Held at Bay: Zeenath Ul Islam talks to James ‘Yusuf’ Yee, former Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay page 8>>
Student SCOTTISH STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2007
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Israeli Ambassador met with protests
New degrees of inflation Anna McSwan
Claims that access to the event was restricted to stifle criticism Allegations of police ‘intimidation’ and mistreatment of protestors James Ellingworth MASS PROTESTS and heavy security greeted Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, as he gave a lecture at the University of Edinburgh last week. The ambassador’s talk in McEwan Hall was picketed by a crowd of over 100 protestors from various pro-Palestine groups, and he was heckled by sections of the audience as he spoke. One member of the audience told the ambassador he was “talking a load of shite”, and attempted to mount the stage before being removed by security. Many of the protestors questioned the university’s decision to invite the ambassador, as well as restrictions placed on the availability of tickets, and the level of security outside the hall, which included more than 20 police officers. The ambassador gave a short lecture focusing on Israel’s achievements, saying: “Not only am I a proud Israeli, I’m proud of what this country managed to achieve in 60 years.” In response to a question from the floor on the use of high-tech weaponry against civilians, he replied: “For all our achievements we haven’t been as imaginative as creating suicide bombers.” “Children, women, people who really are incited, day in and day out,
by their own population, to commit suicide bombings in civilian areas... We’re not as creative as some in the region, I’d say.” Speaking in response to a question on the right of return for Palestinians forced from their homes in the wars surrounding Israel’s creation, Prosor said: “The two-state solution really is the only solution, because if there’s
“Not only am I a proud Israeli, I’m proud of what this country managed to achieve in 60 years” Ron Prossor, Islraeli Ambassador to the UK one equation in political science, it’s that the right of return equals the destruction of the state of Israel.” A vocal crowd of protestors, many of them members of the university’s Palestine Solidarity Society, made their presence known throughout the event. Those leaving the talk were separated from the protestors by a line of police and greeted with chants of ‘shame.’ Continued on page 4
THE PROPORTION of students at the University of Edinburgh gaining first-class degrees upon graduation has increased by eight per cent over the last decade, Student can reveal. While 14 per cent of undergraduate degrees awarded at the end of the 1999/2000 academic year were classified as first-class, the figure for 2007/2008 rose to 22 per cent. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, this increase is higher and more accelerated than the national trend, which increased by little over three per cent, from 8.2 per cent in 1999/2000 to 11.5 per cent in 2006/2007. The University’s increase has been most significant in the College of Humanities and Social Science, where 405 graduates were awarded first-class degrees in 2008 as opposed to 214 in 2000, resulting in a rise of 8.3 per cent. Other colleges recorded similar increases, with a 7.6 per cent increase in the College of Science and Engineering and 7.1 per cent in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Science. While the number of first-class degrees has increased in the last decade, the proportion of students achieving upper second-class degrees has fallen by nearly six percent, offsetting claims that such trends might be attributable to lower standards of regulation. A University spokesperson said: “The proportion of First and 2:1 degrees being awarded rose by two per cent between the 1999/2000 and 2007/2008 academic years. The University does not regard this as a significant change.” Records show there has been a seven per cent increase in the total number of students awarded degrees at the University since 1999/2000, and some current students have expressed concern about their employment prospects upon graduation. In the increasingly competitive job market, students said that the higher proportion of first-class degrees could make it even harder to stand out. Thomas Bregon, a recent history graduate who was awarded an upper second-class degree in May, said: “Speaking as someone who has had the experience of attempting to start a career upon completing my degree, I feel that the value of my qualifications is brought down significantly by the fact that hundreds of others have the same.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This week in Student Comment 8-10
The incendiary debates around climate change and Guantanamo Bay...
Jenny Baldwin sits down with Alexander McCall Smith, novelist extraordinaire
Features 13-15 The impending downfall of the Starbucks empire, as well as one first-year’s epic treck across the ice cap
Uni staff forced to ‘spy’ on students Jordan Campbell Academics have reacted angrily to new visa rules that will require universities to monitor whether foreign students are attending courses. The Universities and College Union has expressed that they do not want to get involved in effectively ‘spying’ on overseas students. New Home Office rules set to be introduced next March will mean universities and colleges will have to adapt a new ‘sponsor management system’ and report to the UK Border Agency if overseas students have enrolled late or dropped out. The new regulations will mean that all foreign students, classified as those outside the EU, will be expected to give a fingerprint for a biometric card if applying for a visa after 25 November this year. Foreign students will also be expected to prove that they are financially able to cover fees and living expenses. The new legislation is part of an effort to clamp down on the growing problem of student visas being obtained by applicants who have no intention of ever studying. Since 2005 over 300 ‘bogus colleges’ have been uncovered that have facilitated such scams. A related problem is also that of falsified applications to genuine institutions. This was highlighted at Newcastle University this week when it emerged that a group of 50 Far Eastern students enrolled in a Business Studies course had faked past qualifications, discovered after they began to struggle with the course. The Home Office has insisted that
Source: NUS A WATCHFUL EYE: Lecturers may soon be asked to “spy” on students’ attendance under new rules legitimate universities and colleges have nothing to fear from the new rules. However in a letter to The Guard-
“This police-like surveillance is not the function of universities” Sally Hunt, Universities and Colleges Union ian, the head of the Union and Colleges Union, Sally Hunt, stated “This police-like surveillance is not the function of universities, and alters the educational relationship between
students and their teachers in a very harmful manner.” There is also alarm that the new rules may dissuade potential foreign applicants from applying. Universities UK have warned that with regard to biometric fingerprinting students may be forced to travel long distances just to give their print as there are only six centres around the UK that carry out the process. The new rules also come at a time when UK universities are becoming increasingly dependent of foreign students financially. Foreign students pay more in tuition fees and it is estimated that they contribute £2.5bn in fees alone every year. In 2007 there was a 10 per cent
increase in the number of entrants from abroad, with increasing numbers of American and Chinese students coming to study. Edinburgh University has one the highest percentages of foreign student population in the UK. A University spokesperson told Student, “Our current plans involve no extra supervision of international students. We will be required by legislation to ensure that international students are submitting essays and attending exams, however we already check this for all our students.” Read more in Comment, page 9
Lecturers’ pay jeopardises funding Patrick Andelic
As Max Payne dives (in bullet time) towards box office success, Film discusses other game/ film crossovers.
Tech 22 Not one, but two new games are out that primarily involve shooting aliens in the face. Tech have no complaints.
Sport 26-28 Alister Shand looks at the soon-to-be-lost art of the goal celebration, while Martin Domin ponders drugs testing in football
Lecturers are set to request a record pay rise despite their pay structure already causing universities problems in the current economic crisis. Members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) will submit their 2009/10 pay claim to the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) by the end of this year, and are expecting a reply in spite of the current impasse between the two organisations. They will demand a rise equivalent to the Retail Price Index (RPI) rate of inflation plus five per cent, or an overall increase of eight per cent, whichever is higher. Lecturers are already set to receive a five per cent pay rise this year, the final portion of the 15.9 per cent three-year increase that they won after staging a strike in 2006. However, sources from Scotland’s universities have said that they may struggle even to honour this com-
mitment in the present economic climate. The five per cent rise will cost an extra £10m a year and university sources have estimated that the rapidly climbing price of fuel and utility bills will increase yearly costs by a further £10m. Combined with existing deficits, this may result in a £50m hole in university budgets, which would be likely to lead to job cuts. University chiefs are preparing for a major funding campaign, arguing that investment in higher education is the best way to lift Scotland out of the economic downturn. UCU is currently excluded from pay negotiations because it has refused to bargain at the same table as employers and other unions representing university staff. This has prompted the union to reiterate its claim last week that any talks around pay could not be truly representative so long as it continued to be excluded. Sally Hunt, the UCU General
Secretary, said: “Nobody can refute that staff in higher education work extremely hard or that they deserve to be properly rewarded. For too long university employers held down staff pay rises. “Recent increases have gone some way to righting that wrong, but there is still a long way to go. UCU members are determined to defend the value of the pay rises they have won and we will be submitting our claim as normal.” A spokesman for the University of Edinburgh told Student: “The University has not been approached by the local branch of UCU, or by any staff, regarding the UCU pay claim. This claim has just been received by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. “The next round of national pay negotiations has not yet begun, but information on these can be found on UCEA’s website at www.ucea. ac.uk.” Contact email@example.com
Pay rise demanded, based on current inflation
£50m Projected deficit in universities’ budgets
This isn’t Sparta... Only two motions passed at EUSA AGM before attendance slips below quorum of 300
CARDED: Students vote in favour of a motion at the 2008 AGM
Neil Pooran THIS YEAR’S Students Association Annual General Meeting got off to a promising start, but quickly became plagued by the familiar problem of an inquorate attendance. The evening nevertheless saw students vote strongly in favour of opposing ID cards, protecting an allotment in King’s Buildings and increasing the availability of essential medicines in the developing world. EUSA President Adam Ramsay said: “I’m glad that the meeting was quorate. There was some great debate and people overwhelmingly supported a number of important motions. I will make sure we carry these issues forward. “The next General Meeting is in the spring, and I hope people will bring a good range of policy there.” The event kicked off with a speech from University Vice-Principal Jeff Haywood promising that the University would do better in light of Edinburgh’s abysmal academic feedback ratings in the National Student Survey. He told students they needed to raise concerns about poor course feedback with their course conveners or other
university officials if things were to improve. The first motion to secure representation for the King’s Buildings garden ‘allotment’ passed without opposition from any of the 300 plus attendees. The second motion, titled ‘Responsible Drinking’ and proposed by EUSA Vice-President for Academic Affairs Guy Bromley, proved more controversial. An impassioned debate on the merits and responsibilities of underage drinking led the Meeting to reject the motion by 159 votes to 131. The motion would have seen EUSA lobby the Scottish Government to lower the drinking age for low-alcohol drinks to 16. The third motion, proposed by pressure group Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, passed with unanimous approval and thunderous applause from the audience. The proposal to ‘Improve Access to Medicines developed by Edinburgh University’ will aim to have the university make its patented medicines more accessible to the developing world through technology transfer policies. However, the passing of the motion also saw a flood of students leave the lecture theatre. Since a minimum
limit of 300 votes is required to pass motions at the AGM, no other motions were passed officially, meaning the results were purely indicative. Two motions opposing the government’s plans to introduce ID cards also saw heated debate, though were generally met with approval. VPAA Guy Bromley weighed in again here, saying that the University had told him to organise a voluntary boycott of the cards, and that it would look after students who fell foul of visa regulations. The debates were repeatedly held up by procedural issues at this point, and a steady flow of people began to leave the lecture theatre. Another motion supporting a national demonstration against university fee rises in 2009 passed with an amendment proposed by third-year Thomas Graham saying that student support should be targeted towards poorer students. The final motion to ensure student societies could bring their own food and drink into union buildings also passed with an amendment by thirdyear Camilla Pierry. Read more in Editorial, page 11
Motioning for change What stood the test of democracy, and what fell - King’s Buildings Allotment PASSED UNANIMOUSLY: The near-mythical allotment can now count on our support. - Responsible Drinking FALLS: An insufficient number of students agreed with Guy Bromley and Harry Cole’s proposition to have people getting legally (though responsibly) drunk at 16. - Improved Access to Edinburgh University Medicines PASSED UNANIMOUSLY: EUSA will now push to have more Edinburghdeveloped medicine made available throughout the world. - Government ID Cards INDICATIVE PASS: Students present were mostly in favour of signing up to the NO 2 ID campaign, but votes in favour did not reach the crucial number of 300. - International Student ID Cards See above, but with added emphasis on protecting international students from the depredations of the National Identity Register. - Education - A Right Not a Privilege INDICATIVE PASS: The Meeting agreed, but not without an amendment. - Food and Drink in Union Buildings INDICATIVE PASS: Societies can now bring their own snacks into union buildings. No roast chickens though, please.
4 News No parole for Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people died, has had his application for early release on health grounds refused. A panel of three Law Lords ruled that his condition was not serious enough to warrant release, considering the gravity of the offence, in a hearing at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh. Al-Megrahi is suffering from cancer, and his condition is widely believed to be terminal. Dr Jim Swire, spokesman for a group representing victim’s families, said: “It seems tragic that Scottish justice has missed a golden opportunity to display mercy.” JE
A divisive proposition Communities in Edinburgh and California protest for US same-sex marriage rights
Oxford rugby team in “bring a fit Jew” dispute Oxford University is investigating claims that its under-21s rugby team held a party in which guests arrived at a curry house dressed as Orthodox Jewish men, wearing sidelocks and carrying bags of money. The party had a “bring a fit Jew” theme, and reportedly took place despite having officially been called off following complaints. Team captain Phil Boon said he “didn’t see why what the problem was”, and that Jewish girls had attended. “I can understand why it would have offended a few people, but it would have been an awesome social.” A spokesman for the Union of Jewish Students in the UK said: “The actions of a few students have caused real offence. We are appalled that in 2008 old myths and antisemitic stereotypes are still appearing among supposedly educated students.” JE
Catholic bishop claims graduates damage church The Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue, the Bishop of Lancaster, has claimed that Catholic graduates are to blame for the decline of the church, labelling them “hedonistic”, “selfish” and “egocentric.” He said that education had “a dark side, due to original sin,” and that the rise in mass education over the past 60 years had led to “widespread dissemination of radical scepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism.” He then went on to criticise the behaviour of prominent Catholics in society, politics and the media, saying: “They have been able to spread their so-called loyal dissent, causing confusion and discord in the whole church.” JE
Flickr: Fritz Liess IMPLACABLE: Californians gathered at the State Captol Building in Sacramento to protest Prop. 8, the anti-gay marriage amendment.
Alexandra Taylor MEMBERS OF the lesbian, gay and bisexual community united in protest on Princes Street on Saturday against the recent vote in California to ban same sex marriages. The protest, held on Saturday 15th November, saw around 20 people march from the courtyard outside the National Gallery to the United States Consulate. The action comes just as California became the latest state to ban gay marriage, following a referendum held at the same time as the US presidential election. The news has stimulated worldwide interest, particularly in Edinburgh where students have been working to gather support against the ‘Proposition 8’ amendment.
The move against gay couples was narrowly passed in the state, with 52 per cent of Californians favouring the proposal, which made the state the twenty-eighth to legally prevent gay couples marrying. However, unlike most of the states with these bans, gay marriage had previously been legal in California, and the move leaves the 18,000 same-sex couples who had married since May in legal limbo. Many students at the University of Edinburgh attended the Princes Street rally, which was organised to coincide with similar events taking place across the United States. Many American students studying at the University saw the protest as a vital way for them to voice their anger about issues taking place back
home. Danielle Gershon, an American exchange student at the University, said: “We feel detached from the historic movement in ideology and freedom currently taking place in the States and decided that we, too, would like to join our LGBT and allied kin in the cause.” During the march in California, thousands chanted “Gay, straight, black, white! Marriage is an equal right!” Also in a recent Los Angeles rally, protestors took to the streets armed with rainbow flags and placards reading “Stop the h8”, a play on Proposition 8, which sought to redefine marriage as exclusively heterosexual union, retracting gay marriage rights. Both the anti-gay and pro-gay groups spent over $70 million fight-
ing for their causes, with religious groups prominent donors to the campaign against same-sex marriage. Gay rights campaigners argue that a majority ruling should not dictate the law, which had been in place since May, when a ruling by the state’s Supreme Court determined that the state was discriminating against same-sex couples. The vote to ban gay marriage has encouraged 40 Democrat politicians to sign a petition calling for its overturn. State governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has also proclaimed his support for attempts to overturn the measure. Read more in Comment, page 10
Angry scenes at diplomat’s talk Continued from front page... The man evicted from the lecture, who gave his name as Graham Sugden, told Student: “I’ve basically been evicted because I sat through a completely contextless talk where an Israeli representative tried to link together all Islamic forces and terror into one big pot and just make people scared. “I’d lost patience by the time of the questions because everything in his speech could be questioned.” He claimed that there was no malicious intent behind his attempt to mount the stage, and that he was simply trying to shake the ambassador’s hand. Shabana Basheer, who organised the protest and is a member of the
university’s Palestine Solidarity Society, told Student: “There are questions as to why the Israeli ambassador was invited in the first place, however he obviously has a right to speak and
“There are questions as to why the Israeli ambassador was invited in the first place” Shabana Basheer, protest organiser be contradicted by students. “I think it’s important that students have a chance to protest and that we have a chance to say to the university
and to Israel that there are violations of human rights.” One of those who attended the talk, Julian Goodman, told Student: “I thought it was a very brave decision [to invite the ambassador] considering the constant barrage of anti-Israel things we get in this country.” Some of the protestors raised concerns that the availability of tickets for the event was restricted to prevent criticism. Those wanting to attend had to submit a written application, receive tickets by post and prove their identity on the door. The size of the audience in the 1,000-capacity hall was estimated at between 150 and 200 people. One student protestor said: “I’d rather there’d been more publicity and
they’d made it more open for people, rather than having it as a very closedoff event.” In response, the university replied that “the organisation of the event was done in consultation with the Israeli Embassy.” There were also concerns about the behaviour of the police present, including their decision to film the protestors, which one campaigner described as “intimidation”. The man evicted from the talk also alleged he had been subject to police brutality as he was removed from the hall. Lothian and Borders Police had not responded to these claims by the time Student went to press. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
City’s UNESCO status safe after fears Edinburgh will retain World Heritage title, but city developers are criticised Guy Rughani and Neil Pooran UNESCO INSPECTORS have given Edinburgh the thumbs-up after a three-day visit to review the city’s World Heritage status in the light of recent major building developments. The Caltongate, St James Shopping Centre and Cowgate developments were thought to be unsympathetic to the city’s unique architecture, and could have threaten the city’s tourist-grabbing World Heritage title by placing it on a ‘danger’ listing. Yet Dr Mechtild Rossler, UNESCO Head of Europe and North America said she “could not say this case damages the world heritage value.” Campaigners remain opposed to the development plans, and Rossler echoed their opinion that developers Mountgrange had ignored concerns about the construction. The Cowgate site, once occupied by the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics department, was destroyed in December 2002 by a huge fire which ripped through the surrounding buildings, leaving a gaping hole in the streetscape. Now renamed the ‘SoCo district,’ and no longer owned by the university, the site is being developed
Flickr: angus mcdiarmid A CRY FOR HELP: Some local residents are opposed to development plans at the Caltongate site into a restaurant, festival venue and nightclub. One shopper on Nicholson Street told Student: “I reckon anything’s got to be better than that pit – how many pits are there in World Heritage sites? A new building there would really improve this part of town.” At Caltongate near Waverley Station there are plans to construct a five-star hotel, 200 housing units and various community facilities. To develop the area, the lower
floors of two Old Town tenements will need to be demolished. This prompted the visit from cocerned UNESCO staff. “We shouldn’t be stymieing development. If we’d done that in the past we wouldn’t have all the good stuff UNESCO wants to protect,” said Neil Baxter, secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS). UNESCO’s World Heritage status recognises sites of “great cultural im-
portance to humanity.” In Edinburgh, the medieval Old Town, and the Georgian New Town were both awarded World Heritage status in 1995, boosting the number of sites in Scotland to five. Yet some students would not notice any difference if Edinburgh were to lose its title. “To be honest, I didn’t even know that Edinburgh was a World Heritage site,” said Arjuna Sivakumaran, a first year medical student.
Aside from the apparent student ambivalence, many established Edinburgh residents support the inspection. Sally Richardson of the ‘Save our Old Town Campaign’ said: “We’re not fighting against development; we’re fighting for the right development.” The inspectors will make their final judgement at the 2009 UNESCO summit, to be held in Seville. Contact email@example.com
Scottish Government deems the pill passé Samantha Groenestyn WOMEN IN Scotland will be urged to try various forms of contraceptives under a forthcoming family planning campaign from the Scottish Government. The £270,000 a year campaign aims to ensure that Scottish women are well informed about the latest contraceptive measures available to them, including the coil, injections and implants, in an attempt to reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies. The modern contraceptives last from three months in the case of the Depo Provera injection, to three to five years for the removable, and therefore reversible, implants. Compared with the traditional pill, which can be ineffective for up to a week if a dose is skipped, the newer methods are considered more reliable because of their long-lasting effects. Around a quarter of a million Scottish women aged 18-40 who currently use the pill will be told they should consider switching to
these newer methods of contraception. Currently, just 4 per cent of Scottish women aged 15-49 use these long-lasting contraceptives, compared with around 23 per cent who take the pill.
of Scottish women aged 15-49 take the pill While the campaign has been supported by many doctors and sexual health specialists, some women have said they do not feel comfortable with these alternative methods of contraception. “I find it so much more invasive,” said Laura Dawson, a third year Humanities student at the University of Edinburgh.
