Student Publication of the Year 203
fb.com/warwickboar twitter.com/warwickboar Wednesday 8th June, 204 Est. 973 | Volume 36 | Issue 2
Fascist leader leaves Warwick • Warwick fresher Alex Davies identified as fascist leader • Students protest against fascism on campus • Davies “has asked to permanently withdraw from the University”
» Students protest against fascism photo: Warwick Anti-Racism Society Sponsored by:
Samuel Lovett Ann Yip A student who has been identified as the leader of a fascist group is to withdraw from the University of Warwick. The student was identified as 19-year-old Alex Davies, a firstyear Philosophy undergraduate, in an article published by the Sunday Mirror on June 7. Mr Davies is one of the leaders of the National Action movement, an openly anti-semitic and self-proclaimed racist fascist group. The group disrupted a Warwick Anti-Sexism protest earlier this year and had been putting up posters around campus. According to the Mirror, Mr Davies was “fiercely” protective of his identity, but after an investigation which involved a reporter posing as an anti-Semitic student interested in joining the group, the newspaper found that Mr Davies’ emails were sent from a server at Warwick University. Davies told the Mirror: “I don’t want to say what I’d like to do to Jews – it’s too extreme.” Davies joined Young BNP (British National Party) at 1 but found it in “disarray”. As a result, he decided to form the National Action group. The University has been actively examining allegations about the activity of the Warwick fresher which, if true, would be in breach of the University’s dignity at work and study policy. On June 12, Peter Dunn, spokesperson for the University, told the Boar: “The student has confirmed that the substance of the allegations is true and he has asked to permanently withdraw from the University with immediate effect, and his withdrawal is now being actioned.” Warwick Anti-Racism Society (WARSoc) held a protest against the presence of the National Action group on Thursday 12 June outside Senate House. There was an estimated 150 people at the demonstration. WARSoc told the Boar: “Different students will feel differently about the effects of a fascist group on campus. But it’s not okay to go around sticking up posters and using campus to hold the movement. “We want to make sure campus remains a safe place.” The Boar has approached Mr Davies, but he was not available to comment. Continued on page 2
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National Action leader drops out of Warwick University Continued from front page According to the Mirror, Davies claimed that he was ready to go to jail for his beliefs, saying: “If we can stay out of prison we will. But you have to consider race-hate laws. They’re quite ambiguous, so it is possible some of us would go to prison. But we’re prepared for that.” He said: “We’re targeting universities regularly. That’s something the BNP never had. We’ve built something in a few months the BNP didn’t have in 20 years.” He also told the Mirror: “I’m not concerned what your readers think about me. All you should know is that we aren’t going to stop.” The University College Union (UCU) passed a motion on June 11. It stated that the “UCU supports the anti-fascist demonstration organised by Warwick Anti-Racism society in protest against the presence
of an organised fascist group… “UCU Warwick would like to affirm that there is no place for fascists at this or any other university. “We call on University management to publicly state what measures it plans to take to protect the safety and freedom of all BME (black and ethnic minority), LGBTQ and Jewish students and staff on campus, in the face of explicit threats by the National Action group that intends to ‘exterminate’ Jewish and ‘non-white’ people in the UK.” Warwick Students’ Union issued a statement saying: “Warwick SU stands firmly opposed to any form of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism or similar discriminatory behaviour. “We have conveyed our views in our position as student representatives strongly to the University,
and are in daily dialogue with them over this matter. “While we appreciate the unease created by this situation, we trust that the student body understands that we are not in a position to disclose or discuss any specifics relating to an individual student or students. “Student safety is of the utmost concern for both the Student Union and the University, and we are doing all that would be expected to ensure the safety of all of our members.” The national newspaper also unveiled Benjamin Raymond, Essex University graduate, as a leader of National Action. Mr Raymond claims to “love Hitler” and believes that non-whites and Jews in Britain need to be exterminated. The group has an estimated membership of 0 nationwide.
What did Warwick students think? “I was pretty shocked, he (Alex Davies) lives in the flat above us. I couldn’t believe it when I found out.”
“It’s disgusting. It’s a threat to students of any minority background and has no place here. It doesn’t make the university a safe place.”
Ella Hattey, first-year Sociology
Jamie Sims, second-year Philsophy, Politics and Economics
“I’m completely disgusted, this is the twenty-first century. “The scary thing is that I know people who, as ethnic minorities, have interacted with him. He’s put on a facade when really he’s had these views all along.”
Eloise Millard, first-year English Literature “I don’t think there is much of a risk of this affecting us. It’s a very international and multi-cultural university.
“I believe it’s giving the university a bad name. It’s not something I want to be associated with.”
Finny Quigly, first-year Maths and Economics “It was very surprising how Davies was trying to recruit people and how violent and anti-Semitic he was. I don’t want to say there is no risk but we have to face them as they appear... [on the other hand] We can’t be hysterical.”
Mark Best, second-year Maths
“However, if nothing is done, it could become a risk. I could see it appealing to some people, not necessarily in the university, but in its surrounding where they’ve been holding recruitment drives.”
“It runs the danger of spoiling the atmosphere at Warwick. There is talk of anti-Semitism and physical violence which is scary.”
Artin Giles, first-year History and Politics
Kate Orlandi, first-year English and French
» Warwick students protest against National Action on campus. Photo: Samuel Lovett
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Warwick Labour and Anti-Racism society in dispute April Roach Ann Yip There has been a dispute between Warwick Labour and Warwick Anti-Racism society (WARSoc) concerning alleged offensive comments made by Warwick Labour members. The dispute began when WARSoc recently refused to host a joint event for Black History Month with Warwick Labour. The refusal was made on account of comments made by current and former Warwick Labour members. WARSoc stated: “WARSoc requested an apology... in order to feel comfortable about working with [Warwick Labour]. “They were incredibly hesitant to [make an apology]. “WARSoc told them the apology had to be satisfactory, otherwise a collaboration would not be possible and that we would release a statement about the incidents. “Warwick Labour eventually put out a statement on their website that included racism apologism, which was counteracted by [our]
statement containing our disappointment that Labour would ‘apologise’ with apologism for racism. “Warwick Labour then reported Anti-Racism Society to the SU and claimed that we were being libelous. Both societies are now currently under investigation.” WARSoc posted on May 27 claiming that a Warwick Labour executive member who made offensive comments towards the Muslim community in 2012 received no disciplinary action by the society. The statement continued to condemn a Warwick Labour panellist at LGBT Question Time for making racially offensive comments earlier this year. It claimed that the panelist used the term ‘coloured people’, was nonchalant about saying ‘I’m not about to say something racist...’ before being stopped before he did so, and left the room laughing when a question of racism came up. It also stated that one of their executive members faced “personal character attacks and tone policing” from a Warwick Labour executive and that Warwick Labour’s apology
for both incidents was “coerced” and unapologetic for “attempting to justify those ‘racist terms’”. A former executive member of Warwick Labour spoke to the Boar, and claimed that the offensive comments were made by a former Warwick Labour member running to be an executive, and that they were made during a regular group chat meeting at the Terrace Bar.
“There was no action taken at the time, no one stepped in, no one condemned the sentiments there and then.” WARSoc He also said that he believed no one in the current WARSoc society was actually present at the group chat and therefore would not have witnessed the incident first-hand. The case was allegedly brought to SU societies officer Matt Rogers and democracy and development officer Chris Luck at the time, and the accused member of Warwick Labour was allegedly removed from the society within 2 hours.
The executive member claimed that Warwick Labour were asking for an apology from WARSoc and that their allegations “have been proven false and defamatory”. He also said that “a number of people on a national level have got in touch with former exec members and have been vitriolic and aggressive, and the record needs to be corrected.” On June , WARSoc issued an amended statement which stated that their earlier statement was factually wrong with regards to the lack of disciplinary action taken by Warwick Labour in 2012. It stated: “Due to these differing accounts of action that was taken and Warwick Labour’s failure to clarify what happened… we were led to believe that no action was taken.” WARSoc claimed that “quite a few” of their members gave accounts of the 2012 incident and that they were told of it by a member of Warwick Labour who was present at the time. In WARSoc’s amended statement however, they continued to
state that Warwick Labour did not taken any action at the Question Time event this year: “There was no action taken at the time, no one stepped in, no one condemned the sentiments there and then.” A meeting between Warwick Labour and WARSoc was held in the first week of June. The dispute remains ongoing as the societies struggled to find a solution. The Students’ Union commented: “We are working with all parties to resolve this issue satisfactorily, and last week we facilitated a confidential discussion between the societies chaired by an impartial third-party. “Following this, we will be working closely with both societies over the coming weeks to try and reach a solution. It would, therefore, be unfair for us to comment further at this time.” Warwick Labour similarly commented: “As this investigation is ongoing, we feel it is not appropriate to comment in any more detail at this time. We look forward to seeing the outcomes.”
Concerns over Halal meat on campus Samantha Hopps has been investigating the sourcing of meat at campus eating outlets Connor O’Shea Samantha Hopps, second-year Literature student, has been investigating Halal meat and the slaughter ethics of meat on campus. Ms Hopps investigated the sourcing of meat at the Bread Oven, the Dirty Duck, and Xananas. She met with the Food and Beverages department at the Students’ Union (SU). Ms Hopps discovered that all of the chicken and lamb used at SU outlets were Halal. She also found that 88 percent of chickens slaughtered for Halal meat in 2011 were stunned before
they died, according to the UK Food Standards Agency. Stunning before slaughter is considered the most humane method in the United Kingdom. There have been concerns throughout the nation over the slaughter methods of Halal meat. The Qur’an dictates that the animal must be alive at the point of slaughter and each animal must be slaughtered individually while a prayer is spoken. Traditionally, this has caused concern for some as Halal meat was not stunned before slaughter, as is common practice with standard meat in the UK. It was also excluded from The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations, which meant that it could legally be
slaughtered without being stunned first. However, in recent years efforts have been made to improve slaughter methods and the UK now uses a stunning technique which does not instantly kill the animal, allowing for the animal to still be killed in the Halal method. While the SU Food and Beverages department have yet to provide Ms Hopps with the full data, she said: “The Food and Beverage Department were really willing to meet with me and discuss the matter and were incredibly helpful. “The SU should be an ethical organisation, I feel that we as members should be able to hold it accountable for its policies.” Some students remain concerned
» There have been concerns over the slaughter methods of Halal meat. Photo: Jonny Hughes / Flickr
that the SU had taken to using only Halal chicken and lamb. A first-year Ancient History student stated: “I know historically there have been problems with Halal meat and animal welfare. The SU needs to be able to tell us as students that it is getting meat from the best place possible’ Saveena Mangat, first-year Economics student, was concerned about the provision of Halal meat with regards to her religion: “We should have an option, why make all the meat Halal? “In my religion (Sikhism) we’re not actually allowed to eat Halal meat. By providing Halal meat, you are excluding a whole religion.” A Christian first-year Politics and International Studies student commented: “It’s disgusting that only Islamic meat is provided and no others. How is it acceptable for me to eat blessed meat of another religion that is different to my own? “To effectively impose a monopoly on my choice leads me to question whether their religion (Islam) is prioritised over my own.” Cindy Asokan, first-year Politics and International Studies student and Warwick Anti-Racism Society member, commented: “The concerns towards Halal meat can be legitimate but when the discussion accidentally becomes Islamophobic, that becomes a problem. “People have a right to know what they are eating, but lately media outlets like the Daily Mail have
been very critical without knowing the facts behind Halal meat. We have to be careful when discussing it.” She also added: “It’s also unlikely that the SU will pay extra for normal meat. That will have to be introduced over time.” Other students were less concerned about the provision of Halal meat. First-year Engineering student Mekaeel Malik said that although the variety was limited, “there is enough available”. Warwick SU’s Food and Beverage manager highlighted that a move away from serving solely Halal chicken and lamb could cost the SU “tens of thousands of pounds” while potentially slowing down service times in outlets such as the Bread Oven. SU president Ben Sundell stressed: “The SU does not support one group over another.” Meanwhile, the University’s own food outlets stock mainly non-Halal meat with Halal options available by request. Kelly Parkes-Harrison, a senior press and communications manager from the University, revealed that 1.2 percent of total meat purchased was Halal. She added: “The remaining puraw meat is Red Tractor Certificated and British sourced.” The Red Tractor certification ensures that the meat is provided by suppliers who comply with strict animal welfare guidelines.
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Parents failing to finance students at university? News in brief Derin Odueyungbo Parents ‘fall short’ at supporting children through university. One in every three university students feel that they do not receive enough financial support from their parents, statistics from a national survey have shown. The National Student Money Survey, conducted by student advice website Save the Student, shows the average student in 201 to spend £75 a month, whereas the typical maintenance loan covers only £58. Almost a fifth of students admitted to relying on their parents for financial support, with one in six having a part time job. More than 0 percent of students who took part in the survey claimed that their diet had suffered due to a lack of money. The survey also found that financial support offered by univer-
sities is only provided for 10 percent of students, despite more students needing funding thanks to the 2012 rise in tuition fees.
£ The average amount a student spends every month
For many students, maintenance loans provided by the government are not enough to cover living expenses. Miles Baker, a first-year Law and Business student, said: “The maintenance loan is barely enough for students, and people forget that a lot of us have responsibilities on top of studying which is why so many are forced to get jobs which can impact on their studying.
“I rely on my parents on top of my maintenance loan, and as a young adult you don’t want to really be doing that but there isn’t much choice.” Solomon Bamidele, a first-year Engineering student, commented: “As students we can never really afford to live the life we want to. Some have enough and some don’t, but thankfully I’m comfortable for now.” Kiki Nartey, a first-year German and Politics undergraduate, told the Boar: “There is this wild assumption that those who do not come from low income families have ample savings, which they can rely on to fund their university living costs. “Whilst low-income families deservedly receive grants and bursaries to support their lifestyle, why must it be assumed that families who earn more are casually able fork out large sums of money to fund their children’s student life?” The Warwick Undergraduate
National Scholarships and Bursaries programme offers non-repayable support to students to help with course-related costs. Bursaries of up to £,000 are offered, dependent on household income. Jake Butler, editor of Save the Student, commented: “The government must increase the maintenance loan amounts to cover basic living costs. “It’s a thorny issue of how much parents should contribute to the shortfall, and it entirely depends on individual circumstances. Ultimately I don’t believe parents should have the expectation put upon them. “However with hearing daily horror stories of students living on the breadline, I feel it’s still important that parents are made more aware of the situation their child at university may be in.” For more information on the survey, visit http://www.savethestudent.org/money.
Universities found to use ‘gagging clauses’
Locals urge students to leave Leamington tidy
A recent BBC Radio 4 broadcast has revealed that most UK universities have used non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), commonly referred to as ‘gagging clauses’, to placate angry members of staff. The broadcast stated that the University of Warwick, alongside most other British institutions, had used an NDA to restrict what a member of staff could say following an employment dispute. Typically a NDA prohibits the involved party from discussing the matter apart from with close family and legal advisers. Moreover, such agreements generally prevent disgruntled employees from publicly criticising the university. According to statistics from Academic Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, the University of Warwick has been involved in 12 employment disputes over the past three years. The University ended four of these disputes prior to a full hearing by offering a settlement which included a NDA. A FOI request has revealed that the University has paid out £27,750 as settlements across these four cases. In addition to this, the University has spent a total of £215,9 on legal expenses relating to these payment disputes. Cherise Hume, a first-year Biomedical Sciences student, stated: “It’s disgraceful to be honest, but to
be expected.” Postgraduate Chemistry student Alexander Parker, argued: “As an institution that is essentially publicly funded, using money [for settlements and legal expenses alongside NDAs] is quite deceptive to the public. “I would rather see the money used on facilities and services to improve the student experience.” Peter Dunn, head of communications at the University, urged: “The University does not, and would not, employ such agreements in relation to any matter that would be deemed to be in the public interest.” Mr Dunn added: “Many large organisations, including ourselves, find these agreements of value and will continue to use them where and when appropriate.” While Warwick has employed the use of NDAs as part of four staff employment disputes, other high ranking institutions have also used the ‘gagging clauses’ to a far greater extent. In the past three years both the universities of Manchester and Birmingham have resolved over 20 employment disputes with settlements which include a NDA, according to FOI requests.
» Photo: Warwick Media Library
Leamington residents urge students not to leave all of their rubbish on the streets when they leave for the summer holidays, according to the Leamington Observer. Warwick District Council are sending out ‘moving out packs’ to around 500 student residences in the area telling them of the different ways that their rubbish can be disposed of. Warwick Students’ Union is running a campaign on its website called ‘Leave Leam Tidy’, which also outlines the ways in which students can get rid of their rubbish. It includes a moving out guide which offers information on what to do with bulky items, with suggestions to take as much as possible to charity shops. The guide also suggests how to get deposits back and what to check before leaving the house. In areas with the highest student population around Clemens Street and George Street, there will be five extra textile and bric-a-brac collections. A spokesperson for the council remarked: “We are encouraging residents to dispose of their household waste using their usual doorstep services and as such we are not organising or promoting any additional collections of non-recyclable waste this year.” A resident of Tachbrook Road told the Boar that he thought landlords should be taking more responsibility for the issue than they
currently are. He said: “While students leaving rubbish piled outside their houses has been a problem in the past, ultimately I think the majority of the blame lies with the landlords. “They are running businesses, businesses that are making lots of money, and they can afford an external agency to get rid of the rubbish themselves.” He added: “I think landlords should have a greater, more positive and more active role in the disposal of waste when students leave.” Alice Dodden, second-year French and History student, commented: “We don’t have a lot of rubbish in our house as we’ve been throwing things out all year. “I understand why the council are urging students to get rid of their rubbish, because there will undoubtedly be a massive influx of rubbish in the next fortnight, especially with all of the cans and bottles from post-exam drinking. “It’s something they need to deal with as a town council – they’re here to deal with the needs of the people in the town.” Another student who lives in Leamington said: “To be honest, we’ve been fairly lazy with recycling all year. If there’s an overflowing recycling box and an empty rubbish bin, then we’ll chuck recyclables in the bin. “I’m fairly sure 99 percent of students are smart enough to work out how to throw their rubbish out - the majority of these leaflets will probably end up, ironically, being thrown straight into the bin!”
new learning system has been developed by a University of Warwick PhD student, and could soon be providing children with easy access to multi-lingual educational materials. The system, called M-Thuto, is the brainchild of Ms Mmaki Jantjies, and works by providing children with multi-language educational materials on their mobile phones.
ibbet Hill Road is set to be closed from June 2 for major roadworks aimed at relieving traffic congestion in the area around the University. The roadworks will disrupt travel to and from Warwick University campus, but are scheduled for completion by the beginning of October, before the new academic year begins.
swarm of angry bees forced the suspension of a golf tournament in Coventry for over an hour on Thursday 12 June. A number of players and officials suffered stings as they retreated from the twelfth tee of the PGA Powerade Assistants’ Championship at Coventry Golf Club in Finham.
team of researchers from the universities of Warwick, Leicester, Aston and the Open University are soon to start a research project to look at the often “unstable and fragmented” experiences of young people as they begin their careers. The researchers predict that unpaid work could soon become the norm for all young people trying to enter the job market.
arwick Crop Centre has been awarded a five year contract from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to continue to host the UK Vegetable Genebank at the University’s Wellesbourne Campus. The Genebank is an internationally significant collection of almost 1,000 seed samples from different vegetable crops including carrot, onion, lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, and closely related wild species.
