Postworker steals £17k and is spared jail Staff member breaches trust of the Post Office by stealing money since 2007 to deal with his debts Lisa Petzal Jasper Pearce A Post Office clerk working at the University’s Post Office who stole £17,000 from the Royal Mail has been spared jail, after pleading guilty in Coventry Crown Court. Clive Haverley, 57, had been cooking the books from March 2007 in the Costcutter Post Office while working behind the counter. He was sentenced to 36 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, on the condition that he completes 150 hours of unpaid work. Haverley had been employed on Warwick campus since 1991, and was responsible for maintaining the branch’s accounts on a computer system, which “depends on the honesty of the person responsible for using it,” the prosecution revealed in court last week. A Post Office Ltd spokesman said: “All staff who work in post offices are in a unique position of trust, and it is always disappointing when that trust is breached. The overwhelming majority of people who work in our branch network are professional, honest and provide the highest standards of service.” Richard Davenport, the defence lawyer who works with Equity Chambers, attempted to explain Haverley’s actions: “Mr Haverley suffers from prostate cancer, he’s lost his job and he’s lost his respect in the local community. He feels deeply ashamed for what he’s done and he will repay every penny he’s stolen and even more than he took in the first place.” Haverley has already agreed to repay the money he owes to the Royal
Universities to replace degree transcripts Derek Hatley
» The Post Office branch in Costcutter where a staff member stole £17,000 photo: Griffin O’Rourke Mail, secured against the value of his property. No statement was available from Haverley by way of further explanation, but it has been reported that he is in considerable debt. He was interviewed about the losses on two occasions before coming clean. Five other staff from the branch were suspended upon the discovery of Mr Haverley’s crime, but were not considered suspects. A new postmaster has since started work there.
More buses for Car smash at trips to Leam university Continued from front page Despite this, the University have been keen to consult Stagecoach, who SU Democracy Officer Chris Luck described as “a large national bus company who could easily drive a local family company like Travel de Courcey out of business.” SU President Daniel Stevens, the driving force behind the Leamington and Coventry bus service improvements, spoke of his delight about the fact the proposals will finally materialise. “Since we had the first discussions with the University [about bus arrangements] ... we wanted to target Leamington. Stagecoach have definitely been providing inadequate services and have been completely unresponsive ... we sent a document to them containing a student petition and over 120 complaints – they didn’t even acknowledge that they had received the email.” Future plans for the University and Travel de Courcey remain expansive. Some ideas being mooted are infrequent but scheduled bus services to Birmingham and Oxford, aiming to cater for a growing and increasingly diverse student community.
A road traffic accident occurred on campus around 12:45pm on Sunday 19 June. The crash, which occurred at the junction of Health Centre Road and University Road, involved a silver Toyota hatchback and a Travel Coventry number 12 bus. The car mounted the pavement and ended up off the road, against a tree outside Whitefields. There was considerable damage to the front end of the car, and minor damage to the front left corner of the bus. One witness reported that the car had been turning out of Health Centre Road when it was hit by the bus. Warwick Security responded to the incident, followed by an ambulance and two police patrol cars. It is believed there were no injuries as a result of the collision. At time of writing, no comment was available from either the emergency services or the University.
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The prosecuting attorney, Warwick Tatford, has a long history of prosecuting fraud cases on behalf of the Post Office, which has recently been the victim of a number of fraudsters. In March, Sabjit Benning was convicted of embezzling over £194,000 from a Post Office in Northern Ireland, and last year two consecutive postmasters were convicted of taking a total of £225,000 from Sway Post Office in the New Forest.
While Mr. Haverley’s exact salary is not known, a new counter clerk in a similar role can expect to earn between £5.93 and £6.50 an hour, according to current post office job offers. His senior position would have provided greater remuneration. A third-year economist commented that “on that sort of wage, I’m not surprised [Haverley] wanted some extra income, and I don’t think it has impacted on the service I have received whilst at the University”.
Suspicious package blown up Chris Hackett Police conducted a controlled explosion on a suspicious package on campus on Tuesday 7 June. A police spokesperson told the Boar the police were called to the Warwick University Science Park at approximately 10:30am. The package was delivered to a unit on the Canley Science Park on Sir William Lyons Road and a controlled explosion was carried out in a field near to University House. The parcel was found to pose no security threat and was simply delivered to the wrong address. According to the University’s Head of Communications Peter Dunn, the police “simply asked if they could use the field which we own to the rear of the Science Park to blow it up.” He added that the police said “there would be no risk to students or staff so we said we were happy to help.” West Midlands Police described it as “standard procedure” to call in bomb disposal experts to deal with security alerts of this kind, but they did not confirm why the package was deemed suspicious in the first place.
Passer-by Stephan Braeuer told the Boar that there were lots of police around University House: “The whole field by University House was cordoned off and there were lots of police and police cars. I could not walk along the path and had to go the long way round to Arthur Vick.” Braeuer also said he thought he heard a strange noise: “I suppose it did sound like a small explosion, but thought it was something like a firework or a car back-firing.” Jamie Larkin, a first-year Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) student, said she heard something similar to a small explosion from her room in Tocil on that day: “It sounded like a gun-shot. One of my friends thought it sounded like someone had let off a firework in the middle of the day.” Dunn said this was the first time this has happened in the 22 years he has been at the University. A small number of concerned staff and students posted on social networking site Twitter about the high levels of police presence. Mr Dunn replied saying it was a police operation and that the University had “lent them a space to complete work” with “no risk to staff or students”.
Universities across the country will begin using a new degree transcript from the 2012 academic year. The system will involve providing a new document to graduates – similar to the current degree transcript – called the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), which will provide a much more detailed assessment of a student’s time at university. The most controversial aspect of the HEAR will be the inclusion of information on a student’s extracurricular activities. The aim of including this information is that it will provide a more accurate picture of students’ activities at university. Opponents, however, say it will mean that students will join societies simply to have the society listed on their report. The HEAR will also include individual module results and feedback, as well as descriptions of the course studied and a profile of the university. Warwick will begin trialling the new system with a set of 200 under-
“When it comes to reviewing
students for their activity in societies, I am not cool with it.”
graduates this summer, prior to full implementation for the graduating class of 2012. Students’ Union Education Officer Sean Ruston said: “Part of the rationale is to make it easier for international students to use the qualification they have at Warwick; there have been difficulties with international employers not understanding the quaint English system. This is part of the effort to combat that; to enhance Warwick students’ employability.” He added, referring to the issue of including extracurricular activites: “We’ll be looking at how we make sure that people who’ve put no effort into a role can’t put it onto the HEAR. But how do we accredit that? It needs to be wide-ranging but authoritative, which is a difficult balance to achieve.” Students who spoke to the Boar offered a mixed reaction to the changes. “When it comes to reviewing students for their activity in societies, I am not cool with it. The extra-curricular activity is something I feel should come from personal interest only, it should shine out only in interviews and job applications and not be treated as another grade,” said Jason Davison, a third-year Maths student. Another student, Jenny QuigleyJones, said: “I think it will offer employers a far more accurate image of applicants’ strengths. Including extra-curricular activities means candidates should be rewarded for being more rounded.” A University spokesperson declined to discuss how the system will work at Warwick. More detail will be
Have the Sabbs fulfilled their promises?
The Boar takes a look into last year’s promises from all seven Sabbs and how well they have delivered them in reality James Owen
Daniel Stevens President Stevens’ manifesto was by far the longest and most detailed of all the Sabbs, with over 20 promises ranging from the broad (“Make the Union a democratic platform and encourage moderated debate on topics that divide the community”), to the very specific (“Provide students with 100 free printing credits”). It would certainly be a challenge to fulfil all of these, and unfortunately this resulted in over half of them being either unfinished at the time of writing or not done at all. Stevens was nevertheless proud of his achievement this year, citing the “change in focus” of the Union towards international students and the “Taken for a Ride” campaign as being particular highlights. When asked about some of the promises he was unable to fulfil, Stevens claimed that they have been achieved in other ways or were impossible. When asked about his plan to “establish a chippy” on campus, he was keen to point out that while that did not happen, he managed to get the burger van to sell chips, a personal success that he feels he “did not get credit for”. Converting the “abandoned Grad Club” into a “media centre” did not happen due to lack of funds, neither has his plan to “convert the atrium” to a “massive relaxing lounge” – though he assured us that it will happen over the summer. He has faced criticism that he could have done more, with one anonymous international student saying that he “can’t remember there being a Student Union presence at orientation week”. One sentence summary: “This year has been a rollercoaster – it scares the hell out of you... but at the end of it you say it was one hell of a ride.”
Sean Ruston Education Ruston’s manifesto was balanced between practical promises (“Short use computers in the library”) and points of policy (“Opposing any rise in tuition fees”). It was of average length, with about 12 promises, roughly twothirds of which have been completed or acted upon. Ruston pointed out his main achievements for the year as his lobbying on both a “local and national level” in opposition to the rise in tuition fees and the cuts in university
funding. He went on to highlight the success on “intercalated year fees”, and the success of his lobbying about “feedback and assessment”. Ruston acknowledged that this year has been “dominated by the fee issue” yet he pointed to the “opportunities” provided by discussions with the University over the “student experience”. Some students were supportive of Ruston, with one first-year Law student saying that Ruston did “as good a job as could be expected” under “the circumstances” of “a difficult year”. However, some students disagreed with this view, with one firstyear Maths student pointing out that “the focus on the fees demonstrations” led to everything else “taking a back seat”. As Ruston is remaining Education Officer next year, he says that he plans to continue to expand the INSPIRE scheme, have a “big push” about getting more study space on campus, and focus on personal tutoring which he hasn’t “tackled this year”. One sentence summary: “Trying to adapt to fundamental changes in higher education that is intended to put students in the driving seat, but in reality necessitates students to fight for their rights harder than ever.”
