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Lifestyle A festive recipe: mulled wine Eggnog was so last year, Kirsty Judge offers a merry alternative

Imogen Clare-Wood

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» It’s never too early to get into the Christmas mood Photo/Flickr: laurabittner

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is very nearly the season to be merry, or so the annual onslaught of Christmas advertising would have you believe. But, sadly, ‘tis also the season to be frost-nipped, shivery and a more than a tiny bit skint due to present buying. So what better recipe to round off the term than mulled wine – a glorious hit of festive spices and pure Christmas spirit? Best of all, this recipe is a great salvager of the cheapest of plonks: the ultimate unScrooger for the grinchiest of grinches. Mulled drinks have a history entrenched in the most British of British characteristics. For since time began on this tiny island, various Saxons, Vikings, medieval monks, Tudor kings and Victorian gutter snipes have looked out across this great land, stepped across thresholds and said, “Bugger me it’s cold. Got any booze?” And lo, in that spirit of British culinary subtlety that brought forth Spotted Dick (lardy sponge and currants), each time we turn again to mulling – hot booze. In that reprehensible spirit of British cultural appropriation, we’ve done it with spices filched from across the globe – a 1390 recipe calls for ‘spykenard de Spayn’, a kind of Indian root. Exotic herbs and spices were a way for the heads of grand households to flout a bit of luxury in

front of their frost-bitten guests, showing off being the true heart of all hospitality. There has been Purl, a mulled beer with gin, and Bishop, a mulled, fruity port mentioned by Dickens and Swift – technically you can mull practically anything as long as you don’t make the fatal mistake of boiling off the alcohol, or worse, assuming this will magically make a hot martini-ale combo taste like anything other than a vomit waiting to happen. Theoretically, even mulled Purple is a possibility, but in the interest of tradition (and good taste) I’m just going to give you a basic mulled wine recipe to warm your bones and ward off even the worst “Bah humbug!” The great thing about this recipe is that you can break from it, mess with it, or just add to it. I have to admit that I have a deep love for boozy fruit; you can add more, leave it out or even experiment with any extra. If you don’t eat all of the orange slices with the wine, they’re a great addition to desserts or slipped under the skin of a roasting duck or chicken. If you’re feeling flush (or if you’ve got access to your parents’ liquor stash) you can slip some port in this for an extra festive kick – a small glass should do it. Delia suggests a measly two tablespoons of Grand Marnier or

Cointreau (I suggest three shots), Felicity Cloake of the Guardian uses 150 ml of ginger wine, and other recipes call for around 60 ml of sloe gin. Which, if any, of these you decide to slip in (perhaps when your dad isn’t looking) doesn’t really matter – follow your heart (or liver). The port gives a hint of boozy decadence; tingly citrus in the Grand Marnier delicately augments the peel for a complex flavour combination; ginger wine adds a necessary punch on the coldest of winter evenings. Mulled wine – ingredients

» Photo: Flickr/tonihartley

2 bottles of wine, preferably fruity 3 oranges, blood oranges or clementines, 1 juiced, 2 sliced Peel of 1 lemon 175g caster sugar 1 cinnamon stick 5 cloves *3cm finely sliced ginger *most of a grated nutmeg *4 bruised cardamom pods

* These ingredients can be substituted with three generous pinches of mixed spice by all you Cheaty McCheatersons out there. If you can’t afford fancy oranges, these can be replaced by regular oranges wearing top hats, or if you’re feeling innovative, pretty much any fruit you like – be inventive. Peel the lemon as decoratively as you can, poke the cloves into the peel (thus preventing them from assaulting your guests) then put it in a large pan with the sugar, spices, and orange juice. Add just enough wine to cover the lot. Heat all this gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring gently to prevent sticking, then boil for around 5-10 minutes until you have a thick, syrupy mixture. (Jamie Oliver recommends this method as a way to fully incorporate the sugary spices, but it does have an added benefit: at this point you can wait for it to cool, decant the syrup and save it in an air-tight bottle for later.) Or you can slosh over the rest of the wine, add the orange slices, heat through (without letting it boil) for around 15 minutes then distribute amongst friends.

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Santa’s little student helpers

For more festive fun and Christmas antics head to: theboar.org/lifestyle

sk the average student what this time of year means for them and you’ll get answers like essays, exhaustion, a swiftly dwindling student loan and even more essays. It’s freezing, it’s wet, the U1 is filled with a constant murky steam and the cold that’s been clinging on for weeks now can no longer be attributed to Freshers’ flu. We work until long after dark and then retreat to our under-heated houses to sit in the cold and try to warm ourselves with a hot drink, muttering about the weather and how miserable it all is. In short, we become Scrooge, and the ever-nearing festive season is left ignored as far as possible in favour of more pressing things in life. Or at least most of us do – this is where I extract myself from the collective ‘we’, because while my friends bemoan the festive shop window displays that spring up in September and the endless roast dinners that epitomise every supermarket advert as soon as the leaves start falling, I relish in it. Christmas is ruddy marvellous, and in my opinion it can never come soon enough. Yes, the incredibly hyped preamble can be annoying when you have to listen to the same carol on repeat in Costcutter, but it also gives us beautiful lights in the wretchedly early darkness and ridiculous shopping bargains. It gives us mulled wine and mince pies, and a plethora of delicious caffeinated drinks at every coffee shop in the country. Finally, it gives us that glorious pervasive feeling of ‘sod it, it’s Christmas soon’ which allows us to discard academic and personal problems in favour of a festive film or a trip to the local pub. Some might argue that there’s a time and a place for the Christmas sentiment, and that time is December. But then how do we celebrate with our uni peers? If the festive season was left until the end of term we’d miss out on the chance for a whole other family-free Christmas day, with Christmas lunch (complete with any additions you see fit to add – bacon weave anyone?), Christmas presents (which can be naughty), Christmas pudding (double the brandy) and Christmas drinking (with people who don’t frown disapprovingly if you get slightly tiddled before the food is served). A student Christmas is not an experience to pass up;when we’re surrounded by delicious food, delightful decorations and dubious drinks then why not make the most of the festive spirit? Even my mutinous housemates have embraced the holiday cheer and are now actively encouraging me to deck our hall with boughs of holly. The hype isn’t going to die no matter how much moaning you do about it.