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Students dissatisﬁed with teaching A third of graduates standards in higher education secure employment
24.3 percent of Warwick students were dissatisfied
» A fifth of students described teaching standards as “poor” photo: teddy-rised / Flickr Samuel Lovett A recent nationwide survey has found that a fifth (19.6 per cent) of students described the teaching standards at their universities as “poor”. The survey, undertaken by the Student Hut, asked more than ,00 students in its user-base to rate, review and score their university course modules. Alongside “poor teaching standards”, a fifth (20.8 per cent) of students also complained about the lack of support offered outside of lectures and seminars. 2. percent of students surveyed at Warwick were disappointed with the University’s teaching standards. Only 17.1 percent believed that there was not enough support outside of their lectures and seminar
classes. In comparison to the support offered by other universities, Warwick University fared relatively well. The survey found that at Cambridge University, 0 per cent of students felt that they weren’t provided with sufficient support to help them with their studies and stress. Dan Lever, founder of Student Hut, remarked: “Students need access to more information before they make decisions about university. “If they feel that experiences are not living up to expectations...then we are not doing enough to help them.” When asked about the University’s teaching standards, Will Harvey, a first-year Mechanical Engineering undergraduate, commented: “As a whole I am pretty
satisfied with my course’s teaching standards. “Obviously there are some lectures which can be disappointing but in general I’m happy with what is on offer.” In contrast, Raveena Kaur, a first-year Politics student, stated: “Whilst there are no doubt some good lectures, it is always so hitand-miss, there is no consistency to the teaching standards on my course.” She added: “I think it is bad how the lecturers are always striking - it puts our education at risk.” Mr Lever hopes to develop Student Hut as a university equivalent to “Trip Advisor”. He believes that the “pooling of information highlights problems areas, so that universities can take measures to improve the quality of the course modules that they offer.”
Euan Long A third of recent graduates have found full-time employment and 57 percent earn under £16,000, according to a national report published by Endsleigh. Students who graduated from Warwick in 201 are above the national average in both graduate employment and graduate salaries, according to separate research carried out by Warwick Student Careers & Skills. 80 percent of Warwick undergraduates went into graduate-level employment or further study. Of those in further study (28.5 percent), 5.9 percent were doing a taught course at a higher education institution and 1. percent were aiming for a postgraduate diploma or certificate. The average Warwick undergraduate salary was £2,000, with employers including Deloitte, NHS, Teach First and Jaguar Land Rover. Nationally, percent of recent graduates have found fulltime employment within 12 months of graduating. 8 percent of those said that their current wage is lower than they would have expected before graduating. 59 percent of current finalists said that they expected to be in full-time employment within 12 months of graduation. This is nearly twice the number of recent graduates who actually managed to secure employment. The research found that London-based graduates earn the most, with 8 percent earning £1,000 or more, compared to the national average of 8 percent. Approximately 21 percent said that their salary was be-
tween £1,000 and £21,999. The research also covered other aspects of university. 71 percent of recent graduates and 79 percent of current finalists said that university enhanced their chances of employment. Furthermore, percent of graduates said that university had set them up for the wider world and 79 percent said that university had helped them to build their self-confidence in meeting people and socialising. Practically, 55 percent said that the experience had taught them how to manage their own money and 7 percent said that it helped to widen their interests in the world outside of university. Katie Gorman, a 201 University of Warwick graduate in Classical Civilisation who went travelling soon after graduating, commented: “I figured a good degree from Warwick would stand me in good stead for getting a job but I’ve mostly found people don’t care, they want experience, not a degree! “I think travel has given me more to put on my CV than my university career did.” Gabriella Fryman, a 201 MORSE graduate at Warwick, told the Boar: “I felt that when I started university that my life would just fall into place. “I went straight from sixth form into university and fully expected to go straight into a job. I overlooked the fact that many people have degrees. “A degree isn’t enough for employers.” The Endsleigh report was based on national data from the NUS Services Research Department. The survey follows the news that named the University of Warwick as the most targeted university by top employers.
3-D printed gun a “catastrophic failure” Tom Lewis Tests conducted by the University of Warwick have resulted in a 3-D printed gun being labelled a “catastrophic failure.” The gun, named the Liberator by its American developers was tested by Warwick School of Engineering’s Dr Simon Leigh. Dr Leigh was working in collaboration with the West Midlands Police’s National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) department. Speaking to the Independent Dr Leigh commented that during the tests the gun: “Ranged from small failure to complete catastrophic failure.”
The tests were broadcast by the BBC and drew the conclusion that the -D printed weapon is more of a danger to the shooter than the intended target.
The problems the firearm suffered included the barrel breaking apart, with fragments of the pistol found subsequently embedded in the roof of the firing range. Further tests will be conducted by Warwick researchers to understand the causes of these failures. Head of NABIS, Detective Chief Superintendent Iain O’Brien, remarked: “There is a curiosity factor with D printers and those interested in playing around with the technology may not realise the danger they are facing. “Producing a firearm in this way is illegal and could cause injury to the person holding the gun.”
» Photo: Wikimedia Commons
» Photo: Jens Schott Knudsen / Flickr
Editors’ Letters “Debate is not optional”
“Billiards: a blokes’ game?” Ann Yip News Editor
hy on earth is billiards considered a lads’ or blokes’ game? And why do men feel the constant need to uphold or protect the ‘laddish’ notion of billiards sports? Every time I walk into a pool hall, I cannot help but notice a male-dominated room of ‘lads’ commenting on that ‘hot’ seminar tutor or that girl who was ‘pretty fit’. There is, of course, the occasional female pool player among her ‘lad’ friends or significant other, but I have yet to see just a group of girls enjoying pool together - other than my own friends. Why? Because billiards still exists as a game for men. I used to think that, surely, perceptions of billiards as a “man’s” game is really not such a bad thing. It’s not exactly barring women from the sport. It is only recently that I came to realise that by upholding billiards as a “man’s” sport, billiards has become something more than a sport: it has become a norm of masculine culture. Believe it or not, women, especially professional players, experience the most explicit kind of discrimination. It was only a few years ago that Reanne Evans needed special permission to compete in a West Midlands League because the club had a strict men-only policy.
Hiran Adhia Comment Editor My most upsetting experience of gender discrimination was when I was (gently) excluded from several pool games by my guy friends as a girl. The logic was that a girl would drain the fun out of a lads’ game; if a guy were beaten by a girl, that would be embarrassing, and if the girl simply wasn’t any good, the game would not be challenging enough. This shows one kind of discrimination that can arise from a masculine culture of billiards. Being a female billiards player is an incredibly lonely and isolated position; it is hard to find friends or peers to share your love of the game with or to practice against. As a billiards-lover since the age of thirteen, I have become accustomed to playing by myself, simply because there was no one to play against most of the time. It is not hard to imagine then why women are seemingly “less able” in such sports and why many professional female players are unable to compete in the top snooker or pool leagues. Some women may even see such a gendered notion of billiards as uplifting as they break social boundaries and engage in a “man’s” sport, but the truth of the matter is that it can be more difficult than exalting for women who do really want to engage in such a “man’s” sport.
I became Comment Editor to promote opinion, and specifically, student opinion. Over the past year, it has been my pleasure and privilege to see the growth of this section, with some stunning articles being written about very controversial issues. The mantra that we tell our writers is: be provocative, not offensive. I firmly believe that we have succeeded in this endeavour, and so I do not want people to stop writing. Recently there has been a lot of controversy over stories we’ve reported on here at the Boar. Issues such as the Best Snapchat Warwick page and the National Action coverage. The piazza has always been a buzz of activity but, by the time you are reading this, it will have been filled with students standing up against racism and discrimination. This is a fantastic example of student activism that should be promoted, but that does not mean that the debate is over. The point is that the debate is never over, and that all opinions should be heard. I am categorically against racism - and I am an ethnic minority student myself - but I think we would be foolish to completely dismiss these bigoted opinions without at least trying to understand them.
I imagine that this will not sit well with all of you. Some things are just ‘wrong’ – but we all need to learn to be a bit more educated about the opinions that don’t match our own and learn to deal with discrimination in a cleverer way than just shouting. These columns provide us with a way to have a conversation, because shouting never solves anything. Let’s start having conversations; in my opinion, debate is not optional. We can’t pick and choose when we discuss these issues, because that implies that they can be solved or eradicated quickly and easily - and they are much more complicated than that. So this is my request to you as you read through these pages. Don’t just listen to the conversation; start one. Open yourself up to understanding perspectives ; try not to close the door on the discussion and try to understand how people think, even if it does not sit well with you. If I let my own opinions influence what I publish in this newspaper then a lot of these pages would be empty! Have a voice. Write it down. Send it to me and I’ll publish it. Be provocative, not offensive.
Britain First: how hate groups are using Facebook to balloon Nicholas Buxey
acism and far-right ideology in general is undergoing something of a resurgence, according to the media. From the Golden Dawn in Greece to National Action, right here at Warwick, hate groups seem to be mushrooming. And yet online, one stands out. Britain First, a group which espouses specifically anti-Islamic ideology, is uniquely skilled when it comes to social media. Social media allows Britain First
to reach a whole new demographic by utilising Facebook to bring in a whole new generation of bigots, spurred on by the twisted and falsified headlines which often go viral. It’s easy to dismiss them as a fringe group, as one of the many purely out to shock, unchecked in the wilderness. And that was my opinion until a few days ago, when one of their stories popped up on my newsfeed. And sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident. Although I argued with a few, it proved futile. After all, how can you argue with stupidity? Their presence online is one of the
most worrying, as it allows them to quickly spread stories that are usually false, or place undue exaggeration on facts that are often merely incidental. While social media, like Twitter, can be used as a positive campaigning tool, Britain First represents the flip side of the social media coin. They convince many that Britain is virtually about to adopt Sharia law, creating an ever-more poisonous society riddled with tension. Much of its power exists thanks to Facebook, and without the online presence it enjoys it would surely disappear from national con-
Editor: Hiran Adhia Comment@theboar.org Twitter @BoarComment fb.com/groups/BoarComment
sciousness. Isn’t it all hate speech? Last time I checked, discriminating against a religious group wasn’t okay, but this is Facebook and they are notoriously slow to act. Of course, that isn’t to say that people aren’t already moving against it. The fantastic “Britain Furst” group provides a satirical angle, mocking the people who support the original, and creating stories that are somehow even more ludicrous than those shared by the official group. As Mel Brooks has recently shown, humour is often the most effective way of neutralising repugnant people.
“A retread on retard”
Retard” has to be one of the most commonly used adjectives. Your mate who forgot his ID even though you were going to a student night? What a retard. The following 15+ vodbulls no doubt got you absolutely retarded. I’m sure that the terrible coffee you bought after for your hangover was also priced retardedly high. Over the course of an afternoon in the library, I counted one person use the word more than 20 times. I held my tongue because I didn’t want to be the super-liberal thought police. I wish I had said something. I think we need to start calling people out on this stuff more. Trust me, I get that language is a fluid thing. I know that using “retard” as a pejorative isn’t deliberately insulting the intellectually disabled. And while it should be obvious that this association between intellectual disability and all that is terrible and disappointing is horrible, I’m not going to go at length to explain why. It should be clear. What concerns me is the level of understanding and awareness that people have of disability. For example, before uni I’d never had a disabled friend or family member. There weren’t any disabled kids at my school. Frankly, disability confused and scared me. Now I’m an active volunteer at a club for young people of all abilities. I get to spend every other Thursday hanging out and playing games with some hilarious kids. What I’ve learned is that the disabled are not The Disabled. A 1 year old with autism, is still a 1 year old. They still have a name, laugh and have horrendous mood swings. Disability does not make you a different kind of person, it simply makes you different. I still see people talking to adults like they’re children simply for being in a wheelchair. I still see people being held up as an “inspiration” simply for choosing to get out of bed in the morning despite having dwarfism. Nobody seems to understand disability. “Retard” is such a prevalent insult because the inherent harm falls on disabled ears, as if that somehow removes the sting. Count how often you use the word. If the number seems high, then start asking yourself how much you know about disability.
After Newark: UKIP watch Reece Goodall
he results of the Newark by-election are in: a comfortable win for the Conservatives, with UKIP coming in second. This is an important outcome, with Nigel Farage hoping that his party would secure their first seat in parliament on the back of their success in the European elections. However, with this result, many Tories are gladly proclaiming the UKIP bubble has burst, with the momentum of the party grinding to a halt. They claim that they have stopped the so-called ‘people’s army’, though it is worth noting the town was flooded with Conservatives during the campaign, eager to ensure this pivotal outcome. So, what now for UKIP? All this effort has proven the threat of UKIP is a powerful thing, and they will be all-out to make even more gains at the general election next year. Whether their previous success can be transferred is a different matter though. Both Labour and Lib Dem voters used their say to vote Conservative in a conscious effort to keep UKIP from victory, but Cameron’s seemingly shallow promise of a referendum if he wins the next election played into their hands, fuelling both the anti-immigration ideas of some voters and the feelings of being ignored that some others hold. I personally hold right-wing viewpoints and feel a Conservative majority would be the best thing for our country – the success of the coalition is evidence of this and, without the shackles of the Liberal Democrats, I feel more advances could be made. However, this is unlikely if the UKIP situation is not dealt with. UKIP is not a minutia to be filed away for later – even with the controversies over their policies and candidates, it is undeniable that Farage has a charisma that attracts voters fed up of the political norm; a bunch of public schoolboys with no real world experience. Farage wants to reclaim power from the EU, and to have foreign criminals deported. He wants to make sentences mean what they say, and he wants to end the barrage of political correctness that blights the country. These objectives may be based on misinformation, are not completely unworkable in practice, but they reflect the views of a public that increasingly feels ignored by the government, regulated by foreign bureaucrats and lost in their own country. They represent a breath of fresh air, and many people feel about ready for one. I don’t think UKIP have the power to make significant gains at a general election, but they certainly have the power to ruin things for the Conservatives. This result has given them a complacency they simply can’t afford.
What is the real cost of skipping seminars? Michael Perry asks whether attending classes should be made compulsory
mid the golden memories and intellectual enlightenment of the end of another academic year lurks one slightly sheepish question: how guilty should we feel about the amount of classes we have skipped this year? One hardly needs to consult official statistics to be aware that most students have been guilty of skipping classes — on a weekly basis in some cases. Given the bustling nature of university life, and simply knowing what students are like (What can we say? We do love a good lie-in), this doesn’t really come as a surprise. However, it’s likely to raise a few eyebrows when we consider how much these degrees are costing us. A university degree is a highly valued asset, and rightly so. And yet, in spite of this — and the raising of caps on tuition fees, of course —
most of us have still missed at least a couple of lectures in our time. True, our fees cover a variety of diversions beyond the courses themselves, but primarily, we enrol to continue our intellectual pursuits, and at no small financial cost. So should we feel obligated to attend every single class to which we are assigned? There is fierce debate regarding the notion that attendance should be made compulsory. University of Sussex alumnus and Guardian contributor Joshua Feldman has expressed his own opinion on why such a measure should be imposed in British universities, and the comment thread of his article demonstrates how hotly contested the issue is. One reader has posited that “making lectures compulsory infantalises students and discourages active learning”, while another argues that to skip classes is to squander the opportunities coveted by unsuccessful university applicants. However, in his own article for The Jakarta Post, Taufik R.
Indrakesuma highlights that attendance requirements disengage students by making their own choices appear limited, and rendering higher education as a non-negotiable process. Indrakesuma cites the University of Indonesia’s attendance policy as an unfavourable example, wherein students are required to attend 80 percent of classes in order to be eligible for examinations. He claims that matters are not this simple: there is no dependable correlation between an individual student’s attendance and their final grade, since merely attending a class does not guarantee a student’s ability to withhold or deploy the information provided.
The choice over whether or not to attend should be left to the individual.
On the cusp of graduation myself, I agree with his argument that it should not be one size fits all mentality. The choice over whether or not to attend should be left » Photo: Flickr/Images_Of_ to the individual. Those of us for Money whom attendance is not compulsory should consider ourselves for-
tunate to be granted a little extra influence over how our learning is organised. As long as we are able to demonstrate our knowledge and expertise when it is required, surely it is excusable to miss one or two sessions, especially if we feel that there are more beneficial ways in which to use our time. Where this does become a problem, however, is when cutting classes becomes less about making pragmatic choices, and more about apathy. Student absence is not always indicative of disillusionment with a particular course or module, but there are instances in which this is the case, which is an issue which needs to be addressed. Nevertheless, university is a site for discovery, and therefore, wherever possible, the responsibility should lie with the individual when it comes to making choices regarding the organisation of time, including the attendance or non-attendance of classes. It is when reasons for absence are grounded in apathy or laziness that the issue requires investigation, and perhaps the focus should shift from preventing absences altogether to scrutinising the conditions of those absences at a more focused level.
Sink your teeth in Some delectable delights from Boar Comment online
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EU Elections 2014: The Failure of the UK’s Elitist System
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Lifestyle Classes Fitting In: How the Internet Responded to the California Killings Ibtisam Ahmed
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Why are you voting? Nicholas Buxey
For this and more head to theboar.org/comment » Photos: Flickr/Robdeman; Flickr/kilo66; Flickr/ kcivey
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Marks and Module Choice Tim Pottle
t is that time of year again, where we are bombarded by emails from our departments saying that registration is open and it is time to choose modules for next year. Lists of modules are displayed on our computer screens; we begin to read the overviews, the prerequisites, the course reading, the assessment methods, and then the final tab, results. What, though, is our real motivation for choosing a module? A module may be stimulating and perfect for your area of interest: just the type of course you envisaged yourself doing at university. Alas, the average is a 2:2, so you click the back button and carry on scrolling through the list, deciding to start the next ones by checking the results summary. Whilst I understand that university is often seen by many as just a vehicle to enter the job market, and although I have no direct opposition to this, I do not feel that students’ choices in this period of their lives should be constrained by worries of performance in comparison to their peers. Many will often say that some » “The Fall of Pistorius” Cartoon by Richard Belton degrees are harder than others, and so people doing X get more firsts than people doing Y. That, though, is not the problem. Employers are aware of the discrepancies in subject marks. However, a first class degree in X looks better than a 2:1 degree in X regardless of what modules you took. Employers see have a much greater impact on the up almost 1 percent of the pop- subject X on two certificates and city. Between them both Coventry ulation in Leamington, which is a sensibly feel they can make a direct and Warwick University have huge proportion. Overall relations comparison between candidates. over 50,000 students. between students and other towns- Everyone is aware of the increasing Coventry could, folk are harmonious and students pressure and difficulty in finding amongst Leeds have a positive effect on the place, graduate employment. Now more and Sheffield, but as the pressure of the demand than ever there is huge pressure stand as one for affordable housing stock con- on students to achieve the highest of the best tinues to be outpaced by students mark possible and give themselves student cit- wanting to live in the town, will the best possible start for the future. For example, take a comparison ies in the this always be the case? country. This may be slightly radical an- between two second-year modules I n s t e a d yway. Uprooting Warwick students in the economics department. One the allure of from Leamington and plonking has an average mark of 57 percent, white Geor- them in Coventry is unlikely to with 15.15 percent of students scorgian facades happen any time soon. What could ing a first. In contrast, the other in Leamington is be done though is encouraging module has an average of 9.5 too strong for most more open-mindedness about the percent, with over 58 percent of to resist. This is despite city: many pass judgement before students attaining a first. Many may the average Warwick student even stepping foot within it. It has a argue that the scores are higher not rarely venturing past the Church lot to offer - a mix of new and old, a because the content is easier, but bus stop except for the clamber up vibrant and growing cosmopolitan due to the differing assessment forto Smack on a Tuesday. Choosing population and many pubs, clubs mats, whether that be essay-based answers or shorter style questions. to live in a town ten miles away and bars to explore. from campus is almost unique Our views on Coventry are Nevertheless, this still leads to stucompared to any other universi- largely based on misperception. dents on the same course being imties around the country. Sure, it’s a The best way to overcome this is to mediately disadvantaged in compretty place with good amenities, hop on the bus and explore the city parison to their peers. Consequently, students are left but if students chose to live in Cov- for yourself. You never know, you with a choice between pursuing a entry more, surely these facilities might even change your mind. » Photo: Flickr/ ell brown course of genuine interest, or optwould follow. ing for a module where they are Students in Leamington seem more likely to achieve a higher to be reaching a saturation point. Are you a fan of the mark. This is not a choice I think As the fervent rush for Spa Town city of Coventry? any student should have to make; real estate increases so too do calls Tweet us: @ students should base their decision from residents and the council to BoarComment on a genuine interest, and not their curb student lets. Students make perceived result at the end.
