Juliet Evans discusses the Congo’s bloody crisis in Comment p8 SCOTTISH STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2007
Since 1887 - The UK’ s oldest student newspaper
Equality Commission slams University University promises analysis into ethnic representation on campus THE UNIVERSITY of Edinburgh might be in direct breach of a national requirement for racial equality, warned the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who are in the process of investigating the institution further. After Student published a report indicating that in 2007/08 black students made up just 0.3 per cent of the University’s entrants and only 1 per cent of its applicants, concerns have been raised about the University’s compliance with the Race Equality Duty Code. The Race Equality Duty, which was implemented in 2001 as an amendment to the Race Relations Act, gives all public authorities a new statutory duty to promote race equality. It calls for higher education institutions to not just eliminate discrimination but to take a pro-active stance to issues like underrepresentation. Under the Act, all universities are required to “assess the impact of its policies, including its race equality policy, on students and staff of different racial groups” and take steps to “publish each year any results of minority.” However, when the University were originally asked about the figures Student presented, university officials said they would “try harder and make positive noises to encourage applications,” but they could not say why so few black students were
Week 8 11.11.2008
1 in 12 regret degree choice Catherine McGloin
Student report sparks investigation into Edinburgh’s alleged breach of legal racial duty
‘W’ - is the film any better than the presidency?
applying each year or why they are almost twice as less likely to get an offer. Chris Oswald, Head of Policy & Parliamentary Affairs at the Commission said he was surprised by the low number of black students at the University, and was concerned about the inability for officials to give a detailed explanation for such underrepresentation. “The duty requires Universities
“The University of Edinburgh has a legal duty to follow and we encourage them to fulfil it” Chris Oswald, Equality and Human to review all applications, and they should be able to account for why there are so few black people applying to the University,” Oswald said. “The fact that they can’t provide a detailed explanation makes me worry that they are not complying with this legal obligation.” While the Equality and Human Rights Commission are a non-departmental public body in Britain and independent of the government, they are accountable for its public funds and report annually to the Home Secretary and Scottish Ministers. Continued on page 4
Field of Memories: Features Marks remembrance day page 14-15 >>
ONE IN twelve final year university students now regret their choice of degree, a recent study has found. Amongst growing fears of a recession, 8 per cent of final year undergraduates surveyed wished that they had chosen differently. Opinionpanel Research carried out the investigation in 133 universities, asking 1,041 students, from a selection of years, whether or not they thought that their employment prospects would suffer as a result of the economic downturn. Of those nearing the end of their undergraduate degree programme, 46 per cent thought that it would harm their chances “a bit”, while nine per cent believed they would be effected “a lot”. Women were shown to be more pessimistic about their future, as nine per cent thought their choices would be significantly limited, compared to seven per cent of men. Amongst well established institutions like Oxbridge and the University of Edinburgh, eight per cent of students, across the year groups, were particularly worried. The findings also suggest that students, especially in the college of humanities and social sciences, regret not choosing a more vocational degree which may now be of more use as the downturn in the economy puts a squeeze on job opportunities. Moreover, recent graduates are anxious about having to settle for any job, rather than having time to search for something degree related, as their savings will not be sufficient to support them out of work for long. The University of Edinburgh’s career service, aided by the Scottish Funding Council, provides a wide variety of services in order to meet ‘to produce graduates equipped for high personal and professional achievement’. However, a report released this year by the Student Affairs Forum implied that there were “gaps in provision” and that many students felt illequipped to enter the workplace. “I will leave university feeling unprepared,” said Erica Stanford, fourth year language student. “I don’t feel we learn any useful skills, other than being taught how to prepare for an exam. If I could choose my degree again, I would.” Contact email@example.com
This week in Student Comment 8-10
Debates around the AGM, while Juliet Evans looks at the crisis in the DRC
Interview 12 Liz Rawlings talks to Eddy Shah, the archetypal newspaper baron and bulwark against trade unions
Features 13-15 What colour should mark remembrance day? Alexandra Sexton on the debate surrounding the humble poppy
Film 16-17 Oliver Stone’s ‘W’- the last chance to make fun of George Bush before it all seems slightly cruel
Tom Jones, 70, tries to recapture a young audience with new album 24 Hours
Culture looks at the legacy of fashion artist Jean Muir, while Eleanor Widger reviews beautiy and the Beast
Lifestyle 24-25 Kate Moss and charity shops, and the return of the Student crossword
‘Students in the Red’ revolt on fees Alexandra Taylor STUDENTS AT universities across England staged a day of protests last week, in an attempt to convince the government to rethink student finance. The National Union of Students (NUS) organised the “Students in the Red” demonstrations, which urged English ministers to adopt a system closer to that in Scotland. The organisers claimed that this year’s fees, capped at £3,145, are set too high for the poorest students. The NUS no longer calls for free higher education, instead supporting “fairer alternative funding models.” The action comes ahead of the Government’s plan to review tuition fees next year, which has led to claims that the cap on top-up fees will be raised further. Thousands of disgruntled students up and down the country attended rallies, drove campaign buses and displayed banners listing the average student debt figure, which is currently £20,000. Some students in Liverpool wrote directly to their local MPs insisting the funding system be reassessed. Andy Welch, president of Durham’s student union, believes that students are being forced to shoulder an unnecessary financial burden. “We accept that students should contribute to their education, but the whole policy should be reviewed,” he said. The Durham student union argued that the current system fails to offer financial aid to those most in need - instead support is based on the institutions where they study. Within the Russell group of leading universities, which includes Ed-
Source: NUS “Students in the Red” gather for a day of protests against the cost of education inburgh, the average annual bursary is £1,791, but for thousands of other universities, the average is only £680. NUS president Wes Streeting described the funding system as “completely unfair” and a “postcode lottery.” He argued that a national bursary scheme would be more effective in reaching the poorest students. The government believes that students have not been dissuaded from going to university despite the debt, as many view the cost as a long-term investment. Statistics from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills show increasing numbers of
applicants. Graduates are not expected to make any repayments un-
“Students should contribute to their education but the whole policy should be reviewed” Andy Welch, President of Durham University Students’ Union til they are earn over £15,000 per year.
However, since ‘top-up fees’ were introduced in 2006, one in three graduates’ earnings are still below the threshold for loan repayments – with around 400,000 yet to begin repayments, in some cases as many as seven years after graduation. This comes as John Denham, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, announced that partial grants for around 40,000 students from middle-income families are to be cut. This year, the department underestimated the demand for full grants from poorer students, leading to a £200m budget shortfall. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Local MP will not stand for rector EUSA Vice-President Guy Bromley under fire from Labour students James Ellingworth GAVIN STRANG, MP for Edinburgh East, will not stand in the forthcoming university rectorial election, contrary to previous reports. Student reported last week that Strang, a Labour MP since 1970, was to stand as a joint candidate for the Labour Club and the People & Planet environmental pressure group. The news was originally broken by Guy Bromley, EUSA Vice-President Academic Affairs and a prominent member of the Edinburgh University Labour Club. Bromley said he was speaking on behalf of Strang and the Labour Club, a claim that has since been strongly disputed by Labour sources at the university. Strang has contacted Student,
saying: “I was approached by several interested parties and asked to run for the prestigious post of rector.” “I considered this request, as I am passionate about student issues
“Other candidates may be able to give more time to this important position” Gavin Strang, Labour MP for Edinburgh East and so much of the university is in my constituency.” “However, I have decided not to run, as I feel other candidates may be able to give more time to this important position.”
Guy Bromley, who previously said Strang would be “very much a student’s rector”, has since been criticised by the university Labour club for his haste in announcing Strang’s candidacy. Dean Carlin, chair of the Labour Club, told Student: “Gavin Strang MP had approached us to discuss the possibility of him running for rector. “This meeting was only a preliminary discussion and all parties agreed to think it over. After a few days, he decided that it was no longer something he was considering.” “No decision was made by either party and any suggestion otherwise is completely false.” “Guy seemed to let his personal enthusiasm towards Gavin cloud his judgement on this issue.” Harry Cole, President of the
Edinburgh University Conservative and Unionist Association described the issue as “clearly another Labour flip-flop.” He added that the student conservatives plan to announce their candidate on the first day of next term. Other possible candidates now rumoured to be in the frame include Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie, comedian David Mitchell, and Conservative politician David Davis. The current rector is Mark Ballard, a former MSP for the Green Party, who defeated Boris Johnson in the 2006 election. Nominations for the rectorial election opened on November 3rd. Voting is set to take place on MyEd on February 11th and 12th 2009. Contact email@example.com
Election fever captures Edinburgh Events cause venues to overflow, while student poll shows near-unanimous support for Obama
(Clockwise from main) Student support was overwhelmingly on the side of Obama; Spectators tracking the online media frenzy; Queues for a full Teviot stretched across Bristo Square; Students turned themselves into walking slogans
Fern Brady The University of Edinburgh was swept up in the excitement surrounding last week’s US presidential election, with a huge number of students attending university-organised events to witness Barack Obama’s overwhelming victory over John McCain. Teviot House was at the centre of the celebrations, with door staff giving estimates of 800 students in attendance, while hundreds more queued across Bristo Square. Similar scenes were found at nearby Native State, where the university’s Politics Society also managed to exceed capacity with their election night party. In addition to the evening’s celebrations, the University’s International Office hosted an event as part of the Global Horizons festival, in which students were encouraged to vote on which of the two presidential candidates they preferred. In an effort to preserve neutrality, statements on a range of key policies
were read out with participants being given no clue as to which candidate had made the statement. Nonetheless, the vast majority of those in attendance were overwhelmingly in favour of Barack Obama’s policies. When asked which candidate they would vote for outright, less than 4 per cent of the audience chose McCain. Quotations such as defeated Republican John McCain’s “Drill, baby, drill!” – a response to the environmental question of drilling for oil in Alaska – found little favour with the audience, with 89 of the 102 participants voting against the statement. The event, which took place in David Hume Tower, covered topics including the US’s role in global climate change, tax cuts and dealings with Pakistan. Opinions were gauged using an interactive voting system with hand-held electronic ‘clickers’. Significantly, 81 per cent preferred Obama’s promise to withdraw troops from Iraq, with only 19 participants
siding with McCain’s proposition to prolong the war on terror. The sole exception that divided the audience was the candidates’ attitudes towards the US mortgage crisis, with 47 audience members favouring McCain’s statement. It is thought that McCain’s policies on this issue provided a significant boost to the Republican campaign, with US poll figures showing a surge in support at the time of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Throughout the course of the 90 minute event - which included a postvote question and answer session - it quickly became evident that, regardless of the anonymity of policy statements, the Global Horizons organisers were heavily biased in favour of Obama. Additionally, many of those present admitted to having voted for the statements they suspected had been made by the victorious Democrat. Read more in Comment p9
4 News Iranian minister forges degree IRANIAN INTERIOR Minister Ali Kordan has been sacked for forging a degree from Oxford University. Kordan was impeached after member of the Iranian parliament noticed that the certificate of his supposed honorary doctorate in law was riddled with spelling mistakes and poor grammar, and that none of the signatories had ever been law professors at Oxford. Kordan, a member of the Revolutionary Guard who previously worked as a university lecturer in law, reportedly regaled his students with tales of his student days at “the London Oxford University.” The minister, who was responsible for domestic security, has since claimed he was tricked by a man claiming to represent Oxford in Tehran. However, this man has not been found and Kordan refuses to name him, prompting doubts he ever existed. JE
ID cards chaos predicted WITH LESS than two weeks to go until the introduction of compulsory ID cards for overseas students, universities have predicted chaos – as there is no way for students to book an appointment to get one. From November 25, students from outside the EU will need to provide various biometric information, including fingerprints, when they extend their student visas. However, there will only be six centres handling the process, with the closest to Edinburgh in Glasgow, and no way of booking an appointment has yet been announced. The Home Office predicts that 50-60,000 students will need ID cards in the first phase of the scheme from October to March. JE
World’s largest women-only university built
Smart kids liberally inclined 108
Average childhood IQ of a Lib Dem/ Green voter
Average childhood IQ of a Conservative voter Craig Wilson The study claims to prove that Lib Dem and Green voters are more intelligent than those who choose Labour or the BNP
Sara D’Arcy A STUDY conducted by the University of Edinburgh has shown that particularly intelligent children tend to vote for the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats in later life. The study, which ran for over 24 years, initially took the IQ of 6,000 ten-year-old children and then compared the results with their voting habits in the 2001 election. The results showed those who voted for either the Green party or the Liberal Democrats had a higher childhood IQ result, averaging at 108. This compares to a 103.7 average for those who voted for the Conservatives, 103 for those who
voted Labour and 102.2 for those who voted for the SNP. The least intelligent voters were found to be those who voted for the British National Party (BNP). They were rated as having an average IQ of 98.4, which was 1.3 points lower than those who did not even vote in the 2001 election. The results suggest that the most intelligent voters have less influence on the election results, as they tend not to vote for dominant parties such as Labour, Conservatives or the SNP in general elections. The study also showed a strong correlation between high childhood IQ scores and an above-average interest in politics. It showed that the more intelligent a person is the more likely
they are to vote, as well as become involved in other forms of politics such as petitions and campaigning. Harry Cole, the chairman of the Edinburgh University Conservative and Unionist Association, poured scron on the findings, saying, “Anyone with half a brain clearly votes Tory old or young!” Comments on the Guardian website, however, showed a sceptical response to the results of the study. ‘Dontmindme’ wrote, “Why do I suspect the construction of the study was performed largely by Green or LibDem voters,” which was replied with the comment by ‘semajmaharg’: “Because the others are too stupid perhaps?”
Average childhood IQ of a Labour voter
Average childhood IQ of a BNP voter
Uni’s racial ethics questioned Continued from front page...
CONSTRUCTION HAS begun on the world’s largest women-only university on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh, with the King’s blessing. The Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University will teach 40,000 students in a variety of subjects, including some which the country’s strict gender segregation rules currently prevent women from studying. However, there have been concerns as to how the university will function, since almost all Saudi women live with their families until marriage, and women are prohibited from driving or travelling without being accompanied by a male relative. JE
Lorraine Waterhouse, Vice-Principal for Equality and Diversity at the University, defended their position and said officials undertake annual analyses of the make-up of both staff and student populations, including ethnic breakdown, and places this information in the public domain. “The University regards equality and diversity as a high priority and takes its obligations under the Race Equality Duty Code extremely seriously,” she said. “The group of academic statisticians responsible for our annual analyses will focus specifically on the ethnic makeup of the staff and student populations in their next report and I have asked
that they alert me to any concerns that arise,” she said. University officials told Student that Scotland’s demography must be taken into consideration when reviewing the number of black students at the University, but Oswald said this was not a defense as its pool of students comes from the whole of Britain. He said: “Edinburgh has a high proportion of English students and I would expect them to have an ethnic profile to reflect Great Britain. They really need to look more closely at what is discouraging particular ethnic groups from applying.” Oswald added that he would have expected more from the University considering its size, importance and need to account for public funds.
“This is an area of concern for us and we do want to look at it further,” he said. “The University of Edinburgh has a legal duty to follow and we encourage them to fulfil it.” A number of black students at universities around Britain said that diversity is a major concern when choosing where to apply for higher education. “What you have to remember is going to university is a big step and leaving home can be daunting,” said Kristan Walters, a fourth year student at the University of Essex. “I think many people from ethnic backgrounds choose uni’s that are not completely demographically different to there home surroundings so they wont have to suffer things like racism on top of other
difficulties associated with going to university.” While underrepresentation is a concern all around Britain, some students feel that Scottish universities are particularly unaware of its consequences. “Scottish universities are not necessarily in the public eye as much as Oxford or Cambridge, for example, and therefore, there is not as much pressure on them from the media,” said Annabel Sowemimo, a first year student at UCL. “If attention has not been paid to the issue of representation at Scottish universities, then they won’t feel they have to take as much action on it.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Going through the motions An overview of the motions going to the vote in this week’s EUSA Annual General Meeting ID CARDS & NO 2 ID CAMPAIGN
EDUCATION - A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE
IMPROVING GLOBAL ACCESS TO MEDICINES
FREEDOM FOR SOCIETIES TO CATER OWN EVENTS PROPOSED BY: Jack Charnley
PROPOSED BY: Stephanie Spoto Oliver Mundell
PROPOSED BY: Katherine McMahon, Education Not for Sale
PROPOSED BY: Guy Bromley, EUSA Vice President Academic Affairs
PROPOSED BY: Chris Lawrence, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
THEY SAY: The government is due to begin issuing biometric identity cards to international students on 25 November. There has been strong opposition from both students and the Scottish Parliament, with critics calling the scheme invasive, discriminatory and impractical. The first of two motions on ID cards calls for EUSA to publicly oppose and boycott the initiative. Oliver Mundell, meanwhile, is calling for the university to officially affiliate itself with the NO 2 ID campaign group, of which Rector Mark Ballard is a supporter. “Joining the NO 2 ID campaign is one of the most practical things we can do as a students association to protect our members. Whilst it may not change the world it might stop the taxpayer and some of our members from having to bank roll this pointless invasion of liberties. If you want your opposition to the surveillance state registered come to the AGM and vote NO 2 ID.”
THEY SAY: “With living costs going up, and the possibility of lifting the cap on tuition fees, being a student is getting more and more expensive. But education should be something that everyone has equal access to, and it definitely shouldn’t be dependent on whether you can pay for it or not. This unfairness perpetuates and widens the rich/poor divide. The only sensible solution to this is the abolition of fees, and the introduction of a universal living grant. Another problem in terms of fairness in education is its slide into a market: a tier of more expensive, more prestigious universities is already forming, with an underclass of cheaper, less prestigious ones to go with it, meaning that those with more money can get a better degree. This motion calls for EUSA to support the national demonstration which will happen in 2009, and to begin a serious campaign around these issues.”
THEY SAY: “My ‘Responsible Drinking’ motion suggests lowering the drinking age to 16 for on-sales and for low alcohol drinks - wine, beer, cider etc, which would make this EUSA policy if voted for by the AGM. Scotland and the rest of the UK are rare among their northern European neighbours in not allowing alcohol purchase at a younger age. These are broadly similar societies to our own, and instead of criminalising a huge swathe of young people for doing something they will do anyway, they prevent alcohol from being a forbidden fruit and the idea that it is purely for getting drunk. My proposals are much more conservative, and would contribute to a change in culture. Furthermore, it would end the exclusion of the large number of students who enter university without having reached their eighteenth birthday.”
THEY SAY: “Edinburgh University has the power to make its medical advances available to all people, rich or poor. It claims it is committed to making a ‘significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world, promoting health and economic and cultural wellbeing’. Our motion will hold the university to its word by creating a policy that ensures patent free access to its medical advances in developing countries. In addition, we want to promote research into diseases ignored by pharmaceutical companies, which affect only the poorest parts of the world. With student backing these goals would put Edinburgh University forward as a pioneer in global health for years to come.”