@BoarLifestyle lifestyle@theboar.org theboar.org/lifestyle Maya Westwick


Music

Music

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The Boar Music Matrix Live Review

Albums

The Killers @ The O2 Arena

Crystal Castles III

Elisa Wahnon

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he Killers for me represent something quite special. They are probably the only thing I still love from when I was thirteen - a love that began after first hearing ‘Somebody Told Me’ and has been going strong ever since. So you can imagine my horror when I began the interminable journey from my home in South-West London to The 02 Arena, and I realised that I’d forgotten my tickets. I would have been more upset, but this sort of thing happens to me so often I’ve learnt to accept my clumsy fate. Despite the doubly long journey, I still managed to make it in time for the supporting act: Tegan and Sara. For those of you that don’t know them (but really should) they are a Canadian folk-rock duo (and they are identical twins). They played an impressive opening set showcasing the best from their new album Heartthrob. The Killers took the stage with ‘Mr Brightside’ which, being their most popular song, would normally have pumped up the crowd, except that the house lights for some reason were still on, leaving everyone a little disconcerted. The dimming of lights put the crowd more at ease and they kicked off with ‘The Way it Was’ from their new album (Battle Born) and continued with their fiery new single ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ - a song that defines crescendo with a delicate start building up to the heart-wrenching, desolate cry “But I’m standing here/and you’re too late,” fortified by the use of pyrotechnics. The largest portion of their set came from the album Sam’s Town, though intermingled with some of the catchy hits from Day and Age, with Human and Spaceman managing to get the entire crowd jumping up and

down. I was secretly hoping for some tracks off their b-sides album Sawdust and I was appeased only (and understandably considering the wide audience) by Tranquilise, which felt a little missing without Lou Reeds’s contribution. We have the invention of the iPhone torch app to thank for the beauty that was Dustland Fairytale. After bringing the audience to a calm after Bones, Flowers set the scene near their home in the Nevada desert and asked everyone to shine the light from their phones, and thus created a starlight setting for a magical song. After this piece they played some of their new material including the up-beat country-esque Here on Now and finishing up with the obviously crowd-pleasing Runaways. After waiting for what seemed like forever for an encore, they took the stage by storm once again with Jenny Was a Friend of Mine. They closed the stunning two-hour set with Battle Born, finishing – fittingly - with a theatrical bow, at the end of a spectacular show.

Fleetwood Mac Tusk

Alexisonfire Old Crows/ Young Cardinals

» The Killers photo: Flickr/ Lessio

★★★★★

Stone Sour House of Gold & Bones Part 1

★★★★★

The opening track of Crystal Castle’s third album, ‘Plague’, manages to make it believable that Crystal Castles have dragged their creative boundaries kicking and screaming into 2012 as the barely audible vocals of Alice Glass ooze their way into the track slowly but surely. However, III struggles to strike a balance between their original style and a new, stripped back, minimal form. We have come to expect fresh, exciting and distinctive music from this pair – and that’s not what we’ve been given. MP3: ‘Child I Will Hurt You’ Flora Havelock

From the opening bars of noisy, thrash-tinged opener ‘Gone Sovereign’, it’s plain to see that this isn’t just another post-grunge band going through the motions. In fact, this is a band beginning a fresh new chapter. This is a deep, layered album - if nothing else - and a breath of new life for Stone Sour. The aforementioned opener flows into highlight ‘Absolute Zero’, a rock club favourite in the making, with a seriously catchy vocal hook occluding a simple, yet effective hard rock riff. MP3: ‘Absolute Zero’ Joe Wallace

The Weeknd Trilogy

The Staves Dead & Born & Grown

★★★★★

★★★★★

The Weeknd’s Trilogy already sounds like a greatest hits album. Abel Tesfaye’s three collected mixtapes from last year (plus three new tracks) are all about drugs, sex and partying, yet Tesfaye’s voice is always absorbing and intimate, emotion running raw through the CD. The bass abuses your eardrums whilst his soft vocals run wild with expletives and self-examination. Definitely headphone music for those wee hours in the morning - it’ll make you feel high even if you’re not. MP3: ‘Wicked Games’, ‘The Birds (part 1)’ Francesca Peak

Beautiful in its simplicity, and filled with sublime textures, Dead & Born & Grown is a warm and comforting collection, made to accompany the winter season. ‘Gone Tomorrow’ is an exquisite shuffle, progressing into a rapturous display of vocal talent, but the real riches are found when The Staves allow a chill to permeate the warm atmosphere. ‘Winter Trees’ churns into an enchanting, rhythmic gallop, and the stomping ‘Tongue Behind My Teeth’ brings a touch of spooky drama to the album’s latter half. MP3: ‘Tongue Behind My Teeth’ Michael Perry

Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city

Ital Dream On

Writers’ Choices: Two Albums ★★★★★

While popular opinion favoured Rumours, Tusk demonstrated that Fleetwood Mac always had so much more to offer. Fuelled by cocaine addictions and inter-band tensions, the end product was a sprawling mess of a record in which the group, especially Buckingham, disregarded expectation and satiated their innermost indulgences. From the new-wave spikiness of ‘The Ledge’, to the majesty of ‘Sara’, Tusk ultimately rewards more immersive listening. Similar To: Stevie Nicks, Heart Ed Graham

★★★★★

Alexisonfire’s fourth and final record sadly now represents what the music world is currently missing - namely a glorious stepping stone to bigger things - due to the band’s breakup in 2011. A far more mature and punky sound compared with previous releases, the record is full of slick and polished tracks, combining their original posthardcore elements in songs such as ‘Heading for the Sun’ with a raw in-your-face attitude characterised by ‘Sons of Privilege.’ Similar To: Black Lungs, Moneen Benjamin Stratten

★★★★★

Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut is a tour de force in hip hop storytelling that follows a teenage Kendrick stealing his mother’s caravan to venture out onto the poverty-stricken streets of Compton. But this isn’t west coast gansta rap as we used to know it. It’s gritty and honest and it really will make you think about wider social issues, yet it retains some of the classic imagery and production values that characterised the great hip-hop of years gone by. MP3: ‘The Art of Peer Pressure’ Joel Crawley

★★★★★

With Dream On, Daniel Martin-Mcormick strikes upon a middleground, where lack of overall cohesion is answered by extraordinary lack of wasted space. The driving house beats of ‘Boi’, rumbling ‘Enrique’, and appropriately titled ‘What a Mess’ - characterised by swamping organ loops and morbidly captivating samples - are each divided in territory, yet each, through being individually rich in melded textures and details, standout as rewarding statements of Ital’s sound. MP3: ‘Boi’, ‘Deep Cut (Live Edit)’


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Arts

Choc-A-Block At The Stock

Tim Hodgson, recent Warwick alumnus, talks about a new life for the Old Joint Stock. Chloe Booyens

