Tuesday February 23 2010 | Week 7
The Riot Issue: We're Not Gonna Take It!
S cott ish S t udent Ne wspaper of the Year 2009 S I N C E 1887
T H E U K ' S O LD E S T S T U D EN T N EW S PA P ER
Students march against Scottish Defence League
SUCCESS FOR ANTI-FASCIST MARCHERS: Thousands gather on the streets of Edinburgh to march against the Scottish Defence League JULIA SANCHES
Scottish Defence League confined to pub whilst 2,000 march against Fascism Guy Rughani & Julia Symmes Cobb OVER 2,000 protestors from across Scotland turned out in opposition to a planned march in Edinburgh by the Scottish Defence League (SDL), a far-right group considered by many to be Islamophobic. The original march, set to take place from Princes Street to the Royal Mile, was foiled after the 40 SDL members present were confined to Jenny Ha’s pub opposite the Scottish Parliament. The group announced last November that it was planning a demonstration in the capital following a similar
march in Glasgow, an announcement which was met with outcry from across the political spectrum. Unite Against Fascism, the Edinburgh Anti-Fascist Alliance and Edinburgh Students Against the Scottish Defence League, organized a counter-march under the banner ‘Scotland United’. Chanting ‘The BNP is a Nazi Party’ and ‘Black, White Unite’, the 2,000 demonstrators made their way from Princes Street to the Meadows, stopping for a minute of silence outside the Central Mosque as a ‘mark of respect to our Muslim friends’. As the SDL started to make their move members of the Edinburgh Anti Fascist Alliance splintered from Scotland United to meet them at the Royal Mile, where barricades were erected by police to separate rival demonstrators. Individuals inside the pub were evacuated in small groups and were then loaded onto buses which left the city. At least five arrests were made under public order offences.
A policeman on duty at the scene, one of the 700 present throughout the day, told The Student that he didn’t expect much trouble: “We’re just here to make sure everything goes smoothly today”. At 11am for approximately half an hour, the protest blocked the crossroads at the Bridges and the Royal Mile, as EAFA and Scotland United protest organizers bickered over the best course of action, forcing some Lothian buses to empty passengers. There was also a mild altercation with police when several young men were allowed through the barricade on St. John’s Street. Protesters accused them of being members of the SDL and chanted anti-racist slogans. “It’s all gone a bit tits up” said Alex, a maths student at the University of Edinburgh. EAFA anti-fascist protesters Continued on page 2 »
University principals under fire over salary increases Edinburgh Principal takes home second largest pay package in Scotland Anna MacSwan UNIVERSITY PRINCIPALS across Scotland have come under criticism as it has been revealed that salary increases of 8 per cent on average were accepted in 2008-09, a figure which amounts to nearly three times the rate of inflation. The increases translate to an extra £284,000 from the Higher Education sector’s annual budget. Salaries for
staff over the same time period went up by 0.5 per cent. Principal of the University of Edinburgh Professor Sir Tim O’Shea is the second highest paid principal in Scotland, taking home a total pay package of £286,000, an increase of 7 per cent since last year. This is second only to Professor Duncan Rice of Aberdeen University, whose salary package rose by 17 per cent from £256,000 to £299,000. Edinburgh University defended the move, however, saying that in terms of salary only increase, the Principal declined to accept a percentage increase greater than the average awarded to staff over the same period. Continued on page 2 »
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
What’s in this issue NEWS »p1-6
Anti-Fascist protestors outnumber SDL marchers From front page...
BNP DEBATE CANCELLED p4
NUS put pressure on Durham to implement no platform policy
TALKING TO THE YOUNG 'UNS p6
Politicians discuss how to reach the younger generations
COMMENT »p8-9 DRIBBLING CAMPAIGN PROSE... p9
Robin Brown intelligently bemoans campaign literature
EAFA Anti-Fascist protesters present at the scene berated the police blockading the road, and accused them of ‘protecting the fascists.’ “This is expected though. The police do it every time, they are protecting the fascists”, said a protester called Chris, a student from the University of Glasgow. At midday, speeches were made from the Ross Bandstand on Princes Street by key supporters of the anti-Fascist movement, including Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, deputy leader of Unite Against Fascism Weyman Bennett, Aamer Anwar of Scotland United, and President of NUS Scotland
Liam Burns. Many of the speakers bemoaned the loss of English council seats to the BNP, and reiterated that there is ‘no place in Scotland for the fascists’. “Since when was it up to football hooligans to decide where we pray and worship?” said Weyman Bennett. “When these racists grow in one area, they take over the whole country. Saying ‘Please Mr Nazi don’t be a Nazi no more’ ain’t going to work. When they show their face, we need to show our face.” Urging students to vote in the upcoming General Election, Liam Burns said: “I’m delighted to see
so many of you here today. When students vote, racists and fascists lose.” Edinburgh student Ledys Anwan, one of the main organisers of the Edinburgh Students Against the Scottish Defence League told The Student: “There’s been an amazing turnout - we had about 570 confirmed guests and at least 400 of them have come down.” Lothian and Borders Police drafted in 700 officers in anticipation of the event, including officers from Northumbria and Fife. firstname.lastname@example.org
ARTS&FEATURES »p11-21 NEED MATURE MEAN RIPE? p12
Features explores the mature student's identity
PROUDLY WEARING THE RAINBOW p15 Annalise Pippard discusses LGBT History Month
THE LAST STATION p17
Helen Mirren gets naked... again. See Film for details.
PULLING IT OUT OF THE HAT p18 Frightened Rabbit's new album review in Music
YEAR OF THE TIGER: IT'S GRRREAT p20 GUY RUGHANI
Nick Kwek shows us how it's done in Lifestyle
Routes followed by protestors
University and College Union say Principals's pay rises 'send out appalling message to staff '
KEEP ROLLIN' p22
Johnny Brick is entertained by the Roller Derby
From front page...
p19 The Student Newspaper | 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ Email: email@example.com
Speaking to The Student, Principal's Policy & Executive Officer Jane McCloskey said: “It is important to remember that the Principal leads the largest university in Scotland with almost 27,000 students and 9,000 staff. “Edinburgh is one of the UK's top research universities and was recently ranked one of the top 20 universities in the world. The University's turnover last year was almost £600 million.” Professor Sir O’Shea’s salary is set annually by the University Remuneration Committee, taking into account performance and salaries of comparable university principals. Whilst the Principal is a member of the Committee, McCloskey maintained that “he is neither present nor party to deliberations on his own salary”. Universities Scotland, the main
representative organisation for university Principals also said that the increases were justified: “Universities in Scotland between them are a £2.5bn industry and less than half of our total income comes from the public purse”. “We earn over a billion pounds in cash by selling services to companies and private individuals. These salary rises were agreed before the current crisis in public finances and were not out of line with comparable pay settlements at that time.” Lecturer’s unions, however, maintain that the increases are insensitive. Mary Senior, Scottish Official for the University and College Union, told The Student that: “It beggars belief that, once again, we are seeing principals accepting huge pay increases at a time when they are imposing a tiny increase on staff which essentially
amounts to a cut in salary. “There is a growing feeling that universities are being run as businesses in which the collegiality on which their past successes have depended is abandoned, and senior managers are paid inflated salaries to get as much as possible out of their junior employees for as little reward as possible. These sort of increases send out an appalling message to staff." "These inflated pay rises are particularly offensive at a time when we see budgets being cut, and jobs under threat - as is the case in teacher education." The news comes at a time when Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education faces the prospect of a staff cut of 60 per cent as a cost saving measure. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
University enters merger talks with Edinburgh College of Art THE UNIVERSITY of Edinburgh has entered into talks with Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) concerning a future merger of the two historic institutions. The Principals of the respective institutions met this week to discuss the move as a possible solution to future spending cuts in the higher education sector. Both governing bodies have made it clear that decision would not be made without consultation with both staff and students. Professor Ian Howard, principal of the 250-year-old college of art, revealed details of the talks in an internal email to staff and said they were necessary because of the “uncertain” financial climate. In a joint statement, Professor Howard said: “We already partner the university in a highly successful academic federation and the potential offered by closer collaboration is well worth exploring, and may result in very exciting possibilities for enhanced teaching, research and creative endeavour.” Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, principal of the University of Edinburgh, said: “The university and college, by working more closely together, could create a collective range of expertise and excellence that would offer an exciting range of opportunities, not
only for staff and students but also for the creative arts in Scotland.” The discussions remain only preliminary, and no potential job losses have yet been discussed. The Student spoke to EUSA President Thomas Graham about the potential impact upon the students of both institutions: “I think that Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh working together would bring direct benefits to students through improvements to the student experience, closer alignment of programmes, and new degree courses. “In terms of ECA students, it would mean they had access to a world-leading institution’s facilities such as libraries and accommodation, but more importantly greater access to our club and societies.” “For students at the University of Edinburgh, it would mean they also had access to world-leading facilities provided at ECA for vastly improved opportunities when it comes to work relating to art, design, and architecture.” “The most exciting thing would not be for current students though - the newly formed institution would be able to offer really exciting new courses bringing together the expertise of the two institutions to create research-led teaching opportunities in a wide range of areas.” Graham also discussed the impact a merger would have on the respective student associations: “We would have
to have discussions about any such merger of the students’ association with ECA students’ union to find an equitable way of working, but I only see opportunities here really - it would be great for us to have improved access to the Wee Red Bar and for them to have access to our unions and social spaces, it would be great for all the societies to have an even bigger pool of talented individuals to contribute to their work, and it would be great to be able to offer even better advice and support through an extended advice place network.” Should the merger be recommended by the two principals, the move would still require agreement of the two institutions’ governing bodies, together with the Scottish Fundinc Council,
which allocates government funding, and the Scottish Government’s education secretary. The SFC last night indicated it was supportive of the move. A spokeswoman said: “We welcome any institutions working closely together for mutual benefit to enhance their teaching and research.” Collaboration between the two institutions dates back to the 19th century, and a jointly taught degree in fine art has been offered since 1946. The institutions said that a merger would not take place until 2012 at the earliest. email@example.com
ARTSY: Possible future site of lectures?
Scottish government defends higher education management Joshua King THE SCOTTISH executive was last week forced to defend its management of the higher education sector in Scotland. A spokesman for Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, said increases in public funding, higher student numbers and greater student support were all benchmarks of the Government’s support for the university sector. The statement came after it was revealed in a national newspaper that a Scottish Funding Council report outlines major concerns over reductions in public funding, a decline in income from charities and business corporations and lower returns on investments. The report states: “The economic conditions are already starting to impact on the university sector and…. the financial prospects are less certain. The challenge for institutions is to maintain financial and institutional sustainability.” Yesterday, the spokesman for Mr Russell said: “This Government believes access to education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay, and that universities are a crucial engine of economic growth.
“That’s why, despite Labour’s cut of £800 million in the Scottish budget next year, we are delivering an extra £35m for universities – a real terms increase of 2.1 per cent, on top of the real terms increase we delivered in 2009-10.
The economic conditions are already staring to impact on the university sector...The challenge for institutions is to maintain financial and institutional sustainablility." Scottish Funding Council report
“What’s more, we have expanded the number of university places, with an additional 7,500 this year alone, and abolished the back-door fees students in Scotland had to pay under Labour.” President of NUS Scotland Liam Burns has called for student funding to be protected.
Nearly 3000 nominations for Teaching Awards EUSA TEACHING Awards nominations close this Thursday with 2,899 staff members already being nominated. The awards were set up last year to try and recognise the good teaching taking place across the University. Categories include Best Dissertaition Supervisor, Best Tutor and Overall High Performer amongst others. The University has been often criticised for the lack of time spent on teaching, with many students feeling that lecturers see research as more important. To nominate a member of staff for an award log on to http://www. eusa.ed.ac.uk/teachingawards/nominations HK
Breakfast good for the brain FLICKR.COM/LIVEPINE.
“This report outlines the need for joint action across the sector to consider how we can protect numbers of university places and get students the financial support they need, while at the same time maintaining the world-leading quality of our graduates,” he said. “Any attempt to make savings by cutting support to students would be misguided, but we also need to be looking to increase places, not just to cope with the surge in applications we’re seeing this year, but to meet future demand for graduates. “Financial pressures can’t be used as an excuse to cap or reduce places, closing the door on thousands of talented students.” Opposition parties though maintain that higher education institutions have made it ‘absolutely clear’ that SNP policy is not workable in the long term. Claire Baker, higher education spokeswoman for the Scottish Labour Party, said: “Under this SNP Government we are seeing a crisis develop in higher education with universities likely to be forced to turn away talented students, struggle for funding and have to make redundancies. “We urgently need a full independent review of the sector to find a way out of this crisis.”
The Conservatives meanwhile have called for an independent review.
Under this SNP Government we are seeing a crisis develop in higher education with universities likely to be forced to turn away talented students, struggle for funding and have to make redundancies." Claire Baker, Scottish Labour
The Scottish Conservative Party higher education spokesman, Murdo Fraser, said that “There are real and serious challenges ahead for higher education in Scotland and, perhaps, some people are only now realising the extent of the problems we face.” firstname.lastname@example.org
RESEARCH CARRIED out by the University of Edinburgh's Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit has found that 15-year-old girls were almost 30 per cent more likely to miss the first meal of the day. The study, funded by NHS Health Scotland, shows that pupils who eat breakfast everyday are more likely to rate their school performance as ‘good or very good’ and their health as ‘excellent or good’ The survey was carried out in 300 schools across Scotland, questioned 6,400 pupils from P7, S2 and S4. A total of 58.0 per cent of boys and 44.8 per cent of girls consume breakfast at age 15, compared with 79.3 per cent and 75.3 per cent of 11-year-old boys and girls respectively. The research is part of a wider study carried out the World Health Organisation assessing Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) HK
When the going gets yough the tough get TEFL THERE HAS been a large increase in the amount of graduates taking up TEFL courses as the graduate employment market remains weak. Research carried out by The Time has found the number of graduates choosing to Teach English as a Foreign Language has increased despite the increase in the number of graduate jobs available. Michael Baranard, a spokesman for Milkround, graduate recruitment told The Times, " The increase in vacancies is good news, but it’s still not enough to result in all the graduates from the past two years being employed. Which could explain the uptake in TEFL courses as a good option." HK
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Campaigning hots up as EUSA Election candidate lists are finalised Presidential election to be three horse race Jordan Campbell NOMINATIONS FOR the forthcoming EUSA elections have closed with all four sabbatical positions to be contested. The Presidential race is set to be a three way contest with current Societies convenor, Laura-Jayne Baker, Postgraduate convenor, Liz Rawlings and first year physics student, Tom Crewther in the running. Crewther is an eleventh hour entry into the contest, having not had his nomination confirmed until last Wendesday afternoon, just before the deadline of 12 noon on Thursday. In explaining his reasons for standing, Crowther told The Student that he wanted to bring a ‘bit of fun’ into EUSA politics, adding: "Past candidates including the current one are a bit 'samey'. I want to offer something different". He stated that his campaign aims
‘were to "get more people interested in EUSA and offer students a greater role in smaller decisions". With regards to the contest as a whole, Crewther commented that "all three candidates are offering very different and interesting options and will no doubt attract different types of people". Laura-Jayne Baker is electioneering with the promise of ‘putting students first.’ Speaking to The Student, she said that voters should take notice of her past work, stating that: "I am the only candidate who has real experience of student welfare. "I don’t have an ulterior motive and I have experience as Fresher’s Week Coordinator and Societies Convenor and many years on the SRC that will help me as President." Expressing her feelings about the other candidates she said, ‘I think Tom [Crewther] is bringing some humour to the elections, he is taking a lighthearted approach. I have not seen his manifesto yet so hopefully he will come out with some great ideas." Liz Rawlings told The Student
that she is running for president because ‘education matters.’ She added that, "I think this is a fanstastic university but resources and teaching can be improved. I have well thought out policies that will make a real difference". With regard to the other candidates, Rawlings said, "Laura-Jayne is very competent and is looking to offer different things. We will wait and see what resonates more with the voters". As for Crewther, she commented that "he is a very funny chap" and is "looking forward to being part of the same contest as him." Medial student Kristopher Keane pulled out of the race on Sunday, citing a lack of time to campaign due to course commitments. He has given his backing to Liz Rawlings and has not ruled out running next year. The position of Vice-president for services is also set to be a three horse race with Sam Hansford, Ellie Price and Gavin Hume confirmed as the candidates. Hansford states that he will provide better union entertainment, whilst Price has stressed the importance of value, promising to give the best deal for all students, societies and clubs. Hume
has yet to reveal his campaign plans. The position of Vice-president for Academic Affairs has only two confirmed candidates; Stevie Wise and Ross Stalker. Wise is campaigning on a platform of offering students ‘a better degree’ and aims to improve the quality of teaching. Stalker is set to launch his campaign over the coming week. The fourth sabbatical position of Vice-president of Societies and Actvities will be a head-to-head battle between former editor of The Student Neil Pooran and Ballroom dancing society President, Amy Woodgate. Both candidates are set to launch their manifestoes this week. Election voting will open on March 3rd via MyEd. EUSA have confirmed that 39 of the 126 seats will be contested, with 128 candidates running. Hustings for the four sabbatical positions will be held on Friday 26th February at the Teviot debating hall at 7 p.m.
Want to know more about the Presidential candidates before voting on March 3rd and 4th? Check out our video interviews with all three at www.studentnewspaper. org. Online from Wednesday 24th February!
Melissa Birbeck DURHAM UNIVERSITY has been forced to cancel a debate on multicultural Britain featuring two members of the BNP, following intervention from the National Union of Students. The cancellation of the event, run by the Durham Union Society, (DUS), has triggered uproar amongst students at the University, who believe that it compromises the principle of freedom of speech. Such is the anger that a studentfounded facebook group, ‘Durham University Students for Freedom of Speech’, has attracted nearly 3,000 members. The debate, entitled, “This House believes in a Multicultural Britain”, was scheduled to take place in the city on Friday, February 12th. Political commentator Kulveer Ranger and Conservative MP Edward Leigh were to propose the motion, whilst BNP representatives, Andrew Brons, MEP and Councillor Chris Beverley had been invited to speak in opposition. However, the University felt compelled to cancel the event after a strongly-worded letter from two senior NUS officials threatened major remonstrative action. Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy, NUS Black Students’ Officer, and Daf Adley, NUS LGBT officer, stated that the presence of BNP members on campus breached the university’s racial equality policy and posed ‘a health and safety risk’ to students. As such, the letter warned that if the university failed to heed the NUS’s advice and cancel the event, they would have a ‘colossal demonstration’ on their hands. The letter promised the ‘national mobilisation’ of the NUS, Unite Against Fascism, (UAF), and other
anti-fascist groups to Durham, along with ‘coach loads of students’ to demonstrate at the university that Friday. The officers added, “If any students are hurt in and around this event, the responsibility will lie with you”. The perceived threatening tone of the letter has left many Durham students infuriated. Chair of the DUS JointCommittee and Facebook group co-founder, Patrick McConnell, wrote in reply to NUS President, Wes Streeting, that such a ‘shocking statement’ could only be read as a ‘violently physical and verbal threat from the National Union of Students’. DUS President Anna Birley further criticised the suitability of the NUS’s response in the Durham Student newspaper Palatinate: “I’m particularly concerned that the NUS…had planned to go out of their way to bring coaches of students to Durham, putting both their students and our members between rival groups of impassioned demonstrators”.
When it comes to our choice and our freedom to invite people, we should exercise that choice responsibly ..." Nus President, Wes Streeting
However, UAF joint secretary, Weyman Bennett, supported the NUS and welcomed the decision. In a statement published on the organisation’s website he said, “The BNP is desperate to build a student wing and to start organising on campus - but we are not prepared to
Durham University forced to cancel BNP debate
PROTESTS AGAINST NUS: Threats from the National Union of students have been unpopular amongst some Durham students as the BNP yet again sparks protests. let that happen”. In reaction to the NUS’s interference, a protest was staged on Tuesday February 9th to coincide with a visit of Wes Streeting. Whilst the President conducted a forum for students to express their views on the situation, 150 to 200 protestors outside taped gaffa-tape with NUS written on it over their mouths, to symbolise the perceived stifling of their freedom of speech. Patrick McConnell told The Student that “The protest was very successful, being the largest Durham has seen in our current memory.” Speaking at the forum, Streeting apologised for what he admitted was a ‘huge monumental cock-up’, on the part of the NUS, with regards to their correspondence with Durham. However, to the consternation of
the students, he went on to suggest that “people could do with an education as to what the BNP actually stands for”. The President also continued in the defence of the ‘No-platform’ policy of the NUS, arguing that the prohibition of fascist supporters from the campus might convey a stronger political message. Streeting said, ‘when it comes to our choice and our freedom to invite people, we should exercise that choice responsibly and we should think about whether giving these people a platform is an effective tool or whether saying that fascism has no place in this house is a more effective political message”. In the wake of the debacle, there have been calls for the DUS to disaffiliate from the NUS.
A referendum will be held later this term and McConnell reports that "feeling around the university is currently split". This same ‘No-Platform’ policy, which holds that no officer at the conforming institution can share a platform with a member of an openly racist- or fascist organisation, was rejected at the EUSA AGM last November. The motion to ban the BNP on campus was defeated following a heated debate, favouring the view that such a ban would restrict the freedom of speech. The debate continues across British universities as to whether or not to implement the NUS’s No-Platform policy. As of yet, only the Oxford Student Union has publicly supported the policy; others are yet to make their position clear. email@example.com
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Lara Zarum ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP People and Planet are taking the Treasury to court over its loans to the Royal Bank of Scotland for the second time in a year. In coalition with organisations World Development Movement and PLATFORM, the group have appealed the outcome of a failed High Court application which was launched over the government’s bailout of the RBS. The groups claim the Treasury has a weaker case this time around because it has since issued a bailout to the bank with conditions. The government gave £25 billion to RBS last November, which is a state-owned company, on the condition that the bank would lend more money to small businesses and homeowners, as well as limiting bonuses to staff earning over £39,000. Adam Ramsay, leader of People & Planet’s latest campaign, explained: “We want the government to make [RBS] shift their strategy away from specialising in financing dangerous fossil fuel projects, and towards financing things which are good for society.” The environmental groups want the government to fully assess the environmental and moral impact of RBS’s investments before it gives the company any bailout money. If the Treasury can influence the lending habits of RBS, they argue, they can condition their bailouts
based on environmental and human rights concerns. People & Planet director Ian Leggett called RBS “the dirtiest bank in the UK,” and urged the Treasury to use its power for a good cause.