Ahead of this week’s Annual General Meeting, Student can reveal that EUSA’s financial performance over the past year has been far from inspiring. While EUSA remains profitable overall, unlike many other student unions in Scotland, profits have slumped to £64,514, compared to £399,072 for the previous year, according to the association’s annual
financial report, to be officially unveiled at the AGM on Wednesday 12th November. The worst performing sectors were catering, which recorded a net loss of £303,407 last year, and bars and entertainments, which lost £200,782. The accounts cover the period between August 1, 2007 and July 31, 2008. EUSA-run shops barely broke even over this period, and operating costs for societies rose by £7,000 to
just over £206,000. EUSA is supported by an annual grant from the university, which last year reached £1,743,000. Last year’s sabbaticals – the EUSA president and three vicepresidents – were paid £17,660, with the exception of Anna Davidson, the former Vice President Academic Affairs, who earned £145 more.
EUSA in numbers:
THEY SAY: “The King’s Buildings allotment is important as an area of biodiversity, an area of relaxation for students and an area where fresh, organic fruit and veg can be grown. Although it is not under direct threat, it is highly possible that it will be in the next few years. Our motion aims at getting EUSA to officially ‘protect’ the allotment and ensure that it is included in the Estates and Buildings department’s decisionmaking process.” Read more in Comment p10
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THEY SAY: At present, EUSA legislation does not allow for food or drink to be brought into union buildings. When societies hold events, the only other option is to pay for university-provided catering, which often proves too expensive for those on a limited budget. The motion calls for these rules to be scrapped, although restrictions on alcohol would remain.
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Top prize awarded to University building Liz Rawlings Edinburgh University’s new Informatics building has won Scotland’s most prestigious architectural prize, it was announced last week. The Informatics Forum in Bristo Square was jointly awarded the £25,000 Andrew Doolan prize, along with a refurbished stable block in the Castlemilk housing estate in Glasgow, at a reception in the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood last Friday. This year is the first time two buildings have shared the honour of being named ‘Scotland’s best building’, because the judging panel, which is made up entirely of architects failed to decide between the two. Glasgow University’s Professor Andy MacMillan, the chairman of the judging panel, said: “The judges were split right down the middle over these two buildings … We all thought it was the best decision to split the prize and help generate a real debate over what is Scotland’s best building.” Edinburgh University’s new £42m Informatics building was built on a former car park at Potterow, replacing the previous centre which burned down in 2002. It was designed by Bennetts Associates who were praised by the judges for
producing a building which successfully moulds the George Square layout together creating a more student-friendly campus: “By completing the Bristo Square perimeter of the central campus, the buildings create a new enclosure, enhancing the collegiate feel of the area, while introducing new pedestrian routes through the heart of one of Scotland’s most important educational establishments” they said. Some 11 buildings were shortlisted for the illustrious award which is run by The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS). Arnie Dunn, the president of the RIAS said: “The quality and range of submissions for this year’s award is testimony to the exceptional standard of Scottish architecture today. “The winners are buildings of the highest standard and reflect two vital strands of contemporary Scottish architecture: the creative re-use of historic buildings and the huge importance of new buildings for tertiary education.” Previous winners of the Andrew Doolan award include the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, the Dance Base complex in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket and the Pier Arts centre in Orkney. Contact email@example.com
Flickr user: Chris Malcolm A LOOK INSIDE: Edinburgh University’s five-storey glass Informatics Forum was praised for its innovative design features including this spiral staircase suspended between the floors. The £42 m building houses over 500 computer scientists
Unis in bed with business Increasing co-operation between universities and employers to train “out-of-touch” students for future careers Guy Rughani BRITAIN RISKS losing its competitive edge if universities and businesses continue to ignore each other, claims the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). According to the CBI’s ‘Stepping Higher’ report, universities need to better integrate their courses with big business to provide training for future careers. The CBI feels that the annual crop of graduates is often out-oftouch, and that businesses waste resources teaching skills that could better be learned at university. “We want employees who can make a bigger contribution from day one,” said Helen Tovey, Ford Motors UK’s IT Competency and Learning Manager. At Loughborough University, Ford Motor is now directly involved in the training of undergraduates working towards a BSc in car dealership management. “Because it is delivered jointly by the education and the corporate sector, the content of the programme is very relevant,” Tovey said. Government reports suggest that of the £33 billion spent on
workforce training by businesses, universities could contribute at least £5 billion. Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI said: “The economic downturn makes it even more important for employers to strengthen workforce skills as competitive pressures intensify.”
“We want employees who can make a bigger contribution from day one” Helen Tovey, Ford Motors UK excecutive “Both sides can benefit from collaboration – businesses from new thinking and high quality employees, and universities from practical insights that enrich their teaching and research.” The report highlights other examples of co-operation between universities and employers, including a scheme between Sellafield nuclear plant and the University of Central Lancashire. Another project run jointly by Rolls-Royce, Bristol University
and the University of the West of England seeks to train engineering students, and is linked to RollsRoyce’s graduate recruitment programme. The University of Abertay, Dundee is the only Scottish institution to offer an industry-led degree, teaching video game programming qualifications in alliance with gaming giant Electronic Arts. Entrepreneurial encouragement is also a recommendation of the report, and the University of Edinburgh is going some way to meet this with LAUNCH, a service to support the formation of start-up and spin-out companies. Linked to the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, LAUNCH seems to be exactly the sort of industrybased support the CBI’s report is trying to encourage. Industry-driven degrees tend to be more commonplace in the financial world, with global firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and American Express heavily involved in undergraduate training. “The real challenge,” Mr Lambert said, “is involving businesses university-wide.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
11/11/08 Though they may take our oil... THE SHETLAND Islands, a tiny archipelago in the northern waters of Scotland, have begun their campaign for liberation from the United Kingdom. With the SNP making moves towards Scottish independence from Holyrood, Shetland Islands council convener Sandy Cluness is pushing for more powers to be devolved to the islands’ capital in Lerwick. The islands sit in the middle of oil-rich areas of the North Sea, and are currently the most northerly point of the UK. Cluness hopes that this close proximity to the oil trade will reap dividends for the island communities. “We are on the periphery and have all the higher costs that come with that and not many of the advantages… There are plenty of examples of semi-autonomous islands across Europe and most of them actually do better than we do. If you look at the Faroe Islands, their population had doubled in a period in which ours has halved.” First Minister Alex Salmond has stated he is in favour of the plans, saying they are an excellent example of his ‘National Conversation’ in action. Neil Pooran
Stranger than fiction BESTSELLING AUTHOR Alexander McCall Smith brought his fiction to life last week when Edinburgh University hosted a recreation of a lecture found in his latest novel. McCall Smith, the university’s 2006 Alumnus of the Year, introduced a lecture entitled ‘W.H. Auden and the Case of the Imaginative Conscience’, as featured in The Comfort of Saturdays. Columbia University’s Prof. Edward Mendelson, who features as a character in the book, delivered the lecture. The free event, which was held in Old College’s Playfair Library, was fully booked. Lyle Brennan
Wii love exercise A LECTURER at the University of Derby has been given £5000 to study the health benefits of the Nintendo Wii. Michael Duncan, a senior lecturer in exercise physiology will work with schoolchildren to see whether the popular games console can improve fitness and tackle obesity. Half of the schoolchildren will play Wii games such as tennis, golf and boxing during their school lunch break. The remainder will take part in their normal lunch-hour activities. All pupils will be fitted with an accelerometer that measures the child’s energy usage. Liz Rawlings
Major university inquiry launched
INQUIRING MINDS: The Parliamentary Committee’s investigation will examine the current degree classification as one of its main areas of academic interest
Sara D’Arcy and James Ellingworth A PARLIAMENTARY committee is launching a wide-ranging investigation of the controversial issues surrounding university education in Britain. The inquiry by the Commons Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee will look into various areas including admissions, student finance, plagiarism, the degree classification system and the balance between teaching and research. The announcement of the inquiry follows a raft of disputes on various university-related issues, including cuts in student grants following a £200m budget shortfall at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the decision by a group of English uni-
versities to trial a new “report-card” style degree grading scheme. Phil Willis, the Lib Dem MP chairing the cross-party committee, recently said doubts over comparing degree grades between institutions were “descending into farce.” The committee is currently accepting submissions from the various groups involved and is aiming to produce a set of recommendations for the future of higher education before a government review of fees scheduled for 2009. The committee members are reported to be keen to investigate the value of A-levels in the admissions process, levels of student debt, and the success of schemes to encourage students from “non-traditional” backgrounds into university.
While the government will not be obliged to follow these recommendations, the findings from committees such as this one typically carry a lot of political weight. The government will soon start its own review of student finance, which has prompted concerns that the existing cap on top-up fees will be raised to the detriment of poorer students. In response to the inquiry, John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills said: “The world is evolving very quickly and we must be able to unlock British talent and support economic growth through innovation as never before.” “We need to decide what a worldclass HE system of the future should look like, what it should seek to achieve, and establish the current bar-
riers to its development.” Universities UK (UUK), the body representing all British universities, recently released a report of its own claiming that there were “no weaknesses” in the university system. Guy Bromley, EUSA Vice-President Academic Affairs, commented that: “It’s good to see that this parliamentary committee will be considering the important issue of fairness of access to university.” “It’s particularly pleasing to see that the committee will look at variability in teaching and its tension with research in the sector, as well as the more basic issue of whether adequate funds are made available for the training of teaching staff.” Contact email@example.com
Zeenath Ul Islam
Congo in Crisis In light of recent UN condemnation of General Laurant Nkunda’s war crimes, Juliet Evans explores the West’s involvement in the ongoing suffering of the Congolese people.
he widest interstate war in modern history is going on now, and it involves you. 5.4 million people have already died in the conflict in Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, and the situation is growing more desperate every day. With roots in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, broken with fragile lapses of peace since, the violence in Congo continues to this day. The conflict has been compared to the Holocaust because of the clandestine nature of its underlying cause; the real reason for the fighting seems to be swept aside. The uncomfortable truth is that this war centres on the looting of Congo’s natural resources - resources that are instrinsic to our Western luxury lifestyle. The conflict is fueled by ethnic hatred left over from the 1994 slaughter of half a million Tutsis in Rwanda. General Laurent Nkunda, leader of the Tutsi rebel party, claims he is fighting to protect the minority Tutsis from Rwandan Hutu rebels who participated in the genocide and fled to Congo afterward. However, this masks the real objective of the invasion. Rwandan businesses are funding Nkunda to pillage
mineral-rich mines. The Congolese government, lead by President Joseph Kabila, is not strong enough to defend itself against such a vast enemy constituting different tribal armies. The country is literally being looted on all sides. Western society is removed both geographically and psychologically, making it easy to gloss over this war and fob it off as a mere ‘tribal conflict’. After all, this is how it seems on the surface. Yet what is really fuelling this blood-thirsty war is much closer to home than people realise, or rather closer than they than they want to realise. The heart of this conflict lies in the ongoing supply and demand for valuable resources perpetuated by over a hundred global companies. The UN has named De Beers and the Standard Chartered Bank as being among them, though they naturally deny this. General Nkunda has made no secret of the fact that he is unhappy about a proposed £3.1bn deal giving China access to the region’s mineral resources. In terms of its untapped mineral wealth, the DRC is one of the richest countries in the world. Its soil is reputed
to contain every mineral listed on the periodic table and these minerals are found in concentrations high enough to make metal analysts weep. Many of these minerals are essential in manufacturing everyday electronics. Congo supplies the world with these resources and we buy them, oblivious to the violence and suffering in their country of origin, and thus perpetuate the situation. Coltan, especially, is vital in the process of making mobile phones. It is a sad but bloody fact that the growth in international mobile phone use correlates to a rise in Congolese death rate. The human cost is startling. Renewed hostilities between rebels and the army near Kibati in DR Congo’s North Kivu province bordering Rwanda have again caused thousands of terrified refugees to flee a nearby refugee camp to seek safer havens. Violence has driven 250,000 people from their homes since August. The UN calls it ‘a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic dimensions’ – it is estimated that about 1,200 people are dying each day. The UN’s refugee agency fears at least 50,000 Congolese civilians, already uprooted from their homes, are abandoning the established refugee camps out of sheer
terror. Many refugee camps are now virtually empty and there are worries that these defenceless civilians will try to return home through dangerous
“The uncomfortable truth is that this war centres on the looting of Congo’s natural resources that are intrinsic to our western lifestyle” rebel-held ground. Much death and suffering stems from this vulnerability of displacement. Malaria, malnutrition and lack of clean water are among the major killers. Women especially are suffering. Rape is used as a strategic weapon to destroy society. In the small province of South Kivu alone, the UN estimates that there were 45,000 rapes last year. Forcing civilian men to rape their women destroys morale and cripples their society. In the Panzi hospital of Bukavu, wards are filled with women
who were gang-raped and afterwards shot in the vagina. Others are riddled with post-rape injuries, and women fear being kidnapped and killed. Doctors are scared to treat patients because of the prevalence of militias, but some bravely operate in private. So far the UN has only provided one aid convoy. Despite having its biggest army stronghold based in Goma it has attempted little intervention.The 17,000 soldiers appear impotent. David Miliband recently made an unprecedented visit DRC urging the UN to solidify and act. A delicate ceasefire is now in place, and General Nkunda says he will allow a ‘humanitarian corridor’. But he also says he will force the government from power unless it agrees to talks. To resolve this money-driven war, disguised as a ‘tribal conflict,’ the demand for bloodied goods must end. Unethical technology companies who trade in Congolese goods should be named, so that we can consciously choose not to perpetuate this battle, which is happening not millions of miles away but here on our high streets. firstname.lastname@example.org
Blow your own Trumpet ‘A fool and his money are soon popular’, Katie Revell examines Donald Trump’s controversial plan to bring his global empire to the bonnie shores of Scotland
don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like his hair. I don’t like his orange face. But above all, I don’t like his morals. I guess at least that’s something we’ve got in common, since it would seem he doesn’t much care for them either. Amid the US election hype, it was easy to miss the little news snippet that appeared on Monday last week. Donald Trump, world famous billionaire, worldwide property developer and TV star was granted permission to build a golf course, a five-star hotel and 500 luxury houses on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire. The land belongs to Trump, so fair enough, right? Well actually, no. Trump failed to take into account the protected status of the unique, constantly-shifting sand dunes along the Estate’s Balmedie Beach – a Site of Special Scientific Interest – which are loved by locals and visitors alike. When the plans were initially refused permission byAberdeenshire’s local council many breathed a sigh of relief. Trump, for his part, told of his “bitter disappointment”. But let’s set aside the repugnancy of a multi-billionaire, self-proclaimed “definition of the American success story” expressing bitterness about anything. At least everyone who was shocked by Trump’s environmental nonchalance now had less of a foul taste in their mouths; presumably the myriad wildlife dependent on the dunes was
also pleased with the result. Despite this rejection, the plans were ‘called in’ by central government. A year after the original rejection, Aberdeenshire Council’s decision was overruled by SNP Finance Minister John Swinney. The building of Trump International Golf Links will go ahead. Throughout the saga, Trump’s braying has been punctuated with a few stock phrases – ‘world’s greatest golf course’, ‘source of pride’ and, perhaps most cloyingly, ‘Scotland.’ Is Bonnie Scotland Trump’s spiritual home? If the tartan-clad bagpiper in the corner isn’t enough to convince you, then frankly you’re just cynical. Closer investigation of the luxury golf resort proves otherwise. Helpfully, the website is also illustrated with a magnificent picture of the dunes at Balmedie Beach, conversely there is no corresponding image of how they’ll look once the ‘championship-caliber golf course and five-star luxury hotel among other amenities’ have been built on top of them. It is true, however, that Trump’s mother was Scottish, born on the Isle of Lewis. In fact, a day prior to his appearance before a public inquiry into his proposal, Trump coincidentally made his first and so far only visit to her birthplace. Here, he had time to reflect and to contemplate his rich heritage. Reflect he did, if only in the lenses of the press cameras thronging
the entrance to the cottage. Perhaps he also contemplated, at least for the 97 seconds he spent there. Forgive me if I find Trump’s love of Scotland a little hard to stomach. It would appear, however, that despite his proclamations even Trump sometimes deems our landscape just a little too rugged. In June, he admitted that he found the Menie site in its present state ‘kind of disgusting’. Judging by the photos on his personal website, the wild and undeveloped landscape isn’t exactly his favoured habitat: Donald, did you get sand between your toes? As well as putting on his Jimmy Hat, Trump has, since the rejection last year, come over all green. In June, he went as far as to describe himself as an ‘environmentalist’, doubtlessly prompting indignant laughter from the public gallery. If Mr. Trump is an environmentalist then I’m a balding billionaire. Trump’s entire ‘argument’ is a plastic-wrapped confection: shiny, unsophisticated and utterly sickening. Equally infuriating, and more embarrassing, however, is the SNP administration’s willingness to roll over and have its tummy scratched by him or at least one of his assistants. Scotland has some of the last utterly unspoiled stretches of coastline in the UK. Seventy three percent of the tourists who visit the country do so for activities which will not be provided by
Trump’s resort. But - Mr. Trump! What big eyes you have! What striking hair! What white teeth! What… are you doing with that environmental and planning legislation? Politics, it often seems, is a heartless game. First Minister Alex Salmond promises energy-saving measures for households, claims to support local Scottish food producers and heralds Scotland’s potential for renewable energy. Yet in all this there is a fundamental ignorance that these are not separable issues from which we can pick and choose – a wind turbine here, a golf resort there. Salmond’s justification for the Trump go-ahead was that the economic benefits would outweigh the environmental impact. But if we are to get anywhere near a real conception of “sustainability”, we have to understand that politics is not a choice between these two apparently conflicting ideals. There is no such choice. ‘The environment’ is all we have. The economy will stutter, collapse, recover; the environment will not. If we are to avoid disasters such as the Trump one, we have to adjust to a new (in fact, an age-old but currently obscured) view of ourselves: as a bitpart in a wider system. To re-appropriate a catchphrase from Mr. Trump’s own branded water – “Try its refreshing taste and you will agree—the difference is clear.” email@example.com
Post-Election Reflection James Ellingworth
o, as the dust settles from the US election and the post-mortem begins, the key question is ‘why’. What was the deciding factor? Obama’s oratory, McCain’s age, Joe the Plumber’s tax fraud? The real divide was openness against closed-mindedness. The Republican ticket deserved to lose quite simply because it made the promotion of ignorance and mistrust of knowledge a central tenet of the campaign. What we saw, in all the talk of “pro-America areas”, all the scenes of election rallies one step away from angry mobs, and especially in the vacuous mantra of “small-town values” has been a simple message: We don’t trust those who are different, who ‘know too much’. The cynical selection of Sarah Palin epitomised this idea that the best way to make complex decisions is on gut feeling, and that the correct reaction to anything unfamiliar is mistrust, fear and aggression. ‘Small-town values’ are precisely that - drawn from a small place, based on a smaller set of influences. Not being exposed to the city is not a virtue when the majority of your country’s people live there, it is a dangerous lack of experience. Worse still is to dismiss out of hand that there may be even the possibility of values in places other than those you know. In Palin’s depiction, Obama, as a man of the city, an intellectual and, more subtly, a black man, does not fit the standards of the 1950s-style ‘small town’ of the mind, cut off from the electoral issues. This small town is an idyll, a ‘golden age’ America drawn from a nostalgic TV image of wholesomeness distilled, where everyone knows everyone else, has shining white teeth, and kids sell lemonade on street corners. It doesn’t exist, and never did, but it’s easy to see why this can be a tempting idyll in a world where the future is so uncertain. The most depressing aspect of the campaign is that John McCain quite clearly does not subscribe to this ideology. He is an urbane man, in some ways even an intellectual. His choice of Palin was thus utterly and unforgivably cyncial - an insult to the electorate and his base by suggesting he does not consider them worthy to understand anything higher than fear-mongering and crude demonisation of an opponent. In any sensible case, as Tina Fey has shown, a vice-presidential candidate with the inability to construct a normal English sentence would be ridiculous. It takes either an ignorant, gullible or cynical presidential candidate to present this as a virtue, a ‘small-town value.’ firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Comment Identity crisis Oliver Mundell
ordon Brown and the government may be having trouble identifying with voters – but Identity Cards are not the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not as anti-Labour as that suggests; of course I think that the additional billions spent on primary and secondary education has been great but this is just a bad idea, wasting money better spent on other things. We appear to be headed for economic meltdown, every sector of society is feeling the pinch, with many families struggling to pay thier bills. In spite of this the government is pushing ahead with plastic cards - the details of which, let’s face it, some department will probably lose.Worst of all they seem to be targeting the most vulnerable, small and unorganised groups to kick start the unpopular scheme. One of the first groups to be affected is international students from outside the EU, a group that arguably already pay over the odds for what they recieve at Edinburgh. It seems ridiculous to me that the government wants to increase already expensive visa charges and pass the bill onto the taxpayer for something that neither defends national security nor protects our identity. I am not just against ID Cards because they are expensive. For some things there is a price worth paying, but under this scheme we are not just paying financially we are surrendering our civil liberties and giving in to the “surveillance state”. Okay, you may say, that’s all very well, but the government already has most of the information on record somewhere. It does, but the difference is that not all government departments can access it at the click of a button. A second common myth is that ID cards will prevent terrorism, but you just have to look at the London bombings on July the 7th 2005 to see this is not the case. In that attack the culprits were UK nationals already known to the police. It is time to stand up and be heard. The General Meeting of EUSA is taking place on the 12th of November and I am proposing a motion for EUSA to sign up to the NO 2 ID campaign and take the issue to the National Union of Students. If you are against the ID scheme please come along and support this motion. The NO 2 ID campaign has been proactive and vocal. By signing up we stand a better chance of protecting students from this invasion of civil liberties. If we act quickly we may also prevent international students from having to pay for compulsory ID cards as part of the early stages of this misguided government scheme. email@example.com
GIVE THEM THE CARD: Voting at the Annual General Meeting requires a valid matriculation card
Free For All?