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recently graduated Warwick student has taken over a pub theatre in Birmingham city centre and is transforming it into a place for students to see new theatre productions. Tim Hodgson completed his MA in English last year (having also done the BA in English and Creative Writing at Warwick) but before his graduation ceremony this January had become artistic director of The Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham. “I was ushering there during my MA,” he tells the Boar, “and eventually I began to run Front of House. Then last Christmas the artistic director left and I had the opportunity to run the theatre until they found a new one. I’d spent three years muttering to myself about what I’d do if I got to run the theatre, and suddenly I had a few weeks to put it into practice. “It was like an eight-week-long job interview. I did 70-hour weeks, calling, mailing, » The Old Joint Stock Photo: Tim Hodgson emailing everyone I thought we needed to

be getting in. It seemed to work, and I got the job. “I hated our old output – we were a theatre for hire. If someone came along and had the money, they could put on a show and we’d promote it. Instead, I’ve got performing arts colleges to teach here in the daytime – it gives the students a much more rounded education and the extra money means we can worry less about income for our shows, freeing us to do interesting stuff. Now we have loads of new writing, reactive work (we’ve had three plays about the 2011 riots this year) and our own productions. “We’re a 95-seat black box above a gorgeous pub right in the centre of the city, overlooking the Cathedral, so well kitted-out – we should be a big player. Now we have new writing programmes and acting, writing and directing workshops. We’ve done lots of fun little things this year: we took over an empty shop on New Street to showcase our stuff. One of the artists exhibiting in our gallery space won the Australian version of the Turner Prize, so we had an incredible art launch. “Next year is going to be fantastic. In March, we’ve got the first full performance

of the winner of this year’s National Playwriting Competition, and we’ve got the first touring performance of Leo Butler’s social realist rock opera, Alison! For our Christmas show this December we’ve bought a one-woman comedy, which did really well Off-Broadway last year for its UK Premiere. It’s a sort-of Bridget Jones meets Sex and the City thing. Our theatre line-up is really eclectic – if it’s quality and exciting, we’re interested. ‘“My aim for next year is that I want much stronger links with Warwick. I want to give groups like Freshblood an outlet beyond the bubble, and I want students coming to see shows. I’ve just started a student rate which is about a third off, and I’m going to do student stand-by tickets and make it attractive for groups. Having been one, I know that a lot of theatre studies and English students don’t see enough theatre and we often need a kick up the arse. I intend to kick them.” To join the Old Joint Stock Theatre Mailing List or contact the Tim at the theatre, email oldjointstocktheatre@fullers.co.uk. Be sure to mention that you’re a student for student rates and student stand-by emails.

Tim Walker dazzles at Somerset House Chloe Booyens

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his autumn contemporary fashion photographer Tim Walker brings us a world of childhood fantasies, fairy tales, and dreams. With thatched cottages, U.F.O.s, swan boats, country estates and instrument-playing insects, this show is a display of his work from the past fifteen years- including fashion shoots and portraits of celebrities taken from some of the world’s leading magazines. The mise-en-scene of the gallery space includes theatrical props placed around the rooms. Some of the very same props in the photographs are found placed in

the same room, such as the gigantic snails that feature in the ‘Snail Tale’ series. Above the print, larger than life-size snails climb the wall. Alongside the gargantuan spider and cobweb shoot, enormous spiders run on the walls. Brightly coloured orange and red plastic jellies sit below the print, reminiscent of the table at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Sand fills the floor space of a wallsized print; sand fills the gallery floor space in front of it. One quite literally feels part of the set photographed; a gigantic 12 ft doll from Italian Vogue watches you as you leave. Upon entering, a life-sized blue spitfire hurtles towards you. The front of the crashed spitfire skids out of the fireplace and its tail heads out the way you came in. A photograph on the wall above depicts a

similar ocurrence – the doomed spitfire lies in Glemham Hall, Suffolk, whilst Lily Donaldson gasps at a dressing table. Reminiscent of the wrecked plane in Exupery’s The Little Prince, here fictitious stories are brought to life. Sitters include familiar actors – John Cleese wearing a burnt bowler hat, Helena Bonham Carter as a white-faced Queen – and designers – Alexander McQueen bites a skull and Vivienne Westwood smells an orange rose. Filmmaker Tim Burton is dressed as Santa Claus and Karen Elson and Donaldson are among the models. To Walker, the camera is “simply a box put between you and what you want to capture”. Thus it is no surprise to find an installation of films here, all under Walker’s

curation. His creative talent stretches to technical skill: photographer becomes filmmaker. A screen forms the centrepiece of the dark screening room, which plays a loop of short films, including Walker’s first short feature film The Lost Explorer, La Belle at la Bete, The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death. It is evident, walking from room to room, that the films have been influenced by his photographs, and vice-versa. Both surprise, so you’ll never guess what comes next. Some have dubbed the exhibition “eccentric”. For others, it brings out the child in them. The exhibition runs until 27th January 2013 in Somerset House’s East Wing Galleries. Admission is completely free.

What’s on Empire

Pilot 10th Birthday Party

Aeneas Wilder Kick Down

30th November, 6.30pm £4 concessions, WAC Warwick Arts Centre plays host to another experimental work in progressthere hasn’t been a bad one yet!

30th November, 7.45pm WAC Theatre £5 tickets West Midlands experimental theatre mecca Pilot Nights celebrate ten years of wackiness.

1st Dec, Meade Gallery, 4pm, Free Can’t see Wilder’s work before it gets torn down? Then come see the artist knock it to the floor himself! Book your free place now.

Pyjama Concert: Peter and the Wolf Dec 1st WAC Butterworth Hall, 5pm and 6.30 £5 tickets Warwick Arts Centre’s Music Department create another spectacular Christmas concert of classical music.

New Street

Aeneas Wilder’s Untitled No.162

Transitions: from the collection of mima

21st Nov-3rd Feb, Free, Ikon Gallery Birmingham Swiss artist Beat Streuli portrays urban life through assorted media in an all-encompassing exhibition.

A major new sitespecific piece in the Warwick Arts Centre Mead Gallery, including its very destruction at the end of term. Well worth following the progress of!

All this term at the Mead Gallery, for free, take a look at this exhibition of post-war American artwork. The perfect interlude between lectures.

The Wind In The Willows 28th Nov-19th Jan, Crescent Theatre Birmingham, £9 tickets Alan Bennett’s stage version of Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s story is brought to life.

@warwickboararts arts@theboar.org theboar.org/arts David Levesley


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theboar.org

TV Comatose TV at its best

Joshua Murray on the return of Tool Academy and the joys of trashy TV

Modern day freak shows James Evans

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» Not the sharpest tools in the drawer Photo: E4

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n the three or more years you spend at university, it’s easy to feel insignificant from time to time. You’re destined to find people on your course who write better essays than you, sports teammates who get picked ahead of you, and friends who can down a pint of purple quicker than you. At times, it begins to feel like you really aren’t that special and you find yourself looking upwards from the bottom of the social ladder. Fortunately, the return of E4’s Tool Academy is the perfect way of reminding you that it could be much, much worse.

