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THE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE STUDENTS’ UNION
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10 February 2014, WEEK 4
LGBTQ mONTH FEATURE SPECIAL: is Bisexuality underrepresented? Comment
Fracking: the issue of our generation Page 11
One step closer to personalised medicine Page 12
The Badger introduces Jordan Ellis as our new Technology Editor Page 5
The Arts team bring you the spring culture guide Page Page14 3
Victory over Brighton for women’s basketball Page 20
University of Sussex: Making you an offer you can’t refuse As 15% of UCAS offers become ‘unconditional’, The Badger questions whether the University is having to entice students to accept offers after a tumble down the league tables
Jack Williams News Editor High volumes of A-level students are being accepted unconditionally onto courses at the University of Sussex before having taken their A2 exams in return for making the University their first preference, The Badger has learned In letters sent out to students identified as “exceptionally strong applicants”, University administrators sought to persuade Sussex hopefuls to select the University as their firm choice by offering to revise their conditional offers to unconditional ones. Providing further incentive for applicants, the letter cited that the recipient could potentially be eligible for the Sussex Excellence Scholarship - worth up to £3000 - which includes a £50 per week discount for on campus accommodation rent, should the student attain AAA in their final A-level grades. An extract from the letter reads: “We have carefully reviewed all applicants and selected the very best students for the Sussex Unconditional Offer Scheme. “You have been identified as an exceptionally strong applicant and, on this basis, we have decided to make you a revised offer.” The Sussex Unconditional Offer Scheme looks set to target students whose AS level grades match the entry requirements of their chosen course, in a bid to nullify competition from other Universities to recruit the highest calibre applicants. Statistics obtained by The Badger suggest that approximately 15 percent of all those that were given conditional offers have been selected for the Sussex Unconditional offer scheme; a
total of 1,200 students overall. Outlining the reasoning behind singling out a particular mass of students for the scheme, A University spokesman explained that these students had: “shown exceptional academic performance to date and are expecting to achieve excellent results in their forthcoming examinations”. The University denied that they rewarded unconditional offers to Sussex applicants arbitrarily without carefully analysing each individual’s recent academic performance, but explained that they were only considering those who come across as the “most academically gifted undergraduate applicants”. The spokesman continued: “Where applicants have taken AS levels we will obviously be looking closely at those AS results. To be selected for the scheme, applicants will need to have achieved very high grades in those AS levels. “In selecting applicants for the scheme, we are looking at the full application, but the key element is actual evidence of very strong academic performance”. Sheffield Hallam University appears to be adopting a similar approach to The University of Sussex, with multiple college students reporting that their offer had been unexpectedly changed from conditional to unconditional. One student received an e-mail from the University of Hallam stating: “We believe you will thrive and succeed at Sheffield Hallam and are really keen that you select us as your firm choice. Therefore, if you make Sheffield Hallam your firm choice of University, we will waive the academic conditions of your offer, meaning that your place with us in guaranteed.”
Russell Group Universities including Queen Mary and The University of Birmingham, as well as Leicester University, formerly of the 1994 Group, are other universities running parallel schemes. Dozens of jubilant students took to Twitter to express their joy at their offer being upgraded. Ben Crossfield tweeted: “Offer from Sussex changed to unconditional… hahaha bubye A levels”, while Tamara Dasht tweeted: “Sussex made their offer unconditional, and they wanna give me £3000 to make my rent cheaper, they do know how to tempt a girl”. Jessie Sun, who applied to study Media and Communications at the University of Sussex, revealed that she had only received the letter last week,
a full month after completing her application. She said: “it was only a month or so after my application had been sent off that I received the letter informing me of the changes to my offer if I changed it to my firm choice. “I was really delighted at the chance of an unconditional offer, but at the same time, it’s made it a lot harder for me to narrow down my choices… I’m going to have to go back to square one and look at all the pros and cons of all my choices”. Another applicant, who had whittled his preferences down to University of East Anglia and The University of Sussex, admitted that receiving the unconditional offer was the clinching factor in deciding to opt for Sussex. “I was deciding between Sussex and
UEA as my first choice. I was going to visit the areas before making my final decision but the unconditional offer has meant I have decided to go with Sussex”, he said. “Overall I am very pleased with the revised offer as it means I can be relaxed when it comes to results day knowing whatever grades I get I will be going to the University of my choosing.” Following the announcement last year by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, that caps on the number of student that Universities can admit are to be abolished in 2015, English Higher Education institutions now have limitless license to expand their student populations however they see fit. The Badger continues to investigate.
10 february 2014
in pictures • 2
In pictures: what’s happening on your campus Richard Hell Lecture
Chinese Spring Festival Gala
Editor-in-Chief Aubrey Allegretti
Deputy Editors-in-Chief Emily Sutherland firstname.lastname@example.org
Cat Gough email@example.com
Head of Publicity Amy Bracewell firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Nelson Tuesday market Stuart Robinson/University of Sussex
News Editors Eduard Mead, Jack Williams, Vicky Farley email@example.com
A Magician’s Scrapbook
Letters Editor Deborah Batchelor firstname.lastname@example.org
Features Editors Holly Davis-Bollard, Nicole Estwick email@example.com
Comment Editors Nick Godshaw, Sam Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org Zefira Bazoteva
Arts Editors Will Fortna, Tom Powell, Heather Gwyther, Cesca Rampley, Victoria Rodrigues
Islam Awareness Week
Zefira Bazoteva Stop the sell off of student loans demonstration
Science Editor Katherine Hardy email@example.com
Tech Editor Jordan Ellis firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports Editors Karoliina Lehtonen, Michael Morrow email@example.com
Photo Editors Zefira Bazoteva, Kim Nelson
Osama Ashraf Stop the Privatisation of the Student Loans Public Meeting
Publicity Team Zoe Mallett, Jemma Rix, Annie Pickering, Hannah Shaw Social Media Coordinator Isla Forrester Online Editors Steve Barker, Rob Frost Communications Officer Imogen Adie Zefira Bazoteva
10 february 2014
NEWS • 3
16 iMacs stolen from MFM department Jack Williams & Daniel Green News Editor Security has been tightened by departments on campus following the theft of 16 iMacs reportedly worth £15,000 from the School of Media, Film and Music. The incident, which took place during the evening of Monday 27 January, resulted in the department imposing extra security provisions. The contingencies include restricting out-of-hours access to the computer labs. Further protective measures are to be implemented in the following weeks, The Badger understands. Classes originally scheduled to take place in the affected labs had to be relocated as a result. Computer clusters in the Silverstone building are only accessible with pass keys, due to the use of electronic locks, making it unclear to some students how unauthorised persons were able to enter the room to abscond with the iMacs. Police were called to investigate soon after the iMacs were discovered missing, according to a senior administrator in the school, and the school is now assisting Sussex Police in their enquiries. Carmen Long, School Administrator for the MFM department, said that following this incident “the police were
notified immediately and we hope to reinstate out-of-hours access soon. “We have been implementing some new security measures, including installation of CCTV cameras.” A student from the Media department commented: “This whole affair has left me in shock. With the security measures in place in the building, I don’t know how any outsider could possibly have gained access to the room.” Other departments have taken precautions following the theft, with an email circulated by Informatics explaining they have changed door codes for their labs and main entrance, following “security concerns raised by [the] burglary”. When questioned, a University of Sussex spokesperson said: “The University campus is an extremely safe and secure environment, with very low levels of crime. We have 24-hour security patrols and extensive CCTV coverage and work closely with Sussex Police to reduce crime on campus. “We have secure arrangements in place for equipment in buildings, including the use of electronic locks and pass keys. We are reviewing how unauthorised people were able to access this space and we are working closely with the police to identify those responsible.” Sussex Police were able to disclose to
Zefira Bazoteva Pauil Millar the University that the incident is being linked to a similar theft of technological equipment from another educational establishment in Brighton earlier in January. The thefts from the University of Sus-
sex come following a report published by Complete University last year that identified students at the Universities of Sussex and Brighton as the most likely victims of crime in the South East, the results of which were claimed to be “misleading” by
university bosses. Anyone who has any information on the incident or observed any suspicious activity is encouraged to phone Sussex Police on 101 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. police .uk , quoting serial 290 or 28/1.
‘A load of tosh’: Weatherley report slammed
Anthony Lavelle The former President of the Conservative Society has challenged University findings after an in-
quest into its handling of the visit of a local MP on campus in 2012. Matt Boughton claims the university “lost all control” on the day Mike Weatherley attempted to participate in a debate organised by the society.
In November 2012, the Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade was scheduled to take part in a debate on squatting, having helped pioneer a new piece of anti-squatting legislation through parliament, but was attacked by pro-squatting protesters, who chased him across campus and allegedly started “throwing punches and rocks”. Following a complaint, the University’s Acting Director of Estates and Facilities Management undertook what is described as a “substantial” investigation, in which it concluded: “If the agreed plan for rendezvous and escort had been adhered to, Mike Weatherley’s party would not have been exposed in the way they were.” Responding to the publication of the University’s report, Boughton said: “I certainly challenge its conclusion, as it simply is a load of old tosh to suggest Mike Weatherley wouldn’t
have been attacked had he followed the plan the University decided.” Mr. Boughton challenged the University’s conclusion, claiming: “The two security guards with us made no attempt to stop us going and went along with it. “Furthermore whether we did what they wanted or not the University lost all control that day and completely failed to recognise the presence of protesters on campus who were out to “kill [Mike Weatherley]” despite me and [Mike Weatherley’s] office telling them multiple times beforehand. “Their report fails to comprehend the fact that the University totally underestimated the size and scale of the protest and they failed to adequately protect a high profile visitor to the University.’ The report from the Acting Director of Estates and Facilities Management
dents have signed up to their service, the largest proportion from the UK belonging to the University of Kent. Reportedly, on average, a ‘Sugar Baby’ can expect a monthly allowance of £5000 from their Sugar Daddy. The website saw a 54 percent increase in student membership in 2013, an increase attributed by founder and CEO Brandon Wade to 2012’s rise in tuition fees. “The student loans lead to endless debt which amounts to more than the average graduate who earns £21,000 can handle.
“Sugar Daddies provide real solutions to the problem of student debts.” Despite 64 out of 122 higher education institutions raising the average cost of undergraduate degrees last year, British universities accepted a record high half a million students. Data published by the Government’s Office for Fair Access in 2013 showed that universities in England were preparing to push up charges by as much as £900 per student. Sussex increased tuition fees to the maximum amount of £9,000 per year after the Coalition government
transfered the burden of payment from the state to students in 2010. A University of Sussex student, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Badger about their experiences as a ‘Sugar Baby’ on a similar website: “I did it for a while in my second year. Rent was too high at the time and between Student Finance and the job I already had I couldn’t afford my bills. “We only saw each other once a month and I stopped as soon as I saved up enough to be okay for a while.” According to yourstudentpad, the average student rent across Brighton
concluded: “The University regularly manages high profile events including the open debate of highly contentious topics. “These events have all run smoothly to plan in the past and where there have been protests our risk assessed contingency plans have always been effective.” Responding to Mr. Boughton’s claims, The University stated: “This detailed report arose from our investigation of the security arrangements for Mr Weatherley’s visit in November 2012, which we conducted under our complaints procedure. We sent this report to Mr Weatherley in January 2013. “We made clear in November 2012, and repeated in this report in January 2013, our regret and concern that Mr Weatherley was attacked and prevented from speaking on campus by protesters.”
‘Sugar Baby’ students on the rise
Victoria Farley News Editor
Hundreds of students in the UK have recently been signing up to ‘Sugar Daddy’ dating websites in order to fund university costs, The Badger has learned. Website SeekingArangement.com claims to arrange “mutually beneficial relationships” between wealthy individuals and students looking to earn some extra money, and is the world’s largest ‘Sugar Daddy’ site. They assert that over a million stu-
is £96.57. However, that figure is certainaly variable, with many students paying between £70 and £130. The average weekly rent for a room in Kemp Town is priced at £150, while a room in the Elm Grove area is priced at £86.50. Our Sussex student commented: “It’s really hard to get by without some kind of help. Some people ask their parents for money. “I went out with an older guy for a while. I wouldn’t do it again, but it’s not that different when you think about it.”
