Tuesday January 19 2010 | Week 2
The Student celebrates with a new series of original artwork
Edinburgh: Cultural Capital
C U LT U R E
S cott ish S t udent Ne wspaper of the Year 2009 S I N C E 1887
T H E U K ' S O LD E S T S T U D EN T N EW S PA P ER
Universities issue stark warning Russell Group: cuts will "bring education system to its knees" Jordan Campbell
Continued on page 3 »
Continued on page 3 »
Snow place like home
Edinburgh students battle with icy travel conditions, page 6 »
tions is feared due to a high number of graduates from previous years still in search of work. More than 40 percent of applications received so far have been from the ‘class of 2009’ as opposed to current undergraduates, and over 70 percent of companies surveyed reported a significant increase in applications for graduate vacancies in 2010. A survey conducted amongst over 1,000 final year students shows attitudes to job hunting to still be overwhelmingly pessimistic, with a quarter of students admitting to applying to employers they have little or no interest in, and half feeling they will have to take any job offered to them. Furthermore, half of students are concerned that graduating in a recession will have long term consequences for their careers. Job choices have also been affected, with a majority of students saying that the recession has made them willing
LEADING UK universities have issued a strong warning to Westminster that spending cuts for universities could severely damage the sector and undermine the UK’s position as a world leader in education. In December’s pre-Budget report, ministers announced that £600 million would have to be cut for universities by 2013, in addition to a previous request for universities to find efficiency savings of £180 million by 2011. It is widely expected that higher education spending will be cut after the next election regardless of which party is in power, as the incoming government attempts to reverse its growing deficit. In a statement in The Guardian, the Russell Group of 20 universities, which includes the University of Edinburgh in addition to both Oxford and Cambridge, said that: 'It has taken more than 800 years to create one of the world's greatest education systems, and it looks like it will take just six months to bring it to its knees.' They added, 'If the government targets these huge cuts on university budgets they will have a devastating effect not only on students and staff, but also on our international competitiveness, national economy and ability to recover from recession...cuts of this magnitude in overall funding will impact on the sustainability of our research and cannot fail to affect even the most outstanding universities.' Director-General Wendy Piatt warned that the cuts could lead to the collapse of up to 30 higher education institutions. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, however, has swiftly denounced the group’s argument, claiming that despite less money being available overall, spending on teaching and research funding will continue to grow over the next two years. Mandelson insists that universities must be more efficient with how they spend money, suggesting they offer shorter courses as a means of achieving this.
Graduate vacancies set to rise Growth in jobs predicted for 2010 Candidate backlog sparks concerns Anna MacSwan GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT prospects have taken a positive turn as the number of vacancies is set to increase by 11.8 percent in 2010, following two years of sharp decline. While the total number of available jobs dropped by 17.8 percent in 2009 and 6.7 percent in 2008, a survey of Britain’s top one hundred employers conducted by High Fliers Research has found that almost half have increased graduate recruitment targets for 2010. The UK’s top employers promoted over 40,000 graduate vacancies during
the 2008 and 2009 recruitment seasons. However, almost 10,000 positions were eventually cancelled or postponed. Shelagh Green, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Careers Service, said that the research ‘reflects many of our own experiences.’ Speaking to The Student, she said: “We saw a 17 percent increase in graduate vacancies being advertised on SAGE last semester compared with the previous year – 1,650 opportunities - and the vacancies are continuing to flow in.” The increase comes predominantly from within the investment banking sector, which intends to take on a third more graduates than in 2009, a sharp reverse from previous trends, which show recruitment to have halved over the past two years. High street banks, retailers and accountancy and professional service firms will also significantly increase their graduate intake, by 30.2 percent, 21.3 percent and 13.9 percent respectively. Consumer goods companies, engineering and industrial employers and
the public sectors, however, continue to predict fewer vacancies. The biggest graduate recruiters in 2010 will be PricewaterhouseCoopers with 1,039 vacancies, and Deloitte with 1,000. They are followed by the Army (735 vacancies), Teach First (650), KPMG (650) and the RAF (600). No increase is to be seen in starting salaries for graduates, which will for the first time remain unchanged at an average of £27,000 per year. A fifth of graduate programmes offer new recruits over £30,000, with the most generous salaries being offered by investment banks, law firms and management consulting firms. Concerns have also been raised that this year’s graduates will reap few benefits from the increase in entry-level jobs, due in part to the fact that many vacancies have already been filled by 2009 graduates with deferred job offers or previous work experience with employers. Moreover, a backlog in applica-
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
What’s in this issue NEWS »p1-6
TEVIOT'S LATEST INNOVATION p5 Alcohol-free zone lined up for union venue
TRANS-ATLANTIC TROUBLES p6 Your tales of international travel chaos
COMMENT »p7-9 HEAVEN HOLDS A PLACE? p9
Declan Murphy on the scandal shaking Belfast
Labour proposes free papers for teens Julia Symmes Cobb SCOTTISH LABOUR’S culture spokeswoman has called for all 18year-olds to be given a year-long free subscription to the newspaper of their choice, in hopes of encouraging a life-long habit of reading. Writing in The Scotsman last week, Pauline McNeill said that the decisive action was also required to help save Scotland’s ailing newspaper industry. The current recession and the advent of the internet and other technologies has undermined newspaper circulation and the ability of large national dailies to attract advertisers, although Scotland still has one of the most competitive markets for newspapers, with 17 national papers serving a population of five million. McNeill stated in her editorial that “we need some positive ideas to protect the role that newspapers play as an essential part of Scotland's democratic, artistic and popular culture.”
The plan is modelled on a similar scheme in France, announced last year, under which the government offered to pay for delivery of newspapers to millions of teenagers. Under the French plan, publishers would provide the newspapers to the government free of charge, except for delivery costs, in exchange for the increased ad revenue expected from higher circulation. The party's announcement comes at a crucial time for many newspapers. SNP Finance secretary John Swinney announced recently that councils may soon be allowed to publish notices on the internet, instead of in newspapers, which they are currently required to do by law. The move will reportedly cost newspapers £10 million in lost advertising revenue. McNeill called this move undemocratic, saying that “many of the most vulnerable in our society do not have access to broadband.” “The SNP government seems intent on driving Scottish newspapers towards their final deadline,” she added.
Scottish Labour said that the cost of providing the newspapers - more than £9.3million, without delivery costs - should be carried by the Scottish Government, but the possibility of structuring the scheme in the same way as the French proposal suggested has not been ruled out. Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Iain Smith said of the initiative: “In the middle of a recession there are better things for government to be spending money on than free newspapers for young people.” Pete Murray, the president of the National Union of Journalists, disagreed, saying: “This is positive initiative that shows real imagination. If we get this right it will be a win-win for young people and newspapers.” The National Union of Journalists had previously reported the loss of around 2,000 jobs in both print and broadcast media in recent months. email@example.com
ITALIAN WINTER WARMERS p14 Lifestyle cooks up a two-course treat
COMMISSION #1 p16-17
Original artwork by Owen Ramsay and Angela Davison
PREPPY INDIE POP MARK II p18
Same formula for Vampire Weekend's latest effort
HYPE IN THREE DIMENSIONS p20
Dan Nicholson-Heap takes off his specs and isn't convinced
DOCTOR, DOCTOR p22
Round-up of the best and worst of Christmas telly
WORSE THAN PORN? p24
LABOUR PROPOSAL: Furture students at Edinburgh University may be reading free newspapers. Other than the one you are reading now of course.
THE BALL'S IN ANDY'S COURT p27
Sport checks out the latest developments in tennis
University receives £1.26m donation for medical research Lucy Mair
p20-21 The Student Newspaper | 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
24/7 WALL ST.
Richard Lane weighs in on the gaming debate
THE LARGEST gift ever received by the University of Edinburgh from a living benefactor will help to fund a state-of-the-art imaging facility, due to open at Little France this summer. The donation by Ronald Storey honours a pledge made to his life-long friend and business partner, Dr. George Birtwisle, a University of Edinburgh graduate. Storey, 82, was left a substantial inheritance by Dr. Birtwisle, with the understanding that he would invest the money and donate the proceeds to the University’s medical school, where Dr. Birtwisle studied during World War Two. The £1.26 million donation was made to the University of Edinburgh Development Trust, with the stipulation that it should be used to support
medical research. In consultation with Storey, the funds have been allocated to the Clinical Research Imaging Centre (CRIC). The CRIC will feature groundbreaking scanning technologies to aid with the swift detection and treatment of conditions including heart disease, cancer and strokes. The Centre will place the university at the cutting edge of clinical research in Europe. The University of Edinburgh’s Director of Development, Liesl Elder, told The Student: “We were absolutely delighted to learn of this gift. The university had been aware of the possibility of a bequest, as Mr Storey and Dr. Birtwisle had notified the University some years ago of their intention to leave a significant legacy. “Mr. Storey recently reviewed his estate and elected to make a substantial gift during his lifetime. This was
of course wonderful news, which was received warmly across the university.” Edinburgh has received over £20 million in philanthropic gifts from alumni and friends over the last two years. Elder explained that financial donations are critical to support capital projects and equipment purchases, provide student financial aid, and fund academic posts. She said: “Whilst our current fundraising performance puts us among the elite in the UK, we are looking to significantly increase our efforts so that the University can continue to recruit the very best students and staff, produce world-leading research, and maintain our place as one of the best universities in the world.” Storey reportedly intends to bequeath a further £2 million to the University on his death. email@example.com
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Picture House faces legal action Lava sues HMV Picture House over club night Harrison Kelly POPULAR EDINBURGH night club, the HMV Picture House, faces possible closure after legal action by a rival club. The nightclub, located on Lothian Road, has been told to stop hosting club nights and competing with rival club Lava Ignite, also known as Cav. The venue's owners, Mama Group, have been in a long legal battle with rival Luminar, which runs Lava Ignite in Tollcross. When Luminar sold the Lothian Road venue to Mama Group, Mama signed an agreement undertaking not to put on late-night entertainment "in direct competition on a like-for-like basis with the discotheque business of Luminar". Last September, the Picture House began opening on Friday and Saturday evenings as a club, prompting Luminar to take legal action over a breach of contract. Mama Group won the case when Judge Lord Glennie ruled that weekend events were not in direct competition with Lava Ignite because they attracted ‘different clientele.’ Lord Glennie was shown flyers for the Picture House depicting "a seductively clad girl dancing against
a background of hi-fi speakers.” Lord Glennie decided that the marketing was "studenty and trendy". The Picture House was a place to meet people with similar musical tastes, he noted. In contrast Lava Ignite was noted as "cheesy" and "a place where people go to pull.” The Picture House won the right to continue with club nights as well as gigs at the venue providing they attracted different clientele. However this promise was broken when The Picturehouse started to play
...a seductively clad girl dancing against a background of hi-fi speakers..." Judge Lord Glennie
host to student nights on the same night as Lava Ignite mid-week. In the recent appeal Lord Hodge disagreed with Lord Glennie’s previous observations. In a written ruling he said: "I have reached the view that Luminar are correct in their assertion that the provision prohibited Mama from putting on any disco at which recorded music was played for dances at the times when Luminar were providing such entertainment at their Tollcross venue." news@studentnewspaper..org
CLUB WARS: Cav fear that Picturehouse is stealing its clientele
City slowed by Universities in stark ice and rubbish warning against cuts
Local residents complain about
refuse collection Harrison Kelly RUBBISH IS piling high on the streets of Edinburgh once more as severe weather conditions continue to disrupt the city. In addition, foot traffic around the city was slowed by icy pavements. Many pavements and roads around the city are still proving difficult for pedestrians and motorists alike, three weeks into one of the most severe cold snaps on record. However, many major routes around the city have been clear for some time with Edinburgh City Council claiming to have gritted up to 80 percent of the roads over recent weeks, prompting questions over why there are still uncollected piles of rubbish on the streets. Leader of the Council, Councillor Jenny Dawe, insists that they are doing everything in their power to help residents at this time, “Council staff have been working around-the-clock to keep the city moving and support our vulnerable residents.” Clearing the snow has been a major operation, with over 250 Council
workers taking to the streets rather than performing their usual operations. The Council's roads team has been working 12 hours on and 12 hours off throughout the whole three week period with the aid of 26 gritters on the city's roads and 12 mini tractors on footways and paths around the clock. One disgruntled resident from Gillespie Crescent, Bruntsfield told The Student that their rubbish had not been collected since Christmas, “Although the road is clear enough for residents to drive and park on the street, it must still be too dangerous for the refuse trucks I suppose!” The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, has three Christmas tress, two televisions, several cardboard boxes and up to 30 bags of rubbish at their nearest collection point. “This is getting a bit silly now”, he added. According to the Edinburgh Evening News, the Council has “no idea” when the backlog will be cleared but said that garden waste collections would be suspended to concentrate on clearing domestic waste, and promises to redeploy refuse workers to deal with the excess rubbish in due course. As for the ice blanketing sidewalks, notably in George and Bristo Squares, conditions have improved in recent days, thanks not just to grit, but to milder temperatures. news@studentnewspaper..org
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Mandelson also gave full banking to Labour’s position on higher education, saying that: “Universities have never enjoyed such a long and sustained period of public financial support, and more students will be studying next year than ever before in our history. These new constraints are very small in the context of overall university income, and certainly do not reverse a decade of investment in excellence.” Nevertheless, the Russell Group believes that cuts will undoubtedly lead to the UK following behind other countries, pointing to the fact that both France and Germany are currently increasing their spending on higher education, by €11 billion and
€18 billion respectively. Additionally, in the United States President Obama has increased spending on education as part of a stimulus program to bring the country out of recession. The group believes universities do not carry the same political baggage as in other countries, saying that: “There seems to be a greater focus on cutting the funding of higher education than almost anything else. The funding of the health service, police and schools are all currently 'protected' – which presumably reflects their perceived importance at the ballot box." Though devolved power for education mean that cuts announced in December will not extend to Edinburgh and other Scottish universities, there are fears that Scotland could suffer
from the effects that funding cuts could have on the reputation of higher education in the UK as a whole. Scottish government spending on universities has increased by 3.87 percent since May 2007, and a cash increase of £35 million in resource funding since 2009-10.” However, analysts have warned that the recession could still lead to cuts in Scotland in the future. The Group hopes that the government takes heed of their warnings when it unveils the 2010 Budget in March. firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate jobs on the up Continued from front page »
unwilling to apply for jobs in investment banking. Students also expressed unease at working in property, retail and accountancy, and also at joining a small or medium-sized business. With regards to student job prospects, Green said: “We are concerned that students are putting off considering their future careers by the constant
negative media reporting of graduate prospects. “The employment market is constantly changing - whether as a result of recession, changes in sector strengths or the emergence of new career areas - and that's why it's important that our students take advantage of the support we offer to navigate the right course for them through the maze of opportuni-
ties available. “In a competitive market, high quality applications with a compelling narrative, and a well developed CV are essential for success. If students don't feel that have this, they should come and see us - sooner rather than later. That's why we're here.” email@example.com
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Fiona Hyslop gets sack
Edinburgh MPs pledge to vote against fee increase
SCOTLAND’S EMBATTLED Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop was ignominiously removed from her position in December, to be replaced with former Constitution Minister Mike Russell. Hyslop has now been given the Culture and External Affairs department, in a move widely seen as a demotion. The developments were an abrupt pitfall to a previously high-flying political career. Despite receiving crossparty support for her student funding plans last year, Hyslop was constantly dogged by the issue of class sizes in Scottish schools. The SNP’s promises to lower class sizes proved impossible to implement after it also promised local councils more control over their education budgets. Opposition parties had also highlighted the falling number of teachers in Scotland. However Hyslop’s replacement is not free of controversy either. One of Mike Russell’s aides had to resign just days before his appointment after he was revealed to be the anonymous author of a blog attacking his political rivals. Mark MacLachlan, Russell’s constituency manager and author of the ‘Universality of Cheese’ blog, has since claimed that that Russell had full knowledge of the blog and even suggested ideas for stories. Russell has admitted recently that the promises on class sizes could not be achieved until 2015.
LAST WORDS? Hyslop spoke at Pleasance last November
EDINBURGH MPS and prospective parliamentary candidates have signed an NUS-organised pledge to “vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.” This follows the launch of a review into the financing of higher education that could lead to dramatically higher tuition fees for students in England and Wales. It is feared that such a significant increase in fees, and thus funding, would inevitably affect universities in Scotland. Nigel Griffiths, Labour MP for Edinburgh South and supporter of the pledge, said: “Lifting the cap would ensure that those [English and Welsh] universities were more highly funded than Scottish institutions and this would damage the ability of Scottish universities to provide world-leading higher education.” “I am particularly concerned because the Sutton Trust published research recently that suggests that two thirds of people who do go on to higher education cited money worries as a concern.” The NUS was quick to slam the proposals, with NUS President Wes Streeting saying: “At a time of economic crisis, when many hard working families are struggling to support their offspring through university, a hike in fees is the last thing we need.”
The current cap on tuition fees has been in place since 2004, when the Higher Education Act replaced the previous system of a fee fixed at just over £1,000 with the ‘top-up fee’ system. In the current economic climate, universities nationwide have claimed that they do not have enough funds to maintain their international standing. In a BBC survey of 53 vicechancellors, it was found that over half wanted to increase the cap on tuition fees from £3,225 per annum to £5,000 per annum. Ten percent wanted to scrap the cap altogether. Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, insisted that: “There is a growing consensus that without increased investment, there is a real danger that the success of our world-leading universities will not be sustained. In a difficult economic climate there is even greater urgency to find additional funding.” Fred Mackintosh, Edinburgh South Lib Dem candidate and an early supporter of the campaign, labelled the suggestion of higher fees a “sick joke,” and added: “The Scottish Liberal Democrats abolished tuition fees for Scottish students studying in Scotland in order to remove this disincentive to study. We can only hope that enough Liberal Democrat MPs will be elected at the general election to force a similar change of heart at Westminster.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Cows fart more at Suspect arrested over series higher temperatures, of crimes in student areas study reveals RESEARCH CONDUCTED on climate change has revealed that rising temperatures have become a further cause of global warming. A postgraduate study carried out at the University of Edinburgh, published in the journal Science, revealed that higher temperatures on the surface of the earth are fuelling a further increase in emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, as opposed to merely being a consequence of the effects. Scientists conducted the research in areas with large concentrations of methane including paddy fields, marshes and bogs. They found that emissions are increasing in line with rising temperatures, which is in turn exacerbating global warming. The study used satellite measurements of the atmospheric concentration of methane, as well as data relating to surface temperature changes and variations in surface water. The data was supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency. This enabled them to work out the levels of wetland emissions of methane from different regions.
The findings indicate that output from wetlands increased seven percent from 2003-2007. Also regional wetland emissions appeared to be most sensitive to changes in flooding and extreme temperatures. Professor Paul Palmer, from the School of Geosciences said: “These findings highlight the compound effect of increasing global warming – higher temperatures lead to faster warming. “Our study reinforces the idea that satellites can pinpoint changes in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from a particular place on earth. This opens the door to quantifying greenhouse gas emissions made from a variety of natural and man-made sources.” The study was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and carried out in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Space research. It is hoped that this discovery will help scientists to predict future climate change. email@example.com
ASSAULT: A victim was approached here and forced to make an ATM withdrawal Anna MacSwan A TWENTYONE year-old man has been arrested in connection to a series of recent attacks on and around the University of Edinburgh campus. Police launched an appeal for witnesses after four incidents of assault and robbery on Wednesday January 6 and Thursday 7. The first occurred on Middle Meadow Walk, where a 20-year-old
man was the victim of an alleged assault and robbery. A similar incident took place on the same day on Marchmont Crescent around 6pm. Yet another attack was attempted on an 18-year-old man at around 4.30pm on January 7 on Warrender Park Road. In the latest incident, which took place next to student union building Potterow, a 19-year-old man was approached whilst walking through Potterow Port underpass at around
6pm. The victim was forced to make a withdrawal at the Bank of Scotland cash point. The suspect appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Wednesday, the January 13. Police were unable to comment as to whether any of the victims were students. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Candidate 'Ron' to contest every EUSA position Joshua King STUDENTS WILL now have the option to vote to 're-open nominations' in this year’s EUSA elections. An option to ‘Re-Open Nominations’ ('RON') will appear on the ballot underneath the candidates for every available position. If more votes are collected for ‘RON’ than any of the real candidates standing then the position will be declared vacant and will remain open until a later election. If RON is elected to a position with multiple seats (for example, the 10 'Ordinary Member' seats on the Students Representative Council), all candidates below RON are declared not to be elected and the remaining positions held vacant until the next election. For example, if RON comes seventh in the Ordinary Member elections, three positions would be re-opened for election in special bye-elections. The SRC voted overwhelming in favour to introduce the ‘RON’ option to the ballot. EUSA Vice-President Services, James Wallace, declared that the new voting option will “bring true democracy to the election”, saying that: "RON is an excellent opportunity to make sure that students truly feel represented by elected EUSA volunteers.”
Candidates have begun canvassing for votes, and EUSA are hopeful that the introduction of ‘RON’ will make the 2010 elections more competitive than ever. Camilla Pierry, Vice-President Societies and Activities and the first sabbatical to be elected unopposed since 2003, said, "RON is an excellent idea, and I am delighted that we will be introducing it into the EUSA elections. Being elected unopposed was a disappointment; my opponent withdrawing meant
RON is an excellent idea. Being elected unopposed was a disappointment." Camilla Pierry, Vice-President Societies and Activities
the electorate were given no opportunity to use their voice." She also added that: "It is essential that students elected to a full-time, paid role in the students' association are there because students believe in their policy and vision, and not just because their opponents gave them an easy ride. I am sure that my position will be contested by credible candidates this year, but RON is an excellent backup." email@example.com GUY RUGHANI
James Wallace claims innovation will "bring true democracy"
Booze-free bar for Teviot
Paul Burch EUSA HAS revealed that their plans for the New Year will include an 'Alcohol Free Juice Bar', located in the Costa Coffee outlet of the Teviot building. The 'booze-free bar' will be open from 7pm until late and plans to offer a wide range of 'Mocktails', as well as hot drinks.