I apologise to anyone who has any taste in television but I endorse this awful show

The third series of the trashy reality show (is there such a thing as a non-trashy reality show?) is set in the idyllic European city of Barcelona and reintroduces the concept of the previous instalments by conning 12 loutish ‘lads’ into a fake TV programme called ‘The Man Games 2012’. Before too long however, the proverbial wool is pulled from before their eyes and they are informed that their angry, mistrusting and often disillusioned girlfriends have enrolled them in

what is essentially ‘boyfriend rehabilitation.’ Of course, by the time the girlfriends are ‘dramatically’ revealed, the men’s laughable attempts to prove themselves as the ‘biggest lad’ have seen most of them become as intoxicated as your average Pop circler, whilst oafishly flirting with fake-host Imogen Thomas and having poorly-veiled adulterous snogs with random holidaymakers. In the following weeks, this footage, alongside interviews of the boys admitting to multiple instances of cheating and aspirations of dogging amongst other endearing admissions, is played out to all of the couples. As they sit together in a mock-up classroom, condescending relationship guru, Dr Sandra Scott, plays teacher by pointing out the blindingly obvious by telling the boyfriends (bedecked in humiliating school uniforms) where they are going wrong in their relationship and how they can try to fix it. She also provides a degree of sympathy for the women in the room, although you may find it hard to do the same when it becomes clear that most are merely doing it for the 15 minutes of fame that they feel they clearly deserve, and appear blissfully ignorant to how much of a ‘tool’ their boyfriend really is. I apologise now to anyone who has any taste in television, people whom I shall no doubt offend with my next comment, but I cannot help but endorse this truly awful television show. Tool Academy makes for per-

fect university viewing – comatose television at its best, whilst also being a great show to watch sociably with housemates. Thanks to the obligatory ten minute recap at the start of each show, the viewer is never at a loss as to which of the ‘tools’ is the biggest twat, and the semi-humorous nicknames given to each (examples include Beefcake Tool, Neander-tool and, every Warwick student’s favourite, Mr Coventry Tool) allow host and voiceover-man Rick Edwards to help the docile audience differentiate between the vainest guy on the show and the compulsive cheater. Edwards himself cannot live up to such Channel 4 voiceover juggernauts as Dave Lamb (of Come Dine With Me fame) or Big Brother’s Marcus Bentley, but his narration definitely allows the viewers to warm to him. We quickly realise that he understands as well as we do what a bunch of incompetent morons these ‘tools’ are, and quite possibly also how cringeworthy this programme really is. So my advice to you is that next time you stumble out of Pop, having been humiliated for your inability to down a pint, mere hours after having received an essay grade that is somewhat inferior to those of your coursemates, just lock the door, flick on 4OD and allow the Tool Academy contestants to remind you that, in the grand scheme of things, you’re actually not that bad at all.

ast weekend, having followed a news agenda with about as much Christmas cheer as a BNP party political broadcast, I was desperate for some sort of televisual escapism. I’d been told the future of trashy TV wasn’t Big Brother or I’m A Celeb, but rather a new wave of ‘structured reality’ shows in the vein of Jersey Shore. Friends recommended MTV’s latest cultural travesty, The Valleys. The premise (if you can call it that) is a simple one. Nine outlandish young people have been plucked from various parts of Wales, taken to Cardiff, given lots of money and filmed. They get drunk, strip off and sleep with each other for the cameras. That is literally it. Although much of it seems to be either set-up or scripted, there’s no recognizable narrative. The cast lurch from fashion shoots to club nights with wild abandon. They’re all on the show to ‘make it’, but it’s never really explained how they’re supposed to do so. The show is a car crash on steroids with an appeal that no doubt derives from its shock-value. You can’t quite believe these people are willing to say and do such things on television. The women objectify themselves with commitment that would make Britney Spears blush. The men display an egoism akin to most Premier League footballers. Sadly, the cast really do seem convinced that their breasts and/or bravado are all they have to offer the world. You’re supposed to patronise these people. Laugh at them. How could they be so stupid? So shameless? So desperate? You’re supposed to hate them. But watching The Valleys, I found it was the producers that I really wanted to get my hands on. There’s no doubt that the programme makers are guilty of exploiting those they put on screen. The cast predictably come from poor, broken homes. They lack the education that so many of their comparatively well-off, middle-class viewers take for granted. The Valleys and Geordie Shore are modern day freak shows. It’s no longer ringmasters putting the deformed in stocks. It’s middle-class TV execs putting the most desperate on camera. Throwing money rather than fruit. Telling them to fuck instead of dance. These programmes are becoming more numerous and more popular. It seems we love to hate. But isn’t it all just a bit depressing? If we need to watch someone sacrifice their dignity to boost our own self-esteem, what exactly does that say about us? Bleak as the real world is, laughing at those who have it tougher (or are all-out deluded) simply isn’t the answer. It’s time to tell hatefigure TV to pack its bags – we’ve got better things to do with our time.

@BoarTelevision tv@theboar.org theboar.org/tv Sam Steiner


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Film

The Boar’s cinematic stocking

Film Editor Hari Alexander Sethi looks at the best the cinema has to offer this christmas

»PHOTO:FILMOFILIA.COM Life of Pi

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fter the disappointing period piece Taking Woodstock, Ang Lee’s adaptation of the bestselling book Life of Pi marks a return to form for the undoubtedly talented director. Utilising the latest in 3D technology to create a spectacular and striking aesthetic, combined with a competently handled and emotionally involving narrative, Lee has ensured that this will undoubtedly be regarded as one of the biggest film specatacles of the last decade. Those familiar with Yann Martel’s book will no doubt approach the film with trepadation considering the vast nature of the thrilling narrative and I must admit I doubted the ability of anyone to successfully bring such a compelling tale to the big screen. Ang Lee, however has displayed great versatility in capturing such a touching story in the midst of such vast special effects and set pieces.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Jour- Django Unchained ney

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ver since Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy ended nine long years ago, Tolkien fans everywhere clung to the hope that the Kiwi director would one day return and bring back the beloved world he created with him. When an adaptation of The Hobbit was announced in 2007 those legions of fans salivated with anticipation for three more films, following the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his loyal companions. While some fans of the fantasy trilogy are dubious over the need to make three films for one rather humble book, Jackson persists that this will enable him to do the dense literature justice. The first of the trilogy follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) on a journey with Dwarfs to rescue lost treasure from the formidable dragon Smaug.

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f you fancy a Christmas of stylised violence, witty dialogue and a host of references to cinema’s rich heritage, you’ll have been looking forward to Quentin Tarantino’s next film for an awful long time. Set in the deep south Django Unchained follows the plight of freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx), who travels across America in search of his kidnapped wife, from a plantation owner named Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Django is freed by a bounty hunter named Dr. Schultz, played by the enigmatic and charismatic Christoph Waltz. Schultz promises to help Django rescue his wife, as long he assists the bounty hunter in killing the hired thugs, the Brittle Brothers. Featuring an array of star cameos and strong central performances from DiCaprio, Foxx and Waltz, Django Unchained promises to be another fascinating chapter in Tarantino’s diverse filmography.

Les Misérables

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he monumentally successful musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel finally gets the Hollywood treatment from director Tom Hooper. Production began in late 2011 and an impressive cast was assembled to tackle the dense and emotionally complex narrative. Hugh Grant plays Jean Valjean, a Frenchman recently released from a 19-year stint in Toulon prison for stealing bread. Russell Crowe stars as the ruthless Inspector Javert, while Anne Hathaway takes on the role of Fantine, a long suffering factory worker and mother of an illegitimate child, forced to earn a living through prostituition. Full of set pieces of remarkable scale and organisation, and musical numbers with some suprisingly strong vocal performances from the lead actors, and a rousing emotive conclusion, Hooper’s adaptation provides stunningly epic festive fair.