10 FEBRUARY 2014
NEWS • 4
Sussex student scores Students rally ‘Solace’ album success against loan sell off
Eduard Mead News Editor
An album released by a University of Sussex student has racked up just under 50,000 plays and 2,000 downloads in its first three weeks. Singer-songwriter Ben Hammersley, a second year psychology undergraduate at the University of Sussex, released his four-track debut ‘Solace’ on 20 February. The album, recorded and produced in Iceland by multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds, has been well received by critics and features backing vocals from actress Emma Watson. Heralding from Oxford, Hammersley has, in the words of sources close to him, spent the last three years establishing himself as one of “Sussex’s most promising musical exports”. He can often be found playing a wide range of venues including ‘The Troubadour’, the iconic London music venue, which has hosted some of the UK’s biggest names, from Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, to Adele and Paolo Nutini. Speaking to The Badger, Ben described the “surreal” experience behind the recording of his debut: “We cut the record in [Ólafur Arnalds’] studio in the old harbour district of Reykjavik, surrounded by loads of fish packing warehouses.” Ólafur Arnalds is one of Iceland’s most prominent producers, but is best known in the UK as the composer behind the score of award-winning ITV drama Broadchurch. Arnalds has also been involved in a plethora of other projects including
The Students’ Union has rallied against the government’s planned privatisation of the student loan book by holding their own version of the Student’s Assembly against Austerity’s “week of action”. Sanctioned by the National Student Assembly Against Austerity, the week of action ran from Monday 3 February to Friday 7 February, with the Assembly encouraging Students’ Unions up and down the country to organise their own demonstrations against the government’s initiative to sell off millions of pounds worth of student loans to private investors. The Students’ ‘Union staged their own ‘stop the sell-off event’ last week in Falmer House Common Room. Attendees were given the chance to sign a petition book, dubbed ‘the angry book’, calling on the Government to rethink their policy on student loans, which will be handed to David Willets, Minister of State for Universities and Science. Several elected officers attended the event wearing sumo suits, representing the struggle between students and privatised debt, while answering students queries on how the transference of their loans to private investors will impact them. The Student’s Union’s Welfare Officer, Sophie van der Ham, questioned the financial reasoning behind the loan sell-off
Ben Hammersley (right), producer Ólafur Arnalds (left), and Emma Watson (centre)
drumming for no-nonsense metal-band ‘Fighting Shit’. Hammersley’s ‘Solace’, on the other hand, offers listeners a much gentler ride, with folky overtones, or in the words of ‘Cracked Wax’: “Beautiful acoustic music with hints of spatial melancholia. Filled with hushed vocals and lovely melodic layers – the kind of perfect musical accompaniment for a road trip. “It’s with ‘Ted Hughes’ that Ben’s talent really shines through. A slow-burning track in the vein of Alexi Murdoch, interspersed with nuances of a happier Damien Rice, it’s organic, poignant and quietly powerful.” Ben’s latest video, the visual accom-
paniment to his track ‘Stairwell Wall’, a song he wrote with his brother, Daniel Hammersley, has already amassed almost 13,000 views on YouTube. The video also received attention on Twitter, where a BBC Journalist linked his followers to the “rather lovely” clip of his “musical namesake”, before offering to buy the Sussex star a “round” of drinks. Hammersley recently supported one of his ‘inspirations’ Nathaniel Rateliff, in Brighton’s very own Green Door Store, an experience he described as “unforgettable”. To sample Ben’s music and pick up a free copy of his album, visit his website: www.benhammersleymusic.com
Sussex remembers holocaust victims Jack Williams News Editor
Kelly McBride President
A lot of the pledges I made were broad and ambitious, but they’re things I still think are important and were never intended to be quick wins. All things considered, I am happy with the progress so far and hope this will give you a snapshot of some of the things I’ve been up to.
that operates our bars, shop and lettings agency. The commercial services are all doing well so far this year, and we’ve recently had some exciting news - we’ve expanded into town and have taken over The Globe pub on Middle Street.
Protecting and seeking funding increases for sports, activities and advice services Over the coming months I will be renegotiating with the University about our block grant with the Operations Officer, Emily. The Full-time Officers have already successfully secured £180,000 in additional funding this year for lots of exciting projects.
Maximising student-led initiatives Support and resources have definitely improved. I secured £12,000 dedicated funding for community engagement work and student community projects. We’ve also invested into buying additional resources for societies and clubs to use, and we now have additional staff support for our student activities. We’ve also grown student involvement in campaigning with more training , resources and support available.
Protecting our commercial services and student employment The President, Operations Officer and Communications Officer are all directors of our trading company,
Find out more about what all the officers have been doing at sussexstudent.com
referring in particular to the sell-off of loan books from 1990-1998 for 160 million, despite being worth 900 million. Speaking to The Badger, the Union’s Communications Officer, Imogen Adie, explained the thinking behind the sumo suits: “The idea is it represents the wrestle between bankers who want to profit from student loans and students, who came to university with already confirmed terms and conditions on their loans.” The Education Officer, Juliette Cule, added that it was a complicated issue so they wanted to give a visual representation and raise awareness by doing so. David Willets announced the sell-off in November of last year with the intention of reducing the liability of student loans, which are currently thought to stand at three percent of GDP. The Government hopes to raise £10 billion from the sell-off of pre-2012 student loans. Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton, has proposed an early day motion in Parliament to prevent further sell-offs of student loans, calling it a “grave mistake”. With 58 signatures so far, it claims that the increase of interest rates on loans, plus underwriting the loans with subsidies or synthetic hedges (a buffer that compensates low returns) could be part of the sell-off to make the loan book more attractive to private investors. Some believe that such a move could effectively lead to students and taxpayers insuring the profits of private companies.
Large crowds assembled in the Jubilee lecture theatre on January 30 in a special service to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. An estimated 300 people attended the event, organised annually by the History Department’s Centre for Jewish-German studies. Holocaust survivors were amongst those in attendance. An array of prestigious people are invited as guest speakers every year, with the 2014 invitees including Sir Andrew Burns, the UK envoy for post-Holocaust issues, as well as the mother-daughter pairing of Anita Wallfisch, a holocaust survivor, and Maya Wallfisch, a psychotherapist who specialises in trans-generational trauma. All speakers focused on how imperative education of the Holocaust is and how it can used to prevent future acts of genocide, with Anita Walltisch concluding that: “The only thing that will save the world is education”. Emphasising the importance of the event, Diana Franklin, Manager of the Centre for Jewish-German studies, said:
“We were the first university to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and have held an event on campus ever since it was started in the UK for the past 15 years. “We have invited holocaust survivors to the campus to speak to students as I feel strongly that as long as they are alive they should tell their story. “It`s quite incredible the impact that the survivors` stories have on the audience.” Complications arose a couple of hours before the event when organisers discovered that the Jubilee lecture theatre elevator was broken. Diana Franklin said: “It was a big worry that the disabled lift wasn`t working in the morning as we want to have access for everyone... fortunately the lift was repaired just in time and there was access for all disabled. The leaks were unfortunate but did not affect our event”. Responding for comment, a University spokesperson asserted: “This additional heavy rainfall did affect the operation of the lift as the event was taking place, which is extremely regrettable. The University did all it could to support those attending this important event.”
10 february 2014
NEWS • 5
Student dies in tragic Union lifts Badger Lewes Road bus collision print suspension
Victoria Farley News Editor
Eduard Mead News Editor
A University Sussex student has died following a traffic collision just after 8:35am on Tuesday 28 January. Zhiying He, 18, collided with a bus travelling south in a bus lane after she attempted to cross Lewes Road near the junction with Ringmer Road. Sussex Police issued a statement saying that Miss He suffered “serious head injuries and was taken to Southampton Hospital neurological unit”. She tragically died from her injuries the next day. The bus driver was uninjured, though described by employers Compass Travel as “badly shaken” and “traumatised”. Natalie Banks, who witnessed the collision from her car in adjacent street Barcombe Road, was first to reach Miss He after the collision. Recalling events, she said: “‘I went straight to her, covered her up with my coat and held her hand but she was unconscious and struggling to breathe. “It was just horrific. They were doing CPR on her for over ten minutes. She was worked on in the road then they put her in the helicopter.” Miss He, known as Cecilia to friends, had been studying at the International Study Centre at the University since last September and resided on campus. After news of her death surfaced many
The Union has reinstated The Badger’s print edition following a review into the paper’s “editorial oversight process.” The decision comes after the Students’ Union chose not to send the paper to print in the first week of term, until the review’s resolution. Following successive reviews into two articles published in 2013, the Union said it was “unwilling” to publish the newspaper but apologised that students “were not given more notice of this decision”. The Union explained that the position of the Communications Officer had become “untenable”, speaking following the decision taken to “clarify the editorial oversight process”. The decision to not print The Badger newspaper was taken 24 hours before the first edition of 2014 was due to be sent to the printers, having amassed a total of over 110 hours of volunteering that never came to pass in a printed form. This led to repeated calls from editors, writers, and students to bring back the paper as quickly as possible. It was claimed that the “ongoing situation” was hoped to have been resolved before it would have interfered in the paper’s printing schedule. However, due to the complex nature
posted tributes on the internet sending condolences, many from fellow students of the International Study Centre on Facebook. Welfare Officer Sophie van der Ham stated: “It’s a real tragedy and our thoughts are with her family and friends.” Compass Travel were unavailable for comment at the time of print due to the ongoing police investigation, however in an earlier interview a spokesman for the bus company said: “There’s no indication there was anything wrong with the bus and it was progressing normally along the road.” Following the collision, police closed down Lewes Road in both northbound and southbound directions in order to examine the scene.
Brighton and Hove bus services towards University were postponed until a diversion along Ditchling Road was implemented, but resumed normal services at approximately 11am. Both the Students’ Union and Brighton and Hove Buses advised students attempting to travel to University to proceed via train, with Southern Rail accepting bus tickets up until midday. In a report carried out by Brighton and Hove council in 2012, throughout the year there had been five fatal collisions and 147 serious collisions on the city’s roads. While the number of collisions and casualties has decreased since 2008, “the number of people killed or seriously injured.. has not shown the same pattern of reduction”.
10 february 2014
of the inquiry, circumstances dictated a lengthy process of review. The Students’ Union posted a statement on their website about the lack of a physical copy and the nature of the events that led to the Union’s decision being taken. One writer for the paper commented: “It seems like a shame because so many people are involved and contribute to it”. Aubrey Allegretti, the paper’s Editorin-chief, explained that the inquiry into the two complaints had raised much deeper issues regarding the breakdown of the relationship between the Students’ Union and student media over a number of years, despite the ideals entrenched in the Student Union’s Constitution. Imogen Adie, Students’ Union Communications Officer, stated: “It’s regrettable that The Badger was not able to go to print at the start of term, but following the resolution of this essential review student media is ready to go forward and continue to flourish. “All of The Badger’s editors do a great job each week putting together a real quality newspaper, and it’s exciting to now see it back in print. “We have now clarrified the editorial oversight process, and hope that this means that both the Union and The Badger can work better together in the future.”
tech • 5
Great Britain: A digital music nation? Jordan Ellis Tech Editor
In such a volatile market, the format in which people consume their music is ever changing. A few years ago, the Compact Disk was the primary format for music consumption. However with the launch of the iTunes digital music store back in 2001, digital music downloads (both legal and illegal) have most certainly been on the rise. This had been the case until recently, with streaming services such as Spotify launching and proving their popularity. The latest figures for 2013 show that Great Britain is now primarily a digital music nation. Last year, 99.6 percent of all singles sold in the UK were digital downloads and there were around 7.4 billion songs streamed in the UK alone. These figures clearly demonstrate that digital downloads and music streaming services are fast becoming the favourite format of the UK music industry and public. So what does this mean for the iPod and other MP3 players? Over the Christmas 2013 sales period, iPod sales totalled 6 million units. Hardly a small number, but compared to previous years sales fig-
ures this represented a year-on-year decline. Sales of the iPod accounted for $973 million of the $57.6 billion Apple made last quarter. But with the iPhone and iPad selling better than ever and Apple not updating the iPod product range in over a year, the future of the MP3 player remains uncertain. Now this may sound just like facts and figures, but what these statistics show is that people are no longer interested in paying for a device used solely for storing their music. Why have a separate device when you can put your music on your phone instead?
