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Syrian student in UK plagued by death The Boar speaks to a Syrian student studying in the UK about the impact of the Syrian conflict upon his studies
Michael Allen A small proportion of university students are forced to deal with the death of a loved one during their studies, but one student from Syria has had to deal with 20 family members and friends being killed during his time undertaking his PhD at a West Midlands university. Kinan, 26, began his PhD in September 2009. He has not returned home since his last trip back to Syria in November 2010. The revolution broke out in March 2011 and the Syrian government began to use violence against its own people, making it too dangerous for him to return. In September 2011, his family car was destroyed during a clash between security forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in his neighbourhood of Baba Amr, Homs. “Hearing the car peeping, my father went down at night to check it without knowing what was really going on,” he said. “They fired at him from both sides.” His father escaped unscathed, but Kinan only heard about this incident six months after it happened, due in part to the restrictive regime prohibiting information from being reported, and his parents who wanted to keep the news from him to prevent distress. Following this incident, the FSA gained control of Kinan’s neighbourhood. But in February 2012, Assad’s forces destroyed the entire area, including Kinan’s family home during a month-long assault. Again, Kinan was late to discover this, hearing about it three months later when his brother uploaded photographs to Facebook showing the extent of the damage.
» The view from the rooftops of Kinan’s neighbourhood Baba Amr, Homs, Syria photo: Kinan During this one month assault by government forces, Kinan also lost his best friend who worked as a high school English teacher. He was killed by a mortar during the assault. Kinan said he used to visit him at least once a week at his home. “My friends were falling one by one, either by indiscriminate shelling of their houses or by intentionally being shot by snipers,” he said. Faced with the loss of his best friend, he could not study properly for two months, but said he did not want to appear weak by asking his university for extensions on his work deadlines. He decided to visit his brother who had fled to Cairo, Egypt, to complete his Masters in Medicine. The brother previously worked in
a Homs hospital but had witnessed patients not receiving treatment and being tortured and killed by security forces or by doctors loyal to the regime using lethal injections. After seeing this he said that he knew he had to leave. Spending time with his brother abroad helped ease Kinan’s distress after losing so many loved ones. However, despite the conflict, Kinan must eventually return to Syria. The Syrian government is sponsoring his studies and a friend of his father is acting as as a guarantor of his return. If Kinan remained in the UK, the friend could have his property seized by the government. With his visa expiring in April 2014 and his PhD set to finish in November this year, he admits he is worried. He hopes to be able to de-
lay his PhD and remain in the UK until the expiration of his visa. Kinan described the problems encountered by other Syrians he knows who are studying in the area.
Between Janury and June 2012, Syrian students were unable to receive any funds from Syria due to sanctions on the regime. By June, they managed to have just the money for their living costs sent, but not the fees. Fortunately, many universities including Kinan’s and Warwick have agreed to temporarily waive fees and he has not yet paid for his second or third years of study. One friend, who was financially insecure, was offered £500 as a loan from the University, but as it would not have been enough he did not take it. Another friend of Kinan’s has a wife and children to support, thus incurring extra costs. He has had to borrow money from another Syrian friend to support them. Not all Syrian students Kinan knows in the area are sympathetic to those fighting the government. There is at least one he knows who has close connections to the regime. Sympathetic students at Warwick are planning an event there to raise money for and awareness about the Syrian conflict. However, the students who oppose the regime cannot be directly involved for fear of retribution from the regime.
» A shell found in Kinan’s neighbourhood photo: Kinan
Postgraduate fees might be a glass ceiling for poorer students The expense of the £9,000 undergraduate fees are making students less willing to pay out for postgraduate courses Sian Elvin The increased cost of undergraduate tuition fees could be putting students off taking postgraduate courses, a recent study from the Sutton Trust suggested. The charity warned that the cost of the postgraduate courses themselves could also become an “extra obstacle to social mobility”. It is believed that poorer students could be priced out of further education and where postgraduate courses are required to get ahead in a tough job market, wealthier students could have the advantage. Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “Postgraduate study is becoming increasingly the preserve of the better off student, both from home and abroad. “Graduates facing debts in excess of £40,000 through undergradu-
ate student loans are likely to see the prospect of funding a further £20,000 a year in fees and living costs, without having access to student loans, truly daunting.” The study discovered that people with a postgraduate degree earn on average £5,000 more per year than those with just an undergraduate degree. Laura Jones, first-year Maths student, commented: “I probably wouldn’t have done a postgraduate course anyway considering how expensive they are, but the increased undergraduate fees that I am paying makes it even less likely.” First-year English Literature undergraduate, Lillian Hingley, also voiced her worries: “Personally, postgraduate education is something that I’m really quite interested in looking into. “However, I think that the financial difficulties of funding another degree seem to inflame the worries
at the back of my mind of what implications money has on my learning already – I have to be a lot more realistic about my future.” Anna Chowcat, postgraduate officer at the Students’ Union, said: “Whilst it’s still a bit too early to tell (given that students with the increased amount of debt won’t graduate until 2015) I definitely think it will be a deterrent to paying upfront fees of around £8000. “I believe that the University, as well as the government, should look into providing more financial support for the postgraduate students who are the worst off as postgraduate education is the new frontier of widening participation and risks becoming a luxury inaccessible to most students.” On the other hand, Peter Dunn, head of communications at Warwick, said that figures show students are not deterred by the prices: “Warwick has a plan to double the
»Postgraduate fees: no laughing matter photo: Warwick Media Library number of postgraduate research students it has between 2007 and 2015. We are well on course to do so, therefore the prices of undergraduate degrees have not affected us.” The Sutton Trust believes there should be a better system for providing financial support to students
wanting to go on to study at postgraduate level. To help provide such a system, the University recently invested an extra £700,000 into scholarships for postgraduate courses. It also lengthened the duration of the scholarships to three and a half years, instead of three years.