@BoarFilm film@theboar.org theboar.org/film Hari Sethi


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Mastering the formula

Tolga Kuyucuoglu has mixed feelings about reviews Master Chief ’s latest adventure

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ith the makers of the Halo franchise, Bungie, jumping ship from one of the most successful productions in gaming history, it has been 343 industries’ challenge to renovate the Halo formula and expand the boundaries of the universe which once sat on the throne of gaming. The series’ main protagonist, Master Chief, awakens after four years of inactivity, launching us into a campaign where the super-soldier must protect humanity from an ancient evil named the Forerunners, and the familiar foes of the Covenant. It is within the campaign that the best and worst of Halo 4 are first established. The artwork, graphics and cinematic cut scenes are utterly majestic. The lighting system and shading is an absolute triumph, allowing for incredible visual depictions of the alien terrain. What’s more, the details of both weapons and vehicles are so in depth that they look almost corroded. Unfortunately, the stunning visual displays do little to invigorate a storyline which only manages to capture the spirit of the previous installments; little is done to rejuvenate the

campaign. The story mode is far too short, and many elements aren’t given enough attention or are simply glossed over. The main enemy, called the Diadact, is not explored in any great depth and hence feels too distant to bare menace. There are also fewer missions (eight in total, including a prologue and an epilogue) which feel shorter in themselves. What does ensure the longevity of Halo 4 has to be its multiplayer. The online dimension allows Halo 4 to excel. Whether you’re new to the first-person shooter genre, or a multiplayer veteran, there are several aspects which launch Halo beyond the spectrum of many FPS. The futuristic battlegrounds, coupled with a delicately balanced choice of weapons and vehicles, make Halo 4 the only shooter you can buy today where the impossible is literally made, well... incredible. The physiology of the spartan race means you enter battle feeling Herculean in strength. When paired with advanced weaponry, alien technology and maps which include man-cannons, gravity lifts and more, Halo becomes both competitive and incredibly entertaining. This said however, Halo 4 is hardly intro-

ducing anything new to the FPS genre. Rather than innovating the field of shooters, and taking steps to making Halo unique, this new addition seems to have settled into what already exists. The augmentation of load-outs (weapon classes), killcams and ordinance (kill streak rewards) for example, have long been established in the sphere of shooters, making Halo 4’s ‘new’ additions seem more borrowed. Another area in which the multiplayer falls short is in the ranking system. The same structure used in Halo: Reach and the Call of Duty games has been implemented online, where players level up after gaining a certain amount of experience in each match. This system seems less indicative of skill in comparison to those found in Halo 2 and 3, where players ranked up purely by winning matches. The multiplayer, however, does operate incredibly smoothly and guarantees many hours of enjoyment. There are an abundance of playlists that encourage the exploration of the range of weapons in both individual and team-based games. Halo classics such as ‘Team Snipers’ and ‘Capture the Flag’ are

Books

two fine examples of game-types which have been cohesively transferred onto the new installment. New additions such as ‘Regicide’ also make for an interesting ‘free for all’ game type where players can express their individual skill. 343 Industries have done an exceptional job in staying true to the universe Bungie created. It is impossible, however, to deny the centering of the Halo franchise. This Halo is brilliant, but it is a pity that 343 Industries felt the need to make Halo 4 more accessible to a wider audience. The result is that this installment seems more of a continuation, rather then an advancement or expansion, of the franchise which once broke huge ground in the world of shooters. Hopefully 343 will use Halo 4 as a stepping stone to re-craft one of gaming’s biggest blockbusters in the next installment of the trilogy.

i

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Pick your Christmas, pick your read... Everyone has a different Christmas, and every Christmas needs a different literary accompaniment, writes Rebecca Myers

Your Christmas is a...

Family Christmas

I

t’s Christmas, and this means goodwill to all men. Which, in turn, means a bigger family gathering than even that raucous summer wedding in 2009. Not only do you have to put up with your brother for the whole day but you also have Mum, Dad, Gran, Aunt Mabel and her dodgy new boyfriend, eight second-cousins-twice-removed and a leering ‘uncle’ to entertain. Goodwill to all men it may be, but sometimes you wonder if Mum’s address book needs a clear out. Escape from the hordes of relatives and curl up with John Mortimer’s Paradise Postponed – a cutting, tongue-in-cheek tale of social disruption and class ridicule. It also works as a wonderful consolation read – even after a sherry your mum will never be as bad as Grace, and your Christmas presents are a comforting indication that your dad hasn’t left all his money to a slimy Conservative MP.

White Christmas

W

e live in the UK, so when I say “White Christmas”, I’m obviously implying you have swanned off to the Alps to spend your Christmas skiing. ‘Tis the season to be middle-class, indeed. You hum Bing Crosby to yourself and gaze out of the window at the impossible brilliance of a world coated in the purest white, then plummet down a mountain dressed like an Inuit version of Where’s Wally. You have no need for books! Until, that is, you consider the high possibility of injury. And, while I am not at all insinuating that you might (might) end up sitting with your leg in a cast, wishing you had something you could READ, it might be helpful to bring a book just in case. That book should definitely, definitely, be Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. Somewhat of a legend among climbers and mountaineers, Touching the Void tells the true story of Simpson’s attempt to climb the (previously unclimbed) West Face of Siula Grande, a mountain in the Peruvian Andes. After a climbing disaster, Simpson is left dangling off a cliff, tied to his friend. If the other man does not cut the rope, they will both die. Mind-blowingly intense, this is a tale of two friends pushed to the utmost limit of human capability. There is truly nothing better to remind you of the awesome power of the stunning nature around you.

Party Christmas

Y

ou’re that guy who gets so merry on Christmas Eve that he can’t stomach his turkey the following day. Your mum is cross, your dad is disappointed (if only because he cooked the turkey) and your gran is still trying to give you a brandy anyway, the smell of which- well, let’s not put everyone off their dinner. Instead, take some time out from disrupting the neighbours and conk out with Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. Gripping and gritty by turns, seething with hatred and oozing with sin, this harrowing tale of a Scottish gang of heroin addicts will encourage you to tuck yourself into bed with a hot chocolate by 7:30. All in time for Santa Claus to work his magic, with any luck.

Holiday Christmas

U

nable to deal with yet another rainy day, you are jetting off to somewhere HOT. Be it Barbados or Barcelona, Christmas here is different. With very few fir trees, suitcase-appropriate presents and absolutely no need for a turkey, tradition is out of the window and you can really relax. Rather than a read you can snuggle up with, you want a book to stretch out with on the beach, sunning yourself to within an inch of your life in a technique you learnt from the turkey in the oven last year. For this, I give you A Dark Enchantment by Roland Vernon. Set in a scorching summer in the countryside of Greece, A Dark Enchantment will get you hot under the collar with its tale of Godwin Tudor, a young English photographer who gets caught in the web of shady Edgar Brooke, a wealthy landowner, and enchanted by his beautiful daughter Lydia. The perfect read to unwrap on the beach.