Convenience and portability is ultimately what the public seem to want - and listening to songs on your phone via a music streaming service app is a much easier way of consuming digital music than having two devices to carry around. We musn’t forget that the music market hasn’t entirely departed into digital formats though. Vinyl records deserve a mention despite only making up 0.8 percent of all albums sold in 2013. This might seem insignificant but sales of vinyl records have rocketed up a staggering 745 percent between 2008 and 2013, seemingly affirming that the aging format still has life
left in it. Various reasons can be held accountable for this. Daft Punk, Vampire Weekend and Arctic Monkeys, amongst other artists choosing to release their albums on vinyl was a big contributing factor. The LP is also seen as a cultural symbol and has become a big part of the ‘hipster’ movement.
Streaming is set to continue this trend as we move further into the digital age. It looks to continue growing at a time where the majority of people are no longer concerned with owning a copy of the music from CD or downloading the digital version. The key questions to be asked though are as a student on a limited
“14.5 percent of all Brits are estimated to have shared music through P2P methods.” Not all music downloaded last year was through legal methods, however. 14.5 percent of all Brits are estimated to have shared music through P2P methods (torrenting). Music piracy is a big problem for music industry profesionals, and streaming services hope to combat this. Just how fair to the artist is music streaming though? Spotify announced in December that they pay out an average of $0.007 per play of each song. Understandably, a lot of artists are unhappy with this. Radiohead and other bands have been pulling their material from the streaming services in protest of these minimal payouts. In 2013, the success of digital music beat all previous records of music sales, in all formats.
budget, do you pay for music whether in CD format or as a digital download? Do you subscribe to Spotify or other streaming services? Do you use YouTube to freely listen to music? Or do you torrent your music with P2P file sharing? You can answer this question on the new technology section of our website at www.badgeronline.co.uk/ tech to see how the students of Sussex consume their music.
Fancy writing about Tech? E-mail: email@example.com to get involved with The Badger!
10 february 2014
Young people HAVE to start voting Dear Badger, I know that many of us choose not to because of a sense of grand dismay at the political spectrum, and many of you who will see this may feel the same way and to a point I completely understand. However, you need to vote, because if you don’t, you will get fucked. “The young are discriminated against in ways in which it would be illegal to differentiate between men and women, or between more and less disabled people, or on the basis of race or religion,” are the words of an Oxford Professor, and they are completely true. The current government is protecting the interests of not only huge private corporations that avoid paying tax to ensure larger profit margins, but also the wealthy middle aged and elderly. They choose to preserve policies like giving free TV licenses and winter fuel allowances to wealthy pensioners, and at the same time slash all hope for young people. We are a generation that is going to be POORER than our parents. It is not the financial sector that is paying for the worldwide recession that was caused by irresponsible gambling by greedy investment bankers seeking huge bonuses, but it is the young and the poor. The reason why is that the young don’t vote, and to parliament this means we don’t care, and the poor don’t always have a platform on which to defend themselves, especially while the media is out in force poorbashing. This government has torn apart education with not only the implementation of academies which divide public sector education, but also by removing funding for higher education so that universities can now charge £9,000, and there are proposals for that number to rise again. The conservatives have created a climate in which we are not allowed to say that work is too poorly paid, too unfair, too demeaning, or too dirty, they have created a climate in which we are forced to take what we can get and if we say no then we are labelled as lazy, ignorant and undeserving. I am lucky in the respect that I was able to go to university, but there are millions of young people who have not had that opportunity, and are forced into an exploitative jobs market, and paid minimum wage whilst prices rise for everything. This government does nothing to introduce a real living wage, and the conversation is only ever about minimum wage for those above the age of 21, and completely ignores those below it. If minimum wage had risen at the same rate as inflation,
Letters • 7 it would be around £18 an hour. Currently the top 10% are over 850 times RICHER than the bottom 10%, yet they have received a tax break, and quite possibly another one. If the conservatives win in 2015, under 25’s will lose the right to housing benefits. This policy doesn’t attack layabout kids with nothing to do, this policy will attack single mothers and young families, and in turn will attack children, and you cannot punish people based on the accident of birth. Cameron and his band of Eton boys want to slash all benefits for under 25’s, and older people will support him because they see us in a light that suggests that if we are not working then we are lazy, they don’t take into account the fact that there is a recession on in which it is getting harder and harder for people to find jobs, and many jobs require experience which in most cases can only be achieved through working for free and many cannot afford such a luxury. This is why young people need to vote. I am not saying that they should vote Labour as an alternative, but we need to learn about politics so that we can make decisions based on what the different political parties are planning to do, and if you still don’t support any of them then you should still vote, because you can spoil your ballot paper and that still counts as voting whilst also showing that you have no confidence in the current political climate. Many people died for our right to equal votes, and because of that I feel that we have a duty to vote, especially when a political party is using the fact that we don’t vote to not only make us pay for things that our generation had no role in creating, but also because protecting businesses and the wealthy middle classes and elderly, they secure their vote for the next election. We are being diddled my friends; we are being used, slapped around, fucked from behind and handed the bill afterwards. So even if you hate all politicians, go out in 2015 and vote the fucking Tories out for trying to fuck up our country and for trying to fuck us too. It may not solve the wider issue of an out of touch political elite, but it will remove the most cancerous part. I am sick of not being represented. There is currently a nationwide campaign to get young people to register to vote, and linked with this we have representatives from the 3 major parties coming to the university to give speeches, I will eat my hat if any of them have legitimate policy proposals that address issues relating to our generation, but I am sure I won’t have to because the politicians will probably sidestep any question asking for clarity on policy.
Night owl Dear Badger, As I sit here listening to the sounds of birds chirping pleasantly through my open window, I close my eyes and whisper to nobody in particular, ‘why the hell am I still awake?’ It’s 4am and I’m sitting in a dark room, wide awake, scrolling through Tumblr, whilst wondering how I managed to arrive at this point in my life. I may as well hoot back at those chirping birds, seeing as I’ve become a night owl. On those rare occasions where I’m out of bed before 3pm, I find the effort required to stay awake during lectures, and even (God forbid) interact with other human beings, leaves me exhausted. I stumble through my days half awake, constantly yawning and rubbing my eyes, blurrily peering through half open lids, and downing copious amounts of caffeinated sugar just so that I can retain some sort of social function. How did I become like this? Waking up (to the surprise of housemates) with half of the day wasted in REM sleep, shuffling through the remaining hours of sunlight (or these days, clouds and rain) feeling rough and fragile, yearning for the fabric comfort of my pillows and duvet. I spend more time in my dreams than I do in reality, which just makes reality appear more dreary and dull than it already is, and my dreams more appealing than ever before. However, once the sunlight fades, it’s a whole other ball game. I switch to life as though somebody’s pressed the reboot button. Suddenly, I’m wide awake and ready to rock and roll, as if all of the caffeine I’ve ingested that day has decided to finally hit me in one swift surge of energy. Sleep? What’s that again? I can get blindingly drunk and party all night without feeling fatigued, playing my drum kit with such force that the protective caps fly off the drum sticks, and I can write an article for The Badger at 4am without so much as a yawn... that is until those pale streams of light creep past my curtains, and inform me that it is time for sleep. Somehow, I don’t think it’s just me. Students are known notoriously as being creatures of the night, from pulling all-nighters in the library, to crawling home from a club at 5am with a half-eaten burger in one hand and your dignity trailing somewhere along behind you. We’re wide awake and wild in the dark - we own it! So if you’ll excuse me (and even if you won’t) we’ll be asleep for the next 14 hours, but you better be ready for when we wake up. Hoot hoot!
Moving home after university
The Badger has been asked to clarify processes that led to the inclusion of two articles printed in 2013, including a news piece entitled “Tutor’s Marking Mayhem” and “University tutor values paycheque too much?”. The paper pursued leads reported to it by a number of staff from different departments who reported the problems covered as legitimate concerns, both to tutors and to students at the way the university management was handling the training it gave on assessed work submitted by students with a specific learning difficulty. However, we concede that the inclusion of a quote from a student, who when relaying to the writer a conversation that took place between them and the tutor in which the latter said they did not “believe” in dyslexia, said “It doesn’t make sense to me that some tutors are allowed to announce things like that openly in class”, was wrong, and it should not have been included. This was a quote provided to us by the student in question - but an editorial decision should have been made to exclude this quote from the original article as tutors are not permitted to state things contrary to the 2010 Equality Act. Since the original article was published however, a number of students have relayed their support for what the paper revealed: that the University was, in some students estimations, not doing enough to support tutors marking work. We realise that the intricacies of the University’s assessment protocol (a 96page document) could not be covered in the article in question, and will therefore include a link in the online edition of the article to make sure students are as informed as possible about the issue in question and are able to make up their own minds. Many of the issues raised by the original complaint were relayed to the University’s communications team, who were asked for comment. As this is our agreed method of communication, we had no reason to believe that there were further points such as those raised by the communications team that we should publish. Furthermore, The Badger wishes to retract the title of the comment piece, and re-publish it as a letter. The Badger apologises unreservedly for any distress caused by the publishing of these articles, and any damage caused to campus community relations.
I’m 20 years old and mostly independent. I live in a house in Brighton with my friends from university, my boyfriend lives a five minute drive away and I regularly attempt to cook for myself without setting off the fire alarm. The other week, I went to a farmers’ market and even purchased a real vegetable, which I boiled and ate in a deliciously balanced meal. I pay bills and have a part time job. I also make a serious, conscious effort to attend all of my seminars and lectures. Honestly. I’m about as independent as I have ever been, and if I’m being truthful, I am utterly terrified and slightly nauseated by the thought of losing this lifestyle. Moving home. It’s what my parents want me to do after I finish my degree. It’s probably my most financially viable option and I’m sure many other graduates will be doing the same thing. But can I do it? I don’t mean in the literal sense, I can obviously relocate my belongings and continue living my old house. I mean emotionally, psychologically and yes, even sexually. Can I do it? The more I think about it, the more I’m not sure if I can return to living under my parents roof and trying to persuade them that I am the angelic daughter that they have been hoping for. Perhaps it’s my own fault; maybe I excelled too much at convincing them that I’m a highly respectable young lady and not a spontaneous, haphazard student? Either way, I know I’ll need to grow up a considerable amount after university, yet I still feel like regressing back to my childhood bedroom and neighbourhood will feel like I’m failing at some large, vital test of life. I wish I could exit university with a job in hand and live in a house with an incredibly attractive, rich man, but realistically, that just isn’t going to happen. I need to learn to stand on my own two feet and I need to do it back home. I’ll want to keep my parents from stepping on my toes, maintain my personal space and also appreciate that they even love me enough to take me back in the first place. Thus, if anyone knows how to deal with the ever so slightly suffocating feeling I get when I think about moving home, then please, do contact me. Until then, I’ll be hyperventilating in my room and praying that my parents never get to read my article online. This piece of honest, emotional writing may not bode too well over dinner. Debbie Batchelor
Sincerely, a very disgruntled first year Politics student.
The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not nessesarily represent those of the Student’s Union, unless explicitly stated. University of Sussex Students’ Union Falmer, East Sussex, BN1 9QF
By Joanna Elliott
GOT AN OPINION? If you’re troubled by seagul strife, want to air a campus grievance, or want to respond to an article in the paper, send a carrier pigeon to:
This was never our intention. The paper will always strive to investigate issues that matter to students in a fair and unbiased manner. Bree Alllegretti, Editor-in-chief
10 FEBRUARY 2014
FEATURE • 8
Bisexuality, an underrepresented minority?