She and other female students expressed concerns at the longevity of the contraceptives in light of the uncertainty over adverse reactions to them. Many women also experience such issues in reaction to different types of contraceptive pills. Shona Robison, the Scottish Government Minister for Public Health, admitted to BBC Radio: “It’s not going to be right for everyone, but there are a lot of women for whom it would be the right option.” Robison added that the campaign is about getting information out to women whom it may benefit, as it is assumed that the low uptake of alternative contraceptives is the result of a poor level of public understanding. The Scottish Government hopes that the newer methods will help tackle Scotland’s high abortion rate; there were a record number of 13,703 terminations carried out last year – an average of 38 per day. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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MSP attacks ID scheme Gillian Watson Students locked horns last week over the Labour government’s controversial identity card scheme in a public debate held at Blackwell’s bookshop. The event, held on October 11, was attended by Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Robert Brown MSP, an outspoken critic of the scheme. Among the students debating on the issue were members of Edinburgh University’s Debates Union and the University’s Politics Society, as well as the Students Against War organisation. Brown opened the event with a keynote speech passionately opposing the introduction of identity cards, arguing that this “gross intrusion on liberty” would lead to a “move towards a controlling Big Brother society”. He then went on to suggest that identity cards would not help “one whit” in the fight against terrorism, given that the perpetrators of the 9/11 atrocities were recognised citizens of the USA with valid forms of identification. Brown also accused the “increasingly authoritarian and inept government” of “back[ing] away from introducing the ID card scheme
before the next election because they know it will be a poll-tax type fiasco”. Members of Edinburgh University Debates Union and the Politics Society, however, argued in favour of the introduction of identity cards, pointing to countries within the EU
“This gross intrusion on liberty is a move towards a controlling Big Brother society” Robert Ford MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrats such as France that already have such a scheme in place and remain democratic. They said that the right “not to be blown up” was more important than the right to privacy, and that the state “need[s] to infringe to a certain extent on rights… to allow the state to protect its citizens”. Meanwhile, Sebastian Osborn of the Debates Union called the measure “a massive and unacceptable rights violation [that is] practically useless”, arguing that it would cause racial profiling and discrimination
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against ethnic minorities as well as increasing the likelihood of fraud. A lively floor debate followed in which opinion appeared to be weighted towards the side of the proposition. Radomir Cernoch, an Edinburgh University postgraduate on exchange from the Czech Republic, where ID cards are compulsory, told how he had been startled by the amount of information required of UK citizens in contrast to his home country. He argued that a similar scheme here might reduce the amount of information demanded of citizens. Vassilis Tsipopoulos said that his concern was not with the cards themselves, but rather with the government information database linked to them. A vote was held, narrowly won by the Opposition, and Robert Brown MSP described the debate as “very good… [It] show[ed] the value of liberty and free speech in a democratic society”. Two motions urging the Students’ Association to oppose the government’s ID card scheme were passed at the EUSA AGM, but will not become EUSA policy due to the required quorum of 300 members not being achieved. Contact email@example.com
Julia Sanches Lib Dem Robert Brown, delivering his condemnatory speech at Blackwell’s bookshop
Lecturers don’t brainwash students, US studies find Kirsty Leys THREE SEPARATE sets of new research out this week indicate that the ‘urban legend’ of radical liberal academics consistently indoctrinating students is just that. The studies, which resulted following a high number of complaints of “brainwashing” from parents and politicians, were investigated in American universities, and found that while most academics disclose their personal politics to students, the students do not tend to adopt these beliefs. One of the studies showed that students’ political beliefs frequently change at university, but that those who shifted left did not necessarily have left-leaning professors, rather that their changing views related more to their peers and what was going on outside of the classroom. April Kelly-Woessner, who coconducted one of the recent studies, stated that “Even in political science classes, where you would think that politics would be most likely to rear its head and where only one in four faculty members are Republican - we still did not find indoctrination”.
In fact, she believes that lecturers who try to convert their students are more likely to meet criticism than conformity. However, Michael Barone, a member of the conservative American Enterprise Institute disagrees. He claims that liberals outside the
“Even in political science classes, where only one in four faculty members is Republican, we still did not find indoctrination” April Kelly-Woessner, researcher classroom are taking their political “marching orders” from America’s higher education system. “We are looking at an increasingly college-educated electorate and political campaign teams, so of course the liberal agenda comes through.” The studies come at a time when American colleges face criticism
over pay-to-spy schemes and the non-payment scheme “Campus Watch,” which encourage students to record lectures and hand over material showing any lecturer or institution discussing political issues not strictly relevant to the course content. Public debate on the matter has escalated to such an extent that in 2007 the American Association of University Professors issued an extension to their 1940 “Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure” to advise that lecturers stay close to the agreed syllabus and avoid political references unless clearly related to the course content. Jeremy Mayer, co-author of “Closed Minds? Politics and Ideology in American Universities” maintains that the institutionalisation of political correctness, which he claims is designed to liberalise conservative students, is killing off healthy debate. He says: “Campuses that once prided themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society”. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Battle over Scottish nuclear power
Flickr: yrvafhom OVER REACTION?: Torness, one of Scotland’s two remaining nuclear power stations.
Samantha Groenestyn WESTMINSTER IS looking for a way to break the deadlock with the Scottish Government over the construction of new nuclear power facilities North of the border. The Scottish National Party (SNP) has been fighting Westminster’s energy plans, claiming Scotland can maintain energy exports by going down the path of renewable energy rather than nuclear power, which they see as potentially dangerous. The SNP entered government
last year with the promise to rid Scotland of both nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Scotland currently has two remaining nuclear power stations: Hunterston in north Ayrshire and Torness, near Edinburgh. The latter will soon be Scotland’s only nuclear plant, as Hunterston is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016. Two other stations, Chapelcross in Dumfires and a second unit at Hunterston, have already been decommissioned in the last two years, while the Dounreay plant in the Highlands was closed in 1994.
Scotland also lodges the UK’s fleet of Trident submarines at Faslane, which are equipped with nuclear weapons. Though protestors regularly challenge the ongoing existence of the Trident fleet, the Scottish Government has been criticised for perceived immaturity in pushing for the naval base to be closed. Dumbarton Labour MSP Jackie Baillie recently told the Lennox Herald that: “the SNP…need to get a sense of perspective,” regarding the significant increase in safety lapses at Faslane.
Commodore Eric Thompson, a former commander at Faslane, suggested that the SNP’s efforts to close the base are more concerned with politics than safety. In the face of much grassroots opposition, many energy industry experts see no other way forward than nuclear in the face of the strict carbon limits adopted by the UK. However, Holyrood maintains an effective veto on Westminster’s plans due to its devolved powers under the Electricity Acts. Contact email@example.com
Academics reap Kanye in, Glitter out rewards for research for exam boards Lee Bunce Three academics from the University of Edinburgh have been awarded a prestigious prize for pioneering research in their field. The Phillip Leverhulme Prize recognises individuals under the age of 36 who have made an exceptional contribution to their area of study and are expected to continue to do so in the future. The prize has been awarded to Dr Jarred Tanner from the School of Mathematics, Dr Jill Burke from the School of Arts, Culture and Humanities and Dr. Paul Palmer from the School of Geosciences. Steve Chapman, Vice-principal of Planning, Resources and Research Policy, said: “The award of Leverhulme Prizes to three talented individuals at the University of Edinburgh is testament to their quality of research. “These awards, which recognise emerging talent in pioneering areas of study, will enable the winners to expand their investigations, which in turn deliver tangible benefits for society.” The award carries a grant of £70,000
for winners to advance their research in any way other than increasing their salary. Dr Palmer was recognised for his research into the movement and chemical changes of gases in the atmosphere that are linked to climate change. Using data from satellites, this approach produces more accurate results than conventional methods. His future research will look at sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, building on the techniques he has previously developed. Dr Palmer said “It’s a great honour to win this prestigious prize. Only a few scientists in my field are awarded this prize every other year and the list of past winners reads like a who’s who in climate science.” Dr Jared Tanner’s work in high dimensional geometry has been used to improve the accuracy of techniques such MRI scanning and digital photography, and he hopes to use his prize to develop this further. Dr Jill Burke will use her grant to further her research in art from the Italian Renaissance.
Guy Rughani KAYNE WEST and a Manchester tram timetable have this week become examinable by the English exam board, AQA. From 2010, the GCSE music syllabus will feature Mr West’s music, most controversially, his chart-topping 2005 hit, ‘Gold Digger.’
“It is outrageous that swearing, sex and calling someone a ‘nigger’ are thought to be educational.” Dr Stuart Newton, former head of OFSTED The song features the lyric; “But she ain’t messin’ wit’ no broke niggers (she steal me money).” A former head of Ofsted, Dr Stuart Newton, commented that: “It is outrageous that swearing, sex and calling someone a ‘nigger’ are thought to be educational.”
“This exam board is weighed down by trying to be trendy. It is undermining work done over decades to eliminate those things.” In another change to the music GCSE, AQA have axed convicted paedophile Garry Glitter’s 1973 hit, ‘I’m the Leader of the Gang,’ from recommended coursework listening. Dr John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “No teacher should be in the position of having to discuss this man’s work with the young people in their class.” AQA have also announced that the Manchester Metrolink tram timetable will be included in the A-level English Literature syllabus. Containing tram times and instructions on how to buy tickets, the text will be enjoyed alongside Dickens, Johnson and Twain. As part of the exam board’s aim to give candidates a “broader education,” students will study how language has been adapted to suit different contexts, leading to inevitable complaints of “dumbing down.”
Student falls victim to heinous atrocity
In a week when Lothian and Borders Police blamed Edinburgh’s latest crime wave on the credit crunch, Student’s very own advertising banner, worth around £240, was stolen from George Square The banner, described by editors Neil Pooran and Lee Bunce as being “resplendent in the Student masthead”, was last seen after the EUSA AGM on Wednesday evening. The lost banner is a majestic deep red, and is approximately one metre wide and five metres long. The whereabouts of the banner are currently unknown, though both University Security and Lothian & Borders Police are investigating the theft. Anyone with information leading to the recapture of the banner will be appropriately rewarded. Vigilant students are urged to contact editors@studentnewspaper. org without delay. JE
Troubled HBOS “may be nationalised” Crisis-hit Edinburgh-based bank HBOS may be nationalised if a proposed takeover deal falls through. The bank’s chairman Dennis Stevenson warned on Saturday that it may be forced to raise up to £12bn if shareholders reject a planned deal with Lloyds TSB. In a letter to shareholders, Stevenson warned that there was “no certainty” of future funds. An independent HBOS’s eligibility for government bailout funds has become a focal point in the fight for HBOS’s future, with some claiming that the bank, which dates back to 1695, would still receive a promised £11.5bn in government funds. HBOS management have recently tried to play down talk of the bank having faced a Northern Rock-style run before the takeover deal was announced in September. Analysts estimate as much as £30bn in savings could have been withdrawn. JE
SNP crack down on cheap drink The Scottish Government has unveiled plans to introduce a minimum price for a unit of alcohol, following the failure of plans to raise the drinking age. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “There’s been clear evidence from academics from other countries that bringing minimum pricing can actually stop the abuse of alcohol.” “We’ve got to get it back in balance and that’s why it’s about addressing irresponsible promotion and irresponsible pricing that’s fuelling underage drinking.” JE
Zeenath Ul Islam
Down in Guantánamo In discussion with James “Yusuf” Yee, former US army Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo bay, Zeenath Ul Islam calls for justice in Guantánamo.
ovember is the month of remembrance. Bush will bequeath to president-elect Obama ongoing crises around the world that will require continuous attention and ultimately limit the president in asserting his own identity. But rendition: the practice of kidnapping of male civilians, using secret flights, CIA prison sites and torture to gain information should swiftly be dissolved. To this end the judicial system must be reminded of the hundreds of detainees imprisoned without trial around the world. Much to the embarrassment of the disintegrating Bush administration, both Obama and McCain had advocated the need for more government transparency and stated that they would close the infamous US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay. As an Arizona senator, McCain had fought to outlaw interrogations construed as torture and in May 2007 stated that the biggest difference between him and the other Republican nominees was, “every one of them wants to torture people. It’s amazing.” James “Yusuf” Yee, former US Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo Bay,
exposed the abuse of prisoners. Since the first amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right of religious freedom, Yee explained that his role of chaplain was to “advocate the free exercise of worship”. This was vital because the knowledge of Islamic practices was being used by military intelligence as a weapon in the form of psychological torture. In one example, “there was an interrogation room with a circle drawn and a pentagram drawn in the middle of it, prisoners were ordered to bow down and prostrate in the middle, as if in prayer. Interrogators would scream at the detainees, ‘Satan is your God now, not Allah!’ in an attempt to break the prisoner down.” Yee explained how female interrogators exploited the “Muslim etiquette of limited physical contact between the sexes. The female interrogators would strip naked to frustrate the prisoner, who was shackled to the ground, and inappropriately rub her own body against the prisoner, even grabbing the prisoner’s genitals. This is not appropriate in any society, for the prisoners but also for the women representing themselves as sex objects.”
In America there is a separation between the church and state, but the existence of chaplains in the military is in accordance with the American constitution in order “to defend the religious rights of the employees and prisoners.” Thus for the patriotic Yee, the violation of religion was also a violation of national values. Prisoners held at Guantánamo are trapped in a legal black hole, deliberately given the title of ‘detainee’ or ‘enemy combatant’ under the Bush administration. Consequently the US government denies those held at Guantánamo prisoner of war status under the Geneva Convention, thus allowing the administration to sidestep the upholding human rights. Fear and paranoia have driven the US military to extreme measures in the War on Terror. Naively Yee thought that his concerns of the prisoner abuse were appreciated, but ultimately the military used the Guantánamo tactics to silence him and defame his character. Mr Yee chose to work on Obama’s presidential campaign with the current president-elect, explaining, “I felt that Obama was the only real can-
didate who would close Guantánamo, adhere to Geneva conventions and restore our constitutional rights. His background is promising as an expert in constitutional law and so I went forth as a national delegate, casting a vote in the nomination against Hilary Clinton.” After 10 months as chaplain at Guantánamo, Yee was arrested in Jacksonville, for carrying “suspicious documents.” He was shackled, blindfolded and made to wear soundproof earmuffs, the same sensory deprivation tactics inflicted on prisoners at Guantánamo. “I had seen these tactics being used in Guantánamo to instil fear. That was scary for me because I knew that my country regarded didn’t regard that the prisoners in Guantánamo didn’t had human rights.” Taken to a US Navy brig in South Carolina, where he spent 76 days in solitary confinement. Yee was charged with sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, and espionage, all punishable by the death penalty. Yet no evidence against him was ever presented and in 2004 all the criminal charges were dropped. Yee has ultimately been bullied from the position in which he
was the most use and there is now no chaplain at Guantánamo Bay. This miscarriage of justice was allowed to happen because of Yee’s faith as a Muslim, his ethnicity as a third generation Chinese American and his patriotism. “My patriotism was under fire. My job was to advocate for one of the fundamental American principles - religious freedom. But not only advocating for that, along with diversity and tolerance and justice, but I was advocating for humane treatment of prisoners. That’s something our nation should be doing, without question, under both national and international law.” Colin Powell, one of the main architects of the ‘War on Terror’, says that if he was in a position of power now he would close Guantánamo. The only decent conclusion to this tragic episode would be for Obama to keep his promise and sign an executive order, closing Guantánamo and ending the sham military commissions there. It is time to restore the American values of justice, due process and human rights. firstname.lastname@example.org
The spying game Madeleine Battersby examines new survellience proposals for international students
nternational students can forget about peaceful study and engaging debate- a series of new proposals looks set reduce their time in the UK to a cross between Orwell’s “1984” and Channel 4’s “Celebrity Big Brother”. Sideways glances, stressed professors and nervous students keen to tick boxes may all result from these new policies which will turn universities into tools of surveillance rather than respectable establishments of education. The proposals, which are due to be introduced in the next year, force universities to report overseas students to the authorities if they don’t appear to be taking their studies seriously. Punishable behaviour includes missing 10 or more lectures or tutorials and failing to hand in an assignment on time. Lectures meanwhile would have to continuously monitor the attendance of overseas students as though they are serious enforcers of the law rather than academics and
educators. Not only is it unrealistic and unfair to expect lecturers to adopt the role of prison wardens, this legislation marks the beginning of complete collapse in the relationship between student and teacher. By installing fear in students’ minds at the prospect of failing to meet these targets, all trust and respect for their lecturers is lost. Conversely, lecturers will lose the ability to captivate and inspire, too busy with legislative documents and register taking to meet the needs and expectations of their students. Academics, students and politicians alike have met these proposals with outrage and are taking steps to prevent them being put into practice. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union said “We have grave concerns that new rules on monitoring foreign students have been pulled together without any consultation with the people
who would implement them. We do not believe it is appropriate or effective to task colleges and universities with the policing of immigration.” This is not the only humiliation international students will be subject ed to. As the national debate about ID cards rages on, the government will require students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland to carry identification cards and to have their fingerprints taken before they are allowed to attend university. The new rules will also require universities to obtain a license in order to admit students from outside of the EU, while overseas students will have to provide evidence that they are able to fund their studies and living costs. These regulations will not apply to other students, which leaves a bitter taste of regulated xenophobia. Indeed, they echo the more sinister policies in history whereby discrimination in the guise of educational legislation
has been used as a form of migration control. It is daunting enough to study at a university in a foreign country, sometimes many miles away from home, without being penalised by the lecturers and
“Singling out foreign students is discriminatory and unnecessary, and the strain on the university would be enormous” made to adhere to specifically discriminatory legislation. These new proposals each stem from the government’s attempts to eradicate bogus colleges which market phony student visas to migrants hoping to move to or remain
in the UK. Three hundred such ‘schools’ have been exposed in the last three years. Although it is vital that these fraudulent establishments are shut down, this needs to be done in a way that does not stereotype a whole category of students, making people feel unwelcome, nervous and even hostile. Singling out foreign students in this way is discriminatory and unnecessary, and the strain that these proposals would put on universities is enormous. Students would meet the system with disdain and discomfort, and lecturers would be forced to undertake duties that would be more appropriately dealt with at the Customs department of Heathrow than in a lecture hall. If we aren’t careful this harsh legislation for some could expand into a far greater surveillance programme, ultimately entailing fewer freedoms for all. email@example.com
Daily Mail, epic fail Matthew Hartfield rules in favour of privacy
n Monday, the Daily Mail’s editor Paul Dacre offered a stark warning that the British media is having a ‘privacy law imposed on it’, following FIA boss Max Mosley’s victory over the News of the World regarding his alleged Nazi-themed orgy. The ruling in favour of Mosley’s privacy, argued Dacre, will clamp down on the media’s ability to break new stories. Dacre’s booming voice cautioned that “Thanks to the wretched Human Rights Act, one judge with a subjective and highly relativist moral sense can [force a privacy law] with a stroke of his pen.” Fighting words indeed. Is the right of the media to uncover crooked figures really now under threat? Well, no. Far from creating a new law on a whim, the judge, Mr Justice Eady, upheld Section 8 of the Human Rights Act, which states that “Every-
one has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.” Intervention is not permitted except if an illegal act is being carried out. Since it was deemed that Mr Mosley’s orgy was not a recreation of Nazi acts, just general kinky behaviour, then there was no legal reason to intervene. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Mr Mosley’s actions, it is undeniable that the law protects him. This ruling upheld the balance between the free press and the judiciary and has consequentially changed that relationship very little. Why, then, should Mr Dacre be so worked up at Justice Eady’s decision? A small clue lies in another of Mr Dacre’s positions. As the head of the Press Complaints Commission’s (PCC) code of standards, he is responsible for the body that oversees British media and ensures a degree
of self-regulation exists to keep newspapers in line. It’s ironic that the editor of the Daily Mail was appointed to such a role, considering the paper’s history of printing false stories that fall foul of the selfsame PCC code. A quick search of the organisation’s website, indeed, reveals a list of complaints made against the Mail that shows just how often the paper has fallen foul of its editor’s own privacy rules. Looking through it reveals both the extent of Dacre’s hypocrisy and the depths to which his paper is willing to sink. Among those listed is Nigel Jordan, a civil servant who fell victim to the Daily Mail when it ran a story implicating him in the loss of a database containing the details of every family in Britain with a child under 16. This accusation turned out to be entirely unfounded. If that wasn’t enough, the Mail saw fit to print per-
sonal details found on Friends Reunited to humiliate him further. The paper was forced to issue an apology and remove all references to Nigel Jordan from its website. Jon Farrar also complained to the PCC after a Mail article on the death of his brother ‘contained inaccuracies and intruded into his grief’. Again, the paper capitulated and the article was swiftly removed from the internet. These incidents are small potatoes, however, when compared to the Mail’s invasion into the personal lives of the rich and famous. Tara Reid, who appeared in the American Pie movies, lodged a complaint when inaccurate statements were made about her body, illustrated with an invasive photo in case any of the Mail’s readers had no idea what a naked woman looked like. At least when the News of the World stung Max Mosely it was based on a real
event. Next to the Mail’s penchant for distorting stories so drastically that reality becomes unrecognisable, such an idea looks almost noble. This is precisely why human rights laws exist, to prevent the exploitation of the common man by the rich and powerful. Sadly it is often only when similarly rich and powerful individuals such as Mr Mosley take umbrage that they are able to challenge media giants and receive some justice; a result most ordinary people can only dream of. Thankfully there remain sane judges like Justice Eady to oversee the stormy grounds between media and privacy. Without them Paul Dacre would become judge, jury and executioner, and Britain would become both a scarier and more miserable place to be in. firstname.lastname@example.org
Backwards Ban Jenny Tzakova
n the fourth of November Americans shaped history with two democratic decisions. The first represented a leap forward towards justice and equality, putting issues of race in the past where they belong. The second, however, characterized a giant step back, embracing prejudices that have prevailed throughout history. After having legalized gay marriage in May 2008, California voted in favour of including an amendment in its state constitution stating ‘only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California’, effectively banning same -sex marriages. Many of the arguments in favour of the ban are rooted in religious and cultural beliefs about the act of marriage. Why should an individual’s personal life and relationships be determined by public vote, where people judge on their own beliefs and interpretations of what marriage should be? The act of choosing who to marry should be protected as a personal freedom integral to human rights. Another argument relates to children. Many claim that children raised under ‘traditional’ conditions, meaning by a man and woman, develop a healthier and more balanced attitude on life. This view is proven wrong by several academic studies which show no major differences between children raised in a range of households. The reasoning behind the ban, meanwhile, contradicts legislation in many states that allows same-sex couples to adopt children in the form of second-parent adoption. In these cases, why would a marriage make any difference? Many adopted children are already growing up with two fathers or mothers, so why would signing a legal document matter? If anything, a marriage agreement could improve these families’ quality of life through the security and financial benefits a legal union brings. Discrimination and prejudice still cast their dark shadows on America’s path to equality. A couple of American states and several European countries have already legalized same-sex marriage. We can’t expect a sudden and global change in attitudes towards gay marriage but surely few would expect society to go backwards in its development? Otherwise we might as well do it properly and put a ban on interracial marriages too and while we are at it, also reinforce apartheid. I believe that the right to faith should be a personal freedom, granted to any human but forced on noone. However choosing who to marry is just as much a personal freedom, one that should be denied to no-one on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Without this freedom couples will be deprived of what many see as the ultimate rite of love. Marriage should hence not be a subject of public vote but a matter of the heart. email@example.com
Global warning With temperatures rising Liorah Dekel makes the case for urgent action on climate change
limate change is now a widely accepted reality. The earth’s temperature is rising, heralding severe implications for us all. The Stern Review, released in October 2006 and authored by Lord Nicholas Stern, former World Bank Chief Economist, painted a dire picture of the state of our world. Average temperatures could rise by 5 degrees Celsius if climate change remains unchecked. Even an increase of 3 or 4 degrees would be enough to cause floods, that would affect millions. By 2050, 200 million people may be permanently displaced due to rising sea levels, heavier floods, drought and other extreme weather, creating the new phenomenon of ‘climate refugees’. The report articulated, in no uncertain terms, the severity of the problem facing us. Climate change will affect us all, not just those bearing the greater responsibility in the developed world. It is global in its causes and
consequences, and the response requires international collective action. Many people in the developed world are unaware of the implications of climate change for those in the developing world. Yet the impact of climate change on the world’s poor will be much more severe than for those of us in Britain and other developed countries. Poverty, heavy dependence on land for sustenance, shelter and income and the frequent lack of state-instituted safety nets mean people in the developing world are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In the developing world the imapct of changing temperatures is already being felt, as people suffer insecurity of food, shelter and income as a direct consequence of climate change. Take the example of Bangladesh, where rising sea levels have already caused thousands of people to relocate. If this trend continues at its present rate,
60 per cent of Bangladesh will be under water by 2050. Morally we have an obligation to help rein in climate change and assist those affected as much as possible. On an individual level, we are obliged to make concrete changes to the way we live, and to pressure our governments to do the same on a national and international level. It is for the sake of others as much as it is for ourselves. Campaigners are starting to succeed in drawing attention to the global threat of climate change. The government recently announced that the UK will cut 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, rather than the 60 per cent proposed in the Kyoto protocol. However, it remains unclear how much of this will be achieved through domestic cuts rather than by purchasing carbon credits. Even more recently, the government has announced it will include a clause in the Climate Change Bill which will legally require companies to report
their carbon emission to an agreed standard. Yet the battle is far from over. At a recent EU summit on climate change, many European nations called for a ‘rethink’ of emissions reductions in light of the global economic crisis. Now is the time to do something, and to be involved. The gravity of the issue is such that we can no longer afford to sit back, ignoring the long term consequences that will ultimately cost far more than taking action now. Now more than ever, it is imperative to ensure that the UK fulfils its pledges and maintains pressure on other developed countries, to make similar commitments to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. Liorah Dekel is a member of Christian Aid’s Countdown to Copenhagen campaign, which lobbies the government to take action on climate change. firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Since 1887 - The UK’ s oldest student newspaper
An electronic future A nother Annual General Meeting, yet more flagging attendance. The fact that this year’s AGM contained such important motions makes its lack of attendance all the more disappointing. While the unanimous, and fully quorate, support of the Improving Access to Essential Medicines motion is encouraging, the subsequent dwindling of attendance figures shows that the democratic process may just be too lengthy and dull for some. As such, it seems that we need to rethink the whole process of democratic decision-making in our Student’s Association. Arguments about apathy and the relevance of the motions being discussed notwithstanding, the
format of the meetings appears to be outmoded. There has yet to be a convincing argument put forward against the introduction of online referenda as a replacement, or perhaps a complement, to the usual AGM format. This would doubtlessly increase participation. Other student unions which use physical ballot papers in elections tend to have much smaller turnouts than EUSA’s electronic system, and the fact that our student experience seems to be largely defined by our MyEd internet portals means its implementation and visibility will be made easy. Such a scheme could be introduced sooner rather than later, as EUSA
And justice for all? D espite the poor attendance at last weeks AGM did manage to produce one shining light. It was Chris Lawrence, author of the motion to allow greater access to medicines developed at Edinburgh University, who stole the show, receiving by far the biggest cheer of the night on taking to the stage, and a hero’s ovation as he left it. Some 10 million people, most of them in developing countries, die needlessly every year because they do not have access to existing medicines and vaccines. Furthermore, only 10% of research funding is used to look at disease affecting 90% of the world’s population, a shocking statistic that deserves to be
rectified. The big idea behind this motion was that while international agreements are fraught with obstacles, largely due to the overwhelming influence of pharmaceutical companies, universities are in a unique position of influence. Universities play a prominent role in developing medicines; so by inserting licensing laws into into technology transfer agreements with corporations then can tackle the problem from ‘the bottom up’. Lawrence’s goals are admirable, but there is a sense it may not be realistic. As a motion that merely mandates EUSA to press for change, its true success remains to be seen. Pharmaceutical companies
President Adam Ramsay hinted in a question and answer session after the AGM that a proposal for electronic voting could be put forward at next semester’s General Meeting. Yet for this to be truly successful, a more pro-active approach in informing the student body about the proceedings will be required. Student is under no illusions that this will be an easy task. Perhaps the biggest barrier in getting around the 300 votes quorum is, ironically, the existence of the bye-law itself. If a motion to introduce electronic voting is proposed at the GM it will need over 300 votes to avoid being stymied. The problem is therefore somewhat self-perpetuating.