29

theboar.org

Science

The science behind your hangover, explained Jessie Baldwin describes the biological causes of hangovers and advises how to prevent them

T

he Christmas party season is fast approaching, and many of us are looking forward to raising our glasses and getting merry on end-of-term nights out, Christmas balls, and work dos. As shameful as it sounds, drinking is an intrinsic part of our student culture and we regularly find ourselves embarrassingly intoxicated, dancing wildly in Smack, Evolve and the Copper Rooms. Unfortunately though, this fun comes at a price, in the form of the dreaded hangover. Feeling sick, dehydrated and fatigued, with our heads pounding and hands shaking, the bravest of us soldier on and attempt morning lectures, whilst others choose to sleep until midday before staggering to the Bread Oven or McDonalds. So how does one too many sambuca shots cause each of these horrific symptoms?

Fatigue After drinking alcohol, you might find that you fall asleep extremely quickly but then wake up annoyingly early and find it impossible to get back to sleep. This is because alcohol inhibits the secretion of glutamine, a natural stimulant which keeps you awake. However, after you have stopped drinking, the body compensates by overproducing glutamine, hence waking you up and preventing a decent night’s sleep. This disruption also causes fatigue the day after and a sense of illness.

Dehydration Ever wondered why you need the loo so much when you’re drinking? It’s because one 250ml glass of wine causes the body to expel around 1000ml of water, which is four times as much liquid lost as gained. So whilst you might think that you are consuming far more liquid than you would normally, you are actually losing vast quantities of it, all because alcohol has inhibited a chemical called vasopressin, which controls how much water should be taken to add to your blood. As a result, the majority of water in your body is excreted in your urine. This dehydration has several impacts on the symptoms of a hangover. A dry mouth is a manifestation of the body’s message to replenish its water supply. Furthermore, pounding hangover headaches are caused by painful pulling on the membranes which connect the brain to the skull as water is taken from the brain to refill other water-deprived organs.

» Hangovers result after consuming harmful toxins in alcohol photo: Flickr/ topalcoholdeaths

Shakiness & Sweating

Nausea

Increased production of the stimulant glutamine may be responsible for nasty alcohol shakes the morning after, as it speeds up your heart-rate and neural transmission of motor impulses. Furthermore, alcohol withdrawal may also be responsible. Even after one evening of drinking, the body adapts to increased alcohol consumption- and therefore will then suffer from withdrawal for the next 24 hours. Consequently, one experiences heart palpatations, shakiness and sweating, not dissimilar from the discomfort and adverse physical reactions a recovering drug addict would suffer.

One of the worst parts of a hangover is ‘vomming’, which occurs due to the production of harmful toxins in our body. When alcohol is broken down by the liver, a toxin known as acetaldehyde is created. The more acetaldehyde in a person’s body, the greater the need to expel it, and therefore vomiting occurs. Also, alcohol promotes release of excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which eventually results in neurones signalling to the brain that the stomach’s contents are damaging the body and must be expelled through vomiting. As a result, we ‘vom’ or at least feel pretty sick for much of the next day.

Whilst we now know the causes behind our hangovers, what we really want to find out is how to cure them. Not drinking would be the obvious solution, but for many of us, this is an unrealistic aspiration. However, the effects of a hangover can be reduced by something else that we all love: food. Fat efficiently prevents alcohol absorption, so before you go out, eat a juicy burger and chips, have a glass of milk or even drink a teaspoon of olive oil (no joke, Mediterraneans do this!). Don’t have a miniscule tea to make sure you get drunk more quickly and save yourself for a takeaway at 3am… To reduce the unpleasant effects of dehydration, drink lots of water during the day and try to have a glass in between alcoholic beverages. Before bed, down at least one pint of water (with salt and sugar in, if you can handle it) to replace the sodium and glycogen lost through drinking. The following morning, have a scrambled egg to mop up leftover toxins and a banana or kiwi fruit, which will restore potassium levels which have dropped due to alcohol’s diuretic effect. As much as you might crave a fry-up, fried or fatty foods may irritate your sensitive stomach further. Reach for the aspirin to relieve your headache and recite your familiar vow to ‘never drink again’ – that is, until POP on Wednesday…

Buying presents for others promotes happiness Josh Hamilton Smith

O

n the train to Waterloo I pass Pimlico Plumbers; lights emblazoned over its building and a roof adorned with reindeer (they always seem to go a little over the top but do well to portray their festive spirit). I smile, impressed, but dismiss the early celebration. My train pulls in and soon I arrive home. I switch on the TV, and see the Coca-Cola advert. Okay, so now I know it is time... Most of us have our own ways of recognising the approach of Christmas (strangely, it seems, not involving actually peeking at the calendar). Soon we envision our ideal Christmas holiday. Fluffy white snow, a comforting log fire and plenty of mince pies and presents: Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ sums it all up. However, research has found the way to truly have a happy Christmas (or, just recent-

ly for some, Diwali) is to spend money on others. Maybe then it would be wise to avoid a night out at Saints and instead save that money towards the holiday? Research carried out by psychologists at the University of British Columbia found that spending some of one’s income on others produced greater happiness. They also found that participants who were randomly assigned to spend money on others experienced greater happiness than those assigned to send money on themselves. In the first of two experiments, participants who received a wage bonus were asked to report their happiness. After a period of between six-eight weeks they were then asked to report their happiness again, but also the proportion of their bonus that they spent on bills, expenses, rent/mortgages, gifts for themselves, gifts for others, and charitable donations. They found those who spent more on others or charity experienced significantly greater happiness in the time period. In the second experiment, participants

were given $20 at the beginning of the day and then split into two groups. The first group was instructed to use the money on themselves while the second was told to spend it on someone else or give it to charity. At the end of the day, it was the second group who reported greater levels of happiness. Our brain also leaves traces of this phenomenon. After giving participants money, researchers found differences in neural activity between those who chose to keep it versus those who donated it. As expected, the monetary reward activated the mesolimbic pathway, which is known as the ‘reward system’ in the brain. The pathway is made up of the nucelus accumbens, the amygdala, the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex, and is linked by dopamine-transporting neurons. The study also found that those who donated thier money had greater comparable activity in this area. Contrary to popular belief, our brain activity seems to suggest we prefer giving a gift to receiving one. Obviously for some people their Christmas

(or whichever occasion is most important) is simply perfect as it is. But if with age you have lost your love for the holiday or simply want this year to be special, give yourself the gift of giving. Isn’t that what that student loan/bar job at Kelsey’s is really for?