To celebrate LGBTQ month, an anonymous writer discusses the backlash to Tom Daley’s coming out video, recent progress for LGBTQ rights, and how our society still has a long way to go. As a bisexual male, I empathised with Tom Daley’s decision to come out in December of last year; it’s far from easy and it takes a lot of courage to do. In his video announcement on YouTube, he spoke of wanting to be honest and explained that ‘I still fancy girls, but right now I am dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier’. Yet, despite choosing not to self-identify, the world’s media was more than happy to slap a label on him – identifying him as gay, or implying this by saying he’s in a ‘gay relationship’. Although it would be more accurate to call him bisexual, there was no reference to this in many newspapers and websites; even Pink News, Britain’s largest LGBTQ news agency, labelled him gay in their headline (although this was later amended). The fact that media outlets immediately jump to the conclusion that he is gay misrepresents what Daley said, which was exactly what he wanted to avoid by making the YouTube video in the first instance. Not only this, but it also serves to further suggest that there are only two sexualities; straight and gay. The reality, however, is far more complex than that. This was particularly true in my own experience. I was lucky enough to have a group of supportive friends who accepted me for who I am but, de-
spite this, there were some who simply assumed I was gay, but in denial. I was often told, even by friends who identify as gay, ‘bisexuality doesn’t exist’ and that I was somehow ‘greedy’ for being attracted to both men and women. I am not even mentioning here the homophobic abuse that I was subjected to. Similar sentiments can be found online, with one particular website I came across suggesting that Daley is merely in the process of coming out as gay, completely writing off any possibility that he could be bisexual, pansexual, or any other sexuality that he eventually chooses to adopt. Why is it that, while people grow to be more tolerant of homosexuality, all other sexualities remain taboo, unmentionable and somehow perverse? I choose to define myself as bisexual because I care more about what is in the inside of a person than what genitals they have. My feelings are echoed by Robyn Ochs, a notable bisexual speaker and activist, who says “I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge in myself the potential to be attracted, romantically and/or sexually, to people of more than one sex, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.” Being bisexual doesn’t mean hav-
ing to be attracted to both men and women equally, nor does it mean that we are more likely to be unfaithful to any partners we have. I am in no way ‘confused’ or merely ‘attentionseeking’ in my attraction to both men and women, and to simply call me gay would be to ignore a fundamental part of who I am. The reaction to Daley’s YouTube video also proved to me that there is still a lot of work to do in changing peo-
“My brain and my hormones may work differently to yours, but I can’t help or change that.” ple’s attitude towards sexuality. Anyone on Twitter would have been likely to stumble across several homophobic and biphobic tweets; one I found particularly callous was “Tom Daley is gay I am now ashamed of my country we can’t have a bloody f*g representing us”. I hope that everyone would agree that, in 2014, there is no place for such intolerance anymore. And yet it persists. We live in a world where the largest country on earth has banned gay
pride and where their LGBTQ citizens are subject to growing levels of hostility. We live in a world where, in some countries, homosexual acts are punishable by death. And we live in a world where teenagers take their own lives every day because they cannot handle the torment, hatred and ignorance dealt to them. But we also live in a world where same-sex marriage is becoming legal in several nations, including our own in the upcoming months. We live in a world where an LGBTQ citizen can become Prime Minster (in Iceland), and where homosexuality is becoming more acceptable not only in our society, but across the globe. Here at Sussex, we are very fortunate to have a very tolerant and accepting society of students, who embrace LGBTQ students the same as they would students of any other demographic. Our university is one where I can be myself and not have to fear being subjected to homophobic and biphobic abuse. I truly believe that our university makes LGBTQ students feel welcome and sets a benchmark for other universities to aspire to. With so much support for LGBTQ students from the university, the Students’ Union, and Sussex’s LGBTQ society, along with representation from a diverse group
of students, I can’t think of a more accepting and friendly place to study. There is still a long way to go in terms of LGBTQ rights, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. What everyone needs to realise this LGBTQ month is that we do not live in a world of polar opposites. People do not always fall into nice labelled boxes. Sexuality is much more complex and diverse than merely being heterosexual or homosexual. My brain and my hormones may work differently to yours, but I can’t help or change that, just like none of us have the choice over the colour of our skin. I find myself siding with what Daley said in his video; when he said “in an ideal world I shouldn’t have to do this video because it shouldn’t matter”, he couldn’t be more right. People should not be judged by their sexuality, or their gender, or the colour of their skin but, in the words of Martin Luther King, by “the content of their character”. Daley said in his video that “in an ideal world I wouldn’t have to do this video because it shouldn’t matter”. I couldn’t put it better myself. For a full list of LGBTQ events taking place this February visit http://ow.ly/tjevw
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10 FEBRUARY 2014
Comment • 10
Keep fracking on the frontline...or we’ll all pay the price Emma Pavans de Ceccatty
I decided to write this article because I felt it necessary to share what I came to understand was a deeply important and relevant issue. Fracking is a complex subject, that pertains to both the political and scientific stage, and on a global, national and local scale. Many are reluctant to make sense of all the different information and point of views that are thrust at them, and understandably so. In this article I don’t attempt to tell you what to think, but rather, address these different aspects we have heard, trying to be as subjective as I can, in favour of the long-term wellbeing of the Earth, and its human inhabitants (and their wallets). The English government is trying to respond to the global energy crisis that has been developing since the 1970’s. There is strong sense of energy insecurity due to dwindling resources, after decades of increasing consumption that has pressured governments to tap into their natural resources on a whole new scale. Indeed, humanity has used half of all the oil ever burnt in the last 23 years, showing the rapidity in the expansion of these rates since the 1990s. This strained relationship between humanity and the world’s resources reveals the dangerous and prevalent mentality of the mainstream decision makers - one that views the short-term as paramount, and Nature as a separate, limitless commodity to take from freely. The demand grows, and Britain strives
to find a way to satisfy its own necessities and break away from its dependency on international (mainly OPEC) oil supplies. It is in this climate of immediacy that the UK turns to national ‘unconventional gas and oil’ in order to secure its own supply of energy. The technology that is undertaken to retrieve the gas and oil is the subject of great controversy and debate as hydraulic fracturing, more commonly referred to as ‘fracking’, has proved to be a complex technology to manoeuvre. Indeed, fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the shale gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. The UK government views shale gas as cheap in comparison to other processes and easily available as it lies beneath a large proportion of the English territory. In line with the alluring promise of this resource to meet the country’s energy needs for the next 25 years, the British Geological Survey, Chancellor George Osborne, and new Energy Secretary Ed Davey launched a ‘dash for gas’ policy in summer 2013, hoping to kick start a shale gas revolution. With 30 per cent tax rates for onshore shale gas, the government is offering the biggest tax break in the world to appeal to industries globally. Consequently, it was recently announced that 60% of the British
territory could, and would be leased to interested corporations. Osborne explains, “I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution – because it has the potential to create thousands of jobs and keep energy bills low for millions of people”. Indeed, there is widespread concern within austerity-hit Britain about growing energy costs. Yet, contrarily to the USA which has managed to cut its gas bills thanks to an intensive extraction and a strong and large national market, the UK has to abide by the European market and prices set by it. As such, Energy Secretary Davey admits that shale gas would not bring down household bills. Moreover, the claim that jobs would be created, stimulating local communities, is purposefully misleading as hydraulic fracturing is not a labour intensive technology; it requires a few skilled workers for the short period of time that the well stays active in a particular territory. Caroline Lucas, Brighton’s Green MP, seems increasingly justified as she states, “people have had enough of being lied to and told that international frack dealers have our communities’ best interests at heart”. This is particularly salient when one starts looking into the environmental effects of the hydraulic fracturing process. Indeed, the small communities are disturbed when tanker-trucks carrying water in and out of the sites generate noise, light pollution as well as
dust, and the wells themselves tarnish the landscape’s aesthetic. Additionally, a Duke University study shows it is a real risk that methane gas and toxic chemicals injected in the ground leak out from the system and contaminate nearby aquifers, or drinking water. The livelihoods and wellbeing of people and biospheres would be irreversibly damaged by such a project. In response to these ‘downsides’, the government has put in place a legal bribe to entice local communities into accepting the industrial presence. Yet, when considering the reality of global warming and these looming fracking plans, locals are increasingly wary of the technology. The fear of the UK exceeding the carbon budget set in the 2009 Green Act, ultimately resulting in a higher than two degrees increase in temperature that was set as the maximum threshold to avoid climate catastrophe, has become a reality. A poll held in August 2012 by Cardiff University, funded by the UK Energy Research Centre, showed that 79% of the 2,500 people surveyed across the country were against reliance on fossil fuels. Local communities have vocalised their discontent and mobilised at the various fracking sites to hinder the destructive progress. Indeed, grassroot opposition movements have flourished globally, most notably the ‘Lock the Gate’ activists in Australia, or more close to home, the UK ‘Frack Off’ movement that has lead to internationally reported Balcombe and
Barton Moss site occupations. Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, speaks for the many worried citizens when he states, “we should be developing the huge potential of clean British energy from the sun, wind and waves, not more dirty and dangerous fossil fuels”. In a more immediate course of action, both Caroline Lucas and Jason Anderson, head of EU climate and energy policy at WWF, prioritises energy efficiency, stating “the main challenge for Europe is to renovate the 80% of buildings built before we had good energy efficiency standards”. We must change our mentalities, for we cannot afford to consume energy like we have until now - there are physical limitations to the resources we assume are never-ending. We need to be realistic about our carbon footprint, and live within the scope of the constraints of our planet. Think of the inter-generational equity; leave our natural capital intact for the next generation. For more information on how to support the UK’s campaign against hydrollic fracturing, visit: frack-off.org. uk
Students are lazy, apathetic and un-restive Tom Foster
Emily Holliday Operations Officer
East Slope’s anniversary 2014 is East Slope Bar’s 35th anniversary. It has always been run by students, and initially it was student owned and staff were paid with beer. When this didn’t quite work out it was handed over to the Students’ Union to run so that all the profits raised could be given back to students through things like the Union’s Advice Centre, sports clubs, campaigns and societies. East Slope has always been a hub of social activity and many students present and past hold lots of fond memories of their time spent there. Some students have even loved it so much that they’ve returned years later to hold their wedding receptions there. However, East Slope bar and residences have taken a lot of wear and
tear after so many years of student activity. These are set to be knocked down and redeveloped in the academic year 2016/17, and the Students’ Union is currently working with the University on a consultation to find out what students need to replace East Slope in terms of living and social space. This may come as both sad and exciting news, and as a result, in the mean time we want to celebrate East Slope bar’s anniversary and all the history it has seen. We’re going to put together a memory book for your pictures, comments and memories, hold celebratory anniversary parties, and help you to celebrate the last few years of our lovely campus bar. Watch this space!
You hear in the news of the thousands of student protestors in London, and of various student protests occurring from Birmingham to Sussex, and think that students are really spearheading the movement for change. Yet, like the majority of society, students are by and large apathetic. Occupy Sussex have over 4,000 likes on their Facebook page. Impressive, until you consider that around 13,000 students attend The University of Sussex, indicating that only around 30% of the student body has bothered to like the Facebook page supporting the cause. Even less turn out for the demos. I have seen countless students accepting leaflets from protestors, then at the nearest opportunity throwing them in the bin, not even glancing at the content. At an emergency meeting held by the Students’ Union in response to the suspension of the ‘Sussex Five’, everyone at the meeting (including myself) was ecstatic that 500 students attended. With over 450 students attending, the decision at the meeting could be
binding. Yet there is a glaring minority issue here. Around 3.5% of students at Sussex are required to make a Union binding decision, which is supposed to reflect the will of the majority of students. The low count required is out of necessity because so many students don’t bother turning up; if the threshold was put any higher, the emergency meetings wouldn’t make any binding decisions. In reputation and in the media, the University has become known as a sort of beacon of political activism, yet this only true of the minority and not the majority of students. Some may state that it is protests being too left-winged which is the problem; however, the more apparent issue here is apathy. Plus it’s hard to motivate yourself to go to a demo with a hangover and an essay to hand in the next day. This isn’t an issue exclusive to Sussex students, though. In London, 3,000 students protested to get cops off campus, yet The University of London boasts a community of 120,000 students attending its various institutions. It is even grimmer when you read
how many vote in Students’ Union elections. An NUS election data survey for 2011/12 found that just over 16% of students vote in elections. At the time of the survey, not a single institution from either the Russell Group, the recently disbanded 1994 group or from Million+ managed to reach 23% student turnout. Million+ had an abysmal average turnout of 7.3%. The lack of student political activism is thus more than just apathy. It’s acute laziness. Hangovers, deadlines and crappy TV occupy a student’s time far more than political activism. We need to strip away this unfounded belief that universities are hubs of action and protest and instead face the harsh truth that it is the minority not the majority of students who give universities and campus life the political flair. The journalist Neil Clark recently wrote an article stating: “Britain’s students are more restive today that at any time since the late 1960s”. Yet my experience is that students are largely un-restive, and the idea that the majority of students are spearheading the political movement for change is as flawed as the cuts to education.
