Warwick awarded Royal Society fellowships Michael Allen Warwick is set to benefit from the appointment of four scientists from the prestigious Royal Society, a fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering and medicine. The University Research Fellowship scheme is for “outstanding scientists in the UK who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field.” Candidates are chosen based upon their scientific merit, which includes past achievements, research career to date, publication record, likely contribution to their research field and future potential. The Royal Society funds 80 percent of the salary of these University Research Fellows (URFs) and those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships. In total, 36 URFs were announced by the Royal Society, four of whom will come to Warwick. These are Dr
David Loeffler (Mathematics Institute), Dr Gavin Morley (Department of Physics), Dr Rebecca Notman (Department of Chemistry) and Dr Vardis Ntoukakis (School of Life Sciences). The new URFs told the Boar that the facilities at Warwick would greatly aid them in their research. Dr Loeffler hopes to use his time at Warwick to make progress on the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, which has become recognised as one of the most challenging mathematical questions. He said that while the key tools of a mathematician are simply “a pad of paper and a wastepaper basket”, it is the “concentration of expertise” in Warwick’s mathematics department that is particularly attractive to him. “[It] is a really superb place to be in terms of exchanging ideas with other mathematicians,” he said. “I often find that when I’m stuck on a problem one of my colleagues will have something helpful to suggest.” Dr Morley said he came to Warwick “because of the wonderful equipment” available for his experiments. He will be working on the development of a quantum compu-
ter – the field which recently won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics. Dr Ntoukakis said that the new phytobiology unit, the microscopy suite and the mass spectrometry unit would be critical to the success of his research into plant microbe interactions. “I hope to grow my research group to be able to support students and researchers, and to produce high quality science,” he said. Dr Notman has already spent five years doing research at Warwick. Now, with Royal Society funding, she will be able to pursue her research on the stratum corneum – the uppermost layer of skin. She said, “The problem is that our understanding of the skin is actually very limited. My research will use molecular simulations to ‘zoom-in’ to the molecular level to understand how the molecules in the skin (mainly lipids) form the skin barrier.” She hopes to be able to solve current challenges in skin research, which will have “a real impact” on society. A spokesman for the University said that it was “stunning” to be able to get more than 10 percent (or
£200m gov pot for science research
» Can Warwick drive growth? photo: Flickr/ Birmingham News Room Continued from front page At Warwick, government funding will account for £15 million of the overall £92 million investment. The remaining £77 million, approximately 84% of the total budget, will be provided by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC). The creation and operation of NAIC will involve the construction of two new buildings – in addition to the already confirmed WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) Academy – situated in the undeveloped space adjacent to the International Manufacturing Centre and the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation. Building work is expected to commence in December 2013 and is scheduled for completion by March 2015, coinciding with the Universi-
ty’s 50th anniversary. JLR and TMETC, working closely with WMG at the University “envisage a 10 times return on investment through increased value added from exploitation of research outputs in new and improved products, processes and services”, according to Warwick’s Press Office. The University hopes NAIC will achieve this by creating and developing “novel technologies to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions”, building a “stronger supplier base in the UK” and addressing “a shortage of skilled R&D staff in the automotive supply chain.” However, whilst the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, believes the “new investment will get [companies and universities] working together to
deliver innovation and growth”, a number of individuals have questioned whether the scheme will benefit Warwick students. In a statement, Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift responded to these concerns, commenting: “The National Automotive Innovation Campus will make a significant difference not just to the automotive industry but tens of thousands of lives. “It will embrace and engage 14+ year old school students, undergraduate and postgraduates students, research fellows, academics, start-up owners, apprentices, industry engineers, supply chain specialists and automotive leaders and help secure jobs both in our local region and nationally.” Students’ Union President Nick Swain was also quick to provide assurances. Speaking to the Boar, he said the scheme is a “great project which will make Warwick the best automotive hub in the UK, providing it isn’t disruptive and promises to deliver for all students.” “We hope it will benefit students as a departmental strategy, but we also hope it will benefit everyone else as a result.” Mr Swain went on to promise that the SU would push for the “wider student experience to receive direct investment from this.” “It is going to be a money maker and the university should reinvest this to benefit students.” In addition to Warwick, several other universities will benefit from funding, including Birmingham, Surrey, Liverpool and Oxford.
» Royal Society in London photo: flickr/Matt Brown 4 out of 36) of the URFs to come to Warwick. He added that although these professors will primarily be engaged in research; “Warwick has always said that great researchers make great teachers as they are excited about their subject and are in
a position to communicate the very latest advances in their fields to their students.” The URFs will receive Royal Society funding for the first five years of their research, with the opportunity to apply for an extension of three additional years.
‘Die-in’ at uni careers fair Jack Shardlow A careers fair at the University of Warwick has been greeted with scenes of protest from members of the Weapons out of Warwick (WooW) campaign. The campaign is run by People and Planet, a network of students throughout Britain who campaign in the interest of ending world poverty, defending human rights and protecting the environment. People and Planet had a presence at the fair throughout the day in two capacities: they distributed leaflets containing information on the companies at the fair, as well as staging what is known as a ‘die-in’. The leaflets, called ‘Fair Information’, contained information concerning the ethical practices of the companies that WooW believed would have been missing from their recruitment packs. The die-ins formed the main protest aspect of the day, culminating in about ten members of WooW theatrically screaming and falling to the floor in front of the BAE stall, pretending to be dead. One of the members then explained what they were doing and why, while the other members remained on the floor. This led to an extended exchange with University security who advised the protestors that they were violating several
health and safety regulations. Chris Maughan, a second-year PhD student who was involved with the campaign, told the Boar: “We felt this effectively dramatised the willful ignorance toward human misery and death required of prospective employees of such companies.” The day of action was held in an effort to challenge the presence of arms companies on campus, with their main target being the weapons manufacturer BAE Systems. Jac Bastian, WooW coordinator with People and Planet, said: “Ideally, we’d like the university to consider the ethical records of companies before inviting them to careers fairs, as opposed to simply allowing the richest companies to recruit, regardless of their actions, as this only serves to legitimise such companies. “We also aim to give students a fuller picture of the work of companies such as BAE, who are already being shunned by graduates due to their dubious ethical practices,” he continued. However, weapons manufacturers were not the only targets of the student protest. Other companies targeted included Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Aldi Stores for their apparent various workers’ rights violations, and what was in some cases called a “blatant disregard for the environment”.
@BoarNews email@example.com theboar.org/news Chris Hackett & Rozina Sabur
Student stabbed in Coventry suburb Jack Shardlow A student living in Coventry has been stabbed three times in the stomach by a burglar who had broken into his home. Police and paramedics were immediately called to the house where the incident occurred in Knotting Way, Copsewood, on the evening of Monday 2 October. Police officers at the scene reported that the student, who lives at the property with his family, had heard a disturbance downstairs and went to investigate. In doing so, he interrupted the burglar who had managed to gain entry to the house through the back door. As the student tried to apprehend the intruder he was stabbed three times in the stomach. A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “The offender, who is described as a white man, fled the scene. Officers are following up a number of lines of inquiry including forensic opportunities and a trawl of CCTV.” The 24-year-old student was treated at the scene. A spokeswoman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said that his condition was stable and not life-threatening. Police would not confirm if the student studied at Warwick or Coventry. This incident came only a matter of weeks after another man pleaded guilty to the unprovoked attack and murder of Coventry masters student Adebayo Adeniran in June. Kattie Liu, a third-year engineer-
ing student living in Coventry, said to the Boar: “Hearing about things like this really scares you. I’m lucky enough to have never experienced being burgled, but I have heard of it happening to a lot of students in Coventry, especially during the holidays.” “It would put me off living here, if it wasn’t for the fact that similar things happen in Leamington too. It happens everywhere more or less.” Ben Sundell, Welfare Officer at the Students’ Union (SU), spoke to the Boar about the stabbing and student safety in general: “It really is awful to hear of such an incident taking place.” “We would urge all students to do their best to look out for each other in the local area – particularly after dark. Keep in touch with your friends and housemates and ensure you all know where each other are.” “I would also urge everyone to ensure that upmost care is taken with locking your doors and windows at your house, and not leaving expensive items on display.” With regards to any students who already have any worries about their safety, Mr Sundell said: “Please do get in touch with the free and confidential Advice Centre at the SU or with the on-campus policeman – Mick Parkes, whose work is dedicated to ensuring all Warwick Students’ safety.” With this advice in mind, Ms Liu told the Boar: “We’ve made sure we have a burglar alarm in place and lock all doors and windows so we should be okay – ‘touch-wood’.”
New maths can predict the likelihood of getting pregnant Warwick has devised a new model to predict conception
» Getting pregnant becomes more technical photo: Flickr/ndmiller Georgina Lawton A new mathematical model has been devised to help couple’s calculate the likelihood of conceiving a child on the basis of age and how long they have been trying. Researchers at the University of Warwick have been collaborating with those from the London School of Economics (LSE). They also used the number of menstrual cycles over which the couple has been trying for a baby to determine the
probability of conception the following month. The research determined that if the woman is aged 35, after just six months of trying, her chance of getting pregnant in the next cycle is then less than 10 percent. Professor Geraldine Hartshorne – who led the research and holds a joint appointment between Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire – said: “Many couples are not aware that chance plays a big role in getting pregnant. “People expect to get pregnant
when they want to, so finding out that it isn’t happening can be a shock. Approaching a doctor about such a personal matter is daunting, so knowing when the right time to start investigations is would be a useful step forward.” According to the model, when a woman is 25 it takes 13 menstrual cycles before her chance of pregnancy in each new cycle has declined to below 10 percent. The number of months required to reach a conception chance below 10 percent cycle is 10 at age 30, and just six at age 35. Dr Peter Sozou of the London School of Economics said: “After several cycles without pregnancy, it becomes relatively more likely that a couple have low fertility. This is the main reason why it becomes less likely that conception will occur in the next cycle”. “We can’t work out exactly when, or if, a woman will become pregnant – but this analysis can predict her chances, and give a percentage estimate of pregnancy in the next cycle.” The mathematical model drew inspiration from 18th century minister Thomas Baynes who formulated a way to calculate probabilities by combining prior information with new evidence. The paper, entitled ‘Time to pregnancy: a computational method for using the duration of non-conception for predicting conception’, is published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.
