Tuesday February 3 2009 | Week 4
Shameless makes a welcome return
S I N C E 1887
Rectorial Candidates make their case
Liz Rawlings speaks to Green MSP Patrick Harvie
T H E U K ' S O LD E S T S T U D EN T N EW S PA P ER
Foulkes in cash-for-access controversy Rectorial candidate denies that he is paid to influence House of Lords Liz Rawlings CONCERNS HAVE been raised this week about the activities of University of Edinburgh rectorial candidate George Foulkes MSP after it emerged that he is paid £36,000 a year in a consultancy arrangement with law firm Eversheds LLP. The issue has come to light in the wake of the Sunday Times ‘cash for laws’ investigation which alleged that four Labour peers were prepared to help amend laws for a fee. While there is no hard evidence to suggest that Foulkes, who is both a member of the House of Lords and an MSP, has altered law in the interests of Eversheds, the financial arrangement he has with the prestigious law firm has been questioned because receiving cash for consultancy is not permitted according to the MSPs’ code of conduct. Foulkes is one of the few peers to have declared details of his consultancy work so far, despite the fact that this is required by the House of Lords' code of conduct. He earns £3,000 a month for promising to 'effect introduction' for Eversheds' clients, and has admitted that this involved introducing them to chairmen and members of parliamentary select committees, as well as hosting tours of the Palace of Westminster on occassion. The code of conduct states that members of the Scottish Parliament ‘should not accept any paid work which would involve them lobbying on behalf of any person or organisation’ and that MSPs ‘should not accept any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant.’ As a result of the allegations a complaint has been lodged by an anonymous Scottish academic to Holyrood’s standards watchdog, asking for an investigation to be launched to determine the exact nature of Foulkes’ relationship with Eversheds. In a letter to the Holyrood standards commissioner, Dr Jim Dyer, the academic states: “I note that the Foulkes entry in the Scottish parliament
register of interests does not mention that his work for Eversheds is in the form of parliamentary consultancy, which does seem to be outlawed,” and asks Dyer ‘to examine whether George Foulkes’ conduct and activities have breached these provisions’. When asked about the allegations, Foulkes emphatically defended his actions telling The Student: "The work I do for Eversheds is completely legitimate and I certainly don't table motions or questions on their or any clients’ behalf." "This issue was raised by an SNP activist last year. He complained to the standards commissioner - the independent official responsible for dealing with complaints like this." "The complaint was thrown out completely by the standards commissioner not just because there wasn't sufficient evidence, but because there was no evidence whatsoever. It was completely politically motivated and a waste of everybody's time". Foulkes’ rectorial opponent Iain Macwhirter was quick to condemn any Labour peers convicted of wrongdoing in the fall out of the ‘cash for laws’ scandal but stopped short of criticising Foulkes personally before the outcome of any investigation is announced. Speaking at his manifesto launch on Sunday, Macwhirter said: “The past decade has been one of sleaze, of advocacy, of lobbying scandals and I think it's very sad that it's now extending to Labour peers. "If you're taking money from outside commercial interests to do what you should be doing as part of your job, then inevitably people will start to question whether the kinds of decisions you're taking, the bills you're supporting, perhaps amendments, they'll start to wonder whether you doing that out of your own your own beliefs and conscience or for a private commercial interest outside which is paying you." George Galloway, the other candidate for the rectorship, has yet to comment on the allegations. The rectorial elections will be held on February 11 and 12 via the MyEd student portal.
Investigation into university funding scam Guy Rughani THOUSANDS OF students and hundreds of staff are to suffer as London Metropolitan University, the city’s largest, faces crippling cutbacks due to fraudulent reporting of their student numbers, fuelling claims that the uni-
versity’s future may now be in jeopardy. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) has found that since 2005, London Met has inflated the numbers of students attending the university by failing to report some students dropping out. With the Government’s higher edu-
cation funding intrinsically linked to attendance it means that London Met has received over £38 million more than it is legally entitled, which will have to be paid back. London Met's future funding will Continued on page 2 »
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
The Student Newspaper | 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ Email: email@example.com
What’s in this issue NEWS »p1–6
Council may leave city’s economy in the lurch
Scots police resist new cannabis clampdown p4
Hardline 'three strikes' policy will remain south of the border
A burning issue p5
As energy bills soar, Edinburgh residents resort to burning coal to keep warm
It really gets on my Titians p6
EUSA politicians demand more money for higher education in light of government spending on Titian's Dianna and Callisto
BBC: Blind Blundering Controversy p7
Zeenath Ul Islam looks at the BBC's decision not to run the DEC humanitarian appeal for Gaza
Ready Steady Rector p8-9
Rectorial candidates George Foulkes, George Galloway & Iain MacWhirter make the case for your vote on February 11th & 12th
The man who broke the budget p11–12
Green MSP Patrick Harvie speaks to Liz Rawlings about Heathrow expansion, being Britain’s first openly bisexual MP, and the prospect of toppling Alex Salmond
At your (careers) service p15
Although graduate employment rates may be suffering due to the recession, it’s not all doom and gloom in the Careers’ Office
The return of diplomacy p23
Laura Wishart speaks to Shadow Foriegn Minister David Lidington MP about how Britain can improve its position in the Middle East The View return with second album 'Which Bitch?' while Beirut claim the title of Album of the Week
Art & Theatre p22
Jenni Smout worships at the alter of Matthew Bourne while Luke Healy takes a look at Shepherd Fairey's portrait of Barack Obama
Olympian Dick leads award winners p27
Martin Domin reports from last weeks Edinburgh Sports Union award ceremony
News Comment Editorial Features Film Music
1 7 10 11 16 18
Art & Theatre Technology TV Life & Style Puzzles Sport
IT WAS suggested last week that £1.3 million earmarked to insulate Edinburgh’s economy during the recession is to be cut from the council’s upcoming budget. Cameron Rose, Conservative Councillor for Southside and Newington, told The Student: “It’s easy to say it is under threat but the truth is the decisions have not been made - at least not made public.” Business leaders have condemned the move, saying that it is important to invest in the economy during the current economic turmoil. The Economic Development Committee may lose out as council leaders seek to tighten their belts. The committee, one of six that form Edinburgh Council, was seeking funding for several initiatives aimed at steering the city’s economy through the recession. However, a slowdown in construction has meant limited revenue from planning fees, and the disruption caused by the tram scheme has left vital income from city parking meters in freefall. Ron Hewitt, chief executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, told the Edinburgh Evening News: “If there is one part of the council’s budget which needs closest attention right now it is economic development. “Some of the things that would be affected by this, such as the city’s new tourism promotion unit, are
20 22 23 24 25 26
UNDERFUNDED?: Waverley Court, headquarters of Edinburgh Council badly needed to get us through this period.” It now appears that the dedicated tourism bureau that was proposed for the city now may not materialise, and that money aimed at attracting £600 million of new investment to Scotland’s capital will not be made available. Council leaders have been eager to douse speculation – one council spokesman said: “Councillors will consider and finalise the council’s
full budget over the coming weeks. “When considering and finalising our budget we must take account of the many different – and often competing – factors that will form the basis of our discussions in the coming weeks.” The council is set to publish the budget for the coming fiscal year on February 12, but Rose told The Student that any decision to cut the funding may be made official before then.
London Met pays the price for deceiving funding council CONTINUED from page 1
also be affected, since it will not receive £18 million that it ha planned for. Under current funding rules, if a student does not complete their course, the university does not receive full funding for that student. Hefce’s findings come in the same week that Manchester College of Arts and Technology was accused by former employees of altering their student numbers to secure extra money, also by fraudulently reporting dropout rates. The college, one of the country’s largest, which denies any wrongdoing, allegedly pressured lecturers to falsify attendance records, and then destroyed vital documents to hinder any investigation. One former employee at London Metropolitan said “The problems the university faces come from the top to the bottom, rather than the other way around.” Other lecturers however are more supportive of the university’s managers, saying “we should stop pointing the finger and work together to sort out the problems – for the students’ sake.” The National Union of Students (NUS) very much agrees with this
view, concerned that placing London Met at financial risk by demanding the money be repaid would seriously hamper the accessibility of universities. Wes Streeting, the NUS president, argued that “If staff numbers are slashed, then London Metropolitan students will inevitably suffer from a lower standard of education.
The problems the university faces come from the top to the bottom rather than the other way around.” Former London Met employee
“We do not believe that in these tough economic times an institution such as London Metropolitan, that does so much to further the Government’s widening participation agenda, can be allowed to fall by the wayside.” Million+, a think-tank which represents newer universities such as London Metropolitan agreed with Streeting, maintaining that the imminent funding withdrawal is contrary to everything the government has tried to achieve. The think-tank’s view is that by
taking on poorer students who have a higher tendency to drop out, London Metropolitan is being penalised for a job the government wants it to perform. Hefce responded to these claims saying that inaccurate student attendance is a separate issue to educational access. One London Metropolitan student described his feelings towards the university on the forum of the Times Higher Education Supplement website: “There is a counter-culture within the student body that regards the university as an opposition rather than an establishment that we should be working with for a rewarding education. It just seems like no one cares. Problems are prevalent in every aspect of a London Metropolitan student’s life.” Working with Hefce and The University and College Union, the NUS is trying to ensure that the funding council adopts an “understanding and constructive approach” in solving the institution’s serious financial problems. Despite the threat of vast redundancies, The Student has found current advertisements for a £54,000 per annum job as Principal Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at London Metropolitan.
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Macwhirter first to launch manifesto RECTORIAL CANDIDATE Iain Macwhirter launched his manifesto outside the main library on Saturday, promising to fight for a 24-hour library and a minimum income guarantee for students, and to act as a “moral voice” for the University if elected. Macwhirter, a journalist for The Herald newspaper, told The Student that he was ‘very confident’ of victory and was backed by a ‘unique coalition drawn from all sectors of the student body.’ He also raised doubts about the other candidates in the election, Labour peer and MSP George Foulkes, and MP George Galloway, saying: “George Galloway is a colourful figure, a powerful orator, a passionate campaigner, but you have to ask yourself: ‘Is he going to be around Edinburgh University?’” “He works on many international campaigns and he has a flourishing media career, which has taken him through Big Brother and other extravaganzas.”
On the controversy surrounding the recent revelations about Foulkes acting as a paid consultant for in relation to his role in the House of Lords, Macwhirter was careful to emphasise that while there was no evidence that Foulkes had acted improperly, questions should be asked about the relationship between private interests and Parliament. “If you’re taking money from outside commercial interests to do what you should be doing as part of your job, then inevitably people will start to question whether the kinds of decisions you’re taking; whether you’re doing that out of your own beliefs and conscience,” he said. When asked to comment on current rector Mark Ballard’s recentlyexpressed concern about the focus on research at Scottish universities leading to teaching being neglected, Macwhirter said: “I think there’s a false dichotomy between research and teaching. “The two go together if you have research like Edinburgh does, and Edinburgh’s a world-class research
university that attracts world-class academics, who make world-class teachers.
Galloway is a colourful figure but you have to ask yourself: 'Is he going to be around Edinburgh?'” Iain Macwhirter, rectorial candidate
"We need to improve teaching, and improve feedback and contact, by building into the careers structure of academics an element of teaching being properly rewarded.” Macwhirter said he was keen to act as the University’s ‘moral voice’, saying: “I spoke to the demonstration last week and I was hugely impressed by the idealism and the concern that students are expressing for what’s been happening to Palestinians in Gaza. “I think the Rector has to be in a position to first of all, detect what the mood of students is and then accurately project it to the wider world.” On the subject of his proposed £7,000 minimum income guarantee for students, he said: “First of all, students can’t live on £4,500 a year, it’s manifestly impossible. "Students are ending up with huge debts, £15,000 on graduation. The first thing to do is to ensure that they have enough money coming in to keep going. “The banks were very happy to throw money at students, desperate to get them to take on their credit cards and bank accounts. Now things are going to be difficult. "A lot of students are not going to get jobs when they graduate, at least not immediately. They’re going to have big private debts, and it’s going to be very difficult for them to service these.”
WHAT HAS HE PROMISED? - Library open 24 hours a day
-Opposition to top-up fees
- A guaranteed minimum yearly income of £7,000 for all students
- An active stance against mandatory ID cards for students
- More focus on feedback and teaching at the university
- A rector independent of any political party allegiance
- Increased contact time
- Lower carbon emissions
- Cheaper student housing
- Opposition to Gaza conflict
NUMBER-CRUNCHING: Iain Mcwhirter has said he will campaign for a 24-hour library if elected Rector
Galloway leads Gaza protest at BBC's Edinburgh offices Candidate claims vote for him would be 'a declaration of peace to the world'.
LOUDMOUTH: Rectorial candidate George Galloway addresses protestors outside the BBC's Holyrood offices
Lyle Brennan AS PRESSURE mounted on the BBC to air the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Gaza appeal last week, Edinburgh’s pro-Palestine activists teamed up with rectorial candidate, George Galloway, to stage a protest outside the broadcaster’s Holyrood offices. Both the BBC and Sky News have refused to show the appeal, citing concerns over political impartiality, whereas rival networks ITV, Channel 4 and Five all opted to cooperate with the humanitarian group. The DEC comprises 13 UK charities including Oxfam, Christian Aid and the Red
Cross. The two-hour demonstration, held last Wednesday evening, saw around 60 people gather at The Tun to hear speeches from Galloway, representatives from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and actress Pauline Goldsmith.
The BBC's refusal to air the DEC appeal has damaged that appeal, and Palestinian refugees will die as a result.” George Galloway, MP and rectorial candidate
Goldsmith was one of four Scottish-based actors, including Trainspotting and Braveheart performer Peter Mullan, to sign a letter to BBC Director General Mark Thompson, in which they vowed never to work for the broadcaster again unless the appeal ban was reversed.
The three-minute minute clip in question, a montage of scenes of destruction in Gaza, was amplified and projected onto the outer wall of a nearby restaurant, while each speaker at the event called for BBC employees to stage a mass walkout. Galloway told The Student, “We’re bearing witness to a very big scandal – the BBC’s refusal to air that appeal has damaged the appeal, and Palestinian refugees will die as a result. It doesn’t get much more serious than that – it’s certainly much more serious than Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.” However, despite these difficulties faced in securing airtime, the DEC reported that its Gaza appeal had raised funds totaling £3 million in its first week alone. During his speech, Galloway also appeared keen to draw attention to his university campaign, claiming that if students and staff at Edinburgh were to elect him, it would be ‘a declaration of peace to the world’. His appearance at the protest came days after he announced that he was organising an aid convoy of around 100 vehicles to drive from London to Gaza.
Tuesday February 03 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Scottish police resist new cannabis crackdown
... and it's goodbye from Exeter STUDENTS FROM Exeter University have been knocked out of University Challenge after achieving the competition’s lowest score in over three decades, leaving host Jeremy Paxman “at a loss for words”. They were beaten in the quarter final 350 to 15 by Corpus Christi college, Oxford, a score second-lowest only to Sussex University, who managed to score only 10 points in a 1971 contest. “The main problem was that the other team were quicker. We knew the answers, we just didn’t know them in time,” explained team member Richard Stearn. “It put a lot of pressure on us and we had to start buzzing earlier.” Corpus Christi college, Oxford had earlier beaten the University of Edinburgh team by 295 points to 85 in a keenly-contested second round match.
Tramworks cause road hazard THE ROADWORKS for the Edinburgh tram building project have claimed three pedestrian victims in just over a week, as traffic management measures reducing Princes Street to one lane have resulted in traffic heading both east and west using the same side of the road. An 84 year old man was hit by a bus on Saturday, having stepped into the road after looking left and thinking it was clear, only to be “sent flying” by a bus coming from the right, resulting in serious head injuries. Another man was taken to hospital last Friday, while another was hit by a bus on Tuesday. Inspector Jill Kerr, of the police’s road policing unit, said: “The council are looking to put in extra lights and signage to try and make it even more obvious to look both ways.” JE
City student spent £20,000 on illegal firearms A STUDENT living in Edinburgh who spent over £20,000 importing illegal gun parts from America will serve a minimum of five years in prison after admitting two firearms offences. A dawn raid by Lothian and Borders police on Ramsay Scott’s home in Longniddry found two fully-assembled pistols, as well as parts for a machine-gun. Officers also found a cache of ammunition for various weapons, including some cartridges Scott had made himself. David Taylor, speaking in court for Scott, claimed that the Durham University student had no interest in the weapons beyond the desire to assemble them. It emerged in court that Scott, who had formerly been part of the Scotland under-19 shooting team, had bought the arsenal on his mother’s credit card. JE
'Three strikes' policy will not apply in Scotland after drug is reclassified Jordan Campbell CONCERNS HAVE been raised over the UK Government’s decision to reclassify cannabis to a class B status, which would result in stricter punishments for possession or dealing, Scottish police forces have stated that they are set to continue with same policy on the drug that they have used since 2004. The new legislation will result in English and Welsh police operating a three strike system with a “final strike” potentially leading to a prison sentence for anyone charged with an offence. However after reviewing the system, the Association of Chief Police Officers for Scotland will continue to adhere to their rule of reporting anyone found in possession to the Procurator-Fiscal. Detective Superintendent Willie MacColl, national drugs co-ordinator for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said, “Policing in Scotland has taken a coherent and consistent approach to the issue of cannabis throughout the past four years.
He added that, “Given the decision by the Home Secretary to reclassify upwards, Acpos has considered their policing response and decided that, as in 2004, such a move would not result in any changes of policy.” The drug was downgraded from class C to B in 2004, after the Government deemed at the time that the dangers posed by the substance did not merit the B classification. However, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, made the current decision based on what is seen as new evidence of the dangers of the “skunk” strain. There is also debate as to whether the drug can lead to schizophrenia. In 2008, The Scottish Crime Survey found that cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in Scotland, with an estimated 6.3 percent of people aged 16-59 reporting to have taken cannabis. Results also showed its availability to young people, with 44 percent of Scottish 15 year olds stating that they had been offered the drug. Although a UK nationwide survey in 2008 found that cannabis usage amongst 16-24 year olds decreased after cannabis was downgraded to a C with the number of people using it in 2004 till start of 2008 falling from 25.3 percent to 20 percent. The current reclassification from the Government comes into force, even though its own “Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs” stated that despite the risks should remain a class C. Lawyers have also criticised the legislation behind the classification as the “strike system” is out of step with the law regarding other class B drugs.
HIGH STANDARDS: Scottish police will not alter their procedure for dealing with anyone they weed out under the new legislation
EUSA sparkles for 2009 Society Oscars
Doubts raised over value of new diplomas
TEVIOT EXPERIENCED its very own night of glamour, as the annual EUSA Society Oscars were presented on Saturday night. The awards focus on rewarding the societies who have excelled in various areas with cash prizes shared from a total fund of £1,000. The highlight of the evening, the £500 award for best society, went to the University’s Amnesty International group, with Bedlam theatre coming a close second. Amnesty members were too ecstatic to provide coherent statements to The Student on the win. The prize for best new or revamped society was awarded to Untapped Talent, which holds jamming sessions and organises concerts for aspiring indie musicians, and was on the verge of existence at the start of the academic year before being revived by its members. Entertainent at the imitation Oscars was provided by the University’s very own acting stars in the shape of the Footlights, who performed a few numbers from their upcoming play 'The Pajama Game' and the Improverts. The Japanese Society's 'Japan Day' picked up the Best Event award, after it was felt that the day genuinely brought the two nations of Scotland and Japan closer together. The Meadows Marathon scooped up second place after raising over £10, 000 for charity with their annual student-organised run.