will naturally resist any attempt to stifle their profits, and so will put pressure on universities by any means necessary. If Edinburgh presents an obstacle to greater profits, companies will take their research funding elsewhere. Lawrence points to a report showing out that 15 of the 21 most therapeutic drugs developed in America were done so using federal funding. While the point is certainly valid, it would seem to understate the importance private funding continues to have, as surely any university researcher will tell you. So while Lawrence deserves his praise for this success, it’s clear this motion is merely the first hurdle of many. Let’s just hope that it isn’t the last.
Urgent Notice The Student editorial team would like to register our extreme displeasure at the theft of our largest and most stately promotional item, the ‘Student’ banner. The large red banner, roughly 1m by 5m in proportion, was last seen adorning the fences opposite George Square Lecture Theatre on the evening of Wednesday 12 November, the night of the EUSA AGM. ‘Old Red’, as the banner was affectionately known, has been with the newspaper for many years and was known and loved by writers and readers alike. It’s disappearance is currently being investigated by University Security and Lotian & Borders Police, who are studying CCTV footage of the area and are looking for any information the public might have as to its whereabouts.
If you would like to join Student come down to the PENTLAND ROOM, PLEASANCE at 1.15pm on TUESDAYS or email us at email@example.com Editors Lee Bunce/Neil Pooran Comment Mairi Gordon/Robert Shepherd/Zeenath Ul Islam Copy editing Lottie Fyfe/ Culture Rupert Faircliff /Emma Murray Hannah Ramsey Design Jamie Manson Features Jonathan Holmes/Rosie Nolan/ David Wagner Film Tom MacDonald/Sam Karasik Illustrations Harriet Brisley/Zeeneth
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Your Letters Ignorance not apathy Dear Student, I am in no way connected with party politics, nor have any related career ambitions which would bias my participation in student events, yet I am severely disappointed in the amount of people who turned up to last weeks AGM. For only half of the meeting we were quorate, having over 300 people, which our constitution says is enough people to pass motions with the authority of the student body. Yet in a population of around 25,000 students this represents barely over 1% of everyone attending the university. This cannot be described as democratic. This cannot be attributed to apathy of students. In trying to advertise the event, I found a lot of people expressing strong opinions on EUSA and on policy, and a strong desire to change things. I can then only attribute it to ignorance. Ignorance of what EUSA is – not realising that the entire student body, including themselves, is EUSA. Ignorance of what EUSA does or how it is run - which can be found out easily by reading the first few pages of the constitution (or even wikipedia). That it is made up of three parts: the Union (the buildings and amenities set aside for students), the Student’s Representative Council (the legislative arm of the association a bit like the houses of parliament – who meet up regularly and put forward motions binding to the Executive and who also represent us as students to the University and others) and the Executive (the four smiling President and VPs you see everywhere who make sure everything runs smoothly and act as figureheads for us as students). There is ignorance of what the AGM is – a way in which every single student to affect the way EUSA is run, be that through motions or changing the structure, or appointing nominations. It is fundamentally democratic, with every single member possesing one vote – this skips the SRC and so can be put in to effect immediately (imag-
Advertising Tony Foster (Contact @ 0131 650 9189) Student Newspaper 60 Pleasance Edinburgh EH8 9TJ Email: editors@ studentnewspaper.org
ine all the times when a stupid law goes through and you think if only I could be allowed to change it I would do it correctly – well this is exactly that chance). Then lastly there is ignorance of why they should care. Many students feel powerless; that there is nothing they can do. This is wrong on many levels. Take as an example a motion from last weeks AGM – a motion opposing foreign students being forced to carry ID cards passed by 270 – 20. Yet since the number was under 300 it is not legally binding on the Executive to carry out this representation. Secondly, as mentioned previously, EUSA has approximately 25,000 members, a large pressure group when representing an issue. EUSA is also a member of the National Union of Students – around 5 million members. If focused, this has a huge influence on policies on every level around local and national government, due to the numbers and also the fact that students represent the face of the country in the near future. Moreover, students are generally more progressive, radical, and generally cooler than most other pressure groups: being at the forefront of a legacy of social and democratic change over the past seventy years or so in this country and around the world. Perhaps then this ignorance has made us lazy, and we have been coaxed into doing nothing by cheap goods, easy living and subtle advertisements and social pressure advising us to not rock the boat. Well to those reading this I say it’s time to start getting involved and standing up for what you believe is right. Go and find out who is representing you and get them to do the right thing. Maybe even next time go out and attend the next General Meeting and bring democracy back to the students. Alasdair Mackenzie 3rd Year Chemistry
Student welcomes letters for publication. The editors reserve the right to edit 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 Student and do not represent the views of the editors or the paper as a whole. Published by and copyright © Student Newspaper Society, 2008 Printed by Cumbrian Printers Distributed by Lothian Couriers, North Berwick Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office.
A Dickens for the digital age Jenny Baldwin talks to publishing phenomenon and Edinburgh graduate, Alexander McCall Smith, about photo shoots in thistle fields, the inspiration behind his much-loved work
lexander McCall Smith is a busy man; he released two novels last month, has one due to hit book shops in the new year, an online novel on the go, and has a W.H Auden lecture to give. When I arrive for our meeting, he is surrounded by intrigued fans and snapping cameras, posing for yet another photograph in the Elder Room of the University’s Old College. Dressed in a grey suit and sporting a small, red bow-tie, the well-respected author oozes a lovable eccentricity with minimal effort. “Hello!” he exclaims as he bounds across the room. “How wonderful to meet you!” Every note of his opening speech glows with charm and generosity. All smiles and gentle handshakes, McCall Smith immediately and apologetically recognises his heavy schedule: “Oh I’m sorry. I’m terribly used to these things. I know this photographer so I don’t mind awfully this time. “I have been asked to do some hideous things during photo shoots though. One time I was made to sit on a bed of thistles. A bed of thistles! As ridiculous as it was, I found that I couldn’t refuse.” With the air of a hyper schoolboy, McCall Smith giggles about his experiences; his laughter is infectious. I find it hard to imagine that this man could refuse anything at all. Indeed, Alexander McCall Smith has been pleasing his readers for years. His No. 1 Ladies’ Detective
Profile: Alexander McCall Smith - Born 24 August 1948, in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe - His academic publication, The Forensic Aspects of Sleep, is about the legal implications of crime during sleepwalking - His No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series has been made into a film by the late Anthony Minghella - He plays contrabassoon in the ‘Really Terrible Orchestra’, which he founded with his wife in 1999 - He visits Botswana every summer, and this year opened the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera House there
Agency series has sold more than 15 million copies in English and has been translated into 42 other languages. His other series - about the Edinburghbased philosopher sleuth Isabel Dalhousie and the goings-on at 44 Scotland Street - are also hugely popular. Born in Zimbabwe and educated in Edinburgh, McCall Smith became a Professor in Medical Law at the University, and won Alumnus of the year in 2006. His childhood inAfrica, as well as his spell as a Professor at the University of Botswana, have influenced his fiction greatly; his most popular No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series is, in fact, set in Botswana. McCall Smith confesses that he is passionate about “the openness of its skies, its striking
“I think that the reader can probably find matters relating to the writers psyche in every passage of a novel”
physical beauty” and the “remarkably nice” people. The Series features the adventures of female detective Precious Ramotswe and is known for its vivid and uplifting portrayal of African life, as well as its touching humanity and life-affirming characters. On hearing McCall Smith’s joyous laughter reverberate around the room, it is easy to detect the personality from which such enjoyable and warm fiction emanates. However, McCall Smith is quick to halt my observation; he doesn’t like to see aspects of himself in his fiction. “I find it a little bit unsettling,” he explains, “but I accept that, inevitably, writers give themselves away every third sentence, if not more. I think that the reader can probably find matters which are related to the writer’s psyche and the writer’s attitude in every passage of a novel. It’s best not for the writer to think too much about it though, it would affect the spontaneity of writing.” McCall Smith recognises that his central characters are often dominant women. “I find that the conversation of women is particularly interesting. For example, if I were writing about two male detectives in the Botswanabased books, they wouldn’t have the conversation that Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi have. Male con-
versation tends to be, at the risk of a tremendous generalisation, a little bit more objective. “Female conversation, again these are gross generalisations, often has a greater element of subjectivity in it. Women tend to talk more about their feelings, and look at the world in a different way. I do like writing about women, and they do tend to be quite intellectual and very competent and strong – Isabel is certainly an admirable person.” It is down to Isabel that McCall Smith finds himself in the University’s Old College, about to introduce a W.H Auden lecture. He gleefully explains the reason for his collaboration with respected Professor and Auden Executor, Edward Mendelson, and the motivations behind the growing masses of people in the Playfair Library: “In my new novel, The Comfort of Saturdays, Professor Mendelson comes to Edinburgh to give a lecture on W. H Auden in George Square – the main character, Isabel Dalhousie, is a very great devotee of his work.The idea then occurred to me of translating it all into reality, and of bringing the fictional but real character, Professor Mendelson, to Edinburgh to give the very same lecture.” He laughs with sheer delight at the apparent success of his plan. Indeed the blatant fusion of the fictional and the real is important to McCall Smith: “I find that the readers rather like it,” he exclaims. “They love the references to Ian Rankin in my 44 Scotland Street Series. I think that it probably gives fiction a stronger sense of being located somewhere. If people know that you’re not only talking about
streets or cafés or pubs that they know, but also about people that they know, it somehow makes the sense of place stronger and more vivid.” As McCall Smith hints, great care is taken in developing the setting of his fiction, in representing “the streets, the cafés and the pubs” that readers recognise. His emphasis on “Botswana’s skies, its striking physical beauty” in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series, and the winding roads of Edinburgh in the 44 Scotland Street and Sunday Philosophy Club Series, is evidence of the importance that he attaches to locality and scene in his work: “Setting and character probably tend to be more important for me than plot. I think that one can portray a place
“I do like writing about women, and they do tend to be quite intellectual and very competent and strong”
really quite delicately with a few brush strokes rather than a very intricate, detailed description of place – you just need some suggestion. When talking about Edinburgh you can just mention one or two of the saliencies; the mist or the sky – and it can really get across the picture; a bit like a painting.” For McCall Smith, the only way to be universal is to be particular. He takes great care to relate to his readers. His 44 Scotland Street Series first appeared as a daily column in the Scotsman, and he is currently working on his first online novel, Corduroy Mansions,
for the Telegraph’s website. “With serialisations, you are having a long conversation with a lot of people. Readers regard the characters as friends. They invest a lot in their welfare. The idea of serialised fiction is nothing new. In the 19th century it was common for writers to publish chapters of books as they wrote them. Tolstoy and Flaubert did this, as did Dickens, who published many of his books in monthly instalments.” McCall Smith’s comparison stretches further; he has been hailed on the website’s forum as “the Dickens for the digital age” by a reader. In the face of such grand compliments, the popular author is unsurprisingly modest. “I enjoyed Scotland Street terribly. It’s just gossipy fiction, and people read it. Scotland Street is read all over the world which rather surprised me, and is translated into all sorts of languages – I thought it would just be a private joke. “Having begun Corduroy Mansions, I have done something that no sensible author would normally dream of doing. I have embarked on the public writing of a novel under the eyes of my readers. There will be no opportunity for revision or recanting.” As he laughs at his own predicament, he joyfully clasps his hands together and accepts his fate with youthful enthusiasm. “I am like a man on a tightrope”, he explains, considering his Corduroy Mansions project, “Join me, please.” I doubt there is any need for such an appeal – his fiction, like his personality, is infectious beyond recovery. Indeed this time, it is the reader that just can’t, and won’t, refuse the offer.
Arctic explorer George Bullard has been to the ends of the world, and is the better for it
lex Hibbert and I have just returned from the journey of a lifetime. A journey in which we quite literally walked ourselves into the record books by completing the ‘Longest Fully Unsupported Polar Journey of all time’. We left on the 22nd March from the East Coast of Greenland near a village called Isotok, from where we skiied on a bearing of 001° towards our turning point on the West Coast at N74° W055°. We finished back on the east coast on July 17th at a different location - the top of the Hahn glacier only a few miles from our original start point, due to a food shortage. After 113 days on the ice, and 1,374 miles of severe sensual deprivation we saw the rugged east coast. Putting our journey into perspective with others, the only other men who have spent longer on the ice were Wally Herbert and his team. He was on the Arctic Ocean for 15 months on his journey to the North Pole. He built a town in the ice, was accompanied by 40 others and had an endless supply of food. That is the only expedition that was longer in time; ours is the next. In terms of length, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud completed a 1,200 mile trip across Antarctica. Tori and Runner (two Norwegians) then broke this record on the Arctic ocean by travelling 1,305 miles. This was the record that Alex and I set out to break. In both expeditions the explorers returned in an extremely emaciated
condition. Alex and I, due to a well researched diet and good technique, returned relatively healthy. Both of us pulled one sledge, each weighing almost 200kg (named Gertrude and Matilda respectively). These were the only females that we saw for four months: they were fat, heavy and particularly unattractive but thanks to them we survived.We started the expedition with over 1.3 million calories on our sledges - this allowed us to eat approximately 5,500 calories everyday. With air temperatures dropping into the -40s, 200kg sleds and living on a meagre diet, it was imperative that our equipment was perfectly suited to the environment that we were in. Tiso Outdoor Specialists supplied us with everything from our energy source (solar panel) to skis and sleeping equipment. Clearly this expedition could not have functioned without the expert knowledge of the Tiso team. The Montane smocks and the Rab Vaporise trousers were truly fantastic. They protected us from frost injuries down to air temperatures of -30°C which for a pertex and pile combination is remarkable. The mental side of the expedition, aside from the physical, was the hardest. The boredom was unbearable. There was no stimulation whatsoever; quite simply we experienced severe sensual deprivation. The only green I saw was a small badge on my front and our meal bags. The only wildlife
in sight were four birds. Sometimes we spent weeks in white-out, where all you can see is white and only just glimpse your own feet. On seeing the mountains at either side, I have never been so excited and enthralled by a pile of rocks! While sitting at home, I still can’t quite believe that I put my body through such a painful experience; having finished it I am exceptionally glad. During our stay on the ice we only had one major problem with kit, and it was with Alex’s left ski – later named ‘Rodney’. Rodney snapped with 414 miles to go just behind the binding, which luckily was not a ‘show stopper’. Using spare guy lines from the tent and my knowledge of knots we snapped Rodney in half (a heart stopping moment) and spliced the two ends together. Minor problems with our Doug Stoup Baffin boots came when the air temperature plummeted well below -40°c and the wind chill made it yet colder, both Alex and I nearly suffered from frostbitten extremities. However, it is simply a complement to the quality of our pertex outer shell and pile inner that we were able to ski (although only for a short while) in such conditions, which haven’t been recorded in any Greenland expedition report we researched. On the whole the expedition was extremely successful.That was until we reached our penultimate food depot. It was laid at 100 miles from the end and left exposed for around 90-100 days to
the force of arctic weather. T h e situation was made w o r s e by a thick layer of ice that had formed due to warm weather whilst we were away. This inhibited our probe from even penetrating the surface. It was clear that we had to continue on skeleton rations. When
“These were the only females that we saw for four months: they were fat, heavy and particularly unattractive” it came to finding the last of our 11 depots at 50miles from the end, neither of us were too keen to find it, as this meant that we had to remain on the ice for another 24hrs. Personally, having mentally prepared myself for getting off the ice the next day, I simply couldn’t go on for another one. Having lived on 2.5 flapjacks a day (1,500 kcal) for the last six days and skiing for 13 hours, covering roughly 21 miles, we burnt approximately 9,000 k/cal.
Clearly, we were starving, and this was in no way sustainable. As a result of this starvation we lost five stone between us. On our journey home, as a direct consequence of our plain diet we both suffered from a sickness bug. I was the first to suffer from it after consuming 1 pint of beer, some nachos and a waffle. Afterwards, I was sick as a dog. Alex went on to be sick the evening after. My gap year (which saw me go from Antarctica to the Arctic) has made me really understand just how lucky we all are. Not having a toilet to sit on, not having a sofa to fall back on, not having a plate to eat off, a mattress to sleep on, a warm kitchen to go and eat in, not being able to have all the food you want or entertainment… I could go on and on, but it truly made me understand just how we take all our luxuries for granted.