Warwick named UK’s most digitally savvy university The University has been praised for use of technology and social media to attract new students Rachael Callear A recent Virgin Media Business survey had judged the University of Warwick the UK’s most ‘digitally savvy’ university with 92 percent provision of the services examined. The research compared the 2013 Guardian University Guide’s top twenty universities for Computer Science and IT and examined whether the universities used new media such as online communications channels to attract students. Warwick’s use of intranets, virtual tours and social media to attract students was praised by Virgin Media Business. Tony Grace, chief operating officer at Virgin Media Business, said that “universities need to be making the most of new media tools to boost application numbers by interacting with students on whole new level”. Newcastle University and University College London came second, using 11 out of 13 communication channels analysed as part of the study. Of the universities sur-
veyed, 65 percent used new media to communicate and engage with students. Ken Punter, Head of Digital and Online Communications at Warwick, said he was “honoured” on behalf of Warwick to receive the accolade. He added: “For us, digital communication is a key medium – not just for addressing students and po-
Warwick beat Newcastle University and University College London to the top spot in the survey
tential students but for a vast range of international audiences that are crucial for a globally connected University such as Warwick.” One History undergraduate praised the audio recording of lectures which she said was “useful during exam period” because “re-listening to key debates really helped me focus my revision”. However, Oliver Rice, a second-
year PPE student, added that Warwick “has to be careful not to tip the balance” by emphasising slick lecture delivery over innovative and stimulating content. One first-year undergraduate praised the start.warwick iPhone application for its campus map, travel information and library search function. She said: “I never would have found the introductory lectures without it!” Charlie Hindhaugh, UG Social Sciences Faculty Representative at Warwick SU, commented on the impact of interactive facilities on the opportunities for the new partnership between Warwick and Monash University, Australia. He argues these facilities have “created some really exciting prospects for international teaching” including the use of video-conferencing for the new inter-disciplinary module on ‘Forms of Identity’ which will be simultaneously taught to students at Warwick and Monash. The upcoming undergraduate student journal conference ‘Reinvention’, in which Monash has re-
» iMacs at the Gibbet Hill campus photo: University of Warwick cently become a co-partner alongside Warwick, will also feature live digital presentations from Monash students. Warwick uses a range of digital communication channels including iTunesU, YouTube, the Knowledge Centre, and social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
There are a range of departments at Warwick involved in digital communications including the Internal Communications Team who are responsible for university intranet and internal communications channels, and the Creative Digital Communications Team who produce video and audio content.
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8 George Ryan on the
Student Soapbox “I have a feeling we’re not on campus anymore ...”
eing booted out of halls is met with an air of heady optimism by most secondyears. The excitement of living in your own house brings with it many promises: no more 5am fire alarms, or buses on nights out, and the glowing prospect of 24 hour greasy takeaways on your doorstep. Leamington Spa, famed for the medicinal qualities of its water, is generally where most ‘returners’ end up. Ordained with a ‘Royal’ prefix in 1838 by Queen Victoria, today it is home to over a quarter of Warwick University students. One may wonder why students are attracted to live over ten miles from campus, in what is essentially a seaside town without a coast. Perhaps it is an outpouring of architectural angst after a year of enduring Warwick’s somewhat Stalinist structures that makes students yearn for white façades and Georgian terraces. The reality of escaping ‘the Bubble’ is far from the halcyon image presented at first glimpse. Bills, boilers and buses are enough to drive most students to the brink – particularly when said bus drives past without you, making you miss your appointment with that cruel mistress, the 9am seminar. Catching a coy smile from the driver leaving you stranded is an effective alternative to caffeine to get you pumping in the morning. Shelling out £300 for the privilege of standing on a bus makes you feel like a mug; and, ironically, one comes free with your bus pass for a limited time only. As for landlords, the less said the better – this is a sensitive time in the world of press standards. There is a strong North-South divide in Leamington, with the mainly student Southern areas categorised as ‘ghettos’ by some townsfolk. Such territory is marked out by ambiguous pools of vomit and recycling bins full of last night’s misdeeds. Of course there are some advantages: it only takes five minutes to walk to the queue for your favourite nightclub now. Plus you can also occasionally see Sammy, Warwick’s former Big Issue vendor, flogging his wares to the rallying cry of “Scooby-dooby-doo, buy the Big Issue.” It is hard not to miss the perks of campus life, whether that is rolling out of bed five minutes before a lecture, or having water, gas, electricity and even internet sorted out for you by a higher being. In the end, however, what you will truly miss is being able to wander the corridors of halls at any hour of the day to say hi to someone. Despite 14% of residents in Leamington Spa being full-time students, the sense of community on campus is difficult to replicate amongst the disparate student populace of Leamington.
Time for Northern independence
Britain’s ugly duckling: the North deserves a government that supports it Matthew Yates
radley Wiggins wins gold for Great Britain…” If the national media is to be believed this proclamation earmarked a proud moment for Britain, England, and the North, putting the home of the Chorley Cake on the map and inspiring legions of bright young Northern athletes. Even ignoring the fact that 65% of Northerners don’t believe the Olympics will benefit them in any way (with 50% not interested in watching a single event), the recent successes of Northern athletes under the banner of Team GB should not mask the fact that Britain is deeply divided. As Scotland looks towards independence it must be asked whether the North would be happier with greater autonomy. But surely, you might ask, isn’t our nation stronger if we stand together, rather than weakened through division? However, the North’s present situation is far from ideal: children from the Lakes to the Pennines are faced with the prospect of a life of low-wages, poor job security and an earlier grave than their Southern compatriots. Tragically, this is not due to nature or luck but the policy decisions
of successive governments. The unnecessary speed in which the industrial sector was crushed has not only destroyed swathes of communities across England, but has unbalanced the economy in favour of a tiny section of London, solidifying economic and political power within the confines of our capital. Although New Labour failed many of its supporters in the North, fierce hostility to the Conservative Party courses through the veins of every Northerner. Only 11% believe that the Tories understand the North, whilst 75% think that they represent the region badly. It is evident that whilst the South appoints the Tories to the throne of power, it is the Northern populace which suffers the greater hardship. Many fellow socialists would argue that this is not a regional concern but a class issue. However, YouGov polls actually show that skilled manual workers in the North heavily favour Labour policies compared to their work mates in the South, who favour that of the Tories. With greater autonomy the North could choose its own path; voting patterns suggest it would be in favour of progressive taxation, state-led industrial growth, and a reversal of damaging privatisation as the Labour party would be
freed from the shackles of ‘Middle England’ (always a code-word for Southern voters).
It’s evident that whilst the South appoints the Tories, it is the Nothern populace which suffers
Scotland and the North could be progressive beacons, whilst also freeing the South from ‘bankrolling England’. This would reverse the infantilisation of the supposedly ‘beggar thy neighbour’ North. Surely if the North is a drain on London and its satellite regions’ resources then its freedom would be fully supported by Tories and Southerners alike? But being a realistic salt-of-theearth Northerner (yes, stereotypes can come in handy) it must be remembered that even the best efforts of Lord Prescott himself could not convince the North-East of the benefits of devolution. The motion was resoundly beaten with a 78% No vote. However, times have changed. The impact of public sector cuts is being felt most heavily in the North, whilst the success of Scottish and
Welsh devolution since Prescott’s folly has not been ignored. Naturally, there are logistical issues such as where the North actually begins (when you start calling ‘dinner’ tea is a simple dividing line) and what form this greater autonomy would take. That said, there must be greater debate about how we might be better represented. We are increasingly viewing ourselves as Lancastrians, Brummies, Scousers, Mancunians or Geordies first, Northerners second, and, at a push, Britons third. The members of The Communist Party of Central Lancashire may dream of an independent ‘Democratic Socialist Republic of Northern England’. But it shall always remain as such: a dream, where men don their flat caps on their way to the worker-controlled textile mill, and sing the Internationale with a heavy Yorkshire twang. However, a realistic alternative does exist; a more autonomous North, weaved together by progressive principles and local solidarity. The opportunity provided by this aggressive, Southern-based government must be used to send a cry down every terraced street, struggling council estate, and Pennine path; “Northerners of Britain unite, you have nothing to lose but Chingford!”.
‘Gap yah’ snobbery has gone too far It’s time we chundered up some respect for gap year students, writes Charley-kai John
ou’re sprawled out semi-conscious in an (entirely legally) borrowed trolley with half a can of Carling to your name. Freshers’ week is over and now you’ve had some time to think. Gazing down at the mysterious, growing puddle in your lap, a thought filters through your innebriated brain: was my gap year (pronounced gap yah) really worth it? The fate of the gap year student is coming under threat. Right now, you’re looking like an endangered species. While the UCAS website can’t tell you how many students took a gap year, they can tell you how many deferred. The great 2011 bum’s rush of UCAS applications for pre-£9000 tuition fees meant a lot of prospective students chose not to defer a place. The numbers have more than halved from 6.9% to 3.3% in the 2011 to 2012 academic year – a fall from 33,426 to 16,299. However, I’m not going to accuse David Willetts and other government members of sneaking into teenage bedrooms and stealing STA brochures just yet. I don’t have enough evidence. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice, but I can appreciate why many chose not to take the time off, and why it is important that the people who did felt their time was well spent. Now, some of this might seem pointless in retrospect to people who know Michael J. Fox isn’t going to whisk them back to their 2010
» A gap year: bleaker than first thought? UCAS application. But it’s important to remember how useful gap years are to various people before starting student life. If you were someone who sat on your backside watching Jeremy Kyle exorcise entire council estates while stuffing cheetos (where did they go?) into your mouth, then chances are you didn’t make the most of your year out. You might have spent your year trying to find work experience in your ideal job – camped outside a newspaper’s headquarters, occasionally scraping at the door and hoping they let you in through the cat flap. If
you’re one of those lovely people who chose to volunteer in their time off then hopefully you’ve been through a life changing experience – meaning you arrive at university a completely different person to your sixth-form self. If you’re like me then you worked a lot – if only to put some money behind you before all that crippling debt business and avoiding your bank statements like they’re Gorgons. Taking time off to work can sound depressing. Working somewhere where fried breakfasts cover your face in a foundation layer of grease every day also sounds de-
pressing. However it’s probably the first chance you’ve had to step out of the education system for a bit, take a breather and see what it’s like to make your own money. You might also get to use this money to fund your own travels – this could be anything from throwing up off the side of a party boat in Ibiza to On the Road. People I know have been lucky enough to take a two yah gap yah: working in the first and travelling for 6 months in the second. So while we’re all settling down to the stress of second year, they’ll be going Karl Pilkington on the world (if there ever was a time to be reassured that cannibal tribes still exist, then it’s now). You may well bump into people around campus who have taken a year out – a windswept girl in the union who spent her July fighting the forces of coastal erosion, perhaps. Or even someone with a face full of Maori tattoos and a tribal encounter to tell. Before you reach for your earplugs, what they did might not be as useless as you think. It might help you if you’re thinking about doing all this once your degree is over. Gap Year success is hard to measure – it leaves people self-conscious about wasting a year of their life. If you made the effort, or just did the things you wanted to do, then no one can hold that against you – that in itself more than justifies it.