AND THE WINNERS ARE... - Best society: Amnesty International (Runner up: Bedlam) - Best new/revamped society: Untapped Talent (Runner up: Islamic Society) - Best website: BLOGS (Runner up: Architecture Society) - Best publicity: Women of the World (Runner up: Universities Allied for Essential Medicine) - Best event: Japanese Society (Runner up: Meadows Marathon) - Best community action: The Dirty Weekenders (Runner up: The Edinburgh Group)
THE VALUE of a new government 14-19 diploma, proposed as an alternative to current secondary school qualifications, has been condemned by teachers who say that may entrench the divides in education that it aims to remedy. The University of Edinburgh has signalled cautious support for the qualification. The survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust asked 1,300 teachers to rate the value of the qualification in terms of its suitability for pupils wanting to pursue a vocational route and those who wish to go to university. Only 21 percent responded that they thought that the diploma was suitable for those hoping to go to university, compared to the 96 percent who thought that the traditional A-levels were a better means to pursuing this path. However 83 percent thought that the new diploma was suited to those who would follow a more vocational path. There was also a clear dichotomy between the type of institution in which the diploma would be most successful, with 74 percent believing that the diploma would work well in ‘schools in poorer areas’ and only 29 percent replying it would function similarly in Independent schools. James Turner of the Sutton Trust, commented that: "At a time when
Diplomas are being promoted heavily to schools and students, it is worrying that the perception amongst teachers, who should be best informed, is that these are not right for bright young people with university ambitions. “There is a real danger of a divide emerging between those pupils in independent and top state schools who are set on an academic path, leading to places in selective universities, and students from non-privileged backgrounds who have those opportunities closed to them early on.” The Russell Group, which represents leading research-intensive universities including Edinburgh, welcomes the idea that the new diplomas will encourage pupils to 'apply academic learning in a practical context', and welcomes the opportunity to boost interest in science among children from poorer backgrounds. However, the group have also sounded a note of caution, adding that 'we want to be fully assured that [diplomas] are sufficiently robust and challenging academically.' In a statement on the UCAS website, the University of Edinburgh states that “The University is hopeful that diplomas will provide a progression route to related degree programmes. “It will of course be necessary to consider, as details become available, whether the content and assessment standard of each diploma meet the academic and non-academic prerequisites for particular programmes.”
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Edinburgh students set to go the distance in the City of Lights INSPIRED BY a visit to a special unit for ill and orphaned children in China, three University of Edinburgh students will head to France to take on the Paris Marathon, while a fourth will run at the same event for Oxfam. Eliza Grylls and Zoe Driscoll, who last summer volunteered at the New Hope Foundation orphanage in Henan province near Beijing, told The Student, “We saw such high standards of care, love and attention, it was a really inspiring place”. During the visit, the orphanage funded an operation for two-year-old Charlie, who was suffering from a congenital heart defect. The procedure corrected the defect to give him the prospect of a full and healthy childhood but the £35,000 costs have placed a significant strain on the running of the centre. Having been impressed by the care provided by the unit, Grylls and Driscoll, along with a new member to the group, Kim Durno, now hope to cover the full cost of Charlie’s operation by completing the Marathon de Paris. Grylls explained their motivations: “The centre provides great medical and palliative care that so many of China’s abandoned children don’t have access to, we really want to support their future work”. The challenge is made all the more ambitious considering the race will be the trio’s first endurance experience. The group has until April 5 to work towards their target and with train-
A SLICE OF THE ACTION: One competitor feels the strain during last year's race in the French capital explained the appeal of the event to The Student: “I chose Paris because it’s quite a big event and I wanted to run somewhere that would have a good atmosphere and a high spectator turnout.” The event attracts over 200,000
ing well under way they are optimistic about their chances of ‘just getting round’. The Paris marathon is increasing in popularity among student fundraisers; Greta Dargie, running for Oxfam
LEGAL FLYPOSTING has been given the go-ahead under a scheme designed to tackle anti-social nightlife behaviour. The operation aims to reduce illegal flyposting by selling advertising space cheaply to promotion companies in order to deter them from covering walls and deserted shop fronts with their posters. This and other forms of graffiti cost the council over £250,000 a year to
clean up. Unight, a coalition of 48 of Edinburgh’s most prominent night spots, builds and manages these sites, of which seven are already functioning in areas such as the Cowgate and the Potterow underpass. Due to early successes, the scheme is to be extended to other locations including South Bridge and Lothian Road. There is even talk of using this initiative during the Fringe Festival to avoid the copious amounts of illegal flyposting which plague the city, most
THE WRITING'S ON THE WALL: Legal flyposting at Potterrow Port has proved a success in the scheme's trial phase
spectators - double that of the younger Edinburgh equivalent - and leads runners from the Champs Elysées, along the Seine and past many of the cities famous sites. Unlike the London marathon, the
Paris event guarantees places to early applicants so it is a tempting alternative for students, who may be less likely to gain a place in the ballot system used to determine runners in the London event.
A burning issue
Flyposting legalised in city
FLICKR USER: LOOKING4POETRY
of which eventually ends up as pulp under the inevitable Edinburgh summer downpour. Bruce Johnston of Unight said that: “the city can be a total mess with all of the flyposting, much of which is by big companies during the festival and this is something we need to tackle.” Together, Unight work with the Lothian and Borders police to deal with drunken violence and drugs amongst the Capital’s club scene. CCTV footage and photographs of anti-social customers are shared amongst all participating establishments and a ban from one is automatically extended to exclusion from all. Thus they aim to push troublemakers out of the city centre and provide a much safer drinking environment for responsible patrons. All proceeds made from selling the advertising space to promoters are ploughed back into the scheme. Since the beginning of Unight’s campaign crime in Edinburgh’s nightclubs has fallen by 21 percent, while drug offences between October 2007 and July 2008 were down from 284 to 128. Councillor Paul Edie responded by commenting that he was “really pleased that Unight has had such a positive impact. It’s easy to see it is helping to make a difference around the city centre.”
Florence Enock AS TEMPERATURES in Edinburgh plummet, an increasing number of citizens are breaking the law to stay warm. Recent gas and electricity price hikes have caused an upsurge in the illegal use of open fires by Edinburgh residents. Edinburgh was declared a smokefree zone in 1995, meaning that the use of solid fuels such as standard coal and wood is illegal unless burned in certain kinds of appliances that can burn these materials without producing smoke. Edinburgh council has reported that at least one complaint about smoking chimneys is being made per day, compared with a total of 55 complaints made last year and just 20 in 2004. Anyone caught breaking the law by burning coal or wood in an open fire could be fined up to £1000 but, despite the rising number of complaints, no one has been fined yet. Auld Reekie Chimney Sweeps has seen a sudden rise in business with 20 extra enquiries a week from people wanting to have their chimneys reopened and says, “Everyone seems to be switching from gas heating to open fires due to the credit crunch, whether students or homeowners.”
The company advises people to use smokeless coal but warns that this may still be a problem for the council, since if the chimney is too cold then smoke will still be produced. Katie Emslie from the City of Edinburgh Council says, “The main problem is when residents have open fires without firstly getting their chimneys checked, as this can result in smoke pouring into the flat above and this is why many of the complaints are being made.” The council advises residents to contact them if in doubt as to what kinds of fuel and burners can be used within the smoke control area. However, many residents of Edinburgh are concerned about the city’s strict pollution laws. With many people finding gas and electricity prices unaffordable, residents are left with no choice but to use a cheaper method of heating. Another argued that smoke produced by open fires is insignificant compared to pollution caused by traffic fumes in Edinburgh. Robert Aldridge, who holds the environment brief on the city council, said: “We all have a responsibility to work to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible. Edinburgh used to have the nickname Auld Reekie - let’s make sure we don’t let history repeat itself!”
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
It really gets on my Titians...
£11.1 million cost of unpaid student loans James Ellingworth
PETITIANING HOLYROOD: There are plans within EUSA to send postcards to MSPs as a protest Neil Pooran THE STUDENTS’ Representatives Council (SRC), part of EUSA, has proposed to buy 129 postcards of a painting by the Italian master Titian and send them to all MSPs to argue for greater student support. Students on the council are hoping to protest the Scottish Government’s £17 million donation towards purchasing the sixteenth-century painting, ‘Dianna and Acteon’ to keep the
artwork in Scotland. A wry message about a lack of an extra £17 million for student funding will be included on the postcards. Student’s Association President Adam Ramsay told The Student; “The things politicians like least are stories in the press criticising them. “This is a way of pointing out to politicians how little money they have dedicated to student support compared to other things. It is also a good way of making headlines, as this news story demonstrates.”
The Scottish Government’s contribution has allowed the painting to remain in the country. Private donors also helped the National Galleries of Scotland to reach the £50 million required to purchase the painting from the Duke of Sutherland, and a further £50 million must now be found to purchase its companion piece, ‘Dianna and Callisto’. Going by prices displayed in the National Galleries of Scotland shop the postcards will cost the SRC around £65 plus postage.
IT HAS emerged that the cost of writing off unpaid student loans hit £11.1 million in 2008, the largest sum since records began. According to information published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills in response to a parliamentary question, the value of loans that will never be paid off increased from its 2007 value of £6.9 million. This total has increased consistently every year since the current system was introduced in 1990. David Lammy, minister for higher education, commented that this trend reflected ‘the increasing maturity of the student loan book.’ The chief reasons for loans being written off currently include the borrower dying, reaching pensionable age (currently 65) or starting to receive disability benefit, meaning that the total is set to increase as graduates who took out loans in the 1990s age. In response to the recent news, the Conservatives attacked the Government claimed that too little effort was made to recover debt from graduate living outside the UK. David Willets, shadow minister for innovation, universities and skills, told The Telegraph: “The Government has
been very blasé about recovering debts from graduates who live abroad. “Ministers need to get their eye on the ball because fewer repayments from yesterday’s students means less money for tomorrow’s students.” Until 2004, student loans could also be written off if the borrower was declared bankrupt, a loophole scrapped after increasing numbers of graduates used this method to evade fee repayments, at a cost of £2.4 million. Last week's announcement on student loan repayment came soon after the news that the number of UK students studying at British universities had fallen in the past year. The 0.75% fall was the first fall in numbers on record, although it came in the same year as a 5% rise in the number of international students studying at UK institutions. The number of part-time UK students saw the biggest fall, with numbers down 3%. Sally Hunt, general secretary of lecturers' union UCU, said: " "It is a real worry that the number of parttime students applying to university has dropped. Part-time study is key for students not entering higher education through a more traditional route and will be vital to the success of the widening participation agenda."
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Tuesday March 03 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Comment HAIR/HEAD - BENEDICT ROBBINS; NOSE/CHEEK/FOREHEAD - LIZ RAWLINGS; EYES/NECK/CHIN - JAMES RODGER; MOUTH/FOREHEAD - THOMAS GRAHAM; GLASSES/CHEEK - OLIVER MUNDELL; ARM/SHOULDERS - G.W. BUSH
Countdown to election day Alan Williamson takes a critical look at the promises of this year's EUSA presidential candidates
USA ELECTIONS are everyone’s favourite time of year, right after Christmas and Pancake Tuesday. We are being bombarded with flyers and fluorescent posters from presidential candidates claiming they will save the endangered KB bus, turn Potterow into somewhere people will actually want to spend their Saturday evenings, heal the deaf and lame, etcetera. This is all well and good, but it doesn’t answer the one question that concerns me: who are these people? Are they as friendly as their sickeningly slick campaign videos purport? Do they understand what their manifesto means, or is it just a pile of grandiose verbal diarrhoea? To answer this, I devised a little ‘social experiment’ (my apologies to any fellow psychologists gritting their teeth right now). Last Wednesday I sent a Facebook message to each of the presidential candidates, asking them about details of their manifesto that I felt were ill-considered or just plain daft. They were not informed I was writing a piece for The Student: I wanted personal replies, not copied and pasted information from their websites. Besides, two minutes of research would tell you exactly which Edinburgh-based student newspaper I write for. My first reply came from Thomas Graham within an hour of sending the messages. Clearly he is confident about his chances if he can spend all day online and not frantically campaign-
ing for our hearts and minds! My initial question to him concerned his pledge to reduce bike crime around campus. To quote myself: “What sort of measures are you going to use, besides the obvious 'get more people on the KB bus so they don't bring bikes' and 'hire Batman to defend the campus'?” Thomas’s well-written reply read like it came straight from his manifesto. That’s because it did, although subsequent replies were wholly original material. His solution to the problem of bike theft is to encourage more CCTV, safe storage and police patrols around campus. Although a recent report from the House of Lords challenged the efficacy of CCTV as a means for reducing crime, Thomas said his figures show that it has been effective locally if not nationally. I further grilled Thomas on his “Dial a Drink” scheme, in which EUSA will deliver your alcohol and collect the empties when you’re finished. Surely there is a better use of resources and staff than this? He rebutted my accusation that it would only serve to get the drunk drunker, claiming it has been a success with other unions in the past and is designed to promote responsible drinking. I was impressed with my dialogue with Mr. Graham. He defended his policies despite the obnoxious way I challenged them. Even if I don’t agree with some of his manifesto, it is at the very least well thought out and that is
to be commended. The next candidate to reply was Liz Rawlings. She replied to my long message with an equally gargantuan response. I originally described Liz’s manifesto as “ambiguous”, but her response was detailed enough to convince me that her policies do have substance beyond the vague website contents. One of the questions I posed was related to a better Director of Studies system, a popular notion among all the candidates. My DoS lectures part-time, tutors, carries out research and works as a Health Psychologist within the local community. I am sure they would not mind me saying that their DoS duties are not their first priority, nor should they be! Liz wants an overhaul of the DoS system, echoed by a new EUSA report (unpublished at the time of going to press). Her solution is a proper training programme and an emphasis on student welfare, in addition to courserelated issues, which can only be a good thing. I have long been dissatisfied with the current DoS system, but remain unconvinced that training already-busy lecturers is going to change it; good researchers do not necessarily make good teachers and the same goes for being a DoS. A novel idea in Liz’s manifesto is the use of your matriculation card as a top-up debit card for use in EUSA premises. This won’t benefit me since I don’t actually have any money to top-up
with, but could be a boon for younger students. All in all, Liz has done her homework, but her policies could prove challenging to implement.
Who are these people? Are they as friendly as their sickeningly slick campaign videos purport? Do they understand what their manifesto means, or is it just a pile of grandiose verbal diarrhoea? Third to reply was Oliver Mundell. I asked about one of his major policies, increased DoS contact time, on which I have already elaborated on my objections. Oliver’s typo-riddled reply emphasised that this policy was practical to carry out and had been successful in the USA. He also received bonus points for referring to Psychology as a science and not a humanities subject. It was, honestly, difficult to go into detail on Oliver’s manifesto which does not appear to have been published
online as Student went to press. His policy outline reflects a common theme among candidates of tackling dodgy landlords, improving feedback and (of course) a 24-hour library. Disappointingly, I didn’t receive a reply from James Rodger or Benedict Robbins. Perhaps it could be argued that I didn’t email them directly: but honestly, where’s the fun in that? I asked Benedict about his peer-mentoring scheme, for which there seems to be little demand (or at least little awareness). As for Mr. Rodger, I find his proposal “to support student activism in all areas” somewhat disturbing. Does this apply to building occupation, militant animal-rights campaigning or anti gay rights protestors? Also, his petition for more vending machines on campus seems an effective means of reducing sales in Potterow and the beloved DHT basement shop, as well as reducing revenue that will be passed to the machine suppliers. I would have loved some clarification on these issues. The five candidates have a lot more in common than they might like to admit. Those of you looking for someone who wants to sell the KB bus for scrap and close the library are out of luck. Everyone else can rest safe in the knowledge that, whoever you vote for on Wednesday and Thursday, you’ll be able to poke them into action via Facebook. That’s what I call 21st century democracy.
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Ready Steady Rector Rock’n’Rector: candidates George Foulkes, George Galloway & Iain MacWhirter make the case for your vote on February 11th & 12th George Foulkes
’m sitting in my office in the ScotIStudent tish Parliament reading a copy of from 1970. The headline news
was the sensational discovery that the University had hundreds of thousands of pounds invested in South African businesses, mostly mining companies, who were the worst perpetrators of the apartheid labour laws. These companies made huge profits at the expense of the human rights of thousands of black workers who were exploited mercilessly. I was the SRC President here in 1963 and later President of the Scottish Union of Students – which predated NUS Scotland. By 1970, I was still serving the university as the Rector’s Assessor to Kenneth Allsop. Kenneth and I championed the campaign to rid the University of these investments
George Galloway or 18 years I represented the F Glasgow West constituency covering Strathclyde University and many
thousands of students. My current parliamentary constituency covers the City site of London Metropolitan University, which has just announced staggering cuts of £18 million – with 330 teaching posts to go – as the universities funding quango seeks to claw back money it has overpaid. I know about the issues that affect students and staff, even though I’ve never been a student myself. I am part of a generation who paid for others to go to university, for free and with a grant, and were happy to do so. Education is an investment in the nation’s future. It’s not a cost, or a business opportunity. That’s the philosophy I seek to bring to the post of Lord Rector. Underlying the myriad immediate problems students and staff face is the commercialisation and under-funding of our universities. Staff are measured and graded by bean counters who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The result is too little interaction between staff and students, which is what most of us thought universities were about. The squeeze on student housing
which were indirectly propping up racial exploitation. I’ve spent my whole working life promoting social justice and equality. I’ve been a Councillor, an MP and a Government Minister. I spent four years in the Department of International Development and was responsible for the huge investment in Gaza’s water and sewage system and I’ve visited Beirzit University which Edinburgh is twinned with. If you want to know more about my views on Israel and Gaza you can read my article in the Guardian which you can google or find on my website. I’m uniquely placed in this election to be both a local, working rector and a rector with the power and influence to really act in the University’s best interests. In the 1960s, just 1 in every 10 young people went to university. You simply had to be extremely academically gifted or rich. The future of the British economy depended on manufacturing and heavy industry, car making, ship building and coal mining all drove the economy. Five decades later, the future of our economy lies in the innovation and skills of the students, postgraduates and academics studying at world class institutions like Edinburgh. Renewable Energy, Life Sciences and Informatics are all industries which, through the power of ideas and innovation generated here in Edinburgh, Scotland can lead the world on.