It’s all a Viking conspiracy Dominic Hinde gives his two Swedish Krona about misconceptions other countries have about Britain
raveling and living abroad tends to blow away some of the national sterotypes prevalent in the UK, but similarly it is fascinating to see how others view your own country, sometimes spectacularly misinterpreting it. Away in Sweden I try and keep in touch with Edinburgh by talking to my friends, and helpfully an exchange student who has moved in the opposite direction writes a weekly column for the student newspaper here at Uppsala University, describing her adventures in and opinions on the UK. Her work has become compulsive reading of late, giving me insights into Edinburgh and Scotland that I myself could never have seen. The latest installment was titled Viking Blood and dealt with the subject of Scandinavia Lovers “As we call them here in Edinburgh”(not my words but those of the insightful Malin Nauwerck). Scandinavia Lovers is not a series of racy novels, but rather a term for those who
apparently idolise Scandinavia and are obsessed with Vikings. She talks about Edinburgh’s Scandinavian department and how the people she studies with seem somewhat fixated on both rape and pillage, and utopian nordic society. As a student of that department I was intrigued by Nauwerck’s interpretation, as during my time there I have not once studied anything to do with Vikings outside their role in the history of the Scandinavian languages. I assume that I am a
“The people she studies with seem somewhat fixated on both rape and pillage and utopian nordic society” prime example of a Scandinavia Lover in her eyes, but academic study of something requires criticism
as well as enthusiasm; there is a large difference between interest and adoration. She complains of people stereotyping Sweden and Scandinavia, but within the department, students have undertaken projects on modern and diverse subjects, including the evolution of immigrant languages in inner-city Scandinavia and the history of Norwegian black metal. I can only assume that the author assumed her secret would be safe and unquestioned in Sweden and that ignorance would allow her generalisations to be taken as fact. I find it hard to agree with the following excerpt from her latest column, for example: “Recently a program was broadcast on TV called True Blood of the Vikings... After it had been broadcast, everyone in Scotland was positive that they were of noble Viking blood.” I checked with a friend, and she assured me that she was 100 percent
non-Viking, though perhaps would change her mind after watching the reportedly life-changing documentary. Nauwerck then insists that Scots feel more of a kinship with Scandinavians than English people and, for good measure, mocks her three classmates in her old Icelandic class, who she labels as ‘Two wannabe Vikings from north America and one genuine Scottish Viking.” If this were simply the scribbling of the average egoistic student journalist then it would be somewhat easier to accept, but this woman has written for the culture section of Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden’s largest and most respected newspapers. The assertions she makes are both unbelievable and ever so slightly insulting. Previous to her insight into Scotland’s national Viking obsession, we were treated to an exploration of the British class system. Nauwerck writes that she came to Edinburgh for a bit of Brideshead Revisited and
discovered that the class system was still very much in evidence. I do not doubt that our glorious university does attract the healthier and wealthier slice of society but she does seem intent on simplifying the complex issues of social mobility and privilege within Britain in a few sentences, and insufficiently. I don’t condone how insular and elitist Edinburgh can be. There have been times when I have stood in a room, exasperated that all the talk has been of ski parties and Opal Lounge, but I also know that at least 50 percent of the university is made up of perfectly decent people with their feet on the ground and some sense of reality, just as three nordic scholars with an interest in ancient history are not the same as someone writing their dissertation on modern Swedish literature. When abroad it seems that some simply fight stereotypes with stereotypes. Malin Nauwerck, you can do better.
Time to grab your thermos Neil Simpson compares the catastrophic decline of Starbucks
OME LAY as food for dogs; for many, a burning roof both took their soul and cremated their corpse. Through villages and villas, through countryside and market place, through all regions on all roads in this place and that there was Death, Misery, Destruction, Burning and Mourning...’ Few events in history can have been as awful as the collapse of the Roman Empire. Yes, Northern Rock wasn’t pleasant, Lehman Brothers may have been mishandled, and the collapse of a major Scottish bank can’t have been a good thing - but hardly the end of civilization as we know it. Yet few scholars of the decline of the Roman Empire still cling to the notions of Gothic thugs springing forth from murky forests to murder an otherwise healthy and urbane organization of toga-clad intellectuals. Brian Ward-Perkins, however, is one of them. He has suggested that tens of thousands of heavily armed Germans did indeed have an adverse affect on Roman abilities to collect tax revenue. Drawing on extensive archaeological evidence, Perkins points to a decline in the quality of commonly used products such as amphorae, coins and roof tiles, resulting from a collapse in centralised authority. He suggests that a fall in confidence brought on increasingly localised and risk-adverse local traders. All in all, this led to what he has termed, a “decline in comfort.” Today it is doubtful whether vandals like the Goths - or thugs like the Vandals - could seriously shake
the resolve of the Scottish Raj in Londonshire under Emperor Broon. Few would forecast the imminent downfall of capitalism, and it seems doubtful that soup queues will be forming outside abandoned factories any time soon. But with serious financial turbulence comes problems. The first of these is the decline in pleasant comfort - although thankfully without the waves of garlic-smelling Germans washing their hair in butter that Sidonius Apollinaris lamented in the 5th century. The ‘Empire of Comfort’ that is Starbucks provides an obvious source of pointless, friendly, frothy, freshly-served coffee cuddles. At the
“Starbucks provides an obvious source of pointless, friendly, frothy, freshly served coffee cuddles” height of the Roman Empire traders could travel from Gaul to Jerusalem and only need a smattering of Greek on top of basic Latin; at the height of the Starbucks imperium, we can drink from the same global trough of over-priced coffee from Rio to Rome. According to the Starbucks website, coffee is the second most traded commodity on the planet. It is outranked only by petroleum. Starbucks also provides a useful barometer of where civilization ends. Currently the most northerly Starbucks in Britain is in Elgin. I have never been to Elgin, although
I’m sure the experience would be interesting. Groups of huddled coffee baristas presumably stand watch around the last glimmering coals and warmth from a fire in an otherwise barren and desolate landscape, flinching every now and then at the sound of wolves and clinging to the Mermaid standard of the Empire. Indeed, the extent of the Roman advance into Scotland in the first century has never really been pinned down. It could well have been near Elgin, where the Roman general Agricola finally clashed with the Caledonian chief Calgacus at Mons Graupius. Being the first Scot in recorded history, Calgacus gave an appropriately Mel Gibson-esque prebattle speech, telling his followers that (and I have made a few alterations to highlight a point): ‘We, the most distant dwellers upon earth, the last of the free, have been shielded till today by our very remoteness and by the obscurity in which it has shrouded our name. Now, the farthest bounds of Britain lie open to [Starbucks] … But there are no more nations beyond us; nothing is there but waves and rocks, and [Starbucks], more deadly still than these – for in them is an arrogance which no submission or good behaviour can escape…they create a [dessert] and call it a peace [of cake].’ Tacitus then tells us that Agricola on the Roman side addressed his troops thus: ‘This is the seventh year, [Baristas], since by loyal service – yours and my own – you started to conquer Britain in the name of
Obamarama only in America Thomas Kerr takes a look at U.S. President-elect, Barack Obama, from a distinctly British viewpoint and how the Obama phenomenon highlights the different driving forces behind British and American politics
ARACK OBAMA may only have been elected last Tuesday, but, to paraphrase the man himself, in parliaments and palaces and forgotten corners of the world he had already won the election long ago. The appearance of an eloquent, highly intelligent and compassionate man – a stark contrast to the hugely divisive incumbent who he will replace in January – as a candidate for the most important job in the world has been hailed by politicians and ordinary people the world over as a revelation; a fantastic opportunity for the world’s sole superpower to take a different path in the coming years - a better, fairer path whose effects would ripple across the globe. The enthusiasm in Europe was such that hundreds of thousands of Germans flocked to see him speak at
the Victory Column in Berlin. When Obama visited London he did not make a public appearance, but wild enthusiasts still thronged to Downing Street in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Senator. That must have been a bizarre experience for seasoned British politicians - tired old Westminster hacks used to cynicism and outrage being the order of the day as far as the public relationship with our political masters goes. Even Tony Blair at his slickest, riding on the crest of optimism that swept him to power in 1997, couldn’t garner a fraction of the adulation that Obama inspires even in foreign countries. A by-product of this rather hysterical hero-worship is that the people of the world’s liberal democracies have cast a rather
envious eye upon the President-elect. We have looked at our own politicians, compared them with Obama, and found them sorely wanting. They seem stilted, idiotic, corrupt, dull and mirthless by comparison. The thought of David Cameron packing out a
“The thought of David Cameron packing out a stadium to give a speech is laughable” stadium to give a speech is utterly laughable, even somewhere dire and tiny, (Bournemouth FC perhaps?) And so everyone who admires Obama has thought the same question at some
point: where is our version? Why can’t we have an inspirational leader of that quality too? The sad truth is that a British Obama will never exist. Not, as civil rights campaigner Peter Tatchell claimed last week, because we would not elect an ethnic minority. A poll this week revealed that only 5% of British voters would be reluctant to elect a black Prime Minister, although predictably that figure rose to 23% if the candidate were Muslim. These figures are almost identical to the findings from similar American polls. Clearly, race is no more of an issue in the United Kingdom than it is in America, which might seem like an empty compliment but let us not forget that America, often reviled for its less savoury elements, has just become the first Western nation to
elect a member of an ethnic majority to its highest state position. The real reason British voters would never elect a man like Barack Obama is because our political system does not allow idealists to prosper. As a nation, we tend not to indulge in the sort of sentimental naivety that America adores. We treat our politicians with mild contempt, assuming the worst in them all with world weary cynicism. We want our leaders to be morally incorruptible, honest and diligent. We burden them with impossible moral expectations which we know they cannot fulfil, and joyfully kick them firmly in the teeth when they fail to adhere to these rules. The idea that we would suspend this cynicism in the face of an inspirational speaker with an uncertain record is frankly absurd.
Featuring a dark and grizzly teddy bears’ picnic, the extraordinary inﬂuence of an ordinary woman, haikus and more poetry events
“Very hard for a man with a wig to keep order.” - Evelyn Waugh
If you go out in the woods I
n the heart of night, when the tired cries of baby bears could be heard up and down the procession, the branches that had snatched at them and plucked at their coats like talons suddenly retreated. The pitch black could not prevent the bears feeling the openness that they had broken into—the air became emptier, more brittle with the freshness of space. Cracks and snaps of dry, apple-perfumed branches laid in a pile in the centre of the glade could be heard. The fire-lighting was an ancient ceremony that had marked the beginning of the Feast as far back as anyone could remember. A hush fell over the assembly, broken only by the plaintive bleating of the goat, limbs bound, as it was dragged to the pyre. The bears, crowded around, remained motionless and quietened as the pyre began to spit and roar, the scent of the branches diffusing across the grove. Every creature seeming mesmerised by the licking flames and dancing dots of embers above the fire. Dark eyes glinted in the increasing light, and seemed not to blink until their leader turned and tore the limp goat apart in one clean movement, hurling limbs into the crowd of bears. Scuffles broke out as possession was claimed over the first morsels, good omens for the year ahead.
Edited by Julia Sanches and Jonny Stockford
The purpose of the occasion was to select the fittest, sharpest and bravest bears to leave their homes, perhaps forever; to deny their natures, reject their natural forms and win the opportunity of becoming a leader. A Teddy. Families with sons or daughters who succeeded in becoming Teddies shed no public tears about the likelihood of never seeing their offspring again, but held their heads high, and were treated with respect for their doing so. It was easy to spot Teddies— they were distinguished by their brightly coloured fur, patched and scruffy with attention, their missing claws, ears, or, in the case of their leader, a nose. His name was—quite appropriately—No Nose. The Games were threefold. The first tested the opponents’ ability for stillness, an imperative skill for any hopeful bear. Scattered evenly, the bears began to lumber forwards, weaving in and out of one another in silence, as a steady drum beat marked an even time. The pace picked up as the beat gradually built until the competitors were careering amongst one another, skidding out of each others’ way, breathing heavily with exertion, concentration and nervousness. The light of the flames picked out their hairs, sparking off those who came too close,
by Hannah Ewan
flashing off eyes, noses and running claws. Around them the crowd followed loved ones with grave, urgent eyes, and the pounding drum beat was the only sound in the shadow-splashed grove. Without warning, the last beat hung in the air, and a thick noiselessness covered the assembly. With varying degrees of alacrity, the running bears skidded into motionlessness, the keen eye of NoNose instantly picking out those who took even a glimmer more than possible to come to a total halt. He delicately hooked small embers of wood out of the fire, and unerringly pitched them at several score of bears, the glowing lumps tearing their way through the darkness to explode harmlessly but finally off of coats. Several bears rolled quickly to put out smouldering hairs and escaped to their families. There were still many left in the centre of the ring. They stood in a multitude of positions, but no matter how awkward or painful, not a muscle could be moved under any circumstances until they were released. No-Nose stalked between the bears, prowling up to them randomly and peering into their eyes with an intense and unwavering gaze. To remain statuestill for the long minutes that No-Nose wove between them took strength and
discipline.Any bear that failed this first test would never be fit for the world of People, with its lawless children and dismissive, careless grown ups. The life of a Teddy was one of permanent alertness, frequent mistreatment and comfortlessness. The tales of those who had returned spoke of the indescribable otherness of the world they broke into. These bewitching sagas formed the resolution in every young bear’s heart to be part of the Games as soon as they were old enough. When every bear had been tried, the remaining, successful applicants shook their fatigue off, gladly breaking their positions and stretching stiff muscles. “Successful bears, you have completed a difficult task. This took much skill, you should be proud—even if you fall at the next Game. Many could not do what you have done. Prepare yourselves for the next challenge!” shouted No-Nose. Having proven their ability for motionlessness, the bears were now to show their strength of character; their gentleness, passivity and humbleness. Their position amongst the People would be one of confidant, comforter and source of security, a responsibility under potentially demanding circumstances. Continued on the next page
Tontine Continued from previous page
With ninety bears left, No-Nose introduced the Returned Teddies. Each Teddy took their place in front of a bear, glaring at them inches away from their face. The bear on trial had to remain calm and outwardly restrained while the Teddy began a torrent of dialogue that became gradually more disturbing, more violent and offensive. The bears could feel the hot breath and saliva on their fur—such was the close proximity of heads, gnashed teeth and palpable contempt. Some bears struck up and leapt at their torturers with roars and outstretched claws, only for other Teddies to swiftly approach to cuff them down.And thus candidates stood on their spots briefly, shaking with rage, until small acts of retaliation signalled their defeats. Others would shatter the serenity of their mask and break into hurt sobs, whimpering at the harshness of the accusations and criticisms rained upon them. Families winced at the treatment of their loved ones, or cried out indignantly at a particularly cruel jibe. The noise of the Teddies spitting, roaring, whispering or whining invectives at their victims flooded the grove until mothers covered the delicate ears of their young, partially muting personal slights and obscenities. Sixty bears stood still, peaceful and detached, unheeding the violence aimed at them. Their eyes remained soft and gentle, with no hint of anger behind them, and their coats lay flat on their backs, un-raised in defiance. Slowly the din petered away, and a relieved silence fell upon the huge crowd, every bear unconsciously breathing quietly so as not to fracture its welcome liberation from the ugliness of this least-popular of Games. No-Nose, holding and releasing a deep breath, spoke: “I will, as every year, apologise for the necessity of such an ugly display of provocation. I assure you, were it anything less than essential for the safety of both the People and our bears, it would be banished from the Feast forever. However, with the different temperaments of People and bears, I fear this second Game will be thrust upon you for many years to come.” Very few bears doubted his sagacity. For the remaining bears one final Game remained in the test of their suitability as Teddies. The last Game was to give the competitors an idea of the isolation and the often degrading manner in which bears were treated when they became Teddies. Each bear was given clothes specially made to fit their current shapes. They were rough, crudely made and uncomfortable. They were given ludicrous hats, which their ears stuck out of through holes cut into them. Around their legs were tied ribbons, and around their tail a bow. Round pink circles were daubed onto their cheeks, and a shiny black nose strapped over their own. The young in the crowd, those who had only been to the Feast for the few years of their life, began to laugh involuntarily; the collection of bulky, muscular bears, until now so dignified, so strong in their successes, looked like cheap circus acts, humiliated and ridiculous. Certain bears taunted their enemies disrespec-
Week 9 18.11.08
-tfully from the sidelines, jeering and mocking them. On an order from NoNose, the bears began to amble around the still-crackling pyre. The red, orange and yellow flecks lit up the garish colours in their costumes, transforming them into surreal marching clowns. “Bears, skip!” bellowed No-Nose, switching the legs of bears that passed him into activity with a thin branch. Gambolling around, the novelty and comedy of their costumes wore off, and the indignity of the bears’ forced actions made the audience increasingly uncomfortable until the laughter of the crowd died out completely, replaced with an eerie, awkward silence. It became obvious that a proportion of the participating bears were feeling unnerved and uneasy. They thought of the life they were preparing to dedicate themselves to; a life devoted to the comfort and amusement of another; a life that would be full of love, until fur was rubbed off, sewn-on eyes fell off, and bears were discarded for being too disreputable. With each circuit, several bears cut away, desperate to return to families and shake off the bizarre ritual. When the unwilling had been discovered, after many circles round the bonfire, No-Nose picked the remaining bears off one by one, and sent them, still prancing, off into the Forest alone. As they left, he gave them orders not to wander further than the sounds of the festivities could carry, and to return when they heard him roar three times. No-Nose turned to face the crowd. “Families, friends, perhaps enemies of those of us who are being compelled to rely on themselves alone for this time…this is the last test of those who wish to—and have chosen to—leave us and embark on the most noble and demanding life path open to a bear. To be a Teddy-Bear. The true hero demands nothing in return; no recognition, no thanks, no honour. This task is the illuminator of that. A Teddy is frequently laughable, but retains dignity. A Teddy is frequently mistreated; shoved to the back of a trunk, squashed in a suitcase, even discarded as rubbish, but it always dutiful. To accept this is what makes a Teddy truly valiant. For when a Teddy does their work diligently, enthusiastically and untiringly, a Childhood can be made. That Teddy will be everything to a small Person. And there can be no cause more gracious, or more rewarding, than to sacrifice oneself to the happiness of a Child. With this in mind, I ask you to resume your celebrations, in honour and memory of those Teddies who are soon to make this sacrifice, and are at present fulfilling this highest of callings.” Failed bears were comforted, wounded dignities were nursed. Smaller bears took their private games up again, quickly forgetting the events they had just been audience to. Hide and seek was played amongst the nearest bushes and low trees, under the careful eye of parents. More treats to eat were produced. Dances were danced, the rhythm dictated by the oldest of bear songs, passed down from generation to generation, sung in wavering
Talk Through You You don’t talk too much, the city does (talks for you); it buckles bustles shocks it rustles, shoves. Its tongue paves the path, perpendicular. & Parallel, along men’s shaven domes. It tastes sugar gone awry; granulated flower. Moulded steps bee lining ‘round tire tracks. You whisper while the town whistles water down pipes; whistles through murmurs (of rhubarb pie), enacting quieted times—hush-silenced
chimes. Cabbies clunk, bumper to bump, time hung over their shoulders like war veterans’ coats, draped over their shoulders like graduates’ cloaks, shaped by their shoulders like Giacometti’s sculptures. & if you let her, the city will talk through you, for you; to move you— the disaffected, the disconnected you. She’ll shelter with her heaped stones, her wind-beat trees, her swing-jiving leaves & her bossa nova laughters, while the rain tickles her to sleep.
- Julia Sanches
occasionally invented, enthusiastic notes:
The Weather Forecast
“If you go out in the woods today You’re sure of a big surprise. If you go out in the woods today You’d better go in disguise. For every bear that ever there was Will gather there for certain, because Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.” Awkward in their new shapes, tender on thin fabric paws, the jubilant Teddy-Bears tottered out of the Forest towards lovedones, surrounded before many steps had been taken. Pride couldn’t stem expressions of loss as lingering last looks were had, last praise was paid and long last goodbyes were made. Some would return, but in so many years it would perhaps be too late. Besides, becoming a Teddy was the greatest triumph a bear could wish for. In a gentler tone, NoNose declared: “Six o’clock, bears. The little ones are tired, the day is breaking, and your sons and daughters have People to meet.” The fires had burned out, the remains of the food were left to be picked away by birds before next year’s Feast. Bears back to the path which had brought them to the emptying grove. Teddies to follow a path only they could make alone, to the Children waiting for them in the world of People.
All Soul’s Night The envelopes are all addressed, neatly ordered, earliest to latest, with my name, in your handwriting. I pawed through them like a vinyl collector. Neatly ordered – earliest to latest – I picked out a narrative as I pawed through them like a vinyl collector, weight on my chest like a bad spirit. I picked out a narrative as I recalled the tone undeniably yours, weighed on my chest like a bad spirit. I would do the voices if I could, recalling the tone undeniably yours, channelling you like an amateur shaman. I would do the voices if I could, but that would only make things worse. Channelling you like an amateur shaman, I touched the page as if it were braille, but that only made things worse. So I put it in the box with the others. I touched the page as if it were braille, as if the letter could seal itself closed. I put it in the box with the others, wishing it could send itself away, somehow, but this letter can’t seal itself closed, and these envelopes are all neatly addressed. I wish it could send itself far away, somehow Without my name, in your handwriting.
wonder what saturday’s sky will bring. Among other possible things; tomato suns; cold-fingered winds, rainbowbeaded drops from a celestial syringe, misting up our rose-colored visors but that’s ok, as opposed to being alone, swamped with drinks, wondering about Sunday’s as well. - Elizabeth Ming Jing Tan
41 Ladysmith Road I cuddle your mind like a duvet Your pixie ears like Tiny Tim
You wear a green velvet hat To move your possessions and my seed Floating home I hold my head high like a skyscraper
- Dave Coates
- Dave Lewis
In the mellow argot of our pillow talk, My sloe eyes destory you. You feed me A pabulum of day-stuffs, recount our walk— The bit of blue ribbon we saw, matte in the gutter Near our flat, and the magpies, enough for a secret Never told, telling it to the passersby Who do not speak magpie, unfortunately. I remind you of the cloying perfume of hops and malt Which fills our part of the city, especially at midday— A scent you can no longer smell, As one cannot smell the aroma of his own home, But knows it. Our report dissolves into echolalia: “You were a poet hemming pantlegs,” he says, A spume of snore, I say, “hemming pantlegs,” The residue of sound. - Aiko Harman
A Discourse on Science As any bad biologist will tell you, the most curious creatures in the world may appear to be among the most ordinary. The spittlebang bug, for example, seems even to the expert like an innocent stag beetle. Yet under a stage name it is responsible for many of the World’s greatest plays, while the Nong of Beirut is each and every colour under his dull grey skin. The strangest of all the animals, of course, is Miss Sarah Brooke of Weatherby, Norfolk, and sadly were you to look at her you would not think it. What makes Sarah special is this: she is the only being in the universe who really has free will. As would be expected, other beings often take objection to this, and tut angrily at the fact of it before shaking their heads in despair. What exactly sets her apart from the rest of humanity is still unclear, but the maths makes one thing plain: there has never been anything like her, and there never will be again. Many people have failed to disprove this theory but we know it absolutely to be true, as much a fact as the city of Naples or the existence of celery. Sarah can never know of this. For the universe to be anything more than clockwork
and springs she must keep on making her decisions, and we fear if the findings of mere automata reach her she may no longer be able to. For all history, in a sense, is and will always be determined by her alone, as the choices she makes cascade through the world in a haze of cause and effect. She must never know that the refugees pouring from burning homes flee only because of her, that every crime in the land falls ultimately on her head. To find this out would ruin any human utterly, and we cannot allow the only decision maker there will ever be to enter such despair that decision becomes impossible. And so it is in secret that we study Sarah’s life. We have conferences on the hats she wears and the cakes she buys, while we try to convince ourselves that it all means something. In truth only Sarah does, and our research is nothing more than the worship of an unknowing God. Day by day we scrutinise and despair, while the most remarkable woman on earth lives out her messy life unawares. The most curious creatures in the world may believe themselves among the most ordinary. All we can do is ensure they are never proved wrong. - Robert Shepherd
No Credit this yr ive decided 2 find my voice amongst va many in English en Inglish, but not as we know it. no. wit matters, it rly matters. try to get it write w/out a peace of pay per or a Bill Bored or a thawed out well-thought out argument. argh, i mean it. sometimes 2 X 2 equals two times Too. sumtimes too much. let’s some this up: 2b or 4b that is my Q4U. can u handle the wait of it, the lite & shade of it? u c it’s not so e z not w/ a diff accent not w/out a cent in ur pockt not w/out the ground B4 ur back. B low ur feet. - Jonny Stockford
Week 9 18.11.08
The Backside Haikus
Upcoming Events Wednesday, November 19th:
Some gin and vermouth A sliver of kebab meat Best servcd vomiting.