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“Girls and women, show your anger!” In a discussion with famous journalist Bidisha Shonar Koli Mamata, Maahwish Mirza learns how to fight misogyny, why we must support slutwalks, and why girls still shouldn’t be called ‘sluts’ You wrote in the New Statesman earlier this year that addressing the hatred of women should be a priority issue for feminist campaigners. What is, in your opinion, the most obvious manifestation of misogyny in British society today? There are many examples, such as the fact that current or former partners kill two women a week. ‘Domestic’ violence and rape have become totally endemic. There are numerous cases of regular sexual harassment on the street and in the workplace. Furthermore, we must recognise the severe under-representation of women at all levels of meaningfully powerful professional life, both in public professions (ie. politics, the arts and culture) and non-public (ie. medicine, law, business). Equally important, the trend of victim-blaming, the excusal of perpetrators of rape and other kinds of violence, the disbelieving of victims… In short, there are too many manifestations to choose just one, which is why I tried to identify the contempt and derision which are the common factors in all types of treatment of women, all over the world. Do you think the Leveson inquiry has adequately addressed the issue of the tabloid media’s representation of women? Leveson hasn’t given his recommendations yet, but I am surprised that the issue of the representation of women came as such as surprise to him. It is even more surprising that he had to call in women activists and commentators to provide evidence on what is after all, completely obvious to anyone (male or female) who reads the tabloids. This goes way beyond the issue of Page 3 (although I of course support the campaign to get rid of Page 3 images) and encompasses all of the following: the smearing of women in public life from female politicians to female pop stars; the way sexual violence and gendered murder cases are reported and the reinforcement of myths about these types of crime; the way women are depicted and described; the under-representation of women as speakers, academics, experts and endorsers rather than victims, case studies, objects; and much, much more. If we are really to live in a world which is free of misogyny and the violence and inequality it supports, we need a total overhaul of the media, culture, politics, everything, in terms of personnel, values and policies. I do think this can happen – but there’s an awful lot of wilful blindness going on, and people are generally very resistant to change. I’m not, though. You started writing at a remarkably young age. What inspired you? Enthusiasm for the world – there was literally nothing I wasn’t interested in – and a great desire to participate, to meet people, to think, to write, to analyse, to speak. I wanted to be a shaping part of the culture I so enjoyed and I was lucky because I wasn’t shy. I was in no way a bookworm as a kid or young teenager. I was the opposite: an art-worm. I went out all the time and naturally gravitated towards journalism as it is wholly world-facing. I have never, ever hung around my bedroom daydreaming. I knew I wanted to be a journalist at 13 and by 14 I was doing it. I think the key to a fulfilling and successful
career is to do what you love. What are the obstacles to greater representation of women in public life? There is only one obstacle and that is misogyny. Your latest book Beyond the Wall looks at Palestinian life under occupation. Is there a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict? I am hundred percent against the military occupation, the quasi-apartheid atmosphere of Jerusalem, the illegal settlements and the annexing of land rich in Palestinian families’ olive groves. I favour a two state solution and am extremely disturbed by the latest thinking on this issue: that the settlements infiltrating and bordering Palestine are so plentiful and strategically placed that a two state solution would not be workable. I address all of this in Beyond the Wall; a chapter towards the end includes an analysis following my study of the latest UN Access and Closure map of the region. I hadn’t realised how strategic and how dire the situation was until I looked at the map. You can see how co-ordinated the planning and building of the wall and the location of settlements, roadblocks, refugee camps and checkpoints is. The goal is to completely break up Palestinian society economically, geographically, politically and psychologically. Some black feminists have objected to SlutWalks on the grounds that black women feel unable to appropriate the racialized stereotype incorporated into the word ‘slut’. Is trying to reclaim the word an objectionable project, particularly for black women? Yes. I am not about to call myself or any other woman a slut or spend a lot of time turning myself inside out to reclaim, reappropriate or invert particular words. It strikes me as subservient rather than radical to take a word that is used against you to express hatred of you and basically make it all okay. But I totally support the underlying purpose of SlutWalk. We mustn’t forget what prompted it: an American police officer victim-blamed women who survived the endemic sexual violence committed against us. Perpetrators of sexual violence all over the world now know they have an ally in that police officer.
» “Follow your dreams no matter how cliche it sounds” Photo: Flickr/PalFest ing, victim-blaming and derailing. But aside from that, I love being a journalist and commentator as I have the freedom to do whatever I want. And I have complete faith that reportage, witness, testimony and simple truth-telling do make a difference, or at the very least connect with many others who feel the same way.
Bidisha Shonar Koli Mamata
Do quotas for women and ethnic minorities work? Yes. People seem to be in denial of the fact that patriarchy has, for the last 3000 years, all over the world, been one massive act of high-quota positive discrimination by men for other men. Now, we’re going to do it the other way and if the chaps don’t like it, tough. I am bored by misogynists and their misogyny and when they talk I just hear a low grinding noise and think about something else. We tried it the patriarchs’ way for 3000 years. It was rubbish. Time for the overthrow.
What’s the hardest part of your work? I feel great despair at the repetitiveness of much of the gender and human rights activism I do: having to say, again and again, that survivors of rape are not to blame in any way for what has been done to them. Having to count up just how many – or rather, how few – women there are in any area of the media or public life. Trying to communicate something urgent and coming up against a wall of denial, hypocrisy, messenger-blam-
Have you been following the US Presidential election? I haven’t been following every twist and turn but of course I’m interested in the debates and appalled by how out of step the Republican Party are in terms of their stance on women’s control and ownership of our own bodies, sexual violence, gendered roles, religion, the welfare state and… Put it like this, I’d be standing in the same corner as Barack and Hillary. Although I do wish Michelle Obama
“If we are really to live in a world which is free of misogyny, we need a total overhaul of the media, culture politics, everything”
would step up and be the politicised, highly intelligent, driven, vocal activist we all know she really is, instead of playing at being a black Doris Day housewife type. There is no need for Michelle Obama to pretend to be this docile First Lady type. You’re in the White House, woman! You’ve got a Harvard degree! You were the family breadwinner while your husband climbed the greasy pole! Now ditch those unthreatening 50s cardigans and circle skirts and run this joint! Is there anyone you would like to debate with? No, I don’t get involved in interpersonal back and forth, ever. Not even on Twitter. Sometimes debates just make all parties more entrenched. But there are many people I would like to meet and learn from, from Aung San Suu Kyi to Hillary Clinton to Nawal el-Sadaawi to the three amazing women who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year to the many women who led protests during the Arab revolutions. What was the last book you read? I’ve got a few on the go at the moment: the novel Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, which is shortlisted for the Booker; a very enjoyable joint history of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart by the German academic Anka Mulhstein; and the military strategy manual The Art of War by Sun Tzu because I need some career help at the moment! The next thing I want to read is Citadel, the latest novel by Kate Mosse. I know her via the Orange Prize for Fiction, which I fully support.
Leam’s hidden treasures Finding five star food can be hard - so the Boar’s done it for you Laura Kendall
he already tricky nature of finding the perfect place to eat out is, for students, unfortunately exacerbated by budget and time. For this reason, in the nearby picturesque and terrifically quaint town of Leamington Spa, dining out is repeatedly solved by opting for somewhere familiar, namely from one of its dependable chain restaurants or coffee shops (Pizza Express and Starbucks, for example). However, Leamington offers so much more. Indeed there exists a praiseworthy collection of hidden gems – independent culinary treasures that charmingly decorate the side streets are just waiting to be explored, with delights that really do deserve recognition. If you are a fan of delectable tea and treats, vintage-inspired décor and, ultimately, a unique dining experience, the exquisite Vinteas is for you. Conveniently tucked away just behind the Royal Priors, its tasteful antique decoration successfully transports customers straight from the high street into a different era. Its menu boasts an impressive selection of fragrant and exotic loose-leaf teas whilst its charming “Vinteas Afternoon Tea” (tiers of delicate finger-sandwiches accompanied by fresh, warm scones with homemade clotted cream and jam) is not just a treat for the eyes
but for the tastebuds too. One pot of tea there is enough to entice you to try another and the cakes are deliciously moist and moreish; after visiting once, you are sure to visit again. Said pot of tea and a slice of cake is about £4 and well worth the indulgence. For students who are seeking the combination of great food, convivial entertainment and a lively social atmosphere, look no further than The White Horse. This innovative and diverse pub sits slightly away from the Parade on Clarendon Avenue, and perfectly accommodates sociable students. Its regularly organized student-friendly events (Monday night’s popular £1 entry quiz had us guessing feverishly in order to win the £60 bar tab), and its area dedicated to a wide array of free-to-use board games, like Monopoly and Articulate, guarantees time well-spent. Above all, its quality entertainment is met by quality food; this eclectically decorated pub serves up satisfying and flavoursome dishes that hallmark any good restaurant and its classic menu also brims with variety. A good dinner averages at £9. Leamington’s family-run Fat Birds Café sits in the centre of the town and has great personality. It stands out not simply for its striking poppy red interiors but also for its incredibly attractive 30% student discount on all large lunches between 2-4pm rendering hearty and quality lunches at approximately £5. The staff are extremely friendly and its
relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere is an ideal environment for catching up over wholesome food, or even a quick coffee and a tempting selection of homemade treats and cakes at very affordable prices. The Sozzled Sausage, located slightly off the beaten track down Regent Street, is a pub with a lot to offer. A colourful mismatched assortment of furniture and artwork help build up its fun, eccentric interior and contribute to this pub’s quirky character and charm. Offering locally-sourced food and specialising in its renowned range of sausage and mash, its menu is budget-friendly and enticing to all at around £5-6 per meal. For those brave enough, its very own £19 ‘Man Vs Food Sausage Challenge’ (a mammoth platter of sausages, mash, bacon, onion rings, chips, salad and more – all refunded if finished in fifteen minutes) could potentially provide students with a free and exceptionally satisfying meal, or at least a good few laughs if not. Ultimately, as students we are fortunate to have Leamington at a close distance. These admirable eateries are only a handful of the independent gems to be found away from the Parade, offering not just a great meal but also an experience. Therefore, next time you are looking for somewhere to eat, whether it be in the day or the night, for a meal or a coffee, steer away from the tried-and-tested and explore somewhere new. Leamington won’t let you down.
Why not try... Warwick Street’s Âme Soeur has to be the best French resteraunt in Leamington Spa. Small and eccentricly decorated, its specialities include a number of unusual variations on that gallic staple - the humble crepe. Savoury and sweet, Âme Soeur’s crepes are what makes it worth visiting - though it would be unfair to overlook the steak, which is excellent. Particularly worth trying is the chocolate truffle, hazelnut and pistachio ‘chocolat et noix’ offering, which is enough to fill anybody - so don’t be shy about wandering in and ordering a just a desert. But whatever happens, make sure you don’t leave without sampling their French cider. Unlike British cider it’s sweet, opaque and absolutely bloody lethal - although of course the resteraunt stocks a selection of half-decent wine for the student with deep pockets. Considering the quality of the food, Âme Soeur is good value for money - even if the menu is a little limited - and it oozes charm. They’re probably already taking bookings for Valentine’s day, so if you’re confident enough in your relationship then get on the phone now!
» Afternoon tea at North Leam’s Vinteas is worth a try Photo: Laura Kendall
Inspiration of the Day: Grace Coddington Julija Malahovska
robably the first time I heard about US Vogue’s fashion editor Grace Coddington was back in 2009, when watching the infamous ‘The September Issue’ – a cinematic depiction of all the drama and hardships of working under the wing of Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It seemed to me that one of the subplots, which portrayed Coddington’s attempt to challenge and question Wintour’s opinions and decisions, overshadowed what many journalists agree on – that ‘The September Issue’ is as much about Grace’s boundless talent and exquisite taste as it is about the sophisticated nature of Wintour’s world. If Mary Wollstonecraft can be called a master of romantic narrative, then Coddington is a queen of fashion narration, creating, in one of the journalist’s words, “the template for the contemporary fashion story like no one has done before”. Instead of designing conventional “pretty model wearing pretty clothes” pictures, she transports them into a radiant world, where fashion is alive and speaks to us through a magical spark generated between models, garments and the mise en scène. Coddington brings an unprecedented sense of a clearly unfolding story into her editorials, making the reader imagine that they are flipping through pages of a period book instead of observing a photographic spread in a magazine. Her background in fashion is very broad – before taking an art director position at US Vogue, she worked as a model, wrote for the British version of the magazine and assisted at Calvin Klein’s advertising campaigns, who later admitted that Grace worked on some of the best visuals he has ever done. This enabled her to develop a unique attitude towards fashion, regarding it not as a consumerist tool or a niche for profit, but as a world of a strict aesthetic which needs to be constantly nurtured and embellished. Among her most famous fashion spreads are ‘My Generation’ shot by Mert & Marcus, where model Natalia Vodianova is transformed into a modern Twiggy with various beach locations serving as a background for her on-page romance with Sam Riley. Others include ‘Love of a Lifetime’ shot by Annie Leibovitz with Coco Rocha and Roberto Bolle, ‘Anything Goes’ with Frida Gustavsson and Eddie Redmayne and many others. Throughout more than 30 years and up to this day, Grace Coddington, who is now 61 years old, still remains a massive inspiration not just to me, but to numerous photographers, designers and models, forever transforming the experience of fashion.