Imperial College Business School was an ideal choice due to its prestigious reputation worldwide. Simran Bedi Imperial College Business School graduate, previously studied BSc Economics at Warwick University
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Features A man of Auther-ity Bryan Huang and Daryl Chia interview John Authers, senior investment columnist of the Financial Times » John Authers is used to speaking about all things finance photo: http://www.ftconferences.com
ohn Authers is the Financial Times’ senior investment columnist, and is responsible for the weekly Long View and other columns on markets and investments. One of the world’s most influential financial journalists, he appears frequently in US and global media. After speaking at the Warwick Investment Forum, John had a most insightful discourse with the Warwick Finance Societies. Thank you very much to coming to Warwick Investment Forum. Obviously you are a very prolific journalist. How did you manage to get to where you are today and how was the journey like? I studied PPE at Oxford and was particularly interested in American politics. I spent a summer interning on Capitol Hill and went from there to working as a consultant for The Telegraph for a year, guiding them on how to cover the presidential election, which was then the election between George Bush Sr. and Michael Dukakis. I then managed on the back of that to get a place on the Financial Times graduate trainee scheme. In those days, they sent you to journalism school in Hastings, so I did do a brief bit of the local journalism beat and I started at the FT on New Year’s Day 1990. I have been there for 23 years. What about students these days – if they are interested in financial journalism, would you say the path will be similar, or would you think there are other means by which one can perhaps write for, say, the Lex Column on the FT? Particularly in the Lex Column, we want a balance between young people who will say the emperor has no clothes and who will not be afraid to ask the naïve question, and the ‘been there done that’ types who know a lot more but also might not see the forest for the
trees. I think in this day and age you want to see somebody who does have an understanding of how to deal with numbers, and who is able to express their own opinions – much like one learns in Economics or in an MBA. Then it is a question of having the ability to express an opinion differently, and there are many more ways to do that these days – you need to be out there on Twitter and blogs, and you need to be showing some kind of an entrepreneurial sense. As well as that, if you want to be a financial journalist, it could also be easier to start with some kind of a brief career in finance itself. We have one good financial journalist at the FT, for instance, who spent a year at Lehman Brothers and learned an awful lot. Moving on, our newsletter goes out to over 2,000 students at the Warwick Finance Societies. Would you be able to give a brief overview of what the two books you authored which have here are about? The Fearful Rise of Markets, which came out in 2010, is basically my biggest and most ambitious attempt to write my take on the crisis, specifically answering the question of why are there so many more bubbles then there used to be and how we deal with that. In a nutshell, I felt that capitalism and markets are about a balance between greed and fear and for various reasons I believe that fear had been suppressed of late. There is one particular reason which I think is important that tends to not get as much play as it should do, and that is to do with the institutionalising of investment. It is not necessarily about banking – it is about the fact that investment decisions now tend to be made by people who are part of big institutions and who are following the agenda of the institution rather than simply trying to maximise returns. The second book that came out only a few weeks ago and which is available in the UK
only as an e-book is called Europe’s Financial Crisis; it started as I was writing a second edition for The Fearful Rise of Markets and I decided to turn it into a book in its own right. It tells the story of the European financial crisis. I hold that it is basically driven by structural flaws in the shape of the Eurozone which were there from the beginning, combined with a flaw in the way that its banking system was run – it became far too ‘over-banked’ and the banks became too big to fail and too big to be rescued, and that inevitably put pressure on the sovereigns. The catalyst for the crisis then came with the credit crisis in the States. The book is my attempt to give readers the best, briefest and most pithy account of why Europe is in crisis – as it still certainly is even though the crisis is in abeyance at the moment. What kind of reader are you aiming this book at? It would be people like Warwick students! It was an attempt at explaining from first principles but then going to a reasonably technical level reasonably swiftly on why Europe got into trouble in the first place. Finally – and this is a big question – how do you think the crisis will pan out and what are your top trading recommendations for 2013? While I would not rule out any scenario for the Eurozone crisis – and that is why it is important for one to hedge his bets – the single most likely scenario is that we muddle through and that you end up with a much more cohesive Eurozone, possibly with one treasury minister and Eurobonds, which will obviously make the decision for whether the UK wants to stay in much more interesting in terms of UK domestic politics. I think we will avoid disaster but will not avoid a long and
drawn out recession – I find it very hard to see how that can be avoided in Europe. Globally, I still see some chance that China and the US somehow between them manage, from the money they printed, to kick off and find ignition, but I personally find it more plausible that we move yet again into something more akin to a disaster scenario – another really serious sell-off – and I think the most likely scenario is that the checks and balances of ‘deleveraging meets money printing’ and the ultimate result is years and years of rather stodgy markets that go sideways for a very long time. In terms of how I would invest on the basis of that – and I have said this in the FT – I would probably shade a bit towards stocks and away from bonds simply because the balance of risks have shifted a little in the last year and also since bonds are now wildly overpriced. Still, that does not mean they cannot stay overpriced for a long time and that is why I would only make a fairly gentle shift in the direction of equities. Also, if you have any kind of long term perspective, first of all, value investing appears to be beginning to work better, and I would go with the value style of investing. If you talk about the 10 to 20 year time horizon – which the average student has – there must be a lot of relative mis-pricings in this market. Value has failed for these five years because there is no catalyst for value to be realised when rates are held at unrealistic levels. Over a longer time period, the chances that value outperforms growth are overwhelmingly good, so if was in the lucky position of being a student who could put money aside into stocks at a regular basis for the long term, that is what I would do. Also, for the long term, Asia in general and China in particular are hard to bet against for the very long term. On the other hand, I am not confident in the vehicles that are out there that allow you to invest in Africa, so I would not say Africa, although I am tempted to.
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Lyons hopes for a roaring success Laura Bird interviews comedian Zoe Lyons ahead of Pop Up Comic at WAC you can hear is the bloke next to you unwrapping his sweets. To me it’s all about the comic playing off the audience and using their flow – in that sort of space I just don’t know how it works. I suppose it works by forgetting all of that and just thinking “Kerching!” I suppose I could put the acoustics aside whilst I counted my 50,000 ticket sales. In mind of more intimate settings such as the Edinburgh Fringe, you won an award a few years ago for a single joke – something not many comedians can boast! How did that come about? ZL: The award was TV channel Dave’s “best joke of the fringe”, and it was the first year they’d run it. I don’t think any of us even knew it was happening. I was like “oh right, great, I had no idea this was going on!” Nice though, little something for the mantelpiece. The thing with Edinburgh is that it’s such a tough one, such hard work. To have any day where you’re not crying is a bonus, so that was really special.
» Zoe Lyons photo: email@example.com So one-liners seem to have made a massive comeback in recent years with the help of comedians such as Tim Vine and Milton Jones. You yourself are famous for them – what is it about one-liners that you enjoy? ZL: What I like is that they’re just good, old fashioned ‘proper jokes’ – the more you have of them the funnier it becomes. Comedians like Tim build entire sets out of them, which I really admire. Give me your favourite one-liner. ZL: It’s a beautiful Wind in the Willows joke from Gary Delaney: “Last night I had to get Toad home… because Ratty and Moley were too drunk.” You’ve worked with Gary and quite a few other big names on shows such as Mock
the Week and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. Do you prefer the improvisational style of TV panel shows, touring, or festivals like the Fringe? ZL: Definitely working in front of a live audience. I did a gig the other day up in Lincolnshire and it was the most beautiful tiny little basement club: little stage, brick walls, packed out. It was such a lovely environment. It’s those little gems that are the best types of gigs to do. So definitely something more intimate… does that mean an arena tour isn’t going to be on the cards any time soon? ZL: It would be a very empty arena! It would basically be me, a mad old lady, shouting in a hangar. I really don’t think comedy is meant for arenas. When you’re in a place like that all
So a cheeky Wikipedia search tells me you studied psychology at York University back in the nineties and recently appeared on a celebrity edition of University Challenge. What kind of student were you? Was it pizza and lie-ins all round? ZL: Oh god, I was a terrible student. I very very rarely attended lectures. I think I got carried away with the stuff outside academics…I spent a lot of time just joining really weird societies. I joined a potholing club…I also played Octopush for a while. I don’t even think that exists any more as a sport. Oh no, Warwick has a thriving Octopush scene… ZL: It’s strangely violent for an underwater sport! I really didn’t spend that much time studying at university so it was hilarious to find myself on University Challenge of all things, having only just managed a 2:2 in Psychology. The only reason I pulled that off is because my friend said to me, “you have to sit in the middle and make sure every time they ask a question you do what extras do in films and mumble so that it makes it look like you know what you’re doing” And it worked! I got a starter for ten, so I can die happy.