French Fries, crisps and chips: Who gies a fuck? They’re all just bloody potatoes.
Long Night In At The Circus
That Stinking Feeling
He died in his pants, while snorting custard powder with a fellow clown.
Stiltons of cheddar On the radar, lads. put Edam Ship in reverse.
I misunderstood They wanted a huge profit I got them Buddha.
Did you see that man? He walks with fresh lettuce on His shiny bald head.
For Fuck’s Sake
I have forgotten to take a book into the bog with me again.
Sounds like mandolin, Walks like a long artichoke Evolved from armour.
The Golden Hour @ The Forest, Edinburgh – 8pm 3 Bristo Place www.theforest.org.uk A literary cabaret and boot kicking celebration of Forest Publication’s latest release! Featuring: Jo Swingler - longlisted for the Bridport Prize and Cinnamon Press First Collection Award. Lindsay Bower - frequent contributor to many magazines. With live music from: Chandra – perfectly crafted songs for the guitair and voice + The Zorras - kicking their brand of “poetry-music fusion weirdness” with megaphones and a wicked loop pedal.
Word Power - 6.30pm 43-45 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh www.word-power.co.uk Featuring:
- Pancho Bandit
A Balanced Diet Ice cream and beer at breakfast with steak and popcorn for later that day
Tuesday, November 25th:
Craig Bayne - co-editor of Glasgow literature and arts magazine ‘Are Volitional’ Alison Miller - Alison’s first novel Demo was published by Penguin in 2006. Jo Swingler - longlisted for the Bridport Prize and Cinnamon Press First Collection Award. and Complimentary Exploding Car Beer!
- Chris Lindores Wednesday, November 26th:
Animals Giraffes have tall views; Koala bears get high on Eucalyptus leaves.
The Grizzly End Ye cannae run, son. Ye cannae swim, fight or climb. You’re fuckt basically.
Sloth It’s not fair, poor sod, To be named a deadly sin When you’re upside down.
Mono – 8pm 103 King Street, Glasgow http://www.myspace.com/monoglasgow Readings: Craig Bayne - co-editor of Glasgow literature and arts magazine ‘Are Volitional’ Alison Miller - Alison’s first novel Demo was published by Penguin in 2006. + others from the anthology! Music from: Billy Liar - acoustic-punk. The Sea is Salt - dreamy folk songs with a dark twist. Withered Hand - honest, intense, eccentric, bittersweet and very wry anti-folk.
Thursday, November 27th:
Readings @ Waterstones – 6.30 pm 153-157 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow
Anteaters They don’t need straws, ever. They do Michael Jackson moves, And eat colonies.
Alison Miller Alison’s first novel Demo was published by Penguin in 2006. Nick Holdstock his work has recently appeared in Stand and the Edinburgh Review. + Lucille Valentine! + live music from Billy Liar! and Complimentary Wines.
as Starbucks age goes cold profits to the fearful and final days of the Roman Empire [Starbucks] divinely guided by greatness. In all these [marketing] campaigns and [promotions], which have called not only for courage in the face of enemy [tea-rooms] but for toil and endurance in fighting, as it were, against [Costa Coffee] herself…. Thus we have advanced beyond the limits reached by previous [multinational corporations] under my predecessors. The farthest boundary of this land [Elgin] which they knew only by report or rumour, we hold in our grasp with [skinny lattes and frappuccinos.]’ Like the Roman Empire, Starbucks may have reached its limit at Elgin. In the past few years Starbucks’ share price has nose-dived after a long period of expansion throughout the nineties. From the highs of 2006 – when a share in the company would set you back around $38 – they are now fetching only around $10. Demand has fallen and it has also recently failed to crack the Australian market – possibly due to the Australian preference for lager. Furthermore, its profits have plummeted by 97 per cent. Yes, that’s right, a ‘9’ and a ‘7’. Magistrates of the empire claim that the decline was not in fact due to less people going to Starbucks (which clearly doesn’t make sense) or even the recession, but rather an extensive shift in Imperial Strategy. I assume - and there’s probably a bald economics expert somewhere who will back me up - that this is Imperial Spin on an Augustan level. As Charles Holland of QualPro, an American business quality improvement organization,
The last time this country elected a inspirational orator, the year was 1940 and Britain and her Commonwealth stood alone against the might of Nazi Germany. We suspended our disbelief then - we needed a great speaker, a leader who would raise our spirits and stiffen our resolve. But it speaks volumes that after the Allies achieved
noted: “their stores are the same as they were five years ago.” Resting on your laurels is a sure way of allowing someone else to get a slice of your pie. We are in danger of fudging our analogies here and caking ourselves in pie metaphors but the point is fairly clear. Starbucks expanded in the early nineties at an incredible rate but has failed to innovate as times have changed. None of this will have a major impact on your life of course despite cries of doom abounding (to which I would like to add my voice).
“ ‘Carmelisation’ has resulted in a decline in hot beverage morals” However, for the empire claiming ‘we’re everywhere,’ the notion of a decline in global confidence may be their downfall. Poor students may need to swallow their pride in future – and the dog food-like steak bakes of Greggs – rather than shell out the £4.50 for a sun blushed tomato, Buffalo mozzarella, eco-friendly super panini from Starbucks. It should also come as no surprise that McDonald’s sales are up by 8.3 per cent globally. Nescafe, may, like Russian foreign policy and ACDC, also make a bullish comeback as Starbucks descends its own highway to hell. This imminent doom and cessation of glossed chirpy coffee culture should be welcomed, however. By the 5th
victory and ended the horrors of the war, the British electorate swiftly voted Churchill out of power in favour of Clement A t t l e e ’s Labour party. We had no room for sentiment in the cold dawn of peace, we needed efficient administrators and perceptive policymakers.
century the collapse of the Roman Empire resulted in the resurrection of older cultures such as La Tene in Gaul and the Low countries. We, too, can welcome back a coffee culture that existed before the rise of the Starbucks Empire. What ever happened to ‘A Cup of Tea’ or ‘A Cup of Coffee’? Can you imagine the stoic 1940s wife of the RAF pilot – mudstained apron, headscarf and crying child – drinking a skinny iced latte? We would have lost the war if that had happened. Any attempt to order such simple drinks is met with mere disdain. This is clearly the influx of American frothed-up sugar-enhanced coffee culture: ‘Carmelisation,’ as I call it, has resulted in a decline in hot beverage morals. We will look back at this in historical terms as a time of economic boom - “Things Can Only Get Better,” as Tony Blair sang in 1997. Well, they can’t. Banks have fallen and the global empire that claims making coffee is “more a philosophy than a length of time, temperature or colour; this roast treats each individual coffee in a unique way” may be next. Yet where better to face financial misery and general gloom than in Edinburgh? There is a lost art in porridge-making just waiting to be explored, and if economic melancholy continues you could go and graffiti Adam Smith’s statue on the royal mile and laugh while socialist pigeons poo on the father of modern economics’ head. Either way, civilization won’t collapse – but it may become a little less comfy.
The nation was bankrupt and traumatised, but Churchill’s fiery oratory and heroic war record were no match for the modest and businesslike Attlee. Even Tony Blair, who, like Obama, was swept to power on the back of a popular desire for change, and who has been criticised by many for his administration’s reliance on style over substance, seems decidedly mundane and workaday in comparison to the US President-elect. It helps that Americans lap up talk that would be considered ridiculous in this country, although whether that makes them hopelessly naïve or us insufferably miserable depends on your own viewpoint. Talk of a national dream or consciousness in this country would be derided as the monstrous nonsense it clearly is.
Student’s guide to making your own authentic Starbucks Iced Latte for under 3p • Boil the kettle • Make a cup of instant coffee (sachets are available for theft from the JMC) • Add milk • Add cream (if feeling ohso-decadent) • Add sugar • Add ice • Wish yourself ‘a really great day, sir’ • Enjoy!
Our dour resistance to idealism without extensive justification might seem a terrible thing to those who look at Obama and wish our politicians held similar qualities. But, on the other hand, our stolid resistance to great orators and to those who seek to sway our voting hand using pathos instead of policies has ensured that for hundreds of years extremism has found no friend on these shores. When the 1930s saw Europe’s nations fall one after another into the evil grasp of fascism, Britain reacted with dismissive disinterest. Oswald Mosley’s fascists may have been able to gather huge crowds to hear their warped vision for the future but they never enjoyed anything more than scattered support from voters. Since then, communists, nationalists, populists and fascists alike have met the same fate at the
British ballot box: absolute failure. Obama, of course, is a million miles from any extremist. He is a hugely intelligent man with a captivating political style; he seems enormously capable and reliable and is the sort of man who inspires respect and admiration through his demeanour alone. But even if we were lucky enough to spawn our very own BritObama he would surely be dragged down and degraded by our political system and its obsession with petty tit-for-tat squabbling, and met by many of the public with dogged disinterest and scepticism. And that leaves those of us who admire Obama to stare enviously across the Atlantic at this remarkable politician, taking sole comfort in the knowledge that even if we did have an Obama we’d only take the piss out of him anyway.
It Paynes me to say this, but... Alan Williamson wants Marky Mark to taste his Payne MAX PAYNE DIRECTED BY
ADDDD IF YOU’RE thinking of translating a successful computer game to film in the near future, here are a few simple guidelines. Remember to include plenty of references to characters that appear in the game, but not the film. Consider using gratuitous slow motion and outdated bullet time effects. Above all else, mercilessly savage the game’s story until it is no longer recognisable or coherent. I’m in two minds about Max Payne. On one hand it’s a dire action movie that achieves nothing, least of all entertainment. On the other, it takes one of my favourite action games and drags its legacy through a pile of snow face-first. Everything good about the game - the film noir atmosphere, enthralling plot and strong characterisation - is thrown out, substituted for Hollywood gloss and Marky Mark waving guns around like he’s trying to compensate for something. Only one thing survived the transition: Max’s permanently constipated expression. Three years prior to the movie, junkies with an agenda murder Max’s wife and newborn child. Since
then he’s been chasing a series of dead ends and brooding in the police department basement, sacrificing friends and fashion sense in the process. However, things take a turn when a dead Russian girl’s tattoo matches one of the thugs who killed Mrs Payne. It’s time for revenge. It’s time for poorly-written dialogue. It’s time for PAYNE. There is little point in a highbrow
critique of the plot and cinematography since it’s pretty clear the production team couldn’t care less, either. The aesthetic of Sin City has been sloppily smeared into the gaping holes in the script like Polyfilla. The all-too-infrequent shootouts were, to be fair, reasonably enjoyable, but the action scenes are too stunted and infrequent to make an impact in the slough of despond
that shrouds them. You get the feeling that director John Moore ran out of ideas and decided to fill the void with bullets. This was a bad idea. At several points during the film members of the audience actually laughed out loud. Not at any actual jokes, you understand, but at the sheer ridiculousness of the whole thing. Like Max, I was too depressed to laugh and too angry to cry, pre-
ferring to sit in silent indignation. Max is a man with nothing to lose. You too have nothing to lose by avoiding this film. For the price of a ticket you could just buy the game instead, which is an infinitely more enjoyable experience. The film is not even worthy of the pun “payneful”. It is merely shit, and it’s not often you can say that.
Student Tech on games that shouldn’t be films TETRIS
THE YELLOW KNIGHT
YURI KORSAKOFF (Jeff Goldblum) is a simple bathroom tiler trying to make a living in post-Soviet Russia. A failed marriage and an engineering PHD behind him, he’s just trying to make the pieces of his life fit together. A seemingly routine government contract to tile SkyNetzikov’s executive en suite accidently triggers a device that rains massive armoured blocks onto downtown Moscow. Unfortunately the blocks are composed of an experimental Soviet alloy, rendering them invulnerable to heat, explosives and intense public outcry. But they contain one fatal flaw: perfect geometric alignment. As soon as Yuri has seemingly connected the blocks…they vanish. Armed with this knowledge and blonde femme-fatale Tora Ballokov (Jessica Simpson), only Yuri can save mankind by using his heightened sense of spatial reasoning to destroy the blocks before time runs out and it’s game over…for mankind. “Fear. Panic. Relentless Terror. See the communist blocks of Russia fall down upon the West in...Tetris.” Craig Wilson
IN THE year 2020, the world has become overrun with sentient landmines whose sole purpose is to lurk underground in wait of passing cars and children on tricycles. Humanity’s last hope comes from a group of trained mercenaries, the Sweepers. Sergeant Nicolas Cage (Nicolas Cage) is the best Sweeper around and a devoted family man. When his wife (Naomi Watts) and their six children are blown up in a horrific mine incident that Nic was 30 seconds away from preventing, he swears to avenge their deaths by plunging deep into the mines’ base of operations- The Mine Field- and trying very hard not to step on anything. Because it’s filled with mines. With the help of wisecracking moron Dick Hapless (Steve Buscemi), and retired general Max Steel (Michael Ironside) Nic sets off on an action-packed adventure and a story of one man’s quest for vengeance that is so explosively intense it will melt your face. Or at least, it’ll blow half your arm off. “Now the game is real, there are no rules- because this is not a game”.
BY DAY, Bryce Wain (Tobey Maguire) is the world’s richest billionaire and chair of an international pharmaceutical company. By night, he is a masked vigilante who tracks down coloured ghosts and eats their souls. He is a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a yellow knight. Arch-nemesis the Grizzler (Fozzy Bear) is pumping Gotham City full of dodgy meds with the help of corrupt, inexplicably cockney mayor Clement Fizzywog (Russell Brand). To remain profitable, Bryce assumes the role of Pacman once more to stop the Grizzler with the aid of his trusted butler Clive (John Cleese). Can Bryce overcome his crippling pill-popping addiction to become the hero Gotham needs? Will he be able to win the heart of profane-yet-hilarious high-school sweetheart Raquel Draws (Jack Black)? Won’t everyone notice a drug addict in fluorescent yellow spandex running around at night? Find out this summer in the sequel to Pacman Begins. “You think you’re gonna get the high score, Grizzler, but I’ve got two words for you: Wacca wacca, mother****er.”
Terribly good terrorism film... BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX DIRECTED BY
AAAAD THE BAADER MEINHOF Complex follows the story of radical left-wing terrorist group the Red Army Faction (RAF). Built on a tumultuous backdrop of newsreel footage from the Vietnam War and world-wide conflicts, the RAF were determined to end American participation in German politics, and to rid the government of corruption. Ulrike Meinhof, aptly portrayed by Martina Gedeck, is a disillusioned journalist. Her husband is the editor of an establishment newspaper, and is unfaithful in their marriage. She deserts him with their children, setting in motion her drift towards leftist politics and activism. The other key members of the RAF, Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), and his merciless girlfriend, Gudrun Ensslin (Joanna Wokalek), recruit Meinhof as their press secretary. Soon she becomes completely embroiled in their activism. Frustrated in their initial failures to call attention to their cause, the RAF turn to more extreme measures, finally blowing up the offices of Meinhof’s estranged husband. The original members are jailed, suffering years in solitary confinement.
The group begins by trying to show the inhumanity of America’s policies, and in turn become inhuman themselves, as they resort to terrorism. Despite being slightly long, the film effectivley documents a large period of time. The use of far-flung locations emphasises the wider dissent and spread of radicalism, though the location and purpose of these scenes isn’t always obvious. This is in itself quite successful, as it sweeps the audience along with the sometimes confused zeal which the
characters feel. There is no need of explanation for these radicalised students, and so the audience are not gratified with one. Knitted together like a news story, using radio broadcasting and printed articles to introduce new episodes of the history of the RAF, it also highlights Meinhof’s role as the journalist. In doing so, it brings a constant reminder of what once was, and, now that it is documented in reality, the fact that she can never escape. The film ends abruptly, reaching an
PARLEZ-MOI DE LA PLUIE (LET’S TALK ABOUT THE RAIN) DIRECTED BY
ZACK AND MIRI MAKE PORNO
AADDDLIFE-LONG FRIENDS and flatmates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miriam (Elizabeth Banks) decide to make the eponymous sex tape to pay the utility bill, only to find that separating mind from body in the actual act is not that simple. The concept really is that simple, and director/writer Kevin Smith fails to offer much more. Drawing from his own experiences as a low-budget moviemaker, Jersey boy Smith attempts a fresh take on the classic rom-com with a well-lubricated penetration of amateur porn. Sadly, the result is too generic and docile. Geeky slackers Zack and Miri struggle to make the ends meet. A close encounter with a gay film auteur (Justin Long) at their high school reunion gives Zack the idea of making money by doing what he and Miri both enjoy the most, only this time together. What results comes close to a lovechild of Be Kind, Rewind and
Boogie Nights, forging a community via somewhat questionable means. Smith is rumoured to have written the role of Zack specifically for Rogen and the script recites faithfully all the penis-centred dialogue already canonised in Rogen-Judd Apatow collaborations, with added film trivia. The problem is Zack and Miri feels at its funniest like an extended scene from Knocked Up, listing spoof titles like ‘Lawrence of Labia’ and ‘Star Whores’ but never claiming its own ground. Under the hardcore surface lies a softcore story, characterised by an utterly compromising final quarter. Sporting new Buddy Holly-specs, Rogen does his routine act while Banks is both fresh and touching as the once-bullied goldilocks. The supporting cast excels with Long as a low-voiced anal-probe-of-a-man and Smith-regular Jason ‘Lester the Molester’ Mewes stealing the show, but the secret treat is ex-porn star Traci Lords. Chewing gum harder than ever, she delivers the most professional trick in the book by demonstrating a whole new way to blow bubbles. With those other lips. Jutta Sarhimaa
LET’S TALK about the Rain is quite simply magic. The latest in the JaouiBacri collaborations that also include: Look at Me and The Taste of Others, Let’s Talk About the Rain has easily secured its place as amongst the best films of this year. Set in rural France, the film follows the story of a successful feminist, Agathe (Jaoui), who has returned home to comfort her sister after their mother dies.While there she becomes involved in the filming of a documentary about successful women, directed by serial loser Ronsard (Bacri).What follows is a light-fingered plot which deftly plucks the strings of comedy, romance and nostalgia, with a beautiful and inspiring result. The film is technically excellent; with perfect casting and impeccable direction, the score and cinematography particular noteworthy. It is shot during the summer and the golden hues and wavy light of that season
inconclusive climax. A sense of futility pervades, and the audience is left feeling unfulfilled. We begin to feel sympathy with these people as we realise how pointless their actions have become in a world characterised by extremism. The film has caused controversy with its sympathetic portrayal of the original members.The audience are made to understand and appreciate their motives, and once these motives are engulfed by militancy and inhumanity, we too feel their sense of loss and regret. Claire Cameron evoke wonderfully a sense of bliss where the dream is life. The narrative structure also evokes pleasure, for although Jaoui and Bacri are not the Nolan brothers - they cannot make a plot work backwards, upside-down and side-to-side - they present a wonderful sense of place. This duo could show the vast majority of British and American film makers how to structure a plot, and most importantly, an ending. Where many recent films have attempted to finish a story without wrapping up the loose ends (*cough* No Country For Old Men) this does so, and does so well. We get to peek round the corner of the door just before it slams in our face (sometimes breaking our nose). The only possible criticism of this film could be the characterisation, for although it is wonderful we are only led to properly sympathise with the characters towards the end of the film. This may leave us coming back for more, but it feels as though the characterisation is a little rushed Shove that aside however and we are left with a film that will delight and astound in equal measure, and so is easy to recommend. Sean Cameron
Hey. Matthew McConaughey here. I’ll be spouting the news this week. Here’s hoping the ladies will be able to see past my spelling and remember that I’m everything they want, and that men will do the same, remembering that I’m everything they aspire to be. That name again? Matthew McConaughey, man. Firstly, Turkish politician Husseyin Kalkan is suing movie behemoth Warner Brothers, hoping to get a cut of mega-grosser The Dark Knight’s profits (the film is expected to pass worldwide takings of $1 billion soon). Because his village is named ‘Batman’. And he believes he is therefore entitled to a share of the gross. What a frickin’ dude, man. No chance whatsoever though. No news yet on whether the Bolivian village ‘HarryPotter’ will also be pursuing legal action against Warners. In other news, movie god Sir Ridley Scott has finally passed Go on his latest: the long-awaited depiction of family boardgame spectacular Monopoly on the big screen. According to the lauded director, the film will be “Similar to Blade Runner in many respects; futuristic and very exciting indeed”. Property-acquisition has never been cooler, man. We’ve yet to see whether the film will pick up $200 though. The film is expected to be released towards the end of next year. Gerard Damiano-director of my favourite film-has died after suffering a stroke. Deep Throat was credited with launching the porn industry and remains the most profitable film of all time, grossing $16 million from a $25,000 budget. Damiano didn’t see much of it though. His financiers came across some gangsters outside his bank. Idiots. I’ve been M and M, you’ve been great. I’ve also been great, I should point that out. See you next week dudes.
Next Week... Nicholas Cage and Seth Rogen in... Deep Throat 2: Gender-Bender!