Katherine McMahon and Darcy Leigh fight for the right to fair education
ducation is a right, not a privilege. It’s an opportunity to expand your horizons, to develop and learn and grow. Knowledge and learning should be free to everyone, provided as part of public services for everyone’s wellbeing not dependent on how much money your parents give you. In practical terms, this means both free tuition and living grants. Why should we have to get into massive amounts of debt to have an education? A recent victory for the student movement means that Scottish students in Scotland no longer pay tuition fees. With the average student debt at £20,000 and the cost of living rising free tuition for some is not enough to make education fair. A motion to the upcoming AGM mandates EUSA to support these principles and to add its voice to the call for a UK wide demonstration for free education after the NUS failed not only to call one itself but to go any further than its half-hearted demand to “keep the cap” on fees.
A contentious issue at the AGM will be whether grants should be universal or means-tested. Universal grants make sense: with a good system of progressive taxation, parents who have more money will make a greater contribution than those with less. Every student will get exactly the same amount, and parents will contribute more fairly according to their income. Anything else perpetuates the growing divide between rich and poor, forcing poorer students into debt and underpaid termtime jobs, while pushing a few out of education entirely. A universal grant would not only mean more equality between students but would cut dependence on parents while at university. It would also solve the problems associated with means testing, including the issue of parents paying for more than one child. When you consider what is spent on the complexities of the current system, it seems more sensible to put that money towards actually helping students. The privatisation of education is
an issue which doesn’t receive much coverage these days.When education becomes a commodity, students become customers - essentially paying for a piece of paper as an investment in their career. But what about the many important jobs which graduates take which aren’t very well paid, such as teaching and nursing? The fact is that some graduates want to do jobs which are more fulfilling and less well paid. And why not? Education isn’t just about getting a good job, and contributing to society isn’t just about being a high-earning banker or lawyer. What would our society be without academics, musicians or artists? Britain would not only be poorer financially but poorer culturally too. As education is sold off piece by piece to private business, it is the students who lose out. We might, for example, be told its more ‘efficient’ to privatise our accommodation and catering but the companies who now run these essential areas of student life are out to make a profit with the expense inevitably being passed
onto students and universities. Competition in education pushes quality down in favour of moneysaving and corner-cutting. Smaller subjects lose out and a tier of prestigious, expensive universities is created, with an underclass of cheaper ones. Far from being a meritocratic system of equal opportunity, this only reinforces inequality-if you already have more money, you can afford to get a better degree leading to a better-paid job. This is why it’s important to mandate EUSA to campaign for an introduction of living grants and an end to tuition fees and privatisation. As students at the University of Edinburgh, members of EUSA and NUS, we should get a voice. We must demand serious, ongoing campaigning for a fair higher education system. The first step is turning up and voting for a Students’ Association that represents our interests and stands alongside present and future students UK-wide. firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Since 1887 - The UK’ s oldest student newspaper
Politics of Procedure S
tudent may well be proved wrong here, but this week’s Student’s Association AGM seems unlikely to reach its quorum of 300 members. If past turnouts are anything to go by, an abundance of interesting motions will not shore up dwindling attendance figures. This would be a shame, as this year’s AGM contains some particularly prescient debates. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the format of the meeting (and it will be a great many of you), motions can be submitted by any student to be debated and voted on, with the result accepted as the official voice of the Student’s Association. One of these debates revolves
around the government’s plans to introduce ID cards to foreign students later this year, as a precursor to rolling them out across the entire population. The scheme would undoubtedly be bad news for foreign students and universities alike, as it places undue financial and administrative burdens on them that will make studying in the UK a much less attractive proposition. EUSA should therefore be vocal in its opposition to it, but somehow two near-identical motions on the subject have been submitted. So the students who do bother to turn up will be in the awkward position of having to vote the same way twice. This does not bode well for making campus democracy more open and
efficient. EUSA democracy has been plagued by procedural problems in the past, evidenced recently by the failure of the Student’s Representative Council to pass a motion due to a lurking supermajority clause, or the monthslate result of the Student’s Association President election. EUSA must therefore make sure the proceedings do not get bogged down in procedural wrangling. It is vital that debates are conducted properly, but students who attend these meetings do so to vote and participate in the discussions, not argue points relating to an arcane constitution. A failure to make sure things go smoothly will only make student politics seem all the more irrelevant and farcical.
Doubting your degree
hat 1 in 12 students regret their choice of degree should not come as much of a surprise, except for the fact that the figure is so small. A similar study commissioned by The Guardian earlier this year for example, which surveyed 3, 000 final year students across the UK, found the figure closer to one in five, a figure more likely to resonate across with students nationwide. Clearly the current financial crisis is the major contributing factor. The credit crunch has caught us all by surprise, with the obvious result that a 2:1 in Social Anthropology just no longer makes the grade. The days of naïvely assuming we can walk into a job directly after university, regard-
less of our degree, are over, and graduates are being forced to be more pragmatic than ever before. But the credit crunch is not the only aspect. Part of the problem is that many students are forced to choose their degree at as young as seventeen, an age at which for most of us it is nigh on impossible to map out our future careers. Nor should we forget the decisions made before university, which themselves place restrictions on which degrees you can enter, and put the age at which lifechanging decisions are made back further still. Edinburgh, of course, is better than most in this respect. The Scottish education system, like much of
the rest of the world, allows some degree of flexibility in its first two years, though this option is much overstated. The number of people who complete a degree different to the one started is still very small, and even then the change is likely to be from History and Politics to straight Politics for example, subject to availability. The only real solution is to make degree choices more expansive, for longer; to the extent perhaps that students do not choose their degree before university, but enter a broad subject school for later specialisation. This approach has proved successful in countries across the globe, and would require little modification to the present system of delivery.
Correction Student would like to apologise for a captioning error which occurred in our News section last week. A picture of the tomb of Mary Queen of Scots at Westminster Abbey was wrongly described as being a picture of Alex Salmond. Alex Salmond is the current Scottish First Minister, and is very much alive.
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Your Letters Invites only for Student Ambassador Minority talk Retort I notice on the University website that Ron Prosor, the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, has rescheduled his meeting at the university for Tuesday 11th November. I’m curious as to why the procedure for applying for tickets to this public lecture in McEwan Hall - the biggest venue in Edinburgh, no less - is so restricted. While standard procedure for public lectures at our university usually requires people to book tickets online beforehand, the Prosor lecture is subject to more stringent guidelines. Those wanting tickets are required to apply by email for one ticket, and then wait to see if a ticket turns up in the post along with ‘further instructions’. So - how are the University intending to choose between all
“Who took the decision to make a public meeting so difficult to attend?” those who apply for tickets? And, bearing in mind the fact that McEwan Hall seats over 1000 people, and the information about the lecture went up one week before the event takes place, is there really a chance that the number of ticket applications will exceed capacity? Finally, who took the decision to make a public meeting so difficult to attend? The University? Or is it rather that the His Excellency Ron Prosor has very little desire to engage with any potential criticism of his government’s policies towards the Palestinian people, or its repeated violation of numerous aspects of international law? -Shabana Basheer
Advertising Tony Foster (Contact @ 0131 650 9189) Student Newspaper 60 Pleasance Edinburgh EH8 9TJ Email: editors@ studentnewspaper.org
I am writing to explain why I voted against the Student’s Representative Council (SRC) liberation groups motion for the AGM. I do so having spent the last few days campaigning with New York Democrats in the Port Authority bus station, which involved getting on and off buses to key states begging people to vote. I feel those pushing this motion forward are far to quick to confuse tokenism with fair and effective representation. People were excited to see Barack Obama elected the first black president of the United States, not because he was elected solely to represent them but the fact that the electorate as a whole has decided to put him in office to represent every American. I like everyone on SRC would like to see more women on SRC but I want them to stand for President, Vice Presidential and convener positions and not to limit them to being woman’s officer. If we want to show that your background, race, gender or sexual orientation is not what defines us then why pidgin box students. It is time for all student reps to represent the whole student body. I wish those people who have spent years campaigning for these positions had spent their time encouraging underrepresented minorities to stand for the many vacant or uncontested positions already on SRC. It is my strong belief that all students not just at Edinburgh but across the UK face the same main issues like financing their education and the problems associated government cuts in University funding. Whilst minorities face issues specific to them I feel it is the duty of every representative to ensure they are brought forward. -Oliver Mundell, SRC Schools and Induction Officer
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Citizen Shah Liz Rawlings talks to the ex-media magnate and the bestselling author Eddy Shah about his revolutionizing of the printing press and pioneering stance against trade unions “I’M NOT a driven person or anything; I just like the fun of doing things.” Considering how much he has achieved, Eddy Shah is determined not to believe his own hype. This is refreshing for a media magnate and particularly for a man such as Shah, who is as famous for making as creating the headlines. Shah became a household name in the Eighties on two counts. In 1982, he became the first business leader to take on, and defeat the trade unions, facing over 10 000 pickets a night and forcing Fleet Street to de-unionise. Then in 1986, he founded Today – the world’s first all-colour national newspaper – earning him the soubriquet ‘Shah of Warrington’ and sustaining a distinct advantage over his competitors by capturing earth-shattering events such as the Lockerbie bombing, Ethiopian famine and the First Gulf War in colour, while all other newspapers printed in grey. Now Shah has turned his attentions to writing – with four bestselling thriller novels under his belt, the fifth of which, Second World was released last Friday. Before he launched Today Shah owned 60 newspapers across the UK – the Rupert Murdoch of his day, he achieved fame and notoriety for siding with Margaret Thatcher and refusing to cooperate with the trade unions, ending months of national strikes. Shah is resolute that, despite criticism from protestors, he was right to take a stance against the unions: “They pushed us too far, told us we would have to fire some of our staff and they would tell us who we had to employ, I thought ‘why should I? I’ve built up this business with the people I’m working with, why should I fire them because four or five of them don’t want to join the trade unions?’ It just seemed extremely unfair, and my loy-
Profile: Eddy Shah - Born 20 January 1944, Cambridge - Shah was thrown out of several schools, but still managed to pass 9 O-levels - In 1982 he became the first business leader to side with Margaret Thatcher in confronting the power of trade unionism - The newspaper Today, launched by Shah in 1986, was the first ever national newspaper to be printed in colour - Shah’s newest thriller, Second World, was released on 7 November 2008
alty was to those people, not to some nebulous socialist union movement. “We were a microcosm of what the country at that time felt about trade unions. Because they just had too much undemocratic power...it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.” Shah maintains that his problem was never with the social movement itself, but the way it was being led: “I believe when a union goes on strike,
“I remember thinking ‘why don’t we put the colours of the jockeys on the spread?’ So I invented that and now all papers do it” if it’s got fair reason to go on strike, the officials should go on strike as well. It’s like politicians, they send our boys to war abroad but they don’t go over there. The trade unions were the same. They were driving their Jag XJS’s and the guys they were meant to be defending had nothing. “Unfortunately, there was a lot of bullying going on and they had become totally undemocratic, and if you believe in democracy, you believe in democracy, you either do or you don’t. And so we stood up for it, why didn’t other people? Ask them.” As strikes continued throughout the decade, the picket lines became increasingly dangerous and out spoken anti-unionists such as Shah became high-profile figures of hate among certain sections of society. Did he ever come close to calling it a day? “The only time I came close to quitting was when they sent five coffins to the house, two big ones and three little ones for the kids...and I got back and said ‘maybe it’s time to give in’ and my wife, Jennifer just looked at me and said ‘if you do I’m leaving you’ and I thought ‘well I’ve got 10, 000 pickets a night on one side and her on another and I know who I’m more scared of.’ That’s the only time I ever thought about quitting, when it involved my family...but she put me right off that.” As the man so famous for initiating Margaret Thatcher’s industrial laws and bringing the unions to the bargaining table, Shah earned a reputation in the Eighties not just as an important media figure, but as a political commentator. “I started life as a Socialist, extreme leftwing; beyond left-wing and even beyond anarchy I think, but when I got older and I started to have a family I dabbled with the Liberals for one election but now I’m a Tory. “I believe in the soft Toryism of now. I object to the way peo-
ple attack Thatcher because she didn’t create greed. There were people who used what she freed economically and turned it into greed. “I’m hoping for anyone but Brown in the next election. I’m very anti-bureaucratic and I think the bureaucrats have too much power. Every now and then you need somebody to come and shake them up and hopefully it’ll happen now because we’re becoming a bureaucracy rather than a democracy.” In 1986, four years after the strikes, Shah launched Today with a team boasting Alistair Campbell as news editor, Anne Robinson as a columnist and former deputy editor of The Times Brian MacArthur at the helm, as editor. Today is widely regarded in the media industry as the paper which revolutionised the printing press. On the eve of its launch, Shah proclaimed: “Now you’ll be able to see if Red Rum is red, Frank Bruno is in the pink, Geoff Boycott is blue, and why all the competition is green with envy.” As well as printing in colour, Shah’s Today pioneered the use of computer photo setting when Fleet Street was still using linotype and letterpress, dramatically pushing back print deadlines. “The thing that always ate away at me was the time it takes from you writing a story to getting to the reader. As newspapers we became much more a record rather than breaking news,” Shah explains. “I’ve always looked at what we can do with technology because I think technology, if used correctly, can open doors to the way we express ourselves. [With Today] that’s what I set out to do ... to put the power, inventiveness and creativity into the hands of the journalist. “I’m not a racing man but I remember thinking ‘why don’t we put the colours of the jockeys on the spread?’ So I invented that and now all papers do it. That came straight out of me. “We said we’re not going to deliver on trains, we’ll use the road and that came out of [Today]. Everything we put in, there’s very little that didn’t happen. Technologically, I’ve been in one or two newspaper offices since and whatever I saw in my brain is out there on the floor now.” In 1988 Shah sold Today and his other 60 newspapers to Rupert Murdoch’s News International Group for £40 million. He cites his main reason for retiring from the media as boredom, “it wasn’t going anywhere new,” he says. However, one suspects Shah was also keen to start writing: “I worked in television and newspapers but deep down I just wanted to write,” he admits. “The thing I like most about writing is I stand to force totally by what I do, when I was a leader of teams, we all sparked each other off. It was always a shared success whereas this is just me and I quite like that.”
Shah’s new novel Second World is, perhaps unsurprisingly, based on technology. It’s a thriller set in a parallel world of virtual-reality internet where politicians ruthlessly police cyberspace and enforce strict laws on individual freedom, with one man, Conor Smith, starting the fight back for personal liberty. “People say it’s a bit like The Matrix. It’s not, because The Matrix is about machines taking over, they’re all plugged in. We haven’t got some evil monster, this is about what people will do with their spare time in the world of new technology, when they don’t actually want to live in their own mind anymore. “The great thing about writing slightly into the future, not way ahead with aliens or anything like that, but slightly ahead with technology we’re
using now so people understand it, is it opens up ideas for where we can go, what we can do, what we expect.” At 67, having achieved notoriety and success in the media, as well as in the political and literary realms, has the time come for Shah to stop working? “I’ll never retire,” he states emphatically, “there’s no point”. Despite his resolute statement to the contrary, it seems Eddy Shah is indeed a “driven man”. He’s started work on the sequel to Second World, and has two more novels in the pipeline. This seems to be key to his success, he works for the pure pleasure of taking on a challenge. “I like to do things people say can’t be done... making them happen,” he says with resolve – fittingly summing up a lifelong career dedicated to change.