» photo: Flickr/ alirdj

@BoarScience science@theboar.org theboar.org/science Jessie Baldwin


Sport

theboar.org

31

Rugby Review: Solid start to the campaign Rory Tolson reflects on a successful start to the season for Warwick’s rugby teams

F

ollowing a highly successful 2011-12 season in which the University of Warwick’s Rugby Club was named Club of the Year by the University Sports Committee, UWRFC began their new campaign this year full of optimism for the season ahead. Following promotions for both the second and third teams last year, they are both set to compete in the Midlands 1A league this year, while the thirds take part in the 2A league hoping to replicate the good times of years gone by. On the back of an encouraging intake of freshers, October brought the first fixtures of the new season and a varying degree of success. With three wins and just one loss to their name, including a second successive win over perennial contenders Loughborough 3rds, Richard Newman’s first team firmly established themselves as promotion candidates after flirting with promotion in 201112. After a narrow loss, by just a point, to local rivals Coventry’s first team in their first fixture, the third team entered November with a 2-1 win-loss record, a great return for a recently promoted side under the improving captaincy of Luke Blease. The second team, however, faced an extremely tough start to the season, confronting two of the main contenders for the league, Worcester 1sts and Loughborough 3rds, in their first two games. They went down to disheartening defeats in both, leaving them facing a long, hard season. Spurred on by their inspirational coach and the leadership of James Oyedele, back-

to-back wins at the end of October hoisted the seconds comfortably into mid-table. The first fixtures of November saw the first round of Cup games for all three teams, and presented some stern challenges for all sides. The firsts faced Worcester 1sts, who had beaten them earlier in the season, and thanks to a try from the effervescent Scott Peters and audacious drop goal from Dan Edwards, they sealed revenge with a 13-12 win.

The leaders wins and just one loss to their name, the first team firmly established themselves as promotional candidates Meanwhile, the seconds travelled to Nottingham in a repeat of the previous week’s fixture, and continued their good run with an efficient win against their third team. Tries from Captain James Oyedele, Will McTighe, Yeboah Mensah and Josh Dowling-Kennedy helped the team progress to the next round and look forward to a meeting with Leeds 2nds. The third team showed great form in thrashing Bedfordshire 2s 33-8 thanks to an enterprising, if unexpected, hat-trick from Simon Cox and a barrage of fierce tackling from Brian Lockhead. Back in the league the following week, UWRFC were given a tough contest in all three fixtures as the season approached its mid-way point.

The firsts faced a tough examination by the league leaders, Nottingham 2s, and two tries from George Irwin – one a penalty try – weren’t enough to prevent an 18-12 defeat. This should not distract from a very committed performance, with Elliot Hodges once again impressing. The seconds, meanwhile, travelled to second-placed Leicester 1sts, and came flying out of the blocks, with some strong carrying from David Minear leading to tries for Oyedele and Dowling-Kennedy, as well as himself. The team’s susceptibility to interception tries continued as Pavan Harnal had a pass intercepted, having scored a penalty seconds earlier, but Warwick remained in a commanding position at half time. The second half was hotly contested as Leicester fought back hard. Will McTighe scored in his second successive game, but a late Leicester try put any ideas of victory prospects in jeopardy. Fortunately for Warwick, the referee informed them that they still led by a point, and proceeded to kick the ball out of play and celebrate an epic victory. It appeared, however, that the referee had taken a less honest approach to keeping score, and had forgotten to note a Leicester conversion. The Leicester protest was upheld to leave Warwick fuming, and after a strong performance the team took this hard. The thirds’ fixture was away to table-toppers Birmingham 2nds, who had narrowly missed out on promotion to Warwick’s very own second team the previous year.

In spite of some impressive performances from the strong contingent of freshers in the side, including tries from Tom Wilson and Will Sadler, Warwick slid to a dispiriting 4714 defeat, but should remain optimistic for the season ahead after a great start to what is a difficult league. With the third team game cancelled this week, the first and second teams met in their league fixture in a feisty, tribal affair. Unfortunately a high number of absentees meant the teams were not at full strength, but this didn’t stop some outstanding individual efforts. Josh Dowling-Kennedy secured a well-deserved score for the seconds but a length-ofthe-pitch solo try from first-team skipper Rich Newman evened things up. Josh Downie recovered from a huge tackle from Yeboah Mensah and possible concussion for Tomané Pinto to gallop over for a richly-deserved first try of the season. Newman then popped over for his second following an improbable burst of pace from Afo Olowolafe, putting the firsts well in front whilst demonstrating his enduring leadership qualities. Andrew Primmer then marked his first second team appearance of the season with an inventive try, but the match was sealed when Vinay Rawal dropped into the pocket and slotted a drop goal to see the firsts to a 24-15 victory. All in all, a very solid start to the season for UWRFC. Considering that the prospects for the season looked mixed at the beginning of the year, there is reason for much optimism as we move into the new year.

British football has to learn to embrace the likes of enigmatic Zlatan Isaac Leigh

Z

latan Ibrahimovic’s stupendous overhead kick against England in last Wednesday’s friendly was rightly celebrated across the football community. As a finishing touch to his astonishing four-goal salvo in Sweden’s 4-2 victory at the new Stockholm Arena, it offered the perfect riposte to the smattering of deluded fans of English football who have described him as overrated. Indeed, such a misjudgment simply confirms British fans’ implicit distrust of the enigmatic footballer whose guile triumphs over mere ‘blood and sweat’. Ibrahimovic may not be a straightforward personality, but he has performed wherever he has gone. He developed his raw talent at Ajax, and was prolific in Italy at Juventus, Inter and AC Milan. He even thrived under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona despite being seemingly out of place in a team of diminutive artistes, and is now scoring a goal a game at Carlo Ancelotti’s PSG. Such a nomadic yet successful career clearly indicates a man whose talent cannot be subdued. Yes, he is prone to bouts of disgruntlement when the game is not going in his favour, but many a Chelsea fan would surely argue that the hulking Swede would have been the perfect replacement for Didier Drogba. So why have none of the Premier League’s elite so much as cast a coquet-

tish glance at Ibrahimovic? Perhaps there is simply too much stigma surrounding the perceived brooding arrogance that players like Zlatan exude. Certainly, the maltreatment of a similarly enigmatic yet brilliant footballer, Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov, alludes to such prejudices. After joining Martin Jol’s Tottenham Hotspur from Bayer Leverkusen in 2006, Berbatov was lauded as a suave and charismatic influence in the stolid English game. However, after joining Manchester United for £30.75m in the summer of 2008, perceptions of Berbatov changed. Despite winning the Golden Boot in 2010 after scoring 20 league goals, suddenly he was lazy and selfish rather than elegant and clinical; despite a record of 48 goals in 108 league appearances, the 31-year-old was derided as a luxury. Perhaps it was entirely to his detriment to have Wayne Rooney huffing and puffing beside him: ‘Wazza’ is the quintessential English grafter who tackles back, while Berbatov is unfortunate enough to have the gift of making very difficult things look extremely simple. Selling him to Fulham for £4m, while the likes of West Ham United’s Matt Jarvis demand a fee in excess of £10m, is an insult to the value of a footballing wizard who has the temerity to play the game at his own pace, just because he can. Fans, managers and FA suits alike continue to ponder the deficiency of

technical excellence in the English game, and it is almost certainly because hard work and effort always dwarfs expression of skill. Ibrahimovic’s hypothetical arrival at Stamford Bridge would have upset the established order, for he would have embarrassed the tiresome ‘bloodand-thunder’ approach of captain John Terry. If given the choice, England fans would always plump for Scott Parker over Michael Carrick: if the latter is wayward with his passing then he is dismissed as lightweight, whereas at least Parker leaves the field of play with matted hair and a grizzled facial expression. The Premier League is missing out on players who would diversify its appeal, largely because its viewers ostensibly value ‘grit’ over individual brilliance. Ibrahimovic and Berbatov aren’t always team players, but when they recreate their limitless individual talent through a breathtaking goal or a moment of trickery, we really should not care. None of this, of course, is to diminish the value of hard work: the majority of Premier League players are where they are because of their inexhaustible dedication to their profession, nurtured from schoolboy age. This is simply a plea for football fans not to label the insouciant and casual players of this world as lazy or selfish: let’s embrace the likes of Ibrahimovic and Berbatov, and appreciate the different appeal they offer to the game.