The University is about to embark on a huge investment programme – £100 millions worth of infrastructure. Part of the money will be spent on a new centre for regenerative medicine. A world class centre of excellence where medical advances travel straight from the Petri-dish to the patient. The power education has to shape the world has never been more important. It is why I’m standing for Rector of an institution that I’m proud to be a graduate of, and to have served in a number of ways for five decades. I live in Bruntsfield and spend the best part of my working week in the Scottish Parliament where I serve as the MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians. I’ve also signed the Rector’s Charter which means I have pledged to be an impartial representative of all students and staff. One example is the issue of feedback. Students have consistently told me that the quality of feedback they get isn’t good enough and staff are clear that when it comes to marking, the existing structures don’t support them enough. To address this problem, we must ensure that the University places as high a value on teaching as it does research. That’s a difficult thing to achieve when so much of the University’s income is reliant on research grants. What’s more, we must ensure that lecturers and tutors are paid properly not just to teach - but to mark as well. Sadly, like most things in life, it all
boils down to money and the University simply doesn’t have enough of it. The funding settlement which the University received from the Scottish Government was poor, accentuating an already growing gap between Scottish and English higher education institutions. The Scottish Government made significant hay out of the abolition of the graduate endowment. But that policy did nothing to alleviate student hardship or improve retention figures. Just last week, HESA, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, released figures demonstrating that the number of students applying for University is falling in Scotland whilst it’s increasing in England and Wales. In an increasingly worrying economic climate, there is a very clear and pressing danger that young people studying for their Highers today will decide that they simply cannot afford to go to university. That’s not just a tragedy for the potential of that individual, it could have a devastating impact on the economic future of our country – the United Kingdom. That’s why my manifesto focuses on the issues of student hardship. I want to see a guaranteed minimum income of £7,000 for the poorest. It’s a policy I’m currently pursuing in the Scottish Parliament and I’m the only candidate in this race who has the ability to actually deliver it. I’m also championing the case for a
and finance is a direct result of running services on a business model. Staff to student ratios have declined hugely in the last 15 years, meaning staff are over-stretched and students underresourced. Students and staff cannot not be victims of this economic crisis; education might cost money, but ignorance costs far more. More students than ever before are working part-time to fund their education, and more staff are on short-term contracts. Would James Clerk Maxwell have been able to revolutionise physics if he had spent his time at Edinburgh shelf-stacking in Tesco’s to pay for his education? Would Joseph Lister have been able to research and develop the use of antiseptics so effectively if he had been on a temporary research contract? The next three years are going to be very hard across the public sector, and for universities and students especially. The Westminster government talks of a ‘fiscal stimulus’ now –billions to bail out the banks – but all the main political parties are preparing for deep public sector cuts following the next general election. That’s the overarching backdrop to your mounting concerns. It would be light-minded to pretend that any Lord Rector can themselves assuage them. What the occupier of that post can do, however, is to be a loud and clear voice for staff and students, and
independent of party machine or cosy consensus. Even my opponents would concede that I have a loud voice and am not afraid to speak the truth to power. If elected Lord Rector that voice and campaigning energy would be turned to your concerns. My manifesto details the improvements I think the University can make now to ensure that you get the most from your time at university. We need more resources to help graduating students find jobs; greater flexibility and investment in teaching in today’s 24-hour, globalised world; better and more sustainable student finance; and lower prices for food, accommodation and other University services. I was asked to enter this race for another reason too. For over 30 years I have been associated with the Palestinian cause. For the last eight I have been one of the leaders of the movement against George Bush and Tony Blair’s policy of war after war. That policy has brought disaster and its only proponent in this Rectorial race – Lord Foulkes – would be a disaster. He supports exactly the nexus between public authority and big business, which has brought such economic uncertainty and scandal. I would like to see Edinburgh University as a beacon to students around the world studying in almost impossible conditions. I would have spoken out as your
Rector last month against the destruction of the University of Gaza. Edinburgh is a city and a university known around the world. Its voice can matter. In any case, it would the narrowest parochialism to imagine that events “over there” have no bearing on us “over here”. Edinburgh University must facilitate the spread of ideas, not just in the UK, or in Europe, but around the world. To build a better future we need to communicate with the world as best we can and do our bit to facilitate the
course c o s t bursary. A one off bursary available to students at Edinburgh with extra costs for books, stethoscopes, lab coats, dissection kits, software and safety kits. Why should one student have less money to live off purely because of the nature of their course of study? Having spent a lot of time at Kings Buildings and George Square over the past few weeks and months, I’ve picked up a real sense of worry within the university community. Nobody’s sure how deep this recession will be or quite how it will impact on the University. People are worried about cuts to budgets and services. If there’s one thing above all which I hope to achieve as your Rector, it will be to help steer the University through this difficult economic period. My primary concern will be ensuring that that welfare and pastoral services, hardship funds and scholarships are all protected and that the University builds on its status as a beacon of excellence around the world.
spread of ideas. If you make me your rector I will forge greater links universities in the rising east in the global south. Unfortunately, you as staff and students do not get to vote on the policies that affect your careers and learning. Nor, in truth, does the Rector. But you can with this vote signal a new line of march, the direction you would like to see this university advance in. I hope you’ll seize that opportunity.
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Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Comment 9 Tricky Wiki
Iain Macwhirter ’m a political columnist with the Ia former Herald and the Sunday Herald and BBC television presenter. I also write for the New Statesman and the Guardian. Edinburgh University was where my career began, as a politics postgraduate student in the 1970s, and I’m now ready to put something back - as a Rector working with and for students. Mind you, when I was first approached by Edinbrugh Students Charities Appeal to stand for the Rectorship, my first reaction was: why me? I’m not a daytime television presenter or a politician. Why would I want to be Rector? But then I read the Rector’s Charter - which I have signed -and found out more about what the Rector does. Now I’m hooked. The Rector chairs the University Court which is the board of management of Edinburgh University - a billion pound organisation and a major Scottish institution with over 25,000 students and 7,000 staff. No, you don’t get paid anything as Rector; there’s no expense account, no consultancies or any other opportunity for self-enrichment. This is a purely voluntary post. But if you are interested in higher education and promoting the interests of students, as I am, then being Rector is its own reward. Well, in addition to the glory... Since I am the only candidate in this election who isn’t a full time politician I don’t have to follow any party line, and I won’t be dividing my time between the Scottish Parliament, the House of Lords or
London-based campaigns. I am free to speak with and for students. This doesn’t mean that I am non-political, however. In my writing I have long argued against university top up fees, the illegal war in Iraq and atrocities in Palestine, bank bail outs that reward greed, and identity cards. I live locally, in the Pleasance, and intend to be an active Rector, available to deal with students’ problems. But when I was a student there was one problem I never had to think about - debt. That’s because when I was at Edinburgh University I received a grant that I could live on in relative comfort. Now I talk to students who are working 23 hours a week in bars to make ends meet. And running up huge debts of up to £15,000. This is appalling. Students shouldn’t have to sell their souls to get a degree. If I am elected I will lead the campaign for a £7,000 minimum income guaranteefor all students, push for more affordable university accommodation, press for more university bursaries, unite with other Scottish Rectors to oppose the introduction of top-up fees in Scotland and challenge the expensive and intrusive ID cards for international students. It’s become very clear to me in speaking to students over the last few weeks that there is growing disquiet about the quality of the student experience in Edinburgh. There are concerns about feedback and assessment. Some students only get four hours contact time a week. Many tell me they aren’t getting the kind of teaching and attention they need to equip them for the jobs market. This is a difficult one, because no one disputes that most of the teach-
ing at Edinburgh University is of a very high standard - there just isn’t enough of it. Moreover, university isn’t just about getting the right job - it’s about education in the round, and about academic research for which Edinburgh is internationally renowned. As Rector I will seek to ensure quality teaching is properly rewarded, press for a better DoS system, extend library opening hours – ideally to 24 hours and increase contact time – some students only get four hours a week. That’s just not enough. I will also support proposals to build a KB library and social space and keep Wednesday afternoons free for sport. If this planet has a future, then it will be up to institutions like Edinburgh University to secure it. The Universities are where the great debate about climate change will be won or lost. If elected as Rector, I will try to ensure that Edinburgh takes a leading role in the debate over climate change. I will also work to ensure that Edinburgh continues to work toward a low carbon university, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, that university-branded clothes are not made from cotton picked by child slaves, or stitched in sweatshops, that the university follows ethical investment policies in its finances and that all life-saving medicines discovered at the University are accessible to people in developing countries. It’s been fascinating to experience seeing politics from the other side - as a candidate. Hard work too - trying to reach a constituency of over 30,000 students and staff spread across a city-wide campus. I can see
why undergraduates sometimes feel a bit lost - I certainly have been. It reminded me of what I went through when I was a student here myself, experiencing periods of isolation and depression in the dark Edinburgh winter. But the help and support available to students through bodies like EUSA is so much better today and I’ll work with the student unions to ensure that this continues. University isn’t just about getting a qualification - these should be among the best years of your life. Together we can make it so.
Wikipedia. Few students could imagine studying without it these days, and one lecturer recently told me that it made him ‘pretty much redundant’. It’s curious how much the free online encyclopedia has become part of our lives, given that it was launched less than a decade ago - it’s the first point of contact for any subject that I don’t know anything about, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Perhaps ironically, I found myself going to it first when researching this article. The beauty of it is in how much it covers – literally, almost anything – and, by extension, its easy modifiability. And there’s the rub, at least for some people. How do you police the content of something so huge, and so anonymous? It’s hard to overestimate Wikipedia, and in a way it embodies what the internet is supposed to be about – free flow of information, the great equaliser. It’s generally very reliable, despite popular belief, equalling or exceeding Britannica for accuracy according to one study. Beyond that, even a bit of critical thinking is enough to weed through most unverified facts. However, what happens when information that is subtly or maliciously false slips through? The issue is particularly apparent with breaking news. Last week, there was some controversy when two high-ranking American politicians, Senators Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy were falsely (though believably, given the circumstances) reported dead after Obama’s inauguration, and this brought forward internal discussion of a new policy for the site. Fundamentally, this would require editorial review of changes to certain ‘flagged’ entries, to prevent vandalism of this sort, potentially creating delays in contributions of a week or two. This would probably only apply to anonymous and new, unproven users, and even then, only to vandalised articles and biographies of living people; I say probably, as the change is still under discussion. This seems subtle, but it’s a big departure – the first pre-publication peer review of content for what’s supposed to be an openly editable encyclopaedia. It’s caused a split between contributors to the site, with a slight majority being for the ‘flag’ system. I’m very much a supporter of Wikipedia, and the philosophy that lies behind it – knowledge being communal and free, but also two-way. If you know something, you should be freely able, and indeed have a duty, to share it with everyone else. I once wrote an article for Wikipedia on something I was studying, and I’ve often edited it, but crucially, under a registered account. I proved myself not to be a vandal after my first few edits, and so my entries under the new system would be automatically accepted. Is this too high a price to pay for more accuracy? Although it goes against open-source philosophy, provided it is not the thin end of a more elitist review of the whole of Wikipedia, it will only increase accuracy and improve the project as a whole. Considering the importance of Wikipedia’s aims, this can only be a good thing. Jamie McQuilkin
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
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Titians: an editorial disagreement In favour of the purchase: he Scottish Government recently T spent a rumoured £17 million to keep a painting by the Italian master Ti-
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The Student was launched by distinguished Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson in 1887, as an independent voice for the literati of Edinburgh. It is Britain's oldest university newspaper and is an independent publication. The paper distributes 6,000 free copies to the whole of the University of Edinburgh. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Kitchener, David Lloyd, George and Winston Churchill are a few of the famous people who have been associated with the paper. In the 1970s, Gordon Brown was the editor in chief, working alongside Robin Cook who at the time was in charge of film and concert reviews.
The Student welcomes letters for publication. The editors, however, reserve the right to edit or modify letters for clarity. Anonymous letters will not be printed but names will be witheld on request. The letters printed are the opinions of individuals outwith The Student and do not represent the views of the editors or the paper as a whole. Editors Lee Bunce/Neil Pooran News Lyle Brennan/James Ellingworth SeniorNewsWriters Guy Rughani/Anna MacSwan Comment Mairi Gordon/Zeenath Ul Islam Features Jonathan Holmes/Rosie Nolan/Ed Ballard/Catherine McGloin Art&Theatre Emma Murray/Hannah Ramsey/Rachel Williams Music Andrew Chadwick/Jonny Stockford Film Tom MacDonald/Sam Karasik TV Fern Brady/Susan Robinson Tech Alan Williamson/Craig Wilson Lifestyle Kimberlee Mclaughlan/Maddie Walder Sport Martin Domin/Misa Klimes Copy Editing Eleanor McKeegan Design Arvind Thillaisundaram Illustrations Harriet Brisley/ Henry Birkbeck/Zeenath Ul Islam Photography Calumn Toogood/Julia Sanches Website Jack Schofield President Liz Rawlings Secretary Rachel Hunt Treasurer Madeline Rijnja
Advertising Tony Foster 0131 650 9189 Student Newspaper 60 Pleasance Edinburgh EH8 9TJ email@example.com Student Newspaper, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ. Tel: 0131 650 9189. The Student lists links to third party websites, but does not endorse them or guarantee their authenticity or accuracy. © Student Newspaper Society. All rights reserved. No section in whole or part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmited in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission of the publisher. The Student is published by the Student Newspaper Society, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ. Distributed by Lothian Couriers, 3 John Muir Place, Dunbar EH42 1GD. Tel: 01368 860115. Printed by Cumbrian Newsprint (part of the CN Group), Carlisle Print Centre, Newspaper House, Dalston Road, Cumbria CA2 5UA, on Tuesday January 27 2009. Tel: 01228 612600. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office.
tian in Scottish Galleries. This has caused displeasure in some areas, with many speaking out against a perceived misuse of taxpayers' money. This displeasure has been evident in our Student’s Association, with the SRC proposing to protest the decision by sending postcards of the painting to all MSPs. Yet we should not discount the value of purely aesthetic goods such as artwork. You don’t have to be an aficionado of high art to appreciate the beauty of the paintings, which are free for all to see in the National Galleries of Scotland. There is nothing wrong with public money being spent on cultural enrichment. The fact that ‘Dianna and Acteon’ was not created by ‘Jock McTitian’, as
one MSP so eloquently put it, shouldn’t distract us from the imme surable cultural significance it brings to Edinburgh, a city which prides itself on being a World Heritage site. More money for student support would of course be welcome, but losing the Titians to a well-moneyed Russian oligarch or a Gulf billionaire would be remembered as a sad day in the nation’s history. Needless to say, £17 million will not solve all the problems in the higher education sector. The Scottish Government was therefore right to ensure the piece was saved, though one would hope that the next painting to be bought comes in a little cheaper. Opposed: here is no question that art can play a T valuable role in our society, and that many of the points made by my colleague
are indisputibley correct. But this much money? On this painting? I'm far from convinced. The truth is Titian's 'Dianna and Aceton' has little value to the Scottish general public at large. While investment in art can be hugely beneficial, and is therefore highly welcomed, spending on this scale must benefit much larger numbers than the Titian masterpiece ever has or ever will. The claim made by our representatives at EUSA, that the £17 million would be far better spent on higher education is forceful, but putting that argument aside it would seem the money could be spent much more astutely even in the world of fine art. The most succesful Edinburgh exhibitions in recent years have without exception been modern, from Warhol and Richter to the divisive Tracy Emin. Surely then a more contemporary acquisition would be a more sensible idea.
Your Letters IF SEX SELLS, WHAT PRICE DO WE PAY? As University students we are bombarded with images that are overtly sexual and in most cases we don't even notice it. It only takes a short hop, skip and a jump from Appleton Tower to DHT to come face to face with advertisements that feature suggestive scantily clad women. The German society, who used a "come hither" big boobed barmaid as their main attraction to their beer fest, and other popular Edinburgh Uni club nights on George Street have opted for the flash-a-little-flesh approach for their Ad campaigns too. Do we just lie down, pull the duvet over our eyes and accept nudity as part of society’s stable diet or do we stand up (fully clothed) and say “cover up!" Most students agree that such promotional posters do not “sell” them the club night of choice. Most students just want cheap booze, loads of friends and a dance floor in the mix when it comes to discovering the “key” to a great night out. Demir, who runs one of the Edinburgh's George Street scenes biggest student night uses a sexual image in his Ad campaign. "Its not about whether or not sex sells, its about creating something that is eye catching and in most cases that involves flashing a little flesh" "Some other nights in George Street use more blatant sexual images, which they may not choose now, but it has become a brand for them and people find it memorable, it's not something I would go for, I prefer something classier" In a society where you can be bi-sexual, transsexual, try-anythingonce-sexual when students were asked if these posters provided any cause for concern the general consensus was no, “I walk past these posters everyday and I hadn’t even noticed them, if these images we really shocking then they would probably have more an impact but they don’t. The kind of society we live in now really doesn’t pay attention to stuff like that” - Gill, 4th year (Politics)
It would be daft to suggest you don your full length petticoats and dust off your girdle, and throw yourself in front of the 4:15 at Musselburgh. After all isn’t this what they were fighting for in the first place? The right to wear the mini-peti-skirt, don the gel-filled wonder bra, say what ever we want and do whatever we want. But at which point do we have to be responsible for ourselves? If the promotion of sex and nudity permeates our everyday life even when we don’t actively look for it, ad campaigns in TV, on the internet and in magazines are pushing the boundaries everyday. Jordan, sorry Katie Price, can claim that she is a "strong, realistic female icon for many ordinary girls and women". (Well Katie, there are a couple of things that aren't realistic for a start!). If overtly sexual images and nudity is the norm, P.3 models are now role models, and Government realises that the availability of sex, at the other end of the spectrum has gone way too far (with the amendments to Part 5, Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which will make possession of “extreme pornography” a criminal offence from 26 January 2009) what does that mean for us? Are our sexual escapades as students something that should be kept behind closed doors? Most would say are we just taking advantage of “a bit of fun” while we are young". Could it not be argued that in a liberated haze we are forgetting that there is no smoke without fire and actions which could be considered harmless as a young and fancy free student could have lasting effects well beyond Graduation. No matter how far you travel or how much you run from it, can you ever really escape your past? Are we selling ourselves out now with a cost to our future and our future generations? Perhaps we have already crossed that invisible line when once you cross there is no going back. So, if sex really doesn’t sell, and our generation have become so de-sensitised to nudity, promiscuity and pornography how far will future generations go? Maybe 2009 calls for a little less “YES WE CAN!” and a little more “MAYBE WE SHOULDN’T”……. There are some things that people
don't admit because they don't like the way it sounds; perhaps “tone it down a notch” is one of them. Lois McAnulty 2nd year History of Art student
LOOKING COOL Dear Editors, Since being “looking cool” has becoming the most important aspect of university life. I was wondering if Student, as an authority in fashion, could advise me whether the “ I don’t care what my hair look like (short for IDCWMHLL)” hairstyle is still big in Edinburgh University this year. Because every morning I spend 45 minutes (including washing) to sculpt the ultimate IDCWMHLL hairstyle, I start to wonder may be I should use this time to study instead. I am mainly based in Roslin area and sometimes go to KB, I found my hairstyle is undefeated within the sixmile radius from Roslin Chapel (KB inclusive). I am interested to know if there are any top students at trendier George Square share my vision for the IDCWMHLL hairstyle. Richard Han University of Edinburgh Postgrad
Re: It's a MAD MAD world What are these British interests you speak of? You waffle on a lot but don't actually make any points. You seem to think Obama will be a weak president who will be easily influenced by our PM. I don't really see where you get that from. You also make a sweeping statement that the whole populace is critical of our foreign policy. I can assure that this is not true. ''Mr Matthew' via www.studentnewspaper.org
studentnewspaper.org Tuesday February 3 2009
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THIS WEEKIN STUDENT
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD FILM P16
The man who broke the budget
Green Party leader Patrick Harvie speaks to Liz Rawlings about Heathrow expansion, being Britain’s first openly bisexual MP, and the prospect of toppling Alex Salmond ast week, Patrick Harvie singleL handedly brought down the SNP’s £33 billion budget. The consequences
of this decision could lead to the resignation of the government and trigger an election in Scotland. Speaking to him a few days before the pivotal vote, he was acutely aware of his influence in Parliament, stating at the beginning of our interview that, ‘even small parties can make a difference, and sometimes the smallest parties make the biggest difference”. In an extraordinary day of drama in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament last Wednesday, Finance Minister John Swinney believed he had won-over the Greens, offering £33 million of the £100 million Harvie wanted to insulate homes across Scotland. However, what Swinney could not guarantee was that this money would come from new funds, leaving a question mark over cash previously set-aside for fuel poverty. As a result, Harvie decided that the two Green MSPs should vote ‘No’. Due to the tightly balanced nature of Parliament these two votes were enough to cause the budget to fall. The full consequences of the vote are yet to be fully realised, but Alex Salmond has maintained that he will resign if the SNP fail to get their Budget passed through Parliament. The First Minister will now have one final attempt to achieve his aim but if the Budget fails yet again he will undoubtedly be forced to resign and face another election.
