two main style tribes: ‘The Naughty’ vs ‘The Nice’. Which style tribe do you belong to? The ‘Naughty’ tribe clad with leather or pleather has been around for a few seasons and it’s certainly not slowing down. Think more sleek than full on matrix for this look! The likes of Balmain and Rodarte are reinventing leather for the new season, whether it be panels, sleeves or full on rocker jackets. Don your leather jackets for a brilliant trans-seasonal piece between the cold snap and straight onto the catwalks of S/S 13. Now add a beanie into the mix. There’s a wide range of them available, ranging from Henry Holland’s sequinned selection to ribbed beanies from the new collections at Topman. Boot up with some serious spring style in a chunky biker boot transformed into a key piece

by Philip Lim and even Chanel on the S/S 13 catwalks. Wear with attitude, naughty never felt so good or warm either! For ‘Nice’ think street style of Alexa Chung or Harry Styles. It’s ALL about the knitted and furry. Layer up on knitted jumpers and cardis like James Long’s S/S 13 menswear campaigns. Finish the outfit with an oversized knit in place of a coat for outerwear that’s very winter and will certainly keep it out too! Bobble hats are a must for this look. Think of supersize, cosy ones take Lazy Oaf or B side with contrasting coloured bobbles and fur for inspiration. A final winter warmer for this look is mittens. Cute and trés practical, that doesn’t happen often in fashion! Whilst your friends are faffing pulling fingers out of gloves or enduring frozen fingers you can still access your iphone with ease whilst keeping your fingers frost free!


26 BEAUTY

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

beauty.spark@reading.ac.uk

BEAUTY Marni’s must have new fragrance SABINA ROUSE

Fashion house Marni saw levels of unprecedented success with its H and M collaboration in March 2012, and 2013 is set to look no different. Launching their new fragrance ‘Marni’ for women in February, Marni is looking to take the fashion and beauty worlds by storm. Fans of the Italian label should look forward to a scent that is sophisticated, unconventional and for the modern woman. The scent was produced with Aramis and Designer Fragrances, a section of Estee Lauder who also collaborates with an array of famous faces including Donna Karen and

Michael Kors. Marni’s Creative Director, Consuelo Castiglioni, has stated that she wanted a bottle “that was kind of traditional, that is, one that lasts over time, like the clothes we make, which last and you can still wear two or three years from now” reflecting not only the qualities that are important in their fashion label but also qualities which embody the overall brand. The perfume reflects the brands originality and unique quirkiness, with the design of the bottle sporting white polka dots over see through glass – reminiscent of not only prints in Marni shows but also a design which Marni has built

their brand around. Indeed the bottle itself is enough to make it stand out at any beauty counter, cutting a more vintage and unusual image than anything else on the market. However, it is the scent itself which really makes this perfume stand out from the rest. The Marni fragrance moves away from the traditional bases which a perfume normally uses – either floral or fruity and into warmer and spicier tones. Rest assured that come February, Marni lovers will be standing in line for the long over-due arrival of this classic scent from the prestigious Italian fashion house.

Elle Turner

After the success of the Ciate Caviar nails, beauty brands have been competing to produce the best highstreet dupe and in my opinion, the winner is MUA, with their constellation nail pot. I was introduced to this after my housemate decided to makeover her manicure for a night out.

At just £3, MUA comes in at just a sixth of the price of their £18 Ciate rival (student budget buying at its best!)

The Best of Brushes: Real Techniques Elle Turner

It may seem like a hassle, but investing in good quality make-up brushes can transform the way you look, providing a more flawless complexion when used to apply foundation, ensuring precision when applying eyeliner and beautifully blending powders, blushers and bronzers to create subtle contouring rather than harsh lines. Samantha Chapman, the celebrated YouTube Beauty Guru and acclaimed make-up artist has invested her insider knowledge and beauty expertise into developing a collection of expert brushes, designed to make applying make-up simple. The first brush in the collection is the contour brush, which unsurprisingly I use alongside my bronzer to contour my cheek bones. It’s tapered end, provides perfect precision, creating a chisled, sculpted effect in the hollows of your

cheeks rather than leaving a mass of colour on the apples of your cheeks. Next up is the pointed foundation brush, which is great to use with liqiud foundation or concealer. Although, it’s small size means that it takes longer to cover your whole face. However, there’s no obligation to use the brushes as the

packaging indicates, instead I often use it to apply highlighter to the tops of my cheeks. The collection also provides a small detailer brush which is perfect for the precise application of concealer or lipstick. Finally, my favourite brush is the buffing brush. It is recommended for mineral

MUA Nails

or powder foundations, however, I use it to apply blush to the apple of my cheeks. It feels lovely and soft and applies a lovely even layer of subtle colour without dumping too much product onto your cheeks.

Investing in good brushes can transform how you look The set comes complete with a light-

The tiny little beads are applied to a wet coat of the nail varnish of your choice and set on top of your nails to produce an incredible 3D effect. At just £3, MUA comes in at just a sixth of the price of their £18 Ciate rival (student budget buying at its best!) plus they provide a good range of colours with a seductive all black nail pot named “Libra”, a pretty blue and purple combination in the colour “Leo” and a couple of pretty pastel based pot in the colour “Pisces” and “Gemini” among others. As they are raised on the nail, they do have a tendancy to snag, so its important to apply a thick top coat to protect your manicure for longer. Once completed, they can last for up to a week if well looked after.

weight case, which doubles as a stand - bonus! At £21.99, this handy little kit is actually very good value for money when you compare it to the price of a single M.A.C brush which can cost anything up to £38.00! So if you fancy investing in some make-up brushes this is the ultimate collection!

Moisturiser’s I’ve been loving SOphie Woollan

So unfortunately it’s a well-known fact that skin can become dry and dehydrated over the winter months. Sitting by the fire and having the central heating on (at least at your parent’s house where you don’t have to pay for it) can really take its toll…but I’ve found a couple of moisturisers this winter that I think are definitely worth a mention – and a repurchase! First, my number one favourite, Re-Gen Cream. I decided to give this moisturiser a go after a beauty vlogger was raving about it, and I’m glad I did. Firstly, this is more than a moisturiser. I suffer with the occasional outbreak of spots and find that my skin tends to scar for a bit longer than I’d like it to! Re-Gen

Cream is a moisturiser specifically for use on scars, dry skin and blemishes, which can never be a bad thing right? (It’s also good for the scars you may have accumulated playing in the snow recently)! Anyway, after using it for a little while over Christmas I’ve found that it has decreased the signs of past blemishes and also, it makes my face feel incredible.

Your skin can get very dry during winter Put some of this beauty on before bed (a little goes a long way) and you’ll wake up with skin that feels beautifully

smooth and hydrated – winner! And, in case you’re thinking of purchasing, it’s also a bargain, selling for about £7 online – mine has lasted way over 3 months so far and I have loads left! The other favourite has to be the Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser. This is a lot lighter than the Re-Gen Cream, so it’s a better bet for if you have oily skin and also for use in the morning or everyday. It’s also great if you have sensitive skin, as it doesn’t include any perfume, colour, or generally any unwanted nasties. At just £3.79 from Boots.com it’s also a steal on a student budget, and does the job at hand, keeping that pesky dry skin away and leaving your skin feeling fresh as a daisy!

To get involved with the Spark* Beauty Team contact us via email or twitter! beauty.spark@reading. ac.uk @Spark Beauty


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

editor.spark@reading.ac.uk

Carrers Using My Jobs Online If you’ve visited the Job shop or attended an event through the Careers Centre, you’ll be familiar with My Jobs Online, but are you making the most of it? If you’re not exactly sure of what My Jobs Online does, it is the system used by the Careers Centre to promote all jobs and events to students. We advertise Job Shop vacancies, summer internships and placements, as well as jobs for finalists and graduates. The system is also used directly by employers who wish to advertise their jobs to Reading students. If you’re interested in our events and workshops, you can use My Jobs Online to book a place and receive updates on our termly Headstart programme. Headstart offers sessions on a wide range of career areas, including CVs and application forms, interview skills, and options with your degree. My Jobs Online also provides information about our Fairs and other major events.

To browse vacancies and book onto events directly, you can log in at any time at: www.reading.ac.uk/ careers/myjobsonline To get the maximum benefit from My Jobs Online, you will need to set your preferences, which takes all of 60 seconds…. Here’s how you do it: •Visit www.reading.ac.uk/ careers/myjobsonline, click on Student Login and put in your student username and password •Hover on “my profile” at the top of the page and select “update profile” •Check that the contact details we have for you are correct (email and phone number) •Set your email preferences •Select whether you’d like to receive targeted information from the Careers Centre. You can choose to receive emails about our career events, employer presentations or part-time jobs – these will be written by a member of the Careers Centre team

•Select whether you’d like to receive updates about general or degree-related events we’re running. These are automated email alerts sent out by the system •Select whether you’d like to receive opportunity updates (these are also automated) •Let us know how often you’d like to receive opportunity updates (weekly or daily) •Select the type of opportunities you’re looking for (part-time, placement, etc) and the opportunity sectors you’re interested in (Advertising, Education, etc). If you don’t know, click “Not yet decided” and you’ll receive general alerts •Decide if you’d like to opt in for additional job alerts from Targetjobs •Finish! If you are unsure – please just pop in to see us in the careers centre, first floor Carrington building or our Job Shop in RUSU and we’ll show you how!

