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Tuesday March 10 2009 | Week 9

Fashion Week in a G Wiz


S I N C E 1887

Amadou and Mariam




Water polo success




Huge turnout sweeps Graham to victory Thomas Graham elected president after close battle with Liz Rawlings

Anne Miller and James Ellingworth THOMAS GRAHAM was elected Students' Association President last Thursday, defeating Liz Rawlings by just 227 votes, in what was the highest voter turnout of any UK student election ever. The total number of votes cast for all positions was 6,659, just over 25 percent of all eligible students – more than double that recorded three years ago. The National Union of Students estimates the average turnout in student elections to be just 13.8 percent. The election count, held in a packed Teviot Debating Hall, also saw Evan Beswick and James Wallace confirmed as the new vice-presidents for academic affairs and services respectively. Camilla Pierry had earlier been confirmed as the new vice-president societies and activities after her only opponent withdrew.

I'm ecstatic to have been elected, and having such a massive turnout is incredible.” Thomas Graham, EUSA President-Elect

The new president, a third-year computer science student, caused controversy in his acceptance speech when he thanked the 'previous president – Josh MacAlister' then sarcastically filled the resulting silence with '...and Adam Ramsay.' Graham won on second-preference votes after third-place candidate Oliver Mundell was eliminated from the running. The President-elect told the Student: "Obviously I’m ecstatic to have been elected, and having such a massive turnout is incredible. I have to pay tribute to the other candidates – particularly Liz – who ran a fantastic cam-

paign and I think it’s really positive to have such a competitive race." "From day one I’ll be working dayin, day-out to ensure that students at Edinburgh do have the best chance of getting a graduate job, with one of the best degrees from one of the best universities in the UK. I can’t wait to get started!” Evan Beswick, editor of the Journal, won the Vice-President Academic Affairs (VPAA) race in what seemed a surprise victory, not least to Beswick himself. He told the Student: “I’m a little shocked but extremely excited to have been elected EUSA’s next VPAA.” After the result was announced, Beswick ran across the room to shake hands with opponent Robert Jenkin before taking to the stage for his victory speech, asking: “Can we get the posters of me down as soon as possible?” The new VPAA said he intends to build on the 'great progress' Jenkin had made with the Teaching Awards and said he was 'extremely grateful to all those who helped with my campaign, and also to everyone who voted in this election, helping to achieve such an impressive turnout.' James Wallace took the post of VicePresident Services and thanked his rival Simon Kirkland for the campaign and everyone who helped him before confessing he didn’t know what else to say. Wallace won with 2766 votes to Kirkland’s 1613, with the total turnout almost 2,000 votes more than in 2008. Camilla Pierry was returned unopposed as Vice-President Societies and Activities (VPSA) after her opponent withdrew from the race last week. Pierry told the Student: “It’s a funny sort of victory… for all the stresses of campaigning I would have much rather students had been able to vote and I was more than prepared for a contest. "But I’m so excited for the year – I’ve got some great ideas I really care about and I’m looking forward to working with the other three – I think we’ve got a really strong team.” Read more on page 3>>


Almost 7,000 votes cast - the most in any UK student election ever

GOLDEN GRAHAM: The EUSA President-Elect gives his victory speech

SNP revive Under-21 drinking ban plan Jordan Campbell STUDENT BODIES across Scotland are preparing to clash with the Scottish Government for a second time over moves to raise the legal age for buying alcohol to 21. The SNP-run Scottish Government have anbnounced plans to trasnfer the power to set the legal age for alcohol offsales to local councils, after an attempt to raise the age for across the whole of

Scotland was defeated in the Scottish Parliament in October 2008. The proposals, announced last week as part of a package of measures on alcohol, would allow police chief constables to petition the council for the drinking age to be changed in a certain area, effectively bypassing Parliament. The plans will come under the auspices of the Criminal & Licensing Bill that will soon be presented to Parliament, according to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

However, it is believed that the possibility of the proposal being introduced in Edinburgh, where the city council is dominated by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Both parties have pledged to oppose the plans. Last October the Scottish Government’s attempt to increase the drinking age for off-sales was defeated in Parliament with all 72 opposition MSP’s voting against the proposal. Continued on page 2 »

Tuesday February 3 2009


What’s in this issue NEWS »p1–7

» Students mobilise to fight


drinking age raise

Anti-climax for disqualified Oxford Corpus Christi.


University of Edinburgh leads groundbreaking research into ethical use of stem cells.


The week's most pressing issues: Potato hits man in groin; Couple told to quieten noisy sex; Man warned not to smoke cat.

COMMENT »p9–11

Thomas Kerr on Sir Fred Goodwin and the power of popular opinion.


As the hype settles around University Challenge star Gail Trimble, Susan Robinson looks at attitudes towards brainy women.

ARTS & FEATURES »p13– 25


Ed Ballard hears the extraordinary life story of Syrian painter, Hala al-Faisal.


With the recent release of The Young Victoria, Susan Robinson lies back and thinks of England.


John Sannaee watches as the shambolic indie messiah returns to the Barrowlands - now with added 'r'.


So much more than just a search engine, as Craig Wilson finds.


The Student speaks to Tom Clough, who is running both the Meadows 5k and half marathon for charity

The Student Newspaper | 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ Email:

OFF LIMITS: Student groups are set to reorganise to fight plans to raise the drinking age continued from front page Over 100 students, many of them from the University of Edinburgh, protested outside Holyrood on the day of the vote. The student campaign groups that opposed the ban when it came before parliament are planning to reorganise to fight the restrictions. CARDAS co-ordinator Tom French, a student at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The Scottish Government have shown astounding arrogance in choosing to ignore the results of their own consultation by doggedly pursuing this daft, discriminatory and unpopular proposal.” He confirmed that CARDAS will campaign to prevent the 'botched ban' effecting Edinburgh students by being introduced in capital. EUSA Vice-President George Tomas echoed the call, saying that any such move would be 'hugely unpopu-

lar' among Edinburgh students. EUSA President Adam Ramsay told the Student, “SNP attempts to ignore the will of Parliament and bring the policy in through the back door are disrespectful of democracy, and will do nothing to solve the serious problems of binge drinking in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government have shown astounding arrogance by doggedly pursuing this daft, discriminatory and unpopular proposal.” Tom French, Coalition Against Raising the Drinking Age in Scotland

NUS Scotland President Gurjit Singh described the move to shift control to local authorities as 'dis-

graceful'. He said: "The Scottish Government is seeking to avoid further parliamentary debate on their unpopular, unworkable and discriminatory policy of placing a ban on off sales for those under the age of 21.” The Scottish Government view the new proposals as imperative in order to bring an end to what they deem to be Scotland’s 'unacceptable relationship' with alcohol. It is estimated that alcohol-related problems cost the Scottish economy an estimated £2.25 billion annually. Speaking at the launch of the new proposals at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “The time has come for serious action. It is not longer an option for any one to simply talk about the problem of alcohol misuse by shy away from the action needed to tackle it.” If successful the Government’s new plans will be implemented in some places over the coming year.

Leading English universities struggle for funding Anna MacSwan LEADING UNIVERSITIES in England are facing substantial funding cuts for 2009-10 following shifts in funding allocations, it was announced last week. In total, the Higher Education Funding Council for England has announced a budget of £8 billion, a 4 percent rise from last year, including allocations of £1.6 billion for research and £4.8 billion for teaching. However, the 2008 research assessment exercise designated many "pockets of excellence" in the teaching-led post-1992 universities, leading to the 28 former polytechnics represented by lobby group Million+ receiving a 120 per cent increase in funding. Increases in funding for institutions in the Russell group, which represents more established research-

focused universities, pale in comparison, standing at only 3.3 per cent, with many receiving increases below the rate of inflation. The number of institutions sharing 75 per cent of quality related funding has increased from 22 to 26, and the share received by Russell Group universities has dropped from 65 per cent to 60 per cent. This has resulted in 41 universities seeing actual reductions in funding, with the London School of Economics and Political Science, the School of Oriental and African Studies, the and the London Business School among those hardest hit. The London School of Economics blamed its 12 percent cut on decisions to shift funding towards the sciences and Imperial College London, King's College London and the universities of Surrey, Birmingham, Southamp-

ton and Sheffield are among the 15 universities seeing reductions in real terms due to increases being below the rate of inflation. This has caused major concern amongst the Russell Group, particularly that of having to lay off staff in an effort to cut costs. The group's chair Malcolm Grant said: "If you don't receive a total grant that keeps pace with inflation, something has got to give. Across Russell group institutions, there will be reviews of staffing. "Some institutions will want to reduce staff or not hire new staff. It's going to be quite tight." Overall, 87 institutions received rises in their total grant above the rate of inflation, with Queen Mary, University of London, and the universities of Exeter, Liverpool, Nottingham and Plymouth receiving increases above 8 per cent.



Tuesday March 10 2009

News 3

SIMPLY THE BEZ: Evan Beswick was overjoyed at being elected VPAA.

BRAVEHEART: James Wallace will be in charge of the unions as next year's VPS. continued from front page The record turnout reached beyond the sabbatical posts. The position of Academic Services Convener had last been contested in 2006 when Guy Bromley won with 674 votes. This year Andrew Burnie took the position with 1,149 votes to opponent Ross Stalker’s 811. In another sign of increased student engagement, 1,968 votes were cast in the election to decide the Committee of Management Executive Member for Entertainments, a 59 percent rise on last year. Luke Buckley triumphed over three rivals for the position with 999 votes. Six candidates battled it out in the race for Social and Political Studies School representative seats, the most contested election for school posts in recent years. This race also saw the narrowest margin of victory as Dante Mazzari won the second seat by just one vote. Of the 22 candidates who had originally entered the race for ten SRC Ordinary Member seats, two withdrew and a further five were elected for other positions, leaving 15 hopefuls. The election went to the ninth round of voting before the positions were filled. Despite the high turnout, there were fewer candidates standing for positions than in 2006, although this year’s figure was up on 2008, when only 87 students stood for positions, the lowest number for five years. Postgraduate students were again poorly represented, with the post of Postgraduate Convener filled by default, and only three valid candidates for 15 SRC seats, after two were ruled ineligible.

Scuffle involving new president mars election ceremony James Ellingworth NEW PRESIDENT Thomas Graham's election win in a ceremony at Teviot on Thursday was tarnished after a scuffle with current VicePresident Academic Affairs Guy Bromley. After his victory was announced, Graham went to greet the current sabbaticals before giving his victory speech. After he shook hands with Bromley, there appeared to be some pushing and shoving. Graham later told the Student: "I thanked Guy for all his help during the campaign, and for some reason he pushed me. "There are some personal issues between me and Guy that I'd rather not go into." Bromley had campaigned for Graham's closest rival Liz Rawlings during the campaign, despite being a member of the Labour Party, in which Graham has been a prominent activist. When apporached by the Student, Bromley painted a different picture of the incident, saying: "Thomas's rather aggressive handshake did almost knock me over when I congratulated him.

I thanked Guy all his help in the campaign and for some reason he pushed me.” EUSA President-elect Thomas Graham

Thomas's rather aggressive handshake almost knocked me over when I congratulated him.” EUSA Vice-President Guy Bromley

"However, I understand how stressful elections can be - no hard feelings though. "I think Thomas was a bit cross that I didn't support him. However, he ran a formidable campaign and I wish him well as EUSA President next year."


Wallace and Beswick triumph in vice-presidential contests

THE STUDENT'S HONORARY ELECTION AWARDS BEST HAIR Benedict Robbins - There's no contest really

WORST ELECTORAL ADDRESS David Shuker - His drunken rant about 'fatty Foulkes' and his 'heinous henchmen' was hardly appealing

CLOSEST VICTORY Dante Mazzari - Clinched an SRC seat by just one vote.

BEST TAGLINE Ross Stalker's eventual slogan, "Looking after you" was only marginally less creepy than his first choice - "He's behind you."

BEST RESULTS HOST Guy Bromley -A glittering career in ITV game shows surely awaits this year's VPAA after his performance at the results ceremony.

BEST WEBSITE Camilla Pierry - Camilla made the funky all by herself to boot.

BEST POSTERS Evan Beswick - Evan's slick designs were a joy to look at. Shame he has to take them down now.

MOST LOW-KEY CAMPAIGN James Rodger - Hovered somewhere near invisibility throughout the campaign.

STRONGEST CAMPAIGN TEAM Camilla Pierry - her well-drilled army of volunteers forced her opponent to concede defeat before voting had even begun.

MOST SURREAL CAMPAIGN MOMENT Oliver Mundell - Addressing voters from atop a pickup truck was supposed to make him look a rebel.

Tuesday March 10 2009


4 IN


University to launch Islamic research centre I N T E R N AT I O N A LLY RECOGNISED scholar Professor Hugh Goddard is to lead research at the new Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, due to open in May. Based at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, the centre is sponsored by an endowment from HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal in an effort to strengthen links and understanding between the Muslim world and the West. Through research and educational outreach, the Edinburgh centre aims to improve public knowledge of Islamic civilization and of Muslims in Britain. Professor Goddard is fluent in Arabic and has studied and written extensively on relationships between the Christian and Muslim communities around the world. Principal of the University Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea welcomed the news, saying “We are delighted to welcome Professor Goddard to the University of Edinburgh, which has a history of scholarship in Islamic studies stretching back some 250 years. The development of this new Centre is an important milestone and a terrific opportunity to broaden and build upon our existing strength in Islamic Studies.” AS

Study reveal penalties are no solution to hospital delays PENALTIES DO not decrease delays for patients being discharged form hopsital , a study by the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh reveals. The study has discovered that bed shortages and increasing admissions to NHS hospitals are more likely to increase the number of patients being discharged. It has also highlighted a rise in emergency readmissions suggesting that the pressure to discharge patients efficiently may be putting some individuals at risk. Professor Allyson Pollock says, “The focus on reducing delays should be set in context of the wider health economy.” MG

Quiz lets families compare experiences AN ONLINE quiz will allow families with children in Scotland to compare their experiences with those of the 8000 children and their families participating in the Growing Up in Scotland survey. Sarah Morton, Co-director of Edinburgh University based Centre for Families and Relationships based said, “It is always interesting to see how others balance work and family time.” The online quiz was launched as part of last week’s Festival of Social Science and will remain available throughout the year. MG

University unveils portrait to honour pioneer partical physicist Craig Macwhirter PROFESSOR PETER Higgs, pioneering physicist and former researcher at Edinburgh University, was unveiled at the University’s Informatics department. The painting by artist Ken Currie was commissioned by the University, and portrays the retired researcher at his home in Edinburgh’s New Town. The work was unveiled as scientists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland prepare to conduct ground-breaking research to prove the existence of the Higgs Particle, which the Professor theorised in the 1960s while working at the University of Edinburgh. The portrait of Higgs will hang in the Informatics department for the next few months, until it moves to a permanent home in the James Clerk Maxwell Building at King's Buildings. The Higgs Particle, one of the final sub-atomic particles yet to be proved to exist by physicists, is sometimes also referred to as ‘The God Particle’ due to the fact that its discovery could answer fundamental questions about the universe, including how particles gain mass. The LHC, sometimes more cynically dubbed Europe’s most expensive broken toy, is currently under repair due to an accidental malfunction in September 2008. CERN management have however scheduled collisions to begin again in October of this year, and if the pres-

SCIENTIFIC LUMINARY: This fetching portait of Professor Higgs is on display in the Informatics Building ence of the Higgs Field is proved it may lead to our even deeper understanding of the fundamental workings of our universe. According to the Standard Model, physics' most commonly recognised explanation of the universe, the most basic particles and forces are born

without mass. Higgs theorised that these particles must intereact with some other particle, which would exist as an ever present field, in order to gain mass and become the atoms which form our universe. Proving the existence of the Higgs

Particle will require the discovery of a specific anomaly in an atomic collision. The procedure is further complicated by the fact that such events may occur by chance due to an effect known as 'quantum randonmness'.

University Challenge dispute leaves quiz world reeling Harriet Kay IN PERHAPS the greatest scandal ever to rock the world of studentthemed quiz shows, the reigning University Challenge champions have been disqualified. Quiz fans across the country were outraged by last week’s revelation that a member of the winning team in the most recent series was not in fact a student. Sam Kay, member of Corpus Christi College Oxford's team, had left university and was working at accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a graduate trainee when the final was filmed. After only a week as champions the team were stripped of the much coveted trophy, which was awarded by default to the runner-up team form the University of Manchester. In a press release Kay stated "I hugely regret not confirming my change of status to the University Challenge programme makers before

the final rounds. "I had honestly believed I was eligible as I had indicated my course dates when I applied. I can only apologise to the other competitors and especially to my team as it was never my intention to mislead anyone." The programme's regulations state that: "Team members should all be students of the university or college for the duration of the recording of the series." A BBC statement described the decision as ‘regrettable', with quiz host Jeremy Paxman declaring that ‘rules are rules’, though also saying that he felt sorry for the winning team. Manchester captain Matthew Yeo was reserved in his response to being awarded the winner’s trophy, stating that "While we accept the decision of the University Challenge judges, we are saddened to have been awarded the trophy under such circumstances…… we believe Corpus Christi College were outstanding opponents." A record number of 5.3 million viewers tuned into BBC2 to watch the

final between Corpus Christi, Oxford and Manchester University, many being entranced by the cerebral abilities of the team’s captain inimitable Gail Trimble, who was called the ‘human google’ and an ‘intellectual blitzkrieg.’

We are saddened to have been awarded the trophy under such circumstances... we believe Corpus Christi College were oustanding opponents.” Matthew Yeo, Captain of Manchester University's University Challenge team

The Corpus Christi team's remarkable run of success included trouncing the team from Exeter University in

the quarter finals by a score of 350-15 - leaving Exeter with the lowest losing score for 37 years. The disqualified victors had earlier knocked the University of Edinburgh team out of the competition in the second round, beating them by the commanding margin of 295 points to 85. The team's disqualification has brought to light other infringements among former University Challenge champions, including that the winning teams from 2004 and 2008 also contained members who were not at their stated place of study during filming. Bamber Gascoigne, who hosted the show since its inception in 1962 until 1994, said that the decision to disqualify the winners was ‘absolutely crass’. He also called for the show to be filmed over one academic year to bring more clarity to the rules regarding participation and prevent repetition of this confusion, despite the fact this measure would still exclude final year students from entering.

Tuesday March 10 2009

News 5

Edinburgh researchers celebrate stem cell breakthrough Craig Macwhirter

SCIENTISTS BASED at Edinburgh University published results last week claiming to have discovered a method of safely producing stem cells from human skin cells, thus avoiding the ethical issues associated with using human embryos. Pluripotent stem cells are the building blocks of life, able to develop into any cell in the body, potentially growing into muscle, livers or even hearts. These cells have been heralded as the answer to meagre organ donation, the means to development of new treatment systems, and even as a potential cure for cancer, but until now the harvesting of these cells has been embroiled in ethical, moral and religious debate. The only current method of collecting stem cells is to remove them from embryonic tissue, which commonly results in fatal damage to the embryo itself. This has raised ethical issues over the destruction of potential human life, and as to whether the noble ends justify the means. Now two teams, one led by Dr

Keisuke Kaji from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and the other by Dr Andras Nagy from the University of Toronto, have developed a method to allow human skin cells to develop safely into pluripotent cells. Dr Kaji said: " This is a step towards the practical use of reprogrammed cells

It will take time before these cells can be given to patients, but I believe the team has made great progress.” Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, Director, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine

in medicine, perhaps even eliminating the need for human embryos as a source of stem cells." Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, Director of the MRC Centre, said: "It will still take time before these induced pluripotent stem cells can be given to patients.

Crucially, we need to have a method to generate the desired cell types from these stem cells. But I believe the team has made great progress." The new project allows for the insertion of the four required genes in a single fragment, and also for its complete removal after the reprogramming which greatly reduces the risk of complications. Dr Kaji’s group developed the single fragment method, but were unable to remove the potentially dangerous ‘footprint’ which it left behind, whereas Dr Nagy’s group managed to remove this footprint, but not from all four separate genes which they were working with. A chance encounter between Dr Kaji and Dr Nagy, who had previously been working separately on two different halves of the same problem, allowed them to combine their work to develop this safe method. Far from merely developing patient specific organs for transplantation, stem cells could also be made to develop into a myriad of other cells. Beta islet cells to treat diabetes, hematopoetic cells to create a new blood supply for a leukemia patient or even motor neuron cells to treat Parkinson's disease.