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@BoarLifestyle firstname.lastname@example.org theboar.org/lifestyle Kimberley Simpson
Season of mists and mellow fruit Lifestyle at the Boar presents your definitive guide to fall fashion: what to wear and how to wear it...
et ready for a fashion war this season. A real military parade has invaded the catwalks while our favourite it-girls have already adopted the new autumn trend. Forget about peplum jackets, peplum tops, and peplum dresses – this season is all about camouflaging yourself. Designers took their inspiration from the masculine military dress code and completely transformed the girly silhouette of last season into a more androgynous, strict, powerful figure. The look is easy to wear, the colours remain neutral – a wide range of khaki, black, navy blue and beige blend together on the catwalks alongside military jackets, officers’
trench coats and jodhpurs. Isabel Marant revisits the uniform by adding a bright red touch – this season’s colour – and gives it an 80s punch with an oversized officers’ coat, one of autumn’s most-praised new trends. At Victoria Beckham and Salvatore Ferragamo, however, the look is strict, the cut is clean and the colours match perfectly. Leather accessories such as riding boots and high waist belts give shape and structure to the silhouette. This is definitely a look that everyone can pull off – you don’t need to be Karlie Kloss to wear it every day on all fronts. Camille Seoane
» Military jackets give a sharp, structured silhouette this season Flickr/ carbonated
he popular Aztec print continues its dominance over fashion this Autumn/Winter, permeating numerous shops and appearing on an array of clothing. Whilst the print originally found popularity as a pattern on shirts and jumpers in shops such as Urban Outfitters, ASOS and Topshop/Topman, it can now be found on all manner of clothes,
from jumpers to bags to hats to shoes. Celebrities have furthered its popularity by adopting the style in their clothing (Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kanye West), and it can now be found in a wide range of stores, both high street (River Island) and designer (Versace). The print, which features geometrical shapes and patterns arranged in an eye-catching manner, is available in a variety of bold colours that
are sure to command attention. If you are still unsure about whether Aztec is for you, purchase an item of clothing where the print features minimally, allowing you to explore whether you’re comfortable with wearing the pattern. Shirts and jumpers where simply the pocket or the shoulders feature the print are readily available on the ASOS website. James Golunski
» Make a statement with Aztec prints Flickr/ CastawayVintage
ho says winter has to be dull? Not me, and certainly none of the designers at Milan Fashion Week. This season is all about bright, bold colours. Colours that make your head turn and combat dreary wintery mornings. From golden yellows, forest greens and Burberry’s blood red that stole all the headlines in September, exuberant clothes are in. Whether it's an oversized jumper or the skinniest of jeans, ask yourself 'is this too loud?' and if the answer is yes, buy it! If you want to take this look to the next level, treat yourself to a electric blue shrug- you can
stay on trend and dress it up or down, pairing it with black jeans and loafers for a casual look, or clashing prints for a real lookat-me ensemble. Boys, ditch the grey and navy blue and opt for an eye-catching purple this winter, a great addition to any wardrobe. Stand out from the crowd – the girls can't have all the fun! Strapped for cash? It won't be long before all the high street stores are stocking Fashion Week-inspired garments, but in the meantime, head down to H&M or Topman and experiment with the brand new statement colours currently available. Maya Westwick
» Bright and bold colours are a heady hit on grey days Flickr/ ...love Maegan
Wiley Coyote does a Roadrunner
» Photos: Flickr/badjonni; Flickr/ Scott Beale
n the October 11th 2012, Warwick University students - incensed at missing out on 40 minutes of miming and pre-recorded backing tracks – made a fearsome enemy in the form of Wiley. The former Neighbours actress, whose hits include “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and “Spinning Around”, took to the internet to defend herself from the barrage of angry Tweets that began to stream in after she texted to cancel the show less than half an hour before being due to appear on stage.
Some students, so overcome with red mist, didn’t even have time to attempt witty puns or light-hearted banter, and went straight for her skinny little throat:
One seemed genuinely confused as to what the pop-star had actually done wrong, and clearly beleived him to be spreading some sort of anti-Christian message.
However, confusion aside, the runaway popstar was paying absolutely no attention to the tweets, instead producing more and more fantastic stories as to why he hadn’t showed (a car crash? jetlag?) In an attempt to break through, some Twitter users went so far as to attempt to replicate Wiley’s ‘dutty London slang’. It is around this point that The Boar believes Wiley’s PR company rightly took over, as the tweets became distinctly more intellectual. Unsure as to what a ‘nause’ actually is, they instead directed the PR storm at ‘argumentative shithead’ @denbyoufc:
At this late stage of the evening, a further injection of wisdom was required. @Antikonst, a new voice for the disenfranchised, stepped up. AntiKonst, surely a student of the University of Life, then went on to join in the Wileybashing. Even name-checking a number of successful fellow graduates from his insitution, including ‘tinchy’ and ‘chip’.
the furious tweet-battle slowed. A number of pacifists were quick to point out that, in fact, Coventry isn’t “really the spot”. Perhaps Wiley had mistakenly linked Coventry and Warwick Universities? Perhaps he had even had to travel through Coventry to get to The Copper Rooms. The details remain uncertain, however The Boar can confirm that Wiley and Warwick SU parted amicably.
However, the high point of the evening was still yet to be reached (as it had previously been planned to be Wiley performing). Luckily @FreddieNeve1 stepped up to the challenge of entertaining the otherwise despondent Wiley fans who were now left with only The Terrace Bar and their twelve pound refund. Though the disgruntled patrons of The Copper Rooms may have been placated by Warwick SU, it was not until they managed to find common ground with Wiley that
They are quoted as having called Wiley a “consummate professional” without being even remotely sarcastic.
Albums Muse The 2nd Law
Want to hear more from Wiley? No, neither do we. But visit our website anyway:
Nothing on the trio’s sixth record will catch you by surprise… but that doesn’t mean that it can’t possess some infuriatingly brilliant moments. ‘Supremacy’ is a lurid Bond theme grandeur and Dynasty Warriors cockrockery combo, ‘Panic Station’ provides Faith No More funk by way of ‘A Night at the Opera’, and even the intermittent brostep smears are occasionally worthy additions. After the pofaced The Resistance it sounds like Muse are having fun with song-writing again, MP3: ‘Madness’, ‘Animals’ Christopher Sharpe
Mumford and Sons Babel
Mumford and Sons’ Babel takes everything that made its predecessor a modern classic, removes some of the sixth-form lyrics and leaves us with an electrifying album. Although lacking anthems on the scale of The Cave and Little Lion Man; Babel hits its stride with the Bible-ridden ‘Whispers in the Dark’ and the brooding ‘Ghosts That We Knew’. Accusations of ‘saminess’ aside, the deeper lyrics of Babel bring the band another step forward, but do we have to wait another three years for the finished product? Alexander Pascoe
Flying Lotus Until the Quiet Comes
Ever the exponent of those playful electronic forays into space, Flying Lotus, aka producer Steven Ellison, has returned to jam, twinkle, loop and lilt his way back into your grey matter. Until The Quiet Comes thrills with its abstraction and its obtuse soundscapes, not hooks and choruses. Lack of accessibility aside, however, this is a record to calm your soul and send you to sleep happy. The whole thing, as its title suggests, is a beautifully poised anticipation of silence. MP3: ‘Tiny Tortures’ Matthew Bunnage
Fall Out Boy From Under the Cork Tree
Ah to go back to a time where girls were mythical creatures sung about by Patrick Stump , when it wasn’t social suicide to admit liking FOB and Emo was still in the prime of its life. Fall Out Boy’s sophomore represented the sort of teenage angst that defined our generation in a way unlike any other record. The soppy lyrics, faux-crunched guitars and hooky melodies that made Sugar, We’re Going down are just the start, even if you can’t let your housemates hear you sing along. MP3: ‘XO’ Josh Suntharasivam
@BoarMusic music@theboar theboar.org/music Josh Suntharasivam
Review: The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling Abigail Lewis reviews the hottest book on the market and finds it’s actually a little problematic...
he Casual Vacancy is a novel with an interesting premise that falls short of its objective. Rowling’s intention is well and good: to expose the snobbery of the middle classes, who denigrate the disadvantaged while doing nothing to help them. But in doing so she has fallen into a kind of snobbery herself. The Fields: a council estate technically within the boundaries of the small village of Pagford. Many of Pagford’s residents want The Fields reassigned to nearby Yarvil, to rid local schools and facilities of the poisonous poor children of addicts. But Yarvil faces strict government cuts to social services and won’t provide for Fields residents in the same way Pagford has. At the centre of this municipal debate is Bellchapel, an addiction clinic that is primarily used by Fields residents, and which could be shut down. Barry Fairbrother was a strong campaigner for keeping and improving The Fields in Pagford, but his sudden death leaves an empty seat on the Parish Council. Who will fill it, and how will the election change the fate of The Fields? This narrative is politically relevant and accurate in its description of gaps and wars between both classes and generations. Rowling employs a distancing and discomforting technique, telling much of the story from the empowered and snobbish point of view of Pagford’s adult residents. Unfortunately, privileging these voices only reinforces this snobbery, since these abhorrent characters are far more well-rounded and developed than their counterparts. The Fields is an exaggerated and sensationalized portrayal of council housing that turns its
clichéd this is – hairy. She does redeem herself to the town though, by trying to save a life. Who knew non-white people could have kind hearts?! The novel does, however, redeem itself towards the end, as the angry teenagers of Pagford find a clever way to get retribution on their parents. The emotion becomes stronger and more palpable throughout the final tragedy, giving a glimpse of the strong character writing Rowling displayed in the Harry Potter novels If this novel had been shorter, more selective of the detail it presented, and more considered in its portrayal of its underprivileged characters, it would have shone as a critical rejection of conservatism and government cuts. Yet, for a social commentary there is just not enough social commentary. As it is, it remains limited to a long, waffling, slightly ill-considered and potentially hurtful story of an immoral village.