Dissing Coventry is dangerous
How many of us have ventured beyond the chip van outside Kasbah?
arwick students have a problem with Coventry; this is something that is taken as a given. We’ve all been guilty of saying disparaging things about the city on our doorsteps. Whether it is berating the brutalist concrete tomes of the skyline, the perceived lack of ‘history’, or some other (unwarranted) prejudice, Coventry has always been viewed as ‘the other’ in British history. To be ‘sent to Coventry’ is an English idiom meaning to deliberately ostracise someone. In fact it seems to be Warwick students who are deliberately ostracising the city itself. The bombing of Coventry during the Blitz is emblematic of the general disregard for the city. Churchill ordered that no defensive measures should be taken to protect Coventry, lest the Germans suspect that their cipher had been broken. This was one of the most destructive raids in the war on the British homeland and has had a marked effect on Coventry in the national consciousness. The root of student disaffiliation stems from the naming of the university. Taking its name from
‘Warwick’, despite the majority of campus being in Coventry rather than Warwickshire, creating an initial distance between students and the city. This mentality is exhibited when the rush for off-campus accommodation leads straight to Leamington. Any thing else is seen as a failure – if you’re late to the game you’ll ‘end up’ in Coventry... (and we wouldn’t want that?!) Coventry is seen as second best, somewhere to be avoided at all cost. In reality though, how much effort have we taken to get to know the city? Like any city Coventry has its problems, but it also has masses of hidden treasures which are ignored by students at Warwick because of our initial prejudice. The automatic rejection of Coventry by Warwick students is dangerous. We are creating barriers between the people of Coventry and the University. Warwick students are already worth £222m to Coventry, although if students fully embrace the city, we could
Ibtisam Ahmed says YES
t this moment, Banksy, the great recluse and sole artiste (with an e, thank you) whose preferred medium is graffiti, is being celebrated with a series of auctions, a gallery retrospective by one of his former acquaintances and a series of LEGO recreations. It is a sign of the movement he represents that the last of the three should be the most fitting tribute. In reality, however, Banksy is no longer as subversive as we would like him to be. This is because rebellion has been made mainstream, and it is diﬃcult for anyone as radical as him to maintain their vision for such a long time. Punk fashion went from being about deconstructing boundaries to being taken up by designer labels as a theme. The intellectual left became radicalised to the point where they are either misunderstood or submissive. With Banksy, his co-option by the so-called practitioners of “high art” happened the minute it became unforgiveable to paint over his work. For the record, on a purely amateur basis of understanding art, I can admire the beauty in his work. If I take the politics out of it, I can objectively agree with the idea of putting his work in the Tate Modern. At the very least, I can agree with the decision to keep his work intact. The problem is that Banksy is supposed to be so much more than that. His pieces tackle very heavy topics; the surveillance state (One Nation Under CCTV), the Arab-Israeli conflict (murals on the West Bank Barrier), and sexual health (Naked Man) are all areas he has looked at. As an outspoken critic of capitalism, his entire process is based on the idea of taking over public space, a form of guerrilla warfare against the class system in which the elites have to come face-to-face with eyesores. While individual critics do resort to calling him a vandal, Banksy’s art is among the most sought-after pieces in the contemporary world. He wants to help dismantle capitalism. Good for him. I wonder how well he is achieving it when his pieces are being so shamelessly commoditised. At the same time, graﬃti as a whole is still considered vandalism, which is one of the loudest, and weakest, arguments against the dismantling (or relocation) of the skate park in South Bank. It would be wrong of me to say that Banksy has directly sold himself out. At the end of the day though, it does not matter. As soon as his work went from being “graﬃti” to “art”, we lost him.
“Banksy needs to shake up his art so his attacks can be more eﬀective”
Milo Barnett says NO
anksy is the most popular and sought out artist in 21st Century Britain and indeed the world. His works have tried to express what he sees in contemporary Britain, which is not only stinging but resonates with disillusioned people as well. Whether this is an authoritarian police state or the rise of consumer society dominated by brands and global business, we are yet to fully discover. Yet recent ironic trends with Banksy’s work being sold off to the highest bidder...the same companies that used to critique his work now own it. His work due to its nature means that it can be claimed and sold off with ease. Banksy wishes to keep his art for the public and therefore his artistic integrity needs to actively promote his art rather than giving up on it once the paints dry. Artists need to commit to his or her work and if you let it get bought by a bank than you aren’t doing enough. Banksy’s artistic bold and original style has also become very mainstream by his popularity and shown by how much it can be sold for. He needs to shake up his art so that his attacks can be more effective and can show people the true nature of this nation state. An artist needs to have integrity especially one which cry’s out against the corporate nature of Britain and the art of the YBA set. Banksy is an artist for the public and being a public artist means one has to protect their art from those that seek to make a few quid for it. This means that we as a society should be protecting it whether that’s keeping it where it was created or moving it to a gallery for it to be preserved for future generations. Yet Banksy hasn’t condoned the selling of it and by ignoring it he becomes part of the problem. He has numerous options with this whether that is setting up his own gallery or indeed just donating it to the public. My main argument is that art, especially public art, belongs to the public and we need to act. He is widely admired and if he wishes to remain so has to act as his art doesn’t have legitimacy if it appears that he has sold out as an artist. Artist are meant to convey the emotions of people and the time; and their art preserves these emotions and yet they remain silent if they simply remain locked up in Canary Wharf.
» Photo: Flickr/archedroof
Do you think Bansky has sold out? Tweet us @BoarComment » Photo: Flickr/niznoz
Editor: Hiran Adhia Comment@theboar.org Twitter @BoarComment fb.com/groups/BoarComment
Cartoon Corner “Can you see what it is yet?” by Reece Goodall There has been a lot of speculation recently about entertainers and celebrities in the 1970s in the BBC dressing rooms. However, when Rolf Harris’ name was released by police and his subsequent charges, there were many that were shocked and appalled by the news. Reece Goodall hopes to get across the two sides of Harris’ character in this cartoon: the once-beloved children’s entertainer and the alleged peadophile. »
Following the Isla Vista massacre in Santa Barbara, there has been an overwhelming response on Twitter about the culture that surrounded the motives behind Elliot Rodger’s attack. It has been fascinating to see how many women suffer in silence at the hands of many men who think it is acceptable to act in a sexist, misogynist manner. To a certain extent, there is a claim that our society is so shaped around these injustices that people simply cannot tell the difference between what is acceptable and what isn’t. This has been wonderfully satirized by one of our resident cartoonists, Sophie White.
“#GrannyEscort” by Freya Verlander
Freya: “I don’t know if you had the misfortune of watching ‘My Granny the Escort’ last night on channel – I know I’ll never look at old people in the same way again – but I made a cartoon on that theme”.
“#YesAllWomen” by Sophie White
FEATURES If ve-gan, you can too 10
Editor: Rami Abusamra Features@theboar.org Twitter @BoarFeatures fb.com/groups/BoarFeatures
Hiran Adhia interviews Daiana Mizrafie-Ahi about her veganism
s we walked into Costa for our interview, I understood what it was to be a vegan first-hand: diﬃcult. After ordering a soy latte and being greeted by an indifferent shrug from the barista who seemed uninterested by Daiana’s request, we settled for green tea and sat down on the comfy sofas. I for one would have been annoyed by the reaction of ‘Richard’, but I suppose she must have seen it a thousand times before and so she dealt with the situation gracefully before we got into our chat. But before we even started talking, it dawned on me. There are many people that turn their nose up at veganism, as they believe there is a pretentiousness about it that cannot be ignored or avoided. To a certain extent, I used to be a part of this club. However, it can’t be easy to walk into any eating establishment knowing that 90 percent of the menu is off-limits and you might have to tell the waiter to change a few bits and bobs with the remaining ten percent so you can actually eat it. Being a vegan takes guts. Although guts are strictly off the menu.
“I understood what it was like to be a vegan first-hand: diﬃcult”
The one thing that I gained from my hour with Daiana was definitely principle. She said that she was drawn to veganism last April after discussing it with a fellow student vegan. They never pushed her to join the crowd, but purely piqued her interest. After doing her own research, she decided to take the plunge… and she hasn’t looked back since. “When you turn vegan, you change inside,” she told me, “It has a positive impact on other parts of
your life because it is all to do with your mind and outlook.” This is extremely important. It seems that being a vegan isn’t purely about your dietary requirements, but a full lifestyle choice that changes the way that you look at the world. According to Daiana, “Everyone is a vegan. We love animals when we are children. It is only when we grow older that we socialise animal selection.” What she meant is that by our teens, society has decided for us which animals are going to be our pets and which are going to be dinner. She calls this ‘speciesism’. I had never come across this term before, but she regards it as a form of prejudice in the same way as racism or sexism, and I agree with her. 80 percent of beef comes from dairy farms, which is a frightening statistic. However, the argument is not only a moral one, but a health one, too. Daiana is fervent in her conviction that since becoming a vegan, her diet and skin have drastically improved. “The health benefits are unfounded – you feel aware and more awake” which is something that impressed me considering I thought the vegan diet was very one-dimensional. Being a vegetarian myself, I am very aware of the restrictions that I face when it comes to nutrition and how getting protein into my body can sometimes be a struggle. Nevertheless, as Daiana puts it, “Food is very cultural. You broaden
your food – there is no restriction. Meat and milk are not food and they are not a part of my life anymore.” But don’t you miss the taste of the things that you previously enjoyed? Were you not tempted to go back? To which she astutely replied, “Are you a vegetarian for taste reasons? Taste changes. And no, I have never been tempted to go back. You can’t crave something that doesn’t belong to you and isn’t yours.” That told me. It rapidly became clear to me that being a vegan is being part of a bigger cause, and I think that this is the thing that scares people away. When w e im-
agine vegans, we see the same tree-hugging hippies that don’t believe in showers or good sense, but that image
is unfounded. Modern vegans, especially students, are smarter and more normal that we would like to admit and that is probably even scarier. Because it means that we can’t brush them to one side. “I can’t not share my knowledge with other people – it affects your lifestyle choice. Vegan is a part of my belief system, but people dismiss it because they don’t see that,” and this is absolutely true. We dismiss the things we don’t or won’t understand. But the fact is that these arguments can no longer be ignored. The plentiful supply of meat cannot last while livestock farming continues to ruin arable land and starve the poorest populations of the world. I would like to say that the world will be vegan… but vegetarianism seems the most likely option with the world growing as it is.
“I am one of the converted”
When I asked Daiana what she would do if she had the power to change or influence anything, her answer was forthcoming without hesitation. Make speciesism illegal. Make more of an effort to curtail the use of slaughter houses and bat-
tery farms because, as she says: “All animals are important, not just the domesticated ones.” I think her answer was relevant and achievable. And at the same time, there are so many good alternatives to the food that we get from animals that there really is no excuse not to try and at least consider veganism. I am one of the converted. Having a vegan flatmate and after being inspired by Daiana, I am seriously considering surrendering cow’s milk for a soya-based alternative,
“You can’t crave something that isn’t yours” - Daiana Mirzarafie-Ahi
and I think I have been convinced precisely because it hasn’t been rammed down my throat. The arguments are intelligent, sensible and forward-thinking. It just takes willpower and a change in attitude to really change the way that we approach food and the world. Daiana has already convinced her mother and sister to take the plunge, and hopefully through this article, and with my hour with Daiana, you have gone some way to taking that plunge yourself. I want to say a massive thank you to Daiana Darlene Mirzarafie-Ahi for sparing her time and allowing me to pick her brain. If you want to learn more, then please join the Animal Ethics society or follow her blog (highly recommended) at www.daianadarlene.wordpress.com.
» All photographs on this page courtesy of Daiana MirzarafieAhi Interested in learning more about veganism? Visit Daiana’s blog www.daianadarlene. wordpress.com
Elliot Rodger, My Twisted World
Redmond Bacon tackles Elliot Rodger’s hard-to-read manifesto, posted just before his killing spree
» The world was shaken by the actions of the 22-year old UCSB student who outlined his motivations in detail on YouTube Photo: digitaljournal / Flickr
ometimes great works of literature can come from people with whom you don’t agree with morally, or even straight-up despise. On May 2, before killing seven people, including himself, on the Isla Vista, California, as revenge for a lifetime of torture, Elliot Rodger emailed a manifesto explaining why to his parents and friends. At 11 pages, and available online, My Twisted World is a fascinating insight into the mind of a mass murderer. My Twisted World isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either. One thing can be said of it; it’s authentic. The psychological interest of this book lies in how terrible ideals find themselves manifested in one individual through his misin-
Rodger killed six people and himself in California in late May terpretation of the world. Elliot Rodger is the true heir to Ted Bundy as a postmodern killer. He was presciently aware of himself as a brand, and of the infamy he would bring. Watch ‘Elliot Rodger – The Supreme Gentleman’ on Youtube, in which clips of him driving around are soundtracked by ‘A Real Hero’ – the soundtrack from Drive. The reality of his murders are being shamelessly soundtracked by fiction, giving it a haunting cinematic quality. His delivery is reminiscent of Patrick Bateman, and his sadness sounds almost ironic. But he’s not being ironic. He had Asperger syn-
drome, and his world view came from a vast misapprehension of the world around him. It’s a tragic fact that there are too many mass killers in the world, and most of them do not attract much lasting interest. But here we have a boy compelled to commit a massacre, merely because of not getting laid. The whole thing seemed absurd yet familiar, and I had to read his manifesto to see how he came to such a tragic decision. The story starts at birth, and his early years, remembered with remarkable clarity, are filled with bliss, before he had to meet any girls. His favourite film was The Land Before Time and this was metaphorical for his desire to go back to a place before girls were cruel to him: “This was perfect, and this is how life should be.” His feelings of inferiority began when he realised that he is not as tall or as strong as the other boys, feelings that remained throughout the rest of his life. He felt alienated from others, and ashamed of his part-Chinese heritage. When puberty arrived, catastrophe began. He had seen someone watching pornography in Planet Cyber, a local online gaming store, and was filled with a bizarre mixture of trauma and arousal. He writes: “Finding out about sex is one of the things that truly destroyed my entire life. Sex... the very word fills me with hate. I would always hunger for it, I would always covet it, I would always fantasise about it. But I would never get it. Not getting any sex is what will shape the very foundation of
my miserable youth. This was a very dark day.” He found refuge in World of Warcraft, a fantastic game I would never recommend, because the addiction levels are ridiculous. I am eternally grateful to my father for not renewing my account after the two week trial. I didn’t think it then, but he made the right decision. Increased addiction to the
“When puberty arrives, catastrophe begins”
game coincided with Rodger’s confusion towards women, and the unbearable fact that other friends at school were apparently having sex whilst he wasn’t. Soon he found he was missing out on the essentials of life, going to parties, getting with girls, hanging out with friends, and find the whole thing unfair; that he is seemingly condemned to a life of misery. A friend told him: “No girl in this whole world will ever want to fuck you.” He went to university and sex still managed to elude him, despite the addition of alcohol to his life. It was here that his thoughts turned steadily towards the macabre, as he sought revenge on all girls, and the ‘brutes’ who were able to sleep with them. He called his revenge the “Day of Retribution”, and was being called a hero among misogynist trolls online. My Twisted World, in its sad de-
scent into murder, makes for an agonisingly depressing read, although punctuated by brief moments of unintentional comic levity, such as when he recalls only travelling to England so he can fly first-class. I wonder what a single kiss could have done. It may have altered his life forever. He mentions feeling euphoric at 19 when a mysterious girl merely smiled at him. But this was tragedy, and he never even won a kiss. However, this pity dissipates near the end of the story, as the hatred became almost unbearable to read. Especially difficult is knowing that this isn’t fiction: this is real. With his disgusting imagination, he devised a world in which women are sent to concentration camps to die, and only a few of them are kept for artificial insemination. The boy was terribly twisted inside, and his
“Rodger told himself a story in order to die”
words are pathetic and vile. Reading through this, I realise that I had a similar childhood, and so have, I suspect, many other people. Most of the time was spent outside teachers’ offices, waiting to be reprimanded, feeling inadequate and misunderstood. Girls made me feel especially awful about myself, but unlike Rodgers, they also make up my most transcendent moments. Everyone seemed to get laid before me, now I realise half
of them were lying. The manifesto captures extremely well the pain of feeling like an outsider, that you will never belong, and that you will never, ever, get laid. My refuge was books (spot the cliché), and I read voraciously. When my wonderful English teachers noticed this, they encouraged me to do better, and I soon became the best English student in the school. I went to Warwick, finally got laid, and finally didn’t have to lie during ‘Never Have I Ever’. The trick was to put all this energy spent getting into trouble towards becoming a better person. Alcohol helped. Like Rodger, I wrote about my own life, trying and failing to understand what it all means, but I like to think my material offers a more encompassing view of the universe. Rodger’s fatal flaw was to internalise this anger, breeding an essentially negative view of the world around him; eventually achieving its end in bloodshed. Ultimately tragedy comes from within, and that is certainly the case here. You could blame World Of Warcraft, or television, or society, but these views seem more an effect than a cause. He is to blame, and nobody else. His friend James is a useful contrast in the book. He is also a Warcraft-playing virgin, but does not display the same dissatisfaction with life as Elliot. A book like this shows that maybe character is destiny. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” Joan Didion writes at the start of ‘The White Album’. Elliot Rodger told himself a story in order to die.
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Editor: Bethan McGrath Lifestyle@theboar.org Twitter @BoarLifestyle fb.com/groups/BoarLifestyle
Could you survive on £ a day?