FROM SKIN CELLS TO STEM CELLS: and potentially into cures

Tuesday March 10 2009



Meadows campaigners vow to prevent park becoming a 'ploughed field'

PARADISE OR PLOUGHED FIELD?: The Friends of the Meadows have pledged to defend the park


Guy Rughani A NEW pressure group calling itself the “Friends of the Meadows” has drawn up radical plans to minimise damage caused by ‘overuse’ of the park. Propositions put forward in meetings with the city council include that the Meadows should no longer host events requiring vehicles to drive over the grass or requiring the erection of temporary structures. Speaking to the Student, the group's chairman Chris Wigglesworth said “every single local resident I’ve talked to is anxious that the kind of overuse we have seen in the past few years is ended before it ruins the Meadows for everybody who enjoys this green space close to the Old Town.” Such policy could result in big changes for the world-renowned Edinburgh Arts Festival which regularly uses the site for a variety of performances. Already, the ‘Taste’ food festival sponsored by Channel 4 has had to move from its traditional Meadows location to Inverleith Park, while question marks still hang over the future location of some Fringe shows. Earlier this year the founder of the MoonWalk breast cancer charity strongly criticised the council for forcing its 12,000 bra-clad walkers to relocate. Particularly significant to the

Festival is that under the proposals, overnight occupation of the park would become illegal. In addition to these demands, the ‘Friends’ want events to last no longer than five days, and to be held at least one month apart. “If our policy is rejected, we fear that the Meadows and the Links will be spoilt and that all citizens will be the losers” said Wigglesworth. Mr Dennis, a local resident, told The Student, “It’s not a NIMBY thing – when you see the state of the place after a big event it simply resembles a ploughed field.” However, the group decided that short-community-based events would pose little threat to the park and Wigglesworth was keen to stress that the ‘Friends’ do not want to stop the Meadows Marathon event. “All we want is to maintain the Park in good condition in the long term and to encourage its good and healthy use at all times” said the ‘Friends.’ Lats month, the student-run Meadows Marathon was granted a reprieve by the city council, who had planned a moratorium on all large events being held on the Meadows. The Marathon, due to be held on Sunday, was saved after its organisers pledged to ensure that those taking part would not run on the grass, and that all maquees and other event infrastructure would be erected on tarmac.

Careers Service urges caution over 'recessionbusting' postgrad study

Scottish banknote campaign reaches Westminster

Neil Pooran

THE FATHER of a prominent Edinburgh student politician has led a campaign to force English businesses to accept Scottish banknotes. David Mundell MP, the Shadow Scotland Secretary, and father of thirdplaced EUSA presidential candidate Oliver, told the House of Commons that Scots on visits south of the border were 'hurt by the implicit suggestion

For too long, Scottish people have faced too many doors that say 'do not enter'. This Bill will open these doors.” Mark Pritchard MP

that there's something wrong' with their currency. Although Mundell's Scottish Banknotes (Acceptability in the UK) Bill stands little chance of becoming law, there are hopes that the move could pave the way for further action by the government. The proposed legislation drew crossparty support, with calls for its scope

MONEY TO BURN: The Student understands that such an extreme reaction to Scottish banknotes is rare among English shopkeepers to be broadened to include Northern Irish banknotes, but was eventually scuppered by a lack of time to debate its merits. Scottish banknotes are often refused by English businesses, commonly over concerns that the unfamiliar designs could leave them more open to fraud. Mundell went on to claim that forcing English businesses to take Scottish money could contribute to strengthening the Union by removing one of the


The economic downturn has lead to many more students considering postgraduate study, but the University's Careers Service has urged students to consider carefully before applying for a postgraduate place. There are fears that students could be going in to postgraduate courses for the wrong reasons as people try to avoid entering the job market. The university's policy is in stark copntrast to that followed by some English universities, after Durham University announced it would hand out over 100 taught Masters scholarhips to encourage graduates to stay on. Several leading universities have reported sharp rises in the number of applications for postgraduate courses, with Manchester seeing a 14 percent rise for UK students, and 34 percent for international students. An Edinburgh University Careers Service spokesperson said: “Postgraduate study may suddenly look quite attractive given the current economic situation. "It’s an option many students will be considering and the number of students going on to postgraduate study has risen in recent years. “So why do it? Maybe you love your subject; maybe it’s necessary for the

career path you’ve chosen, or maybe you want to change direction – all valid reasons to continue studying, but bear in mind that further study does not guarantee employment. "If you are considering postgraduate study simply to avoid the job market, remember it may be just as competitive the following year.” Edinburgh does offer a 10% discount on postgraduate tuition for for all students with an undergraduate degree from the University, and to those who studied at the University as visiting undergraduates. The Careers Service continued: “If you are considering postgraduate study, research the courses you are interested in carefully – find out what the course entails and what previous students have gone on to do. "You can find out more about postgraduate courses available here at the University of Edinburgh at the Postgraduate Open Day on 20th March. “If you would like some advice to help you decide if postgraduate study is for you, then come and discuss your ideas with a Careers Adviser and take advantage of the information the Careers Service holds on postgraduate study and funding – both in the UK and overseas. "We’re always on hand to help, and remember that the service is open throughout vacation periods too.”

James Ellingworth

'niggles' in the relationship. He claimed that tourists anxious to change their banknotes for English ones before travelling home could cause offence and tensions within the Union. Supporting Mundell's proposal, fellow Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said: "For too long, Scottish people have faced too many doors...that say 'do not enter'. This Bill will open those doors."

Tuesday March 10 2009

News 7

James Ellingworth SCOTTISH UNIVERSITY officials have warned that hardship funds at several institutions are on the verge of running dry after coming under unexpected pressure during the recession. An investigation has found that requests from universities to the Scottish Government for extra contingency funding currently total almost £900,000. The newly-renamed Edinburgh Napier University has seen a 28 percent rise in applications. Officials forecast that the funds will run dry before the institution receives further funding. Professor Joan Stringer Napier's principal, told the Scotsman that: " "In order to most efficiently manage the remaining discretionary funds, applicants are being advised, where possible, to negotiate suitable repayment plans for any outstanding bills, particularly utility bills, and to rearrange any existing debt or loan repayments." "We do not expect we will have sufficient funds to support applicants to the level that many of them will need, and it is very unlikely we will have suf-

ficient funds left to support students during the summer vacation period." Abertay University in Dundee has been bailed out twice this year by the Students Award Agency for Scotland, after its hardship funds ran dry. The second sum of extra funding, at just under £24,000, was exhausted within a month. Indundated with applications, Abertay has been forced to prioritise those in need based on their academic performance. So far this year, the University of Edinburgh has reported a 14 percent rise in the number of students awarded money from hardship funds, and a 37 percent hike in the total amount awarded, hitting a record high of £543,337. A spokesman for the University told the Student that 'there is no question of the University of Edinburgh not spending all of its discretionary funding." Despite an eight percent increase in Scottish Government support for hardship funds, several other universities have reported shortages. The Scottish Government has blamed 'inadequate funding by previous administrations' for the shortfall and stressed that reforms to the funding system were under way.

University launches plans to reform academic year Anne Miller THE ONGOING review of the University of Edinburgh academic year has moved one step closer to becoming a reality as initial plans were approved by the Principal’s Strategy Group (PSG) The PSG is convened by the University Principal and consists of the University’s most senior officers. Its role is to “discuss and advise on issues of strategic importance to the University as a whole.” The decision to examine the structure of the academic year followed representations from EUSA and academics about the lack of teaching and revision time available to students. The review of the academic year is being chaired by University VicePresident for Learning and Teaching, Simon van Heyingen. The University has said the rview is exploring various “potential modifications within the current structure, rather than looking to change the existing structure of the academic year.” Current EUSA Vice-President Academic Affairs Guy Bromley told the Student that increasing the length of the second semester would provide students with better value for money as well as creating a “vibrant student life on campus for more months of the year.” Bromley stressed that the addi-

tional weeks would give students time to catch up on work or take their midSemester break which would improve their academic experience. Societies will benefit from an increased number of weeks when students are around and exchange students will have a better deal than they currently receive as they will be able to spend more time in Edinburgh. Some members of the academic staff have spoken out against the changes, preferring things to stay the way they are but EUSA has long been campaigning for more revision time in semester one. This would give students more time to fully prepare for their exams and more teaching time in semester two would increase contact hours for students. The University hopes that these changes will boost student levels of satisfaction, currently lagging behind many competitor institutions according to recently-published league tables. The next stage is for the proposed adoptions to be presented to the University Senate. Senatus Acadmicus is the University’s senior academic committee which meets at least three times per session. The next meeting is scheduled for the 3rd of June 2009.Subject to approval by the Senate, the proposed changes are expected to come into effect by 2011.



Napier hardship funds run dry under pressure of recession

Potato hits man in groin An Edinburgh man has been injured after he was hit in the crotch by a potato falling from a balcony above. Paul McQueen, the seventeen year old potato thrower, appeared at the Sheriff court this week, charged with recklessly and culpably throwing the vegetable at Mr. James O’Hare. McQueen told the court he had gone to the balcony for a cigarette when his friend brought out potatoes to throw. While the local teen could be commended on his aim he has admitted fault, saying “I should watch what I'm doing in future". Sentencing has been delayed, awaiting reports. The state of the potato following the incident is unknown though it is presumed mashed.

Couple advised to quieten down noisy sex

PENNY-PINCHING: Concerns have been raised over Scottish universities' hardship funds

Tony Blackburn appointed new EUSA Chief Executive

Anne Miller

FOLLOWING AN extensive recruitment process lasting several months, EUSA has appointed Tony Blackburn as its new Chief Executive. Unfortunately, to the Student's knowledge, the new students' association CEO is not known to have any experience as either a radio DJ or a participant in ITV jungle-based reality shows. Anthony Blackburn is an experienced student union shief executive, previously working at Exeter University and took up his new position on the second of March. The role of the Chief Executive is to “lead change across the organisation” to improve the student experience and “drive the organisation forwards.” A message to potential applicants from the Sabbatical team stressed the importance of the successful candidate’s ability to create positive changes stating “as students of the University of Edinburgh we were really excited by the opportunity to make a real difference to students by standing for election to run the Students’ Association. "We hope that you’ll share our excitement and passion for constantly improving the Edinburgh University student experience.”

The Chief Executive is expected to be able to build “credible and effective relationships at the highest levels of the University, Scottish and UK governments and all our key stakeholders.” The key stakeholders include the University of Edinburgh, the

We'll hope that you'll share our excitement and passion for constantly improving the Edinburgh University student experience.” EUSA sabbatical officers' enticing offer to prospective new Chief Executives

National Union of Students (NUS) and the Association of Managers in Student’s Unions. In his new role Blackburn will manage the association on behalf of the Association Executive, made up of the four elected sabbaticals, which he will be responsible to. The Chief Executive’s salary is between £67,216 and £80,219 although it was stated that only exceptional candidates would be appointed at the high end of the scale.

Edinburgh resident Louise Lee claims an official from Edinburgh council has suggested she chew toffees while making love in an attempt to reduce noise levels. The council warned the couple they may receive an Asbo if complaints over noise continue though they deny suggesting toffee as a remedy. The couple deny causing serious disturbance. Louise Lee said am certainly not the quietest of people, but to be antisocial you have to be over so many decibels and I am definitely not that." The couple say they have been humiliated and are shocked that making love could considered grounds for legal proceedings. They are, however, not the first UK couple to face ASBOs over noisy sex. Impassioned lovers should take caution and keep some toffee handy - but be wary of tooth decay. JK

Man warned not to smoke cat A man has been ticketed after stuffing his girlfriend’s cat into a home-made bong. Acea Schomaker, a Lincoln resident, claims that he was attempting to calm the cat down and stop it from biting and scratching. He defended his actions further saying, “I know this isn’t the first time someone has done this. I’m just the first to get caught.” Law enforcement officials and animal rights specialists have explained why stuffing a cat inside a bong is considered cruel. Acea Schomaker says he has learned from his mistake. The incident may yet shed light on whether stoned cats are fundamentally different from stoned people. After observing the affects of marijuana on his girlfriend’s cat, Ace Schomaker reports little difference. GR

loa givedaswof ays

St Patricks


tuesday 17th march

romos p k n i r d , all dayght all ni


10am - late

BOMBSKARE LIVE IN THE UNDERGROUND! Edinburgh’s Original SKA Juggernaut present their new album ‘A Fistful of Dynamite’ “Edinburgh’s best SKA band” – The Scotsman 10PM in the Underground. Be there or regret it forever.

Edinburgh University Students’ Association is a Registered Scottish Charity (No.SCO15800)

Feeling opinionated?

Tuesday March 10 2009

Comment 9


Robert Shepherd

Freddy-shredding With the UK enraged at Sir Fred Goodwin's lavish pension, Thomas Kerr questions the court of public opinion


HERE HAS been much talk recently in the Government and Press about not rewarding failure. The most notable consequence of this vague policy has been the row that erupted last week over former Royal Bank of Scotland chief Sir Fred Goodwin's lavish pension fund. The former banker will receive over £700,000 per year for life and some commentators have been suggesting this pension should somehow be stripped from him as retribution for his role in the downfall of the once proud Edinburgh bank. Their call has predictably been taken up by Gordon Brown's crumbling administration in a rather pointless move that carries with it the stench of mob justice. Were Goodwin to actually lose some or all of his pension one wonders what would become of the many thousands of faceless bankers equally responsible for the financial crisis? It seems unlikely that the Government will draw up a list of all those responsible for the banking crisis and slash their pensions; a banking version of Stalin's Great Purge, except instead of the NKVD there would just be Alistair Darling, his improbable eyebrows and a team of treasury officials carrying shredders. Goodwin shouldn't be punished just because when the rotten timbers of our banking system gave way his was the face caught in the spotlight of the angry rescuers.

It seems unlikely that the Government will draw up a list of all those responsible for the banking crisis and slash their pensions; a banking version of Stalin's Great Purge" There is hypocrisy at work in the Government's targeting of Sir Fred's pension as well. Would Gordon Brown be willing to see his taxpayer funded pension slashed too? As Chancellor it was his lax financial regulations that allowed the banks to haul themselves to the edge of the abyss; and he, like Sir Fred, basked in the reflected glory of economic prosperity for most of the last decade. Perhaps the government should set a tariff on failure, say £10,000 pounds lost from your pension for every billion pounds you fritter away. Poor Gordon wouldn't be left with a pension pot to piss in. The worst part of this sorry affair, however, came early last week. While Gordon Brown travelled to the United States to meet President Obama, Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader, was left at home to take temporary command of the sinking ship HMS Britannia. And rather predict-

ably she came out with one of those terrifyingly stupid comments that politicians spend a lifetime trying to avoid. Speaking about Sir Fred Goodwin's pension Ms Harman stated that while Sir Fred's pension might be legal and valid in a court of law, it was not valid in “the court of public opinion” and it was the Government's task to rectify the discrepancy. That raises a few practical questions. How many jurors will this court of public opinion contain, Ms Harman? And who is the judge and what precedents does he follow? Perhaps Rupert Murdoch and the Sun archives will suffice. Do we actually have the facilities to accommodate it? Maybe we could all squeeze into the 02 Arena, one New Labour farce inside another one, with Sir Fred hanging from the roof in a tiny metal cage. While Ms Harman's comments may have been somewhat comic there were also sinister undertones of demagoguery at work. Justifying Government measures on the basis of public opinion, especially when they contradict the established rule of law on which our rights as citizens are based, is utterly inexcusable. It even evoked Soviet show trials; the verdict was pre-prepared. We, the mob, find you guilty, Sir Fred. But it should come as no surprise that the government is attempting to scapegoat former bankers; anything that deflects attention from their own handling of the

financial crisis is to be understandably embraced by a Government so petrified of the public that they are running scared of a general election. Harriet Harman's comments also served as a timely reminder of the hypocritical attitude with which the Labour Government treats public opinion. While Gordon Brown's Government is cursed and damned the length and breadth of the country, they have the audacity to quote the court of public opinion as their moral ally. The Government who ignored millions of citizens marching on London to register their disgust at the war on Iraq now dares to claim the they are acting as an implement of the people's will. Disregard for the general public

Maybe we could all squeeze into the 02 Arena, one New Labour farce inside another one, with Sir Fred hanging from the roof in a tiny metal cage" has become endemic in our Government. To them we are nothing more than opinion polls and focus groups, a dangerous and stupid mass

of humanity to be cajoled along by our betters in Westminster. We are treated like schoolchildren and hectored about eating our greens, getting more exercise and drinking less. We are all branded as potential terrorists, banned from photographing the police or protesting within a mile of Parliament Square. Our biometric information and fingerprints are stored in massed ranks of databases along with the 1.5 million British children whose DNA is kept on file indefinitely. We are all petty criminals and serial litterers to be constantly watched on banks of CCTV screens and spied on by council workers as we put our bins out. Privacy International describes Britain as an “endemic surveillance society”, ranking us alongside such bastions of liberty and democracy as Russia and China. No wonder Ms Harman thinks she knows what we think. And so what of Harriet Harman's court of public opinion? If it ever does sit in judgement, what will be the first point of order? Will it be Sir Fred's pension? No, it would surely be to despatch this tired Government and damn them for their deeds, perhaps echoing the words Oliver Cromwell directed to Parliament in 1653: “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Tuesday March 10 2009

10    Comment 

Sense and Stupidity

Wanja Ochwada examines the effects abusive celebrity couples may have on the anti-abuse message


t reads like a Jane Austen novel; Boy is young, independently wealthy, adored by all and most importantly approved of by Oprah Winfrey, meanwhile Girl is also independently wealthy, young, beautiful and talented. Boy meets Girl, Boy and Girl fall in love and begin to live their happy albeit media-frenzied life together. That is until Boy, while onehandedly driving his Lambourghini begins to beat the Girl to a pulp, on an undisclosed street in Los Angeles on the night of the Grammy Awards. Girl’s frantic screams for help alert near by do-gooders (more like prying pedestrians), who in turn call the police who arrive just in time to have missed Boy’s ingenious getaway. Oh yes a real Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy tale, maybe not the violent scenes of a domestic dispute, but certainly the ‘happily ever after’ ending. Yes it is sad but seemingly true as more and more sources are reporting that apparently Chris Brown and Rihanna are indeed back together. It is surely a sad day when any

woman being abused goes back to the scum that abuses her, but in my opinion even more so when the couple is in the public eye. None of us perhaps are old enough to remember the Ike and Tina Turner debacle, and

There is no guarantee that it will stop, in fact if statistics are anything to go by, the odds are looking pretty good that he will beat you until you leave him or die. only the die hard Julia Roberts’ fans have likely seen “Sleeping With The Enemy”. Both are tales of domestic abuse where the mistreated women eventually manage to escape their tyrannical abusers, the former a real life story and the latter a simple film’s

portrayal, yet both did wonders for the esteem and the awareness of battered women. Yet here we find ourselves as a society, with nearly 80% of girls who have been emotionally, verbally or physically terrorised in their relationship continuing to date their partner, and with 1 in 4 women at risk of being abused. How did this happen? That is a question that would take far too long for me to go into, a better question is how do we get out of this? Having never been abused, I can only speak from a point of ignorance and base my perspective on the expert opinions of doctors and what seems like good sense to me. Taking into account everything I have encountered on domestic abuse and it’s possible treatments, not to mention the plethora of statistics, all I can think to say is: girls, if a boy lays his hands on you, get out of that relationship immediately. There is no guarantee that it will stop, in fact if statistics are anything to go by, the odds are looking pretty good that he will beat you until you leave him or die. As bleak as

it sounds, more people need to start sounding the trumpets and shocking young girls into realising what is going on around them, the fact is abuse is NEVER okay. Moreover it isn’t just girls that have to be on the look out these days, apparently 40% of all domestic violence cases in the UK are complaints from men against women. I know it’s shocking, but equally boys, being abused is never a good thing so get out while you still can. Bringing me neatly onto my next point, most women stay in these relationships because they are isolated or so often not financially able to be independent of their partners, so why, as the case may be, did Rihanna go back to Chris Brown? Certainly, we will never fully understand that, just as we will never quite comprehend what happened on the night of the Grammy’s when the violence escalated to a point where police had to be ushered in. What I am convinced of however, is that the dire statistics of domestic abuse are about to get worse, as the little girls around the

world, who looked to this celebrity couple as a model, have virtually just been shown that its okay for a man to hit you, and for you to take him back. This is a big no-no, and for the sake of good sense, her own safety and her impressionable young fans Rihanna had better run for the hills and as far away as she can from Mr. Brown. If you or someone you know is being abused please call these numbers for help: English National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 Northern Ireland Women's Aid 24-Hour Domestic Violence Helpline 028 9033 1818 Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 027 1234 Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 80 10 800 Male Advice and Enquiry Line 0845 064 6800