That’s the dream. So if you weren’t creating fabulous comedy what would you be doing? ZL: My dream job would be either a ski instructor or a forest ranger. If I had to go with the skills I currently have, I’d probably be… largely unemployed. Do you not think you could hack it as a forest ranger? ZL: Well I own a waterproof coat, so that’s half the battle. I notice from your shows you’ve got an amazing tattoo. When did you get that done? Does it have a particular meaning? ZL: It’s one huge one that stretches over the top of my arm and round to my back. I got it done ten years ago when I was about 30. To be honest it was childish rebellion! I just went out and thought, sod it! I’m going to get a massive tattoo. They seem to be very popular though, we’ll be a generation of 80-yearolds with skin like a heavily patterned carpet. I notice you’re an avid tweeter. A lot of (especially female) comedians have come forward recently and reported the amount of abuse they receive through social media. Have you ever had any negative experiences? ZL: Oh, yes. I know when Mock the Week has been on without even looking at listings because I log on to Twitter and there’s this flurry of trolls. I use social media but appreciate the ability to switch it all off. Years ago if someone hated you they’d have to get themselves worked up to the point of walking to a desk and writing a letter. Now it’s so easy and worryingly, anonymous. I don’t worry for people like myself, I worry for kids at school. So Pop-up Comic’ is the title of your new tour. What can we expect when you come to Warwick in a few weeks? ZL: I’m quite a physical performer so there’s going to be a lot of larking about! I cover fairly broad topics – from gay bishops to dog prams, with everything in between. I think I’ll leave you with that one! Thanks Zoe, looking forward to seeing the show! ZL: No problem. Thanks!
What’s on Zoe Lyons: Pop-Up Comic
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Birds of a Feather Tour
Landscape to Sculpture:
Mark Wallinger: Labyrint
24 Feb, Warwick Arts Centre, £10 concession. Satirical answers to life’s most important questions: why Dog Prams?
21 Feb - 27 May, Tate Modern, £12.20 concession. Lichtenstein’s dots in your blind spot? Find out about the figure of American pop.
20 - 23 Feb, 7:30pm, Warwick Arts Centre, £10.50 concession. MTW’s adaptation of 1920s set musical by George Roy Hill.
14 Feb - 26 May, Courtauld Gallery, London. £6. Probably the most diverse artist in art history – this exhibition is about his breakthrough.
1 Feb - 16 March, The Outsiders, London, FREE For some quality contemporary painting that’s not a knock-off of something else.
27 Feb - 2 March, Belgrade Theatre, £12 concessions Ready to rekindle your love for the retro British sitcom? Pauline, Linda & Lesley are back.
25 Jan - 21 April, Leamington Spa Gallery, FREE. Retrospective of Leam-based artist John Bridgeman who worked closely with Henry Moore.
Opening gradually around the Underground this year. FREE. To celebrate 150 years of Underground, Mark creates 270 works in tube stations.
@BoarArts firstname.lastname@example.org theboar.org/arts Rachel Guthrie
Rising concerns over new Metal Gear Shuayb Irshad expresses his dissapointment at the series’ new direction
» photo: Flickr/lvkzl
ver wondered about the million and one ways you can lacerate enemies into oblivion? Well I certainly haven’t, but it seems Hideo Kojima’s newfound mission is to teach fans how to mutilate enemies through a series of abhorrent rituals in his latest game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - a spin off from the Metal Gear Solid series, and set to be released this February. There’s just one problem - when you decide to transform a world renowned franchise of stealth and tactical espionage brilliance into utter mind-numbing absurdity that leaves the mainstream masses slobbering in delight, I feel like burying my PlayStation. The truth is, Kojima, I think you might have really messed up on this one. It all began on an icy, dark afternoon (it always does). The internet connection was horrendous but the download had finished. Lo and behold, I finally had it: the Metal Gear Rising demo, yet another game by the legendary Hideo Kojima. After finishing the demo however, I was gripped by an influx of frustration. I asked myself incredulously: what drove Kojima to suddenly give up all originality and succumb to mind-numbing clap trap that could easily find its way into yet another Ninja Gaiden sequel? How can such a brilliant mind be completely hypnotised by the zombie hordes of modern-day gamers that live to quench their desire for violence? Because what I played that afternoon was not
a Metal Gear game, but a bloody slash-fest of unprecedented carnage. Admittedly, it was fun, but in a Metal Gear Solid context, it was downright offensive. Over the years, we have seen a persistent trend in the gaming industry when it comes to mainstream franchises. Once a game does well, developers seem to make subsequent instalments more appealing to others by essentially ‘dumbing it down’. A typical example of this is any Call of Duty after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (although you could argue that the whole point of FPS’s is to provide players with a platform that requires the least amount of intellectual power to grasp, thus their immense popularity). You don’t think; you just shoot to kill. Who wants to think in video games? Especially when you can, at the touch of a button, triumphantly bask in a fountain of blood spurting from a decapitated enemy’s jugular? I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are specific games made for that sort of thing (and I myself enjoy them. DMC and God of War being two exceptional examples) but this is where I, and countless other real Metal Gear Solid fans, are taking a standMetal Gear Solid is NOT one of those games. Consumed by disbelief, I traipsed gaming forums in frantic search of a reason as to why Kojima would condescend to such irrelevant innovation. It was there that I discovered that this spin off is in fact a completely different game. Raiden, in this new release, is being
sold as part of an external entity; i.e. not Metal Gear Solid! It turns out that Kojima abandoned his own plans for a Metal Gear Solid: Rising early on, meaning he anticipated the disappointment of his fans, and sensibly averted what would have been deemed an ‘end of his career’ crisis. Instead, he went on to let Platinum Games take charge of generating the spin off, whilst he remained in control of Raiden’s artwork and story plot. This explains why there is no ‘Solid’ in the new title ‘Metal Gear Rising’; it’s because Kojima wants this title to be released as a totally different franchise and also as a means of promoting the series to a more mainstream audience. If the game is received badly, he can come out with his hands up and say “Hey, it wasn’t an official MGS! There was no ‘Solid’- remember?” Isn’t that clever? By the way, I’m not criticising Platinum Games here at all - they’re doing what they’ve always done: producing clichéd, relatively predictable games that look as though they’ve been based on how a five-year-old idealises heroism after watching Terminator 2. However, for those (like me) who saw Raiden and thought ‘Metal Gear Solid!’- it turns out that this is something entirely different. There is an unnerving similarity between Vanquish (produced by Platinum Games in 2010) and Metal Gear Rising, with the unfunny jokes, atrocious voice acting (except for
Raiden), unsynchronised mouthing, uninspiring futuristic technology and the tedious need for the main character to constantly be moving at a dizzyingly high speed. But that’s not all - the childish gore and out of place violence completely sums up the same amateurish clutter that Platinum Games churns out year after year. Regrettably, they may have hit the jackpot this time, but it’s not because of the game, it’s because of the false image that was sold with it. It is still early days, and this is just the demo. But when I go to buy this game in February, I recognize that I will not be buying a Metal Gear Solid title. I will learn to appreciate this game as a stand-alone thumb-twitcher, and maybe even come to enjoy it, as the gameplay and graphics appear quite remarkable. Likewise, I’m not questioning Kojima’s plot-constructing abilities one iota, but I will enjoy Metal Gear Rising as this: a non-Metal Gear Solid title. I will also strongly advise all you hopefuls out there to do the same, otherwise you may just be letting yourself in for the biggest disappointment of a very early 2013. Do you agree with the views on the latest Metal Gear titles?