Harvie believes that the Greens’ recent influence in Parliament demonstrates his party’s political competency and ambition, as well as helping to rebuild after 2007s poor election results: “The fact is that we hung on by our fingernails in the last election, but I don’t think it was to do with people’s desire to see Greens get elected, I think it was the strong squeeze between Labour and the SNP. To rebuild we need to demonstrate to people the success that we’ve had with just two members of Parliament. We’ve managed to use the opportunity that the Scottish Parliament gives us to actually make a difference, to impact on Government policy both creatively when we agree with them and when we disagree with them as well…we’ve actually been able to successfully challenge some of their positions.” In order for Alex Salmond to become First Minister in 2007, the Scottish Green Party signed a co-operation agreement with the SNP. Despite assurances at the time that this wouldn’t bind Green MSPs to support the SNP, critics believed the party would be expected to toe the Government line. Last week’s Budget vote was a clear indication that this hasn’t been the case. But what is the exact nature of the unique agreement, and does it help or hinder the Scottish Green Party? “The agreement that we have with the SNP reflects the fact that we have more policy areas in common with them, and reflects the fact that both
I’m pleased to say there are some great creative campaigns happening in relation to Heathrow. We’re going to use every legal tool before we start thinking of more creative outdoor pursuits.
parties felt that there was an opportunity to work together on some specific issues but it doesn’t bind us to voting for them, it doesn’t bind us to voting for their budget, for example, which is highly contested at the moment, and it doesn’t prevent us from being critical where needs be. “Last week for example the SNP announced they were going to review their anti-nuclear policy, and we see that as potentially doing for their environmental credentials what Labour’s announcement on the third runway at Heathrow did for their Labour credentials which is deeply disappointing. So we’re happy to criticise and challenge where needs be but there’s a number of areas where we can work together, and we’re keen to maximise those opportunities.” Being the leader of the Green Party, which puts climate change awareness and action at the heart of party policy, Harvie is understandably disappointed at the recent announcement to build a third runway at Heathrow and the proposed legislation to expand Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. However, he is optimistic that public opinion is rapidly swinging against the projects: “The UK government is still maintaining the position that you can have everlasting expansion of aviation and still meet the climate change targets. I don’t buy that and the Scottish Government sadly is still basing its aviation policy on the UK’s.I’m pleased to say there are some great creative campaigns happening and likely to continue happening in relation to Heathrow. We’re going to be using every legal tool in the box before we even need to start thinking of more creative outdoor pursuits…I don’t think there will be a third runway built at Heathrow, I think the argument against it is so profound and the political momentum is swinging against it as well. “As for Glasgow and Edin-
burgh, it’s a different scale of proposal there. They’re not talking about new runways or new terminal buildings. What’s going through at the moment is about surface access, about getting more passengers through the doors. Now obviously that leads to more flights. Right now we need to thinking about flying less, I don’t think we need to stop flying altogether, but we need to fly less than we do now and we need to understand that sometimes getting to London, or to the continent is going to take longer by train and actually, there’s a lot to be enjoyed about that pace of travel.” Asked whether voters’ perception of the Greens as a single-issue party has caused them problems, Harvie responds, “I think the only single-issue party in Scottish politics is the SNP and it hasn’t held them back very much. They have one uniting principle which is independence, and within that people who are as far-right as the conservatives. So the single-issue tag isn’t the end of the world, but actually I’m continually amazed and satisfied at the level of coherence there is, not just within the Scottish Green Party but between Green parties all around the world, on issues such as civil liberties, the economy, our attitude to the role of the state. We’re a party that is very united. “I think the economic crisis at the moment gives us an opportunity, to start questioning ideas about the way we’ve been running the economy, about the materialism and the consumerism of society; Continued on page 12 »
Tuesday March 10 2009 studentnewspaper.org
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A quick history... The Student was launched by Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson in 1887, as an independent voice for Edinburgh's literati. It is Britain's oldest university newspaper and is an independent publication, distributing 6,000 copies free to the University of Edinburgh. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Kitchener, David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill are a few of the famous people who have been associated with the paper. In the 1970s, Gordon Brown was the editor in chief, working alongside Robin Cook who at the time was in charge of film and concert reviews.
Under-21 drinking ban is stupid for at least 3 reasons few months after the Student last A reported the possibility of a lowered drinking-age in Scotland, this ugly idea
has yet again shambled drunkenly into view ("SNP revive under-21 drinking ban plan", front page). Under the new plans, the legal drinking age would be subject to the whims of local councils—and maybe even the police. How could anybody think this is a good idea? What would happen if we lowered the drinking age? For a start, kids would continue to have their first alcohol experience in their early/mid teens, as they always have— and it will still be rough, a quart or so of White Lightning consumed on a bench somewhere. We're not going to suddenly have a nice civilised drinking culture like they have in France, where children are apparently start on the vin de table at age six but somehow don't turn into alcoholics. We're obviously just genetically more loutish than the French. Another possible outcome (which might contradict our previous point, but let's press on) would be the rise of the Incompetent Drinker. This phenomenon is common in American universities, where nobody can drink until they're 21. This results in hordes of "freshmen" arriving at "college" without building up their tolerance. After sipping some punch at their first "frat party", how many innocent students wake up minus dignity, eyebrows, and virginity? For the purposes of argument, we assume that the answer is: a lot. Is that what the Scottish government wants? Strangest of all is the prospect of the cross-border beer run, which might become a reality if these laws are passed. Can you imagine heading nervously back from Carlise or Berwick (where they still have sensible English drinking laws) with a backpack/car boot full of tennants, keeping an anxious eye open for the alcohol police?
Your Letters SILLY HOROSCOPES Dear Sir, I have faithfully skimmed your pages since I arrived at the University of Edinburgh, and have stuck with your publication through thick and thin. I’ve forgiven the silly headlines and oversexualisation to avert eager readers from a blatant lack of factual, informative content. But the Student’s latest stunt to desperately pull in readers would make the editor of OK magazine blush. I am talking about the "puzzles and teasers" page. Last week’s selection, supposedly offered to stretch readers powers of deduction, instead pushed the "teasers" bit to the limit. It included images of near-fellatio, bare buttocks, and an optical illusion just begging its readers to light a spliff and stare aimlessly at a picture of an old man in front of a swirly background. A word of warning—you can get higher than a giraffe in stilettos, it’s always going look like an old man in front of a swirly background. Tell me, how is my education furthered by a photo of one blonde sucking another's carrot? Or my horizons widened by a feast of naked male bottoms on Arthur's Seat? Also, before you prompted me to look it up, I didn't know what bukkake was. Thanks for that. Perhaps even this dubious offering could be forgiven were it not for the callous selection of horoscopes. Take for example the prediction offered to all unfortunate enough to be born under the Aries sign. These 400 million people, according to you, will contract malaria. Is this funny? I can only hope these horoscopes are written in ignorance of the millions of men and women who devoutly follow the ancient practice of astrology and not, as is more likely the case, in malice and hostility to an already persecuted minority. This community has been derided too long, even though many practitioners boast MAs and even PhDs in the astrological arts and sciences. Yet as followers of this ancient order will tell you, astrology isn’t based on elitist qualifications but on virtue, faith and the belief that positive waves of energy might re-spark the dying embers of morality in this country—and I can only hope in this newspaper.
It is reckless bigots, such as the creators of the Student’s believers in astrology a bad name. I am surprised you haven’t started you own hotline, offering people a glimpse at their ‘future’ for a charge that would make the X-factor voting charges look like ‘fair-trade’. Sex, drugs and small mindedness— but I suppose shouldn’t be surprised. All I can say to the writers and editors of the Student is that I won't be risking any negative energy by picking up your paper again. Geraldine Coates 3rd year computer science
SEXUAL READING Dear Sir, When I first entered the darkened chambers of the University Library in first year virtually all the assistants were experienced, well-trained, helpful and friendly. They were pleasing to talk to, if not always to look at. Fast forward three years and how things have changed. The refurbishment of the library building, welcome though it is, appears to have been accompanied by a refurbishment of the library staff. The cluster of kindly middle-aged librarians appears to have been superseded by a phalanx of young sexpots whose only purpose, it seems, is to titillate library users to such an extent that they pay their fines without complaint, and possibly even with a small tip tucked into a pair of skimpy and conspicuously visible knickers. Don't get me wrong, the oldies are still around, but they've been shunted away into the corners of the library no-one ever visits - the special collections, the maps division, the geography section. The gradual replacement of the brainy with the busty seems to be a massive PR exercise on the part of the university. Where will this stop? Will a powder room be installed next to the cafeteria? Will fines eventually be replaced by spankings? The sexing up of the library is a development that should be resisted by all students. Even the needy ones. Alistair McFitzpatrickson [Are you sure? - eds.] 4th year archaeology
The Student welcomes letters for publication. The editors, however, reserve the right to edit or modify letters for clarity. Anonymous letters will not be printed but names will be witheld on request. The letters printed are the opinions of individuals outwith the Student and do not represent the views of the editors or the paper as a whole. Editors Ed Ballard/Lyle Brennan News Neil Pooran/James Eellingworth Senior News Writers Guy Rughani/Anna MacSwan/ Anne Miller Comment Mairi Gordon Features Jonathan Holmes/Rosie Nolan/Lee Bunce/Catherine McGloin Tontine Julia Sanches/Geoff Arner/Hannah Rastall Lifestyle Kimberlee McLaughlan/Maddie Waalder Culture Emma Murray/Hannah Ramsey/Rachel Williams Music Andrew Chadwick/Jonny Stockford Film Tom MacDonald/Sam Karasiik TV Fern Brady/Susan Robinson Tech Alan Williamson/Craig Wilson Sport Martin Domin/Misa Klimes Design Arvind Thillaisundaram Illustrations Genevieve Ryan/ Henry Birkbeck Photography Calum Toogood/Julia Sanches Website Jack Schofield President Neil Pooran Secretary Rachel Hunt Treasurer Madeleine Rijnja
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Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Magazine: Features 13
At your (Careers) Service Although graduate employment rates may be suffering due to the recession, it’s not all doom and gloom in the Careers’ Office, as Neil Pooran discovers t’s difficult to pick up a paper Ident, these days, including The Stuwithout coming across a few
doom-and-gloom stories about the economy. With company after company going under and talk of a slump in graduate recruitment in some areas, students are becoming increasingly concerned about finding a job after they graduate. Yet there is one service which, perhaps more than any other, can help students get themselves on a path to job security, and it’s only a few minutes away from the lecture hall. The Careers Service and its online job site SAGE are known by most students as the place to go when the spectre of graduation begins to loom and a job in McDonalds looks distinctly unappealing. Despite this, it is often underestimated just how comprehensive a careers advice service the University offers, and failing to take advantage of it quickly enough could cost you dearly. Thinking about life after University can be daunting, but Careers Advisor and 10 year Careers Service veteran Matt Vickers is adamant that starting the post-graduation job hunt early on will pay off. “Darkening the doors of the Careers Service will improve all of your chances for employment across the board” he told me in the Service’s Buccleuch Street offices. I caught up with him just after he had been role-playing as a graduate recruiter in a mock job interview with a medical student. If you’ve got your first real job interview coming up and you feel unprepared it can be useful to have a trial run with someone who understands the job market, he explained. There’s no doubt
that this year’s graduates will have to compete very hard to get higherpaying jobs, but this is nothing new. Recruitment in many industries has undoubtedly dropped: a survey of employers conducted in January revealed that recruitment in investment banking is down 47 percent since last year; retailing is down 26 percent and accountancy by 15 percent, while jobs in the media are down by 32 percent. But jobs in other sectors have remained stable or in some cases (especially in the relatively secure public sector) picked up. During the recession in the early 1990s, there were similar fears that recruitment would plummet, though these turned out to be short-lived. “In the 90s many big employers froze their graduate recruitment programmes, and for a time they saved a little bit of money. The problem was that a few years later, when the economy picked up again, they found themselves with a shortage of new staff,” Vickers said. Anecdotal evidence suggests that those employers aren’t keen to make the same mistake twice. Though until employment statistics are released for last year’s graduates, we can’t be entirely sure as to how healthy the economy is for graduates. The 2007 graduate cohort tended to do reasonably well for themselves, with only 9% not going into some sort of work or further study. That’s down from 12% and 13% for 2003 and 2004 graduates. The statistics
vary across the University’s different degrees and colleges, and you can find out where graduates with your degree have gone on to on the Careers Service’s ‘Destinations’ webpage. Unsurprisingly, medics and vets tend to progress straight into their respective professions, but science and humanities students have more uncertain career paths. “There’s a perception that people studying History, for example, have to go in to careers to do with History like museum curators or archaeology, but this isn’t the case” Vickers told me, before listing off the many jobs History graduates have ended up in. He is keen to stress that you don’t need to have your entire working life planned out before you approach the Service. Indeed, you can come in completely blind and still expect to receive some helpful points on how to gain employment. While unemployment is a fear all students will share, ‘underemployment’ is also a growing concern. We’ve all heard of people getting stuck in low-end jobs behind counters after they graduate, and as such the Careers Service is available to people up to two years after they graduate. If you’ve moved to another city, Careers Services at other universities are available t o
you for one year after graduation. But you don’t have to be earning money to be making the most of your time after graduation. A substantial number of graduates (56 from the class of 2007) go into voluntary work in places like the Citizens Advice Bureau or aid agencies. Rather than viewing such endeavours as an easy way out of employment, the Careers Service says that putting in hard work for an ethical organisation can rarely look bad on a CV. “When it comes to volunteering, ‘the more the merrier’ is a good rule” says Vickers. “Lots of employers won’t differentiate between paid and voluntary projects. It’s really the only way forward in some careers, so it is by no means a soft option” Many universities in other countries lack Careers Services, so the Service here in Edinburgh aims to be especially useful to visiting students. The first Careers Service was born in America in the wake of the First World War, and the institutions rapidly spread around America’s Ivy League schools bef o re
reaching Europe. As well as offering tips on how to spruce up your CV, you can book yourself into ‘practice aptitude tests’ and psychometric exams to get an idea of the kind of vetting processes some employers use when hiring new staff. These can be pretty daunting and are usually quite tough, but are an accurate reflection of what some employers will put you through. You can also find a ‘Prospect Planner’ online, which will help you find out what you can offer an employer and help you compare job options after you answer a series of questions. Ultimately though, students have to take responsibility for their own career prospects. Competition might be fierce, but it is good to know that people like Matt are available for at least a few words of advice. After all, graduation comes around quicker than you’d expect.
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
The return of diplomacy Laura Wishart speaks to Shadow Foriegn Minister David Lidington MP about how Britain can improve its position in the Middle East - without making everything worse hings in the Middle East look T bleak: the violence rages on in Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamic extremism
is on the rise, Iran continues to refuse to cooperate with nuclear weapons inspectors, and the recent war in Gaza has placed the spotlight once again on the seemingly irreconcilable conflict in Israel-Palestine. It’s easy to lose hope for a peaceful resolution to any of these problems. Yet there is cause for cautious optimism. Barack Obama has extended the hand of friendship to the Middle East, marking a clear break with the Bush administration’s aggressive, interventionist policies. On our side of the pond the Labour government, Bush’s chief ally in the “war on terror”, are losing popularity. As Labour’s opinion-ratings drop, a Conservative win at the next General Election seems ever more likely. What changes would this mean for British Middle East policy? Moreover, and can Britain actually make a difference to the many challenges facing the Middle East? Speaking to The Student, Shadow Foreign Minister, David Lidington, answered the second question in the affirmative: “Britain can make a difference”. Indeed, he argues that Britain must remain involved in the Middle East. Our geographic proximity to the region and increasing economic and cultural links mean that peace in the Middle East is of huge national interest: “it is in our interests that we get peace and stability in the Middle East. The Middle East is next door to Europe, if you get weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East that is going to affect Europe. The major part of our oil and gas supplies come from the Middle East. We have significant British investments in the Middle East and there are marvellous opportunities for Britain if the Middle East gets political stability”. Reflecting on recent events in Gaza, Lidington reaffirmed the Conservative party’s commitment to a two state solution for Israel and Palestine as the only way to forge a durable and stable peace.
Above: sectarian protesters in Iraq
The one lesson we have learned from Iraq is that we cannot impose a Westernstyle Democracy... The extent of our influence will depend a great deal on the quality of our relationships with the leaders of Middle Eastern countries, and those relationships can only be built through perseverance over a long period”
Despite the war and the following tenuous ceasefire Lidington believes that not only is the two state solution still viable but that the alternatives are “appalling”. “I think it is very important that the American administration and the European countries press urgently to resume talks towards a two state solution” he said “I think the alternatives are appalling. What is the alternative to two states? It is a continuation of the current situation which is inherently unstable and bound to lead to greater bitterness and violence”. However, Lidington also noted that there are limitations to Britain’s involvement, saying “I don’t want to exaggerate what Britain can do; ultimately it is the countries of the region that have got to agree on a settlement and stick to it”. This stepping back from the frontlines in the Middle East is a theme that echoes when he addresses Edinburgh’s Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World later: “The one lesson we have learned from Iraq is that we cannot impose Western style democracy” he said, “we cannot instruct, it would be counter-productive for us to lecture people on how they should do things”. Instead Lidington advocates a policy of influence through good relationships in the region. Lidington praised Obama’s initiative in holding out an olive branch to Iran, branding the Bush administration’s policy of isolating its enemies “foolish”. “Conversation allows us to confront our differences. We need to resolve those differences” he said. In fact, improving relationships with Middle Eastern leaders through nurturing dialogue appears to be the cornerstone of a future Conservative government’s Middle East policy. Lidington sees this as the crucial difference between the strategy of the current government and that of a prospective Conservative government. “The present government has taken old relationships for granted” he said, “What I would want any British government to do, whether it is Conservative or Labour, is to make a determined effort to elevate the quality of our relationships with the countries
of the region to really understand what makes them tick”. This understanding is something that Lidington has developed personally through extensive travel in the Middle East, taking in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Israel and the Palestinian territories in the last year alone. He believes that Britain can make a difference in the Middle East but qualifies this by stressing, “the extent of our influence will depend a great deal on the quality of our relationships with the leaders of Middle Eastern countries and those relationships are things that can only be built up through perseverance over a long period of time”. Whether a Conservative government would be able to use diplomacy to re-establish and cultivate relationships in the Middle East remains to be seen. Our long association with Bush’s failed and misguided “war on terror” has left the British reputation in the Middle East bruised and only diplomatic TLC will be able to cure that. In addition, the economic crisis that is dominating British domestic politics
Educated at Haberdashers' Aske's school and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he won University Challenge
Became special adviser to then Home Secretary Douglas Hurd in 1986, before Conservative MP for Aylesbury in 1992
Was Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before his appointment as Shadow Foreign Secretary
means that we have few resources available to spend on costly military operations based on faulty ideological notions. A more pragmatic and diplomatic approach to Middle East relations will be less expensive, both financially and in terms of Britain’s reputation abroad. The simplicity of Lidington’s vision for the Middle East Policy of a future Conservative government makes it convincing. In its caution and modest aims – its small-C conservatism – it is decidedly British in character, with the interests of Britain at its heart. Of course, what a party says in opposition and what it can do when faced with the realities of running a country are two very different things. The volatility of the situation in the Middle East means that things can change in a heartbeat, and it remains to be seen whether this vision of renewed diplomacy and relationship-building will succeed, or whether the shifting sands of Middle Eastern politics will force a future government to return to less sensitive policies in search of a surer footing.
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Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Magazine: Features 15
ARTHUR’S SEAT On my first day visit to Edinburgh, doubtless following the tracks of many foreign students before me, I scrambled up the cliffs to the top of the 250 metre Arthur’s Seat and immediately decided to go to University here. Now I’ve climbed the Seat too often to remember, spent summer days and winter nights on top, camped out in the park, watched the entire thing go up in smoke on Guy Fawkes night. The mountain is the best part of Edinburgh. I’ve also found that my first route up is still the best. Start at Holyrood and walk south. Before you is the decently sized bowl that is the vestige of an extinct volcano. If that’s not interesting, you shouldn’t be taking geophysics. To your left is the beautiful Holyrood Abbey, to your right is the remains of one of the mountain’s ancient forts. Walk most of the way up through it, until you are level with the
wooded flank of the steepest part of the hill. At this point, ignore the main traverse, and walk up through the small footpaths that meander through the burnt remnants of what was before November 5th, 2006. At some point you’ll have to fight through some gorse. And then go up past a scree field. It’s worth it when you come to a deserted little area beneath the summit, where you can look out over the valley. This is probably the most calming retreat you’ll find in Edinburgh. Way better than the summit itself, which is colder, rocky, and crowded. Climb back down by going over the shoulder of the hill to Samson’s Ribs, down through the funnel to the steps that lead to Queens drive, and have a nice walk around to where you started. The only downer to contemplate is that the best walk in the city is the one that actually removes you from it.