Hold me closer, tiny barrister Jen Bowden quizzes a law student from Glasgow University on his transition from trainee barrister to pursuing his childhood dream of becoming a ballet dancer at the Central School of Ballet in London
Q&A:Alexander Nuttal I
T’S NOT everyday that you meet someone whose latest decision resulted in a complete change in lifestyle, but for Alexander (Sandy) Nuttall from Edinburgh, the decision to take time out from a Law degree to study ballet seemed the natural thing to do.... How did your love of dance begin? I started dancing when I was two, mainly because my older sister started. Apparently I would stand outside her class and peek through the door, and when my mum asked why I said, “I want to do that”. Ever since it’s been a huge part of my life, and I’ve experimented with lots of different types of dance, ranging from ballet and jazz to tap and contemporary. I didn’t really win any competitions when I was younger but I had a lot of chances to perform with actual companies. The Pacific Northwest Ballet Company’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream” at the Edinburgh Playhouse just fed my appetite to perform. How did you come to choose law over dance? When I was about eleven my mum was
so we can maximise performance, because all these things are very important in a professional career. In a company you’re not told about the history of what you’re dancing, you’re expected to either know it or to research it, so that’s mostly where academia comes in. There’s also an option to do A-levels. I don’t think I can really compare it to law because it’s so varied. Although both are academic, the information is used totally differently so it isn’t really comparable. How different is your daily routine? Do you have to look after yourself more than the average student? Well, I have to get up earlier! Most of the time around 6am because class starts at 8.45 and you’re expected to be warmed up and raring to go (something I initially found difficult because I’m NOT a morning person!) I suppose it depends what you term as “average”. Obviously you have to be physically careful. You have to avoid high-risk sports, and there can be a lot of day-to-day injuries. It’s very demanding! Energy is important, because it’s very easy to run out and it takes a long time to build levels back up. I don’t think you have to watch your diet as much as everyone thinks you do, I do actually eat! It’s all about eating the right thing, so really junk food is best avoided, but everything in moderation is fine. What do you think your future will be? What sort of people have you met? Who do you aspire to be like? taking me to lots of auditions (though not really in a pushy parent way). It didn’t feel right, and I asked her to stop setting them up so she did. Ironically, I regret that now. I don’t think I knew I wanted to dance professionally at a young age, I only knew that I loved it. The regimes scared me a little, and I knew it would be really tough to do so that put me off a little. One of my good friends at my dance school left to do professional dance down south,
“I think most people will only remember me as the guy who left to dance...but I don’t mind” and I was really quite jealous. I came up with a sort of “he can do it for the both of us” mentality, because I honestly believed I was too old to start professional training. There was nothing I really liked at school enough to study, I looked into new subjects and law came up. It sounded really interesting, and was quite prestigious, which made the attraction greater. So I applied for law and decided to continue dancing while I was still at university.
Then when I got to Glasgow I didn’t dance for about eight months. It was actually quite hard. I wasn’t as happy as I could be, and it took me a long time to realise why. I went to a class at Scottish Ballet and just thought, “I’m meant to be here”, cheesy as it sounds. That’s when I started to dream of doing professional dance. I only wrote to dance schools asking if it was still possible for me to do professional dance and they sent me application forms for entry in September 2008. I knew that if I didn’t do it now it would be too late so I went for it and luckily it worked out. Is ballet a more academic discipline than people realise? Well, it’s not really about academic stuff anymore. I had the opportunity academic study and I enjoyed it and found it engaging, but it wasn’t really enough. I chose to dance because it’s what I love, not just what I happen to be good at. There is an academic side to it; you learn about the history of the art form and the various ballets that are most popular. There’s also a physical aspect, where we learn about relevant anatomy and how best to train. We also do nutrition lessons
I aspire to be great. I see no point in doing it any other way. If I don’t aim to be the best, how do I know that I couldn’t have been the best? My future will be hard work and that’s all I know at this point. It’s going to be fun work but without passion it wouldn’t be worth it, so you really have to love it. And I do. I have met such a varied group of people since I got here and we’re all unbelievably close considering we’ve known each other for such a short time. It’s a very close-knit community, and everyone really does know everyone. I personally think it’s brilliant. I made friends for life at uni for definite, but I’m making friends here in a totally different situation. I don’t really know if I aspire to be like anyone. I want to be an individual. And lets face it, good start! But obviously I could say the big names like Carlos Acosta and Nureyev, but I’m not so ignorant to say “I want to be just like them”- I don’t really know of enough people yet. Every one of the great dancers of the past and the present excels in a different area, and until I have my own opinion I don’t think I’ll know. Maybe I never will. But I prefer it that
way; I dance to be me, no one else. Do you miss home? Yes. I love London so much already, but home is home. I think you always miss home, no matter how old you are or where you go. It’s a lot easier to stay in touch nowadays though, so I think it’s more what home represents rather than the people there because I speak to them all the time. I love Edinburgh as a city, and I hope that my parents always stay there so I can go back. But I think it’s foolish to say that I can see myself in any one place. I could end up in a company anywhere, and because of that I’ll be happy going wherever it takes me, in Britain or abroad. Could you see yourself ever going back to Law or even to Glasgow or Edinburgh? Law, maybe, later in life. I initially took a year out but I’m thinking I may not go back. But I can see myself doing it later in life because I still have the interest in it. Maybe after my professional career. Mind you, after many dancers retire, a lot of them teach because without dance life just seems weird. So who knows? I would like to return to study though. Do you have any regrets regarding such a big change? I do have regrets. I miss everyone from Glasgow Uni, and worry that without me there they’ll forget me. It was only for a year that I was there. I think most people will only remember me as the guy who left to dance, but I don’t mind. As long as the people that matter to me the most, my best friends and of course my flatmates, remember me then I can live with that. I will see them less and we have less in common now. But I always think about things they say or how they would react because they were so much a part of making me who I am. When I left home last year, I grew up a lot, and they took care of me in a way and I will never forget that. I miss them but I still see them. I also regret the loss of stability. I don’t want to insult any lawyers, but I think the dancing world is more temperamental than that of law. One injury could easily end a career and the careers are much shorter, with less money too. None of that really matters to me because I’m doing what I want to do, so I’ll just deal with it as it comes. Sometimes I don’t think I was ready to do this earlier, and sometimes I wish I had. However, if I had the choice I would do it the same way again because I had a chance to experience two totally different lifestyles and meet so many people. Both of them made me who I am, and I could never have done one without the other.
...We shall not sleep, Alexandra Sexton discusses how attitudes are changing towards use the poppy to raise awareness of the sacrifices made by past
S THE orangey motifs of Halloween fade away and the straw-stuffed effigies of Guy Fawkes are left to smoulder, the Autumnal season continues on to its next emblem: the red poppy. Walking through George Square these last few days, I have been scouting for these small splashes of red adorning people’s coats and jackets, and one very brave or perhaps slightly unhinged individual wearing solely a T-shirt. It has surprised me as I’ve peered at these unsuspecting passers-by how few are displaying this little flower, despite the many opportunities set up by the University to acquire one. Most of the shops and cafes around campus have had boxes lined up by the tills, allowing us easily to purchase our skinny-latte-chocamochacinos with a poppy to go. Even outside the University they can be found in abundance in newsagents, doctors’ surgeries and supermarkets to name a few, and with an estimated 38 million of these paper flora being produced this year alone, it has been described by some as the ‘buttonhole battalion’. So, why were there not more of us wearing these poppies in the lead up to Remembrance Day? Does this mean that those who don’t buy a poppy do not remember the lives that have been lost in conflict since the World War I? Questions such as these were faced by Channel 4’s renowned newsreader Jon Snow in 2006, when he admitted on the channel’s blog his wish not to wear a poppy on air. His reasoning was he did not want to wear anything which made any kind of statement, whether it’s the poppy
or a charitable symbol. He went on to argue that though respecting the armed forces and wearing a poppy outside of work, he believes there is a rather unpleasant breed of poppy fascism, conditioning us to feel that we “damned well must wear a poppy!”. Though blunt, is this opinion subconsciously shared by our society? Has remembrance been replaced by a pressure of what we feel we should do rather than what we want to do? Could this be because our generation is left with only a distant link to the people who fought on those bloody battlefields of WWI? With the recent death of one of the last remaining veterans
“We damned well must wear a poppy!” John Snow, Channel 4 News
of WWI, leaving only four, maybe it is too farfetched a wish to ask the younger generations to remember these brave soldiers of almost four generations ago. How can they recall what they did not witness? In order to bridge this gap in history The British Royal Legion (the organisation behind The Poppy Appeal) has designed a School Pack to be distributed throughout the UK. The aim is to introduce young students to the concepts of human rights, racism and discrimination, along with historical sources of information about the World Wars. It was through the poetry of soldiers such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon that I became aware of the
fear and anger that these men must have experienced on the frontlines. Through these interactive methods we can hope to prevent future generations feeling unconnected with these past heroes and make sure the reality of war is not forgotten. In another attempt to create personal links between today’s generation and the past, www. ancestry.co.uk are waiving their charges this November, allowing people to search online through the British Army WWI Service and Pension Records and the British Army WWI Medal Rolls for relatives who lived and served during the wars. Dates of birth, marriage and death certificates can be found in these archives, providing an invaluable opportunity for our generation to feel connected on a more personal level with those we are remembering today. So with tools such as these now available, does it make the symbol of the poppy more meaningful? In response to the comments of Jon Snow, the RBL stated that “wearing a poppy is a voluntary gesture and Snow is entitled to his opinion”. I asked a family member if she would be buying a poppy this year, and her response was she felt it unnecessary to wear a symbol in order to remember the lost lives of the wars. Most importantly, she felt that the memories and emotions of the wars are not limited purely to the first eleven days of each November, and therefore if people felt the poppy should be worn, it should really be worn all year round. For those of us who do not wish to advertise our
Gap-ing hole in gappers’ care Jenni Smout investigates how gap-year companies fail to protect gappers abroad and whether companies are guilty of swindling their clients
HERE WAS a moment in the immigration office at Windhoek International Airport, Namibia, when, after being threatened with deportation, I came to realise that despite paying over £1,700 for much needed support, I was on my own. I had been held there for almost three hours after my passport had been confiscated and I was desperately waiting for my faithful gap year specialist, Real Gap, to return my call. The room was roughly the size of the lifts in the DHT, stacked to the ceiling with used visa forms and a woman dressed as a judge asleep at the desk next to me. When the phone did ring a cheery guy called Tom greeted me: “Hi Jenni, how are you doing?”
“To be honest Tom, I’m not great,” I replied. An hour later I had been bailed out by an Afrikaans woman called Sharon – not a representative of Real Gap but the manager of the guest house where I would later be staying. Why had I spent the first four hours of my holiday detained by a zealous bureaucrat? A slip of my tongue followed by a misunderstanding had led to an argument about why I didn’t have a work visa. Furthermore, I had been left off the airport transfer list, making it very difficult to prove I was a tourist. In my bleakest hour, as Tom’s jaunty voice tickled my ear like aural eczema, I began to think that maybe Real Gap’s business plan is not centred
on molly-coddling hapless teenagers, but that they are in fact a profitable company who may not have my best interests at heart. It was a hard lesson to learn; after all, their website is
“I found an angry Chinese man shouting at me...Projects Abroad were behind on my rent and I was getting evicted” always so colourful and in every photo people are smiling: the volunteers, the orphans, and I suspect, the bank managers…
Maybe I should have learnt by now. When I was 19 I took up an internship with a financial magazine in Shanghai. I was more than happy to pay the gap year company Projects Abroad to act as middle man, organizing accommodation and the airport transfer for me. However, one Sunday night I found an angry and heavily perspiring Chinese man shouting at me in Shanghainese. It transpired that Projects Abroad were behind on my rent and I was being evicted. So why do I do it? It seems that when it comes to gap year tragedies, I like mine with a side helping of masochism. Surely I should take off the metaphoric stabilisers and save myself hundreds of pounds, because even with an international company
holding your hand things still can, and do, go wrong. The main appeal companies such as Real Gap and Projects Abroad offer is a safety net. Real Gap pride themselves on “24-hour emergency support service and a contact number in the UK” and Africa and Asia Venture proudly informed me that everyone who travelled with them had an ‘account manager’ to look after clients as they prepared for their trip; a process which could take up to 18 months. It seems to be the gap year equivalent to that universal vegetable dilemma: do you pay Adam Ramsey and have your organic weekly shop delivered to your door on a silver plate or do you get yourself down to Lidl
though poppies grow the poppy, what it represents to people today, and how charities generations, ensuring that their memory lives on remembrance through wearing a poppy, the RBL have come up with different ways for us to show our support. Poppy themed wallpapers are now available for mobile phones and Facebook has created an application that enables you to add the red flower to your profile page. RBL also offer a novel way to beat the credit crunch by saving with Poppy Bonds from Coventry Building Society, which entails the building society making a donation equal to 0.25% of your balance invested to The Poppy Appeal. With your money now safely stored away, what better way to splash out than buying the new X-Factor single? The single is a cover version of Mariah Carey’s hit ‘Hero’, proceeds of which will be divided equally between Help for Heroes and The Poppy Appeal. If the thought of buying a poppy has suddenly become a bit more appealing, then there is plenty of choice as, in addition to the paper poppy, The Poppy Appeal has set up an online auction with a variety of goodies up for grabs. The items range from poppy-themed jewellery modelled by new Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, to five star holidays in Sydney: starting bid £50. There’s even a range of iPod Nanos, which could come in handy when wanting to play your new X-Factor single! However, by diversifying into different methods of supporting The Poppy Appeal, are we in danger of losing the universal symbol of the paper poppy? With such a large number of ways to donate, it seems inevitable that more and more people will find the prospect of a LCD TV a bit more appealing than a little
and rummage through the baskets yourself? The industry is certainly a successful one. The Year Out Group, an association of leading gap year companies, has 36 members who between them have assisted hundreds of thousands of volunteers on fullysupported, successful trips, and there are countless other companies besides that. But I am beginning to wonder how much of my money was going towards the trip, and what percentages were taken as profit. I contacted several companies attempting to answer this question and as polite as they were, I began to get the feeling that I was thoroughly annoying them. Raleigh International, a charity made famous by Prince William in 2000, responded that around three quarters of the money paid by its 30,000 volunteers went towards “the cost of running an expedition”, including staff costs, food, transport, insurance and accommodation. 12% went towards recruiting volunteers, 11% on “head office overheads” and the final 1% is “the cost of the
paper flower. What would happen to the processions on Remembrance Sunday? Would we see Her Majesty standing in line with her new iPod instead of her wreath? These organisations are trying to appeal to new generations and create awareness through means with which young people can identify. As this year marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War, the RBL will be honouring the memory of the war’s heroes with a unique tribute by planting a Flanders Field of poppies at the Menin Gate in Flanders. This area in the north of France, along
“The White Poppy symbolises the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing” with Ypres in Belgium, saw some of the most brutal battles of WW1, with the constant shelling and artillery fire described by witnesses as an unforgivable assault on Nature herself. It was in these places of mass death and destruction that this seemingly fragile little flower emerged through the disturbed soil and flooded the battlefields with its blood-red bloom. This extraordinary phenomenon is where the inspiration for the paper poppies came from, along with the famous poem by Canadian doctor John McCrae, entitled “Flanders Fields.” He describes these tiny flowers as markers of where the soldiers fell, a
governance for running a charity”. Its charitable status means that out of the £2,995 the average student would fork out, all of the money should be reinvested back into the organisation. However, profit-seeking companies only reinvest a percentage of their turnover. Africa and Asia Venture (AV) have worked with 4,000 volunteers in the fifteen years they have been running and had an annual turnover of £1 million. After paying the twenty fulltime staff, they stand to pocket around £45,000 per year: approximately 4-5% of the original trip costs. Real Gap however, “were not permitted to share such financial information” with me, but sent me a fantastically vague press release citing “extensive and varied marketing activities” as “one of [the] main overheads”. With Real Gap declining to comment further I donned my deerstalker and examined the evidence further using the project I did over the summer as an average example. Real Gap charges £1,749 for 4 weeks in Namibia, yet it is a different
poetic reminder of those who died. There are some however, who perceive the redness of the poppy to have negative connotations with military power and the justification of war, leading to the creation of White Poppies for Peace. The White Poppy symbolises the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing and that many of our social values and habits are to blame for continuing violence being used as a solution. The ceaseless conflict in Iraq is testament to the fact that world leaders continue to believe that force is the way of solving any situation, and a society that ‘fights for its corner’ is seen as better than seeking compromise and reconciliation. Some people however, have been offended by this different version, feeling that the White Poppy is a disservice and dishonour to all our fallen dead, both from the past and our latest casualties. Whatever your view, the increase in production of the White Poppy each year signifies yet another take on what the red poppy symbolises to us on this day of remembrance. Whichever form of remembrance you have decided to take, whether in a physical symbol or through a monetary donation, what it is important to realise is that November 11th signifies a uniting of people all over the world. Whether or not you want a symbol to represent this is an entirely personal choice as this freedom of thought is what those men and women fought for; and let’s just hope that our memories of these heroes will be as resilient as the poppies growing on Flanders Fields.
organisation which owns and runs everything once you arrive in Africa, and they charge £1,049 for the same trip. As this is a self sufficient company they provide the airport transfer, food and the wages of the in-country team. It seems £700 of my money went towards the wages of Real Gap’s 50 UK staff and their “extensive and varied marketing activities”, as they put it. Real Gap, as a profitable company, justified this by asserting that “most people choose to pay a little extra for
“In Namibia I found myself in an operating theatre during a Caesarean, attempting to examine a uterus” this peace of mind”. But how much is “a little extra” worth when even the most prepared of companies are unable to protect you against everything. In April this
year four British ‘gappers’ and their tour guide travelling with VentureCo were killed in a bus crash in Ecuador. Mark Davison, director of VentureCo, said he had used the bus company for many years and although the risk assessment for the trip had identified the High Andes as the most dangerous areas for road travel, an accident in the coastal area was unusual. Even the parents of 19-year-old victim Rebecca Logie acknowledged there was nothing VentureCo could have done to prevent the tragedy. Davison recognised any road travel in South America was “inherently risky” but Rebecca’s parents still stated they “did not want anybody to be put off by what happened to our daughter – it was an accident”. There is another issue which is less often addressed, especially within the pages of a student newspaper. Are these fresh out of school teenagers are actually helping the communities which they have paid all this money to reach? As an example, while in Namibia I found myself in an operating theatre during a Caesarean, attempting to
examine a uterus while desperately resisting all urges to both faint and vomit simultaneously. Fortunately, the mother-to-be was under full anaesthetic and had no idea that this underqualified Brit was overseeing the birth of her first child. Yet there is an inherent arrogance in the presumption that because we have the money to pay for these trips (however overpriced they may be) our presence will be appreciated once we arrive. This philanthropic colonialism does however lead to huge boosts in the tourism industries of developing countries. Tourism is a key sector in popular gap year destinations – it is expected to make up 14% of Mexico’s GDP this year, and Thailand’s economy relies more on tourism than any other Asian nation. These interlinking factors make it impossible to generalise whether volunteer work abroad is a good or bad idea, but whether you decide to pay a company to guide you through your trip or not, I am yet to meet one person who regrets their travels, whatever adventure or misfortune should befall them.
A film not to be misunderestimated W. directed by
aaddd Considering Oliver Stone’s previous portrayals of prominent American events, from JFK to the controversial World Trade Center, one would be forgiven for assuming the writer-director would take advantage of the seemingly endless possibilities here for a political polemic. Many may have expected a Bush biopic centred on his apparent inability to govern, or a wholesale criticism of neo-conservative policies overseas, but largely, this does not appear to be the primary aim of the film. What is here, however, is something far more interesting, but fundamentally flawed. From the outset, the interspersion of George W. Bush’s (Josh Brolin) time as President with sequences from his earlier life point to a cursory study of the man’s character and the impulse behind his political career; whilst we see meetings with advisors and foreign leaders, we are also shown his relationship with his wife Laura (Elizabeth Banks), his attempts to overcome alcohol addiction, and his failed entrepreneurial exploits.