Comment online: theboar.org/games
@BoarGames email@example.com theboar.org/games James Barnes
The Boar Music Matrix Rap revival: a socially progressive future?
acklemore and collaborator Ryan Lewis’ album The Heist was independently produced, recorded and released in October of last year. The album has enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive critical reception, with many critics asserting that the record pushes the boundaries of what we normally think of as the rap/hip hop genre. In the beautiful track ‘Same Love’, featuring singer-songwriter Mary Lambert, Macklemore addresses the homophobia rampant in popular culture. “If I was gay, I would think hip hop hates me,” he raps, addressing the flippant use of phrases like “that’s gay” and “faggot”, recognising that “gay” has become “synonymous with the lesser”. Meanwhile, on ‘A Wake’, Macklemore subverts his genre even further, rapping back against the critics who have said “it’s so refreshing to hear somebody on records / no guns, no drugs, no sex”. Rap and hip hop are often typecast as more problematic, more sexist and more violent than other genres – but Macklemore recognises that this perception has its roots in racism. The lyrics “white privilege, white guilt, at the same damn time,” shows an incredibly critical perception of his place in the genre as a white artist. As far back as 2005, when the phrase “white privilege” wasn’t in most people’s vocabulary, Macklemore released a song with the same title, dealing with his inner conflict over rapping as a white man in a genre “that’s been taken by my race”. Lyrics such as “hip hop started off in a block I’ve never been to / to counteract a struggle that I never even went through”, “now I don’t rap about guns so they label me conscious / but I don’t rap about guns cause I wasn’t forced into the projects”, and “the face of hip hop has changed a lot since Eminem / and if he’s taking away black artists’ profits, I look just like him” address the way white people have appropriated black music such as jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and most recently hip hop. In a searing, honest, and personal way,
Macklemore makes me aware of my own problematic position as a white hip hop fan, and even of my choice to write about his album today and not the album of an artist who is “rooted in authenticity, something you literally can’t learn”. Rap/hip hop has a long history of fighting social injustice, and of providing a commentary on race and class which is unparalleled elsewhere in the music industry. Over the last decade, hip hop has been tamed into a clubland hip pop that has created artists such as Pitbull and Jason Derulo, and a lot of fans still have their old (and legendary) Dre or Tupac albums on repeat. Lately, these genres are beginning to delve back into their roots, and to produce artists that are once again discussing society in the alarmingly real way that can only be found in the conversational nature of rap. Macklemore’s music is raw, painful, and all-encompassing in its subject matter, and The Heist is a stunning album that will make you question humanity and, above all, question yourself.
» Macklemore (left) photo: Flickr/Dave Lichterman
Writer’s choices LCD Soundsytem Sound of Silver
toe New Sentimentality EP
The second record from James Murphy’s brainchild showed the musical world exactly how to inject life into the flagging genre of ‘indie’, whilst simultaneously illustrating just how intelligent and insightful a dance record could be. Devoid of a weak track, the album moves from the tongue-incheek ‘North American Scum’ through to the almost painful poignancy of ‘New York I Love You…’ with such effortlessness that the result is a record which is irresistibly inviting, relatable and downright brilliant.
toe’s EP distills, combines and develops highlights of previous albums into a twenty minute aural dreamscape. It starts drowsily with a dainty marriage of birdsong, guitar and uncertain finger snapping before the record lucidly blossoms into life with a pillar of bass, occasional Rhodes piano, and masterful drumming. With a characteristically clean, focused sound, it is technical without pedantry, and while a mesmerizing lesson in minimalism, it has a sporadic peppering of abrupt changes that engender constant anticipation.
Similar to: Hot Chip, Caribou Flora Havelock
Similar to: Miaow, 3nd
Don Broco Priorities
Burial’s second LP pulses with an emotional depth rarely seen in electronic scenes, yet remains rhythmically uncompromising. Upon its release in 2007, Untrue served as an elegy to the fading garage movement: compressed beats, broken vocals and echoes of London flicker like memories of the dying scene. Yet out of these ashes Burial’s influence has spawned a new generation of artists and reenergised UK dance music - Untrue was a game-changer and it will change your life.
Priorities is an album about mates, dates, and all the good and bad that they bring. The Bedford quartet lived up to their hype in spectacular fashion with a release that never lulls: instead, it explores a few different styles and nails all of them. The vocals are both enunciated and painfully stylish, backed by a rowdy rhythm section and riffs aplenty. If the guitar band is coming back, Don Broco is personally seeing to it.
Similar to: Disclosure, El-B
Similar to: Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox Charlie Sammonds
Album Reviews Frightened Rabbit Pedestrian Verse
Fittingly for a band whose first album was entitled … Sings The Greys, this particular rabbit’s habitat is still that of introspection, their subject the detritus of life that obstructs their crawl through the ‘tunnel’. But accompanying the band’s developing attentiveness (both creatively and technically) to their craft follows an increasing capacity to accommodate hope and light. The horizon clears after ‘The Oil Slick’, and the last sound we hear is that of a bird song. MP3: ‘Holy’, ‘The Oil Slick’ Christopher Sharpe
Stornoway Tales From Terrafirma
In following-up the critically acclaimed Beachcomber’s Windowsill, Stornoway have shown few signs of second-album syndrome in Tales From Terra Firma, which looks set to make the long wait more than worth it. This record is a canvas covered in ideas about the passing of time and self-discovery, beautifully coloured with an orchestra of instruments and effects. With nothing but crisp, carefree pop melodies and harmonies made to be whistled, this isn’t one to miss. MP3: ‘You Take Me As I Am’ Tim Otway
Pure Love Anthem
Pure Love is a new collaboration between Frank Carter (Gallows) and Jim Carroll (Hope Conspiracy), who have moved on from hardcore punk to pastures greener. Their debut album Anthems is a well-balanced hard rock record, with intricate guitar solos and a well-executed blues edge. This record has shown the world that Carter doesn’t just scream into microphones, but that he is equipped with a pretty impressive set of vocal pipes too. MP3: ‘Anthem’, ‘Handsome Devil’s Club’ Jack Denton
Coheed and Cambria The Afterman: Descension
The second half of double album The Afterman concludes another chapter in the epic Coheed & Cambria saga. Somewhat Frankenstein-like in the way it’s pieced together, the musical monster which rises from Descension brings everything from metal to funk to acoustic pop-punk. Attempting to do so much in only nine tracks, the gang shine brightest on the lighter numbers, but with patience, you could learn to love this lessthan-perfect creation. MP3: ‘Away We Go’, ‘Dark Side Of Me’ Ramsey Marwan
@BoarMusic firstname.lastname@example.org theboar.org/music Ramsey Marwan
Two different tales on the City of Love L’Autre Paris: The top 10 Guide to the bestkept secrets in Paris by Roxanne Ravenhill
Galleries Don’t have the patience to queue or bump shoulders with the mob encircling the Mona Lisa? Try two of the gallery’s closest neighbours. Musée d’Orsay – Opposite the Louvre, across the Seine, this gallery is a work of art in its own right; a former railway station erected in the stunning Beaux-Arts style. With the fifth floor devoted to Impressionism, Manet and Pissarro revel in scenes of “modern”, industrialising Paris, some of the first canvases to be executed outdoors. Tip: at the beginning of the Impressionist exhibition, peer out of the large, glass clock, embedded in the gallery’s wall, for one of the best views of central Paris and the Seine. Musée des Arts Décoratifs – Located in a wing of the Louvre building, this museum dedicated to the decorative arts contrasts greatly to the paintings and sculpture of the Louvre or D’Orsay. It features furniture, interior design, ceramics and fashion. Landmarks When visiting the Notre Dame, don’t leave your tour of the Île de la Cité there; head west for an eclectic cluster of alternative historic and architectural landmarks. Palais de Justice & Sainte-Chapelle – Once the site of the royal palace of Saint Louis and the seat of parliament, the Palais de Justice must be reached through the entrance for the Sainte-Chapelle, one of the greatest achieve-
ments of the French Rayonnant Gothic. The imposing Second Empire Palais is now a functioning law court with stunning marble sculpted interiors. La Conciergerie – Underneath the Palais de Justice - this museum was once the last destination for those waiting to be guillotined such as Marie Antoinette. Its vaulted ‘Hall of the Guards’, hosts peculiar exhibitions, such as the current ‘Dream of Monuments’, which explores Gothic architecture and the imaginary: featuring clips from kitsch fairy tale films, French equivalents of penny dreadfuls and models of medieval châteaux. Food Café de Flore – Step into the Great Gatsby on the corner of Boulevard & Rue St. Benoit. With an original Art Deco interior, it not only exemplifies romantic notions of the Parisian coffeehouse, but has been home to an array of French intellectuals including Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway. Philosophical debates still take place on the first Wednesday of the month (in English). Otherwise, the café’s thick, bubbling hot chocolate is the best in Paris and must be sampled. Pierre Herme – 72 Rue Bonaparte – For those with a sweet tooth, instead of Ladurée, sample the Heston Blumenthal of macarons, Pierre Herme, who offers flavours such as asparagus with salted caramel among more traditional options. enjoy whilst sitting of the edge of the grand fountain outside the Eglise Saint-Sulpice, which is just opposite. Tip: pop
inside to see the frescoed ceilings. Alfresco – A simple idea: buy a baguette and eat it on one of the benches at the foot of the Eiffel Tower under a dark night’s sky. On the hour, when the Eiffel Tower sparkles, and you will find yourself dining in one of the most romantic and iconic settings of the city of love. Other highlights Musée des Arts et Métiers – Not your average science museum! Come here to witness a vast and captivating array of French scientific inventions, including Foucault’s original pendulum which proved the rotation of the Earth. Parts of the collection are exhibited in
the exquisitely painted 12th century Priory of St-Martin-des-Champs. A true combination of art and science. Bir-Hakeim – Some may remember this bridge from the film Inception. Take the Métro over the top for wondrous views of the river. Incidentaly, station is also held up by stilts! Souvenirs For something other than keyrings, snowglobes and wine, browse the market stalls on the banks of the Seine for rare and beautifully bound books, including first editions, as well as old film and fashion magazines (all of which, generally only cost a few euros each).