Chris Luck Democracy/Comms Luck’s manifesto was one of the more sparse this year, and was definitely the most holistic. It had two specific practical promises on it (a “You Say, We Say” board and an “Online Calendar”), and the rest was made up of points such as “Accountability” and “Accessibility”, making it harder to quantify whether the promises have been fulfilled. When asked what his main achievements were this year, Luck highlighted the election turnouts “going up so considerably”, the referenda “reaching quorum” and the “feedback measures” that were introduced. When asked about what he wished he could have done, Luck pointed out that he is “here next year”, and said that he hopes to complete the Democracy Review, as he “naively thought” it would be a quick process. He did not yet know what he is planning to focus on next year, as he is waiting for the results of the review, but sees getting people to engage more with democracy as being key. A key criticism is the question of why turnout and participation are still so low. Luck disagrees that it is to do with student apathy or disinterest, but rather a “lack of understanding” that the elections were happening and why they are important. First-year Economics student Margot List supported this view, pointing out that she “still doesn’t really know what the Sabbs do”. First-year Law student Thomas Messenger disagreed, saying that “with the amount
of advertising” it was “impossible to be unaware” that the election was happening, and he could tell that a lot “simply didn’t care”. One sentence summary: “Amazing with amazing people, some huge successes, a lot more work to do – I’ve loved every second of it.”
Stuart Stanley Finance Stanley’s manifesto was quite rounded, with 17 points, ranging from the specific (“Open the room two chill out space in the day”), to the holistic (“More transparent finances and decision making processes”).This led to a manifesto that was quite heavy on practical commitments, which were not entirely fulfilled. When questioned about his main achievements, Stanley pointed to the book sale in term one and the “annual allocation” from the University, neither of which were manifesto commitments. One of his key manifesto points was to provide “better value for money” in Union outlets, which addresses a constant student criticism. However, this criticism remains, with firstyear Maths student Michelle Parker saying that prices are “too high” for places that “mostly students go to.” Stanley pointed out that they are “competitive” on price, even though he acknowledges that “it would be nice” to be cheaper. His plan to “Open the Room Two chill out space during the day” was infeasible as it is a “licensing issue”, and he was unable to to “secure funding for a media centre and SUHQ regeneration”. His plan to open an SU takeaway did not come to fruition, but he did work with Daniel Stevens to get the University burger van to sell chips after “looking at what students really wanted”. Some of his pledges are still ongoing; he is still looking into “cheaper use of the Copper Rooms” for clubs and societies. Also, his promise to find “a space for societies to practise and hold events” was successful, though its uptake “hasn’t been as great” as he would have liked. One sentence summary: “It’s hectic, it’s hard work, but it has been really enjoyable... We’ve managed to achieve some real positive changes for students this year... I really enjoyed it.”
Leo Bøe Welfare Like Stevens’, Bøe’s manifesto was one of the most detailed, with 20 promises. These again ranged from the broad (“Dialogue between students and local communities”) to
the very focused (“More vegetarian options in the Duck”). However, the large number of specific points meant that large numbers of them were not accomplished, or changed from their original forms throughout the year. With regard to his main achievements, Bøe pointed out “hosting the highest number of sexual health clinics on campus”, the “success” of the Housing Day and the Feel Good campaign. Many of the specific and practical elements of his manifesto were not completed; Bøe’s promise to improve “disabled access” to the Atrium has been delayed as it is a “legal issue”, and his promise to hold an “International Food Festival” was dropped because it would “require a lot of time and energy” that was not available. He cited the problems with undergraduate accommodation at the beginning of the year – when over 300 students were left without housing – for delaying his plans. He also pointed to the large “number of cases” throughout the year, which made up the bulk of his work. One sentence summary: “It’s been extremely exciting and unexpected in every way... I’ve managed to get as much out of it as I think I can and I hope students feel that same way.”
Andy White Societies White’s manifesto was short, with only eight main points, though each one was expanded upon in detail. His points were all fairly specific, ranging from the practical (“Send an email out to students advertising upcoming society events”), to the more radical (“Club smaller societies together to apply jointly for sponsorship”). Many of his practical pledges have been acted upon, but some of the others have not been done. When asked about what his greatest achievements as Societies officer were, White pointed to the “societies fair and society awards”, “new computers in the socs and sports room” and “getting loads more ways that societies can advertise”. The finance system itself was also a source of problems for many societies, with some laying the blame on White. Second-year Maths student Mark Butcher calling the transition to the new system “farcical”, and pointing out that White “never really seemed clued up” on “the financial side of running the Union”. The joint sponsorship pledge was a “non-starter” and there were “so many logistical issues that needed to be worked out” – though he has “centralised” the sponsorship for the top twenty graduate employers, and thus got more sponsorship in this way. Even so, some societies disagree; one member of the Sri Lankan society who wished to remain anonymous saying that “smaller societies” haven’t
“benefited” from union help. In his manifesto he pledged “more storage space” for clubs and societies, and to help with this he has used the Grad Club more for “limited access” storage, and has “ripped everything out” of the society cupboards in the union to “create a lot more space”. One sentence summary: “Really stressful, but I’ve loved every minute of it.”
George Whitworth Sports Whitworth’s manifesto was the shortest, with only five promises. These were also fairly holistic in style, including “Better promotion of informal sport” and “Support for club sponsorship”. However, this has meant that he has been able to fulfil most of the promises he made. Talking about his achievements this year, Whitworth cited Varsity, which we won “for the 21st year running” and was delivered “just about” on budget and had more spectators than previous years. Whitworth wished that he could “have got all the finance forms online” – a manifesto pledge – which was not accomplished due to the “substantial investment” needed in the finance system. As the transport provided for the Union is on a “two-year rolling contract”, there was not much Whitworth could have done to “stop transport from holding back sports societies” – though he said that increased “awareness” has made this year “slightly better”, with fewer clubs in debt “as a result of transport problems”. On his top pledge of “Better promotion of informal sport”, Whitworth pointed to the informal leagues that have been set up – such as the “lacrosse summer term league” and the “basketball 3 vs. 3 league”. However, Ishan Islam, a first-year Economics student, disagreed with this success, saying that while the “advertising did induce a lot more people to play”, the “actual equipment provision” by the SU was “horrendously” inadequate. As for the simplicity of his initial manifesto, he said that he “never wanted to be someone” who puts down false promises, as it “undermines the whole structure of the union”. In the face of possible criticism that he could have pushed further, he pointed out that there is much he looked to change during the year once he was incumbent – such as “alumni membership for sports clubs” and a “fresher’s fest for minority sports”. One sentence summary: “Good fun, hard work, but rewarding... so much so that I still want to be here next year.”
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SU releases new three-year plan New strategy sets out the future of the Union, but scepticism remains surrounding its effectiveness Derek Hatley The Students’ Union has released an ambitious new three-year strategy, outlining the future of the Union’s services and structure. The new plan is designed to be representative of students’ needs and views and is built on a series of feedback exercises including the Big 5 survey and Rant Week earlier this year. “It’s completely driven by what students have said. It’s a sensible approach to the problems that are facing the student movement at the moment,” said Democracy and Communications Officer Chris Luck. The strategy includes five overarching themes: representation and campaigning; promoting a strong community; supporting and informing students; transforming students’ lives and enhancing employability; and ensuring the SU is sustainable. However, it was unclear whether the Union would be able to deliver on some of the promises laid out in the document. A financial crisis last year led to a number of staff layoffs, reducing the Union’s workforce. Although Luck assured students that “we will do everything we can to deliver,” he acknowledged that “there’s no denying that the redundancy process was a difficult process to go through”. He added: “This [document] is saying what the most important things are to students at Warwick and
» Warwick SU plans to deliver on wide-ranging promises as part of its new strategy photo: Derek Hatley how we’re going to deliver on it. The staff at Warwick SU absolutely buy into that.” The plan also expresses hope that the SU will be able to successfully lobby the University. Luck denied that SU lobbying would be ineffective: “Every word of this comes from the members. It means we can confidently go to the University and say, we’re lobbying on this for reasons, it’s in our strategic document, that’s why we’re here. For me, that makes lobbying much more powerful.” The SU will also aim to increase involvement from groups it feels need to engage more, particularly in-
ternational students and postgraduates. “We’re acknowledging [their] needs are different, and we need to do some research to develop a clear action plan,” said Luck. The new strategy was welcomed by some students. “Postgraduates feel isolated, and I think [the strategy] will definitely go towards representing [them],” said Yvonne Kay, a postgraduate History student. “The test will be the summer, when everything closes down and we’re still here,” she added. “All the aims seem good; they’re what an SU should be doing. It’s just a shame that it’s taken them so long
to realise that. Hopefully this won’t be another meaningless stunt and the sabbs will actually act on it,” said final-year undergraduate Megan Fortune. Postgraduate student Rory Kinane commented: “The Strategy itself seems like a good thing to have published and available for students. However, the vast bulk of it is stuff the SU should already do or is already doing. There are some good ideas in there such as mobile phone signal booster in the Copper Rooms, an officer handbook and fundraising event ideas, but there are few measurable targets or new ideas.”
Fires at Heronbank and launderette Derek Hatley Two separate fires broke out on campus last week. The first occurred in a study bedroom in Heronbank halls of residence early in the morning of 11 June, and caused considerable damage. The second was a small electrical fire in the Rootes launderette on 12 June. The Heronbank fire, which occurred in a ground floor postgraduate study bedroom, required the evacuation of the entire block for more than an hour while the fire service tackled the blaze. Nobody was injured, though the room was “completely destroyed,” said University spokesman Peter Dunn. The fire was successfully contained to the bedroom, and adjoining rooms were not affected. The fire service received the call to Heronbank at 12:45am on 11 June. Two fire appliances were sent to the scene, and “when [the crews] entered the room, the mattress and bedding were well alight. The firefighters had to wear breathing apparatus, and all three floors of the building were smokelogged. We did have to use ventilation equipment to clear [the smoke],” said Lindsey Preece, a West Midlands Fire Service spokesperson.
» Debris from the fire in a student room last week photo: Derek Hatley One Heronbank student described the fire: “We were woken up at about 12.30am by the fire alarm. Loads of people just thought it was a drill so people kept coming out of their rooms really late. A few people stayed inside even when the smoke was really bad. Smoke was pouring out of all of the floors – it was really dramatic. “At one point the fire crew started
to throw smoking debris out of the window. It smelt really acrid and the smoke was pretty black.” Although Dunn said the University is investigating the cause of the fire, and repairs to the building will not begin until after the investigation, Preece told the Boar that “it was quite apparent they’d been smoking in the room,” adding that “the smoke
alarm had been covered with a sock and polythene bag”. The fire service will not be conducting an investigation of its own. “From our point of view, it was quite clear what had caused it. We wouldn’t class it as criminal – it was classed as accidental dwelling fire [from] improperly discarded smoking material,” Preece said. Multiple sources have told the Boar that the resident and his mother were smoking shisha in the bedroom when the fire started. When questioned about whether the student was smoking in the room, Dunn said only that the University is “following a very clear line of enquiry which would not contradict what you say”. Smoking in halls of residence is forbidden in the University accommodation contract, and Dunn said that “should there be any suggestion that they were responsible, a major disciplinary process would follow”. The second fire occurred in a tumble dryer in the Rootes launderette on 12 June at around 5pm. One fire crew responded, switched off the building’s gas and electricity, and used a single hose line to extinguish the fire. The cause was identified as an electrical fault within the machine. The launderette was closed from Sunday evening to Tuesday afternoon for repairs.