The juice bar, is a re-instalment of a similar bar that used to be in the union. EUSA Vice-President Services James Wallace said that this reintroduction is part of an overarching initiative designed to "cater to all students. The non alcoholic space should enable students uncomfortable with being around alcohol to still fully participate in student life." Wallace added: "Hopefully students feel that we are moving in a direction that caters to a wide range of their needs." It is hoped that the bar will offer something different to students who not enjoy the alcoholic element that
MMMMMOCKTAILS: James Wallace loves juice
EUSA hoping to broaden appeal of bar venues
is part of student night-life in Edinburgh. Catherine Urfer, a 20-year-old first year international student from the United States who has been surprised by the level of drinking in Edinburgh, welcomed the prospect of the new bar. Yet despite her thoughts on the subject, Catherine had misgivings about the popularity of an alcohol free bar: "Teviot in my mind is so fixed as a place for going to get drinks," she said, "but I'm sure it could work, if I think about it." Another first-year Classics student, Orlagh Mannion, also expressed doubts, stating that: 'The idea of placing the juice bar in an alcohol related building might mean that some will be tempted to stumble in there, and have a laugh." The idea of non-alcoholic evening drinking is by no means a novelty; café opening hours in European cities regularly exceed a midnight watershed. Regardless, the introduction of a teetotal evening venue in Edinburgh could well be perceived as unusual, simply because the British nightlife has become so synonymous with drinking. EUSA will be hoping that can fill what could be a potential gap in the market and succeed in carving out a night-time landscape that all students can enjoy. firstname.lastname@example.org
New funding deal for Debates Union Finance arrangements changed after controversy at AGM Neil Pooran THE STUDENTS Association is seeking to reassure the University’s Debates Union that changes to their funding arrangements are not an ‘attack’. The Debates Union will no longer receive a lump sum of £3,000 from EUSA every year, instead they will have to apply for funding through the Societies Development fund, as all other student societies do. Debates Union’s funding came under scrutiny during EUSA’s ‘governance review.’ The society attracted controversy at the Annual General Meeting last semester after its members spoke out against reforms to EUSA’s democratic system that may have threatened their funding deal. Camilla Pierry, EUSA Vice-President for Societies and Activities told The Student: “I abstained from the vote on this at SRC - as did the other sabbaticals - but it's not something the Debates Union should take as an attack. After so many years EUSA
had just fallen into funding them out of habit without really asking questions; now they're just assessed by the same means as everyone else, which is much more transparent.” She continued: “I've done a lot of work to simplify and rationalise the way we dole out society funding, and I'm fully confident that it's now fair and robust - hence publishing the results in The Student this year. It's all geared to ensuring EUSA's money goes to projects that improve the student experience - it's not there to catch anyone out. “Although I haven't seen their accounts, I've always got the impression that the Debates Union are a positive group and so they shouldn't have anything to worry about. If they've been spending frivolously on only a small group of individuals then no, they might not get as much as they're used to. But if they are genuinely providing opportunities for lots of students, are sustainable, and do a bit of fundraising to contribute then they won't feel a thing - in fact they may even get more.” The Student contacted Debates Union for a response, but did not receive a reply. email@example.com
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Overseas students face travel travails
This year's winter weather left many students bogged down with travel troubles. Below are some of your stories...
Jonathan Mines, 1st year Philosophy and Politics
On the morning of my flight over to Boston, which was via Heathrow, I was woken up at 5.30am by a text from the airline saying that my connecting flight from Edinburgh had been cancelled due to inclement weather. They very unhelpfully informed me that I could be put on a flight in three days' time. At which point I said "No, thank you very much, I'll make my own way." I had about eight hours until my flight from Heathrow to Boston, so I hastily finished packing and slid down to Waverley, forked out seventy quid for a train ticket down to London, and then battled with the tube out to Heathrow. The flight was originally going to be cancelled because of the strike, but then that was called off, and so it was extremely frustrating for it to be cancelled a second time. I made it to Heathrow in time, and then out to Boston OK. Only to be in a car crash on Christmas Day. Great. James Reed, 2nd year Biology
Getting back to Edinburgh proved to be a problem. First of all my bag was overweight, so to avoid paying a £215 fee, I had to open my bag right there at check-in and paw through it, removing every book I could find. My flight from Denver to Boston went smoothly enough, but my flight from Boston to
Heathrow was delayed on the runway, where we sat for an hour beyond our scheduled departure time. By the time I disembarked in London, after circling the airport for 30 minutes, my connecting flight to Edinburgh had already left. Later I received a standby ticket for a flight leaving in another four hours.
When I finally arrived in Edinburgh, I had been travelling for over 24 hours. Apparently Heathrow was experiencing a severe luggage back-up because of all the weather-related delays, so I didn’t receive my bags for three days. Julia Cobb, 1st year Spanish and Politics
I was originally meant to travel from Edinburgh on Monday and arrive in Mexico City Tuesday afternoon. The trip was meant to take no more than a day. As a result of weather, it ended up taking me five. After my first flight – en route to Heathrow -- was cancelled, I called American Airlines to try and arrange an alternative itinerary. They proposed I fly to Heathrow on Tuesday, spend the night, fly from Heathrow to Newark, New Jersey on Wednesday, spend the night, the next morning bus from Newark to La Guardia, New York, fly out from La Guardia to Dallas, Texas, then take a flight from Dallas to Mexico City the same day. On that trip I spent two nights in hotels even Amy Winehouse would avoid -- in the one in New York, I have reason to believe I was the only patron who was not an active crack smoker – and one night on the floor of the airport in Dallas after my flight was cancelled. While I did, eventually, arrive on Christmas day at two in the afternoon, I can safely say, I’m traveling via some kind of aquatic means the next time around.
Feeling opinionated? firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Out of the dust, into the light
Mairi Gordon argues that the western world must acknowledge Haiti's history
ODAY THE poorest country in the western hemisphere remains the second country to have declared independence in that same hemisphere in 1804. Haiti was led to independence by Toussaint Louverture, a freed slave at a time when slavery remained unabated in the neighbouring United States of America. Though Haiti won her freedom, in a world still dominated by imperial interests and the hunger for cheap labour, she was a nation without friends; one that no neighbouring power wished to see succeed. Despite this, over two hundred years later, Haiti still exists. And following the catastrophic earthquake that shook the nation’s capital to its foundations on January 12 it is essential that we acknowledge the history of
this independent nation. The images flickering across our television screens and plastered across the front pages of our newspapers are a reminder that this crisis is not solely the result of natural forces but the legacy of history ripping a country apart. If Haiti is ever to break free from poverty and devastation, of which this most recent tragedy is only one example, then the West must own up to its role in Haiti's two hundred year struggle. Only twenty years after Haiti declared independence the French government, still smarting from the loss of a valuable foreign outpost, held the country to ransom for its freedom. They asked for a sum roughly equivalent to half a billion US dollars, a ‘debt’ Haiti would continue to repay until after the Second World War.
By 1914, Haiti was under US occupation, a period which led to the creation of the Haitian army, an institution which has spent its entire history fighting its own people in a series of power struggles for the leadership of the country. Even after the official occupation ended the US remained unwilling to take the role of an impartial observer. After decades of tyrannical rule at the hands of the unelected Duvalier family, Haiti entered the 1990s with the promise of a free election. Former priest and liberation theologist Jean Bertrand-Aristide emerged as the most popular candidate, promising a ‘preferential option for the poor’. The priest from the slums went on to win 67 percent of the popular vote. Yet Aristide’s uncompromising and
unforgiving perspective on the brutality of the poverty facing the vast majority of Haitians failed to find favour with either the Reagan or Bush administration. Unable to prevent Aristide from winning the election, the US continued to fund political opposition to Aristide and the Haitian military. In 1991, Aristide was ousted in a bloody military coup. Over a decade later Haiti still waits for the promised ‘preferential option for the poor’. In the wake of the 7.0 earthquake which has levelled city slums, the Presidential Palace and the National Cathedral alike, President Obama has pledged $100 million to Haiti, promising the nation, ‘you will not be forsaken’. It is a dramatic and welcome show of solidarity, yet this time, the West must recognize that two centuries of foreign intervention have per-
manently and visibly scarred Haiti’s landscape. Today’s intervention must also recognise Haiti’s other legacy; as a founder of freedom in the western hemisphere and as a nation that has fought continually and defiantly for its liberty since 1804. For foreign intervention to make any meaningful change it must focus on reaching the most vulnerable and desperately poor as well as remaining dedicated to creating a sustainable and fair economy - as opposed to one based on exploitation - and allow democracy to flourish without imposing an ideological bent. In spite of history, the Republic of Haiti lives on; now more than ever the world must recognize that Haiti is a nation which cannot afford to fail.
The value of dissent
Sara D'Arcy questions the motives behind banning the extremist group Islam4UK N CL EW UE
or encourages terrorism or is otherwise concerned in terrorism', in other words, their Terrorism Act 2000. Their policing of ideas has led to outrage surrounding freedom of speech, and the right to publicly air your point of view, be it through speech, writing or marching. This kind of government control may gain a few BNP votes in the next election, LUM but Labour certainly won't be getting SSOR P PROFE mine. The banning of Islam4UK has resulted in the repression of ideas. In this case, Johnson may well be SS right that Islam4UK are a terrorist OR organisation, but I cannot help but P think that extremist issues need to LU be debated. Debate is necessary to M discover the foundations of opinions that may become a terrorist threat, so that we can attempt to find a MISS SCA common ground. Instant repression, RLET M I on the other hand, only feeds the exS S tremism of radical organisations. S Islam4UK may not have intended C A to create solidarity between British R L citizens and the victims in AfghaniE T stan, however I think their successY D U ful media-stunt could be a wake-up ST call for the British public. Yes, they E TH are an extremist organisation. Yes, they proposed a precarious location to hold their demonstration. Despite all, the bare premise of commemorating the victims of the war in Afghanistan might be a way for Britain to reunite, debate the issue of war and EVERY THURSDAY - SATURDAY NIGHTS highlight to politicians that we want M O to stabilise and rebuild Afghanistan, RO 6PM TIL LATE. COSTA COFFEE BAR not send more troops and lose more ALL B lives. P R O F E S S O R
S C A R L E T M I S S
MISS SCA R
RD IA LL OM RO
planned march through the sensitive area of Wootton Bassett, where fallen British soldiers return home, was labelled as a step too far. Johnson accused Islam4UK of 'glorifying' terrorism, while Gordon Brown stated that he was "personally appalled by the prospect of a march in Wootton Bassett. I believe that we as a nation should honour those brave servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country." I cannot help but agree that Islam4UK have promoted terrorism in the past; they held a 9/11 commemoration meeting entitled, 'A Towering Day in History'. However, I cannot see how their poorly organised march is a terrorist threat to Britain. Unless, of course, the motive for sending troops to Afghanistan was an attempt to neutralise terrorist threats to Britain, and not an attempt to bring 'democracy to the world,' as is the renowned view. I am placing my bets on the former, seeing as both Brown and Johnson failed to acknowledge publicly that people other than British soldiers have been murdered in this war. Their reasoning behind the war is not altruistic, but focused on propagating the myth of British superiority in the face of terrorism. Johnson's decision to ban Islam4UK highlights the robustness of the Labour government and their thought-war on ideas that expose their foreign policy for what it is. Namely, an attack on anyone that 'commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for, promotes
to the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson's, interpretation of the Terrorism Act 2000, I am a terrorist. I do not mean to the extent that I want all of Britain to embrace the laws of Shari'ah or that I believe 9/11 is a day to be celebrated, not lamented. I just think it is about time that Britain acknowledges the reality of the war in Afghanistan. As always, the British media has commemorated British soldiers who have fallen in the war in Afghanistan, as it rightly should. However, it has largely ignored the thousands of Afghan men, women and children that have died due to the conflict. Instead, the focus of their headlines in December was on the death of the 100th British soldier. Quantitatively, the numbers do not compare. I, like many other people in Britain, disagreed with the decision to go to war with both Iraq and Afghanistan. But why should we, now that our troops are out there, forgive the undemocratic decision and forget about the reasons why we were against the wars in the first place? Alan Johnson banned Islam4UK, a publicity-seeking, extremist group, last week following their attempt to organise a march through Wootton Bassett to commemorate Muslims 'murdered in the name of democracy and freedom'. Islam4UK, an offshoot of the previously banned alMuhajiroun, has been under scrutiny due to their 'non-PC' actions in the past; for instance, members of the organisation shouted 'rapists', 'baby killers', and 'murderers' at returning British troops. Subsequently, their
P L U M
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Too much, too soon
We are running a huge risk by putting so much pressure on our children so early, argues Dan Nicholson-Heap
ast week, 14 year old Arran Fernandez became the youngest person since William Pitt the Younger to be offered a place at Cambridge University. The Surrey teenager was offered a place to study physics at Fitzwilliam College, breaking the 237 year record set by the 19th century Prime Minister. As a former Fitzwilliam student, I’m very much concerned about the motives that have driven the decision of my college’s admissions tutors. I hope that the boy’s welfare has been taken into account as much as the fact that they might have the next Stephen Hawking on their hands almost certainly has. He will be at least 4 years younger than the next youngest undergraduate at the college, and won’t be able to participate in the two activities which-for better or worst-define student life: sex and drinking. University is much more than just academic study and any student-no matter how talented and promising they are-deserves the opportunity to experience everything these three years can offer. He is clearly very talented, but I don’t see how making him wait 2 years more would make a lot of difference except giving him the chance to be a proper child and enjoy life that he almost certainly has been denied thus far. He could do another round of A-Levels in some artbased subjects, he could go travelling-do something outside the narrow world of maths and exams that it looks like he has
Faith under fire
been confined to up to now and certainly will never escape from when he starts at one of the most demanding universities in the world. Professor Joan Freeman, author of
I hope that the boy’s welfare has been taken into account as much as the fact that they might have the next Stephen Hawking on their hands almost certainly has." Gifted Children Grown Up, studied the lives of 35 child prodigies and found the majority of them ended up as disappointed adults. She asks 'what will they do for an encore if they achieve so much so early?' The National Association for Gifted Children advises parents not to put their children in for exams at a very young age. NAGC’s education consultant Jo Counsell calls pushing children like this a 'cruel experiment' which ignores children’s social and emotional needs. The press reaction to all this was very telling. All the papers that covered the story did so in lurid detail and gushing
tones, fawning over his string of impressive exam results, appended by a disturbing picture of Fernandez when he was 5, holding both his GCSE results slip and a teddy bear. Last year, we were faced with the uncomfortable image of 10 year-old Hollie Steel bursting into tears live on stage during the Semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent. If we’re not careful, we risk regressing back to the 18th century notion that children are merely mini versions of adults and should be expected to do everything adults can do. There needs to be a very strong reassertion-both in education and the media-that childhood is a separate sphere of life in which people have very different needs that should be protected and catered for. Fernandez’s parents were being highly irresponsible entering him for GCSEs at 5 years of age, but it is the education system’s fault for making this possible at all; children are sat in school halls at the age of seven to do their KS1 SATS; a time when their horizons should extend no further than kicking a ball and making jokes about poo. Our lives are already pressurised enough at it is without exposing people to it when they’re barely out of nappies. Dan Nicholson-Heap is the former Vice President of Fitzwilliam College Studemt Association.
Jessica Abrahams argues that Faith schools are out of place in a multicultural society
y four-year-old son is a postmodernist.” A four year-old can barely pronounce, let alone have an analytical understanding of the concepts behind the word. This is the sentiment at the heart of the ‘Don’t Label Me’ campaign that appeared across billboards in four major British cities, including Edinburgh, at the end of last year. The posters were light-hearted and many of you may not have paid much attention to them, but behind the image of two giggling children rages a hot-blooded debate about the place of faith schools today. It all began in 2008 when a Christian organisation booked adverts on London buses that quoted from the bible which linked to a website that promised nonChristians an eternity of torment in a lake of fire. Understandably a little offended, various secular and atheist organisations teamed together to create the (in)famous Atheist Bus Campaign, which kicked off exactly a year ago with controversial advertisements declaring: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Originally intended to grace buses in London alone, the campaign received so many donations that it was extended to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and even inspired similar campaigns in cities around the world. The adverts were not as popular with everyone, however. One organisation, Christian Voice, attempted to have the adverts banned, whilst three other groups retaliated with adverts of their own, such as the political Christian Party’s slogan: “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.” The battle of the billboards was well
and truly underway. In November 2009, the Secularists unleashed the second phase of their campaign. This consisted of billboards featuring two grinning children and the tag line: “Please don’t label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself.” This brought a whole new element to the table.
How is this child to deal with a multicultural society having been taught that their religion is their identity?" Lying below the surface of all this is the relationship between religion and education that has been given renewed urgency since the events of 9/11. The aim of the advertisements is to encourage people to recognise faith as the conceptually complex experience that it is – completely incomprehensible to a child – and so comparable to political and cultural ideologies such as Marxism. Religious belief, like political belief, is not hereditary. Just as it would be absurd to describe a child as a Postmodernist, it seems absurd to attribute labels like Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh to them. Yet there are institutions all over the place doing just this. Faith schools make up roughly 25 percent of state-maintained schools in the UK. But whilst it might be an exaggeration to say that faith schools breed extremism, some-
thing which has been debated recently, what they do perpetuate are cultural and social divides. They are legally entitled to consider faith in their selection process, which seems odd considering no school would be allowed to accept children of only one race. In terms of religious education, 57 percent of faith schools teach only their own religion. This can hardly foster mutual understanding and respect between children of different faiths. After the problems that religious divisions have caused over the last 50 years in this country alone, from the Irish Troubles to the tube bombings of
2005, it seems dangerous to take a Jewish child, for example, and put them in a Jewish school, surrounded only by Jewish people, where they are taught nothing but Judaism. How is this child to deal with a multicultural society having been taught that their religion is their identity? Having said that, it’s true that religious education in the past, and perhaps even today, which has focused too strongly on Christianity isn’t appropriate for a multicultural society either. It’s a problem that is easily solved, however, with a new curriculum and it’s pretty
irrelevant in any case if we consider that 99% of faith schools are Christian. On average, they have a stronger academic record than secular state-maintained schools, which is not particularly surprising considering they receive extra funding from the relevant religious institution, though former education secretary David Blunkett attributed it to their special “ethos”. Either way, if this is what we value about faith schools, what we’re really after are academically successful schools. The ‘faith’ bit is neither here nor there.
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Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Comment 9 All boiled up
Does Jesus love you now, Mrs Robinson?
Declan Murphy takes a wry look at the latest political storm over in Northern Ireland
ROM PEREZ Hilton to 8 out of 10 Cats, Northern Ireland’s very own Mrs Robinson has been making the news. Instead of the Westminster MP and Northern Ireland MLA’s usual poetic and touching messages on Jesus, papist IRA-loving Catholics and homosexual abomination, it is the First Lady’s own indiscretions that have been hitting the headlines. Not long after the news that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams had allegedly protected his paedophile brother, the Robinson saga began in early December when Iris Robinson, wife of the leader of the DUP and the First Minister Peter Robinson, announced her early departure from politics on the grounds of “bouts of depression.” (Never a boring day in Norn Iron politics.) But it quickly became clear that it was not only politics that caused the First Lady’s health to suffer, but the prospect that her affair and undeclared financial dealings with her lover was
propriate action? Why did it take the pressure from a BBC investigation to oust Robinson to act? Since Spotlight exposed Iris Robinson, Mr Robinson has been playing a very rehearsed and choreographed game. First of all came the pale, sleep deprived Peter with the “Best Dad” plaque behind him as he read his statement regarding “Iris’s inappropriate relationship.” Any Max Clifford wannabe would tell you it was a carefully staged performance with the intention of creating sympathy for the First Minster and portraying him as the victim. Robinson has strategically stepped
down as First Minister for six weeks in order to clear his name and give time for the voices of the likes of David Trimble, who is demanding his permanent resignation, to die down. The odd choice of Arlene Foster (puppet on a string) as his replacement however suggests Robinson intends to return and doesn't want his stand-in to upstage him. The issue of devolution is still up in the air and is too important to be left. All this has happened at exactly the wrong time, when Sinn Fein and the DUP are arguing over the devolution of policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont.
The DUP can’t risk Sinn Fein appearing to be the party leading the issue, nor can they let the Robinson fallout continue any longer for fear the Unionist vote should split further, with the Progressive Unionist Party snapping at its heels. Watch this space, for Daddy Paisley could very quickly be pulled out of retirement! As for Mrs Robinson, she is believed to be in these fair isles (Scottish psychiatric care is supposedly superior to Northern Irish.) But whatever the future holds for the Unionist cougar, I doubt a prayer will be enough to get her into Heaven.
Whatever the future holds for the Unionist cougar, I doubt a prayer will be enough to get her into Heaven."
about to surface. Bible loving Robinson, 59, befriended 19-year-old Kirk McCambley when his father died of cancer in 2008, (rumours are circulating that Mrs Robinson was also very friendly with Mr Cambley) with the relationship between the two eventually becoming sexual (the sexy red head obviously must still have it). Things get interesting when it appears that by simply picking up a phone and calling two property developers, Robinson was able to get her lover £50,000 capital he needed to start up his own cafe in a new complex in Lagan. (Mrs Robinson decided to award herself £5000 of this money, presumably because the £600,000 combined income of the Robinson household was inadequate). Of course Iris also happened to be part of the Castlereagh Council that awarded the inexperienced 19-year-old with the new development. It appears things soured between the MP and her toyboy, and somewhere along the line Mrs Robinson pissed off her personal assistant Mr Black to the point he revealed her affair to the BBC programme Spotlight. The politician not only failed to declare her financial involvement with Mr McCambley, required by both Stormont and Westminister rules, but her influence with the financial investors and Castlereagh Council is under inquiry. The importance of this politically lies not in what Iris Robinson has done, but what her husband did not do. What of Northern Ireland’s “longest serving and most respected of politicians?” The question is why the First Minster decided to wait nine months to share the information of his wife’s dealings with his constituents. Was Robinson not especially obliged, as the country's most senior public servant, immediately to declare his wife’s financial wrong doings and to take ap-
T’S COLD, it’s damp, and we’re still struggling with a recession. So now would surely be the perfect time to introduce a policy that leaves people warmer, more moneyed and is environmental to boot? Not according to the Scottish Government. This month the UK government launched its boiler scrappage scheme, where people trading in old, inefficient central heating boilers can get hundreds of pounds off of a new energy-saving model. Based around the successful car scrappage scheme, it’s set to benefit up to 100,000 homes in England and send work flowing in for plumbers and manufacturers. Unfortunately Scotland, traditionally the coldest part of the island, won’t see the benefits of this. The Scottish Government has so far failed to match the scheme operating in England. This will mean Scots with old, faulty boilers are less likely to get them replaced, and will be bled dry when they do. Plumbers and small business owners have already voiced their dissatisfaction with the Scottish Government over the issue, and as the scheme takes off in England Scottish homeowners may begin to feel left out. For students living in rented accommodation who are concerned about their carbon footprint, there is less chance of landlords upgrading their central heating systems to something more environment-friendly. Particularly galling is the fact that the Scottish Government already has the money for a boiler scrappage scheme in the pipeline. There is a growing concern that Scotland will miss out on the ‘Barnett consequentials’ of the Treasury’s funding if the scheme is turned down, further compounding the Scottish economy’s loss. The SNP’s position behind this has been unclear. Communities Minister Alex Neil has suggested that it will only benefit the rich, but this is unlikely. There is no reason why the boiler scrappage scheme cannot sit beside the Scottish Government’s laudable fuel poverty policy. The idea of boiler scrappage has hardly been a new one, and there is little to prevent them implementing it immediately. A motion by Sarah Boyack MSP calling for boiler scrappage attracted significant support in the Scottish Parliament when it was tabled last week. It has so far not been enough to convince the Scottish Government to guarantee the scheme a place in the Scottish budget in a few weeks time, though Alex Neil has yet to rule it out completely. The only solution to this is to land the Scottish Government in hot water. Students concerned about the environment or the Scottish economy would do well to write to their MSPs asking them to back the boiler scrappage motion When I started a Facebook group about this issue, it received more interest than anything I’d posted on social networking before. Even ‘Neil’s lost his phone and needs all your numbers again!’ was rapidly dwarfed by the membership of ‘Don’t let Salmond give us the cold shoulder!’ If the public keeps the pressure up with any luck we’ll have a boiler scrappage scheme before the end of the cold weather. I’ll also be able to spare you any more boiler puns.
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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This is a strange week for me as, when Sunday ends, I will no longer be hosting EUSA's quizzes. Back in 2002 when I took the job on a temporary five-week basis I never thought I would have continued doing them for so long but now, eight years and two degrees later, I find myself writing my final questions. I've been enormously lucky to have worked with so many wonderful staff at Teviot, Pleasance and KB who have helped grow the quizzes into some of the biggest in the country (and indeed the world), and I've been equally fortunate to have met so many great teams over the years.
Thank you for making the past eight years such a pleasure. I've enjoyed every minute.