I came, I saw, I consumed - Paris in food
Rachel Guthrie takes us on a sumptuous tour of the very best that Parisian cuisine has to offer
he French love their food (it’s hard to draw a different conclusion), but I was amazed at their willingness to queue for its cause. I assumed that queuing is a British behavioralism, yet on my recent weekend away the Parisian patience outdid that of us Brits on several occasions. At the authentic and popular restaurant Chez Gladines, they have natural advantage: a lifetime of nurturing the late dinner. On the first night, we were too ravenous to stand the wait for the famous dinner venue, and were forced to return (much earlier) the next evening for a second go. At Ladurée – the brasserie and delicatessen famed for its fashionable macarons – we queued for 45 minutes for afternoon tea. At the opposite end of the culinary spectrum we considered queuing an hour for the highest ranked Falafel in Paris at L’As du Falafel, but were deterred by the bitterly cold wind, scurrying instead to the ominous King Falafel Palace a few doors down, in the Jewish Quarter. I came away convinced that we’d spent a lot of time and money on what was a glorified kebab (and I would hardly consider Vialli’s
fine dining). The one place we didn’t queue for was a small restaurant serving contemporary French cuisine called Les Deux Cigales. Dining now to a continental schedule we waltzed in at ten-ish with no complaints from the owners, who proposed we made an ambitious order of steak tartare ... it was a worthy experience. I only suffered from short bouts of regret before convincing myself that it looked no different to pulsated tomatoes. The main upset of the stomach came when this kooky café-bar packaged us off with some particularly sour pseudo-Haribo, which somewhat unsettled my sensitive stomach. So, after my adventurous weekend eating my way around the capital, I recommend: Avoiding the queue with a crepe – great for on the go: Cost: Cheap (between €2 and €7), with plenty of fillings. My Parisian pal recommended chocolate and banana, but we all went mad for Speculoos, which is the spreadable version of the classic European caramel biscuit.
Location: Anywhere you want one! Afternoon tea at Ladurée – the classy macaron place: Cost: Afternoon Tea is €16 a head. This includes four mini macarons which I’d suggest selecting coconut, raspberry or salted caramel. Avoid the more delicate flavours, which are elegant but underwhelming. For a desert-styled bite, choose L’Ispahan, which is a rose-flavoured macaron sandwiched together with rose cream centre and raspberries and lychees. To wash these sweet things down, try the Marie-Antoinette tea, it’s so appropriate! They also offer a curious variety of flavoured coffees and hot chocolates if you’re a sacrilegious tea-hater. Location: 16 Rue Royale. Lunch at La Deux Cigales Cost: €15 for a main, and wine is almost as affordable as you’ll see in Paris. Because us Brits like a cold lunch and a hot dinner, be adventurous and try the steak tartare. It’s a trusty restaurant and the sides of bold green salads, ratatouille and sautéed
potatoes make for a worthy accomplice, (or good distraction) from the mountain of blended raw meat before you. Comments: a mint may have gone down better to finish. Location: 8 Rue Bréa Dinner at Chez Gladines Cost: For €78, four of us shared twelve snails (starter), had an main course that was so large it was deemed unconquerable, a bottle of red and a coffee. For wholesome Basque food, I’d recommend the duck in Roquefort sauce, steak with peppercorns, and a voluminous salad. The snails come sizzling and de-shelled in pockets of garlic jus. Manageable and embarrassment-free for the novice. Comments: salads are swimming in dressing (not necessarily a bad thing!) Location: 30 Rue des 5 Diamants. Budget for the weekend per person: €100 (all – unsurprisingly – on food and wine, and the odd metro ticket to cart you between establishments.)
Germany: is it really just a land of beer and sausages?