Warwick lags in Green League Thomas Dale Warwick University has placed 100th in The People & Planet Green League’s latest report into the greenest universities in Britain. Despite reducing its carbon emissions since 2005 by 4.49 percent, according to the study Warwick’s levels of CO2 per head is still missing government targets. The annual report revealed the majority of universities are not meeting the government’s 34 percent reduction target. Between 2005 and 2010 the carbon emissions of 139 universities rose overall by 3.9 percent, above the higher education carbon reduction strategy target, which allows for a one percent increase. People & Planet’s Green climate campaigns and communications manager, Louise Hazan commented: “The staff and students [at] Warwick University should be congratulated for making significant progress in several key areas ... including a strong commitment to pro-active student and staff engagement.” However, Hazan also stated that: “Warwick is simply not improving fast enough in comparison to the rest of the sector,” citing water management as key. After Warwick University, now 100th, dropped from 65th in 2010, Hazan praised Warwick’s environment manager Nick Hillard: “It is disappointing to see the university drop so many places, especially given the concerted efforts of Nick Hillard, who does a fantastic job.” Hillard commented on the results, claiming that the data does not correlate with the feedback he has received from “performance measures such as Universities that Count and polls such as the International Student Barometer,” stating that the “P&P Green league is a ‘tick-box’ assessment largely based on EMS statistics.” Warwick has instead “focused on trying to find sustainable environmental solutions that manage financial and reputational risks.” Citing as a flaw, Hillard said: “How can generating 25 million kWh of low carbon electricity be scored equal to sourcing eggs from free range sources?” In response, Hazan stated that the comparison is incorrect – “freerange eggs are equivalent to 0.25 of a point”, whereas “two points are available for the percentage of electricity generated from low or zero carbon energy sources.” Hazan said People & Planet “have always taken a dual approach to measuring sustainability, using thirteen separate criteria to assess both universities’ commitment to systemic improvement and their actual performance.” Hillard stressed: “We have reduced carbon emissions and waste produced, we are working hard on the procurement side and will be developing our biodiversity strategy over the coming year.” Hillard is currently asking for suggestions on how to improve Warwick’s environmental performance. Details are on the Warwick website.
Remember, remember... After AC Grayling’s announcement of the New College of the Humanities to open next year charging £18,000 fees annually, and it’s subsequent praise and criticisms, the future of the university is very much still in the public eye. Under the previous Labour government, their target was for 50 per cent of all students to go to university. There was considerable debates surrounding the rise of tuition fees to around £3000 and money was poured into the education sector. Going to university is consistently seen as better than anything else you can do after completing A Levels. Going to college, having a gap year, even getting a job is not respected quite as highly as a three-year stint at a higher education institute. The way that many of us disregard vocational qualifications in today’s society shows a disastrous shift in our education culture towards one focused solely on achieving through university. Builders, electricians, carpenters and music producers all have the possibility of earning thousands of pounds more a year than some university graduates, and going straight out into the big wide world – whether on a gap year or se-
curing a full-time job – can give you the life experience skills you need as you go. Going to university doesn’t always mean lack of possibility and opportunity. University was, and still is, seen as the key to a good job and a good education. Graduates can apparently earn up to £200,000 extra with a degree, albeit one in Engineering will probably be more useful than one in Media Studies. But university isn’t about the degree itself – that can easily be learnt from books and tutors – as it can prove irrelevant post-graduation. What is it that is important to employers then? A dedication to education perhaps, showing the perseverance to persist and succeed. More likely, it is the skills that we learn at university that really set us apart from others who didn’t go. When you look back at your time at Warwick, of course you will (hopefully) remember the things you learnt in lectures and seminars about poetry, Hobbes, hydrogen or whatever else you’ve supposedly stuffed into your already overflowing brain. But think about all the other things you’ve learnt that are beyond any university education.
There will be many first-years, who, at the beginning of the year tried to shove a takeaway Chinese into the microwave to re-heat it, only to see the microwave start sparking, smoking and making odd noises and as a result, to set off the fire alarm and see many disgruntled members of their block wandering around outside in their pyjamas at 3am. It is abilities such as these (cooking, not starting fires) amongst other attributes including team-work, presentation skills, working to deadlines, research knowledge and common sense which will help you to succeed in life, and is really what university is trying to tell you. So when you look back over your first, second, third or final year at Warwick, the Boar hopes that you will think about all the things that you’ll have done this year which have added to your experience at University, and indeed in life. Whether it be a part-time job, being on the exec of a society or simply learning how to cook pasta, take it in your stride and treasure it. These are the skills you need to succeed not in a job, but in life overall; these are the things you will remember. Probably not Kant’s theory of transcendental idealism.
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day For the first time in history, the world is at peace. Heads of state the world over are taking to the podiums to announce that our world is now free from war, free from conflict and free from fear. The red arrows are due overhead any moment now, and even health and safety officials will desert their houses to hang brightly coloured bunting in the streets. Oh, and there’s free chocolate for everyone. Apparently, this scenario isn’t how the current international political narrative is actually going. Look to the media for further information – apparently the natives of Japan are having a rough time of it, and apparently there’s a ‘situation’ in Syria. So why would anyone, even for a moment, believe that world peace had broken out? The answer, dear friends, lies on a hot summer’s afternoon, draped around the piazza, laughing. Those of us who have finished our long, arduous university year are stretched out in the sun, enjoy-
ing a cold drink and the occasional cigarette, laughing and smiling with brighter eyes than even you can remember. There is an unavoidable atmosphere in the air at the moment, permeating into even the darkest of exam-tarnished hearts – something that feels distinctly like happiness. There is nothing quite like it. The new among us have survived their first year of university. They have moved away from home and taken those first few steps down the proverbial paths of the rest of their lives. The oldest of us are due to say their goodbyes and leave Warwick campus behind, taking away only memories, and perhaps a liver that’s slightly worse-for-wear than it was a few years ago, and those in the middle are left to wonder: Were you too once so young and joyful, so awkward, yet so proud? Will you eventually leave this place gracefully, or give ‘em hell before you go? For each of us, these are the days of our lives. They are our own worlds, moving forwards, growing
and changing, towards the future. At this time of year, the sun and the smiles are bright, and for each of us a new day is beckoning. Don’t we then have the right to be happy? Do we not have the right to take solace in our own worlds, with a few close friends and our own contentment? Not for a moment does it seem right to claim that the people of Japan are ‘having a rough time of it’, or to be so ignorant as to simplify Syria’s troubles to a ‘situation’, but whilst the national media seem intent on making you feel bad for not personally helping to resolve the world’s problems, the Boar disagrees. You deserve to smile. It is a new day for each and every one of us. Whether that day yields your final exams or your final goodbyes, take comfort in the progression of your life, your world, your self. We are all growing up, and we are all soldiering on. Your world, our world, this world: it’s a wonderful place. Don’t waste a second of it.
Jordan Bishop’s Two Penn’orth
Graduating from the University of Life
Driven to Distraction
You lurch out of the library or SU, tanked up on revision or low-grade vodka. Stumbling to the bus stop you gaze at the display: NEXT BUS 8 minutes. Dimly aware of your good fortune, you slide down to the floor, ready to wait in a sedentary state of vegetation, as the mission control countdown continues. NEXT BUS 7 minutes... 6 minutes... 5 minutes... 4 minutes... 10 minutes. This is troubling; your bus appears caught, as usual, in some form of perpetual time-warp. Cynicism suggests you curl up under a paper bag for the night, morbid curiosity compels you to stay; worse than that time the number two refused to flush. As expected, the timer finally reaches DUE and, oh the sheer temerity of frivolous surprise, the bus is a no show. Do the companies responsible know they’re losing vehicles? The drivers involved are either attending their own secret Fight Club or it’s something to do with our evil overlords, hellbent on instigating minor – but apoplectically infuriating – irritations. It’s no wonder the fare keeps increasing. I wish this wasn’t an issue for me, that my life wasn’t so empty and devoid of meaning that it noticeably bothered me; if only that was the case. For starters, the entire process of complaining really is a petty and futile exercise, like shouting at those filthy immigrant grey squirrels. Worse still, I really don’t want them to trace my name on the interweb, find my picture, and ban me. Unfortunately, though, it is an issue. We students are rather dependent on the public transport services and, as such, are subservient to their various whims and spontaneous inclinations. If the service provided isn’t adequate, the attitude largely seems to be indifference on their part and reluctant acceptance on ours. Officially dubbed the ‘grey squirrel’ effect. It’s an issue which seems to affect large parts (but admittedly not all) of the public transport sector. So much so that we all have our own deep personal scars from one form of transport or another. My personal favourite is trains. At its conception I can imagine the locomotive was intended to go on and achieve great things with minimal fuss or flamboyance. And yet, only the other day, no word of a lie, I was delayed for an hour because of the “wrong kind of track”. This news paled into insignificance, however, compared to the bombshell dropped shortly afterwards by the driver: “We apologise for this delay, but I don’t care, as I’m now on overtime”. Murdoch and Trevithick would be turning in their graves. This is the issue: we expect the train to be broken and the tube to explode. We nod along when informed that the replacement service is delayed or the plane has no wings. I admire the stoicism but the time is ripe to expect more. You’re in? Good. Tickets please.