RBS takes climate change very seriously and are one of the leading arrangers of finance to the renewable energy sector... we are determined to play our part in the global shift to a sustainable low carbon future.' RBS Spokesperson
“The Treasury has the power to require RBS to change – but its consistent failure to do so indicates a total blind spot in Treasury when it comes to responsible investment,” he said. According to the coalition of groups suing the Treasury, RBS has invested in several controversial ventures. The coalition highlighted RBS-
funded projects such as tar sands in Canada, coalmines in Bangladesh, and oil extraction in Africa. However, a spokeswoman for the RBS maintained that “RBS takes climate change very seriously and are one of the leading arrangers of finance to the renewable energy sector. We are determined to play our part in the global shift to a sustainable low carbon future.” The same three organisations attacked the Treasury for its £20 billion bailout package to RBS in June 2009. The following October, the High Court denied the groups’ request for a judicial review of the Treasury, claiming that the environmental concerns of the three groups were “irrelevant” to the commercial interests of RBS. Now the coalition is renewing its legal battle against the Treasury, claiming the government failed to properly assess the environmental and human rights issues surrounding RBS’s investments. Ruth Cape, co-convenor for People & Planet at University of Edinburgh, acknowledged the last High Court rejection was disappointing but remains hopeful. She added that a new application means new judges, who may favour People & Planet’s agenda. “It shows how subjective the legal system actually is - it’s almost arbitrary.” A hearing is set to take place on the 1st of March. firstname.lastname@example.org
People & Planet take Treasury to court for second time over RBS investments
DEAR DARLING ALISTAIR: People & Planet stage an impersonation of Alistair Darling, Chamcellor of the Exchequer
Survey reveals student's lack of political interest: a third couldn't identify Cameron as Tory Leader Harrison Kelly A STUDY released this week reveals that less than half the UK’s students are planning to vote in the forthcoming General Election. The research was carried out by UNITE Student Accommodation, which owns several student lets in Edinburgh, and reveals that 47 per cent - the equivalent of over one million students - will not be voting or are highly unlikely to. The research found that students are largely indifferent to the main parties, with a quarter (24 per cent) unable to identify any differences between them or unsure what they stand for. Shane Spiers, Managing Director of UNITE Student Accommodation, said: “We are home to almost 40,000 students and believe it’s important for our residents to feel they can influence issues that matter most to them.” However, many showed an alarming lack of interest in the political process, with one third not knowing that Gordon Brown is the current Prime Minister and leader of the Labour party. Only 48 per cent knew
Nick Clegg heads the Liberal Democrats and 34 per cent couldn’t name David Cameron as the leader of the Conservative party. A random sample of 50 students from the University of Edinburgh were all able to name the prime minister when asked, but some did not know who Nick Clegg was. In a bid to make student voices heard, UNITE has joined forces with the independent Electoral Commission, to provide information to student residents about the voting process and encourage them to register to vote in their current constituency. Free, impartial information, literature and registration forms from the Commission will be distributed to UNITE properties. Spiers continued, “Through partnering with the Electoral Commission, we can equip our residents with the information they need to debate the options and make their vote count.” 1,566 students around the country took part in the survey, which also asked students what would encourage them to vote - and which party they would back if an election were called tomorrow. The majority would vote for the
Green Party (19 per cent), followed by the Conservatives (17 per cent), Labour (14 per cent) and the Liberal Democrats (13 per cent). Just 5 per cent said they would vote for the BNP. 19 per cent of students said they would support a policy that would see the government refund tuition fees to students who achieved a first in their degree, while 29 per cent said they would be more likely to vote if parties pledged to scrap tuition fees altogether. Knife crime, climate change, rising student debt, terrorism and sexual health were seen as important social issues facing students. Finding employment after graduation, however, was ranked as students' greatest concern. The report also revealed that a quarter of those polled (26 per cent) think actress and Gurkha campaigner Joanna Lumley would do a better job running the country than any of the current candidates, followed by entrepreneur Alan Sugar (22 per cent) and comedian Russell Brand (19 per cent). email@example.com
Tuesday March 2 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Oxford proposes controversial loan scheme Leo Michelmore OXFORD UNIVERSITY has outlined proposals that would result in ‘middle-class’ students being denied loans to cover tuition fees. The leading university argues that the current student loan system is too expensive, and should be reformed so as to target poorer students more specifically. An Oxford University spokeswoman branded the loan system ‘unsustainable’, insisting that: “Oxford has a firm commitment that every student judged to have the right ability for a place should be able to come and complete their course regardless of financial reasons.” The proposals follow the annoucment of Business Secretary Lord Mandelson in January of 950 million cuts to higher education in England. Mandelson stated that “costs to the Treasury have significantly increased due to a generous system of student support. “The subsidy is expensive, while student support is not effectively targeted at those with the greatest financial need.” No details have been made available
of the income level at which middleclass students would be affected by these proposals. The current system in England, which will remain in place for students entering university in September 2010, allows a loan for all students to cover the £3,290 fees. There are fears that gearing the student loans system towards those from a poorer background would in turn present a financial stumbling block for many students who are categorised as middle class and yet are still struggling to pay tuition fees.
of poorer students say the recession has affected their university choice The Oxford proposals could also see state grants to help with living costs cut off to more affluent students. Currently any student with a family income of less than £50,020 is entitled to a grant. Malcolm McVicar, vice-chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said that: “If you are talking about two
THE PRIVILEGE OF WEALTH: Oxford university has made proposals which would see financial support cut for wealthier students
FLCIKR: DAVID BASANTA
Radical scheme could cut support to more affluent students
teachers working with a combined income of say £60,000 a year, I don’t think those individuals are particularly flushed with money or advantaged.” The proposals do however appear to be gathering widespread support from student groups and universities alike. Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said: “The system of student support in England remains one of the most generous and expensive in the world. [The current] subsidy is effectively targeted towards better-off graduates who receive an estimated subsidy of almost 30 per cent on their combined tuition fee and maintenance loan.” According to a NUS survey of 1,026 students, 60 per cent of those from poorer backgrounds say that the recession has affected their choice of university, while 41 per cent said they had applied to universities where they can get the highest amount of bursary or scholarship money. NUS President Wes Streeting said: “It is completely unacceptable that six out of ten poorer students are restricted in their choice of university by financial concerns. “All financial support should be based on how much a student needs it.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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Saturday saw the long awaited Scottish Defence League demonstration in Edinburgh city centre. The Scottish Defence League claim to be an organisation “peacefully protesting against Islamification”. For many others, however, the SDL represent bigotry, hostility to diversity and smallminded paranoia. Their opponents point to previous demonstrations by the English Defence League which led to clashes between EDL supporters and the police and anti-fascist groups as well as damage to Muslim properties as evidence that the Defence Leagues are thugs willing to use violence and intimidation to convey their message. While the SDL/EDL and the BNP have both repeatedly claimed they have no links with each other and stand for different things, for many people they are one and the same. Indeed, a recent investigation by the Sunday Herald revealed a significant number of people are members or supporters of both organisations, undermining the SDL’s claim they are not a racist organisation. So it was on the back of this that hundreds of people from Scotland and beyond came out on Edinburgh’s streets to show their opposition to the SDL and what it stands for. There were two main protests. The Edinburgh Anti-Fascist Alliance organised a meeting on Princes Street in the morning while spotters on bikes across the city were relaying the movements of SDL supporters. At around 11 o’clock it was reported that the
SDL were in a pub at the bottom of the Royal Mile so the protest marched there via the Mound. It was here that the second protest, organised by Unite Against Fascism and Scotland United, took place. Many from this protest joined the AntiFascist Alliance in their march down the Royal Mile, but soon turned back to rejoin the UAF/Scotland United protest. This protest had moved to the Ross bandstand in Princes Street Gardens where a rally was held before around five or six hundred people marched from the Mound to the Meadows. Rather than protesting, this march celebrated Edinburgh’s diversity without confronting the SDL directly. This incensed more militant members of the march who felt the only course of action was to “bash the fash”. A number of protesters freely admitted they were out looking for a fight, but nothing went further than words. The chances of any violence were next to zero as Lothian and Borders Police had reportedly lain on 900 officers to control the protests. Towards the bottom of the Royal Mile the police managed to cordon off the remaining marchers, “kettling” them between a tartan shop and a Starbucks. Unable to move further down the Royal Mile, the protesters made their feelings heard with drums, loud hailers and chants. Whether or not they were heard by the SDL is unknown, but they were soon unceremoniously bussed out of the area, so ending their day out in Edinburgh.
Campaigning in prose
Candidates for EUSA positions need to run more interesting election campaigns, says Robin Brown
So who were the winners on Saturday? Despite how the SDL press release will try to spin Saturday’s events, there is no way their demonstration could be described as a success. Having already been told they could not march, their attempt at a “static protest” was thwarted by security concerns and by the early afternoon the few dozen supporters had been told to go home by the police. For the Anti-Fascist Alliance, they will be happy to have drawn a large amount of supporters onto the streets and stage a significant protest as close to the SDL as possible rather than slapping each others’ backs over how liberal they are in Princes Street Gardens. The Anti Fascist Alliance will feel they sent a clear message to the SDL that they have no place on the streets of Edinburgh. Likewise, the UAF/Scotland United organisers will consider Saturday a job well done. They mobilised hundreds of people into a highly visible, peaceful demonstration of Edinburgh’s diversity. Nevertheless, the confusion resulting from the two protests’ organisers trying to pull supporters in different directions is a worrying sign that lessons have not been learnt from last year’s anti fascist demonstration in Glasgow. Anti-fascist groups may be fighting for the same cause, but unless they agree to stop undermining each other and start working together, they will fail to fully demonstrate how racist and fascist groups such as the SDL are not welcome in Edinburgh.
Thank goodness there’s a proper election coming up. EUSA campaign season always offers easy pickings for the cynical student journalist, and from what I’ve seen so far, this year’s election period will not disappoint. Allow me to oblige.Let me first make it clear, however, that I hold nothing against any of this year’s hopefuls; I’m sure that the winners will make admirable efforts to improve the Association and the service it provides. Yet therein are my objections to the farcical performance of EUSA elections. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but improving the student experience is what they’re paid to do (and they’re paid a sizeable sum.) Laura JayneBaker’s slogan, “Putting students first”, is utterly meaningless. Students make up 100 percent of her electorate. Who else is she going to put first? It’s like Gordon Brown fighting to stay on as PM by reminding us that British people are his priority, and not in fact the French or the Spanish Granted, Brown has a talented, creative and, most importantly, pricey PR team who have at least thought to alliterate (‘A future fair for all’, I’ve just learned, is the Labour party slogan this year) but the platitudinous rubbish that EUSA candidates produce every year is getting a tad boring. Unless something has escaped me, Baker is hoping to be elected to be the president of a union whose very purpose and existence is to put students first. Her slogan isn’t exactly a vote-swinger. Laura-Jayne is not alone: Liz Raw-
After taking part in a march against the Scottish Defence League, Andy McKeown gives us an insider's view into the struggle against the far right lings’s campaign posters thoughtfully remind us that “Our Education Matters.” Just in case we’d forgotten. Her principal slogan does, granted, suggest a modicum of thought and credibility, hinting at where her policy priorities as president may lie. In that sense her campaign, at least in comparison to the baffling vacuity offered by her competitor, makes her appear marginally more convincing. Yet it still feels unnecessarily basic and as such a little bit patronising. The university electorate is intelligent, critically-minded and on the whole, quite directly engaged with its governing body. We don’t elect a EUSA president to remind us of the importance of our studies. We elect them to effectively represent us to the university, to sort us out with a cheap sarnie at lunchtime, and, with a bit of luck, to get some better entertainment than two fifths of Five.
Instead of churning out the usual banalities, why don't the candidates have a bit of fun?" The point I’m trying to make is that instead of churning out the usual banalities, why don’t the candidates have a bit of fun with it? A comparison of Thomas Graham’s campaign videos and the spoof created by Alan William-
son last year illustrates exactly what I mean (watch them on youtube, you’ll get my drift.) Williamson showed a great sense of humour that EUSA is in desperate need of. Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that Alan would have made a good president (though I’d love to have seen him give it a bash), but it seems nonetheless that the occasionally self-righteous, holier-than-thou tone of these campaigns could do with a light-hearted lift. Again, I emphasise that I’m not seeking to question the dedication of any of this year’s candidates. It’s also worth pointing out that over the last year or so our level of engagement with student politics has tangibly increased, with a commendable attendance at last semester’s AGM. Last year’s elections also saw unusually high voting levels; 6500 students had their say. Both Thomas Graham and Liz Rawlings deserve credit on that front (Rawlings lost out in 2009’s campaign by around 200 votes). However the whole election palaver remains staid, patronising and downright dull. The candidates should take themselves less seriously. Even David Cameron makes the occasional joke. Hopefully this doesn’t just come across as the rant of a grumpy cynic. Perhaps I sound just as self-righteous as I’m suggesting of others. Fair enough, but this is the fourth campaign I’ve witnessed and I remain fairly apathetic. Most of you reading this, I suspect, would feel the same. Alan, could you make another video please?
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Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Cameron goes Commie
Calum Lithgow ponders Conservative proposals to create a co-operative system in the public sector AS A school pupil, I asked why our school was getting a new roof, when the present one seemed fine. I was told that they’d been allocated some money for it on a use it or lose it basis, so they thought they might as well use it. The money was from a separate, nontransferable budget and thus couldn’t be put to a more constructive use. Inefficient spending in the public sector due to centrally controlled budgets is apparently a part of what makes ‘broken Britain’ broken, according to the Conservatives, who claim that they are best suited to mend this state of affairs. The Conservatives' latest headline-grabbing proposal is for public service workers to form autonomous co-operatives, which will then be contracted to deliver public services such as schools and community nursing. Despite announcing this as a brilliant and innovative new idea that will radically transform our society for the better, the concept was first proposed by the Conservatives three years ago and in fact already exists in practice under the current Labour government. The fact is that the Conservative’s proposal is neither new nor radical, and unlikely to quickly fix everything apparently wrong with the public sector. Labour has already been quietly implementing the idea for the last three years with limited results, and the Conservative’s policy merely expands on the existing legislation to cover a wider range of services. The idea is that, taking the example of a primary school, all the staff will quit the employment of the government and subsequently form a private co-operative. They will then agree to a contract with the government to run the school as an autonomously governed workers group subject to a set of contractual targets that
RESPONSE YES, CAMERON'S plans for workers co-operatives are little more than a pre-election gimmick (why else would he have launched the plan in 2007 and not done anything about it till now?), however Calumn lets Cameron off the hook far too lightly. Calumn is wrong in saying that excess funds can only be re-invested into services. Co-operative workers would have the option of taking a cut of money saved as a reward. This is yet another step further for instilling the profit motive into our public services. Co-operatives can work brilliantly in industry, but he wants to transplant the model into, porentially, the entire system of public services, without any indiciation of what changes would be needed for it to work. Taking off my partisan hat for a moment, it is clear that this is a very unwise governing strategy for Cameron. As much as the Tories like to see themselves as the party that get the state out of people's lives, they
have always been the enthusiastic proponents of a strong and capable (if smaller) state , but Cameron could be wekaning his ability to reform public services by devolving power to thousands of unaccountable groups. If Cameron wants to come down hard on the budget deficit, then how will he do this if he doesn't have control of the budgets of tens of thousands of schools and hospitals? The Conservatives are planning tough reforms in the field of unemployment policy but is proposing that Job Centres could go co-ooperative. Under the present highly centralized system Labour has had a hard enough time enough time getting Job Centre staff to implement the New Deal reforms, Cameron will make his job harder for himself by letting each branch do its own thing. In devolving power in this way, Cameron assumes that most people would follow his vision for the role of public services. He will be disappointed. Dan Nicholson-Heap
will maintain national minimum standards. The school will be allocated a budget from the tax-payer’s money, free to spend however they decide, agreeing on their own pay scales and being allowed to keep any ‘surplus’ to re-invest in the co-operative’s assets as a strictly non-profit organisation. The hope is that this will increase efficiency and morale amongst the staff, while reducing bureaucracy, and, that if parents are included, it will allow them to be more involved in the running of the school. The concerns are that is that this is merely back-door privatisation, and that in the future there will be competition for public service contracts from private, for-profit companies which will drive the new co-operatives out of business. It is this trepidation, this perceived lack of job security, that is currently holding people back from engaging in the existing scheme. The Conservatives can expand Labour’s co-operative scheme all they want but tentative changes such as these are gradual no mater how radical the Tories make the policy sound. Their recent announcement seems to be little more than a political gimmick. Yet an important subtlety must be noted in the words, ‘if you want to, and only if you want to’; the message being that the option is there for you should you want it. Forming a co-operative might be pointless in the majority of cases but undoubtedly there will be schools and health services that would benefit from being more autonomous and having more of the community involved in their running, and there is no harm in having extra support for the option and offering it to a wider range of people.
Salmond's dirty tactics
The Scottish Government's plans for clean coal technology is pie in the sky, argues Joel Sharples
THOSE WHO oppose wind farms and new powerlines on an aesthetic basis would be well advised to pay a visit to Scotland’s central coal belt in Lanarkshire, where thousands of acres of centuries-old woodland have recently been torn up to access the black gold lying under the ground. These new open-cast mines have destroyed eco-systems, significantly raised cancer rates amongst local residents and left ugly scars across the landscape. Given what we know about the devastating effects of burning coal on the environment, it is unjustifiable for Alex Salmond’s government to be burning the stuff at a higher rate than ever before. Salmond, who incredibly describes coal as, ‘a fuel of the future’, justifies these new mines on the basis of fanciful ‘Carbon Capture and Storage’ (CCS) technology which, even according to its most zealous advocates, is unlikely to come into use until at least the 2020s, when global carbon emissions may have already reached a tipping point. All this is particularly disheartening given Scotland’s other-
wise commendable green reputation. The Scottish government has set itself the target of providing 31% of its energy by renewable means by 2011 and an impressive 50% by 2020, while as of last May Scotland is home to Europe’s largest onshore wind farm at Whitelee. As we all know, Scotland is naturally well-endowed when it comes to wind power, and turbines here can produce electricity at an average of 40% of their productive capacity, as compared to the EU average of 25%. Currently 90% of Scotland’s power comes from five power stations – two of these run on coal, one on gas and two on nuclear power. The two nuclear power stations are nearing the end of their life-cycle and will not be renewed. The problem here is that nuclear power is actually a very low-carbon way of producing energy and a switch from nuclear to wind power will make little difference to Scotland’s overall carbon emissions because the two coal power plants are being renewed and a third is also being added. What this all means is that the net emissions will increase
alongside the increase in renewable energy. The switch from nuclear to wind power is replacing one low-carbon energy with another. While ‘renewable energy’ will increase, ‘low-carbon energy’ probably will not.
Scotland's reputation as a leader on climate change is founded on nothing more than half-truths" The concept of CCS is an example of irresponsible environmental policies being green-washed in order to make them more palatable to the public. To believe that this practically non-existent technology provides the solution is just wishful thinking. The International Energy Agency-which is pushing for the adoption of CCS-readily admits that there isn’t a single example in the
world of this technology being used on a coal-fired power plant. Sceptical governments are reluctant to invest the necessary money to make the idea into a reality, yet are happy to pass it off as a credible solution to rising emissions when their energy policies are criticised. The IEA report also acknowledges that, ‘no country has yet developed the comprehensive, detailed legal and regulatory framework that is necessary to govern effectively the use of CCS.’ This means that it will be at least ten years, and probably much longer, before CCS could realistically curb emissions from power plants. So what should the Scottish government be doing? They need to accept that an increase in coal power is incompatible with carbon emissions cuts. The new coal mines, which are vehemently opposed by local communities, should be scrapped and attention focused on genuinely renewable sources of energy. Until this is done Scotland’s reputation as a world leader on climate change is founded on nothing more than halftruths and exaggerations.
A Man Apart SIR NICHOLAS Winterton, Conservative MP, has recently complained about MPs being forced to travel standard-class when journeying on trains between London and their constituencies, as they need a quiet atmosphere so as to devote the time to working. One cannot help but agree with Sir Nicholas, he seems to make a valid point. If only the Honourable Member had expressed himself a little better. ‘If I was in standard class I would not do work because people would be looking over your shoulder the entire time, there would be noise, there would be distraction’. Perhaps a slight over statement, but fair enough, some people do require absolute silence in order to work properly, so we can forgive his exaggerations. Do carry on, Sir Nicholas: ‘They are a totally different type of people’. Observe, a perfect way to undo a reasonable argument in one sentence. This statement implies at best disdain for the common people, the working classes, the ordinaries, the standard people in standard-class. Whether or not this is how he really feels, the connotations of the statement are clear; those that use standard-class are too crass and boorish to travel in a manner amenable to their fellow passengers. To a party desperately trying to appeal to the ‘different type of people’, this is shooting oneself in the foot without BUPA insurance. A Conservative spokesman with a penchant for hyphens immediately denounced Sir Nicholas, declaring that these were, ‘the out-of-touch views of a soon-to-retire backbench MP’. Such are the rewards for speaking so bluntly. Afterall, Sir Nicholas was doubtlessly expressing an opinion widely held amongst Conservative colleagues. For a lesson in tried and tested political ambiguities, Sir Nicholas does not need to look far. According to recently declassified Ministry of Defence documents, a UFO was once spotted over the home of MP Michael Howard. Given Mr Howard’s infamous ability to dodge questions, even when asked them repeatably by a forceful personality such as Jeremy Paxman, it is unsurprising that the extraterrestrial visitors decided not to stay. Their intergalactic quest for knowledge is hardly likely to have yielded significant results from a man capable of answering questions he was not asked without breaking a sweat or raising his voice. If he could force Mr Paxman to give up, then he is most probably capable of holding up against even aliens akin to H.R. Giger’s monstrous creations. No doubt precious few of Earth’s secrets were divulged that night. Kyle Bellamy
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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10 We've Got Mail
THERE HAVE been some changes to [the National Library of Scotland], which has meant the inclusion of a cafe. We like the cafe - who doesn’t? But those of us who used to bring a packed lunch no longer are allowed to eat in the space! We used to have a small room where we could have our lunch and a coffee, that we would bring with us. We don’t all have trust funds and cannot afford to buy fancy sandwiches every day. This week a few of us were eating our lunches in the cafe and were ordered out, and told that we were not allowed to eat there anymore. When I pointed out that we were 1) students b) it’s a recession and 3) that we have eaten our lunch there for years, we were dismissed. They talk of access and they talk of helping students, but it just seems like they want to turn the library into a pricey restaurant at our expense. Anyhow, a number of us, and staff actually, are really pissed off with this and do not appreciate being treated in this way. All we want is a small space to eat our lunch when using the library. Sarah Moss I would like to question the necessity of blaming England every time you mention a governmental action with which you disagree, as exemplified in the previous headlining article published on the 16th of February ['Graduate tax back on debating table']. I would like to draw attention to the fact that England, Wales and Northern Ireland are the only countries in the EU that pay tuition fees to attend a Scottish university. If there is to be any racial discrimination maybe you should use that one? Tessa Mansbridge
WE HAVE exciting news! As editors, it’s not often that we get to write things like that, but this week we do actually have a legitimate reason for using an exclamation mark. The Student has become the first university paper in Scotland to have its very own iPhone app. Yes, that’s right, we’ve managed to make the transition from print to shiny touch screens and we’ve done it in style (see page 5 for the advert). The app is particularly useful for those of you who have trouble getting hold of the paper or have relatives who need to know what’s going on in your world. Here in the office, we’ve been well aware that the paper isn’t getting around as much as it used to. This is partially due to a mysterious mass-disappearance of our stands around campus (the papers at Teviot are now conveniently located on top of the cigarette machine at the entrance, under a pile of flyers) but we also have to give the ever-declining popularity of print some credit. However, no problem is too big for The Student as most of our articles, and even some of those that aren’t included in the paper, are uploaded to our website (www.studentnewspaper.org) so you’ll never miss out on our amazing reviews, features or news stories. This week it seems as if the political side of university has gone into overdrive. The EUSA campaigns have begun in earnest as student Facebook profiles are plagued with invitations to ‘[Insert name here] for [insert EUSA position here]!’ groups complemented with awkward headshots of the candidates in ques-
A quick history lesson... 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.