10 FEBRUARY 2014
Comment • 11
Assisted dying – our responsibility to end patient suffering Paul Teed For the last 30 years, 75-82% of the British population have consistently stated that they support a change of legislation to allow the choice of an assisted death for the terminally ill, mentally competent adults. As a junior doctor working in accident and emergency I see patients unable to discuss these issues with health professionals, suffering against their wishes and presented with horrifying crisis of symptoms or care, despite the best being available to them. Assisted dying is set to be a very topical subject this year (and no - I'm not talking about Coronation Street plots), as two important events take place in 2014. Firstly, the Supreme Court will deliver a landmark ruling in two cases that is hoped will bring much-needed clarity to the law on assisted dying in England and Wales – in particular on the issue of what doctors can discuss with patients. Secondly, a bill proposed by Lord
Falconer to decriminalise assisted dying under very carefully defined safeguards that will be debated in the House of Lords. This is an issue on which opinions haven't changed over 30 years and it will not go away. With this in mind I joined Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) to add my support. Yet, with such high levels of support from the general population I have been surprised to see a complete lack of voice from students and junior healthcare professionals. Why is this? This is an issue that future healthcare professionals will be confronted with, and to that end we should be making our opinions known. As a group we have been taught endlessly about rational, evidence based decisions. But regarding assisted dying, education is usually framed in the form of a debate; one set of opinions versus another. What seems to be missing is the actual evidence. Direct medical assistance to die is already happening (an estimated 1000 deaths per year), countless dying people attempt suicide behind closed
doors (some with compassionate amateur assistance) or dehydrate and starve themselves to death due to having nowhere else to turn to. Roughly one person every fortnight travels to Switzerland to die at Dignitas. The law as it stands turns a blind eye. It seems to be ok if you control your own death as long as you do not ask a healthcare professional for advice or support. A new law would provide greater protection to potentially vulnerable people. Upfront safeguards should include a detailed and independent examination of a dying person's motives, an assessment of mental capacity and an exploration of additional support options in advance, rather than an investigation conducted after someone dies. An assisted dying Bill would ensure that two doctors must separately examine the patient and their medical records and independently decide that the patient has: • A terminal illness (with a prognosis of six months or less to live) • Mental capacity • All of the information about their
end-of-life care options • The ability to make a voluntary and informed decision without pressure. A similar legal framework already exists in Oregon, USA, where it has worked effectively and safely for 15 years. There has been no slippery slope, with assisted deaths stable at around 0.2% of all deaths per year, eligibility never extended beyond terminal illness and no pressure for such a change. It has only helped to increase an uptake in palliative care services and 40% of those who obtain life ending medication never use them, simply taking comfort from having the option. An assisted dying law would not legalise assisted suicide for the nondying or legalise voluntary euthanasia where a doctor administers the life ending medication. It is vital that students and junior professionals speak out within the upcoming debate- your opinions matter. For example whilst the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Psychiatry hold neutral positions on assisted dying (seeing it as a matter for society and parliament
to decide), other royal colleges and the British Medical Association stand opposed. This is despite large differences of opinion in its membership. These positions are inconsistent with the idea of patient-centred care and the principle of 'no decision about me without me'. There are many ways of expressing your opinion. Dignity in Dying is the national campaign organisation and HPAD is free to join for healthcare students or those qualified in healthcare professions. Register your support, help us work towards creating a robust law with safeguards. Talks can be arranged, articles produced, professional organisations petitioned for a neutral stance and MPs written to (after all this should be a matter for parliament to address). Unbearable suffering, prolonged by medical care, and inflicted on a dying patient who wishes to die, is unequivocally a bad thing. An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering.
Imagining 2014 - drawing together the upheavals of 2013 Sophie van der Ham Students’ Union Welfare Officer 2013 saw lots of protest, changes and disturbances. You’ve probably seen little snippets here and there - the student loan book being sold off, the marketisation of Higher Education (HE), the strikes and the cost of living crisis. It probably sounds pretty abstract and like it doesn’t affect you. Fair enough - politicians and government have been so reluctant to listen to citizens that apathy can only be expected. I want to provide you with a little context to draw these things together. Let’s start with that good old chestnut – marketisation. Education is increasingly being marketised. This means that government is putting the burden of the cost of Higher Education on the individual rather than the state to create an HE market. The idea is to create consumers instead of students consumers who will demand a standard level of service which will raise the quality of HE and make UK HE more internationally competitive. This ideological move is a flawed concept. Students, unlike consumers, unfortunately do not have the power, position or channels to influence their degree while they’re studying as much as is imagined in this scenario. They cannot ‘return’ the degree they bought (a consumer’s ultimate power) like you can with a sandwich in Tesco. Universities have multiple stakeholders to cater to, and in a marketised system will put their most profitable stakeholders first. This is what the group Sussex Against Privatisation have been campaigning against because with mar-
ketisation comes privatisation. Privatisation is the selling off of public services into private hands. Private companies usually have only one thing on their minds: profit. Privatisation brings with it more choice and big brands, but the profit that these companies make from these changes are not reinvested into our communities, but go into international businesses and help fund a system where the top managers are paid obscenely. Students are often seen as transient by universities and they rely on the student life cycle to push through changes that are not in students’ interest. Student memory is short and universities rely on this already. Did you know that there used to be three other bars on campus? Or that a week’s rent was £55 only ten years ago? Teaching is also not a service, or an easily quantifiable good that can be measured with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It relies on academic rigour that is often difficult to judge by a layperson or manager and the academics must be properly incentivised to put in the (extra) hours that good teaching demands. Yet, research grants (especially in the expensive sciences) and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) will take on an even more prominent role in an academic’s day to day life when a course, department or school is required to break even or make a profit to continue to exist. We’re already seeing that teaching is being casualised, with inexperienced staff such as Associate Tutors (ATs) asked to take on large under-
graduate classes, leaving little time for them to develop academically. Tutors who teach are often on insecure contracts that last for only a year. As it stands, some of them don’t even have a written contract. Hopefully this will change following our successful Associate Tutors campaign. In the meantime, many struggle to make long term investments in their personal life - it’s harder to sign up to a mortgage or to plan ahead because these contracts are precarious and the pay is poor compared to their senior colleagues. But it’s not just AT’s; lots of academics have faced cuts. These are some of the most educated staff in the workplace but their hard work does not translate into monetary value. The 13% drop in real term pay since 2008 is why your tutors have been out striking recently - your teaching should not be so devalued. The government has also made changes that seem to encourage an increase in student numbers. Universities can currently accept unlimited AAB students, whereas there’s a cap on student numbers who achieve below this standard. This will be lowered to ABB students soon which will make universities compete fiercely for these students due to the money they bring. In addition, the pre-’95 student loan book has been sold to private investors, supposedly to fund the lifting of the cap on student numbers in 2015/16. Sounds like good news right, more people going to university? Well, the sell-off makes no economic sense. The pre-’95 loans were sold for much less than what they were worth, be-
traying government’s knowledge that they would never recover most student debt. And this was just for students who didn’t even pay any tuition fees, just loans for living costs! The post-’95 loan book is predicted to be sold for less than what it’s worth, meaning it will not bring in the additional funding government needs to fund new loans and grants. Selling an asset for what it’s worth does not bring in funding, but just moves the deficit elsewhere, and yet the loan book will probably sell for less than it’s worth. This means that they may have to make cuts elsewhere – and government have indicated that it’s probably student grants. This is supported by the fact that the National Scholarship Programme (NSP) - funding that universities received for students from low income backgrounds that were translated into bursaries and fee waivers for students - has been axed for 2014/15. Students from all economic backgrounds have less support and more debt than only a couple of years ago and low income students are hit the hardest. The current system is inherently unequal, with people from higher socio-economic backgrounds tending to do well. With some top universities asking students for 4 A* grades (which only private schools and some very select state schools are able to provide), a measure that helps to determine a university’s position in the league tables, universities can only provide institutional plasters for a broken system. I’m thrilled that Sussex has chosen to absorb the cost of the cuts to the
NSP and take a principled stance], and I hope that many other universities follow suit because we know that there was a 12% drop in student admissions in 2012/13 following the introduction of the new fee regime and that applications for 2014 are an additional 1% down already. The expansion that many universities that belong to the squeezed middle are planning, are unfortunately fiction. Sussex wants to expand to 20,000 students by 2020, and is planning to spend millions of pounds on new buildings and staff. Other universities are planning to do the same, in order to become more costefficient The idea is that smaller universities won’t be able to survive if they don’t reach a ‘critical mass’ of students that can sustain big research funding bids and cost-efficient packed lecture halls. It is abhorrent how quickly these changes have drastically altered the face of HE and how little opposition government has faced. Precariousness - in contracts, the future of student grants, and the hard reality of mountains of debt - ensures citizen compliance. This is not the future that I want to imagine and I don’t think you do, either. I will be working with our President, Kelly, and our Education Officer, Juliette, to provide an alternative. We’ll be organising a series of events to amplify your voice and help shape our counter narrative. Opinions, questions, thoughts? Email Sophie, Welfare Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
10 february 2013
SCIENCE • 12
One step closer to personalised medicine
A new method of inducing stem cells in mice without the ethical dilemma. Matthew Gwyn British scientists have been left astonished by a recent scientific breakthrough of Japanese researcher, Dr. Haruko Obokata. Through the relatively straightforward process of bathing blood cells in a weakly acidic solution for half an hour, Dr. Obokata was able to trigger a remarkable reversion to the cell’s initial embryonic-like state. Remarking on the significance of her findings, she said, “It’s exciting to think of the new possibilities this finding provides us not only in areas like regenerative medicine but perhaps in the study of cell senescence [ageing] and cancer as well”. The world’s media eagerly focuses it’s attention on The Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, where Dr. Obokata made the discovery, as scientists begin to comprehend the potential beginning a of new age of personalized medicine. The research could instigate a drastic change in the way individuals are medically treated. “It opens up the prospect of doctors taking small sam-
ples of skin or blood from a patient and using the tissue to create stem cells that could be injected back into the same patient as part of a ‘self-repair’ kit to mend damaged organs without the risk of tissue rejection”. Not only would this process provide a more affordable and efficient mode of treatment, it might offer a solution to the ethical dilemma originally associated with this form of medical treatment. The technique Dr. Obokata has designed to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) differs from the previous controversial methods which involved genetic manipulation or cloning. These processes implicated extracting stem cells from early embryos, which have the potential to create new life. Scientists welcome Dr. Obokata’s new findings as they present the possibility of achieving the same result without destroying potential life. The extent of the simplicity and accessibility of Dr. Obokata’s method of bathing blood or skin cells in a weak solution of citric acid for 30 minutes is measured through its ability to be carried out in labs without any particularly
specialized knowledge of equipment. Dr. Obokata reported, “I was really surprised the first time I saw [the stem cells]…everyone said it was artifact – there were some really hard days”. British scientists say the results will ‘rewrite the rulebook on how the specialized cells of the mammalian body are meant to behave once they have travelled down what was thought to be the one-way street of cell differentiation.’ After successfully converting white blood cells, taken from newborn mice, into cells matching their embryoniclike state, Dr. Obokata worked in collaboration with Dr. Charles Vacanti of Harvard Medical School in Boston to attain the same results from the brain, skin, muscle, fat, bone-marrow, lung and liver tissues of newborn mice. This process is now referred to as ‘stimulus triggered acquisition of pluripoteny’. Although the research thus far has been restricted to the use of mouse cells, Dr. Obokata is confident the same results will be achieved with human cells. “Obokata’s approach in the mouse is the most simple, lowest cost and quickest method to generate pluripotent
cells from mature cells,” said Professor Chris Mason, an expert in regenerative medicine at University College London. “If it works in man, this could be the game changer that ultimately makes a wide range of cell therapies available using the patient’s own cells as starting material – the age of personalised medicine would have finally arrived,”
Professor Mason said. Responses on the Internet provide a mixed bag of excitement and scepticism and whilst not many are questioning the significance of Dr. Obokata’s research, it seems the public are still in need of time and evidence to accept such a radical change in global medicine and health treatment.