’ve never felt like more of an adult than now, the end of my final year at Warwick. It’s a bizarre feeling. It’s like the university that was so friendly, warm and welcoming just three years ago is subtly, slowly, excruciatingly extruding me (and others in my year) from it, like the product of some vast, impersonal machine, preparing raw materials for the huge open market that is the world outside the Bubble. It’s an awful cliche, but time does fly when you’re having fun, and the last three years have flown by more quickly than I can describe. It seems like only yesterday I was moving into halls; going on drunken walkabouts with my new Whitefields family; waiting in the long, miserable queue outside temporary Union we lovingly called ‘The Fucking Tent’; struggling through introductory lectures in strange things like ‘epistemology’ and ‘neoliberalism’. Now, three years later, I’m left not with a sense of belonging but of longing. I sort of expected the end of university to be full of epic parties, long nights in the pub, putting our undergraduate lives to rest in style. But it hasn’t been like that. The Warwick
that felt so much like my home three years ago has gradually become foreign, the people I knew best leaving, going on to bigger and better things, and a new intake of students arriving in just a couple of months, who will never see my face on campus or read my articles in the paper and whom I will never have the privilege to meet. It feels kind of sad. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, though; maybe the longing shouldn’t be for losing out on continuing the university experience but for the next life adventure. Indeed, independence can be a wonderful thing – you’re no longer constrained by the same rules as in halls or relying on your parents’ funding, just as in coming to university you’re no longer constrained by the rules of living under your parents’ roof. More than that, I wouldn’t want to start over. I wouldn’t be the person I am now without the experiences I’ve had at university. I’ve met some of my best friends, and met some people I never want to see again. I’ve made some mistakes, but hopefully learned from some of them. I’ve become (slightly) more knowledgable about my subject, and (a lot) more knowledgable about other things. All in all, I feel like I’ve arrived at the end of my degree without an excessive number of regrets, and that’s something to be
happy about. This article isn’t about me, though. It’s about what university means, what it does to us as people, and how to make the most of it. So, to return to my awful cliche: time flies, and nowhere does it fly as fast as at uni. And there’s nothing like university to overwhelm you, to make you feel like you simply don’t have enough time to live. It makes you stress about the little details, to lose sight of the bigger picture. The bigger picture should be the knowledge that life is actually pretty fun. It’s all too easy to forget that, but it is so incredibly vital not to. Uni flies past in the blink of an eye, but it is full of limitless opportunities – for socialising, for becoming more knowledgable, making connections, and learning from your mistakes. So make the most of it, don’t look back, and don’t have regrets. Every part of your life at uni that seems at the time to be horrible becomes a part of you – embrace it. Without the horrible bits, you’ll never be able to learn and move on. Life is full of ups and downs, but it’s what you learn from both the highs and the lows that counts. At university, you can learn about so much more than what you’re taught in lectures and seminars. Equally important are the life experiences that
being away from home, surrounded by your peers, and living independently for the first time can give you. Learning how to learn from whatever life throws at you is probably the most important lesson to take away from university. University, above all, is about growing up. As I said at the start of this article, I’ve never felt more like an adult than now. As scary as that sentence looks, staring back at me from my computer screen, it’s a good thing. That’s the point of university. If I don’t feel like an adult, then it hasn’t done it’s job. And the best part about it – that I’m only now beginning to realise – is that adulthood is pretty awesome. You set your rules. You live the way you want to live. The mistakes you make at uni, the things you learn, the experiences you have, are all part of enabling you to live as a proper adult in the Warwick-Bubble-less world. The thing about the outside world though, that we tend forget while we’re at uni, is that it’s amazing. A whole world where we can forge our own way, make our own tiny imprint on the future of civilisation. Thanks, Warwick, and so long. Roll on the next great adventure. Derek Hatley is the Boar’s Deputy Editor. email@example.com
Why students should learn to love the Cone The answer to “Why is there a big, spinning cone there?” is more meaningful than you think Robert Booth
he day to day trivialities of life on campus in my first year at Warwick have inspired within me a plethora of feelings: anger (student laundry), fury (prices in Costcutter), indignation (fire alarms), confusion (the colour of the water), agony (hiking back from Tesco with a large number of canned beverages) and a profound, crushing, insurmountable sense of despair (student laundry). Nonetheless, these qualms have done little to dampen my enjoyment of being a shameless mess of a fresher, however; until recently, there had long been installed an irrepressible itch deep inside my character. An unquantifiable bemusement. Frankly, it’s the only thing which I have lost any sleep over. The quandary which permeated my very soul was this: “…Why is there a big, spinning cone there?” The existence of the “Warwick Cone”, boldly pirouetting, unflappable in its quest to obscure from view one of the few architecturally acceptable constructs in a 5-mile radius, slowly devoured my soul. Aesthetically speaking it is nonsensical; it is a 20 foot tall white cone reposing outside the entrance of the Arts Centre, presumably made of concrete or some such material, it has lights on it and at night time it rotates slowly. As far as I was concerned, it was an offence to my eyes and the negligible amounts of money I was inevitably forwarding to fuel its noc-
turnal oscillations vexed me. Having done some research (googling), my intrigue towards its origin and meaning was satiated. The cone, or “Koan” as it is actually called, was ‘designed’ by an artist named Lilian Lijn and was initially installed in Plymouth in 1971. The cone (I refuse to call it a ‘Koan’) was then purchased by Warwick University in 1972. One can only presume, upon seeing its mesmerising, mysterious beauty, that to allow it to remain in someone else’s possession would be unthinkable, almost criminal. All very interesting so far, yet further probing and shameless copying and pasting from Wikipedia can reveal that “the Koan is intended to represent the Buddhist quest for questions without answers”. This apparently is rooted in the Buddhist concept of a Kōan (I’m not going to explain it, look it up yourself), meaning, unless I’m being a bit thick here, the basis for the entire piece is rooted in that omnipresent tenet of high art throughout the ages: the pun. Allow me again to be presumptuous in guessing that this meaning is lost on virtually everyone who views the cone without a working knowledge of Zen Buddhist lore, perhaps rendering the entire exercise somewhat pointless. It is also possible to adopt an air of cynicism towards the arrogance of attributing such a complex notion to such an intrinsically simple and lazily designed sculpture. Accordingly, I too believed the cone was pointless; I too was a cynic, until I was struck by a beautiful epiphany whilst triumphantly return-
flickr .com/ benjaminasmith
ing from one of those arduous seminars where you fortunately get away with both saying nothing and knowing nothing of the relevant course material. After a successful hour of hiding tentatively in the corner and taking swigs from a water bottle at tactical moments, I was ebullient, and I could see, in a potent instance of intense, effervescent clarity, the beauty of that most unsightly monument. In one visual inhalation the wonderful, hilarious pointlessness of the entire thing became painfully clear to me. Without realising it, the cone represents a parody of sculpture itself insofar as it is so intriguing and noticeable yet presents no apparent meaning, image or even idea to the
average person. It is unashamedly, in my opinion, a testament to ineffectuality amidst a sea of hideously contrived architecture, a fetish to fatuity. Lodged combatively amongst a labyrinth of brutal concrete angles the most unimaginative Soviet architect would be proud of, the soft curve of the cone mirrors the nocturnal sleeping patterns of students worldwide, coming to life at night, resembling nothing but a twirling, Christmas themed sex toy, devoid of any rational reason for its existence. The moment I realised this is when I won the victory over myself. That is how I learned to love the cone, and that is why you should too. firstname.lastname@example.org
England-Scotland relations: a reply David Morrow
n his article “A Cut Above”, Jonathan Absolon argues that both politically and economically, the English have more reason to want independence from Scotland rather than the other way round. He argues that in the face of continuing anti-Englishness north of the border, there remains polite ambivalence towards the Scots on behalf of the English. I suppose I’d better set out my own stall; I am Northern Irish, but with strong family connections to Scotland, and personal connections to England from my time at Warwick and beyond. Whilst Mr Absolon highlights many reasons that the Scots should be thankful for the Union, he fails to understand why anti-English sentiment remains high in Scotland. The problem is one of perception; whilst Mr Absolon sees the English as benefiting the Scots economically and cheering for them when they achieve, many Scots perceive the English attitude towards Scotland as being arrogant and belittling. It all depends on which side of the border you stand on. When the national news is dominated by NHS reforms taking place in England, many Scots see this as arrogant Anglo-centrism which bears no relevance to their lives. When England does well at football, the barrage of coverage and support for the English team is exciting and justified for the English, whereas Scots are simply constantly reminded that their own national team haven’t made it and that they won’t be sharing in this national joy. It is natural for a smaller group of
people to feel antagonistic towards a larger group that seems to dominate the relations. When you constantly have to compete with a country that has many times the population of your own nation and therefore, more often than not, outdoes your own achievements, some people are likely to be resentful, and they are likely to become more nationalistic. Furthermore, it is not necessarily true that England always politely clap Scotland’s achievements. When was the last time Scotland did well enough in a sporting competition that England would stand up and take notice? The most recent successful Scottish athletes, such as Chris Hoy and Andy
no meaningful manner apart from the tiny minority that go onto the creative industries. As one who is about to receive a degree in Philosophy and Literature (failing a more disastrous exam showing than I thought), I am among the first to joke about the supposed meaninglessness of these subjects – Philosophy is meaningless and doesn’t know, Literature is meaningless and doesn’t care – so perhaps I am stinking of hypocrisy myself here. Nevertheless, while the NCH claims that it is saving the humanities from its neglect in the eyes of the public, the feeling that it is simply exacerbating the typical impression of them is overwhelming. I am all for admitting that it is important to push for more graduates in science and engineering subjects – these are vital for a great many industries, naturally. What I am opposed to is the idea that the rest of us have no use. Clearly Grayling and his chums agree, but the appropriate response to this idea is to show the rest of the world how humanities can integrate with it, not carry it further up an ivory tower.
et me give you a portrait of Glenn Beck. Most famously known for his Fox News political commentary show, his on-air crying fits and conspiracy theories about the Obama administration have been the subject of liberal-minded ridicule since 2009. On the other side, he is a Republican’s wet dream for the exact same reasons. In my opening paragraph I have loaded my prose with liberal bias. Inescapable, perhaps, because I am liberal-minded. Since we’re all so bloody postmodernised, there is no question of absolute, objective truth and most of us have come to read these sorts of newspaper sections with an ounce of cynicism. The Times is more right, the Guardian is more left. This is, in essence, harmless. It is even a good thing that one can colour the news into entertaining narratives. I know many people that wouldn’t have a clue what was going on if they didn’t read Charlie Brooker. But there is a very thin line between commenting on news and manipulating news. Glenn Beck is perhaps the most profound example of the latter. YouTube it, if you haven’t already. It’s insane that this man is on the air. The main thrust of his fear-mongering seems to be centred around his connection of Obama’s presidency to current and historical totalitarian regimes. He manages to accuse the President of fascist, communist, Maoist and Marxist views simultaneously – as if they were all the same thing. This is laughable. But really take a listen to what he says. His rhetoric is loaded with death-imagery and downright lies. This all culminates to a massively disturbing agenda. The subtext often takes the shape of: ‘Obama and his “Czars” are coming to kill us.’ In the same year he claimed that Obama harbours “a deep-seated hatred for white people”, his ratings soared to the most popular 5 pm slot show in America. Beck’s sheer popularity amongst Americans in 2009 is disturbing. Sure, there will always be the inevitable ‘ironic viewers’, but his popularity at live talks demonstrates that a man with such little base in reality actually did accomplish frightening mainstream success. Two months ago, Fox News announced that they had “transitioned” Glenn Beck, and he would no longer be working on the network. Although initially disappointed that I would no longer be able to watch his insane tirades, I was relieved to hear that someone had finally made the right decision. Can free speech become a brainwashing tool that manipulates your audience? Where is the line drawn between a commentator and a corruptor? By posing these questions, am I befouling one of our most sacred political values: free speech itself?