Disclaimer 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.
tion. And if that wasn’t enough - on Saturday, 2,000 people gathered to march against the Scottish Defence League’s march accompanied by policemen in neon yellow and helicopters flying overhead. In this tense political climate, we decided to venture into our archive room (a perilous mission if there ever was one) to see what things used to be like at our beloved university. Indeed, we wonder if things got as heated and raucous as they do nowadays. Puzzling circumstances surround the disappearance of Liz Rawling’s election banner, previously resplendent in all of it yellow glory adorning the beautiful George Square skyline. Looks as though it has been maliciously hacked off and sources say that it was presumed nicked between 4 and 5am on Sunday morning. University Security Staff say that they are looking into it. Personally, we can’t wait to find out who the balaclava clad hoodlums - (the clothing of the criminals is not certain, but it sounds better that way) - are and put them in the stocks for the first medieval style tomatorama shame fest that the university has seen in CENTURIES! Completely forgetting why we were there in the first place, we stumbled across some real gems hidden amongst old copies. Our favourite by far (only just beating the 'Find Out What Class You're Are' quizz, circa 2000) was an issue from 1984 which had a list of EUSA candidates, polling station locations and unfufilled promises. So, for your entertainment - these are the EUSA elections, eighties-style...
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OUR NEW PERSONAL HERO: Now that's a policy that'd get votes in.
Probably ignored then as much as MyEd polls are ignored now.
studentnewspaper.org Tuesday February 23 2010
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IN THE STUDENT THIS WEEK
THE LOVELY BONES REVIEW
BAYONETTA TECH P16
Back to school
Catherine Mc Gloin explores the life of the elusive 'mature' student and realises that age is just a number. IT'S SUNDAY morning: no alarm, a greasy fry-up, mounting essays that can easily be postponed, maybe some washing up to do - the remnants of Saturday night’s not-so-quiet-night-in - or just sit in Starbucks all morning making full use of their free refills. If you sacrifice your spare minutes volunteering for a charity, are involved in a society, or in gainful employment, this may require a bit more forward planning. For these endeavours, you are hopefully compensated with warm fuzzy feelings, or at least some cold hard cash. Routine may be beneficial for the constitution, but there are not many serious demands on our time, and most of us like it that way. However, among the majority of undergraduates - the school leavers, year-gappers and first-timers - an alternative ‘student lifestyle’ exists and is experienced by a significant proportion of the student body. These University of Edinburgh students are undergraduates too, but they will not be found necking dirty pints dressed as Smurfs, all in the name of hockey initiation protocol. Rarely do they appear in the pages of The Student or across the waves of Fresh Air. However, one place that bumping into this elusive breed of student can be almost guaranteed is the bunker, the library and the lecture theatre. How mature.
Mature students are largely unrepresented as they fall beyond the boundaries of the easily identifiable student stereotype." That is exactly what they are - ‘mature’ - or so they have been labelled. According to the University’s Office of Lifelong Learning, the mature student is deemed so if they have not been in full-time formal education for some years and wish to return to learning for an intellectual challenge that will enhance their professional or personal life. They are also described as often having had a disrupted education during their formative years, yet may come with a considerable amount of life and work experience. Yet I can’t help but think that this description is formulaic and faceless, denigrating the true level of commitment, motivation, as well as tribulations, that many ‘mature’ students experience all for the sake of their degree. In 2008, 16 percent of admissions to the College of Humanities and Social Science at the University of
NEVER BEEN LECTURED: "All you need is for one person to think you’re cool, and you’re in. Everyone else will be scared to question it." Edinburgh were mature applicants, the most popular subjects including Architecture, Japanese and Law. This is a sizeable proportion of students, yet they go largely unrepresented as they fall beyond the boundaries of the easily identifiable student stereotype. Nonetheless, they remain a part of campus life and their student experience is similarly informed by EUSA, the DoS system and any other punchy acronyms you can attribute to university culture. Speaking to a few mature students, you quickly come to realise that what can separate them from the main student body is not a six-letter word. Kate Grimes, an undergraduate ‘mature’ History student in her third year says that she is “fine with the term ‘mature’”. She explains: “I don’t define my whole student experience as being a mature student; I’m an undergraduate student first and foremost.” It would seem, therefore, that defining their position through categorisation is inconsequential when it comes to actually earning their degree. In our ageist society, this is one group of people unconcerned with being referred to as ‘mature’. Then what does demarcate them from the typical undergraduate?
Most single undergraduates are without dependants, like small children, elderly parents in need of care, and certainly without mortgage payments or council tax bills constantly looming. How must it feel, then, to leave your ‘mature’ life at home every morning and return every evening as a caring mother or supportive husband, only to have to sit down and pen 3,000 words on the fiscal state of Medieval Europe? What is it like to prioritise family, work and studying? Why even consider putting yourself through all of that when you already have a job and financial responsibilities? Carole Lowe, a mother of two and Social History student believes that there are many reasons why mature students feel different from the younger student majority: “Fitting the studies in around your other life is quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The pace is relentless. I am already looking forward to getting my evenings and weekends back, together with losing the constant sense of guilt about either not doing enough reading or not doing enough with my family.” Balancing home life and deadlines can be tough, and is made harder by the
feelings of guilt that you’ve neglected your loved ones - the people who supported your decision to return to education in the first place. Completing aspirations of a university degree can be a daunting experience, but one that many ‘mature’ students feel compelled to accomplish, either by a desire for personal achievement or by the economic boost that having a degree makes possible. Kate says her primary motivation for entering university was fear: “What if I reached 60 and had never known whether or not I could complete a university degree? I was fearful of the regret that I would have experienced.” It was her loving husband that gently encouraged her, soothingly stating, “You can spend the rest of your life bitching about the fact that you don’t have a university degree. Or you can do something about it!” Retuning to university for the first time is a daunting experience, riddled with a strange combination of apprehension and excitement. ‘Mature’ students, despite their supposed grand wisdom and ‘life experience’, are by no means immune from the conflicting emotions that most undergraduates face. Carole goes on to explain her frustrations at
arriving at university: “You have to deal with what feels like patronising bureaucracy. Your confidence levels can be affected too. Suddenly you are at school again, completely out of your comfort zone and feeling more needy than you are comfortable with.” Kate seems to have had a more positive first day: “I remember at the end of my first lecture, which was fabulous, thinking I had done the right thing.” It’s Monday morning: having to get up for that 9am lecture, meeting deadlines, paying library fines and feeling like there is just too much going on at once. At one time or another, these are the daily occurrences in the life of any student, ‘mature’ or otherwise. None of us are strangers of 'the fear' - although some may be better acquainted than others. We can sometimes be afraid of not fulfilling our true potential, of wasting our time and money. While ‘mature’ students may be mothers, husbands or ex-IT consultants, this does not mean that they should be seen as the exception to the rule when it comes to the stereotypical undergraduate student experience. Their fears, anxieties and perspective on learning can be just as similar as they are unique.
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Let The Mud-Slingin
As the EUSA candidates start to make their rounds, Kim McLaughlan & Paul Satterthwaite take a lo W
name a few. Even the student press launches ad hominem attacks. Alternative campus newspaper The Journal Journal’s "Rumour Mill" recently scored high in the bitchy stakes, comparing Neil Pooran, candidate for Vice-President of Societies and Activities, to a bunch of "spice girls with no girl power." Yeah, you go girlfriend! Oh dear. Reading petty blogs and taking on board the views of journalists who aspire to nothing other than sensationalist tactics leave us on shaky ground. If political involvement in overseeing how the university is run provides a springboard for our students to become a part of national politics, à la Gordon Brown, then surely more careful consideration than whether or not we want to snog the lead candidate should be taken into account. If it is possible
to apply the minor happenings of our bubble universe of student politics and see it as a microcosm of politicians who operate on a local or even national level, then taking our lead from these fairly useless commentators would be not only deplorable but downright laughable. If we choose to elect our political representatives based on their "snoggability" rating or their celebrity status, or how good they’d look naked, we could then expect to see the country run in a few years time by the Cheryl Coles and Peter Andres among us. Good God. And before you snort derisively, don’t laugh too quickly:
of a person’s suitability for election to office. Presumably judgement of the individual’s character is a necessary step to take when choosing someone who is supposed to represent you. Former EUSA president Adam Ramsay explains, "The truth about the job is that you spend much of your time dealing with things other than your policies. This is not because candidates are dishonest, unfocused or lazy, it is simply because events are unpredictable. As a result, it is important to know things like the ideology of the candidate - what sorts
These are not questions of policy, but they are reasonable questions about the person." Whether at a university, local, or national level, these are questions whose answers we can gain an insight into now more than ever. Social networking sites give the voter greater access to a candidate’s real personal beliefs and attitudes, not just the ones purported on their election literature. These sites can also allow greater insight into a candidate's personality as a whole, giving us an indication of honesty, intelligence and a respectful understanding of other people’s needs. All this information is readily available to any investigative journal-
he is a labour candidate. I don’t think people should have to put up with that."
The truth about the job is that you spend much of your time dealing with things other than your politics. This is not because candidates are dishonest, unfocused or lazy, it is simply because events are unpredictable.' Adam Ramsay,Former EUSA President While the majority play it clean, low-wit ad hominem attacks that occur
RUPERT CAMERON SULLY
ith the race for EUSA presidency looming, the University of Edinburgh’s potential electorate is about to have student politics in all of its resplendent glory shoved down their throats. For most, the election has apparently little meaning or relevance to them. It simply entails being bombarded with a host of offensively bright flyers, ten minute delays before lectures and a tired looking string of hopefuls struggling in vain to be as witty or "down with the kids" as the one who came before. On top of growing voter apathy and as a further blow to candidates, a stream of criticism and gossip tends to circulate on this occasion, often constructively, sometimes less so. A whole mini-village of bloggers and hacks gleefully rub their thighs in anticipation planning for their favourite time of year, just in time to fulfil their wet dreams and dishearten even the most spirited campaigners, launching a myriad of tasteless personal attacks. We need only type the names of various students associated with running in EUSA elections into Google to give us an idea of the typical attack. Want "nightmares" and a full blown discussion imagining what it might be like to kiss Thomas Graham, current President of EUSA? Look no further than the offerings of the Google search engine for delightful up-close and personal pictures of the man himself. Safe to assume they haven't been air-brushed. Furthermore, an interesting array of witty wordplays spring to life, "EUSAlicious" and "EUSAdistic", to
this is already happening in other countries. Let's not forget about the election of Arnie "The Governator" in California, and wrestler Jessie "The Body" Ventura as governer of Michigan. Will it really be long before we vote someone into a position of power based solely on his or her celebrity status? Some would argue this has already been the case with Boris Johnson voted in as Mayor of London. It doesn’t take a genius to point out that one of the most important aspects on which a person should be judged worthy of our vote is the candidate's espoused policies and beliefs In the case of the EUSA presidency, the evidence clogging up every corridor of the university over the coming weeks shouldn't be hard to find. But then political beliefs alone do not provide us with enough evidence
of decisions do you think they are likely to make? How are they likely to behave? Will they cope with the stress of running a big organization, being criticised in public, etc.
[These discussions do]... reflect a real lack of willingness to recognise that politicians are real people. They try to set them up as superhuman." - Thomas Graham, current EUSA president
ist, indeed to anyone with internet access and ten minutes of free time. The question then becomes: what is relevant for consideration and reporting, and what is just fodder for simple-minded childish personal attacks? Liz Rawlings, who is re-running for EUSA presidency, believes that charisma is an important aspect of the job, but she claims that "negative campaigning doesn’t work and it’s not fair for the people being attacked. Student politicians, and politicians in general, need a private life, without which they become alienated from real life so less representative of the electorate and therefore worse at their job." She goes on to point towards the negative campaigning against Thomas Graham last year ("Getting the Hand Job Done," You Tube), which she believes happened "just because
within the university do seem to be emblematic of events occurring outside the academic sphere. They add nothing to the debate and do not in any way encourage a more enlightened involvement in the process; they just turn people off getting involved in politics in the first place. It should be the job of the media or any commentator to encourage greater involvement, not the exact opposite; to help in providing people with the relevant information needed to cast their vote wisely, and in doing so involve more of the current apathetic population in the political process. Unfortunately schemes to encourage the mass electorate to become involved in politics tend to focus mainly on making it easier for them to vote without actually arming them
thevoice Your Studentsâ€™ Association Magazine
GOT THE MUNCHIES? Inside: The Voice gives the ultimate guide on the best places to grab lunch on campus PLUS:
societies | confessions | EUSALIVE new events
AND YOU ARE…?
SHAKE EUSA UP
The Voice grabs an Interview with VPS James Wallace, “Not a manager; a representative of students”. Trying to book an interview with the Vice President of Services for EUSA had been quite a challenge. Constantly at conferences, meetings and other events meant that James had been hard to track down. Sometimes it felt that even he didn’t know where he was meant to be. 20 minutes before an SRC Executive meeting was all I got to get a grasp of what he did. “I’m absolutely loving it,” he exclaimed, proudly and enthusiastically. “Day to day, a lot of people come to me with ideas, but a lot of it is along the lines of strategic thinking. I need to decide in which direction our Association needs to go.” Defining his specific remit was challenging, not because he wasn’t carrying out his role, but because the role of a Vice President can range as wide as any other. “At the moment, I’m just proud that students feel more engaged with their Union. A lot of that has been seen this year. Bar revenue is up, which is great, but it’s not as important as the amount of people who come through our doors.” Along with ensuring the bars are on track, to James it was crucial that, “Societies are at the heart of everything we do”. Working with the 3 other Sabbatical Officers in collaborative working was at the core of what being a Sabbatical Officer was being about. “Our relationship is good...in general...,”
he said, as his head turned away not knowing whether to smile or carry on with our thread of serious discussion. We ended up doing a bit of both. Following the elections each year, there is little doubt that the organisation will see change, but according to James, “I think from the inside it’s changed massively...We’re beginning to transform the organisation. Change comes from within”. “I’ve feel that recently we’ve had a fresh start. I’m calling it ‘my last 100 days’,” he exclaimed, with a grin that mirrored a naughty school boy. “Obama can have his first 100 but I will have my last.” “We must have a team that can argue and have different opinions, because students have different opinions. It’s great having different voices with different ideas.” “The Services role was seen as managing staff, but it’s now not like that at all. I’m not a manager- I’m a representative of students, and I hope that continues in the future.” “Everything is inter-linked, and as long as people stop seeing ‘services’ and ‘representation’ as different things, and continue to move forward, things aren’t going to be stuck in the last century.” [Matthew McPherson]
GET PUMPED UP FOR PIMP MY SCHOOL Pimp My School is a competition run jointly by EUSA and the University of Edinburgh. It challenges students to look at the campus and suggest changes to make it a more inspiring and useful place. There are many grey and redundant spaces around the university and we are asking you to submit ideas to show how you would like to see areas of the campus revamped. Small changes can make a lot of difference especially when it comes to creating places where students can sit, work or meet friends. There is a limited budget for the winning entry, so if you’re interested in winning then it’s best to focus on a relatively small space (e.g. an alcove, foyer, or hall area). Pimp My School is a way to show the university clearly what the campus looks like through a student’s eyes; and what changes students would like to see. The winning entry will be developed by the university during 2010/2011 for the benefit of Edinburgh University students; and other highly commended entries will be kept on file for future development ideas. Start by thinking of how you use university spaces on a daily basis: • Have you ever searched in vain for somewhere comfortable to sit and read? • Then decide what you want to change and add: • Install sofas and coffee tables?
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‘Pimp My School is a way to show the university clearly what the campus looks like through a student’s eyes; and what changes students would like to see’ Judging Entries A panel of judges from EUSA and University Estates and Buildings will assess entries on the basis of the following criteria: • Imaginativeness • Benefit to the student experience • Benefit to the school ethos and sense of community To thank entrants, there will be a reception held in mid-March to announce the winners, present prizes, and showcase the commended entries.
Prizes on Offer Prizes of £100, £50, £30 in Amazon vouchers will be awarded for the entries ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd. In addition to this, the winning entry (subject to affordability) will be taken up as a University estates project for implementation in 2010/2011. Entering the competition is simple: Take a few photographs of the space(s) you would like to see improved Say briefly what (if anything) they are currently used for, and what prevents better use Explain what you would like to see done If you think it helps explain your idea: make a rough sketch or include pictures Explain what the benefits would be to students and the school community Submit your ideas by hand or post to Pimp My School, EUSA Office Potterrow 5/2 Bristo Square Edinburgh EH8 9AL or email (pimpmyschool @ eusa.ed.ac.uk) before 12pm on Friday 5th March 2010. And Don’t forget to include rteh competition form which can be found at www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/ pimpmyschool/submit. [Alexandra Taylor]
Things you ought to know about EUSA…. Your chance to Shake EUSA up is coming! The next EUSA General Meeting is Tuesday 23rd February at the McEwan Hall. There are 2 General Meetings of the Students’ Association each year, including the Annual General Meeting of first semester at which the Association presents the Annual Report. How it works: General Meetings can mandate the Association to do anything legal, all you need is 300 votes in favour of your motion. Past successes include boycotting Nestle products in all student association shops, which was a hugely popular motion. So if you want to change the way your Association is being run, come along and make a difference, ANY matriculated student can propose a motion. Look out for a review of the motions that are passed in the next issue! Also….. • We have just opened a new gym at Kings buildings • A record number of students (nearly 400 people) watched the Superbowl at Teviot. • You can become a fan of EUSA on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eusa [Alexandra Taylor]
The next EUSA General Meeting is Tuesday 23rd February at the McEwan Hall.
The Voice: Contributors Editor Alexandra Taylor Writers Sarah Purvis, Susannah Savage, Matt McPherson, Carys Notley, Harrison Kelly, , Sophie Routledge, Alice Cummings, Stevie Wise, Khadija Basit, Gabi Jones, Tony Foster, Alexandra Taylor. Photographer Aron Krauz Photography SXC
Our Guide to the Union Cafeterias:
LATEST NEWS PLEASE STAND UP If you look at EUSA and think, Hey I could do a better job than that! Then you’re just what we’re looking for! You could make a change to the university by standing for election. There’s even a little booklet that gives away all the secrets on how to get elected being distributed on campus. By getting involved, you can help improve your education, services, events and activities and help EUSA create a world leading student experience at the University of Edinburgh. And, ﬁrst-timers don’t need to be put off as EUSA provide training, help and guidance at every step of the way! There are part-time positions up for grabs representing every school and you can even run to be a full-time sabbatical ofﬁcer! Nominations for positions opened on Monday 8th February and forms are available from the EUSA website, Students Association ofﬁce in Potterrow or the reception at KB House. But Hurry…Nominations will close on the 18th February at 12 noon and Elections take place on 3rd/4th March online via MyEd.
THE CAFÉ IS one of any student’s favourite hang-outs - whether you consider it as just a setting of neatly arranged tables and chairs or a place to ponder ideas (J.K Rowling famously claimed her local one was the birthplace of Harry Potter), it is a large part of University culture. It goes without saying that any cafeteria is judged for its food, beverages and the atmosphere it provides. But, with so much choice, it’s hard to know where to go. That’s why The Voice have done it for you. Yes, we’ve spend hard hours testing dishes at all the Union buildings to give you our guide to the best lunch spots the University has to offer. The Mayﬁeld Bar, Kings Building • The menu is quite diverse; they serve a variety of meals and beverages like salads, burgers, nachos, coffees and teas, etc. There’s also hot Belgium wafﬂe for dessert! Since it is a bar, alcoholic drinks are also available. In addition, everything is reasonably priced. • As far as the atmosphere is concerned, it was warm and peaceful. Moreover, I absolutely admired the lighting and the relaxing effect it produced. • I highly recommend it for group studying. Individual learning varies from person to person, but the Mayﬁeld Bar is a place where one would actually want to study and have lunch with friends. • This place also has entertainment in the form of snooker tables and a television screen playing some really popular music!
WINNER: BEST FOR GROUP STUDYING
James Clerk Maxwell Building (JCMB) Cafeteria, Kings Building • There is not much difference in menu from the Library Café or the Library Bar based in George Square. They serve ﬁnger food like sandwiches, Panini, baguettes and baked potatoes. Like many other cafeterias, teas and coffees are a must. In essence, all the food seems to be healthy and proper. • I was amazed at the calm and soft atmosphere of the cafeteria. It was different from George Square cafes. • Their cafeteria is also really spacious and warm. Moreover, it was not crowded at all.