Gail Force Jones the album to sound like it was made in 1985 and 2008 simultaneously. Perhaps one of the most personal songs Jones’ has written to date is the autobiographical ‘William’s Blood’, a song which uses a lighter tone than the rest of the album to show how Jones takes her singing talents after her mother. The lead single from the album, ‘Corporate Cannibal’, is the first instance in the album of Jones attacking the corporate world. Jones has spoken of her ‘obsession’ with the subject and portrays corporate businesses as cannibals - ‘I will consume my consumers / Without humour’. This dystopian view of the corporate world is helped along with the heavy use of synthesisers in the song to give the song a haunting presence making the song the stand out track on the album. Sunset Sunrise is a great reminder of how well Jones can mix genres in her songs. The song has a strong reggae presence, but the use of strings on the song help to emit a more classical sound. Jones has certainly not lost her passion for music and her voice appears not to have aged one bit in the nineteen years away from the studio. Hurricane is a triumphant return from Jones and one that will remind fans of her ability as well as attracting a new wave of fans to Jones’ hypnotic sound. Barry McGuire
Grace Jones Hurricane
Wall of Sound
aaaaD “This is my voice / My weapon of choice.”. The opening lines of track one of Hurricane, ‘This Is’, are a powerful reminder of Jones’ well known portentous ways and they also set up the focus of the album and what she will ‘attack’ with her ‘weapon’. It has been almost two decades since Jones’ last studio album, Bulletproof Heart (1989), and one could be forgiven for having reservations about Hurricane. But those reservations are quickly put to one side with the powerful reggae influenced ‘This Is’, that clearly shows that nineteen years away from the studio has not eroded her ability as she recreates the iconic sounds of her 80’s classics such as, ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ and ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’. To help with the sound of the album, Jones enlisted the help of Brian Eno, Tricky and Massive Attack and she has brought back the reggae sound of Sly and Robbie. Given the recent 80s revival it seems now is the perfect time for a Grace Jones comeback, allowing
Iglu & Hartly And Then Boom
aDDDD Does anyone remember Crazy Town? No? Well, they were a briefly successful early noughties rap-rock band that looked and sounded suspiciously like an early nineties boy band. They made music videos in which they didn’t wear shirts because if they did their pumped muscles would simply explode out of them; they had dirty blonde hair that had been carefully crafted for hours to recreate the exact shape of a star going supernova. I think they had a song about butterflies, perhaps. The point is that the erstwhile boys in Crazy Town - now presumably tending parking lots, living on beaches and getting arrested by Dog the Bounty Hunter for smoking ice, man - have had their shtick blatantly ripped off by Iglu & Hartly. And these boys everyone knows, surely. Who hasn’t heard their faintly queer surfer anthem, ‘In This City’? Who hasn’t seen the video for it, where eight half naked men prance around on a stage big enough for half of them, all covered in sweat and baby
oil? Clearly they are onto a good thing though - it’d be a woman made of steel who wasn’t immediately seduced by a half-naked surfer lovechild of Fred Durst and Kid Rock, for sure. To be fair, I imagine there are plenty out there who enjoyed ‘In This City’: it is a bit of a tune, combining a pounding beat, funky synths and a horrendously catchy chorus into a lamentable but undeniable anthem. The rest of the album, however, takes a deep breath, steadies itself, and delivers a huge, steaming turd of 90’s white-boy rap right into your open
and amazed mouth. There’s nothing else redeeming in here; virtually every song follows the staple rap-rock song construction of rapping a bit, then rocking a bit. Iglu, and presumably Hartly, have tried to spice this up by throwing in occasional 80’s throwback synths. It doesn’t work; in fact the entire album doesn’t work. It’s past irony and it’s past sympathy as well. It’s often said that, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” I beseech you all then, for the love of God, please don’t forget Iglu & Hartly like we all forgot Crazy Town. Thomas Kerr
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aaaDD After escaping from a Norwegian school run by missionaries it’s no wonder Ida Maria’s whole persona as an artist centres on riot and rebellion. Tonight, as she comes onstage, 23 year old Ida is wearing a simple red and white stripy mini-dress and looks like the innocent school girl she once was in a previous life.... far, far away from Edinburgh’s dingy Cabaret Voltaire and singing
songs about being naked. Following on from support act-the enigmatic reggae-infused VV Brown, Ida has a hard act to follow. She starts off with ‘Queen of the World’ a semi-tuneful song, and the crowd, who are surprisingly predominantly over 30, really like it. We’re given a really deep insight into her zany, crazy mind as she sings: ‘I’m queen of the world/ I bump into things! / I spin round in circles!’ I’m not joking- these really are her lyrics. Her rapport with the crowd is enhanced by talking to us sporadically in a friendly way about her Edinburgh adventures –appar-
ently she visited the castle that day. I hope she enjoyed it. She goes onto perform most tracks from her debut album released in summer; ‘Fortress Round My Heart’, culminating in ‘Stella’, her latest single (not a reference to the beer, I hasten to add). Ida is steeped in confidence and panache as she prances around the stage; it’s not hard to believe the stories of her previous shows involving nose-bleeds. She is a true exhibitionist and revels in the attention. The fact she has a condition known as synthesia, where you experience colours with sensations,
means that she is probably tripping out looking onto a multi-coloured surrealistic crowd. It certainly looks as though she’s having a wild time up there throwing herself around. It’s all very entertaining for a while, but I can’t help the nagging feeling that this has all been done before by ‘off-the-wall’ female artists. Don’t get me wrong, her voice is quite lovely and contains essences of Regina Spektor and Lily Allen – which in itself is a strange combination, she sure has some talent. Yet what lacks, in my opinion, is originality. The oh-so-“outrrrageous” riotous lyrics (complete with a
De La Soul Liquid Room
aaaaa This gig was special not only for De La Soul themselves but for the number of fans in the crowd who had followed them since their debut 3 Feet High and Rising in 1989. Glasgow’s MC Kobi Onyame supported, formerly known as Jae P, a well known artist who many were keen to see live. Kobi, joined by DJ Prospect, reeled off songs from his previous album ‘Unsigned and Hungry’ and previewed a few songs due to appear on his new album ‘A Possible Strength In An Actual Weakness’ due next year. It’s easy to be impressed by Onyame’s ability on the mic and his attempts to get the crowed involved; but as usual with these kind of gigs the crowd were not very responsive as the venue slowly filled up. There seemed to be a long wait for De la Soul to enter the stage, and the anticipation gradually increased amongst the crowd, who were duly
real-life story of rebellion) all feel somehow formulaic. And to be honest some of her songs are, well,crap. The performance has style but little substance. Ultimately no song is powerful enough to stay in my mind for long after the gig and the absence of any decent tunes means it’s not even good pop. Her encore - the overplayed ‘I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked’ - brims with an attitude that makes her sound like a nymphomaniac. Which I suppose could be a good thing, for some. At least she had some pretty tshirts for sale afterwards. JE entertained by the hip hop blasting from the sound system. Eventually Mase emerged behind the decks and greeted the crowd before spinning into the first song to which Dave the Trugoy and Posdnous entered before the start of the verses. The atmosphere throughout was electric and there was a clear party feeling about the gig; with De la Soul getting the crowd involved in every song, and Posdnous and Dave dividing the crowd and pitching us against each other to see who was the loudest. As expected the earlier songs got the strongest reaction with ‘Me Myself and I’ and ‘Ego Trippin’, receiving the loudest roar. ‘Ego Trippin’ was a particular highlight with the vocalists engaging the crowd in a back and forth while deliberately false-starting the song to hype the crowd. The encore finished with their most famous song, ‘The Magic Number’, with the whole crowd told to raise three fingers for the entire track. De la Soul will be returning next year for the twentieth anniversary of their debut album, and I for one will definitely be there. FT
20 Culture RICHARD ALSTON DANCE COMPANY FESTIVAL THEATRE 11 NOVEMBER
AAAAD RICHARD ALSTON’S choreography has the ability to express three differing moods - the elements, the gothic, and a 1920’s esque movement - in three dazzling pieces. A journey through time and place ensues as energy, drama and lighthearted movements crossover. The wildly different compositions reflect the deeply contrasting ideals that can constitute dance, and overall, art. Blow Over is a muscular elemental performance, the syncopated music of Philip Glass locking with the reactive routine. We are confronted with a contrast of silver new age clothing with almost ethe-
LECTURE - W H AUDEN AND THE CASE OF THE IMAGINATIVE CONSCIENCE PLAYFAIR LIBRARY 7 NOVEMBER
WE’RE ALL characters tonight” said Alexander McCall Smith – finely attired in his signature bow tie – in his introduction to the evening’s lecture on W H Auden by Professor Edward Mendelson of Columbia University and literary executor of the Auden Estate. Indeed we were; the lecture recreated the event fictionalised in McCall Smith’s latest Isabel Dalhousie novel, The Comfort of Saturdays,
www.studentnewspaper.org real music, as the dancers act as elements. The lyrics are heavily reliant on nature, providing a canvas for the choreography to experiment on. In the two-piece moments, it seems more like forces playing against each other than man and woman. It is intense, but defeats t h e risk o f o v e rp o w e ring by frequent changes of routine, and those dancing. The men seem to represent the stronger elements, yet without being dominating; the women the calmer, without losing the pace of the movement. Conventions of typical male/female relations are broken; at points a male dancer is held by his female partner. At points they literally move to the words, the dancers and the music structuring around each other. The dancing is intermittent with flashes of light, like lighting. It seems representative of the seasons themselves, a changing cycle. As the music peaks to a crescendo of ‘burn away’ the light flashes then fades. It has been like a furious energetic machine of movement that has jolted to a halt. From the life-giving elements to the dance of death, Body & Soul is full of gothic shadows. Its sophisticated composition is like a German silent film, macabre permeates the atmosphere of the performance. All clad in black, one male in particular moves with a fluidity that seems to oppose his restrictive clothing. It is set to Schumann’s Dichterliebe; and the simple set of singer and piano supports the movement which seems to grow from it. Relationships and emotions are the centrepiece, as the dancers make sweeping dramatic shapes
that reflect the dark tones. An overtly sexual tension surrounds two men who seem to interpose love and hate. As they embrace, a female dancer moves in a furious sequence in front of them, as if representing their inner hidden emotions. The singer is a continual echo, and tragedy reverberates from him. The audience had been energized and awakened by the first movement, but now is perhaps
when Mendelson comes to Edinburgh to speak about the Anglo-American poet. As a result of their correspondence, the novelist had invited Mendelson to Edinburgh to speak at the University and turn fiction into reality. There were, however, differences with the fictitious version: the lecture in the novel takes place at four o’clock in George Square; Friday’s event was at the later hour of six and was set in the much finer surroundings of The Playfair Library, Old College. Mendelson joked that the audience could turn to page 165 of McCall Smith’s book at the end of the evening to discover, in two succinct sentences, what his lecture ought to have concluded. Though the Professor began jovially, the lecture was perceptive and challenging. For around fifty minutes Mendelson explored the question of authorship: whether a writer is a medium for the contemporary social conditions, simply a work of his age,
or whether his own conscious choices create the work. He then looked at recurring patterns in Auden’s life, linking them to his poetry to investigate whether it was impersonal social circumstances that guided his writing or whether the poet could claim total voluntary authorship. W. H. Auden was born in England in 1907 but emigrated to America in 1939, and is considered to be one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. Auden’s writing focuses on love, politics, morality and religion, with a strong sense of guilt frequently apparent in his poetry. It was this guilt that Mendelson analysed in his talk, seeking to establish the balance of impersonal and unique forces at play in the poet’s verse. The bibliographic detail was blended superbly with the analytical presentation of the poetry and demanded the audience’s acute concentration throughout. Mendelson pointed to
ready for the lightheartedness the final piece will bring. The last uplifting movement is profoundly different, a quirky upbeat piece interposed with complex dance movements. Shuffle It Right is set to music by Hoagy Carmichael, and a real feeling of time and place is injected into the routines. Their 20’s inspired costumes give the stage a colour and vivacity, separating it instantly from the preceding piece. Strikingly, Shuffle It Right stands out for its humorous ability. They interplay comic actions without distracting from the movement and music, especially when one female dancer delivers her partner a painful slap. They gracefully play out the dance of youth; the tingling essence of romance and decadence remaining at the heart of it. The structure of the pieces is perfect, especially for those not used to contemporary dance. The haunting Blow Over is a pivotal piece that would have been too overpowering as the opening, and some of its essence is lost at the end. Their similarities lie in the creativity intrinsic to the pieces, as they both work with and break with conventions. As they contrast, they also support each other in delivering an impressively well-rounded performance that seems to echo even after the curtain falls. Christine Johnston
AN IDEAL HUSBAND KINGS THEATRE 10 - 15 NOVEMBER
AAAAA OSCAR WILDE’S An Ideal Husband is potentially one of his most well known plays. While it is hard to do justice to the right balance between drama and comedy, this production of the Wilde classic was by no means disappointing. Witty, charming, hilarious and at times deliciously cruel, An Ideal Husband made for a perfect night’s entertainment. The set was brilliantly classy with a Victorian mansion complementing costumes that had the effect of making the actors seem as if they had just stepped out of that same era. Act One began well, although it was initially quite confusing as the audience got to grips with the multitude of characters all looking very similar in formal dress. However as the action gathered pace, the actors managed to distinguish not only their characters but their comedic and dramatic ability. An engaging Act, but the drama began to feel a little heavy, especially once we progressed into Act Two where things really went downhill for the unfortunate Sir Robert Chilton. Not only torn between his career and a life in the (moral) gutter, Chilton was also juggling a wife and temptress. The latter, Mrs. Cheveley, is a character who really begins to shine in this second Act thanks to actress
some of Auden’s political poetry written during the inter-war period to suggest that, despite being tempted by the idea that we are provoked by the impersonal, Auden ultimately recognised the strength of individual choice. Although Auden stated: ‘We are lived by powers we pretend to understand’, Mendelson suggested that the specificity in his war poetry, the ‘doubtful act’ (A Summer Night, 1939) and the ‘necessary murder’ (Spain, 1937), in which killing is always murder reveals the writer’s belief in individual responsibility. Mendelson concluded that, while the circumstances surrounding Auden’s life guided the themes of his poems, the notion of personal culpability was more influential, in both the construction of his poetry and the personal guilt which is expressed in his work. Mendelson then continued with an examination of the poet’s sexuality, religious and ethical viewpoints and the circumstances of his mother’s
Kate O’Mara who pulls off a stunning performance. Making Mrs. Cheveley not only evil and manipulative, O’Mara is also hilarious and annoyingly likable; dressed richly in each scene, her costumes are as unmissable as her wicked performance. I began to feel guilty for wanting to see more of her, especially considering the destruction she was causing. But see more of her we did. Her comedic sparring with Robert Duncan’s Lord Goring in Acts Three and Four brought the Wilde wit sparkling out in force. From here on, the action and dialogue provided absolute hilarity until the curtain fell, with each character coming out of the woodwork of Act Two to really bring the comedy to life. It was energetic, fantastic and utterly side-splitting even for the most solemn observer. The comic timing between Tony Britton’s Earl of Caversham and the unstoppably flamboyant Lord Goring was consistent throughout, and successfully maintained his energy for the whole performance. Though long, the wit and skill of the actors meant that the excitement of the production was constantly heightened with each twist of the narrative, to a crescendo effect. It was definitely worth the price of a ticket, not simply for the novelty of finally seeing an Oscar Wilde play that is funny, but simply to see the wonderful medley of characters that bring his play to life. An Ideal Husband was a controlled and well chosen performance, resulting, as these things do, in a wonderful night’s entertainment. Jen Bowden
miscarriage to suggest reasons for Auden’s repentant tone. Again the Professor divulged details of Auden’s life and pointed to clues in his poetry, concluding that the writer looked upon his ‘crooked’ sexual tendencies as punishment for culpable actions in his past. The lecture encapsulated what is great about academic institutions: the provision of free and informative events, with speakers from the top of their field.While most students would be pub-bound on a Friday evening, this intellectually challenging lecture provided a worthy alternative, albeit one not many would consider. In fact, rather disparagingly, many who had clearly considered it, even reserving a free seat, succumbed to less cerebral temptations, leaving many seats of the sold-out event unfilled. A shame on this occasion when fact so finely transcended fiction. Katie Hobson
Rich pickings Rachael Cloughton reviews the National Gallery’s new exhibiton on Gerhard Richter, which is free for under 22s, while Nikki Kilburn assesses the relationship of art and sponsorship. Gerhard Richter National Gallery Scotland Until 4 Jan
aaaad For an artist famously resistant to categorisation, the chronologically divided, stylistically sub-sectioned, and shamelessly hyped nature of the National Gallery’s current retrospective is simply not up to Gerhard Richter’s scale. Yes, it is pretty unanimous that Richter is ‘one of the most important artists of our time’ sitting comfortably amongst other artistic gods; Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Bruce Nauman but the somewhat selfconscious stress the National Gallery puts upon his status almost makes me doubt it.Would it really be necessary to refer to him as ‘one of the most influential living artists’ and ‘greatest living post-war artists’ in the same paragraph if he truly was, as the catalogue subtly labels him, the ‘Picasso of the twentyfirst century’? All these hyperbolic slogans and quotations, along with the somewhat nonsensical descriptions beside the works seriously detract from viewing the exhibition with the same ease and freedom in exploration Richter clearly put into the paintings that make up its formation. When a piece caught my eye and I fell off the sequence imposed by the Gallery, a friendly but insistent guard showed me back onto to it. When I looked at the huge, monumental ‘abstract’ compositions, then read in-depth about the ‘squeegee’ used in its creation, it only damaged rather than enlightened my knowledge of the piece. Yet maybe a certain level of rigidity and structure is required to draw together the incongruous and massively fluctuating artistic styles that make up Gerhard Richter’s prolific output. Tracking down, selecting and then hanging 60 out of the 2750 pieces he has created was never going to be easy and the National Gallery has successfully got hold of each of his varying styles and genres. Figurative photopaintings, abstract works, townscapes, colour streaks, shadow paintings, landscapes and seascapes fill the Royal Scottish Academy presenting an interesting overview of his work regardless of anything the Gallery feels the need to attach on top of it. Seeing his paintings in the flesh also shatters the flawless, mind-boggling photo-realism that is captured in most reproductions. The pencilled grid that hovers around the letters in Kuh, the impressionistic lines in Motorboot, and the horizontal brush marks that smudge most of his photo-paintings provide a much needed distortion often undetected in monographs and catalogues. Images where the hand of
the artist blurs the line between him and the original photograph are the most interesting and powerful and only through visiting the exhibition can they be fully appreciated. Heavy photo-realist pieces like Kerze however – the Christmas cardstyle candle painting for which he is perhaps best known – although technically brilliant are ultimately the weakest, achieving nothing more than what the original photograph had already captured. It is clear from the various genres Richter has explored that his interest lies in the process of painting rather than an all-consuming theme. But there is a constant illusory aspect; his work is never quite what it seems. The initially macabre nature of Dead is so ridiculous it becomes quite humorous and the Family at the Sea appears idealised, until you learn the father figure was a gynaecologist for theThird Reich. Like the multiple layers that build up Stand or Grad the photo-paintings are layered with meaning, seeming initially impersonal and then often becoming extremely intimate. The content of Richter’s work is overshadowed by his ingenious painterly skills but this aspect is equally as rich and profound. Gerhard Richter is definitely deserving of the multiple honorific slogans and titles that unashamedly promote his retrospective. The exhibition was like viewing the work of several artists; his landscapes as Romantic as CasparDavid Friedrich, his abstractions as powerful as a Rothko and his photo realist pieces ultimately unrivalled by most contemporary artists. The brilliance of his wide-ranging collection of works does not require the descriptions of the Gallery to pad it out or attempt to enhance it, and the changeable character of his art does not benefit from a rigid viewing structure. Even so, his work lives up to the hype and Gerhard Richter’s first exhibition in Scotland is certainly not one to miss despite its curatorial downfalls, because, as you’ve probably heard, he is one of the most important artists of our time.
Gerhard Richter - Party, 1963
he Gerhard Richter exhibition sponsored by the Bank of Scotland opens this week, part of the Total Art series which also included last year’s Andy Warhol exhibition. In addition to the agreed sponsorship amount of £400,000 Bank of Scotland has also generously given an undisclosed figure to allow under 22s free entry to the exhibition. Richter’s combination of both representational and abstract art provides a broad scope for both appreciation and interpretation. His eclectic collection of work includes images of war planes and concentration camp survivors; yet, he claims his work is non-political. It is difficult to swallow this assertion of a non-political stance considering he is one of the first generation German artists after Nazism, who faced the challenge of having to reconnect with an experimental modernist era. Richter’s preference to remain void of a profound interpretation of his work makes him all the more interesting as a subject. It also makes him, superficially, a non-contentious artist to sponsor; just like the king of pop art, Andy Warhol. The Warhol exhibition last summer was not to be missed. Large Campbells soup cans outside made it look like a corporate enterprise seducing the public into indulging in tantalizing goodies. But once inside, amidst all the brightly coloured pop images, the darker side of Warhol waited to be discovered. He shocked with his shattering images of electric chairs and The Week That Was which memorializes Kennedy’s funeral. On the surface, Richter and Warhol fit in with the modern mindset that demands aesthetically pleasing images for consumption. Yet probe a little deeper and we have some ambiguous shadows open for investigation. Accordingly, it seems the Bank of Scotland is content to support two artists who appeal to the mass market and potentially open up a pool of debate for the inquiring mind. Whilst there is nothing wrong with supporting art that carries no overtly political context it does however become slightly dubious when a series of exhibitions share the same non-commit-
Gerhard Richter - 11 Schieben (886-5), 2004 tal sentiments. It insinuates the Bank of Scotland are not willing to commit themselves to artists who are politically overt in their opinions. There have been shadows of suspicion surrounding the relationship between corporate sponsorship and art for a number of years. The artist Hans Haacke has been a critique of corporate sponsorship of art since the 70s. One of his most famous works is Helmsboro, a large cigarette box which was exhibited in 1990 in a private New York gallery. Helmsboro is a direct attack on Phillip Morris, a major corporate sponsor which happens to be the biggest cigarette company in the world. Through Helmsboro, Haacke exposed the relationship between Philip Morris and the brutally conservative Republican Senator Jesse Helm, who was a known supporter of the military Pinochet regime in Chile. As the senator of a tobacco growing state, Phillip Morris’s interests in supporting the Jesse Helm centre in North Carolina, were self-motivated and unethical. Additionally, Helm ��������������������� objected to the financing of art because he considered much of the output to be of a homosexual nature. ��������������������������� Thus, through association, the Phillip Morris Company showed itself to be hypocritical and self-serving in their art sponsorship. Helmsboro featured quotations from leaders of the Phillip Morris Company stating that they were only concerned with the financial and short-term advantages in their support of art. The unsavoury associations between Helm and Philip Morris that the work highlights create an insipid distain in the palate. If art is meant to represent freedom of speech,
artistic integrity can only be threatened when the sponsors of such a prerogative are controversial tobacco giants who support right-wing politics. Since the 1990s the relationship between corporate sponsorship and art has become considerably less controversial. Thanks to artists like Haacke we are now more aware of the manipulative tactics of big businesses like the Phillip Morris Company. Nowadays companies are even more aware that every aspect of their professional behaviour is under scrutiny. But in return for art sponsorship, they can be associated with hip trendy art projects and be perceived as being both innovative and ethically sound. The collaboration between Absolut Vodka, Dan Daluska and Jeff Lieberman is a great example of a company willing to express their innovation through the art they support. Daluska and Lieberman created an interactive music making machine called Absolut Quartet. It consisted of three robotic musicians and was launched online so people could interact with it for free, for a limited amount of time.You keyed in a few notes via the computer and the machine produced a three minute song. This extraordinary project pushed boundaries., begging the question as to whether man can become redundant as an artist if the machine engineers the creation. It is reassuring to know that even though there are companies like the Bank of Scotland who prefer to play it safe and support perhaps one might say respectfully, mainstream art, there are alternative companies who are willing to take risks with experimental projects.