Tête à tête: Tattoos
Emily Dunford discovers what it’s like to live below the line
or £1 you can buy a packet of four Double Decker Bars. For some of us, the thought of buying and eating the entire pack in one sitting somewhere between lunch and dinner is totally normal. But what if I told you that for £1 you could feed yourself for a day? £1 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What if I told you that 1/7 of the world’s population are living on less than the equivalent of £1 per day, due to living under the international extreme poverty line? For these people, £1 has to stretch much further than the food bill, covering education, medical costs and much more. This might seem impossible for us to imagine - in the UK the average household spend is £89 per week alone. The international extreme poverty line is drawn at the equivalent of $1.25 in the US, calculated using Purchasing Power Parity. This is approximately £1 in the UK and scaled accordingly to different countries. 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty. That’s roughly the same amount as the entire population of India. In Chad, Liberia and Haiti, 80 percent of people live below the poverty line. This is not something that’s confined to less economicaly developed countries though. Far fewer people in the UK live below the international extreme poverty line, but around 1 percent of the population live in relative poverty. The Global Poverty Project have a vision to end extreme poverty by 200. Their Live Below the Line campaign, now in its fifth year, raises money and awareness for 5 charities including Oxfam, Save the Children and Restless Development by encouraging people to spend £1 per day on food. Participant online profiles are set up with blogs and sponsorship links, making it easy to donate to the cause. In 201, £822,28 was raised for these charities and as of May 2th 201, £85,980. The rules of the Live Below the Line challenge are relatively simple. Over five days, participants must only spend £5 on food and drink (tap water is free) and there is a cap of £1 per day, in accordance with the International Extreme Poverty Line. Accepting “freebies” is not allowed, but participants are encouraged to shop wisely to find discounts and cheap deals. With the exception of items commonly found in the cupboard, like spices, the whole price of a product must be taken into consideration. This means that you can’t bulk buy to reduce costs, so if you buy twelve eggs, they all have to be accounted for in the £5 budget. Sounds like a lot of hassle right? It is. Although for those of us outside of poverty, who cannot possibly get a thorough understanding
of what it’s like, the budgeting and penny-counting can give a slight idea. Rather than “playing at poverty” as critics have claimed, this is taking an active approach to engage in conversation about privilege and the allocation of resources in the world. This year, taking the Live Below the Line challenge for Oxfam, my meal plan consisted mainly of spaghetti with frozen vegetables, watered-down porridge and lentil soup. I’ll try to give you as brief an account of my experience as I can, because the emotions and reflections that ran through me as I took the challenge could fill several pages. Day one was easy, although writing essays without the comfort of chocolate felt unnatural (my chocolate addiction is definitely becoming a problem). Day two was harder. Everyone seemed to be eating luxury cuisine, and I had to make do with lentil and courgette soup. The problem wasn’t that it lacked flavour, it was the lack of choice in general; in the UK, supermarkets can provide us with food at a very low cost but this often lacks the nutrients which the average adult needs to stay healthy. Hunger isn’t categorised as simply the quantity of food but also the quality- if you ate an unlimited amount of oats, you’d be full but not nourished. On days three and four I had to turn down several offers of a pub lunch, which I would usually accept without a peek at my bank balance. There are very few truly free activities to allow people to socialise, and for those without funds, life can be extremely lonely. People in poverty have low access to goods and service, leading to exclusion from society as a whole. With these things to consider, it seemed selfish on day five to be thinking about what I’d be spending once the challenge was over. After all, for one in seven, living below the line is a permanent part of life. Looking ahead, I’m aiming to reduce food waste and consistently buy from sustainable sources which give workers a fair wage. Also, to get a better understanding of the issues, next year I’ll be living below the line for a month. If you allow yourself to be immersed in this challenge, by researching extreme poverty and supporting the organisations working to put an end to it, it can change your life for the better. Visit www.livebelowtheline.com to read more information and sign up to take the challenge alongside thousands of other people. The official Live Below the Line challenge week was April 28 - May 2 but the website will be open to new participants until June 0. Try it with a friend and pool your money together to make the challenge a little easier. Good luck and bon appetit!
I “1/7 of the world’s population are living on less than the equivalent of £1 per day”
“My meal plan consisted mainly of spaghetti with frozen vegetables, watered down porridge and lentil soup”
» Photos: Flickr/karne roe
Take ownership of your body Rebekah Holland
’ve heard all of the criticisms before: “getting a tattoo will reduce your employability”, “it will look awful when you’re older”, even that, “it’s just unnatural!” However, tattoos these days are not uncommon - more people are opting to get inked and the negative attitudes towards them are becoming more and more outdated. The notion that people who have tattoos are unemployable is entirely untrue. They have become much more socially acceptable over the years and employers are now much more open minded when it comes to an applicant with tattoos. The idea that a tattoo indicates irresponsibility - or whatever other attribute your mother tells you when trying to dissuade you from getting inked is wholly outdated. Unless you’re applying for a position for which appearance is of the utmost importance (i.e. don’t get a full torso tattoo if you want to be a model) employers are more likely to be paying more attention to what’s on your CV.
Tattoos are a way for people to express themselves - they’re a form of art. Whilst many people might argue that you can express yourself without “destroying” your body, I’m a strong believer in self-ownership; it’s my body and if I want to have someone draw all over it then I will. Most people get tattoos that have a deep meaning to them; as a reminder of loved ones or a particularly significant time in their life. For so many people they are much more than just a ‘drawing’. Yes, there’s always going to be someone who got a camel inked on their big toe when they were in Maga, but to say that all tattoos are stupid is a gross generalisation.
Don’t embarrass yourself Hiran Adhia
ou are not David Beckham. When you see a sleek H&M poster of Golden Balls pushing his next range of underwear, with his arms and chest covered in neat ink, I would forgive you for thinking you could pull it off. But the strong likelihood is that you can’t, so please don’t kid yourselves. After having this conversation with numerous friends, it is clear that tattoos are an attractive prospect but are never fully thought through. And the chances of them coming off how you want them to look is slim. Superstars spend thousands of pounds on ridiculously talented artists and spend months crafting the perfect looking print on their skin. This is way out of most people’s budget and timescale and so we settle for the guy on the high street who looks like he has done a good job on a friend of a friend, so he’ll do. No. I understand the reasons behind it. Tattoos are brave expressions of body art that have deeply personal connotations for the person getting one. However, these days there is too much focus
on image. What looks good, rather than what means more. So by all means, if you are serious about getting one and you have spent time and effort looking for a design and artist that gets it, then I have no qualms. I am talking to those people that get the Chinese letter for ‘soup’ tattooed on their arse and claim it is ‘purity’. The people that upload pictures of their ink to Facebook expecting waves of likes. If you want to draw attention to yourself, do something more useful and less permanent. Because the chances are, when you sober/grow up, you will look down and ask yourself what possessed you to do s ome t h i ng so expensively stupid. Save yourself that embarrassment.
theboar.org/Lifestyle | @BoarLifestyle | LIFESTYLE 14 15
Scent-suous or scandalous? The nightclub
Derin Odueyungbo uncovers the truth about expensive fragrances
hese days the price of perfume has become a subject of discussion, as the pocketpinching nature of this “magic juice” causes us to ask ourselves how much these fancy fragrances actually cost to make. “Oh, don’t you smell lovely”, we hear people say, but at what cost? Some of the finest perfumes we wear can range from anything in the £0 region to well over £100. With consumers spending £0 million a year on perfume, it is no surprise that all the big sports stars
The majority of perfumes are manufactured on low budgets in industrial factories
and celebrities have started making their own fragrances. We all know those who rush to the airport hours early so they can visit Duty Free and get their fragrances at a considerably
cheaper price, yet even tax-free, the actual contents of a perfume bottle are the least costly thing in producing the fragrance as a whole. Astoundingly, the value of the liquid perfume in a bottle can be as little as percent of the final cost. We know that the manufacturers are making big bucks at our expense, but in a western world that is becoming more and more capitalist, aren’t these statistics pretty commonplace? As consumers, we may be paying £0 for that cheaply made bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier, but can we complain? The product we are paying for doesn’t fail to serve its intended purpose. It wouldn’t be the first thing we had paid for that costs a ridiculous amount more than its cost to manufacture. Lest we not forget about the shiny iPhones in our pockets or the designer shoes we have spent months saving for. The majority of perfumes are manufactured on low budgets in industrial factories based in America, Japan, Switzerland and Germa-
ny. Although it may vary according to each fragrance, the packaging of a perfume costs approximately £2.50 to make, with the bottle costing around £.50 and sometimes just £1 for the liquid concentrate. Let’s not forget where else our money is going – manufacturer’s profit, retailer profit, marketing, royalties (in the case of celebrity fragrances) and sales commission all make up the price that we pay for our beloved fragrances. While words such as “extortionate”, or “scam” may be used in discussions about perfume prices, it is worth remembering that the very corporate world in which we live is motivated by the drive for high profit margins – which consumers may be liable to. In this case, the consumer has a choice. Perfume is a luxury, not a necessity: if prices were unacceptably extortionate we may see this market begin to dwindle, but up until now, this has not been the case.
Essentials for every savvy student’s post-exam night out
xams are over, and now it seems that every student is on a mission to kill their few remaining brain cells in an alcohol-fueled clubbing spree. Be it Kasbah, Smack, or Pop! (yes, some of us do like the SU), if you’re not out every night, then you’re clearly not doing term three right. Along with your banter, there are a few other things you shouldn’t leave at home if you want to ensure a successful night out... Credit Card Yes, you may have stuffed a few fivers in your bra before heading out, but the chances are you’ll be out of pocket within the first hour thanks to the extortionate prices of taxis/club entry/drinks. Oh, and thanks to that friend who never has cash and asks you to pay for their taxi/club entry/drinks. Tissues The situation is all too familiar - you’ve been queuing to use the loo for what seems like an hour, to find that only one cubicle is usable because of a drastic loo roll shortage. Imagine being that girl to whip out a packet of Tesco’s Satin Soft and hand them out to your fellow comrades waiting to be relieved. Bring a packet on a night out and you’ll be the hero of the toilets all over Leamington. Mini Stapler Whilst this may not be the first thing to come to mind when hast-
ily stuffing your bag before a night out, a mini stapler can turn out to be a life-saver in the case of an outfit disaster. Got a rip in the seam of your bodycon dress? Staple it. The handle of your bag has come off? Staple it. A really creepy guy won’t leave you alone? Staple his - ahem, maybe don’t use it for that... Plasters You know it’s going to happen - someone in the group is going to get horrendously drunk and cut their foot open by falling up the stairs, slipping on the sweaty, alcohol covered dance floor, or stumbling out of a taxi in their stupidly high heels. To save all of your outfits from becoming stained, wipe up most of the gore with a tissue (which, of course, you have also brought) and slap on a plaster. Everyone will commend your preparedness and you may even get a free drink out of it. Mini Deodorant A small roll on perfume will also suffice. After a few hours of twerking downstairs in Smack, the chances are you’ll be smelling a little more ripe than you’d like that guy over there who is giving you the eye to know. After a quick (discreet!) spritz of your scent of choice you’ll be smelling sexy in no time. You’re welcome.
» Photos: Flickr/ I-5 Design & Manufacture & Bethan McGrath
Sorry, I didn’t intend to be ‘skinny’: the complaints of a foodie
Self-confessed food lover Ann Yip tells us why being called skinny is not always a compliment
’m not really sure how many girls out there would share my opinion, but as a petite girl, I die a little inside when someone compliments me for being ‘slim’ or ‘in shape’ and comments that I mustn’t eat a lot, or that I must have a very healthy diet. My response is often: “but I like fried chicken!” So to prove that not all ‘skinny’ people go on diets or eat ‘right’ (whatever that means), I decided to undertake a project: to count my calories for five days. I have actually undertaken this experiment as accurately and honestly as possible and have not been purposely stuffing myself. The results are summed up in the chart below. As seen above, I am far from being the ‘skinny chick’ who eats under 2000 calories every day, the recommended daily intake for women. Instead, I eat an average (or mean) of 220 calories every day, a 12 percent surplus for women. In fact, I don’t actually care how many calories I eat every day, which explains the weird fluctuation of numbers. Sadly, in this research, I have also had to reveal the kinds of food I ate. Yes, I actually eat processed sausages, instant noodles, chips, chicken nuggets, spicy food, instant coffee
and instant milk tea on a day to day basis - I am not really sure if I can still qualify as a ‘healthy eater’. One of the biggest reasons why I get a bit glum when being complimented as ‘skinny’ is that, for me, far from the idea of looking like a
model, being skinny implies powerlessness or an empty stomach. Having grown up as an ambitious athlete, this is of course not an ideal way to be viewed by anybody, especially when I do eat. Secondly, I am not a preach-
er of healthy eating. So when my ‘slimness’ becomes an emblem of healthy eating, I feel like I, as a person, am being misjudged. I am not saying that healthy eating is bad, it’s just not me. I identify myself as an absolute food lover; I love any kind
of food bursting with flavour, spices, salt and all the ‘horrible’ kinds of seasoning: street food, fast food, pub food, restaurant food, you name it. Of course, I would rather we talk about the importance of healthy eating another day - or not at all. I am not trying to be vain and say that I can still be ‘in shape’ (whatever that means) and eat whatever I want. In fact, I envy larger girls, which is a feeling I don’t get with girls skinnier than me, even if I do appreciate that they look great too. From my exhaustive calorie counting attempt, I wanted to prove that not all ‘skinny’ people eat less or eat healthily. But perhaps more can be deduced from this — that sometimes we are not always what we eat. So large girls, stop thinking that you need to eat less to achieve a ‘slim’ physique and skinny people, stop trying to make yourself fat to look ‘normal’. Sometimes, our physiques are what they are and we might not be able to change them as radically as we like. » Photo: Ann Yip (adapted photos - pita: Flickr/ Jason Toney; curry: Flickr/Albert Huynh; cake: Flickr/katbert; chicken and ribs: Flickr/Mike McCormick)
“Good evening from Radio Supermoon” Emily Dunford reviews Fuel’s new rooftop production in association with the National Theatre
Editor: Josh Payne Arts@theboar.org Twitter @BoarArts fb.com/groups/BoarArts
Boar Arts meets WSAF Deputy Arts Editor Catherine Lyon met the team behind Warwick Students’ Arts Festival
The Warwick Student Arts Festival has its tenth birthday this year, and the festival has become bigger than ever with over 150 programmed events both on- and off-campus. But who is behind the running of the festival?
» The Roof: Soaring to new theatrical heights or does it have a few loose narrative tiles? (photo: Paul Hampartsoumian)
ituated in Doon Street Car Park, the arena for Fuel Theatre’s 0° panoramic spectacle The Roof is a gamer’s fantasy. It comprises various rooftop scenes and levelled platforms, complete with a scoreboard and which is utilised fully throughout the show as performers dance and run freely high above the audience. The creative team all have years of experience and include set designer Jon Bausor who created the vision of the 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony. The experience and creative expertise is wonderfully evident in The Roof’s stunning arena. Upon entering, I am handed a pair of headphones and stand in the centre of the space listening to the quirky music that loops before the show begins. I stand next to a couple of press photographers and ponder with them over the capacity of the venue, which eventually fills so that the audience is tightly packed in. We estimate 50 people, though we can’t be sure. 9.0pm comes and goes with no sign of the show beginning. I wonder for a moment whether The Roof is just a terriblymarketed silent disco and I’m missing the point. Suddenly a screen is lifted to reveal a dancer in a red jumpsuit and it all begins. The performance is twenty minutes late to start in the end and although this doesn’t bother me, the weather becomes increasingly chilly and I regret not bringing a pair of gloves. Directors Frauke Requardt and David Rosenberg have taken the essence of theatre to the next level. They wanted to create a multi-player game “in which all the rules have been lost and all you can hope for is the
opportunity to keep going.” Reading the programme description of The Roof led me to fear that the piece would be so far removed from conventional theatre that it would err on the side of pretentious. Yet as soon as the spectacle began this fear was immediately swept away. When the show begins, the audience are thrust into a video-game world thanks to the binaural sound system and sharp lighting design. You’re told that you alone are important, that the performers are speaking directly to you. I look around and everyone is engrossed. The script itself is in keeping with the surreal game world; it’s very witty but also accessible. A 12 year-old boy stood near me is grinning from ear to ear, as is his mother, when the hero embarks on a monologue about the biscuit in his pocket.
The Roof manages to be meaningful and even rather moving at the conclusion.
To complement the script there are Mighty Boosh-esque songs excellently composed by Dave Price. The dancing that accompanies them is minimalistic and oddly hypnotic. Masked rabbits in suits sway from side to side, the lady in the red jumpsuit is doing a variant of the Twist. Of course, it’s the parkour that’s the main attraction of the movement. The cast make tumbling across the
skyline look incredibly easy and sustain their video-game personas throughout. Although there aren’t the extravagant tricks you might expect to see in a parkour showcase, the clean-cut movements are hugely effective. As the show progresses, a clear structure is laid out. The hero must pass a number of challenges in order to progress to the next level. Towards the end though I feel as though I’m not fully understanding what’s going on. I have an idea, and as I leave the arena it’s clear so do the other audience members, but as nothing is explicit in the plot I’m unsure what I was supposed to realise. Nevertheless, by building up a recognised structure and slowly breaking it apart, The Roof still manages to be meaningful and even rather moving at the conclusion. All elements of this show work together to immerse the audience in a world that, at times, seems a little like ‘Battling Seizure Robots’ (the Japanese cartoon on the Simpsons that gives viewers seizures), complete with guns and bizarre antagonists. As I watch a sinister man with a giant, yellow pyramid for a face pursue our hero, I realise for a moment how ridiculous The Roof is. It’s a unique spectacle and even if you don’t come away with a new moral outlook on life, it’s undoubtedly a lot of fun. The Roof is a production by Fuel in association with the National Theatre and is on at Doon Street car park opposite The National Theatre until June 28.
What’s on NT Live: A Small Family Business
All That Is Solid Melts Into Air
Until 21 June, 24 June, Mead Gallery WAC FREE £10.50 A personal look at Rampant selfthe impact of the interest takes over and comic hysteria Industrial Revolution on culture, and its builds to a climax in influence today. Ayckbourne’s play.
Cézanne and the Modern
Until 22 June, Until 5 July, Young Vic, Ashmolean, Oxford £10 £7 for students The award-winning Extraordinary masBelarus Free Theatre terpieces by artists of production created the Impressionist and from true stories Post-Impressionist around the world. movements.
Art and Life
Fathers and Sons
Until 21 Sep Until 26 July, Dulwich Picture Donmar Warehouse, Gallery, From £7.50 £6 for students Fathers and Sons Looking at speaks of the heartpivotal figures in the break of being a parevolution of British ent and the compromodernism. mise of growing up
Lauren Clarke and Polly Hayes – Coordinators: Having been in the position of Workshops Coordinator last year, Lauren was very pleased to have gained the place of co-ordinator for WSAF’s tenth anniversary: “I wanted to run to make sure the festival had a sense of continuity. It’s always good having a couple of members with experience.” Polly seems to think she has a great relationship with Lauren: “We work really well as a team – me as the old duck with the technical know-how, and her as the one with all the new ideas!” Jennifer Kou – Deputy Co-ordinator: Jennifer is currently studying for an M.A. in Creative and Media Enterprises and like the rest of the WSAF team wants to get as many people interested in this year’s festival as possible: “WSAF is such an exciting event that allows everyone to enjoy the beauty of art, and it’s great fun to be a member of this year’s exec team. I really enjoy working with Lauren, Polly and all the managers to make this year’s festival the best yet.” Kay Heenan – Marketing Manager: The second year International Management student has started turning the campus purple this year! With “posters, flyers, programmes, Tshirts and even wristbands, as well as using the digital screens round campus”, her work is cut out trying to involve as many people in the festival as possible. “We are very excited about this year’s festival and the breadth of talent it will showcase. Come and find us on the Piazza during the festival to find out more! Look out for the purple polos!” Izzy Beaumont – Deputy Marketing Manager: As a member of the part of the exec in charge of spreading the WSAF word this year, fresher Izzy is one of the most enthusiastic members of the team when it comes to getting as many people involved as possible: “I’m really enjoying being on the exec for WSAF as I feel that I am a part of something really exciting, unique and fun!” Emily Dunford – Events Manager: Having thrown herself into working for the Student Festival in Scarborough this year, as well as many on-campus student productions, organising the programme for one of the biggest student festivals in Britain was the next logical step for this eager fresher: “It’s a lot of work so I have to be super organised all the time. It’s all worth it though, we’ve got a cracking schedule and I can’t wait for the festival!” Check out the whole article online: theboar.org/arts
Editor: Sam Evans Music@theboar.org Twitter @BoarMusic fb.com/groups/BoarMusic
All good things must come to an end... Two previous Boar Music editors have a look back at the way music has defined their Warwick experience...
ack, back, way back in the autumn of 2011, I rocked up to campus with Arctic Monkeys’ Suck it and See ringing in my ears, having little clue as to how extensively I’d go on to embrace the musical sphere of university life in my all-tooshort experience of it. Many major epochs of my time here have a corresponding melodic memory, and I’m able to play back my soundtrack to Warwick with great fondness and nostalgia. In the dizzy months of Fresherhood, I bagged the role of Head of Music at RaW 1251am (partly due to an off-the-cuff pun involving Laura Marling’s ‘Rambling Man’), and the subsequent year of working on the radio station’s exec team opened up a vast range of opportunities for discovering – and sharing – new sounds. The serendipity continued into second year; the day I became the editor of this very section coincided with a trip to Manchester to catch Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ explosive show at the O2 Apollo. Finals year has heralded countless other highlights, including hearing Kanye’s ‘Black Skinhead’ everywhere from Smack to afternoon picnics, and mere hours after putting my pen down on top of my final exam paper, I was swaying in Camden’s Roundhouse, completely transported by the terribly beautiful sounds of Neutral Milk Hotel. And that’s before I’ve even got to how music became an essential catalyst for sparking dozens of friendships, whether bonding over tacky ’90s anthems in the Copper Rooms, or debating favourite albums well into the night in pubs all across Leamington Spa. Warts and all, being a student at Warwick has been a beautiful ride, and the future still looks tuneful beyond graduation. With Latitude and Green Man slated for this summer, and a music catalogue now bursting at the seams, these three years have left me in good stead for a future of further discoveries, as well as giving me a soundtrack for the memories which I’ll always hold dearly to my heart.