WINNER : BEST FOR INDIVIDUAL STUDYING
Potterrow, Bristo Square • Potterrow is a common student hang out and quite busy most of the times. • It is quite nippy which makes studying slightly difﬁcult. • Several societies advertise their events, promote their activities there. In that sense, it is the perfect place to socialize. • There is always hustle and bustle due to the cafeteria and the student shop
David Hume Tower Cafeteria, George Square • The menu is great. There is plenty to select from. • It is quite a café cum restaurant like atmosphere. They have checked tablecloths which enhances the effect. • The seating arrangement is quite adequate and it is usually busy during lunch hours. • I would recommend it for lunch. Appleton Tower Café, George Square • Appleton Tower is highly populated at all times during the day. Hence, the idea of having a small cafeteria there is a clever one. • When it comes to the menu, they have ‘quick food’-sandwiches, mufﬁns and cupcakes, and wraps. I absolutely adore their espresso and recommend other students to try it as well! • It might not be the best place to study because it is always so busy and concentrating might become problematic. Library Bar, Teviot Place • Their sofas are cozy and comfortable. • It is very busy during lunch hours, but at other times, it’s quiet and a good place for individual or group studying. • Their soups are delicious, especially their lentil soup. • I also recommend it for socializing with friends or society meetings.
WINNERS : BEST ATMOSPHERE
Library Café, Main Library • The library café is always buzzing with life. That’s probably because it is a café based in the library and convenient for most students to take a break during their studies. • Their menu is quite satisfactory and there is a lot to choose from. I usually have hot chocolate and their very famous chocolate chip cookies. • I recommend it for group studying while simultaneously munching! Mezzanine, Teviot Place • I have entirely fallen in love with their menu! I love their ﬁsh and chips and their mushrooms with rice! If you desire a proper meal, I suggest the Mezzanine! • It is appropriate to socialize with friends, have lunch with friends. • It is usually very engaged, especially during lunch hours and might be good for studying after lunch when there is silence.
WINNERS : BEST FOOD
6 NATIONS AT TEVIOT It’s the big one you don’t want to miss. England play Scotland on Saturday 25th February. Teviot’s Sportsmans Bar has been showing all 6 Nations games on its BIG screen since the event kicked off on Saturday 4th February. So… if you’ve not had a chance to head on down yet, make sure you’re there this Saturday! There’s plenty of chances to win merchandise during the pre match build up from midday to the game, enjoy 2 pint pitchers for £2.50 and get yourself a half time buffet. And the best part - If Scotland win the game the ﬁrst 50 customers left at the end of the match will get a free nip of whisky to celebrate.
A Word from the Editor IN THIS EDITION of the Voice, you can expect to see a lot more EUSA: It’s you chance to meet some of the team – James Wallace, check out the new listings at the Pleasance Theatre and Teviot coming up this fortnight and ﬁnd out how to make your own mark with ‘Pimp my School’ and the upcoming elections. We’ve also carried out a food survey letting you know the best places on campus to grab lunch as well as giving you lots of advice on how to solve your accommodation worries. As usual, we’re always looking for people to join the team so if you’re interested just come along to one of our weekly meetings – Monday 1:15pm in the EUSA ofﬁces, Potterrow. In the meantime get stuck in to ﬁnding out what new and exciting things your Students’ Association has been up this fortnight. [Alexandra Taylor]
WINNER : BEST FOR SOCIALISING www.eusa.ed.ac.uk
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5 weird and wonderful ways to save money mid semester We will do anything to make our student loans last until the end of March, here are our top 5 suggestions 1.Bin diving
An up and coming craze is to make like a tramp and get in the bin. Although this sport is illegal, go behind any supermarket after dark and you will see students ﬁghting the homeless for a free gourmet meal.
2. Stop washing
Not only is it environmentally friendly, showering less saves money on your water bill and the amount you spend on shampoo and soap. Also your friends are much less likely to invite you on a pricey night out due to your unpleasant odour. Word of warning: don’t scrimp on deodorant.
3. Society gate crashing
The more obscure the society, the more free food to be had. Scoff slowly and make polite conversation so as not to blow your cover. Be careful to draw the line at anything verging on a cult or socially unacceptable,( don’t want to end up as treasurer of the Warhammer society do you).
4. Get your skates on
Instead of taking a bus or taxi try roller skating. It was cool in the 80’s why not now? We ﬁnd our matching helmets really help our “street cred.” Once you become a skating pro there will be no need for a gym membership either ( or you could just walk but who wants to be boring)
5. Milk your mum for all she’s worth
After months of wondering whether you’re still alive any family member, mums especially, will be overjoyed to be invited to visit. Once you’ve got them here make sure your kitchen cupboards are bare and you’ve got your wide eyed puppy dog look practiced to perfection.
‘ALTHOUGH THIS SPORT IS ILLEGAL, GO BEHIND ANY SUPERMARKET AFTER DARK AND YOU WILL SEE STUDENTS FIGHTING THE HOMELESS FOR A FREE GOURMET MEAL.’
Confessions of a...student waiting for exchange
I THINK IT is something that you know you want to do even before you have got your place at your University in the UK. It was for me anyway. ‘International Exchange’ it sounded just so exciting. About two months into my time here at Edinburgh I was googleing the options for me to get away again. Not because I don’t like Edinburgh but just because it sounds so much fun to learn what I am learning now, but whilst being about 15 degrees warmer. Anxious not to miss out on the opportunity I got my application in the day after it opened. The early bird catches the worm and all that. Although in reality none of that matters as you got offered a place on the merits of your ﬁrst year work. As a fresher it can be easy to slack off and get pulled to
4 THE VOICE TWITTER.COM/EUSAPRESIDENT
(or in) RUSH bar every night of the week, but knowing that I needed at least a high ‘B’ average to even get considered for study abroad, I am glad the hard work paid off. Just before the festive season, Santa (aka Helen Leitch at the International Ofﬁce) dropped an early present into my Email inbox. There it was highlighted in red and with a ‘!!’ after it. This was it the email I had been waiting for since I arrived at Uni. Waiting for the ﬁle to download, wondering what it might say. This one email could possibly change my life forever. A bit over the top? Maybe. Exciting? Deﬁnitely. The attachments said exactly what I had wanted it to “You have been nominated for exchange at The University of Hong Kong.” Boom! From a Huddersﬁeld state school to Hong
Kong University in two years! I was ecstatic and immediately phoned the person who was waiting for the email as much as me. You might know her actually...her name is Mum. It felt great to be able to tell everybody at home that I was going over Christmas but now that I have got a place the pressure is on to make sure I get through the visa process, have enough money and most importantly to make sure I have the grades! I still can’t quite believe and I don’t think it will sink in until I hear the words at Heathrow, “Final boarding for Hong Kong.” [Harrison Kelly]
Make the Perfect Pancake Every few of us actually fast during Lent, yet using up household items such as sugar, eggs, butter and milk to make delicious pancakes is one tradition which many of us still loyally adhere to! FUNNY THAT! INDEED, according to Christian tradition, such ingredients were used up on Shrove Tuesday in preparation for a forty day fasting period, starting on Ash Wednesday, in order to commemorate Jesus Christ’s forty days and nights in the wilderness. Pancakes formed the perfect hearty meal and used the ingredients, which had to be avoided until Easter. This year Shrove Tuesday lands on the 16th of Feb. The term ‘shrove’ derives from old English word ‘shrive’ which means to ‘confess all sins’. Yet there is a variety of ways, beyond the making of delicious pancakes, in which the day is celebrated. In Britain, some of the old traditions include Lent crocking or Lensharding, the custom which involves old crockery being thrown at people’s doors and asking for pancakes to be thrown back in return (perhaps not to be tried at home!). In other parts of the globe, different customs are practiced to mark Shrove Tuesday, such as the Mardi Gras carnival in New Orleans. The pancake itself also takes many different forms across the world. In Crete, Greece, you’ll ﬁnd the sweet ‘tiganites’ variety, the buckwheat ﬂour ‘galette’ is traditional to Brittany in France, in Morocco the pancake ‘baghrir’ is made with semolina, and the ‘atias’ variety fragranced with rose water can be found in the Middle East.
But for those of you who wish to stick to the British classic, here is the recipe for the most perfect pancakes… Ingredients 100g Plain ﬂour 2 Eggs 300ml Milk Pinch of salt Melted butter for frying Toppings of your choice! Method Sift the ﬂour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle of the ﬂour and add the eggs. Begin to mix together, gradually adding the milk. Beat until it forms a smooth batter (preferably with no lumps!). Melt butter into a pan and add part of the mixture, enough to thinly cover the surface of the pan. Begin to loosen the pancake from the edges as it cooks and ﬂip over once the bottom side is a golden brown. Once the other side is also golden, serve immediately with the topping of your choice, whether it’s lemon and sugar, my personal favourite, butter and sugar or maple syrup, banana, squirty cream, nutella, cheese and ham…the list in endless! [Carys Notley]
FOR CHARITY! This Easter my friend Nick and I will be hitch hiking all the way from Edinburgh to Morocco, that’s across 3 countries, 1 continent and more than 1500 miles, in the name of charity. We’re aiming to raise at least £700 for the Link Community Development Charity. This in itself is no easy task, but we’re not afraid of a challenge. We want to up the stakes. To give people that extra incentive to sponsor us, if we raise more than £1500 we won’t just be hitch hiking we’ll be getting HITCHED. We might hitch across Europe just for fun, but we deﬁnitely wouldn’t get married if this wasn’t a really really worthwhile cause… Link Community Development (http:// www.lcd.org.uk/) is an incredible charity that works to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the most disadvantaged schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. LCD’s work helps more than half a million school children across Uganda, Malawi, South Africa, Ethiopia and Ghana. The Hitch is its largest fundraising event and is crucial for allowing LCD to commit to new projects and expand to new regions. Every penny makes a difference and here’s how: • £10 can pay for 10 reading books for a classroom. • £20 can pay for a teacher to attend an HIV/AIDs training session which will then be used to raise awareness amongst the children. • £30 will pay for literacy training for a teacher. • £45 will pay for one head teacher to attend 8 days of training with LCD staff where leadership and teaching skills will be developed to improve the standard of education offered to children. To read more or donate (we’ll be grateful for any amount, however small) go to: www.justgiving.com/Susannah-Savage
Let’s Get SRCerious
With the elections heating up (nominations had to be in by Monday) student politics is getting all... Emm... Well... A bit... ‘Political’.
BY THE TIME this article comes out, the EUSA website will have declared all students standing in all of the positions at the upcoming General Elections. The elections, which take place on the 3rd and 4th of March (you can vote over two days) will give every student the opportunity to vote for all of the 106 representatives that will represent you at the very highest of levels for the next year. While the President and 3 Vice Presidents will attract the most attention, the 102 others are just as important. From School Reps to Ofﬁcers dealing with accommodation or equality issues, you can’t afford to miss your chance to have a say. In fact, further than that, have a say before
the elections even happen; join a candidate’s facebook group, or drop them a line about what you would like them to do if they get elected. They’ll be grateful for you advice, and even more so for your support. But in other just as riveting news, the Students’ Representative Council changed the way it does things, which isn’t very often, so that at every meeting each member can ask each Sabbatical Ofﬁcer any question they like. Often it disintegrates into “What did you get for Christmas?”, and many other issues, such as the President’s receding hairline, have come up more often than others. However, member of the SRC have been grateful for the new opportunity.
Issues discussed became far less about the strategic direction of the organisation, and more about what everyone’s been up to, and how that affects us. The student elections last year had a turnout of over 25%, making EUSA one of the most democratic and representative student organisations in the world, and we shouldn’t over look that. But there is much more to do, and by standing, campaigning, or simply by voting, you can take part in once again making our Students’ Association a beacon for almost every other. [Matthew McPherson]
‘BY THE TIME THIS ARTICLE COMES OUT, THE EUSA WEBSITE WILL HAVE DECLARED ALL STUDENTS STANDING IN ALL OF THE POSITIONS AT THE UPCOMING GENERAL ELECTIONS.’ www.eusa.ed.ac.uk
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Safe Sex WITH A C:CARD Those of you who were at the Big Cheese on Saturday, will hopefully have noticed the group of C: Card Outreach Project volunteers, clad in blue t-shirts, signing students up for the C: Card free condoms scheme. But what is C: Card and what is the Outreach Project hoping to achieve?
Aunty Alice goes head to head with our very own student Agony Aunt Sophie to solve all your relationship worries.
What is C: Card? C: Card is a conﬁdential service which provides free condoms in Edinburgh and the Lothians. All you need to sign up is your date of birth, and the ﬁrst half of your post code. Once you’ve got a card, you can pop into any C: Card point and get free condoms / dams / lube! The closest C: Card point for most Edinburgh Uni students is the Advice Place in Potterrow.
AGONY AUNTS ADVISE ON ACCOMODATION BEFORE WE LET our Agony Aunts loose on this topic, lets remind all you home-hunting students that the EUSA Accomodation Fair will is happening at Teviot, Debating Hall from 10am – 4pm tomorrow, the 17th of February. It’s your chance to get advice on all the ﬂats available for lease in 2010, buying and selling, letting hints and tips, festival options and how to get the best deals and avoid dodgy landlords! So whether it’s your ﬁrst ﬂat or your looking for a change for 3rd year, EUSA is here to help. Also you can log onto our exclusive accommodation ﬁnder pages on our website for up to date details of available ﬂats in a variety of locations across Edinburgh. http://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/accommodationﬁnder
IF YOUR THINKING of moving into a shared ﬂat next academic year, my ﬁrst piece of advice would be to check out the EUSA Accommodation Fair in Teviot on 17th February. But here are some things to think about before choosing a ﬂat. 1. Check your landlord’s credentials. All landlords must be registered with the local Council. Good landlords in Edinburgh are also accredited through the Edinburgh Landlord Accreditation Scheme. For a list of such properties visit: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/ela. 2. All ﬂats with three or more non-related adults must have an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) Licence. 3. Ask for a written lease, you are entitled to one, and must not be charged for it. Ok, so now what to think about? How do you decide on a ﬂat? Ask yourselves these questions: • How much communal space will you need to keep you all sane? • If you go for a ﬂat with out much communal space - how will you divide up the bedrooms; remember if you get the big bedroom it may end up as the living room! • A ﬂat to study in or a ﬂat to have fun in? Or both? • Who will you be living with?If you can’t stand your friends biting their toe-nails and ﬂicking them on the ﬂoor, or smoking out the window, stealing food from the pantry and not washing up… It won’t get better next year! • Do you want a quiet ﬂat closest to where you study, or a ﬂat is a busy area for the nightlife? Are you going to want to pay for a ﬂat during the holidays? Also think about the costs of the ﬂats vs. the cost of storage for your belongings.
‘IF YOU GO FOR A FLAT WITH OUT MUCH COMMUNAL SPACE - HOW WILL YOU DIVIDE UP THE BEDROOMS; REMEMBER IF YOU GET THE BIG BEDROOM IT MAY END UP AS THE LIVING ROOM!’ 6 THE VOICE TWITTER.COM/EUSAVPSA
Remember, we can’t ﬁnd your perfect ﬂat for you, but if you unsure of your rights or want a bit of advice pop in and see us at the Advice Place, Potterrow. Good hunting! [Alice Cummings]
Sophie’s view Sophie’s view: Flat-hunting is composed of two major elements: ﬁrst, ﬁnding ﬂat-mates that are sociable, clean, hard-working, interesting and quiet; secondly, ﬁnding a ﬂat that is big, has lots of bathrooms, quirky and cheap. It is, frankly, an impossible task, BUT you can nearly reach these goals if you’re cunning enough. So, the ﬂat-mates: The perfect ﬂat-mate described above, sadly, does not exist. However, the individuals do! Say you need four ﬂat-mates: ﬁnd one who has loads of friends and will boost your social life, a neat-freak who will clean up after you, a hard-working one who will make sure you don’t fail your degree, and a token ‘interesting’ one (a hippie perhaps). Simples! Provided they are all easy going enough to tolerate the others, you have the perfect ﬂat! Now, the ﬂat itself: Flat-hunting in Edinburgh is notoriously difﬁcult. Do you go for the ﬁve-bedroomed beauty in Marchmont that’ll cost more than your entire university tuition? Or a room above a kebab shop on Nicholson Street with no kitchen table, but a 30 second commute to George Square? A tricky choice, but once you’ve found your ﬂat, getting it will be even harder. I personally obtained my ﬂat in a ‘Rat Race’ style chase to the letting agency, but others have destroyed competitors’ ﬂat applications and taken down adverts for ﬂats to get their dream place. In this game, being ruthless is rewarded. If you really can’t get your hands on the ﬂat you want, try moving into it anyway and force the previous owners out (note: may result in legal action against you). Or maybe start dating a letting agent? The possibilities are endless, young one. Just remember, this will affect the next year of your life. Choose your path wisely.
What is the C: Card Outreach Project? The Outreach Project is being run by EUSA’s Welfare Committee and The Advice Place, with trained volunteers going to events like the Big Cheese and informing students there about C: Card as many don’t know about it. Volunteers will also be able to register students with C: Card and give them their card so they have access to free condoms for life! What is the Outreach Project hoping to achieve? Handing out free condoms at the Big Cheese is nothing new, but hopefully by increasing awareness of C: Card and by actually signing students up for the scheme, we’ll be protecting the sexual health of students in a long-term, more sustainable way. Remember, if you’re not going to be at the Big Cheese anytime soon but still want information on sexual health or you want to get a C: Card, you can go to The Advice Place at Potterrow/KB/Holyrood during the week! [Gabrielle Jones]
‘NOW, THE FLAT ITSELF: FLATHUNTING IN EDINBURGH IS NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT. DO YOU GO FOR THE FIVE-BEDROOMED BEAUTY IN MARCHMONT THAT’LL COST MORE THAN YOUR ENTIRE UNIVERSITY TUITION?’ www.eusa.ed.ac.uk
WORRIED ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES? JOIN EUSA AS IT FIGHTS BACK! EUSA has launched a new website dedicated to Ethics and Environment. At www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/environment, you can ﬁnd out about the many initiatives taking place across the University to ensure that a long-term commitment is made to acting upon the many concerns. With more than 35,000 students and staff, Edinburgh can lead the nation in cutting down its carbon emissions, campaigning for equal rights and saving the earth. IN THE SPOTLIGHT Three major campaigns to get you thinking this fortnight are: Emissions 10:10: 10:10 is an ambitious project to unite every sector of British society behind one simple idea: that by working together we can achieve a 10% cut in the UK’s carbon emissions in 2010. Cutting 10% in one year is a bold target, but for most of us it’s an achievable one, and is in line with what scientists say we need over the next 18 months. We now know for certain that unless we act quickly to reduce our use of dirty fossil fuels, humanity will face terrible problems in the years to come. Politicians have so far failed to do what needs to be done, so it’s time for ordinary people to step in and show that we’re ready to defend our children’s futures. It’s now or never for the climate. So sign up online and pledge your support today.
Fairtrade fortnight: Fairtrade Fortnight starts on the 22nd February and a variety of events will take place across campus. The previous generation of students led the nation in helping Edinburgh University become fair-trade friendly, but there is still so much that still needs to be achieved. Now a coalition at Edinburgh has been formed to turn Scotland into a Fairtrade nation and lead the world in helping those less fortunate than ourselves. EUSA, the University and People and Planet have joined to launch the country’s ﬁrst fairtrade conference targeting all Universities, colleges and schools across Scotland. We would like to encourage you to come to the fair-trade conference which will end fair-trade fortnight this year. Nationwide Fairtrade Conference 8th March, Teviot Row House.
Earth Hour 2010: Earth Hour is a WWF campaign which aims to get 1 billion people in the world to turn off their lights simultaneously, for an hour. On Saturday 27th March 2010 at 8:30pm, the WWF want people to show they care about climate change by taking part. The WWF believe that there is still time to prevent the effects of anthropogenically driven climate change, but we need to act now. The March 2009 campaign saw 83 countries, over 3000 cities and towns and over 1000 landmarks taking part, worldwide. In 2010 they want to really push the event to raise awareness of the problems associated with climate change and to show people in the position of power that we, the people, really do care about climate change. This is only the beginning, to ﬁnd out more about what your Unions and fellow students are doing in conjuction with EUSA please visit the website. [Alexandra Taylor]
Extra News VOTE FOR EUSA IN THE SOUND IMPACT AWARDS Here at EUSA we are ﬁrm believers in the three “r’s” and as students you should be too; for as well as being spot on with your reading, (w)riting and ‘rithmetic we hope you are doing your bit for the environment by following the sound house-keeping principles of REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE. Students at Edinburgh University have believed in these principles for many a long year and to prove it we’ve produced an entry for the Sound Impact Awards 2010. Watch the video on http://www.eusa. ed.ac.uk/magazine You can also check out the new EUSA Ethics and Environment website at http:// www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/environment
BEST SOCIETY AWARD GOES TO THE HISTORY SOCIETY
The Societies Oscars took place at Teviot Debating Hall on Thursday 12th February with the History Society picking up the top award of the night for Best Society. The Economic Society took second place. The Best New Society was the Revamped Computer Society with AEGIS runner up. Unsung Heroes for the most consistently performing society over the year went to Ballroom Dancing followed by the Wine Society. Best Marketing came from Bedlam/ Improverts with Nightline in second place. The Community Award went to the Music Society for their Schools Outreach Programme and Best Buddies were runners up. Runners up for Best Event went to the Model United Nations for their Scotmun conference and the winning award went to People and Planet for their Free Shop.
ISLAM EXHIBITION IT IS FEBRUARY already and Edinburgh is nearing brighter days. Moreover, this blissful month has also brought along with it the Festival of Beliefs. Primarily hosted by the Chaplaincy, this event will connect societies from various faiths. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn about diverse religious beliefs, ask questions and interact with people from all across the globe with differing religious backgrounds. Like many other inter-faith societies, the Islamic Society of the University of Edinburgh (ISOC) will be an active participant. An Islam Exhibition will be arranged on the 17th of February, 2010, at the Chaplaincy from 5-7 p.m in the evening. Much surprise awaits those planning to attend this highly exciting event. A brief introduction of the exhibition will initiate the gathering. Some members will be adorned as 3D pillars depicting the ﬁve pillars of
Islam. Each pillar will be introduced as individuals pass by, glaring at them. The idea is to allow students and non-students to learn about Islam as interactively as possible. Hence, there will also be Ayahs (verses of the Holy Qur’an) and Hadith (sayings and doings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad) projected on a screen. In this way, everyone will have the ability to explore certain aspects of Islam. Those curious about the religion will be able to quench their queries by asking questions and tours of the Central Mosque are also possible. Last but not the least, tea, coffee and some lovely snacks will also be served for the audiences!
Individual awards went to Olivia Longson (the Vixens), Tirion Seymour (Amnesty), Mairi Gray (Music & Chamber Orchestra), Charlotte Squires (Patient Outreach Project), Maxim Cramer (Computing) and Magda James (CHV).