For full details pop into the Job Shop in the Union or visit www. reading.ac.uk/careers/myjobsonline

Job Title: Events Assistant Company: Cancer Research UK Location: South East Pay: £7ph Closing date: 15-Feb 2013

Job Title: Conference Steward Company: Connexions Berkshire Location: Reading University Pay: £50 per day Closing date: 07-Mar 2013

Job Title: Catering Work Company: Compass Group Location: Madejski Stadium Pay: NMW Closing date: 05-Mar 2013

Job Title: Xbox Localisation Work Company: Adecco Location: Berkshire Pay: £8.50ph Closing date: 14-Mar 2013

Job Title: Retail (Various) Company: The Oracle Location: Reading Pay: NMW Closing date: n/a

Job Title: Program Assistant Company: Amazon Location: Slough Pay: above NMW Closing date: 08-Mar 2013

Job Title: Catering Assistant Company: Reading University Location: Reading Pay: NMW Closing date: 04-Feb 2013

Job Title: Web Assistant Company: MS Photography: £7-£7.50ph Closing date: 08-Feb 2013

JobShop Top 10 Jobs of the week Job Title: Library Assistant Company: University of Reading Location: Reading Pay: £8.50-£9.50ph Closing date: 07-Feb 2013 Job Title: Events Assistant Company: Cancer Research UK Location: South East Pay: £7ph Closing date: 15-Feb 2013 Job Title: Catering Work Company: Compass Group Location: Madejski Stadium Pay: NMW Closing date: 05-Mar 2013 Job Title: Retail (Various) Company: The Oracle Location: Reading Pay: NMW Closing date: n/a Job Title: Catering Assistant Company: Reading University Location: Reading Pay: NMW Closing date: 04-Feb 2013 Job Title: Library Assistant Company: University of Reading Location: Reading Pay: £8.50-£9.50ph Closing date: 07-Feb 2013

Job Title: Program Assistant Company: Amazon Location: Slough Pay: above NMW Closing date: 08-Mar 2013 Job Title: Web Assistant Company: MS Photography Location: Burnham Pay: £7-£7.50ph Closing date: 08-Feb 2013 Job Title: Unisex Hairdresser Company: Unicuts Location: RUSU Pay: above NMW Closing date: 25-Feb 2013

Job Title: Unisex Hairdresser Company: Unicuts Location: RUSU Pay: above NMW Closing date: 25-Feb 2013 Job Title: Conference Steward Company: Connexions Berkshire Location: Reading University Pay: £50 per day Closing date: 07-Mar 2013 Job Title: Xbox Localisation Work Company: Adecco Location: Berkshire Pay: £8.50ph Closing date: 14-Mar 2013

CAREERS 27

Win Prizes! Employer Games and Competitions A number of employers have contacted the Careers Centre with information on their business games – don’t miss out on these opportunities!

L’Oreal Every year L’Oreal runs an international business game called Brandstorm. This is an exciting global initiative which builds employability skills, boosts CVs and could even land students with a top graduate job and a 10,000 euro prize! For more details go to www. brandstorm.loreal.com

Ernst and Young Ernst and Young are running a competition called the Ernst & Young Games Room over the next few weeks as part of their February Campaign. Students have the chance to win various prizes, including iPad minis, amazon vouchers and even £1000 for one lucky student! All you need to do to enter is ‘like’ the facebook page and you will then be able to access the Ernst & Young Games Room. Just visit Facebook.com/EYUKcareers.”

University of Reading Virtual Careers Fair- now live! Did you miss our Careers & Placements Fair or Law Fair during the Autumn term? The Careers Centre is delighted to announce the launch of our Virtual Fairs, supported by a grant from the University Annual Fund, which will be open throughout the Spring term. You will be able to view all of the employers that

attended our fairs in the Palmer Building during the Autumn. Just register and then browse the exhibition stands at the Careers and Placement Fair http://reading. prospects.ac.uk/fairs/careersfair/ splash.html or Law Fair http:// reading.prospects.ac.uk/fairs/lawfair/splash.html .

Career Events There are plenty of events coming up through the Careers, Placement and Experience Centre over the next couple of weeks – for a full listing, as well as booking and location details, visit My Jobs Online – linked from the Careers, Placement and Experience Centre website www.reading.ac.uk/careers/events 5th February – Interview Skills with PwC, 1pm

6th February – Mock Interview with Thales - 1-2-1 practice interviews all morning, sign up in the Careers Centre by bringing in a copy of your CV 7th February – Assessment Centre - Enterprise Rent a Car, 1pm 11th February – Chatteris: Teaching in Hong Kong, 1pm 12th February - Interview Skills for the nervous, 1pm

Interested in Student Media? Want something impressive to add to your CV? How about applying for a role in Spark*? Turn to page 35 for more details...


28 HEALTH&FOOD

health.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

HEALTH The total beginner’s guide to running Andrzej Lenartowicz

Running is currently one of the most popular sports among amateurs. The reasons are obvious: no other sport enables you to burn off as many calories as running and there is no better way to improve your endurance. By following the tips given below you too can join the group of running addicts (and this is absolutely the only addiction recommended by Spark* Health&Food), and enjoy the benefits for a long time to come. If you want to start running, you need to be patient. Provided you don’t have much experience in practising endurance sports, you shouldn’t expect miracles in the beginning. You will probably feel tired from the very first metres of your runs, however, there are some ways to reduce the unpleasant feelings of your first sessions. Mixing running and walking is one of these tricks. Assuming that you’re able to run without a break only for 5 minutes, you can run for 2 minutes and walk for next 3 instead (after doing 5 such repetitions you will run twice as much as without doing walking breaks).

Within some time you will need shorter walking breaks and finally you will be able to do pure running sessions for longer and longer periods of time. You also have to remember to have at least one day of rest between your first sessions to prevent injury or overtraining, which is a very frequent phenomenon if you’re an ambitious, but not a very advanced, runner. It goes without saying that within some time it will be possible for you to run for even 3-4 days in a row, but at the beginning having plenty of patience of mind is very important. It can help to stick to running plans as well. There are so many of them on the Internet, so it is not difficult to find something suitable for you – you just have to put them into practice! By following these plans you will always know what to do and if you find a plan with positive reviews from other runners, you can guarantee constant and regular progress. Joining a group of fellow runners is another great idea. If you run with a group rather than alone, you’re more likely to train regularly because you have a ready-

SRSH: V-day Rosanna McNamara

Over the past year Student Run Self Help have been leading the Love Your Body campaign all over the country, and our group here at Reading asked people at the volunteering fair in October to write down one thing they love about their body for our body board. This important campaign helps us to think about our bodies in a positive and loving way. We can often find we are loving and kind to others but not to ourselves, so SRSH asks you to love yourself and be your own Valentine this February. University can be tough so take time to be nice to yourself and do things you enjoy every day, even for five minutes. Why not write down things you like about yourself and your body on notes

and stick them next to your mirror? Then every day can be a love yourself day! On 14th February from 12-2pm, SRSH will have a stall outside the bagel shop in the union. We will be continuing with our board and asking people to share with us what they love about their body, whilst also hopefully giving out baked goods and customised Love Yourself tote bags for a suggested donation. Money raised goes straight back into the charity so any support you show is greatly appreciated. Even if you just want to chat with us or say ‘hi’ come along on the 14th to our stall and help us promote the Love Your Body campaign. Our next session will be on 7th February from 6:30-7:30pm in HUMSS G57.

made schedule for your sessions. You will also improve your results faster by being constantly motivated by the achievements of other members of the group - but be careful when you choose your running group. If most members are worse than you in running abilities you either won’t improve much or you won’t get better at all, while if they are much better than you, you may become discouraged at the very beginning.