» Time to appreciate Zlatan? photo: Flickr/Spitfire1229


Sport

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Controversy over new gym changes

Mixed reaction amongst students to Warwick Sport’s £1.5 million announcement Concept Drawings – Warwick University

»A projected visual of part of the new gym set-up Photo: Warwick Sport Alex Russell

T

he announcement made during week eight that the University sports centre is to undergo extensive refurbishments over the Christmas period, and into second term, has been met with a mixed reaction from students, many of whom are concerned by the prospect of being without gym facilities while the work is carried out. The move has been prompted by feedback received in the 2011 Warwick Sport review, in which it was highlighted that members felt the gym equipment was dated and regularly damaged, and the facilities often overcrowded. Of course, efforts to alleviate these problems will benefit students in the long run, as new state of the art equipment provided by gym technology supplier TECHNOGYM is introduced. Yet existing gym members will no doubt be unhappy at the prospect at being without exercise facilities until early February, with the work beginning at the end of the current term. The £1.5 million agreement with TECHNOGYM is certainly impressive, and will undoubtedly enhance the experience of sports centre customers. TECHNOGYM has, in the past, supplied equipment to a number

of high profile sites, including the Olympic Village and the National Football Centre at Burton. With Sport at Warwick promising to provide new cardiovascular and resistance equipment, as well as state of the art Kenisis line and Arke equipment, the refurbishment will transform the facilities and provide a new experience for customers. Many existing members, however, are confused by the decision to carry out the work during a period when many would have been relying on the facilities to be available. Granted the majority of the work is being done during the holiday period, but with the ominously vague projected completion date of “early February”, members are rightly concerned at the prospect of their workout schedule being significantly interrupted. Many second years and finalists will have been planning to stay at university after term ends to work on coursework, with the expectation being that the gym facilities would be available during this period. In any case, members face the prospect of at least a month of term time without the facilities available, an issue which becomes problematic when you consider that the majority of members have paid upfront for a year. It seems strange that the prospect of a major refurbishment had not even been mentioned to students before week eight, and that

students had no say in whether they would prefer new facilities or their gym being available year-round. When questioned on why the work cannot be carried out during the summer period, in order to minimise disruption for students, a spokesperson for Warwick Sport responded: “With a summer project students would have missed

With the ominously vague

projected completion date, members are concerned at the prospect of their workout schedule being interrupted out on weeks of improved facilities and equipment. There are staff and students who still use the facilities during the summer, so there was no solution that avoided some disruption”. This raises the question of whether existing students would rather be without gym facilities for at least a month, or to continue to make do with the facilities which have served adequately for a number of years; facilities for which they willingly paid their year-long membership fees. Some efforts are being made to provide alternatives for members during the period of disruption. The fitness team will be running extra classes and sessions, and will

be available to provide advice on maintaining fitness. On this issue, a Warwick Sport spokesperson promised that “the extra classes are just the start; we’ll monitor member feedback and attendance to classes and constantly review how and where we can better support our members. Some of the gym equipment will be available on the Desso Hall balcony.” For many students, however, this offer will not be enough, and many will be forced to seek alternate gyms in Leamington Spa and other surrounding areas, or to go without proper training during the disruption. For the many members who follow specific weight training regimes, for example, extra fitness classes will not serve as a worthwhile alternative. The issue here is that students who have been dedicated to their training will now see the benefits of their hard work reduced as they are forced into a hiatus, or face the alternative of seeking new facilities. It is conceivable, then, that many members will be obliged to find an alternative gym for the duration of the disruption, a situation which could necessitate them paying gym fees on top of the Warwick Sport memberships they have already, in good faith, taken out. It is not yet clear whether Warwick Sport will offer any form of reimbursement for existing members. It is safe to say that Warwick Sport’s announcement will divide opinion amongst the student population. Although the long term benefits of the refurbishment are evident, it seems relevant to question whether existing members would sanction the work, had they been given a choice. Granted, student surveys have suggested a discontent at the condition of equipment, yet it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that the students who complained would not have expected any changes made to disrupt their training schedules to such a degree. While the University will only benefit from the refurbishments, in having new gym facilities to attract future students, existing customers will undoubtedly feel aggrieved at having the services they have paid for taken away for a considerable period of time. It remains to be seen whether these issues will be addressed, or whether students will be expected to dutifully accept the proposals being forced upon them.

Results 21st November 2012 Badminton Warwick

H/A

Men’s 3rd

H

Opp

W

O

Worcester 1st

8

0

Basketball Men’s 1st

A

Worcester 2nd

34

73

Women’s 1st

A

Ox Brookes 1st

34

41

A

Leicester 1sts

Fencing Men’s 1st

109

121

Hockey Men’s 1st

H

B’ham 2nd

1

1

Men’s 2nd

H

Leicester 1st

1

3

Men’s 4th

H

Anglia Ruskin 1st

4

4

Women’s 1st

A

Ox Brookes 2nd

1

2

Women’s 2nd

A

Derby 1st

2

1

Women’s 3rd

A

Lincoln 2nd

2

0

Netball Women’s 1st

H

Oxford 2nd

31

23

Women’s 2nd

A

Cambridge 2nd

40

25

Women’s 3rd

H

Derby 1st

24

15

Squash Men’s 1st

A

L’borough 3rd

5

0

Men’s 2nd

H

Oxford 2nd

5

0

Men’s 3rd

H

Ox Brookes 1st

2

3

Women’s 1st

H

Notts Trent 1st

2

2

Table Tennis Men’s 1st

A

Leeds 1st

11

6

Men’s 2nd

H

Nottingham 2nd

8

9

Men’s 1st

A

East Anglia 1st

8

4

Men’s 2nd

H

Coventry 2nd

4

8

Women’s 2nd

H

Coventry 2nd

10

2

Tennis

Volleyball Men’s 1st

A

Oxford 1st

3

1

Women’s 1st

A

Oxford 1st

1

3

@boarsport sport@theboar.org theboar.org/sport John Downes & Alex Russell

Issue 5, Volume 35 - 28th November  
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