elephant community is more than comfortable with a matriarchal presence at the head of the herd. They tend to lead the herd in ecological behaviour, such as foraging and also defensive behaviour, detecting predators and organising the herd to protect the vulnerable young. Perhaps they are in fact more suited to the role due to their excellent memory and recognition ability. It is these cognitive skills that have been the object of recent research into variation of these abilities amongst the range of matriarchs in Kenyan elephants. The research team, led by Dr. Karen McComb and Dr. Graeme Shannon of the University of Sussex, has used animal playback experiments to monitor the responses of the elephants to apparent predatory threats. The main threat in particular tends to be male lions, which have the strength even on their own to bring down a young elephant, so the research focused on these. The experiments compared the playback of different numbers and genders of lions and tested the elephants’ responses. The study concluded that the older a matriarch, the more successful they were at identifying this more serious threat and were more effective at exhibiting and organising defensive behaviours against it. They could actually tell the subtle acoustic differences between male and female lions’ roars through years of experience. Furthermore, it was shown that the most effective group of individuals were in fact the elder matriarchs, older than 60 years old. These individuals, past their reproductive age, were best at protecting against male lions, and it is worth pointing out
that it was observed that they lead the most successful foraging expeditions as well. This last discovery is perhaps most interesting, because it contributes to the evidence for the “Granny Effect”, the importance of females past reproduction in social animals. This is the idea that senescence, the point at which a female no longer can reproduce, is in
fact an evolved function. The older females increase the offspring’s chances of survival by assisting in child rearing and in this case at least, using and passing on acquired experience and knowledge. Evidence of this has been seen in humans, some species of whales and now elephants and provides a fascinating revelation on the evolution of social animals.
Female elephants lead the herd science factoid of the week
Pain thresholds vary due to environment Have you ever wondered why some people whine about being hurt more than others? It turns out that King’s College London has discovered that our pain thresholds vary due to environmental changes on our genes.
Twins were tested for their pain thresholds and then their DNA screened. Differences in pain perception would be due to environmental differences that causes methylation of DNA, thus epigenetic differences between twins with different pain thresholds. The methylation of the TrypA1 promoter gene leads to an increased sensitivity to pain caused my environment.
Have you ever looked at a pet and saw real human qualities in what they do? We as a human race are often quick to anthropomorphise animals, with documentaries often being enhanced by perhaps a more human storyline so that we can empathise with nature’s stars of the show. Research into animal behaviour does however suggest that many species’ behaviour may be far closer to ours than even Disney would have you believe. The young male elephant has three distinct phases in its life much like in humans: childhood, where they are raised by their mother; rebellious adolescence, where they hang around with their friends and learn all the behaviours for adulthood; and ultimately they transgress into the normality of adult life. The elephants tend to uphold a slightly archaic model of family life, where the father and his mates go off roaming the plains of Africa, or of course India, maintaining a ‘polite and placid’ relationship with his family but nothing more. This of course leaves the mother to fend for the family at home, grumbling “Typical. He’s always off down some watering hole or another”. Now before you scoff at the chauvinistic attitude of the elephants, there is one elephantine behaviour that seems to be far more progressive than us humans, their leadership choices. In Britain we had the solitary example of Margaret Thatcher, the USA have still yet to elect a female leader, yet the
10 February 2014 ARTS • 14
The Badger’s Spring Culture Guide
For our first issue back after the winter break, Arts editor Thomas Powell brings you some hot tips for the most exciting gigs, club nights, theatre and art installations in the city this spring.
Jacob Dahlgren 5th April-26th May
In recent years, Jacob Dahlgren has worked largely in the realm of commercial installation art, much of which has met great success and been exhibited worldwide from Margate to MoMa. This exhibition, kindly put on by Fabrica on Duke street, will feature an expanded installation of Dahlgren’s work ‘Heaven is a place on earth’. The premise, an interactive minimalist artwork that can be walked on and toyed with. Constructed entirely from IKEA scales arranged in different shapes and colours, the work immediately demands the viewer’s engagement whilst allowing for a totally different experience each time you visit, all depending on how you choose to walk across it. Dahlgren blends both the banal everyday and the legacy of modernist art with ease, and it’s sure to be Brighton’s most involving exhibition this spring.
Forest Swords Green Door Store 11th April £11+bf
Speedy Ortiz & Joanna Gruesome Green Door Store 20th February £8+bf
Phoenix from 30th March 20 Painters is an exhibition of open submissions by artists in the South East of England. The 20 artists, selected by a panel from Surrey, Kent and Sussex will put several of their works on display with a view to reflecting the current trends in visual art in our part of the world. The exhibition, which won Phoenix’s record attendance under its 32 Paintings guise last year offers a fantastic opportunity to see works that you may never see anywhere else. With no fixed theme or genre, the artworks could fall well within or far away from your tastes, but the key is in the celebration of our locality.
the most entertaining, amusing and heartfelt shows of the year. While his music is dismissed as shallow by some more serious music lovers, the 23 year old is more than capable of writing a meaningful love song or ode, even if it is to his favourite brand of cigarette. The cost of the ticket pays for the chance to watch one young man play jangly guitar and wail kooky rhymes whilst getting ‘a little loose’ (his words not mine). What Mac does best is showing us all that you can never have too much fun, so go join him on May 19th.
This dual headline show of rising underground alt rockers is sure to lift your pre-deadline blues. Both bands have successfully risen from self-recorded EPs and homemade merch to Atlantic crossing journeys of self-discovery and finally this tour. Both bands are reeling from the success of their debut albums on indie labels, and with each scoring above 7.5 on Pitchfork, they can be
WIN TICKETS TO SEE THE ORWELLS
categorised with page mate Mac Demarco (see right) as “Pitchfork Darlings”. However, like Mac, there is more to their music than simply being popular in the world of alternative music, they both use their influences in such a way that they aren’t derivative, but more a weird sister (to quote JG’s album title), helping to further the sounds of the past. Moving on to influences, both outfits channel an 80s/90s revival sound somewhere between the shoegaze of MBV and the punk and alt of Wire, Dinosaur Jr. or Sebadoh and as such the decision to tour together comes as no surprise. Rarely will you get the chance to see two such interesting bands at one show for £8, so head to Green Door Store on Feb 20th. We have a pair of tickets to The Orwells’ 25th February show at The Haunt (and two T-Shirts) to give away to the person who solves this riddle and finds the prize in the Library’s Core Collection!
Mac Demarco The Old Market 19th May £11+bf
Mac Demarco is a quirky man. To be honest you’d only have to listen to a couple of tracks from his 2012 album 2 to realise that, so maybe you should wait for his next effort Salad Days to come out in April to find out more? Of course, if you’re not here for the music, perhaps you’d like to check out his Twitter profile: it’s a stream of photos almost entirely dedicated to his love of Viceroy cigarettes and dodgy venue toilets. Whichever way you choose to find out more, Demarco’s show at The Old Market this May is sure to be one of
Theatre Near Gone Dome Theatre 1st March £10
The riddle concerns the author and namesake to the band, George Orwell: “What do Wigan and Brighton share?” Look in a book and you’ll find “the road to” the prize.
The Orwells Press
Good luck and happy hunting!
Near Gone Press
Matthew Barnes, since the widespread critical acclaim for his debut LP Engravings last year, sits atop the plinth of experimental electronic music alongside more experienced producers such as Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never). He is now regarded as an inventive journeyman in his field; his field being tribal-influenced organic-sounding electronica that also uses guitars. This February, Barnes embarks on his debut headline tour. Finally landing in Brighton on the 11th of April, Forest Swords will bring to us a live show that was hailed by The Guardian as a ‘rapturous celebration of life’. This spring’s shows, including support slots for Mogwai ought to propel Forest Swords into similar regards as his peers, because although he’s new on the scene compared to Hecker and Lopatin, this man shows more promise with every show he performs.
Near Gone is a UK Arts council supported work of two-person theatre that tells a story of the difficulty of life, love, being, childhood, parenting and much more. Described by viewers as ‘powerful’ and ‘life-enhancing’, the work is at once both comic and tragic. Jointly performed in English and Bulgarian, the show demonstrates a sense of otherness as well as the comfort of home, all achieved by one man and one woman and 400 fresh flowers in an otherwise empty room. Near Gone will show us the power of both solidarity and solitude, while empowering us to be better than ever. Book now for March 1st.
10 February 2014 ARTS • 15
‘I think this is the best thing I’ve done’ Albert Hammond Jr. talks to The Badger about his new E.P, his creative process and why he thinks filming live shows is ‘silly’ Cat Gough “Alright then!” exclaims Albert Hammond Jr, as he decisively plucks a bag of Sainsbury’s preprepared carrot batons from a pile of assorted snacks, “they brought us everything we asked for,” he affirms contentedly. Upstairs at The Haunt, in the awkwardly small, mirror-clad dressing room, Albert Hammond Jr. pops himself into the odd, half-egg shaped chair next to me. He looks at me nonchalantly, munching on a crisp carrot stick. Albert Hammond Jr, better known as the angel-faced, curly haired, converse wearing guitarist of The Strokes - the band whose album release Is This It went down in music history as a “world-changing moment” - is sitting next to me. His signature ‘fro is reduced to a sensible short cut, his converse swapped for a stylish pair of doc martins, and his toned arms bust out of his white t-shirt sleeves, his beige vintage jacket lays on the sofa behind him. Being at the helm of an album which is now routinely considered to be the template for rock ‘n’ roll in the modern age has made Albert Hammond Jr, quite frankly, a bit of a hero of mine. “Is this too loud?” he asks, as the sound of his band starting up Cooker Ship drifts upstairs. Their rendition of the final track on Albert Hammond Jr.’s new EP, EHJ, is unerring, so much so that it sounds more like a perfect recital of the record than a sound check. He has just landed in the UK from Paris, where he “filmed a video with a guy who I filmed St. Justice with, we filmed the Strange Tidings video. Even though the next song coming out is Rude Customer, we didn’t know that, but we’re going to film that in New York.” After just recently beginning to discuss openly his immense struggle with drugs, (which at its worst saw him shelling out “about a grand or two at the weekend” to get his fix), Albert Hammond Jr. seems to be strikingly reinvigorated. Touring his first release since 2008’s ¿Cómo Te Llama?, and after The Strokes surprise release of Comedown Machine earlier in 2013- with very little press release and barely any fanfare - and now clean, with even alcohol off the cards, Albert seems ready to start again. “I think this [AHJ] is the best thing I’ve done,” he says, leaning forward and resting his head on his hand. He’s right. Released on his Strokes bandmate Julian Casablancas’ record label, Cult Records, and produced by long-time Strokes collaborator, Gus Oberg,it is a dynamic, spirited record and it smacks of a defiant revitalisation.