IT'S NOT JUST THE BNP... While students are upset by Nick Griffin's visit and the SDL march, in reality most Scottish bigots idolised William of Orange not Hitler. In England and Wales, the BNP is the big movement; in Scotland bigots gravitate to Loyalism and religious bigotry. Every week, Orangemen don militaristic uniforms and thump drums outside Catholic churches with
little opposition. 1930s Scotland never developed an anti-Semitic movement like England's, because Scottish bigots preferred to molest Irish and Catholic people...When the British Union of Fascists visited Princes Street, Protestant Action chased them off - they thought Mussolini's Fascism was a Popish plot! Sectarians of today are the BNP of tomorrow. Baiting Catholics is like harassing Muslims. The same types who sing "the famine's over, time go home" in Ibrox Stadium would chuck bananas at black footballers in the English Premiership.
[name withheld on request]
For the first issue of the new year, The Student promises to give up fags, go to the gym and, of course, read the paper Being the foolish people that we are, we have decided to ignore the advice of the Features section (New year, new you?, opposite) and make some (quite possibly unrealistic) resolutions for this year. Believe us, we do have good intentions but sometimes, between the server crashing, impromptu office destruction and the 4am race to the print deadline, we don’t always remember them. Here goes with The Student's resolutions for 2010 (it's mostly about biscuits): 1. To stock an interminable supply of tea, coffee and biscuits (currently Tesco Digestives, Tesco Bourbon Creams and Tesco Value Shortbread Fingers (a mildly concerning nine pence per packet). Avid readers, as well as Kim from Film, will be delighted to know that thus far, we've been doing rather well on this front.
typo. (Yes, we know this is asking for trouble: please direct corrections to email@example.com) 4. To continue to produce more original content such as running our own surveys, using our fine team of illustrators and our own photographers, instead of snaffling images off of Google (not that we ever stooped to such levels previously). 5. To always vote RON in future EUSA elections - he’s got a commendable reputation for being neutral, deferential, and not Harry Cole.
2. To not contradict the views or content of other sections of the paper. They all like Bourbon Creams as well.
6. To blow open the EUSA expenses SCANDAL. The scoop? Here it is: we can exclusively reveal that Thomas Graham claimed for a packet of Hula Hoops (beef and onion, 33% extra free) and a can of Fanta. Hopefully such disgusting and excessive behaviour will be stamped out in the Students' Association once the initial furore over this debacle has abated.
3. Make sure that all sections are throughly copy-edited to ensure that the paper is not punctuated with
7. Now that things are looking a little sunnier on the graduate jobs front we shall take to career planning with a
renewed vigour and sense of optimism. As in, we will plan to have a career... 8. With the introduction of the booze-free bar at Teviot, The Student will diverge from the path long carved out by journalists and refrain from dancing in the fountain of the devil’s water. Our socials will be a veritable detox, including shots of wheatgrass and nuts and seeds to replace the current free nachos and cheap(ish) wine. 9. To find someone able to produce witty and well-drawn scrawls for our Puzzles page who is also blessed with an ability to avoid offending in curiously blithe fashion any women, gay people or indeed, anyone really (yes, Andy Panda is no more.) NB: This is in in fact a genuine request for a new, Edinburgh-based, weekly cartoonist. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your University, your views Don’t miss the chance to help shape the future of your University. The National Student Survey (NSS) aims to gather feedback from final year undergraduates throughout the UK on the quality of their university course. The results are available online to help future students choose what and where they would like to study. The information is also fed back to the University so that we can continue to improve what we offer. Last year there was an excellent response from the University of Edinburgh students and we are hoping to get even more student views this year. You will soon receive details of the survey direct from NSS and if you complete the survey before 5 February you will be entered into a draw to win one of five £30 Amazon vouchers.
studentnewspaper.org Tuesday January 19 2010
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New year, new you?
Lucy Maxwell questions our unrealistic resolution-making and calls for real positive change in 2010
ike most, I have given up on orL ganised fun on New Year’s Eve. The ferocious pursuit of the elusive
‘great New Year’ always morphs into an anti-climactic ‘woo’ while standing in a sea of people, most of whom make you want to poke yourself in the eye with a cocktail sausage skewer. One of the traditions associated with the transition from December 31 to January 1 - perpetual, inevitable and cruel - is to pledge ‘resolutions’: a thing, or list of things, to change as you head into the New Year. This year’s passing of ne’er-faltering time came with the added pressure of being a new decade. Reflections on the ‘Noughties’ were depressingly bleak – 9/11, a tsunami and a global financial crisis being mentioned before two England Ashes wins and a Rugby World Cup, not to mention the return of leggings to the ‘what’s hot’ list and the election of the fabulously cool Obama. The statistics appending to New Year’s resolutions have an equally bleak outlook. Allegedly, 97 percent of New Year’s resolutions never make it out of the gate. With odds like that, why do so many of us - 48 percent to be exact continue the ritual of reflecting on the areas of our lives that require change? Senseless optimism would seem to be the answer. Psychologists have gone as far as to claim that the making of resolutions is detrimental to our mental health. Anyone familiar with the sense of failure when your strict regime of ‘The Celery-Only Diet’ begins to adjust its parameters to include whole bars of Dairy Milk, or the loss of selfesteem when your ‘last cigarette ever’ is, in reality, not even your last that day, may agree with the condemnation of New Year’s resolutions. Many of us still believe that the process of making (and, yes, breaking) New Year’s resolutions is an important
Perhaps it's as simple as dropping a dress size, of finally kicking the nicotine, but it also might be as monumental as taking a positive stance when we are offered a clean slate on January 1st." tradition of each year. By examining problem-areas of our lives, we can identify ways that can improve our routine and ourselves. According to Ask Jeeves, the most commonly made resolution is ‘I will
carbohydrates. Instead of treating the New Year with cynicism, we should all look to the future as promising and exciting. This year, perhaps more than ever, when a decade has passed with some of the most horrifying displays of inhumanity in living memory, it is essential to seek improvement in our lives, and, on a grander scale, in the world. Whether you vow to watch less TV, to pay for the music you download, to head off the hangover with a glass of water or to halt global warming, there can be no doubt that a pause to as-
Anyone familiar with the sense of failure when your strict regime of 'The Celery-Only Diet' begins to adjust its parameters to include whole bars of Dairy Milk may agree with the condemnation of New Year's resolutions"
WEIGHING UP THE ISSUES: Will losing a few extra pounds make you a better person? stop smoking’. The second most popular is ‘I will get fit’, and the third is ‘I will lose weight’. So, the New Year is a good time for gyms and the GI diet and a bad time for Cadbury’s and cigarettes. The inescapable air of dissatisfaction shown by this list speaks to an imageand health-obsessed society, and one which constantly requires sacrifice. When I explored the resolutions made by students at the University of Edinburgh, the most common answer was to ‘be more organised’. One thirdyear History student stated that, “This year, I want to be more motivated to get myself down to George Square and bag a nice, comfy chair on the 5th floor of the library. It is all about being more organised because I get sick of that last minute panic, when all of your deadlines come at once.” My own resolution, scribbled on notepaper, or soon-discarded
‘Noughties’ diaries has been thus for as long as I can remember. Subheadings from 2009 included: read the newspaper daily, always wash whites separately, start a savings account. During 2009 I did occasionally pick
Instead of treating the New Year with cynicism, we should all look to the future as promising and exciting." up a copy of The Times – and inevitably ended up reading only the style section. Once I went to the trouble of separating my whites from my colours, only to discover that this doesn’t magically resurrect my clothes, nor do they now
shimmer with freshly-washed vibrancy. My savings account, opened in early January, remains largely empty, but I’ll call that one a success nonetheless. Perhaps the solution is to make only positive resolutions. Instead of giving up caffeine (lasted three days, until the day of my first 9am lecture), I should take up yoga. Instead of sacrificing the guilty pleasure of occasional cinema trips, I should simply amend my viewing choices (frequent the Filmhouse instead of counting down the days until the next instalment of Twilight). To ‘take up’ something certainly seems preferable to ‘The Twitter Public Humiliation Diet’, which requires you to post your fluctuating weight on a Twitter feed, in order that the Christian-in-theColiseum feeling of voyeurism might prompt a sudden hatred of complex
sess and reassess our lives is a healthy annual ritual. Without stopping to think, What do I want? and, How do I get it? there can be no hope for selfimprovement. Sure, we’re at an age when such things seem trivial; when the answer to, What direction is my life taking? is, The direction of the pub, but with such darkness in our past decade, we should all look for the light in the coming months and years. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each new year find you a better man.” Leaving aside his American spelling and the exclusive language at the end, Ben Franklin had a point. The Gregorian Calendar offers us a chance to reassess our lives every 365 days of the year. Perhaps it’s as simple as dropping a dress size by the year's end, of finally kicking the nicotine, but it also might be as monumental as taking a positive stance when we are offered a clean slate on January 1. If you were too hung over to set goals for the coming year, why not scribble some in the margin? Perhaps you will fail initially, and perhaps you will find that real change occurs. The process of writing something down doesn’t guarantee success. But, ask out the girl you fancy, or pick up a newspaper on the way to class or buy an apple instead of apple-flavoured Skittles. Change doesn’t have to be life-changing; sometimes it could just alter your day.
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
One big con
Jen Bowden delves into the world of online fraud and asks if banks and retailers are doing enough to protect our money A
s we enter a new decade it’s hard not to notice how things have changed from ten years ago regarding technology. We’ve avoided the Millennium bug to become a society of online shoppers with over ten million people using sites such as eBay and Amazon each day. Nowadays the January sales go online before they feature in stores, with high street brands such as Topshop beginning their sales before Christmas Day. Even family favourite Woolworths has found a way to emerge online after going into administration in the early part of 2009. Our dependence upon technology to assist in our monetary transactions is ever-increasing; in 2008 there were 5.4 billion purchases made with chip and pin cards, which were introduced in an attempt to combat fraud. However, fraud is especially prevalent online and the government and banks are continually reassessing their strategies to keep the public's money and information safe. In 2008 UK residents lost £54.1 million through card fraud alone, adding to the total of £609.9 million for that year.
She checked her online transactions and found that £950 had been paid to a hotel in Portugal without her knowledge."
In a survey of 50 students recently conducted, 71 percent said that they shop online at least once a month, with 78 percent admitting that they shop on Amazon, but not eBay. Of these, 61 percent said they would give their credit card details to a website that used PayPal to verify transactions, but not to an individual seller. The indication is clear: the introduction of PayPal has lead to greater trust in online shopping.
While most students believe that their money is safe in the hands of the bank, Edinburgh student Bec Sanderson used her debit card to pay online for a hotel in Portugal where she took a week's holiday in early 2009. When she returned and attempted to draw money from the bank, she found that there was only £80 in her account, despite having received her student loan that week. She checked her online transactions and found that £950 had been paid to a hotel in Portugal without her knowledge. Bec said: "The worst part of the whole thing was communicating with the bank. It was a bit of a nightmare because they, quite rightly, had tight security surrounding fraud. Being at uni and getting important paperwork sorted via my home address in London took a long time and even when they had received my claim, it took about two weeks to reimburse the money. I had literally nothing in my account in the meantime, so I was just lucky that I could borrow off other people." The advice that Barclays Bank offered her for the future was to beware of giving out card details online. Barclays have recently introduced Barclays 3D Visa check for extra security, though Bec has no idea if they caught the perpetrator. London-based student Patrick Walton was on holiday with friends when he attempted to withdraw cash and discovered that he was missing £400. On checking his balance in the bank he noticed that two transactions to Ladbrokes.com had taken place despite the fact that he doesn’t gamble. He said: "I ordered my bank to cancel my card and watch my account and requested sales vouchers of the transactions whilst making a formal statement at my town police station. I eventually received the sales vouchers, which were copied and forwarded to the police. A fraudulent account had been set up in my name with the website." A few weeks later bills started arriving from mobile phone companies, including a £50 charge from Vodafone and £100 from T-Mobile - despite Patrick having immediately cancelled his
PLASTIC FANTASTIC : Money goes in, money goes out. Mostly out. card. So, again, he notified the bank, police and mobile phone companies, as it transpired that his card hadn’t been cancelled and the new one had not been sent. The bank had also been sending correspondence to the wrong house number. "Three months later the bank refunded in full with a £25 'apology' but by then I’d had to sit my first-year exams with only £200 cash to see me through the final term. Needless to say I opened up a bank account with a different bank." Fraud prevention measures no longer rest solely on the individual now that banking can now be done online, requiring the buyer to entrust their details to unknown receivers. Popular student bank NatWest has a number of fraud prevention measures in place including means to protect clients from online fraud. Their website suggests using Rapport, a secure banking system which attempts to protect the customer by safeguarding their personal details from fraudulent websites. Sites such as eBay and Amazon have introduced their own measures against fraud as already seen in PayPal and have several pages dedicated to guidelines on fraud prevention, as do the British government. However, 93 percent of the students surveyed didn’t feel that the government guidelines were particularly helpful, and 66 percent for those didn’t even realise that the government guidelines existed, which suggests that advice needs to be clearer and made more noticable. The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham told the BBC in Novem-
ber that the penalties for the selling of private information were not strict enough to deter people from doing so. This came after some staff at the mobile phone company T-Mobile sold customer details to rival companies in November 2009 so that they might coerce them into moving from T-Mobile onto another contract. However, T-Mobile themselves contacted the information commissioner where he made clear his views on the punishments for people found engaging in this kind of activity. Anne Gordon of the Information
93 percent didn't feel that government guidelines were particularly helpful - 66 percent didn't even realise that they existed!"
Commissioner’s Office in Scotland said that, "In September 2009 the ICO launched its second Student Brand Ambassador (SBA) campaign to educate university students about the value of their personal information and the importance of keeping it safe and secure. The campaign involves the commissioning by the ICO of oncampus student ambassadors to advise
students. Fifteen university towns have been targeted by the campaign to support the ICO’s regulatory role of educating audiences about their rights under the Data Protection Act 1998. However, Edinburgh is not one of the 15 towns listed and thus students are urged to remain vigilant regarding personal details. Measures such as ripping up correspondence with name and addresses on, keeping a check on bank balances and not giving details to unsecured sites online may seem obvious, but are essentially the means by which students can ensure their safety. The ICO’s office also suggested that people make themselves aware of their website which provides detailed information on fraud prevention, especially regarding social networking sites. Despite being in an age where we are considered technologically savvy, it is clear that fraud is not a matter to be taken lightly. Last November The Yorkshire Post reported that there were 72,822 cases of identity fraud in the first nine months of 2009; in the same period the previous year there were 54,713 which shows an increase of over a third in the space of a year. Despite the introduction of secure measures from banks and companies, emphasis is placed on personal safety and the vigilance of the individual. As more companies change to online trading, the security measures become greater, and the risks even greater still. All the public can do is ensure that they themselves are vigilant with their details and online transactions.
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Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Threads of hope
As sweatshop labour is fast becoming old hat, Juliet Evans explores the new wave of ethical fashion hen did you last buy something from Primark? If you’re anything like the average student a large part of your wardrobe will consist of cheap clothes from the high street; we have come to accept £5 as being standard price for a t-shirt from shops like this. While the price tag is good for us, it means the opposite for workers in countries such as Bangladesh who earn just £13.97 per month in appalling conditions, living in poverty to make our clothing. We all know sweatshop labour is nothing new. When previously it had been maligned and brushed aside,
Low budgets make bargainhungry students targets for sweatshop markets." recently it is starting to become more exposed due to efforts of ethical campaign groups such as Labour Behind the Label. Even celebrities are making a stand; at London Fashion Week in September 2009, War on Want launched Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops - the largest-ever ethical fashion drive supported by stars such as Jo Wood and Little Boots. Student organisations also are getting involved; this January Edinburgh College of Art is holding a two day symposium on ethical fashion. As people have been made more aware, there has been a surge of ethical fashion lines with even young fashionistas starting new ethical clothing ranges like Emma Watson, whose collection for People Tree is due to hit the shops in February this year. There’s a sure buzz about eco-fashion. The need for ethical fashion grows from the exploitation of employees who have no option but to work in these sweat factories. A recent War on Want investigation into labour in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka revealed that people were making clothes for Primark, Tesco and Asda for an average of £19.60 a month. Given that £44.82 is the amount needed to live on the poverty line in Dhaka, and with the somewhat ethically questionable Jeremy Clarkson recently announcing that the world’s most expensive car (a £1 million Aston Martin) is due to come out in 2010, it’s a sad reality that the gap between the rich and the poor appears to be growing in the dawn of the new decade. The Dhaka investigation found employees (sometimes children) living in appalling slums in vastly overcrowded shacks which lacked essential plumbing and washing facilities. Not only this, but the fast-changing Western fashion trends means workers are pressurised to work harder in
order to meet unrealistic targets. As a result, many are abused verbally and physically and often made to work unpaid overtime. These sweatshop conditions translate into the cheap high street costs we all know and love - a pair of Tesco Value jeans can now be bought for a mere £3. When we’re shopping we probably uncomfortably consider this in the back of our minds but don’t want to look any closer. Besides, this all goes on in third world countries miles away, right? Wrong. If you thought that you didn’t live on sweatshop soil, it may surprise you that sweat-factories are actively present in Britain today. Although in the past trade unions have fought and won to end child labour, clandestine companies still employ workers for below minimum wage in poor conditions. An undercover
enabling them to be abused, working for £3.50 per hour, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Campaigners are currently lobbying against a new Primark store due to be opened in Edinburgh later this year. By default, low budgets make bargain-hungry students a lucrative target market for these retailers, but the flip-side is that our actions can and have been used to bring good out of this situation. In 1997 the organisation ‘United Students Against Sweatshops’ was founded, now considered the largest anti-sweatshop community group in the US and Canada with
branches in more than 250 colleges. British universities are picking up the trend with the introduction of courses teaching how to develop an ethical fashion brand at London College of Fashion and a two-year MA degree in Ethical Fashion at Epsom’s University for the Creative Arts. In Edinburgh, in addition to the forthcoming ECA workshop, last year Queen Margaret University students staged a ‘green fashion’ show with a focus on economic and environmental sustainability. The idea was to demonstrate how second hand clothes can be re-designed and created into new fashionable items as an alternative to high street buying. Student human rights campaign group People & Planet (a member of the ‘Let’s Clean up Fashion’ campaign) have a strong record of student
of Princes Street’s new Topshop store and questioned staff on the company’s dubious ethical policies. As a result it later cancelled a promotional event on campus. Ever a leader in cutting edge trends, the brand recently launched its own ethical clothing line alongside that of Marks & Spencer and designers such as Mrs Bono’s ‘Edun’ range,
If you thought you didn't live on sweatshop soil, it may surprise you that sweatfactories are actively present in Britain today."
available in Harvey Nichols. As we begin the new decade with this still going on, is it possible that we could see the eradication of sweatshop labour by the end of it? Society’s growing knowledge of these issues is forcing a sense of shared social conscience and responsibility; a new generation are prepared to finally take action, and the results so far have been promising in at least raising awareness. Over the next decade, today’s students could find themselves in positions of power able to turn the tide once and for all. There is real hope that unethical labour could be perceived as globally unacceptable in 2020.
ETHICAL EDINBURGH Can’t afford Topshop these days? Check out these vintage ethical fashion retailers in Edinburgh:
88 Grassmarket, EH1 2HJ 64-66 Clerk Street, EH8 9JB 14 Teviot Place, EH1 2QZ
BBC report in 2009 discovered one Manchester warehouse supplying Primark clothes. Many of the workers were illegal immigrants,
151 West Port, EH3 9DP
One World is Enough sweatshop protests. In 2008, Edinburgh P&P members gathered to physically boycott the opening
48 Home Street, EH3 9NA
116 West Bow, EH1 2HH
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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Prelude to a Spanish holiday
ROBBED BLIND, KINDA
Cheih Lin takes us through his arduous attempt to get to Barcelona
he first snow in Edinburgh this winter came an hour before I left for the airport. I was enchanted at the breakfast table; the dense raindrops were turning into feather-like snowflakes dancing in the wind. As I waited for nearly ten hours however, staring anxiously at the screen for my delayed flight, watching the seemingless endless snow become heavier and heavier - it was not so beautiful anymore. Finally, at around 11 o’clock at night, it was announced that my flight was cancelled. I went downstairs, still in shock, and saw the enormous queue at the easyJet desk, filled with
people pushing and shoving. It seemed funny to the lady behind the desk, who appeared unaware of the multiple cancellations. The situation was chaotic: some people were murmuring angrily, some were weeping and others were dumbfounded, not knowing what to do. A Spanish girl was on the phone with her family, speaking faster and faster as her voice grew louder and louder. Suddenly, she burst out crying. The easyJet staff, apparently unable to do anything constructive, shut the door, leaving behind masses of people with unanswered questions. After returning to halls, I quickly
filled in the refund claim form and booked the next available easyJet flight for the same time three days later (at almost double the price). The snow, in the meantime, never got milder. The road became icy and slippery. Snowmen sprang up everywhere. I remembered how delighted I was when I first saw snow around the same time a year ago. However, I could hardly appreciate it now. This pure white world was still like a dream, but far from a fond one. Let it NOT snow, let it NOT snow, let it NOT snow! Apparently my prayers were not answered – it started to snow again
shortly before the departure of my new flight. After yet another delay, this time reassured by a member of the easyJet staff that the plane was definitely coming, my flight was cancelled once again. I was expecting to witness more chaos, but easyJet was prepared. They apologised for the inconvenience, and a tough-looking senior staff member accompanied by a policeman stood in the middle of the lobby, giving out instructions on what to do next. The journey back to halls that night was long and despairing. Disappointed but not deterred, I decided to give it a last try and booked another flight for Barcelona however, this time with Ryanair. Despite the nasty snow and a minimal delay, the plane took off with a sudden outburst of applause from all the passengers. When I finally got to my hotel in the city centre of Barcelona around two in the morning, I was completely exhausted and fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow, dreaming of my remaining eight days of a Spanish holiday.
When in Rome...or in Edinburgh...
Abigail Reibman shows us how to cook up an easy-peasy post-holiday feast
ack from home far too soon and missing your mum's natural flair in the kitchen? Let these simple Italian recipes rescue you from your decidedly less glamorous pasta-pesto combo you are so often forced to eat. First, a great winter dish to fill you up! This works well as a starter or as a main; use shop-bought gnocchi if you don’t have time to make your own. Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Crushed Walnuts (Serves 4) Potato Gnocchi: 2-3 red potatoes 2 eggs 90g (estimated) white or pasta flour Salt Boil the unpeeled potatoes in unsalted water from cold until you can easily pierce them with a paring knife. Peel while still warm, then mash thoroughly. Add the eggs, water, flour and a pinch of salt to create dough, then knead until smooth (not too long or it will become too dense!) Roll the dough into a log and cut small cubes off with the paring knife. Use the backside of a fork to create pressed gnocchi – easy! Gorgonzola Sauce: 100g Gorgonzola Dolce or Stilton 100g single cream Grated nutmeg Heat equal parts cream and cheese in a small saucepan, being careful not to let it boil. Stir continuously until
amalgamated, then add a pinch of nutmeg if desired. Boil a pot of salted water. Drop in the gnocchi; they are cooked when they start to pop up to the surface. Pour sauce into a sauté pan and simmer gently while gnocchi are cooking. When then gnocchi are cooked, transfer them into the pan with a tablespoon of pasta water. Sauté for 30 seconds until gnocchi are completely covered with sauce, then add a small handful of crushed walnuts and a pinch of fresh herbs. Serve immediately with an artistic drizzle of fresh olive or truffle oil. Voila! And for afters, why not try this very simple but deceptively delicious dessert? Pesche e vino 1 medium peach 1 tbsp sugar dry white wine Simply de-stone and cut up the peach, place in a bowl, immerse in wine (as much as you like) and add sugar. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour and serve, perhaps with a dollop of mascarpone if you're feeling indulgent. If you're making this for several people you can obviously do this in a large bowl, allowing one peach per person and the one hour wait will give you plenty of time to let the gnocchi settle.