Edinburgh on foot
Richard Littauer, who took a year off from his degree to go hiking around the world, gives his top three walks in Edinburgh
MEADOWS TO NICOLSON ST
ROYAL MILE & COWGATE As any first year English student who has read Hogg or Stevenson can tell you, this city has a history of unseemly dual personalities: on the one hand, welcoming, open, Scottish quaintness, and on the other hand closed, dreary, damp Scottish darkness. Start on Hunter Square, where the preteen goths hang out like a swarm of bad-tempered blackbirds. Initially, there is a lot of space, the buildings don’t tower over you, and there aren’t too many cigarette butts in the cobble stones. Keep walking, however, and you find yourself on Cowgate, one of the most depressing streets in Edinburgh. Lots of people full of alcohol at two in the morning would disagree with me. If you go west from there, the state of the road doesn’t get better: it smells funny, and the views up side streets add to the feeling of claustrophobia. And if you turn east, there’s a huge bridge above your head that drips stale water on you. The heart of nasty Edinburgh. When you finally emerge, it’s through a cramped sidewalk where newspapers have been plastered by rain and by more horrible liquids.
At the end of that one can breathe freely in the Grassmarket. Turn up Victoria Street, which has a lovely sinuous curve and some interesting shops, and always a lot of construction work on the corner. Edinburgh always feels like a work-in-progress, never finished or complete. Everywhere you go, the skyline is disrupted by cranes. But you can avoid the scaffolding by taking the handy shortcut up to the Royal Mile half way up the street, which leaves you walking up the Upper Bow, and then looking to the left to see the castle left behind in the Grassmarket. Now you’re squarely in nice Edinburgh. Turning to the right (sneering at the shop with the stupidest name in the world, Thistle do Nicely), you can walk a bit further and see the Firth far off in the distance. No matter how much the view is impeded by neds, and tourists shops selling cheap kilts, you can always just look out and contemplate that that same body of water leads on to Guam, Hokkaido, Tahiti, Puntas Arenas.
Walking down Middle Meadow walk can be fantastic, in Summer with the greenery on both sides, or in the two weeks when the cherries are in blossom, or especially in the Autumn. Of course it can be a nightmare, like when you’ve got a nine o’clock lecture and the Edinburgh wind is blowing so hard you feel almost brutalised. Continue to Forrest Road, which is never clean, always busy, and linger at Bedlam for a moment to look down George IV Bridge, traffic-cluttered, flanked by buildings that seem too big for it, and usually road-blocked by something at some point or another. Take a right down Chambers street next, past the sadly-closed National Museum. The sidewalks here are wide enough to make any agoraphobic become kenophobic, and something about having a parking lot in the middle of the street always struck me as odd. But I digress. Nicolson is next, the quintessential Edinburgh thoroughfare, perfectly imperfect with street-signs dinged from errant busses, pedestrians bodly ignoring the little green man, and enough falafel shops open to feed the entire nation of Tuvalu for a month. I normally take off my headphones for this street to experience the calming overload of sound. This street has so much going on that I normally pass by Gifford Park the way to university, that forgotten street where a building should be, which looks delightfully suburban. Avoid Buccleuch Street, which is long and dull, despite a few points of interest (like the Dagda Bar, where the smoking ban apparently hasn’t occured). Walk from there down Boroughloch Lane, with its absurd abundance of winds and cobbles, and you’re back at the Meadows.
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
16 Magazine: Culture
Film revolutionary road Directedby Gus Van Sant
evolutionary Road tells the R claustrophobic story of Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Kate
Winslet) Wheeler, a young couple in the 1950s trapped in what should be a comfortable world of American suburbia after having their dreams dashed by a life of relentless homogeny and need to conform. Frank despises his job, and finds his only release in seducing a naïve secretary, while April is a resentful failed actress who has found herself placed firmly in the roles of housewife and mother far earlier than expected. Slowly realising they’ve lost sight of their hopes, they attempt to justify their unfulfilled lives, lashing out at each other in fierce personal arguments, portraying the brutal disintegration of a relationship between people never meant to be together. Directed by Sam Mendes, this faithful adaptation of Richard Yate’s 1961 novel is a far cry from Winslet and DiCaprio’s previous collaboration in Titanic. Here we find powerfully emotive actors skilfully portraying the hopelessness and numbness of a marriage not merely on the rocks, but already dashed against them. As the plot-centred on a proposed escape from their mundane suburbia to the foreign Eden of Paris-Frank and April’s desperate attempts to hold onto the frayed remnants of their relationship are displayed with a powerful reality. Di Caprio brilliantly captures a broken man, forced to live too long on nothing but the merits of his charm and whose deepest fear is that he may eventually find he truly is no different to the featureless suits surrounding him. In turn, Winslet’s treatment of the damaged yet hope-
rachel getting married Directedby Bryan Singer
hose among you who particularly T enjoyed Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries, Ella Enchanted or,
indeed, The Princess Diaries 2, would be advised to approach her latest performance in Rachel Getting Married with caution. A chain smoking, psychotic, straight talking addict is perhaps not the ideal role model for a Disney watching pre-teen. Yet Hathaway has straddled these two worlds previously, by way of costume drama and fashion flick, with apparent success and manages to do so once again in Rachel Getting Married, on this occasion gaining an Oscar nomination for her efforts. The central narrative is simple enough: Kym (Hathaway plus bad haircut and heavy eyeliner), out of rehab for the weekend, is returning home for her sister Rachel’s wedding; a catalyst that threatens to tear the family apart. Preparations for the impending nuptials and middle class suburbia are
ful April who longs for a life she can “truly feel” is fantastic, capturing both the intense anger and determinedly hidden sorrow of a woman stripped of her power. Not to be downplayed is the contribution of Michael Shannon’s portrayal of John Givings, the unhinged son of the Wheeler’s busybody neighbour (Kathy Bates). His infrequent appearances later in the film are nothing short of sensational and provide, ironically, the clearest and most honest interpretations of Frank and April’s collapsing relainevitably upended as Kym, fragile, needy and hysterical, makes her presence felt with a torrent of verbal attacks and a demand for the limelight. Hathaway’s nomination is justly deserved for what is a suitably vulnerable and tense performance, balancing Kym’s outbursts with a subtle agony that one feels her Hollywood peers may not have picked up on. However, to say that Hathaway’s performance undermines the entire cast’s role in making Rachel Getting Married the success that it is would be difficult. The overbearingly loving father (Bill Irwin), overshadowed older sister (Rosemarie DeWitt) and Debra Winger’s excellent portrayal of an icy, distanced mother, leave the audience with shifting sympathies. We witness their every emotion, argument and reconciliation, as Kym’s return lays bare simmering tensions and family secrets. Director Jonathan Demme is no stranger to Oscar attention, after his prestigious winner of fifteen years ago, The Silence of the Lambs, became one of only three films to manage a ‘clean sweep’ at the awards, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Rachel Getting Married, however, is more aligned with his previous independent film and documentary work. Demme manages a high degree of realism in the picture,
tionship. His sporadic yet powerful display of insight is unhindered by the social pantomime which dictates the actions of every other character, highlighting just how little between Frank and April is said aloud and multiplying the effect of the deafening silences later in the film. Revolutionary Road is ultimately a critique of the cost attached to failing relationships and manages this well. However, the film does have drawbacks, chief among these perhaps a too strict adherence to the Yate’s original plot. Certain scenes feel
stilted, the underlying anger diluted, the audience treated as mere objective observers to something overly scripted and inevitable. The performances are excellent but sometimes too detached, thus neutering the raw emotive force of the verbal conflict between April and Frank. Mendes’s adaptation is overall, despite minor drawbacks, a fine example of a successful translation of literature to the screen. Revolutionary Road will leave you emotionally drained-as a wonderfully delivered analysis of emotional self-destruc-
realised in his steadycam, wedding video-esque style, achieving an improvised and ragged feel that is intensely intimate. Speeches, family dinners and parties on the eve of the big day are left unedited. Occasionally these meandering scenes drag, yet one in particular provides the most insightful
and excruciating moment in the film. Kym’s improvised toast at the prewedding dinner, ridden with rehab gags, is both comically self-centred and oddly endearing, a sometimes faltering script kept airborne by Hathaway’s brilliant understanding of her character. Whilst Rachel Getting Married
tion undeniably should-and, from the perspective of students, with a greatly increased fear of ‘real’ life after graduation. The deranged John’s unerving rational statement “You want to play house, you got to have a job. You want to play nice house, very sweet house, you got to have a job you don’t like” will worry more than one among us, but Revolutionary Road is ultimately a great success that deserves to be seen. Craig Kerr McIntyre
can be suffocatingly uncomfortable viewing, arguably overlong and too overtly conscious of its aims, sometimes appearing manipulative, it remains a sharply poignant exploration of the dysfunctions and affections that are inherent in every family. Maya Groon-Glaspie
Love your popcorn? email@example.com
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Magazine: Culture 17 STAR RATING Truly revolutionary
HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
Avoid at all costs
NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAY LIST DIRECTEDBY
Nick is Michael Cera, or maybe it’s the other way around. The broody, awkward method actor and/or teen heartthrob plays the straight bass player in an otherwise all-gay rock band who has been brutally dumped by his girlfriend. Norah (Kat Dennings), happens to harbour a bit of a crush on Nick, having discovered the discarded break-up mix CDs Nick made for his ex-girlfriend. The couple are serendipitously mixed together in an all-night search throughout New York City as the pair hunt down a secret gig by their favourite band, a Before Sunrise for the Juno generation. The motley crew includes Nick, Norah, the dreaded ex, Nick’s gay best friends and Norah’s stereotypically drunk best friend, who needs to be kept under constant watch, or she’ll wander off and find herself kidnapped or cuddling a bus station toilet. With a relatively unknown director and cast, aside from our two leads, these guys were given free reign to act stupid and have fun with the film and it really shows. Who can’t love an excursion to an all night, all gay, Christmas cabaret?
This is director Peter Sollett’s first major film after the celebrated Raising Victor Vargas and he’s done a pretty good job of it. Infinite Playlist feels like everyday events put into film honestly, and without pretense. It’s a story of that time when, a month after getting dumped you finally find someone else who makes you smile, and just to
kick you in the ass, your bitch of an ex pitches up with a newfound interest in rekindling lost love. The film is short, but sweet and is a great bit of fun with a great soundtrack. As seems expected from Michael Cera films, the soundtrack was almost as kick-ass as that of Juno and the feel-
ing of the film owes much to the song selection. A lot of people won’t appreciate Nick and Norah, not least my unenthused flatmate who seems to have lost 2 hours of her life she will never get back. However, if you’re looking for a silly film with music, comedy and the most annoying ex girlfriend you could
Crouching Tiger, hidden Ox? Shan Bertelli explores the state of Chinese cinema as we enter the year of the Ox n Monday the 26th of January, O the two week-long celebration of Chinese New Year welcomed in the Year of the Ox. According to the Chinese zodiac, the year of the Ox is one of fortitude, hard work and prosperity (famous ‘oxen’ include George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Barack Obama...) The festivities eschew these qualities, typically revolving around eating as much as physically possible and traditions intended to bring good luck, for example; not cutting your hair, not seeing specific people on certain days, and (everyone’s favourite) getting money from older relatives in hong baos (red packets). Putting the wild celebrations aside for one moment, it seems an auspicious time to see what the year of the Ox may bring for the world of Chinese cinema. In recent years (Rat, Pig, Dog, Rooster…) Chinese cinema has been doing increasingly well internationally. It may not have reached the same level as Ang Lee’s 2000 surprise Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which took the world by storm, but China has been producing some spectacular films of late. Gone are the days when the only recognised names in Chinese cinema were Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Ang Lee (“All the Lees!”) and Jackie Chan. It may take a bit of effort and horrible mispronunciation but names (such as Yang Zimou, Gong Li and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), long familiar in their home country, have slipped into international recognition.
This surge in the film industry is hardly surprising; with China’s economic boom, slightly more relaxed attitude towards art (the Cultural Revolution imposing heavy restrictions for several years) and no shortage of extras, it seems that nothing stands in the way of Chinese cinema. However, the Asian film market is notoriously competitive. Each country has their own brand of film; Japanese horror, Korean cult and comedy, Thailand’s martial arts films… Each of these are rapidly gaining popularity in the West, even if it is in the form of second-grade remakes with Z-list actors taking over from homegrown talent (Shutter, The Grudge). This is not to say that there have been no successes however: in 2007, The Departed (the American remake of Infernal Affairs) won Best Picture and films like Hero have made huge profits at the box office. Even though Chinese film does not have a budgeting problem (often spending on one scene the amount of money that could get three Thai movies made), it is still struggling to achieve the same cult status in the West enjoyed by films such as Oldboy and Ong Bak. Opting out of the wave of success that has been ‘Asian horror’, the biggest Chinese films can generally be divided into three categories; political drama (Summer Palace; Lust, Caution), crime (After This Our Exile, Election), and, the most successful; epic (Assembly,The Warlords, Red Cliff ). Asian film’s coveted Golden Horse award is most often presented to films of the latter genre,
last year’s winner Kung Fu Hustle, a comedy which did very well on limited release in the U.S., a clear indication of Chinese film’s ability to make inroads into international markets. Kung Fu Hustle defied convention by being released in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. Chinese and Taiwanese films are typically shot in Mandarin, whilst Hong Kong films stick to Cantonese. These national divisions often strongly influence the films themselves but, by using foreign actors ( Japanese Takeshi Kaneshiro and Malaysian Michelle Yeoh) or not adhering to the local canon, Chinese films are beginning to blur the lines between borders in a way
that diplomatic and political relations have failed to do. When Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was released, it was criticised locally for being too Westernised. Now, after years of establishing a foundation of good film, Chinese filmmakers have the confidence (and funds) to expand in any creative direction. Whether it’s going back to the Chinese tradition of the long epic ( John Woo’s Red Cliff ) or taking a completely new approach (Cape No.7), Chinese film is definitely something to keep an eye on in the year to come.
Hi, I’m Huey Lewis. And this is The News. I can’t write for shit but The Student’s Film editors hired me in order to get some laughs. With that opening line, I can only hope we haven’t disappointed. The venerable Mickey Rourke, his acting career ressurected by The Wrestler, has been approached by WWE (the former World Wildlife Fund) with a view to enter the ring for real. Rourke mulled over the absurd offer for all of a minute before gracefully... accepting the offer?! “Chris Jericho (a wrestler of some renown), you better get in shape because I’m coming after your ass!” the actor apparently said... Jesus... Billy Elliott of ‘Jamie Bell’ fame will appear as the title character in Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s upcoming 3D motioncapture project The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, the title character being Tintin rather than the unicorn, obviously. Hergé’s original series has sold 200 million copies worldwide and been translated into 70 languages, MORE LANGUAGES THAN THERE ARE COUNTRIES (look it up online). The film is expected to be birthed from Jackson and Spielberg’s pioneering celluloid uni-womb in late 2011. Office worker and failed Italian author Adriana Pichini has filed a lawsuit against Brad Pitt-starring film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, claiming that the storyline is based upon a short story that she herself penned in 1994. Even though the film is based on a famous 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald short story titled ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’. GOOD LUCK ADRIANA, FROM ALL OF US AT STUDENT FILM. The Power of Grayskull is stronger than usual in Hollywood right now, with He-Man and chums set for a triumphant return to screens in a reworked (you better not have reworked Skeletor, dude...) version of the distinctly awesome franchise in 2010. Interestingly, Skeletor was played in the original flicks by Frank Langella, Oscar nominated last week for his performance as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. I’m sure he understands the inevitability of a career decline after such auspicious beginnings. I hear that Universal Pictures are planning a reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. Which is a great idea considering the first two films were dire, Angelina Jolie refuses to return to the role of ‘archaeologist’ Lara Croft, and hot pants have slipped out of fashion again (I know!). Personally I was one of the few to actually enjoy the first two films (it’s easier to get away with if you get it on DVD), so much so that I was unable to stand up for three days after viewing them. I was younger then, more virile, a real Jimmy Dean about town... Huey Lewis will return...maybe. Tom MacDonald and Sam Karasik. Not Huey Lewis.
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Don't look back in anger THE VIEW Which Bitch? SONY BMG
he release of T ‘5 Rebecca’s’, the first single
BEIRUT March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland POMPEII RECORDINGS
eirut stand out like a sore B thumb in today’s music scene, with Zach CondoN, the prodigious
22-year-old behind the band, forever moving into new musical territories. Gulag Orkestar, his band’s debut, was a Baltan-inspired record that showcased Condon’s love of the brass band; Beirut’s sophomore effort, The Flying Club Cup, introduced the Gallic sounds of the accordion and the French horn, but it was still recognisably Condon’s music: rich, dramatic and romantic. This collection of two EPs, representing Condon’s 2008 output, is no different. Condon became obsessed with the funeral bands of the Oaxaca region of Mexico whilst working on a soundtrack to a Mexican film. That fell through, but the result is March of the Zapotec, an EP consisting of 6 new tracks with the Jiminez Band, a church-funded collective of 19. It is a predominantly instrumental EP, with Condon’s voice pushed to the front on ‘La Llorona’, ‘The Akara’, and ‘The Shrew’. The first of those tracks is a sweeping martial piece that focuses on a figure within South and Central American legend, “the weeping woman” (La Llorona), who kills her children after being rejected by the man she loved. The second, and highlight of Zapotec, is a mournful elegy based around repeating patterns of loss: “So long to these kite strings/So long, I’ve been saved/Before I’m saved once more”. Condon presents a thick, satisfying, and undoubtedly romanticised picture of Mexico, full of inconsolably grieving mothers, picturesque landscapes and revengeful wives. Realpeople Holland, an EP of home-made electronica, couldn’t be much more different. For Condon, this is a nostalgic reference to where it all began (Realpeople was Condon’s pre-Beirut bedroom project); his so-called ‘dirty secret’. It comprises 5 songs of far more insubstantial synth-pop that instantly recall Bright Eyes’ Digital Ash In a Digital Urn. Condon’s voice sits uncomfortably at times against the floating synths, begging for a trumpet or a trombone to accompany it; and therefore it’s no surprise that the most successful cuts, ‘Venice’ and ‘The Concubine’ combine either brass or accordion and computer-generated swathes of noise. These songs have been described by Condon as ‘palate-cleansers’, and that seems as accurate a term as any to describe the lightness of Realpeople after the intensity of Zapotec. Nevertheless, you can’t help but feel that the funeral band is the centrepiece here, the absorbing evidence of Condon’s ever changing musical map. Wherever next? Jonny Stockford
taken from The View’s latest offering, Which Bitch?, seems somewhat at odds with their official website url: theviewareonfire (.com). Perhaps this is dependent on your outlook; i.e. if you are a hedonistic youth, lost in the debauchery of indie rock success there is little time for such trifles. However, in the realm of mere mortals, one week at number 57, before the inevitable drop into the bargain bin does not appear to be a particularly blazing start to the campaign for the ever elusive second album success. After their 300, 000 selling, Mercury nominated debut, Hats Off to the Buskers, which spawned the commercially successful singles ‘Wasted Little DJs’, ‘Superstar Tradesman’ and ‘Same Jeans’, the Dundonian boys have had two years to come up with an adequate successor. So did a retreat to Monnow Valley Studios in Wales, producer of Oasis fame Owen Morris and the works of composer Gustav Mahler work their magic? Although the record is not going to change the face of music (which can essentially be surmised from the god awful title) it contains
TEITUR The Fame INTERSCOPE
few years A ago I stumbled upon a
wonderful waltz called ‘To Meet You’; Teitur – for it was his waltz– is well-loved in Scandinavia but yet to make his face known here, a travesty of melodic justice set to be put right by The Singer, streaming now at last.fm and out on CD (remember those?) this month. The orchestration and arrangements take in punchy brass (‘We still drink the same water’), theremin-like forlorn whistles (‘Letter from Alex’) and a drone-accompanied, unsettlinglychromatic string section (the Dylanesque outlaw narrative ‘Guilt by Association’). ‘Start Wasting my Time’ plays, in its many genres contained within, like a Beatles suite; spot the nod in “Will I ever get out of here” to Wings’s ‘Band on the Run’. Pessimism pervades the album: he is a “crook” on ‘Your Great Book’ (“Of course I’ll break your heart”); solemn trumpets juxtapose an airy piano figure in the album’s prettiest moment, ‘The Girl I Don’t Know’,
DARK SKIES AHEAD: We're guessing this is the bands 'moody look' enough eclecticism to ensure this indie outfit’s head stays above water, while many a counterpart falls by the wayside. Kicking off in a jaunty combination of grimy harmonica and old time piano,Which Bitch? veers from the orchestral to choral harmonies, by way of an attempt at Brit pop rap. The latter makes an appearance on ‘one off pretender’, an ode to a night in a Dundee jail cell, and while this is a little suspect, other experimentations work well. ‘Distant Doubloon’, a pirate themed take on their home town, is reminiscent of an epic sea shanty,
‘unexpected’ a rare moment of stringaccompanied reflections from lead singer Kyle Falconer on the death of his father. Despite this appearance of genuine progression, many of the tracks, including ‘5 Rebecca’s’ and follow up single ‘shock horror’ are still quite obviously basking in the glory of their heroes, The Libertines. While they are still young enough to reel out, at times somewhat samey songs, about getting wasted, their roguish melodies and sing along choruses guarantee them a captive audience. Yet, the exploration of musical genres, successfully quirky autobio-
and twinkling glockenspiels timidly tussle with the plink-plonk of ‘Don’t let me fall in love with you’ (“…if I can’t have you”). The voice itself, a marvellous larynx of lightness, lies between Fyfe Dangerfield of Guillemots and Damien Rice, with pathos maximised in stretching the very top of his range. ‘You Should Have seen us’ and ‘We Still drink the same water’ are musical cousins, siren-like harmonies undercutting the mellifluous voice, as are the title track and the xylophonic ‘Catherine the Waitress’, the Reichian musical ‘couples’ appealing to fans of Jens Lekman and Adem. The latter track, along with the hedonistic ‘Legendary Afterparty’ (“You rolled those cigarettes like you been to war”), is evidence of Teitur’s tremendous pop streak. “I was never meant to be a singer but I’m slowly getting used to the idea,” Teitur sings two minutes into a record on which he succeeds in converting his bardic statement into practice. Jonny Brick
graphical touches, not forgetting to mention a particularly high calibre of guest star (track 9, Paulo Nutini), suggests that The View do have the potential to survive the fickle world of the music industry. In short, Which Bitch? stands as a fairly accurate reflection of its maker - entertainingly chaotic, but falling short of setting anything alight just yet. Rachel Hunt
Don't go anywhere without your iPod? firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Magazine: Culture 19 STAR RATING Bloc Buster!