WORKING LIKE A DOG: The President consults his two most trusted advisors Whilst this is a praiseworthy approach from a man outspoken in his criticism of the President, Stone gives us too many easy answers: the clear complexity behind his impulsive actions all appear to boil down to his relationship with his father, George H. W. Bush (James Cromwell) and his inability to live up to the honour of the ‘family name’. Therefore, whilst this is an impressive attempt
to consider such a maligned character on his own terms, it only does so in a blinkered fashion that disregards all motivations not supportive of Stone’s own interpretation. Equally what the film does appear to achieve as a character study is also largely obscured by the directors’ rather superficial attempts to recreate the political arguments and mannerisms of the various members
of his administration. In a strange way it seems that one of the films’ most striking and impressive features (Brolin’s remarkable portrayal of the president) is also a symptom of one of the film’s biggest draw-backs: the impersonations of Bush’s backroom staff (all very realistic), are precisely that, one-dimensional recreations rather than convincing performances, more
suited to Dead Ringers than political drama. Much of this is not intended to be amusing, though it is difficult not to smirk at the staid, staged discussions concerning the decision to greenlight the invasion of Iraq. These all feel a little too familiar, and leave the impression of watching a glossy but vapid television drama, as famous ‘Bushisms’ (‘is our children learning’, the pretzel incident, ‘I believe that one day, man and fish will be able to co-exist’, ‘This thaw, it took a while to thaw. It’ll take a while to un-thaw’) are thrown in arbitrarily for largely comedic purposes, and appear more as cynical attempts to create recognisable injokes for the audience than anything else. This means the script sometimes strays a little too close to Michael Moore territory than is comfortable in a film with admirable intentions. Perhaps this is an inherent pitfall in attempting to put on screen a political era that is still immediate. Nevertheless, commentators the world over will soon be considering the current incumbent’s political legacy. Stone’s misguided attention to this rather than a genuine concentration on the man himself is, for all its promise, found severely lacking. Stephen Mitchell
All the President’s films... Claire Cameron explores Hollywood’s varying depictions of Presidents and asks “Which is closest to the truth?”
HERE ARE three types of president that appear in Hollywood tradition: the Good, the Bad, and the Idiot. From The Simpsons Movie to Nixon, there is no shortage of on-screen presidents in the film industry. The ‘Good’ President type is typically represented as a pseudo glorified action man: the man who faces all adversity with stoic pride and the knowledge that, having pounded his enemy’s carcass in to the cold, hard ground, his wife and two kids will be waiting for him. He is the man America is truly proud of, and that the masses look up to with tears in their eyes.
This president can be relied upon to deliver mesmeric speeches, kiss his small doe-eyed child at just the right moment, and then run out with the rest and kick Russian/Nazi/Alien butt. The Harrison Fords of Hollywood answer to its siren call. The ‘Bad’ President prototype is the man we all love to hate, the true villain of modern day cinema. He is a living symbol of all that is wrong and crooked in this world, working for his own advantage at the expense of the country. Interestingly, many of this filmic presidential breed are simply celluloid depictions of those that have actually occupied the position of
Most Powerful Man In The World. Afterall, how could a fictional president surpass the many evils of Nixon? Oliver Stone’s early presidential biopic features a powerful portrayal of Nixon by Anthony Hopkins, his nuanced performance helping the film’s overarching motive; the audience should not only hate, but understand why Nixon considered himself to be right. The audience is challenged to dismiss his acts as thoughtless crime. Last, but never least, the ‘Idiot’ President is ubiquitous in comedy, politics as a whole coming under fire, world leaders shown to be nothing less than mindless buffoons. A good example is to be found in The Simpsons Movie: Arnold Schwarzenegger condemning Springfield to destruction with the immortal line, “I was elected to lead, not to read.” Another example is Jack Nicholson’s hapless president in Tim Bur-
ton’s Mars Attacks. These are the men that we cannot trust, not because they don’t mean well, but because they are just too dumb to be in control. This week has been busy for US presidents, real and fictional alike. Oliver Stone’s most recent biopic, W has been released amid much controversy. The film details the rise of George W. Bush, and, like Nixon, attempts to give the audience a better understanding of the man and why he acts the way he does. The film challenges assumptions that a damning portrayal of America’s current President was in the works (Stone not being the man’s biggest fan), instead offering a sympathetic Bush, depicted as the last of a dying breed of politician. In an interview
with The Daily Telegraph, Stone explained his motives: “I did it as a dramatist, so my job is to understand him, not to like him…Bush is a bit of a clown, he was a C student, he’s got a big ego…But I would give him great credit for having turned himself around.” So which of our three categories of president does the writer-director’s Bush fall in to? Is he the action hero; the man who knows exactly what to do in a crisis and sticks to his proverbial guns? Is he something of a comedy buffoon, crisis after crisis to his name? Or, even worse, and unfortunately perhaps closest to the truth, is Dubya nothing more than a cowboy-in-office who got lucky and made a mess for President-Elect Obama to clear up? Stone’s latest leaves this decision up to the audience.
A Liverpudlian Tale: Davies Goes Home News You Can Use
Of Time and the City directed by
aaaad Of Time and The City is a eulogy to Liverpool where the Beatles feature for no longer than half a minute. It is a satirical comment on British social history. It is a melancholy love poem for a city that vanished in time. Most importantly, it is director Terence Davies’ lost city. No one is more eligible to direct a documentary about Liverpool than Davies. Before winning a contest for the government commissioned project of celebrating Liverpool´s status as cultural capital of Europe, he had based The Terence Davies Trilogy, Distant Voices and Still Lives, and The Long Day Closes on largely autobiographical accounts of Liverpool in the forties and fifties. Of Time and The City is an extremely successful and bewitching zenith of his self-obsession. The documentary can be difficult to follow at times, with its grainy images from historical archives, language punctuated by poetic quotations, and the dark baritone voice of the director-narrator. Yet the difficult content is worth the effort, for the photography is beautiful and the narration inspiring,
not only for its praise of what the city used to be, but for the sheer wisdom it communicates. For whole minutes, no words are spoken and the images are accompanied only by intense music. We notice his attachment to the city is of such depth that it cannot be encircled by words. The mood of the film evokes Davies’ desolate nostalgia, beginning with the lines “Into my heart an air that kills/From yon far country blows:/ What are those blue remembered hills, /What spires, what farms are those?/ This is the land of lost content, /I see it shining plain. /The happy highways where I went /And cannot come again” from Houseman’s “Blue Remembered Hills”. Towards the end, when shots of
contemporary Liverpool filmed for the documentary complement the archival images, Davies´ sense of a “paradise betrayed” by new constructions is evident and very heavy. If such intensity was carried on for the entire duration of the film, utter depression would have prevented me from getting up from my chair. Thankfully, wittily comic remarks underpin the gloominess and provide needed relief for the viewer. Davies´ tongue is especially sharp when dealing with the events he experienced in his childhood that involved Britain as a whole. Jokes relating to the monarchy, particularly to Queen Elizabeth’s II coronation, are in fact surprisingly – and pleasingly - out of tune with the intel-
The Warlords directed by
Easy Virtue directed by
aaadd Based on Noel Coward’s play, Easy Virtue follows a young Englishman, John Whittaker (Ben Barnes), who meets and marries older racingcar driver Larita Huntington (Jessica Biel) in 1920s France. He brings her home to his unsuspecting family, a stifling upper-class clan horrified by her liberal American ways. A clash of personalities ensues between Larita and John’s mother (Kristin Scott Thomas), while an impassive father (Colin Firth) becomes increasingly interested in the new arrival. The most frustrating thing about the film is that the potential to be engaging ‘good clean fun’ finds itself instead lost in a sea of showy panoramas and half-hearted performances. The Australian director, Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), loses his grip on the tone of the film and the original story’s good-humoured
charm. After a jolting (though not wholly unpleasant) first hour, Elliot finally settles on one approach and it’s the wrong one: a fast-cutting, less-than-classy comedy resembling an extended music video, with a bored cast, confused by the script. Biel, however, is the exception to this rule. Although only a year older than Barnes, she is far too young to be playing ‘the older woman’. She does, however, hold her own as the token American. Sadly, her clashes with Kristin Scott Thomas (always brilliant, though struggling to be so on this occasion) are less subtle than in the novel, her character here more biting and brash, making her difficult to empathise with. Barnes makes the most of his role, but it’s the imperturbably sarcastic butler (Kris Marshall) and Firth, with a comedy so dry it would make Laurence of Arabia feel like Poseidon, who get the most laughs. Despite the missed opportunities on the director’s part, this remains an easy-going, albeit fluffy, film whose flaws might be overlooked by fans of the genre. Shan Bertelli
With the exception of his past five films, Jet Li has to be crowned the greatest martial arts king of our time. If this is the case, then why in the last five years of film has there not been a single one of his films worth watching? Jet Li seems to be as clueless as the rest of us; The Warlords is, unfortunately, just as bad as his other recent efforts. The story is of three men brought together by a bond of blood, becoming, wait for it, Blood Brothers, in an attempt to defend and lead their people through a Chinese mountain range. This, of course, in true Jet Li style, leads to all the men in the village joining the Ching army, and subsequently starting a vendetta across China against the Taiping army, causing massive death and bloodshed. The big problem with the film is not the plot, or the cast, it’s the violence. Every few minutes there is some poor soldier being brutally skewered with his own sword, or hav-
lectuality of the documentary. When referring to the setting off of hoses of some sort, a celebratory initiative by Scots, Davies´ wonders if they were just “taking the piss”. Perhaps this wouldn’t have been such a hilarious comment if it had been heard in isolation, but given the sheer intensity of the film, the unexpectedness of such comic moments worked magic, on me, at least. So despite its lack of subtlety in its attempt to provoke an emotional response from its viewers, Of Time and The City is an insightful, endearing and thought-provoking portrait of what this European Capital of Culture once was. Indeed, you can’t go home again. Luiza Vianna di Mello Franco ing his leg graphically broken in full screen, with the director removing all other sound, placing emphasis on the sound of the snap, making quite a few burly men recoil. This would be all well and good if it were in short bursts, but it’s simply everywhere. Even the last scene, the big emotional climax, is filled with unnecessary gratuitous violence. Furthermore, the writers of this opera of blood have tried to push a romantic sub plot that just doesn’t work. Here you are happily killing people for about three years, and then you up and decide to go home for two minutes of a will she/won’t she romance that is then lost when the men go away again for five years of more killing people? Commendable aspects of the film are notably the cinematography, with some beautiful shots of Chinese countryside and some well shot close ups during the film’s more emotional scenes. However, these fail to save the picture as a whole. So unless you enjoy the sound of a femur snapping, or watching arterial blood spurts is your idea of a good time, I advise you skip it. Lance “The Pants” Jordan
with Spike Lee Hi, I’m Spike Lee, and now the news! This first scoop makes the election of Barack Obama seem like a historical footnote: living legends Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li and Jason Statham are teaming up for what will surely be the greatest film of all time. The Expendables follows a team of mercenaries attempting to overthrow a South American dictator. Stallone has written the script and is set to direct, ensuring a barrage of bloody limbs blown off with fifty-calibre machine guns. Can you say Oscar gold? Speaking of Oscars, family-friendly actor Will Smith and Steven “I Love Aliens” Spielberg are remaking Korean hit Oldboy, Park Chanwook’s incestuous, violent, revenge epic where a man is incarcerated in solitude for fifteen years, then is mysteriously released to go on a bloody rampage. This seems about as crazy as having Dame Judi Dench star in a remake of Smokey and the Bandit, as the bandit, but these two usually come up with a hit. Like Hancock. DJ Jazzy Jeff declined to comment. In another 90s hip-hop related story, Russell Crowe is going to make the best Robin Hood movie ever, and if you disagree with him, he will fight you. “The world doesn’t need a mundane version of Robin Hood. If we’re gonna do it, we’ve got to kick some serious butt.” Speaking of butt, Crowe will not be clad in the skin-tight trousers that marked his predecessors: “I will not wear tights because according to our research they weren’t invented for another 300 years. I apologise to you all - and to Sienna Miller.” Nottingham hits theatres next year. This is Spike Lee, signing off. And that was this week’s news.
Next Week... Spike Lee and Jet Li in: Brothers From A Ninja Mother!
Girls, Aloud Girls Aloud
To be perfectly honest with you, this latest offering from Girls Aloud managed to sneak up on me without me even realising. I have been far too busy keeping up to date with the state of Cheryl’s marriage, waist line and fledgling television career on the X Factor, not to mention those amazing hair extensions – is it just me or do they get longer and more luscious every week? And, how could I have missed all the photos of Sarah’s crazy nights out, Nadine’s move to LA plus those snide tabloid comments about how ghostly white Nicola’s skin is, although personally I’m of the ‘pale and interesting’ mindset. (I realise I’ve missed out Kimberly, but she’s far less scandalous than the rest. She’s definitely my favourite though; it’s something about those dulcet Bradford tones.) Basically, what I’m trying to get at in an admittedly roundabout way is that Girls Aloud are no longer just about the music, they are now tabloid darlings and – dare I say it – national treasures. Before they broke into our charts we were seriously lacking good pop music and now the scene is abuzz with bouncy tunes and catchy refrains.
Although the actual music isn’t the crux of Girls Aloud’s appeal it’s also got a lot to do with their winning smiles and sparkly dresses - that doesn’t mean that they can release a complete load of tosh. So luckily this new album is still on form, if perhaps slightly too reminiscent of the eighties. The standout track is their current single, The Promise, which is possibly even up to the high standard set by their pop classics such as Biology and Can’t Speak French. Not every track on the album is a winner, but you have to remember that this is pure pop music; it isn’t pretending to be anything deeper. Pop music is not meant to be taken seriously; its purpose is simply to be the soundtrack to dancing around and enjoying yourself. The lyrics aren’t supposed to be profound and they probably won’t evoke too much emotion, but that really isn’t the point of pop. You can be snobby about what music you listen to if that’s what you really want, but if that means avoiding Girls Aloud then you are seriously missing out. Just because they make mainstream chart music that doesn’t mean that they don’t also make good music – sometimes the brainless masses get their musical taste spot on. Pop is an integral part of the British music scene and, in all honesty, there is nobody who does it better than Girls Aloud. Ciara Mullally
first time, Jones has been a significant contributor to the song-writing process. Record company Parlophone promises that this provides us with an introspective and revealing portrait of the man himself and bills it as ‘perhaps the defining album of his career’. So what does the ageing Welsh lothario have to reveal to us? First track ‘I’m Alive’ is, as the title suggests, a reassurance that Tom is indeed alive, a point the singer may be eager to stress as he approaches his 70th birthday. The whole three and a half minutes is relentless but in a tiresome way, Jones bellows the titular sentiment over a melee of widdly guitars and self important horns imbuing the song with a strangely aggressive feel. This is tempered by the following few tracks in which the urgency of ‘I’m Alive’ is substituted for Latin beats and a self conscious sense of ‘cool’. I couldn’t help imagining track three, ‘We got Love’, being used in a 1970’s advert for aftershave, perhaps ‘sex panther’, the fragrance of choice for reporter Brian Fantana in Anchorman. The album continues in a pedestrian, easy listening way, the kind of thing that you used to hear on Radio 2 before it became cool, until track six -
‘The Road’. A soul ballad jam packed with clichés, (roads that ‘always return to you’ and something about building bridges) sung over what sounds like a Joss Stone B-side if such a thing ever existed. The album seems to peter out from here culminating in the title track 24 hours; a dreary dirge that never gets going and at the same time feels as if it will never stop. When it finally did, the CD continued spinning and I realised I was to be subjected to a ‘hidden track’ - which as most of us know are generally crap. I was happily surprised, then, when the silence gave way to an onslaught of funky upbeat pop which I immediately decided was the best song of the album. A bouncy descending bass line complimented by shameless bursts of synth, redolent of Prince circa 1981; add Jones’ own lively vocal performance and it made for a funking enjoyable listen. Why, then, was this track demoted to a place where some listeners may not even here it? The album seems to be reaching for a market that doesn’t exist - the whole thing seems irrelevant and is not helped by the earnest nature in which it has been promoted. Jones has kitsch value that he is not exploiting and he could perhaps make a resurgence if he wasn’t taking himself so seriously. Feel-good pop is what I want from my superstar pensioners. Is Sex Bomb II an unrealistic prospect? Dan Hope
Out of Control
Ooh, that ginger one, she’s got sharp knees hasn’t she?