Congratulations to all the winners and to all those involved with societies throughout the year.
THE VOICE 7 TWITTER.COM/EUSAVPS
We are delighted to welcome you to the new EUSAlive Spring Season and particularly to the first ever programme at The Pleasance Theatre. With a guest line up of Club and Music nights in Potterrow and Teviot and the start of a fantastic programme of speaker events – all with free or massively reduced ticket prices for students, the EUSAlive programme is crammed full of events for everyone to enjoy.
“this is soulful music, passionate music and I love it” – Peter Gabriel Tickets available from Potterroe and Pollock Shops, Pleasance Bar, Ripping Records and Ticket Scotland shop on Rose Street (0131 220 3234)
We hope before Autumn 2010 to have a full online booking system, but until then tickets are available to buy at various locations and outlets. Please see each event for details of where to find your tickets.
24th Feb 8.00pm @ Theatre - £8/£5 (students) includes arrival drink Improverts The Big Pleasance Comedy Show! The Pleasance Theatre plays host to some of the best up and coming comic talent from Edinburgh and beyond. Featuring Edinburgh comedy favourites “The Improverts” and many more acts TBC Tickets on the door and around university – See posters for details
26th Feb 8.00pm @ Theatre - £5 The Big Pleasance Comedy Show! The Pleasance Theatre plays host to some of the best up and coming comic talent from Edinburgh and beyond. Featuring Edinburgh comedy favourites “The Improverts” and many more acts TBC Tickets on the door and around university – See posters for details
4th Mar 7.30pm @ Theatre - £7/£4 (students) Ro Campbell, Reverend Obadiah Steppenwolfe III & Tom Stade Rowan Campbell is a Scottish-based Australian who started performing comedy in early 2005, at the age of 29, with a gig at The Stand in Edinburgh. The Reverend Obadiah Steppenwolfe III is a BAFTA winner and star of BBC’s Live Floor Show. Tom Stade is Canadian Comedy’s greatest export, as seen on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Mock The Week. Tickets available from EUSA Potterrow, Pollock & KB Shops, Pleasance Bar, Ripping Record & ticket Scotland shop on Rose Street (0131 220 3234)
25th Feb 8.00pm @ Theatre - £12/£6 (students) Spiro (with support) This four-piece contemporary ensemble take a meticulous approach to composition and performance, creating a sound much greater than their parts (accordion, mandolin, acoustic guitar and violin) would suggest.
8 THE VOICE
16th Feb 7.30pm @ Theatre Love me if you Dare A prolonged game of truth and date between childhood best friends gone completely wrong. Romantic comedies have never been quite so dark. (Drama/romance) Yann Samuell, France, 2003, 93 mins
21st Feb 7.30pm @ Theatre (500) Days of Summer “this is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know up front, this is not a love story” Playing with gender and genre conventions this film is a fresh, funny tale of fractures romance that will leave you smiling (Comedy/ Drama/Romance) Marc Webb, US, 2009, 95 mins
23rd Feb 7.30pm @ Theatre The Squid and the Whale Set in 1980s Brooklyn, The Squid and the Whale is a piercingly1honest examination of Semester Comedy divorce, portrying an often hilarious portrait of the disintegration of the family (Drama) Noah Baumbach, US, 2005 81 mins
28th Feb 7.30pm @ Theatre Inglourious Basterds Set in Nazi-occupied France, Tarantino lends his unique style to this revisionist take on World War II, making for one of the most electrifying film experience in recent memory (Drama/War) Quentin Tarantino, US, 2009, 153mins
27th Feb 1st – 3rd Mar 7.30pm @ Theatre The Cunning Little Vixen Following Edinburgh Studio Opera’s fantastic run of shows in 2009; Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Opera Scenes and a newly devised fully staged Carmina Burana in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, ESO is delighted to return to The Pleasance Theatre to perform Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. The ingenious story tells the adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears set in a world populated by humans as well as forest and barnyard animals. It is one of the 20th century’s most imaginative excursions into a fantasy. “A wealth of outstanding young singing talent” The Scotsman
26th Feb 9.00pm @ the Venue £5 Club 54-46
Club 54-46 is here to show you how they party in Jamaica! Our DJs will get you grooving to bob Marley or skanking to Madness in the finest carnival style. We got a gig within a club too as Edinburgh’s finest ska bands, Bombskare and Big Hand will electrify the dancefloor. Live ska, reggae riddims and rum giveaways… a carnival party not to be missed! “Infectious and soulful” – The Guardian Guide “the perfect musical backdrop to a Tarantino soundtrack” – Virgin Radio “if you don’t leave smiling you must be dead or deaf” – Edinburgh Evening News
6th, 13, 20, 27 Feb 6th, 13th Mar Going Underground 10pm @ Teviot Underground FREE Everybody loves a free event! Calling all Indie Kids to Teviot’s Underground for the best indie beats in the city. Going Underground gives you a taster of the best live music Edinburgh has to offer every week from 10pm followed by hours of indi gold, old and new for you dancing pleasure!
Weekly Tuesdays 8pm @ Library Bar - FREE Library Bar Open Mic Night Every Tuesday from 8pm you have the chance to show off your talents in the Library Bar… AT THE OPEN MIC! Rory’s bluesy tones will start the night off then its up to you to entertain us – you never know, the next Simon Cowell might be watching! 17th Mar – all day throughout Teviot – FREE Teviot always celebrates Paddy’s Day in style, and this year is bugger than ever! Amongst the Guinness pouring, the Irish playing we have ZU2 (Europe’s most authentic U2 tribute band) paying us a very special visit, ZU2 tour the world and have a massive following with their sound exact and look identical, its hard to know where U2 end and ZU2 begin – highly regarded and tipped as even better than the real thing!! Paddy’s games and promotions will run all day!
WHY I LOVE TO FIDGET ON THE DANCEFLOOR In my humble opinion, having been at Edinburgh for almost five years now, it seems that Teviot is getting better (and busier) all the time. It came as no surprise then, when I heard that EUSA was launching a new club night in Teviot’s Underground. Fidget, hosted by EUSA DJs Joe and Justin, began at the end of January and is held every two weeks throughout term-time. Offering a fun mix of up to date chart, indie, dance, RnB, it offers a great alternative to cheese and is definitely what our union has been missing. Best of all, entry is completely free, so if you’re in Teviot anyway, want to take your society out, or just fancy a cheap night out in general, you’ll find nowhere to better suit your budget on a Friday night. The launch party on 29th January got off to a quiet start, but got busy quickly and the crowd, which included my friends and I, was energetic and had lots of fun. Once word gets round, Fidget can be nothing but huge. The Underground is the perfect venue; intimate, with plenty of seating and a decent sized dancefloor. Fidget have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/fidgetclub - since it’s fortnightly the easiest way to know for sure when it’s on is to become a fan and keep an eye on the updates. I seriously recommend checking it out and making sure you come and Fidget on the dancefloor! [Stevie Wise]
22nd Feb 7.00pm @ Debating Hall An evening with Ian Rankin Ian Rankin, Edinburgh University alumnus and bestselling author will be talking about his life in writing, including his time as a student (writing his first Inspector Rebus novel when he should have been studying) and the path which took him from stints as a reviewer for the Film Club programme to a career in music journalism in London, and from there to international acclaim as a novelist. If he’s had a drink, he may also explain his theory that its all to do with punk rock….
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
ook at how bitchy politics has gotten at the university, and just how far we can venture... with the information needed to make a truly informed decision. Most seem to encourage this "X factor style" election system with text voting based on televisual performances or the personal appearance and all round "niceness" of the candidate. The recent Piers Morgan/ Gordon Brown interview broadcast in a prime time slot seems a case in point. Although the interview undoubtedly succeeded in presenting us with an insight into Gordon Brown’s more human side, did it really help the populace understand the real issues that are relevant
w h e n choosing between opposing political factions? President of EUSA Thomas Graham firmly believes that the interview presented Gordon Brown in a positive light: "He is clearly someone who has struggled to connect with the British public, and that the public want to know him as an individual seems fair. Surprisingly it didn’t come across as car-crash TV, and he came across as a pleasant family guy who had made an informed decision to appear on the show. However, as far as politics and private life is concerned, I found the discussions about his private life a bit grotesque." The public’s reaction was, to say the least, a little disconcerting. Radio talk shows the following day where packed with callers declaring whether they would vote for the present prime minister in the
next election based solely, it seemed, on what they had seen on television the previous evening. No mention of the Prime Minister's political and personal beliefs, just how friendly and "nice" people had, or had not, found him on the show. Next week ITV plans to help voters make a more informed electoral choice by presenting David Cameron singing a medley of Abba classics, followed by Nick Clegg spinning plates, and Nick Griffin duetting with Kanye West on a version of Michael Jackson’s "Black or White." The show will end with an impas-
sioned plea by Cheryl Cole to vote for Jedward in the upcoming Euro elections, “because they’re worth it.”
I really don't think students care about the sex lives of their candidates or whether you've ever smoked a spliff, However, there are some questions about the person rather than their policies which are relevant..." - Adam Ramsay
There is a big difference between this rather vapid and empty political "reporting" and negative campaigning, but both do nothing to really help focus on what is really important. Ramsay continues: “I really don’t think students care about the sex lives of their candidates, or whether you’ve ever smoked a spliff. However, there are some questions about the person rather than their policies which are relevant - will this candidate keep their head in a crisis? Are they bright enough to do the job? Are they going to be able to work with the people around them? When they m a k e
decisions on all of the random things that come up, will they make decisions you would approve of? These are all relevant questions.” Unfortunately they are also questions which seem to be happily ignored by those seeking to score cheap points with distasteful and insulting personal attacks. With everything that a prospective politician at the university level has to endure, it’s a wonder that anyone in their right mind even puts themselves up for the job in the first place. Opening yourself up to public ridicule and distasteful comments and accusations hardly seems something anyone would readily choose to do. So what is it that drives people into raising their head above the parapet and standing for a position such as University President?
When questioned about the motives behind students who run for Student Association, Graham provided his own insight: "Generally speaking, there are three types of people who run for positions in EUSA. Firstly, people with a real passion for a certain area, and for a long time now there has been a big push for environmentalist representatives in the Students Association, which with complete respect to them, is one of the few places that they can set about making big changes. This type of person will have to branch out in terms of their policies in order to get elected. The second person may egotistically go into it thinking
that they will be the next Prime Minister, but they are unlikely to get elected. The third person will be someone who wants to
The ego trip is by far the most compelling explanation for the student politician. Either he is conscious of his own social inadequacies or he is dreaming up a career in real politics. But who ever makes it?" Gordon Brown (PM), former editor of The Student
get involved because they genuinely want to change things at a university level. Your average student is someone who is hardworking in terms of both their degree and having a parttime job to support their studies, which makes them more discerning in selecting their candidates. It seems that students have intelligently voted for those who discuss key issues in their manifestos such as education, reforming the DOS system and library opening hours, amongst other things which EUSA polls show to be the points that students care most about." In an article written for The Student in 1971, purportedly "back in the Mick Jagger days," current Prime Minister Gordon Brown shares his thoughts on the reasons behind the desire of anyone to stand for election. "The ego trip is by far the most compelling explanation for the student politician. Either he is conscious of his own social inadequacies or he is dreaming up a career in real politics. But who ever makes it? Is the SRC debate - home of irrelevant debate and pissed-off members - really the breeding ground for our nation’s leaders?" Lord only knows, Gordon. But involvement in the university seems to have provided you with a more than ample springboard to jump into local and national politics,
Mr. Prime Minister. The age-old mistrust of politicians, which seems to have forever been fashionable among students, even, ironically, those vying for political power seems to be in play here. But let’s charitably consider the alternate possibility that some of the people interested in running for EUSA presidency, or for that matter, national positions of prestige, are genuinely interested in making changes through self-sacrifice rather than to indulge their inflated egos. If successful, what actually faces them upon gaining that success? This is a sobering thought. Are we really all that apathetic? And, if so, why ? Perhaps the answer lies in the way our politicians are portrayed, the paucity of proper political debate within our media, and the level of general discussion about those standing for election throughout all parts of university society.
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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COMMISSION #6: James Albon
Rambert Dance Company: The Comedy of CHange Festival theatre run ended
Reduction woodcut inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
More of James' work can be seen at www.jamesalbon.blogspot.com
Pleasance Theatre Launch: Russell Kane and daniel sloss
they were waiting for and more. Accompanied by rock ‘n’ roll lighting and blaring music, Kane swept onto the stage, and within seconds had swept his audience into the palm of his hand. Despite being clothed in jeans and a t-shirt so tight that little was left to the imagination, Kane’s material, rushing from silly to ruthless and back again with lightning speed, assured the room that the first person to compare the headliner to that other famous Russell would be comically and mercilessly butchered.
Georgia - a country of ancient writing
pleasance theatre 13 feb
The University of Edinburgh’s comedy fans were dazzled and delighted on Saturday, when the newly refurbished Pleasance Theatre was opened with a performance by a rising star and a superstar of British comedy. Both 19-year-old Daniel Sloss and Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee Russell Kane powered through sets appealing to the multi-demographical crowd, who responded with adulation, and in Kane’s case, nothing short of adoration. Opening proceedings with an honest piece on why he could not delve into the dirty depths which are the bread and butter of older comedians - "I’m 19 years old; my sex stories go something like 'YES! I’VE HAD SEX!'" - Fife’s own Daniel Sloss set the tone for a performance where his youth took pride of place. Accompanied by the requisite amount of prancing and face-pulling, Sloss delivered crowd-pleasing material on the domestic difficulties of breaking into the comedy scene, musing, "I have a girlfriend; she studies law, so now I’m a disappointment to two sets of parents." While Sloss’ material undoubtedly went down well with an audience of mixed ages, his continual references to his family and parents only served to emphasise his youth, which is constraining to an individual of his talent and potential. With the arrival of comedy luminary Russell Kane in the second half, the capacity crowd got what
Sloss, on the domestic difficulties of breaking into comedy: "I have a girlfriend; she studies Law, so now I’m a disappointment to two sets of parents" Performing a masterfully written set, where sublime punchlines segued seamlessly into ridiculous set-ups, Kane played his audience like a fiddle, constantly involving the crowd but never losing control of the show. Myriad topics were energetically covered, from the erotic appeal of DVT exercises to the underlying reasons for the presence of English students at this institution – "Come Rupert, let’s study in Scotland. It’ll be ironic!" From accents to impersonation, biting satire to honest reflection, Kane gloriously and manically demonstrated his superstar credentials to another sell-out crowd. He told us that television beckons. We can only hope that it doesn’t change him. Charlie Shute
Scotland-Russia Institute until 6 mar
The Georgian manuscripts exhibition at the Scottish Russian Insitute is worthwhile for those of you who want your cultural hit but haven’t the time to venture out of the George square bubble to get it. These beautiful pictorial and written manuscripts, the real versions of which remain in Georgia but are recorded in photographic images, give a valuable insight into ancient Georgian history and culture. Dating back from the 4th to the 10th century AD, these manuscripts are written in Ancient Georgian which is one of the earliest written languages in existence and which uses a series of intricate alphabets. The production and decoration of manuscripts, as well as other mediums, was of great cultural importance in Ancient Georgia; indeed, the former Georgian state of Iberia was one of the first states to convert to Christianity. So you will see from the religious theme of these manuscripts, in which translations of the Psalms, the Gospels and the Bible were made, mostly from the Greek. It is amazing to imagine the time and skill that must have gone into creating these pieces; in fact, monasteries in this period were the heart of artistic education. In particular, Behan’s Bible is of interest as it represents the most accurate translation from the Ancient Greek into the Georgian language and is delicately
James' exihibition I'm Ugly on the Inside runs at the Wee Red Lounge until Friday, 26 Feb printed. Ironically however, this was not printed in Georgia but in a Moscow printing house by King Shahavan III who was exiled from the country. Of particular importance to Georgia’s ancient heritage is the epic poem 'Knights in the Panther’s Skin' which stands out as the real gem of the exhibition. Printed in 1712, it was written by Shota Rustaveli in the 12th century, a prince and treasurer at the court of Queen Tamar of Georgia. It has been translated into many languages and is still considered by critics to be a significant literary work.
These beautiful pictorial and written manuscripts give a valuable insight into ancient Georgian history and culture... It is amazing to imagine the time and skill that must hae gone into creating these pieces" The gold design and patterning which flow around the poem’s edges is so carefully placed, adding again to the sense of awe that comes from realising that this was all painstakingly done by hand. This is an exhibition which provides a sense of beauty, historical interest as well as nostalgia for an age in which the production of the book and the manuscript had such a personal and artistic touch. Claire Moran
Rambert Dance Company have a well deserved reputation for innovation and excellence, but basing an entire UK Tour on Charles Darwin’s most famous book is remarkable even for them. Though the blending of science and art is not quite flawless, this production highlights why Rambert is often credited with being one of the finest and most versatile dance companies in the world. Opening with Christopher Bruce’s Hush, Rambert returned to their recent past: Bruce is both a former student and artistic director of Rambert and this new dance is typical of the style he has developed over the past thirty years. While the dance itself is essentially a re-working of Bruce’s 1981 masterpiece Ghost Dances, a shift in tone and style ensure it remains fresh and entertaining. The South American politics which underline Ghost Dances are replaced with a vaudeville element, dancers wearing pompoms and painted white faces. This in turn adds a new dimension to what would otherwise be typical Bruce choreography – familiar flexed feet suddenly become reminiscent of puppetry. Similarly typical duets between mothers and fathers, children, and fathers and daughters have a subtle sadness when contrasted with Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma’s music. This was followed by Mark Baldwin’s The Comedy of Change, commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species. The tension between art and science runs throughout the piece as Baldwin’s interpretation of the three ‘distinct aspects of Darwin’s theories’ act as motifs for the production to return to. Having spent Valentine’s Day in a studio learning this piece I can safely assert that Baldwin’s choreography is complex, yet the dancers make it seem effortless – almost to the point that it lacks energy. The creative debt to the late Merce Cunningham is acknowledged by Baldwin and so The Comedy of Change relishes its status as ‘dance for dance’s sake’. Despite the clever use of costumes and an incredibly inventive opening sequence, The Comedy of Change lacks the spark to justify it headlining a UK tour; without the narrative drive of Hush it struggles to maintain the audience’s interest. Likewise the sheer energy of Itzik Galili’s A Linha Curve puts The Comedy of Change to shame. Within the first 30 seconds the strong ensemble cast have dispelled all memories of the previous pseudo-scientific exploration with an infectious and powerful celebratory piece. Galili cites "simplicity, sensuality and pure individual poetry" as inspiration for his choreography and thus it is impossible to watch without grinning. By placing the percussionists on stage there is real force behind the Brazilian beats, which is continued by the energy of the dancers as well as Galili’s effective use of unison and canon. A Linha Curva manages to avoid any camp clichés, despite a distinctly homoerotic vibe, but rather harnesses ‘pure primitive joy and exuberance’ and reminds the audience that dance can be fun – something often forgotten in the increasingly pretentious world of contemporary dance. Jenni Smout
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Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Review 15 STAR RATING
Epic Poetry in Motion Light verse
William McGonagall (1825-1902)
Everything is queer to-day
Annalise Pippard sends a late Valentine to LGBT History Month WHETHER YOU love it or love to hate it, the his-and-her hysteria of Valentine’s Day tends to conquer the month of February. But lately Edinburgh has been trading roses for rainbows as it celebrates LGBT history month (www.lgbthistory. org.uk). This year the spirit is both commemorative and festive, with events ranging from film screenings and workshops to pub quizzes and, of course, plenty of parties. Debaucherous as these are sure to be, the motivation behind them is sobering.
Debaucherous as the festivities are sure to be, they have a sobering motivation: last year saw a 14% national increase in homophobic crime" Last year saw a 14 percent increase in homophobic crime nationally and the introduction of a highly contentious Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda that, if enacted, would broaden
the criminalisation of homosexuality to include the death penalty. Earlier this month, the Pope incited furore for condemning British laws on civil partnerships which accord same-sex couples the same rights and protections conferred by marriage, declaring these to violate “natural law”. It’s 2010, folks, and homo- and trans-phobia are alive and kicking. So whether you’re into boozy nights or edifying seminars, the festivities of LGBT history month remind all of us to honour the lives, struggles and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people past and present. For educational activities and laid-back socialising, head to the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing (9 Howe Street), which offers an impressive array of courses, workshops, and support
Let’s be honest: like weddings, wakes, and awkward family gatherings, history months involve a fair amount of commemorative drinking. Thanks to the lads and lasses at the University of Edinburgh's very own LGBTI society, BLOGS, it can also be educational. On Tuesday the 23rd, they’re hosting a Big Gay Quiz at GHQ (4 Picardy Place) which promises to be – well, big and gay (and odds-on fun; see http://www.blogs. org.uk/ for more information). By now you’re either recovering from the revelry of this past weekend or regretting you missed it. The Big Red Door (10 Lady Lawson Street) was awash in waistcoats and body paint at Queer Mutiny’s gender-bender party on Friday the 19th, hosted in association with the organisers of Femstruation Week. If you made it to the big biannual Queer Ball at the Assembly Rooms (54 George Street) the following night, your £15 was well spent. With a DJ spinning chart hits sidled next to three live bands and a ceilidh, there was something for everyone – and since all proceeds benefited the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing, you even got to feel smug about your hangover the next day. What better reason to love February?
Pop a poem in your pocket
THE WOMAN IN BLACK KING'S THEATRE RUN ENDED
IT WAS with an air of trepidation that the lights were dimmed on Monday at the King’s Theatre. The Woman in Black is a play with a hefty reputation; after a continous 21-year run in the West End, it is heralded as one of the most terror-inducing plays out there. And yet, while the production manages to tick all the boxes (smoke machine: check, mysterious locked door: check, isolated, forgotten town with strange and terrified inhabitants: check) the end result is surprisingly uninspiring. Based upon the novel by Susan Hill, the narrative is a classic ghost story à la Charles Dickens. Young lawyer Arthur Kipps is haunted by an apparition of a mysterious cloaked woman with a wasted face while wading though papers of the recently deceased Mrs Drablow of Eel Marsh House, happily situated in an endless marshland prone to sudden bouts of thick blinding fog. Arthur, the young whippersnapper, does not believe in ghosts and is initially a bit of an eager beaver when it comes to spending the night in the lonely mansion. However, as the night wears on he is steadily drawn into a sinister world of apparitions and disembodied sounds, and so the tension starts to build as he investigates these strange goings on. Thus goes the first half, and it is to the production’s merit that as the curtains fell for the interval, the overwhelming feeling was one of potential and tangible atmosphere. How disappointing then for the plot to gently unravel into a set of clichés, as Arthur (gasp!) decides to go through the locked door then (gasp!) runs out into the thick fog and (gasp!) can’t find his way back to the house. The problem is not that the outcome is predictable, but
services for the LGBT community in Edinburgh. As part of its annual LGBT Arts Festival, the Centre is hosting a series of workshops this month in everything from painting and sculpture to writing LGBT histories and, brilliantly, lampshademaking. The festival culminates in an exhibition and performance evening on March 12th, but its showcasing of LGBT arts and culture continues well into the spring. Photography aficionados should mark their calendars for the Centre’s free guided tour of the Diane Arbus retrospective at the Dean Gallery on Saturday March 27th. There is also an autonomous trans tour on the March 21st. For more information about the Centre’s actionpacked roster of events, see www.lgbthealth.org.uk.