No simple solutions

Calum Leslie warns that the SNP's proposals to crackdown on Scotland's booze culture may cuase as many problems as they solve


ast week the SNP, launched their proposals to combat Scotland’s drinking problem, which Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, describes as “an unacceptable status quo.” Yet as recently as a couple of years ago, I’d have argued that Scotland had no alcohol problem beyond anything else most other countries had to deal with. Perhaps that was because the Labour-Lib Dem administration did so little to combat the problem. Smoking was their crusade: alcohol remained noticable only in its absence. There was, however, another significant factor in my ignorance. I was sixteen. I’d have a drink at Christmas and at house parties, but rarely attempted to access pubs or clubs when underage. And so Scotland’s drinking problem sailed on past me without causing so much as a ripple in my understanding of our society’s wider weaknesses. For example, twentyseven percent of deaths per hundred thousand in Scotland are drink-related. In England, that figure is thirteen percent. Perhaps, then, the answer to tackling our alcoholic tendencies, as a nation, is education? The alcohol industry has pinned its hopes on this answer. "We should be targeting the harmful drinking minority through better education,” claims The Portman Group’s David Poley. Vigorous informative learning in school may well highlight the dangers of excessive alcohol intake and in some cases prevent misuse. If I could be as unaware

of the severity of the problem during my school years I imagine other teenager may also be ignorant. But education is not a simple solution. For one thing, at what age do you begin “alcohol education?” There are twelve year-olds out on the streets with a bottle of Buckfast at the weekend. And, I’d imagine, they wouldn’t take too kindly to just another telling off from just another schoolteacher. So, to catch them earlier, do we then begin the teaching at five? Is it any more morally acceptable to be teaching children barely out of nursery about alcohol than sex? The latter caused outrage on the part of parents yet sex is, generally, far less dangerous or harmful. Would the reaction to alcohol awareness classes be any different, if not worse? Education is, obviously, crucial to tackling the problem. Yet education can only serve a limited function. Just as learning about crime and the law fails to prevent all criminal activity among young people, alcohol education won't fully eliminate our pervasive booze culture. More immediate measures must be implemented. And that is where the Scottish Government has attempted to step in. Proposals to tackle “cheap booze” offers in supermarkets, to limit measures served in pubs and other licensed premises, a to introduce minimum pricing for a unit of alcohol and to lobby for a reduction of the drink driving limit were broadly welcomed by the medical profession. Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the British Medi-

cal Association in Scotland, said: "We particularly welcome its proposals on minimum price and promotions, as evidence shows that the increased affordability of alcohol is driving the damaging levels of consumption in Scotland." Naturally, along with the retail industry, opposition comes from Labour and Tory MSPs. The Scottish Retail Consortium’s attitude that, “Irresponsible drinking is not about price or availability” absolutely defies common sense. The cheaper alcohol is and the more accessible it is, the more people will buy it. My own experiences last week left me feeling more favourable to a harder line on alcohol. On Wednesday, around lunchtime, I was on the Glasgow Central train from Edinburgh. So too were two middle aged men, sporting what seemed like small plastic suitcases of cider, wrapped in blue carrier bags. As their luggage emptied, they increasingly seemed to feel the urgent need in telling each person on the carriage of their life story. Given the amount of alcohol they were drinking, perhaps it was merely a first draft of their soon to be required eulogies. Nonetheless, they were pissed, and the rest of the carriage pissed off. Likewise, while working behind the bar of a pub in Bathgate on the Saturday, I was unlucky enough to witness the local ritual of fifty year-old men turning up before 11.30am already drunk. If nothing else, this highlights the

However localising availability may cause as many problems as it solves. Trafficking’ of alcohol from may overcome, to some extent, the availability problems that young adults would face if these proposals are enacted" dire need to introduce stronger measures to control alcohol consumption. Yet significantly these two examples also highlight just how misplaced one highly publicized proposal is. In considering raising the legal age for buying alcohol in supermarkets and off-sales to 21, the issue of our heavy drinking culture is sidestepped. Quite obviously, alcohol misuse stretches beyond the younger generation. While the proposals to raise the drinking age for off-licence sales would still allow under eighteen to enjoy alcohol at pubs and bars the plan remains controversial. A watered-down version has been introduced that would allow local licensing boards to raise the legal drinking age. This is a clear acknowledgement of the problems with the initial idea of a blanket raise.

However localising availability may cause as many problems as it solves. A shift in the location of where the alcohol can be bought may merely shift the location of the resultant alcohol related anti-social behaviour – the underlying aim of these proposals– which could lead to a widespread and coordinated raise of the purchasing age among communities. It is a brave government that delegates responsibility for implementation a potentially vote determining policy to a local committee. Additionally, ‘trafficking’ of alcohol from one town or village to another may overcome, to some extent, the availability problems that young adults would then face. And the most obvious problem: fifty year olds get drunk from off-sales alcohol too. While minimum pricing, clamping down on special offers and determining limits on measures in pubs are bold proposals, strongly backed by the medical profession, the introduction of local licensing board power to raise the purchasing age may create further difficulties for local authorities and the national government to resolve. Perhaps this is merely the grievance of a university student, like the many others, over two years away from turning twenty-one. And in all probability I, like many, won’t be affected. Yet some will be. And a grievance can, for some people, determine a vote. In that respect, the SNP may have to tread very carefully.

Feeling opinionated?

Tuesday March 10 2009

     Comment   11 Election reflection


Genevieve Ryan

Up to the challenge?

Gail Trimble's University Challenge team may have been disqualified but Susan Robinson discovers a clever girl still causes quite a stir


pparently, Britain hates clever people. Or, more specifically, clever women. This conclusion has been reached after the mixed reception of the British public towards a certain Gail Trimble. Following her success on University Challenge she’s been dubbed, a “horse-toothed snob”, “a bit smug” and “sexy”. Let’s take these in order. First, the assertion that a) she’s posh and b) she’s intelligent, therefore, she must become an object of hate. In The Independant, Howard Jacobson chose to explain this reaction by comparison with another polarising (female) public figure of the week, Jade Goody. Through illustration from extracts of Hard Times and Aristophanes (which I didn’t understand because I don’t have a classical education, tuh) he asserted that we have always been biased against the brainy and tolerant towards the ignorant. He argued that Jade’s “popularity” was not just due to her ignorance [insert outrageous and unbelievably uninformed quote here] but because of her “vitality of spirit, an undirected rage that had some nobility in it, however coarsely voiced”. Apparently, Jade Goody is the Noble Savage. In reference to her highly publicised demise, he claims she is “dying much like a gentlewoman”. There’s something delightfully Dickensian and irrelevant about this method of social commentary. The

success of Dickens in critiquing Victorian society is something best answered in an essay. Using his work to contextualise the present is an obvious anachronism. There’s nothing hateful about the characteristics “posh” and “clever” within themselves, but Trimble has clearly had opportunities and access to an environment that has allowed her to flourish. People are always going to be jealous when they see other people enjoy success, especially when it appears to have been “handed on a plate”. I’m not suggesting that Trimble hasn’t worked hard for her success, after all, individual effort still matters, but it does help to have had the correct foundations. This brings me to the second comment. In an online article satirising the entire debacle, The Daily Mash called for Trimble to be burnt at the stake for “her profoundly unfeminine trait of recalling large numbers of random facts” and “raw, seething lust”. The article ends on “she’s also a bit smug” which is at the heart of the matter really- we hate to feel ignorant compared to other people. It’s intimidating, so we look for other flaws as an excuse to vilify the person in question. It was true in the playground and it's true now. We all know this, but are susceptible towards such a public challenge of our attitudes towards sex and class. Then we come to “sexy”, and here’s where my own prejudices come

out to play. I can’t help thinking that the people who have branded her sexy are probably rubbing their hands along corduroy covered thighs

Ever since Carol discovered that her combination of consonants, vowels, tight pencil skirts and arithmetical ability brought a twinkle to many an eye, she’s traded engineering for prostituting her “brains”

in that classic “old man” demonstration of lust. It isn’t unknown for intelligent women to be fetishizied in the media. This is probably because there are so few of them in the public eye. Who else do we have as a role model? I hate to say it, but I think it begins and ends with Carol Vorderman. Ever since she discovered that her combination of consonants, vowels, tight pencil skirts and arithmetical

ability brought a twinkle to many an eye, she’s traded engineering for prostituting her “brains” to FirstPlus, several ITV and BBC shows. I’m shocked to find her bum has its own dedicated fan-site. My point is, game shows, such as Countdown and University Challenge, aren’t of much benefit to anyone. They are displays of intelligence for the sake of self-adulation. Nobel prizes are awarded for groundbreaking research, not for fairly trivial knowledge such as the ‘starter for ten’ for instance, ‘what links the manner of the deaths of Hilaire Belloc's Matilda and Charles Dickens's Miss Havisham?’ (They both died in fires, if you’re curious.) Perhaps I’m being idealistic in thinking that most of these ‘hairy-legged’, brainy women have more pressing work to do in laboratories and libraries as opposed to TV studios. Trimble’s success triggered a rash of articles containing the phrase “blue-stocking”. She's considered a social phenomenon, akin to the women who first started attending university in the 1880s. Are intelligent women still such a shock these days? I would hope that isn’t the case, especially since admissions figures for 2007 show that 57.4% of undergraduates in this university are female. Be warned, it appears that these “blue-stockings” are among us...

o much then for student apathy. The latest batch of EUSA elections, on the back of a lively Rectorial race, saw what might be the highest turnout in a student election ever seen in the UK. Runner-up Liz Rawlings recorded an incredible 2306 votes in second place, which is more first preference votes even than last years winner Adam Ramsay. Indeed some 2000 more students voted this time around than in last year’s elections, and all it seemingly took was several thousand foot soldiers with flyers harassing anything that moved. EUSA elections are a gruelling experience for everyone involved, which I know because I ran as candidate. And although my own brief foray into student politics, both as candidate and campaigner, was ultimately unsuccessful, the experience was incredibly gratifying. The camaraderie among campaign teams, and even between rivals, was every bit as evident as hostility, with countless friendships forged within the pressure-cooker environment of the pre-election rush, an environment exacerbated by the sheer quantity of students in brightly coloured t-shirts. Perhaps then it was this great number of that explains the added interest this time around, combined, of course, with an exceptionally strong field of candidates. Campaigning this year has been more dedicated and focused than ever before, with the inevitable consequence that an increased number of students have been drawn into the election process. But was this process fair? If votes are won by campaigners, are EUSA elections really about who has the most friends or political allies? Certainly that seems to be the opinion of Louise Fellows, who withdrew from the race for Vice President of Societies and Activities after deeming her race unwinnable. While Thomas Graham stood on a solid manifesto and will without doubt make a fantastic EUSA President, how far was his success attributable to his formidable thirty-man campaign team? Perhaps next year a limit on the number of people a candidate can designate to campaign on their behalf would be a good idea? The counter-arguments to this suggestion are obvious, in particular in response to the claim that student elections have come to be dominated by the campus political parties and their ‘election machines’. ‘But most of them aren’t even involved in party politics’, or even ‘part of being the best candidate is being able to get people to give up their time for you’ has been the defence, but I can’t say I’m convinced. Was it not the case, for example, that there were more specifically Labour Club students in Thomas Graham’s campaign than the total number of campaigners in the other candidate’s teams? All else being equal, it is policies and experience that should decide student elections. It’s a proposal likely to divide opinion amongst our campus politicians, and indeed the debate already has. But while the debate will no doubt rage on, there is one sentiment I’m sure everyone involved in the elections, be that the seasoned campaigner or the overwhelmed civilian, will agree on: thank God the whole thing's over. Lee Bunce

Tuesday March 10 2009


Something to say?


Join us! The Student is always looking for creative and enthusiastic people writers, illustrators, photographers, and designers - to join our team. If you're interested, here's how to track us down: » In person: Meetings are held in the Pentland Room, Pleasance, every Tuesday at 1:15pm » By email:

A quick history... The Student was launched by Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson in 1887, as an independent voice for Edinburgh's literati. It is Britain's oldest university newspaper and is an independent publication, distributing 6,000 copies free to the University of Edinburgh. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Kitchener, David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill are a few of the famous people who have been associated with the paper. In the 1970s, Gordon Brown was the editor in chief, working alongside Robin Cook who at the time was in charge of film and concert reviews.

Under-21 drinking ban is stupid for at least 3 reasons few months after the Student last A reported the possibility of a lowered drinking-age in Scotland, this ugly idea

has yet again shambled drunkenly into view ("SNP revive under-21 drinking ban plan", front page). Under the new plans, the legal drinking age would be subject to the whims of local councils—and maybe even the police. How could anybody think this is a good idea? What would happen if we lowered the drinking age? For a start, kids would continue to have their first alcohol experience in their early/mid teens, as they always have— and it will still be rough, a quart or so of White Lightning consumed on a bench somewhere. We're not going to suddenly have a nice civilised drinking culture like they have in France, where children are apparently start on the vin de table at age six but somehow don't turn into alcoholics. We're obviously just genetically more loutish than the French. Another possible outcome (which might contradict our previous point, but let's press on) would be the rise of the Incompetent Drinker. This phenomenon is common in American universities, where nobody can drink until they're 21. This results in hordes of "freshmen" arriving at "college" without building up their tolerance. After sipping some punch at their first "frat party", how many innocent students wake up minus dignity, eyebrows, and virginity? For the purposes of argument, we assume that the answer is: a lot. Is that what the Scottish government wants? Strangest of all is the prospect of the cross-border beer run, which might become a reality if these laws are passed. Can you imagine heading nervously back from Carlise or Berwick (where they still have sensible English drinking laws) with a backpack/car boot full of tennants, keeping an anxious eye open for the alcohol police?

Your Letters SILLY HOROSCOPES Dear Sir, I have faithfully skimmed your pages since I arrived at the University of Edinburgh, and have stuck with your publication through thick and thin. I’ve forgiven the silly headlines and oversexualisation to avert eager readers from a blatant lack of factual, informative content. But the Student’s latest stunt to desperately pull in readers would make the editor of OK magazine blush. I am talking about the "puzzles and teasers" page. Last week’s selection, supposedly offered to stretch readers powers of deduction, instead pushed the "teasers" bit to the limit. It included images of near-fellatio, bare buttocks, and an optical illusion just begging its readers to light a spliff and stare aimlessly at a picture of an old man in front of a swirly background. A word of warning—you can get higher than a giraffe in stilettos, it’s always going look like an old man in front of a swirly background. Tell me, how is my education furthered by a photo of one blonde sucking another's carrot? Or my horizons widened by a feast of naked male bottoms on Arthur's Seat? Also, before you prompted me to look it up, I didn't know what bukkake was. Thanks for that. Perhaps even this dubious offering could be forgiven were it not for the callous selection of horoscopes. Take for example the prediction offered to all unfortunate enough to be born under the Aries sign. These 400 million people, according to you, will contract malaria. Is this funny? I can only hope these horoscopes are written in ignorance of the millions of men and women who devoutly follow the ancient practice of astrology and not, as is more likely the case, in malice and hostility to an already persecuted minority. This community has been derided too long, even though many practitioners boast MAs and even PhDs in the astrological arts and sciences. Yet as followers of this ancient order will tell you, astrology isn’t based on elitist qualifications but on virtue, faith and the belief that positive waves of energy might re-spark the dying embers of morality in this country—and I can only hope in this newspaper.

It is reckless bigots, such as the creators of the Student’s believers in astrology a bad name. I am surprised you haven’t started you own hotline, offering people a glimpse at their ‘future’ for a charge that would make the X-factor voting charges look like ‘fair-trade’. Sex, drugs and small mindedness— but I suppose shouldn’t be surprised. All I can say to the writers and editors of the Student is that I won't be risking any negative energy by picking up your paper again. Geraldine Coates 3rd year computer science

SEXUAL READING Dear Sir, When I first entered the darkened chambers of the University Library in first year virtually all the assistants were experienced, well-trained, helpful and friendly. They were pleasing to talk to, if not always to look at. Fast forward three years and how things have changed. The refurbishment of the library building, welcome though it is, appears to have been accompanied by a refurbishment of the library staff. The cluster of kindly middle-aged librarians appears to have been superseded by a phalanx of young sexpots whose only purpose, it seems, is to titillate library users to such an extent that they pay their fines without complaint, and possibly even with a small tip tucked into a pair of skimpy and conspicuously visible knickers. Don't get me wrong, the oldies are still around, but they've been shunted away into the corners of the library no-one ever visits - the special collections, the maps division, the geography section. The gradual replacement of the brainy with the busty seems to be a massive PR exercise on the part of the university. Where will this stop? Will a powder room be installed next to the cafeteria? Will fines eventually be replaced by spankings? The sexing up of the library is a development that should be resisted by all students. Even the needy ones. Alistair McFitzpatrickson [Are you sure? - eds.] 4th year archaeology


The Student welcomes letters for publication. The editors, however, reserve the right to edit or modify letters for clarity. Anonymous letters will not be printed but names will be witheld on request. The letters printed are the opinions of individuals outwith the Student and do not represent the views of the editors or the paper as a whole. Editors Ed Ballard/Lyle Brennan News Neil Pooran/James Eellingworth Senior News Writers Guy Rughani/Anna MacSwan/ Anne Miller Comment Mairi Gordon Features Jonathan Holmes/Rosie Nolan/Lee Bunce/Catherine McGloin Tontine Julia Sanches/Geoff Arner/Hannah Rastall Lifestyle Kimberlee McLaughlan/Maddie Waalder Culture Emma Murray/Hannah Ramsey/Rachel Williams Music Andrew Chadwick/Jonny Stockford Film Tom MacDonald/Sam Karasiik TV Fern Brady/Susan Robinson Tech Alan Williamson/Craig Wilson Sport Martin Domin/Misa Klimes Design Arvind Thillaisundaram Illustrations Genevieve Ryan/ Henry Birkbeck Photography Calum Toogood/Julia Sanches Website Jack Schofield President Neil Pooran Secretary Rachel Hunt Treasurer Madeleine Rijnja

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Hope at last for Scottish Labour? Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray tells Neil Pooran how he can save Scotland’s students and universities from Alex Salmond. “We’ve seen significant changes since then, such as the removal of tuition fees and the introduction of top-up fees in England, which has had an affect on the competitive standing of our universities and their income. It’s the right time to have a pretty comprehensive look at the way higher education and student support is funded. “Obviously, this became most pertinent in the 2011 (Scottish) election, where we presented the Scottish public and students with our policies” In Edinburgh University’s recent Rectorial election , which saw journalist Iain Macwhirter beat Labour MSP George Foulkes to claim the job, both candidates said they would push for a

The SNP's argument for independence is oil. That's intensely flawed."