Louise Northcutt talks us through some age-old German stereotypes
ermany: is it really just a land of beer and sausages? Us Brits tend to give the Germans a bit of a hard time with our jokes. During my year abroad here working as a teaching assistant, I thought I’d take on the challenge to find out how much truth actually lies behind our stereotypes. Do the Germans really only eat sausages for breakfast? Are they as impeccably efficient and organised as we expect them to be? And do they always put their towels on the sun loungers first? Sausages: Generally your image of a German munching on a pretzel with a sausage in their hand is true. The Germans do love their meat, but this is a good thing for us, because, as a bit of self-confessed sausage snob, I’ll only eat Tesco Finest or the equivalent. I now eat what’s considered the ‘value’ range here. This is because not only do 12 sausages cost two euros but they contain 95 percent decent meat! Sadly Germany isn’t so well-equipped for vegetarians but the Bayerische Käsespätzle (similar to macaroni cheese but far better) is amazing, so you can certainly survive. It’s also possible to buy enough shopping in the supermarket for a week and pay less than 20 euros, whilst meals in restaurants are all really well-priced. Perfect for all of us used to living on a student budget! Also, if you, like me, enjoy your fair share of cake, then Germany is heaven. The tradition of having ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ (coffee and cake) every afternoon, is undoubtedly their best invention yet. It’s worth visiting Germany just to make the most of their bakeries alone. There are seven in my town and it’s half the size of Leamington! And as for Germans eating sausage for breakfast, you will definitely eat ham and cheese rolls for breakfast in any hotel or youth hostel that you’ll stay in, but my German flatmate seems to be an exception to this rule and (quite understandably) says it’s too early to eat sausages for breakfast. Particularly as the working day begins at 8am here! The Germans drink beer like tap water: Judging by the six million people who visit Oktoberfest (Germany’s biggest beer festival in Munich) every year, it’s clear that German beer is good. Unfortunately I’m not a beer fan but I can tell you that most Germans are very
» Do we have a stereotypical view of Germany? photo: Roxanne Ravenhill proud of their local brew and, because it isn’t illegal to consume alcohol on the streets, they can be seen drinking it at any time of the day and in any place. Not only this, but you can buy a bottle of beer for as little as 50 cents in the supermarket so it’s roughly the same price as water. If you ever visit Oktoberfest you will see thousands of drunken Germans
“I received a round of applause at the school where I work, simply for introducing myself in English” dressed in Lederhosen with a Stein (a litre) of beer in one hand and a pretzel and sausage in the other. If you’re looking to prove the German stereotypes then this is the place to go. Rude Germans with no sense of humour: I’ve never understood this stereotype and have always found the Germans to be incredibly friendly, but perhaps my positive experience stems from their fascination with the British. British culture is just part of their life – they have English lessons since Kindergarten, listen to British and American music and
watch American films. Much of their culture is grounded in ours, so it makes being here a pleasure because you’re practically a resident celebrity. I even received a round of applause at the school where I work, simply for introducing myself in English! Admittedly, their sense of humour is not quite the same as ours; they lack British sarcasm, but many watch the same sitcoms as us and so understand our humour! Since being here I’ve experienced huge amounts of kind gestures, the best being asked to a pupil’s house for Christmas. They dress for practicality: This is true. I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis since being in Germany, as part of me wants to dress smartly for school, mainly to avoid being mistaken as a pupil instead of a teacher! However the Germans do dress for practicality – forget Jack Wills, it’s all about ‘Jack Wolfskin’ here, as they do love being in the heart of nature, which you can understand when you see the beautiful landscape! However, this does have its benefits; you can go straight from a day at work to a night club without changing. You can’t talk about the war: Well…you
can, but maybe leave your Hitler impressions in England. I’ve had a few discussions with pupils at school and no-one seems reluctant to discuss it; actually, whilst some feel their history is important to their heritage, and something they mustn’t forget, others feel detached from it and, quite rightly, argue that it is not their individual responsibility anymore. I find it really refreshing that people aren’t frightened to talk about their history with me and I really appreciate their honesty. However I’m still not brave enough to speak of the Nazis in anything louder than a whisper in public! They are ultra- efficient and organised: Well it’s safe to say that train services here, in my experience, are excellent. I’ve only been delayed perhaps once or twice and I’ve made quite a few trips across Germany so far. Unfortunately, I can’t yet comment on the myth of the sun-loungers as I haven’t yet stayed in a German hotel. Firstly, because all of my friends are on their year abroad too and therefore it’s a brilliant opportunity to sofa surf, but also because youth hostels are brilliant value and far better quality than those in the UK. However a similar ‘towel’ fiasco takes place in the school staffrooms where each teacher reserves their own place with their books and coats. This was very odd when I initially arrived and awkwardly stood in the corner, afraid to make enemies on my first day by sitting in the wrong seat, but now that I have my own reservation, I guess I’m also part of this phenomenon! So all in all, I’ve learnt that our stereotypical views of Germans are as correct as those projected on the British. I’ve been asked plenty of funny questions by the pupils at school – Do I only drink tea? Do I like Justin Bieber? Do I eat a fry-up every day for breakfast and fish and chips for dinner? How do I cope with the rain? But I hope I’ve managed to convince you not to judge Germany by its stereotypes, because whilst it may lack France and Italy’s reputation of beauty and elegance, the landscape here resembles something out of a Disney film. So whilst the jokes are amusing, don’t let them shape your image of Germany without first exploring all the wonderful things Germany has to offer, which is far more than beer and pretzels!
Florida: so much more than the Mickey Mouse state Helena Moretti
fell in love with Florida the same way that most tourists do – I was lucky enough to visit when I was young, and the magic of Disney World made me believe that Orlando was the happiest place on earth. As I grew older, the more ‘grown up’ thrill rides of Universal Studios became a huge attraction. Even as a teenager, the enormous roller-coasters of Busch Gardens brought yet another genre of theme park for my annual adrenaline fix. But now, theme parks have lost a little bit of their sparkle. Maybe I’m getting old and jaded, but there is only so much regression into childhood one can withstand, and only so many inversions you can ride before your head starts swimming. Now, there is something entirely different that draws me to the sunshine state; a side of Florida that most tourists haven’t seen.
My love affair with Floridian culture started when I went on my first air boat tour. We drove down to the everglades, meeting our tour guide Captain Bill, at a rickety old gas station advertising ‘expresso’ for a dollar. He was one of the most wonderful characters I have ever met. He didn’t just know his way around the endless expanse of swampland; he lived and breathed the everglades and had been out in the sunshine for so long that his skin was like a crocodile’s hide. His experience of the land was obvious; he knew which gators were nesting, and what birds you could find where. I’ve always been a fan of wildlife, but when he picked up a dragonfly from the deck and showed it to me I saw it in a completely different way. After the tour, Captain Bill told us that we could get the best crab cakes in Florida at a place called Joanie’s Crab Shack. Eventually, we found it on the side of the highway. We were the only people there, save for the waitress and a cowboy playing country music in
the corner. It was a bizarre experience – we were used to the overly cheery, Disney-fied atmosphere of American chains, but the captain had been right about the crab cakes – they were the best I’ve ever had. Big, meaty chunks of crab, crumbed and fried. That was when I realised that real southern food wasn’t all about the salt and the colours. Good seafood speaks for itself, and the Floridians know that. Aside from Joanie’s, ‘Cherry Pocket’ and ‘Gary’s Oyster Bar’ serve, in my opinion, better seafood than you will ever find in the UK. The staff are incredibly friendly, and the food is incredibly fresh. From my experience, the more dilapidated the building, the better the food inside it. The Tiki Bar, a restaurant attached to a motel in the middle of nowhere, isn’t even a complete building. It does, however, serve phenomenal burgers. It’s not all about the food though – America is sports mad, and Florida is no exception. Baseball is okay but isn’t particularly excit-
ing... professional bull riding however, that is exciting. It’s a controversial sport, but that doesn’t stop the fans coming out in droves to watch a man try to stay on a bull for eight seconds. It doesn’t sound like much of an achievement, but once you see those bulls start to buck, you see why eight seconds is a respectable target! I have had some of the most amazing experiences in Florida. I’ve held a baby alligator in someone’s living room, toured an orange grove on a monster truck and cheered on the Tampa Bay Rays at the St. Pete Times Forum. Of course the lure of the theme parks will always prevail, but a lot of visitors to Florida are missing out on the real sunshine state. It really does have more to offer than Mickey Mouse. What do you think of the sunshine state?
Tell us online: theboar.org/travel
@BoarTravel email@example.com theboar.org/travel Philly Betts
Can you really dream yourself slim?
Yara Zakhour reveals the medical evidence that shows a good night’s sleep is good for your weight
or those of us conscious of our body weight, struggling to fight the fat, we often find ourselves eating leaves and counting calories. However, for the sleep deprived amongst us, the ideal slimming remedy may only be a good night’s sleep away. A bad night’s sleep means you are more likely to be reaching for the coffee. A desperate need for energy will attract you to the comfort foods loaded with sugar and carbs. Of course, being too tired also means that the sliver of motivation you had to go to the gym is destroyed, and you’re far more likely to pick up a ready-meal on your way home instead of cooking something healthy. You
Insulin responses can decrease by 16% with 4.5 hours sleep compared to the recommended 8 hours finally get into bed for an early night but you find that you have consumed too much caffeine, carbs and sugar to get to sleep... and the vicious cycle starts again! Before you know it, it will have affected your waist line, as well as your health. Researchers have found that sleep deprivation doesn’t only affect our behaviour but also influences our body at a molecular level.