There Will Be Blood
Mike Ellis has a chainsaw mounted machine gun and he’s not afraid to use it Gears of War 2 Epic Games
aaaAd New blood, old blood, bad blood, and litres upon litres of regular blood: Gears of War is back. Fans of the original will be glad to know that not a lot has changed; ultimately Gears 2 delivers a topnotch sequel experience, delivering more of what made its predecessor great in precisely the areas you want. Initially Gears 2 suffers under the weight of expectation, feeling less meaty and satisfying. The whole experience is similar to first impressions of playing Bungie’s Halo 2, like returning to your local pub to find foreign wheat beers have replaced the familiar ale. Change isn’t always a bad thing, though: by the end of the second act the differences become second nature and it’s destructive business as usual. The set-ups where players were surrounded by innumerable foes are gone, with more dynamic scenarios seeing players move through devastated cityscapes at a much faster pace than the original. Epic Games have put a lot of time and effort into making the ac-
tion suitably epic. When the original Gears emerged the 360 was still in its relative infancy, but Gears 2 shows just how far the machine can be pushed. Rolling mountain ranges look spectacular and when you are literally blowing chunks out of a Brumak or creeping through pulsing bloody walls, you have to appreciate the mastery at work. With its beefy steroid-infused soldiers that put Arnie to shame, Gears has never aimed for Call of Duty style realism, but the environments are every bit as captivating which is no mean feat considering the almost cartoony feel in parts. Where Gears failed to capture the raging war boiling around our heroes Marcus and Dom, this time around you are left with no doubt that humanity is pretty much screwed and stretched to breaking point all over planet Sera. Your squad finds itself reduced to small fish in a big skirmish; some sections managed to convey an impressive sense of claustrophobia, with one in particular delivering the biggest scares since Resident Evil 4. Everything is much more varied: whilst you still find yourself hanging on to your trusty Lancer and Longshot combo, the variety of enemies in which to bury the bullets has vastly increased. You’ll fight them above ground, underground,
on huge war barges and on the back of… actually, I won’t spoil that one. Multiplayer has been given a nice lick of paint too, with a selection of new modes adding new twists to classics. Submission, formerly known as ‘Meat Flag’, is notable for its civilian ‘flag’ that won’t hesitate to take a pop at you if you get too close. The best addition is Horde, pitting up to five players against wave after wave of increasingly hard enemies with the sole aim of killing them all. It leads to desperate stands against intelligently advancing Locust and tense hunts through the level for that last one hiding away in the corner. One big drawback is that multiple players can’t fight online without separate Xbox Live accounts – a strange decision in comparison to online stalwart Halo 3. However since Call of Duty got away with it and became an Xbox Live favourite, maybe it’s not such a big deal. Gears 2 is a top-notch shooter that stands amongst the best the platform has to offer. It remains to be seen whether it will stand the test of time like its prequel or Halo 3, but with winter setting in, there are definitely worse ways to alleviate essay boredom (or alleviate essays altogether) than to stick it to the Locust all over again.
In space no one can hear Tom Hasler scream Dead Space EA
PC, X360, PS3 £34.99
aaaAd Space is scary. It’s inhospitable, vast and filled with unseen dangers, yet most look into the stars with hope and excitement. Luckily, Dead Space reminds us all why we should all be content living right here on Planet Earth. Set hundreds of years in the future, you play as Isaac, an engineer who is trapped onboard the USG Ishimura, a colossal mining ship designed to rip planets to shreds and harvest the raw materials. A mysterious infection has killed most of the crew and turned them into hideous monsters called necromorphs. Your mission is survival. The premise may sound a little cliché, but fortunately the games excellent presentation keeps the game from feeling as such. As your surviving crewmates send you across the ship you slowly piece together the fall of the Ishimura by collecting various text, video and audio logs. The plot unfolds around the player while keeping you firmly in the driving seat; in fact, all of Isaac’s
vital information is displayed as a real-time holographic screen projected from the front of his suit rather than the traditional onscreen display. Together with the ship’s industrial aesthetic this produces an iconic and wholly immersive look. The game is also blessed with excellent audio: whether it’s the spine chilling rattle of creatures crawling through the vents or Isaac wheezing through his helmet as you pace the ship’s claustrophobic corridors, the music slowly builds tension before hitting you with a violent crescendo just as a monster lunges into view. These patterns become recognisable, yet the game still catches you unaware. The necromorphs are deeply disturbing and reminiscent of The Thing. These abominations are creatively cobbled together by an alien entity from the body parts of harvested humans. Despite their crude construction they move with grace and speed, even when dismembered. And dismember them you will. Early in the game, you’ll learn that the best way to kill a necromorph is to sever its limbs. While this feature is more of a gimmick than a revolution, it’s horrifying watching a necromorph mutate and adapt to the loss of its appendage. They’re smart little
buggers as well, stalking you just out of reach until they can attack on their own terms. Much like Resident Evil the game endeavours to make you feel vulnerable at all times. Isaac is an engineer, not a soldier, and his arsenal of improvised industrial tools reflects his trade. These weapons have unique characteristics tailored to the dismemberment tactics the game stresses. Other abilities including telekinesis and a stasis module that slows objects make Isaac the most deadly space janitor (barely) alive. Survival is made even more difficult by scarce resources and the harsh environment of space itself. When in zero gravity you’re tethered by magnetic boots and can leap between walls and ceilings with ease. When in a vacuum a countdown appears and Isaacs breathing becomes laboured, giving these scenarios- wait for it- an air of desperation. Over the course of the game’s 15 hours, you’ll be hit by every trick in the book. With striking visual construction, excellent sound design and action that is both intense and engaging, it evokes a constant sense of dread in the player. Dead Space is the best reason yet to avoid interstellar travel.
IT’S 2AM and as the credits of the Celebrity Scissorhands finale roll down the screen, I’m struck with the appalling realisation that, like a dog returning to its own vomit, I’ve followed the entire series for three weeks. How did this happen? Much as I love Charlie Brooker (though his work is somewhat derivative of my own), I thought he was going a bit far when he made the point that reality TV is turning us all into zombies. I quickly changed my view on witnessing the finale of this show which consisted of dead-eyed people clapping numbly in time to music while Steadman from Five Star (a kind of Tesco Value version of Michael Jackson) danced around a haircut.This process was repeated several times over with the other non-entities while my eyes rolled back into my head and drool spilled from my mouth. Nonetheless, it would be kind of hypocritical to deride the haircuts produced, primarily because above I appear to be smugly wearing a sort of Lego-man’s helmet of hair in my picture. But for fuck’s sake, three weeks spent doing a slightly modified graduated bob? Celebrity Scissorhands is like a lot of TV that interests me; to the average viewer, it’s pointless shite that shouldn’t be on; to the discerning TV critic it raises numberless issues, each more complex than the last. There’s Lee ‘I’M NOT GAY’ Stafford, who proved a constant source of fascination with his aggressively heterosexual similes regarding hairdressing: ‘Oi, mate, cutting hair’s like playing Premiership Football, innit’ and other variations of that sort (boxing, making love to a beautiful woman, etc). Then there was the problem of Zammo from Grange Hill, who, despite having reached the twilight of his life, has remained trapped in a permanent childlike state. His face has lost none of the youthful enthusiasm or openness that made the ‘Just Say No’ campaign an international success. On a middle-aged face however, this had the consequence of making him look like a friendly reprobate. And of course, the same thing happened that happens every time I get too involved in a second-rate TV show. Like the time I had confusing feelings for Jeremy Kyle, or the tragic period when I started emailing the panel at Loose Women, I began to feel a powerful attraction towards Lee Stafford, a feeling rendered even more conflicted by the fact that I bought a pair of his hair-straighteners recently. They were fucking atrocious.
I HAVE long awaited the political fervour of the English Civil War to be removed from the classroom and brought to small screen. Forget David Starkey - tune into C4 to find sexual scandal amongst enemies and lovers caught up in ideological battles against tyranny; The Devil’s Whore. Even more exciting is creator Peter Flannery’s ensemble of Britain’s finest for the £7m four-part drama. The drama immediately introduces us to the dirty, sexy Angelica Fanshawe, (Andrea Riseborough). After her mother runs off to France to become a nun, an abandoned Angelica rejects God, starts to have visions of the Devil, and starts sleeping around. Which was not really the done thing in those days. At the same time that Angelica’s cousin turned husband Harry (Ben Aldridge), rejects her for her sexual adventures, Charles I, (Peter Capaldi), finds himself in trouble. The Levellers, headed by John Lilburne, demand equal rights for the working class with the support of the brooding Edward Sexby (John Simm), and Oliver Cromwell (Dominic West). In true C4 style, this was never going to be your average rendition of 17th century Britain, so if you’re looking for a televised replacement of the British History textbook, this isn’t for you. For everyone else The Devil’s Whore will be a stonking good romp.
Straight to the Point
‘Will you be my friend?’ Asks Neil Oliver of a museum souvenir shop toy
Neil Oliver is the angriest man on telly, says Jonathan Holmes NEIL OLIVER has been irritating me since Coast, where his mysteriously angry whispers about Scotland’s cliffs merely gave the impression he was stalking Orkney. Since moving firmly in front of the camera, things have got much worse. His latest documentary/ tirade is A History of Scotland, and not only does Oliver struggle to make our nation’s story the least bit interesting, he seems to take every chapter as a personal insult. Oliver’s presenting style is one of rage simmering behind a thin veneer of Gaelic warlords. Every piece to camera involves him fixing the viewer with a stare, shouting something about Cínaed as if the Pictish king had insulted his granddaughter, then storming out of view. I kept expecting him to bullet point each section by kneecapping someone. Even when our Angry Young Historian isn’t acting like a
man out to avenge his family’s brutal murder by Vikings, the show is prone to some absurdly melodramatic touches. Every sentence ends with a faux world changing, utterly meaningless ‘revelation’: expect to hear phrases like “would never be the same/forever changed/echoes down the ages” so often you’ll wonder why we aren’t still fending off Angle invaders. There are at least three different scenes of Oliver clinging to the prow of a boat, crashing through the waves like he’s off to liberate Europe from the Nazis and at one point, we witness a festival where middle aged men dress up as Norsemen to burn a papier-mâché longboat. Standing in front of a bunch of tubby, grinning accountants, horns poking out of their woolly hats, Oliver proclaims without irony that “this is what the end of the world looks
like”. The words ‘bang’, ‘whimper’ and ‘twat-face’ spring to mind. What’s more, A History of Scotland falls into genre-pitfalls like a blind man at an archaeological dig. Thus the army which drove the Vikings from Pictland becomes four guys balancing on horses, and immense battles are substituted with shaky shots of empty fields. Only some pretty amateurish 3D maps convinced me that this wasn’t an artefact from the bad old days of under-funded documentaries otherwise known as the 90s. There are so many clichés they distract you from learning anything, and learning is fun. The overall effect is, fittingly, infuriating. Neil Oliver needs to put on a Dido CD, light some candles and take a long bubble bath, because at the moment the only thing raising my blood pressure is him.
It’s last orders for those being called to the Bar says Susan Robinson
‘NO MUM, everyone hates coleslaw!’ She pauses to ask cameraman. ‘NO! Don’t get coleslaw!’ Don’t you just love how the most important moments of your life are almost inevitably tempered with the most trivial? Anna, a trainee barrister, is about to enter an interview for a hotly contested place at a prestigious criminal chamber but it is nice to know that her mum still does her shopping. The system for appointing barristers in the UK is changing, the Inns of Court has been replaced with Bar vocational courses that cost £12,000 and run in universities all over the UK. The Barristers follows four hopefuls through their training alongside a real court case in Citadel Chambers after race riots in Birmingham. What becomes apparent is that in law, performance is crucial. Enter Jo Darby who traded her successful
theatre career to enter the legal profession. Her drama skills certainly show as she confidently crossexamines one of her classmates, even if she does slightly mar the Amanda Burton act by asking: ‘you were quite pissed weren’t you?’ However Jo thrashes Iqbal in a mooting in the main hall of the Middle Temple. Iqbal has wanted to be a lawyer ever since he helped his mother with her divorce papers when he was seven. As admirable as his ambitions are, he lets slip the phrase: ‘I ask your lordships to turn over’ several times during his practice speech. Although the Inn is no longer solely responsible for training, the society does provide support and opportunities. Paul Darling QC, described by Chambers UK as a ‘cross between a Rottweiler and the Andrex
“Iqbal wanted to be a lawyer ever since he helped his mother with her divorce papers when he was seven”
puppy’ stresses the sense of equality within the establishment however the stories of the barristers indicate differently. Kat Piercy has a 2:1 from Oxford and wants to specialise in European law. She needs experience in elite commercial chambers which attract extremely high calibre applicants as commercial lawyers make five times more than their criminal counterparts. Her competitors will usually have a first, a masters and experience at the UN or EU. Cash strapped Kat hasn’t the time for such luxuries but and practicing barristers are inclined to agree. Dickie Bond, barrister for 20 years is staying up until two in the morning preparing a case related to riots in Birmingham. His senior, Adrian Redgrave, his doppelganger except with whiter hair and bushier
eyebrows agrees in retrospect he would have practiced criminal law at solicitors firm where it is possible to earn double. When it costs £30,000 to reach the bar before earning a penny, equal opportunities are not a possibility. This is a shame as they make it seem like bloody good fun as Dickie joshes with Adrian: ‘Are you going to see the mistress tonight?’ Unfortunately only former actress Jo attains a pupillage, Kat wonders if her £12,000 was well spent because although she is awarded a Very Competent in her exams she also receives ten rejections. Iqbal is deemed Competent which is unlikely to get him a job and Anna, who in her interview gave an argument about why someone should sit in bath of baked beans for charity (‘me and my sense of humour’), fails her civil exam. It just goes to show, law is all an act.
Make up your mind, man Emma Leah Segal takes a critical look at male vanity. Que the guyliner.
MORRISEY - Indie standards
hilst reading ‘The Skinny’ magazine this week, I was struck by a particular article debating the pros and cons of ‘guyliner’ (eyeliner on guys). Like Kant’s Categorical Imperative or International Law’s non-derogable norms, a list of the 3 main fashion rules for guys is essential knowledge for the discerning gentleman, in order to reach personal conclusions about what best suits him. However you view these rules, men, take heed of them. Rule 1: APROACH GUY-MAKE UP and METROSEXUALITY with trepidation: Guyliner is acceptable if one is an indie-loving, Russell Brand
worshipper with eyes and cheek bones to rival Brandon Flowers or Johnny Depp. On very few guys does this bold look succeed. It must, naturally, be combined with compulsory skinny jeans, a Smiths’ ‘Meat is Murder’ tshirt and out of bed hair. Having said this, steer clear of man-foundation, eyebrow plucking and excessive grooming. No excuses. Rule 2: WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: skinny jeans may not suit every man, however a few pairs of well fitting jeans are essentials one should invest in. A good jacket and double breasted coat are also essential and can show off your personal sense of style (you may be a traditionalist, preferring Burberry or Barbour, or a rebel, choosing vintage tweed or a fitted pea coat in an on-trend bloc colour). One good suit (or a kilt if you really want the ladies to melt) for special occasions is a must. However, NEVER team said suit with Converse or Vans. At best it makes you look like a pubescent teenager attempting to ‘stick it to the man’ at prom. Furthermore, in addition to having a selection of shirts and t-shirts, always ensure you have some good quality neutral coloured cardigans and jumpers in tactile fabrics such as wool and cashmere. The benefits of investing in these are twofold – it provides you with insulation and you
instantly become more strokable for the ladies. Rule 3: SUPPLEMENT THE TROIKA TO AVOID BECOMING CLONES: The convenience of going to Topshop, Urban Outfitters and Gap for all your clothes is soon outweighed by the fact that every guy walking down the street has exactly the same checked-shirt as you.Thus, like women who take their fashion seriously, you should aim to supplement items bought in this troika with vintage items a-la Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys, customisation, American apparel and, if you can, designer items. It is essential to stay in the loop to adapt your wardrobe to the trends – I would keep an eye out for the K by Karl Lagerfeld
collection and Dolce and Gabbana men for formal clothing and Dries Van Noten and the general Dover Street Market collective for cutting edge investment pieces. In conclusion, there is absolutely no excuse for you to be clueless in fashion, guys. No longer a women’s responsibility, you should become sensible fashion conscious entities in your own right. Banish the tracksuit bottoms, ban the baseball caps, break the stereotype of being a less fashionable sex! The most important thing in developing your own style and influences is confidence – you can pull off just about anything with the right attitude.
GUY LINER - If you look this good wearing make-up, proceed.
Laura Peebles explores the drug pumping habits of buff-tastic males.
performance and increase muscle build up. However, studies show that more and more men now are using them purely for cosmetic purposes. What is striking though is that the age of users is steadily dropping and it is thought that a high number of teenagers and students are resorting to steroids to rid themselves of
Student: Who are you? HS: The History Society – best up and coming society in Edinburgh! Student: What’s your problem? HS: Our problem is that we own all other subjects, they are just more specific versions of history… Student: Sell your society in 10 words… HS: With every second history is made, be part of it! Student: What’s the craziest thing your society has ever done? HS: I think the hundreds of Baby Guinness we consumed on our Pub Crawl. We was FUCKED. Student: Who is your favourite member right now? HS: It’s a toss-up between two first years; either Deborah ‘cause she’s so cool or Noah as he has the most beautifully chiselled chin… Student: As a society, how fit are you from 1-10? HS: From seeing our VP dressed as a silver-skinned space creature +10!!!
Steroid vanity exposed nsecurities over the way we look and obsession with body image is something usually associated with women. Aspiring to look like those wonderfully airbrushed models that are paraded all over the media is not normally considered to be a male affliction. However, in recent years more and more attention has been paid to male body issues and the measures they undertake to achieve the perfect body. This then begs the question - are men really just as insecure about their bodies as women are? A while ago, one of my friends informed me that he was planning to start a strict regime of protein shakes and work out sessions at the gym. On enquiring why he would ever want to, the answer I received was ‘to get buff’. So far, so very like a woman’s attitude (just replace buff with skinny). He, however, did not stick to this foolproof plan; but many others do, often taking it one step further and use steroids. Protein shakes and anabolic steroids, for years, have mostly been used by professional athletes and bodybuilders to improve their
Getting to know you
supposedly inadequate bodies. In America, a staggering 660, 000 teenagers between 14 and 17 have admitted using steroids. Whilst in Britain, it has been discovered that steroids are easily available in most big cities and that the majority of users do not participate in competitive sports.
These increasing numbers of users are seriously putting their bodies at risk in the hope of improving their appearance. Anabolic steroids have the same chemical structure as the male hormone testosterone, encouraging rapid muscle growth. Regular injections of a high dosage can actually prove to be extremely harmful, with negative psychological effects as well as the obvious health risks. Although steroid users report feeling energetic and powerful; long-term use has been known to increase anxiety and aggression, even causing paranoia and manic depression. Anabolic steroids are also known to damage the kidneys, prompt infection and high blood pressure, lead to serious heart problems. Women have known for centuries that unless they fall under the rare category of the effortlessly gorgeous, the price of beauty is a costly venture, both financially and physically. Society now seems to have enforced such values on the more rugged sex, which makes for unsettling consumption. it seems the time has come to challenge the boys – but are they really worth it?