the everyday life of someone north of the border. This problem of perspective is furthered when devolution means that Scottish and English people lead increasingly separate lives. They are governed by different institutions in most areas. Some devolutionary policies exacerbate the problem; free tuition fees for Scottish students means that young Scots are less likely to make English friends and have an English experience at an English university. If young people are mixing less, then of course the sense of companionship and joint nationalism is going to suffer. I am not for a second advocating getting rid of devolution; that can never happen and nor should it. I would like to see an end to some devolutionary policies, such as Scot-
land’s tuition fee policy, that seriously damages the integration of people across the UK (although somehow, I doubt this is something the SNP are much concerned about). We are to expect a referendum on Scottish independence in the next five years. Whilst the choice is likely to be given to Scotland alone, opinion south of the border will undoubtedly have an effect on Scottish opinion. Looking solely from one perspective can give a very biased and unflattering account of the Union. Personal relations, discussion and integration are what will help challenge these nationalistic perspectives and see the Union from a different perspective, a British perspective which looks at what we have in common. email@example.com
The humanities belong outside an ivory tower James Appleton
pparently I have 700 words in which to write this article. Should be easy – a quick tally shows me that I’ve written over 50,000 in terms of assessed work for the degree that has just come to a close, so another few hundred shouldn’t be much of an issue at all. Yet sometimes, when I look at what’s happened over the course of these three years that Warwick has held me to its agoraphobic bosom, words fail me. Far outside our Bubble, in little old London, Important People have been making Important Decisions, and we have seen the instigation of the most comprehensive dismantling of any idea of fairness or social mobility in the Higher Education sector in this country’s history. My name was one of those on the recent petition by the Warwick University Campaign for Higher Education to declare no confidence in the Universities Minister, David Willetts, along with hundreds of other students and, notably, a huge pro-
portion of the academics working at Warwick. The Government’s decision to slash teaching and research budgets and allow fees to skyrocket has been rushed and ill thought out. As is reflected in their plans for the welfare system, for healthcare, for secondary education, the ideologically driven Conservatives, propped up by the Lib Dems who seem to be starting to find a few vertebrae far too late, have taken extreme liberties with the concept of ‘public consultation’. It’s a well-known truism that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’; as such, it would seem any plan intended to counter the effects of these disastrous policies would be easy to embrace. We may have thought as much, until AC Grayling and his dirty dozen fellow academics/celebrities burst onto the scene with an idea that literary critic Terry Eagleton calls “odious” and that seems as poorly planned as the Tories’ plans themselves. It seems bizarre even on the face of it that a privatisation plan might be a counter to the Conservatives. Grayling’s New College of the Humanities (NCH) justifies itself by claiming
The danger of Glenn Beck Timothy Woodham
Many Scots perceive the English attitude towards Scotland as being arrogant and belittling
Murray, have been competing for Britain when they’ve triumphed. For some Scots, the experience they take from journeys across the border serve to embed their prejudices. Scots can sometimes take back the memory of having their accent laughed at or mimicked. Coming from outside of England, you tend to know a lot about the country from what you see in the UK media. When this knowledge is not reciprocated for your country, it can deal a blow to national pride, especially where identity is as important as in Scotland. The point I am trying to make is not that England bring the anti-Englishness on themselves, but that despite Anglo-Scottish relations looking very beneficial for the Scots from an English point of view, the perspective on the Union is very different in
that the teaching of humanities subjects will die out without its guiding hand. Of course, what it actually seems to indicate is that the humanities will return to the academic days of old when such an education, or at least the best of this education, was a preserve of the rich. NCH’s £18,000 annual fees stand in stark contrast to its promise that money will not be a “barrier” to studying there. The criticisms of this establishment have been instant and widespread: that it seems to be exploiting a crisis in the sector; that the majority of the declared professoriate are famously liberal and so seem hypocritical – their motivations clear, with Richard Dawkins admitting on his website that the money offered to him was difficult to refuse; that the fact that they are public figures meaning that the promise of 12 to 13 hours contact time a week, long a dream of humanities students, is surely false or at least misleading; and many more. But a qualm that is closer to home is the way that this adds to the idea that the humanities are elitist, oldfashioned subjects, studied only by the super-rich and serving society in
NHS: Yet another necessary rethink With the Coalition having ‘paused’, ‘listened’ and ‘reflected’, Tom White revisits the contentious reshuffling of the NHS
n February, this section printed an article critiquing Andrew Lansley’s plans for the NHS. Since then, the health bill has undergone heavy criticism and resistance which resulted in David Cameron’s ‘listening exercise’. One of the main concerns this paper had about the bill was its outwardly sordid appearance: Lansley was shown to have strong links to groups with a vested financial interest in the marketisation of the NHS, giving the bill a distinctly underhand feel. And, besides this, the bill received no mention in the Conservatives’ manifesto, and thus a question arose of whether the party had any sort of mandate to carry out these kinds of changes. In response to these and other problems, Cameron put the bill on hold with the express intention of taking criticism on board. Naturally, cynical voices expressed doubt over how much listening Cameron would actually do and whether he just planned to wait out resistance to the bill. But the results of the reevaluation promise to be considerably more substantial than this. Firstly, Lansley’s 2013 deadline for the transfer of 65% of the NHS’s commissioning budget to GP consortia has been altogether scrapped. Cameron said that the bill would advance at its own pace and would only go ahead ‘when groups of GPs are good and ready’. This is significant because it takes much of the imperative out of the bill, making it a rather more permissive piece of legislation.
Cameron also reassured his audience that the primary role of Monitor – the body in charge of regulating the NHS – was only to promote competition as a route to improving patients’ welfare, not as a goal in itself. These two changes, combined with a promise to increase NHS spending in real terms over the next four years, will reassure many who were worried the bill would turn the NHS into something closer to the American model of healthcare provision. Certainly, the Conservatives seem to have won over many of the Lib Dems; the main threat to the bill’s passing. However, Cameron’s announcements seem so great a compromise as to attract accusations of another policy U-turn for the Conservatives, joining ones on cutting funding for school sports, capping housing benefits and the scrapping of NHS Direct.
Cameron’s latest announcement is set to attract new accusations of a policy U-turn for the Tories
Obviously, Cameron’s Conservatives didn’t invent the U-turn and a U-turn isn’t some sort of unforgivable sin: what is concerning in this case is that the bill is still going through. Ultimately we are presented with two scenarios: In one, Cameron’s promises are vacuous and Lansley’s proposed changes will go through regardless of Cameron’s words. How-
» What does Lansley’s marginalisation from the bill spell for his future? cartoon: Dimple Patel ever, Cameron has clearly distanced Lansley from the centre of the party and he has certainly been cited by many sources as one of the biggest losers in this affair, suggesting that Cameron intends to stand by his promised changes to the bill. But this second scenario is equally troubling, though for a distinctly dif-
ferent reason: In this scenario the bill has become, in the words of Ed Miliband, a ‘bureaucratic reorganisation’, and an expensive one at that. The vision of the bill given in Cameron’s speech at Guy’s Hospital is of a meaningless reshuffle of NHS resources and responsibilities that, because of its permissive nature, in no way im-
proves how the service operates. Lansley’s changes were priced at £1.4 billion. Cameron’s alterations to the bill should bring the cost down, but now voters are left asking exactly what they are paying for, especially when the Tories’ other mouth is telling us that we need to cut public spending.
E. coli and the European Commission Alex Pashley
panish cucumbers or German beansprouts aside, the origin of Europe’s E. coli outbreak is without importance. The ensuing spiral of misinformation and its arbitrary blacklisting of a nation’s commerce is, however, reopening old wounds between the European Commission (EC) and the continent’s agricultural industry. The discovery of the O104.H4 strain of the Escherichia coli bacterium in Germany at the end of May has so far claimed 37 lives in its 3,228 cases. Spread by ingestion of contaminated fresh produce, the present strain is said to cause the potentially fatal hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), hospitalising its victims at best. Erro-
neously identified at first by German health officials as arriving in exported Spanish cucumbers, a German farm and its beansprouts in Lower Saxony were later confirmed to be the source of the epidemic. The following international consumer desertion of tainted vegetables, stoked by alarmist media coverage, has hampered Spain and the Eurozone’s agricultural industry in the short term. Incandescent with Germany’s finger pointing, the Spanish government has vowed to take legal action to recuperate its losses – reported at €200 million a week. European-wide losses were estimated to be in the region of €1bn a week, imperilled further by Russia’s blanket ban on EU fruit and vegetables, as ripe produce rots in fields and warehouses. The swiftness of countries’ stampedes to quasi-protectionism and
the destruction this has had on European trade highlights a number of fundamental issues. The EC’s initially rejected offer of €150m compensation to Spain – later raised to €210m
The EC’s offer of compensation to Spain constitutes tacit moral hazard, unseen in other markets
(yet to be accepted) – reflects its willingness to step into the breach and relieve blighted producers of unexpected hardship. This in turn is a product of the benevolence of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It nonetheless constitutes tacit moral hazard, something much more unlikely to occur given the same circum-
stances in the durable goods market. Of course, whilst decisions taken on medical grounds shouldn’t be flouted in place of arguments of the economic benefits – the health of the nation being vital – Germany’s actions, tantamount to slander, will present difficulties for the EC that need to be clarified for future disputes. The damage to the European economy does not just lie at the misfortune of agricultural producers however. Indeed the real cost of medical care expenditure and lost productivity arising from associated premature deaths are sure to have serious ramifications down the line. The budget of German state-sponsored insurance firms for hospitals treating patients in particular, is soon to exhaust its €180m figure, demanding extra financial support. Bill Marler, an American food safety attorney,
estimates average compensation figures for wrongful deaths to be at $1.5m, based on past settlements and jury verdicts in the US. Coupled with claims for HUS injuries at $3.5m, he places the total cost of the outbreak moreover at a weighty $3.5bn. Despite that concrete estimations of the economic fallout of an outbreak the scale of Europe are hard to predict, the EC needs to undergo necessary adjustment. As the crisis appears to subside, the shift in its past concessionary stance with Europe’s producers will be essential to the industry’s future.