After overcoming teething trouble all you have to remember about is to avoid boredom in your training sessions, which is in fact surprisingly simple. Running has so much to offer for everyone. By following more and more demanding plans, taking part in competitions or finding new tracks, it’s not hard to appreciate the beauty of this sport. You can also add some circuit sessions to enhance the strength of the muscles that run-

Katy Richardson and Gemma

prior to your period, helps to reduce both bloating and severe pains.

ning alone won’t work. After such sessions not only you will make your training plan more diverse, but your running sessions will become much easier. As running only works the leg muscles, some runners can find that their arms, chests and backs are underdeveloped in comparison. Adding some restistance (weight) training which targets the upper body, abs and back muscles can help to rectify this problem. Swimming once or twice a week can also be a great change of pace for the muscles. Switching occasionally from high-impact, weight bearing running to a low-impact activity, such as swimming, which does not put the same stress on the joints and bones, can lower the risk of injury while running. I hope that after reading this article you are persuaded to join the wide group of people practising the enjoyable sport of running… but now, everything depends on you. All that I can do now is to wish you good luck and hope that when you finally become a successful runner, you won’t forget who encouraged you to take it up in the first place!

Periods: what a pain! Kellett

The guys are fed up of hearing about it, and the girls are fed up of experiencing it. That’s right, it’s the dreaded monthly period pains. We all know that hot water bottles barely work, along with painkillers and another predictable chick-flick. Even though you’ll be feeling like a bloated whale, here are some edible tips that will keep those pains to a minimum!

Grab a banana Any foods high in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is thought to improve emotional and physical well-being, so tuck into bananas, oatmeal, lentils, lean beef and wild salmon.

Strong bones Although calcium is well known for keeping your bones strong, it also helps reduce the effects of menstrual cramps. Calcium helps to loosen your muscles, which relieves any tension, so stick to plenty of dairy products and leafy green vegetables.

Meaty meals Oysters, red meat and poultry all contain zinc, which when eaten

H20 Drink plenty of water throughout your period to reduce headaches and avoid that bloated feeling. Herbal Teas are also known to help soothe your stomach, especially Lemon Balm and Camomile.

Chocolate Believe it or not ladies, but

chocolate really does help! High levels of magnesium, along with many vitamins, help reduce the length and severity of your monthly cramps, and can boost your serotonin (‘happiness hormone’) levels too. So there you go girls, eating chocolate does not always have to be a guilty pleasure! Run yourselves a steaming hot bubble bath, grab a cup of herbal tea and nibble on some of your favourite choccies!


Spark*

Friday 18 January 2013

health.spark@reading.ac.uk

Food Bake: nutella cookies Emily glanfield

Whether its smothered on toast or heated up with strawberries and marshmallows being dipped in it, everybody’s favourite guilty pleasure is undoubtedly the delicious Nutella. I always love finding new ways to try out my old favourite and this has to be the tastiest way I’ve tried so far. This recipe involves very little ingredients and most of it is probably laying around in the backs of your cupboards somewhere. It’s so easy because it’s literally a case of mixing it all together and baking – job done! These cookies are mouthwateringly delicious and the more Nutella you add, the more gooey and chocolaty they become. Another good trick is to spread more Nutella on them like icing after they have cooled down. This is sure to send you into a Nutella Nirvana!

Method Firstly you must preheat your oven to 150˚C (170˚C for fan ovens) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Thoroughly mix together the Nutella, brown sugar, caster sugar, cocoa powder and butter until all everything is well combined Add the egg and the flour and finally stir until completely mixed. Spoon small amounts onto your ready lined baking tray ensuring they are not too close together as they will spread out to form one big cookie, which is actually really good to try, so you may want to

do this on purpose! Bake in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes. They often inflate in the oven but don’t worry as they will deflate again once they have cooled, providing you can wait that long (see picture below). Once they have baked, allow them to cool fully on a cooling rack. As a really delicious option, you can spread Nutella on top like icing, or simply sprinkle with a little icing sugar on top to taste. So there you have it - a brand new way to use your cupboard favourite!

HEALTH&FOOD 29

No more tears Katy Richardson and Gemma Kellett

Are you fed up of becoming an emotional wreck when chopping onions? Here are some simple tips to help you hold back those tears, but what is it about onions that actually make us cry? The vapours react with the moisture in your eyes, creating sulfuric acid, which results in tears and a painful burning sensation. So, now instead of getting your goggles out every time you cook, try out some of these well known tips!

Chill

Before cutting your onions, put them in your freezer for 10-15 minutes, reducing the amount of acid released into the air when chopping!

Under Water

Cutting the onions under water

allows the gas to be absorbed in the liquid, preventing tears completely.

Chew It

Chewing gum forces you to breathe through your mouth, which attracts the vapours to the moisture in your mouth instead of your eyes. Simple!

Light a Candle

Create ambience by lighting a candle nearby, allowing the flame to attract the fumes instead.

Razor Sharp

Use a super sharp knife and you’ll slice through easier, making it less likely you’ll crush the onion cells and release that pesky onion juice. So put away those goggles and try out these tips. Just remember, as long as you breathe through your mouth and not your nose, you can chop away, tear free!

Ingredients 4 tbsp. Nutella 50g caster sugar 3 tbsp. brown sugar 50g butter 1 egg 1 heaped tsp. cocoa powder 125g self-raising flour

Three ways with... Kale Ebba Fredriksen

After Christmas, uni has just started and, to put it plainly, money is rather scarce. But you do not have to pay a fortune to eat well. I have therefore collected three recipes which won’t break your budget, all based around the underestimated, cheap and delicious kale. These recipes are based on fresh kale in bits. If you feel that you want to add something to make either of the dishes more substantial I would suggest shrimps, smoked, cured or normal salmon, a soft boiled egg or some lentils. Actually, almost any type of chicken, fish beef or pork will go nicely. These recipes are basic recipes that you can vary in many different ways according to what you have in your fridge, or leftovers from particular occasions.

Kale in the oven This is easy peasy and you don’t need many ingredients but you can add more to it if you want to, as you will find with most of the recipes. In all honesty, just kale

and pesto makes this a great dish. I personally prefer red pesto but if you want to use green I will not try to talk you out of it. Kale in the oven is a great side to grilled or roasted chicken, fish or beef, or for a veggie version, why not serve with some boiled or poached eggs?

Ingredients: Kale Red pesto, 2 slices chorizo, chopped A squeeze lemon A drizzle of honey Salt and pepper Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ Gas Mark 2. Take a fistful of kale and put it in a bowl. Add a spoonful or two of pesto and any other of the ingredients and gently rub it in to the kale. Put the kale mixture in an oven safe pan, place it in the middle of the oven and leave it for about 5 minutes. From own experience I know that kale can burn quickly so be close by. The dish is ready when the kale is crisp but not burnt.

Pasta sauce with kale

If you want to expand this sauce you can always add a bit of cheese like cheddar, blue cheese, or parmesan. Slightly roasted pine nuts, flakes of almonds or sunflower seeds work great as well (put the nuts in a heated pan and leave until they get a golden colour) Shredded pieces of smoked ham or salmon works nicely as well.

Ingredients: 1 clove of garlic A portion of kale Enough water or stock to cover the kale Cream fraiche, milk or cream Fry the garlic on low heat in a pot and make sure the garlic does not burn. Then add the kale, water and some stock. Leave it to simmer on

low heat for a few minutes. When the kale is soft add the cream and season. Serve on top of a bowl of pasta.

Garlic kale salad

This is a great base recipe, and you can add ingredients such as onions, peppers and tomatoes to it. Hazelnut or sesame seeds work really nicely as well. Ingredients: Frying oil 1 clove of garlic A sprinkling of paprika powder A couple of mushrooms A handful of kale Water Fry the garlic and paprika powder in a pan on a low heat. Add the mushrooms and some salt. After a few minutes add the kale and fry for about 10 minutes. If the pan starts to get dry just put some water in it. Eat either on its own or as a side. So there you have three easy ways to try out the healthy, delicious and cheap kale.


30 SCIENCE&TECHNOLOGY

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

scitech.spark@reading.ac.uk

SCIENCE&TECHNOLOGY

Editorial Citizen science: how you can help

Greetings,

cHARLIE DORMER

Hopefully everyone is getting on OK with the spring term. While editing in Charlie Dormer’s article on “citizen science”, I came across SciStarter and I thought it was pretty incredible the wide and varied range of projects that people can involved with. Working on a similar principle to other crowdsourcing initiatives like Kickstarter, the idea behind SciStarter is that if you can bring together and successfully engage a large number of people then you can achieve almost anything. I look forward to hearing about more citizen science success stories because an approach like this can do a lot to bridge the gap between scientists and the average person. It’ll make science more approachable and demystify that which can appear to be quite mysterious and incomprehensible. There’s still time to apply if you would like to be considered for the position of Science & Technology Editor. Please write a science or technology focused article for us of around 750 words. We expect neither experience nor a science or engineering degree, just awareness and a genuine interest in science and technology. If you’re interested, please send in your submission to scitech.spark@reading.ac.uk by Monday 4th February. Dave.