ELVIS PERKINS IN DEARLAND So Bored YOUNG TURKS
lvis Perkins has quite a family history. He is the son of actor Anthony Perkins (best known for his role as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho), the great-grandson of the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and a nephew of the actress Marisa Berenson. His paternal grandfather Osgood Perkins, was also an actor. So you could say that Elvis has a lot to live up to. His vocal style recalls both the melancholy swagger of Tom Waits and the worldly-wise weariness of Bob Dylan, but Elvis Perkins in Dearland is an album that is resolutely individual, even if some of its influences are obvious. After the tortured grief and anguish of his 2007 solo debut, ‘Ash Wednesday’ , Elvis Perkins and the musicians he tours with have come together to produce a collective follow-up that builds on its predecessor’s beautifully bleak foundations. An atmosphere of pain and sorrow pervades the record, but it is counterpointed by a rich layering and instrumenta-
tion that draws on a range of musical influences beyond simply the great singer-songwriters of previous generations. ‘Shampoo’ opens the album spectacularly, with reggae-inflected syncopation tempering its epic folk ballad style, and there are upbeat moments with crashing drums on ‘I Heard Your Voice in Dresden,’ and lilting piano on the plaintive ‘123 Goodbye.’ The lovely ‘Chains, Chains, Chains’ incorporates folk guitars, brass and violins in a style not dissimilar from Beirut’s more sombre moments, and stand-out track ‘I’ll be Arriving’ commands your attention with the mournful anger of its wall-of-sound. Over the top of all these musical layers, Perkins’ s voice reigns supreme, luxuriating in lingering notes of sadness or softly growling with regret. This means that Elvis Perkins in Dearland certainly isn’t an album that is always easy to listen to, and it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. However, its lyrical depth, emotional resonance and musical richness should ensure that many people will see beyond the legacy of its musical forebears and appreciate it for its own, not-inconsiderable merit: sorrow has rarely sounded so compelling. John Sannae
Things we've been listening to this week, both old and new TEENAGE FANCLUB - IS THIS MUSIC? (BANDWAGONESQUE) If you don’t own Bandwagonesque then you’re a numpty, especially because this track is one of the most instant, cheerful, epic instrumentals of the 90s. It even had a stint soundtracking Goal of the Month on MotD - says it all really. AMADOU & MARIAM - SABALI (WELCOME TO MALI) This was a real highlight from last year. Produced by Damon Albarn, it’s like nothing A&M have done before: an electronic song that builds to a soaring, emotional conclusion. Electrifying. TELEPATHE - CHROME’S ON IT (DANCE MOTHER)
BASTARD CHILD: If Elvis Presley and John Lennon had a baby, would it look like this? BLOC PARTY Gives You Hell INTERSCOPE/DOGHOUSE
ommy SParks, tonight’s support, T furthers the theory that there must be some magic pop dust in Scandinavia’s water, such is their knack for making perfectly crafted tunes full of hooks and dreamy synth lines. File alongside Frankmusik (not Scandinavian, but could be) and Alphabeat. Bloc Party’s third album, Intimacy, crept out sometime in the latter half of last year without anyone taking any real notice. It didn’t appear on any endof-year lists, it didn’t produce a top ten single as their previous two LPs have. Upon the release of their debut, Silent Alarm, it was strange to think that in four years time they’d be the type of band who could release a record largely unnoticed, yet here we are in 2009 and the situation is very much just that. Yet tonight’s show is sold out, and the crowd greet the band with wild applause. Making Glasgow their first date back after a break from playing live is an inspired move, the city’s audiences are the most responsive and appreciative in the UK, and although Kele confesses to some early nerves, the
THEWEEK N.A.S.A Money feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge and Z-Trip
huck D? Political? Well, who’d C have thunk it? This comic book style video for N.A.S.A.’s debut single, ‘Money’ is directed by Syd Garon and Paul Griswold, features the artwork of Shepard Fairey. It takes images of communism, war propaganda and
capitalism to show how ugly obsessions with power and money can be. Maybe it’s a commentary, too, on the materialism of Hip-Hop culture. Guns? Check. Girls? Check. Money? Er, cheque. They’re all here. ‘Money’ features on N.A.S.A’s debut, The Spirit of the Apollo.
smiles come thick and fast once they really hit their flow about three songs in. It’s clear Bloc Party are enjoying themselves as much as the rapturous crowd, and the new songs go down as well as any of the classics. New single ‘One Month Off ’ proves a particular favourite, and the songs from Intimacy, played live, prove that the indifference shown towards it was grossly undeserved. They play ‘Banquet’ early, and it still holds its place as one of the great songs of the decade, whilst ‘Song For Clay’ and ‘Positive Tension’ provoke mass singalongs, as they should. After an hour, the band leave before coming on to an encore of ‘Mercury’ and ‘Helicopter’. It would make a spectacular finale, but it isn’t quite over. Kele and co are having so much fun they reappear to do ‘Ares’ and rightfully finish with ‘This Modern Love’, a track that should so obviously have been a single, and ranks amongst the very best of Bloc Party’s output. Those who thought the band were going to fade away into the realms of the indie alsorans could not have been more wrong. Tonight Bloc Party reaffirmed their status as one of Britain’s finest bands, a title they’ll maintain long after many of this year’s Next Big Things have disappeared into obscurity. AC
Brooklyn girl duo Telepathe are far better than any of the big success stories from that area, yes that’s you, MGMT, Vampire Weekend et al. This is a catchy little number from their debut, which you should totally check out. A. R. RAHMAN - JAI HO (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE SOUNDTRACK) The closer from Slumdog gets our vote for Best Original Song at the Oscars by a yard. TITUS ANDRONICUS - UPON VIEWING BRUEGHEL’S “LANDSCAPE WITH THE FALL OF ICARUS” (THE AIRING OF GRIEVANCES) The highlight of Titus Andronicus’ s immense debut LP, which you need. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - THE WRESTLER (WORKING ON A DREAM) The Boss at his world-weary, story-telling best, sadly overlooked in the Oscar Nominations. EVERYTHING EVERYTHING - HIAWATHA DOOMED (DEMO) This Manchester-based four piece from Newcastle sound like a more instant Field Music. This is a very, very good thing indeed. Hiawatha Doomed is a case in point. RÖYKSOPP - HAPPY UP HERE (JUNIOR) Groovy new dance track from the chill out kings, with a little help from Thomas the Tank Engine. BEN KWELLER - FIGHT (CHANGING HORSES) Texan troubadour returns with a story of truckers and interns and some catchy honky-tonk.
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
20 Magazine: Culture
Bob dylan: the drawn blank series Until March 15th, 2009 city art centre
Having won the Pulitzer Prize for contributions to popular music and American culture, Bob Dylan has concreted his position not only as profound lyricist but also poet and now artist, as demonstrated by The Drawn Blank Series, now receiving its Scottish debut at the City Art Centre. The collection consists of around one hundred paintings adapted from Dylan’s drawings sketches made while on tour in Asia, America and Europe between 1989 and 1992. While his acclaim predominantly lies within music and poetry, Dylan began drawing in the Sixties after a serious motorcycle crash, developing a unique style as thought-provoking as his music. Dylan said art allowed him to “put an orderliness to the chaos all around” and on seeing the exhibit it is clear that art really did provide him with such a release. Using a style reminiscent of Matisse, Dylan’s work retains the basic outlines of his original sketches, filled with bold colours and lined with thick dark strokes. The paintings journey through the years, depicting views from train windows, the faces of people met along the way, the hotel rooms and of course, the women who visited them.
Each work is given a suitably obscure title, for instance ‘View From Window’ and ‘Woman with Beret’, but in this way the paintings invite the same speculative interpretation as his music, prompting us to consider why these scenes so inspired Dylan. To an extent, the paintings allow us access to this creative process. With echoes of Warhol’s characteristic repeated image, the paintings show Dylan utilizing the emotive power of colour to re-vision the scenes to capture the different moods experienced upon reflection of that memory. In this way, paintings like ‘Woman in Red Lion Rub’ - one of the signature pieces in the collection - follow Dylan’s trend of performing new versions of old songs on stage by themselves depicting the evolving interpretations of his experiences by changing and adapting the original sketches. The nameless faces of the female nudes offer a glimpse into the edgier side of touring while still retaining the same reflective quality of the rest of the exhibition. It is refreshing to see ‘celebrity’ art that shies away from the stereotypical debauchery one has come to expect from tour confessionals and instead Dylan presents us with something much more sober and pensive as we see snapshots that are truly behind the scene. Rachel Williams
ART & tHEATRE
Jimmy the squid Until January 31st, 2009 BEdlam theatre
It’s not easy being a squid. Apart from being caught up in a constant battle for life in one of the world’s most unforgiving environments, they have three hearts, no sweat glands, and an unfortunate twist in anatomy means that they defecate over their heads. Fittingly then, life is not that easy for Jimmy the Squid, whose peculiar tale is told in Backwash Road, an original piece of comedy writing by Joe Sherwen and Mike Milne. Playing at Bedlam Theatre as part of the 2009 Student Festival, this is a brilliant, charming, farcical production that had its audience hooting with laughter. Poor Jimmy arrives at Backwash after a career-breaking oversight which culminated in some undercooked squid attaching itself to the face of an allergic Frenchman; thus earning him his regrettable nickname. Home to the flotsam of society, Backwash seems to be comprised
of a soup of dubious characters. When he arrives, the area is under a tight stranglehold by a character known as “The Head”. Now we all know how annoying it is to be subjected to health and safety waffle, but The Head is the pinnacle of bureaucracy personified. Gallivanting across the area spewing policies and sanctioning everything in a reign of red-tape, things are not looking good. All is not lost however, as Jimmy encounters Carmen, righteous defender of common sense, who wishes to break The Head’s sanitary monopoly on the place. Not an easy task, because as well as The Head, our unlikely heroes face opposition from mysterious gang leader Big Red, two incompetent detectives and two pesky small-time thieves. It is a dangerous place for Jimmy, and as he becomes irrevocably involved in the ensuing hubbub when our characters are shaken together, he begins to realise that he is out of his depth. Sound confusing? Don’t worry. Milne and Sherwen have written an outstanding script that weaves
The art of politics Luke Healy takes a look at Shepherd Fairey's portrait of Barack Obama uch has been made over the last M few weeks of the Smithsonian’s unprecedented purchase of Shepherd
Fairey’s collage ‘Barack Obama’. But, aside from the hype that surrounds it, what is the image itself actually saying? What is immediately clear is that this is no typical presidential portrait. Its creator is the L.A.-based street artist behind the ‘Obey Giant’ campaign, responsible for the millions of mysterious stickers bearing the face of a long-dead wrestler that can be found in cities throughout the world. He is a master of distribution; and ‘Barack Obama’ has a previous life
as the unofficial campaign posters, branded with three different monosyllabic slogans: “Change”, “Vote” and “Hope”; that became ubiquitous symbols of Obama’s campaign, translated to myriad t-shirts, mugs and computer screens. Fairey understands the need for his images to be portable. Though the Smithsonian have payed a presumably enormous fee for the original, this is a work designed to be seen in reproduction. Its flattened colours and bold legend make it eminently recognizable in the most artless of contexts. This vector drawing style is currently the most popular method
of conferring iconic status upon a subject - think Che. Iconic, that is, in the sense of something intended to be looked at cursorily and understood instantly, without the need for specialised analysis. In this sense, it is a democratic image, aimed at the many not the few. The vector drawing effect is widely available through photo-edit software. This image will be a visual precedent for decades to come -the internet is already swarming with spoofs- though root, it is a symptom of the techno-democracy at the heart of this era’s visual culture. There is another sense, however, in which iconization embraces an
emptying out of ideological content - again, think Che, whose image now frequents the mercantile contexts of the capitalist system he despised. Is this an image of a man that offers more style than substance in the face of incredibly high hopes? President Obama already looks on track to negate any such fears. Nevertheless, the world will wait with fascination the unveiling of Obama’s official presidential portrait in four to eight years time, whose tone will define a presidency just as Fairey’s image has defined its subject’s meteoric rise to office.
the stories together effortlessly and leaves a trail of riotous scenes in its wake. The show can boast of an extremely strong ensemble cast, with a stand-out performance from Richard Dennis playing Lenny, a sort of drunken Irish hobo version of a chorus that fills the intervals with rambling, but brilliant monologues. His accompaniment on the double bass by fellow vagrant George is a masterstroke, counterbalancing the chaos that is unfolding all around them. The set comes up trumps in setting up a dark and dingy atmosphere, that when combined with lighting and sound, builds up comic tension. If at some times the action lacked pace, this defect was overwhelmed by the energy of the production and the hilarious twists and turns of its plot. Backwash Road: The Tale of Jimmy the Squid is a fantastic platter of seafoody goodness that everyone should delve into and enjoy. Rick Stein would be proud. Ciara Stafford
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Magazine: Culture 2 Star Rating
What Else is On?
Bourne supreme! Enjoyable Fair enough Yawn Merely hollow hope
Bourne to dance
Jenni Smout worships at the altar of Matthew Bourne, choreographer extraordinaire the man who had all the luck
s OLIVER! opens on Drury Lane to critical acclaim and his production of Edward Scissorhands reaches its 500th performance, Matthew Bourne has gained the reputation as a somewhat superstar choreographer. Yet are his critics founded in claiming that he sacrifices artistic integrity for mere celebrity? OLIVER! is the most recent of three collaborations with Cameron Mackintosh and sees Bourne codirect a reality TV star, an aging comedian and a gaggle of cockney urchins. Or maybe this is an unfair example. Since OLIVER! along with Mary Poppins and My Fair Lady, are already musicals, this limits Bourne’s scope for artistic licence. However, Bourne’s most famous solo productions are hailed as unique in the world of dance. Born in 1960s east London, his love of theatre led to him standing outside stage doors with autograph book in hand. His love of the theatre made him enrol with the Laban Centre for Music and Dance in his twenties and perhaps also explains why his productions seem to be a fully-formed theatrical experience, as opposed to an abstract dance upon a bare stage. As an A-level student in Performance Arts, I worshipped at the altar that was Bourne. Despite having spent the previous decade of my life under the influence of Anna Pavlova and Rudolph Nureyev, I was simply blown away by the originality of Bourne’s approach. Ballet with a sense of humour? Unbelievable! Oversized sets and elaborate costumes? Incredible! Reversing genders in Swan Lake? Genius! His most famous productions re-work classic ballets such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker as well as the lesser known Les Sylphides, which he relocated to Scotland to create Highland Fling. He maintains the original score and basic plot but updates it with references to films and pop culture as well as a healthy dose of humour. The Car Man serves as a great example of this - Bizet’s Carmen is set in a garage in 1960s America and laden with references to The Postman Always Rings Twice. The abyss Run finished BEdlam theatre
byss is a new Edinburgh UniverA sity Theatre Company production for the Student Festival Week in
Bedlam. Written by Matt Wieteska, it paints a picture of a world in the verge of apocalypse. The protagonist, Winston, is living alone in grim surroundings when he is visited by a woman called Kate. Kate turns out to be an undercover journalist who knows Winston’s secret of participating in a special mission as one of the first inhabitants
Until February, 14th, 2009 the lyceum
should be so lucky? Well the Ilesser message from Arthur Miller’s known play, The Man
effect is remarkable. Bourne sets the ‘Toreador Song’ to a communal shower scene. This fresh approach makes what was once perceived as a high and exclusive art accessible to a mainstream audience, through sheer ingenious originality. In 2002, Bourne formed the company, New Adventures, as a break away from his previous company, Adventures in Motion Pictures’,which he had formed in 1987 after graduating from Laban. Initially, Bourne continued in the same artistic vein he had with Adventures in Motion Pictures by premiering his re-choreographed Nutcracker! in 2002. Like his early works, he used Tchaikovsky’s score but wittily reinvented the story of The Nutcracker in making it ‘a journey to the scrumptious candy kingdom of Sweetieland’. But just when Bourne threatened to become too sickly formulaic for even the most loyal of fans, he released Play Without Words. This in a colony recently established on another planet. However, Winston returned to the Earth as the sole survivor of the Mayflower 1 mission while the fates of many others remain unclear to the day. Kate manages to convince Winston to talk about the events and his miraculous story of escape for the first time. The plot unfolds simultaneously in Winston’s conversation with the journalist and his memories of the mission, also incorporating eerily entertaining replays of advertisements from the recruiters of Mayflower. Although the stress is laid upon the well-written dialogue and good sound effects, it would be
was Bourne’s first major success which didn’t rely on a pre-existing story or score and in my opinion his best production to date. Drawing influences from the 1963 film, The Servant, the piece follows three variations on a couple taking on a manservant called Prentice. Bourne’s trademark style is still very much present but the piece seems far more mature than his previous hit shows. Despite critical acclaim and winning a handful of awards, it remains neglected compared to Bourne’s other works which are regularly revived and touring. For example his production of Edward Scissorhands– a balletic interpretation of Tim Burton’s film – enjoyed its 500th performance last November and Johnny Depp reportedly ‘teetered on the verge of tears throughout’. Yet after seeing all eight of his original productions the award winning formula begins to wear thin. The most common criticism of more enjoyable if the set design was interesting. As Bedlam hosts several different plays a day, the opportunities to build a proper set seem to be quite rare. However, it wouldn’t hurt to have some symbolism in the decoration of the stage instead of a wall with the title of another play in the background. The audience is not given much information regarding the state of the Earth besides the occasional comments about everyone waiting for death in a world that has exhausted its resources and caused its own downfall. Nonetheless, while the eternal question about the choice between terrifying knowledge
Bourne is that his productions value style over substance – a theatrical version of David Cameron if you will. Bourne’s steps are often simplistic and repeated, however in his most recent ballet, Dorian Gray, based on the book by Oscar Wilde and premiered in this very city during the Festival, Bourne showed a development towards more complex partner work by mixing the eroticism of Play Without Words with the audience friendly narrative drive of Nutcracker! Despite this, Bourne still maintains the reputation as something of a lightweight amongst the more highbrow art circles. However, his company has performed Swan Lake more times in 12 years than the Royal Ballet has since it began. This lightweight has single handedly transformed the elitist world of ballet and encouraged more people than ever before into the theatre, not bad for someone who didn’t dance until he was 22!