Christine Johnston looks at Edinburgh's annual City of Literature reading campaign
The tour's lighting budget had taken a dramatic cut rather that it was unsurprising, and as a result much of the fear built up by the elegant script is lost. Instead of its capacity to instil terror, The Woman in Black’s strengths actually lie in a completely different direction. In fact, young Arthur Kipps is an actor, hired by the 'real' Mr Kipps in order to tell the story of his haunting to an audience so he can finally be free of his burden. The format is therefore a play within a play, and as such is an incredibly insightful exploration of how theatre works to tell a story. Approaching the production from this point of view, it is an education in how minimal props, extremely clever lighting and a brilliant script can come together to be utterly transport an audience to its setting. The acting throughout is superb, with a particular highlight being the transformation of Robert Demeger’s dreary Mr Kipps (the elder) from tedious monotone into an extraordinary character actor. A classy performance from start to finish, The Woman in Black is definitely worth a view- but not for reasons that are immediately obvious. Ciara Stafford
WHAT WE carry in our pockets is not usually a topic of discussion. However, this year’s One Book One Edinburgh campaign asks if we keep our favourite verses close to us. Whether the message is plastered on a wall at the Grassmarket, or projected onto the Edinburgh Castle, Carry a Poem is a distinctive way of lighting up the city. In terms of the campaign’s history, The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust launched it in 2007. The citywide reading campaign focused primarily on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, and succeeded in every school, primary or secondary, becoming involved. Following this, 2008 chose Strange Case of Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Lost World for 2009. At the beginning of a new decade, Carry a Poem seems a fitting fresh renovation for an everstrengthening literary experience. Why the decision was made to switch literary genres is significant. Anna Burkey, the communications and events organiser for City of Literature allows that "The Scottish Poetry Library was 25 last year, and we were talking to them about their Carry a Poem idea. "We thought it the perfect theme for our next reading campaign and linked up to an existing organisation – our ethos is all about partnership working, and this was a great way to bring us all together." Creative simultaneity is important when we seem more and more divided by distance. It also harnesses the preferred method of technological communication to make a true and visual impact. The campaign's most eye-catching incarnation occurred on Valentine's Day, with Douglas Dunn’s words
"Look to the living, love them, and hold on" projected onto Edinburgh castle. Events span across February. From fashioning your preferred poem into a purse or bag to workshopping your own ideas, the opportunities are nothing but varied. The final event will occur on February 28th. Press officer for the campaign Frances Sutton says this event "really proves that poetry makes a difference to people’s lives - 20 of the UK’s top poets, including four laureates - Carol Ann Duffy, Ron Butlin (Edinburgh), Liz Lochhead (Glasgow), Gillian Clarke (Wales) - will appear at Poets for Haiti at the Queen's Hall at 6pm. Tickets are still available so come along." Poetry’s ability to reflect the outside world is especially evident here.
The campaign's most eye-catching incarnation occurred on Valentine's Day, with Douglas Dunn's "Look to the living, love them and hold on" projected onto the Castle" Making poetry active and not passive lies at the heart of the campaign. Enabling people to communicate through photos, crafts, and music means it is both accessible and inviting. Frances explains, "This campaign has brought poetry out of the libraries and into the city’s streets - it has been projected, painted,
COPYRIGHT CITY OF LITERATURE TRUST
animated, recited, read and most of all carried around Edinburgh." Online, the public response proves Carry a Poem has made a lasting impression. Bringing it into the personal realm allows new meanings to reverberate. Anna tells us that "we’ve been inundated with submissions of people telling us the poem they carry and the reason why, and we’ve had some great photos of how folk carry those poems. Even one on a helicopter." Frances confirms this: "We have been delighted with the response we have had." Both inclusive and rich in variety, Carry a Poem celebrates the lines on a page and encourages you to create your own. For more details log on to carryapoem.com
Tuseday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Enjoy battling an upside-down baby's head with dragon's for arms? firstname.lastname@example.org
TECHNOLOGY Big daddy's little brother TECH-NO-LOGICAL
Jonathan Mowat knows all about creepy little sisters BIOSHOCK 2 PC, X360 PS3 24.99-39.99 2K MARIN
ounger siblings can be such a pain Y sometimes: embarrassing you in front of friends, getting you into trouble
s if there weren't enough ludicrous A rumours about video games turning children into obese zombies
with the attention span of a mackeral/ genocidal maniacs who take guns into school and scream "MULTI-KILL!" while they blast everyone in sight, apparently games are now "sexualising children," according to a recent report produced for the home office. That's right: all that time staring at the back of Princess Peach's head in Mario Kart Wii is turning little Timmy into a ball of red hot lust. The report, which was compiled by Big Brother psychologist Linda Papadopoulos, criticised games containing "highly sexual content," alongside pornography and sexualised advertising slogans. One of these games, Miss Bimbo, includes challenges such as obtaining breast augmentations in order to marry a wealthy man. Before we consider why an important governmental report is being conducted by a celebrity instead of a real psychologist, we would like to point out that Miss Bimbo isn't a game at all. It's actually a social networking site with a few woeful minigames tacked onto it, which goes to show just how much Dr Papadopoulos knows about the industry that her report condemns. If a game like Bayonetta was easily obtainable by children then we would understand where this report was coming from, but it isn't, and we don't. Returning to the point that this report was compiled by someone whose job is to assess the mentality of people who don't have a mentality, the government's attitude towards one of its biggest potential sources of revenue is becoming increasingly bizarre. Already we've had bloody Supernanny collaborate with Parliament to assess whether or not games are corrupting the youth in one form or another, the result being nothing other than a superfluous alteration of the way games are rated. Additionally, the government continually fails to recognise British game development as a legitimate industry, despite worldwide acclaim for developers such as Edinburgh's own Rockstar North, most recently creators of Grand Theft Auto IV. Of course, all sorts of controversy surrounded GTA IV, but only because the government stubbornly refuses to let go of the belief that video games start with Mario and end with Sonic. Next week we'll be assessing Mumsnet's review of Aliens vs Predator. It's going to be a corker. Richard Lane and Jonathan Mowat
with your parents, or draining the blood of genetically mutated humans with a big syringe. Yes, welcome back to the ruined underwater metropolis of Rapture, ten years after the first Bioshock put an uneasy end to the civil war raging between the city's mutated citizens and freed the Little Sisters from their barbaric blood drive. This time around, you play as the original Big Daddy, the diving-suit-clad protectors of the Little Sisters. You awake to find Rapture as chaotic as ever. What’s more, you have been separated from your own Little Sister, and set out to find her. Soon enough, you are once again involved in a bitter conflict between politics and science, searching for a way to regain your humanity, while all the time being hunted by the terrifying Big Sisters. Some elements which made the first Bioshock so good have clearly been overlooked for the sequel. Few of the first game's characters have returned, and their replacements seem shallow and undeveloped in comparison. The sense of mystery and fear within the leaking, destroyed hallways of Rapture also seems diminished, and unlike its predecessor, which masked its true nature behind ideals and narrative, Bioshock 2
EXTRA STRONG: The Big Daddy's new polo-mint gun delivers fresh breath and quick death seems less desperate to hide the fact it’s a violent shooter. Despite this, Bioshock 2’s story is well written, with a plot that is deeply philosophical, and twists that will leave you reeling in horror when you realise what their implications are for your character. The morality system introduced in the original has made a return, again giving you the opportunity to save the Little Sisters or harvest them to increase your powers. This can pose very real dilemmas – especially after you have been killed several times defending her. One of the most impressive changes to Bioshock 2 is the ability to duel-wield your weapons. Sporting an art-deco minigun in your right hand and chucking
fireballs with your left will make you feel like you have stumbled into a nightmarish crossover of Harry Potter and Terminator. This is for a reason. Bioshock 2’s hoards of enemies - far more varied than the first game's freaks in ball gowns - pose a much greater threat, so tactical use of your plasmids and weapons is a necessary skill to master if you want to survive. Along with the single player story, a new multiplayer mode is now available. Far from being a basic set of arena’s in which you can run around killing each other, genuine thought has been put into this new addition. The multiplayer is set in the middle of the civil war that was hinted at during the first game, and
The Witching hour
provides a bit of a Bioshock history lesson as well as an insight into the decline of Rapture. Behind this pseudo-plot line however is a genuinely good multiplayer, allowing you and nine mates to blow the shit out of each other in various team or individual game modes. As with most sequels, Bioshock 2 feels far from a re-invention of the first game, more a fine tuning of something that was already well made. All the important bits are there and as entertaining as ever – dramatic storytelling, over the top battles and just a hint of philosophy, but the new characters feel two dimensional and it's hard to ignore the feeling that you've done it all before in the original.
Alan Williamson is going in for the kill - he's doing it for the thrill BAYONETTA X360, PS3 24.99-39.99 SEGA
f you’re a new video game hero trying Imarines, to stand out among the generic space Japanese emo boys, and Italian
plumbers, how do you do it? I suppose being a femme fatale witch with an enchanted catsuit made out of your own hair might help, especially if you become naked when you ensnare enemies with it. Strapping a gun to each limb ought to do it as well, or starring in a bonkers action game designed by the creator of Devil May Cry and Okami. Despite its bizarre premise, anyone familiar with any action game from the last decade will feel immediately comfortable with Bayonetta. Combat is in the vein of Devil May Cry, with hacking and slashing hordes of monsters the order of the day- as stylishly as possible for maximum points, of course. Our heroine can create limitless variations of punches, kicks and gunfire, many ending with a giant demonic foot or fist summoned from the bowels of hell. The addition of "Witch Time" is an ingenious twist, whereby dodging an enemy’s attack slows enemies to a crawl. Time your dodge
correctly and you can crush opponents before they see it coming. Miss, and you’ll be a red smear on the floor. The right timing is cleverly signalled by a flash of light and a distinct sound for which expert players can keep an eye out. Death is a common occurrence, but rarely feels unfair since you can see what’s coming. Every battle is as fresh and exciting as the last. If your only experience of angels and demons is via a poor film adaptation of a Dan Brown novel, you’ll be in for a shock with Bayonetta’s’s dramatis personae: floating baby heads, flame-breathing armoured wolves and my personal favourite: an upside-down child’s face with dragons for arms. As is to be expected from a Japanese action game, the plot is incoherent nonsense. There is a thin sliver of story buried within the madness - something about a war between heaven and hell, lost memories and the titular witch’s repressed sexual fantasies - but damned if I’m going to look on Wikipedia to figure it out. The great thing about nonsense is that the developers can throw whatever they like at you: combat switches from city streets to the side of the buildings, then through a dimensional portal into an angelic garden in a single level. Without any need for meaningful exposition, you won’t bat an eyelid as
Bayonetta conjures a motorcycle out of thin air or rides an angel down a lava flow. After a while, you learn to appreciate the absurdity and laugh along with it, but the first few hours have many tedious cutscenes which tend to drag on a bit. Worse still, some are presented in a bizarre "film strip" format with little to no animation. When the game looks so impressive elsewhere, the contrast is unwelcome. My problems with the presentation pale in comparison to the eponymous witch’s portrayal, for which the developers don’t even bother to hide their inherent sexism. Was it really necessary to have Bayonetta’s clothing
conveniently disappear when you finish off a powerful enemy? Does every sentence she utters have to be laced with sassy innuendo? Was it only possible for men to empathise with a giant-breasted female who pole dances and straddles her enemies while sucking a lollypop? Compared to the gender-neutral worlds of Mass Effect and Mirror’s Edge, it’s a step backward. Bayonetta is easily the most memorable game I’ve played in a long time, its jaw-dropping set pieces reinforced with silky smooth mechanics. Yet it awkwardly walks the line between genuine masterpiece and flawed beauty due to some dubious stylistic choices. It’s a bloody, beautiful ballet of organised chaos that undoubtedly won’t appeal to everyone, but for fans of the genre or anyone willing to suspend their own disbelief, it’s manna from heaven.
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Tuesday January 23 2010 firstname.lastname@example.org
the Lovely Bones Directed by Peter Jackson The much-beloved Alice Sebold novel The Lovely Bones has been adapted for the screen by the equally adored director Peter Jackson. Considering that his hugely successful, 17 Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy was an adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels, Jackson is a fine choice to head the screen adaptation of The Lovely Bones. Having read Sebold’s novel before watching the film, it’s clear why Jackson’s films are admired – as with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson is meticulous with detail. Overall, much of the original plot of the novel is preserved. The Lovely Bones is intriguing because the story is narrated by a murder victim, 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), as she watches her grieving family trying to cope with the aftermath of her death from the Inbetween. Trying to remain strong for their other children, Susie’s parents Jack and Abigail (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz respectively) are blind to the reality that their daughter’s murderer, George Harvey, lurks across the street. Stanley Tucci’s performance as Harvey genuinely makes your skin crawl. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that he has been nominated for Best Supporting
Actor at Sunday’s BAFTA awards. However, The Lovely Bones is Susie’s story and Saoirse Ronan is fantastic as the anguished teenager trying to reconcile the violence of her death with the fantastical Inbetween she has come to inhabit. Despite her young age – she is only 16 – Ronan is capable of conveying the horror of her rape, her murder and the anger about her early death which has denied her many experiences. Also nominated for an award at Sunday’s BAFTAs, Ronan demonstrates that her acting credentials show no sign of waning from her previous nominated performance in 2007’s Atonement. Since The Lovely Bones is a screen adaptation of a novel, one can have many
preconceptions about the film. It often happens that films based on widely loved novels end up being inferior to the book in quality. Knowledgeable of fan expectations, it can be difficult for a director to please everyone. The Lovely Bones encompasses many different themes including grief, violence, afterlife and relationships. Nonetheless, each of these topics is well-addressed. However, the relationship between Susie’s parents isn’t quite believable which makes the effect of Susie’s death on the family harder to imagine. This is probably partly due to Weisz’s limited screen-time. Furthermore, it would have been interesting to see more of the Salmons’ grandma Lynn (Susan
The Last Station Directed by Michael Hoffman
Directed by Michael J. Bassett
Everyone loves a good historical drama, especially if it involves Russians with beards the size of a small country – and if that’s what you’re into, this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Based on the novel by Jay Parini, Michael Hoffman presents a beautifully moving portrayal of Leo Tolstoy’s final years. The film focuses on the impact his unwavering political beliefs had on his personal relationships, in particular, that with his wife (played by the absolutely outstanding Helen Mirren). Tolstoy (that famous guy who wrote War and Peace and played by Christopher Plummer) was committed to passive resistance against the early 20th century Russian government and gathered quite a following, aptly known as the ‘Tolstoyists’. James McAvoy plays his newly appointed secretary who becomes embroiled in the family politics surrounding the publishing rights to Tolstoy’s writings. In light of his relationship with the man himself, he finds that his own commitment to ‘Tolstoyism’ comes under question. Despite a slightly unconvincing love story between him and another devotee, Marsha (Kerry Condon), his character is both sympathetic and charming (and might I say, rather handsome) which provides a way for the audience to get to grips with the power struggle at play over the publishing rights. While Tolstoy’s fiery wife Sophia wants the inheritance preserved for the family and their estate, the film’s ‘bad-guy’ and fellow socialist, Vladimir Chertkov (the fantastically evil Paul Giamatti), is pressurising him to give up all rights and instead impart them to ‘the people’. The fragility of the re-
The current trend for adapting comics to film shows no sign of letting up. The comic book dictates atmosphere, pacing and action direction. A good action-orientated comic hurtles from scene to scene and constantly excites and surprises the audience with its artwork. At first it really seems that the filmmakers of Solomon Kane have understood this element. The film’s dramatic opening prepares the audience for an enjoyable adventure as our protagonist Kane ( James Purefoy) carves up Moorish 'heathens' in North Africa without any moral remorse. He’s greedy and after some gold. After obtaining the gold, and following some cool, well-used effects, Kane is confronted by Death who is after his soul. Being the arrogant and evil rogue that he is, Kane refuses and escapes the devil’s will. The scene in which Kane plunges into the sea while the flaming, sword-wielding Death stands at the tower’s open window is particularly impressive. Disappointingly, the following shot introduces us to the dull, grey landscape that will be the setting for the rest of the film. However, it does manage to capture the atmosphere of
lationship between Tolstoy and Sophia is brought to life by Mirren’s stunning performance and the artistic tension arising between Plummer and herself. Having said that however, no one really wants to hear an over-60 telling her amply-bearded husband that she is his ‘little bird’ and he her ‘big cock’, especially when surrounded by an equally 60-plus cinema audience...awkward. Uncomfortable sex scenes aside, their enduring love is both touching and heartbreaking as they struggle to reconcile their conflicting ideals in both family and political life. It is the kind of love you might see between an elderly couple walking down the street holding hands, which prompts a little 'awww' of affection. The film itself is beautifully constructed and instantly transports you to the vast rural landscape of Russia in the early 1900s - not that I’ve ever actually been to Russia in the early 1900s but I imagine it would look something quite like this. Definitely a good choice for anyone interested in Tolstoy’s personal history and anyone who might enjoy, in the words of Mirren herself, "a good romance". Pip Roddis
Screening Times Cineworld Daily: 12.30 15.10 18.00 20.50
Sarandon). Given the weighty issues the film deals with, her hilarious attempts at housework and looking after her grandchildren would have eased the dark undertones of the film. Also worthy of mentioning is Jackson’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo in the mall. Fulfilling the expectations of both the fans of Sebold’s novel and the general cinema audiences, he fully deserves to appear in this film. Angela Meek
Screening Times Cineworld Daily: 11.00 14.10 17.15 20.20 the film while the constant presence of the crows echoes the omnipresent devil pursuing Kane. For the remaining 90-odd minutes, the film’s pace and content remain as drab as the barren land it presents. Together with a series of stock characters – wise man of the cloth, innocent young boy and fresh-faced pretty girl – it turns an exciting creation into a rather dull film. Kane embarks on a redemptive quest where he reluctantly rediscovers his violent nature and for the rest of the film chops down countless foes, most of whom look like stereotypical pub landlords – bald and stalky, that is. Purefoy never delivers that sense of inner conflict which is supposedly the central focus of the film. Having said that, however, his performance is by no means poor, despite the hammy script of the film. The final scene is so clumsy in its direction that it is akin to Xena: Warrior Princess. Much like Constatine, the dreadful adaptation of Hellblazer, Solomon Kane strays too far from its source material. Overall, the film goes some way to negate the Faustian and Dantesque promise that it initially provokes. If Solomon Kane had gone to hell, the result would have made a far better movie. Maya Glaspie
Screening Times Cineworld Daily: 12.40 15.30 18.10 21.05
Your Quick Guide to The Glasgow Film Festival... The 18th to 28th of February this year brings us ten days of unadulterated cinema, as the Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) comes to Scotland. In its sixth year running, the festival continues to attract film lovers from all over, enticing around 28,000 viewers in 2009. In just ten days, thousands of eye-watering hours of visual pleasure hit venues across the city. Funded by Glasgow Council, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB), Scottish Screen and The Sunday Herald, the festival is put together by co-directors Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter. They said: “[The GFF is] a feast of films that open our eyes to the wider world and allow us to escape from our own little universe. Film is the greatest art form of our age and the Festival is here to ensure that all its riches are shown at a cinema near you." Comprising several strands, the festival covers The Best of British, FashionArtFilm, FrightFest, the Glasgow Youth Film Festival and Glasgow Short Film Festival, just to name a few. Numerous awards are up for grabs this year, including The Best New International Short Award and The Margaret Tait Award that comes with a whopping £10,000 commission prize. The latter is supported by the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Screen and LUX, and will recognise artists for their experimental and innovative approach. Each year the festival promotes the cinematic achievements of one country. Last year it celebrated the cinema of Mexico. This year, Japan takes centre stage with a selection of titles ranging from the hugely popular mainstream blockbuster Rookies: Sotsugyo (19th-21:00 & 20th-14:00) directed by Yuichiro Hirakawa, to Island Of Dreams (28th-18:45), an independent gem from up-and-coming 23-year-old Tsuta Tetsuichiro. One of Japan’s greatest home-grown talents, Akira Kurosawa, is also celebrated in showcasing his Oscar-winning Ran (26th-18:00 & 27th-12:30). The eclectic GFF also features an annual retrospective commemorating the work of Hollywood legends. This year’s tribune embraces the charismatic Cary Grant. Acclaimed documentarian Michael Moore also appears this year, with his 2009 Capitalism: A Love Story. Infamous for Bowling for Columbine (2002) and Farenheit 9/11 (2004), Moore investigates the truth behind the economic downturn and the big bank bailout of 2008, once moore (ha!) challenging the governmental decisions of his homeland. Films are shown across 17 different venues, ranging from the beautifully apt ‘B-listed' Art Deco Glasgow Film Theatre to an exceedingly central cosy Apple store (not the fruit kind). GFT CineCard and Cineworld Unlimited cardholders are lucky enough to grab all tickets at concession prices. All other tickets can be purchased online in advance, or on the day at GFF Box Office and participating venues. For more info, visit www.glasgowfilmfestival.org.uk/information. So, let us all sit forward and enjoy the show. In the words of Allison and Allan: “Welcome to the feast!" Nick Kwek
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
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Gin and tonic.
After their widely-praised second album, Frightened Rabbit had their work cut out. Andrew Chadwick examines their efforts, and finds the Selkirk boys 'done good.'