Want to contribute to Spark* Science & Technology? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch: scitech. spark@reading. ac.uk and also our facebook page www.facebook. com/groups/ scitech.spark/

You could grow sunflowers and help to map the bee population Image: Marcin Szala, Wikimedia Commons Science can seem out of reach to many people. The common image of scientists in the media is of a recluse working on a secretive project, removed from the rest of society. The lengthy process of becoming a career scientist, going through a degree and PhD and getting published in a journal, can make many school and university leavers conclude that they will never “do science” again. However, the rise of “citizen science” – the involvement of volunteers in science – may increasingly help to break down barriers between scientists and the public. Subjects as varied as ornithology and medicine are now being addressed with projects that depend on the involvement of the public. This continues a tradition of the public getting involved in research that is often missing from media portrayals of science. “Volunteer participation in the observation of nature and wider environmental monitoring has a long and illustrious history, especially in Britain,” said Dr John Tweddle, from the Natural History Museum. “It’s a fun and rewarding pastime that plays a huge role in improving our scientific understanding.” A review of 230 of such projects in the environmental science sector concluded that involving the general public can improve both scientific research and public education, as well as improving cost-effectiveness. A guide, featuring advice for those

carrying projects, review.

out citizen science accompanies the

Citizen science is not just limited to environmental research. The review, commissioned by a partnership of organisations that fund UK environmental science, looked at projects ranging from bird and butterfly monitoring to looking through ships’ logs to

help reconstruct 19th century weather records. The majority of the projects addressed biodiversity, which the authors say reflects the particularly rich history of amateur naturalists, especially in the UK. However, the internet and smartphones enable less traditional areas for public engagement to flourish, from astronomy to soil science. “It has been fantastic to have the opportunity to review such a wide range of citizen science projects,” said Dr Helen Roy, who led a team from the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Natural History Museum. “Our work shows the high value of citizen science to research, policy and practice, as well as its importance in connecting thousands of people to their environment across the UK, and the wider world.” Citizen science is not just limited to environmental research. In San Francisco, the uBiome project has been set up to map the microbes - microscopic organisms including bacteria that live on or inside the human body. This mini-ecosystem of microbes on the human body is called the “microbiome” by researchers. Participants in the uBiome project can have their own microbes sequenced, and are able to compare their microbes to the crowd data as well as scientific studies.

“We have two aims with uBiome”, explains Dr Zachary Apte, the project’s co-founder. “First, we want to make the science and the technology available to everyone. Now, anyone can have their microbiome sequenced and understand what that means for their own health. Second, we want to curate the world’s largest microbiome dataset. “ These microbes, living on our skin, gut and even our ears, are not “germs” but essential to healthy bodies - keeping germs in check and helping with the digestive and immune systems. Understanding the microbiome could help understand conditions ranging from diabetes to depression and asthma to autism. Whilst the microbiome has been mapped by scientists, the size of the sample was very small, only 250 people. This is an area where the more people get mapped, the better the science. “Citizen science is the answer,” says Dr Apte. “If you’d told me even five years ago that high throughput sequencing technology would be in the hands of citizen scientists, I would have told you that you’d been watching way too many science fiction movies. Today, uBiome makes this improbable dream a reality.”

    

   

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 

  

   

 

 

   

  

   

 

   

  

 

 

 

   

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   




Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

scitech.spark@reading.ac.uk

SCIENCE&TECHNOLOGY 31

The best things in life are free? (Part 1) David Thai

Perhaps that doesn’t actually always hold true in real life but might there be some truth to it when it comes to your computer and the software you use? Then again, it’s also said that you get what you pay for. Rather than being ardently for or against “Free and Open Source Software” (FOSS), I think I’m more of a pragratist. And so are most people I think. Maybe one day I might eschew commerical software completely for programs that I can get for free. I think the last

Image: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/

time I actually paid for a piece of software product (other than games) was a couple years ago when I bought Microsoft Office Professional 2010 because I could get it cheap as part of a promotion that Microsoft were doing. So could I actually never pay for software again and still have software that does everything I need it to? I decided to find out. Speaking generally, the things I’m always going to need are an operating system, an office

The Operating System

suite, probably some system utility software, maybe a graphics program or two, media players and maybe audio editing software. Oh, one more thing. If I’m looking at the software I use, then I should also consider my phone as well because my last two phones have Android smartphones - and if there’s one thing that’s synonymous with smartphones, it’s what software they can run: the apps.

The Office Suite I’ll begin here because this is the last piece of software I paid for. Only because I looked it up for this article, did I become aware that the latest 2013 edition of Microsoft Office was released this week. However, I find that I don’t actually care. I only ever open up a Microsoft Office program if I’m writing an essay or revising something created in a Microsoft Office program. For everyday lecture notetaking and the like I actually prefer to use Google Docs (free) because files are saved automatically and available anywhere. I have Office 2010 (and 2007) to fall back on should I need to, so I don’t see myself needing to pay for or switch to a different office suite. I’d look at OpenOffice or other open source offerings if I made the permanent jump to a Linux based operating system.

I’m seeing a trend here... It’s the trend where I don’t particular care much for Microsoft’s latest offerings. My main OS for now is Windows 7. Since I don’t have a touchscreen I have absolutely no interest in Windows 8. We use MacOS in the Spark* office so I’ve gained experience with that. My project work necessitated my using Ubuntu Linux (albeit via a virtual machine) because software that I need to use was only available on Linux. I enjoy my games too much to switch to Linux permanently... although the way things are going, this may not be a problem in future because with Steam on Linux, ever more big name games are becoming available on Linux.

Media

Audio For media, there’s no contest. I will never have to pay for a media player. With VLC, I can play everything I want to play. If you don’t get on with VLC, consider Media Player Classic which is very lightweight. If I just want to listen to music, I love foobar2000 because it’s highly customisable and I can set up the layout exactly as I want it. I used to use WinAmp but it started crashing on me

Utilities Not much to say here I suppose, as these are the little apps that you pick up and the use when the need arises. When I first got a PC, Windows didn’t support ZIP files without third party software. I used to use WinZip in it’s “Shareware” mode with it’s accompanying

registration nag screens. Then I discovered 7-Zip, which is free and supports a variety of formats. No doubt WinZip has grown hugely since then but why pay for extra features you don’t need?

For adventures in podcasting or other audio related activities. I must highly recommend Audacity. Amazingly it is free. It’ll serve the average home user very well. At the very least it serves as an excellent introduction to audio manipulation.

Get in touch if you want to submit an article or apply for the position of SciTech editor!


32 GAMING gaming.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

GAMING

In Patnership with www.ZiiP.co.uk

Hawken online open beta for PC A first person shooter in mech clothing

Iain farquhar

Please remember that this game is still in beta, so it might changed significantly since this review was written.

Hawken is a mech based free-toplay, multiplayer only, mech shooter from Adhesive games and has been the source of a lot of excitement. Since the first teaser trailer was released nearly two years ago the gaming community has been waiting with bated breath, their hearts captured by the beautiful trailers and the teasingly slow drip feed of details about the game. The beta opened to the public last month and although we have not spent a huge amount of time with this game, it was long enough to leave a lasting impression. Set in a gorgeously designed, post-apocalyptic world, Hawken throws you into the world with very little backstory or explanation about what is going on. But you won’t have time to ask questions because this game is incredibly fast paced and much like Call of Duty this game has a very short death-to-action time. This means that Hawken is rarely boring, as you are either in the thick of things, or already half way back to the action. Combat is also a beauty to behold, with missiles crisscrossing the battlefield and jumpjet

fitted mechs dancing around each other, trying to get that one perfect shot lined up. Even the user interface is a delight to use, designed to merge seamlessly with each of the mech’s cockpits and is yet another touch that shows how much effort that Adhesive games are willing to put into the small details, though it does take a while to tell the decorative from the useful. Hawken has a number of features that help make it stand out from all the other shooters, with the first being the aforementioned jetpacks. These allow you and your team mates to dance all over the battlefield, getting to high vantage points and rapidly flanking the enemies. The jumpjets also allows you to dodge incoming attacks by pressing shift, throwing your mech out of harm’s way. After only a few games you will find yourself skillfully dodging incoming fire only to jumpjet over an obstacle to nail the attacker in the cockpit with a missile and the feeling when you do so is rarely anything but satisfying. Even if you mess up your attack it isn’t the end of the world as, assuming that you can escape (mostly) in one piece, You can repair yourself to full health by shutting your mech down for a few seconds. While that first this seems