Should the EU contribute to member states for losses from the E. Coli outbreak?
A blueprint for marketising Higher Education The Coalition Government must tread carefully as it prepares to overhaul our Higher Education system Joseph O’Leary
hen the 2010 election presented the three parties with a closed door, the Tories and Lib Dems opted to come in through the window. Upon entering the house, they discovered someone had been having a pretty wild party for thirteen years. At first they seemed intent on doing some serious spring cleaning. But now the aprons and dusters are gone and the crash helmets and drills are out. Like it or not, our once tranquil house is now a construction site for a radical renovation project: the effective marketisation of our higher education system. David Willetts – the foreman of our narrative – must navigate a difficult path in the coming months and years to see his project through safely. The first problem he faces is the elephant in the room: the cost to the public purse. With most universities intending to charge the maximum annual fee of £9,000 per annum, the burden upon the government to provide appropriate bursaries will be huge. Ironically, none of this will show up on the public balance-sheet because student loans are not technically public spending at all, but rather a ‘hypothecated income stream’. In plain English, the Government isn’t spending money ‘permanently’ since it expects to recover most of the money directly when the loans start to be paid back – hence it isn’t public ‘spending’ but rather public ‘loaning’. This is one particularly creative way of avoiding difficult questions about the Coalition’s commitment to reducing the deficit. The second problem is less vulnerable to definitional manoeuvring. The Government has already indi-
» Graduation day: With declining access to HE this could become the preserve of the few photo: JohnSeb cated that there will be no relaxation of supply-side restrictions involving student admissions – in essence, this means that universities will still be subject to a cap on the number of places they can offer to students. However, because of reductions in teaching grants and restrictions on student visas, these institutions will be heavily squeezed to provide the
same quality of education without the additional income from more students or even increasing the proportion of ‘cash-cow’ international students. Tackling this squeeze while maintaining a market agenda is not an easy task. One option for the Government could be to allow universities to take on more students, provided the stu-
dents provide up-front payment for their education. The dangers of this are that this could encourage a market of ‘risk’, because these up-front students provide definite payments while many of their loaning counterparts will not pay back the full costs of their fees thanks to the Lib Dems’ concession of delaying repayment rates for lower-income students.
A safer option being considered is to create a pool of extra university places which the institutions then compete over, creating incentives to offer better value for money on their courses. A third problem for the Government is keeping the Further Education sector afloat so that it can provide competition from beneath. However, since these institutions rely on universities to validate their degree courses, the pressure on the latter could simply end such arrangements and force the closure of courses at FE colleges – reducing the effective number of competitors in the market. If the government tries to create new avenues for colleges, there will be the additional concern of maintaining high standards of academic credibility for degrees. The current legislation regarding degree-awarding powers is rigorous and, at present, private providers must renew their right to issue degrees every six years. There are signs that the Government may be moving towards expanding these powers. The private examinations board, Edexcel, is one candidate that could be endowed with the power to award degrees and prop up further education colleges. But with 85 per cent of academics in a recent survey expressing doubts that private institutions can live up to the academic rigour of existing public institutions, this will be a difficult hurdle to overcome. And all the while A.C. Grayling and his A-Team of academics are taking the first steps to adapting to this new climate – allowing domestic students to effectively compete with international students for places. If Willett’s grand designs proceed according to plan, this precedent may well be followed. Joseph.O-Leary @warwick.ac.uk
Our vital contribution to the Global Poor Thomas Parr casts a critical eye over the Government’s precedent setting in foreign aid, finding much to applaud
onsider: You are on your way to Maths and Stats and you spot a young child drowning in a shallow pond. Ought you to wade in and pull the child out? Whilst wading in and saving the child would mean arriving late to the lecture, is this not surely insignificant compared to the life of the drowning child? If we are able to save the drowning child without significant cost, we should. However, the fact that 30,000 children die each day from avoidable causes whilst many millions live with unimaginable wealth suggests that the global rich are failing in their duty to wade in and save the drowning children. This fact has led to the emergence of two distinct positions. On the one hand there are those that accept this line of reasoning and have pushed for issues of global poverty to be higher on the political agenda. On the other hand there are those who have sought
to question whether the global rich can really make a difference given problems of corruption. This week saw the Brasenose-educated David Cameron declare his allegiance to the former position with the announce-
30,000 The number of children who die each day from avoidable causes ment that the government would finance over 80 million vaccinations globally at a cost to the UK taxpayer of £814 million. This announcement may come as a surprise to those who associate the
Tories with those donation-sceptics who claim that the inefficiency associated with foreign aid means that the money is better spent improving the life chances of Britain’s most socially disadvantaged. However, it is important to note that whilst the government’s decision may very likely come under scrutiny from Tory backbenchers, the policy should be seen as fitting within the wider ideal of “We’re all in it together!” The “big society” motivation behind the government’s new proposals can, I think, be seen in three distinct areas. Firstly, the Government, through increasing its expenditure on vaccinations for the global poor, has become a flagship of foreign aid which has shamed other countries into increasing their donations. This was observed in the case of Australia which substantially increased its pledge to fund vaccinations to £91
million, and thus this move represents some progress in the positioning of global poverty on the global political agenda. Secondly, it could be claimed that Cameron’s big society regime has had some impact upon the pharmaceutical industry itself. Last week, GlaxoSmithKline, conventionally regarded as a particularly philanthropic organisation, announced that it would start selling some AIDS drugs to the world’s poorest countries at a cut price. It is, of course, controversial to claim that these price drops are a result of the big society mentality rather than being a response to the increased competition that has emerged from developing economies such as India and China. Nonetheless, the point remains that in a market that has had its fair share of controversy, a price reduction is certainly an achievement.
Finally – and, I think, most importantly – the Government’s pledge, in ensuring that issues of global justice are given some air time has, I hope, heightened the public’s awareness to global issues. Here, the pledge to donate £814 million should be seen as a terrific achievement for disease prevention, nonetheless, although measuring the success of this policy also requires investigating the extent to which the public embrace this move and accept our responsibility to live as active global citizens. Let’s hope that this move goes some way in institutionalising an ethos in which individuals will wade in and save the lives of drowning children.
Are we contributing too much money to overseas causes?
Forward thinking: How to make the most of university life Jure Jeric meets Alexander Freer to ask what students should devote their time to while at university. Alexander is the editor of Reinvention, a journal of undergraduate research produced at Warwick.
ow would you describe your time at Warwick, what did you enjoy most/ least? My three years at Warwick have been very enjoyable, and I feel I have learned a lot. When I first visited campus, my overriding impression was of how friendly people were, and that has proved to be the case throughout my degree, both in the generosity and tolerance of my teachers and in the helpfulness and enthusiasm of students and staff involved in extra-curricular activities. The Warwick English course has been a very positive experience, and I think it stands out as a syllabus with both comprehensive survey courses and detailed special topics. While some of the compulsory elements to the course were not topics I would have chosen to study, I feel that it has also been very instructive being compelled to take certain courses, in particular the epic tradition course, which covers a lot of ground that was once covered by a classical education. It is to Warwick’s credit that they do not work on the assumption that all their students will have come from the grammar system or its independent equivalent. Equally, outside of the course, I have found Warwick a very supportive environment. In first year a friend and I ran a small poetry journal composed of work submitted to us through a website we set up. We were able to produce a print copy thanks to a grant from the Lord Rootes Memorial Fund, which provided money to cover most of the production costs, as well as fund a research project on poetry journals. Following this, we were able to hold a launch event and a poetry reading, which went very well, chiefly due to the help of several of my friends in the English department. The publication was archived by the University Library and sold on our behalf by Warwick Books, who handled the international shipping which would otherwise have posed us a serious difficulty. You have participated in a very interesting project – the Reinvention undergraduate research journal. What was it all about? The purposes of Reinvention are to publish high-quality undergraduate research, and to promote learning through the practice of research and publishing. We receive submissions from around the world on our website, and I screen them with the other members of the team. We are looking for novel primary research, discussion or analysis. Assuming a paper meets our criteria and our style guidelines, we send papers to academics in the relevant field for review. If our reviewers suggest changes, we then work with the author to come up with a set of revisions to his or her paper. We then proofread the final paper and it can be published. One of the trickiest things for me is working
and the reviewers, and taking a paper from its original state into its final published form is a very fulfilling experience. This activity enabled you a valuable insight into academic publishing industry, so what have you learnt from it? Learning how the processes of proofing, reviewing and editing are conducted has been very useful, particularly as I hope to be in the author’s role in the future. Equally, there has been much to learn from the contents of the papers we publish. I don’t think I would have otherwise come across serious discussion of topics like inflammatory polyarthritis, second-wave Norwegian black metal and the Federation of Small Businesses. I hope it’s also a helpful and informative process for authors, and from the feedback we get it seems that this is the case. Do you have any plans after University and how did this experience help you to decide which career you want to pursue? Next year I’m intending to study for an MPhil in eighteenth century literature with a focus in Romantic poetry. I have been interested in academic careers for some time, and it’s been great to see the professional side of academic publishing, as well as to be involved in a diverse range of research topics. It’s become a cliché now, but it is still true that we can learn from the methodologies and paradigms used in disciplines other than our own, whether that be in interdisciplinary work or in our own research. How has the University supported your interests? The poetry publishing project was supported by the Lord Rootes Memorial Fund, and Reinvention was founded with a grant from the Reinvention centre, and is now supported by IATL. Furthermore, an interview which a friend and I conducted with an academic in the English department was published by the Knowledge Centre, who helped us put together a webpage. There are many different organisations and people at Warwick who are interested in supporting new projects, it’s just a case of finding the right people to approach about the right idea. on papers far outside my discipline; the physical sciences in particular can be very technical, and this is where it is particularly important that there is a team of assistant editors and subject specialists to work with. It’s also more difficult for undergraduates in the physical sciences and medicine to conduct research, since their access to resources and lab time is limited in comparison with professional researchers, in a way which does not apply to arts and humanities students to the same degree, and we do aim to accommodate this.