Frightened rabbit The Winter of Mixed Drinks Fat Cat
It may have been adding to an already rich history of pop break-up albums, but it wouldn’t be pushing it to say that Frightened Rabbit’s The Midnight Organ Fight was one of the best examples of its kind. Few who came across it could resist its despairing, often darkly funny anthems. It possessed that elusive touch of magic that elevates an album from a simple collection of good songs to a special piece of work that will stay with the listener for many years to come, and soundtrack various points in their life. How then, does one go about following it up? With no break-ups or tragedies for inspiration, many would assume it was impossible to match such a perfect previous effort. Do you instead make a happy album of tinkly, twee pop songs? Well, it Vampire Weekend HMV Picture House 14th Febuary
The Vampire Weekend gig at the Picture House last Sunday really inspired me to shower more. Not because I was disgusted by greasy rockers dripping sweat into puddles of spilt beer, but because of how clean cut the band were. This was the sort of gig you could take your mother to and she might try to marry you off to one the band members. They certainly wanted to be liked, painfully polite and grateful for the crowd’s presence, thanking us like we’d returned a long lost Paul Smith shirt of theirs. Touring off the back of their second album Contra’s huge success has clearly gone to their heads a tad, but in a youthful spring rabbit type way; you just can’t dislike their enthusiasm. The speed of the set is frenetic but the songs never lose their clarity or competence. They are a party band, but when the pace lets up a bit their musicianship really shines through. Despite Contra’s more techno sound the band took no trouble translating it live and the MIA sampling ‘Diplomat’s Son’ stood out. With its artfully layered synths and lighter less-guitar driven sound, it offered an easeful respite from their frenetic ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Oxford Comma’. My barometer of how mainstream a band has become is how enthusiastic the crowd are; the least enthused crowd - the most cool points the band still have. So I was disgusted
doesn’t exactly work like that. Much of The Winter of Mixed Drinks is about Scott Hutchison exorcising demons, and making a break from the past, as lead single ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’, demonstrates, ‘Let’s call me a Baptist/Call this the drowning of the past/She’s there on the shoreline/Throwing stones at my back,’ whilst on opener ‘Things’, Hutchison sings of leaving behind all the baggage and running ‘for dear life through the door.’ This new era for Frightened Rabbit also manifests itself in the big studio production of Mixed Drinks, a marked change from the live band recording process of Organ Fight. Here, vocal overdubs add new depth to Hutchison’s voice, while the backing vocals echo in the background and distant guitars wail plaintively giving these songs a grand, ambitious feel. But instead of substituting strings and delay pedals for emotion, a pitfall that besets so many indie rock bands aiming for the big time, the production feels natural and authentic, only adding to the undeniably fine song writing on display here. to note actual widespread jumping and arm waving, two years ago Vampire Weekend would have barely compelled an indie boy to sway. When you’ve really made an effort with your outfit, you can hardly move let alone dance. Perhaps the most significant sign of Vampire Weekend’s embracing of the centre came in their cover of ‘Stand By Me’ especially for Valentine’s Day without a hint of irony. Yet this was the only diversion from their playing album-perfect tracks; what the band have in gusto they lack in imagination. Some artful stagemanship or a few kooky covers could have stopped them appearing to be becoming the new Kings of Leon in terms of mainstream-palatable indie-rock. Catherine Sylvain
Every ‘big’ album needs a centrepiece, and this comes in the form of ‘Skip the Youth’, a 6-minute epic building to a finale that eschews the expected crashing guitar crescendo in favour of crossover vocals that seem to get lost amongst each other. Elsewhere, ‘Foot Shooter’ is the obvious stadium anthem, and many will compare it to Snow Patrol. This comparison would be fair if Frightened Rabbit managed to sap the emotion out of their song and instead leave it as an empty, polished, radio-ready shell. Of course, they don’t, and ‘Foot Shooter’ is lovely, affecting and very, very big. There’s plenty of very recent rock history that tells us you don’t make the mistake of following up a successful album by churning out ‘Part 2’. Frightened Rabbit were never in danger of doing that, but with The Winter of Mixed Drinks, they’ve made an album that will surely take them to new levels of success without compromising in the slightest on what makes them such a special band.
NME AWARDS TOUR GLASGOW,, BARROWLANDS 4th febuary
Recently music journalism’s smarmiest have recoiled at the sight of white men clutching guitars, branding many new bands with venomous cliché, ‘Landfill Indie’. Some say a decade started by The Strokes with great clothes and ace tunes, has ended with umpteen indistinguishable ‘The’ bands looking okay and sounding identical. But the 2010 NME Awards Tour appears designed by Julian Casablancas himself as a riposte from Team Skinny Jeans. If so, opening with hotly tipped Brooklyn outfit The Drums is a poor tactical move. A passion vacuum of
haircuts and frowns coupled with a reliance on backing tracks sees them exit stage right, hopefully back to the skip, stinking of premature hype. The Big Pink’s approach to justifying reputations is more traditional: strobes, sirens and swagger. When the tempo drops, suspicions are raised of another over-touted dud, as on the dull, plodding ‘Countbackwards From Ten’, where they sound musically mediocre and emotionally stunted. However, this bum note is pulled up by sonic juggernauts ‘Velvet’ and ‘Tonight’, which see Robbie Furze’s murmuring vocal sit comfortably atop Milo Cordell’s battering ram of processed beats, and it is suddenly clear why they will be bursting tents come festival season.
A balls-out light show and lad rock attitude are unlikely to impress when you’re as young, posh and southern as Bombay Bicycle Club, and the Crouch End quartet are all the better for their understated aura and appearance. Despite their quiet-loud song structures and lo-fi guitars being omens of forgettable indie, there is enough song writing craft and individuality on show here to suggest debut LP ‘I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose’ will have a sequel. Not least because of Jack Steadman’s voice, which somehow retains the crackling quality of studio recordings whilst comfortably reaching the back row sceptics in the Barrowland Ballroom. No doubters remain when our headliners enter, and a bold opening gambit of several album tracks proves that the jury are no longer out on Maccabees. It is unusual for bands of the iTunes generation to have no anthem, the record a convert recommends to a non-believer. But when we are finally treated to hits ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ and ‘Can You Give It’, the Brighton boys seem to be saying, “Look what we’ve got left.” Their brassy, barn-dancing set sends camaraderie through the crowd, the kind that makes a reviewer want to stop taking notes, and just join in…However, a verdict is needed. Perhaps there is a lack of diversity on show tonight, but anyone labelling these white men with guitars as ‘landfill’ is talking rubbish. Angus Sharpe
Wanna write for TV? No? Oh. Well, fuck you then. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Bubble bubble, toil and trouble
DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET
Debbie Hicks finds half an hour of passable pundit-based comedy in The Bubble
very now and again an outE standing piece of television emerges from the gloom like a
halcyon sentinel to herd us to the Promised Land, with rave reviews, a dozen spin-off series and a fan base that could populate Italy three times over. More often than not, however, a new series gropes its way to our screens by replicating as many other popular programmes as possible, heralded by the tremulous death-cry of originality. Regrettably, it is from the latter category that stumbles The Bubble, the dribbling bastard child of Big Brother, Have I Got News for You and QI. QI Presumably people don’t actually watch the news anymore, they just glean
what they can from Andy Parsons and Paul Merton. Perhaps we should trade in George Alagiah and Fiona Bruce for a panel of attention-starved comedians who can spend an hour three times a day battling to get a word in edgeways because Russell Howard won’t put a sock in it. The principle behind The Bubble is inexcusably mundane: leave three celebrities to marinade in a country house without media or outside contact for a few days before dragging them before a studio audience, presenting them with various news stories and making them guess which ones are legitimate. It’s easy to imagine who came up with this one: that once athletic, blue-eyed spark who skipped so enthusiastically into the BBC but prematurely mutated into a dishevelled, balding executive who sits at the end of a desk and demands the same again, but with a slightly different label and a set inspired by last year’s Ikea catalogue. Nevertheless, there is some po-
The Weekly Brooker
TALK TO FRANK: "What do you mean it's camp to cross your legs?" tential here.
The thirty minutes fly by thanks to the intelligence of the fabricated news stories and the undeniable charm and wit of David Mitchell." Whilst the premise is thoroughly plagiarised, the thirty minutes fly by thanks to the intelligence of the fabricated news stories and the undeniable charm and wit of presenter David Mitchell. Thankfully we are spared footage of the guests, this week Reginald D Hunter, Frank Skinner and Victoria Coren, inside the house and stick securely to the studio, where the banter is frequently forced and only really picks up when slating David personally or when shown a newspaper article featuring themselves (cue several
minutes of narcissism or neurotic self-depreciation). It’s easy to appreciate why; you can’t expect cuttingedge satire from a group of people who are utterly ignorant of the story, but I suspect that potential humour suffered particularly this week due to the combination of personalities. I’ll certainly be watching to see how Germaine Greer, Ed Byrne and Jon Richardson do in the next episode. Saying that, we learned the BBC is boycotting its own programme (they didn’t guess that one was true) by refusing to allow BBC News presenters to film fabricated stories in case people tuning in thought them real. So, all the legitimate stories now come from either ITV or Sky. It really doesn’t look hopeful, does it? “The BBC doesn’t act like an entity”, points out David Mitchell, “it acts like a warring federation.” It’s certainly doing a sterling job of repeating its tactics ad nauseam. At the risk of bursting the news review bubble, can we have something new, please?
Kirsten Waller enjoys Charlie Brooker's acerbic eye on all things newsworthy
might as well come clean – I have been a massive fan of Charlie Brooker’s work for years. I love his surgeon-like dissection of increasingly crap programmes and his grumpy charm. But when I first saw Newswipe in 2009, I wasn’t sure I liked it. It wasn’t that it was badly made or, God forbid, in any way moronic. It was just that compared to Screenwipe, which dealt with fairly amusing and often plain stupid programmes, Newswipe was more concerned with...news. Which doesn’t usually make for particularly side-splitting viewing.
‘Oooo’ every week. The five episodes (a sixth with a compilation of ‘best bits’ is still to air) have contained a mixture of Brooker’s barely repressed and hilarious anger, the opening music from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, and genuinely terrifying films about how the world has gone to pot, with corruption lurking round every corner. One new edition has been ‘The Week in Bullshit’, where Brooker rounds up various stories which are guaranteed to elicit the response ‘Really??’ The first week had a story about
the Israel/Palestine conflict and how it just might be solved by a shared love of hummus (nicked from Bruno, one presumes). This week concerned the revival of that most modern of medical practices – leeches. Yes, leeches. You know, to suck out all that terrible excess blood that does no good to your body whatsoever. As promoted by Demi Moore, who describes the process thus ‘it crawls in, and you feel it bite down on you’ - although Charlie suggests that she could be referring to sex with her husband.
The first week had a story about how the Israel/Palestine conflict might be solved by a shared love of hummus" But something has changed. I’m not sure if that thing is my own hard-heartedness or the programme itself, but I’ve looked forward to the second series with an actual sense of
NEWSY: Brooker, in his pondering stance. Doesn't he look relaxed?
Another one-off feature of especial brilliance was the ‘Generic News Report’, in which Brooker takes on the role of a reporter and proceeds to break down every single news report that anyone has ever seen, complete with vox pops from people who hate vox pops and an archetypal dowdy figure who has been affected by the issue, appropriately named ‘dowdy kitchen man’. I’m not really doing the two minute clip justice – look for it on Youtube if you want to witness the true brilliance and add to its millionplus views. Possibly the only niggle (and it is a very little one) is that when covering an especially big story – the Haiti earthquake, the Chilcot enquiry – Brooker often refers to the news storm surrounding it. He shows an enormous array of clips which, more often than not, you won’t have seen. This means you never have quite the same sense as Brooker does of being engulfed by the story, although since he watches the news for a living, it’s perhaps unsurprising. But, aside from the hours of entertainment he’s provided, I am immensely grateful to Charlie Brooker for one thing: he has watched endless reams of gaudy Sky News footage so that I never have to.
f polls are to be believed then interest in politics among people aged 18-24 (i.e. yourself, more than likely) is at an all time low. And why not? The whole expenses debacle was the icing on the cake for a profession that seems to be littered with self-serving, incompetent, unrepresentative tools. If our generation has inherited anything in terms of political views then it isn’t apathy so much as a deep-rooted cynicism about how Whitehall functions and the predictability of spin. On the surface, then, The Great Offices of State, a three-part BBC4 documentary series about the different ministerial departments (the Home Office, the Foreign Office and the Treasury) would appear to be about as dry and uninteresting a concept for the average student as an Antiques Roadshow special on paper through the ages. But this candid, sideways look at the shadowy civil service departments that run our lives is absolutely compulsive and important viewing for the naïve voter. Reporter Michael Cockerell has amassed an exhaustive collection of interviews from the most senior officials, former and present Secretaries of State, Permanent Secretaries, those individuals that have made decisions about wars, homeland security, taxes, all those issues that have affected our lives, and presents them here in a way that is eerily honest. Whether it’s because there’s an election coming up that Labour are predicted to lose, or because it’s been decades since the events themselves, those interviewed are remarkably open and honest about the decisions that have been taken over the years. Hearing Jack Straw admit that he could have stopped the Iraq war causes one hell of double-take, listening to the civil service insiders says time and time again (Suez, the Falklands, Iraq) that going to war was a bad idea, only to be ignored by the less experienced ministers they are meant to be advising, and seeing how ministers get more cagey about the workings of Mi6 the more recently they were in power are just some of the examples of remarkable insight we’re granted in this programme. And with some older ministers seemingly close to losing their marbles and letting slip state secrets (I’m looking at you, Heath), the chance of an exclusive revelation is always tantalisingly close. It’s about the most honest appraisal of how government works you’re likely to find. And that’s why it’s important. It’s so easy to watch Yes, Minister and The Thick Of It and be an armchair political cynic, but if this idea of politics and politicians as distant and unrelated goes unchecked we will soon find the nightmarish idea of Simon Cowell inspired political shows a reality, and then we will have lost the most important thing that The Great Offices Of State shows: that politicians and civil servants are entirely human, fallible, and unwittingly hilarious. Richard Dennis
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Fancy yourself a fashionista, or a bit of a foodie? email@example.com
20 Lifestyle MISS HOW-TO
Joanne Fullerton gives us the dirt on our most popular cleansing products S
fter the sweat, blood and tears of Week 5, students can find themselves at a bit of a loss during the relative emptiness of reading week. Never fear, Lifestyle’s here – try some of our ideas for how to fill the lecture-shaped gaps in your day. Firstly, get out there and explore the city! Whether you’re a fresher or a local, there’s bound to be somewhere new for you to discover. Hop on one of the cheesy tour buses that leave outside Waverley Station for some history with your adventure, or take matters into your own hands: climb Arthur’s Seat, go for a walk along the canal, even just have a wander round your neighbourhood to see if you can find any hidden gems. In Morningside? Pull on your Stetson to check out the Wild West alley just off Springvalley Gardens – apparently, this quirky little find was once an advertising ploy for a furniture store, but now it looks more like an abandoned movie set. There’s not much to do once you’re there except shout “Yeehaw!” and pose for ridiculous cowboy-themed photos, but it is interesting to see all the same. If you’re in the city centre on a Sunday morning, head to the Omni Centre car boot sale on the fourth floor and have a rummage for some bargain tat. Once you’ve had enough of shopping, head to the Edinburgh Dungeons for some chills and thrills: they're about to open their doors for a new tour, 'Burke and Hare: The Business of Murder'. In the evenings, why not decide once and for all when and where your favourite night out in Edinburgh is? You’ve got a whole week of free days to sleep off the hangover; make it your mission to try something new. If you can usually be found swaying your dreads to dubstep at the Bongo Club, head to an electro night on George Street and vice versa for a change of scene. If you’ve got any energy left after dancing the night away, head to Toast on Marchmont Road for a massive brunch to soak up those Jagerbombs. Or you could round up your mates for something a bit different: go along to the Brass Monkey (conveniently located on Drummond Street, about two minutes from Potterrow) at about 3pm, grab a pint, and while away the afternoon watching a film from their huge DVD collection while lounging on the comfy cushions in the back room. As a last resort, you could always spend an afternoon doing a little spring cleaning – you never know, you may find those long lost lecture notes under your bed and actually do some reading this week after all…
o you hop in the shower, prepared to wash off the daily grime, when you glance over at your inviting array of colourful products. Usually this brings the exciting prospect that this may be the goo that will 'actually work!'; that this is the potion that will swiftly turn your skin smooth as butter. Maybe you just find the shower process boring, or maybe you are genuinely interested in what exactly you are rubbing oh so vigorously on your precious little student head. You might find yourself scanning through the ingredients and, unless you happen to study Chemistry, you may not see one word that looks familiar (or one you can fully pronounce). But what does it matter? It smells deliciously fruity and will make your hair shine like a silver spoon! One must not be so naïve! When you take a moment to weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of using your fave shampoo and other toiletries you may be very surprised.
· You leave the scent of a flowery goddess or god in your wake! Who doesn’t want other people 'mmm'-ing as you walk past? Yum yum. · Your skin is supple, soft and that tinted moisturiser is helping that sought-after glow you severely lack following a hard night out partying.
· No B.O. for you! Even after a twohour workout? Now that deodorant works a charm. · We can’t forget minty fresh breath to please the new gal/lad on your dating schedule. The new toothpaste on the market really does keep breath fresh all day long, we’re sure.
· Bet you love that new shaving foam. Have a look for sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laurilsulfate or sodium dodecyl sulfate on the back of the bottle. It’s this chemical that helps form a lather. Unfortunately, it creates unsafe amounts of cancer-causing nitrosamines when it reacts with other chemicals that are found in toiletries. It can also be found in stain-removing products! Harsh. · Aluminum - believe it or not! This bad boy has been directly related to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Doctors say it goes right to the brain and causes untold damages. It also happens to be a main ingredient in most antiperspirants. · Butylparaben and Propylparaben are only two of the many parabens (chemical preservatives) out there. Last year the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products had them under investigation because they are suspected of causing breast cancer and damaging the male reproductive system. Parabens are globally used and
BE WARNED: Rubber ducky can't ward off bathtime danger extremely common. If this information hasn't been enough to concern you, consider this: as much as 90 percent of breast cancer cases are not heredity, and there was an estimated 192,370 (invasive) and 62,280 (non-invasive) new cases of breast cancer in the US in 2009. The scary thing is that this is only a handful of the harmful ingredients in products you may have just used this morning. A little advice from us:
be careful and try to choose the best products for your health. Another point to consider is animal testing. If these chemicals can cause such awful reactions in your body, think of the animals that are forced to endure the testing and consequences of concoctions gone wrong. So the next time you are in the shop perusing cleansing products, take some time to learn what exactly it is you'll be using, because trust us - "You’re worth it."
HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK: According to a study in California, people who get less than six hours of sleep a night have a 70 per cent higher mortality rate.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Prawn
Nick Kwek takes us through the first two meals of his Chinese New Year “ GONG XI FA CAI!” is all I seem to be hearing this week, as Chinese New Year welcomes the Roaring Tiger, bringing courage, prosperity and of course, great fortune. Landing on Valentine’s Day, this year’s run of celebrations has been welcomed with extra zeal, as well as a suitably stupendous appetite. I attend two dinner celebrations yearly: the first, an infinitely coursed Canton banquet at the infamous Lee On Restaurant on Brunstfield Place; the other, an intricately prepared traditional Malay-Chinese homemade feast at my aunt’s. Both meals included the usual delights, but this year embraced the true tiger spirit,
serving up mountains of fresh meat, fish and poultry. “Nothing go to waste, even the bones! Eat them like the tiger!” shouted my frenzied uncle as he devoured a giant turbot head. Traditionally, the celebration should have taken place on Saturday night to bring in the New Year. Saturday, however, came with its usual social responsibilities, and Sunday, its less social ones. Arriving at Lee On at 7.30pm on Monday, we called it a night seven courses later at 11.45pm. First up is the soup course: chicken and pork stock made from chicken, pork ribs, groundnuts, yams and Chinese root vegetables. Not visually stunning, but utterly delicious and
YEAR OF THE TIGER: Unleash your inner beast
majestically warming. Next, Lee On’s signature crispy Peking duck pancakes. The juicy duck is sliced to perfection and tightly rolled with shredded cucumber, spring onions and hoi sin plum sauce. Ridiculously morish, you find yourself in dead heat on the tableclothed battlefield combating for the last remaining pancake. Once you're adequately tantalised, though admittedly mentally distressed, the endless main courses arrive: a cold meat platter comprising crispy roast pork, chunky duck, boiled chicken, jellyfish and dipping sauces (one hoi sin, the other garlic and ginger); an eagle-sized nest of crispy
noodle chow mein; garlic-infused gai lan green veg with prawn cakes; Cantonese sweet and sour pork; fried monkfish and tofu hotpot; mange tout with Chinese mushrooms and earfungus; a whole steamed turbot with ginger and spring onions; pot belly and yams; roast duck covered with bread-crumbed yams with plum jam – a New Year delicacy; and finally, an entire salt and pepper roast chicken, specifically in honour of the Tiger. Now pot-bellied ourselves, a desert of chocolatey citrus red bean soup is served, followed by peanut balls and freshly sliced oranges. Although hearty and made of beans, the soup is deliciously sweet and blankets the fragmented bits and bobs of the main. Chinese eating is all about sharing. Whether it is one diminutive chicken between 13 family members (as my father likes to remind me of his childhood), or over 25 family-sized platters spanning seven courses, the tradition of communal dining is embedded in Chinese culture. Celebrating with around 30 family members and close friends means I am fortunate enough to enjoy a number of substantial dishes I would never get the opportunity to eat if there were fewer of us. Indeed, the whole point of eating at Chinese New Year is to commemorate relationships. Perhaps it is fitting then that the New Year fell on Valentine’s Day after all.