» Hats oﬀ to another fine year for Boar Music... photo: warwick.ac.uk
Sam Carter The first time I walked into the Copper Rooms, it was with what I can only describe in hindsight as an embarrassing amount of excitement. I was the epitome of freshness – Example was my alarm clock, Calvin Harris was my ringtone, and POP! and Skool Dayz ensured that the only thing more saccharine than my listening habits was the Purple everyone was drinking. Throw in a few cheesy Bon Jovi sing-alongs and the bizarre thing that was Ms. Dynamite at the Summer Party, and first year was a strange time for musical habits. It would never last, of course. Evolve has since been renamed to Neon, Top Banana soon became Drop, and it has to be said that my second year was a comparatively mellow affair. They say university’s all about broadening your horizons, so I tried to use
the opportunity to go beyond the safe bubble of indie rock that I used to occupy. Childish Gambino and Chance the Rapper helped me vaguely get into rap for the first time, and albums like Random Access Memories and Channel Orange remain two of my all-time favourites today.
I was the epitome of freshness Example was my alarm clock, Calvin Harris was my ringtone Soon enough, the third-year haze of dissertation-writing and exam revision was subject to a more sombre backdrop of The National and Laura Marling, with the occasional Hans Zimmer soundtrack thrown in for particularly frenzied late-night sessions. Along with catching a few acoustic gigs at
Curiositea, my listening habits started to feel strangely refined – something that’s sure to change as I join others in trying to recreate first year during the final weeks of post-exam bliss. For now, Harris et al. have regained their temporary place on the Spotify rota, and there are few things in life that can match the simple joy of sticking Toto and Tom Jones on the Kelsey’s jukebox. It’s safe to say that the music that has soundtracked my university life hasn’t always been the best – in fact there have been times when it’s been downright shocking. If nothing else, it’s been a great way to remember three of the most hectic, unpredictable, bonkers years you’re likely to have. Share your Warwick musical experiences
Album Reviews Die Antwoord Donker Mag
Lykke Li I Never Learn
tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack
After the booming singles ‘Cookie Thumper!’ and ‘Pitbull Terrier’, the third album from the South African, grimy psychedelic rap duo pales in comparison to their previous efforts. It’s very much a mixed bag, both in terms of genre and songs: whilst the aforementioned singles live up to the Die Antwoord name, some tracks are barely worth a listen at all. The skits detract from the album as a whole, and make listening to the LP in order a somewhat unpleasant experience. MP3: ‘Pitbull Terrier’
Mess sees Liars head further into the world of murky synths and innumerable vocal effects that characterised their previous effort, WIXIW. The first six or so tracks are compelling dance-punk numbers that could soundtrack a night at an otherworldly Smack, before the album detours into a more ambient second half. Missteps aside – ‘Darkslide’ is particularly dull – but overall Liars prove themselves again to be one of the most compellingly weird and weirdly compelling bands of the moment. MP3: ‘Mess on a Mission’
Playing like it was recorded in a storm, Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li’s third album is her strongest yet. Despite lacking somewhat in the hooks department Li instead captures the raw burn of unwanted loneliness through an ideal balance of release and restraint. It’s an album of mood rather than narrative: the gothic production of the album exhibits a sensitivity to the profound evocations of the style, and it transforms her simple ditties into something altogether more unique. MP3: ‘Gunshot’
Impressively theatrical and captivatingly sporadic, tUnE-yArDs’ Nikki Nack is one of the most arresting albums of the year so far. Merril Garbus has complete command over her audience, similarly to fellow spotlight-stealers Lady Gaga and Kanye West – though Garbus is yet to break big in the same way. Musical partner Nate Brenner is her partner in the playground that is this album: thirteen songs resembling some of the strangest nursery rhymes imaginable, all set to chaotic, intelligent pop-hop. MP3: ‘Water Fountain’
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Coﬀee House Sessions: Hudson Taylor Following the final Coffee House Session of the year, Sam Carter speaks to Irish folk duo Hudson Taylor about working with family, summer music festivals, and scatting...
he Curiositea queue is taking a decidedly different trajectory this May bank holiday. Crammed in the café’s undergrowth of bunting, chandeliers and assorted nic-nacs are Hudson Taylor, the Dublin brothers that, for a couple of hours, have become far and away the biggest names on campus. They’re standing at the end of a line for autographs and selfies that’s winding its way past the stage after the university café played host to its biggest act yet. It’s not hard to see why demand is so high. The duo – completed by Alfie and older brother Harry – launches into an opening salvo of clean two-part harmonies and a lush acoustic sound that slices straight through the mid-exam gloom. Harry, thoughtful and lanky, cuts a muted figure next to the effusive Alfie, but their different appearances do little to hamper their infectious on-stage chemistry. They seem to do everything in unison, from bobbing up and down between strums to sipping on their respective bottles of Volvic and prefacing each transition with a knowing nod. They squeeze every ounce of sound from their stripped-back setup for ‘Put Down Your Weapons’. Harry is all muted chords and percussive strums while Alfie takes on the melodic highs, finding variation within the blur of guitar strings. The former even mentions that they’re tempted to write a song while on-stage. “We like to scat,” he says. “We just sit and play a jam and something will come out of that.” It’s taken them a while to get to this
Another year’s coming to an end, and whilst it might be tempting to get swept up by nostalgia, have a listen to these forward-looking tunes instead...
» Hudson Taylor: BNOCs. photo: nessymon.com point, mind.“To some people [our rise] might seem quick – it definitely hasn’t been quick for us,” Harry tells me, pointing out that they’re about to reach a total of six EPs and 2 songs on Spotify. Raised on a diet of classical and Beatles records, they set about busking together for pocket money during their teenage years before moving on to adding some “jiggery pokery” (Harry’s words) to songs they recorded on an iPhone. “It’s nice when you’re writing songs with your brother. You’re not trying to write it for anyone except yourselves,” Alfie adds. After a ghostly cover of Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’, their set finishes with new single ‘Battles’, a mixture between the Irish folk tradition and the pop sensibilities of Mumford and Sons. It’s the most frenet-
ic moment of the afternoon; Harry, usually so calm and collected, leans backwards as the duo – and more than a few members of the audience – belt out the memorable refrain of “we’re all just cynics on the run.” With a parting reminder to check out their upcoming album (due for release in September), the pair down tools and prepare for the inevitable post-gig niceties, countering the subsequent onslaught of compliments with a hearty “thanks a million!” It’s all part of the routine for two brothers who remain relentlessly unassuming in the face of stardom. Have a read of the rest of the interview online: theboar.org/music
Boar Music presents a short guide to the biggest music festival the Bubble has ever seen
» So big the name could barely fit into the banner. photo: facebook.com/warwicksu/photos taken by Jonathann Higgs
Clean Bandit met as undergrads studying at Jesus College, Cambridge: indeed, playing at Warwick, which only scraped the top ten of the Guardian University league table earlier this month, might be a step down for the clever chaps. After bonding over a love of both electronic and classical music, they formed Clean Bandit; the name itself is, according to Wikipedia, apparently a translation of a Russian phrase meaning “complete bastard”. Luke and Jake Patterson, Grace Chatto and Milan Neil Amin-Smith (yep, definitely from Cambridge) created the tracks ‘A+E’ and ‘Mozart’s House’ in 2009, which laid the foundations for their recent success. The tracks were eventually released as singles in 2012 and 201 respectively – ‘Mozart’s House’ in particular was a bit of a hit last year. However, it was only this year that the band dominated the charts, with ‘Rather
Jukeb x Moving On
Summer Party Rundown head of what promises to be a sun, fun and alcohol-filled Summer Party, Boar Music brings you a rundown of some of the talent set to storm the stage on June 22nd.
Be’ storming to the top in January (you might have heard it more than a couple of times in Kasbah).
Mulvey got his start playing music professionally in Cuba, where he moved to study music and art. He then moved back to London to study Ethnomusicology, which provided an insight into the theory and context of music from across the world. Here he formed the jazz quartet Portico, erm… Quartet, with a number of his fellow SOAS students. However, greater things beckoned, and he soon left the group to pursue a more acoustic-based solo career. His debut album First Mind was released this year, entering the Top 10 immediately upon its release. Given the current proclivity towards singer-songwriters at the moment, it’s hard to imagine Mulvey won’t see continued success in the future.
Owing her stage name to a dream her
mother told her she’d had (presumably involving some bushy-tailed canids), Louisa Rose Allen once aspired to training as a beauty therapist before moving to London, where she attended the Institute of Contemporary Performance. The singer’s breakthrough came with a guest vocal feature on Germany electro producer Zedd‘s track ‘Clarity’, which reached the top 10 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold double platinum in Australia. This international success was followed up with the appearance of ‘Youth’, her debut single under the Foxes moniker, on the soundtrack of teen T.V. drama Gossip Girl. Some work with Fall Out Boy and an avalanche of ‘Youth’ remixes later, Foxes released her debut full-length album Glorious this year on RCA. The record spawned another hit, ‘Let Go For Tonight’, which brought Allen her first top 10 chart success in her homeland. Having won plaudits the world over with her lustrous, singalongable odes to youthful hedonism, Foxes now brings her upbeat pop anthems to Warwick.
Heather Small: ‘Proud’ It’s rare for a 20 year old male to admit he likes M People but come on; we’ve all heard those CDs your mum listened to on repeat in the car, and the music of our school run just happened to include questionable 90s pop, okay? Even if I was brainwashed into liking Heather Small’s incredibly motivating lyric “what have you done today to make you feel proud”, it’s still one of the best things to hear if you want to knock tomorrow out of the park (even if Small should probably have heeded her own message given her career’s future). Joe Baker Klaxons: ‘Golden Skans’ For songs that have a view beyond the present, look no further than Klaxons’ debut Myths of the Near Future. Any of these J.G. Ballard inspired tracks could offer a perspective on things to come, but the third single from Myths... ‘Golden Skans’ offers the most golden outlook: “From the night to the light, all plans are golden in your hands”, Righton kindly enlightens us. So get the glow sticks and fluorescent paint out because this indie-pop, art-rave floor-filler will have you jumping and gyrating and dancing into the near future. Stephen Paul LCD Soundsystem: ‘All My Friends’ Given that it’s my favourite song of all time, it’s a struggle to do justice to the indelible power of ‘All My Friends’, but for what it’s worth, there’s one particular lyric which encapsulates how I feel in the face of leaving university: “I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of life.” I could’ve done things differently, taken more initiative, and accomplished more with my time. But ultimately, I wouldn’t change a thing about the friendships I’ve made here, because those are what I’ll remember in 50 years’ time, rather than whatever the hell Jameson was trying to articulate. Michael Perry Foxes: ‘Youth’ This song resonates with me as a young adult on the cusp of a new phase of my life. The song is neither particularly optimistic nor pessimistic, as lyrics like “Now I’m just chasing time with a thousand dreams I’m holding heavy” show. It really reflects how I feel about the future and its yet untapped potential: like Foxes I have a bit of a Peter Pan complex, and I’m convinced that my youth has only just begun. Christine Wong The Black Keys: ‘Gotta Get Away’ Travel songs often look to the future, but ‘Gotta Get Away’ races full pelt towards it. It really feels like the start of a long-anticipated road trip, and captures the dreamy gazes of a group of friends looking out down the open road. Tinged with resignation, Dan Auerbach’s gravelly guitar riffs ride the blacktop from San Berdoo to Kalamazoo, away from heartbreak and towards an illusive new start. James Haworth
Editor: Emilytheboar.org Nabney Books@theboar.org Twitter @BoarBooks fb.com/groups/BoarBooks
What are we reading this summer? With exams coming to a close, four writers give their picks for books they will be diving into Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Stoner by John Williams
have not read for pleasure or recreation since I was 1. Even then, I was reading books specifically surrounding my personal statement in order to prepare for my university applications. Since then it seems like every book I have read has been to prepare for something, from building an English Literature personal statement to always reading for either the year ahead at university or the week ahead… ahem. After finishing my degree, the first thing that I turned to was Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I have always loved big novels, there’s something about sitting on the train with a huge spine on display (size does matter, in this instance) and losing yourself in a fictional world for a few hours. The kind of book you can put down and feel that you’ve been on a journey, that you’ve achieved something. After having seen the film I was enamoured, and I had to get my hands on the original source of this beautiful story. It is a nineteenth century novel that defies social customs and explores a broad and intricate set of themes. It has everything – intrigue, affairs, love, politics, gender, class, morality, religion… and there has to be a reason it is on the European Novel reading list. I have spent the last three years reading Victorian poetry, Victorian novels, Victorian articles, all based in England. I love the Victorian era of literature, but after a while the repetition of the Brontë’s, Austen and Gaskell becomes tiresome. Now that I have the time and energy to explore the literary worlds apart from those that I am studying, I
want to see what writers away from England were doing in a time period that has always fascinated me. To be an English Literature student who has never read Tolstoy seems to be like sacrilege. It may not be the lightest summer read, but out of my huge list of ‘books to read post-graduation’, it stood out, and I cannot wait to get stuck in. Katherine Price
1985 by Anthony Burgess
n 1978, Anthony Burgess wrote 1985, responding to George Orwell’s 198, written in 199. Got it? Good. As a fan of Orwell, and dystopian literature in general, discovering Burgess’ novel filled me with excitement. He takes the original concept and reimagines a future based on the trends visible to him, with the benefit of twenty nine more years of history. Colour me intrigued. Burgess’ vision of the future predicts the dominance of trade unions as absolute powers, and the expansion of Islam. Admittedly, it looks like he didn’t get everything right, and maybe somebody needs to write a third version, perhaps called 208. The remarkable thing about Orwell’s classic is that it was an astonishingly accurate prediction of regimes such as The Soviet Union, and contemporary North Korea. I am still optimistic that Burgess’ attempt may expose some salient truths about the way we live now. When you first open 1985, you are confronted with a piece of real Soviet propaganda: “2+2=5”, referring to the possibility of completing the first Five Year Plan in four years, if workers put their backs into it. These authors knew how governments warp truth to fit their own purposes. This is the only page of the book that I have read so far, and if you’re anything like me, an Orwellian failure in arithmetic for Russian propaganda purposes is a great first page. Literature students seem to have the least time to read for pleasure. Whenever I read
aving spent a year reading very, very lovely (but very, very long) nineteenth century novels, this summer I am in the mood for something a bit different. Although I have an impossibly long list of books I would love to read, the one book I will be sure to make time for over the summer break is Stoner by John Williams. Stoner has been on my list for about a year now because of the the recent hype surrounding it. As a so-called “Lazarus-novel”, it is a key work in the growing publishing trend for discovering fantastic forgotten classics which are out of print. Despite the fact that it was published almost fifty years ago and then promptly forgotten about, it became the Waterstones Book of the Year in 201 and has been praised by many people, from Ian McEwan to Tom Hanks. It takes a special kind of novel to be raved about by critic, authors and casual readers alike, and as far as I can tell Stoner seems to be that almost mythical combination of accessible, important and moving. It sounds like the perfect summer read for someone who wants something not too linguistically taxing, but still wants to feel moved and challenged by a quiet, understated but deceptively powerful novel. After reading doorstop novels such as Bleak House and Anna Karenina all year, it is sometimes a good idea just to step back from the drawn-out epics and focus on a simple, yet moving story. The book (from what I can tell from online reviews and the blurb) features a plot no more exciting than a single man’s career through academia. But most importantly, the book seems to be about falling
in love with literature. It’s a simple, tragic but heartfelt tale of one forgotten man’s life and his love for the power of words. Occasionally, when I am struggling my way through some epic 900-page masterpiece at am and wondering why on earth I am studying for an English Literature degree, I feel like I need to take a breather and have a satisfying reminder as to why I fell in love with literature in the first place. It seems like Stoner might just be that reminder. Bethan Smith
Floating, Brilliant, Gone by Franny Choi
I something not directly relevant to my degree, guilt sets in, because there’s a pile of novels for my course saying, “You won’t get good grades if you read that book. Read me instead”. Not even holidays are completely safe from feeling judged, so choose novels wisely! When I found 1985 in the bookstore, I knew that it would be the first thing I read after my exams. It would be mentally engaging, whilst not being a part of my degree. Or at least, that’s what I thought. In an ironic turn of events, it is on the list of texts for one of my potential modules next year. Great.
f you have not had the unutterable pleasure of experiencing Franny Choi’s poetry, now is definitely the time to start. The award-winning spoken word poet, who has featured as a finalist at three of the largest adult poetry slams in the world, writes stirring and sensitive work concerning a wide range of themes. The unflinching and honest bravery with which she treats personal subjects, like the death of a boyfriend and her experiences with racism, transforms each poem into a confession, leaving you to make sense of the emotional wreckage she leaves behind. Even though Choi has released written poetry before, Floating, Brilliant, Gone is her first debut collection published by Write Bloody Publishing, the same publishing house who manages the work of other slam stars like Andrea Gibson, Anis Mojgani and Sarah Kay. The collection was released in late March to positive reviews and incorporates both new work and other older slam poems such as Pork Fried Rice and Pussy Monster, a fascinating subversion of the Lil’ Wayne song of the same name. I am really interested to see if the immense power of her performances transfers onto the page. I watched her performance of Notes on the Existence of Ghosts two years ago and still cannot forget her stunning descriptions of leaves on a pavement: “Like the ghost of a letter press still whispering up from a page, a sidewalk is a deeply haunted thing.”
Megan Hills » Photos: lavorwire.files.wordpress.com,
contentreserve.com, cargocollective.com, e-readervergelijker.nl
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The Only Way is English Literature Three writers explain why their degree is the only one you should be studying
English Literature and Creative Writing
here’s something about reading great works of literature that can’t help but inspire me to create my own. I find it impossible to thumb through something like Ibsen’s A Doll’s House without thinking “I want to be this good one day,” or – in the case of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness – “I could write something better than this with my eyes closed!” Reading and writing are two disciplines which go hand-in-hand. Studying one is bound to increase your knowledge of the other; why else were they lumped into a single subject in primary school? There’s no better way to understand an author’s horribly convoluted metaphors than being an author who writes horribly convoluted metaphors yourself. The effects of different metrical patterns are so much easier to understand when you’re using them to write poetry. Analysing a play’s structure becomes a doddle when you’ve played around with plot arcs. Besides, how can you comment on a writer’s choices unless you know what it’s like to make those choices? This is why I believe that English Literature is unequivocally better when taken in conjunction with Creative Writing: getting inside a writer’s mind is a walk in the park if you yourself are a writer.