The Organ Thieves
aaaaa It is going to be difficult to make this read like a music review and not an obituary. The Organ broke up at the end of 2006 and this EP is a collection of the little new material they managed to put together after Grab That Gun. To say that the plaintive sound of the record mirrors the demise of the band would be like saying a dirge sounds sad because it is played at a funeral. The Organ have always sounded like a young, slightly more feminine Steven Morrissey lamenting the loss of his favourite cat. Despite the warped, droning Hammond the opening track, ‘Even in the Night’ is more spritely than you might assume and Kate Sketch’s vocal is just so pitched as to make it drawing and compelling. The running undercurrent of bass keeps the whole song above water while the lyrics seeded with witticisms and relentless cynicism lend it a deceptive buoyancy: ‘When your first hit the table you said its going
to be alright, When your head hit the table that’s when I called it a night.’ The pleasure and the pain of listening to The Organ is indulging the pathetic fifteen year old in you, if he/she every really grew up. The angular stop/start vocals and guitar of ‘Oh What a Feeling’ betray The Organ as eternal teenagers, still wheedling out very Marr-ish resonating chimes, far from their bedrooms. Yet, it is still exciting, the choral organ and soaring vocals will whip up a static fuzz on cheap speakers. Many of the other songs are notable for single lyrics as opposed to stirring musical revelations. In ‘Let the Bells Ring’, Sketch remarks, “I live under a bell shaped curve, being average.” Whilst ‘Fire in the Ocean’ pinpoints: “We are so much of each other we don’t see the need for each other”. It seems they found a formula that worked itself out long ago and that The Organ could only play so long at being another band. Final track ‘Don’t Be Angry’ is, wait for it, different! The alien sound of an acoustic guitar is almost folklike, perhaps as if a feeling young farmer had found his favourite cow had ran away. However, I wouldn’t be waiting to see how this new sound evolves. Susan Robinson
Tom Jones 24 Hours
aaDDD What’s new pussycat? Tom Jones has a new studio album out, one in which, for t h e
Eine kleine Bloc-musik BLOC PARTY BERLIN TEMPELHOF
AAAAA IT’S NOT every day that you can watch a band play and see an airport runway from the window. As you could imagine, the word surreal does not really do justice to Bloc Party’s recent Berlin gig, part album launch for Intimacy. Playing in an historic airport, only a few days before it was closed down, Kele and co. delivered a storming set for just over an hour to 350 lucky souls. With no tickets available, only competition winners and invited fans could witness the indie giants at the top of their game. Despite a seemingly high proportion of press and too cool to move hipsters in the crowd, Bloc Party managed to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Playing songs from all three albums, they treated the audience to old anthems, as well as new songs ‘One Month Off’ and ‘Halo’ to celebrate the physical release of Intimacy on October 27. Whilst the new material will never quite match
AAAAD WITH THEIR opening strains, this Canadian foursome demonstrates their apt command of audience and aesthetic alike. Resplendent in embroidered suits and clutching telecasters that look just as agèd instruments should, The Sadies cut commanding figures on the main stage. Dallas and Travis Good, the outfit’s brother-guitarists and driving force are steeped in tradition; despite this, their sound is previously untapped. The Sadies effortlessly blend ‘60s country, American surf, punk, gospel, psychedelic and folk stylings, anthemic in its simplicity and compelling in the layers of subtlety which unravel throughout the course of the show. Shoulders set
the brilliance of Silent Alarm, their new more electronic sound worked well live and was lapped up by the fans. At times, they overused distorted effects and it would spoil a melody, but then they would play a ballad and remind everyone of their ability to produce truly epic sounding songs. With the band obviously enjoying their unusual settings, they put on an energetic performance and Kele even began to tear up slightly during ‘Positive Tension.’ For their latest single, ‘Mercury’, Kele burst into the crowd and danced with fans, before eventually making his way back to the sound desk, on which he stood until the end of the song. Later, the audience was treated to some German from drummer, Matt Tong, who currently lives in Berlin and jokingly ordered a latte from the stage. At one point, Kele commented that it was the first time they had been invited to play in an airport about to close, but joked “It would not be last time.” Based on the evidence coming from Berlin, he’s probably right. Jennifer Whittam with a cool confidence that radiates outward, these boys know they can throw down. The band opens with an uptempo instrumental indicative of the earlier years of their decade-old career. The comfortable two-step drumming underpins the furiously rapid guitar playing; country reels and liberal use of whammy-bars evoking images of apache campfires, horseback gunplay and Arizonian sunsets. What starts as a simple jig gradually ascends in tempo until it is a blinding, finger-blistering mess, like a cattle-rustler forcing down Jaggerbombs at gunpoint. Old and young alike soon find themselves twisting and shouting in a vein worlds apart from Cab’s usual fare. Soon, The Sadies relinquish their wall-of-sound in favour of some lyrical stylings, a more recent addition to their catalogue. We are treated to ‘1,000 Cities Falling’, a
The Sadies: Fronted by Lost’s resident heffer, ‘Hurley’
“Allo, allo, I am looking for ze flight to Dusseldorf, not angular art-rock please thank you” dirge-like shuffle so loaded with McCarthyisms that we might as well be laying down to sleep under a star-peppered sky. Travis bears a striking similarity to an impassioned Nick Cave, the apocalyptic and prophetic flowing as easily as the jovial and heartfelt. These Toronto lads are renowned for extensive live sets, most songs coming in under the two-minute mark; tonight, they do not disappoint. The rampant energy with which they churn through 30-odd tunes leaves the crowd breathless. “Who’s feelin’ a Sunday-nightdrinkin’-spiritual?” clamours Dallas. Who isn’t, we holler back. After the show, the band falls to packing up gear with their crew. When asked to impart some wisdom towards the Edinburgh student populous, Travis cracks a wry grin, considers, and concludes: “Live music is better, kids!” Amen. Mike Strizic
DOES IT YEAH?
AAAAA DOES IT Offend You, Yeah? have won titles for Guardian Unlimited’s ‘Worst Band Name’ and National Shoe Weekly’s ‘Best Shoe Throwing Artist’. That’s them in a sentence. This review was going to be really nasty. As I watched hoards of school children swamping the venue, I was constructing vicious anecdotes I could use to compensate for the loss of dignity I suffered. This spite evaporated, however, after being plied with copious amounts of Absolut vodka and multi-pack chocolate bars by the boys in the band after the gig, and was replaced instead with an underlying sense of sympathy for them. I had seen these guys before in summer, and by comparison they were lacking energy. They seemed to be jumping around stage following out typical crazy rock star motions straight from the manual in order to look like they were ripping it up, without seeming entirely connected to the task in hand. This observation seemed to go unnoticed amongst the swarm of minors that made up their audience. The whole place was packed out and everyone was chanting the lyrics word by word, throwing themselves around in teenybopping bliss. The wide range of music you can hear on their album ‘You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into’ seems to reflect their confusion as to exactly what genre they fall into. Discussing this with them, they gave the impression they were
floating in some sort of apathetic melodic oblivion where they wear acid bright colours, and they openly talked about the catalogue of bands they managed to rip off on their LP. They even admitted that they were rushed by their label into producing something they didn’t feel 100% positive about, and now they were going around performing that material night after night after night. Uh-oh. That said, at its best their music is the kind of disco pop most hip kids would be more than happy to dance to, and their snappy beats and smatterings of synth make them ‘tres a la mode’, though perhaps not in the most positive sense. Coining their sound, I would take into consideration that their drummer has written music for Playstation games, Barclays and Vodafone. Music designed to sit in your head all day long, and not for the best reasons. Give them a listen and make up your own mind. If they manage to piece together a second album then we can judge whether they have any staying power. Emily Foister
20 Culture WUTHERING HEIGHTS KINGS THEATRE UNTIL 8 NOVEMBER
AADDD EMILY BRONTE’S novel of all-consuming love set amidst the ominous Yorkshire moors has long been associated with a firm battalion of enthusiastic fans, none more so than Kate Bush. Memories of flowing gowns and interpretative dance must sadly be laid to rest. Adapting Wuthering Heights to the stage was always going to be difficult but, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, the ten-strong ensemble of Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company boldly accept the challenge. Arriving at Wuthering Heights after a harrowing journey across those treacherous moors, Lockwood (Simon Coates), the new lodger of the tortured Heathcliff (Antony Byrne), settles down for the night only to be abruptly awoken by a ghostly figure at this window, Cathy (Amanda Ryan) calling for her Heathcliff. Terrified, Lockwood retreats to the housekeeper Nelly Dean (Susannah York) who proceeds to tell the ill-fated love story. Countering the potential problems of story telling on the stage, the set functions well as a reminder that the audience is still sat with Lockwood watching the events of the past unfold. Nelly successfully merges into the main action with Lockwood as the ever present observer on stage. Coates plays Lockwood perfectly as our comedic commentator throughout the performance. However, I was not aware Wuthering Heights was meant to be a comedy… As Nelly begins her story, flashing back to Cathy and Heathcliff as children, the play descends into a circus as the regressed actors simply heighten their voices an octave and cavort around the stage even more emphatically than as their grown-up counterparts. While it must be acknowledged that condensing such a complex and passionate novel into a mere 2 hours is a difficult feat, this passion is con-
www.studentnewspaper.org veyed through lots of shouting story and jumping off various furniturethough they must be commended for their energy. Ryan certainly captures Cathy’s ethereal beauty and portrays the fickle and doting lover well, yet in so doing, we miss the wild impassioned side of her character that is so imperative in establishing the kindred connection with the rugged Heathcliff. Unfortunately this is also at the expense of any real chemistry between the two lovers. Perhaps I brought too much of my own interpretation of the novel to the play but as the performance descended into an almost pantomimic climax- complete with audience laughter as poor lovelorn Heathcliff dies- I felt disheartened that Bronte’s powerful characters had been reduced to such, at times, downright bizarre portrayals. Edgar Linton (Toby Dantzic) becomes a camp caricature of upper-class toffery while Isabella (Emma Noakes) is plain shrill as Cathy’s competitor for Heathcliff’s affections. As the strange array of accents became thicker than the smoke enveloping the stage- presumably an attempt to encapsulate the foreboding moors- I began to crave at least one realistic portrayal of the rugged North so wonderfully embraced by Bronte. This saving grace of the play comes in the guise of Oscar nominated Susannah York. Her honest performance of the sympathetic Nelly stands out and the audience can be thankful that it is in her hands that the majority of the narration lies. While her repartee with Lockwood does add to the comedy in the play, she still retains the compassion of her character as she bears witness to the eventual demise of the lovers. April De Angelis’ adaptation of Wuthering Heights must be applauded for its ability at rereading such a darkly passionate novel as a farcical audience-participating production. Sadly, this did not seem to satisfy the audience’s desire for a bit of rough and ready passion and instead left me thinking someone should just tell Cathy to stop with the window haunting and just go home. Rachel Williams
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST FESTIVAL THEATRE 6 - 8 NOVEMBER
AAAAA NOT A talking teacup in sight, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, David Bintley’s production of Beauty and the Beast loses none of the enchantment of the fairytale genre as it explores the themes of materialism, greed, jealousy, prejudice and love. Belle’s suddenly povertystricken father, aptly timed during the current financial climate, sets out on a dangerous journey to recover his lost fortune. He asks his three daughters what they want him to bring back, the eldest two demanding expensive dresses and jewellery, the youngest requesting a single rose. Although fearful, the old merchant cannot believe his luck when he stumbles into the Beast’s castle and finds a chest full of jewels waiting for him. But when he finds and picks the perfect rose for Belle, the Beast reveals himself and gives her father an ultimatum: he must either send Belle to live in the castle, or die. Belle’s open mind and open heart allow her to defy convention and prejudice and fall in love with the Beast. In a change of programme on opening night, Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao replaced Elisha Willis and Robert Parker as Belle and the Beast respectively. Both performances were, however, faultless. Glen Buhr’s score, Philip Prowse’s set design and Mark Jonathan’s lighting combine to overpower the senses with the drama of contrasting light and dark. The solidity of Victorian book-cases
ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE BEDLAM 4 - 8 NOVEMBER
AAADD TAKING ON Martin Crimp’s notoriously challenging play is no small task for any director. The script does not assign lines to specific characters, with only a dash to indicate a change of speaker and sparse stage directions. The responsibility falling to the director is comparatively large; heightened perhaps by the script’s seemingly undisputed critical acclaim. Bedlam’s production of Attempts on her Life is fresh and funny without detracting from Crimp’s biting social critique. The play is a series of choppy scenes, some related to one another, some not; some contradicting one another, some not. Some long, some short. Each revealing some detail of the elusive ‘Anne’ – an ‘attempt on her life’ – portraying her variously in the roles of war victim, terrorist, artist, mother, actress, porn star, car and others.
and stuffed birds of prey in Belle’s father’s house gives way with dreamlike fluidity to the insubstantiality of the Beast’s candle-lit castle, in which stained gilt mirrors, stags heads, glittering candelabra and antique roses evoke the bygone decadence of eighteenthcentury France. Prowse’s mastery of set technology is evident in the self-propelling furniture and selfpouring decanters of wine, which appear to move without mechanism. The frivolity of Belle’s sisters, Vanité (Lei Zhao) and Fière (Angela Paul), reaches a satirical peak when their hilariously caricatured aristocrat suitor, Monsieur Cochon (Dominic Antonucci), cavorting in powder-blue amongst towering blancmanges, turns into a pig. A poignant contrast is drawn between their superficiality and the solemnity and silence of the Beast’s existence, the torment of his isolation and the profundity of his love. The darkness and weight of black
v e l vet and f a d e d gold chinoiserie render the Beast’s funeral scene truly harrowing. In a particularly striking sequence,
Belle is transported to the castle by a flock of blackbirds through a moonlit canopy, created solely by Jonathan’s ingenious lighting techniques. The costumes and choreography of the animals are abstract and theatrical, whilst Belle looks simple and angelic in white, and moves with classical grace. The Beast is understated compared to the blackbirds and the wolves, and perhaps a little too feline, but this works to make him a more sympathetic character than an exaggerated costume might allow. Whilst the score is beautiful at its lightest and most minimal, it also lacks violence in its darker moments, which sometimes manifests in the choreography. Bintley however manages to communicate the central love story without resorting to clichés: it is romantic without being sickly, heartbreaking without being melodramatic and redemptive without being moralising. This is a complex, grown-up production of what is not simply a children’s fairytale; indeed it was remarkable how few children and how many students and middleaged men and women were in the audience. It is a production full of passion and anguish. The score haunts and the set dazzles long after the show has ended. The various elements of production harmonise to create a total work of art. Eleanor Widger
A real strength of the production is the cast’s belief in the script. They carry it sincerely, presenting the bizarre as matter-of-fact, so much so that the play’s strangeness may not hit you in its entirety until you’ve left the auditorium. What at first seem to be pieces of a puzzle are revealed more as fragments with many gaps between. Anne is portrayed as both victim and arbitrator of brutal violence, in some scenes she cries for her murdered family while in others she seems to be the mastermind behind a terrorist operation. Anne is as abstract as she is real and this is the point being made. The way in which the play denies access to a wholly human character makes the audience question their apparent knowledge of others and of themselves. The most powerful moments in the play come when we see Anne’s voice stifled. Porn star Anne is spoken for by a host of executives expounding the advantages of her celebrity position while she cries, naked and ignored. Anya, who has lost her family, has the details of her story pored and argued over, no decisive verdict reached, as she huddles alone. Multimedia is used
to great effect, with large screens offering the action on stage from different angles and in different lighting, highlighting the void between perception and reality and the media’s power to distort. The original scores are contagious and witty, including boy band/girl band music videos: a pastiche of 1990s nostalgia, striking a sentimental chord with anyone who remembers cutting the lyrics out of Smash Hits! The male cast exude all the sex appeal of Peter Andre as they frolic in the waves and bat their shoulders to the audience’s rolls of laughter. The satire on popular culture and the media is relentlessly scathing, but perhaps the real weakness of the play is its lack of sympathy. At times Anne becomes almost an effigy for the modern world, her character assassinated before it is allowed to form. The intention is to exemplify media viciousness at its worst and though it succeeds in this criticism that does not detract from its own irreverent portrayal of Anne. Though she may not be real, as with any good character, she’s real enough for the audience to care. Lisa Parr
Fashioning a legacy Alexandra Grant visits a new exhibition showcasing the talents of Jean Muir while Katie Hobson asks curator Kristina Stankovski what she hopes it will achieve JEAN MUIR: A FASHION ICON NATIONAL MUSEUM SCOTLAND UNTIL 15 MARCH
AAAAA ‘I DO not like the word art… or even the word fashion’ remarked Miss Muir with a mischievous air; she continued in seriousness, raising her eyebrows, ‘it makes more sense in its original meaning, as a verb, to make’. Perhaps this statement alone defines Jean Muir’s ethos towards fashion design and, if so, it was to help earn her a place at the forefront of British fashion for over forty years. And now, the work of her international fashion house is the subject of a behind-the-scenes exhibition. The National Museum of Scotland’s collection includes everything from the pattern books to the accounts of Jean Muir Limited, giving a unique view of the working methods of a fashion house. Jean Muir was proud of the fact that she was entirely self-taught. She began her career as a shop girl in Liberties, where she realised that she had ‘a far better idea of what suited people than they had themselves’. She learnt her craft sketching for clients, and established herself whilst designing for Jaegar and Jane & Jane before creating her own company in 1966 in partnership with her husband, Harry. She was propelled onto the fashion scene in the midst of the revolutionary spirit which defined the swinging sixties. Muir’s clothes were admired for their youthful simplicity and instantly hit the vibe. Muir’s style was the epitome of chic. Her designs are timelessly el-
egant; her hemlines did not rise and fall according to fashion’s whims. Muir is famous for her minimalism; she dressed only in navy blue, although latterly she also wore black. By contrast, her flat was all- white, her ‘snow and ice bedroom’ regularly gracing the pages of Vogue. Decadently, she took to bed for two days with a pen, sketch pad and a bottle of champagne to design her new collections. The exhibition video shows how fastidiously Muir ran her business; she once declared ‘I love professional’ and her creative input extended to the accounts. The exhibition gives a unique insight into the whole process of fashion design from the first sketches, to the shows, to the people who wore Muir’s dresses. She described her design method as ‘engineering in cloth’. The original patterns are on display, so you can see how she achieved her signature cut; whilst her designs are witty and unusual – there is a button on display inspired by a herd of cattle grazing in Northumberland. Muir designed her clothes to be worn rather than just shown; she was once told that “the people who buy your clothes always seem to know who they are” and, as such, Muir’s clothes were worn by formidable women (she counted Lauren Baccall and Judie Dench among her customers). The exhibition guides us down the fashion catwalk and shows off Muir’s signature pieces.The display space has been modelled on her original fashion shows in which the models sauntered into a small, opulent room, giving the whole event an atmosphere of a cocktail party. As one model described it; “you’re very close to the clients; you feel very intimate with
them. It’s actually like you’re showing your clothes to your girlfriend.” The exhibition recreates this retro glamour; you can see the garments up close, and appre-
ciate their intricate de- t a i l , textures and stitching. It is often said that a Jean Muir dress makes you walk differently, feel differently; these are simply clothes you want to wear. Muir’s outlandish designs for the Australian Bicentennial collection in 1988 are among the most unusual exhibits. The collection was commissioned by the Australian government alongside other notable designers including Donna Karen and Kenzo. Muir was inspired by the Great Barrier Reef, as such, and the clothes are a vibrant contrast to her classic black and navy blue. The display illustrates the whole design process; you can see a series of marine inspired drawings morph into fantastic shapes and colours. Jean Muir’s hotel note paper aptly describes the collection with the words “sophisticated, slinky and sensual” scrawled across it. It is remarkable just how relevant this exhibition is to today’s fashion; this alone illustrates the true extent of Muir’s influence. The aisles of Topshop are adorned with garments inspired by Muir, but her clothes are a cut above the high street. This exhibition is not just for hardcore fashionistas; it is a must see for everybody who admires craftsmanship and the whole business of a fashion house.
EAN MUIR: A Fashion Icon will give an unrivalled insight into the workings of a major fashion designer. Kristina Stankovski, the National Museum of Scotland’s Curator of Dress and Textiles, describes the behind-the-scenes workings of the national institution that so many of us pass daily and gives an introduction to the formidable lady who held an influential position in the international fashion scene from the 60s until her death in 1995. KH: The collection was acquired from Jean Muir’s widower in 2005; why is the exhibition only coming to fruition now? KS: It is a massive collection of around 18,000 items, including samples, sketches and runway footage, as well as finished garments. Getting to this point has been a solid and o n go i n g process of documentation and preservation - working in tandem with the conservation team at the Museum. Getting the actual exhibition together has taken over a year as we’ve had to carefully select highlights from Miss Muir’s work to fit the limitations of the gallery space; we’ve even had to purchase mannequins to fit our exact specifications. KH: Faced with such a large collection, how did you go about selecting the items for display? Does the final installation reveal the aims of the exhibition? KS: Yes, indeed - this isn’t a full retrospective. We want to introduce the public to Jean Muir: to who she was, to her celebrated career and show the diversity of the collection. KH: As curator you shape the way the public receive the information on show. Could you describe the layout of the exhibition and its importance? KS: It opens with an introduction area explaining who Jean Muir was. There is a focus on her Scottish heritage as, although born in London, Miss Muir’s grandfather was a Scot. Her pride in this background is reflected in the materials used for her knitwear collections
and her claim that her Scottish roots were at the heart of her steely work ethic.We have included some audiovisual footage here, giving the opportunity to present photographs and scans of objects from the vast collection that we simply could not include in A Fashion Icon. The next section tells the story of her early career, including rare garments from her period as head of Jane and Jane and presents her rise to prominence in the 60s when she came to embody the look of the time. The exhibition then moves on to explore her working processes through original ideas and sketches, patterns and accessories. The depth of the collection is really highlighted here as it presents items that are not generally preserved. Miss Muir kept everything - she said her work was “evolutionary not revolutionary” and used her collection as her own an archive, something which allowed her signature look to develop. The main sections of the exhibition: ‘The Look’ and ‘On Show’, cover Jean Muir’s designs through the decades and her public image. The conclusion looks at her legacy and the value of her great achievements in the fashion industry. KH: What is it about the designer and her legacy that will interest visitors to the Museum? KS: Jean Muir hated the term ‘designer’, preferring to call herself a dressmaker. She was detached from what she labelled the ‘airy fairy’ world of fashion and saw value in the craft aspect of the industry. The details of her working methods are what we expect to most interest visitors - these are elements that are not normally on show. The public, those that are already familiar with Jean Muir’s distinctive look and love of navy, will be surprised to see the diversity of the collection and the injection of vibrant prints and colours. The collection itself is inspiring. We have done a lot of research and this is certainly the largest collection of an international fashion designer’s work. It has huge educational potential both in terms of Jean’s business approach and ethos, and her craft and designs. This exhibition is so relevant and of interest today, particularly to the young and fashion conscious. It presents the style of decades of fashion headed by a lady loved by so many women, including Joanna Lumley and Judi Dench, for her ready-to-wear but beautifully crafted clothes and marks a contrast with today’s quick-fix fashion culture.