» J.K. Rowling’s bid for the adult market is a mixed bag Flickr/GarlandCannon residents into stock figures to be pitied by the reader, rather than developed personalities. Stereotypes represented include the angry teenage girl raised in poverty, outwardly rude and abrasive but with a golden heart hidden inside her; the empty shell of a heroin addict whose only purpose is as a representative of addiction and has no personality whatsoever; and the social worker who actually cares and might save them. Tropes such as that of the privileged mother of a universally adored daughter swooping in to save the heroin-addled prostitute and
her universally vilified daughter make this misdirected social commentary an uncomfortable read. The male characters are stereotypically full of anger and violence, while the female characters are emotionally panicked, sexually unfulfilled, and constantly gossiping. The representation of ethnic minorities is also a little problematic. Sisters Jaswant and Sukhvinder are of Indian heritage, and Jaswant is put on a pedestal, unattainable because she is so exotic, whereas Sukhvinder is bullied because she is – you won’t believe how offensively
Brilliant Boyd’s Brazzaville Beach
William Boyd novels have a good track record in the Books section: Patrick Davis finds this is no exception
here is a slight feeling of fog in Brazzaville Beach, like a mischievously temperamental aperture on a stunning up-to-date camera. A fog that obstructs the deep, emotional relationship between men and women, sex and the self that is dealt with so honestly in other works in Boyd’s oeuvre. Certainly the structure of this book is less simplistic. There are two plot lines: the past and the present of the main character, which has the effect of making it feel as though some grand twist or revelation will come at the end. This something every reader loves, but is not true to reality, not as candid as the real flow and pull of life. Brazzaville Beach is preoccupied with maths, the human application of maths, and - perhaps this reveals a little too much about what I look for in a book - chimpanzees, in what I cannot clearly decipher as an allegorical episode or simply a paramount experience for the protagonist Hope. Either way, the simple revelations about
life passed out so naturally in other Boyd novels here seem forced and difficult. The life we are shown in this novel seems less examined, and less worth investing in. Any revelations we do encounter stem from concerted, ostentatious crescendos of action, not random ephemeral moments. Perhaps this is due to the way the form differs, particularly from Any Human Heart, Boyd’s most famous, and widely understood to be his best, novel. You will now, I’m sure, be wildly wondering why this is masquerading as a review of Brazzaville Beach, but it is notable that in Any Human Heart the diary format lets you get incredibly close to Logan; having read Brazzaville Beach only a few weeks after Any Human Heart, I still feel I could have got closer to protagonist Hope. Her mistrust of herself seems more performative than the achingly real indecision of other Boyd characters. It feels more like going through the motions than a real, tremulous fear of the pitfalls of life. That said, maybe this is the strength of his
heroine: her stoic confidence in the face of all tribulation borders at times on a lack of self-knowledge. For me this leaves her feeling less human, an Aeneas when I was expecting a Dido. Either way, I would definitely encourage you to read Brazzaville Beach, despite all my negativity. The standard of Boyd’s insights still surpasses much of what I’m sure many of you will be struggling through this year on your courses. If anything, you should read it just for the wealth of vicarious memories the next image of a chimpanzee will evince from you. And, at the very least, the final lines show us a return to Boyd, to the writer who feels so comfortable in Logan’s body in Any Human Heart. I am desperate just to quote the last line here, a truism as general as any one can ever find in a novel, but instead have hidden it away somewhere above (ha!). So read it and find out! And then read Any Human Heart. Too keen?
EXCLUSIVE: 10% OFF
The Casual Vacancy at the University Campus Bookshop when you bring a copy of this review!
This week online... Visit www.theboar.org/books for your weekly fill of everything bookish •
Fantastic Freshers’ Reads If you missed our Freshers’ issue, don’t miss this: all the wonderful reading recommendations are now online ready and waiting to satisfy even the choosiest of readers
Will Self In Conversation The next best thing to being there with the man himself: Will talks about his new novel Umbrella and its relation to modernism
Berfooda Triangle Column Polly’s back with her hilarious Berfooda Triangle column to kick off 2012/2013, and this time she’s chatting about pensieves and combining A Clockwork Orange with crazy beats and some really Nice Stew... What’s not to love?
Plus, all the articles from last issue and more!
@BoarBooks email@example.com theboar.org/books Rebecca Myers
A precious diamond in the Spa
Looking for something artsy to do off-campus? Helen Cobby suggests the Pump Rooms
ore students from the University of Warwick need to discover the hidden treasures of the Leamington Spa Pump Rooms. When I talk to my friends and other students at Warwick, I am struck by how few people realise there is a fabulous art gallery, and even a library, in the heart of Leamington. I first stumbled upon the place with my mum when we stopped off at the Pump Room’s café for a reviving slice of cake after a morning spent unpacking my mountain of stuff (mostly clothes and chocolate, yet all labelled ‘essential’) at the start of my second year. The Royal Pump Rooms consist of a public library, tearooms, a museum detailing the local history of Leamington, and a permanent art gallery with a temporary art exhibition room.
The gallery contains art from the seventeenth century up until the present day, including significant paintings from each period There are about 2000 items in the permanent art collection, which are displayed in rotation. The large oil painting The Penitence of St Peter, by leading 17th century religious and portrait painter Phillippe de Champaigne (1602 – 1674), is considered one of the masterpieces of the collection. It demonstrates a technically brilliant use of light and shadow to define the folds of Peter’s clothes, and to capture his ponderous facial expression and careworn appearance as he concentrates upon reading his book in a devotional position. The works on display cover a great range in terms of scale, subject matter and artists, several of whom are (or were) local or linked to Leamington. For example, there is a new acquisition titled Houses in Portland Place, Leamington, by the landscape painter, war artist, critic and broadcaster Stephen Bone (1904 – 1958). His style borders on Impressionism, depicting the modern and colourful, but slightly run down houses in Leamington with anonymous individuals going about their lives peacefully. The streets don’t
seem to be as crowded as they are now! I especially like Bone’s painting Leamington, 1940. Due to the manipulation of perspective and slanted angle of the composition, we are positioned as a spectator looking out of an upstairs window, peering down between the bare branches of a tree at a snowy family tableau. Although the scene looks chilly, it is an attractive reminder of how lovely Leamington can look in the snow. The gallery also contains work by very famous artists, such as Orange Umber, 1960, by Terry Frost (1915 – 2003), who started painting when he was a prisoner of war in Germany in 1943; and work by Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887 – 1976). Lowry’s piece, The Mission Room, 1937, depicts one of his classic bleak working scenes, though the figures look more alive and distinctive than in some of his other paintings I have seen. Frost’s oil painting at the Pump Rooms is an unusual piece for him. It is not so brightly coloured as some of his other, especially later, work. He has used mixed media, creating a variety of textures, making it appear radically different to his bold cut out pieces and prints which remain determinedly flat. I have to admit I could have walked past Orange Umber totally unaware of it being by Terry Frost; but it is refreshing to see a different side to his practice. Frost was born in Leamington, and each day on the way to bus stop I pass the block of flats in which he lived, marked with a commemorative blue plaque. In 2003, he donated 31 prints to Leamington Art Gallery and Museum. The gallery contains art from the 17th century up until the present day, including significant paintings from each period. This means that modern art and older art are in close proximity to each other. For example, Anthony Whishaw’s enormous abstract acrylic painting Green Landscape, 1981, is only a few metres from Hans Hysing’s oil painting Miss Reynolds, Sister of the Bishop of Lincoln, 1700 – 1720. This makes for an exciting and refreshing experience when looking round the gallery, allowing the viewer to compare and contrast works of many styles and techniques. Different coloured walls and mounted boards help mark out work from certain eras or group together particular
» Warwick students are missing out on the pump rooms photo: Flickr/Amandabhslater themes, which helps to retain coherence in the gallery space. What is also refreshing and great to see is that there are many works by female artists. In particular the artist Lucy Kemp Welsh (1869 – 1958) stands out due to her impressive painting entitled Winter’s White Silence, c. 1923. It depicts shire horses pulling a hay cart through a snow-covered field with dramatic evening light. Welch was well known for her paintings of working horses, and was inspired by French Impressionists, which her experimentation with colour, texture, and visible brush strokes to capture the changing light clearly show. Currently, there is an exhibit about the history of the Olympics. It is appropriately called Going For Gold! and includes a great variety of sports kits (such as Great Britain’s kit from 1992), outfits, photographs and video installations. There are even two rowing boats spread over the far wall, and examples of archery bows and quivers. The sports featured relate back to their emergence in Leamington, or to famous sportsmen and women related to Warwickshire. For example there is a video installation of Nigel Murray, born in Leamington in
1964. Murray was selected to play ‘boccia’ (a target ball sport belonging to the same family as bowls) at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, where he won a gold medal. I hadn’t heard of boccia until going to this gallery, which shows it is still possible to become aware of new sports even after the Paralympics have ended! One of the highlights in the gallery is the ‘Kinect Sports’ game where visitors can play digitalised volleyball against each other. There are many exhibitions shown here throughout the year. The next is a very exciting sounding one called Through Our Hands, starting Friday 19th October. It will be an exhibition on quilting, designed to challenge old practices and display the intricate techniques and designs of quilts – many of which are created by the top international quilt artists and teachers.
To find out more, head to
What’s on Feelings Are Weapons That Can Kill
And Europe Will Be Stunned
Wednesday 10th - Saturday 13th October, The Loft Theatre Leamington, £7.50
Until the 4th October, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, free
Wednesday 24th - Thursday 27th October, WAC Studio
Thursday 1st November
Student written play about love and sex in the modern day.
A film trilogy by Yael Bartana addressing issues of Israeli identity and conflicts therein.
Shakespeare’s gender-bending romp is brought to life in a new staging.
Warwick drama celebrates 50 years of Edward Bond’s writing in a night of new work and restagings.
Steptoe & Son 23rd - 27th Oct Warwick Arts Centre Theatre Acclaimed company Kneehigh return with their new show based on the classic TV series.
Aeneas Wilder Untitled No.162
Transitions: from the collection of Mima
Mr Scruff: Keep It Unreal
A major new site specific piece in the Warwick Arts Centre Mead Gallery, including its very destruction at the end of term. Well worth following!
All this term at the Mead Gallery, take a look for free at this exhibition of post-war American artwork. The perfect interlude between lectures.
24th November, WAC Butterworth Hall, 9pm, £12 Couldn’t get Grizzly Bear tickets? Then let Scruff ’s DJ mastery and tea blends give you a music fix.
@warwickboararts firstname.lastname@example.org theboar.org/arts David Levesley
Wales takes a reality check
Jonathan Pitman talks us through MTV’s answer to TOWIE and Geordie Shore
here are many stereotypes concerning the Welsh, often involving intimate relations with sheep. People in every area of the country have their own idiosyncrasies, but is it time we stopped this obsession with particular regions and their feral inhabitants? We’ve had the TOWIE brand of tangoed stars that refuse to take their own advice and “shaataaap”. Geordie Shore features many a tanned, waxed person boasting a selection of words that, I assure you, cannot be found in the dictionary. And now it’s the turn of the Welsh in The Valleys. The Valleys is a new MTV ‘reality’ show revolving around the lives of nine people who hail from the Welsh Valleys. These young, upstanding members of the community are keen to hit the big time. Put into a house in Cardiff they must live and work together to achieve their dreams. There’s just one problem: they are completely insane. Let’s start with the boys. Aron is a three times world champion kickboxer with pecs big enough to make Katie Price jealous. Leeroy is a womanising wannabe rapper. Chidgey (Darren to his mother) is a bricklayer trying to break into the modelling business. Having dubbed himself “the best thing to ever come out of Wales,” he dreams of taking his radioactive tan and chiselled physique right to the top. Finally, Liam dreams of becoming a world-class DJ and appears, so far, to be the sanest of the lot. But what kind of reality show would it be without a selection of intelligent, demure girls? First up is Nicole, who dreams of being a stylist. She keeps the group entertained by producing fart noises from her “foof ” (no translation needed…). Lateysha and Jenna plan on becoming models to secure their future of fame and riches. Jenna has brains, but Lateysha has an as yet unrivalled capacity for self-worship. Similarly confident in
» Stars of MTV’s The Valley doing their bit to distance themselves from Welsh sterotypes photo: BBC her own skin is outgoing housemate, Carley. Carley chose to demonstrate this confidence by asking, within three minutes of entering the house, “Do you wanna see my tits?” She then whipped them out for the entire nation to see. Completing this motley crew is Darren’s conniving ex, Natalee. Credit where credit is due, this isn’t just another MTV show revolving around people drinking until they vomit. These people may perform excruciating, sexually explicit moves on the dance floor, but they are also trying to make something of themselves. This an endearing addition to a formula that is tired of the whirl of thongs, tongues and
overly inflated egos that too often defines the genre. The Valleys has a solid objective: people striving for something greater. However, reality shows would be nothing without some kind of excessive drama revolving around sex and alcohol, and The Valleys is no different. After all, if they worked hard constantly that wouldn’t make good TV. You may as well film floor three of the library for a day. There have been complaints that the show “misrepresents Wales”. A protest group called The Valleys Are Here suggest that 5% of the profits from the show go towards a local charity that helps support young people in the
area. However, Twitter reactions suggest that many are more interested in the entertaining spectacle than the inaccurate representations allegedly being made. As for me, I’ll continue watching The Valleys because, for all its faults, it’s damn good entertainment when you’re stressing about the woes of being a third year. At the end of the day, it’s more fun watching mindless TV than doing that course reading that’s slowly piling up... even though we realise that in actual reality not everyone from the Welsh Valleys is promiscuous, self-obsessed or constantly intoxicated.