English Literature and French
f you love English, you probably love learning about other cultures (after all, literature allows us to travel indefinitely without leaving the comfort of our bedrooms) and you’re likely to be fascinated by language and the different ways it can be used. It’s pretty clear, then, that studying English with a foreign language is the best degree choice. Studying both English and French doesn’t reduce the time I get to spend engaging with literature. In fact, it gives me more opportunities to do this, and offers the advantage of studying a greater literary scope, given that texts from a completely different culture form the basis of half my studies. The most valuable and unparalleled advantage of studying English and another language is that by reading the books in their original language, rather than the translated versions you might find on an English course, you improve your understanding of, and fluency in, a second language. This opens realms of possibilities in terms of future travel and career plans, which are simply not available to those without a good grasp of another language. What I love about the English and French degree is the way it gives me the opportunity to fulfil the love of literature I’ve had since childhood, whilst developing a newer skill that gives me a much wider range of options for the future.
eing an English Literature student is like being the ultimate time traveller, but one who relies overmuch on their trusty copy of Travelling around the World for Dummies. In the beginning, it can be a whirlwind of experience. You hop from place to place, the dust barely settling before you’re off again, and always in the back of your mind you have to look for something. That something, I have discovered, is what I like to call the big ‘why’ of English Literature. Why do you bother reading? Why do writers bother writing? Why should we care? We care because we are human. Our literature is human literature. There is a reason why we look at literatures from all times in all the hidey holes of the world; it is because we are all united in a joint enterprise of living. No matter what specific pathway you take in English Literature, you are irrevocably forced into an international discourse on human behaviour, because this international discourse has always existed. It is the English Literature student’s role to provide an analysis of the continuously changing face of humanity, and theorise an answer for the ‘why’.
Ahlam Al Abbasi
Love is in the air is and coming to the cloud
Karishma Jobanputra investigates Mills and Boon’s newly developed app
here can be no debate that the digital age has had colossal repercussions for the publishing industry and the way people now read. Gone are the times when you see people pull out books for enjoyment (everyone would much rather watch the film or television adaptation) and those who do, seem to favour the ease and convienience of Kindles rather than the physical version. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that publishers are looking to the digital market to ensure they stay current. Mills and Boon, known for their romance novels, have created their own app to cut out the middle man (essentially e-book distributors like Amazon and Apple). This streamlines the process, allowing customers to buy books directly from publishers, rather than companies like Amazon. Currently, for every e-book downloaded, Amazon and similar companies receive a
percentage of the profits, but this app cuts them out of the process. However, Mills and Boon face challenges in sales, as the app they have developed will only allow reading on smartphones and tablets. This means that those who swear by Kindles will still be buying from Amazon. Despite the potential problems which could arise, there has been an increase in the number of people who read e-books on smartphones and tablets, meaning that the venture could well pay off. Looking at the number of bookshops that are closing and the rise of e-books means that this is just another step towards inevitable digital domination. The potential profits Mills and Boon will gain makes it very likely that other publishers will be joining them in this initiative and the ease of puchasing a book on a smartphone. Despite the costs needed to create, maintain and improve an app, the number of cus-
tomers that can be reached outweighs the disadvantages for a publisher like Mills and Boon. Will smaller publishers be following this example and creating their own apps to sell directly to readers? As Mills and Boon are well known for romantic fiction, they already have an in-built fanbase of loyal readers ready to download the app.
Mills & Boon have created their own app to cut out the middle man in e-book distribution
However, smaller publishers who do not have such a strong brand identity, and may find it difficult to entice readers away from Amazon and Apple because of this. For big publishers, this will become the way forward. Digital publishing has already changed the way that people buy and read books, and will now affect how books are published and the meduim through which they are sold. And my opinion? A smartphone versus a Kindle, Amazon versus a publishers app… who needs any of it when you can choose to actually pick up a book (a real, tangible book, remember those?) in a bookshop? There’s no denying the reality we live in though, and e-books will most definitely continue to rise in popularity. I am almost certain that there will be love in the air for the Mills and Boon app, and I don’t imagine we’ll have to wait too long to see other big publishers following suit.
Pint of purple Deputy Editor Raghav Bali answers our bookish questions in this week’s column What book are you reading at the moment? Introductory Econometrics by J.M Woolridge – the characters are a bit one-dimensional, the plot is quite long-winded but I’m still hoping for an explosive climax. Before the exam period though, I finished Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself. It’s a really insightful read from a man close to some of the cinematic greats like Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. He was arguably the most famous film critic in the world, but he was without doubt an inspiration for a lot of cinephiles like myself. Who is your favourite literary character? It’s probably a toss-up between Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus from The Adventures of Tintin. Haddock taught me the beauty of swearing and the perils of drinking while Calculus is just undeniably hilarious in so many ways, so I guess it could go either way. What is the first book you remember reading? Well when I was very young I was pretty rubbish at English comprehension so my dad pulled out a random book from the local Borders (RIP) and made me underline every word I didn’t know the meaning of. That book happened to be Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and once Harry got to Hogwarts there was a lot of underlining. What is your all-time favourite book? The closest thing I have to a favourite book is probably Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m a sucker for any kind of storytelling that involves some sort of dystopia, but it’s incredible how subtly the idea is placed in the story. It also never really fits the bill of one genre. It’s sort of a quasi-science-fictioncoming-of-age novel, but to talk too much of the plot would be to ruin the experience. All I’ll say is that the book will emotionally cripple you by the end. If you wrote an autobiography, what would be the title? It’s only really the rich and famous that write autobiographies isn’t it? Then maybe something along the lines of: From Rags to Riches. Of course I’m going to have to insist on having Penguin Classics publish it for that added tinge of narcissism. Kindle vs. Book? Kindles make for good coasters I guess. In all seriousness, why would I give up the experience of smelling a pristine new paperback or a dodgy old copy from the charity shop over a Kindle that’ll likely just smell the same all throughout it’s life? How much is a pint of purple? £12 for 8. That’s how everyone buys it, right?
» Photos: fastcompany.
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REVIEWS The Two Faces of January
Malevolent Maleﬁcent Nicholas Buxey asks: has Disney reduced the mistress of all evil to a scorned woman? » Angelina Jolie proves to be equal parts sinister and striking photos: left: upmovie.net, right: blogs.indiewire.com & nerdist.com
ately, Disney seems to be reworking any and all of the animated canon that has made it into one of the biggest film studios in the world. Maleficent is the latest offering, and if you liked the original Sleeping Beauty (1959) at all, then I do not recommend watching it. For some reason, the House of Mouse has taken a classic, marked by distinctive animation and gorgeous music, and turned it into another mediocre flick with CGI that makes your eyes bleed. Admittedly, Angelina Jolie makes a star turn as the titular villain, but even that can’t rescue a film that leaves you wanting. Leaving aside the numerous questionable c a s t choices and unnecessary name changes, which only serve to further confuse the links between the two films, the biggest issue is the story. Whilst I wasn’t expecting a shot-for-shot remake, the changes were so sweeping that it seems almost impossible to connect the two. Where was the final battle? Where was the Forest of Thorns? Some of the greatest animation ever, and they couldn’t find a way to
fit it in to the new story!? And through this ‘humanisation’, Maleficent loses what made her great. What’s happened to ‘Mistress of all evil’? She’s been reduced to the saddest of stereotypes, a scorned woman. That’s right, a film that is lauded for its feminist overtones has taken a villain who is one of the greatest ever produced in film history and reduced her to merely a heartbroken woman. Sure, it gives her a reason, but why did we need one? Why couldn’t she be evil for evil’s sake?
Hollywood is only confirming the idea that women are only motivated by love and emotion
Before I start sounding like a sociopath, I should expand my line of reasoning. By giving her this unbelievably trite backstory, Hollywood is only confirming the idea that women are only motivated by love and emotion, making the cool exterior that Maleficent exudes seem unstable. She’s no longer the greatest fairy in the kingdom, she’s just the angriest. I won’t discuss the poor casting choices elsewhere (who thought Imelda Staunton would make a good fairy!?) and I could write endless words on how it hasn’t done justice to the original, such as the lacklustre score and ridiculous characterisation. But I won’t. Instead I would like to examine the other films that Disney has recently and inexplicably twisted into live-action affairs – Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Oz: the Great and Powerful (201). Both are mere shadows of the films they aim to emulate, and Alice is worthy of discussing in particular, if only for starting this trend of ‘moody’ remakes. Although Burton pours all his quirkiness into the film, anyone who thinks that it is trippier than the 1951
version (or for that matter, the book) needs to go and watch them again. You can stuff all the Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter into a film yet it doesn’t make it automatically disturbing. Whilst I’m mentioning Helena Bonham Carter, I’ve heard that she’s been cast as the new Fairy Godmother in the upcoming Cinderella film. You know, that really warm, grandmotherly character? Sounds perfect. But let’s move onwards and upwards. I’ve rewatched both the other films in order to refresh my memory, and noticed something: all of the villains are motivated by love. In Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen only tries to behead Alice when she fears that the Knave doesn’t love her, although admittedly the Red Queen isn’t motivated solely by love. In Oz, the jealous woman trope has become more apparent. Theodora is manipulated thanks to Oz’s betrayal, and it is jealousy that drives her to transform into the Wicked Witch. Thanks to Disney, we now have another classic villain who needed no motivation mangled into a stale stereotype, the embittered and jealous woman. I’m the first to admit that many of the classic princess films don’t give the greatest lessons to girls. But they were the products of their time, which could also be said of these live action remakes, which are rife with a more subtle sexism. The lesson in these films seems to be that if a man breaks your heart, the only logical reaction for women is to go on a murderous rampage. This is the greatest problem plaguing these films. In the new language of Hollywood, women and psychotic evil seem to only be joined by heartbreak, which is hardly something we need to be teach the next generation. Did Maleficent cast a spell on you? Tweet: @BoarFilm
Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January is being served to audiences as an obvious counter-programming option; a maturely envisaged thriller in thrall to classical Hollywood etiquette. It’s impeccably solid fare, peppered with flourishes of incredible tension and intrigue, yet assembled with a traditional framework in mind. Amini makes it easy to become invested in the fraught three-hander, brought to life with nuance by Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac and a career best Kirsten Dunst. It’s a joy to encounter a film this polished, without ever feeling the weight of overwrought showmanship or excessive style seep into the experience.
Edge of Tomorrow
The central premise of Edge of Tomorrow can be boiled down to a sci-fi-tinged Groundhog Day. And while it certainly wears this comparison on its sleeve, the way in which it portrays its concept within its environment, allows the idea to feel fresh, inventive, and most importantly, fun. For those of you who are of the mind-set to write off this film due to the fact that it is a Tom Cruise movie, then I have one thing to say; shame on you. Cruise has always been a dependable leading man, no matter what you may make of his personal life, and Edge of Tomorrow proves to be one of his strongest action movies to date. It is not only in the design and execution of the film, it is in Cruise himself.
For the full reviews Go online: theboar.org/ﬁlm
Editor: Laura Primiceri TV@theboar.org Twitter @BoarTelevision fb.com/groups/BoarTV
WWW: the wacky world of webisodes Four writers present their favourite web television series from across the internet
Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
hat to do when writing is your great passion, but the Writers Guild of America is on strike? Joss Whedon teamed up with his brothers Zack and Jed to write Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. They produced all three brilliant acts with just under $200,000. The resulting musical tragedy-comedy is blissful. I could watch the 2-minute perfection on loop for a whole day quite happily. Its songs are delightful and the story is perfectly told through the acting talents of Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion. It somehow successfully couples vlogging with musicals and engaging action sequences. I fell for the series at the opening number of ‘Laundry Day’. The song introduced the simple premise: Billy (Harris), angry with society and unable to engage the attentions of Penny (Day), decides to become a supervillain. We’ve all been there. Every supervillain needs a superhero and this pantomime affair has Captain Hammer (Fillion), who is every bit the douchebag you’d hope someone calling himself “Captain Hammer” could be. With all the pieces in place, the saga plays out beautifully. There’s an undercurrent of social commentary, as anyone familiar with Whedon’s work would expect, but Dr Horrible is by vir-
tue of its format very easy to follow. It’s accessible, it’s bitesize and it’s darned entertaining. It’s also a stab at the very same producers and studios who were the target of the strike, showing them what writers can achieve without the bankroll and vast marketing arms of a studio. For me, this 2008 masterpiece – and internet-based television in general – represents the start of something of a revolution in how we watch, how we engage with and how we consume content. Audiences have since sought entertainment from different sources and have sought greater control over what they watch. If you’ve somehow not seen Dr Horrible’s SingAlong Blog, I suggest you correct that immediately. My personal favourite song of the Sing Along Blog is the duet ‘My Eyes’ in Act II, a true triumph for Joss, Zack and Jed’s writing. The closure of the third act is also one of the most harrowing moments of its medium. It knocks the wind out of me every time. The piece is a triumph for writing and a triumph for online distribution. Robin James Kerrison » Photos: clockwise-comicvine.com, fanpop.com, tansyrr.com, entertainment.ie
School of Thrones
f you watch Game of Thrones, you will know that it has a lot of layers to it. Like an onion that makes you cry the more you cut into it, the series has spawned multiple tributes and interpretations, ranging from the believable (as a parable to the Wars of the Roses) to the insane (the Bollywood retelling of a certain recent death). One of the most entertaining off-shoots has been the excellent web series School of Thrones. Replacing the warring families of Westeros with the warring cliques of Westeros Valley High School, the three episodes follow various characters on their quest to win the coveted titles of Prom King and Prom Queen. The Starks are now hipsters, the Lannisters are the bullies, Renly and Loras are the cool kids, Stannis and Melisandre are the convert brigade, and the Greyjoys are the swim team. Dany arrives in the midst of this brewing hormonal conflict as the new kid trying to navigate the dangerous politics of high school. It does need to be said straight off the bat that the show is not massively original. The plot tries to be Mean Girls-esque and one of its most divisive points is the (over)use of in-
Shaycarl and the SHAYTARDS
feel like the time has arrived for me to embrace my addiction, fess up and tell someone that I have been watching the life of a family online for half a decade. A family that I do not know – and that I’m never going to meet. For those unfamiliar with the concept of ‘daily vlogging’ such a statement may sound like the beginnings of a George Orwell novel or a pretty unavoidable restraining order case. However for Shay Butler and his family, it’s perfectly normal. The Butlers have been uploading a video to YouTube every day for the last five years broadcasting their close family moments to an international audience of over one million subscribers. The family consists of Shay and Collette, a young couple from Idaho, USA and their five children. You get to meet their extended family, many of which have also started to make videos following the success of the ‘SHAYTARDS’ channel and all of whom have turned their hobbies into a career. Carlie - Shay’s sister - makes fitness and style videos, while his brother Casey makes films about hunting. Unlike most other reality programmes, it is rather refreshing to be watching likeable characters for once. That is the difference however – the family aren’t characters – they are real people living their real lives and this authenticity is
what attracts me to the series the most. As you keep watching you feel as if you have become part of the family - you have experienced their struggles and been proud of their successes. On any given day you can be at the birth of a child, travel with them on holiday or walk next to them down a red carpet. This mix of private intimate moments and spectacle are what keeps the family closer to their audience than any television character ever could. The SHAYTARDS is more than just a webseries – there is a continual stream of new content, whether it be the videos themselves, podcasts or Twitter updates – you never miss out on anything. I admire their transparency and ability to share so much with their viewers – the family not only make videos to entertain, but have repeatedly said that they wish to inspire others in pursuing their ambitions. They certainly accomplish that. I can’t recommend enough that you check out the Butler family on YouTube, partly so you can see that I am not insane but also so you can experience the uniqueness their self-documented reality brings. Greer Riddell Do you have a favourite webseries? Let us know!
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
ternet meme humour. However, the jokes are funny and the parallels, while a little obvious, make for some excellent comedy. The family drama between Stannis and Renly is particularly amusing. Special mention needs to be given to the opening credits as well; if only our high school doodles were half as artistic. For fans of the webisode medium, there is something of an A-list quality to the cast and crew. The incredibly talented Mary Kate Wiles (Squaresville, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) plays Sansa Stark while Starkid’s Joey Richter (A Very Potter Musical, A Very Potter Sequel) is Theon Greyjoy. Even the behind-thescenes crew consists of YouTube veterans, for example show producer Whitney Milam. Despite some obvious flaws, School of Thrones is a lot of fun to watch. Given the particularly gruesome nature of its inspiration, this makes for a nice change really and, unlike other online parodies such as the College Humor 8-bit games, it successfully takes adult elements out of the source material while retaining its strengths. Now if they would only make a Season 2! Ibtisam Ahmed
t is a truth universally acknowledged that the works of Jane Austen are still widely read and adored today. Perhaps this is due to Austen’s remarkable understanding of how society works. We still relate to her stories. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a series of short video blogs based on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The series has gone on to achieve strong acclaim: according to The Guardian, it’s “the best Austen adaptation around”. Did the series live up to its hype? I certainly think so. The videos recapture the wit and the strength of the original while successfully placing the characters in a modern setting. However, rather than seeming cheap and cheesy, as many modern adaptions do, the vlog remains compelling and entertaining. It is a strong piece of entertainment in its own right. The female characters are shown to be far more independent than in the 200-year-old novel. Lizzie assures her audience that she, and her fellow characters, will fulfill their dreams. These dreams are not, however, of finding a rich husband. Charlotte, a familiar character, dreams of becoming a successful film-maker and we watch her come closer to achieving this when she lands a job with Mr Collins. Likewise, while Lizzie gets her happy ending
with Darcy, she also decides to set up her own media company. I must admit that at times, the character of Lizzie comes across as a little annoying – and a little mean. When, in episode 9, Mr Collins asks Lizzie to be his business partner, she rudely rejects him. When Darcy declares his love for her in episode 0, Lizzie is once again spiteful. I feel that in the novel, Elizabeth remained polite and respectful at all times – even when rejecting strange men. A nice deviation from the novel, however, is the change in Lydia. At the start of the series, Lydia is a melodramatic and immature young girl. However, through the course of the series her character is challenged and developed, and in the end she and Lizzie have grown closer. This is certainly not true of the novel where, despite the pain that she has caused, Lydia remains silly and ignorant. After sticking with the Diaries for so long, this certainly makes for satisfied viewing. All in all, I think that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is an excellent adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It tastefully captures the essence of Austen without merely ‘fan-girling’. Sandeep Purewal
theboar.org Editor: Gabriella Watt Games@theboar.org Twitter @Boar Games fb.com/groups/Games.TheBoar
Hack the system, control the city
Luke Whitticase reviews new cyber-punk title Watch Dogs
ince it’s unveiling at E 2012, Watch Dogs has received a considerable amount of hype and anticipation in its favour. Even as delays, controversies, and reports of graphical downgrading spread, the game continued to be fiercely marketed as a pushing point for eighth generation consoles. Now the game is finally released and the public can finally have their say on one of the biggest releases of the year. Does it really live up to expectations? The story is a revenge tale, following the exploits of Aiden Pearce, a computer hacker in search of the people responsible for the death of his niece. Set in a near-future Chicago, the entire city is run under a single operating system (ctOS), allowing Aiden the ability to hack into, and alter, different technologies and locations through the use of his smartphone. Unfortunately, that’s all that there is to say about it. Disappointingly, it follows the same revenge plotline throughout, pursuing basic themes of redemption and alienation from the people around him. Aiden’s journey never feels unique, despite his saggy, expositional inner-monologue that tries to convince you otherwise. The possible
» photos: above, xboxachievements.com; below, watchdogs.wikia.com socio-political themes of privacy invasion are cast aside and the larger picture behind the scenes seems far more interesting than what is ultimately presented to us. The side characters are not a massive help either, with very little personality beyond borrowed tropes, especially one character seemingly lifted from a David Fincher film. The missions themselves have variety but, from a storytelling perspective, they never feel totally immersive. The open world representation of Chicago is as detailed and large as we have come to expect from Ubisoft Montreal. Although hefty and impressive, it lacks such verdant architecture as Assassin’s Creed II’s base-jumping renaissance landscapes, so the parlour mechanic feels a little limited. The city is densely populated with a variety of NPCs to interact with and vehicles to steal or order. The much-touted hacking mechanic is integrated easily and organically to gameplay at the push of a button and really opens up opportunity for resourcefulness when the player finds himself in a sticky position. When integrated into the combat mechanics it works even better, along with the character’s fluid movements. The stealth elements are also wonder-
ful. As with the best stealth games, the most satisfying achievement is in others not knowing that you were even there. The use of video cameras to invade entire locations without entering is a spectacular challenge. Driving is the most disappointing mechanic, feeling heavy with slow reaction times, but you may eventually get to grips with this aspect. The side missions come in an interesting variety of ways, with many to be freely discovered, the most involving of which are the crime prevention missions. The digital trips are also fun little distractions too, although probably not something to which you’ll devote hours. The multiplayer aspect of gameplay is a very well handled enterprise. It has a fitting place within the world, with outsiders invading your own world to steal information. It’s a fun and stimulating approach as spontaneity often leads to further ingenuity on the player’s part, carrying an aesthetic meaning within the game’s context. Some may find the invasions a chore, but others will surely relish the competition. The game’s graphics have been one of the biggest push factors for Ubisoft and while not totally living up to anticipated specifications,
the game still manages to dazzle on the PlayStation . The smallest details, such as leaves and litter blowing in the wind and sparks from nearby fires really astound the senses with particle effects, and the lighting engine and water properties really add to the world’s environments. Overall, despite some gleaming visuals and mechanics, the story lets it down. That said, the game feels very much like a foundation layer, and leaves room for much improvement. It feels as if Ubisoft have been trying to deal many of their best cards too
Exams: struggling to ‘hack’ it?
s a pro-hacker and one of the next generation’s coolest new protagonists, Aiden Pearce has to overcome all kinds of obstacles in his quest for vengeance, but has he ever had to face anything as stressful as exam season? With the recent release of Watch Dogs, Boar Games has come up with a number of ways in which Aiden’s set of skills could come in very handy when dealing with those Term three blues. Hacking Campus Vending Machines “Eat properly and take regular breaks during Term three” read patronising TV monitors around campus. Unfortunately, it’s a message lost on most students, who purchase brain-stimulating confectionary by the bucket load and spend more money on coffee than it would cost them to have a hit of cocaine every now and again. Access to free vending machine goodies via hacking would certainly be a help in this campus-wide excuse to eat rubbish all day, although the Grumpy Mule would probably be a bit grumpier for the sudden lack of business.