and blissful ignorance is raised, not knowing becomes quite effective in terms of creation of suspense. In addition to what can be seen happening on stage, there are intriguing glimpses to the back-story of destructive developments concerning the fate of humanity. There’s a sense of merely hollow hope in the end but as the news of the current recession keeps on rolling in, the warning might not be far off the mark. Helen Harjak
Who Had All The Luck, claims fortune really can be this simple. David ‘lucky’ Beeves (Philip Cumbus) sees that everything he touches turns to gold and, while his family agree he deserves these rewards, he is certain that something, at some point, has to go wrong. Conversely his friends and family seem to face knock backs in life; his brother Amos (Perri Snowdon) dreams of becoming a professional baseball player but is left waiting for a team scout. Lucky Dave seems unable to justify his prosperity, which proves detrimental to his marriage and family. He must come to terms with wherever the tide may take him, as described by his disabled boss Shory (Matthew Pidgeon) using the analogy of a floating jellyfish. The Lyceum’s production is smooth as ever, with impressive sets and a solid cast. The first setting in a typical rural mechanics garage was set off by the arrival of a luxurious Marmon car which brought the audience into context while spicing up the stage. For act two it seems as if the Beeves have moved into Habitat in the sky, as the stage is split into three sections, with two large gaps revealing the outer weather. Hester Falk (Kim Gerard) who later becomes Mrs Beeves puts in an earnest performance and her on-stage chemistry with Cumbus is particularly believable. The supporting cast are largely without fault, notably, Gustav Eberson (Greg Powrie) the stiff Austrian mechanic is inevitably humerous. There are many attributes; however Millers dialogue and plot fail to construe theatrical magic. Fortune however did not seem to favour Miller’s 1944 offering as it was withdrawn a mere three days into its run and lost investors over $55,000. So why did the Lyceum look past the theatre classics and draw a ‘flop’ from the Miller compendium? This play, though less tactful, sows the seeds for Miller’s later triumphs, it is also an enjoyable and at times comic piece. Just don’t mull over the ending moral. Emma Murray
Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
22 Magazine: Culture
Tech Talk Memory chips are increasing in capacity, computers are getting faster and developers are making more computer games. Right, now the news is out of the way, let’s move on to the jokes. Gamestation in Princes Street had a Street Fighter IV arcade machine last weekend, which will be gone by the time you read this. After a brief session, I’m happy to report that it’s quite similar to previous games in the franchise: I am totally and utterly crap at it. Pummelled for two games by seasoned veterans, I walked away with a branded t-shirt wrapped around a wooden spoon. On the bright side, I didn’t lose to a twelve year old mashing the buttons with his fists like the average game of Street Fighter on Xbox Live. Throughout the humiliation there was a strong emphasis placed on competition between players. Anyone remember the days when you just played games for ‘fun’? There seems to be a very modern obsession with leaderboards, world rankings and objectives harder than dropping a tennis ball into a soup can from outer space. A good example is Far Cry 2, a title demanding superhuman reflexes just to open a door without having your face blown off. If developers hope to keep us engaged while playing their titles, they need to stop reminding us how much we suck at playing them. Alan Williamson
Why So Tedious?
Craig Wilson is a Joker, but for litigation reasons, not a midnight toker Lego batman PC | XBOX360 | Nintendo Wii £16.99–£39.99
Lego Batman is the latest in a series of movie-based Lego platform games following in the footsteps of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The comedic parodies of iconic scenes and simple, innocent fun have charmed me from the beginning, making me giggle like a nerdy man-child regardless of the recommended age. However, this just isn’t the case with the stony-faced Batman. The Lego formula remains unchanged once again: take two characters through Lego-themed levels, clobbering enemies, solving simple puzzles, smashing up the environment and earning hundreds of thousands of Lego studs while laughing all the way. Though retaining its predecessors’ faults, this new game suffers from an extra set of problems. Since the only change is the inclusion of Batman, the reason is painfully obvious to me. Batman is dull. He always has been and always will be. Due to numerous rebirths over the decades, there is neither a definitive Batman nor definitive iconic scenes to parody. Lego Batman
continues this trend for reinvention with a series of six original stories sortof-but-not-really inspired by the Joel Schumacher movies. The lacklustre plots reduce the scenes to pure visual gags alone, in which Batman is always the straight man (expect Robin to fall over a lot). It may not sound like a problem, but the charm and wit of the previous Lego games provided much needed relief and incentive to keep playing, ultimately saving the games from their own glaring flaws. Mr Unclear Objective and Miss Unreliable Controls make their annual visit bringing with them the usual frustrations as you fall, drown and combust navigating through the predominantly grey-brown levels. Not that dying comes with any real punishment. After a terminal discharge of studs, you will promptly be regenerated back into the same quantum state of confusion. This does mean that you can hurl yourself off the side of a cliff in the vain hope that you will respawn slightly further ahead, but that probably is not how the designers hoped you would play. Once these irritations have been overcome however, Lego Batman provides therapeutic treatment like a gaming aromatherapy session. Played lying down with some music in the background, you are not going to be mentally challenged or physically exerted by daft Wii gestures; a gentle point of
the Wii Remote targets enemies with the Batarang, and that’s pretty much it. Somehow the millions of lambent Lego studs and their promise of new characters and unlockables make most of the inherent problems melt away. It’s simple, dumb fun. After playing through each story as Batman, the option to play from the other side as the villains can and should be taken. The roster of evildoers and their special abilities is extensive. Whether wielding The Joker’s explod-
ing handshake or The Riddler’s mind control cane, it’s entirely more interesting and exciting to play the bad guy rather than The Batdork. Lego Batman is not devoid of charisma, just outclassed by its older and funnier siblings. Of course, the usual Lego rules apply and it is far more enjoyable to play with a friend than an atrocious computer-controlled sidekick. Now, do you want to know how I got these scars?
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Tuesday February 3 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Magazine: Culture 23
Have some Shame(less)
Kimberlee McLaughlan considers the new series of an outrageous show
afta-winning comedy Shameless has returned for yet another stab at complete C4 domination. Now in its sixth series, the question confounding even the most devoted fans will probably be concerning the general brevity of the good things in life: a tasty meal, a passionate love affair, or a bottle of fine wine. They just don’t last. As upsetting and abrupt as sudden withdrawal may be, is it not better to reflect on a good thing with rose-tinted glasses, before it results in a disappointing tail off? In this instance, Shameless should not be an exception. Perhaps it was best for ex-director Paul Abbot to have the series kick the bucket way back, after the glory days of charismatic middle class car thief Steve, played by James McAvoy. In spite of this unwritten rule of brevity, I have shamelessly hammered 4oD and been provided with hours of entertainment by the antics in one of Northern England’s most impoverished areas. It seems like only yesterday that the dysfunctional Gallagher family first exploded into the British mainstream, providing a witty and innovative account of Britain’s so-called 'underclass'. Although depicting working class life on a council estate is not groundbreaking, Shameless proved cutting edge in its execution. The public was instantly enveloped by such emotionally charged events as the
trials and tribulations of young Debbie Gallagher in dealing with her dysfunctional siblings and parents, Fiona Gallagher in her aspiring romance, and neighbours Kev and Veronica in their struggles to conceive a child. Paul Abbot strived to make the series comedic yet realistic in its portrayal of lowerclass life, even rejecting Matt Lucas and Bill Nighy cameo roles under the principle that celebrity intervention would interfere with the levelheadedness of the show. The result was an outwardly outrageous programme that some may find offensive (copulating in public places, tick, children stealing babies, tick, Geordie lesbians named Norma, tick) combined with the credible character development that gained genuine public empathy and admiration. However, as the programme won more critical acclaim, the show gradually departed from its original pledge of realistically presenting council estate life, and dabbled more and more in the realm of the ridiculous to win laughs. Frank Gallagher, already defined as an alcoholic, became a bumbling fool. Shane Maguire, in a bid to affirm his homosexuality, farcically dons a bright pink car or 'shagging wagon', which is supposed to enforce the walking contradiction of his struggling hardman status. Recently, Shameless has played on
BANGED UP: Frank Gallagher, not someone you'd hope to find in your letterbox its capacity for presenting the absurd, rather than nurturing the characters and their families. Thankfully, Episode One of the new series has managed to maintain its capacity for the bizarre, while representing a move back to familial relations and character develop-
ment. Narrated by new addition to the Gallagher family, baby Stella, the first episode sees the break-up of Debbie and her boyfriend Tom, which results in Frank summoning a heart-warming speech in defence of his teenage daughter. Upon suffering memory
loss, Ian grasps the ideal opportunity to allegedly 'forget' his homosexuality, and comments on the absurdity of his current situation when reminded. Hopefully Ian’s statement represents a return to the show’s former glory.
BIG CHEF TAKES ON LITTLE CHEF
Worst of all, Heston had to deal with the infuriating Little Chef boss; a plump little swamp-monster who insisted on slating everything Heston produced and constantly demanded 'blue sky thinking', a dread phrase of corporate banality whose advocates should be taken behind the nearest industrial estate and shot dead. Apparently we’ll be back in three months to see if Heston’s Popham revolution has spread across the nation. Verdict: the food looked superb, but you can’t help but feel Heston doesn’t have the ruthless streak required to salvage a brand in terminal decline. They should have got Ramsay.
Undercover, or under the cosh?
Thomas Kerr samples the tastiest dishes offered on the TV menu this week CHANNEL 4
ritain dearly loves a tacky and B slightly camp institution. The venerable Little Chef has been a sticky
UNDERCOVER: Blending in seamlessly on Brighton beach
THE UNDERCOVER PRINCES BBC3
he premise is simple: take three T single, sheltered foreign princes looking for a bride and install them in
a shared house in Brighton with one instruction – go forth and multiply. Remi, an exiled Sri Lankan prince of the royal house Jaffna, was joined by Mani, India’s first openly gay prince and a ludicrously youthful 43 years old, and the brilliantly named Prince Africa Zulu. Africa insisted eagerly that British girls were the best in the world, Remi said Princess Diana was his idol and wanted to meet a girl of aristocratic stock, Mani was happy just to meet some gay men. You can guess which of the three enjoyed the most success in Brighton. The pursuit of true love took something of a back seat to the antics of the princes. Freed from the shackles
of their formal upbringing and thrust into ordinary British life they seemed positively giddy about their new situation. They were quite the comedians too. After a moderately successful date, Remi decided to play a prank on his fellow royals. Stifling giggles, he informed the camera crew he would pretend to arrive home blind drunk, stumbling into the living room, he collapsed in a theatrical manner that would make Cristiano Ronaldo proud. Presumably somewhat unsure about what being drunk entailed, Remi lay unmoving on the ground. Africa angrily berated the crew for allowing a royal to humiliate himself, whilst Remi, rising like Lazarus, burst into a decidedly un-regal fit of giggles. Prince Africa Zulu was perhaps the most unwittingly hilarious of the three. During the second episode the princes decided to throw a house party and called up virtually every person they had met in the previous couple
of weeks. That wasn’t enough for Africa. He strode out into the street and accosted passers-by with invitations. Approaching a pot-bellied carpenter he warmly introduced himself with the fantastic line, “Hello good citizen, I like your wood”. At the party he insisted on making all the guests sign a behaviour agreement that referred to their house as a ‘compound’, giving it a faint whiff of a Bond villain’s stronghold. Mani was the true victor, meeting and apparently falling in love with shop assistant Mike, whose reaction to Mani’s true identity and regal attire was an underwhelming, “Ooh, that’s nice!” The princes invite their selected dates to visit them in their royal palaces in the final episode on Wednesday night. If Mike’s terrified face in the trailer is any guide, it promises to be a telly classic.
stop-off for generations of exhausted families who have nothing but a leaking caravan in Cumbria or a ferry terminal in Hull to look forward to. Few places better embody the spirit of a British institution. The grease, the grotty early 90s décor, the slap up breakfasts, the nostalgic echoes of our childhood: it all screams “I’M A FUCKING INSTITUTION!” Unfortunately, it’s also pretty bloody unappealing and apparently losing money hand over fist. We must not have another Woolworths on our hands, Great Britain. Send for the TV chefs! Riding to the rescue is Heston Blumenthal, the owner and chef at three Michelin star winning restaurant The Fat Duck, best known for his elaborate dishes and obsessive perfectionism. Over the course of three one-hour episodes filmed over several months he managed, just about, to achieve what Gordon Ramsay does in one hour in Kitchen Nightmares. He fixed just one restaurant: Popham Little Chef. Enroute he encountered some stubborn resistance from the uber-defensive Little Chef staff who were all too aware that they were being patronised by Heston’s pompous little chubby-faced assistant chef, and Little Chef customers who sagely noted that they don’t bloody want oysters in their Lancashire hotpots.
BIG CHEF: Ramsay reduced
Tuesday February 03 2009 studentnewspaper.org
24 Magazine: Life & Style
The importance of being idle Sophie Vukov loves just lounging about. Well, if Oscar Wilde did it... t’s now four weeks into the semester, Ihopefully and after the relaxation most of us got used to over the break, it
can be hard getting back into the swing of things. The ordeal of having to wake up and drag ourselves to those impossibly early 9 o’clock lectures has started once again, looming essay deadlines have been set, and the unfathomable amount of readings and books piled upon our desks incessantly reminds us that it’s time to get back in the game. The days of sleeping late and lazing around the house are over. It’s back to being productive and efficient, to putting your time to the best use possible. After all, time is money (or so we’re told), and as the country is now officially in recession for the first time in nearly 20 years, the fear of wasting precious seconds and dollar is strongly felt, even- largely unaffected by the financial crisis though we may be-by students. Yes, times are hard, and it seems you have to work harder than ever to get by in these dire days of downturn, but sometimes I think too much emphasis is put on being 'productive', and we forget that taking time to relax and actually do nothing does not always have to been seen as a 'waste'. Not only does everyone need a little downtime every now and again, but idleness is also beneficial for facilitating creative thought and inspiration. In fact, many influential intellectuals throughout history that we consider successful were in fact not very productive at all in the sense that we consider productiveness today. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called for a culture of leisure and idleness, claiming that most thinking is done 'with a stopwatch' and people are too 'afraid of letting opportunities slip' to dedicate time to contemplative idleness, which is essential for the development of creative and scientific ideas. Oscar Wilde, another famous idler, produced a rather small number of literary works in his lifetime,
and believed 'the condition of perfection is idleness', in which one allows time for daydreaming, long contemplation and intellectual thought. Wilde was opposed to spending too much time trying to accumulate material goods, and Nietzsche blamed the idea of the self-made man for the state of 'modern restlessness' in the world. Perhaps reading about the state of the economy has got me a little down, or perhaps I wish the holidays didn’t go by so quickly. Perhaps frantically running around Edinburgh in search of the locations of my new tutorials (anyone who has had class in Forrest Hill will
hopefully sympathise with my plight) has stressed me out. Trying to keep up with readings for lectures and finding yet again that all the books I need have already been taken out of the library may have made me a little edgy (a condition made all the worse by too many cups of watery MyCafe coffee), but I do find myself agreeing with Oscar Wilde and Nietzsche. I like the idea that idleness is something that should be valued as genuinely enjoyable experience, and not seen as a guilt-inducing waste of time which ought to be spent being “productive”, a word I have come to find extremely irritating. However, let’s not to get idle-
ness confused with laziness. Also, Oscar Wilde could praise idleness because he had the luxury of free time that came with being, well, loaded. So although you can’t live in a condition of idleness permanently, and once we graduate we’ll have to join the rat race like everyone else, I say we should embrace the free time that being at University gives us, and use it for leisure and chilling out. So daydream every now and then. Lie back, put on a great record, and learn, in the words of Mr. Wilde, “the exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any University can teach."
The student goes ott with utt The Student: Who are you? UTT: We are Untapped Talent, the university’s rock band society. The Student: Sell your society in 10 words.... UTT: Blood, Sweat, Tears and other less public fluids. The Student: What’s the craziest thing your society has ever done? UTT: Probably after going to the pub one Tuesday we all headed up Arthur’s Seat for a late night, freezing-cold-rain jam. Singing ‘Under the Bridge’ over the lights of the city was pretty cool. Losing half our members to pneumonia the next day was not. The Student: Who is your favourite member right now? UTT: I’d have to say Ruairidh Ironside, our events co-ordinator. He got caught trying to climb into Edinburgh Castle at night a few weeks ago. The Student: As a society, how fit are you from 1-10? UTT: I’d give us a fair 6/10, but in all fairness we have a large spread of results from heavy metal demons to jazz babes. The Student: What’s your society’s dream event? UTT: Probably an awesome battle of the bands, which we will be having as usual in March! The Student: Which Society is your BFF? UTT: We are good friends with the guys at EDGAR, so it will have to be them. We also love FreshAir and ENTS. The Student: Could you take down a bear? UTT: It’s a little known fact that bears explode upon high noise levels. So yeah, we could just turn our amps up to 11 and take it down that way. The Student: EUSA OR EUSAless? UTT: Both. EUSA for getting our lost cymbals replaced, and EUSAless for dragging us along in finding a permanent practice room. The Student: Are you on tinterweb? UTT: www.untapped-talent.co.uk, as well as various adult sites. The Student: Could you beat The Student in a fight? UTT: Paper beats Rock, right? So you’d totally win. The Scissors Society better look out though! The Student: Pick a song for your soc... UTT: Can we have two? We are a music society after all! Student: Oh, go on then... UTT: All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix and My Generation by The Who are classics. We would also like to point out that we hate Rockstar by Nickelback. The Student: Yes or no? UTT: Absolutely yes. Being in a band is all about the gluttony. The Student: Anything else to add? UTT: Yeah, in the topsy-turvy world of rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is always useful...