Medical evidence can now provide fascinating links between sleep and weight. Studies have shown that the quality and duration of sleep greatly affects the levels of certain hormones in the blood. Some key hormones found to alter with sleep are ghrelin, the hunger-stimulating hormone and leptin, the hormone that tells you to stop eating. These two hormones discipline our appetite. Sleep deprivation will increase the levels of ghrelin and decrease the levels of leptin ultimately leading to weight gain over time, as not only are you eating more, but your metabolism is slower in a sleep deprived state. As well as these hormones, fat cells displayed a decreased ability to respond to insulin in a sleep deprived state. One study investigated the effects of sleep on fat cells’ responsiveness to insulin and involved six men and one woman who had four consecutive nights of eight hours sleep, followed by four nights of 4.5 hours. Researchers found that insulin responses decreased by 16 perecent when the participants were deprived of sleep. Insulin is the hormone that causes cells to take up glucose from the blood, therefore if cells do not respond to insulin, levels of glucose remain high in the blood and over time this can cause complications leading to obesity and even Type-2 diabetes. To improve your sleeping pattern, avoid caffeine after 2pm, as its effects in the body will prevail many hours after consumption.
» Can getting a decent sleep stop us piling on the pounds? photo: Flickr/harinaivoteza Other advice includes trying not to have heavy meals before bed, as this will increase the chances of heart burn and keep you up all night. Those of you who have cereal before bed are on the right track. Finally, try to include some exercise in your day, as this will exhaust the body and help you drift off quickly into a deeper sleep. Overall these findings don’t suggest that if we sleep we lose weight, but if you are sleep -deprived or not getting good quality of rest then your metabolism is negatively influ-
enced. If you are getting eight hours sleep, an extra half hour will not lead to weight loss, but someone who is currently on five hours sleep and starts to sleep seven hours can drop weight. Ideally we need 7.5 hours of good quality sleep per night to maintain a healthy physiological state. Although sleep may help us maintain a good physique, a combination of healthy living, such as eating sensible foods and carrying out regular exercise remain fundamental elements for a healthy body.
HIV virus used in the battle against cancer Katerina Panteli
» A model of the HIV virus shown in the Smithsonian Museum photo: Flickr/dctim1
esearch carried out by paediatric oncologists at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA, have shown the world how we may be able to beat leukaemia by engineering our own immune cells. Seven-year-old Emily Whitehead had stopped responding to conventional cancer treatment while suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Two months after the experimental treatment was given, Emily overcame the cancer and test results now show that the cancer has disappeared. She is now in remission. The CT019 treatment uses a disabled form of the HIV virus to genetically modify the T-cells of the immune system, programming them to attack the cancerous cells. T-cells are a group of white blood cells in the body involved in fighting infections. These T-cells were genetically altered, forcing them to produce an artificial protein called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) on their cell surface. The CAR receptor can be imagined like a lock. It covers the cell and can only attach to a key, the antigen, which is complementary to it. For T-cells with CAR on their surface, their key is the CD19 protein, which is only found on another type of white blood cell, the B-cell. Emily’s cancer is due to her body produc-
ing too many B-cells. This means that, unlike chemotherapy, this treatment targets the cancerous B-cells directly, as no other cell in the body has CD19 on its surface, preventing damage to healthy cells. “We are trying to treat cancer a whole new way,” said Grupp, one of the lead researchers of the project, “and it’s working.” Traditional cancer therapy attacks the whole body in order to get to the cancer, often leaving the patient with acute side effects, such as anaemia, hair loss and nausea. However, this technique involves taking the
“We are trying to treat cancer a whole new way, and it’s working.” Stephan Grupp T-cells out of the body and modifying them in the lab. Once this is complete, the cells can then be introduced back into the body. The study also shows that the T-Cells remain in the body for a long time after the cancer has been destroyed. Their numbers may be lower, but they’re ready and waiting, just in case the cancer makes a reappearance while the patient is in remission. This promising treatment may still be in the early stages of development, but excitement for it’s future has intensified. “Our hope is that these results will lead to widely available treatments for B-Cell leukaemia and lymphoma and perhaps other cancers in the future,” Grupp concluded.
@BoarScience firstname.lastname@example.org theboar.org/science Helena Moretti
Is DRS taking the skill out of Formula 1? Joshua Bonser analyses the potential problems of F1’s DRS and Pirelli tyres
he famous political philosopher Robert Nozick once devised a thought experiment known as the Experience Machine. The experiment gives a person a choice between experiencing everyday reality, or offering them the chance to enter the Machine and experience, for the rest of their lives, an apparently preferable, simulated reality, where their every dream and desire is fulfilled. Although politics will always be a part of F1, political philosophy and F1 is rarely thought of as a suitable pairing. However, Nozick’s experiment provides a good analysis of the 2012 F1 season. While it undoubtedly delivered entertainment and drama, some fans have also been left with doubts about whether this is the real F1, and if it is still attached to the history and principles that made the sport so captivating. These doubts are fuelled by the question of whether DRS (drag reduction system), KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) and Pirelli tyres amount to a simulated entertainment, and if that really is preferable to a reality in which they did not exist. The reality of pre-DRS F1 was that the 2000’s mainly consisted of monotonous races; overtaking was a rare occurrence and those who qualified in the top ten generally went on to finish the race in the top ten. When we take a look further back in time however, towards different eras and different technical regulations, we find that overtaking and its art were the markers that separated good drivers from the greats. We find that races could be char-
acterised by protracted battles between the same two drivers, and that the fans in the armchair could be up out of their seats in celebration as an audacious manoeuvre was pulled off after lap after lap of aggressive posturing. The reality of the present is that
Yet, the presence of DRS serves to take away from the achievement when compared to other memorable charges from years past. Nozick claims that one reason people will choose not to plug into his Experience Machine is that it limits us to a man-made reality, and
ton, and the kind of driving that captivates audiences is abandoned for the simplistic pleasure of seeing one car pass another. When compared to famous moves from the past, it barely deserves to be termed an ‘overtake’. Because of this, DRS cannot be
» F1 Driver, Nick Heidfeld, also believes that DRS creates artifical overtaking photo: Flickr/Alex Basnett overtaking is now as commonplace as it was in the years before F1 races slipped into a seemingly never-ending cycle of processions. Yet it is harder to become excited about a DRS-assisted pass that takes place on a straight piece of tarmac, with the defensive and offensive race-crafts of either driver rendered pointless. It is nice to know that there is the real possibility of a potential race winner making a charge through the field, as Sebastian Vettel so memorably did to clinch the title in Brazil.
that there is no contact with deeper reality. In this sense, if a driver knows that they can use DRS, they
DRS cannot be allowed to become the long-term answer to the question about how F1 should continue to remain entertaining will see no reason to risk an overtake before the DRS zone. Overtaking becomes a routine operation with the push of a but-
allowed to become the long-term answer to the question about how F1 should continue to remain entertaining, since it detracts too much from the skill of drivers that are supposedly the best in the world. In a similar vein, 2012’s Pirelli tyres and their sensitivity to temperature contributed to seven different winners in seven races at the start of the season, and perhaps allowed for drivers that could manage their tyres better than others to showcase their talents. But the price of this Pirelli rubber is that drivers are no longer able
to push their cars to the limit. The tyres had to be nurtured, not punished. For a sport that claims itself to be the fastest and most technical on the planet, the fact that drivers are neutered in their approach to races; on occasion driving 10 seconds slower than their qualifying laps and closer to GP2 pace than F1 lap records, takes something away from the competition. So too does the fact that such intricately and expensively designed cars are reduced to a seemingly pathetic reliance on rubber that proved to be as erratic as Pastor Maldonado’s form this season. It is certainly refreshing to be able go into races with the Murray Walker-like anticipation that literally anything can happen, but the entertainment is at the expense of sporting values. Another reason that Nozick provides to not plug into the Machine is that people want to do certain things, not just have the experiences of doing them. Pirelli tyres and DRS provide fans with the experience of exciting races, but because they are features that seem alien to the sport’s previous eras, these are incomparable to the kinds of exciting races that took place before their introduction. The excitement in modern F1 has been simulated for us, rather than earned. It is for this reason that technical changes are needed to eliminate the need for such simulation, but it may be the case that many are happy to simply avoid the monotonous reality of the 2000s, and carry on with the preferable but flawed status quo.