Tiger Woods says:
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. Filled-in cells cannot be horizontally or vertically adjacent, although they can be diagonally adjacent. The remaining un-filled cells must form a single component (i.e there must be no isolated numbers)
7. Crest (5) 8. Jumps rope (5) 13. Variety of celery (8) 15. Earthenware (8) 18. Cliff face (9) 21. Locate exactly (8)
CHARITIES SPOT STAR tudent Action for Refugees was re-launched at the end of the spring term 2009, and has since been busy at work. As a society, we hope to promote understanding and awareness of refugee and asylum seeker issues. STAR feels the less-than satisfactory policies regarding the well being of asylum seekers and refugees is a neglected area of student campaigning. Due to poor media coverage, political propaganda and general ignorance, asylum seekers have been misrepresented as a financial drain on society. In reality, the desperate conditions suffered by asylum seekers is a clear indicator of the failure of our government to help those most in need. Providing help and support for those who are seeking protection is a duty instigated by international law and one that we must do our best to fulfil. With the rise of extremist rightwing groups such as the BNP and the current discontent with our financial climate, asylum seekers have been increasingly used as a scapegoat for social unrest. But the situations they come from, and their need for help, remain the same. However, not only do we hope to raise awareness of our own flawed domestic asylum policy, we also hope to recognise the challenges for refugees across the world. In 2001 there were over 20 million people worldwide who were in need of protection, 12 million of which count as refugees, of which only 11% reside in Europe. Through showing films like The Lost
Boys of Sudan and recognizing events like World Refugee Day we hope to raise awareness of these people who may live their entire lives without ever knowing a home. There are may refugees in Edinburgh, and we support local organisations who work directly with refugees and asylum seekers on a day-to-day basis. In November of last semester, STAR groups across Scotland took to the streets for a sponsored sleep-out, raising money for a Glasgow charity Lifeline. Lifeline is part of the Glasgow Positive Action Housing Group and is the last resort for destitute asylum seekers who have been left impoverished by the British asylum system. In 2008/2009 the Lifeline project helped 236 individuals and families off the streets of Glasgow. Edinburgh STAR managed to raise over £500 to support this crucial charity, but we need as much student activism as possible in order to maintain our contributions. We are also in the process of making a short film, which includes both the reality of an asylum seeker’s dayto-day life along with interviews from people with different perspectives on the issue such as immigration ministers and groups like Migrant Watch. If you would like to get involved contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Over the next few weeks of term we’ll be having a film screening of The Lost Boys of Sudan, a good chance to meet the team.
24. Person who owns a ranch (7) 25. Breathe with difficulty (6) 26. Soaked (5) 27. Eskimo dwelling (5) 29. Whip (4)
3. 30 minutes (4-4) 9. Mature (5) 10. Writing liquid (3) 11. Conclusion (3) 12. Device for controlling speed (11) 14. Eyeglasses (5) 16. Furnace (4) 17. Fabulous story-teller (5) 19. Estimate (6) 20. Breach (3) 22. Boneless slice of meat (6) 23. Male duck (5) 25. Departed (4) 26. Science fiction (3-2) 28. Pterosaur (11) 30. Wreath of flowers (3) 31. Sticky substance (3) 32. Rips (5) 33. Beaten egg dish (8)
1. US space agency (4) 2. Quickly (7) 4. Frightening (8) 5. Attach firmly (6) 6. Spend more than one can afford (9)
I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Please don't hit me again, Elin."
The Student Crossword #18
To shop or not to shop... Tegan Shankley on charity shops: treasure troves, or just plain trash?
hether it’s due to the 'credit crunch' or our determination to veer away from the monopoly of the high street, charity shops are fast becoming a trend in themselves. Although at first the array of items and that ‘foosty’ charity shop smell may seem daunting, charity shops can be a fashion-savvy student's paradise and here's how to do it right: Firstly, decide which side of George Square you’d like to shop. I usually opt for Lothian Road as opposed to Nicolson Street, as I feel it holds more promise for higher quality goods thanks to the donations from Morningside habitants, donating last season's must-haves before heading to their glass-exterior offices for the day. Secondly, prepare yourself: you’ll either be disappointed or delighted to the extreme, because unlike the high street, no, they don’t have it in another size or colour, and no, they will not be having another delivery next week. This is the beauty of charity shops - the majority of items are one-offs, meaning no more embarrassing moments involving 'That girl is wearing my Topshop dress' or 'Did you get that top from Primark?' Don’t get me wrong, I do adore (and often indulge in a bit of ) Topshop but all too frequently, multiple people wear the latest design but in another colour. Finally, get stuck in: have a good root amongst the rails, and remember, your money goes to charity - do you need another excuse to go shopping? To prove the good stuff can be found here are my personal top 5 charity shop purchases: 1)Brand new blender - £5 2)Versace sequin skirt £1 3)No. 7 new eye-make-up remover - £1 4)Italian leather handbag - £14 5)H&M blazer - £3.50
Something old, something new, something borrowed...all here for you!
Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Pate leads way for Edinburgh with double gold Ron Tate reports from BUCS Long Course Swimming Championships in Sheffield as Edinburgh swim to seventh place
shake eusa up Student General Meeting 2 Tuesday 23rd February 7pm, McEwan Hall To submit a policy motion email: email@example.com Policy motion deadline: 9th February 2010 Motion amendment deadline: 16th February 2010
strong positions in the relays, in which double points were awarded. The team of Darren Ward, James Thomson, Stuart Conley and Craig Meek finished fifth in both the 4x100m medley and 4x100m freestyle relays – an excellent result when taking into account that both Ward and Thomson were in action in their individual finals just prior
to the relay finals. The medley relay, the last event of the competition, was an especially tight race as despite some super tight takeovers, Edinburgh was just beaten into fifth by 0.37 seconds. Regardless, the seventh place attained by Edinburgh has firmly put them on the map for BUCS Long Course - in only the second season a
team has competed there. This finishing position looks set to only rise as the team becomes more established at this competition. Next up for the swimmers is the Team Championships in March, where they will be hungry to consolidate, or perhaps even improve on, the overall second place obtained there in the 2008/2009 season.
TAKING THE PLUNGE: An Edinburgh swimmer in action at the Long Course Championships
Edinburgh backcrawl specialist Darren Ward was also a regular feature in the finals, albeit just missing out on bronze in both the 50m and 100m backcrawl. In an exciting and very close 50m race, Ward was pipped into fourth place by Herriot-Watt and fellow Edinburgh University performance swimming team mate Billy Purnell, by a tiny margin of 0.02 seconds. The freshers, Eleanor Brooke and Jennifer Davis, continued to impress in their first year of university competition as they qualified for a handful of finals between them. Brooke made a clean sweep of final qualifications, as she repeated her excellent performance at BUCS Short Course by appearing in all three finals of the individual breaststroke events. Eleanor’s highest finish was sixth in the 100m – this along with her seventh in the 200m and 10th in the 50m made a considerable contribution to Edinburgh’s overall points total. Davis once again took on the notoriously tough 200m butterfly, finishing a respectable ninth in the final to put more points on the board. Another Edinburgh swimmer fresh from Australia, James Thomson, took fifth in the 400m individual medley and seventh in the 200m. Freestyle sprinter Craig Meek, after swimming an off-par 50m freestyle, comfortably booked a place in the 100m freestyle final but couldn’t quite repeat his medal triumph at BUCS Short Course, instead this time finishing in a still respectable seventh place. With there being no Edinburgh women’s relay team in action, it was up to the men’s team to bump themselves up the overall rankings by finishing in
Auld Reekie edge roller derby Jonny Brick samples girls booty-blocking with attitude in a fraughtly-contested roller derby Roller Hockey
THE UNIVERSITY swim team took to the pool again last weekend in the latest round of BUCS competition, this particular event being the Long Course (50m) Championships, held at Ponds Forge complex in Sheffield. Despite having a smaller team than the one which came in fifth place at the Short Course Championships, the eight swimmers involved all contributed to Edinburgh’s overall seventh place finish. This was the first major University meet to be held since the new FINA rules banning hi-tech swimsuits were brought into force in January. This, coupled with the competition being held during hard training for many of the swimmers, made for an interesting and at occasionally tough meet as the competitors adapted to the latest rule change. A number of Edinburgh’s swimmers had also just returned from a successful month long Commonwealth training camp in Australia, and so were ready to race and see where their times stood amongst the University elite. The undoubted standout of the team was fourth year student Louise Pate who recently shared the award for Edinburgh University’s female athlete of the year. Pate, a defending BUCS champion, once again showed her class by coolly taking gold in both the 50m and 100m butterfly in a time of 27.99 and 1:01.31 respectively. The meet will undoubtedly have been good preparation for Louise as she joins the British team and rubs shoulders with the likes of Rebecca Adlington and Liam Tancock, as they take part in the Duel in the Pool against Germany later this month.
Auld Reekie 96 Leeds
A FEW hundred fans of high-octane spills and booty-bumping chicks were treated to a see-saw game at Meadowbank between two sets of 14 skaters in a flat-track roller derby. It's a sport which, judging by the variation of people young and less young in the crowd, could sway thousands in the coming months. This battle was a great advertisement for the sport and one can see its appeal; the high scores indicate how many of the opposing team the jammer, with a star on her helmet, passes. With one jammer per team and three blockers and a pivot (a sort of pacesetter) using their bodies to prevent their passing, it came across like a human game of shuffleboard in the peloton of the Tour de France or a 10,000m race on a track only about ten feet wide. Eight officials were beady-eyed in their attempts to spot illegal blocks and horseplay, with the felons quick to sit on the sin-bin and accept their fate. Often it was the jammer herself who
was too zealous in her manoeuvres, which led to her opposite number skating alone, making it easier to pass all opponents and score a five-point Grand Slam, racking up points in the two-minute ‘jams’. All players had bad girl pseudonyms – my favourites were Leeds’ ponytailed Nuclear Miss-Ile and ARRG’s Minnie Riot. Cleverly, the latter team’s skirts read ‘arrg as nails’ and ‘kiss my arrg’ so the Leeds players were staring at braggadocio throughout – to reflect their boisterous in-game natures. The game itself was topsy-turvy and, of course, dangerous with ARRG losing their Cinderella to a nasty facial knock and a Leeds player falling on her hand and requiring treatment. The jammers weaved and darted through space vacated by the blockers doing their job adeptly, like runners in an American football game evading the linebackers. Roller derbies were popular in post-war America, after all, and the blaring surf and uppity rock’n’roll tunes were a counterpoint to the competitive zeal of the players. A baffled crowd struggled to keep pace with the game, as the players took about twelve seconds to circuit the entire track, but appreciated ARRG’s Zillah finding space on the bends to score several points. At several stages
the game was tied, the crowd cheering the jammer who broke the deadlock and appreciative of the tactical prowess of the blockers right to the death. Leeds’ Toxic Pink Stuff, with glasses on her determined visage, was impressive for Leeds’ jammers and left the ARRG blockers fumbling and forced to stop the Leeds jammers illegally. The referee Cherry Fury and ARRG blocker Crazy Legs’ eponymous limbs were a pleasingly recidivist diversion from the rapidity of the game, evoking an age where such a sight of thigh was an illicit thrill, warbling through ‘The Wonder of You’, vainly had to evoke the real thing. As the clock ticked down, Leeds had taken a ten-point lead 80-70 but a huge three-pass round by ARRG made them wilt; none of their players remained on their skates as ARRG scored fifteen in that two-minute jam. 85-80 became 93-89, and the script-written 93-93 score with ninety seconds left gave the crowd the biggest tension of the afternoon. With a minute left, ARRG scored the points needed to propel them into the lead, and exhausted celebrations brought a delightful and partisan end to an intriguing afternoon which many will experience again before too long.
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Tuesday February 23 2010 studentnewspaper.org
Late goal extends Edinburgh's lead
TAKES A LOOK AT THE WORLD OF SPORT
William's a Winter Winner
A LAST gasp goal earned Edinburgh University's hockey second string all three points as they extended their lead at the top of the BUCS Scottish Conference to three points. In truth, a draw would have been a fair result as it was a game of two halves with Edinburgh controlling the first and Strathclyde the second. It was the home side, however, that took its chances when presented with them. Although the home side was camped in the Strathclyde half in the opening stages, the away side had the first real opportunity of the game. Ben Burton made a great run, beating two men on his way, but upon arrival at the 25 yard line, his options ran out and the play broke down. Straight from the turnover of possession, Ali Wood made his own break up the pitch, but Strathclyde’s defence held strong. Edinburgh continued to dominate proceedings, but the Glaswegian side had the first scoring chance in the tenth minute. Burton was involved again as he hit a hard shot, but Sam Trett in the home goal was alert and he kicked the ball away to safety. Edinburgh looked threatening but were lacking a killer pass, while Strathclyde remained dangerous on the break. After 15 minutes of play, the game had its first short corner. Jimmy McCrae hit a bullet, but Trett calmly padded the ball away to his right and the chance was gone. Eventually after several attacks from the Peffermill side, they had a shot of note in the 23rd minute. McNiven found himself with the ball in the shooting circle, but he couldn’t quite connect and the ball dribbled past the post. The next spell of play saw chances fall at the feet of Edinburgh’s James Styles. On the 25th minute he had a great opportunity with time and space in the shooting circle, but couldn’t quite connect to get a shot off. Then just a minute later he had a shot de-
flected wide after a short corner. As play resumed, however, the ball found its way to Styles again and this time he made no mistake in finding the back of the net. With just seconds remaining in the first half, Edinburgh should have stretched their lead. A great pass into the shooting circle found Ben Tracey diving in at the goalmouth, but Ben Haworth made a fantastic instinctive save: he had his foot in the right place at the right time and kicked the ball away. Despite their threatening breakaways, Strathclyde had been second-best for most of the first half. Only resolute defending and a great save kept the score at 1-0. Both teams flew out of the blocks for the second half, but it was Strath-
clyde who created the first chances. On the 40th minute Trett made two great saves from the away side, but just seconds later a misunderstanding between him and the defence brought Strathclyde back into the match. As Trett came out to collect the ball in his area, Shane Boyce picked up on the loose ball, took it around Trett and added his name to the scoresheet. Edinburgh could have hit back on the 52nd minute through Styles, but only a great pad away from Haworth denied him the goal. After a scramble in the shooting circle on the 56th minute, Phil Gilchrist and McCrae played a neat one-two, but the latter shot just wide of the goal. Strathclyde’s Boyce and Burton
had their shots saved and Liam King then had his shot tipped onto the post by home keeper Trett, as Strathclyde dominated the second period. The Glaswegians would later regret their missed opportunities as Edinburgh's McNiven and North played a neat one-two from a short corner and the shot was wellplaced past the devastated Haworth. In the last minute of play Edinburgh had to defend a short corner, but they managed to hold onto the narrow lead as McCrae hit his shot wide. The result means that Strathclyde have slipped three points behind league leaders Edinburgh, but the Glasgow side still has a game in hand.
READY TO POUNCE: Edinburgh's hockey men await a penalty corner
Will Lyon witnesses a dramatic climax as Edinburgh see off Strathclyde to retain top spot
Archers take home gold medal
Rusell Bannerman reports from the BUTC archery competition in Nottingham
EDINBURGH'S ARCHERS triumphed in the British Universities Team Championships (BUTC) in Nottingham as they saw off the hosts in the final. Edinburgh sent two teams to compete with the A team consisting of Jenny Jeppsson, Kyshiea Steel and Erik Rowbotham with the B side represented by Lizzie Bell, Naomi Jones and Russell Bannerman. Throughout qualification Edinburgh A held on to first place only dropping to second for one end at the start and finishing with an amazing 818/900, just four points from taking the record for highest ever qualification score. Edinburgh B
also held their own coming a respectable tenth with a score of 748/900. With qualification over it was time for the elimination rounds to begin. Edinburgh A sailed though their match against 32nd place Kent B with a score of 15-2. Edinburgh B also came through against fellow Scottish team Napier, winning 8-7. Unfortunately Edinburgh B were then put of the running by Warwick A in a close match that finished with a final score of 12-9. Edinburgh A secured their place in the quarter finals by putting out Keel and therefore being allowed to seek revenge against Lancaster for putting them out the year before. The desire for revenge showed through in the fi-
nal score, Edinburgh winning by a 174 margin, just 1 away from the record held by a former Edinburgh A team. The semi-final match saw Edinburgh go head to head against Reading and a former Edinburgh archer in Graeme Anderson. As Reading's first entry into BUTC, and having only qualifyied 13th, they did extremely well to make it to the semi finals but Edinburgh ended any thoughts they may have had of winning with a final score of 16-7. The hosts Nottingham A were to be the opponents in the final with the advantage of playing at home and a huge crowd of supporters behind them. Edinburgh A exploded into
the lead to give themselves an impressive three point advantage over just the first six arrows. Nottingham took up the challenge however and the second end saw them narrow the gap back by a point. The third end again showed Edinburgh they could not afford to be slack as the gap was reduced to just one point with Edinburgh 12-11 in front. With it all to play for and tensions high Edinburgh shot a decisive five hits from six and Nottingham folded under the pressure to leave the final score 17-14 and Edinburgh A as the gold medallist to bring the trophy hom for the fifth time in eight years.
The start of the eagerly anticipated Vancouver Winter Olympics was marred by the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili after a freak accident in training for the luge event. However, the Georgian national team still marched into the opening ceremony, their faces downcast, their flag held aloft. The British team was also present, with Turin silver medallist Shelley Rudman leading the side into the stadium. As University essay deadlines approached, in a change from the usual late night “bunker”’ experience, the games presented themselves as an equitable replacement for staying awake into the dregs of the morning. Two men lying on little more than a tea-tray, head to toe in lycra, is not a sight to be missed. Unlike the curling… Even a novice like myself could enjoy the men’s halfpipe, watching Shaun White annihilate the opposition with a run which included such tricks as the sublime double-corkscrew, switch, tomahawk, jagerbomb and bracestwanging jump. As for women’s ice hockey, results such as 13-1 are seemingly expected, even when both teams involved, Canada and Sweden, advance to the semi-finals. Let’s just hope they do not both make the final… With all the media hype surrounding her, Rudman was one of the major hopes for a medal for Britain this Olympics. Interview after interview appeared on our screens, all showing an excited, but maybe a little over-confident, athlete. On the other hand, Amy Williams was barely mentioned, yet appeared jovial when we were treated to a brief glimpse of Britain’s second competitor in the skeleton. The skeleton saw the British pair go up against the much-favoured pin-up girl of the Canadian team, Mellisa Hollingsworth. Yet, even after the first run of the four combined attempts, Williams was flying high above the rest of the field, becoming the first female competitor to breach the 54 second mark down the Whistler track. Rudman was simply average in comparison. As runs two, three and four commenced, Rudman edged her way slowly up the leaderboard, eventually finishing sixth overall, bemoaning a lack of practice runs on the track. Yet Williams showed off her greater ability to not only read the correct line to take on the challenging course, but also to master the high speeds which the athletes were reaching. Her runs culminated in her becoming the first individual Winter Olympics gold medallist for Britain in 30 years. So it appears that the media attention may have got to Rudman, who will be desperately unhappy with the outcome of her Winter Olympics. However, a new star has been born in Amy Williams, providing the media with a new intense focus. Ed Senior
studentnewspaper.org Tuesday February 23 2010
Last Gasp Edinburgh
Edinburgh's hockey men edge to last gasp win over Strathclyde to remain top of the league P23
Edinburgh in the medals
Matthew Robinson reports on success for Edinburgh at the Taekwondo British Championships British Champion, unleashing a series of attacking kicks with one narrowly missing his opponent’s head. Stark quickly took the lead and for a moment was eight points ahead. His opponent, though, refused to give up and kept coming back looking to equalise. By the start of the third round the pace of the fight began to take its toll on both opponents. From that point onwards the only thing that would decide the winner would be willpower. Kicking skills and tactics were almost forgotten and the two fighters exchanged punishing kicks with passion and determination. Stark proved his indomitable spirit. He retained the lead he established early on in the first round and by the end of the third he sealed the 23-18 victory with an outbreak of applause from the cap-
tivated audience. The central referee told the new British Champion, “this was the best match I refereed all day.” Dogra left Edinburgh early on the morning of the competition and arrived in Manchester just in time for the last weigh-in session at eight in the morning. His first fight was scheduled in the afternoon and despite an early start and a long wait, he looked keen and ready to fight. In his first fight he was against a confident fighter who took the lead in the opening seconds of the game. Dogra quickly raised his game and started working his familiar footwork, placing himself at a better distance to release his favourite kicks. It was not long before Dogra equalised and went ahead in the score, sealing a comfortable win. The next match saw Dogra
up against a much taller opponent who many thought would storm through the division. There was no doubt this rangy fighter meant business but once again Dogra’s understanding of distance and footwork meant he was always in the best place to deliver his kicks, allowing no room for his opponent to pick up any points. Such was Dogra’s dominance in this match that the fight ended with a technical knockout after he created a winning margin of over ten points. With such strong performances, Dogra’s chances to be crowned British Champion were looking extremely strong. Around 6pm and after a very long day he was in the final of his weight division fighting for the title. Although he once again showed skill
and ability the accumulated fatigue started to show. Dogra was only one point behind his opponent and all he needed was to summon enough energy to release one more successful attack and snatch the title. It was not to be. Both fighters fought at a high pace, draining any energy that was left in them. Dogra, just like the two Edinburgh fighters before him, showed a passion to win, but ended up taking home the silver medal. Both Dogra and Little have trained under their highly experienced coach Nikos Jakubiak over the past year. Reaching the British Championship finals has proved that the Edinburgh University Taekwondo Club has evolved well, producing skilful and resilient fighters.
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY Taekwondo has seen much success from their fighters in the last month, especially at the 2010 British Taekwondo Control Board (BTCB) National Championships held on 30-31 January at the Tennis Centre in Manchester. Three fighters from the club took part in the event: Richard Stark and Ben Little fought in the -80kg division, while Amar Dogra fought in the -68kg. All three competed on the second day of the championship in an event that was attended by athletes from all over the UK. Little has been on placement in Milton Keynes and has not been able to train with the rest of the team. Nevertheless he made the decision to fight and joined Stark and Dogra on their quest for a major title. With Little and Stark in the same weight division, Edinburgh’s chances to win a medal were looking good, even though they would be facing a large number of experienced fighters from bigger and longer-established Taekwondo clubs. In his opening game Little started off strong and tried to corner his opponent on a few occasions. Unfortunately, the other fighter proved more experienced and was able to open the score first. He managed to keep his lead until the end of the game. Little worked hard during the match to pull the score back and showed tenacity but his opponent held on to win. Stark was still in the competition and preparing for his opening match. It was obvious from early on that he was still carrying momentum from winning the title at the Stirling Cup only a couple of weeks before, along with his gold-medal-winning teammate Alex Pope, silver medallist Sandeep Bishowkarma and bronze medallist Mohib Hassan. Stark’s explosive performance quickly proved that his first opponent was no match for his relentless attacking pace. He won his first match and from there moved on to the next round where once again he overwhelmed his opponent with decisive attacking and smart defending. Having made his first two victories look easy, Stark was now well on track for a gold medal. Having progressed to the final he faced another Scottish fighter with a long record of titles from tournaments both in Scotland and England. The audience expected a major showdown as both finalists earned a place in the final with big point margins against their semi-final opponents. As soon as the match started Stark was quick to show his desire to become
CAUGHT OFF GUARD: Gold medal winner Richard Stark unleashes a kick on his opponent
Published on Apr 17, 2010
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