Bags-full of fun Gabi Hayhurst
ok Wan’s new dating show Baggage has been greeted by a cynical host of press reviews and scathing midshow tweets. However, I cannot help but feel that these viewers have missed the point entirely. Baggage follows the formulaic approach often taken in the world of matchmaking. Like its predecessors, it is cheesy and full of gimmicks but this ensures that the show, like its presenter, doesn’t take itself too seriously. Gok Wan inverts the conventional question-based format by focussing upon the answers; answers that usually take the form of embarrassing confessions. Unlike Blind Date – which relies purely on verbal interchanges – physical attraction between the participants can also be taken into
consideration. The nature of the information presented and the conversation between the segments also means that, unlike Take Me Out, both contestants get more of a chance to interact with each other and get a feel for any » Gok and co. on the set of Baggage photo: Channel 4 chemistry between them. The combination of both elements means that physical attrac- ants rather than at them, creating a friendly, be a contributing factor when choosing who tion can be weighed against the baggage pre- sharing atmosphere and dispelling any myths to date. Then again, I doubt that ‘daddy issented, mirroring calculations we all make in of perfection that permeate other popular sues’ or ‘my last girlfriend committed suicide’ our own love-lives. dating shows. Banter is gently encouraged would make for very entertaining viewing. Gok has been criticised for his rapid tran- and the more awkward baggage is defused There is only so much a light entertainment sition from stylist to chef and now to match- with good humour and optimism. show can push at the boundaries of psychomaker/presenter, but he is undoubtedly the One of the shortcomings of the show is that logical drama before it becomes at best truly star of the show. His effervescent personality often the baggage on display isn’t awkward serious and at worst tragic and depressing. gives Baggage a necessary sense of self-con- enough. The premise promises a space in Because of the acidic conversation surscious silliness. Although it would be easy to which people can air their problems in a fun rounding the show it may not be sustainable, criticise the dancing airhostesses and garish setting, making light of them and allowing but while it lasts Baggage serves as an examstudio, these camp embellishments add to the for a relationship free of façade. Unfortunate- ple of a good idea that perhaps hasn’t pushed tongue-in-cheek tone of the performance. ly the ‘baggage’ Gok Wan unearths often feels at the boundaries of its genre far enough but Gok Wan is an excellent host – comfortable somewhat inconsequential. For example, be- makes for fun and easy viewing. and comforting. He laughs with the contest- ing ‘banned from sweets’ would generally not
@BoarTelevision email@example.com theboar.org/tv Sam Steiner
Reviewed: Berberian Sound Studio
Alistair J. Gardiner watches Peter Strickland’s film about the infamous horror studio
» Film within a film which we never see, which is as scary as a really big sandwich. Intrigued? photo: film3sixty Berberian Sound Studio Peter Strickland Toby Jones , Cosimo Fusco 92 mins ★★★
here is an early scene in Berberian Sound Studio in which newly hired sound mixer Gilderoy (a fantastically nuanced Toby Jones) sits uncomfortably in the studio with Italian film producer Francesco (played with gusto by Cosimo Fusco). They watch a scene from The Equestrian Vortex (the fictional film within the film which the audience never sees), whilst two foley artists slice and chop up watermelons to provide sound effects for a particularly gory sounding scene. In a horrified whisper Gilderoy asks, “What are they doing to her?” The genius of this line is that it isn’t clear whether he’s referring to whatever’s happening on screen or the men smashing the watermelons. Peter Strickland’s second feature, following 2009 revenge thriller Katalin Varga, sees Gilderoy hired to work on a new Italian horror film by celebrated filmmaker Santini (Anto-
nio Mancino). The rest of the film takes place entirely within the eponymous sound studio, an air of horror slowly building, allowing the film to play out like a murder mystery except (seemingly) without the murder. In this respect the film performs admirably. This is partly due to the brilliant cast, with Toby Jones’ polite and ever-so-English soundmixing genius under-playing opposite the sleazy Italian film company, who are presented as almost more grotesque than the unseen monsters of The Equestrian Vortex. This contrast between the characters is also where the film’s unlikely comedy comes from; Gilderoy’s reactions when working on a scene featuring an “aroused goblin”, for example, or his timid attempt at an angry phone call when he’s trying to get a reimbursement for his flight. But the spine-chilling atmosphere is mostly down to the meta-cinematic soundtrack, which Gilderoy is mixing throughout the film, making diegetic and non-diegetic sounds become indistinguishable. A common criticism of horror films is to say that a film is only truly scary before they show the monster, and after that it becomes a farce, because nothing is scarier than what you’re imagining. Berberian Sound Studio isn’t a horror film because there is no monster, but this in many ways makes it one of the scariest horror films ever made.
But it is in the scene described above that the film approaches the area in which it is most successful. In creating and mixing the sound effects for the on-screen torture that is occurring, Gilderoy begins to feel a part of it to the extent that he feels he has become the torturer. Indeed, in a film where the audience does not actually see any of these scenes, it is the sound mixer who produces the violence. This places the soundtrack into the spotlight and shows that, in cinema, sound is so much more than simply functional; it is an art. It is as much an act of creation as writing the script or filming the scenes, and producing the soundtrack for a film in which a woman is violated using a hot iron begins to take its psychological toll on Gilderoy. For me however, this is where the film begins to fall apart. The film starts playing with Gilderoy’s reality, and it becomes muddled in what it is trying to say. The ending is as confused as it is confusing; it very suddenly feels like a lot of build-up for no resolve. That said, I do want to see the film again. People often say that there are certain films where a second viewing reveals things you didn’t see the first time round. Maybe a second viewing of Berberian Sound Studio would reveal something that I didn’t hear the first time round.
The editor recommends: Frankenweenie – 17th October
im Burton’s latest film marks a return to his work with stop motion animation (The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride) in the exquisitely crafted and appropriately gothic Frankenweenie. Surrounding the story of aspiring young filmmaker and scientist Victor, the film focuses on the relationship between him and his beloved dog Sparky. In a film that both explicitly and implcitly references Burton’s earlier masterpiece Edward Scissorhands, tragedy strikes when Sparky is accidentally run over by a car. Victor decides to harness the power of lightning to revive his dog in one last bid to save his best friend, an attempt that proves to have intriguing results. A bizarre yet remarkably touching film, Frankenweenie is a true return to form for the ever eccentric auteur. ★★★★★
@BoarFilm firstname.lastname@example.org theboar.org/film Hari Sethi
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation James Barnes picks out the top games of this cycle.
The Best of British James Barnes
» Portal Screenshot :Flickr/Chadrew
he impending release of Nintendo’s 6th home console (the Wii U) has got me thinking about this generation of console gaming, and the titles that will define this era so far. It’s been a terrific cycle for Nintendo, so it feels fitting to begin with them, and even more fitting to begin with Wii Sports: truly one of the most important games ever released. Wii Sports marked the advent of motion-control gaming, but more importantly it dismantled the demographical barriers that have plagued the often insular medium, and made gaming a social experience again. At its heart it was merely a tech demo, but one that perfectly encapsulated Satoru Iwata’s (President of Nintendo) guiding mantra: “Together is better”. I entirely agree with this notion… that is, until you realise your Dad’s a mean virtual bowler and you’re greeted with his smug bespectacled Mii face every time the high-score menu pops up (I’m not bitter, I swear). Other notable mentions in the Wii’s catalogue should go to Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – two brilliant iterations of Shigeru Miyamoto’s most prized franchises. Both brilliantly demon-
strated the virtues of motion control when implemented intuitively, and retained that evergreen magic these series exude. It’s been a cracking generation for FPS as Activision and EA continue their interminable war of attrition; whilst Gears of War brought a brutality and fluidity to third-person shooters, that has since become a touchstone for the sub-genre. Dystopian worlds have never looked so beautiful. Bioshock’s sordid underwater metropolis was a shining example of the artistry of videogames, and the pathos these stories can evoke. Fallout 3 drew on similar stylistic themes whilst keeping true to Bethesda’s forte: sprawling sandbox worlds teeming with life and rich character. This brings me neatly onto The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Skyrim was irresistible in that it appealed to the most primal of instincts: that inherent longing to explore a foreign land drenched in mystique. It was a game that encouraged you to forge your own path; to paint your own way across a majestic canvas, coloured by your own actions and interactions. In many ways titles such as Mass Effect 3 and Uncharted 2/3 were the antithesis of Skyrim; tightly-scripted, set-piece driven af-
fairs, with a real focus on cinematics. They served to prove that linearity still gives birth to some of the finest experiences the medium has to offer, with both titles garnering numerous plaudits for their deft handling of characterisation and immersive plotlines. These are all fantastic games, but if I was to pinpoint one game series that is not only a highlight of this generation, but a highlight medium as a whole, it would be Portal. Portal derives from a freeware game Narbacular Drop – an independent title designed by a group of students at DigiPen Institute of Technology. Valve’s president Gabe Newel chanced upon the game at Digipen’s annual career fair, before deciding to hire the entire student team, who then fleshed out the concept into a fully-fledged retail release. It harks back to the early days, when many of the industry’s modern-day luminaries began their careers as bedroom coders, and nothing much else mattered apart from the strength of your game’s core mechanics. This generation still has many years to run then, but it’s always interesting to reflect on the stand-out moments of each cycle. It’s been a triumph thus far, even if the cake was a lie.
ioware’s latest magnum opus (Mass Effect 3) was undeniably superb, yet it left me hankering for another playthrough of RARE’s derisive N64 cult classic: Conker’s Bad Fur Day. You see, Bad Fur Day - a game effervescing with British humour and perfectly pitched pop-culture references - is simply the ideal remedy to the paucity of humour in Commander Shepard’s troubled journey; there isn’t a better accompaniment to Shepard’s moral introspection than Conker’s deliciously lewd and sardonic quips. Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a one-of-akind; a platformer laced through with an unashamedly puerile sense of humour and a slew of British sensibilities. The game commences with Conker - a perpetually drunk and irascible squirrel – trying to reunite himself with his girlfriend Berri, after a long night on the binge. His journey is thwarted by a villainous threat in the form of Panther King (the ruler of Conker’s homeworld) who decides that his three-legged throne side-table can be fixed by using a red squirrel as a fourth leg. It’s absolutely absurd and refreshingly devoid of any pretence. The title is rife with these allusions to British culture and regional stereotypes; at one point early on Conker comes across a group of mouthy liverpudlian beetles (geddit?!) and a family of east-end wasps, who proceed to lambast our protagonist in heinously bad scouse and cockney accents. It’s completely unexpected, yet genuinely hilarious, and epitomises the idiosyncratic charm that defines the title. The Fable franchise is another game series that prides itself on a rich sense of time and place. This must be attributed, in part, to the simply stellar voice-acting from the ridiculously talented cast (John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Ben Kingsley, Bernard Hill, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, Zoe Wannamaker, Jonathon Ross). Stephen Fry was predictably brilliant as the callous despot, Reaver - bringing his own brand of mordant wit and a disconcertingly reassuring tone to the role - whilst Zoe Wannamaker lent her textured, motherly timbre to the game’s overseer and chief narrator: Theresa. Lionhead Studios created a game that was undoubtedly flawed, but that ultimately excelled in delivering a universe that was well realised and fantastical, with real British stylistic overtones. Inevitably, pandering to a narrow audience will detract other prospective buyers (I’m not sure Conker’s Bad Fur Day had much appeal in the Japanese market) but that’s beside the point. In an industry saturated with open-world playgrounds modelled on various American cities, there’s always room for a dodgy cockney accent, or a few gratuitous sprinklings of Python-esque humour.