Setting oﬀ the Library Fire Alarm
No matter how comforting you try and make that Library, it’s a bleak place when exams roll around. After a year of boring other people with their degree, hundreds of students realize they now actually have to be assessed in it, leading to a crammed, pressurized workspace in which you can only find a good seat if someone on a quiet floor happens to die from stress. Luckily, with Aiden’s ctOS Profiler there is another way: evacuate the building through a hacked fire alarm while hiding behind a bookshelf and then coolly “retake” your seat like the Thomas Crown of revision. Aiden Pearce might have better reasons for causing such a diversion, but hey; that First isn’t going to magic its way onto your CV. Unibus Influence Getting the bus in early is already a typically lovely experience in third term, what with Stagecoach being known for their effortlessly reliable and punctual service. Still, one’s greatest fear is having to sprint into an exam late because your bus got stuck behind a slow driver on the motorway. The much-tout-
ed “Traﬃc Light Control” ability of Watch Dogs will unsurprisingly give you the power to make every traﬃc light on your journey green. A dangerous and unnecessary action to other road users maybe, but I’m sure they would be happy to know that at least you haven’t missed out on 15 cats because of their obvious right of way. Eavesdropping on Library Stairwell Phone Calls
Who are these people with their lives beyond a tightly scheduled revision timetable? Now you are able to find out. One of Watch Dogs’ most intriguing mechanics before its release was Aiden’s ability to listen in on random civilians’ phone calls at any time to gain new information and access to side missions. Comparatively, there is arguably less reason for hacking into someone’s phone in the real world, unless you are Rupert Murdoch, but finding out which students are taking personal calls and which are just procrastinating through the medium of gossip would definitely make for an interesting revision break. This is one for those students who post on Overheard at Warwick so much that you wonder if
they actually do anything on campus but “overhear” things. Joe Baker What would you do with the power to hack on campus? Tweet @BoarGames
SCI & TECH
Editor: Cayo Sobral Editor: Ellie May Science@theboar.org Science@theboar.org Twitter @BoarSciTech Twitter @BoarSciTech fb.com/groups/BoarSciTech fb.com/groups/BoarSciTech
Dawn of the web: The internet and tech zombies
Are computers turning us all into brain-dead zombies? Helen Thomas explores the role of technology in society
he last few decades have seen computer technology escalate at an unprecedented rate. Today’s society heavily relies on computers to function, and many advances in science and engineering owe themselves to the digital age. Last year Dennis Burton, a professor of Immunology & Microbial Science, made the first concrete steps towards a HIV vaccine using computational modelling and imaging techniques. NASA sent a car-sized rover to Mars in 2012; it has been exploring, analysing and picturing the planet ever since. Astronomers in the US have recently used a computer simulation to depict 1 billion years of cosmic evolution - the first example of a virtual universe. Smartphones have over a hundred thousand times more memory than the computers of 0 years ago and the proportion of the UK population walking around with these powerful pocket computers is expected to reach 75 percent in 201. Most of us would feel lost without our phones even for just one day, but are we really becoming ‘zombified’, as satirical humour would suggest? With answers and amusement always at our fingertips, our minds and bodies can become lazy, as we choose to engage with devices rather than with those around us. Why travel to the Louvre and queue for hours to see the Mona Lisa? Google it and you’ll see it in seconds. The world’s first website was created by Professor Tim Berners-Lee in the US, and went live on the 20th of December 1990. This means that, as a postgraduate student, I am officially older than the internet; a fact which
» Younger generations will not know a life without internet Photo: Jean Dalbéra will surely blow the minds of any children and grandchildren of the future. The internet is a portal to education, sightseeing, community, entertainment, and escapism. Within this web of knowledge, the answers to life’s important questions can be found – why are the numbers on a phone and the numbers on a calculator the opposite way round? Exactly how fast do hotcakes sell? And why are funsized chocolate bars so small? There is nothing fun about getting less chocolate. Most technology is devised to make our lives easier and more efficient, but in some ways the opposite is true. Computers, smart-
phones and tablets are all perfect procrastination tools. Netflix automatically plays continuous episodes without pausing for breath, a superb selection of ‘birds with arms’ can be found on Google images, and the ‘100 most important cat pictures of all time’ is a mustsee on Buzzfeed. If technology has become such an essential part of our everyday lives, how do more vulnerable people cope? With the aid of technology we can be contacted anytime, anywhere. And yet, despite being more in contact today than ever before, people are showing greater susceptibility to stress, anxiety, addiction, de-
pression, isolation and insomnia, all of which can be linked to heavy technology usage. The lack of privacy brought on by technology can also be distressing; we are constantly under surveillance. Online and phone traffic can be monitored and collated by intelligence agencies, which can lead to paranoia and exacerbate existing conditions such as schizophrenia. The dangers and consequences of a developing digital world are very real and steps are already being taken to combat them. In 2009, a retreat for those suffering from online addictions was established in the USA. The programme offers a 5-day rehab treatment for the excessive and compulsive use of the internet, gaming, and texting. Technology is ubiquitous in society, and has brought with it tremendous advances and benefits to modern life. However, it seems clear that it can also contribute to, and compound, mental illness. An average child born today in the UK will have spent a quarter of their life in front of a non-work-related screen by the time they are 80, exploring media which will bombard them with glorified celebrity lives and sensationalised horror stories. The resulting damage to social development, esteem, and general anxiety can be significant. As with most things in life, it seems technology is best in moderation. How long would you go without technology?
A working world of sleep-seekers
Rebecca Myers documents her struggle with an all-too-familiar problem: not getting enough sleep
rianna Huffington, queen of online journalism and all things social, has just released a book, with a gold nugget of wisdom at its core. Everyone’s talking about it, everyone wants to try it – the key to success in your modern, busy, chaotic, crazy life. Sleep. They want more of it, better of it, respect for it. To the upper echelons of successful enterprising, or indeed the exam-battered Warwick student, the “right” amount and quality of sleep is, ironically, but an elusive dream. The western world is now a world of insomniacs, talking and reading about sleep far more than they ever actually manage to experience it. Scientists have increasingly released warnings to us, the workaholic/socioholic generation, to pay attention to our bodies’ reactions to natural light. After thousands of years of evolution telling us to wake up as the sun rises and sleep as the sun sets, is it any wonder we’re tired when we sleep 1-10am? Hormones and body temperature have been found to be directly controlled by light exposure, and, in turn, directly affect our sleep patterns. A part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus effectively acts as a hub for controlling these, and thus our sleep movements; in our modern, technological world, it isn’t half having a hard time of it. More recently, studies into ‘blue light’ produced by mobile phones have led to the ‘screens off half an hour before bed’ school of
thought, and the motto “the bedroom is only for sex and sleeping”, attempted – and failed – by many. Self-help shelves are lined with theories on how to get the perfect forty winks, and we have hit saturation point on the ultimate irony, with apps coming out in droves to tackle the problem of... well, being on apps before bed. Despite taking or leaving most of the App Store, I’m a self-confessed app addict when it comes to sleep. I have always slept rather well, but, being a yogi and all-round hippie, have dabbled in gentle exercise and even CDs of the sea and ‘rain on a tin roof ’ to perfect my mindset before getting my shut-eye. However, after leaving home and with it the more natural rhythms of family life, I found myself fighting against my body’s needs and, in turn, found it harder and harder to wake up feeling ready for the day. I couldn’t be a university student who needed 8-9 hours of sleep a night! I would have to simply sleep
more efficiently. My first purchase was Sleep Cycle. It allegedly wakes you up at the ‘lightest’ part of your sleep cycle, so you don’t feel too groggy. Despite nailing a good 8-9 hours a night, this has always been my problem, and for a while, this solved it. However, after growing up with a nana who reads the Daily Mail and, therefore, an inherent fear of my iPhone’s deadly “radiation”, the prospect of sleeping with it next to my head every night just to monitor how much I toss and turn seemed less and less appealing. Next up was HeadSpace. I had often used meditation to get me off to sleep in the past, and the concept of HeadSpace and its cool, exBuddhist-monk creator Andy Puddicombe appealed to my inner yogi enormously. So Andy and I started our love affair – he came with me to work, to uni, on the bus, home for dinner, even into the shower. He was for naps or for a full night’s sleep. Andy was the way forward.
But, after the exciting honeymoon period, my love for Andy began to wane, and my exhaustion began to kick in once again. No matter how chilled and mindful I was when I went to sleep, no matter how many herbal teas or yogic stretches or deep breathing I tried, I could never sleep efficiently enough to get by on less than hours without feeling knackered. And then the scientists started talking about natural light. It felt very much as though they were ridiculing us – and rightly so. How did we expect to get away with ignoring thousands of years of evolution? It was with this nod to the rhythms of nature that I surrendered. Until I understand my inherent human nature to switch on and off with the light patterns around me, I will forever be fighting a losing battle. Gone is the struggle for efficiency, as efficiency, I realise, is going to bed before midnight and not fighting my body’s natural desire to wake up around 7am. Arianna Huffington’s particular take on the sleep issue was: get enough. In fact, get lots. Sleep equals success. It’s not as pertinent a scientific verdict as our friends onto natural light, but it is, perhaps, no less clever. Both are ultimately ignored by most of us in our permanent wars against deadlines, exams, and Smack nights, and both are, ultimately, still an elusive dream. » photo: flickr/MarsmettnTallahassee
Editor: Samantha Hopps Travel@theboar.org Twitter @BoarTravel fb.com/groups/BoarTravel
Festival fever: a traveller’s guide L Jasmine Johnson gives us her guide to some of this summer’s best festivals across the British Isles
ike the majority of students, this year my four months of freedom will be spent juggling my time between an unpaid internship and part-time work, leaving little time or money for wanderlusting around the world as I would like. Determined not to let my commitments deny me the sun-filled, free-spirited summer that months of hard work have earned me, I have designed a master plan, that you too could take on. This plan is creatively entitled ‘The Summer of Festivals’ - trust me, hard work went into that title - and with each festival costing under £100 they’re set to provide an unforgettable array of experiences and memories without breaking the bank. Lovebox, London, July 18-19, tickets from £60.95 per day or £88.95 for the weekend Located in East London, this July Lovebox Festival maintains its reputation for combining chilled boho vibes with an eclectic yet explosive line-up. This year, headliners include Chase & Status, M.I.A and Nas. If those aren’t enough, the stages will also be graced with the presence of A$AP Rocky, Annie Mac, Breach, MNEK, Crystal Fighters and many, many more. Hands down, this is the festival I am most excited for! Alongside the performers, this weekender also features unique experiences including a ‘70s inspired roller disco, an Arabian palace for the VIPs, and ‘The Parlour’, a converted ice-cream van that provides festival-goers with glamorous makeovers using Swarovski crystals, gold leaves and glitter! Wireless, London or Birmingham, 4-6 July, tickets from £68.75 With demand so high, the organisers of Wireless festival have expanded from their London base to cater to those in the north. Kanye West, Pharrell, Drake, Rudimental, Bruno Mars and Outkast take the main stage, performing on alternate days across the three dates. With two of the London dates sold out already this is guaranteed to be a great one.
T in the Park, Scotland, July 11-13, tickets from £82.50 With three days to choose from, T in the Park is sure to find a way to play sweet music for your ears. Whether or not Arctic Monkeys, Bastille, Disclosure, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Sheeran or The 1975 tickle your fancy, T in the Park epitomises the festival experience and gives you an excuse to do some sight-seeing in the beautiful county of Kinross-shire, Scotland. Plus the £50 deposit scheme provides you a little extra time to get your money together. Latitude, Suffolk, July 17-20, Tickets from £77.50 The Black Keys, Two Door Cinema Club, Kelis, Haim and Damon Albarn make their way to Henham park this year to make up the music portion of what has been described as
One of my favourite features of a festival is the herd of indulgent food trucks that accompany it
the ‘queen of arts festivals’. As well as a feast of great artists, Latitude plays host to some great comedians such as Dara O Briain; the Lavish Big Screen, presenting a selection of contemporary artists’ film and video; plus the Buttoned Down Disco, the UK’s largest indie dance festival armed with giant balloons and glitter cannons!
V Festival, Hylands Park and Weston Park, 16-17 August, tickets from £89 The menu for this tasty number includes the likes of Lily Allen and Example for starters, Justin Timberlake and The Killers for a satisfying main course, and if that’s not enough, a sweet dessert of Bastille, Sam Smith and Manic Street Preachers. Reading and Leeds, 22-24 August, tickets from £99.50 Whilst this one only just fits below the £100 mark, no pennies will go to waste. Over three days the festival puts together a glorious line-up. Queens of the Stone Age, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys and Blink-182 are bound to guarantee extreme symptoms of festival-fanatic-syndrome, including lack of voice, ‘dead legs’ and all-out fatigue, and if you aren’t experiencing any of these after one day at this festival, I highly suggest you attend another. Festival of Colours, London, 28-29 June, tickets from £29.99 If you’re planning on sharing your festival photos via Instagram this summer, I can personally promise that no filter will be needed here. Taking inspiration from the Indian Holi festival, this extraordinary experience gives you the chance to get immersed in vibrant shades of safely coloured powders whilst dancing to the likes of Zane Lowe, Drunken Masters and Crookers. This will definitely create amazing memories and will without doubt be a festival like no other! The Craft Beer Festival, London, August 14-17, tickets from £35 For those who love the excuse for excessive drinking that festivals provide but aren’t up for staying on their feet all day, this beer festival is ideal. With the ticket price including entry, four pints of free beer, a free glass plus the chance to learn a bit about how the beloved beverage is made, this will certainly be a fun experience. And don’t think the focus on beer means the attention to music has gone amiss: the lineup here includes French electro-pop band We Were Evergreen, vintage-sounding Amber States plus London-based singer Ursa Minor. Real Food Market, London, throughout the summer, free entry I know for certain that one of my favourite features of a festival is the herd of indulgent food trucks that accompany it. The Southbank Centre is known for hosting its Real Food Market on selected weekends throughout the year and with the next three weekends guaranteed to give ground to an array of wine, cheese and chocolate plus heavenly burgers, buns and baked good there is no chance of leaving this one on an empty stomach.
» Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, a pirate captain’s paradise. Photo: Grant Matthews/Flickr
Travel solo and “find yourself ” “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot
any people I’ve spoken to are shocked, and consider me ‘so brave’ to explore parts of SouthEast Asia alone for two months this summer. Part of this comes from being a 19-year-old female, and part of it comes from the trouble that is currently plaguing Myanmar and Thailand. None of my friends had the money to join me on this trip, and I saw going alone as no reason to cancel such an adventure. Independence here I come! So, why travel alone? One of the great things about travelling alone is that it forces you to go outside of your comfort zone: to make an effort to socialise, or risk spending your days alone. For this, a hostel is highly recommended, as you will meet many like-minded solo travellers. Last summer, my friend and I allowed ourselves to stay in bed and watch TV as there was comfort in knowing both of us were too burnt and lazy to move! However, alone, to avoid going crazy, your social skills are guaranteed to improve. What’s also nice about travelling alone is that you have a lot of time to reflect on what’s really going on. My favourite memories from travelling include times when I have been completely alone. Sat on the top deck with my legs dangling over the edge of a boat in Ha Long Bay, I was in awe at how lucky I was and how surreal the whole trip had been, but at the same time being reminded of how beautiful the world was and how much I had left to see. Often, isolation reminds you how lucky you are as it gives you time to think about all your friends and family who might never see this sight. Sometimes you have to
pinch yourself to check you aren’t dreaming! Travelling alone also means you can take the route that you want at pace you want. You don’t have to worry about pleasing your friends and missing out on what you want to do. Perhaps your friend isn’t the daredevil that you are and isn’t ok with spending their days jumping off cliffs or throwing themselves out of an aeroplane. On your own, you can do as you please. In addition to this, without a friend by your side, you are forced to become organised in order to avoid missing out on the best places to see or stay. Last year I left a lot of the planning to my friend as she really enjoyed doing it, whereas I prefer to generally go with the flow. However, this year, it’s 14 days before my trip begins, I have no route and I am likely to miss out on a lot of the popular hostels and miss sign-up for trips to other places if I don’t pull my act together! There is a constant pressure to please people when at home. One of the wonderful things about travelling alone is that nobody knows who you are. I hate myself for what I am about to say as it is so clichéd, but the reason it is said so much, is because it is true! Travellers have no history to judge you on and no grudges to hold, allowing you to find out who you really are or who you really want to be. Perfect. So, as the famous Mark Twain once said, “Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”. I beg you not to be deterred from going alone!
theboar.org theboar.org/Travel | @BoarTravel | TRAVEL 25
Returning to England: ‘culture shock’ isn’t just a one-way street For two countries that share the same
language, the US and the UK are remarkably different. I experienced a lot of culture shock during my time in the American Deep South as part of a year abroad for my degree. Very generous tipping for nearly every service imaginable took some getting used to, as did toilet cubicles with disturbingly large gaps between the doors and their frames. I had prepared myself to have to adapt to a lot of new things, and it worked out just fine: I had the time of my life! What I hadn’t expected was that once I moved back to the UK, I would experience a kind of reverse culture shock. By this I mean that things I once took to be normal and acceptable, I now consider strange and in need of change. Granted, there are things I won’t miss about life in America. I found the ethics underpinning the US healthcare system deeply worrying, and the cost of university over there is absurd, but America was a gracious host to me, and there are two main things I wish the UK would learn from its neighbour across the pond.