The Reaper mech is a foe to be feared in long range combat

Mechs to the left of them, mechs to the front, into the valley of death rode the foolish completely out of place, it actually means that players get a second chance before having to experience the frustration of respawning and means that you have to decide between following a fleeing foe to prevent any later surprises or continuing you killing spree. Another is the range of game modes. While your standard deathmatch modes are there, Adhesive have added two new modes: Siege and Missile Assault. Siege mode tasks you and your team to work together to gather energy from set points on the map and return it to your base. Once enough is collected, your team will launch a flying battle ship that slowly makes its way across the map, shelling anything foolish enough to stay out in the open. Once the battleship reaches the enemy base it will reduce it to rubble unless the opposing team can capture a missile silo and shoot down your battleship, all the while trying to get their battleship up in the air. This mode ensures a constantly changing pace of game, from scrambling across the map to gather energy, to a massive team fight as you try and gain control of the missile silo. The second new mode is Missile Assault and a slight variation of siege. Scattered over the map are a number of missile emplacements which, once captured, will start firing on your opponent’s base and the first team to lose their base is defeated. While again only a varia-

tion on existing game modes, it is a change of pace from the more common modes, even if it does feel like you are trying to keep plates spinning. With nine classes, each with their own weapon unlocks and special abilities to master, there is a lot a variety of play styles for you to mess around with. The Scout mechs can move quickly around the map to help spot the enemies, while the Brawler mechs are more suited for up close and personal fights. The heaviest mechs can even be deployed into a heavily armored (but stationary) turret, using their massive armor to hold their ground against otherwise suicidal odds. However, this is where the negatives start mounting up. Every mech, apart from the beginner’s assault class, has to be unlocked before you can begin levelling them for approximately 2000 in-game credits. There is a range of trial mechs for you to try but you don’t actually earn any credits or xp while using them, meaning that any time spend doing so is effectively ‘wasted’. If you don’t fancy grinding for several hours before earning enough cash to branch out you can buy Hawken credits and get them about £4 per mech, along with a range of XP and credit boosts. There are also specific items and cosmetic upgrades (like camouflage and paint schemes) that can only be bought for real money, meaning that if

you are a broke student like us, it mean that Hawken is much less attractive. But the worst is yet to come: the matchmaking. Hawken currently has no server browser, just a big ‘join game’ button and the ability to set a preferred region. Once you have picked a mode you want to play, you a thrust into an on-going match and left to fend for yourself. Which can be tricky at times when it seems that the game does not group matches, or even balance teams, by player level: There have been numerous times that we and our team of newbies were faced off against a team with several level 20 plus players, who proceeded to destroy us without breaking a sweat. It is also very difficult to play a game with your friends, as the current system in place us riddled with bugs and rarely worked for us, spoiling one of the games key aspects: teamwork. Hawken is a fun game, but it doesn’t feel like a mech game. It feels like a first person shooter wearing a mech game costume, which isn’t a bad thing if you are bored of Call of Duty or Battlefield are looking for something new. Adhesive games have made a gorgeous looking, fast paced and fun game, and on top of that it’s free. So you have absolutely no reason not to give Hawken a try, even if it still has a couple of bugs to squash.. Sign up at www.playHawken.com


30 GAMING

gaming.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 26 October 2012 Spark*


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

travel.spark@reading.ac.uk

TRAVEL 33

trAvel Interested in taking a Year Abroad? are not German. Yes, I will be living alone. No, I do not know anyone in the area I am moving to.”

The best decision of my life

A beautiful town in South West Germany Joanna Ford

This is for everyone planning their year abroad, or anticipating an upcoming adventure which will take them to unknown realms, in every way possible. Whether it is venturing to lands after, or simply getting your dissertation in on time.

Take heart adventurers - your move will be revolutionary. Change is on the horizon and you have every reason to be excited, although at present you may be terrified. This time last year, I did not think about my impending move to Germany (land of the sausage) too much. I pushed it to the back of my mind and was neither excited, nor scared. It was something I had to do as part of my course, and I was not too fussed about it. But you should be fussed. I was not bothered by the whole event until it was too late, meaning I did not take the unlimited chances I had to brag about what I was about to do with my life! Yes,

there may be 7 or 8 months left to go in your home country, but that is no reason not to show off!

A list of ‘must do things’ for the months before you leave: 1. Let the anticipation keep you awake at night and spend hours Googling the place you will soon be living in. Imagine yourself in that environment... “And here’s where I will buy ice cream on sunny days; and here’s where I’ll be all bohemian and hip and smoke French cigarettes and drink expensive coffee whilst pretending to write my diary (but actually just doodle pictures of cats); and here’s the bar I’ll call my local but never embarrass myself in...” This hobby is ideal for May, when you should be revising. Hours worth of procrastination! 2. Inform and astound everyone you meet with reports about how brave and proactive you are in doing this year abroad. “Yes, I do speak German. No, I do not want to be a teacher. Yes, I study the language for the sheer purpose of being a better and more interesting human. No, my parents

Facebook: www.facebook.com/travelspark Twitter:

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Email:

travel.spark@reading.ac.uk

Once you are there you will realise that there are lots of interesting and brave people in the world. So ‘pre-move’ is your only chance to make use of your current role of brave, intrepid traveller as yours and yours only. 3. Plan your time wisely. Use the summer to earn a ton of cash because it will evaporate into the magical money vortex before you can whisper “Guten Tag”. You are living abroad for a year so you do not want to be scrimping, saving and worrying about whether you can afford to go on that wicked trip to the Alps next weekend. Remember, when you are away you can upload one million photos to Facebook, and be the envy of all your friends at home. Photos require a certain amount of capital (unless you steal them from someone else’s travel blog and claim them as your own). 4. Remind everyone on a daily basis that, “this time next year” you will be doing something that sounds WAY more fun than what you are all doing at that point. Make them realise they will miss you by pointing out that although this year’s Christmas preparations were really fun, next year you will be trolling round Christmas markets to the dulcet tones of German choir boys singing Oh Tannenbaum, off your rocker on too much Glühwein. This is guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings of every family member and close friend. 5. Unleash your inner, hidden hipster.

In all honesty, what on earth could be more hip or arty than moving to another country?! All you have to do is look back in history to see that all the best arty types travelled to the Continent when life got too hard in old Blighty. Take inspiration: buy a beret or bowler hat, invest in a moleskin sketchbook or journal, and do not leave the house without a small volume of Romantic poetry. Just these items alone will up your art-output by 74%, and make you look 68% more interesting. Take heart adventurers - your move will be revolutionary. I am an English Language Assistant, living and working in the obscure depths of South West Germany, for my Third Year Abroad. In my alternate life in Reading, I am an English Literature and German student, scraping passes and dodging the library. Moving to Germany has been the best decision of my life. From beer-swigging revelry, to exploring the forest behind my house; befriending the locals; witnessing some of the most spectacular examples of natural beauty; negotiating the dodgy public transport system; spending the weekend in Berlin (then Munich, then Stuttgart, then Freiburg, then Dresden...); and waking up in somebody’s grandparents’ house filled with rabbits in the middle of the Black Forest. Every week has been an adventure and I can’t imagine what life would be like without the mayhem.

If you are interested in finding out more visit: http://germanjaunts.blogspot. de/2013/01/take-heart.html

Want to volunteer abroad? Find out how Emma Reeves and Hannah Banks

The TNT Travel Show (tnttravelshow.com) extravaganza offers inspiration, prizes, seminars and exclusive deals for students planning a gap year or a summer trip. As well as discounts of up to 50 percent on trips and holidays in the UK, Europe and worldwide, students can also book group trips, over-land routes and off-the-beaten track destinations in Eastern Europe, Africa, America, South America, Asia and Australasia.

It’s London’s largest FREE travel show With 3500 free pre-registered tickets available for every day of the show and tickets priced at just £2 after that. There will also be free-to-attend seminars offering expert advice and top tips. Such as the ‘50 countries before you’re 30’, working on a cruise ship, hitchhiking to Morocco and driving across USA and many more from various organisations. The volunteering opportunities to choose from are marine conservation in Madagascar to taking care of lions in South Africa. This is great for any travel society members already enrolled with Challenges Abroad to Romania and Cambodia. The show opening times are Saturday, March 9, 10am-6pm, and Sunday, March 10, 10am-3.30pm, at the Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH. To find out more, visit: tnttravelshow.com; follow Twitter @tnttravelshow; and ‘like’ TNT Magazine’s Facebook page.