ain Gray, leader of Scottish Labour, was in a buoyant mood when I spoke to him. He’d recently seen his arch-rival, Alex Salmond, forced into a major climbdown over the SNP’s much-vaunted local income tax policy, and had managed to squeeze some important concessions out of the minority Nationalist administration. He’s hopeful of winning more victories like this in the coming parliamentary term. However, there’s still plenty for him to be down about. The Scottish economy is in the doldrums, and across the UK Labour are doing similarly poorly in the opinion polls. Still, he’s remarkably frank about the situation and more than willing to meet his Nationalist critics head-on. He recently accused Alex Salmond of sneaking in Thatcherite policies while pretending to be left-wing. A return to Old College to give a speech on the state of Scotland’s economy stirred some nostalgia in the Edinburgh graduate. “When I came to University I joined the Labour club, but I have to be honest and say that in my first year I spent more time socialising than with serious pursuits” he told me before the talk. “So I wasn’t a very active member. I certainly kicked around in things like the antiapartheid campaign though. I wasn’t a big student politician. I didn’t stand for the SRC or any of that. Gordon Brown was still here as a postgrad so

I can remember seeing him around the University library coffee room,.” But today he’s worried that Scotland’s universities are being slowly starved of government funding. Despite the SNP’s scrapping of the graduate endowment fee, he believes Scottish students could be doing a lot better. When asked, he admitted that this year’s Scottish budget, which only passed with Labour backing, didn’t offer much to students or their universities: “I guess the honest answer is that, in terms of students in higher education, there wasn’t a hell of a lot there. We only voted for the budget the second time round because we got most

Students have a lower level of support than the rest of the UK - that makes no sense." of the improvements we were asking for, it was not a blanket endorsement of the budget itself.” “The funding package which flowed from last year’s deal on higher education was less than we would have liked to see. When it came to this year’s budget we took the view that the things we’d most like to improve about it were the things most likely to improve the economic

situation.” The scrapping of the £2,300 graduate endowment fee won the First Minister’s party a lot of praise from student groups, effectively making education free at the point of use for Scottish students. As student Nationalist parties gleefully point out, Gray’s Scottish Labour party were in favour of keeping the fee, but he maintains that the charge was a fair way of raising money. Getting rid of it had hidden consequences: “What you had there was £17 million which was taken out of the system. The graduate endowment recognised that those who get a degree will earn far more in their lifetimes than those who don’t achieve that level of education." “It was hypothecated towards support for students from low income families to try and give additional support through bursaries. So I think the principle of it was right and by taking it away what you’ve done, essentially, is take £17 million out of the system which hasn’t been replaced. I also wouldn’t accept that it acted as a barrier to students entering higher education” While he shied away from commenting on the fee's possible return, he said that Labour was considering a complete overhaul of the system of student funding, which has largely remained the same since devolution began 10 years ago:

£7,000 minimum income guarantee to keep students out of poverty. Gray said Scottish Labour would certainly give it thought: “The idea of the £7,000 minimum income, or whatever it should be in 2011, is likely to be one that will find favour. It’s certainly the case that we think it’s wrong at the moment that students have access to a lower level of support than the rest of the UK. That makes no sense to us at all.” But he reserved most of his scorn for the consequences of Scottish independence, which he said would be devastating for higher education: “It would be very difficult for an independent Scotland to sustain the levels of research funding that we have because at the moment it is allocated on a UK basis. We do very well out of that arrangement.” Alex Salmond recently told this newspaper that Scottish independence would ‘reverse the flow of talent outwards’, preventing the brightest and best Scottish graduates from taking their talents to London and elsewhere. “I think that’s a ludicrous position” Gray scoffed. “I don’t think that there is a brain drain. Is he suggesting that an independent Scotland would have a big wall that would stop Scottish students going to take up a job in London? Those with qualifications will go where the best jobs and the best opportunities are, whether that’s in London, Europe or the United States.”

“What I do think is that an independent Scotland would have significant economic problems. Most of the SNP’s argument for independence is actually based on the idea that you can build Scotland’s future on the back of a single commodity, oil, whose price volatility has been demonstrated in the last six months in the most dramatic way. Not only have we seen its price collapse from $140 to $40 in the space of a few months, we know that even in the most optimistic estimate there’s 30 or 40 years of North Sea oil remaining. So that’s an intensely flawed basis on which to build the future prosperity of the country.” Fighting talk, but has it gone down well with the public? Gray has had some success in stabilising the Scottish Labour party from the tumultuous aftermath of former leader Wendy Alexander’s resignation. The SNP are wounded from their defeat in the Glenrothes by-election but far from being in critical condition. Labour tends to perform significantly better in Scotland than it does in UK-wide polls. Nevertheless, Gray accepts that things aren’t all rosy: “It would be daft to say that the opinion polls are anything except pretty difficult for us.” “But if you look at who can actually deal with the economic crisis we’ve got, then the Labour leadership does very well compared with, for example, David Cameron, who I don’t think people generally have confidence in. He hasn’t convincingly brought forward any suggestions as to how he would deal with the banking crisis. So there’s still a lot to play for. If there’s anything we’ve learned from opinion polls over the last year or so it’s that they are very volatile.” George Foulkes’ loss in the Rectorial election was another pinprick blow to Labour in Scotland, and Gray was a little disappointed that his old comrade didn’t win: “On the Rectorial election I’m disappointed for George but I think it was the case that Iain Macwhirter had all the other political parties and groupings supporting him so it’s not surprising, I guess, that if everyone gangs up on Labour we don’t do so well.” Gray’s critics deride him for being dull and constantly outmanouevred by Salmond at First Minister’s Questions. But while Gray doesn’t indulge in his rival’s grandiose verbal sparring, he quietly abides by the maxim of substance over style. Under his leadership, Scottish Labour are finally finding their feet in opposition.

Tuesday March 10 2009

14    Features

"My country should be proud of someone like me"

Syrian painter Hala al-Faisal spoke to Ed Ballard about growing up in a dictatorship, her arranged marriage, and the troubles of being an artist in a country where the police are liable to steal your living room.

n 2005, Syrian artist Hala Ia fountain al-Faisal walked naked around in New York, in protest

against the Iraq War. Last autumn we watched the scene together on a Syrian chat show in the courtyard of the old Damascus house where I was living. My housemate Duri, an Iraqi refugee, had met al-Faisal at a party and invited her to watch the programme with us. The footage had been pixellated so conscientiously that her face was unrecognisable, the slogans painted on her back illegible. After about thirty seconds the picture cut to al-Faisal in the studio, talking to a Syrian version of Michael Parkinson about a recent exhibition of her paintings. She looked at the screen delightedly, only cringing a little when the camera moved from her to the other interviewee – a Saudi who had recently become the first Arab to climb Everest. My Arabic was so bad I could only understand snatches, but Duri relayed to me in undertones. The mountaineer considered her paintings pornographic because they featured naked people. It was easy to forget that in Syria, a strongly conservative country, he spoke for the majority. I asked her how rare she was as an independent women in Syria.

Were there many female artists or intellectuals? "I’m sure there are - but I don’t know about them. Most of them give up because they are afraid. A girl will have a bad reputation if she works in her own way. She will not get married."

Syria's lax planning laws meant she was able to find somewhere to paint simply by cutting a hole in the ceiling and installing a hazardous spiral staircase up to the roof" Al-Faisal thought it completely natural that I wanted to interview her; she is used to attracting interest as "Syria's only feminist", and had appeared only a few weeks before in an interview on BBC World. She lives in a small flat on the top floor of one of Damascus’s huge 70s-era apartment blocks. It’s easy to guess which door is hers: haphazard splashes of paint proclaim the resident’s eccentricity. Inside is like

a child’s vision of an artist’s studio, with paint on every surface: faces on the cupboards, a cartoon gangster with a cigar on the toilet door – “to guard while I go to the toilet”, she explains. Canvases lie everywhere – even on the floor, I realise, looking down. Bafflingly, while some of the huge canvasses look to me like mediocre A-level work, other pieces are extremely beautiful. This low-ceilinged living room is dark – surely too dark for painting, I suggest. She shrugs. “I had another room, very light” – she points to a newly-plastered wall. “But next-door is the chief of police.” One day, she claims, she got home to find workmen partitioning her house. It’s not easy to be an artist in Syria – especially for a woman. Her neighbours mistrust her and call her a prostitute because she is divorced and lives alone. They upturn their rubbish outside her door; once, when an unmarried man was visiting her, their teenage son chased him away with a kitchen knife. Fortunately, Syria’s lax planning laws meant she was able to find somewhere else to paint simply by cutting a hole in the ceiling and installing a hazardous spiral staircase up to the roof. I climb up into the sunlight, to where a large-windowed

lean-to holds yet more finished canvases, along with her current works in progress. From this vantage point you can see all of Damascus: the minarets of the old city; the mountaintop from which the prophet Muhammad was said to have looked down at the city and turned away, saying he only wanted to go to Paradise once in his life. He might be disappointed today: in the last few decades the orchards have been concreted over and replaced with Stalinist high-rises. Al-Faisal follows shortly after-

wards with a silver teapot and two tiny glasses. Also on the tray is a stack of photographs, which she hands to me. Here is her whole life, in black-and-white prints and coffee-ringed polaroids. As we drink she shows me pictures of a family party from the early sixties, when she was a child. These people–the self-assured middle classes–looked pretty much the same everywhere, it seems. More moustaches and darker skin, but the girls are still demure in frocks, men’s hair is neatly parted, everything is decorous and formal.

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Tuesday March 10 2009

Features 15 If we look at similar photos of our grandparents’ generation, we see them in the light of what came after, maybe even feeling nostalgic for the mythical simplicity of what preceded the sexual revolution. But in Syria there was no sexual revolution, as becomes clear when alFaisal tells her story. These pictures must look different to her. She speaks quietly and hesitantly – of her five languages, she learned English the last. The al-Faisals came from Syria’s educated middle class (petit bourgeois, she sniffs). Like many Arab intellectuals, the al-Faisals turned to Communism in the hope of modernising their country. Her uncle was the leader of the Syrian Communist party, her father the Communist defence minister. The young Hala grew up exposed to their idealism, but not – at first – to the dangerous realities of Syrian politics. She was a precocious child, excelling at music, maths and physics as well as art. She was a compulsive diarist – at least until her increasingly fearful politician father burned the diary. Her ambitions were endless: to be a famous soprano, to be the first Arab cosmonaut. Her parents never allowed her any vanity, demanding always that she learn more. Much later, when she was in New York, she was astonished by American assertiveness: “Me, me, me, I am so great,” she mocks, but sounds rueful, as if modesty has held her back. Two disasters interrupted her adolescence. Firstly, when the brutal President Hafez al-Asad came to power, the al-Faisals had to abandon their political hopes in favour of personal safety. Hala’s uncle refused, and went to jail; her father was merely forced to leave government. Despite his relative good fortune, this was the end of his life, she says, and the end of a phase in her own. “I grew up with these Communist ideas and they tell you to stop believing in them. It makes real problems for somebody of this age.” A year later, when she was seventeen, she saw her younger sister drown on a swimming trip. “Normally we swam with my parents but this time they were at a party so I went alone to the sea with my sister. We were laughing like crazy. I even felt something will happen but I didn’t listen to my feelings. It happened very quickly. There were a lot of waves. They brought me in

has always been next to me. I wanted to do everything fast before I die.” Maybe acting on this impulse, she lost her virginity almost immediately. “I wasn’t prepared by myself or my family for how to behave with a man”, she says. “Men had no place in my mind”. The man – a Saudi – informed her parents, who decided she would marry him. “The communists in Syria just thought about society” she explains, “but inside the family it was still the same – very conservative”. When she was nineteen, after two abortions, she had a son. It was an unhappy marriage. Her husband was a drunk, and al-Faisal tried to balance her education – she had begun to study fine art – with caring for the baby. “I lost my young years.” Eventually, her husband decided to move back to Saudi Arabia: “I couldn’t. I went once and waited for the next plane. Compared to Saudi Arabia, Syria is paradise,” she says with disgust, “women cannot even drive there”. They were divorced, and her husband took her young son, “to punish me”, she says. She didn’t her son again until he moved to America as an adult. By then in her early twenties, she graduated from art school, more sure than ever of her vocation. After their disastrous hand in her marriage, she didn’t want to rely on her parents. She spent some time teaching art at Damascus University, before moving to Moscow, aged 27. There she lived the student days she had lost in Syria: “all the people were very talented, energetic, we watched the best films, painting during the day, and then in the evening we would play guitar, discuss art.” Those were happy times, she says, despite the separation from her son. At this point in the interview al-Faisal looks askance at the way I’m drinking my tea, lifting the cup from the table to my lips. “In New York I

We were laughing like crazy. I felt something would happen but I didn't listen to my feelings. It happened very quickly. There were a lot of waves. When they brought her in they said she still had spirit, but everyone was too scared to touch her" first, then they brought her. When they brought her some people said she still had spirit, she could live, but everybody was too scared to touch her.” Since that loss, she says, “death


POWER OF PROTEST: upon closer inspection, David and Steve decided to stop the war

When I ask if she thinks a young, talented woman would be better off in today's Syria than in the country she was born in fifty years ago, she says no without hesitation"

knew a French prince who told me it is not elegant to take it alone, you must take always this also” – she points to the saucer. Considerately, she continues, “but maybe we learn the rules to break them.” But there are no French princes, I object. “His family were princes in the past. He wanted me to marry him but I couldn’t stand him, this prince. He smelled bad, you know. I’m sorry to say that.” After two years in Moscow, she didn’t return to Syria for a long time, living instead in Germany and eventually America. Slowly, she began to be successful, holding exhibitions in Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, New York. Her paintings earned her more, in money and in respect, than they ever could in Syria – where the market is much smaller, and where she is convinced the art world conspires against women. Asked about her influences she is either exhaustive (“Modigliani, Cezanne, Matisse, Gauguin very much. Some of Picasso. And the great old masters, of course”) or mysterious: “There is a similarity between my work and Modigliani – probably a spiritual similarity. I feel my spirit is similar to Modigliani’s”. She feels a similar connection to the Austrian painter Egon Schiele, who was also reviled for his bohemian lifestyle and his supposedly pornographic pictures. “When I read about his life I thought, wow, I am not alone. His emotion, his pride – he had nothing, except his talent of course. Many times, some days, I become desperate. But then I keep reading or painting and I fight against myself.” She returned to Syria with her second husband, an American anthropologist she met while teaching Arabic at NYU. This marriage too ended in divorce – but amicably, she says. Since then she has lingered here, despite the difficulties facing independent women. Partly because she was fed up with feeling foreign in America and Germany, partly because a part of her is fiercely loyal to her homeland (“this is paradise”, she marvels, sitting on her rooftop as the sun begins to set behind the mountains, “we have the weather, good food, simple people”). And part of her thought that things might have improved. “I thought maybe I could stay here now”, she says. But when I ask if she thinks a young, talented woman would be

better off in today’s Syria than in the country she was born in fifty years ago, she says no without hesitation. “I am not optimistic. Before the 70s the country was better. In my time we could go and dance with the boys, go to the sea together… but now people are wearing the hijab more. This is all a political reaction; they cannot express themselves in other ways, so this is a way to say No.” Even her own unhappy adolescence was preferable to that of modern Syrian youth. “So many young people have no job. The young have energy, but no work – and no sex even.” She finds life tiring here – the prejudice, the professional difficulties, what she calls “the constant misunderstanding”. She tells me about one women at an exhibition who criticised her for painting the

So many young people in Syria have no job. The young have energy, but no work - and no sex even" naked body. “She said, ‘Children can see it and it destroys their morality’. But I know you destroy morality when your children ask how did I come to life and you lie to them. Then they grow up with lies.” She is torn between the West, “where for the first time I did not have to explain myself ”, and loyalty to Syria – or to those Syrians that respect her. “They are very happy that I exist, as if I am their voice. I used to teach art in a Palestinian camp, and the children there had never had an art teacher. After class I went to their house, I was like a social worker for them, and I felt responsibility for these people. But unless you are very strong it is difficult.” She thinks that she isn’t strong enough, that she will leave the country soon – a luxury not available to most Syrians. But to someone who has lived in New York, who has American and German passports and money for plane tickets, the temptation is strong: “I live here in a small place. No-one is taking care of me. I could die here alone and noone would know. My country should be proud of someone like me.”

Tuesday March 10 2009



GOING OUT SUSHIYA/19 Dalry road Tel: 0131 313 3222 Tucked away by Haymarket Station, there is a little blue box room. Sushiya, a sushi and noodle bar, is one of Haymarket’s best kept secrets. Generally, sushi in the UK and outside of London does not rise much higher than the standard of YO! Sushi. And yet, the offerings of YO! or the pre-packed Tesco sets are not true sushi. Many of these ‘sushi’ sets are not even made of raw fish, the key component. When I suggest sashimi to fellow diners in the few places that offer sushi dishes, they just look at me strangely. Hopefully, this trend is about to change. Sushiya is a shining light amongst the Marks and Spencer sushi packets. If you have never tried Japanese cuisine before, then do not be daunted. I dislike cooked fish, and yet I love the raw version. The taste and textures are entirely different: the fish is fresh and cold, thick and quite juicy, almost like a very rare steak. The chefs at Sushiya provide a wide variety of sushi and sashimi, from the typical prawn and salmon to the more adventurous eel. Dishes range from the basic nigiri to complex rolls, such as the delectable Rainbow Roll, which

Fed up of fair?

Kimberlee McLaughlan and Maddie Walder take a fresh look at every day ethical alternatives

N comes speckled with bright orange crab roe. Beautifully cut and as fresh as possible, the sushi here is the best I have had in the UK. It also comes at a lovely price, sushi dishes ranging between £4 for the more basic sushi and £6 - £9 for the complicated rolls. For less than you would have to spend at YO! or Marks And Spencer for two pieces of badly made and uninspiring sushi, your £3.95 will buy you several pieces of fresh and delicious fish. For the first timers, I recommend ordering either the nigiri or maki sushi sets that are on offer. Each comes with a chef ’s selection of sushi and slices of salmon sashimi, enabling the diner to taste as many things as possible. This is not for the faint hearted; you will have to be willing to eat octopus sushi, something that never looks pretty on the plate but if fresh will taste delicious. If you really can't stomach the idea of raw fish, fear not. Sushiya serves other Japanese rice and noodle dishes, as well as tempura. The smoked eel, served with rice is highly recommended, as are the udon noodle dishes. To top it all off, portions are massive, so you get great value for money. This little piece of fishy heaven can seat about fourteen people, so if you are looking for dinner on a Friday night, booking is recommended. Even if you don’t manage to get a seat, Sushiya offer a take-away service, meaning you will never have to go hungry.

Claire Cameron

ot so long ago, the words, 'fair trade' were on the lips of all the cool kids. But today, the once so-damn-trendy tree of ethical buying, planted by the likes of Glasto 's Michael Eavis, and watered by the environmentally conscious middle class, has started to wilt. So what's behind this ever growing apathy? The truth is that the tune got old. Over-played, over-shopped, over-fair trade - and we got bored. That's until now. So take a look at these latest innovative but unusual products, all available on www. and you're back in the green.


BAD: The fridge is brimming with the fair-trade and organic food of Mother Nature’s garden - what a kind and a benevolent person you are. Feel fulfilled with regards to your green credentials? Think again. In the area that (hopefully) we should be trying to impress the most, many of us are flagging behind, and by this of course I mean the department of love. Dazzle that special someone and show them how green your – ahem- stuff is. GOOD: Fair trade condoms (that's what I said!) are made entirely from FSC certified rubber provided by Fair Deal Trading and carry the BSI kitemark, so you can be assured that they are as up to scratch as any other recognized brand. Furthermore, they’re a similar price if not less than other brands at £3.29 a pack, or if feeling particularly sure of your luck, then £29.99 for 12 packs, which reduces the price to £2.50 a pack - bargain! Moreover, all profts go towards AIDS clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa.

PANTS BAD: Everything that we do, especially the clothes that we choose to wear, can have disastrous implications for cotton producers abroad. Logically it is inconsistent to have adopted Fair Trade ideals in the coffee that we choose to slurp, but not in the cotton that we clothe our bodies with, an anomaly that we have either chosen to ignore, or have regarded as unimportant in boosting our grown up’s version of brownie points. GOOD: So, get your hands on a pair of sexy lil' undergarments ,100% fair trade cotton and a whole lot cheaper than your Cavin Klines. Help nurture change by refusing mass-produced cotton to get a better deal for farmers. . Get shopping!