Albert Hammond Jr. by Griffin Lotz “The problem is,” he continues, “press wise, TV wise, no one takes shorter things seriously…it would have been cool to be reviewed in certain magazines.” EPs are, notoriously, a puzzling ground for the press to cover, half-way between a single and an album, they tend to wait for the release of a full record before commissioning a review. One thing Albert has made clear to the press however, is that from now on, he’d really only like to release EPs. “I did, I did say that. I’ve been talking about that for a long time, with uhh with Julian. I think it was his idea, I really liked it…Well it’s not that I just want to release EPs, I just wanna release music in a way that feels like you’re growing.” Whilst his Strokes bandmate Julian Casablancas released the EP on his label, it seems a little far-fetched that, after well over a decade of collaborating together on Strokes material, Julian wouldn’t be involved in Albert’s creative process at all. He cocks his head, “Umm that’s funny..I mean he was involved to the right amount, he’s not a kind of guy who asks for anything, to try stuff. He’s the first one to be like ‘shit I’m ruining your song’. “So like, for Strange Tidings, we thought we were like ninety-five per cent done, and he [Julian] was like ‘oh why don’t you just…that part you only sing once, try flipping it so that becomes more the chorus, flipping that part, reversing the other part’ and it was better, and I wrote a new umm little chorus, like a lyric, and that made it better.” The EP began, he says, as a collaborative process. “The whole point of it, whether Gus says something or I say something, a part of it is to take it from where it’s at to a better place…that’s the whole point of collaborating…I think the three of us knew that, so it was very easy, it’s not like uhh it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings or will be weird. “Ninety-nine per cent of the stuff you try just sucks, it’s the point of song-
writing, it’s that process, it’s that combination”. Isn’t that process just very frustrating - to feel like you’ve finished something, and then to have to rework it all and go over it all again? This process, according to Albert, is what it’s all about, “creating for me is kinda like that, you’ve gotta sit there, you get in the mood, you’re just bored. “That’s the early part of creation, then you have the idea, it’s like a puzzle…that’s the whole point, is to stay, is to keep going through that frustration. That’s what gives you better songs. “Sometimes I have to get really bored, then I just get frustrated with the idea that I’ve just got to stay in my house, and sometimes I can’t sit down, I just have to start working. “It’s weird…you’re just walking around your apartment, eventually you just sit down and start working for fifteen minutes and it’s concentrated and good.” It seems natural then, that there was a five year gap between the release of EHJ and his last solo album, ¿Cómo Te Llama?. Playing a central role in the making of two of The Strokes’ most recent albums, 2011’s Angles, and this year’s Comedown Machinemeant that for Albert, there wasn’t too much time to focus on writing his own material as a side project. “People say why don’t you just write in those pockets between shows…no!”. But in moving between recording album material with The Strokes, and recording his own solo projects within a matter of months this year, I wonder how much, at the time of recording with The Strokes, he consciously reserved for his own solo project. Is it a conscious recognition during the song writing and recording of Strokes material that a certain idea or a certain sound he’s come across would work better for his own project? “Not in the moment, but I imagine you know, playing in a band is like being in a class in school that you enjoy, you don’t
really notice that you’re learning. “You realise [when you’re on your own] that all along, you’ve been using your knowledge of different stuff, it’s more like that. Natural.” He sits up straight and stretches his arms out, rocking back on his chair. In a few hours he’ll be playing his first UK solo show since 2008. He seems characteristically unfazed at that prospect, but why should he be, as a Stroke? As a continuing, central force within such a seminal group as The Strokes, Albert must surely face some considerable pressure that other solo artists don’t. Does he ever find that the audiences of his solo shows seem to have some kind of preconceived expectations? “I guess there’s part of your head that thinks about that,” he rubs his face with his hands, “but you have to acknowledge that it exists, there’s always someone who will be let down, there’s always someone who won’t like something, you know? “You just try to make a great show, people who don’t think so just don’t come back…I don’t know if there’s any other way [to approach performing].” Quite often at his solo shows, Albert finds that he walks off stage at the end of his set with a totally different opinion of how good his performance was to those around him. “I’ve got to stop thinking that people think like me…you go out there, you play, you come back, you’re like ‘ughh that was alright’, everyone’s like ‘that was great’ or the other way round. It’s so hard to tell how everyone’s going to react.” “That’s why I find it so funny that everyone records live shows you see, it’s so silly. Live performances are an in the moment thing, and then it should be gone, it shouldn’t exist…it’s not the same, but unless the artist puts it out…I mean it’s fun to see it, but you have to know that those things are gonna be almost like the imperfections of what live music is. Maybe people enjoy it..”
Scheduled tour dates will see Albert playing shows in Italy and Spain before heading back to America for shows that will seemingly involve a classic road trip across the States, making stops on the way from New York to California. According to Albert, already the tour has involved “books on tape, Stevie Moore, Beatles, Marley, Elvis”. These are clearly some of the artists Albert has kept as a constant throughout his life. “You can go in and out of phases with them”, he explains, “even though it’s stuff you know well, you pull it in and you pull it out.” This is how his influences infiltrate into his music, “let’s say something changes how you think, that might come out immediately, but when you’re recording this song for this reason, you might try to figure out how to create your vision of that. You always kind of use it”. But he decries the way in which the media “always want a sentence that sums up everything: your favourite! I always feel like it limits your ability to grow. It’s confusing, why would you want to do that? I don’t have any favourites.” “No one does”, I concur. “Of course, of course, it’s just change, things that are great right now, and then in three months when you answer a favourites question, you’re then for sure going to go from a three-dimensional character into a two dimensional box. “Maybe that’s what they like, I’ve never written an article…I have no idea, I’m just trying to figure it out myself” He stands up, strolling back to the snack table, and picks up a bottle of water, unscrewing the cap with enviable ease. It seems like Albert Hammond Jr. is getting excited about his own music again, about touring, about creating. Whilst he aims to be constantly writing and releasing tracks a few at a time, it seems like the future is open for Albert.
10 february 2014 ARTS • 16
‘Our experience of campus is constantly shaped by its relation to the past’: exploring the Sussex Scrapbook
Illustration: Kate Schneider Kate Schneider In a time where the most visible manifestation of unhappiness across campus - the anti-privatisation campaign - indicates towards a mood of uncertainty and doubt, it’s often reenergising to be reminded that we, as a university, exist in a context and history that can be traced back to the utopian ideals it was founded on. For staff and students, there is a sense of an unshakeable cultural memory rooted in Sussex’s history of radicalism and liberalism that firmly coexists alongside this current feeling of unease. The Sussex Scrapbook project is a kind of antidote to any apathy and disillusionment that might be felt towards the university following recent events. An online archive of photos and documents, it curates the experiences of students dating back to its opening in 1961 - when there was an on-campus butchers and discos were a regular occurrence put on without irony. In the wake of its opening, The Sunday Times wrote that architect Sir Basil Spence was building for ‘the nuclear generation’, adding that Sussex would be adaptable for ‘the experiments and problems likely to face the PHD students of 1970s onwards’. Students on campus are surrounded by his blocky, brutalist structures every
day. The original buildings – such as Falmer House - are certainly divisive: according to the Guardian, novelist Graham Greene - author of Brighton Rock - described Spence’s designs as ‘monstrous’. Some more cynical members of the ‘nuclear generation’ may agree with this (as ultimately it does come down to taste), but interestingly, the Sussex Scrapbook shows all students maximising the use of the space on campus. There is a feeling reminiscent of the post-war defiance and optimism that lines up with the earlier philosophy of pioneering modernist architects such as Le Corbusier. One photo shows students sunbathing between what looks like the Arts A and
Arts B buildings - Sussex proves to have always been home to a vibrant campus community. Sussex also attracted attention from media such as Tatler Magazine. who, in 1964, featured it on its cover with the headline ‘life at a new university’. District Bank promises that, with their bank account, it will be easier to save for a white polo neck and brown ‘coordinates’ - as modelled outside Falmer House. There is an interesting pamphlet, ‘Student Radicals [an incomplete history of protest at the University of Sussex 1971-75]’ written by Ed Goddard available online, which details the protests, boycotts, strikes and occupations that still do remain an integral part of Sussex’s identity. He describes how, in 1968, February
saw a ‘teach-in’ about the war in Vietnam. An American flag was burnt. In The Daily Telegraph, a flustered Tory MP declared Sussex a ‘hotbed for communism’. If this sounds familiar, perhaps it is because what ultimately characterises the general mindset of Sussex has essentially remained the same. It’s all too easy to be a tourist in other people’s nostalgia when feeling despondent about the present, but our experience of campus is constantly shaped by its relation to the past. Sussex’s reputation for independent thought has always, and will continue to, attract like-minded people. The Sussex Scrapbook project is resounding proof of this. www.flickr.com/photos/ sussexscrapbook
“A Sussex incident” selected by Jeremy Deller for the Sussex Scrapbook
Falmer House, 1976
Hanging out at East Slope, 1977
Sussex raft race, 1969. Photo: Brian Davis and Mo Foster
Sunbathers at Arts A in 1974
Year Abroad: Five lies Neighbours and Home and Away tell you about Australia
Daisy Guy 1) People don’t really throw shrimps on the ‘barbie’. It may be true that Australians love a barbecue, but when I suggested to my two Australian housemates that we put some shrimps on there, they laughed outright in my face - turns out they don’t even call them shrimps. Furthermore, they didn’t find it funny when I attempted my Australian accent with the saying “G’day, mate, shall we throw another shrimp on the barbie?” Then again, that may just have been because my attempt at the accent was truly shocking. 2) People don’t surf 24 hours a day. Whenever the going gets tough in
In fact, Australia has one of the world’s highest obesity rates. For every bronzed, muscular, windswept surfer, there are three slightly overweight, pie-faced, couch potatoes guzzling down gallons of beer in the pub.
Daisy Guy Summer Bay the cast always seem to hit the waves in an attempt to clear their heads from whatever drama their character is caught up in. In reality, not that many Australians surf.
3) Kangaroos and Koalas don’t roam the beaches or streets. Upon stepping off my plane in Brisbane, I was highly disappointed to be greeted by a standard air hostess and not a bush ranger with a kangaroo and koala by his side. In fact, I was even more disappointed to not find a single koala for my first 3 months in the country, and eventually ended up having to pay $30 to see one in a wildlife park.
4) It is not sunny all the time. Okay, so in Queensland it is pretty much hot all the time. But sunny? Not so much. Instead, the state is often subject to some pretty impressive storms. These are initially entertaining, but not when you get caught in one on the way to university wearing a white dress. 5) People don’t actually like their neighbours. In my entire 6 months in Brisbane, I only spoke to my neighbours once and that was to ask for a flashlight. In this case, they slammed the door in my face. I feel like Harold Bishop and the inhabitants of Ramsey Street were just setting me up for a fall.
Kate Schneider Francesca Carbone Walking through the airport on a Saturday morning swerving CarmelH through the endless sea of excited holidaymakers, you’d think the excitement would be contagious? No. Not after you’ve nearly been tripped over a thousand times by ‘cute’ little kids with their ridealong suitcases; not after you’ve queued for lunch with the barely legal lads finally flying the nest and jetting off on their first lads holiday to ‘maga’; certainly not after you’ve heard the boarding call for your dream weekend away - wouldn’t it be nice to escape to Rome? Milan? Maybe Paris? Once you get over the fact that you’re not going to the airport to escape but to work, you begin to realise it’s actually quite good fun! After all, who doesn’t want to work in a place where you bump into Rylan and the cast of TOWIE and Made in Chelsea?! Every day there would be different customers spanning the continents, each with a different story and often an interesting language barrier to overcome! It may sound frustrating, but trying to find a pair of earrings for a customer to match their wedding outfit with no idea what they’re saying to you calls for some inventive thinking - and can be rather fun! Then there are the hen parties and - even worse - the stag parties. However, it’s certainly entertaining to watch a bawdy group of men try on bikinis - or even lingerie. Apparently all part of working in an airport branch of Accessorize!