Editors Free Travel App Review - For Less Guides As a budget conscious traveller, I was pleased to see that the free For Less Guides is not only convenient when faced with the lack of 3G, but for roaming charges in other countries and to lighten the load of guidebooks galore in the backpack! The London For Less Guide - it’s perfect for quick information and for planning a city trip. For Less Guides is a London-based start-up company currently providing free offline IOS apps. Content includes a fully searchable street map marked with hundreds of useful sites; an interactive Metro/Subway Map; a travel guide to top attractions; as well as other useful information such as the location of restaurants, museums, shopping areas, and discounts at hundreds of attractions and restaurants. Guides for London, New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam and more to come. For more info and to download: @ForLessGuides and www.facebook.com/ForLessGuides


34 ELECTIONS

editor.spark@reading.ac.uk

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

RUSU Elections RUSU Elections are coming… an interview with james fletcher, rusu’s president

Ceri Jones, VP democracy & Campaigns

Reading University Students Union elections are here again. Every year, students elect five of their peers to become the Student Officers of the Students’ Union. These positions are full-time paid roles for one year and their job is to run the multi-million pound charity that is RUSU. This week we got a chance to speak to James Fletcher (RUSU President) about what it’s like to be President and why you should run to be a student Officer. What is the best part about being RUSU President? I think it’s meeting a variety of people that you would never have had the chance to meet before. Not only dignitaries and key decisionmakers but peers and other students, some of whom you may have been at university with but now you get the chance meet and represent them. All of these people have amazing stories to tell and it is so interesting being part of the conversations.

How will the changes you’ve made to JCRs effect students in halls? The plans for JCRs will have a tremendously positive effect on a number of stakeholders (including RUSU, the University and JCR committees). Most importantly, however, students will be able to make sure that their JCR works for them in the way that they want. Lots of JCRs work very hard for students currently but these plans will make sure that students will have a minimum standard of JCR experience in their halls. What’s the hardest part of your job? The hardest part of the job is trying to convince the small minority of people who, for whatever reason, dislike students’ unions, that what we stand for is of benefit to students and wider society. This is not a huge problem at Reading (unlike many other places) but this sometimes makes the job a little tricky.

What makes a great Student Officer? That’s such a hard question to summarise in a nutshell. If I was forced to give you an answer now, I’d have to say that you have to be committed to making other people’s lives better, while hopefully be ready to have a little fun along the way. You have to be willing to listen to people and also willing to make the big decisions that will have a huge effect on thousands of people’s lives. It is all about the appropriate level of engagement with your members as well as the appropriate amount of leadership. That is a tricky balance to strike sometimes. Why should people run in the RUSU Elections 2013? Being a student officer is the best job in the world! I would say that though, I guess. But the fact of the matter is that it’s one of the only jobs with this level of responsibility at a relatively young age. Running in an election,

whether you win or lose (and I’ve done both) is an amazing experience and one that I’d recommend to anyone. If you win, its great and you get to lead an amazing organisation. If you lose, it’s not nice but at least you get the memories and the skills that you have developed to lead a campaign team. Those skills will be with you forever.

If you have any more questions regarding the upcoming elections at RUSU. Then please contact the VP Democracy & Campaigns, Ceri Jones at vp.democracyandcampaigns@ rusu.co.uk

RUSU’s President James Fletcher

What is your average day like? There is no such thing as an average day but that’s one of the best parts of the job. Lots of my time is spent preparing for, and being in, committees. These make the key decisions in the university and the discussions that happen around those tables have a direct impact on students’ lives and happiness here at Reading. There are also lots of internal meetings with the Student Officers and RUSU staff. I am charged with making sure that the union is run effectively day to day so this enables that. Then there are lots of events that I attend, mostly after the working day. The RUSU President is also just another member of the university community and these events allow you to meet the people I’ve described above. What part are you most proud of? The chance to restructure the governance of JCRs looks like it’s going to be a success. If the plans go through like I hope this will be my proudest moment. I have another five and a half months so it should be all sorted by then!

Our current student officer team, left to right, Ceri Jones, James Fletcher [Pres], Kara Swift, Sophie Davies, Nick Cook


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

editor.spark@reading.ac.uk

SPARK* 35

Spark* positions

Spark* are recruiting!

role description how to apply It is that time in the year when position clubs and societies elect and The role of editor is Contact Ceri Jones, Vice to oversee the deputy President Democracy appoint their new positions for editor editors and section & Campaigns for an editors and to help move applicaion form the upcoming academic year the newspaper forward. Main tasks will and the same goes for us here involve organising the Spark* team, holding at Spark*. meetings to ensure the smooth running of While we are always keen to Spark* and heading up the production of the hear from new writers, prooffortnightly paper. readers and people to help The role of deputy Contact Ceri Jones, Vice deputy editor editor is to liase with the President Democracy with the delivery of the paper, section editors in order & Campaigns for an (2 positions) to help the production of applicaion form the roles of Section Editors, Spark* Main tasks will Deputy Editors and Editor of involve assisting the edior in their role, Spark* only come up once a acting as a link between section editors and the year, therefore this is your editor and helping proof read and produce Spark* chance to get involved. on a fortnightly basis. If you’ve ever wanted to get involved with student media, The role of section Contact either the section editor is to provide the Spark* Editor to register to see your name in print and link between the writers interest or the relevant editors and editors of Spark* section directly. to add something impressive Main tasks will involve commicating editor.spark@reading.ac.uk to your CV, taking on a posiwith writers in order to gaming.spark@reading.ac.uk (Gaming, Sci-tech, receive article for the tion at Spark* could be perfect Political Comment, paper, editing the article scitech.spark@reading.ac.uk politics.spark@reading.ac.uk and then using Adobe fun.spark@reading.ac.uk for you . InDesign to create interview.spark@reading.ac.uk Fun & Games, Inthe pages of Spark*. Not only that, but it is an terview) Articles will also be uploaded to the website. excellent way to meet new people, to find out first about everything happening on camThe role of PR is to help pr advertise Spark* and pus and to develop a wide Contact the Spark* create a link between Editor the newspaper and range of skills. societies. editor.spark@reading.ac.uk Main tasks will So if you think you’ve got involve organising the distribution of Spark*on what it takes, read on to see a fortnightly basis, helping publicise Spark* the specific jobs that are up around campus and to organise and assist at for grabs, what they involve events such as Freshers’ Fair and how to apply. vp.democracyandcampaigns@rusu.co.uk

vp.democracyandcampaigns@rusu.co.uk


36 FUN&GAMES

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

fun.spark@reading.ac.uk

fun&games Crossword Two Sudoku

Matthew Sapsed

This week’s Sudoku

Last week’s answer...

Answers coming in our next issue!

Cryptogram

Solve the phrase from a famous movie.

Comics

Fancy becoming the next Fun and Games editor? get in contact at

fun.spark@reading.ac.uk

find us on Facebook (Spark* Newspaper)

Scan for our facebook page

See more at www.bossandnoble.wordpress.com!


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

editor.spark@reading.ac.uk

LETTERS 37

Letters & Events

Big Volunteering Weekend – 9th February 2013

The Big One for Volunteering! One Saturday. One Project. Hundreds of Volunteers. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to create a remembrance garden at Radstock Primary School in Reading on Saturday 9th January. We are looking for hundreds of student volunteers to get behind this project, and to help dig, plant and paint alongside children, parents and teachers from the school. More details can be found on the Big Volunteering Facebook page or by emailing volunteer@reading.ac.uk

Students take on four desert race for children’s charity Hello Spark* Readers We are Jamie Blake and Mitsuhiro Hattori, we are both currently students here at the University of Reading. I (Jamie) am a 4th year studying MEng Cybernetics and my friend is Mitsuhiro who is currently on exchange from Japan here. We are currently fundraising for 1000km of running across four of the world’s deserts. In 2014 we are running in the Sahara, Gobi, Atacama and Antarctica. We have 2013 dedicated to training and fundraising for our trip. We are supporting two fantastic children’s charities. Mine is local to my home and is a children’s

hospice (EACH www.each.org.uk) and Hiro’s is Aid for Japan (www. aidforjapan.org.uk). Both do fantastic work supporting children! We have lots to raise to fund our entrance fees, flights and the charities themselves, so we would love it if you could help us raise the profile of our cause and have a look at the Facebook page (http://www.facebook. com/4Deserts4Children) and blog for (www.4deserts4children.blogspot.com). You can also follow the campaign on Twitter (@4Dsrts4Chldrn ) and check out the fundraising site: http://fundrazr.com/campaigns/ cPoYa

A note from the Communications and Supporter Engagement Officer Laura Garmin

One of the best things about working in the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office is when we have the chance to welcome our graduates back to campus; especially graduates who have achieved great distinction and impact in their work. In the last couple of weeks, we were delighted to welcome two very notable alumni back to ‘their roots’. First up was Peter Strickland, a Fine Art graduate who has become an award-winning Film Director since leaving the University. Peter led a special Q & A after a screening of his film Berberian Sound Studio in the Reading Film Theatre. Then, just a week later, we had the pleasure of meeting

A letter from the editor Sophie Harrison

Dear Spark* readers As you read this we will be rapidly heading towards the middle of term when lectures get serious and deadlines start looming. And, for second year students like my-

Spark* is now online! Go to our website at www. sparknewspaper.co.uk Follow us @SparkNewspaper ‘Like’ our Facebook page at www. facebook.com/SparkNewspaper Get in touch!