BAD: When out on the razzle dazzle, the thoughts circling one’s mind probably don’t extend to the repercussions of accessorizing on traders in the third world. However, much of the jewellery adorning your wrists is manufactured by hand for negligable pay, often by children. For these young workers, neither profit nor self sufficiency will figure in their bleak futures. GOOD: However, it should be noted that a clean conscious can be had for less than the price of your typical Top Shop bangle/ man band, which is killing two birds with one stone, if I do say so myself. Firstly, not everyone is stealing your storm by donning the same ‘original’ find. Secondly, the prices between fair trade options and High Street ones do not differ drastically. Take for example this collection of six colourful

bangles made by artisans in Northern India working with Tara projects, which aims to encourage an independent income.


BAD: More than 1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. We waste 30 tonnes of the clear stuff every day, simply by letting the tap run, flushing our loos and indulging in showers. Moreover, every time we buy a plastic bottle, we consume mineral water fit for world use, when we already have plentiful supplies, literally ‘on tap’. But thanks to ‘One Water’, you can Get ‘Eden Springs’ guilt off your mind, and ensure that every time ‘You Drink One, Africa drinks too.’ GOOD: For just 69p, quench your thirst and acknowledge the fact that 100 % of the profits go straight to PlayPump water systems in Sub Saharan Africa. The innovative scheme, which has raised £1m so far, installs roundabouts for kids in villages. As they spin on the so called ‘play pump’, water is channelled into storage before being filtered out of community taps, providing fresh drinking water for all.

the potential for exploitation and poor working conditions is high. During the Apartheid in South Africa, mixed race workers were forcibly removed to Cape Town wine industry to provide cheap labour and were paid partly in wine, leading to serious alcoholism in an unethical industry. GOOD: You’d happily spend a fiver on a bottle for a night out but most likely would balk at the idea of FT booze, thinking that it will set you back more than few quid. But Fair Trade wine, produced only in Africa and South America, can be as little as £5 a bottle. The producers receive a stable price for their efforts plus profits go towards projects aiming to help farmers of the local community.



BAD: You may not know it, but the rubber that lines your Converse/trainers/ booties, is linked to exploitative labour. Workers on the world’s largest rubber plantation in Harbel, Liberia, not only live in dire, overcrowded conditions, with no running water or electricity, but work exceedingly long hours to meet an unreasonable quota, all in return for a meagre pay. So, the next time you go for a jog, remember it’s not just your feet that are sweating.

BAD: Ah vino. Ever stop to think where your cheapo tesco wine has come from when you’re glugging it down? You most likely associate le vin with luxurious chateaus, but in fact 18% of the wine consumed in the UK comes from either Chile, Argentina or South Africa, where

GOOD: For £35.00, a snip equalling the price of the most popular brands, you can get your mitts on No Sweat’s ethical pumps, 100% anti sweatshop. They're produced by independent trade union members in developing countries and are pretty much exact replicas of converse, but cruelty free.

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Tuesday March 10 2009

Lifestyle 17

An excess of excess

Arianna Reiche is relieved to report that Fashion Week was gloriously oblivious to the recession t's over a week since the end of Ifour-collections-in-one London Fashion Week (with the menswear

show) and I am still trying to identify, order and re-savour each of my experiences. Speaking to a grumpy and pox-ridden Alexa Chung. Having a full-blown anxiety attack in Hannah Marshall’s show in the 2001: A Space Odysseymeets-psychological torture venue in the National Science Museum. Barrelling through the streets of London in my reporting team's G Wiz with toward Sienna Miller’s Twenty8Twelve show. Blinking back tears at the standing ovation given to 77-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice, the world’s first supermodel, as she emerged on the catwalk at the Qasimi show in a church near Baker Street. Perching on the stairs of the basement of the House Of Blue Eyes show in Shoreditch, capturing the first image of a completely naked Alice Dellal climbing down past me. Since Fashion week fell between the 20th and the 25th of February 2009, it was somewhat counterintuitive that it showcased designers’ Autumn/Winter 2009 collections. The New York, London, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks schedule themselves in more or less immediate succession, with New York’s completing on the commencing day in London. Each city has its own distinct character. I made the observation that New York Fashion Week is run by corporate sponsors, London by a national council, and Milan by the mob. Despite raised eyebrows from some fashionistas, I think I hit the nail on the head.

New York Fashion Week is in fact, technically “Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week”. Backstage at many of the both on and off-schedule shows, members of the British Fashion Council were stationed like Dolce and Gabbana accessorized sentinels. And Milan – well that’s a whole different kettle of pesci. But the discrepancies in worldwide ‘weeks’ aren’t restricted to administrative planning; the media unanimously deemed NYFW a rather morose affair – across the board were muted palettes and monochrome, even from the likes of usually up-tempo Badgley Mischka and Narciso Rodriguez. Even Zac Posen chose bronzes and sands over his signature ethereal ingénu garb. It was clear that much like last season’s ‘election’ themed NYFW, this season was politically-charged as well – the financial collapse emanated from every hemline and cross-stitch. Aviators were credit-crunch tinted, goodie bags mournfully downsized. Like New York, the tents in London were characterised by a reaction to global financial politics. But decadence, rather than restraint, painted the catwalk. In the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, a trapeze artist preceded Ashish’s Pop Arty, acid-tripping, seizure-inducing show, accompanied by a live VV Brown. Models at the Jaeger show walked like pack mules under the weight of kilos of diamond shards. And that Twenty8Twelve show, the one we were so desperate to

get to in our enviro-golfcart, was all sequin and sex-appeal, leaving a radiant Kaya Scoledario (Effie from Skins) beaming in the front row in a calendar-defying floral sun-dress which frankly made my entire week. There was an excess of excess, whether in the VIP room at Twenty8Twelve afterparty (I have Sienna’s heel marks on my feet to prove it) or at the press hospitality centre in South Kensington’s BFC tent, (champagne improves my camera skills, it turns out). But the single event that captured London’s fashion-forward attitude was the Central St Martin’s show on LFW’s opening night. This was one of the most highly anticipated events of the week. My boss, a fashion industry-juggernaut, bogged down with her nightly publishing duties, chose the student

showcase as only one of three shows she attended in person (the others were Vivienne Westwood and Luella). This enthusiasm toward fresh faces and ideas, without concern for celebrity, was pointedly lacking in both New York and Milan, where comparable shows did exist, but with distinctly less fanfare - and less press coverage. After being thrown into my first fashion week in to the first row at Eley Kishimoto, Louise Goldin, Jaeger, and Bora Aksu, I found that virtually all of my expectations had been shamefully off. Instead of the snarky socialites I expected to be surrounded by, these people were genuine artists, and talking to some of them was inspiring. Instead of being judged by my decidedly non-designer attire, I found people around me, young and old, taking bold chances with how they decorated their bodies, knowing that there must be no gathering of people in the world who would be more sympathetic of such risks. And instead of holding back giggles at the absurdity of the whitewashed catwalks, as I thought I would be, I found each show captivating and inventive in its own way. Arianna Reiche is a former editor of the Student. She writes for Vice and Rubbish, and blogs at

The nimble-but-silly G wiz: excellent for parking, too small for that hat.

Trend Report - Sucks for you if you got on the Wayfarers and Raybans bandwagon. It’s all about aviators this season, the more late-80s Burt Reynolds the better.

- Black ankle boots. - Backless EVERYTHING. Time to invest in some good tit tape, or thank your lucky stars if you don’t need it. - Tights with backseams. Topshop seems to have a monopoly on these fellas. Go flesh-coloured nylon with red or black stripes running up the calf. Subtle and sexy. - Fur stoles. Louise Goldin masterfully integrated them into many pieces in her Blade Runner-esque Autumn ’09 collection . But remember, go faux or go home.

Tuesday March 10 2009






 have a confession to make. I have Iwhich never read the graphic novel upon Watchmen is based and I have

no intention of doing so. Apparently, it was published by DC Comics in 1986 and it quickly gained a following in discriminating geek circles. A cursory internet search reveals that from the start of the Watchmen cult, film industry bosses knew two things about the comic book: that it simply had to be made into a movie and that it couldn’t. They believed that an epic superhero saga, spanning 45 years, with six major characters who all sport double identities and crucial, intertwined back-stories, does not lend itself to the narrative turbo-thrust of a standard action film. They were right. Director Zack Snyder has had to struggle with the inevitable dilemma of disappointing either the devoted fan base or the agnostic mass audience. As a member of the latter category, I was lost among the multiple flashbacks, pulpy dialogue and bloody acts of retribution. Set in an alternate 1985, with Richard Nixon still in office and nuclear war with the Soviet Union imminent, Watchmen is a densely plotted, politically charged tale of costumed crime-fighters driven to existential despair by a world that seems both hard to save and hardly worth saving. But before it becomes a meditation on the nature and value of heroism in uncertain times, the film is, first and foremost, a murder mystery. It begins with the gory, glass-shattering murder of The Comedian, a thuggish, washedup soldier of fortune. The murder triggers a reunion

of several of The Comedian’s associates, a now disbanded crew of superheroes who were once known as the Watchmen. "Superheroes" is perhaps the wrong word since the only character who possesses actual "superpowers"– resulting from a nuclear accident at a top-secret government research lab – is Dr Manhattan (Billy Crudup). The rest of the gang includes Rorschach, a raspyvoiced sociopath with a burning desire to brutally punish criminality; Night Owl, a timid and idealistic gadget expert; Silk Spectre, a horny sexpot who had a superhero’s legacy forced on her by her mother and predecessor; and finally Ozymandias, self-styled “smartest man in the world”. Of the group, only Rorschach suspects a link between the Comedian’s death and the encroaching

threat of global annihilation, and fears a conspiracy to eliminate the Watchmen entirely. The twists and turns are played out in a tight chronological continuum with a series of flashbacks that delve into each hero’s origins and unique worldview. The result is that there’s simply no room for these characters and stories to breathe of their own accord. None of the acting leaves any impression and the film fails to deliver a critique of the human preoccupation with masked crime-fighters as promised. Indeed, at its conclusion the film seems to yield to the very superhero clichés it purports to subvert. A notable part of the film is its schizophrenic soundtrack which is packed with hits from artists including Simon and Garfunkel, Billie Holiday and Jimi Hendrix. Many of these

are used in a distractingly obvious or ironic fashion, an example of which is Nena’s Cold War protest song '99 Luftballons' during a montage of Soviet and American military preparations. At this juncture, it seems appropriate to nominate Silk Spectre and Night Owl for The Student Film section’s 'Bad Movie Sex' award. The fornication in question takes place on board a owl-shaped spaceship, accompanied by Leonard Cohen’s 'Hallelujah'. Because of Hollywood’s natural aversion to intercourse and gratuitous nudity, the couple make love like two high school sweethearts popping their respective cherries after the prom, rather than a couple of aggressively sexual vigilantes who have just returned from a death-defying escapade. Cue several partial nipple



 t is I who wears the crown in this "I marriage! You may NOT leave this room; I say, you will NOT leave this room." A film detailing the early life of one of Britain’s most robust monarchs was never going to leave your cheeks stinging with its gritty realism, but it certainly offers an interesting perspective on who wore the trousers. With the death of King William ( Jim Broadbent) imminent, several parties are vying for the favour of young Victoria. A dubiously wigged Broadbent plays the king as a drunken, blundering fool who can barely focus, but rightly accuses the Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson) and Lord Conroy (Mark Strong) of manipulating the princess into a regency order. The order, in effect, would hand rule over to Conroy, whose evil only appears to be eclipsed by the lusciousness of his own mutton-chops. Unfortunately, Richardson is prevented from exercising her full capabilities as the possessed matriarch, a role she played with obvious relish in Sleepy Hollow, with Julian Fellowes’ script sympathetically portraying her as a woman torn between her own agenda, maternal love and vulner-

Prince Albert poses for a photo after winning the medal for World's Stupidest Haircut. Idiot. ability when faced with the tyrannical Conroy. Emily Blunt’s Victoria is a steely but often misguided monarch, perhaps hampered more than a little by the impression of a petulant child throughout. She is easy prey to the 'great seducer', Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), who smoothly slides himself into Conroy’s place when Victoria turns to him after Conroy, 'the big bad

wolf ', manhandles her. It is his reshuffling of her ladiesin-waiting with his own political allies that shapes the turbulence of her early reign when she rejects Robert Peel despite his public popularity. Stalwart amongst all this is Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) but it seems he has to compete with a simpering dog, Dash, for her affections. One cliché the film rigorously follows

is the British sensibility that dog is (wo)man’s best friend. She shows little interest in Albert upon meeting, as he has clearly been tutored by King Leopold of Belgian with diplomatic intentions. Whilst exchanging tedious information about their suspiciously similar interests ("I like this...Walter Scout"), Dash takes a shine to Bertie and Vicky considers that he might be worth another look. On his second

shots and the use of a flamethrower as a metaphor for ejaculation and we have a sure-fire winner. Unlike the sex, the violence is not a laughing matter. The infliction of pain is rendered in intimate and precise aural and visual detail, from the noise of cracking bones to the gushing of blood and saliva. To the Watchmen, the only action that makes sense in this world is killing. Indeed, the film’s saving grace is the climactic argument between a wholesale, idealistic approach to mass death and one that is more cynical and individualistic. Perhaps there is something meaningful to be found in regressing into this belligerent, adolescent state of mind. I would suggest that there isn’t. Sam Ross visit, Albert has clearly learned his lesson, arriving with a dog in each arm. The key point is when Victoria tells him over a game of chess that she feels like a pawn and would like someone to play for her. He corrects her, saying she only needs someone to play with her. Later, they talk about big issues: HOUSING, INDUSTRY and THE CONDITION OF THE COMMON MAN. Despite this obvious attempt to portray the couple as passionate, politically aware people, along with the reforms during Victoria’s reign, the depiction of the working classes in the film is limited to a Cockney nutjob who attempts her assassination and could be the cousin of the Hitcher from The Mighty Boosh, only slightly less green. Conversely, the plot alters history in order to portray Albert as a thoroughly decent chap. As far as my records are concerned, Al never took a bullet for Vic. However, this does allow for some "but darling, I never knew you cared, let me kiss it better" sickbed romance. You don’t expect a great deal of eroticism from a PG-rated film (apart from Leopold screaming his failsafe plan for Albert to improve Germany’s political standing: "We must get you into her bed!") and this is because Young Victoria aims to illustrate the care, compromise and compassion at the heart of one of the most romanticised, and productive, unions in royal history. Susan Robinson

Up yours, dear readers. We don't write for you, we write for ourselves. You got a problem with that? Then come join the Film crew!

Tuesday March 10 2009

Review 19

Itching is the first symptom of the dog-borne flesh-eating virus Wendy has just contracted.



 his may be another film with the T name of a dog in the title, but Wendy and Lucy is unsurprisingly a long way from the idyllic, happyever-after vibe of Lassie. Instead, we’re given a moving portrayal of a girl’s attempt to escape, prosper, and

eventually simply to survive, as her fragile world slowly crumbles around her when she finds herself trapped, with a broken down car, in a backwater town in Oregon. The film focuses on the life of 20-something urchin Wendy as she attempts to make her way north to the Alaskan canneries in search of work, with nothing but a worn out Honda, her dog Lucy, and a few meagre $20 notes strapped under her shirt. It feels like a middle without the beginning or the end, a two-hour snapshot of a

life portrayed without context. The beginning of the film finds her walking through sun-draped woods with her dog Lucy, seemingly happy, yet gives no explanation as to how she arrived here. This however, is certainly not to the detriment of the film as instead we’re drip-fed hints as to her desperate state, almost as if we had just joined her as a kind of mute travelling companion. Faithfully based on Jonathan Raymond’s short story 'Train Choir', Kelly Reichardt’s adaptation focuses

on the main character herself, rather than filling out the film with effects, side-stories or even monumental events in Wendy’s experience. This is a slow-paced film, in which all the events are given their importance by their relation to Wendy, rather than as interesting plot turns. Not much actually happens, but Michelle Williams’ fantastic performance, which captures the quiet, restrained desperation of a girl feeling lost and absolutely alone, powerfully sympathises Wendy, to the extent that the relatively small obstacles which she comes across, which hit her like a sledgehammer, make it almost impossible not to connect with her. Some of the most poignant moments in the film would appear pathetic or lacklustre without the strength of Williams’ performance to back them up. Later in the film a gift from a security guard holds disproportionately enormous significance, and quiet realisations are elevated to moments of heartbreaking poignancy throughout. Other characters in the film add force to Williams’ narrative, from the shop assistant who callously causes her the major tragedy of the film, to the aging security guard who offers some of the only respite for Wendy in a world which seems to have cast her into the gutter. Despite this, however, this really is a film about a single character. Sparse, actor-driven, socially aware, and openended, Wendy and Lucy is a powerful, slow-burning narrative, which impresses its thoughtful exploration of hope, loneliness and loss with well calculated restraint. This is a triumph of anti-sensationalist filmmaking. Craig Kerr Mcintyre



 eople will not like this film. But I P do. The Jock, The Geek, The Misfit, The Princess and The Heartthrob:

American Teen is a film documentary of these five regular kids and their final year at a small Indiana high school in traditional mid-western US of A. It is a testament to every American high school kid’s emotional rollercoaster that is senior year. The film is advertised as a modern day Breakfast Club, but I can only say this (excuse the blue language, kids): Breakfast Club my ass. Breakfast Club was a piece of classic film genius that most kids of our generation will have stumbled across in their parents' VHS collection or on daytime TV while pulling a sicky, like I often did (note: writer scores a bonus ‘RebelCool’ point here). American Teen will not become a classic, nor will it be known by the bulk of our generation and the only thing really connecting it to Breakfast Club is the fact that it’s set in high school. It is filmed with cameras that rival the quality of the 1980s, by TV documentary camera men who have no clue what cameras are for except amateur porn. Similarly, it is directed by someone who seems to have ignored all rules of filmmaking to the point of insanity, but not in the fun, quirky way some directors do: they’re allowed to be crazy. Burnstein seemed adamant that illustrating the thought process of the cast with animated impressionism didn’t look creepy beyond belief and kept cutting away from the

'Black and white ball' does not mean 'Adidas tracksuits', you slag. This was supposed to be my big day... film and expecting the audience to follow without question. What is most credible about the film is that it has avoided the predilection with which TV series such as The Hills and Laguna Beach: The Real OC have depicted high school, and has at least endowed high school life with a modicum of realism and truth. Ignoring its faults, American Teen is good. It’s that simple. No matter how anyone attempts to film it, following the lives of five people through the stress and happiness of high school

will give you a connection to these strangers better than any regular film could ever do. Anyone who went to any high school anywhere will relate to these kids. One watches them intensely - and couldn’t fail to do so as they go about making your mistakes and living your past. This film will not line the pockets of those involved with millions, nor will it conceive any acting careers for the cast. In fact, none of the cast has since gone on to do anything in the film business, except one teen

planning to graduate from film school, anyway. You will never see a film quite like this and, as a unique selling point, American Teen’s greatest asset is indeed its break from convention. Most of you won’t even bother to attempt to watch it but if you do, keep an open mind and you will find yourself laughing and crying with these five lost teenagers who compress a year of their life into a mere two-hour slot. Lance Jordan