Sportiness On average, America is worryingly obese and the UK is following in its slow, plodding footsteps on that front. But whilst the average American’s waistband leaves little to be desired, American college students are a different species entirely. The majority of my classmates had played competitive sports for a chunk of their lives, and at college it seemed as though most people worked out regularly. The standard outfit at my host university was athletic-wear, adapted to the seasons, and the gym on campus was rammed for several hours of the day, every day. Perhaps all the physical activity is to offset typically poor nutrition, or perhaps it’s something to do with America’s competitive spirit. Whatever it was, I found that unlike back home, staying active was the norm. I spent a fair amount of my time socialising through playing sports or getting outside to go hiking, climbing or running. The ‘Turkey Trot’ is a fun-run held every Thanksgiving Day in places all over America; the thought of the British public getting out of bed at 7am on Christmas morning to go for a run is ludi-
crous. I never expected that living in America would make me healthier, and I wish that more young people in the UK would make the most of their youth by incorporating physical activity into their daily lives. It means that the occasional cream tea can be enjoyed guilt-free for many more years of our lives. And really, who doesn’t want that?
Self-deprecation: a blessing and a curse I love the British sense of humour. It’s dry, clever and disparaging. I felt a rush of patriotism when I was sat in a cinema and I heard Americans crack up at the understated wit of a Richard Curtis rom-com. Our humour is often fuelled by a kind of dourness and self-deprecation that has come to be seen as distinctly British. It’s great in small doses; the ability to laugh at oneself is healthy and attractive in a person. I’ve begun to think, though, that perhaps we do it too much. It’s only since living in America that I’ve realised I have been guilty of psyching myself out of things in the past; I focused on the possibility of failure, and by
not even trying I guaranteed failure. I don’t believe in the ‘American Dream’ mentality that anything is possible if one works hard enough. I suspect that the drive to succeed over there is often fuelled in large part by a fear of financial failure in a country with such a weak welfare state. Sometimes, America is too self-admiring. There is simultaneously a glorification of the ‘self ’ as possessing limitless potential, and a glorification of the American people as some kind of gift to the rest of the world. But if we could only harness a little bit of their go-get-’em attitude, I think we’d be pleasantly surprised at what we could achieve. My time in America has affirmed my love of many things in British life. Public transport. Pubs. The NHS. Tea (in the American South, they have black tea over ice with an alarming amount of sugar - it’s all kinds of wrong). But it’s too easy to lambast the US without stopping to consider that maybe they’re doing some things right. Not tea, though. We’ll always win on the tea-making front. Helena Green
Working nine-to-five and having the time of my life IsupposeIcouldbethemetaphoricalwhore in travelling terms: I’ve been around. I’m addicted, and those who have picked up the cravingwillsympathise.Moneyhasrestrained me to Europe so far (apart from a very British trip to Thailand with my family as a teenager) and that indeed probably links to the motives behindfindingworkabroad.Ialwaysputaside a good part of my loan so I can go and visit friends during the holidays. When working, you support yourself and can spend extended periods of time in another country. Most importantly for me, as I am hooked on learning other languages, you are totally surrounded by the language, culture and traditions of the country you are working in.This is no gap-year-volunteering-in-Kenya or rafting-in-Laos kind of experience. Here is a summary of my main experiences working abroad, and a caveat to some of the perils… Au-pair work Straight out of sixth form, an 18 year old, wide-eyed Francophile, I found an au-pair job in Brussels through aupair-world.co.uk. What I experienced in the capital of eurocracy was far from the boring reputation that precedes it. However, I often reflect that even if I had escaped to Tenby it would have been equally as exhilarating as it was my first taste of freedom, having flown the nest. I landed in the four-strong brood of a balding Belgian marketing executive with anger problems and a Jekyll and Hyde-esque doctor, his wife. To cut a long story short, they wanted my blood and a pound of flesh under the terms of what was essentially a slave labour contract. I left. I then stumbled upon my next family, the
husband I discovered (after some googling) was in the top 00 list of the largest fortunes in France. A lot of super-rich French businessmen move to Brussels due to the more elite-friendly tax system. So as you see, it really is the luck of the draw when it comes to au-pairing. I had a wonderful time in Brussels from then on, acting more as a babysitter than a nanny, and the fact that I was native English was indispensible. I cannot think of any other job that allows you to earn a decent wage, yet provides you with the benefits of free accommodation in a nice postcode, often free food, and access to household appliances. However, unless you fit into the family like the missing piece or are thoroughly independent, you will end up feeling tired of being the outsider observing another family’s life after one year. A year is definitely enough! Door-to-door One of the most challenging jobs that I had abroad was a door-to-door position for the national energy company when I was living in Italy. Our job was to tour the council estates and poorer areas of different towns in the region in Liguria making sure that all the residents had the right energy plan. Not only did I learn how energy provision works but in the space of a month I went into more than 100 Italian houses, and met the strangest characters. We were plied with coffee, cigarettes and home-made liqueur (which wasn’t a problem for most of the salesmen who were all chain-smoking alcoholics who started the day with a spiked coffee and a glass of Prosecco). We were threatened and welcomed in, signed a contract with a man on probation under house arrest, I visited places and
Hidden Gem: O Cesteiro, Portugal
f someone offered to take you out to dinner in a shopping centre, you’d be forgiven for imagining greasy fast food, cafeteria style service and plastic cutlery. However, in a complex off of Villamoura’s marina is O Cesteiro, a fish restaurant which blows all of those preconceptions out of the water. After walking up a metal staircase and passing through an unassuming side door, you are greeted by incredibly friendly staff who show you the enormous selection of fish available. From prawns to turbot to dorado, O Cesteiro is every fish-lover’s dream. First, you choose your seafood, then you choose
how you would like it cooked – the staff will advise you on how to get the best out of your fish. Although it can be pricy, you pay by weight, so you can choose exactly how much to spend! If, like me, you love fish but hate the bones, the staff will even fillet the fish directly at your table (they make it look incredibly easy!) Not only is the food fabulous, the balcony has brilliant views over the marina, so you can see all the action whilst enjoying your meal. If you’re ever visiting Villamoura, make sure you stop in at O Cesteiro – you’ll never get a better meal in a shopping mall.
» Working as an au-pair in Brussels towns I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise and had a glimpse into real Italian life. My Italian improved dramatically, perfecting my use of formal address, but the main, and huge, drawback was that my pay never came through. They were complete crooks. I cannot stress the importance of looking after your own interests when taking on a part time or casual job, especially abroad. Hostel The most recent experience I had abroad was some work experience this Easter in a youth hostel in France. I was desperate to get abroad to France as soon as possible before the summer. The 18-year-old Francophile had been replaced by an Italian-loving student. I felt like I was cheating on the French. My year on the Erasmus scheme in Genoa, Italy, was a heady mix of delicious food, exclamations and gesticulations, sunsets and new emotions. I fell head over heels in love with Italy and didn’t speak much French for a year. That made me hesitant to do so back at Warwick as I felt so rusty. The work experience was meant to be a re-awakening of my love for French, to get me speaking again. I sent out CVs and covering letters to about twenty youth hostels in France and this was my only positive answer. The receptionist work was standard - I had already worked as a receptionist in the Alpine resort of Valfréjus, and was well accustomed to the dips and peaks and the need to be constantly on the ball in several languages. However, there was nothing youthful about this hostel. There was so much back-
Photo: Frank Friedrichs/Flickr stabbing, deceit, unrequited love and jealousy amongst the staff, it was more interesting as a social study. The barman was an extravagantly camp 0-year-old man who complained about having to lift a finger and tried to get me to do all the sweeping. There had been tension before and one staff member ‘accidentally fell’ down the trap door in the bar and seriously injured herself. The eccentric expatriated English night watchman and I observed the antics. My French improved and I also realised that I really wanted to find work in music production, inspired by stories of France’s abundant music festivals. I feel that I was useful at the hostel and also in other jobs due to the fact I spoke English and other languages. Work abroad. If you are a linguist or even if you just speak English, there are so many possibilities and you have such a strong advantage. I met a girl in Genoa who had done a TEFL course. She earned enough to pay her rent and save a considerable amount of money working four hours a day teaching English. If you want to travel and have a more genuine experience in that country, find some work, and totally immerse yourself in the language and culture. Trust me, it’s worth it! Arran Turner Have you got any tips for finding work abroad?
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Boat Club aim for an extra-oar-dinary regatta Warren Muggleton spends a wet summer’s day with the Warwick Boat Club before the annual Henley Regatta
here are several sporting events to look forward to this summer. Between 2nd and th July, one such event will take place, an event which brings people from around the world together, down by the River Thames. This event is the Henley Royal Regatta, a key fixture in the summer sporting calendar. The event began in 1839 as part of a fête put on by villagers in Henley, but soon after it came to focus exclusively on competitive rowing. In this year, all the races took place on one afternoon- the next year that increased to two afternoons. In 1928, the event became so popular, it was over-subscribed and qualifying was introduced. In 1986, the event adopted the form it takes today, with five days of racing. With such an illustrious history, it is clear to see why the event gained royal patronage in 1851 under H.R.H. Prince Albert. Today, there are 90 races over five days, covering five types of rowing and sculling. Henley is a unique regatta because it is the only one not subject to the jurisdiction of British Rowing or the world organisation of rowing, FISA. There are 20 events which have attracted people from all over the world at different levels. From schoolboys to international squads, Henley offers a unique opportunity to brush shoulders with both the established stars and hot prospects of the rowing world. The course is just over a mile and a quarter long, which surmounts to
The 2014 Henley Regatta boasts 90 races spread over five days, covering five different types of rowing and sculling about 2120m if you want to try that on the rowing machines! The event is not like the Olympics where 6 crews race each other- it is a headto-head, straight knock-out; there is no room for error. The course is marked out clearly with solid white booms on either side, acting both as a help and potentially a hindrance to the cox.
There are a huge variety of trophies to be won at Henley Royal Regatta and this year the University of Warwick Boat Club’s 1st VIII will be hoping to compete in the Temple Challenge Cup, for student eights. Before the big occasion, I went down to the boat club on a typically damp British summer day to have a chat with the crew. Last year, the crew qualified for the Temple Challenge Cup, one of 15 successful crews from the 45 who entered qualifying, in what was described as a “decent row” by the cox, Natalie Kernan. Warwick were then drawn against Virginia University, one of the favourites from America. Disappointingly, on the day of the Warwick crew returning to the Temple Challenge Cup after a three year absence, they lost to Virginia by a considerable distance. So what has changed this year? “The load has increased by about 25% from last season” said the senior men’s captain, Lee Rawlings. The crew started training again in the middle of July, two weeks after Henley 2013. Matt Dabell, who sits in two-seat, earnestly added “the training has increased from 7 to 12 sessions a week.” “Each session has been given more structure with a clear goal” bow-man, Chris Young, told me. This has been aided by the introduction of Oliver James as the senior men’s coach, who coxed the LTA Mixed Four at the World Championships in Korea last year. “Rather than going through the motions there seems to be more reason to our training,” the team said. When I asked the crew why Henley was a unique rowing event in the racing calendar, several reasons were given to me. “As well as the beautiful older ladies, there is a chance, as semi-professionals, to brush shoulders with gold medallists,” said Paddy West, the threeman. Thomas Lister, who sits in the five-seat, quoted Steve Redgrave in describing the event as “the equivalent of an arena” as people can watch the race throughout the whole distance. At Dorney Lake, for example, most people are sat along the last 300 metres of the race
» The Henley Royal Regatta is a key fixture in the summer sporting calendar. Photo: Warren Muggleton and only get to cheer on the crew for a fraction of the time. At Henley, however, crowds congregate along the whole distance, making for a consistent noise of support, adding to the sense of occasion.
“With 12 sessions a week, and a squad of 20 girls, this year has been a watershed for Warwick Women”
Only two BUCS rowing events are fully recognised on the student university calendar. In both my opinion and the opinion of the crew, Henley offers both a high quality of rowing, as well as a stunning social event. Also, there are only 32 crews or less in each event; therefore Henley offers a crew the chance to race with crews from America and Europe in a very select group. It was difficult for the crew to give an aim for Henley without knowing
who they would be drawn against. Whilst the captain would be very proud if the crew got through to Thursday, others would be happy to actually qualify. However, everyone agreed that having a good row on the day was most important. “I would love for the crew to have a fast and consistent pace with a lot of aggression,” said Oliver James. He also spoke about how everything builds up to this one race. “It acts as a motivation to get us from one session to another,” the crew said. From spending some time with the crew on Wednesday, it is clear to see how tight-knit they all are. The aim with rowing is for all members of the crew to do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. The crew unsurprisingly do everything together- train in the morning, eat breakfast, study in the Learning Grid or Library and train again. For Lee, “being a rowing captain has been the best thing at university,” as he has seen the crew progress. However, it is not just the boys going to Henley. This season, the women’s squad has seen a great deal of success throughout the year and they are now aiming for more at Henley Women’s Regatta from 20th
to 22nd June 2014. In October, a new coaching system was implemented for the women. “With 12 sessions a week, and a squad of 20 girls, this year has been a watershed for Warwick women,” said senior women’s coach Patrick Hinton. So there we have it. Those competing at Henley commit to the event fully, with months of training, come rain or shine, in order to have the best possible chance of success at this summer sporting event. On this “prestigious”, “beautiful” and “lush” course, rowers of all countries and levels come together to try and put their names in the history books. This is a British summer sporting event which I think needs more recognition because there is so much on offer from so many competitive crews- although not everyone can win, it is a special event not to be missed. Keep up to date with our progress at the Regatta by following us
Highlights of the 2013/2014 sports season Five Boar Sport writers reveal their favourite university sporting moments of the academic year
The biggest highlight of the men’s basketball season for me was reaching the semi-finals of the BUCS Midlands Conference Cup. After beating Leicester in the Last 1 and Nottingham Trent in the Quarters, we matched up against our biggest rivals of the year: Loughborough 2nds. Unfortunately, we did not pull through with the win, but the lads fought hard until the last seconds of the game. Warwick Basketball’s men and women’s teams also won their Varsity matches against Coventry, and the games had a huge attendance with phenomenal support from the crowd. Phil Reeder, Basketball Captain
tainly the biggest positive to come from this season. The tournament was another resounding success, and the development of the next generation is something we eagerly anticipate. Oliver Hopkins, Dodgeball Captain
The greatest a c h i e v e m e nt of this season came at its genesis. The men’s freshers will have to go a long way to surpass the dizzying heights they achieved in their first ever tournament. Demonstrating skill and maturity beyond their years, they took home the coveted University Championships trophy in a memorable day. The progress of our freshers has been sensational, and most cer-
After the new freshers were welcomed by the University of Warwick’s Women’s Football Club (UWWFC) veterans, the fantastic mini-tour in term one was planned to kick off the year’s social life. It did exactly that, and throughout the entire year circles were integral to the weekly schedule. When it came down to the football, this has been UWWFC’s most successful year thus far, with the 1st team placing joint second in their league and the 2nd team coming third. There was also a top performance from the futsal te am, as they won the futsal 1A League. The Salou tour and the very su c c e ss f u l charity tournament were great ways to end an awesome year. UWWFC managed to raise over £1,00 for its various chosen charities over the year. Simply put, any summary of UWWFC’s year would not do it justice. Farewell and good
luck to the leavers, they will be truly missed. Helen Babalola, UWWFC The Varsity ice h ockey match was brilliant this year. We may have won Varsity for the past 2 years in a row, but Coventry almost always get the better of us in ice hockey. The atmosphere was electric and the pace of the game frenetic. The lead changed hands several times before we eventually won 7- with a last-minute goal. I was lucky enough to commentate on the match for RaW and it was the perfect introduction to two weeks of Varsity mayhem. Isaac Leigh, Sport Editor 2013/14 I think I’m going to have to copy Isaac and say my favourite sporting memory of this academic year is the Varsity Ice Hockey. Varsity never fails to entertain and it’s basically as big as the World Cup, just without the corruption, political in-
» Photo: Chris Beck trigue and extensive BBC coverage. The match was fantastic, really competitive and physical, and in the end I think it’s fair to say that Warwick were worthy winners. Considering that Coventry usually beat us in this particular event, to win was even more satisfying. The atmosphere was engaging and hilarious in equal measure, and I discovered a burning inner hatred for Coventry within me that I previously hadn’t realised existed. On that note, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to the Coventry supporter directly opposite me, whom I yelled “SCUM” at whenever we made eye contact. It was wrong of me and I’ve certainly learnt that to make such sweeping generalisations is nothing short of ignorant. Even if you do go to an institution for people who can’t play sport very well. Luke Brown, Sport Editor
» Photo: Warwick Basketball
Elena Baltacha: “You will always be missed” Ibtisam Ahmed pays tribute to the tennis star, who tragically passed away from liver cancer earlier this year In a sport dominated by players who have noticeable personas offcourt, often accompanied by lucrative media deals, it is refreshing to see someone whose sole focus is on what happens from the coin toss to the call of “Game, Set and Match.” That Elena Baltacha was able to maintain that level of commitment despite seemingly unsurmountable odds is a reflection of her strength of character, and it is truly heart breaking that this piece has to be written as an epitaph. Bally started her professional career in 1997. Between then and her final match in 201, she was able to notch up 11 tournament victories, as well as a slew of impressive wins against higher ranked opponents. Her ranking peaked at No. 9 in September 2010, and she was the British No. 1 for three non-consecutive years. Although she failed to make the second week at Grand Slams, she still thrilled the British fans, with one of her best Slam results coming at Wimbledon (rd Round in 2002) and the majority of
her titles on home soil. All of this amounts to a perfectly respectable career, better than many of her compatriots and definitely better than the vast majority who pick up a racquet professionally. This all sounds commendable but a little ordinary. To understand what made Bally so extraordinary, one has to take a closer look. At Wimbledon 200, she played one of her most memorable and hard-fought matches against Jelena Dokic, forcing the former semi-finali s t to three s e t s before bowing out. Following her loss, Baltacha underwent invasive surgery to find the cause of lifelong health problems. Her ranking fell all the way to No. 7. More worryingly, it was discovered that she had a chronic liver condition that affected her immune system. Retirement
was a serious consideration, given both the complexity of post-operation rehabilitation and the health risks of continuing on tour with her condition. Instead, Baltacha returned to the tour in January 200. She surprised everyone with solid showings in ITF tournaments, a memorable match against Jennifer Capriati at Wimbledon and a strong commitment to the sport by participating – and winning – in multiple Fed Cup ties. Dedication to the LTA was a particular trait of hers, and her Fed Cup heroics definitely won over the hearts of many fans who are normally used to seeing players put individual ambitions ahead of the betterment of the sport. 2005 saw her reach the rd Round of the Australian Open, a result she would repeat in 2010. Between those two Aus-
sie results, however, she hit another roadblock when she needed to undergo back surgery in 200. Having worked hard to climb back up the rankings, she dropped back down – and she still refused to give up. After coming back in 2007, she continued to rack up ITF wins over the next three years to go alongside her ongoing enthusiasm for the Fed Cup. Her hard work finally culminated in an unforgettable 2010 season. Following her rd Round result in Melbourne – tied for her best Grand Slam run – she chalked up her two biggest victories to date, beating reigning and future French Open champions Francesca Schiavone and Na Li, both Top 10 players at the time. Those results, combined with deep runs at multiple ITF and WTA tournaments, led to her highest ever ranking. The next three years saw her liver condition flare up again, as well as time off for foot injury which required minor surgery in late 2012. Nonetheless, Bally was able » Photo: flickr/n8xd to fulfil one of her life’s biggest
dreams by representing Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics. She called it the most memorable and emotional moment of her career, and her infectious smile during the athletes’ parade remains one of her most enduring off-court images. Having paved the way for players like Anne Keothavong, Heather Watson and Laura Robson, she finally retired in November 201. She married coach Nino Severino in December, before getting diagnosed with liver cancer in January of this year. A patron of the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation since 2010 and a warrior since the age of 19, Elena Baltacha sadly succumbed to the disease on the th of May, 201. Tennis lost a trailblazer. The world lost an inspiration. RIP Bally, you will always be missed. Tweet us your tributes to Baltacha @BoarSport