Warwick’s cross country enthusiasts seal dramatic promotion Nathan Wilkins
hey are the club that you just cannot keep down. Only a year after the Athletics and XC Club men’s team were relegated from the top division of the Midlands Cross Country League, this week a revitalised team secured promotion for only the second time in 25 years. Capping a season of strong performances, on Saturday the Men’s A-Team finished second in the mud and slush of Cheltenham at their final league race. On a hilly and testing course, complete with a water jump, all Warwick athletes heeded the call for one final effort. Ultimately the result ensured that the whole of the men’s team will be racing in the top division next year. However, the glory was not solely reserved for the Men’s front runners; the Men’s B-Team dominated their mini-league to finish first by a significant margin. Not to be outdone, the women
consolidated their customary position in their own top division. Finishing off the season in 7th place, the ladies secured the best position the women’s team has ever achieved with the added bonus of beating local rivals Coventry Godiva in races three and four. On the day, the Men’s A-Team were led home by Conor Shepherd in 7th place. Despite this being Conor’s debut cross country season, he was Warwick’s quickest runner at every league race. Georges Vacharopoulos, the squad’s youngest member, also sneaked into the top 20 to cap a fine freshman season. Completing the top six were Men’s Captain Nathan Wilkins, as well as the consistent Edward Campbell and Mark Le Conte. With athletes of national pedigree in the form of Charlotte Taylor and Sophie Connor, the women’s team have never experienced the ups and downs of the men’s squad. Beating all Birmingham and Loughborough athletes, Charlotte finished in sixth place at Cheltenham. Making her first appearance this season, Sophie finished in 12th.
However, much of the credit for the team’s seventh-place finish in the final standings lies with stalwart and Women’s Captain Gemma Barry. Claire Hansell, Laura Whitehead and Emer Kerr have also been essential to the women’s high finish. However, the story of success this season has not been down to mere individuals. As a team, more athletes have represented the club this season than ever before. At Cheltenham no fewer than 33 athletes donned the
famous blue vest. From Warwick Sport notaries Peter Parker and Chris Sury to the Boar’s own Isaac Leigh, the Athletics and Cross Country team have truly represented their university. At the start of the men’s race this team spirit was clearly evident. Warwick were by far the largest team and their noisy supporters made sure that the rest of the field knew it. This vocal support has been a constant feature in Warwick’s suc-
» Warwick’s oss-country team photo: Bernard Sexton
cess this season. Special acclaim should go to self-appointed cameraman and photographer Luke Parry, who has accompanied the squad at every single race this season. Having experienced triumph in cross country, the club can now look forward to a successful track season. Beginning with the crucial Varsity fixture on the 9th of March, Warwick Athletics will then look to ride te Olympic wave into the BUCS track and field competition in May.
Let’s get Varsity puck-ing started Calum Murray previews Warwick’s annual clash with Coventry at the Skydome Results
13 February 2013 Badminton Warwick
Nottingham 2nd Staffordshire 1st
Notts Trent 1st
Imperial College 1st
Men’s 3rd Women’s 1st
Basketball Women’s 1st
Fencing Warwick 1st
Hockey Men’s 2nd
» Warwick Ice Hockey are confident of making amends for last year’s 4-3 defeat at Varsity photo: andy gray@ ashmorevisuals
t’s that time of year again. Laces are being waxed, skates are being sharpened, and all eyes are falling on the Coventry Skydome. A year’s worth of anger, passion, disappointment and glory is staged to be let loose like never before. That’s right. It’s Varsity Ice Hockey. For what most consider a niche sport in the UK, the stats are impressive. Last year’s goliath derby saw nearly 3,000 fans in the stands and attracted hockey talent from as far afield as Finland, Latvia and Canada. With such a wealth of ability and student involvement, it’s unsurprising that it has been described as “the biggest sports event of the year”. And this year can only get better. Months of planning have gone into arranging a bigger and better spectacle, with a DJ, commentator and tech crew ready to set the stadium alight. The intervals will also host opportunities for fans to win prizes in a “duck toss” and the Sports Officers are scheduled to face each other down in winner-takes-all shoot-out. The Warwick team is also stronger than ever, with an influx of new players to freshen up the squad and allow faster, more dynamic hockey.
Speaking to the Boar, defenceman Matti Konsala is quietly confident that Warwick can avenge their 10-5 defeat at last year’s Varsity game. “We have no weak links, which is great,” he said, “But our advantage this year is that Coventry only have four quality players, and plenty of others who aren’t that great”. Even so, he recognises that opponents Coventry are not to be taken lightly. Ignas “Iggy” Romaskevicius
Coventry only have four quality players, and plenty of others who aren’t that great was on exchange, but he’s back. “He’s been playing in Germany for a semi-pro team. The other three all play to that level as well. They’re small and fast, so it’ll be tough to keep up with them, but at least they’re not giants!” “Iggy” has been a persistent thorn in Warwick’s side, demonstrating his impressive skill at Varsity ’11 with a top-shelf goal that contributed to Warwick’s defeat. However, Warwick goaltender Dan Harrison isn’t worried by this threat. “If we can be disciplined
and shut down their better players, we can create our own opportunities,” he said. “If their top players aren’t playing, they don’t really have much else.” Like every year, Varsity Ice Hockey will allow Warwick and Coventry students to thrash out their rivalries in the arena, promising a relentless stream of brutal checks and flaring tensions. “The aggression will definitely be high,” said Konsala. “London is the most aggressive team in the league, but they can’t compare with either of the two Varsity games I’ve played. It’s a great feeling to hit someone and hear a thousand people cheer.” If there is one thing for sure, Warwick appear well-equipped to end their losing streak against their Varsity opponents. Recently acquired Swedish trio Axel Håkansson, Axel Benson and Christopher Hedlund are ready to invigorate the team, providing a little Nordic flair to Warwick’s solid line-up, whilst Dan Harrison is looking strong between the pipes. There is also plenty of experience in the dugout, with long-term player and hockey guru Ross Nicol set to guide Warwick from the manager’s seat. This is good news for Warwick,
who are losing their secret weapon Lukas Szabo to new eligibility restrictions over alumni. Szabo, who has experience playing US college ice hockey, played a pivotal role in last year’s game and was widely regarded as Warwick’s finest outfield player for his puck control and playmaking abilities. Win or lose though, Varsity is guaranteed to be a massive hit with the fans. The huge crowd, fast, physical hockey and bitter rivalry all contribute to a night that keeps students coming back year after year. Even if you’ve never seen ice hockey, it’s a great chance to see why it is such a popular sport worldwide. With all this expected, there’s no reason not to come and experience what Varsity Ice Hockey has to offer. Warwick are on the precipice of greatness and have their greatest opportunity to finally stick it to the boys from Coventry. So grab your tickets, grab your mates, and come and enjoy the defining moment of the sporting calendar.
Lacrosse Men’s 1st
Rugby Union Warwick 1st
Volleyball For all of this year’s Varsity coverage Visit: theboar.org/sport
@BoarSport email@example.com theboar.org/sport John Downes & Alex Russell