WANGS OF NEW YORK, MY LEFT WANG, THERE WILL BE WANGS (Newspaper offices, March 1999) NEWS!!! I DRINK IT UP!!! DRAINAAAAAAGGGGE!!! Oh, hello there, I’m not Daniel Day-Lewis. I’m never Daniel DayLewis… Sometimes I method-act as Daniel Day-Lewis for a project about the life of a man named Daniel Day-Lewis I’m developing, and accept awards on behalf of a man named Daniel Day-Lewis, but I’m never Daniel Day-Lewis. Okay? I’m glad that’s cleared up. Are you? Good, then I’ll construe. Having disappeared for a decade, only to be discovered working at the Washington Post as a lowly copy-editor, Mr Day-Lewis returns in 2009 to fulfil his original promise to the Student [to ‘construe’, as you’ll remember]. Staying true to The Method, and as a result of some very poor research on his part, Day-Lewis has blinded himself and contracted AIDS for the role of film writer, which will ultimately last for all of two minutes. We thank him and wish him all the best... One of my all-time favourite actors is Sir Samuel L Jackson. One can truly admire the dedication to the art form required to take on a role credited as ‘Black Guy 1’ in Pacino’s overblown white-power epic Sea Of Love. There’s a lot to be said for the man, really. He’ll next be seen in…Sweet egads! A film called Rape: A Love Story?! That can’t be correct, surely! Hmmm…Seems it is though…said ‘love story’ apparently sees the ‘other’ Wacko Jacko take the law into his own hands in an attempt to castigate - and potentially castrate - the guttersnipe perverts who raped a young mother (we’re reading from Jackson’s script and so we’re not actually sure yet if he/she is a ‘mother’ in the traditional, medical sense or if this is just the big man’s editing) in his town. Blimey. I’m sure Sam will handle the role with all the gentle sensitivity we’ve come to expect from him. As an aside, I should also note my admiration for his recent turn as ‘The Internet’ in those recent Virgin ads. He really nailed that notoriously difficult role… Steve Carell is set to make fun of sick people again in Hi-T. Unfortunately, the film is not a scones-and-cream-based epic for the txtng generation but a frankly insensitive ‘funny’ in which Carell tackles a character requiring constant injections of testosterone following a near-fatal car accident. The testosterone shots upset his already emotionally-unstable body further and he suffers extreme mood swings. And probably dies at the end too. Sounds fantastic, Steve; really insightful and exploitative, like all your best stuff. I know you’ll accuse me of lacking a sense of humour, so let’s all see how you like these humour apples, Steve: ‘FILM’ is an anagram of popular dirty-term ‘MILF’. Hilarious. And I came up with that on the spot. Daniel Day-Lewis

Tuesday March 10 2009



Singles reviews PETE DOHERTY The Last Of The English Roses PARLOPHONE


Album of the week THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO The Law of the Playground



t seems Pete Ifinally Doherty has decided

to stop living off tabloid interview fees and start making something tuneful and much less crackaddled, which is usually a good decision. 'The Last Of The English Roses' has a Sandanista-era Clash bassline and echoes of Morrissey's solo work in the big drums and distant harmonica, all accompanied by Doherty's trademark slurred delivery. The video fittingly sums up the mood of the song with Pete alternately dressed in the style of Oscar Wilde, and a QPR shirt having a kickabout with some kids in a playground. It's typical Pete, his schtick is still the same, but the fact he's cleaned up his act means we may finally get to hear something that does justice to his undeniable talent, and this, music fans, is very good news indeed. SPINNERETTE Sex Bomb (Adam Freeland Remix) ANTHEM RECORDS

 ey, look at H this! The singer from the

Distillers who we all used to fancy when we were in high school has made a pop band and and they're releasing Tom Jones covers. How about that? Oh it's not the Tom Jones song? Pity, that sounded so awful it may have turned out to be really good. Still, this remix by Adam Freeland is pretty decent pop-on-steroids, and Brody Dalle is a refreshing change from the identikit one-dimensional pop stars we're usually served up with. TWISTED WHEEL We Are Us COLUMBIA



wisted Wheel have enjoyed heavy endorsement from Liam Gallagher, which is the kiss of death in terms of getting anyone who matters to take you seriously, apart from the label guys who smell a few quid from marketing this sort of stuff to laddish oiks who have seen Ocean Colour Scene 89 times. Furthermore, 'We Are Us'? That's actually what it's called. Yes, Twisted Wheel, unfortunately for all of us, you are indeed, you. Please don't be. Andrew Chadwick

 iving up to L your own standards is

no easy task, especially when you’ve just held The Best Party Ever. Pete Hobbs and Jof Owen’s 2005 debut brimmed with infectious joy, mellifluous tunes you could whistle or clap along to, and a tinge of underlying darkness. The band, quite aptly, have compared their sound to what would happen “if all your stuffed animals got together and started a band”. Judging from The Law of the Playground, they’ve found an ethic they can adhere to comfortably. With the return of their lively banjo and tinkling glockenspiel, The Law of the Playground may contain few surprises, but this is hardly a fault; it’s like finally receiving the birthday present you’ve begged your parents for. Exempt from the trite popular influences that seem to render every other band instantly credible, it conjures up the idyllic childhood you can’t help but miss - those halcyon days of innocent games, storybooks and ice-cream. The album begins with 'Saddle Up', a jaunty opener flavoured with wistful romance - perfect for a bright summer’s day where you want nothing more than to go out and play. 'When Life Gives Me Lemons, I Make Lemonade' proceeds in the same vein, with THE PRODIGY Invaders Must Die COOKING VINYL

 ith an W amalgamation of futuristic

yet positively familiar sounds, The Prodigy make a fierce comeback with their 5th studio album Invaders Must Die. The Prodigy’s main man, Liam Howlett, has kindly travelled back in time to resurrect the old recipe for success that we so loved in Music for the Jilted Generation. He has created a warped, fast paced blend of messed up guitars, catchy synthetic melodies, and a frenzy of powerful drum beats. What a little boffin. One thing The Prodigy has never lacked, is the insane energy which reverberates off every corner of every song on this album. When listening to Invaders Must Die there is an almost certain guarantee that you will be unable to resist throwing some crazy shapes. However, with the uber cool keyboard-hooklines enticing you in, there is also no guarantee that you will look half as good as it sounds. Be warned!

a refreshing lack of irony in its optimism; complemented perfectly by Owen’s hushed, boyish vocals. As expected, the band shy away from anything jarring or discordant, opting instead for seamless harmonies reminiscent of the soundtrack to a children’s television programme. Still, fans will recall Owen’s phobias and uncertainties, carefully hidden under a veneer of cheerful abstraction. Rather than drifting into harsh realism, The Boy Least Likely To effortlessly translate modern anxieties into something less stark. The plaintive 'A Balloon On A Broken String' expresses problems of self-identity in a charming metaphor, and 'I Box Up The Butterflies' contains an element of unexpected violence (“And I put a pin / Through its wings”). 'Stringing Up Conkers', initially a quaint homage to a very English upbringing, becomes a reflection of hollow, unfulfilled adulthood. Like its predecessor, The Law of the Playground may, admittedly, verge on being too saccharine for cynical listeners. But the beauty of its lush instrumentation is unmistakable, and its blend of straightforward ebullience and nuanced unsettlement make it far from vapid. In true twee-pop style, The Boy Least Likely To fashion themselves as the proverbial underdogs, too fragile for a demanding world. True, they may not be the loudest or bravest, but they possess a generous amount of insight and imagination that is difficult to reject. Des Lim

The recruitment of Does It Offend You Yeah?’s James Rushent was a smart move as it created two of the best tracks on the album: ‘Invaders Must Die’ and the top ten hit ‘Omen’. The infectious overlaying of euphoric riffs in ‘Omen’ has the unfortunate side-effect of extreme humming. But the often highpitched electronica is something that is not easy for any listener to replicate, and therefore the song is perhaps best played at a high volume to drown out our unavoidable attempts. Amidst the futuristic and the powerful, there comes a time in the album when things start to get a little repetitive. Do we love the 90’s? – yes. Do we love the repetitive hooklines? – yes. Do we love the constant repetition throughout all eleven tracks? – not so much! Using the same technique and dipping into more or less the same palate of electronic sounds does limit the impact of this album. Nevertheless, there are some really decent tracks on this album, one of my favourites being ‘Colours’. It sucks you in with its thumping bass, then knocks you out with its old-school gameboyesque synth lines. Gems such as this morph Invaders Must Die into a continuous stream of attitude and feel-good music. Overall Invaders Must Die is one of those albums that is going

The Boys Least Likely To...make a prog-metal album.

THE PRODIGY: Trying desperately to look hard. to be the soundtrack to many a good night. The Complete lack of musical depth and meaningful lyrics does nothing to hinder this album; it is exactly what makes it so awesome. The Prodigy have gone and done what they do best: created an

album which is simple, disjointed and powerful. Essentially what has been created is noise that sounds bloody good. Megan Croft

Tuesday March 10

Don't go anywhere without your iPod?

Review    21

Live reviews

Recommended tracks

Amadou & Mariam Edinburgh Picture House Saturday 28th February

Things we've been listening to, both old and new. This week, we've created a playlist of songs inspired by news of summer festival line-ups and sunny weather.

 ithout a doubt the world's best W blind Malian husband-and-wife afro-blues partnership, Amadou and

Mariam have proved one of the few acts to successfully break out of the 'world music' niche to a wider audience. As a result, the audience for the Edinburgh leg of their 'Welcome to Mali' tour spans a wide arc of ages and styles, with sandals by no means the dominant choice of footwear. The Amadou and Mariam experience is a riot of sound and colour, each song building to a climax that gets the crowd dancing in a way that reclaims the word 'feelgood'. Their music effortlessly blends traditional Malian beats with classic rock riffs, shots of electro-pop and anything else that comes to mind, a stew of diverse influences that anyone can dance to. One of the high points is 'Sabali', the tender, electronically-flavoured track (with a liberal sprinkling of Damon Albarn stardust) that is the standout track on their latest album, Welcome To Mali. Mariam's sparsely soulful vocals come as an oasis of calm in the breathless swirl of funk, rapid drumbeats and extravagant Led Zep-style guitar solos. 'I Follow You' demonstrates the tender and very real chemistry between the pair as Mariam strokes her husband's head while he sings of his love for her. 'Ce n'est pas bon' is a stirring political anthem about the dangers of power-crazed politicians based around an all-pervading backbeat, a marching rhythm subverted into pure funk. It also represents one of the best moments of audience interaction on the night, as Amadou calls out to the crowd: "this song is about politicians and power. The lyrics mean: it's not good, it's not good,

Pheonix - 1901 (wolfgang amadeus pheonix) Blissful French electro-pop. We can't wait for the return of Phoenix, the quintessential summer band. A perfect three minute pop song and the ideal soundtrack to the weather getting warmer. Weezer - Only in dreams (Weezer (The blue album)) After not listening to Weezer in ages we've been revisiting the delights of their classic debut, and this, the superb closer.

we don't like it." The structure of the performance, each song's climax bigger than the one before, builds to a staggering crescendo – a 15-minute jam session that allows the duo's support of flawlessly professional session musicians and dancers to showcase their skills before the now-pulsating audience, who have long ago thrown all inhibitions away. The pair sign off with the relaxed 'Beaux Dimanches', their slower breakthrough song the equivalent of a post-coital cigarette for an audience thoroughly fatigued not only by irresistible dancing but also by the unceasing power of this heady blend of musical influences - a fitting end to an incredibly celebratory gig. James Ellingworth



Peter doherty Glasgow Barrowland Tuesday 24th February

 ete Doherty is commonly regarded P as a divisive figure, but from his performance last Tuesday, he can only

be said to divide the philistines from the indie aesthetes. Playing a near perfect set, a patchwork of The Libertines and Babyshambles songs interspersed with numbers from his upcoming solo album Grace/Wastelands, Doherty held the Glasgow Barrowlands crowd transfixed. A faded Union Jack was draped over an amp as a thousand sweaty Glaswegian teenagers, the grubby beautiful sort you never see at normal gigs, spat back the lyrics to Fuck Forever whose longing acoustic performance was the highlight of the night. If youth is forever a byword for cool, judging from his fans alone, Doherty clearly still has it. The average age of the crowd was about 17, a fact that didn’t deter the policemen swarming outside the venue, subjecting everyone to sniffer dogs and a brisk frisking. One wonders

if Doherty passed through the same procedure. Yet whilst swaying hypnotically in his trademark crumpled black suit like some weird French guy from Henry Miller novel, he was composed in speech and dashingly polite, a world away from his tabloid image. Guest guitarist Graham Coxen was a muted presence, indeed he would have been barely noticeable had he not been introduced by Doherty. It was clear who the night belonged to. The venue itself, a converted ballroom left untouched since the 1960s, complimented Doherty’s nostalgia for the ‘gin in teacups’ of an Albion that never was. But despite opening and closing with Libertines tracks, Doherty is far from rooted in the past. The new songs stood out by their more refined sound, the string section and female backing vocals a graduation from the raw underproduction of his previous work. Though title Grace/Wastelands may optimistically suggest the poetry of T.S. Eliot set to the music of Jeff Buckley, from what we’ve heard of it, Doherty has surpassed even this hypothetical possibility. John Sannaee

koushik - lying in the sun (out my window) Another ideal song to play on a lazy day, even if it's not in summer. If you like Caribou, Panda Bear, or Boards of Canada, you'll like this. Fucked up - david comes to life (hidden world) Fucked Up's second full-length got all the praise last year, but their debut LP, Hidden World is a ferocious beast that will have passed by many who discovered the band through NME last year. 'David Comes To Life' is epic, violent and melodic all at once. Organized konfusion - Walk into the sun (organized konfusion) Prince Po and Pharaohe Monch's 1991 debut still sounds as fresh today as it did back then. Featuring two rappers on top of their game, 'Walk Into The Sun' is as laid back as hip-hop gets. Belle and sebastian - Another sunny day (the life pursuit) Continuing our summery theme (perhaps in the vain hope that it'll bring the sun sooner) this wonderful jangly pop ditty about lost love is a highlight in Belle And Sebastian's considerable back catalogue. House of the rising sun - the animals (the animals)

The big pink Velvet

Due for release on April 20th, The Big Pink's second single, 'Velvet', has been backed by a black and white video featuring a lot of suggestive mirroring and moody lighting. Oh, and quite a lot of semi-nudity with flashing images. It's a sharp, fast paced video to match an equally dynamic song: The Big Pink's

best so far, in fact. The electonic pulse of the opening is captured by lengthy shots of dark basements and claustrophopic spaces; the blistering chorus reflected in flickering images of seductive female legs, bondage, and ghostlike veils, caught between between singer and guitarist Robbie Furze looking edgy and slightly confrontational as he walks through a street at night. Fantastic work all round.

"There is a house in New Orleans..." You know the rest. We've been watching Our Friends In The North and this featured rather heavily throughout the series. It reminded us what an unbelievable song it is, and we don't care if that's a cliche. pulp - underwear (different class) Blur have reformed, so why shouldn't Pulp? Are you listening, Jarvis? Please?

Tuesday March 10 2009

22  Review 


13 books to read before you graduate The Culture writers reveal their top reads in celebration of World Book Day Lady Chatterley's lover

The God of Small Things

D.H. Lawrence

Arundhati Roy

cecily rainey

A blend of forbidden love, postwar pleasantries and the infamously explicit rendition of one of literature’s great affairs; Lady Chatterley’s Lover has all the ingredients of a great romantic novel. Brimming with as much unbridled, passion as four-letter words it was kept hidden from our innocent eyes for almost forty years until it was published in the swinging sixties. However, even an age of free love and flamboyance found D.H Lawrence’s novel too controversial for the English stiff upper lip. Penguin publishers were prosecuted. The eventual collapse of the case became a landmark success story showing the triumph of great literature over the often limiting standards of public sensitivity. Nevertheless, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is more than merely a succès de scandale. Lawrence’s tale is a beautifully written account of a young woman torn between the intellectual fulfillment brought to her by her paralysed war-hero husband and her emotional and physical needs, satisfied in the primitive gamekeeper. The conclusion is poignant, embodying that age old faith; love conquers all. �� Rachael Cloughton

This 1997 Booker Prize winner is part of and testament to the explosion of popularity in post-colonial Indian culture amongst Western audiences in the past few decades. It is a story about two young twins and their family in India who struggle against their society’s boundaries – of caste, of age, of history and of sex. Its continuous appeal lies in its highly inventive narrative and linguistic style, which allows the reader inside the innocent and playful minds of the two protagonists, Rahel and Estha. Shifting and playing with chronology, the tale of the family unfolds towards a devastating finale, the effects of which are truly shocking for both characters and reader. Roy’s debut novel is broad in scope, unafraid to take a position on globalisation, politics, prejudice and love; yet it is intimately crafted, never forgetting that it is the “Small Things” that give us our humanity. Shedding light on the darker side of the society that makes up the world’s largest democracy, The God of Small Things is a beautiful book, and one that deserves to be read. Rupert Faircliff

Madame Bovary

Vanity Fair

White Teeth

Mrs Dalloway

I capture the Castle

Gustav Flaubert

William Makepeace Thackeray

Zadie Smith

Virginia Woolf

Dodie Smith

Often referred to as ‘the novel about nothing’, for me, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary is anything but. In a bid to escape her monotonous life with husband Charles, the romantic literature loving Emma, falls in with the wrong crowd after a taste of the high-life at the Marquis’ ball. The lure of the elegant fashion, the music and the promise of tempestuous affairs tears her away from the safety of her marriage, into the arms of Rodolphe, the lothario who offers her a taste of his all too tempting fruit. Yet, Flaubert’s real triumph is his complete mastery of language. Each line is imbued with image upon image, each rolling into the next until we find ourselves running through village fetes, Rouen cathedral or being seduced in some upstairs room while our loving but oblivious husband sits by the window below. It was a novel far beyond its time both visually and structurally and even now, I’m pushed to think of another author who can so sophisticatedly place us within the minds of his characters. It offers a perfect vision of human sensibility while simultaneously warning that when we buy into the lies of romance novels, we can’t always get a refund. R

Rachel Williams

During the summer holidays two years ago I picked up the bulky Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero from my local library, in preparation for my travels through Italy. It looked like a nineteenth century classic novel; wordy, lengthy and inevitably hard going. William Makepeace Thackeray’s magnum opus reads however more like a collection of interesting anecdotes meshed into the lives of its fascinating characters. Of course it contains the traditional themes of a nineteenth century novel; loss of fortune, marriage hunting and unrequited love. It is Thackeray’s characters and tone which makes this novel so unique. The title suggests a lack of moral centre, which is true for most of its characters, especially the gregarious Becky Sharp and her rakish husband Rawdon Crawford. The title is taken from Puritan John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, as a fair is held in a town called Vanity. Thackeray darkly satirises human nature as all of his characters are inherently flawed and basely selfish. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars, Vanity Fair is not only a literary treasure but also a gloriously gossipy holiday read. Emma Murray

Zadie Smith’s White Teeth was the novel of the moment in 2000. The presitgious list of pirzes won by Smith's debut novel contributed to the deserved hype. Detailing a cross-section of multicultural Britain, White Teeth traces the intersecting lives of three families and a genetically modified mouse, then unfolds the tapestry into which these individual threads have been sown. White Teeth is above all a modern read for our generation, juxtaposing immigration issues with one night stands and the pressure to lose weight in a natural way, connecting with its many readers who may deal with these factors daily. Smith writes wittily, poignantly and originally, producing a heady cocktail that inevitably left literary critics and readers alike drunk but with no pounding hangover the next morning, just a craving for more of her magic mix. The special ingredient in White Teeth is its unique brand of humour. Without littering the text with cheesy punch lines, it is just inherent in Smith’s writing; the bones of the novel are funny. A truly great read that I guarantee will make you eager to devour Smith’s other novels as well. Hannah Ramsey

The novel is a subtle exploration of emotions that explores how past experiences can affect and shape a person. It begins with Clarissa Dalloway, a captivating and zesty woman, preparing for a party one day in June. Woolf ’s focus on Clarissa’s relations with friends and family makes us question those we love and the chances that are lost. Running in parallel with the exciting build-up to Clarissa’s glamorous party we see the deterioration of Septimus-Warren Smith, through the eyes of a loved one. Woolf shows the positive and negative aspects of human relations, sympathising with Peter Walsh, whose unrequited love for Clarissa has plagued him all his life. It is not until the climax of the party that we see her in full splendour through his eyes. Woolf employs stream of consciousness to give a privileged view of the protagonist but her use third person narrative keeps the reader at a distance, eager to know more about the life of a middle aged woman who is adored by all who meet her. It is Woolf 's stylish innovation that puts Mrs Dalloway ahead of the rest. Eleanor Marsden

Rather than going for something which would prove my intellectual ability as a literature student I’ve decided to opt for pure enjoyment. I Capture the Castle is set in 1930’s England in a derelict castle occupied by witty 17-year-old narrator Cassandra. Her father has writers block, her sister is tired of being impoverished and her stepmother is an occasional nudist who frolicks about the countryside in nothing but her wellies. Just as the family is beginning to despair along, come the handsome Cotton brothers from America, and a tale of love and conflict ensues in the surroundings of the Sussex countryside. Cassandra soon realises that love is not as simple as it seems and faces problems of her own in the form of the handsome gardener Stephen who will do anything to win her affections… Although the plotline might make the entire male population sigh, Cassandra’s witty narration and a twisting plot make this one of the most readable books I’ve ever come across. Read it in the bath or read it in the summer sun on the meadows; you can’t help but be affected by the characters and the trials they face. I defy any reader, male or female, to dislike it…

Jen Bowden

Tuesday March 10 2009

Review    23

Suburban Gothic

Claire Mapletoft on why she loves the dark world of Joyce Carol Oates

A confederacy of dunces

god made sunday

The awakening

John Kennedy Toole

Walter Macken

Kate Chopin

Join Ignatius J. Reilly in his quest for employment and the triumph of taste and decency over modern cinema standards and his ever-drunk mother. Family circumstances dictate that he must get a job, but Ignatius soon finds that he is incompatible with the job market and indeed society at large.Confined by the office and tempted by the hotdog stand, he blunders through the French Quarter of New Orleans displacing vendors, cats and pedestrians. Only in his scathing correspondence with a certain beatnik Jewish feminist in New York is he able to exercise his weighty intellect. Love prevails. Ignatius is often described as an anti-hero, but he is in fact simply a hero. Though he is grossly overweight and still lives with his mother at the age of thirty he knows his values and he stands up for them. Unquestionably the funniest book I’ve ever read but far more than that besides. Somewhere along the line you stop laughing at Ignatius' compulsion to consume or ridicule everything in his path and his predicament takes on a very real urgency. You realise you’re desperately rooting for him. Love prevails.