@BoarGames email@example.com theboar.org/games James Barnes
Fight the freshers’ flu – with science
David Gregory explains how a nutritious diet is the key to a strong immune system
olds, coughs, snuffly noses, sore throats and headaches – many of us will suffer from one or more of these symptoms at this time of year. Though we may feel angry at the person we caught it from, and bitter about having to miss a night out to curl up in bed with a Lemsip, freshers’ flu is essentially something we bring upon ourselves – with a bad diet, alcohol and too many late nights. Malnutrition was a prominent topic in the news last week, after it was discovered that 18-year-old Mitch Comer, from Georgia, had been imprisoned within his own home and starved by his parents for several years. As a result, the traumatised teenager had the appearance of a child: at 5ft 1, he weighed only 87 pounds. The most startling aspect of his appearance, however, was his milk teeth. Although this seems bizarre, it does make sense. From a nutritional standpoint, the human body is expensive to run. It needs three re-fuels a day (in the form of meals) in order to keep you going for as long as possible. So, when fuel is low, the body economises where energy is spent. Mitch’s body decided it was better to keep him alive rather than give him a dental upgrade. Mitch would have also been extremely susceptible to viruses, as malnutrition leads to a weakened immune system. Although scientists only have a vague understanding of how this phenomenon occurs, the molecule leptin is thought to be involved. Leptin manages our body weight by controlling energy uptake (by regulating our appetite) and expenditure. It is also needed for the immune system to work effectively, as the
» 90 percent of students contract flu in their first term photo: rasjacobsoncom adaptive part of the immune system (where the body learns to deal with infections it has previously encountered) is dependent on leptin for its function. Therefore, in starved people, low leptin levels lead to a lowered activity of the adaptive immune response. Although freshers’ flu is not by any means comparable to the horrific condition in which Mitch was found, it too occurs as a result of poor nutrition. Dodgy eating habits in Freshers’ fortnight (takeaways, ready meals and a lack of fresh fruit and veg) result in a
‘sluggish’ immune system. The combination of a lowered immune system and exposure to many new individuals (each carrying novel bugs) results in a dramatically increased chance of catching a virus or bacterial infection at this time of year. Simply having a good balanced diet is all that is needed to keep your immune system in tip-top form, but let’s face it – in the whirlwind of Freshers’ it can be difficult to eat healthily all the time. So what simple nutritional advice can you follow to keep those
infections at bay? Malnutrition in the developed world (including Coventry!) is usually down to a lack of minerals and vitamins rather than proteins, fats and carbohydrates, which we are relatively good at consuming. To improve your nutrition, make sure you include the following in your diet: Iron (found in meat, cereals and green vegetables) is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. Therefore iron deficient people are at greater infection risk. Becoming iron deficient can happen deceptively quickly, since the gut only absorbs 10 percent of our dietary iron, and we require 1-2mg/day and we lose ~1mg/day as well. Add to this any iron losses through menstrual bleeding, and suddenly keeping a level of iron suitable enough for good immune system functioning is actually not so easy. Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, berries and green vegetables) helps to make iron available for use by the body. It too has an important role in immunity. Research suggests that high doses of vitamin C may tackle the common cold, so make sure you eat lots of peppers, broccoli, oranges and kiwis if you’re suffering from freshers’ flu! In summary, feeling a bit under the weather at the beginning of university is almost inevitable, and in an odd way may suggest you are having a good time: meeting lots of new people and not really eating well! But the horrifying case of Mitch Comer illustrates how vitally important eating sensibly is. By simply giving your body a bit of tender loving care, you may get off lightly from this year’s predictable freshers’ plague.
My summer lab placement on the continent
Emily Johnson meets Biochemistry student Ibukun Osuntoki, who interned in Munich this summer Tell me a little about the programme you were on. I was on the Amgen Scholars programme. They have three host universities in Europe and I was lucky enough to work at the MaxPlanck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich, Germany. So for ten weeks of the summer I was working on the characterisation of protein disaggregation in mammalian cells, using firefly luciferase mutants as a model protein in HeLa cells.
ginning of the experiment, so I would need to check and split my cell lines (removing a portion of cells from one dish so they could be used in a different experiment) and this would take a couple of hours. Every afternoon, I would read journal articles in the lab to get some more background information on the research I was doing. The latest I would leave the lab would be 7pm. I also had to go in on some weekends to check on my cells.
Why did you want to work abroad? I thought it would be amazing to experience a different culture, and I also thought that it would mean I could get a bit of a holiday and the placement wouldn’t feel too much like work.
Was it expensive working abroad? Not at all, as the programme reimbursed me for my plane tickets and paid for my accommodation. The placement was paid, too, so I could cover my food and living costs.
What did a typical day involve? I would wake up at 8am and travel 40 minutes to Munich to get into the lab for 10am. The work I would be doing depended on the day of the week. Monday would be the be-
What was the best thing about the programme? As much as I really enjoyed working in the lab and developing my lab techniques, I would say the opening retreat was the best start to the programme. We spent five days
in the stunning Bavarian countryside and it was an opportunity for all of the 25 students on the programme to get to know each other before the lab work started. What did you do outside of the lab? I ate a lot of ice cream and schnitzel, and went on day trips, including to Regensburg, Salzburg and Berlin, and also visited the Dachau concentration camp. Has your experience affected your career plans? It hasn’t made me alter my immediate career plans, but I do feel as though it has made me think about possibilities other than medicine that I could pursue after my degree. I really enjoyed the project and am now considering doing a PhD at some point in the future. It has also made me consider the possibility of moving aboard for work - I could definitely see myself living in Munich, as it was so relaxed but still had a city pace of life.
Did you find the language barrier problematic? I couldn’t speak a word of German before I went – I didn’t even know how to say “good morning”! Luckily, however, we were given two courses at the beginning of the programme to introduce the language. I also picked up some phases as the programme went along, but there were many international students working in my lab so at work we could just speak English. Will you be able to apply what you have learnt from the programme to your course? Yes, absolutely - the lab techniques that I used will be invaluable for carrying out my final year lab project. Part of the programme involved presenting our research so this helped develop my presentation skills, and I learned to be a lot more confident. I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone interested in scientific research.
@BoarScience firstname.lastname@example.org theboar.org/science Jessie Baldwin
Soul searching in Singapore Michael Allen experiences culture shock and a lack of ‘city buzz’ in the pristine island nation
36 Hours. No Money. How far can YOU go? Katherine Sroga
E » Could Singapore’s awe-inspiring architecture just be the glittering façade of a somewhat soul-less city? photo: Michael Allen
t’s possible to come to Singapore as a tourist, immerse yourself in local life, then return with a rosy impression of the city-state. You might head to the resort island of Sentosa, then maybe Orchard Road shopping district to experience capitalism in all its glory as you shop for that Louis Vouitton handbag. Check out Singapore Zoo, ride the Singapore Flyer (like the London Eye) and take an amphibious Duck Tour of the city before heading down to Raffles Place. This colonial masterpiece marks the heart of the Central Business District where you can observe the scurrying masses of shirt-clad (no suits – it’s bloody hot here) financiers and lawyers whose collective toil tickles the economic funny-bone of this surreal consumer playground. You can probably guess that I didn’t come to Singapore for a holiday. I’ve been lucky enough to spend nearly three months here, two working as an intern. It has been a fascinating and unparalleled experience getting to know this island nation and the wonderful people who live here. Sadly, however, I cannot say that I like Singapore. While the locals are a wonderful bunch, and I indeed had an amazing time working here, it has failed the ultimate ‘do I want to live here?’ test. Due to the island’s diminutive size, three months is enough to really get to know the place. Its size is frequently remarked upon with a kind of resigned mirth, but for the sojourner it is perfect. Before long you’ll be reeling off the names of MRT stations like a local and perfectly remem- bering the streets. It also helps that most Singaporeans
are extremely welcoming and keen to initiate you into their way of life (in my case involved being constantly fed more local dishes and treats than you could imagine). I warn you, however, that you may feel strange when you first arrive. In my first week, I couldn’t shake this eerie sense of inexplicable dread. Initially I thought I was just jet-lagged, but after comparing experiences with a European friend of mine who had arrived a week earlier, we both agreed we had felt the same thing. While I can’t claim that my travel experience is too extensive (I’ve only stayed in three other countries before), Singapore was the only country in which I have ever experienced true culture shock. The scary thing about Singapore is that, while material prosperity is abundant (over one-fifth of the population are millionaires) and the city’s infrastructure is second-tonone, the sheer cultural and spiritual energy found in Europe’s great cities is simply not there. To its credit, the city-state is extremely safe, spotlessly clean, and its populace is very well-educated, but for me everything was just a little bit too clinical. It is not that safety and cleanliness are bad things, but its level of perfection creates an atmosphere of general conformity and anonymity. Because it can claim to be one of the richest countries in the world, and the only fully developed country in the region, one tends to compare the standard of living there to cities like London, Paris or New York. But if you do make this comparison you’ll only feel depressed. The very fabric of Singaporean society is so
geared toward consumption and obedience that it stultifies the creative industries from which other developed countries benefit. I met one young aspiring fashion designer, yet she has resigned herself to working in fashion marketing as she saw no opportunities in that field. Moreover, freedom of speech and freedom of association are lacking. The government is democratic in name, yet is essentially a one-party autocracy. Singapore is indeed the strongest example that high GDP, freedom and creativity do not necessarily go hand in hand. Please don’t assume that I had an entirely negative experience. If you remove yourself from politics, the island has much beauty and culture to offer, especially if you stay away from the gaudy tourist attractions. From the pristine beaches to the quaint old shophouses, Singapore has a surprising amount of history and leisure activities packed into its few hundred square miles. The food is exceptional and wonderfully cheap. I’ll truly miss being able to eat a delicious and filling hot lunch every day for the equivalent of just a few pounds. People here are also remarkably friendly and hospitable, and you’re almost guaranteed a warm welcome from your host. Many Westerners have made Singapore their home, but for someone like me whose career interests lie outside the fields of business, finance and law and who values human rights, Singapore is sadly not a place I could happily call home. If it strives to rank among the great cities of the world, it needs to modernise spiritually aswell as economically.