Red-trospective Alan Williamson takes Einstein’s Chronosphere back to the days of Red Alert IF YOU’VE never had to type frantically into a black void of text because your computer had too much memory, you’re not a real PC gamer. Don’t worry: 12 years later trying to play Red Alert is a similar experience on Windows Vista, the operating system with more bugs than a hooker’s crotch. The bad news is that trying to play Red Alert on a modern computer is often a frustrating experience. The good news is that it’s now available to download for free. Electronic Arts were once seen as the worst computer game publisher around; peddlers of sloppily designed rubbish and masters of annual sporting tat distinguishable only in the number after the game’s name. Times have changed and EA have cleaned up their act, as the release of brilliant original titles like Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge shows. The all-new, friendly EA have also released the original Red Alert for free in its entirety to promote the launch of Red Alert 3. After downloading, there’s only one thing left to do: kick Uncle Joe’s ass. Red Alert is set in an intriguing alternate universe, provided you can suspend your disbelief long enough to take it all in. The Allies use Albert Einstein’s Chronosphere device to travel back in time to the 1920s
and eliminate Adolf Hitler. Without the rise of Nazi Germany, Russia’s power remains unchecked to the West and it launches an invasion into Eastern Europe. Luckily, tongues remain firmly in cheek throughout the silly video briefing before each mission. Rather than trying to over-dramatise the story, Red Alert firmly embraces its ridiculousness. It’s a necessary step: whenever you’re carrying out orders for Stalin, an evil dictator who actually murdered millions of innocent people, any separation between the game and real life is appreciated. Playing as either the Allies or the Soviets, Red Alert offers a game of frantic pace and nuanced strategy. Unlike other strategy games of the time like Total Annihilation, the two sides have radically different capabilities for players to exploit. The Allies rely on advanced technology and lightweight, fast units to achieve their objectives, while Mother Russia uses its brute strength to crush its enemies underfoot like a boot stamping on a human face. As one of the first games to incorporate competitive play over the new-fangled Internet, Red Alert quickly became a favourite of budding generals the world over.
Returning to Red Alert in 2008 is like being reacquainted with a friend you haven’t seen in years. At first, you’re a little apprehensive, but the feeling quickly dissipates when you realise they haven’t changed a bit. While Red Alert lacks some of the features that we’ve come to expect from a modern strategy title, such as queuing multiple units for training and troops that don’t get stuck in every part of the landscape, it retains that vital fun factor that made it so compelling in 1996. Another blip in the timeline occurred in 1998 - this time in real life - when developers Westwood Studios were gobbled up by EA around the same time as Sims developer Maxis. Following the release of the underwhelming Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun in 1999, fans of the series were worried about the direction that
a future Red Alert title would take. Thankfully these fears were laid to rest when Red Alert 2 was released. All of the features and quirks gamers knew and loved about Red Alert, from the pantomime cut scenes to the ridiculous ethnic stereotyping and characterisation, were present in its sequel. Players were entrusted with mission objectives including turning the Eiffel Tower into a lightning rod and attacking a naval shipyard with a psychically controlled giant squid. It’s all suitably anar- chic and the antithesis of the hardboiled seriousness o f
most strategy games of the era. The imminent release of Red Alert 3, with its armoured attack bears and shrink-ray equipped helicopters, suggests that the series is in no rush to grow up. As long as it retains the addictive and frenetic action the series is known for, we wouldn’t have it any other way. To quote from Command and Conquer’s iconic slap headed evildoer Kane, “He who controls the past, commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past.” While it’s a bit of a stretch to claim Red Alert 3 commands the future of strategy games, the series has left a legacy that few titles can boast. Besides, any game that lets you blow up a nuclear submarine with trained dolphins was always going to be one to remember. Free Red Alert : http://tiny.cc/ Vluxy
Far Crying Out Loud: Richard Lane has a rumble in the jungle FAR CRY 2 UBISOFT
PC, X360, PS3 £24.99
IT’S A curious fact that most protagonists in first-person shooters possess incredible telekinetic abilities, but use them solely to open doors. Even in Half-Life, gates swing open hauntingly with a push of the Action button. So imagine my surprise when, on encountering a door in Far Cry 2, my character actually bothered to use his hands. In fact, he uses his hands for many things: repairing a vehicle when it is damaged, un-jamming rusty firearms, picking up ammo and performing grisly ad-hoc surgery on himself when wounded. Far Cry 2 embraces ‘first person’ like no game before. The plot kicks off after a taxi ride during which you are introduced to the joys of malaria, waking in the presence of the Jackal. A notorious arms dealer supporting civil war in the game’s fictional African setting, he is the quintessential nasty chap your character has been contracted to kill. After a brief rant, the Jackal leaves you to succumb to your illness. At this point you gain full control of your character and, after acquiring some anti-malarials, are free to explore the
world. It’s an impressive world, albeit the brownest ever conceived. The environments are remarkably diverse, ranging from steamy swamps to grasslands and eerily silent deserts. It merits exploration encouraged by the countless diamonds (the game’s currency) hidden throughout the world. Don’t get complacent though: an army of multinational mercenaries lurks behind every zebra. Fortunately there’s an impressive armoury at your disposal ranging from rifles to rockets and allowing plenty of opportunity to develop your own playing style. You can only carry a maximum of three weapons so selecting the right tool for the job, whether it’s blowing up a convoy or assassinating a king, is often the key to success. Should you somehow select a mortar where a pistol would be more appropriate, fear not. After choosing a character at the start of the game, the others become your squad mates. If your face gets shot off during an assignment, they will happily come and stick it on again. They also provide alternative objectives to missions, often more entertaining than the mission
itself. Completing a secondary goal results in upgrades to safe houses dotted around the map. The sheer number of novelties in Far Cry 2 is difficult to take in, but there are some very strange problems. Take the health system for example: a light wound requires a shot of painkillers to keep you going, while serious injury means hiding somewhere in order to reattach a limb or remove a bullet. It’s a clever system, but I eventually realised that drinking bottled water also replenishes any lost health. It’s an inclusion that is completely at odds with the game - a swig of Volvic simply isn’t going to help when you’ve accidentally fired a rocket into your foot. The enemies are unsophisticated and overly aggressive to the point where they will attempt to run your heavily armed Jeep off the road with a hatchback. The storyline is disconnected, and aligning yourself with a particular faction makes no difference to the game whatsoever. Finally, the primary and secondary ‘buddy’ missions all follow a similar formula, with side objectives shallower than
Tom Cruise’s paddling pool. Having said that, Far Cry 2 can be sublime. One time while raiding an airfield, a stray shotgun blast hit a nearby oil tank and the ensuing explosion knocked me unconscious. My buddy arrived and dragged me from the flames. In doing so, she was seriously burned and collapsed near the rapidly approaching blaze. I attempted to heal her but having already used my final syrette, my choice was reduced to abandoning her or quickly dispatching her with my pistol. I chose the latter. What is incredible about this incident is that potentially, it might never have happened: the game hands over so much control that a less inquisitive player could miss out on half the action without noticing. Far Cry 2’s admirable ambition comes at the cost of depth and several notable flaws. However when all the tricks and nuances meld together, it transforms into a highly entertaining experience. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a bullet to pull out of my leg.
Clarky, Parky and a bit of a sarky Badly injured in a crash, calls for his resignation - all in a week’s work for Jezza
Daddy’s a fire-Brand THERE ARE’NT many worse things that I can think of than being inside Russell Brand’s head, but this week’s family-themed episode opened my eyes to a far more terrifying eventuality: what if the bouffant-haired, verbal diarrhoea victim was your dad? Would he find it hilariously anarchic if Andrew Sachs left him a message detailing a sexual relationship with his, as yet, nonexistent Brand progeny? Well...he probably would, but thankfully, gothic scarecrows can’t procreate. However, this sets me pondering, what if he did?
A Day in the Life of Byron Brand 8am Byron gets up, puts on his school uniform and goes downstairs to breakfast. Father Brand screeches, ‘My child, you cannot venture forth into this cruel world in that crude apparel!’ Brand the Elder rips off Byron’s tie and then his shirt down to the waist adding a chest wig and gold jewellery to complete the Edwardian dandy’s rent-boy look.
“Buy it Brand new with more misogynist charm and dandy rent-boy look than ever” 10.30am Byron is at the heart of the student body. That is, he is at the bottom of a scrum in the playground after trying to fend off would-be lunch money extorters with a heartfelt rendition of ‘The Boy With the Thorn in his Side’ 12.30pm Lacking in funds, Byron busks with his stand up routine to a group of sympathetic-looking girls. This is more successful than anticipated, the girls laugh sycophantically, wooed by his misogynistic charm but more than that, they just want to trade tips on backcombing hair. 4pm Papa Brand picks Byron up in his discreet Rolls Royce silver Phantom and they have a fatherson talk after Byron mentions that he had strange feelings for one of the girls he met at lunch but he doesn’t know what to say to her. Brand gives him some indispensable advice: ‘be a brilliant post-modern sexist pig like me son - everyone seems to buy it.’
ONCE AGAIN it’s that time of year when Top Gear returns to our screens and all is well once again in the respective worlds of the student, the spotty adolescent male, the middle aged man who spends all day watching ‘Dave’ in his boxers, and the particularly militant lesbian. The new series goes further than ever towards abandoning all pretence that the show has anything whatsoever to do with cars. A slightly older and weary-looking Clarkson starts the show with a token review of some sports car, before concluding that it looks quite nice (because I needed him to tell me what a nice car looks like). He then joins the similarly tiredlooking Richard Hammond and James May to deplore the effects of the financial crisis on the resale price of the Aston Martin Vanquish before the real show begins. Having incurred the wrath of the deep south and the caravan club in recent years, the team turn their attention to truckers for this week’s challenge, which involves each of them having to buy and decorate a truck, and then make many jokes about how truckers kill prostitutes, before undertaking three entertaining tasks. There can be no denying that Top Gear gives the people what they want. Market research clearly dictates that we, the simpleton proletariat, like
watching big trucks fall apart and expensive things being destroyed. Our wishes are granted; bits fall off all of the trucks and the cargo that the presenters have been charged with delivering is destroyed, lost and set fire to - not a bad start to the series. Of course, the most beloved of Top Gear traditions are still upheld. Michael Parkinson is the guest this week, although unfortunately for those interested in the horsepower of a Renault Twingo, they talk about cars for all of thirty seconds before returning to the mayhem of the trucker challenge. The challenge continues as it started, and this time a drum kit, a grand piano, a large stack of pornography, a Portacabin, 600 office watercoolers and a large brick wall bear the brunt of the trucks in the name of entertainment. The show ends with James May winning, although no one offers an explanation as to how they came to this decision. I guess they didn’t want to get too bogged down in the scientific stuff. It only seems natural that Top Gear should round off the week. Don’t watch the show if you are looking to have your faith in humankind restored, or even if you like cars. But if all you need is something to chuckle stupidly at on a Sunday night, then Top Gear is still the best thing on. Gregor Cubie
No they can’t... Newsnight Glenrothes By-Election Special BBC2/iPlayer
by Susan Robinson IN A kingdom far, far away... to suggest that it is an understatement that the nation’s political consciousness was not focused on the Glenrothes by-election would be like saying Sarah Palin only received a mild ribbing from the global media. If the media circus of the US Elections ran like a sitcom then the byelection was akin to a sketch from “Chewing the Fat”. There’s nothing quite like seeing Aileen Clarke, Newsnight Scotland’s correspondent in a gym hall in Fife gawping like a moron due to technical inadequacies. Not least after watching Christopher Hitchens verbally sparring with a Republican pollster at the speed of light across the pond on Tuesday. One thing that the elections did have in common was the marked caution with which the results were announced. Just as David Dimbleby disregarded the announcements of Fox and NBC and awaited confirmation from ABC, it took an unexpectedly long time for the by-election results to be called. Unfortunately, such reserve did not extend towards the politicians. Nicola Sturgeon spent the majority of her time backtracking from Alex Salmond’s arrogant campaign statements, such as his speculation that this election, in a staunchly Labour seat, could be ‘Our
Barack Obama moment’. Delusions of grandeur aside, Labour MP Jim Murphy’s self-assurance had Sturgeon labelling his campaign “fundamentally negative and dishonest” and wishing that he would accidently inhale his morning espresso, or some similar threat. This incited Murphy to proclaim, like a child newly educated in the wonders of the Argos catalogue, to point out that they each had a Blackberry and perhaps knew more than they admitted. That’s not to say that it was all relentless bickering. There was high excitement when one portly commentator in fetching braces with pictures of computers on them knocked the poppy clean off his lapel when discussing Sarah Brown’s consistent campaigning in “Gordon Brown’s backyard”. No one considered that she might have just been on the way to the crèche. More sensitive viewers might have been repelled by the rathertoo-often-employed phrases “Brown Bounce” and “Salmond Honeymoon”. However, both these rather meagre sound bites fairly accurately explain Labour’s victory. Murphy generalised that “Scots know the difference between confidence and arrogance”. Yet his words seem appropriate as ex-head teacher Lindsay Roy, in his ill-fitting jacket, at the instruction of the press, raises his arms in triumph looking more like a mellow Montgomery Burns than a political dynamo.
Writers Wanted Do you plan your ‘social life’ around the TV schedule? Do you own a sticky Hollyoaks calender? Does ITV News’ Alastair Stewart drive you up the wall? Is there a lipstick stained picture of Clarkson under your bed? You have just found your true home. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Topshop trauma Harriet Kay reveals why the Kate Moss collection just doesn’t size up It’s official - Kate Moss, in her size-six-skinny-jeaned glory, is fighting the recession. I switched on the television the other day to see Sir Philip Green and his Arcadia group praising the supermodel for keeping their ubiquitous Topshop afloat despite the economic downturn, in which many other high street chains have lost out. Launched last spring, the Kate Moss at Topshop range features a collection of achingly fashionable garments designed and modelled by Croydon’s finest. The dresses are beautiful, the waistcoats boyishly divine and the jeans as tight as Scrooge. I don’t have anything against Miss Moss per se, except for that special brand of jealous vitriol reserved by most women for the likes of her and Keira Knightly, it’s just that her clothing line, and Topshop as a whole, is really quite infuriating. Firstly, it’s overpriced. Topshop clothes are already quite steep when you compare the high street competition. The brand takes liberties charging absurd amounts even for plain vest tops and tights (£9 for something that will almost certainly ladder within two hours of purchase. Seriously?) that you could easily buy for much less at any of its rivals. This absurdity is multiplied when you
stamp the name of a certain indiebad-boy-loving supermodel on the label. The current collection includes a small sequinned purse for £35. I think you get my drift. Prices aside (I mean, a girls got to fund her party lifestyle somehow, I guess) the thing I find most perplexing about the whole idea of the Topshop range is that it is really quite contrary to Kate Moss’ style. Whenever you see her featured
in one of those celebrity-spotting magazines with one-syllable titles she is always being complimented for her original look and eclectic selection of vintage clothing - does nothing look silly on her? She has even been seen perusing that greatest of Edinburgh institutions - Armstrong’s. She is praised for creating dozens of ‘new and ‘original’ looks over the last 20 years. Thus trying to bottle the essence of Kate Moss and sell it at the
nation’s favourite clothes shop seems somewhat paradoxical. Surely turning up at a party in the same Topshop dress as six other people is something that Kate would never do. At this point I feel it’s important to point out that I am not insinuating that I am one of those ridiculously cool and overly ‘unique’ fashionistas, who sport about in their boyfriend’s moth-eaten jumper, teamed with a broderie-anglaise headband that they inherited from an especially fashionable Parisian grandmother, with their primary school gym shoes on their feet and necklace from an as yet undiscovered Amazonian tribe, and yet still manage to look incredible. I am not against High Street fashion at all - my wardrobe regurgitates H&M, Zara, Primark etc on a daily basis - I just find it a bit odd to sell ‘originality’ on a global scale. I could also mention that Topshop sizing is positively anorexia-inducing, with most of their clothes designed for people without ribcages. Also, that the queues for the changing rooms can put you in mind of a 1930s dole que, albiet without the dreary colours. Furthermore they sell so many sweets at the counter that consuming them would certainly ensure that you could never buy clothes there again. But that would just be nit-picking.