Student: What’s your society’s dream event? HS: Our dream event is an amazing Winter Ball in Our Dynamic Earth, where you can have Champagne in a rainforest, a 4-course dinner under the stars, and Ceilidh dancing until dawn… Wait a second, we’re already having that on the 28th! Student: Could you take down Jaws? HS: Yeah! We’d go all Roy Schneider on his Great White ass. Student: Are you on tinterweb? HS: Of course! Check us out on http://history.eusa.ed.ac.uk Student: Could you beat Student in a fight? HS: We wouldn’t have to, we’d send our own history paper – Retrospect – after you! Student: Give us some History talk… HS: Churchill said, “a person who doesn’t understand history, understands nothing.” Student: Pick a song for your Soc… HS: I think Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire”, great for history revision. Student: Yes or no? HS: Yes, yes a thousand times over. Student: Anything else to add? HS: We are awesome. Come and find us on Facebook (Edinburgh University History Society) to get more info on getting involved in our legendary events, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To drink or to drop? Maddie Walder trips over internet drugs, legal highs and alcohol issues
can guarantee that each and every Saturday night will herald vomiting teens and passed out locals, fights by the club door and steaming hockey kids. So is the natural culture of the UK. Go out. Get hammered. Forget it all. Bloody good night. So, yeh, every once in a while some well-doer, be it politician or flatmate, flags up their arm, and, waving their limp wrist a little pathetically, squeaks - ‘Hey - guys – come on – we get pissed a bit much, no?’. But aside from this whimsical protest, dredged up from the stagnant pool of apathy, bingeing till we drop is just part of the heady rush of youth. And mid life. And old age. Hell, even the kids are at it! Make no bones about it, Britain has a drink problem. Ask any other European country and hear the guttural snorts of the steadysip-Spaniards or wine savvy French roar forth in mockery. So why exactly is pumping our body with alcohol legal, accepted and even celebrated? The excuse, ‘I was pissed, I don’t remember a thing’, is heralded with a comprehensive ‘aaaaah’ of understanding. The truth is that alcohol is a demon coated in bunny fluff, the negative effects of which are on a par with many of the household names of popular drugs. Yet the drugs are placed upon an obscure pedestal, shrouded in a black cloak, warned against throughout your childhood. Whether or not you recognise this
attitude, there can be no denying the increasing disillusionment with drinking, in favour of popping pills. Be it the mainstream names, the lesser known internet chemicals or the widespread legal highs, more students than ever are hopping onto an increasingly accessible bandwagon of drug abuse. One of the lesser known favourites creeping up the tally is GHB, a chemical bought lawfully off the internet. Popular due to its cheap price, ready availability, lack of legal consequence and its similarity in effect to MDMA or E, GHB is the third highest selling recreational drug in Britain. A second year University of Edinburgh Psychology student told Student: “Unlike alcohol, GHB doesn’t turn you into a totall moron. It doesn’t make you obnoxious, loud and insensitive to others. Quite the opposite. It heightens all your senses and gives you an overwhelming feeling of love for other people. You look around the club or wherever you are and everything is beautiful and everyone is beautiful. Britain has such blatant double standards people are happy to demonize those who take E, MDMA or GHB but yet get ludicrously drunk every weekend and become absolute idiots, expecting to get away with it by blaming it on the alcohol.” However the sun isn’t always shining in sugar coated pill land. GHB is controversially used as a date rape drug, similar in its effects to rohypnol,
and though legal to buy, it is illegal to consume. Doubling the recommended dosage results in hospitalisation. It’s pretty easy to be tempted - but the alien toxins pulsating left, right and centre through our brain tissue make it a bit of a risky habit. Arguably, lack of knowledge and a hush-hush attitude force drug practice to go underground, increasing risk of contamination and misuse. A third year music student claims that ‘if we could only take drugs in a safe environment, rather than with a bunch of people who know jack all about it, we could enjoy the effects without worry. The drug itself isn’t the problem.’ Salvia, laughing gas and so called ‘legal E’ are equally easy to obtain from high street specialist stores, and claim to guarantee a high as profound as any classified drug, without risking ending up with more than just a headache the next morning. The safer option for a wee dip in the drugs arena, without a full blown, ‘daddy would dissaprove’, conscious crisis. However you feel about drugs; legal, safe, fun, dull, stupid or savvy, one point remains hovering above the whole debate. The majority of students undeniably aim for inebriation on a regular basis. Why? What is it about our society that pushes us to seek release? Whatever your theory, I would argue that, today, the whole issue has boiled down to finding the best way to get really fecking out of it.
Student’s DRUG PROFILE GHB- Known as ‘date rape’, GHB induces feelings of sensuality. Many will react badly, side effects include being conscious but unable to move. GHL is a legal extract of GHB. SALVIA - Is a plant that when smoked provokes an intense short trip, which users repute to last an eternity. LEGAL ‘E’ benzylpiperazine (BZP) is said to cause similar effects to that of the real deal. It can cause convulsions and increased heart rate, which can bring about seizures. LAUGHING GAS - Very popular among students, and is very addictive due to the high’s brevity.
Easy Across 1. University and ______ Union. Recently demanded more pay. (6) 2. Navigational tool, now largely obsolete (7) 6. Contemporary billionaire. Develops real-estate. (5) 8. ___book. We all use it. (4) 9. Max _____. Grumpy video game character turned movie star. (5) 10. Famous cyclist and popular form of horse-borne weaponry (5) 11. Acronym. Britain’s oversight body for clinical excellence. (4) 13. Wartime British Prime Minister. His granny is on TV this week. (9) 14. Guantanamo ___. Geographical location of the infamous military base (3) 15. _____ Lammy. Minister of State for Universities and Skills. (5)
Down 1. US state which recently voted to do away with gay marriage. (10) 3. Plague which keeps ever-more British children out of school (7) 4. His __________. Official title by which one would refer to diplomat Ron Prossor, if one were being polite. (10) 5. Britian’s nuclear deterrant. (7) 7. People and _____. Student campaigning group. (5) 12. ___ College. Here be lawyers. (3)
Celebrating the good times? Alistair Shand asks whether the art of the goal celebration has been consigned to the history books
et me provide you with a paradox. Cristiano Ronaldo smashes home the latest goal of a mercurial season at Manchester United. The raucous Old Trafford crowd erupts as the ball crashes powerfully into the net. Team mates react with jubilation and run to congratulate the goal-scorer. This would be enough to send anyone into hysterical celebration. Ronaldo however remains static, puffing out his muscular chest and glaring around at the crowd in an act of childish masculinity. He slowly turns around with an infuriatingly narcissist look on his face and, in all this euphoria, fails even to muster a smile. Only a decade and a half before, on the same hallowed turf at Old Trafford, United legend Eric Cantona had just fired home his latest goal in an equally incredible season. Here, however, the similarities end; the French maestro wheels away in delight before the ball even hits the net. Cantona sprints towards the jubilant fans with arms aloft and joy unconfined all over his face. The goal-scorer leaps onto the advertising boards and salutes his supporters with arms held high. Forgive the nostalgic flashback, but it seems to me that within this stark contrast lies an understated and disappointing decline. The art of celebration in football seems to be dying. There was a time when football players enjoyed scoring goals, and the personal pleasure of seeing the ball hit the net was there for all to see. Professional footballers are
paid astronomical salaries for doing something that they love, which is adored by millions across the globe and brings happiness to all sporting hearts. Thus, the cynic in me would argue that they might as well look happy about it. Around the time when a gloriously talented and offensive Brazilian team were triumphant at the 1970 World Cup, it was claimed that the celebration of a goal was almost as important as the goal itself. Simply standing on the spot and boastfully gazing at your audience was not an option. As the scorer it was your unwritten responsibility to validate the goal with some sort of imaginative or passionate celebration. The most ardent football disciples among us will recall watching Woolworths’ bargain bin World Cup 1970 videos in which Brazil’s inspirational captain Gerson scores a marvellous 25-yard goal and then runs half the length of the pitch to revel with his teammates. This was the art of celebration in its purest and most unadulterated form. It was the reaction of a man who loved what he was doing and received a genuine thrill from scoring goals, which was mirrored in his celebrations. However, such random and uncontained outbursts of ecstasy after a goal are all too rare in modern football. This may be partly down to the increasing number of pragmatic approaches and defensive tactics employed by football managers today where teams look to get ahead and then protect their
advantage. Teams are not looking for the special goal and celebration but instead the easiest way to get the three points - that age-old football cliché. Although this is undoubtedly a factor, it is not the main reason for the slow decline in the art of celebration. Somewhere it has to come down to the individual. The footballer himself has to drop the moody, masculinityexuding reaction following a goal and celebrate as if it really means something. Football players have a job description that is primarily to entertain and thus it is their duty to
bring back this art. How wonderful it would be to see the sight of Cristiano Ronaldo, or anyone for that matter, wheeling away in unbridled delight after a goal once more, with a broad smile that oozes a genuine love for football and for scoring goals. In these modern times where trophies and points mean everything, it may be wrong to insist that the act of celebration in football should be as important to the player as the goal. The world of football needs to learn once more how to lose itself in the moment when it comes to
celebrating goals. Players should not be afraid to HHter Terry express themselves after a goal. Whether the celebration has the boundless energy of the Gerson version, the enigmatic randomness of Cantona or something completely original doesn’t matter. What is important is that the art of celebration does not die and that players recognise the invigorating quality that a good hoopla possesses. Therefore, it would not be unjust to say that the more somersaulting Nani’s there were in world of football today, the better off we would all be.
Something to hide? Martin Domin questions the lukewarm response to the new drugs testing programme in English football
was somewhat surprised, and certainly disappointed, to see that the news that more stringent drugtesting measures are to be introduced into English football was greeted with a rather muted response. Attempts to bring football into line with the Olympic sports were initiated last week as the Football Association (FA) announced that they had been working with UK Sport to produce a new testing policy. As it stands, two random players are tested after each match but, should the new plans be ratified, a group of 30 players will be tested up to five times a year. Players will be required to make the testers aware of their location for one hour of each day of the year but this location can be changed at any time up to a minute before this hour. Should a player miss three tests, they
will be banned from playing for two years. The news was hardly welcomed with open arms by the Players’ Football Association (PFA) whose chief executive Gordon Taylor said that “football should not be treated in the same way as individual sports that do have a problem with drugs, such as athletics, cycling and weightlifting.” Is it not possible, however, that the reason football is on the whole accepted to be clean is that there has simply been a lack of testing to date? The FA promise to test around 1600 footballers during the course of a season and this includes professional players, those in non-league football, women’s football and youth team players. A FIFA study in 2006, however, showed that there are over four million people playing football in England, which
shows just how few drugs tests are actually carried out in relative terms. The International Cycling Union (UCI) on the other hand will have carried out around 10,000 tests by the end of this year with their anti-doping
“Is it not possible that the reason football is accepted to be clean is there has simply been a lack of testing?” budget stretching to $8.5m. Each cyclist who is part of the UCI’s programme will have had 12 blood tests and four urine tests. With around 800 cyclists involved in the programme, it is of course much more manageable than any to be introduced in football.
With a similar number of footballers involved in the Premiership though, surely there is nothing to prevent the same kind of set up? Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was another who was less than impressed with the new measures, calling it a “nuisance”. While there is no doubt that the logistics of such a programme are complex, shouldn’t one of football’s best and most well-known managers be praising the inititive - at least publicly - despite his personal reservations? There is, of course, a high profile precedent in athletics in the case of Christine Ohuruogu who was banned for a year after missing three drugs tests. She successfully overturned the lifetime Olympics ban that was also imposed on her and went on to win gold in the 400m in Beijing. The Court
of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) made it clear that there was no evidence that she had taken drugs and that she had been simply forgetful. Now, of course, everyone forgets things.Where you left your flat keys perhaps, or your bag when you roll out of bed for a nine o’clock lecture at ten past the hour. But to ‘forget’ to take a drugs test on three separate occassions when aware of the consequences is ridiculous. Her coaching team should have tied her down when the final one was due to take place to make sure she took it. It is higly unlikley that the footballing world is as riddled with drugs cheats as other sports unfortunately are but anything that can be done to make sure that it stays this way should be done, and with the backing of those in authority.
What next for Britain’s best boxers? Michael Klimes speculates on the future of Daved Haye and Joe Calzaghe after respective victories
he O2 Arena in London has finally delivered an aura of respectability to the Millennium Dome. The seats are comfortable, the view it offers punters is panoramic and the sound system is all encompassing. On Saturday night, David Haye fulfilled his promise to be exhilarating and was something the doomed exhibition at the Dome was not in the early 2000s; he was worth the price of the ticket. Boxing aficionados bought into the hype which swirled around him and he duly delivered. He stopped his opponent, the solid but not sensational Monte Barrett in five savage rounds that displayed his power, speed and skill. Barrett was courageous but could do nothing against his classier adversary. Haye posed for pictures after the fight with a man he wants to fight, Vitali Klitschko. The recently rejuvenated Ukrainian was cool and did not seem bothered at all by Haye’s cocky self-belief. Although Haye shot down those who were doubting he could defeat Barrett as clinically as he did, he must know in the private moment front of the mirror that taking on one or either of the Klitschkos is a different prospect all together. They are both taller and better athletes and fighters than Barrett. Vitali in particular has a sturdy chin, heavy hands, an acute boxing brain and underestimated speed, athleticism and technique. He looked very good against Samuel Peter in his comeback fight where he became a world champion again. Similarly, his younger brother Wladimir may not have his brother’s mental toughness and that probably
is to Haye’s advantage. Wladimir is more talented than his brother but his lack of confidence and inability to take a punch always held him back. However, could Haye’s arrogance inspire a vindictive desire to come out of that shy visage? Haye’s performance was impressive but he knows he still needs another tune up fight against a heavyweight, this time a bigger one, to have any chance of becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Fighting an opponent who is taller, more rangy, experienced and intelligent is always going to be precarious for the smaller guy. Nevertheless, Haye does have the speed to be almost invisible and the firepower to punch through granite like chins but his ability to absorb a punch remains questionable. His journey through the heavyweight division will remain fascinating and if the fighter with movie star looks does go to Las Vegas and capture the crown, a fascinating question presents itself: can he make the American press and boxing fans alike accept him across the pond? Unfortunately, this will be hard. Ask Lennox Lewis who, even after he defeated Mike Tyson, the enfant terrible of the fight game, was shouted down in some quarters. It is a sad truth but boxing in many instances does not cut across national and even in rare cases, racial boundaries. Another British fighter that saw success recently was Joe Calzaghe who defeated Roy Jones Junior to maintain his unbeaten record. Calzaghe said the fight would be his last
but now that he has tasted Madison Square Garden, the spiritual home of boxing, will he really retire? New York and perhaps America in general, even in an economic recession has an allure. Furthermore, Calzaghe, an astute student of boxing history knows it still has resonance for a boxer’s legacy, particularly for a European boxer if he can cross the Atlantic and place himself in the American imagination. He’s an attraction in Britain but not yet in the United States.
Two meaningful fights present themselves at light heavyweight, Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson. Dawson is the new hot shot in the division and is a fast and gifted southpaw who would give Calzaghe a lucrative payday and a stern test. He shares many of Calzaghe’s gifts, namely fast feet and hands, considerable technique and a lot of stamina. Johnson is the other boxer who could give Calzaghe a very hard day at the office. The Jamaican is a wily pressure fighter who is as tough as
they come, throws a lot of punches and has a tight, shell like defence. If Calzaghe could defeat these two fighters, he will not only earn millions but also add further scalps to his record. He might just be out of his prime but he is still much closer to it than Roy Jones Junior. The coming months will see an end to the speculation but while Calzaghe remains uncommitted, 2009 could promise to be another successful year for Britain’s two shining lights in the boxing ring.
THE HAYEMAKER: Is David Haye ready for the Klitschko brothers?
Contrasting fortunes for Edinburgh’s football side Football
Martin Domin Edinburgh’s football side have experienced contrasting fortunes in recent weeks with Dougie Samuel’s men taking part in several league and cup competitions. Following their exit from the Scottish Cup, Edinburgh grabbed a crucial league victory as they comfortably saw off Easthouses Lily 4-1 at Peffermill. There was to be further cup woe however as they crashed out of the Image Printers Cup semi final to Whitehill Welfare, the reigning East of Scotland champions. Their next league match saw them draw 0-0 with Selkirk before there was finally some success in the cup competitions last weekend when they triumphed 3-1 against Edinburgh City in the SFA South
Regional Cup. With manager Samuel pinpointing cup success as one of his main aims this season he will be hoping his side can go all the way in this one. Edinburgh return to league business this weekend as they travel to face Preston Athletic before Lothian Thistle are the visitors to Peffermill the following week. The side currently sit tenth in the twelve team league but have played only five matches compared to the nine completed by league leaders Dalbeattie Star. In the Scottish Conference, the team’s university competition, Edinburgh sit second, three points behind leaders Stirling. They will be looking to maintain their unbeaten run against Glasgow on Wednesday. before facing Stirling in a crucial fixture next week.
University of Edinburgh 3rd 1-2
University of Edinburgh 1st 28-43 HHter Terry Newcastle University 1st
University of Dundee 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 2-2 University of Glasgow 1st
University of Edinburgh 2nd 4-0
University of Edinburgh 1st 36-19
University of Edinburgh 1st 2-2
University of Dundee 1st
Aberdeen University 1st
University of Edinburgh 3rd 6-7
University of Edinburgh 2nd 36-20
Glasgow Caledonian University 1st
Aberdeen University 2nd
University of Glasgow 1st
Basketball: Men: University of Edinburgh 1st 119-51
Robert Gordon University 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 5-9
University of Edinburgh 1st 17-10
Aberdeen University 1st
University of Sheffield 1st
University of Edinburgh 2nd 52-90 University of Dundee 1st
University of Edinburgh 1st 9-10
University of Edinburgh 2nd 52-61
University of Durham 1st
University of Dundee 1st
For full results and reports go to: www.eusu.ed.ac.uk
Does football have something to hide? Martin Domin looks at drug testing in light of proposed new measures p26 >>
Injury Time: Student’s wry look at the world of sport
Why so tired? Peter Thomas
t seems to me that sports stars are forever getting tired these days. Andy Murray was the latest to do so when he blamed fatigue for his defeat by Nikolay Davydenko in the Masters Cup semi-final on Saturday. To be fair, Murray had duelled with Roger Federer for three hours the day before, but to go out with such a whimper was disappointing considering the season he has had. Murray cannot expect to win this event if he cannot stand the pace. The very nature of the event, featuring the top eight players in the world, means that he is always going to have a tough task on his hands. Given that Rafa Nadal had to withdraw from the tournament, it could have been even harder. There’s always the possibility that he will be taken to three tough sets by any one of this opponents and may then face the very same scenario the following day. The fact that Davydenko was comprehensively beaten in the final on Sunday suggests that Murray does indeed still have work to do on his fitness. On the football field, Arsene Wenger commented that his team may already be tired. In November. Someone should remind him that the season has a fair bit yet to run. It is hard to believe that professional athletes can be tired after three months of playing for three hours a week and training for a few more. Considering that people like Chris Hoy are pushing themselves until they are almost physically sick on a daily basis, these overpaid and underworked footballers need to stop whining and get on with the job. I wouldn’t be surprised if golfers join the bandwagon and demand to have carts to take them from one hole to the next to ensure their poor legs don’t get weary. Maybe cricketers will employ sprinters to do their running for them. Or perhaps not. But there is no doubt that, especially in football, the facilities available to the clubs should mean that the players are more than capable of playing two matches a week for a whole season.
Trampolinists bounce to success Trampolining
Shona Black EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY’S trampoling club managed to retain their title at the season’s first Scottish Universities tournament. The event was held in the capital and gave the club a first chance to show off their credentials for the season ahead. The first to compete were the novice and intermediate ladies. At her very first competition, Jodie Fleming performed two great routines to take an excellent third place out of 34 competitors in the novice category. It was great to see so many people performing well, considering many of them had taken their first few bounces on the trampoline a few months ago. In the intermediate ladies, Alina Kiesling performed excellently to take the gold medal and a precious three points for Edinburgh. Despite a fall on the very last move of a superb set routine, Rachel Risk managed to hold her nerve in her voluntary routine to take a wellearned third place. The intermediate men’s category saw Tom Jeffs, our sole male competitor, complete his routines well, especially as he has only just returned from injury. He was unlucky to finish just outside
the medals in fourth place. Edinburgh’s only advanced competitor for the afternoon’s competition was Sarah Aitken. She was delighted to complete both routines in her first competition at this level and finished a very respectable sixth place. Following her, the club’s elite competitor Cath Determan outshone all other elite ladies to take gold and earn more points for Edinburgh. There was a nervous wait for the results of the league, with strong performances from both Aberdeen and Stirling. Edinburgh’s team of Cath Determan, Alina Kiesling, Rachel Risk and Lex Mackay won gold, resulting in joint 1st place with Aberdeen after a successful day of competition. The next round of the SUS league will be held in Dundee in December where Edinburgh will be looking to keep their exceptional record in this competition going. This year will see the club take part in the British universities competition in their own backyard as the qualifying stages are to be held in Edinburgh. The event is the most prestigious of the season for the club and qualification for the final stages to be held in March would be a tremendous achievement.
HOPING FOR A SAFE LANDING: Action from the trampoline competition
Double joy for netball sides Netball
Barbara Littler and Zoe Dickenson two of Edinburgh’s netball sides triumphed last week as the season gathered pace. The fourth and fifth sides were in action and both came out on top in their respective matches. Edinburgh’s fifth side defeated Stirling University second string at home in a fast and exciting game last weekend. Both sides went into the match undefeated this season, so there was everything to play for. Edinburgh started off the stronger side and did well to prevent their opponents from scoring. However, a few mistakes crept into the home side’s play, meaning that Stirling managed three goals by the end of the quarter. Nevertheless, Edinburgh had a healthy 11-3 lead. Stirling made a few changes for the second quarter and came back a far more energetic team, managing
to bring the goal difference down to five. However, the third quarter saw the home side displaying again the same form they had produced in the first quarter as they kept things tight in defence. Great movement in the circle by the shooters and some brilliant defending paid off for Edinburgh as they took a 21-13 lead into the final quarter. However, fatigue was starting to set in and fitness levels were tested. Both sides performed well but Edinburgh edged the quarter and ran out winners by a 30-19 score line. There was further success for the netball club as the fourth side came from behind to see off Kirkcaldy. It was the visitors who began the brighter of the two sides as they dominated Edinburgh with consistent pressure in the D, taking the score to 13-5 at the end of the first quarter. With some positive words from their inspirational coach Roz Worcester, the home side switched their
level of play up a gear with some slick passing in mid-court from centre Sarah Boulton to ever-present and alert wing attack Kate Hext. Morale was high heading into the third quarter with Kirkcaldy’s lead having been greatly reduced to four. Despite the physical defence in place from Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh’s shooters Brogane Colclough and Jennifer Sampson consistently converted the opportunities of penalty shots and took their side into the lead for the first time in the match. With the scoreline reading 2621, the home side never looked like losing thanks to some priceless defensive interceptions from goal keeper Gemma Burnside and goal defence Georgiana Baker. The final score of 36-27 thoroughly reflected the level of focus and effort made by each player. The defensive duo of Burnside and Baker deservedly received players of the match. The fourth side have found success hard to come by at univer-
sity level this season, having lost all five of their fixtures to date. They have, however, been facing the first and second teams of the universities they’ve come up against, and have rarely been out of the frame come the final whistle. They will be looking to pick up their first victory of the season at the weekend, when they play a home tie against St. Andrews. There has been better news for Edinburgh’s second string, as they currently sit joint top of the Scottish Conference. Having seen off their own third side, they then defeated the first sides of both Glasgow and Dundee universities. With Strathclyde topping the table by virtue of goal difference, the two clashes between the sides later in the calender could prove all-important. Edinburgh’s first side have had a tough task as they face the creme-dela-creme of the netballing world. As the only Scottish representative, the team has managed just one solitary win over Birmingham.
Published on Nov 25, 2009
Allegations of police ‘intimidation’ and mistreatment of protestors Claims that access to the event was restricted to stii e criticism The f...