Born in the USA
• “The end is nigh... Oh wait, it was last week.” Lucy Berkely on the hilarious ups and downs of her road trip across America: http://exploitsofatraveller.blogspot.com
Check out these US blogs written by our very own globe-trotting Warwick students:
» photo: Claire Humphreys » Photo: Claire Humphreys
• “You can’t trust this funny foreign weather...” A storm’s a-brewing in North Carolina with Samuel Walker as he continues his Politics year abroad in Chapel Hill: http://blogsfromamerica.wordpress.com
• “Here’s to you, Mr Jolly New Yorker, my homage to that great American ring of stodgy carbohydrate” Follow Philly Betts on her culinary adventure around North America: http://phillythesoupdragon.blogspot.co.uk/
verybody wants to do exciting things and make incredible memories at university, and what better way to do that than to travel abroad with new friends? Each year Warwick Jailbreak offers over 300 students the opportunity to challenge themselves to do just that, without spending a penny. Jailbreak is a 36 hour charity hitch-hike with one simple objective: get as far away from campus as you can without spending any money. Participants travel in pairs or teams, using all kinds of transport (from cars, vans and ferries to the more exotic fire engines and helicopters) and complete challenges along the way to earn points, such as persuading passers-by to join human pyramids and blagging free food. Last year some participants even got Jailbreak tattoos! Past winning destinations have included Naples in 2011, Bangkok in 2010, and Los Angeles in 2008, making Warwick one of the most successful Jailbreak participants in the country. The event, which takes place the weekend after Week 5, is a great way to share an incredible experience with existing friends, or to make new ones along the way using the pre-event Jailbreak socials. Each and every participant comes back with an amazing story to tell about their travels. This year’s Jailbreak will be the biggest and best ever, with more challenges and an exciting competition for adventurous sports clubs and societies. The chosen charity for 2012 is Practical Action, who aim to use technology to challenge poverty.
Our jailbreak was a bit different to most - we managed to find our way onto a flight! A lot of people would say that’s cheating, but they’re just bitter at having to wait hours at a time for a ferry. Don’t forget you have to get back! That can’t be shouted enough really. When you’ve burned out all your energy clubbing in Alicante the last thing you want to consider is how you’re going to do the return trip. You’ll be surprised how many people will want to give you free things though, so long as you’re wearing a t-shirt which states that it’s all for charity. If I had to give advice, I’d recommend trying the challenges. A bit more structure while gallivanting around Europe is welcome, and my jailbreak tattoo (inked by a nice drunk Colombian man) was certainly a memorable experience!” Becca Landers
If you want to find out more, the society is holding an information meeting on October 18th (Thursday Week 3) at 6pm in R0.21. You can also visit their website, www. warwickjailbreak.com or find the society on Facebook and Twitter.
@BoarTravel email@example.com theboar.org/travel Philly Betts
Big name sagas confirm that morality comes second
Isaac Leigh discusses morality in sport following the recent Kevin Pietersen and John Terry debates
he announcement that England cricket coach Andy Flower has ushered Kevin Pietersen back into the squad is a comprehensive nail in the coffin for anybody who believes that morality is more important than success in sport. Allied with the continued presence of John Terry as Chelsea captain, the sporting world has offered the proverbial two fingers to those who believe that the desire for success should be outweighed by the need to punish serious individual transgressions. Pietersen has never been a popular figure in the England dressing room; the eruption of controversy in August, when it emerged that he had been sending text messages to members of the South African team during the series between the sides, was simply waiting to happen. Pietersen’s egocentric attitude has clearly proved disruptive, and his character is unlikely to have mollified in his brief absence from the national side; in terms of promoting team ethic, his return is unlikely to prove constructive. However, what Pietersen’s return will do is give England a greater chance of success; there is simply nobody else in the side with his ability to win games. The greater probability of victories with him in the side means he is back: pragmatism reigns supreme. Given his offensive remarks about the hugely popular former captain Andrew Strauss, and the fact that nobody knows what was said in the text messages, Pietersen
» John Terry remains Chelsea captain despite allegations of racial abuse photo: Flickr: Julian Mason should not be back in the set-up. Had Ravi Bopara, for example, behaved in the same way, he would almost certainly never be seen in an England shirt again as he is easily replaceable on the field. Indeed, Flower is in an awkward position: his loyalty to Strauss, and the teamwork ethos that the duo promoted, clashes with his requirement to select the best England side possible. The decisive steps taken to rebuild bridges with Pietersen suggest that Flower has chosen the latter: the lure of success has tri-
umphed over morality. A similar attitude prevails in the case of Chelsea captain John Terry, who was last week found guilty of
The ‘win at all costs’ attitude in sport now seems to trump any notion of sportsmen as role models. using abusive language towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry has been involved in myri-
ad unsavoury incidents during a chequered career, yet because of his footballing excellence he continues to lead Roberto Di Matteo’s side. The Chelsea hierarchy have clearly decided that his personal indiscretions, immoral as they are, do not affect his sporting prowess or leadership. Former England manager Fabio Capello implicitly agreed with this, resigning from the job in February because the FA judged that Terry’s alleged behaviour influenced his ability to lead the national side on the pitch.
Indeed, although Terry stated that his retirement from international football was because the FA made his position ‘untenable’, it is telling that he was allowed to depart on his own terms: Roy Hodgson’s disappointment was acute, for the England boss was clearly prepared to continue to select Terry. Perhaps none of this is surprising, given that the ‘win at all costs’ attitude in sport now seems to trump any notion of sportsmen as role models. Pietersen and Terry’s indiscretions are incomparable in many senses, but the message to wider society is that gifted sportsmen are exempt from punitive measures, simply because they are very good at what they do. At best, Pietersen has a fragile relationship with his team-mates; at worst, he has incontrovertibly breached their trust. At best, Terry has been revealed as foul-mouthed and threatening; at worst, he holds racist attitudes. Despite this extremely significant uncertainty, they will continue to be allowed to represent their sides, purely because of their ability. Will this attitude of success over morality ever change? Probably not. In a sporting world increasingly dominated by financial incentives and an insatiable desire for immediate success, coaches and team-mates want to see the best players in action, regardless of any issues aside from pure ability. In my view, sport has missed the opportunity to show that its moral compass is still in full working order.
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McLaren are better off without Lewis
Joshua Bonser explains how Lewis Hamilton’s switch from McLaren to Mercedes could be beneficial for both parties
10th October 2012 Badminton Warwick
Harper Adams 1st
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» Perez could excel in Hamilton’s absence at McLaren, and Hamilton could be revitalised by his own change photo: Flickr: ph-stop
n the theatrical world of F1, the World Championship is the stage, with all the drivers and teams merely players. However, over the past few weeks, centre-stage has been occupied by one man, and on 28th September the script of his turbulent career was well and truly re-written. As is the case in any great drama, there is a twist, although it is perhaps not an obvious one. With Lewis Hamilton exchanging costumes to play the part of a Mercedes driver in 2013, and Sergio Perez being cast as the inexperienced man to take his place at McLaren, most observers would say that the team from Woking is now worse off. But a different analysis of the implications of each move could just as equally conclude that McLaren have emerged from the affair markedly better-off, in both the short and long term. Seeing as the team have just lost a World Champion, who incidentally is considered by many to be the quickest driver on the planet, some explaining is obviously required. Those who see McLaren as having lost out are generally those who do not consider Jenson Button to be a ‘Tier One’ driver, maintaining that he is simply not as fast as Hamilton. Admittedly, Button’s operating range is narrower; when the balance of the car isn’t to his liking, he is found wanting in the face of Hamilton’s unerring ability to drag a poor car to heights it shouldn’t logically reach. However, when Button is presented with a car that handles to his preferences, he can be nigh-on unbeatable. Witness Spa this year, or indeed the entirety of the 2011 season, when the McLaren chassis was better suited to his
driving style. The result being that Hamilton was beaten in the points by a teammate for the first time in his career. Sergio Perez has a driving style similar to Button’s. They are both ‘thinking’ drivers, in that they are not known for their devastating one-lap speed, but for being clever, smooth and ruthlessly efficient. The Mexican has undoubted talent, and his three podiums for Sauber this season have confirmed to many that he is the most exciting young prospect currently in the sport. At 22, he also has plenty of improvement left in him, and could well be a future world champion. Indeed there is no reason why he should not be able to challenge next year. But more importantly for McLaren in the short-term, Perez demands the same characteristics from his cars as Button. Both prefer to nurture their tyres, and both are not overly fond of turn-in oversteer. This means that rather than having to accommodate the chassis design for two very different drivers, the team can take a definitive development route that will allow the car to compliment Button’s driving style. With Perez as a teammate, McLaren will be better equipped to bring the best out of Jenson Button, and with a car that consistently handles to his liking he is unmistakeably world class. On the business side, Perez brings with him considerable backing from Telmex; McLaren have to pay for their Mercedes engines for the first time next year, and the extra funding will prove useful. On top of this, the rumoured exit of title sponsor Vodafone means that although Perez
is by no means a pay driver – something Martin Whitmarsh was keen to emphasise – his money will undoubtedly ease the pain somewhat if the rumours come to fruition. As such, if the team maintains a similar performance next year without Lewis Hamilton in the cockpit, then it will further vindicate those who believe that McLaren are also better without the Brit in the long-term. Of course, Mercedes may also turn out to
Much like in football when a talismanic player is unsettled the team may find that with his exit comes a breath of fresh air, and a boost in performance. be a better home for Hamilton than McLaren has been over the past couple of years. Michael Schumacher’s domination would not have occurred had Ross Brawn not been Team Principal at Ferrari in the early 2000s, and Lewis will be hoping to replicate such domination in a new era. If the rumours are true that Mercedes are the team most advanced in the development of the new 2014 engines, then Hamilton’s gamble will begin to look much more astute than many gave him credit for. In the case of Hamilton, former F1 drivers Damon Hill and David Coulthard are not alone in thinking that his relationship with McLaren has ran its course. As much about personal freedom as potential performance, his move to Mercedes will allow him to grow up, and grow out of the antics that in the last
couple of years have affected his performances. Unfocussed and unruly at times, by all accounts McLaren were simply getting tired of the soap-opera that has arisen around Hamilton. This was further emphasised by Hamilton’s injudicious Twitter outburst last week in which he accused Button of showing a lack of respect by apparently ‘unfollowing’ him, only to end up with pie on his face by apologising an hour later and admitting that he had found out that Button had never been following him in the first place. This in itself would go some way so sum up the widely perceived lack of harmony between the two teammates. So much like in football when a talismanic player is unsettled, the team may find that with his exit comes a breath of fresh air, and a boost in performance. Of course, the script of this story is ultimately unfinished, but McLaren’s history is littered with World Champions that have had tremendous success and then moved on. The team recovered from the losses of Senna and Prost, and they’ll recover from the loss of Hamilton. It took several years on those previous occasions, but the astute decisions made this time round mean that McLaren will still be right at the top of the timesheets in 2013 and in the seasons to come.
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