It has been particularly rewarding for me because of the calibre of the authors we work with, and the attention paid by our reviewers. In comparison to the typical coursework of an undergraduate degree, the feedback we can offer is very detailed, and might run to several pages of suggestions, comments, further reading and counter-arguments. The reviewers are specialists in the topic under review, and sometimes the world authority on a particular issue, and I think this expertise is reflected in the quality of feedback we can give. Working with an author
What would you suggest to current Warwick students to spend their time at university most efficiently? If you are interested in starting a particular project, I think the most important thing is to focus on something you are interested in and knowledgeable about, and try to find other people who share your enthusiasm. With a bit of knowledge of a specific field, and some contacts who are also committed, there is often the opportunity to produce something really interesting.
Forward thinking: How to express yourself and get noticed Jure Jeric talks to Margaret O’Leary about how most effectively to spend time at university. Margaret was accepted to the Clinton Global Initiative following her project on women’s rights in Islamic countries.
» Margaret O’Leary suggests that legal theory should be used as a tool for empowering women’s rights photo: Tijana Copic
ow would you describe your time at Warwick, what did you enjoy most/ least? I took my undergraduate Law degree at Warwick University and decided to take my masters here as well as I had such a good time. There are many facilities that you can access at Warwick University. You can get involved in many sports and societies. I like the campus, but I wish it was nearer to a town. You have participated in a very interesting project that was also accepted to the Clinton Scheme, what was it about? Femin Ijtihad (F.I.) stands for “critical thinking” of gender notions and laws. Its aim is to research and share relevant and simplified academic scholarship on Muslim women’s rights, to activists and organizations working at the grassroots. Over the years, academic ideas and theories have flourished the re-understanding of women’s rights in law and society. These ideas are invaluable to the work of political and grassroots activists, especially in places where such information is essential yet extremely inaccessible. We hope that through our work, the ideas and arguments for gender equity can be accessed and used by the people who really need them. What is your role in that project? I am the Project Coordinator of Femin Ijtihad, which aims to increase the accessibility of academic scholarship on Muslim Women’s Rights to activism by translating journal articles into layman’s language for activists to promote gender justice in the Muslim world. F.I. has a library of more than 350 articles and book chapters that academics and activists have written on the themes above. Due to the lengthy and
complex nature of academic texts, we strive to simplify them so that their arguments and ideas can be easily read. We strongly believe that knowledge gives authority. So we urge our readers to not only read the materials we share, but also to think about why it is significant to their work and how they can incorporate these ideas into their programs and strategies. As a Project Co-ordinator I recruit researchers, train researchers to produce utility content analysis (UCAs) and facilitate weekly Working Group Discussions that aim to aid researchers in extracting utility from academic scholarships through useful discourse. I then review the UCAs that the researchers produce. Another aspect of the role is outreach work which involves networking and promoting Femin Ijtihad. That is why it is incredibly important to attend Conferences such as the one held in the USA. How did you like that experience? Yeah, it was a very good experience. Building on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges, President Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where students, national youth organizations, topic experts and celebrities discuss solutions to pressing global issues. At this meeting, nearly 1,200 attendees came together to make a difference. It was a really valuable experience to network with other young people who are mostly focused on topics such as poverty alleviation, environmental and educational projects.
F.I. project has also enabled you a unique opportunity to publish your scientific article, could you tell us a bit more about it? In 2010 F.I. was commissioned to provide critique to the Draft Afghan Family Law by Rights and Democracy, a Canadian-sponsored NGO situated in Afghanistan. In the capacity of a law student I was able to provide critique for the draft Afghan Family law and we also tapped into our network of professors to provide more critique. Among them was Rebecca Probert, a Professor of Law at the University of Warwick specializing in family law, who found that her years spent researching eighteenth-century marriage in England and Wales proved surprisingly relevant to the task of evaluating the draft Afghan Family Law, since she had focused on the construal of legislation dealing with marriage formalities and this was an important element of the draft law. Further input was provided by Professor Roberta Aluffi of the University of Turin, a specialist in Islamic Law in Transnational Perspective. Both scholars highlighted potential problems with the law. Professor Probert, for example, noted the problematic implications of Article 5.3 of the draft, which specified that in the case of a person who had not attained the minimum age of consent to marriage, the father could authorise the marriage contract. This raised the potential for children to be forced into marriage against their will. The draft also stated that each party should be required to present a health certificate to prove they have no diseases before entering into a marriage. Professor Aluffi pointed out that this would mean that any individual suffering from any disease would perforce be unable to marry, an
undesirable situation in a country such as Afghanistan where health care is rudimentary. It was also noted that the extra requirements for health certification and registration of the marriage set out in the draft would increase the bureaucracy of marriage. Would you like to continue with your project? Yes, sure! We are hoping to establish the project into a non-governmental organisation. So maybe one day I might be able to be a paid employer of Femin Ijtihad. How has the University supported your interests? Professors have been helpful in supporting the project. For instance, Rebecca Probert provided critique for the draft Afghan Family law that we were commissioned to do by Rights and Democracy, a Canadian-sponsored organisation based in Afghanistan. Do you have any plans after Uni? I am training to become a lawyer (Barrister) at BPP Law school (I was studying it part time whilst studying for my masters part time) and I will be finishing the course in 2012. I want to use law as a tool for development. And I would like to live overseas. What would you suggest to current Warwick students to spend their time at Uni most efficiently? To get involved with different sports and societies to make the most of Warwick. If anybody would like to get involved with Femin Ijtihad, please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sondheim, myths and russian noses
David Levesley talks to the co-ordinators of Warwick Student Arts Festival about the trials and tribulations of organisation
» Fat Git’s The Nose photo: Peter Ashmore
he Warwick Student Arts Festival, known as WSAF, is the largest students arts festival in Europe. Last year Warwick hosted a spectacular affair that played host to student productions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, A View From The Bridge and even The Canterbury Tales. This year a new executive team has taken over the reigns, so what can we expect from the festival this year? “We’re trying to bring it back to the way it originally was,” says Megan Price, third-year English and Theatre student, “this sort of fringe festival feel.” This year won’t be as “glitzy” as last year’s event, as it is “a platform for anyone who is interested in any form of art.” Richard Potter, fellow co-ordinator, added that “one of the nice things about WSAF is that it gives people the chance to perform for the joy of performing” instead of going for the slick finished product of a studio show the rest of the year. One of the things they were clearly trying to sell – and one of the most interesting things about the festival – is the sheer variety of acts, from Pole Dance Society to Wind Orchestra to Musical Theatre Warwick’s usual plethora of shows. It’s the chance to see “something someone else does just as well as you do.” It is easy to forget, in such a massive university, that there are more societies and people than those within your personal bubble, and WSAF this year is making an effort to really expand people’s minds.
Having been brought in to co-ordinate the festival, Megan and Richard have had a hard task with a shorter time to organise than any year before. However, the festival has still been completely organised with a complete final schedule coming out over the weekend and available to be picked up from the Arts Centre. They were quick to compliment the skill of the Students’ Union’s marketing and web teams and the usefulness of having an entire force of people with skills in the area of marketing. Lily Brewer and Beccy Ward, their trusty co-ordinators, were also described as “godsends” for their compilation of the festival schedule. These are all names that have cropped up across a few Warwick Drama shows in recent years, whether they were performing or doing the hard graft behind the scenes. So what are they looking forward to, having had the inside scoop? “There’s some student writing in there I think; I’m really excited by some of the outside performances because campus in summer, when the sun is shining... There’s nothing better,” said Megan (a point I utterly agree with; pick up a schedule and make sure to catch some of the student written and outside stuff – real highlights include CLM, and the student-written pieces FML the Musical and Play In A Day.) “Obviously we’re really excited about MTW,” they both add. “MTW were the big events last year.” This year they’re not only bringing FML
the Musical but also performances of the West End smash Legally Blonde, Sondheim’s infamous flop musical Anyone Can Whistle, and the offbroadway hidden gem I Love You Because. “I’m really excited about Revolting Rhymes actually, just because I love Roald Dahl,” Megan adds, “and I’m obviously excited about The Nose, because they’ve been doing really well at Birmingham.” The Nose, Fat Git’s adaptation of Gogol’s short story of the same name, has performed at Birmingham Fringe and now has a two day residency at the Custard Factory. After performing at WSAF as the closing show in the Studio the company will be taking the production to Edinburgh alongside some of Warwick’s other fine productions. Excitement was also expressed about two of WUDS’ shows this WSAF; The Caretaker, the famous Pinter play, and Oleanna, a David Mamet play. Poledance’s showcase performance also got a mention from the co-ordinators, an exciting member of the dance society showcases that also include CMB, Salsa and Streetvibe. “I’m also looking forward to Just A Minute,” concludes Richard. Just A Minute was a favourite of many people at last year’s WSAF and looks set to have a grand return this year. It seems that there is something for everybody this year, and I myself cannot wait to see what Warwick’s art scene has to offer. Entry is free to all events and first come first serve for all events (except at the Studio, where free tickets can be booked.)
Leading post-war sculptor’s collection at the Mead Gallery
he Mead Gallery this term presents an extensive collection of the works of the 20th century sculptor Hubert Dalwood. This prolific but not widely recognised post-war artist worked every two to three years towards a showcasing opportunity with a differing approach to sculpture, never resting in on the unsatisfactory, always challenging and changing. The Mead exhibits pieces to represent the artist’s voluminous variety. The gritty fusion of Degas and Giacometti of the lead statuette ‘Woman Washing Arm’ couldn’t appear any starker in comparison to ‘Venusberg’ – a large scale polished aluminium installation that has the crisp lines of contemporary architectural design. Dalwood certainly held no allegiances to one style. If he had no concerns of style, what was his greater interest? Often it is a fascination of surface, or the mystic. Repeatedly it is people and place. This is no distinct people or location, because as Dalwood urged, “What we can and must reinstate is the primacy of the imagination.” What this only emphasises is that his works are the art of exploration, and as people, what we enjoy exploring and discovering most is the body and the land.