Just as iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction spoil the intellect." Leonardo da Vinci
This Week's Horoscopes CAPRICORN Dec 22—Jan 20
This week you must not com-
mit your time to anyone because something strange but exciting and wonderful will happen to consume most of your time and make you fall madly in love with life. Maybe an old flame will re-enter your life, or perhaps you'll grow another finger. If you have a pet, then you must give it a lot of love, and if you have a younger sister you must buy her some presents. AQUARIUS Jan 21`—Feb 19
Your heart tells you one thing,
but common sense suggests you do the opposite. This is a difficult situation, but the welcoming alignment of the moon and Mars indicates that you should only follow your heart and this will help you attain the truth. Venus, on the other hand, hates you. Prepare to fend off noxious clouds of sulfuric acid, atmospheric pressures of up to 92 times that of Earth and wave after wave of mighty Venusian scarab-warriors in the planet's relentless campaign to destroy you. PISCES Feb 20—Mar 20
You may be feeling old but
soon the fire of passion will ignite to make you feel young again. You are about to meet a special someone in a cafe, and by 'meet' read 'watch through a telescope'. This is particularly useful seeing how Valentine’s Day (named after the massacre) is just around the corner. To ensure good luck in this new affair of the heart, refrain from wearing red hats. They're too easy to spot in a hedgerow. ARIES Mar 21—April 20
If you have a maternal figure in
your life, it is time you allow yourself to start moving independently of their influence. To help yourself be more independent you should start cooking rice and eating less bread. Magic surrounds you, if you wear purple things you
feel it more. You are now alergic to marzipan. TAURUS April 21—May 21
have been avoiding your work for far too long . Like the father who never quite understood you, the shadows on the moon express their disappointment in your mediocre, and grey little life. But you are lucky this week because you might find a large sum of money on the 29 bus if you befriend a stranger dressed in bright colours this weekend. At least he might show you the affection you never received at home. GEMINI May 22—June 21
This is the week of opportu-
nities for you. Work hard but you must take out time to enjoy life. All the stars in the universe are aligned to your advantage. You are a god-child: the cosmos bends to your very whims and desires, and your power is only limited by your imagination and cruelty. To fully enjoy this rare occasion go up to Arthur’s seat, and make love to your significant other under the naked sky. CANCER June 22—July 23
Do as your significant other
wants because it seems that your perception of reality is terribly clouded. This is not a permanent condition and will disappear after the full moon. In the meantime you should spend little money, eat lots of tomatoes, and drink lots of mango juice and rum. Beware of heavy objects and try avoid making any large purchases. LEO July 24—Aug 23
Make lots of things with
your hands. Drink lots of tea and reflect on your life. Your home needs your attention right now, so do not ignore it. Try not to go
Cryptic Crossword #2
Puzzles into large fields this week because you are in danger of being attacked by angry bees in a natural environment. Your karmic allignment is OK, but far from brilliant, so try not to steal any of those DVDs from your flatmate like you were planning to. VIRGO Aug 24—Sep 23
Hitori # 2
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.
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.
Allow yourself to feel angry
and shout at the people who annoy you, because this week the alignment of Earth and Jupiter produces an interesting obtuse angle. This also means that you will travel very far before you find the peace that your heart desires. If you like kittens try to find one and stroke its face. LIBRA Sep 24—Oct 23
There is a certain Virgo who
3 4 5
adores you. Even though your reasoning is usually tainted with anger, if you drink plenty of sugary liquids and eat some canned kidney beans you may find an unexpected surge of love for this person and find it in your heart to forgive them.
Something a little different to get that hamster wheel between your ears turning:
SCORPIO Oct 24—Nov 22
For a long time you have
lived around people who are a bit mad but wear lots of green sparkly things to solve problems. During the coming nights, the answers to all your questions will be answered in your dreams, so try and get plenty of sleep. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23—Dec 21
This is the week you will dis-
cover that a certain Libra is in love with you and that a Pisces may try to steal your most valuable possession. If you are virgin you must take steps to remove certain files from your computer.
Having trouble focusing during that Quantum mechanics lecture? Yeah we thought so....so here's a puzzle to get you fired up again. Reckon you've got what it takes to beat the Labyrinth?
Horrorscopes compiled by Anam Soomro, Jonathan Holmes and Neil Pooran
ACROSS 2 Arid areas (7) 7 Practical joke (4) 8 Soon (4) 9 Plant flower (5) 10. The ratio between circumference and diameter (2) 11 Miniature (6) 12 Eight singers (5) 13 Effects (5) 15 Wading bird (5) 20 Vast (6) 22 Affectionate (6) 23 Social gathering (5) 24 Decline (4) 25 Wife of Jacob (4) 26 Pentland Hills village (7) DOWN 1 Member of the Mafia (7) 2 Recorded item of debt (5) 3 Condescending (6) 4 Battered (6) 5 Fine wood particles (7) 6 Standard for comparison (5) 14 Determined (7) 16 Locomotive track (7) 17 Sty (3-3) 18 Disease caused by a lack of vitamin C (6) 19 Book of the Bible (5) 21 VGenre (5)
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 connected horizontally and vertically (i.e there must be no isolated numbers).
RIDDLES 1A penny. 2 Bookkeeper 3 Charcoal 4 Fire 5 A frog. The frog is an amphibian in the order Anura (meaning “tail-less”) and usually makes noises at night during its mating season.
What has a head, a tail, is brown, and has no legs?
What English word has three consecutive double letters?
What’s black when you get it, red when you use it, and white when you’re all through with it?
I am always hungry, I must always be fed, The finger I touch, Will soon turn red.
I have four legs but no tail. Usually, I am only heard at night. What am I?
Tuesday February 03 2009 studentnewspaper.org
Six Nations set to be closest yet Gregor Cubie looks ahead to what promises to be an enthralling Six Nations tournament INTERNATIONAL RUGBY fans are looking forward with anticipation as the most open Six Nations championship since the tournament began draws nearer. Wales are the early favourites simply because they emerged victorious last year, but every team, including Scotland, feels they have a chance of winning. All this drama is given an added edge when you factor in the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in May; whatever anyone says, every home nations player will be hoping for selection. The champions Wales will field almost exactly the same team as last year and having recorded a victory over Australia in November they will head into the tournament with high hopes. One potential star of the tournament could be Leigh Halfpenny, a nineteen year-old winger who plays as sensibly as a seasoned international and he could well set the tournament alight. England were the runners up in 2008 and a successful campaign will depend on the Care-Cipriani pairing clicking after a poor autumn series. England’s whole back line looked flat and ineffective during that woeful autumn but they will be boosted by the return of World Cup winners Mike Tindall and Mark Cueto, as well as the pace of Matt Tait and Olly Morgan. The only new boy in the England squad is Steffon Armitage, who will add depth to the back row, something Martin Johnson definitely needs against several back row units which will be much stronger than his own. France had a relatively poor year in 2008 and could only manage a third place finish in this tournament 12 months ago having dominated the tournament prior to that. They have an experienced squad, but one that only includes one fly-half, Leonel Beauxis, who has not been playing in
that position regularly. Nevertheless, France are always capable of going the length of the pitch and scoring in a matter of seconds and could be a threat. Ireland have arguably the most experienced squad in the tournament, but have not clicked for a couple of years. They are perhaps guilty of being over-reliant on key players like
Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell, although they will be supported by exciting wide backs and back rows such as Rob Kearney and Stephen Ferris, the likes of whom give them a real chance of winning. Scotland could also be a threat as long as every player in the vastly experienced squad is firing on all cyl-
inders, especially inspirational captain Mike Blair. The only question is whether the Scots will be able to turn that form into points. A lot will depend on the goal kicking of Phil Godman, who may be handed the task if Chris Paterson is not fit. Also important is the ability of the whole team to score tries, which has proved surprisingly difficult for Scottish in-
ternational players of late, with only one try at Murrayfield in eight games. Only the Italian team look like they have little chance of making a dent in this year’s tournament. They current side has peaked and with no fresh blood coming through, they look set for the wooden spoon once again.
Olympian Dick leads award winners Martin Domin HOCKEY STAR Stephen Dick led the way in the University of Edinburgh’s Sports Union awards last week as he scooped the Best Sportsman prize. The British Olympian represented his country at Beijing last summer and was rewarded for his efforts at the Sports Union ball. The Scotsman plays club hockey for Edinburgh side Inverleith and has also represented his country in the Commonwealth Games. The award for Best Sportswoman went to archer Jenny Jeppson, who has enjoyed several incredible years including winning the title of Indoor Scottish Champion last year. “Winning the Eva Bailey cup for the 2nd year running is obviously a great honour for Jenny, and the club as a whole.” said Graeme Anderson, Vice Captain of the Edinburgh University Archery Club. “It reflects the great dedication Jenny has put into archery, and the many awards she has won on the national stage in both student and non-student competitions, all while wearing an Edinburgh University Archery Club shirt. She is an invaluable member of the club and we are proud to have her on our team”
The Most Improved Club award was shared between the Ladies’ rugby club and the triathlon club who have both seen a dramatic improvement in results over the last year. The rugby women currenly sit in second place in the Premier Women’s North division and their success so far this season will give them hope that they can make their mark in the championships this season. The triathlon club meanwhile were delighted to receive some recognition for their progress over the last year. The club’s president Eoghan Maguire said: “We were delighted with that award. Over the past year we have grown considerably in size and with over 70 members taking part in the three different sports, we have needed to improve the organisation and administration of the club. Over half of our members had never done any multi sport prior to joining us and subsequently we have had to tailor training to cater for a wide spectrum of abilities, from novice to elite. “Nearly all of our members have now done either an aquathlon or a duathlon - and are eagerly awaiting the start of this years triathlon season. We have also become more competitive nationally, with members currently holding a number of national titles,
including; Scottish Sprint Champion, Meanwhile, the orienteering club British age group champion, Irish were named as Club of the Year while Standard distance champion and Scot- Hector Haines was named as the best tish aquathlon champion.” performing first year student. The guest
of the evening was Olympic and World Individual Pursuit clycling champion Rebecca Romero.
BEST IN SPORT: Hockey Hero Stephen Dick has also played in the Commonwealth Games
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Tuesday February 03 2009 studentnewspaper.org
New year triathalon success Martin Domin reports on a successful New Year Edinburgh Bicycle CoOp Triathlon TWO EDINBURGH University medical students triumphed in the New Year Edinburgh Bicycle Co-Op Triathlon. On a day normally associated with hangovers and resolutions, Craig Dale and Anne Ewing came out on top in the men’s and women’s elite events as a field of 500 braved a 400m swim, an 11 mile cycle and finally a three mile run. Although Dale was the overall champion, Ewing came tenth overall, as well as being the first female to complete the race. Furthermore, she finished over four minutes in front of second placed Alison Rowatt. Her achievement was further highlighted by the presence of world duathlon agegroup champion Caroline Toshack who finished third, filling the final podium place. Afterwards, Ewing revealed the extent of her commitment to the sport and just how hard it is to fit her training around her demanding studies. She said: “My aim is to reach the World Championships in Australia in September, and maybe the Europeans as well. It’s going to involve a lot of time management to fit it around medicine. I’m at university from 9-6 most days so it means training before and after. It is definitely getting harder. Three mornings a week I’m up at 4.30am to train which is tough going when you have exams. But at least this bodes well for 2009.”
Dale meanwhile finished a comfortable 31 seconds ahead of former Great Britain orienteering international Daniel Halliday with Gavin May taking third. Dale also revealed his future plans after the race, saying: “I’ll be concentrating on sprint and standard distance this year although I’m aiming to also do the Paris marathon,” “But I’ll be putting Ironman on hold because it’s hard to fit in with the studying. I did have a slip at the start of the cycle which scraped my leg a bit but the adrenaline took over and thankfully, I didn’t notice.” This was the last such triathlon to take place as the Commonwealth Pool prepares to close for major refurbishment and the Edinburgh University Triathlon Club President Eoghan Maguire was quick to praise the two students. He said: “Anne and Craig have trained hard all winter and it’s great that they have reaped the rewards so early in the season. It was also many of the club members' first triathlon which represented a great effort from all, especially in the tough conditions. It was a superb start to the year and it allows us to confidently look forward to the rest of the season.” The triathlon club are organising their own triathlon on Saturday 29th of March in Tranent and details are available on the club web page: http:// triathlon.eusu.ed.ac.uk.
Martin Domin takes a look back at the annual Edinburgh korfball tournament sides finished near the botttom of the standings but the thirds can at least boast a victory over their more experienced counterparts. The tournament was overshadowed however by issues with the Centre for Sport and Excercise (CSE). For the first time, the tournament was unable to be played using only university facilities while the
TAKES A WRY LOOK AT THE WORLD OF SPORT
Pacquiao sets his sights on 'The Hitman' Misa Klimes
Korfballers finish a fine fourth EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY recorded their best ever finish in the annual Korfball tournament last weekend. The firsts team came fourth in the competition held over two days at the Pleasance and St. Leonards. The competition consisted of 20 teams including two from the Netherlands, where the sport was founded. This gave the tournament an added edge as the foreign sides were expected to present something of a stern test. In the end however, neither of the Dutch sides were able to reach the semi finals as they both lost to the eventual finalists in the last eight. Korfball is a sport played indoors or outdoors on a court divided into halves called zones with each zone having a hoop. Each team has four men and four women and players score by throwing the ball through the other team’s basket. After two goals the teams change zones: defenders become attackers and attackers become defenders. Edinburgh’s leading side saw off their fierce rivals St. Andrews in the quarter finals but lost out to the two Edinburgh Old Boys sides; first in the semi final and then in the third/fourth play-off. The other semi finalist was Birmingham who may well present Edinburgh with their toughest challenge come the national university competition later this semester. They saw off the other Old Boys side to reach the final but they couldn’t make it a double as they lost. Edinburgh’s second and third
Korfball Club, having been charged for the use of the halls for the first time, made a loss on the tournament overall. After the tournament, the first team’s Ana Moore was delighted with her side’s performance. She said: “It was a really encouraging performance with the Nationals just
GOING FOR GLORY: Action from the Korfball tournament
around the corner” while Daniel Hesford, the second team’s coach, also praised his side when he commented: “The team showed a lot of character to get through a tough first day but we are going to build on that hard work before the second team nationals”.
BOXING EXPERTS have been issuing bad forecasts of late, perhaps resembling the famous weather presenter Michael Fish whose iconic mistake about the 1987 storm that battered Britain brought him infamy. There have been three fights where the predictions of the press have been horribly wrong. The most recent was Sugar Shane Mosley’s stunning victory against Antonio Margarito in the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. The 37-year-old entered a time capsule and used his still dazzling speed and nimble mind to viciously stop the brawling Mexican in the ninth round. His strategy, tactical brilliance and athleticism were in top form and he might be the best welterweight in the world. A date with Floyd Mayweather Junior might be in the pipeline and is eagerly anticipated. The two other notable victories last year saw Bernard Hopkins beat up Kelly Pavlik in October and Manny Pacquiao dismantle a very faded Oscar de la Hoya with extreme brutality in December. Staying on the topic of Pacquiao; he will fight Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas in May. The ‘Hitman’ should be a far tougher prospect for Pacquaio as Hatton showed he's still a force at light welterweight level after he stopped Paulie Malignaggi in his last bout. Although Hatton has proven himself to be too small to compete at welterweight, he is nothing short of formidable in the light welterweight division. Floyd Mayweather Senior is his new trainer and he has regained a sense of direction and a much needed defence. His sneaky jab, underrated boxing skills, peerless body punching and added polish could make his bout against Pacquiao more technical than fans may realise although it should get messier as the fight progresses. Pacquiao himself has become a more rounded package and is nothing short of the complete fighter with his feinting and head movement combining with his exceptional speed, unreal power and devastating accuracy. He is the most efficient offensive fighter in the world. His trainer, Freddie Roach, does not get on well with Floyd Mayweather Senior and this might create an interesting subplot that could express itself in the upcoming press conferences. Joe Calzaghe meanwhile has not given a definite message about whether he will retire or not, I would urge him strongly to hang up the gloves as he has nothing left to prove.
studentnewspaper.org Tuesday February 03 2009
Who are the favourites to win this year's tournament?
Sport Union Awards
Sportsman of the Year announced
Edinburgh women gain narrow victory EDINBURGH’S LACROSSE women came out on top in a closely fought match against Durham University on Wednesday. By doing this they avenged a 10-0 defeat earlier in the season and gained valuable points in the league. Edinburgh made an energetic start to the match with the opening goal coming within 30 seconds of the start. Good running by Edinburgh created space in the middle and Diana McCosh finished the move well. The lead lasted less than a minute however as the tone was set for a match that swung back and forth throughout. Durham hit back with a well taken goal to make it 1-1 very early in the match. Despite this setback Edinburgh continued to push forward and regained the lead almost immediately as Caroline Jones finished clinically after a foraging run by Becky Taylor. With the momentum behind them, Edinburgh were able to open up a 5-1 lead by half way through the opening period. Two goals from Rosie Townsend and one from Sophie Swearts saw the home side carve out this commanding four goal cushion.
Unperturbed by this sizeable deficit, Durham began to launch a comeback as two quick-fire goals saw the Edinburgh advantage cut to two. At 5-3 down the visitors maintained their intensity and it was not long before they had clawed their way back into what was proving to be an entertaining match. Quick passing allowed them to create several goalmouth opportunities which were taken with aplomb. At the halfway point the score was tied at 5-5 and Edinburgh will have been disappointed to surrender their early lead. It was a case of roles reversed in the second half as Durham started the brighter and soon went 6-5 up. This meant the hosts had to fight back and two consecutive goals from the skilful Townsend, following fast counter attacks, made the score 7-6 in the home side’s favour. Further goals from both Edinburgh and Durham left the score at 9-8 in favour of the hosts heading into the final five minutes of the match. Another foraging run from the industrious Swearts ended with a clinical finish stretching the lead to two for the hosts. The visitors tried to spark a comeback
and managed to pull one goal back before the final whistle was greeted with jubilation by the Edinburgh bench. In the end, the 10-9 score line in favour of Edinburgh was justified. The home side’s potency in attack and aggressiveness in defence helped to secure the vital win. Impressive performances by Townsend and Swearts helped carry the team home and stubborn defence in the final minutes prevented Durham stealing a late equaliser. Despite this impressive victory, the women will have to settle for a fourth place finish in the Premier Women’s North league. Having been so dominant in this sport over the last few seasons, Edinburgh may well struggle to match their recent successes but will at least qualify for the championships later this semester. The overall picture is an unfortunate one but if Edinburgh could play every game like this where they demonstrate steely nerves and resilience combined with a skillful yet entertaining style, I am sure they can do better in the future and return to their previous form. Nevertheless, they can take pride in their hard earned victory, which was
FIGHTING HARD: The match finished 10-9 in Edinburgh's favour
McCorkell stars as Edinburgh thrash Glasgow Will Butler
MEN'S HOCKEY University of Edinburgh Glasgow University
EDINBURGH MEN’S Hockey Club 1st XI secured their place in the last 16 of the national championships with a comprehensive victory over close rivals Glasgow. The home side looked to make a positive start to the second half of their season in their final SUSA game of this year. Any match against Glasgow is usually a highly charged affair, and having only had three pitch sessions after Christmas Edinburgh could have been forgiven for appearing rusty. This was not to be the case however and it was not long before forward
Richard McCorkell opened the scoring after an excellent darting run by Paddy Thomson. The Edinburgh midfield of Michael Witchell and Paul Heron began to dominate the game and Glasgow didn’t respond well to the sustained pressure with some rather 'agricultural' tackles, inevitably leading to one of their players being carded. Although certainly on top, it took until just before half time for the Edinburgh’s second goal to come, a wonderfully struck reverse stick effort from Heron. Edinburgh went into the half time break knowing that they could still give more and a rousing team talk from coach Graeme Stapleton obviously had an affect as McCorkell added the third within a minute of the re-start. Glasgow did have chances and should have opened their account with a goal from a penalty stroke, but the strike was a truly woeful effort from their captain which was easily dealt with by Edinburgh ‘keeper Dave Forrester. As the game wore on, Edinburgh’s superior levels of conditioning began to tell, and McCorkell
added two more goals taking his tally to four for the match. In the dying minutes, sustained Edinburgh pressure told as the final goal of the game came from a well placed short corner strike from Edinburgh captain Simon Sampson. Although happy with the result, Edinburgh now look forward to the tougher challenges which will follow as they compete in National League 1B and the last 16 of BUCS. The result also meant that Edinburgh finished top of the Scottish Conference, three points ahead of HeriotWatt. Special congratulations must go to Callum Duke and Fraser Hirst who won their first caps for the senior Scottish indoor hockey team over the Christmas vacation and they played a major part in securing the Scotland U21 sides promotion at the EuroHockey Indoor Junior Nations Trophy in Budapest. It is clear that Edinburgh Men’s Hockey Club will go onto bigger and better victories after this as they so comprehensively defeated their arch rivals.
STICKS AT THE READY: Edinburgh on their way to a moral boosting win
Alistair Shand reports on Edinburgh's hard-fought win as they gain revenge at Durham
Rectorial candidate denies that he is paid to in uence House of Lords 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 Gu...
Published on Nov 25, 2009
Rectorial candidate denies that he is paid to in uence House of Lords 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 Gu...