I HAD a really good Christmas holiday this year. I got to spend time with my family, read books that don’t appear on any course lists and ate more turkey than any other human being could possibly ingest. The relaxed happy feeling was even enough to see me through flight delays, cancellations, unhelpful airline staff and lost baggage without completely losing faith in humanity. After the disastrous three-day trip back to the flat, I was really looking forward to collapsing in front of the TV with flatmates, pizza and a good movie. But alas, I opened the door to my room and came to the slow, horrible realisation that we’d been robbed. Yes, my flatmates and I had fallen victim to the season of festive theft when flats in studentpopulated areas are targeted in the hope that everyone will have gone home for Christmas. They took all our DVDs, the DVD player, an iPod dock, some CDs and £19.75. Trying to tell the police that you’re missing Ong-bak and two copies of Mean Girls while they’re failing to keep a straight face is not as easy as you’d think. Here are a few pointers to hopefully help you prevent crimes in your own home… Check the Locks In the rush of daily life it is easy to forget to check that locks are secure. Don’t make this mistake. Doors are much easier to kick in than you’d imagine and entrance doesn’t always leave evidence of damage. Make it your priority to check that doors are locked if no one is going to be home for a while. Notice that you’ve been robbed You’re laughing but it’s not always obvious. If the flat does not look like it has been ransacked you may not be expecting things to be missing and it could be several days before you notice. When you get home after a long absence, check that the more valuable stuff is still in place. Hide Everything Well, not everything: it’s quite difficult to hide something like a TV or a printer, and not everything is worth stealing. It may not seem like an effective idea, as thieves will probably go through drawers anyway. But its likely that they will be unwilling to stay in the flat very long so if you make it difficult to find things, they may not bother. Get Insurance It is one of those things that are so easy to put off forever and an unbelievable hassle to get, but it is worth it. Even a small collection of CDs or DVDs that were all bought on sale can add up to a substantial amount of money.
thevoice Your Studentsâ€™ association Magazine
y p p a H r a e Y New m o r F a s u E
Happy new Year inside: tips on making the most of your university in 2010 PLuS: internships | Student Festival | thomas Graham
â€œItâ€™s very different to being a normal student...â€? An interview with Thomas Graham
BEFORE HEâ€™D EVEN VDWGRZQKLVL3KRQHZDVWKHÂżUVWWKLQJWR come out of his pocket. It took its place at the interview next to his keyboard, constantly reminding us of its presence with an irritating intermittent buzz that resembled a lift from Star Wars. â€œIâ€™m not sure I do love my iPhone, actually,â€? claimed the President of Edinburgh Universities Studentâ€™s Association. â€œItâ€™s been broken for the last week, and itâ€™s been a nicely liberating experience...Iâ€™ve really enjoyed being uncontactable or able to send any messages!â€? His hectic diary was evident in our initial meeting. +HEXUVWWKURXJKWKHGRRUVRI(86$ÂśV3RWWHURZRIÂżFHIRUZKDW he regarded as a break, but which I would have regarded as an inconvenient 20 minute hang-around between meetings. Every minute of every day was packed for Thomas Grahame, the 3rd year informatics student, who has taken a year out after a close and hard fought campaign for the position, which saw one of the biggest turnouts in any student election ever held in the UK. â€œI occasionally get a weekend or evening off, but it often ties in with conferences and stuff.â€? ,WÂśVDFRPPRQEHOLHIZLGHVSUHDGRIDOOHOHFWHGRIÂżFLDOVWKDWWKH\ IRUJHWWKHZRUOGWKH\VHHNWRUHSUHVHQWZKHQFRPLQJWRRIÂżFHDQG, was keen to gauge how seeing EUSA from a different side shaped his view of University.
â€œItâ€™s very different to being a normal student... If the EUSA shop didnâ€™t have what I wanted Iâ€™d just go somewhere else... but suddenly LWEHFRPHVDQLVVXHIRU\RXDORQJZLWKLWVVWDIÂżQJÂżQDQFHVDQG commercial services. It stops being an annoyance, and starts being something which you need to do something about.â€? Along with the other 4 candidates with the position, Thomas set out his plan of what he would do as President; his manifesto. â€œIâ€™ve found that the hardest thing hasnâ€™t been carrying out my manifesto, but actually the day to day running of an organisation... You have to spend a lot of time doing stuff you didnâ€™t expect... I actually have to represent other peopleâ€™s views to the University some of the time... I sit with loads of different hats on.â€? It was several weeks ago that during a meeting Thomas shared an analogy with the group which I found hard to forget. â€œOur organisation is like a ship; we have everyday challenges, but weâ€™re also sailing in a bold direction.â€? I was interested to hear about what challenges our President thought might be hitting our ship. â€œThere are some real challenges in ensuring all of our students take part in the structures of our organisationâ€? â€œBut the constant drive to improve teaching and learning, from assessment and feedback to ensuring youâ€™re getting more contact time is a huge issue.â€? A good few minutes into this issue passed before the biggest beast showed its face: higher education funding. â€œWe need to face up to the fact that weâ€™re not going to be able to afford run higher education at the level we would like it to be funded at from the Governmentâ€™s taxation budget in Scotland. How we pay for it, if we do, or not, is going to be one of the biggest challenges facing students.â€? But he was keen to point out, that, â€œwe will be engaging in any higher education funding debate that comes up.â€? Along with the President, three Vice-Presidents take their positions by his side, and whether they get on or not is crucially decisive in the success of the Association. â€œIt can be frustrating- weâ€™ve all come here with our own ideas... We all want to change it, but weâ€™ve only got 12 months to do it. We just canâ€™t do it- we canâ€™t change everything in 12 months, but we do as much as we can, and weâ€™ve made a lot of progress in a number of areas.â€? â€œThe best part of the job? Coming home and knowing that youâ€™ve changed something and made it better for students. Extending library opening hours over the summer so our Masters student could ÂżQLVKWKHLUGLVVHUWDWLRQVLWÂśVWKHEHVWIHHOLQJLQWKHZRUOGNQRZLQJWKDW change wouldnâ€™t have happened without you.â€? â€œThatâ€™s why Iâ€™m here; to improve studentsâ€™ lives.â€? The President is elected in the EUSA general elections once a year every March. It is a full time and paid position, like those of the Vice-Presidents, and students either do the position at the end of their studies, or take a year out. [Matthew Mcpherson]
Can we have Euro beers?
There is now a selection of Euro beers in the Library Bar.
Stop messing up room bookings!
A new Functions Co-ordinator has now been appointed so bookings should run more smoothly. We have also developed improved procedures for booking services, from booking through to customer invoicing.
List nutritional information on products in the shop please.
We have got our suppliers to provide this information for you.
THE VOICE: CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR Alexandra Taylor WRITERS Matthew Mcpherson, Laura-Jayne Baker, Carys Notley, Camilla Pierry, Harrison Kelly, Sophie Routledge, Sarah Purvis, Susannah Savage, Tony Foster and Alexandra Taylor. Photography SXC
Disbursement 2 Your Societiesâ€™ Disbursement Committee met once again in December to look over another (much smaller) round of society applications. Hereâ€™s who the money went to this time:
ÂŁ1,000 to Edinburgh University Footlights for a new high-spec keyboard; ÂŁ20 to the Humanist Society for a full accounts audit. Up to ÂŁ500 to the Juggling Society for new juggling equipment (match-funded); Â…WRWKH3ROLWLFV6RFLHW\IRUQHZUROOHUEDQQHUVOHDĂ€HWVDQG sandwich boards; 6RWKHUHÂśVÂ…OHIWWRELGIRUDQGWKHÂżQDOGHDGOLQHIRUDSSOLFDWLRQV is JANUARY 31st! Full minutes are available to read online at www. eusa.ed.ac.uk/societies/minutes. Any money left unspent will be used to purchase new society resources â€“ last year this went on new projectors and screens.
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Meet the Editor Meet the Editor Happy New Year! The unnamed decade has begun and something tells me itâ€™s going to be bigger and better than the last. Weâ€™ve already battled with neverseen-before snow epidemic and Avatar is making cinema history and this is all in WKHÂżUVWIHZZHHNV%XWFORVHUWRKRPH your University has so much exciting stuff planned for 2010, from the Teviot 120 regeneration to the Student Fringe Festival from 18th to 23rd January, so get involved and make the most of this Semester. [Alexandra Taylor]
So you didnâ€™t join a society in Freshersâ€™ Week? With 250 societies running events on campus every week thereâ€™s loads of opportunity to get involved. EUSA has hand picked the best of the bunch to bring you a fantastic programme of events all open to non-members. *RRXWDQGWU\VRPHWKLQJQHZ\RXQHYHUNQRZZKDW\RXPLJKWÂżQG In the meantime why not check out the events at the Student Fringe Festival.
LATEST NEWS A PLEASANCE SURPRISE! On the 13th of February, EUSA will be launching the fabulously newly developed Pleasance Theatre. If you fancy being entertained by the hilarious Russell Kane (Triple Perrier Nominee, As Seen on Live At The Apollo and â€˜Iâ€™m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here Now!) who will be joining us on the night, get down to the Potterrow student shop today where tickets are now available or why get yours directly from the venue. The venue is open to students, university staff and the general public and donâ€™t forget you can also join the Facebook group to follow our progress.
TODAYâ€™S FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS The student festival runs from January 18th â€“ 23rd and you can expect a week of non-stop events and activities. Tonight, why not get involved in â€˜DressAs-Your- Favourite-Countryâ€™ Night out. Starting at 8pm, this event has been organised by Edinburgh Exchange Support Society in Teviot Row House, Underground and is a themed night aimed at anyone involved in international study, be it past, present or future, bringing together home and international students alike! Thereâ€™s also masked ball themed Ceilidh for Postgraduates at Potterrow. This event starts at 6pm and promises a live band, food and drink. Entry: ÂŁ5. Full event listings can be found at www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/studentfestival.
LETâ€™S GET SRCERIOUS
are e r e h t w - o choose it e n g ethin ctivities t w where m o s Try reds of a ver kno hund and you ne from t lead... migh
In December, the table was rattled for the last time in Teviotâ€™s Dining Hall, as the Studentâ€™s Representative Council will now be meeting in Teviotâ€™s Debating Hall this semester. The table, round which your 106 representatives sit, may seem even less interesting than metalâ€“oxideâ€“ VHPLFRQGXFWRUÂżHOGHIIHFWWUDQVLVWRUVEXWLWÂśV because of the exceptionally high turnout and interest in what weâ€™ve been doing that weâ€™re having to move to a bigger venue to accommodate everyone who wants to come. And if you havenâ€™t been involved in the SRC so far, donâ€™t worry, because our best days are yet to come. This is because, at one of our tri-weekly meetings last semester, we held talks that led to some pretty fundamental changes to the ways in which you can get involved. Now, if thereâ€™s something which you think the SRC should be debating and taking action on, with 50 student signatures you can take any issue straight to the SRC without going through an AGM, Rep, subcommittee, or anything you havenâ€™t heard of... However, sub-committees and action groups have also been handed more power, and so if even MXVW\RXDQG\RXUĂ€DWPDWHKDYHDQLVVXHZLWK the DoS system, exams, housing, loans, or even each other, you can go along to the relevant subcommittee, and speak to people who can help you WDNH\RXUÂżJKWWRWKHWRS Iâ€™m looking forward to more SRC meetings that, although less controversial than a cheese sandwich, are bound to be as constructive as a 4 hour-facebook-free revision session! By building greater awareness of whatâ€™s going on (all of our minutes are now on the EUSA website) and the work of all your reps, I know that this new year of student politics will be fantastic. [Matt Mcpherson]
THE VOICE 3 TWITTER.COM/EUSA
Confessions ofâ€Ś. a Student Writer
It wasn't that long ago that we found The Voiceâ€™s advertisement for student writers, but since then we've rocketed to the heights of journalistic stardom. WELL NOT EXACTLY...SUSE did once persuade herself people were staring at her in the library because they recognised her from the newspaper but unsuprisingly it was actually because she had a lot of chocolate around her mouth. Famous we might not be, but proud, we are. Our keen journalistic scent has taken us on a journey from Goth and Rock Society to Tesco via an exciting liason with a boxer. Yes along the way, we've been embarrassed â€“ being the only people dressed up as goths at the society meeting- received indecent proposals (thanks Stephen Shields, the boxer) and posioned our friends in the name of research, but it wasn't all in vain.
)RUWKRVHRI\RXLQWHUHVWHGLQZULWLQJLWVKRXOGGHÂżQLWHO\EHVRPHWKLQJWRFRQVLGHU1RWRQO\ ZLOO\RXJHWWRVHH\RXUQDPHLQSULQWEXW\RX OOÂżQDOO\KDYHHYLGHQFHRIKDYLQJGRQHVRPHWKLQJ ZRUWKZKLOHDWXQLYHUVLW\GHÂżQLWHO\VRPHWKLQJEHWWHUWKDQODXQGU\WRVHQGKRPHWR\RXUPXP What's more being a student writer allows for quite a lot of 'artistic' freedom; at the weekly PHHWLQJVKHOGRQ0RQGD\VDWLQWKH(86$RIÂżFHVLQ3RWWHURZWKHUH VWKHRSSRUWXQLW\IRU everyone to put forward ideas, the stranger the better, ranging from SRC reports and sports clubs to how to make the perfect cocktail and charity shop chic. Some writers focus on the more serious topics, and others, like us, deal with what really matters...such as the ins and outs of cooking a chicken. This just goes to show that anyone can be a student writer, there's a youVKDSHGKROHRQWKHSDJHVRFRPHDQGÂżOOLW [Sarah Purvis and Susannah Savage]
How toâ€ŚMake the Most of January with EUSA &KULVWPDVLQRYHUDQG\RXÂśUHIHHOLQJDOLWWOHGRZQ1RPRUHFDUROV&KULVWPDVSXGGLQJRUSUHVHQWV%XWGRQRW IHDUWKHUHLVSOHQW\JRLQJRQGXULQJ5HIUHVKHUVDQG)HVWLYDOZHHNWRUHDOO\OLIW\RXUVSLULWV IN FACT, SO PXFKWKDW\RXDUHVHULRXVO\DWULVNRIPLVVLQJRXWRQVRPHDPD]LQJHYHQWV+HOS LVDWKDQGKRZHYHUFKHFNRXWSDJHIRUWKH6WXGHQW)ULQJH)HVWLYDO/LVWLQJV%XWLI\RXÂśUH itching to get you started, here are some of the highlights of this coming January so you can get organizedâ€Ś
7KH3OHDVDQFHZLOODOVREHKROGLQJTXL]QLJKWVHYHU\0RQGD\IURPSP.%+RXVHÂśVTXL]QLJKW WDNHVSODFHIURPSPRQ7XHVGD\VDQGDWWKH7HYLRW/LEUDU\%DURQ6XQGD\VDWSP $QGIRUDVXSHU6DWXUGD\QLJKWKLWWKH%LJ&KHHVHDW3RWWHURZIRUMXVWÂ…RUIRUVRPH,QGLH classics Teviot hosts its weekly Going Underground event from 10pm.
Stuff you Loved last week: 5HIUHVKHUÂśVZHHNNLFNHGRIIRQ6XQGD\WKHWKRI-DQXDU\LQ3RWWHURZZLWKWKH/DWH/DWH +RJPDQD\3DUW\DQGLWZDVWKHSHUIHFWZD\WRUHOLYHWKHH[SHULHQFHWKH1HZ<HDUÂśVFRXQW down again with all your friends. And if that wasnâ€™t enough, Five (well two of them: Scott and $EV SHUIRUPHGOLYHLQ3RWWHURZRQ)ULGD\WKHWKRI-DQXDU\DQGWKH\GLGQRWGLVDSSRLQWWKH\ UHDOO\GLGPDNH\RXJHWGRZQQRZ
Also remember to check out the Student Fringe Festival programme of events on our listings page or by pick up booklet from EUSA.
Old Favourites making a comeback this week: Didnâ€™t get the chance to sign up to all the societies you hoped to in Fresherâ€™s week? Well I am pleased to announce that there will be a societiesâ€™ fair round two on Tuesday the 19th of -DQXDU\KHOGDWWKH3RWWHURZ'RPHDQG&KDSODLQF\$XGLWRULXPIURPDPWLOOSP
4 THE VOICE TWITTER.COM/EUSAPRESIDENT
)URP)LYHWRFRPHG\WR+RJPDQD\UHYLVLWHGZKDWPRUHFDQDVWXGHQWDVNIRU",WÂśVDOUHDG\ been such an action packed week, and with loads more to come, Iâ€™m sure EUSA will help cure WKRVHSRVW&KULVWPDVEOXHV:HOFRPHEDFN [Carys Notley]
10 realistic new yearâ€™s resolutions for students
So itâ€™s that time of year again, after the Christmas binge when we all promise ourselves we are going to loose a stone, give up drinking, go to every lecture AND do the key reading, adopt orphan elephants, volunteer in a soup kitchen...so basically become a saintly, yet deeply boring person. To avoid these pointless, time-wasting promises we have come up with a few more realistic suggestions:
1) I will do less laundry and use more deodorant (preferably roll-on so as to be extra extra environmentally friendly). 2) I will remember to not Facebook stalk last nightâ€™s conquest in the library. 3) I will, for today at least, not sit in the lounge all day in my pyjamas, instead I will move the TV to my bedroom. 4) I will make sure I see daylight at least once a day. 5) I will remember that my overdraft is not just a kind gift from Gordon Brown. ,ZLOOOHDUQWRDQWLFLSDWHGUXQNHQYRPPLQJWRDYRLGSD\LQJWKHÂ…WD[LÂżQH 7) I will listen to my hot tutor instead of fantasising about him/her naked. ,ZLOOQRWFRQVXPHWKHHQWLUHFRQWHQWRIP\Ă€DWPDWHVFXSERDUGDWWKHHQGRIDQLJKW out and deny all knowledge the following morning. 9) I will go to the gym even if it is just once so that when Iâ€™m boasting about being a member I at least know where it is. ,ZLOOSLW\WKHSRRUSURPRWHUVKDQGLQJRXWĂ€\HUVLQWKHUDLQRQ*HRUJH6TXDUH instead of cursing their existence. At least by following these resolutions rather than the conventional ones you will avoid starting the new year feeling like a disappointment; might as well embrace being a student LQVWHDGRIÂżJKWLQJDJDLQVWLWDQGGRZKDWVWXGHQWVGREHVWVOHHSHDWPRDQDERXWGHEWDQG drink (in moderation, obviously). [Sarah Purvis and Susannah Savage]
Beam me up to the Internship IT MAY ONLY EHWKHÂżUVWIHZZHHNVEDFNDIWHUWKHIHVWLYHEUHDNEXWDOUHDG\LWLVWLPHWRVWDUWSODQQLQJ IRUWKHVXPPHUHYHQLI\RXDUHQRWJUDGXDWLQJWKLVWLPH:LWKWKHMREPDUNHWVWLOOSURYLQJGLIÂżFXOWIRUDOO graduates, employers are looking for that something extra to make you stand out from the crowd. Doing an internship over the summer can do exactly that! Depending on your degree subject internships can be a great way to spend the summer and you might even be paid for it! Science and Engineering students are at more of an advantage along with Business students as companies like Ernst and Young regularly advertise with the career service at the University. The best place to start is the database of summer opportunities for Edinburgh students at http://www. careers.ed.ac.uk/SAGE/ 8QIRUWXQDWHO\IRUPDQ\VWXGHQWVXQSDLGLQWHUQVKLSVDUHQRWÂżQDQFLDOO\SRVVLEOHKRZHYHULWLVVWLOOZRUWK WKLQNLQJDERXWZRUNH[SHULHQFHZLWKDFRPSDQ\LQ\RXUFKRVHQÂżHOGRILQWHUHVWIRUDIHZZHHNV)RU students interested in the media or journalism, it is best to contact the section editor directly of a local newspaper. The BBC also have many short term unpaid work experience opportunities, log on to www. bbc.co.uk/workexperience for more information. Writing to a company that you want to work for directly is a great way of getting your foot in the door and more importantly proves you to be a pro-active individual. But be warned some websites and organisations are now promising internships for a fee. Recent reports have found that students are being ripped off by rogue agencies charging up to ÂŁ1,000 for introductory letters or CV writing services that never come to fruition. There are a few reputable companies that operate on a fee basis such as the University of Dreams but it is worth checking things over with http:// internsanonymous.co.uk before handing over any of your student loan! Other options for the summer can include work placements abroad. Platform2 is a global volunteering scheme for 18 to 25 year olds who wouldnâ€™t otherwise be able to visit a developing country and get involved with global issues of justice and poverty. This can be a very rewarding experience and as valuable to employers as 12 weeks at Proctor and Gamble. Whatever you end up doing this summer it certainly pays to apply early so get Googling now! [Harrison Kelly]
THE VOICE 5 TWITTER.COM/EUSAVPAA
WISE WORDS IT HAS COME to my attention that many of you poor, misguided souls were not content with going home for Christmas and spending a month watching appallingly bad TV and eating industrial quantities of mince pies as I was requested to talk about the ways in which you can prepare yourself come Januaryâ€™s return. It seems that many people these days cannot resist using the as a chance to take a peek at what theyâ€™ll be facing in semester 2. Yesâ€Ś I am talking about the fact that the Xmas break for some, has become like an extended reading week. Now, I know that it is advised that have used the break to do all the reading so you stay one step ahead, or to organise your notes from last semester, or even to get a job to earn some money to buy books, and all that jazz â€“ but well, hey, Iâ€™m telling you not to! In my opinion, the holidays are about having fun, partying hard with friends from home that you havenâ€™t seen in months, eating all the food in your parentsâ€™ fridge and enjoying the luxury of having clean clothes without having done any laundry. And so I am telling you that all that UHQWIUHHORXQJLQJDWKRPHZDVMXVWLÂżHG,WVKRXOGKDYHEHHQ\RXU chance to forget that you have another semester of hard work coming up. Therefore, I hope that you made the most of your carefree winter days and nights. To those of you who couldnâ€™t resist revisiting notes this time round I offer you some advice: next time if the urge really strikes you to work hard on some aspect of your life, pick an essential university skill that does not involve work. Your appearance perhaps? Youâ€™ve probably piled on the pounds, so gym membership might be a good idea. Or your drinking capacity? Challenge a stranger to a tequila shot contest to build up your endurance skills. Whatever skill you choose to develop, MXVWPDNHVXUHWKDWLWDOORZV\RXWRFRPHEDFNWR(GLQEXUJKLQÂżQLWHO\ more interesting. All that work can wait. [Sophie Routledge]
The Edinburgh Studentsâ€™ Charities Appeal THE EDINBURGH STUDENTSâ€™ Charities Appeal is proud to announce the 4th annual Race2Paris - your chance to get to Paris for nothing and raise some money for your favourite charity in the process! The concept is really simple â€“ to get to Paris as fast as possible without spending any money. From Friday 12th to Sunday 14th February 2010, get yourself into a team of two and persuade some friends to sponsor you. Make yourself a colourful banner and some wacky fancy-dress, and get ready for the strangest, hardest, funniest and most enjoyable few days of the year! Each team must include at least one male and all participants must be 18 or older. 7KHUDFHVWDUWVIURPDVHFUHW(GLQEXUJKORFDWLRQDQGÂżQLVKHVDWDIULHQGO\3DULVLDQKRVWHOZKHUH\RXZLOOEHDEOHWRFDWFKXSRQVRPHPXFK needed sleep! Awaiting you are the ESCA team and a night out in Paris. All you have to do to get there is stick your thumb out, plead with motorists and travel companies, walk if you have to - just get to Paris before anyone else. Check out the Race2Paris website at www.race2paris.org.uk for more details, or email email@example.com. Alternatively, pop into WKH(6&$RIÂżFHORFDWHGLQWKH(86$RIÂżFHLQ3RWWHUURZ
6 THE VOICE TWITTER.COM/EUSAVPSA
Latest Services Important services that you need to know about this week January is all about Shopping. Luckily, you donâ€™t even need to head off campus if you feel like grabbing lunch or bagging a bargain. The union has several shops: Potterrow Dome, Pollock Halls (JMC), Kings Buildings House, David Hume Tower Basement, as well as online. These shops offer a huge variety of products for students; everything from stationery to snacks, clothing, passport photos, and tickets for upcoming events. They strive to cater for the needs of all our students; for instance they sell a range of vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher foods. If there is something missing that you would like to see stocked then just ask. You can be sure of low prices and high quality as EUSA works hard to get you the best deals from suppliers, and is constantly expanding its range of Fairtrade and ethical goods. The shops are also really Environmentally Friendly as the Studentsâ€™ Association aims to reduce waste by 50% each year, it works hard to make sure all electricity comes from renewable sources, that packaging is recycled where possible, and discourages the use of plastic bags by charging a 10 pence charitable donation for each one that is used. [Alexandra Taylor]
â€œThe shops are also really Environmentally Friendly as the Studentsâ€™ Association aims to reduce waste by 50% each year, it works hard to make sure all electricity comes from renewable sourcesâ€?