Reading Law graduate Sir Simon Gass, who is NATO’s senior civilian representative in Afghanistan. Sir Simon spoke to fellow alumni, students and staff about the conflict in Afghanistan, and gave his personal view on what the future holds for the country. Sir Simon also took the opportunity to reflect on his student days – when you could get a pint for 22p and Law was a brand new discipline at the University of Reading! Although it may seem a while off, we hope very much that, like Peter and Sir Simon, you will stay in touch with the University once you leave. And finally, have you heard the fantastic news? The Cabinet Office has announced that 12 “outstand-

ing” university departments are set to receive royal professorships to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee last year…and the University of Reading is one of them! The University of Reading will receive a Regius Professorship in meteorology and climate science, in recognition of the exceptional teaching, learning and research that takes place across this area. This is a very rare privilege, and one that reaffirms exactly why the University of Reading is amongst the world’s top 1% of universities. Don’t forget you can keep up to date with news like this, and more, on Facebook (search ‘University of Reading Alumni’) and Twitter (@ UniRdg_Alumni).

self, the terrifying realisation that we are definitely now more than half way through our university experience. So as this week is Give it a Go week, perhaps now is time to reflect on what you’ve managed to get involved with during the past eightneen months and what you’d

like to achieve before your time at Reading comes to an end. Whether you are a fresher, second year or finalist make the most of the 6, 26 or 46 weeks of teaching time you have left at Reading and the free time around it. Get involved, make new friends and most importantly, have fun!

Want some career top tips? Go to www.sparknewspaper.co.uk/careers for advice from the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

P.O. Box 230, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AZ Vol 61. Issue 3

Editorial Staff

Editor:

Sophie Harrison editor.spark@reading.ac.uk

Deputy Editors:

Calum Rogers and Ellis Wiggins deped.spark@reading.ac.uk

News Editor:

Zoe Crook news.spark@reading.ac.uk

News Sub-Editor:

Ania Wronski news.spark@reading.ac.uk

Comment Editors:

Jess Cropper

comment.spark@reading.ac.uk

Political Comment

Adam Roberts

Editor:

politics.spark@reading.ac.uk

Interview Editor:

Ellis Wheatley interview.spark@reading.ac.uk

Film, DVD & TV

Ellie Holland and Jack Marshall

Editors:

film.spark@reading.ac.uk

Music Editors:

Jamie Milton music.spark@reading.ac.uk

Nia Thomas music.spark@reading.ac.uk

Science & Tech

David Thai and Vinay Chauhan

Editor:

scitech.spark@reading.ac.uk

Gaming Editor:

Tom Wood gaming.spark@reading.ac.uk

Arts&Books Editor: Lucy Snow arts.spark@reading.ac.uk Fashion Editors:

Katey Watkins and Samantha Yates

fashion.spark@reading.ac.uk

Beauty Editor:

Elle Turner beauty.spark@reading.ac.uk

Travel Editor:

Simon Truscott travel.spark@reading.ac.uk

Health Editor:

Sarah Lienard health.spark@reading.ac.uk

Fun&Games Editor: Paroma Guha

fun.spark@reading.ac.uk

Sport Editor:

Cameron Humphries

sports.spark@reading.ac.uk

Head of PR:

Charlie Allenby pr.spark@reading.ac.uk

Design editor:

Sam Winslet

Proofreaders:

Jessica Hodges

Precious Ayemere-Okojie

Elizabeth Reilly

Spark* is written, designed & typeset by students at the University of Reading. Printed by Newbury News Limited, Newspaper House, Faraday Road, Newbury, Berkshire. RG14 2DW. Published and funded by Reading University Students’ Union vp.studentactivites@rusu.co.uk. Spark* is completely editorially independent. Complaints should be made to the Editor, in the first instance, and thereafter to RUSU. All complaints should be made in writing. All articles, letters etc. must include a name, address, and contact number/e-mail address. These may be withheld from publication at specific request. Spark* or RUSU can take no responsibility for products or services advertised herein. Spark* reserves the right to reject or edit any submissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Editor. The views expressed in Spark* do not necessarily reflect those of the Editor, particularly those expressed in the comments pages, which are often the opinions of the specific authors. Photographs in Spark* are copyright to the photographer concerned.


38 ADVERTISEMENT

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Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*


Spark* Friday 1 February 2013

sports.spark@reading.ac.uk

SPORT 39

SPORT COMMENT

A day in the life of a Reading University rower Charlie Rutter

Firstly there needs to be a bit of context. Rowing is the most intensive sport that this university has to offer, as soon as you choose to pursue rowing you sign up for a lifestyle. One of complete focus and dedication that I’m sure is seen from every other sport. What makes rowing different is the amount that the sport asks from you with very little return. Rugby and hockey players will have their matches every few weeks or so but for the rower there can be months between races. In which time there’s constant training which makes those rare events mean so much more. A day in the life of a rower would start in most cases before dawn getting the first bit of the day’s training in before the rest of the university rises which would normally consist of an 18km row.

Then come the huge quantities’ of food that the rower has to eat before rushing off to lectures to speak to people who will have no idea why you have just spent the last few hours rowing instead of sleeping. To speak of what the rower has to eat for the lifestyle they’ve so foolishly chosen to pursue, for a male heavyweight rower close to 6000 calories each day.

A male heavyweight rower eats close to 6000 calories each day This is around 4 to 5 meals each day making you perfect for eating challenges with the housemates, who will always be stunned at the amount you can eat. A second session will be after the lectures finish at around 6 in the evening, so when the rest of the univer-

sity will now be going back to their halls or houses thinking about whether to go out that night and what kind of pre drinks to have the rower will be thinking about the session. The second session of the day will either be weights or on the rowing machines or “ergos” which are the things that rowers will hate more than anything else in their day. The ergo being quite simply the chosen way to test each rower and push them to further than they themselves thought possible. What I mentioned earlier of competing quite rarely against other universities, there is another competitive aspect to this sport that makes rowing stand up to its name of being the most intense sport of this university. Not only are you competing against the university but also against your friends, people as equally focused and determined as you who want nothing

more than to get into the 8 spots open in the first boat and are very prepared to kick you out to get that spot, even if you are a close friend.

A Reading University rower trains 12 times a week equalling close to 30 hours of training Constantly this will be on the rower’s mind during the sessions, especially during those ruthless ergos where you know that you will have to beat your competition every day to keep the spot that you crave in that first boat making illness or injury not an option. Since quite simply as soon as either of these nightmares happen you will lose that spot you had worked so hard for.

This is the mind of a rower, one of absolute focus and competition that just doesn’t turn off after sessions, but also stress, that the pain that you put yourself through may not be enough to get that golden spot. I say pain because a Reading University rower trains 12 times a week equalling close to 30 hours of training, only slightly less than a full time job. That’s 12 sessions of intense physical and mental stress that is guaranteed to leave you completely exhausted every single day. So this is the life of a rower and so if anyone complains that they don’t see enough of someone who rows or simply doesn’t understand what it takes to be a rower I invite them to live the life of a rower and perhaps they’ll understand what rowers go through.

Agony for Murray as Djokovic proves a step too far Jack Parker

Andy Murray failed to add to his US Open victory as he bowed out to world number one Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open Final. Murray, battling with injury, came up short as Djokovic reasserted his dominance in Melbourne. The match started well for Murray taking a closely fought first set on the tie break with some exquisite play, highlighting his strong progress on the world stage.

Djokovic reasserted his dominance in Melbourne. However, hampered by his foot injury Murray lost the second set

as Djokovic enforced his prowess. With the medics called to the court to treat Murray’s blisters, Novak, like a true predator, saw his opportunity to strike. Last September at the US Open the Scotsman had used a long and grueling match to wear down and defeat Djokovic, taking his first grand slam title. The plan was much the same this time. If Murray could tire the Djokovic’s legs, the Serbian would be unable to so gracefully glide around the court and assert his full force, which has led him to the top over the last three years. Four months on, with Murray now feeling the pain, Djokovic wanted to avoid another dogfight and go in for a swift kill. Mid way through the third set the decisive moment came. With Djokovic in front four to three, the world number one takes the first

Exasperated: Djokovic wore Murray down

Six Nations 2013 Preview CAMERON HUMPHRIES

The Northern Hemisphere’s finest rugby talents are primed to pit themselves against each other as the Six Nations resumes this Saturday. This year’s competition is exceptionally intriguing with the British and Irish Lions due to tour this summer, with many players looking to place themselves in contention for a spot in the squad later this year. Last year Wales completed a memorable Grand Slam, however it is long odds on a repeat of that triumph. England start as favourites following their superb victory over New Zealand two months ago however there remain question marks over whether Stuart Lancaster’s men can find some consistency? Ireland and France will both expect to challenge for the title and there is

Wales completed their third Grand Slam in eight years last time round although few expect them to do it again with England the bookmakes favourites.

break of the match after a long drawn game to move five-three in front. Murray resilience was broken. With the pain continuing to damage his prospects this proved to be the edge that Djokovic needed to comfortably dictate the rest of the final. Djokovic went on to take the third set six-three. Breaking Murray early in the fourth set, Djokovic led a commanding six-two victory, becoming the first ever player to win three consecutive Australian Open championships. Though there was no sweet ending for Andy Murray, the tournament proved to further establish his status near the top of the world rankings. Now a prominent threat at the start of every major tournament, Murray is fast becoming the player that the British public has been crying out for. His first ever Grand Slam victory

a feeling that this years’ champion-

ship is all to play for. Indeed, Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll may well be competing in his final Six Nations and has stated his belief that he can bow out on a winning campaign. His country’s record appearance make missed last years’ competition and will be keen to make amends here. Scotland endured a dire campaign last time round and will hope for an improvement here, however there encounter at Twickenham on Saturday does not give much cause for hope. Italy will once again expect to feature near the bottom of the table however there improvement in recent years has been clear and powerhouses should take them for granted.

against Djokovic was the perfect example of his growing maturity on the court.