Charity shop, highstreet drop Maddie Walder embarks on a second hand spree, and emerges dusty yet dapper I am well aware that the phrase ‘second hand’ may send you into a fit of palpitations, hideous memories of elder brother’s sweaty tees and worn down dungarees flashing before your dilating pupils. You clutch your designer satchel, batting wildly at the hideous garments of your past materialising, haunting, destroying… ‘Not the polka dot leggings Mum! Please! No!’ Worse still are the scars left by the infamous school PE kit box. Those awful days when you ‘forgot’ your shorts, or rather, you wanted to skive another hellish episode of cross country mudslide humiliation - and were directed to the stagnant, scrappy leftovers of pupils long gone, rejected even by the local village jumble sale… But it doesn’t have to be this way! The concept of pre-worn clothes need not have you running for the hills (hills which conveniently nestle Topshop and Gap between their grassy knolls). No, today I wish to endorse the charms and chirps of charity shops, so strap on your dust mask and your bargain bonnet. Prepare to open your eyes to second hand steals galore! So, why charity shops? First and foremost: originality. I detest the incessant bleeting of the high street (or worse, designer) sheep. According to these beauty bible bashers, high waisted is the new black, which was replaced by white last month but
now has taken a swift diversion to ‘Oh So Autumnal’ purple. Except it isn’t exactly purple, it’s indigo. But who really gives a flying fig? Come on people - if you have the desire to shop for clothes, then be a little bit creative. And, buried amongst the somewhat dubious contents of your average second hand stores, I can guarantee that you will find some one-off gems - gems you wont see any other Tom, Dick or Harry sporting in the library café (no doubt sipping overpriced coffee and delighting in 65p crisps). More to the point, charity shopping is bloody fun and bloody cheap. Ever heard of a kid in a candy shop? How’s about a broke student in a mystic jumble of glorious and garish garments, none of which cost more than a fiver? My idea of heaven. A not so guilty pleasure is to peruse a shop when you know that you can hand over cash without the finance demon breathing down your neck: ‘You’ve already spent thirty out of seventy pounds this week! And you’re going out tonight! You say you won’t drink, but we all know that’s a lie!’ Not here, folks. As long as you don’t too get carried away, feel free to stack up a chunky pile of eclectic outfits for mix and match frock fun. And it doesn’t stop there. Second hand clothing is grand for the
environment and even better for your conscience. What better way to recycle than to pass clothing down hand to hand, rather than forcing some underpaid worker across the ocean to conjure up a jumper from nothing every time you need to scratch a retail itch? And although the piles of odd-smelling musky cardies may be slightly off putting at first, never fear, for the grand variety of goodies will force you to be innovative and thrifty
with your precious pennies. One more, somewhat unrelated, point: if you’re a history student you have no excuse to avoid the charity shops. OK, so you may have studied the liberation of the fifties housewife. But have you worn her clothes?! I personally get a real kick when I contemplate the exciting past of my latest wardrobe addition, but perhaps that’s because I’m a nostalgic type. Or just a wee bit skint.
Model House: salsa, sizezero and absolutely no carbohydrates Do you have what it takes to be Janice Dickson’s number one ? No appetite for food, and an intense hatred for anything remotely related to the arch enemy carbohydrate? Do you have an elegant willowy size zero figure combined with doey puppy dog eyes, or rippled and toned torso and perfect abs, topped off with a passion for champagne, coke, and celery sticks? If you answered yes to all of these awe inspiring questions, then Janice Dickinson’s modelling agency could be for you! A quick flight across the pond will land you in the plastic fantastic land of LA, where you will be warmly greeted and placed under immediate scrutiny and derision of the self proclaimed ‘first super model’, the surgically sculpted fifty year old, Janice Dickinson. Janice’s TV show ‘Model House’- which is based on her modelling agency and forces the models to live together like one big happy family - is reminiscent of that notorious high school bully masquerading as the friendly icecream man. The premise appears deceptively alluring, but when the attractive young wannabes turn up filled with hope and vigour, they swiftly have their dreams and aspirations ruthlessly ppulverised before you can say ‘pass the toothbrush’. Ladies, expect to be whisked off to LA’s infamous ‘supermodel restaurant.’ Maximum consumption: 300 calories. Dishes include a morsel of lamb, a smidgen of fish, perhaps topped up with a side of lettuce if you’re lucky. Salsa dancing for afters. (Note: this is not optional). Janice says she likes the models to ‘let their hair down’. Collapse from malnoursiohment, more like. But hey, Janice has to ensure that those pesky 300 calories are safely removed from the airbrushed skin of her human projects. She’s got a business to run, you know. Men, expect to be sacked for not dropping your pants on request in front of formidable clients at the drop of a hat. But be warned, you’ll also get the sack for being ‘prudish’ and concealing your modesty in front of clients. All in all, it’s a lose-lose situation for both parties. This potent cocktail of the poisonous Janice Dickinson -who makes the formidable Simon Cowell look like an Andrex puppy - and a house full of bitchy models makes for hillarious, if slightly unerving and embarrasing viewing. At one point, Janice bears her flesh in all of her dragon like glory. Whatever you do, don’t offer her a muffin. -Kimberlee McLaughlan
Skint students’ penny pinching tips Laura Peebles solves financial distress with a Cheapskate’s Guide to the Galaxy you feel you wear all the time and are now bored of, or, just anything in your wardrobe that you don’t like looking at any more, and put them all into a suitcase. Put the suitcase away somewhere out of sight for a few months. After a significant amount of time has passed, bring the suitcase back out and have a wee look inside. Apparently it is as if you have just acquired a whole suitcase full of new clothes. Sounds good doesn’t it? Repeat as often as necessary. Now you will never have to spend money on clothes again. Result.
ith the news that our country has now officially entered a recession, I imagine many of you will be worrying about how this is going to affect your own finances. Therefore, in an effort to keep everyone’s wallets a little fatter, here are my top tips for saving the pennies this winter. 1. The first is a wonderful idea and one that I am actually trying for myself in an attempt to curb my slightly ridiculous shopping habits. So, take any item of clothing that
2. If, however, you are partial to the odd wee purchase (which actually turn out to be a rather large purchase) and feel that the suitcase method is not the way to go, then why not make your own clothes? All you need to do is firstly decide on what you want to make: dress, t-shirt, jacket, whatever. After making your decision, take a trip to a book shop. Find a book on dress-making but DO NOT BUY IT. Simply copy out the appropriate instructions. Next, find the material you require for the desired outfit. This you are allowed to buy (as hopefully this process will be cheaper than buying the equivalent from Topshop). All you need now is a friend, or a friend of a friend, who owns a sewing machine and voila! You are all set to make your
own clothes, and hey, who knows where this could lead. Could the next Galliano be about to burst onto the catwalks? I think so. 3. Now, my third tip (and I think you will agree) is a stroke of genius. To save money on your bills, which promise to be more expensive this winter with increasing prices, buy candles. Lots and lots of candles. Asda has an excellent selection of inexpensive candles you can choose from. 100 tealights for only £1.60…Bargain. Never more will you have to spend money on gas and electricity as candles will provide all the heat and light you could ever need. 4. Finally, jump on the wagon. Become tee-total or do an extended detox. No drinks, drugs or chocolate. Not only do they do bad, bad things to your body, all such luxuries are expensive (you would be surprised at the price of a chocolate bar these days, damn credit crunch). Instead, take part in some clean, old fashioned fun. Stay in, play monopoly and snack on celery sticks. Cheaper and better for you. By sticking to this wonderful guide on how to look after your pennies you will soon be rolling in them. So, with all the savings you make, what will you be spending the extra cash on?
Quiz Time... it’s back Down: 2) “I’m not ________, but...” (6) 3) This probably went out with 16 across (9) 4) _______ makes right (9) 6) Racial ____s, the price for freedom of speech (4) 9) The only time you hear the word ‘seek’ outside of lonely hearts ads and Harry Potter (6) 10) Probably not 19 across’s favourite clergyman (4) 11) The ________ , where 21 down get their mindset (4, 4) 12) Kal__, a refugee from a distant land (2) 13) Leader of 21 down, nickname (4) 14) Another scheming Asian, alternate spelling (3) 15) They call him Tibbs! (2) 17) White: 69.4% South Asian: 13.1% Black: 10.7% Mixed: 3.5% Other: 3.4% (6) 21) Avid readers of Student (3) 22) They took my ____ ! (3) 24) Canada’s internet country code (2) 25) The department at the centre of much racial tension (acronym) (2) Across: 1) Night of Broken Glass (13) 5) With 3 down and 16 across gone, this acronym doesn’t stand a chance (2) 7) A common insult at studentnewspaper.org, opposite of measly (7) 8) Since 1887: The UK’s oldest libro-facist newspaper (6) 16) multi-__________. It’s dead, apparently (11) 18) Britain’s national dish (5) 19) Three hate filled letters (3) 20) Vast numbers of come from overseas (title) (2) 23) Rivers of blood 26) If you are a member of 19 across, you are a ______ (text/web) (3) 27) Post-racial saviour of us all. Hopefully (6) Editor’s note: This week’s crossword was inspired by comments left on www.studentnewspaper.org by some of our most vociferous readers, the BNP online community.
Edinburgh athletes make good start to season Athletics
Pete Forbes Edinburgh University Athletics Club (EUAC) got their season off to a fantastic start with a win at the Scottish Universities Freshers’ Match in Glasgow last week. Boasting a team of 40 students, the largest team to be fielded in many years, EUAC dominated in almost all of the events. Following tradition, the team was almost late for the first event of the day, the 60m hurdles, but still managed to gain a significant number of points in the event. Following the hurdles event came the 60m sprint, where Edinburgh took first place in the Ladies 60m, thanks to Avril Jackson, and fourth place in the Men’s 60m thanks to Struan Nisbet. Jackson also went on to win the Ladies 200m event, beating the rest of the field by a huge margin. Claire McNicol stormed to an even larger margin of victory in the 400m, beating the rest of the field by two seconds in a powerful performance. Meanwhile, in the field events,
Max Stich placed second and third respectively in the Men’s long jump and triple jump. In the Men’s high jump, Edinburgh placed first and second in a face-off between the two Edinburgh athletes; Simon Herron and Ray Bobrownicki. In the ladies’ field events Hazel Robertson and Heather Forde placed first and second respectively in the Shot Put. In the long events EUAC, with a massive contribution from the Hare and Hounds, dominated throughout. In the men’s events Will Nicholson gained a well deserved second in the 800m, and Ian Clark gained a close third place in the 1500m, missing out on second by 0.1 seconds. In the 3000m, Michael Gillespie and Ben Cole placed second and third respectively. The ladies’ long events were equally successful with a second, third and fourth in the 800m from Camilla Stewart, Louise Berdens, and Amelia Sheldon. Briony Curtis achieved an impressive first in the 1500m followed by a second in the 3000m. The highlight of the day was definitely the relays, with some stiff
competition in the 4x200m and 4x400m. The ladies won their relays unopposed by other teams, having to run against the men’s teams instead. In the men’s 4x200m, Edinburgh fielded two teams. Unfortunately, due to a collision,
Edinburgh A failed to complete the relay but Edinburgh B (Nashiro Imamura, Jonathon Murnane, Charles Lenoir, Fraser Adamson) stormed past to record a victory in the event. In the Men’s 4x400m, Edinburgh A were beaten on the
last leg, by Glasgow with a very fast finish, to take second place. Edinburgh B, consisting of four Hare and Hound runners recorded 3rd place in the event, finishing fast despite HHter Terry having run in the longer events less than an hour beforehand.
GOOD SHOT: Action from the athletics meeting in Glasgow
Testing month for rugby’s finest Gregor Cubie The biggest month of the International Rugby Union year is upon us, with the top ten nations in the world looking to lay down a marker for next year’s RBS 6 Nations, TriNations and, of course, the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa. Much of how these massive sporting events will pan out depends on the next month of international rugby. Having lost to New Zealand at the weekend, Scotland will now take on Canada and world champions South Africa, needing at least a draw against one of the top two teams in world rugby to break into the world’s top eight and get a favourable draw at the next world cup. As it stands, Scotland go into these tests looking in fairly good shape; Chris Cusiter will be missed, but he has been playing second fiddle to Mike Blair for a couple of years now so the Scots should be fairly well covered at scrum half. More interesting is who will be picked at standoff, although it looks increasingly like Dan Parks has had one shocker too many so Phil Godman will probably get the nod. Rare for a Scottish fly-half, he actually has some pace that he can unleash in the outside backs while Andy Henderson’s exclusion seems to have signalled an end to the ‘carthorse’ era. Graeme Morrison is another one who is out, which is a blow, but Nick De Luca
can be brilliant for Edinburgh, and could be for Scotland if he works out how to catch the ball while wearing the dark blue. The Evans brothers are two of the fastest ever to play in the country, but will probably be used sparingly with the more experienced brother pairing, the Lamonts, returning from serious injuries; also, Chris Paterson continues to be the best kicker in world rugby, although he does little else these days. In the forwards the front row looks pretty strong, Ross Ford and Euan Murray should be pushing for Lions places, but Scott MacLoud’s dabble with performance enhancers means that either Simon Taylor or Jason White, both Lions in 2005, will have to fill the gap left in the second row, leaving room for Johnny Barclay and Ally Strokosh in the back row. All in all it is probably the strongest Scotland squad since the Six Nations began eight years ago, but it would take a miracle for them to get the result they need against the might of the All Blacks and the Springboks, although they will probably run the latter slightly closer. Elsewhere, Wales also look strong, with Ryan Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, James Hook, Shane Williams, Lee Byrne and, if he’s fit and turns up for training, Gavin Henson all virtually guaranteed places on the Lions tour. And with new players like Cardiff centre Jamie Roberts and number
eight Andy Powell also looking pretty good it would not be at all surprising if Wales were the team to break the Southern Hemisphere domination, but, having been edged out by South Africa, they will look for better results against Canada and New Zealand. England meanwhile will miss Johnny Wilkinson after he heartbreakingly suffered the umpteenth injury of his career. New Zealand born Rikki Flutey might get a shot
because any one of Toby Flood, Danny Cipriani or Olly Barkley, all decent shouts for the Lions, will have to play fly-half. James SimpsonDaniel, almost as injury prone as Wilkinson, will miss the autumn tests so Paul Sackey is likely to be preferred for the Lions. Back row James Haskell and scrum half Danny Care also have a decent shot of making the trip to South Africa, along with players like Andy Sheridan and Steve Borth-
wick who should already have their passports ready. England look fairly strong, but they will never be as good as they were in 2003. Ireland also have several prospective Lions in their ranks, captain Brian O’Driscoll looks something like his old self after two terrible seasons, Paul O’Connell and David Wallace are world-class, and wide men Luke Fitzgerald and Tommy Bowe have been tearing up the Magners league.
Dundee comeback stuns Edinburgh Men’s Basketball Conference Cup Pool 1 University of Edinburgh
University of Dundee
Alistair Shand Edinburgh University’s second basketball side were downed by Dundee’s first choice line up in last week’s clash at the CSE. Despite taking the initiative from the off, the home side eventually went down in a heavy defeat. Edinburgh came out of the blocks firing and direct from the tip off, Vudiken grabbed the loose ball and drove for the basket giving Edinburgh the lead. This quick start continued as the same man went hard at the basket once more and completed a three point play to give Uni a five point advantage early on. However, the game then settled down as the away team slowly established themselves after a string of missed lay-ups. The score midway through the opening period was 138 to Uni and skilful guard Vudiken had scored all 13 of these points. His verve and movement with or without the ball meant he gained plenty of open shots or easy lay-ups. As the first quarter drew to a close the hosts led narrowly by a score of 17-16. It was clear at the start of the second period that Edinburgh would look to run fast breaks at every opportunity and this tactic was indeed reaping rewards. A ten point explosion by Horton early in the second quarter ensured that the momentum stayed with Edinburgh. The latter drove fearlessly to the
hoop on several occasions and his aggression earned trips to the free throw line. Vudiken and Horton were very much the catalysts for Edinburgh’s offence and the two combined regularly. Vudiken took over at point and from the top of the key threaded a neat bounce pass through to the cutting Horton who scored with a reverse lay-up. However, despite the successes of the host’s fast breaking offence, at the defensive end boxing out was a persistent problem. Dundee University fed off second chance points for much of the second period and this allowed them to stay in touch. Vudiken remained a pivotal figure for Uni as he continued to shoot and share the ball well, and this kept the host’s scoreboard ticking over. Dundee, on the other hand, were very much sharing the scoring burden around the team and clinical perimeter shooting from the guards suggested the tide was turning in this match. Nevertheless, at the end of quarter two Edinburgh led 39-37. Once again, early in the third quarter, Vudiken was ubiquitous and the bustling presence of Horton troubled the Dundee defence regularly. However, Edinburgh’s lapses in defence continued. As a result Dundee began to penetrate more in the key, play the fundamentals well and gain unchallenged shots from beyond the arc. Halfway through the third quarter the lead for Dundee had risen to 15, largely down to efficient shooting and a lack of intensity from Edinburgh. The quarter ended for Edinburgh with Dundee’s influential point guard fading away and draining a
heavily contested 3 point field goal just as the buzzer sounded, which was greeted by roars from a delighted away bench. The score-line therefore rose to 76-53 in favour of the visitors going into the final quarter. The next period was predictably frantic with Edinburgh raising their intensity to try and engineer a way
back into the match. By this stage however, the reliance on fast breaks for points was leaving gaps at the defensive end which slick Dundee guards exploited with several unchallenged drives to the hoop. Although the home side enjoyed an encouraging 6-0 spurt towards the end of the fourth, after three strong
moves inside, the lead Dundee had amassed seemed insurmountable. The game finished 101-75 in favour of Dundee which reflects an efficient Dundee performance but is a little harsh on the home side which, had they tightened up their defence would have stayed close towards the end.
POINTS ON THE BOARD: Action from last week’s basketball clash
Archers make progress in opening tournaments Archery
An Zhang Edinburgh UniversityArchery Club (EUAC) attended the combined FITA event at Lasswade High School as they looked to get the new season off to a flying start. The first twenty ends, shot at 25 metres, saw Jenny Jeppsson in first place, scoring 555 of a possible 600, and new senior Naomi Jones achieving an extremely respectable score of 542. Erik Rowbotham topped that score by two points, with Greg Schnuer a handful of places behind with 526. In the second part of the competition, Jeppsson matched her previous score, finishing first in the Ladies Recurve with 1110. Despite dropping a number of points, Jones completed an Edinburgh one-two with
EUAC members ultimately filling four of the top five spaces. Rowbotham completed Edinburgh’s winning recurve team – along with Jeppsson and Jones – with a total score of 1072 and 7th place in the Gents Recurve. Fellow Edinburgh representatives Schnuer and Graeme Anderson taking 10th and 13th place respectively in the most competitive category of the day. Montrose’s U21 and Novice Champs saw Rowbotham in good form again as he came top of his class with 571, and Anderson came second with a new competition personal best of 551. YD Zheng completed the U21 Gents Recurve category with a score of 532. Alice Wilson - the club’s sole compound representative at the event - came third in the Ladies Compound U21, scoring 534.
University of Edinburgh 1st 11-4
University of Edinburgh 1st 4-1
University of Glasgow 1st HHter Terry
Robert Gordon University 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 2-2 University of Glasgow 1st
Netball: University of Edinburgh 1st 31-60
Northumbria University 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 8-0
Aberdeen University 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 18-5
Northumbria University 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 2-2 University of Glasgow 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 6-2
Aberdeen University 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 10-0
University of Edinburgh 1st 3-0
University of Nottingham 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 61-68 University of Aberdeen 1st University of Edinburgh 2nd 75-101
Glasgow Caledonian 1st
University of Dundee 1st
University of Edinburgh 2nd 10-0
University of Edinburgh 1st 52-43
University of Edinburgh 1st 16-7
University of Glasgow 1st
University of St. Andrews 1st
University of Glasgow 1st James For full results and reports go Pope to: www.eusu.ed.ac.uk
Come doon an’hae a dram tae St Andrew! Free Haggis, Neeps & Tatties wi yer ticket!
SUNDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 7PM
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Edinburgh University Students’ Association is a Registered Scottish Charity (No.SCO15800)
““ e University of Edinburgh has a legal duty to fol- low and we en- courage them to full l it” Student report sparks investigation into Edi...
Published on Nov 25, 2009
““ e University of Edinburgh has a legal duty to fol- low and we en- courage them to full l it” Student report sparks investigation into Edi...