Over indulged at Christmas? Time to shape up! MOST PEOPLE MAKE the infamous New Yearâ€™s resolution to burn off all those mince-pie induced calories that they put on over the Christmas period. Unsurprisingly, most never actually achieve that buff body as the thought of actually burning up a sweat seems less than inviting. Well, your University is here to help! There is OLWHUDOO\QRH[FXVHQRWWRJHWÂżWZKHQ\RXKDYHD&HQWUHIRU6SRUWV and Excellence right on your doorstep. The Pleasance Gym houses two multi-purpose sports halls, dance studios, squash FRXUWVER[LQJDQGPDUWLDODUWVDUHDVDUFKHU\DQGULĂ€HUDQJHVDQG climbing/bouldering walls. With all this choice, something bound to suit your tastes. They also hold 50 weekly exercise classes, which are included ZLWKLQWKH&HQWUHIRU6SRUWDQG([HUFLVH&6( PHPEHUVKLSDQG WKHUHÂśVHYHQIUHHJ\PVXSSRUWLQHDFKRIWKHÂżWQHVVVXLWHVDQG the option to take up a personal trainer. In addition, members can also enjoyed free timetabled lane swimming at the 25 metre pool IDFLOLW\ZKLFKFDQEHIRXQGLQWKH6W/HRQDUGÂśV%XLOGLQJVLWXDWHG around the corner from the main Pleasance building on Holyrood 5RDG,WÂśVHDV\WRMRLQPHPHEHUVKLSIRU6HPHVWHULVDYDLODEOH from 5th January 2010 - 30th May 2010, for ÂŁ60. Or if you really canâ€™t stomach regular exercise, you can still make the occasional RQHRIIYLVLWIRURQO\Â…6RJHWXSRXWDQGDFWLYHDQGPDNHWKLV resolution one worth keeping. [Alexandra Taylo
From pole dancing to shakespeare.... EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY IS characterised by its vast array of student societies, catering for all interests, obsessions and general randomness. An over-used phrase best describes WKHVLWXDWLRQDW(GLQEXUJKÂśÂľZKDWHYHU\RXÂśUHLQWR\RXZLOOÂżQGLWKHUHÂś+RZHYHUVRPHWLPHVWKDW special interest of yours is not covered, what to do â€“ start up your own society! $V6RFLHWLHVFRQYHQHU,VSHQGIRUWQLJKWO\PHHWLQJVFKDLULQJ6RF([HFZKHUHZHGLVFXVV QHZVRFLHW\SURSRVDOVFKHFNDQ\SRVVLEOHFODVKHVRIFRQVWLWXWLRQEHWZHHQRWKHUVRFLHWLHV and discuss the impact the proposed society could have on the overall student body. It is tremendous fun and one which has resulted in the approval of a whole variety of societies so far this year. 7KHQHZVRFLHWLHVFUHDWHGWKLV\HDUUDQJHIURPÂľ3ROH'DQFLQJ6RFLHW\ÂśWRÂľ$QLPDO&ULVLVÂś IURPÂľ7KH%UXQHLDQ6RFLHW\ÂśWR'LFN9HW0XVLFLDQVDQGIURPÂľ0\VWHU\7RXU6RFLHW\ÂśWR Âľ6KDNHVSHDUH3OD\HUV6RFLHW\Âś
These are to name just a few, as you can see there are a real variety all new and sparkly for you to try out! If you fancy joining a society, its never too late most accept new-comers throughout the year and enjoy the opportunity to have a fresh face about with new ideas. You FDQFKHFNRXWWKHOLVWRIVRFLHWLHVRQWKH(86$ZHEVLWHZZZHXVDHGDFXNVRFLHWLHVOLVW ,I\RXGRQÂśWÂżQGDQ\WKLQJWKDWWDNHV\RXULQWHUHVWRQWKHUHZK\GRQÂśW\RXJRIRULWDQGFUHDWH \RXURZQVRFLHW\DSDUWIURPEHLQJJUHDWIXQLWZLOOORRN)$%RQ\RXU&9 <RXFDQÂżQGRXWKRZWRFUHDWHDVRFLHW\RQWKH(86$ZHEVLWHWRRZRZLWÂśVMXVWWRRIXOORI FRROWKLQJV DWZZZHXVDHGDFXNVRFLHWLHVVWDUW ,I\RXSUHIHUDZHHFKDWDERXWMRLQLQJRUFUHDWLQJDVRFLHW\\RXFDQSRSLQWRWKH(86$RIÂżFH DQGFKDWWRHLWKHU$QQH(OGHU(86$6RFLHW\*XUX RU&DPLOOD3LHUU\936$ DQ\WLPHRUP\VHOI /DXUD-D\QH6RFLHWLHV&RQYHQHU RQD)ULGD\EHWZHHQSP [Laura-Jayne Baker]
THE VOICE 7 TWITTER.COM/EUSAVPS
STUDENT FESTIVAL WHAT’S ON Wednesday 20 January
Meet in Teviot Row House, Dining Room 12.30 - 3.30pm
CAPOIERA TASTER WORKSHOP
Meet in Teviot Row House, Debating Hall 2 - 4pm
YOGA TASTER CLASS
Meet at Bristo Yoga School 2 - 4pm
MATERIAL DESIGN WORKSHOP
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 3 - 4pm
TASTER CLASS & SOCIAL DANCE
Meet in Teviot Row House, Terrace Bar 4 - 7pm
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 5 - 5.15pm
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD Meet in Potterrow, Bar 6pm - 3am
BURNS SUPPER AND &(,/,'+ ҟ
Meet in Teviot Row House, Dining Room 7 - 9pm
EGP WORLD CEILIDH
Meet in Teviot Row House, Dining Room 7.30pm - 12am
Meet in Teviot Row House, Underground 8.30 - 10.30pm
BURNS SUPPER AND &(,/,'+ ҟ
Teviot Row House, Debating Hall 9pm - 1am
‘ZEMBLANITY’ LE NAVET BETE
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 10 - 11pm
LIVE MUSIC IN THE CAFÉ
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 11pm - 12am
Thursday 21 January TIMOTHY
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 1.15 - 2pm
MAKE-UP WORKSHOP Meet at Bedlam Theatre 3 - 4pm
PHYSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOP Meet at Bedlam Theatre 5 - 6pm
SCRATCH GILBERT & SULLIVAN
SCREENING OF “THE COVE”
Meet in Teviot Row House, Dining Room 7.30 - 9.30pm
CHEESE & WINE
Meet in 23 George Square, CSU Common Room 7.30 - 9.30pm
PRE-CLUB COCKTAIL MASTERCLASS
A SHOW BY STAG THEATRE GROUP
‘PEACE BUILDING’: JACK MCCONNELL, FORMER FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND
Meet in David Hume Tower, Faculty Room South 7.30 - 11pm
ARE YOU THE ULTIMATE 90’S KID?
Meet in Teviot Row House, Loft Bar 7.30pm - 1.30am
STUDENTS COME DANCING
Meet in Potterrow, Venue 8.30 - 10.30pm
THE BIG £1 SHOW
8 THE VOICE
LIVE MUSIC IN THE CAFÉ
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 10 - 11pm
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 11pm - 12am
Bedlam Theatre 7.30 - 9.30pm
Meet in Pleasance, Cabaret Bar 7.30pm - 12.30am
Meet in Teviot Row House, Terrace Bar 8pm - 1am QUIZ NIGHT Meet in Teviot Row House, Sportsman’s Bar 8.30 11.30pm
OPEN MIC NIGHT
Meet in Teviot Row House, Loft Bar 8.30 - 10.30pm
I FIESTA LATINA!
Meet in Teviot Row House, Debating Hall 9pm - 1.30am
Meet in Potterrow, Venue 10.30pm - 12am Meet at Bedlam Theatre 10.30 - 11.30pm
Friday 22 January saTurday 23 GAMESOC 24HR LAN January Meet in Pleasance, Pentland Room 12noon
ECFS CLOTHES SWAP Meet in Teviot Row House, Debating Hall 1 - 5pm
TIME TRAVEL THROUGH INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Teviot Row House, Middle Bar 1 - 7pm
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 12noon - 2pm
‘AUDITIONING FOR BEDLAM’ WORKSHOP Meet at Bedlam Theatre 2.30 - 3.30pm
FILM SCREENING OF “FLOW” BY WATERAID SOCIETY Meet in Teviot Row House, Terrace Bar 4.15 - 8.45pm
The Student Fringe Festival is now in its seventh year and it promises to be an event not to be missed!
ART SOCIETY’S CLOTHES SWAP
Meet in Teviot Row House, Mezzanine 7 - 11pm
Edinburgh is a city that is full of culture, charisma and cocktails, so the Student Festival was created to encapsulate all of this and more.
‘50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER’ THE MATCHBOX 24HR PLAY
The internationally renowned summer Festival attracts performers and audiences from all over the world. However, so many of us miss this great event because we’re either across the other side of the world or taking a summer job elsewhere. So, we have our very own Student Fringe Festival right in the heart of our very own University, bringing together everything that is fabulous about being a student here.
SAUCE! SPEED DATING
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 1.15 - 2.05pm Meet at Bedlam Theatre 3 - 4pm
Meet in Teviot Row House, SEmESTEr 1 at COmEDy Meet Bedlam Theatre Underground 5 - 6pm 7.30 - 9.30pm
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 7.30 - 9pm
Meet in Teviot Row House, Loft Bar 7.30 - 9.30pm
A SKETCH SHOW
Meet in David Hume Tower, Faculty Room North 5 - 7pm Meet in Teviot Row House, Underground 5.30pm - 2am
FILM SCREENING FOR FRESH SIGHT Meet in Teviot Row House, Mezzanine 6pm - 12noon
SCREENING OF “SIN NOMBRE”
Meet in Teviot Row House, Terrace Bar 7 - 11pm
SIGN-UP TO 24HR PLAY IN THE CAFÉ Meet at Bedlam Theatre 7 - 8pm
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 7 - 8pm
Meet in Teviot Row House, Terrace Bar 8.30pm - 1.30am Meet in Teviot Row House, Dining Room 9pm - 2am
‘ZEMBLANITY’ LE NAVET BETE
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 9 - 10pm
[Camilla Pierry, Vice President Societies & Activities]
Meet in Potterrow, Dome 9 - 3pm
GOING UNDERGROUND Meet in Teviot Row House, Underground 10 - 1pm
LIVE MUSIC IN THE CAFÉ
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 10.30pm - 12am
LIVE MUSIC IN CAFÉ
sunday 24 January
Meet in Teviot Row House, Library Bar 8.30 - 10.30pm
Meet at Bedlam Theatre 8 - 10.30pm
Being at university is about so much more than getting a degree, it’s about experiencing student life and the Student Festival is the ultimate celebration of this. Don’t let it pass you by.
THE BIG CHEESE FEAT THE VIXENS & CADENCE
THE SAVOY CABARET
Meet in Pleasance, Cabaret Bar 8 - 10pm
The Student Fringe Festival runs this year from 18th to 23rd January 2010 and gives you a chance to try lots of different activities, so watch out for the various taster sessions that are running during the week.
TEVIOT PERSUITS QUIZ
Meet in Potterrow, Venue 10pm - 3am
Theatre buff? Write a review: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
CULTURE OLIVIA FOYER
Luke Healey and Christine Johnston take one last look at the arts and theatre of 2009 and glance ahead at what 2010 holds BEFORE GALLERIES start launching their programmes for the new decade, it's worthwile attempting to tie up the loose ends of 2009. The National Gallery of Modern Art celebrated their 50th anniversary at the end of last year with a major re-hang under the title 'What you see is where you're at'. In addition to instigating a radical re-shuffle of its permanent collection, the gallery has commissioned a new piece by Martin Boyce, Scotland's ambassador at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The result is 'Electric Trees and Telephone Booth Conversations', an uncannily atmospheric installation and a worthy centrepiece for the gallery's re-birth. Coming across as a banal slice of urban life refracted through a formalist kaleidoscope, it brings to mind the work of another of Scotland's recent Venice representatives, Claire Barclay, whose Spring exhibition at the Fruitmarket in 2009 was one of the highlights of the year. Around Boyce's room spreads the new display of the permanent collection. The works are arranged according to theme rather than date, organised into rooms with titles like 'Head', 'White' and 'Things'. The display has perhaps never been so user-friendly, and the thematic conceit allows the richness of certain aspects of the collection to shine, with the gallery's collection of drawings coming across as especially full-blooded.
ECA students will be encouraged by this particular display, in which drawings by artists ranging from Picasso, Klee and Klimt to Gwen John, Ken Currie and Charles Avery converge on the painstakingly intricate work of Paul Chiappe - he graduated here just three years ago. The first floor is almost totally given over to abstraction, with a room of paintings by Agnes Martin taking a central role.
'Like ice-cream on the beach' is how a friend yearningly described the effect of Agnes Martin's canvases Martin's work, too, shows off drawing at its most effective, with soft pencil lines combining with muted pastel-coloured washes to turn her minimal formal arrangements into moving expressions of human joy and vulnerability. 'Like ice-cream on the beach' is how a friend yearningly described the effect of the large canvases. Martin herself described them as 'paintings about light, lightness, about merging, about formlessness', according to one of the large wall-texts that enhances this sympathetic display. Ingleby Gallery, whose 2009 programme saw a procession of excellent
shows, from Ellsworth Kelly in the Winter to Francesca Woodman in the Spring to David Austen in the Autumn, is showing a selection of recent works by an artist whose abstract creations are ostensibly very different to those of Agnes Martin, but which nonetheless share a similarly romantic air. Gary Fabian Miller's abstract photographs may be beautifully simple, but they are the result of months of scientific experimentation. The blood-red squares downstairs were created by refracting light through jars of coloured water onto photo-sensitive paper. As if the image of a man in a shed carefully arranging jars of jewel-red water before shining a single beam of light through them (that's the image I had, at least) weren't heart-breakingly poetic enough, the paper that Miller uses has long been out of production, turning this exhibition into a poignant reflection on the decline of analogue photography. As if to focus these reflections, the show contains recent works by Miller that utilise digital technologies. Re-shuffles; wistful thoughts of icecream on the beach; the death of the old and the birth of the new: what more could you want from January? What you see... until 28th Feb Agnes Martin until 14 Mar Garry Fabian Miller until 30 Jan
Garry Fabian Miller Cutios 1, April 2006, unique water dye destruction print [image courtesy Ingleby Gallery]
EDINBURGH IS, undoubtedly, a city rich and varied in culture. In conjunction with tourism, the city’s high income has always been generated through it. However, the recession brought with it huge spending cuts to almost all areas of public life. Has it been bouncing back; or making necessary sacrifices? And has it been forced to stick to trusted forms and ideas, rather than risk new ones? The Festival is internationally glorified and stamped on the UK’s culture calendar for good reason. The city is awash with events, and lit up by tourists and entertainers. Last year a gloomy undertone threatened its cheery preparations, with huge losses expected in tickets. In January 2009, The Guardian predicted an eight to twenty percent slump in tickets sales, and fifteen to fifty percent in sponsorship over the following two years. However, it weathered the storm, and flourished in spite of or perhaps because of the recession. Both the BBC and The Guardian later stated that the recession encouraged punters who in other years would have gone abroad; and at the same time welcomed the escapism the festival would bring. Profit trumped even the ‘boom’ of 2007. This indicates both the strength of the cultural scene in general; and the opportunity that still exists for amateurs. Given a spotlight by the festival which they wouldn’t normally enjoy, it is significantly inclusive and welcoming for first-timers. The power of the arts seems further elevated by considering the span of the popularity. The Guardian reported that the book festival enjoyed a surge to eighty percent of tickets sold, comparing it to the simultaneous triumph of fringe tickets. There existed too within the festival, opportunities to combat financial difficulties through the arts. Both the Free Fringe and Five Pound Fringe stand testimony to that. After the glory of the Festival, the winter season is another cultural landmark to try and test culture in the city.
The end of the year, it perhaps signified how 2009 stood up to the pressure we are consistently told Britain is under. The Royal Lyceum Theatre claims to be the largest drama company in Scotland. Their successes or failures therefore seem worth watching. Press officer Melissa Clarke comments that because it is ‘not our own shows’ during the Festival, it perhaps doesn’t directly indicate their standing. However, during the Christmas season, she positively remarked that the Royal Lyceum was faring ‘very well’. At Christmas they are ‘guaranteed’ to attract large groups, such as schools, to their performances. In all respects, the Royal Lyceum seems both stable, and successful. Theatre then, seems a tradition that won’t wane in the face of adversity. In otherwise such an uncertain time, it seems comfort to know some institutions can survive, unaltered. As for predictions for this year, 2009 seems to have had a positive knock-on effect. Veronica Lee reported in The Observer that 2010’s Festival is due to introduce a new online booking system, where you can easily purchase tickets for any show on the same website. On November 25, The Stage reported that due to the – perhaps unexpected – success of 2009, the organisation have been enabled not to raise fees in 2010. Other aspects, such as sponsorship, were acknowledged as causing potential problems for performers. Thus, by keeping participation fees level, opportunity for new creativity can continue, and hopefully flourish. General economic concerns may pursue, but those directly involved seem focused and apt at containing tradition and continuing innovation. Innovation was highly valued by the Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards, the results of which were revealed in August 2009 in Edinburgh. This recognizes Edinburgh as a cultural centre, while simultaneously continuing efforts to develop culture alongside business across the UK. With an informed yet positive outlook, Edinburgh seems to have vivid cultural success on the horizon. The spring season for theatre appears alight with both tradition and originality. Luckily, the credit crunch seems unable to swallow the strength of spirit so intrinsic to the city. CJ
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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culture COMMISSION #1: Owen Ramsay & Angela Davison
Hannah george and gavin webster 12 jan
pleasance cabaret bar
The importance of personality is something which is often maligned by myriad sources – journalists describing politicians, politicians describing politicians, and students describing their lecturers (“he’s very nice, but...). They say that an overemphasis on personality covers up a lack of depth, and that to be exposed to individuals bearing such traits leaves one feeling strangely unenthused. At Tuesday’s Pleasance comedy night, the first for the new year, the enemies of the cult of personality were put to shame as Hannah George and Gavin Webster charmed and delighted their way through the evening’s performances, hiding a lack of material depth behind a wave of audience appreciation. The night kicked off with a smile-worthy set from 21-year-old Hannah George, whose ability to build a rapport with the student crowd was obvious from the outset - unsurprising, given that the youthful comedienne is just six months out of university. The material was, unfortunately, largely tame, with backcountry experiences from George’s native Isle of Wight permeating through to discussions of the well trodden comedy paths of relationships and the elderly. One of the night’s gems came during a discussion of a similarly hallowed topic – Gingers – when George comforted a carrot-topped audience member with ‘it’s alright,
Hannah George and Gavin Webster charmed and delighted their way through the evening’s performances, hiding a lack of material depth behind a wave of audience appreciation."
COMMISSION is a new, regular feature which will give weekly slots to students from Edinburgh College of Art. The eleven artists chosen to take part are drawn from a wide variety of disciplines, and have been asked to create totally new work in response to this particular setting.