10th FeBruary 2014 ARTS: sussex showcase • 17
Showcase - Disguise
Ben Pitt Hair
Georgia GeorgiaRobinson Blaine
I wore it in the hope that it would cover my flaws. Perhaps no one would mind if I was flat chested, pale skinned, chipmunk-cheeked and everything else that Cosmo had been yelling at me that I “should be ashamed” about. Because I could hide under my endless hairdo. Years of airbrushed and glossy false promises had convinced me that my disguise would make me prettier, hotter, downright better, whatever any of this meant outside of the mass-printed pages. The opposite was true, and I shrank as my hair grew and grew. One day I woke up and decided that they were wrong, and hours later shattered, fragmented strands of my disguise littered the hairdresser floor triumphantly. I looked in the mirror and for the first time in years, I saw myself looking back at me, in all my beautiful imperfection. Sarah George
Get-up Here’s my mouth And here’s my eyes. Here’s my house And here’s my wife. Brand new car Perched in the driveway Like a flamingo in the birdbath I stand there suit and briefcase, And I yell at my wife; “undress me of this disguise.” And she replies “it is indeed a beautiful morning.” Something inside is something dark. You forget yours And I’ll forget mine. Tom Stevens
Freida Speech Week Three’s theme is FREEDOM Send your creative pursuits and theme ideas to email@example.com by 12th February
10 February 2014 Arts •18
The agenda This week’s cultural highlights that you must see
ALTERNATIVE Fanfarlo The Green Door Store
THEATRE Derren Brown: Infamous Theatre Royal
Wednesday 12th February, £8
Alternative Poliça All Saints Church
Following the release of their third album, Let’s Go Extinct early this month, the London-based band return with their fusion of indie pop and folk. Sweeping sounds teamed with futuristic concepts suggest the show will be suitably sublime.
Having last played Brighton in 2012, the American synthpop band return with their notably unique sound. Experimenting with elements of R&B and electronica, Poliça will be performing tracks from their latest album, Shulamith.
Hip hop Young Fathers The Green Door Store Monday 10th February £8
Calling themselves a “psychedelic hip hop electro boy band”, Young Fathers are an Edinburgh-based trio who refuse to be labelled easily. By mixing all these eclectic genres together, the group manage to create a strange, yet absorbing sound that can be heard on their debut album, Death.
Tuesday 11th - Saturday 15th £39
FILM An Oversimplification of Her Beauty Duke’s at Komedia
Tuesday 11th February, 6:30pm £5.50
Monday 10th February £13
Alternative Fat White Family The Hope Friday 14th February £7.15
Playing a scrappy mess of country, blues, country-blues and an assorted detritus of pop’n’roll, Fat White Family are a band who seek to satarise rock and roll cliche. Dubbed “the best new band in London” by the NME last year, the South Londoners distinct mix of post-punk inspired, with its Johnny Cash-deep vocals, is completely different - their show is set to be utterly compelling.
Weaving comedy, drama and romance, as well as animation, this extraordinary piece of cinema is not one to be missed. Acclaimed at the Sundance Film Festival, Terence Nance’s debut feature is a beautiful exploration of love and its highs and lows.
Will Fortna Arts Editor Following two raucous sets at last year’s Great Escape festival, Prquet Courts bring their New York sound back to Brighton. The band, originally from Texas, moved to New York to consciously insert themselves into the city’s rich musical lineage, and last year’s excellent Light Up Gold displayed clear influence from the likes of Velvet Underground,
Ramones, Modern Lovers, Pavement and Sonic Youth. Impeccable taste does not a great band make, though, and it is the lyrics of co-frontmen Austin Brown and Andrew Savage that makes Parquet Courts so exciting. Delivered at a blistering, energetic pace, they sardonically and passionately bring across the ennui of 21st century, irony-centred, urban 20-somethings. Expect material from an upcoming album.
CLUB What you call it, Garage?! Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar Friday 14th February 11pm £5
Renowed for his elaborately skilled illusions, Derren Brown returns to the stage with his sixth show since 2003. Claiming to be a more ‘personal’ show, Infamous features Brown’s mix of mind control and traditional magic, but with a novel twist.
Playing UK Garage, 4X4, 2-Step and Grime, this night promises plenty of basslines and beats that aim to celebrate the heyday of Garage whilst also exploring a future for it.
THEATRE Avenue Q The Old Market Tuesday 11th - Saturday 15th £12
FILM Rushmore Duke’s at Komedia
Saturday 15th February, 11:15pm £6.90
To celebrate the release of Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a retrospective of the director’s work will be shown over the next month. This Saturday sees Jason Schwartzman in Anderson’s classic coming-of-age comedy, Rushmore.
PREVIEW: Parquet Courts Friday 14th February, Concorde 2
POETRY Sussex Guild of Poetry Recital Tuesday 11th February, 7:45pm Back of Falmer Bar
For less than a week, the wickedly funny Avenue Q will be coming to The Old Market. Celebrating over a decade of performances, the politically incorrect puppets will be descending upon Brighton with satirical songs such as Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist and a general night of marionette mayhem.
Following on from the success of their first recital in the first term, the Sussex Guild of Poetry returns with readings from the likes of Keston Sutherland, Kamini Banga and Adriano Bulla.
In the Arts section this month... Over the next couple of issues, the arts pages will be bringing you exciting interviews with two incredible artists, past and present. This week, we were lucky enough to enjoy a Full English breakfast with punk progenitor, poet, novelist and film critic Richard Hell, in town to promote his recent autobiography, a rich documentation of both 70s CBGBs-era New York and his own artistic development.
The weekend before, we sent a writer into the dark depths of The Haunt’s backstage area to interrogate the man known as Connan Mockasin on his sexuality, New Zealand and the sonic encapsulation of ‘caramel’. The eccentric singer’s mysterious interior was ruthlessly broken down to reveal something much darker: a normal guy. Will Fortna, Arts Editor
10 February 2014
SporTS • 20
TV fame for Women’s Rugby Jessica Sutcliffe The 22nd of January saw the Sussex Women’s Rugby team become ambassadors for the University when they made their on-screen debut as part of BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight. The midweek rugby analysis programme covers everything from recent scores and upcoming events down to the nitty-gritty of tactics and specialist moves. The general atmosphere of organised chaos was recognisable to anyone who has spent more than 30 seconds on a rugby pitch and the Sussex girls soon got into the spirit of things by elbowing into the front of shots and trying to make one another laugh on camera. The incredibly cringe-worthy introduction led seamlessly into Guinness world record attempts; a crash course in wheelchair rugby; a quick chat about the excitement surrounding the Six Nations; a round on the Smash-O-Meter; and a tackling class lead by Saracen’s own Jacques Burger. Fellow guests included the curly-haired no.7 alongside Matt Hampson – founder of the Matt Hampson Foundation – and England captain Katie McLean. Not to mention, of course, Sussex Women’s Rugby’s very own Gladys the sex-doll… In the spirit of tradition, the rugby team had been asked to bring
something to donate to the Rugby Tonight memorabilia wall: a collection of shirts, caps, banners and scarves donated by every team that has graced the studio. In true Sussex rugby style the decision was made to donate Gladys for the good of our continuing reputation. Dressed up in kit and signed by all, Gladys was to be the star of the show. Sussex Women’s Social Secretary, Carmel Leak, did a wonderful job introducing her and creating 15 seconds of quality TV as an upstanding ambassador for the University of Sussex; explaining why the sex-doll meant so much to our team. The Sussex girls were joined by England captain Katie McLean in balancing the gender ratio on the show and raising awareness of the great things that women’s rugby can do. The no. 10, alongside Jacques Burger, smashed the Guinness world record for most passes of a rugby ball in 1 minute and McLean later beat the prodigious Saracen’s flanker on the Smash-O-Meter; proving that women rugby players do deserve to be taken seriously. Only slightly undermining this image of the fairer sex was the pintsized platinum blonde Sarra Elgan whose presenting role on the programme seemed to be reminiscent of the ‘50s housewife; keeping the boys in check, as well as doing eve-
rything else. It seems a shame that the singular female face on the presenting team of Rugby Tonight had the air of a woman ignorant to the joys of a good tackle. While Austin Healy and Ben Kay collided with one another in wheelchairs, Sarra tottered away in 6 inch heels. Nevertheless what Elgan lacked, McLean more than made up for, and her appearance on the show only served to heighten the Sussex Women’s excitement for their next celebrity appearance. The girls will be at the Twickenham Stoop in March where they will act as guard of honour for the England vs. Wales Women’s match, and grace the Stoop pitch with their studs at half time. The Women’s team who have gone from strength to strength in the last few years, continuing their winning streak last term with the help of their new coach Gavin Richardson. The club’s influx of freshers has allowed them to field two teams for the first time in their history and they continue to be model ambassadors for the university in their sporting and charity endeavours. Many members of the team will be running the Brighton half-marathon on Sunday 16th of February for the charity ‘Rise’; raising money to support victims of domestic abuse.
Seahawks win Superbowl 48
Women’s basketball beat Brighton
Sunday marked the date of the biggest televised sporting spectacle of the year as the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos faced off in MetLife Stadium, New Jersey in Superbowl 48. The Seahawks - who lost their first ever Superbowl in 2005 - came into the game with the league’s number one ranked defense in all major categories, while the Broncos - with league MVP and record setting quarterback Peyton Manning - were looking for the second championship of his long and decorated career. It was an historic game for several other reasons as well. It was only the sixth time that the league’s number one defense and number one offense from the regular season would meet in the big game. Traditionally in these contests, the team with the number one defense would prevail, but Manning’s offense had scored more points in a season than any other team in the history of the league, and was tipped by most pundits to have the upper hand going
into the game. However, on the back of a predictably impressive performance by Seattle’s defense and clinical play from second year Quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks ran riot. The first half ended with the Seahawks deservedly 22-0 up, and the second half proved to be equally as onesided. The Seattle based team walked off the field with a 43-8 victory, and a first Superbowl ring in the history of the franchise. The Sussex Saxons American Football team held an event in Falmer Bar televising the game. All 200 tickets were sold and the night helped raise money for the club and promote the sport, which is developing a fast growing fan base in the UK. During the event, the team held hot-dog eating contests, pub quizzes and watched several student performers, such as the Saxons own Martin Uhomoibhi, who goes by ‘M-Twist’, and the breakdancing group ‘Bright Soul Crew’. It was an extremely enjoyable event, even more so for anyone from Seattle!
Two previous losses in the 2013 season saw the girls of the Sussex basketball team ready to tackle the new season, starting with a win. The team was clearly nervous: with the last fitness training showing evidence of the Christmas meals and lack of activity during the holidays. The entire team limped out of that Friday training carrying a certain pain in our legs from extended shuffles in the defensive position. However, the game clearly showed the necessity of that tireless defensive squat. Arguably it was the defence that saved the day, winning 10 points over inter-city rivals Brighton University, and keeping them scoreless in the first couple of minutes. The first four shots were missed, however, once again a frustrating depiction of the somewhat lazy Christmas holidays. Brighton worked tirelessly, almost outworking Sussex in the second
half. Fouls were up and points were abnormally low in comparison to how many shots Sussex had taken. Still, the team continued to run through the designated plays and contain the offence, knocking up points until the 3rd quarter, where Sussex were seemingly at a comfortable point distance from their opponents and started to dominate the court. 3-pointers from the shooters, two fade away shots during fast breaks by Sussex’s own point guard (who had been sick the day before) and shots on the free throw line were being knocked down every minute by the posts. Despite the final score of 59-32, Brighton proved to be tough until the end, shooting down baskets when lesser teams would have given up. Their attitude made the game enjoyable and post-game locker room talk confirmed their fair play approach. Talking of ending the sports rivalry between Brighton and Sussex, the two teams decided to enjoy
a joint social that evening. Although Sussex won the game, Brighton played as if the court was theirs and a lot of respect must be attributed to their sportsmanship and eagerness to stick it out until the end. As a team, we plan to show the same sportsmanship and passion in every game remaining this season!
Sussex Surf Morocco Trip There are still a small number of spaces avaiable for Sussex Surf’s amazing trip to Morocco! With the trip costing only £180 for accomodation, food and travel this is not one to be missed. For more information on the trip head to www.thebadgeronline.co.uk or simply search ‘Sussex Surf Morocco trip 2014’ on Facebook!