God Made Sunday will never be called an epic- it will never be regarded as one of those books that are magnificent in their scope, or be referred to as one of those landmark pieces of literature that challenged our ideas or provided sociological insight. It is a children's story, un-ceremonious and un-pretentious in its language and small in its ambition. And yet it is one of the most flawless and beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read. The story is of Colmain the fisherman, who reluctantly picks up a pen after he is persuaded to by a widely mistrusted mainlander. Being a simple man Colmain takes a while to find his voice, but once he does out spills a most remarkable narration. He writes of the storm that killed his family, and the grief that destroyed his mother and he does so in rough honest prose that does not hide behind long-winded descriptions or elaborate metaphors. There is only a humble story, laid bare, inviting you to make of it what you will. God Made Sunday is emotional without being soppy, funny without being comical, simple without being plain, and perfect though it never tries to be. It is a captivating tale by an every-day voice of extraordinary experiences, that surely does justice to its celebrated Irish author. I urge you to read it.

Another 19th century novel where the heroine commits suicide. Typical woman, right? Wrong. On the contrary, The Awakening is a passage of rebirth and liberation. It focuses upon Edna Pontellier, a wealthy, bourgeois woman, a caged bird who makes the decision to free herself of the encumbering shackles of convention. Set in a town on the Gulf of Mexico, Edna flouts her social encoding by leaving her husband, renting her own home and embarking upon a sexual relationship with a man significantly her junior. However, Edna’s belief that her husband and children cannot claim her new found freedom becomes futile as convention weighs heavily upon her, transforming her into ‘a bird with a broken wing’. Thus, with the words, ‘goodbye, because I love you’, Edna drowns herself. The beauty of The Awakening is it’s inability to portray a happy ending, and instead it’s ability to portray a dangerous self-indulgence through the death of a woman whose only crime is her challenge to an accepted social order. To many, it may seem hopeless, defeatist. However, it portrays the condition of a woman in 19th century America in all it’s vicious reality. It is a novel of paradox, of boundless hope contrasted with fettered defeat. Of soaring nightingales and caged parrots. But most importantly, of freedom, that can so easily be taken for granted.

L McNulty

Ciara Stafford

Claire Mapletoft

captain corelli's mandolin

Jude the obscure

Nineteen eighty-four

Louis de Bernieres

Thomas Hardy

George Orwell

I studied Captain Corelli’s Mandolin inside-out and back-to-front at college and still think it is the best book I have ever read. In fact, I loved it so much that after leaving school my best friend and I headed off on a pilgrimage to Kefalonia in search of the real Captain Corelli (who, to clarify, definitely does not look or sound anything like Nicholas Cage.) De Bernière’s beautifullycrafted story relates how life in a small Greek island community was affected by the events and repercussions of the Second World War, flitting seamlessly from one narrator to another. The subtle humour and sundrenched laziness of the first half only serves to make the horrific tragedy of the second all the more poignant. At the end of our aforementioned pilgrimage, we saw an old couple riding along the dusty, olive tree-lined road on a motorbike, which, if you have read the novel, you will understand was an extremely significant event. And if you haven’t, then you should get reading!

Being asked to choose a 'favourite book' is a little like being asked to choose a 'favourite internal organ': I'd rather not have to limit myself to one. But if the novel is your thing, then you'd struggle to find a more accomplished example than Jude the Obscure. It does exactly what a novel should do, dramatizing an individual's struggle for self-determination against an inscrutable and occasionally hostile universe. The doomed twosome of Jude Fawley and Sue Bridehead are overwhelmingly convincing characters, and the narrative they cohabit is at once impressively intricate and immaculately neat. Kudos must also go to Hardy for his cutting-edge politics: the novel gives a nuanced voice to a range of difficult late-19th century issues, from working-class rights to the emerging feminist movement. The novel proved so complex and so controversial that after its publication Hardy never returned to large-scale fiction. Jude the Obscure still has the power to make the novels sitting next to it on your shelf appear redundant.

Orwell’s novel provides a chilling depiction of a society in which everything constituting humanity as we know it is destroyed. The tyrannical Big Brother controls how, what and where individuals feel and think, creating the ultimate dictatorship This created world is a comment on Stalin’s totalitarian government in Soviet Russia. From the novel’s opening Orwell makes the reader aware of the oppressiveness of the environment which even the protagonist - one of the last genuinely feeling individuals - cannot escape. Orwell draws the reader into a plot where we are in constant suspicion of who can be trusted and who cannot, leaving the reader with only Winston to sympathise with. Society is not dead but it is not truly alive either and by the close of the novel, following a horrific climax, any shred of humanity within this grey world is undetectable.

Ruth McPherson

Luke Healey

Alanna Petrie

“When people say there is too much violence in my books, what they are saying is there is too much reality in life” wrote Joyce Carol Oates, on of her seminal essay ‘On Boxing’. Reading this quote again, after writing my dissertation mainly on the works of Joyce Carol Oates, I can see the iron punch that is clad in her choice of words. But who is she? Her work stems from the 1960’s until the present day, a canon that includes plays, criticism, poetry and prose. She has written over fifty novels, and as of 2008, is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University. Oates’ writing has loosely been given the label of ‘suburban Gothic’, due to her primary concern with violence. A violence that occurs between men and women, and interestingly, between men. A violence of language, enmeshed in an intricate discourse of betrayal, lies, and the often bitter truth. So what is it about this Pulitzer Prize nominee that merits real attention? In short, her ability to portray human life, in it’s often brutal reality. From the death of a mother, to the brutal gang rape of a young woman and in between, all the facets of anger, disappointment and betrayal that stem from human relationships. The real beauty of Oates’ work lies in her use of metaphor. Niagara Falls beats out the soundtrack to a suicide in The Falls, while the claustrophobic solidity of bourgeois family life stifles a community in Middle Age: A Romance. Oates may have ‘unquestionable genius’ as claimed by The New York Times, but what does this genius rest upon? An ability to portray the world for what it really is? Haven’t authors been doing that for centuries? Yet, there is something more compelling in Oates’ work, a scratching away of

the tin-foil veneer that society casts over its members, rendering them ‘normal’. In an age where ‘terrorism’ is a buzzword, thrown at us like a tennis ball we are required to catch, Oates’ portrays the terrorism that can exist between two people. This can come from the simplest indiscretion. From forgetting to kiss your mother goodbye on the morning of her murder in Mother, Missing, to the strangling desire for ‘the best’, a standard which leads to infanticide in My Sister, My Love. So why is it when I ask people if they have read Oates’ work, the resounding answer is largely ‘no, who is she?’ Despite Oates’ canon, and her three nominations for the Pulitzer (Black Water in 1992, What I Lived For in 1994 and Blonde in 2000), it is fair to say that she is largely ignored by the reading public. One reason for this may be her tricky position within the literary world, where labels are often easy to claim, Oates remains elusive. She is a woman writer, but yet proves that women writers are not always feminists, as Oates’ women seek violence and definition from their relationships with men. This stems from initiations into murderous Satanic cults in Man Crazy and the manipulation of identity in I’ll Take You There, all with the sole aim of male satisfaction. Oates’ Blonde portrays a particularly unsavoury reconstitution of Marilyn Monroe, seeking a self from the males around her, eventually leading to her downfall into a catatonic world of drugs and hedonistic sex, and eventually death. Oates portrays a world where relationships, between families, friends and lovers, are necessarily brutal. Oates tears open the ribcage of pretence and illusion that surround our interactions. She shows the human heart in all its ferocity. That is why she's worthy of your attention.

Tuesday March 10 2009


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TECHNOLOGY want to write yet another Iingdidn’t piece on Twitter, but with nothelse interesting to cover at 6pm

on a Saturday it seems inevitable. Sky News has appointed a ‘Twitter correspondent’: not to send out 140 character bulletins thankfully, but to peruse feeds in the hope of gaining a scoop. These breaking headlines would include “I’ve got a headache” and “I am eating a cheese toastie” for those of you unfamiliar with the actual contents of a tweet. Twitter is a glorified Facebook status update. This probably contradicts the article we had in Tech the other week, so you should take this new verdict as definitive. The best thing about downloading the Tweetdeck program, which automatically updates feeds like a newsreader, is that you slowly come to the realisation that the lives of celebrities are just as boring as yours. The worst thing about it is that you’re continually harassed with a deluge of banality, sifting out the updates you actually want to read. Welcome to the future of communication: it’s like being smacked over the head with a newspaper until you actively acknowledge the contents. Except the contents are crap. I should be grateful to the almighty T for helping to spread awareness of my satirical EUSA presidential election video. According to the YouTube statistics, Twitter accounted for 200 views (compared to over 400 for Facebook) of just over 1000 total. Aside from its use as a tool to promote my dissertation-stalling hobbies, however, Twitter is a fad and surely won’t take over every moment of free time like Facebook does. A report commissioned by Which? has shown that software like Brain Training doesn’t actually improve mental performance… except when playing Brain Training. Even Dr Kawashima can’t help Cheryl Cole boost her powers of mental reasoning- did anyone expect otherwise? That’s like saying playing violent games all day would somehow train you to be a killer. Oh, wait. Never mind. By the way, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @AGBear and @CPWilson. Thanks. Alan Williamson

PROPAGANDAOF THEWEEK WHAT DO you mean you haven't watched it yet?

A googol of Google goodness Craig Wilson swears allegiance to the internet giants aybe it's because I am in love, but M I have no problem with Google being the overlords of the internet.

They are the first and last stop on the way to trivial enlightenment, and quite frankly, I long for GoogleLife. Imagine how effortless a trip down the dank library shelves would be if Google could search and find the relevant text for you. Think of how pleasant your life would become if all your daily work and going-ons were managed with the ease and simplicity Google provides. Well, now you can. Google offer so much more than maps and searches, and its high time you improved your (computing) life. First off all, get rid of that university email account. This isn't a suggestion, it's an order. Get rid of it! It's cumbersome, outdated and about as easy to use as it is sexy. GoogleMail is what the cool kids use. Responses to emails become daisy-chained to the original message, so an email discussion can be read without having to open multiple messages that could be days apart in a cluttered inbox. Labelling your mail transforms an endless list into tasty bite-sized pieces and searching for a long-lost message takes no time at all - because it's Google. Useful apps such as the 'attachment reminder' that scans text for phrases such as ''here's the at-

tached file'' and reminds you to actually attach the thing before hitting Send. You can redirect your university email to GoogleMail where you can reply to the messages using the forwarding address, so you can separate work from play from penis-lengthening inquiries (although the robust filter in place takes care of such pests, relevant or otherwise). Now you've checked your mail, it's time for work. GoogleDocs allows you to create simplified word, spreadsheet, presentation and form documents online using any computer with internet access. Perfect for ensuring that your work is with you at all times, you can now stop the email attachment ping pong when moving between computers. Apart from the weak spelling checker and lack of specialised functions, it will comfortably handle most tasks. Just don't write your entire dissertation in it. The form maker on GoogleDocs should be of interest to the poll-making and make-me-take-polls students out there. Whether it's multiple choice or text responses, it only takes a few clicks to set Forms into action. Summary results and graphs are produced automatically, a bonus for the healthy non-statistician with a deadline. All GoogleDocs documents can be saved online and made public, allowing anyone to share and collaborate sparing

Dawn of a new day

G-DAY: Google remembers when communists invaded the internet you from emailing your draft to ten people which wouldn't actually be that big a deal in GoogleMail anyway. Carrying on the work vibe, GoogleScholar is a more efficient way of finding literary papers than anything the traditional Google search may throw up. Most peer-reviewed publications are now listed and, if nothing else, it will provide a good launchpad into more fruitful and suitable sources. With GoogleCalendar (see where this is going?) the hectic life of a student can be tamed and organised. It's quick and easy to plan out your day, schedule meetings and such, with



notifications coming in the form of email and popup reminders as well as a daily digest email. Simply type "Dinner with Suave Tech Guy tomorrow 8pm" and it zips straight into your calendar. Rounding up the show is iGoogle, the personalised homepage that houses all of the goodies discussed so far. After adding the GoogleMail and GoogleCalendar gadgets, try adding in some news feeds straight from your friendly Student website and you will have succesfully completed the Google Brainwashing Programme (TM) . And if you're still clueless as to where you can find all these goodies: just Google it.

Is Dawn of War II change we can believe in? Dawn't count on it, says Tom Hasler WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II PC £29.99 THQ

lthough one of the most commerA cially successful strategy games of the past five years, Dawn of War was

a rather standard one. ‘Build a base, build an army, kill the other army’ is a robust, albeit boring formula. So upon playing what seems like the exact same game with some souped-up visuals and the number two stuck on the end, I was hardly ecstatic. However when I found Dawn of War’s base-building elements had been removed in place of an RPG-style character development system, I was both surprised and intrigued. Dawn of War II’s campaign mode sets you up as a space marine commander in the midst of a somewhat clichéd interstellar conflict. Throughout the campaign, you’ll jump between three planets completing various objectives. You have access to six different space marine squads, each with unique skills and abilities: four of these can be taken on a mission, acquiring experience and ‘wargear’ that boosts attributes when equipped. Experience can be used to improve characteristics, unlocking useful abilities such as more potent sniping skills. As missions become more challenging, using the right wargear and abilities becomes essential. If you take nothing but riflemen on a tank-hunting mission, for example, your remains will be sent home in a bag. The presentation of the ships

YAWN OF WAR: Not the revolution we were hoping for and planets is very slick, with plenty of varied game types including bonus missions adding life to the experience. It’s a shame, then, that a lacklustre story and poor voice acting fail to keep you engaged longer than an episode of The Daily Politics. A faster paced skirmish mode is probably where you’ll get the most enjoyment from Dawn of War II. Here, it opens up a larger scale of play and gives access to all four of the game’s races, each with their own strengths, weakness and tactics. After choosing your race you must select a hero for the match: these give unique benefits for your army. The space marine commander is an offensive powerhouse

who can smash though enemy forces like a sledgehammer, while the defence orientated Tech-marine can deploy turrets and mines to fortify key positions. A single headquarters replaces the typical assortment of buildings you’d find in the average strategy game. You are also given a number of key positions to capture: power and requisition points provide extra resources, but controlling two of three victory points is the key to victory. The missing base-building elements are replaced with a diverse set of upgrades for your units, specialising them for particular roles. Both game modes showcase the

visceral visual style the series is known for: there is no such thing as a dull moment in Dawn of War II. Whether it’s a soldier tossing a grenade or a giant monster charging into a tank, you’ll be treated to delicious eye candy that would put Zack Snyder to shame. This compliments the game’s more tactical philosophy to provide a consistently entertaining experience. The great action and visuals give Dawn of War II a solid foundation; unfortunately, the lack of maps in skirmish mode and the aforementioned joke of a plot cut its life well short of potential. That said, any time you do spend would certainly be well spent.

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Tuesday March 10 2009

Review 25


Mad Hatter's tea party

Susan Robinson thinks she's fallen down the rabbit hole after Heston's Feast


eston, darling, we don’t put the hamster in the soup, food is for eating, not for playing with.” Words that should have been uttered at the Bluthmenthal family dinner table many, many years ago. The result? A cake that ejaculates. Call me a prude but I’d go one step further and say that all baked goods that mimic bodily functions are deeply flawed from inception. I can’t think of a better demonstration of Freud’s theory of oral fixation in early childhood than if Heston started licking cows while chainsmoking and sucking a lollipop. And so we arrive at Heston’s Feasts. This week the theme is the Mad Hatter’s tea party from Alice in Wonderland. Heston starts by telling us that the Victorian era is inspirational because of its inherent opposites. Beneath the superficial propriety was a writhing underbelly of 80,000 prostitutes. Before you start wondering how the industrial revolution ever happened when opium was a staple in five out of six kitchen cupboards, “celebrity diner" and moral compass Dawn Porter blurts: ‘I think I’ve got quite a lot in common with Victorians 'cos if they behaved themselves in public and had a bit of a side-thing going on...’ gesticulating at herself with obvious glee. The meal starts with an aperitif, a "drink-me potion" containing the extracted flavours of custard, buttered toast, toffee, turkey, cherry tart and pineapple, dyed pink, fittingly served

HOCUS-POCUS: Heston's potion, responsible for the fall of Rome in a glass that looks like a crack pipe. Heston refers to this as 'going down the rabbit hole' while most viewers are just praying that Porter will shrink (or at least her gob). Next, the intrepid chef catches a poor turtle, boils him in a bin and, after declaring the meat too stringy, decides to make the iconic Victorian middle class substitute: Mock Turtle Soup. This instead involves boiling a cow’s head (there’s a pleasant image, drinking the broth in which the cow’s teeth have been steamed clean) and I’m not sure who I feel more sorry for, Daisy or the diners. But this is not quite trippy enough

for the Mad Hatter. For his next trick he freeze dries the stock and turns it into a tea bag which is served with an egg made out of turnip, bacon fat and some tiny, tiny mushrooms Scared of appearing conventional, Heston’s main course is an Edible Insect Garden where even the soil is a concoction of olives, nuts and breadcrumbs. Heston justifies his decision to serve his guests crickets (injected with tomato sauce so they ‘ooze convincingly’) by claiming: “Food in the Victorian era was scarce. One toff, Vincent Holt suggested his workers supplemented their diet with insects.” Jemma Redgrave is an

immediate convert: "I’ve got to go on I’m a Celebrity! This is marvellous!" Before this programme I was woefully unaware of two facts. The Victorians apparently found wobbly jelly highly titillating and they invented the vibrator as a treatment for ‘female hysteria’. So it should come as no surprise when Heston and his underlings hulk three cool boxes of jelly into a sex shop and test different toys to see which best exaggerates the wibble-wobble. To further debunk the myth that jelly and ice cream is reserved for children’s parties, he decides it should be flavoured with the “Victorian equivalent to heroin”. I’m unconvinced that the Victorians needed a replacement for heroin, since they had actual heroin, but what better way to complete a dinner party than a towering, four foot, absinthe-green phallic jelly? After all, an outbreak of vomiting is hardly likely to mar such an illustrious culinary career...