Above: (Untitled) by Owen Ramsay Opposite: Substituting the Real by Angela Davison The world as an objective entity differs from the one we perceive. It casts its reflection upon the mind, and this reflection serves as raw material to be scrutinized, sifted, reorganized and
stored. Installations are constructed through the misplacement of familiar forms, abandoning normality. Normal situations become farther removed from the checks of reality, simply depicted by abstract properties of body and shape. www.angeladavison.co.uk
stomp Run ended
some of my best biscuits are ginger’ – illustrating George's knack for writing a well structured joke. Experience will inevitably deepen young George’s material, and her ability to hold a crowd in the palm of her hand sets her on a path already trodden by the Nobles, Howards and McIntyres of this world. Definitely one to watch. A receptive and larger than usual crowd was then treated to a thoroughly down to earth, if comedically traditional, performance by the proudly Geordie Gavin Webster. Telling the students from the outset what he was there for – ‘that was a joke’ – Webster launched into an upfront description of life as a working man from the east end of Newcastle. The veteran’s material was once again slightly superficial – we laughed through a ten minute sermon on the meaning of swear words in the Northeast, but I couldn’t help but feel that we were not getting access to Webster’s deepest thoughts, which is where the belly laughs come from. Nonetheless, Webster’s irreverent observations were well received by the crowd, illustrating that, in the presence of an endearing personality, comedic complexity isn’t everything. Charlie Shute
The cast of Stomp have a large weekly shopping list. 30 brooms, 8 bin lids, 15 boxes of matches and 200 litres of water have to be replaced every seven days, simply casualties of the energetic demands of the show. Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas’ brainchild, Stomp is a performing percussion orchestra of sorts, made from lost and found items; Stig of the Dump meets Keith Moon if you will. Middle-age concerns that it might just be a lot of noise are dispelled immediately, with an evening at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre last week proving to be more than a bit brilliant. Demonstrating mastery in the mediums of match-box playing, broom-sweeping and synchronised lighter ignition to name just a few, the troupe of eight achieve percussive perfection. Infecting the audience with their energy, the show ensures that tapping your feet along with the rhythm becomes an art form in itself. An industrial looking set facilitates the suspension of two performers who bound across the backdrop, playing saucepans and road signs with such ease as if they were a xylophone. Originality permeates the production as from items so simple, complexity is created, redefining what “instrument” means. Tap dancing to tribal beats also adds to the range of skills exhibited. Pumped up with adrenaline, the ninety minute show - sans interval - somehow manages to maintain the pace the energetic opening introduces. Highlights include the kitchen-sink playing episode and the newspaperreading sequence, whose ingenuity leaves the audience in disbelief. Both the musical choreography and the understanding evident between each of
Stomp is a performing percussion orchestra of sorts, made from lost and found items; Stig of the Dump meets Keith Moon if you will." the cast members are also world-class. Despite being in its twentieth year the production still feels like it was conceived this decade, its case for longevity no doubt lying in the humour which underpins it. With a fixed slot at London’s Ambassador Theatre and concluding dates of their UK tour still to be played, Stomp really is not to be missed. Hannah Ramsey
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Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Review 17 STAR RATING Bangin'
A bit of a din
MAGNE F - ALPHA BETA UNTIL 6 MARCH 2010 EDINBURGH PRINTMAKERS
EIGHTIES POP star to printmaker does not seem to be a particularly logical career progression, but a-ha keyboardist ’s latest exhibition would suggest otherwise. The works, comprising of drypoint and monotype prints of each letter of the alphabet plus Norwegian letters and a rather lonely looking exclamation mark, have an instantly appealing lyrical quality. The afore-mentioned exclamation mark opens the exhibition, simple and striking in monochrome. The rest of the exhibition is spread over two rooms, which feels slightly disjointed – it is odd for something as instantly
I couldn't decide whether I was trying to decipher a code, where the once so familiar letters take on new meaning, or simply leafing through someone's rather angsty diary" familiar as the alphabet to suddenly stop and then continue around a corner. Seemingly caused by space constraints rather than any particular artistic meaning, the split is certainly not a major problem, but does perhaps interrupt the fluency of the exhibition somewhat. However, Magne F’s choice of colours certainly helps to keep it cohesive. Black and white are predominant alongside purple, grey and brown: a quietly beautiful palette. Many of the prints feature lines of poetry, or the artist’s musings. Some are fairly obviously linked with the letters (‘N’ and ‘note to self ’), but most are more oblique: ‘R’ is printed alongside
Magne in action the words ‘self serving pretention’ and ‘M’ tells us that ‘some lines form a perfect circle/some take shapes you can’t predict’. Combined with the scribbled handwriting – often partly obscured by layered cut-outs – this gives the exhibition a highly personal feel. I couldn’t decide whether I was trying to decipher a code, where the once so familiar letters take on new meaning, or simply leafing through someone’s rather angsty diary. Considering the inclusion of the three Norwegian letters æ, å and ø at the end of the alphabet series, it would have been interesting to see more of a relationship between English – as used in the rest of the prints – and Norwegian. These letters are clearly sufficiently significant to the artist to warrant a place in the exhibition, yet until the end of the second room we would have no idea of a Norwegian influence. Another potential level to the exhibition which is left unopened is the music Magne F has composed, titled ‘Word Symphony’. It was composed alongside the prints, but does not feature in the exhibition: copies are instead being given away with the first 500 prints sold. The exhibition is undoubtedly aesthetically pleasing and provides a quick hit of visual poetry. It is a shame that its potentially multi-faceted nature is not explored, but this does not detract from the instant beauty of the decidedly individual works. Anna Feintuck
Who are these art students anyway? Vexed by lazy stereotypes, Sarah Hardie explains why how art students dress is not nearly as important as how they think
Amy Murray Portrait of a Young Artist (What She Thinks) 2009, [image courtesy the artist] THERE IS a myth that the typical art student is as thick as the paint they apply to their canvas, and that they probably only did art at school because they couldn’t handle the ‘more challenging’ scientific subjects. Indeed, according to this logic it seems that everyone with the necessary capacity would chose to be a Medic. As a Fine Art Student, it pains me to write this - but upon beginning university I was met by this attitude from a not inconsiderable few.
The question of what a typical art student is like necessitates a question regarding the expectations that the typical non-art student has of them: how do students from other disciplines treat them and why? The problem (which is also the wonder) of art is that it is visual, and is therefore (at least, traditional art forms are) accessible at a mere glance. Most of us have the gift of sight and have developed over our lives a degree of aesthetic awareness on which we base our opinions. But simply seeing a painting doesn’t mean you understand or appreciate it – sight alone only allows for aesthetic appreciation - and art is concerned with far more. Go to a History of Art lecture and you will be blown away by the multidisciplinary nature of the subject. You learn that art, made in a social context and situated in a history, is either a reflection of its time, or on an even more powerful level, can function as a tool to change the times. It is intrinsically politically, theologically, ideologically and socially induced and engaged, even if that is not the intention of the artist – the artist making art in his time is enough. ‘Intellectual diversity’ was the answer given by Ian, a third year Medic
intercalating in Physiology, when asked what he was particularly struck by in his art student friends. He also spoke of art students being ‘passionately defensive’ when their subject is questioned. This begs the question as to why non-art students are on the offensive when it comes to art and art students. Why is the choice to produce art attacked by some? The answer, it could be argued, is that art is inherently self-reflexive, and consequently a ‘selfish subject’. In ‘passionate’ defense of this, it seems only rational and truthful that art students look to themselves and their respective positions in the world as a starting point, constantly questioning their purpose, so as to challenge and critically engage the viewer into questioning their own selves in this way. As we are only ourselves, surely the art we make must begin in us and from there radiate out to the millions of other selves in their experience of it. It cannot be denied that some artstudent stereotypes do exist in reality, and these must be addressed. But just as the Pollock Halls ‘haven’t-you-noticed-I’m-upper-class’ stereotypes walk around in their Jack Wills sweatpants and messy hair, smoking outside the JMC (they still do that, right?), the art students hide behind their ‘cut-
ting-off-the-blood-supply-to-theirfeet-skinny-jeans’, checked shirts and unwashed hair to fit in; to make themselves feel part of something. Can we really blame anyone for this? The problem with the negative ‘typical artist’ stereotype, is that art-
Art students may be defensive about their subject, but this begs the question of why non-art students are on the offensive" ists themselves perpetuate it, at least in terms of looks. The poster for 'Art Walk', a street-level exhibition of ECA art students’ work on West Port last year, showed a portrait by Amy Murray of Rachel MacLean, a rising talent in the Scottish art scene, who recently exhibited at Collective as part of their 2009 New Work Scotland Program. The painting, 'Portrait of aYoung Artist (What She Thinks)' shows the unnamed artist wearing a bright-yellow shirt, crazy, multi-coloured braces, a black bowler hat and cat-like flicks of liner on her lashes; indeed, the sort of look non-art students might describe as ‘arty’.
And this is the problem: the unnamed young artist looks exactly as people expect her to look. Nothing has changed, nothing has been challenged, and the art student stereotype is confirmed as being a bit ‘wacky’, a bit ‘out there’, and solely premised on looks. As a result, Rachel’s art, which is actually atypical, intelligent and exciting, loses out in the eyes of the public. Though in pretence the painting’s title defines Rachel by her artistic status, in really only defines her by her appearance: the person and her subjectivity are lost. It is important to finish by saying that I do not intend to denigrate Murray’s art here. I use her portrait merely as an example of how art students sometimes do not help themselves in what can seem like a battle for respect from fellow students. Meanwhile, because art students, like many other students of different disciplines, are trained to constantly look beyond the surface of things to what is signified beneath, they may perhaps be forgiven in expecting others to reciprocate. Sadly, it seems that the art student’s expectations of her fellow students from other disciplines, are higher than theirs are of her.
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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MUSIC VAMPIRE WEEKEND Contra XL RECORDINGS
readIit'sfinglikelyyou’re this review, you know
Vampire Weekend’s deal all too well, but for the uninitiated, a brief description; they are four preppy, American university graduates who – shock horror – come from an affluent background, and, (far more importantly, of course), play what is ostensibly mildly angular indie of the day infused with idiosyncratic afro-pop overtones. Since the deserved success of their 2008 debut, they’ve divided the Pitchfork-addled indie set like no other group, with their singles gracing multiple television adverts and routinely filling The Hive’s dance floor on Tuesday nights, (along with other dance floors too, presumably). If you’ve already read any other reviews of this sophomore effort, its probable that you’ll have been informed of this records similarity to the first, how the sounds been built upon, how if you liked the debut you’ll like this one too. Much as I’d love to play the oh-so-contrary music
critic, it’s hard not to agree. 'Horchata' opens the album with the vintage, mildly silly lyrics they’ve become a little known for and comes across as something of a statement of intent, a signal that rather than tone down their eccentricities, they’ve enhanced them. It’s far from the best on offer here though, followed as it is by the incessantly catchy “ooh ahh” refrain of 'White Sky' and the jerky, irrepressibly jolly 'Holiday'. It’s after this that the band subtly reveals a few of their new tricks, and this continues throughout. 'California English' sees lead vocalist Ezra Koening treating his voice with auto-tune, while the anthemic 'Giving Up The Gun' adds an undertone of electronica and winds up sounding a little like a far subtler version of the trick that Bloc Party tried out on 'Flux'. Closer 'I Think Ur a Contra' proves to be the bands first true ballad, while “Cousins”, (appropriately enough) sounds like a relative of the debuts seminal 'A-Punk'. This is a band that is hated for the very same reasons they’re loved; if you fall into the category of the former, there’s probably not much use trying this out. But if you already consider yourself a fan, it’s certainly worth a listen; if it’s not necessarily better than their debut, it’s certainly just as good. Michael Russam
Vampire Weekend won't acknowledge Marissa Cooper's death on The OC until they find her corpse. NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS The Road OST MUTE RECORDINGS
from bleak images of smoking highways and Viggo Mortensen’s wasted face (unless, say, your mother asks if you’re gay as you listen to it, then the connection may be severed for good) but Cave’s haunting record is pitch-perfect for Cormac McCarthy’s work, as well as for any existential crises you may personally be having. This is Cave’s third soundtrack
Shearwater (the band, not the long-winged sea bird). SHEARWATER The Golden Archipelago MATADOR
hile I despise W the legend built up around punk
by crusty old critics who try to convince us that their era was more important than any other (Paul Morley, I’m looking at you), it does hold true, in many cases, that musical ability is far, far less important in the creation of great rock and pop music than most people would assume. It’s been said thousands of times, but it is a fact, not an opinion, that four chords played by The Ramones is infinitely more thrilling and life-affirming than the yawn-inducing keyboard widdles of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. On the spectrum of musical accomplishment, Shearwater would certainly be much closer to the latter, and while their grand compositions are indeed impressive, making use of a whole array of instruments outside of the traditional guitar-based set up, the result is something that is pretty difficult to love. Previous albums have centred on an ornithological theme (last effort Rook, and the band’s own name, which is taken from that of a long-winged sea bird), while this latest offering,
to dissoIscoret’sciatehard Nick Cave’s for The Road
collaboration with Bad Seed Warren Ellis, the duo previously scored The Proposition and The Assassination of Jesse James, and thematically this film blends seamlessly amongst his oeuvre; violence, doom, uncaring gods, startling facial hair. Indeed, it’s probably been a dream of Nick Cave’s to score the end of the world, as well it should be for any apocalyptically-minded musician, but he holds back on this record, forgoing dramatic orchestral effects to leave it spare, unintrusive and understated. His simple solitary melodies recall a story less of the apocalypse than of the human relationship at the centre of it between the father and son. But it’s hard to ever feel comfortable even listening to the more plaintive piano melodies on ‘Memory’ and ‘Storytime’. The notes sound cautious, loop inces-
say the band, focuses on island life and human impact on the environment. But for all its far-reaching ambition and scope, The Golden Archipelago rarely soars. Strings, glockenspiels, upright bass and restrained percussion complement intricate guitar lines to great effect, and are certainly evocative of the landscape in the way the band intend, but it is Jonathan Meiburg’s mannered, angsty falsetto that brings it all crashing down to earth before it’s reached anything more than a hover. When, on ‘Castaways’ he really lets go and sings unrestrained, Shearwater’s vision is briefly realised, but for the most part, his voice is simply irritating and overwrought, undermining the extremely accomplished musicianship that accompanies it. Perhaps the best thing about Archipelago is the cover, depicting a figure in white floating towards a lush green island in a boat draped in the same white robes. It’s a beautiful picture that encapsulates the ambition, scope and lofty themes that Shearwater are reaching for, but fall drastically short of, on this record. The musicianship alone could have warranted a '3', but Emerson, Lake and Palmer would never have got more than a '0' from this hack, who is no musician, but is told they were pretty awesome on the old keyboards; we all know that that’s just not good enough. Michael Russam
There were no moustaches before Nick Cave. Just unspecified facial hair.
santly and creeping in every so often is the underscoring of violin and distant industrial noise drawn out to genuinely chilling effect. On ‘Cannibals’ and ‘The House’, piano tinklings give way to scratching metal and drums while on the title theme it’s unnerving repetition that spells out impending doom. What stands out most on the record is the sense of loss told tenderly and beautifully through Cave’s controlled arrangements. Don’t buy this believing it to be ‘classy sex music’ you might have of other motion picture scores. Listening to this score is as lingering and unsettling an experience as your mother thinking you’re gay. Catherine Sylvain
Buy 2 Pukka Pads for
Pukka Pads as shown here
Quality Recycled Paper 110 pages Perforated for Easy Tear-Out Drilled Holes for Filing
27 november 09 - 25 january 10
festive events in your unions www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/winter/festival eusa.ed.ac.uk/winter/festival Edinburgh University Studentsâ€™ Association is a Registered Scottish Charity (No.SCO15800)
eusa.ed.ac.uk/studentfestival Edinburgh University Studentsâ€™ Association is a Registered Scottish Charity (No.SCO15800)
Tuesday January 19 2010 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Film Avatar Directed by James Cameron If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll know that I usually don’t like overly-hyped films, and no other film has had such an extensive build-up as Avatar. The film press had been reporting for months before its release about how James Cameron has spent many years and tens of millions of dollars developing the technology needed for the film. There’s a limit to how good a film can be when it focuses on how an evil mining company is colonising a planet called ‘Pandora’ looking for an element called - sigh - ‘Unobtanium’. I actually urinated in the cinema when I heard that. There’s nothing original about the story line: the mining company embarks on a programme to produce clones of the aliens that look and act like the Na’vi - the native inhabitants of Pandora - which can be controlled by humans. When one of the scientists is killed, his twin brother - a US marine (who is confined, for some reason, to a wheelchair, ostensibly because it makes him seem vulnerable and with more of a hill to climb or rather, to roll up) is brought in to replace him. His Avatar is sent into the
Glorious 39 Directed by Stephen poliakoff Recently, there has been a deluge of films, particularly British ones, that do not need to be distributed in cinemas and could have played just as well on the small screen (the much overrated The Queen springs to mind). Their settings are usually quite lowkey, and there are rarely enough big moments to warrant my hard-earned cash, especially now when ticket prices in cinemas are so exorbitant, supporting an expensive digital projection system to show close-ups of Helen Mirren's face in incredible detail. Considering Stephen Poliakoff 's track record as one of Britain's most highly regarded television dramatists, I was worried I would watch a film that, while an intelligent and enjoyable piece of work, would have had the same effect if I had been at home vegetating in front of BBC Two with a cup
jungle to win over the natives, but ends up becoming one of them, falls in love with the girl and leads the fight against the nasty colonisers. The plot suffers in much the same way as Cameron’s previous blockbuster Titantic did: flimsy characters; wooden acting; stilted, awkward dialogue. If you don't concentrate, you might be tricked into thinking that he's come up with something original. There's an attempt à la Lord of the Rings to create a complete world with its own history, language, cul-
ture and religion. Switch your brain on, and it will become clear what it is: a clumsy pastiche he seems to have cobbled out of one of those accidentally racist anthropology textbooks from the 1930s. The Na'vi are essentially taller and painted-blue versions of African 'natives', with vague notions of all lifeforms being tied together by a natural force: something that could have been interesting, had it been clearly and meaningfully explored. Toward the end, Cameron just seems to give up entirely trying to produce anything remotely
of tea. Thankfully, luscious, swooping visuals and period setting mean that Poliakoff 's first return to the big screen in 13 years is nothing but a cinematic feast. The plot of Glorious 39 involves a well-to-do family of a popular MP enjoying themselves on the brink of the Second World War. Romola Garai puts in a brilliant turn in the demanding role of the eldest daughter. She begins to suspect that dark forces in the British government, scared that fighting Germany would cripple our proud nation, are planning to organise a deal with the Nazis to spare us and silence anyone who stands out and calls for war. The wartime setting lends the film a sense of a classic Hollywood thriller, the kind in which we have no idea what might happen next, and it spares us the plodding pretentiousness that can often be found in Poliakoff 's televisual works. There are small issues to do with pacing; Glorious 39 is a long film, and the numbing of our bums is not helped by the director's decision to skilfully
build up tension in a scene before cutting quickly to a setting of relative calm. This happens several times and upsets the otherwise even tone of the film. Further drawbacks include the use of a framing device: the film begins with Christopher Lee's character recounting the story of the film to a young relative. He only appears three times after that, and his presence seems to exist for the sole purpose of a reunion in the final minutes, a happy ending which seems forced and unnecessary. Other than these little niggles, Glorious 39 is a beautifully shot and well-acted picture, an enthralling and moving thriller that asks tricky moral questions that will stick with you well after the final credits have rolled. Funny moments - like when Shuttleworth's assistants go to a hardware shop to buy materials to fix his glasses, blissfully unaware of the Specsavers across the street - are too few and far between to save the film. Due to a low budget the film was shot, for the most part, on regular camcorder tape, but to its credit it succeeds in working this into the plot effectively. However, when the look of the film is combined with the fact that Fellows insists on commentating over all the footage it gives the distinct feeling of watching someone else’s holiday tapes. Ultimately this film lives or dies on whether you like the Shuttleworth character. Unfortunately, for most the character will end up being nothing more than annoyance, not quite being strange enough to be interesting but not quite realistic enough to be appealing. Paddy Douglas
Glorious 39 Screening Times
Cameo Thursday 21st : 10.30am
cerebral and chucks in what he thinks the public want: scene after scene of shit getting blow up by a guy with a buzz cut. He also makes some heavy-handed attempts to insert references to modern American imperialism, with one of the mining executives saying that the humans needed to fight 'terror with terror'. Again, this could have worked quite well, but his direction is not subtle enough to have anything deeper without it coming across as contrived and tokenistic. Don't get me wrong; this is a stunning
sex & drugs & rock & roll Directed by Mat Whitecross The curtain opens, the spotlight is in position and just like that the palefaced, charismatic, DIY aficionado himself appears. Ian Dury (Andy Serkis) became an 80s icon for his haphazard performances and inspired use of language. This film tells the story of this New Wave beacon through an exploration of his disability which he gained through early polio and the tremulous relationship he had with his two children. Serkis delivers a spine-chilling performance. He never settles on whether Dury is obnoxious or lovable, difficult or desirable and it is through this never-ending flux that his passion and intent effervesces on screen. A sense of restlessness and chaos is never far away with the film reflecting that of Dury's own persona. With snapshots and flashbacks of his distraught upbringing in a hospital for disabled children, we are rarely allowed to forget why Dury is the way he is, and this jilted style of direction maintains the pace required. Complementary to this is the somewhat inspired decision to include the animations of Peter Blake, whose bright and vivid depictions of 70s London act as a stark contrast to the the dark and sullied realities of Dury's true life. Ultimately, it is a calamitous portrayal of a father and son's relationship in pieces. Dury's own guilt toward how he has brought up Baxter (Ben Milner) is coupled with his inability to overcome this hurdle due to the grievance he has with his own father's abandonment. Perhaps the film's only downfall is in the incoherent portrayal of Baxter. Milner showed great potential in earlier films such as Son of Rambow where his innocence and charm
film in a visual sense. He makes full use of his new technology with lavish flying scenes and beautiful recreations of the rain forest, but there's not much else of worth besides. You'll enjoy it, but only if you turn off your brain and put on the 3D glasses. Dan Nicholson-Heap
Avatar Screening Times Cineworld Daily: 11.50 12.40 13.45 15.40 16.25 17.20 19.30 20.00 21.00
were highlighted, yet there was something grating and unbalanced in this role. His annoyingly whiny performance jaded a potentially heartbreaking plot. Despite this, the indulgences were plentiful with the biggest and most surprising in the form of Serkis' own impressive vocals. The exhaustive passion that is given when we see him perform on stage is electrifying, and the fact that they are original vocals performed with The Blockheads themselves only elevates the film's authenticity and power. This is matched with the pantomime-esque theatricality as we see Dury himself narrate his own story throughout the film with magic tricks and all. At times he is a pithy, charming and highly intelligent presence while in the next second we are led to despise his frivolous and ultimately selfish lifestyle. Occasionally, it seems as if the film does become confused about its direction and how it wants to be defined. It's this dip in consistency which prevents it from becoming a masterpiece. That said, Serkis gives the hauntingly raw performance of his career and can no longer avoid the radar as he defines himself as a true British talent, managing to balance both the fragility and aggression of a man in crisis. It could have been easy to produce a film that looked at Dury through rose-tinted glasses, illuminating his iconic status and avoiding all the 'nasty bits', but instead is an unapologetic embrace to a human's faults and flaws. Hannah Clarke
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll Screening Times Cameo Monday/Wednesday/Thursday: 3.50pm, 6.30pm, 9.05pm
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Tuesday January 19 2010 email@example.com
3D comes of age
Shan Bertelli witnesses the evolution of 3D cinema... I
t’s been a month since Avatar first hit big screens across the world, yet it’s still filling cinema seats everywhere. Hailed as one the most technologically revolutionary and advanced films ever made, the major draw was the hype around the 3D aspect of the movie. In addition to the use of a virtual camera (usually used in gaming) and the Volume (the largest motion-capture stage ever built), Cameron developed the Fusion 3D Camera System allowing him to film in 3D rather than adding the effect later on. He allegedly forced weary technicians to stare at the same frames for hours on end to ensure they were perfectly aligned so that there would be no fuzziness or glitches in the film. This kind of manic effort is hardly surprising from a man who notoriously threatens his actors with knives and nailguns cellphones to the wall if they go off on his set. The gamble clearly paid off. For every disgruntled viewer who grumbles that the 3D was ‘stupid’ and ‘unnecessary’, there is an internet support group for those people who are having trouble coping with the fact that Pandora isn’t real. Sure, 3D isn’t necessary, but neither are soft pillows, good food, or iPods. The point is the impact that it’s having on the world right now. It’s a cliché, but it is fair to say that 3D
the road Directed by John hillcoat Cormac McCarthy’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road could be described as the story of the road through hell. It's a terrifying vision of post-apocalyptic America in which a father and son, known simply as ‘the man’ and ‘the boy’, journey through a nightmarish landscape southwards towards the sea and supposed salvation. McCarthy’s novel has been adapted for the screen by John Hillcoat, whose reputation for arresting movie-making was sealed with The Proposition (2005), a horribly brutal Outback Western. Hillcoat’s The Road is a reasonably faithful adaptation of McCarthy’s book. Bleak and disturbing, it follows ‘the man’ (Viggo Mortensen), and ‘the boy’ (Kodi SmitMcPhee) on their journey through a world destroyed by some unexplained cataclysm. They are constantly under threat from the last remnants of human society turned into murderers and cannibalistic marauders. Although Hillcoat’s film pulls its punches on much of the shock factor of the book, concentrating instead on the emotional bond between father and son, you won't leave the cinema smiling. The film effectively recreates the grey, devastated landscape of McCarthy’s ruined world: lifeless trees, a constantly overcast sky, coverings of choking ash and the tangled metal remains of civilisation. Mortensen (who is familiar with roles which involve facing insurmountable difficulties), with haunted eyes and a wild man’s beard, gives a strong performance as ‘the man’. Cold, hungry, dressed in scavenged, ill-fitting clothes, pushing a supermarket trolley loaded with meagre possessions, and carrying a pistol with two remaining bullets, with which he is prepared to shoot his son and then himself, rather than face capture by predatory gangs. The greyness of his existence is punctuated by occasional flashbacks in colour to a life before, where we learn that the mother of his son (Charlize Theron) chose to commit suicide
has come a very long way. Gone are the days when the only 3D effects that studios were capable of (or willing to fund) were objects shooting toward the screen. Now the major focus is on depth perception and trying to draw the audience into the film. It’s not exactly a new method, but it’s always been more effectively used in animations like Up and Coraline. Until Avatar, life-action 3D was stuck with Brendan Fraser obviously dropping things in the direction of the camera in Journey to the Centre of the Earth which, judging by ticket sales, failed to impress even fiveyear-olds. Since the first commercial screening of a 3D film in 1922, there was a brief period from 1952 to 1955 when 3D films had their glory days, but since then the technology has been treated more like an annoying gimmick rather than a serious film technique. Aside from the ridiculous image of the early anaglyph glasses (the red and blue ones), there was an element of cost that factored into the declining popularity of the 3D film. In 1936, Edwin H. Land introduced the polarised 3D system (the one that is currently in use), which was initially popular with Italian and German filmmakers. Although the quality was much better, producers refused to put money into films that required two reels and could easily go
wrong, causing headaches and becoming unwatchable if they were shown out of synch. These problems have since been solved with new projectors that prevent synching problems and by using digital films. 3D experienced a brief revival in the 60s and became popular with mass audiences again in the 80s with the advent of IMAX 3D films. In 2003, it was James Cameron himself who took the biggest step in 3D evolution by combining it with superior quality computer
rather than face the future. Despite all this, he tries to keep the idea of goodness and decency alive - ‘the fire’ as he calls it - constantly reminding his son that they are ‘the good guys’ in a world full of ‘bad guys’. At first, it appears that Mortensen himself is the one who is almost saintly, but it becomes obvious that he is learning from his son, who has a natural concern for his fellow man. The trouble with Hillcoat’s film is that its brutality verges on the comedic. Several times it even slips right over the edge into the realm of zombie movies as Mortensen and SmitMcPhee encounter depictions of cannibalism - a lorry load of gun-toting marauders lusting after human flesh or a padlocked cellar clearly just waiting to spew forth its naked bloodsmattered human prisoners. The intrusive and sentimental score doesn’t
help either . Yes, we can see our two main characters are struggling to survive; we certainly don’t need this inappropriate musical accompaniment to tell us so. But the worst thing is undoubtedly the Hollywood ending. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating after all that zombie film influence. But, no, blink, blink, there it was – a perfectly packaged conclusion to what could have been a very powerful film. Oh dear.