Murray will be more confident than ever to win Wimbledon What now for Murray? The French Open is a good four months away, giving him much time to prepare at he tours the ATP. Moreover, with a return to Wimbledon in June there is no doubt that Murray will be more confident than ever to win the prestigious title. The question is will Novak reign king of the court this year or is it time for the up and comer to take the throne?

2012 Six Nations Standings PD +51 +27 +27 +15 -68 -52

Pts 10 8 5 5 2 0

1. Wales 2. England 3. Ireland 4. France 5. Italy 6. Scotland 2013 Six Nations Fixture List Saturday Wales V Ireland 1.30PM England V Scotland 4.00PM Sunday Italy V France 3.00PM


40 SPORT

Friday 1 February 2013 Spark*

sports.spark@reading.ac.uk

SPORT Reading progress in FA Cup

Inside... Djokovic too much for Murray

The life of a University Rower

Six Nations Preview

While Le Fondre snatches dramatic point against Chelsea Saturday 26 January Reading 4-0 Sheffield United Attendance: 14,715 Luke Fry

With giant killings here, there and everywhere on F.A Cup 4th round weekend, Readings comprehensive 4-0 win over Sheffield United was something of an anomaly. The ice and snow had passed through Reading earlier in the week and as a result the fans were treated to a slightly warmer walk to the ground. Things soon got heated in the stadium as after early possession Nicky Shorey found Hal Robson-Kanu out wide on the left and his pinpoint cross was met by the head of Noel Hunt who beat Darryl Westlake in the air to put the Royals One up after five minutes. Despite being two divisions lower, it was the visitors who were controlling the game after the goal. The trickery of Nick Blackman was causing Reading’s back four all sorts of problems, he beat Shorey down the left and fizzed a ball across the goal line somehow evading everyone. On the other flank new signing Jamie Murphy was linking up well with former R’s man Dave Kitson and the two combined in the 35th minute only for Federici to deny Murphy. It looked like it would be a matter of when rather than if Sheffield United would equalise but as is the case often in football the opposite occurred, after good work from Garath McCleary down the right, Mikele Leigertwood picked up the ball and to cries of ‘shoot’ he duly obliged finding the top corner via a deflection off Kevin Mc-

Donald to send Brian McDermott’s men in 2-0 up at the break. Sheffield United came out for the second half all guns blazing with both Blackman and Murphy causing the Reading fullbacks problems, in spite of their early pressure United found themselves three down after Garath McCleary knocked the ball past Westlake and eluded the pressure of Higginbotham and Doyle to cross for Hunt to scuff home and bag his second of the game. If that wasn’t bad enough it got even worse for the Blades as McCleary capped a fine display with a fantastic effort four minutes later, Nicky Shorey brought the ball out from defence and found Adam Le Fondre who in turn spread the ball out to McCleary who after an astute piece of skill found the bottom corner.

McCleary capped a fine display with a fantastic effort It was 4-0 and basically game over with over half an hour to go, so the Reading fans set on taunting the Blades fans with cries of, “Four nil on your big day out’ this to a team who had been in the Premier League with the Royals during the 2005/2006 season. In all fairness to Sheffield United they didn’t throw the towel in, both McMahon and Doyle had chances cleared off the line and substitute Ryan Flynn missed an absolute sitter late on. In the end it was a professional display from the R’s with manager Brian McDermott conceding afterwards, “I don’t think we did

Lethal: Le Fondre has been in fine form - 5 goals in 3 league games particularly well in the first half. We just weren’t ourselves. I got a bit agitated, which is unusual for me, but we were much more clinical and efficient after, so we deserved to go through”.

Attendance: 24,097 Cameron HUmphries

Reading FC snatched a point against European

Champions

Chelsea

as

In the end it was a

Adam Le Fondre came off the bench

professional

to score a brace.

display

from the R’s

Chelsea looked to be cruising to a 2-0 victory following goals by Juan Mata and Frank Lampard however Le

The Blades boss Danny Wilson said, “I think the score line was a bit flattering but they have taken their chances”. The draw for the fifth round was made on Sunday and saw the Royals paired with Manchester United.

Fondre got one back in the 87th minute from Hope Akpan’s through ball. Then, with 94 minutes on the clock, Le Fondre sent the Mad Stad into delirum with a fine steered volley after Chelsea failed to clear. The Royals were far from impres-

Wednesday 30th January Reading 2-2 Chelsea

sive however there resolve will give boss Brian McDermott hope that the club can avoid relegation.

FA Cup - ‘Cupsets’ galore as big guns dumped out

Battling Oldham stun Liverpool sam Smart

A strong Liverpool were left shellshocked at Boundary park as Oldham held on to run out victorious in this fourth round FA cup tie. Two goals from Matt Smith and a tird by the impressive Recce Wabara proved to be enough as Oldham progressed to the fifth round, a home tie with Everton waiting as a reward for their exploits. Liverpool chose to field a strong line-up. Captained by controversial striker Luis Suarez, Brendan Rodgers chose to field three players accustomed to a forward role along with regular first teamers Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen. Oldham manager Paul Dickov chose to field ex-Evertonian and boyhood Liverpool fan Jose Baxter off of target man Matt Smith in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

Oldham immediately showed their intent by scoring as early as the 3rd minute. Smith towered over Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates to produce a powerful header into the away sides net.

Oldham

immediately

showed their intent by scoring as early as the 3rd minute. Oldham, far from retreating into their shell, continued their momentum boosted by an energetic crowd. Brad Jones was tested between the Liverpool sticks again, spilling a long range drive, resulting in a brief fracas between the opposing players.

It was Liverpool who replied however in the 17th minute. Luis Suarez’s mazy solo run resulted in a tidy finish into the Oldham goal after some good fortune in the build-up, Suarez effectively playing a one-two with an Oldham defender. Liverpool threatened again soon after following good fork from Suarez and Fabio Borini, putting Raheem Sterling through on goal only for his tame effort to be gobbled up by goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis. Despite Liverpool’s resurgence they remained disjointed and unorganised, with large gaps between the front line and midfield appearing to emphasise this. On top of this Sebastian Coates was having a torrid time dealing with the added physicality Oldham were bring to the game. This came to a head deep in first half stoppage time as Jones spilled a

right wing cross from full-back Reece Wabara before Smith tapped in with his second. Wabara proved to be a constant threat down the flank to top off a promising display. Shortly after the second half began Oldham increased their lead, Wabara getting his goal with a fine far post header after Liverpool failed to close down a cross. In response Liverpool brought on club captain Steve Gerrard and Stewart Downing in the 55th minute in an attempt to salvage something from the tie. They continued to push but could not quite find a breakthrough, Bouzanis proving impressive throughout. Joe Allen managed to pull one back from the reds with a deflected volley during the aftermath of a corner kick. Liverpool then pushed for an equaliser.

During the six minutes of added time Gerrard came within a whisker of spoiling Oldham’s party as his smooth 30 yard effort ricocheted off of the bar, the goal keeper well and truly beaten. But it was to prove to be a ‘cupset’. Oldham held on for the remainder of the game to progress, buoyant through the excitement of this cup run despite their torrid league form. Liverpool fans however will be disappointed in witnessing such a poor display, further highlighting their inconsistency as a side ahead of tough away ties in the league to Arsenal and Manchester City. Elsewhere Leeds beat Spurs, Millwall beat Aston Villa and non-league Luton shocked Norwich while European Champions Chelsea could only earn a draw at Brentford. This was an FA Cup weekend to savour.

Spark 20130201 - Vol. 62, Issue 2  

The University of Reading student newspaper

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