DESSERT: Absinthe-dildo jelly, most make do with a Cornetto

Eco-castles in the sky

Dan Sharp has designs on Kevin McCloud's property programme

NEXT TOP MODEL: McCloud's varied portfolio (l-r), Smug, Smug, Smug Bastard, Smug Bastard in front of some masonry DESPITE THE paradoxical pursuit of Grand Designs in times of economic hardship, Kevin McCloud’s flagship property show returned for a ninth series. Over the last eight series, McCloud’s overuse of ostentatious language became a staple. It is perhaps a reflection of his dedication to pursuing art in every aspect of life. Whether it is a staircase, roofing or the kitchen taps, McCloud’s emphasis is always on style and quality. For all his use of hyperbole, McCloud’s approach can be summarised in the simple mantra, that art is ever-present. However, there is an incongruous relationship between the glamorous homes featured and the dowdy personal appearances of their creators. For people who are allegedly style conscious, their grasp of fashion and current trends would appear to suggest otherwise. However, this incongru-

ity is arguably a central tenet of the show. McCloud himself is an art history graduate but with a background in engineering and theatre design. It is this combination of art and efficacy - topped off with flamboyance - that permeates the programme. McCloud's practicality and pretension, however, seemed lost on the couple (of hippies) featured a fortnight ago. Their aim was not to create a design masterpiece but a glorified treehouse, in a forest, entirely made from recyclable materials which they insisted on referring to as the ‘Earth Ship’. Dismayed that we ‘have lost our ability to build our own homes’, these tree-fanciers took 1000 used car-tyres to Brittany to build an eco-house. The tyres were filled with sand, and stuck together with lashings of mud - for something so supposedly New Age, the building process was practically

neolithic. In a last-ditch bid to beautify the prehistoric structure, the couple decorated the walls with empty glass bottles, prompting McCloud to uncharacteristically add that he had, ‘seen so many of these things that just look crap’. Later he queried whether the entire environmental enterprise was at the expense of the aesthetic appearance of the project. Indeed, a foregone conclusion, and as a result at the close of the episode McCloud was left with nothing to say - other than the fact that the couple had not ‘bought but built’ their home. What they seemed to miss was that while McCloud has always been an ardent advocate of sustainability, design is paramount. Put crudely: their vision was environmentalism gone mad, whereas McCloud’s interest in sustainability is simply a euphemism for ecological concern without

aesthetic compromise. For example, last week’s episode featured local craftsmen in Marlborough who were commissioned to produce sustainable fittings for a stylish farmhouse. These could easily be described as living art and are in stark contrast to the creation of the eco-home which was akin to excreting on a biodegradable canvas. Reflecting this, rather than being lost for words, McCloud last week concluded the episode with a grandiose flourish to the effect that a converted cow shed was in fact an unequivocal statement about the future of the British agricultural industry. As pretentious as it all seems in retrospect, his alluring monologues undoubtedly draw viewers. In an age where generic consumerism is the norm, and at a time of recession, a show committed to Grand Designs may appear out-of-place, but perhaps more than ever we need to build (sustainable) castles in the sky.


SLAVE TO FASHION CHANNEL FIVE’S recent US reality TV import, Stylista, sets a new precedent in the twin pursuits of bitching and backstabbing. The show, purports to be America’s Next Top Model with an intellectual streak, meaning, the contestants have to master the skills of writing, walking and dressing themselves in order to win a job at Elle magazine. The contestants range from journalism students, fashion designers and shop assistants. Oh, and there’s a military analyst thrown in for good measure. There is one shining talent amongst this group of ruthless careerists. Law student, Kate was immediately spotted by her fellow contestants as endowed with considerable assets. With the sort of cunning only possessed by dim-witted school bullies, former boutique owner Megan, quickly analysed the situation: fake breasts = lack of confidence = perfect victim. Here we have direct access to Kate's mental anguish as she is ridiculed, sniggered at, and, most shocking of all, forced to cover up her breasts. Day One: This is Hell. Only I don’t they have penthouse apartments in Hell. Or Prada. I think that’s why they call it Hell...anyway...I am being TORTURED. They mocked my outfit! They said that cleavage was inappropriate in the workplace. My old boss never mentioned this and I was always in his office. Day Two: What am I going to wear? This is harder than SATS. Some of the other girls offered me their clothes so I don’t get eliminated for looking like ‘cabbage patch doll on the razz’ as William put it to me. I'm not sure what that means but...the British are so funny. Is it fashionable to dress like you’re in A Clockwork Orange over there? Day Three: I tried to wear a shirt today. It was upsetting. Who wants to look at stupid fabric when you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a rack like this? I overheard that evil witch Megan today, she said I needed a brain transplant. I’ll tell her what she needs a...face transplant! Ha! Day Four: Anne Slowey does not understand my fashion sense. How can the female body (with some silicone enhancement) ever go out of fashion? They are trying to make me dress conservative. Who wears sweaters anyway, what do they think I am? A geek? Day Five: My clothes are beautiful and I can’t wear them. How I feel right now, it must be like how really ugly people feel when they stand next to me. I was planning to wear a Chanel dress with plunging neckline today and now I can’t! [Incomprehensible sobbing and gargling.] Susan Robinson, channelling the misery of Kate Gallagher.


I shall crush your bones to dust!" Leonardo da Vinci


This Week's Horoscopes AQUARIUS Jan 21—Feb 19

So you’ve been working out

a bit, pumping iron to impress the lay-deez. That’s fine. But a misinterpretation of a headline in Men’s Health magazine (“TORCH THAT FLAB!”) will leave you in the burns unit ruing your overliteral imagination. As for the "Chiselled Abs"... PISCES Feb 20—Mar 20


and pink, you will arrive late for a tutorial. You burst in to find everyone looking at you. You haven't done the reading of course. The mean tutor will sense this and ask you a question. "Where are your clothes?" he will say. A horrible dream? Maybe. But Pisces, do remember to wear clothes. ARIES Mar 21—April 20

Smearing your excrement

on your enemy's car, you will wonder how it came to this. Must every man become his father? TAURUS April 21—May 21


inally, with joy in your heart, you will ask Leonora to be your bride. Looking into those green eyes, you will say: "Leonora, I love you. Our destinies are one, as two trees which root and grow together are one. I should probably also tell you that it was I stole your jade brooch - and it was I who killed your brother Diego."

GEMINI May 22—June 21

This is your time to shine,

so make the most of it. There's no doubt about it: this week (International Scumbags Week) is your week. CANCER June 22—July 23

You will host a party. But

although you remembered everything - a hilarious theme involving guests swapping clothes; putrid punch; a round of never-have-I-ever - the event will be a flop. Some friends will be reminded of Mr Bean’s party where he offered his two guests marmite-dipped twigs for nibbles; others will think of the party in Rope where there’s a corpse under the table.

LIBRA Sept 24—Oct 23


been through some stressful times recently; now you can relax. Put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn Radio 4 on and curl up on the sofa, comfortable in the knowledge that the acid is slowly going to work on what's lying in the bath.


till smarting from a recent defeat, you'll revisit the place where it all went wrong: the George Square gardens. You'll look at those sharp, fateful railings and shudder in recollection. Surely (you'll think) surely there must have been some way of turning what happened to your advantage. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23—Dec 21

tried and tested pulling methods are not working. Look to the animal world for inspiration: emit high-pitched squawking noises at the object of your attention and puff up your chest. If the target remains coy, spread out your tail feathers into an erotic display of colour. Irrestistible.

eptune will pass through the seventh house this week. The seventh is the funkiest house of all, so this will cause some glorious celestial activity. People from all lands will peer to the skies in wonder at this miracle, making it easier for you to go through their pockets for car-keys and loose change.

VIRGO Aug 24—Sep 23


on your pregnancy! Having a child is one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have. Just don't let on you're doing it "so you can get wrecked easier".


CAPRICORN Dec 22—Jan 20


ou've been doing what you do best for over thirty years now - making it all the more surprising when you're finally arrested. Astrologist: Ed Ballard

Not So Cryptic Crossword #7 ACROSS 1 5 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 21 23 24 27 28 29 30 31 32

Sudoku is a logic-based number-placement puzzle. The objective is to fill the 9×9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes (also called blocks or regions) contains the digits from 1 to 9 only once.
























































































7 8





6 3


3 9






5 1



Filled-in cells cannot be horizontally or vertically adjacent, although they can be diagonally adjacent. The remaining un-filled cells must form a single component connected horizontally and vertically (i.e there must be no isolated numbers).



Appeal for information

Have you seen this man? If you've ever googled "ugly man" (perhaps you did it when you were logged into your friend's facebook and wanted to find a new profile picture) the answer is yes. But who is he? Why, on some of the versions of this image, is there an advertisement for "Bianco's shoes"? Is this a real company? And if it is, does this mean the ugly man is a model? Is he from the seventies? Some of his characteristics look very seventies: the glasses, the tash, the cardie, the hair. If so, is he dead? Or is he an internet-savvy seventy year-old who can't understand why he has come to be the definition of ugliness? And what's with his nose? These questions demand answers! Any info to

Caption competition # 5 This is your chance to show off your razor-sharp wit, your truly ridiculous imagination, your mastery of awful puns or your encyclopaedic knowledge of penis gags. This week's prize is 'eternal glory' (again) but watch this space for future prizes of nominal cash value! Send entries to with 'caption competition' in the subject line.

Snake (7) Books of maps (7) Souvenir (7) Fortune-telling cards (5) Unit of length (5) Lever for rowing (3) Liverpudlian (6) Form of lottery (6) Evening (3) Electronic heart regulator (9) Popular lad's mag (3) Heavenly body (6) Rupture (6) Short name for publication (3) A hand tool (5) Rouse (5) Nationality of Natalie Portman (7) Endless (7) - Heads, David Byrne's band (7)

DOWN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The object of Hitori is to eliminate numbers by shading in the squares such that remaining cells do not contain numbers that appear more than once in either a given row or column.

Sudoku # 7

SCORPIO Oct 24—Nov 22

LEO July 24—Aug 23


Hitori # 7


Unspecified person (7) Regret (7) Warm ocean current (2, 4) Double-masted vessel (3-6) Sharp (5) Able to read and write (8) Untidy (7) Small bag (7)

It's Oliver Mundell, bronze winner in last week's EUSA presidential elections. Put your words in his mouth - or anything you like, if you've got the photo editing software for it. Photo by Stuart MacLennan (

Caption competition #4: Last week's winner 16 18 19 20

Mock The Week guest, for example (9) Granite City (8) Function (7) Rubbish band with Scots singer (7)

21 22 25 26

River in Southern Africa (7) Continuing (7) Pertaining to a nerve (6) Polite (5)


What's the matter? Can't stand the heat? Eh?! Don't worry, the answers are all here in tiny, inverted writing. The Student accepts no responsibility for strained eyes or neck injuries sustained by those too stupid to turn this page upside down.

For some reason, this proved to be our most popular caption competition yet. The entries flooded in (thanks for that) but it's going to have to be Steven Jhobbs's 'Wait, this isn't a penis! I thought it was a penis! I thought I was sucking your penis!' Here's your eternal glory - it may or may not count as legal tender.

Contact the Sport section at:

Tuesday March 10 2009

Sport   27

Snowsharks promoted after thriller Uni leave it late before coming from behind to seal promotion to the top division Men's Basketball University of Edinburgh Sheffield Hallam

69 63

Alistair Shand he Edinburgh University Mens' T 1st basketball team emerged victorious in last week's BUCS North

Premier Division promotion match against Sheffield Hallam. Having lost the first leg by a single point, Edinburgh were keen to overturn the minuscule deficit and secure promotion to the top university league in Britain. However, it was the visitors who started the better in this pivotal encounter, with Edinburgh trailing 5-0 after five minutes of play. The first points for the Snowsharks eventually came as Liam McCabe was fouled on his way to the basket and scored the two free throws. Nevertheless, slack defensive play meant that Sheffield built a six-point lead. A sizeable home support was in attendance at the CSE and they got a chance to test their vocal chords just before the first period elapsed. Good hustle from McCabe allowed him to

find Ian Black open on the perimeter for the three-pointer which made the score 9-6 in favour of the visitors at the end of a cagey first period. Again it was Sheffield who started quicker in the second period and fast break points were the key as the score moved to 12-6. Edinburgh countered with a run of their own, capped by a long three-ball from impressive forward Charles Bakke, giving the Snowsharks had their first lead of the game at 17-14. The lead did not last as the Sheffield guards began to knock down jump shots of their own to regain the advantage at 27-22. But another late run from the Snowsharks at the end of the second period meant the scoreline was 27-26 to Sheffield at halfway. The ebb-and-flow of this match was highlighted as the third period started, and the hosts upped their intensity to grab the lead back. Andrew Smith, in particular, came out firing as he seized an offensive rebound and banked the ball home off the glass. However, the four-point advantage for the home side was quickly overturned by a wellorganised Sheffield team who scored several consecutive fast-break baskets to make the score 36-31.

As the third quarter progressed, the visitors managed to maintain their advantage, and effective shooting meant that Edinburgh trailed 51-40 going into the final period. The Snowsharks would need to be more aggressive in rebounding and more potent in offence if they wanted to claw their way back into this game. Indeed, the hosts were revitalised by the break, and it was the energetic Smith who drove hard to the basket, absorbed the contact and scored the basket to set up a three-point play opportunity. He completed the play by hitting the foul shot. This was followed by a tough lay-up from the same player to reduce the deficit to six points at 45-51. With six minutes left on the clock the Snowsharks had shaved the deficit to just one basket at 51-53 to the visitors. This was when sharpshooting forward Chris McBrierty caught fire from beyond the three-point stripe. The Snowsharks player drained a deep three-pointer from behind the arc to give his side the lead. Despite an instantaneous reply from Sheffield, McBrierty again gunned a three ball from a similar position to tie the game at 57-57. The match was finely poised and promised an exhilarating climax. Yannick Matthews drilled one out of two clutch free throws and the miss was

grabbed by a Snowshark and banked home to make the score 60-59 in favour of the hosts. Seconds later, stellar defensive work by Edinburgh allowed Matthews to streak up the court and lay the ball home for a three-point advantage. In a tempestuous ending to the match, the Sheffield captain was ejected from the game for violent conduct and his walk of shame was greeted with sarcastic cheers from a raucous home support. The uni point-guard Connor Trendell hit both technical free throws and then Matthews stepped up to the free throw line looking to ice the game. He hit both foul shots to take the score to an unassailable 66-59 lead with 30 seconds remaining. However, one final twist arrived when Sheffield’s diminutive pointguard drilled a three-pointer while being fouled to give himself the opportunity for a four-point play. This took the score to 66-63 with eleven seconds on the game clock. Despite this late scare, Matthews and Trendell hit further free throws to seal the victory and the final score in this thrilling tussle was 69-63 for the Edinburgh Snowsharks. After this incredible victory, Edinburgh gain promotion to the BUCS Premier League North Division and it was well-deserved after coming out on top in an exhilarating BUCS encounter.

I'm running the marathon for my father - twice Natasha Heald meets the student eyeing up a historic Meadows Marathon double A final-year Russian student from the University of Edinburgh, Tom Clough, will be running this year’s eagerly-anticipated Meadows Marathon. More impressively, the 22-year-old will be competing in both the 5K and the half marathon in order to raise as much as possible for his chosen charity, the British Heart Foundation. Clough says, “The BHF promotes such a worthwhile cause: increasing the awareness of heart disease is so important, as it’s such a prolific and fatal illness.” Clough chose to run for the prominent charity after his father suffered a heart attack three years ago. He aims to raise £1000 for the charity, and is looking forward to the opportunity to give such a substantial personal donation to a charity that promotes awareness of heart attacks and their causes. Speaking about why he has chosen to enter both runs, which will take place back-to-back on the same day, he says: “I thought I would be able to raise more money for charity by doing something noticeable, that no-one else will be doing. It will hopefully help to increase the amount of money I can raise for the British Heart Foundation.” He has also set himself a tough target – he hopes to achieve the fastest 5k time in this year’s Meadows Marathon and then go on to achieve a respectable half marathon time. Clough is no stranger to competitive running, competing on a national level in the 800m. “I try to keep fit. I play a lot of sport and have competed in the Edinburgh

Marathon. I am looking forward to the challenge of competing in both the Meadows Marathon runs.” The third Meadows Marathon will take place at 11am on Sunday March 15 on the Meadows. The highly successful and entirely student-organised half marathon and 5k fun run is donating its profits to Comic Relief, as well as raising money for many other local and national charities, with £30,000

I thought I would be able to raise more money by doing something noticeable, that noone else will be doing being donated last year. Without its army of volunteers, the event would not be possible. From people giving out water to those helping to set up the running gantry, every little is most appreciated. If you would like to get involved contact uk. Meadows Marathon also reminds those still wanting to register that they are still able to on the day of the run itself. For more information on running for one of our charities and to register (which costs £15), go to www.

Injury Time takes A wry look at the world of sport

Will Bird be allowed to fly the nest? Greg Bird is to appear in an Australian court in April, after being accused of doing a 'Chris Brown', or a 'Rihanna', depending on which way round you think of it. You may think: so what? Who cares about a case down under? Yet, for fans of Super League this is proving to be a controversial issue. Despite Greg Bird pleading his innocence, NRL side Cronulla have released the Australian forward after he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend. The stand-off has been fought over for weeks now between the big teams in Britain. It looked like the Bradford Bulls had scooped the star, beating local rivals Leeds Rhinos, amongst others, to his signature. Yet, this was not to be, as the Bulls were thwarted by the UK Border Agency, who refused to grant Bird a work permit. This has led to the falling through of the player’s contract with the club. But this was not the end of the

Bradford Bulls were thwarted by the UK Border Agency, who refused to grant Bird a work permit

road for the star. Despite the Super League being played predominately in England, the Catalans Dragons, a French side, also play in the league. Though admittedly not the best team, the Dragons have swooped in and signed Bird after French authorities granted him a work permit. Yet clearly, whenever the side play away, they will have to cross the Channel. So what will this mean for Bird? It appears that individual immigration officers at UK airports will decide whether or not he will be eligible to play for Catalans in Britain. But surely if he is allowed in, this will make a mockery of the UK Border Agency. What is the point in denying him a work permit if he can still effectively work over here when he plays in his new side's away games? So it looks like the Dragons are taking a bit of a gamble, although whether his contract reflects this little dilemma, we do not know. By March 15, when Catalan travel to Wakefield, it will be clear whether their gamble has paid off.

Ed Senior

Sport Tuesday March 10 2009

Two for the price of run

How personal tragedy is inspiring one student to run the Meadows Marathon - twice



MAKING A SPLASH: Action from the waterpolo semi finals in Walsall

Edinburgh men rule in the pool

Craig Meek reports on an encouraging weekend for the the university's water polo teams at the BUCS semi-finals in Walsall

EDINBURGH WERE in action again last weekend as the men and women travelled to Walsall for the BUCS semi-finals. The men were on a 13-game unbeaten streak, while the women were aiming to emulate last year’s performance and qualify again. The men kicked off against the unknown quantity of Sheffield. Inform goalie Dave Armstrong saved a five-metre penalty in the third minute, but Edinburgh were down at the end of the first quarter. The team responded by finding the net in the second quarter, Robbie Hayes notching two goals. This good work continued for the rest of the match, giving Edinburgh a fairly comfortable

8-5 victory. The women’s first match was also against Sheffield. In a closely-contested match, captain Claire Gambles and Sophie Piper put Edinburgh on the scoreboard, but in the end Sheffield broke through to win 5-2. The next match for the men was against Cambridge, with a win almost certainly guaranteeing them a place in the finals. After going 0-2 down, Edinburgh finally fired and rifled in four goals in quick succession. Another four followed in the third quarter as Edinburgh completely shut out their opponents, adding another three goals to bring the final score to 11-3. After a 13-13 draw between

Cardiff and Sheffield, the men had successfully secured their place in the BUCS finals on March 13-15 with one game still left to play. The women entered their second game against Loughborough knowing that victory was crucial. But immediately Loughborough gained the upper hand with quick and accurate shooting. Edinburgh tried hard to fight back, but the team's missing defensive core proved too costly, with the final score 14-3. With both teams knowing their fate, the men lost 11-9 to Cardiff in their final match, while the women went down 15-4 to the same opposition.

Week 9 - S2 - The Student - 20082009  
Week 9 - S2 - The Student - 20082009  

P17 P21 been elected, and having such a massive turnout is incredible.” M U S I C S I N C E 1887 T H E U K ' S O LD E S T S T U D EN T N EW...