Screening Times Cineworld Daily Weekdays: 12.35pm, 3.15pm, 6.00pm, 8.45pm
Editors' Pick animation in Ghosts of the Abyss, his blue cat people doing for 3D what Gollum did for CGI. Now 3D fever is rampant and has already made its way over into the gaming industry (where some games may be issued with polarised glasses), and there is even talk of making 3D-ready laptop screens. It’s been a long and difficult road, but 3D has finally managed to worm its way into the spotlight.
The Book of Eli Directed by The Hughes brothers
ollowing the journey of Eli (Denzel Washington) as he wanders west, The Book of Eli presents a post-apocalyptic America where the sun is too bright, there is no water, cannibals roam about in Mad Max gear, and our hero is reduced to eating spit-roasted cat. The details about why the world ended are bit sketchy, but the point is that Eli is carrying the last remaining Bible (the King James version, in case you were wondering) on earth. Irredeemable villain Carnegie (Gary Oldman) is determined to use the Bible as a weapon of power and is tireless in his search for it. The cast also includes Mila Kunis as Eli's protégé and a prolonged cameo from Tom Waits. The acting is, for the most part, quite good. Washington proves that he's still up to the job, especially in his fight sequences, and Oldman never fails to impress. A comic appearance from Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour in the film's most nonsensical sequence injects a bit of humour into an otherwise depressing two hours. Despite the fact that it was peppered with the usual post-apocalyptic clichés (cannibals, a sombre colour scheme, strongly contrasted lighting and a mysteriously endless supply of weapons), this was not a terrible film. Short bouts of violence (not up to the Hughes Brothers' usual standards) are tempered with long shots and a very repetitive score. Some viewers will find the religious message too overbearing and, although other religious texts are included in the final shot to make the point that this is about faith (not just Christianity), the tone of the film does tend to get annoyingly preachy. Not exactly great, but nowhere near awful either: this seems to be just another one in a line of the Hughes Brothers' 'okay' movies.
The best in upcoming film events... ‘Mark Kermode, It’s Only a Movie Tour’ The Cameo Picture House, Monday 8th February, 7.30 Tickets £10, £8 concessions. Can be booked online at www.picturehouses.co.uk Film critic Mark Kermode has earned himself something of an eclectic cult following in the UK. His fans range from budding film critic to the average cinema goer, and even just us lay-about students seeking our weekly hit of vitriol. Here is your chance to meet the man behind the acid tongue and hear him speak candidly about his life and experiences which, even if you know little of Kermode, is sure to be far from dull. The list of his top exploits will certainly include the getting-shot-while interviewing-Werner-Herzog-inHollywood affair, receiving a handbagging by Helen Mirren at the BAFTAs, and the infamous being booted out of the Cannes Film Festival for heckling in very poor French. The opportunity to meet a man who is even more interesting than the films he reviews is not to be missed. Mark will be signing copies of his book after the show. Valentine's Day Special: A Screening of Breakfast at Tiffany's The Cameo Picture House, Sunday 14th February, time TBA Director: Blake Edwards; Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Mickey Rooney, USA 1961. 114 mins Regardless of whether you are single, married, loved up, or just a wee bit jaded like the rest of us, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is sure to bring a smile to even the most embittered of hearts on Valentine’s Day. Carefree and charming Holly Golightly is played by Audrey Hepburn in the role which arguably served to establish her ethereal status for many years to come. Holly, who spends her time at exclusive parties and on high-class dates, strikes up an unlikely friendship with a neighbour, the aspiring writer Paul Varjak (Peppard) in an idealised portrayal of Manhattan in the early 1960s. Just as their romance takes off, Doc (Buddy Ebsen) returns to Holly’s life to reveal a few unlikely truths about her past... Don't miss the chance to see this classic love story in one of Edinburgh's favourite cinemas. Capitalism: A Love Story Release Date: 26th February, certificate 12A, 127 mins, USA 2009 Director: Michael Moore Starring: Thora Birch, William Black It has been 20 years since the release of Michael Moore’s groundbreaking debut Roger & Me (1989) first revolutionised the face of documentary cinema. Despite that audiences have undoubtedly since been desensitised to Moore’s abrupt and full-on style of documentary, it is expected that Capitalism: A Love Story will cause waves. His career has effectively come full-circle as Moore seeks to loosen the corporate stranglehold over America. Kim Mclaughlan
Tuesday 19 January 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Watch hours of telly and want something to show for it? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We wish you a telly Christmas (and a happy Who year!)
Richard Dennis, Paddy Douglas, Debbie Hicks and Susan Robinson guide you through the best and worst of Christmas TV, as well as what the next few months have in store Doctor Who: The End of Time
unique festive experience this, as families gathered in eager anticipation at the death of one of their most beloved characters. But what should have been an genuinely affecting experience turned into a ponderous sequence of scenes as the Doctor stared intensely from afar at people he’d met on his adventures. It wasn’t underwhelming, so much as a poignant summation of the way Russell T Davies throughout the series has exchanged interesting plot build-up and character development for an emotional and visual sledgehammer
Nan's Christmas Carol
atherine Tate brought back her famously offensive 'Nan' character this Christmas, in a special that parodied Dicken's A Christmas Carol. Her relentless xenophobia and general unpleasantness elicited hoots of laughter from my uncles and aunties, but the only saving grace for me was a well-played turn from Ben Miller as the Ghost from Christmas Past. Let's just hope Tate doesn't bring back Lauren "am I bovvered?" Taylor from the grave for next year.
with which to bludgeon the audience. Taking an episode and a half of setup, involving David Tennant and John Simm giving it their thespian all, along with the ever-entertaining Bernard Cribbins and Timothy Dalton, and then abruptly cutting it off so that you can reference (again) all the things that have already happened in the past four series isn’t only boring, it takes all the sting out of death. Steven Moffat, the only consistently excellent modernera Who writer, can’t take over soon enough.
Top Gear: Bolivia Special
Gavin and Stacey
he Top Gear team take another opportunity to carve a new hole in the stratosphere and attempt to pass it off as motoring journalism. This less ‘special’ and more ‘Oh-Godnot-again’ episode is bursting with the familiar formula of suitably inappropriate phobias, borderline racism and laddish tomfoolery performed with all the subtlety and finesse of a particularly boisterous chimp in a wedgewood showroom.
The Turn of the Screw
he BBC take on Henry James’ fabulous psychological horror and, predictably, totally screw it up. (Sorry.) Confronted in her asylum cell by a young, philanthropic and rather wet psychiatrist, a condemned Governess (Michelle Dockery) tells of her supernatural visitations whilst caring for the two wards of her caddish new employer. Far from terrifying
and running at an interminable 90 minutes, this latest adaptation underplays the human imagination vs. the existence of evil debate, a discourse fundamental to the original story, by fabricating graphic sexual fantasies and labouring Freudian references. And, at the risk of sounding like an insufferable literature student, the only attempt to recreate James’ ambiguous narration is an half-baked dialogue between two psychiatrists that fails to provoke any intrigue. I’d say Henry James is turning in his grave, but according to this shower of shite that would be due to my hysteria stemming from sex deprivation. Even the most stringent bibliophobes will have more fun with the book.
programme that will forever be guilty for making certain members of society think it is acceptable to go around talking in teeth-grindingly bad Welsh catchphrases, Gavin & Stacey was still that most rare of things: a sitcom that was funnier that it ever should have been. It’s achievement lay in the fact that the writing was always underplayed, the wit and humour coming from its dryness and lovable characters. This Christmas special was supposedly the last episode ever and it saw Stacey falling pregnant and Nessa leaving Dave at the altar after a heartwarmingly underwhelming speech from Smithy. Fans have complained that it left too much unanswered and that they want more. Admittedly it was a special that avoided tying anything up, but we can only hope that writers Ruth Jones and James Corden have the confidence to stick by their decision to end it here. It had already started
Victoria Wood's Midlife Christmas
his Christmas Victoria Wood returned to TV with a festive combination of sketches and, unsurprisingly, it went down as smoothly as the customary mince pie and sherry. “By compressing an evening’s viewing into 60 minutes,” said Wood, “we hope families will have more time for other festive traditions such as arguing with relatives and defrosting turkeys under the hot
...and there's more to come in 2010
The Good Wife
s part of their eighties season BBC2 will be screening a two-part adaptation of Martin Amis’s Money. Nick Frost is cannily cast as John Self, a corpulent and morally repugnant small-time ad director hoping to break into the lucrative world of pornography. Perhaps meant as a fizzy Berocca to relieve us of the current financial hangover that followed the excess and reckless investment of the greedy eighties, it is more likely to be a lukewarm serving of nostalgia overpowered by a bitter sauce of foolish regret.
t seems that every year we tout the ‘next big American drama’ only for British audiences to be largely indifferent to these hyped up imports. However, at least the premise of Channel 4's The Good Wife is uncharacteristically promising. Perhaps I’m just desperate for Julianna Margulies to have a career outside ER, (ie. not Snakes on a Plane). After all, how could you not warm to the selfless Nurse Hathaway, a sort of ghetto Florence Nightingale figure who also took no shit from no one (apart from George Clooney) and was prepared to raise twins all by herself? Margulies will be starring as wronged wife Alicia Florrick alongside Chris Noth ('Mr Big' in Sex and the City) as her debauched husband Peter Florrick. The series follows Alicia as she returns
to work as a litigator to provide for her two children while Peter is in jail following a very public sex scandal. Based on the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal of 2008 when the Democratic New
to feel like a successful show going through the motions - letting it go now should see it remembered as a stalwart British classic instead of a comedy in need of a colostomy bag.
York Governor’s indiscretions with prostitutes were reported by The New York Times, hopefully the programme will give us a picture of corruption amongst the high-flyers of American politics.
tap”. Featuring such gems as “Lark Pies to Cranchesterford”, the story of a young girl off to work in the Post and Potato Office, Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer busting some moves in the Apprentice conference room and Julie Walters returning to air Bo Beaumont’s costume once more, the charming hour flew by in a flurry of seasonal laughs. Seconds, please?
Charlie Brooker's Newswipe
very Guardian-reader's favourite caustically humourous misery guts returns to BBC Four for a second series of Newswipe. In a similar vein to Screen Wipe, it mainly consists of Brooker saying incredibly intelligent and revealing things about how television distorts the representation of current events, while being funny and rude as hell. If you're a news junkie, get this down your neck immediately. If you're not, there probably isn't a better introductory guide to what the world of journalism is really like.
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Tuesday 19 January 2010 studentnewspaper.org
DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET
Debbie Hicks finds out Being Human is not unlike being a vampire
DON'T BLAME IT ON THE SUNSHINE: "Oh, Mr Wolf, what fucking awful teeth you have!" WHAT WOULD happen if a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost, with powers and temperaments comparable to David Boreanaz’s Angel, the Hulk and the Invisible Woman, shared a house in suburban England? BBC3, that purveyor of the whacky and wonderful, dare to hypothesise as they present a fresh series of Toby Whithouse’s sci-fi horror sitcom drama Being Human. I never managed to catch any of the first series and I didn’t intend to. Not out of any particular reason, you understand, but just
because I hadn’t really heard anything about it. No one raved and no one condemned: it just seemed a bit of a non-entity. But then the holidays saw me indulging in a bit of casual channel hopping, on that now dusty and unloved unit, the television, and I caught the trailers. You know the ones: a fairly normal looking twenty-something hides in a particularly ghastly alleyway, flashing terrified glances at the camera before turning a funny colour and sprouting a few inches of bone in choice locations. This
N CL EW UE
Richard Dennis just about survives Survivors LET’S BE serious for a second: if the current trend for apocalypse scenarios on our screens are anything to go by, it’s not so much a matter of if but when I am going to be clambering over piles of corpses to claim the last tin of baked beans in an abandoned supermarket. It’s not exactly an underdone area of fiction and Survivors is a perfect beginner's guide to what your average doomsday scenario might look like. A virus has wiped out most of the world’s population, except a ragtag group of survivors and ‘them’, a bunch of spooky government types who undoubtedly have something to do with the global pandemic. The character line-up reads like an average computer game cross-sec-
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tion: you’ve got the sturdy, mid-range characters who have a go at everything, the hard man who acts all big and tough but really just wants a hug and shotgun, the weak whiney blonde who proves her strength by having sex, and a child with all the charisma of a damp sock. It’s a generic, boring and at times just plain offensive imagining of the apocalypse. Telling a previously useless character that ‘she’s earned’ a bottle of water because she allowed herself to be raped is hard to do in a good drama, let alone a ropey one. They don’t take on any issues, they don’t linger on the hard stuff - it's just cut-aways therefore lacking any real emotional punch. Making the end of the world this dull is almost impressive.
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got me rather intrigued, particularly about the soundtrack (a brief trawl through a few internet forums revealed it’s Florence and the Machine’s “Howl”, in case anyone is interested) and, like the shameless sucker I am for a good or at least persistent advertising campaign, I sat down to watch the latest instalment. The first episode follows the estrangement of werewolf George from his girlfriend Nina, who is struggling with her recent initiation into the supernatural world.
Starved of affection he turns to Daisy, a visiting vampire with a lust for immortality, for a bit of TLC. Meanwhile Annie, a ghost who has clearly been watching daytime TV solidly since her death, gets a job in the local pub and vampire Mitchell finds something of a loveinterest at work. Although superficially it sounds rather preposterous, the troubles of our three protagonists are agonisingly realistic, be it due to their paranormal afflictions or because the girlfriend has moved in and there are tampons in the bathroom cabinet. Intense action sequences are punctuated by moments of hilarious dialogue or gruesome horror and, unlike other sci-fi series, it has a refreshingly open sense of humour about itself. Boasting brilliant action, direction and some pretty innovative camera-work you can’t help but be thoroughly absorbed. Why, then, am I not sure I’ll be watching it again this week? I did enjoy it, I really did, but I don’t feel compelled to keep up with the story. I was anticipating some disastrous cliffhanger finale that would ensure I’d decide to give up showering to watch the rest of the season, but it just never came. Like a cartoon, the happy scenario at the beginning was all too neatly realised again in the end and you can’t help but feel you could pick it up and put it down like a well-thumbed copy of Heat in the dentist’s waiting room. You’ll laugh, cry, cringe and wretch, but don’t expect to get hooked from this episode alone.
MRS P E
D R IN O IN O G M
IF YOU'VE read the news recently, you might have heard that Jonathan Ross will be leaving the BBC in June. For some, this was a blow to the broadcasting world: one of television and radio's foremost entertainers had been forced out of office by the easily-offended prudes of Middle England. For others, it was a triumph: a grossly overpaid and talentless philistine would finally be off our screens, leaving the airwaves untouched by his filth for once. Most of us, I imagine, were somewhere in the middle of these opinions. There's no doubt that the man has had a lasting impact on British culture. For starters, he was if not the first then the most effective presenter to use the American talk show host format. Like Leno and Letterman before him, you watched his show not for revealing, in-depth celebrity interviews (there was Parkinson for that) but for his joke-filled opening monologues and his provocative, raucous exchanges with the guests. Ross was as much of a star as whoever he had on that week - you watched it to see what he would get away with next. While his programmes were enjoyable, I am afraid I agree with the blood-baying Daily Mail readers in the view that his salary of six million pounds a year was utterly preposterous. If he was furthering our intellectual betterment or bringing us closer to a brave new world then perhaps he might have gotten away with it - unfortunately for Ross, telling Gwyneth Paltrow to her face that he "would fuck her" or asking David Cameron if he ever wanked over Margaret Thatcher did not seem worth the asking price. Personally, I'm a little relieved the most famous presenter to possess a rhotacism is hanging up his flamboyant jacket at the BBC for good. He needs time to take stock and re-energise. Since the 'Sachsgate' furore in 2008, his shows did not seem to have the same pizzazz as they once did, and he was being kept on a tight leash: all of his radio shows were pre-recorded and producers would come down heavy on him for even the slightest misdemeanour. This won't be the end of Ross, that's for sure. There is talk of Channel 4 signing him up, presumably for a similar show to his current one for the BBC, and he'll probably move into other areas of the media. But Ross as 'King of the Chatshow' is no more. It'll be a long while before he gets the chance to retake his crown. Paddy Douglas
VIRUS: The new remake of the A-Team didn't go down well with fans.
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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TECHNOLOGY TECH ME HARDER
Window of opportunity
Craig Wilson has accepted Microsoft's apology and is ready to move on to Windows 7
o here we are, a mere three weeks into 2010, and the world media already afire with vitally important news related to science and technology. No, not that scientists have mapped the genetic structure of the plant most effective against malaria; that pales with insignificance against the fact that Ron Jeremy, the world’s most unlikely and yet successful porn star, has stated that computer games are worse for children than pornography. At least, that’s what every attention-whoring journalist around the world would have you believe. The truth of the matter is, as always, considerably less sensational. Speaking at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, Jeremy defended the porn industry against the wonderfully named antiporn campaigner Craig Gross, and in doing so stated that studies “have found that violent video games are a much bigger negative influence on kids.” Which studies precisely Jeremy failed to mention. It would be easy to mock the man, who has himself appeared in games such as the execrable sex-adventure Bonetown, and whose likeness to everyone's favourite Italian Plumber has almost certainly earned him a fair amount of money realigning a grotesquely proportioned Princess Peach's water pipes. Yet aside from his vague comment about videogames in defence of his own oft-persecuted industry, Jeremy genuinely had some important things to say on the porn industry's commitment to the restriction of children accesing adult content online, a stance which had earned the support of various child-protection agencies. Yet everything of interest that Jeremy actually said has become irrelevent, as media has latched onto his off-the-cuff comment about video games like barnacles to the side of a ship, as if Satan himself arose from the infernal realms of hell and stated categorically that even he wouldn’t play the 'No Russian' level in Modern Warfare 2. The BBC in particular were guilty of blowing this story massively out of proportion, with a huge banner atop their website dedicated to alerting everyone to the story. Shouldn’t the BBC be doing more important things like filling BBC Three’s airtime with terrible reality TV documentaries about obese animals and endless repeats of the same five episodes of Family Guy? In all seriousness, though, the games industry gets enough flak without whole stories being concocted from a few offhand words. Mind you, that's exactly what I've done with this column, so maybe it's an easy mistake to make. Richard Lane
WINDOWS 7 £99.99-299.99 (get the £99.99 version) MICROSOFT
ad a more computer-savvy follower ascended Mount Horeb to receive the Ten Commandments, they would have come back down with 11. And it would have read in the Book of Tech: “11Thou shalt not buy an operating system upon its day of release”, and then in harshly chiselled characters, “especially from those bastards at Microsoft.” Microsoft has a bad reputation when it comes to releasing new operating systems. Both Windows XP and Vista were riddled with bugs and crash issues when released and were rightly met with indignation. Microsoft’s tendency to sell unfinished products to the public will only truly be bested should Ford
Windows 7 works beautifully right out of the box. This is because Windows 7 is unaware that it is in fact Windows Vista: Service Pack 2." choose to offer the new GT with deflated tyres, a broken engine and a few charred crash-test dummies in the boot. Which is why buying a new Windows system on Day One is a risky move. The general advice is to just ignore it for a few months and let those brave souls who queued up all night for the first copies discover all the major bugs for you. Once Microsoft addresses these faults they
release large-scale fixes, known as service packs, and only then should you even consider taking out your wallet. Windows XP only came into its own a few years after the initial launch thanks to its second service pack. Windows 7 is different. Windows 7 works beautifully right out of the box. This is because Windows 7 is unaware that it is in fact Windows Vista: Service Pack 2. Many of Windows 7’s new features are flat-out apologies for Vista’s numerous misdemeanours. The UAC nanny that would bombard you with security prompts for the most mundane of actions can now be scaled back, so you don’t have to plead your case when moving, renaming and opening a file. The glossy, translucent windows from the Aero Theme no longer come at the cost of performance. And with Windows 7 being more efficient overall - start up and shut down times are noticeably shorter - if you can run Vista, you can run Windows 7 with ease. The increase in speed is also evident when searching your computer. The search functions are now a viable option. A tap of the once forlorn key brings up the start menu where you can search files, programs and the control panel in real-time. Although this now indispensible searcher is inspired entirely by the Mac’s Spotlight function, it’s nice to see that the key is finally pulling its weight - unlike Alt Gr which is still bloody useless. The new Libraries feature also aims to reduce the time spent wasted looking for that misplaced file. These take the form of a sort of virtual folder that collates files into the four essential food groups: music, pictures,
videos and documents, linking to their locations. How this is supposed to make things quicker eludes me for the time being, as I find myself using the searcher function more times than not. Also I can’t seem to delete the Libraries icon from my desktop, which is enough to make me distrust the damn thing entirely. The most pleasing change in Windows 7 is also its most visually distinct. The Quick Launch and taskbar have been merged into a new multi-purpose Taskbar. Favourite program buttons can be pinned and launched directly from the Taskbar, while still allowing switching between open windows and applications. While this hardly sounds revolutionary - remember that this strip hasn’t changed much since Windows 95 - the innovation is in the details. Multiple instances of a window are now tidily stacked together. Roll the mouse over the button and a thumbnail preview of the window appears above. Roll over the preview and all other windows turn invisible. Simple and nimble. A new layer of functionality is added to the Taskbar and it doesn’t totally suck. Right-clicking on a button brings up a context-sensitive Jumplist. The Jumplist for Libraries brings up pinned and frequented folders; Word brings up a list of recent documents; and Internet Explorer has favourite websites and the ability to start an InPorn InPrivate browsing session. While it’s still early days yet for third-party programs, the thumbnail for iTunes has an elegant little playback control, so there is potential here. Not to mention the whole Taskbar is a whopping ten pixels taller - that’s 15 years of progress right there, folks. The remaining notable features
are really just the basic upgrades and revisions you’d expect from ‘the latest version’. But while basic programs like Paint and WordPad receive much needed facelifts and the wallpapers look like they were designed by
It's quicker, hasn't crashed on me once and is easier to use. But more importantly, I'm glad I'm not using XP anymore." Japanese anime artists on crystal meth, there’s still plenty of the old Windows agony to be found. Why don’t they get rid of the Registry and just install everything in the one place? Why do the compatibility virtual machines still not work? Why are there so many versions on offer each with seemingly random features? Why is there no Sudoku or Poker but Internet Fucking Checkers is brought back from the dead? Why do I have to run things as an administrator on my laptop? Why is my life still not as good as those sickeningly happy people in the Microsoft Launch Party ads? But if those questions bothered me that much then I’d just succumb to peer pressure and just buy a Mac. The only question that matters to most people is whether or not Windows 7 is better than Vista. And it is, by miles, better than Vista. It’s quicker, hasn’t crashed on me once and is easier to use. But more importantly, I’m glad I’m not using XP anymore. Windows 7 makes XP feel decrepit and biblically old, and that’s as big a success as Microsoft could have hoped for.
Click, click, click, die. Reload. Click, click, click... email@example.com
Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Stephen Naismith needs guns, lots of guns BORDERLANDS PC, x360, ps3 £24.99- £39.99 2K GAMES, GEARBOX
often I buy games retail these Iandon’t days, but for Borderlands I made exception and I’m glad I did. The
box art is simply incredible. You have to admire a developer that can put a picture of their game engine on the front cover and let the remarkable faux-cartoon graphics speak for themselves. Additionally, the blurb is hilarious and strangely bewildering. Do I really want my gaming experience to provide me with "MIND-BLOWING INSANITY"? Well, yes, of course I do, and if that game happens to include "rocket-launching shotguns", "enemytorching revolvers" and "SMGs that fire lightening rounds" then I better prepare for a lifetime of wearing my underpants on my head and licking people's faces. Perhaps the best way to illustrate why I’m using this laptop to write this review instead of using it as a parachute is to give you a blow-byblow account of a typical mission. My level 26 Hunter character is a sniper specialist, and has just met some hick named Curtis who wants Sally Skagface dead. I’m playing with
NICE RAKK: The Rakk Hive is the most fearsome (and amusingly named) enemy you'll ever encounter my flatmate who for anonymity and authenticity’s sake we’ll call ‘slutzkilla69’ to represent the typical online player. 00:00 Mission-Time – We set out on our bright pink rocket-launcher jeep towards our objective. I have my doubts about how many slutz we can kill with my accomplice’s driving skills that flip us off a cliff twice, but
eventually we arrive at Sally’s place and head in. 00:07 – This is my rifle, this is my shotgun that shoots corrosive shells, this is for firing, this is for fun. Rachel, my sniper rifle makes short work of the bandits. With the '87 bazillion guns!!!’ that literally litter this game, you have to be ready to drop your chosen boomstick quickly should you
spot a better one. Weapon looting is easily the game's biggest draw and the reason you'll want to continue playing. 00:15 – Despite his name, my friend struggles to find many women of a promiscuous nature to shoot, but instead gets swamped by a horde of skags, one of the few forms of enemies, who, like the guns, have their abilities randomised. Rachel and I rush to his
help and manage to revive him but we succumb to the flood of foes and get teleported back to a checkpoint a few klicks back. 00:19 – After some rinse and repeating we arrive back to our previous position and slog forward. ‘Slog’ is a harsh word perhaps; the combat is admittedly very fun. The gunplay is fast and fluid, and watching your XP bar slide slowly towards the next level is furiously addictive. At its best Borderlands’ frenzied co-op (for up to four players) lives up to its unashamedly brash attitude: the flutter of numbers showing how much damage you’re dealing, the flaming trail of your newly torched enemies, the yelp of your tactically challenged friend being mercilessly painted with bullets. 00:28 – slutkillaz69 gets his chance and shreds Sally with his assault rifle. There’s not much in the way of strategy in our method. In fact, there really isn’t much strategy to any of these missions, as each enemy dies in the same fashion. Borderlands is unfortunately spiced with very little variety, so if the recipe for one mission isn’t to your tastes then it’s unlikely to hold your interest for the duration of the game. However, if frantic combat, obsessive levelling and co-op action are to your liking then Borderlands might be worth that minor mental breakdown.
Richard Lane does his best Margaret Thatcher impression and clears out the underground TORCHLIGHT PC £14.99 RUNIC GAMES
t might appear to the discerning Itheme reader that there’s something of a going on with Tech’s reviews
this week. After putting the hyperkinetic gun-gathering extravaganza Borderlands through its paces, we come to an equally over-the-top roleplaying-game with similarly cartoony visuals and an identical premise of crushing any semblance of plot and character development with a massive hammer that does +50 fire damage and replacing it with an endless cascade of enemy-bashing, weaponhoarding, mouse-breaking mayhem. So I’ll forgive you for calling me pedantic when I say Torchlight is nothing whatsoever like Borderlands. Whereas Borderlands takes this insanely addictive gameplay style into brave new territories and stumbles somewhat along the way, Torchlight retains the traditional look and feel of the action-RPG genre and concentrates on distilling it into its purest form, and the result is arguably the most casual fun you can have without risking an infection from the waist down. You begin your manic adventure by selecting one of three basic characters: the hulking Destroyer,
the ranged-weapons expert known as the Vanquisher, or the spellcasting Alchemist. From there you are dumped unceremoniously in the centre of Torchlight - part mining town, part base of operations for wannabe heroes - where you pick up a few basic items and vaguely listen to the by-the-numbers storyline of an insane wizard causing mayhem in the nearby mines before trotting off to stop said wizard, destroying an enormous number of supernatural critters along the way. Proceeding with the obliteration of all things weird and fantastical is a straightforward affair. Sticking firmly to convention, left clicking your mouse results in a basic attack, and right clicking unleashes your chosen special ability, which can be switched by pressing TAB or allocating them to the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Each character has an impressive array of abilities which can be gradually unlocked, all of which are satisfyingly explosive when unleashed. My personal favourite is the Destroyer’s absurdly named Doomquake, which he executes by throwing himself on the ground, causing huge orange cracks to appear across it. Imagine standing on Gordon Ramsay’s face and you’ll get the idea. Killing monsters earns you bigger weapons and better abilities, which in turn allow you to kill bigger and better monsters. It’s an addictive cycle,
but nothing that hasn’t been done before in the Diablo or Titan Quest series. Torchlight’s biggest triumph however lies in your companion pet, which can be either a wolf or pumacat-thing depending on your preference. For starters, the pet is incredibly useful. Should your inventory become full of unwanted goodies, you can transfer them to your pet and send it back to Torchlight to sell it all, allowing you to carry on your genocidal quest without interruption. You can also teach your pet spells.
I gave mine the ability to summon a horde of thuggish zombies and skeleton archers, resulting in a small army following me into every battle. Finally, should you become tired of your pet’s appearance, you can feed it magical fish to temporarily turn it into various other creatures such as a giant spider or a puddle of electric goo (seriously). In a way it’s a shame that Torchlight sticks so determinedly to being a mindless action-fest, because everything it does it does so well and
I’m left wondering how great it could have been with some added depth to the plot and perhaps a few slightly more intriguing quests that couldn’t be generalised as “go here, kill this, steal that”, instead of completely ignoring that side of things. As it stands though, Torchlight a fun little timewaster, with an expansive list of neat ideas and clever touches, many of which I simply don’t have space to mention.
GREEN MEANS GO: The Destroyer uses his legendary traffic-light sword to confuse opponents
I'd die for Jordan. I'd put my life down for her."
Alex Reid on his dedication to girlfriend Katie Price. Mate, Peter Andre's seconds? He's a cage fighter anyway, so you never know.
The Student Crossword #13
Sudoku is a logic-based number-placement puzzle. The objective is to fill the 9×9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes (also called blocks or regions) contains the digits from 1 to 9 only once.
Hitori #13 The object of Hitori is to eliminate numbers by shading in the squares such that remaining cells do not contain numbers that appear more than once in either a given row or column. Filled-in cells cannot be horizontally or vertically adjacent, although they can be diagonally adjacent. The remaining un-filled cells must form a single component (i.e there must be no isolated numbers)
3. Take away (8) 9. Shaft shot from a bow (5) 10. Nocturnal bird (3) 11. Automobile (3) 12. Result (11) 14. Indian form of address (5) 16. Engrave with acid (4) 17. Tempest (5) 19. Baby's slipper (6) 20. Pinch (3) 22. Adjusting a musical instrument (6) 23. Give up (5) 25. Negative command (4) 26. Post (5) 28. Elderly female royal (5,6) 30. Ox-like African antelope (3) 31. Golfers mound (3) 32. Wagons (5) 33. Grow longer (8)
DOWN 7. Flashlight (5) 8. Ascend (5) 13. Block (8) 15. Represent in an ideal form (8) 18. Dummy (9) 21. Handy multitool (3-5)
24. In the place of (7) 25. Refrains from (6) 26. Malice (5) 27. Celestial being (5) 29. Hazard (4)
1. Baby powder (4) 2. Lives under your bed (7) 4. Unfasten (8) 5. Long narrow excavation (6) 6. Secondary piece of equipment (9)
let eusa hear you Submit your suggestions at: eusa.ed.ac.uk/eusadid Let us hear you at:
Student General Meeting 2 Tuesday 23rd February 7pm, location TBC To submit a policy motion email: firstname.lastname@example.org Policy motion deadline: 9th February 2010 Motion amendment deadline: 16th February 2010 eusa.ed.ac.uk
Edinburgh Univerity Students’ Asociation is a Registered Scottish Charity (No.SCO15800)
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Tuesday January 19 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Can Murray break Grand Slam duck?
takes A look at the world of sport
Alistair Shand looks forward to the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne
It does not seem all that long ago since Andy Murray’s dream of a first Grand Slam title was abruptly ended by Marin Cilic at the US Open in September. However, the Scot is already gearing up for the new season, which begins in earnest at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The Australian Open represents the first of four chances for Murray to break his Grand Slam duck and give his season the perfect start. Murray, foolishly for some, opted to compete in the Hopman Cup with fellow Brit Laura Robson instead of defending his Qatar Open title in Doha as preparation for the forthcoming slam. The tournament in Qatar played host to many of the world’s top players, and most of Murray’s likely rivals in Melbourne. Despite slumping to fifth in the world as a result of surrendering his title in Doha, Murray has maintained that getting used to the searing temperatures down under is especially important in preparing for the Australian Open. The Scot will be hoping that his extra week in the sun will benefit him as he gets ready to launch his assault on the slam title. This year’s Australian Open is slightly different to previous years in that there is no particular name that springs to mind as a favourite. Despite the success of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the last few years in Melbourne, neither have been in sparkling form coming into these championships. While Nadal still appears to be feeling his way back after severe tendonitis in his knees kept him out of Wimbledon, the previously
imperious Federer seems to have lost at least some of his invincibility. There is little doubt that these two players are among the favourites to win, but they form part of a group of likely winners rather than outright favourites. One potential dark horse is the Russian Nikolay Davydenko who won both this month’s Qatar Open and the season ending Masters Final in London. Having beaten both Federer and Nadal in Doha, the latter by two sets to one in the final, Davydenko is entering these championships in blistering form and could threaten the top five seeds. Also, US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro is a man who will be able to handle the hot conditions and has ample power in his game to go deep into the tournament. 2008 Australian Open champion and world number three Novak Djokovic is another potential challenger for the title. However, the Serbian has struggled to recreate the irresistible form that saw him win in 2008 and might well struggle in the later rounds as he meets more in-form players. Returning to Murray, the Scot will undoubtedly be looking to improve on his fourth round exit at the Australian Open last year and indeed his singles form suggests he has every chance of doing so. With the advantage of the extra week in Australia’s blistering heat Murray will be looking to go deep into the first Grand Slam of the year. Having dropped in the rankings his passage to the business rounds of the tournament will be that bit harder but Murray’s record against the top players is generally positive. The British num-
ber one will hope to progress well into a tournament which does not carry the level of expectation of the US Open or indeed the hysteria of Wimbledon. Providing Murray manages the heat levels of Melbourne better than in previous years he has every chance of going further than in previous years. Meanwhile, the favourites for the women’s singles title appear even more difficult to call. While the Williams sisters will be on the tongue of most bookmakers there are several contenders who will be looking to dethrone Serena Williams in Melbourne. The two talented Belgians, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, have both made successful returns to tennis. Former
world number one Henin got to the final of the Brisbane International where she lost to Clijsters, and the diminutive Belgian will be many people’s favourite to make a winning return at the Australian Open. Meanwhile, Clijsters is herself in red-hot form having won last year’s US Open as well as this month’s Brisbane International event. Both players are looking good coming to Melbourne and will be hoping to challenge the Williams sisters’ monopoly on grand slams in recent years. In addition, 2008 Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova, 19 year old world number four Caroline Wozniacki and former world number one Dinara Safina will all be looking to go far into the draw.
Tennis serves up a double fault
Martin Domin takes a critical look at the latest innovation designed to widen tennis' appeal Most ideas are worth a second glance. Some are even worth considering. Even fewer make it beyond the scribbles on a notepad. The occasional one should never see the light of day again. With any luck, the proposed tennis World Cup will fit neatly into the latter category. For those who are not yet acquainted with the concept, let me bring you up to speed. A marketing agency in Melbourne by the name of gemba has proposed a ten-day, men only event with 32 teams in eight groups of four with 16 going through to the knockout stages. Each tie would consist of a single match over the best of five sets while tie breaks would be the first to five points. Players would be allowed a maximum of 25 seconds between points and each nation would have to field at least two players per tie. In other words, substitutions will be introduced. “Substitutions?!” I hear you cry incredulously. “In tennis?!” Although the idea of a tennis World Cup is several years away from becoming a reality, there seems to be considerable support for such an event. With the youth of today more interested in the latest winner of the X-Factor and TV companies furious that Rafael Nadal has the bare faced cheek to take a few extra seconds before serving, ten-
nis is apparently in need of a makeover. The whole concept is designed to make tennis matches faster and more exciting. This is despite the fact that record attendance figures were posted at Wimbledon last year (up 35,000 on 2008) and the fact that the men’s final was watched by 11.2 million people. Furthermore, Andy Murray’s match against Stanislas Warwinka last summer was seen by almost 12 million; a figure not far off that which tuned in to the X-Factor final in December. Tennis, it would seem, is more popular than ever. So why the apparent need for this new tournament? The Davis Cup, which allows countries to compete against each other, has long been a problem for tennis’ governing bodies. The top players don’t always turn up and the competition causes barely a murmur amongst the public until the final stages and even then only in the countries involved. As a rule, Great Britain is never involved. And herein lies the motivation. A more exciting competition means more people will watch, even if their own nation has been knocked out. If more people watch, advertisers will pay more for their 20 seconds of fame. If advertisers stump up more cash, Rupert Murdoch and co. will feel like the cats that got the cream. This ‘brainwave’ in other words revolves around cold, hard cash.
Even if one ignores the above objections however, the practicalities of such an event are questionable. The top players are already complaining that they play too much tennis yet this World Cup is set to stand alongside the Grand Slams and the ATP World Tour in the calendar of events. Something will have to give. Or will it? The prize fund for the event is reportedly to be at least $25 million which will surely go some way to convincing Andy Murray that the injury that otherwise might have made him pull out isn’t that bad after all. Indeed, he is reported to be in favour of the tournament yet has pulled out of Britain’s next Davis Cup match claiming that the younger players deserve a chance. Would he be so charitable if a cheque worth millions of dollars was waved in his face? “So you’ll pay me $1m for one match?” he might enquire. “Don’t be silly Andy. You’ll only play half a match!” The Grand Slam events are held in January, May, June, July and September. Throw in the other tournaments and there is little room for manoeuvre. The TV companies will want the event to attract as big an audience as possible which would probably mean a summer tournament with matches held at times suitable for a European audience. It is
hard to see how this could be achieved given the current demanding schedule. The other notable objection might come from the women’s tour. It is proposed that only the men will take part in the World Cup which, for a sport that prides itself on equality, seems rather strange. Most people would admit however that the men’s game is often more exciting. Again, it comes down to viewing figures and ultimately money. The motivation behind the tournament may be to get more youngsters playing the sport but those making the proposal might as well be saying “we want more kids to play tennis; but don’t worry so much about the girls.” There is little doubt that sport has to adapt to the world we live in. Indeed, tennis itself has done this well up until now. The introduction of Hawk-Eye technology has improved the game in terms of reducing the effect of human error. It has also been used in such a way as to involve those in the stadium without being to the detriment of the match itself. This latest proposal however, is a step too far. One Japanese translation of gemba, the company proposing the World Cup, is ‘a crime scene’. For the sake of tennis, let’s hope this idea is swept under the carpet quicker than a master criminal conceals the evidence.
IT WAS a strong sense that, despite all the problems that returning to the Premiership after an absence of forty years entails, Burnley were exceeding expectations. However, that was shattered by the dramatic and unexpected departure of hero manager Owen Coyle last week.After rumours of approaches from Celtic and the Scottish FA earlier in the season, Coyle promised fans that he wouldn’t leave the club. Hence the bitterness felt down Harry Potts Way over Coyle’s move westwards to relegation-scrap rivals, Bolton. As I see it, there’s two ways you can look at the former St Johnstone manager’s decision. Firstly, you could see it as him taking the chance he might not have had again to return to the club he has had an affinity with for many years - he played at Bolton during the 1990s. Alternatively, less charitably and probably more accurately, you can see a move by an ambitious young manager desperate to stay in the Premiership and willing to leave a vulnerable club in the lurch to do so. Adding insult to injury, Coyle wiped Burnley out of all its management and coaching experience; taking Assistant Sandy Stewart and Coach Steve Davis with him to the Reebok stadium. This seemed fairly unnecessary and should be reason enough to take Coyle’s previous professions of affection for the club with a pinch of salt. The decision to take on Owls’ boss Brian Laws to replace looks rushed and ill-thought out, and, given the alternatives, unimaginative. Chairman Barry Kilby and director Brendan Flood had two choices; an experienced, venerable old-hand like Alan Curbishley (who would have been many fans’ own choice for the job) or repeat the gamble they made in 2007 with Coyle and go for a young, ambitious lower league manager with a name to make for himself; Huddersfield Town’s Lee Clark was mooted; they also should also made more of an effort to keep Burnley favourite Davis at the club by offering him the post. Instead, they’ve abandoned the logic that worked with Coyle and picked a ‘safer’, more experienced but, relatively speaking, much less successful manager. Coyle always reminded me of a ferret; darting eyes, twitchy features, excitable, always running up and down the touchline. Laws more resembles a down-at-heel carpet salesman from Middlesborough. The wrong choice for a club that needs a charismatic, likeable leader like Coyle to rally it through its relegation fight. Burnley, not the most uplifting of places, was at its brightest during the play-offs last season. When the club had something to fight for, the whole town pulled together. They now have something to fight for again. Regardless of recent managerial politics, it will be that same spirit, with the same players and the same fans that Burnley will bring to the relegation fight. It was enough to get them, against the odds, into the Premiership, and it will be enough to keep them in.
Sport studentnewspaper.org Tuesday January 19 2010
Can Andy Murray break his duck?
Alistair Shand looks ahead to the first Grand Slam of 2010 P
Ozdogan impresses but Nicolet retains lead Bruce Holborn reports from the third round of the motorsports club karting championship from his outing in Round Two and pulled off an evening of solidly infallible racing. Not one to keep his head down and nose clean, he was always in the thick of the action, pulling numerous spectacular overtaking moves and even a cheeky one against the otherwise invincible Ozdogan. This tough driving earned him his fifth place start in the grand-final. Round Three’s grand-final certainly wasn’t a repeat the previous round
which coughed up only one overtaking move in the whole race. This time there were plenty of place changes. Ozdogan flew to a comfortable win ahead of some intense racing as Douglas fought his way past a struggling Hughes and a determined Nicolet into second place. Munro demonstrated that he still has ‘it’ and ploughed his way up to a deserved third place with Campbell following close behind into fourth. Crozier fought ferociously to
gain places but was squeezed out by the action in front and despite setting an absolutely stunning fastest-lap time of 19.99secs had to settle for fifth place after running out of laps in which to conclude his charge. Hughes and Nicolet finished the race in sixth and seventh place ahead of Lykakis who couldn’t find the speed to counter the charges of the veterans. Despite Ozdogan’s dominating drive, the championship is now held
firmly in Nicolet’s hands as his sixth place finish nets him the points to give him 86 overall, 24 ahead of tied second place men Scott Douglas and Stephen Walls. His consistent pace and cool head under pressure have given him a comfortable but by no means secure position at the top at the mid-point in the six round EUMSC Karting Championship. Round Four is set to take place this month at Raceland’s outdoor circuit.
STANDING TALL: Eren Ozdogan (centre) impressed on his seasonal debut, finishing ahead of Scott Douglas and Ian Munro
THE THIRD round of the Edinburgh University Motorsports Club Karting Championship was held at local venue Raceland and was dominated by surprise entrant Eren Ozdogan on his seasonal debut. His superb drive however, wasn’t enough to dent current championship star Pierre Nicolet’s lead which was extended from three points to 24 as the final chequered flag of the evening fell and the podium celebrations began. Twenty-four drivers took to the track hoping to ascend the top step of the podium, but the excitement came from who was not in attendance. Three of the championship’s top six drivers could not race that evening and so presented Nicolet with a golden opportunity to stretch his lead further and gave new challengers a chance to secure a rung on the championship ladder. The action began immediately as current champion Calum Hughes threw down the gauntlet with a stunning fastest lap of 20.30secs, which remained the best of the night for twelve heats. The veteran racers Ian Munro, Steven Campbell, Richard Crozier and Scott Douglas wasted no time in showing the competition just what they could do and drove rapidly to the top of the leaderboard. Not scared to get amongst them was Ozdogan, who raced to two superb second place finishes after starting at the back of the field, sending a clear warning of what was to come in the eighth heat when he drove to an effortless win. His sublime kart-control combined with ruthless but precise aggression was a potent cocktail that no other racer could find an effective remedy for and by the semi-finals he had established himself firmly at the top of the leaderboard. There was action aplenty in the mid-field as well as Nick Roberts, Adam Corlett and Finn Moore tussled for a place in the grand final. Roberts and Moore took no prisoners as they drove to heat wins and although missing out on the top spot, Corlett showed the two what a bit of experience means as he shot past them easily in the first semi-final. Despite this great driving the grand-final grid was well and truly the territory of the long-time EUMSC karters. Champion Hughes would start from second place behind Ozdogan with Nicolet in third and Douglas fourth. Crozier, Munro and Steven Campbell brought up the rear in sixth seventh and eighth led by Nikos Lykakis. Lykakis showed improvement
Published on Apr 17, 2010
Growth in jobs predicted for 2010 Russell Group: cuts will "bring education system to its knees" Edinburgh students ba le with icy travel co...