‘Beginning’ is perhaps the best example of the correspondence between people and place in his work. The aluminium wall hanging is engraved with symbols, therefore its appearance is primitive and magical. Its title alludes to ideas of procreation, and its structure could easily be compared to that of a cell. The surface is graffitied with swirls reminiscent of Van Gogh’s stormy skies, which could also quite easily be grassland, and the whole relief, an aerial landscape. It is characteristic of the atmosphere many of his pieces foster – a mysterious combination of an undefined people or place. While his work appears to jump between textures, materials and forms, it does in fact morph quite gradually over the distinguishable periods of two to three years. In most cases, he will develop an approach from the representational to the abstract, and this is most evident in his figurative pieces. ‘Woman Washing Arm’ could be an opening example – this lead miniature is tackled with a flare of Degas and Giacometti, with a kind of ‘kitchen sink’ realism – never idealised. ‘Standing Figure’ shows how Dalwood condenses the figure so that it becomes almost monolithic, gluing its limbs tightly together, and gripping its feet to the floor. The grotesque figure is a slave to gravity – distorted so that a
sense of its weight can be felt. In both, her skin is a ruptured surface, caused by the tactile modelling in clay. The artist introduces in motif of place in his first non-figurative piece ‘Tree’, which has been made in skin bronze. The link between this sculpture and ‘Standing Figure’ could not be more obvious. The tapering body is mirrored in the tapered tree with its bolstering trunk. The structure compacts leaves into squares, yet this seemingly unnatural habitat still manages to hold a sort-of nest, suggesting the life it can host. The most intriguing piece is still a blur to me. Hubert Dalwood acknowledged the ambiguity of his works and did not claim it to be a weakness, arguing instead for the impossibility of simple story-telling in sculpture. The question is, even if this sculpture gripped me, will it continue to, though remaining unsolved? What could be a clearer example of the mystery of Hubert Dalwood’s art than his ‘Signs’ of 1959? (The answer in this case, therefore, is yes.) The Mead Gallery, part of the University of Warwick’s Art Centre, is holding this exhibition until 25th June. Entrance is free. Rachel Guthrie is the Boar’s Deputy Arts Editor
Photo: Warwick A rts Centre
George Shaw’s Tile Hill Ruth Elizabeth Waters looks at why George Shaw’s paintings of Coventry have been shortlisted for the Turner Prize
What’s On The Nose, WAC Studio, Tuesday 28th June, 8pm(?), Free The Director of ‘The Resistable Rise Of Arturo Ui’ and ‘When It Was May’ brings together a cast of six Warwick students for a mad-cap retelling of Gogol’s short story involving sticks, accordions and facepaint before heading to Edinburgh. The Importance Of Being Earnest, Helen Martin Creative Space, Tuesday 28th June 2.30pm, Free Oscar Wilde’s classic play is performed with a cast of Warwick’s finest and a magnificent set. An impressive set and lavish costumes compliment a wonderful student cast. Closer, WAC Studio, Saturday 25th June, 7.30pm, Free Patrick Marber’s play, made into a film starring Jude Law and Julia Roberts, hits the Studio with its very British brand of sexual and romantic politics. Wind Orchestra, Atrium, 1.30pm, Monday 27th, Free The Warwick Wind Orchestra plays in the Atrium for free; make sure to grab a seat! Having had a very successful year, now’s your chance to catch them. Band Soc Showcase, Atrium, 7pm, Tuesday 28th, Free Warwick’s finest bands take to the stage for one last tour de force performance of the year. Look out for the next big thing hitting the stage Tuesday night, or maybe just learn a few band names to sound knowledgable. Anyone Can Whistle, WAC Studio, Monday 27th June, 5.30pm, Free
» George Shaw’s “Ash Wednesday”, part of his solo exhibition, “The Sly and Unseen Day” photo: The BALTIC, Gateshead
arlier this term, Coventry-born artist George Shaw was shortlisted for the art world’s most prestigious award, the Turner Prize, with his paintings of Tile Hill housing estate. In its 27 year history, the Turner Prize shortlist can be viewed as taking the pulse of the British art scene, and despite the deliberate diversity in both the judging panel and the artists nominated, continues to chart the changing mood of contemporary art today. By its own admission, the Turner Prize is “intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art”, and this year has been no disappointment, with George Shaw and his earnest renderings of the Tile Hill housing estate where he grew up (just around the corner from the University campus) contributing to the reappraisal of art and beauty in 2011. Broadly speaking, the Turner Prize of recent years has self-consciously sought to fly in the face of London’s monopoly over the British art scene, showing the nation that good and interesting art isn’t limited to a few square miles of art-school hipsterdom. If the shortlist this year is aiming to provoke one conversation, it is that art is not safely in the hands of London, with just one shortlisted artist being London-based (Hilary Lloyd), but can spring up anywhere, with two of the shortlisted artists being based in Glasgow (Martin Boyce and Karla Black),
and of course, Coventry-born and Devon-based George Shaw. The Turner Prize exhibition this year is aptly being held at the BALTIC gallery in Gateshead, a newly-established provincial gallery in the North-East, and one which thrives on the inspiring philosophy that art is for everyone everywhere: it seems contemporary art has now left the capital for more than a field trip. Shaw’s solo exhibition at the BALTIC gallery, for which he was shortlisted, is called “The Sly and Unseen Day” and with frank precision portrays the in-between spaces of Tile Hill, on the outskirts of Coventry, where he grew up. His exhibition, more perfectly than those of the other artists shortlisted, encapsulates the current movement away from metropolitan elitism towards a mode of artistic expression that can depict the real experience of living in a Britain comprised of more than just chic urban vistas or rural idylls. Shaw’s paintings are the deadpan product of the suburbs, in all its mediocrity and has-been-ness, with its bland squares of pebbledashed concrete. Yet his paintings also convey a calm acceptance that this is a valid and, dare I say it, beautiful backdrop to human life. His paintings, rendered in the type of enamel paint usually used for painting model aeroplanes, capture the in-between scenes of life, the bits which are neither beautiful nor interesting in the conventional way, and in which little seems to be happening, but which are integral
to our experience of the urban environment. The landscape of Tile Hill for Shaw is one which can be viewed with neither pity nor reverence, and whilst the mood of his paintings is sombre, the landscapes cannot be described as depressing. Shaw paints what it is to be a bored child on a post-war council estate staring out of the window at tarmac beyond tarmac, and yet, to look back on these memories and this dreary landscape not with loathing and disappointment, but to treasure life as it is and was, with each dull view out of the window. Perhaps it is from living for far too long on Warwick campus, but the dismissive tone with which people speak of Coventry and its Brutalist architecture and pound-shops has worn thin for me. The Midlands, and Coventry in particular, are often characterised by their lack of character, stereotyped as being nothing but a deepfried Mars bar surrounded by unemployment and impossible-to-navigate ring-roads. The paintings of George Shaw provide the perfect antidote to this depressing discourse: his paintings persuade us that the back-alleys and murky puddles of the suburbs are as valid a backdrop for life and art as anywhere else. The winner of the Turner Prize receives £25,000, with all those shortlisted awarded £5000, and it will be announced on the 11th December. I for one, hope it goes to George Shaw.
Stephen Sondheim’s infamous flop musical is revived by Musical Theatre Warwick with a dash of Thatcher for one show in the Studio. A small town decide to fake a miracle to bump up tourism, leading to a local asylum to try and use it to cure its inmates, only for the ‘cookies’ to mingle with the townspeople. FML The Musical, WAC Studio, Saturday 25th June, 10am, Free A student-written musical all about the trials and tribulations of daily student life from essay submissions to rat infestations to drunken nights out, featuring classic musical numbers with a twist and a script of love and laughs. CMD Showcase, WAC Studio, Saturday 25th June, 1.30pm, Free. One of Warwick’s largest dance societies shows off the best of its routines in a spectacular show in the Studio. Just A Minute, Saturday 25th (2pm) and Sunday 26th (12pm)(Semi-finals) Monday 27th (2pm) (Final), Science Concourse, Free Warwick’s most erudite students attempt to revive the Radio 4 classic after a successful showing last year, making sure to talk about anything and everything for a minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation.
Compiled by David Levesley
» Jamie Woon photo: Eric Rex (Flickr)
Mirrorwriting the future
Dean Simons talks with the BBC’s Sound of 2011 nominee Jamie Woon backstage at the HMV Institute Birmingham Shortlisted in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll back in January, and a debut album that fuses a variety of sounds from RnB to electronica and soul, Jamie Woon seems to have come from nowhere. At 28, he is much older than his chart-storming contemporaries on today’s music scene and astonishingly, although he has been active on the music circuit for quite some time, little information is openly known about him. Bearing that in mind, I sat down with Mr Woon backstage of his latest gig at Birmingham’s HMV Institute to peel away the mystery about how he got into music and the making of his debut record. The son of a Scottish mother and Malaysian father, Jamie’s first spark of interest in music was encouraged by mother Mae McKenna, a professional folk, country and pop singer. “We were always singing along to the radio and stuff. It was always something that I just enjoyed doing.” However, what first got Jamie to pick up the guitar came when he hit his teens. “It was when I was about 15 or 16 that I got into Britpop and all the indie stuff that was happening at the time, like Oasis and Blur and Radiohead. That was when I took up the guitar and started writing songs and joining bands as the singer.” It was not long afterward that Jamie enrolled in the famous BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, home of alumni such as The Kooks, Amy Winehouse, Katy B, and Adele. “I had only recently picked up the guitar. I hadn’t written any songs when I applied. I think I just heard about it when I was in my honeymoon period of music and just thought that was what I wanted. It’s like sixth form, basically. I played an Unbelievable Truth song at the audition and I got in. It was an exciting place to be. There were lots of opportunities to record and if you wanted to start a band there was a rehearsal room you could use, so I did that.” After leaving the BRIT school, he continued on to the University of Westminster and “did a degree in basically the same shit because I liked it.” However, it was here that Jamie finally started to find his creative direction. “It was there that I got into writing a lot of my own songs and turned into a singer-songwriter.” This continued following his graduation but the debut album was not forthcoming, “When I left Westminster, there was just tons of vocal nights and
acoustic nights around London at that time, and I just threw myself into that. I would be playing every night of the week. More gigs led to more gigs, and I started selling my CD-Rs.” His passion for the music scene emerged in other ways during this period as, in 2004, Jamie along with his friend Dannii Evans started the One Taste touring music and spoken-word collective, based in South London. “We used to program all the acts. They would mostly be people that I met that I happened to be playing gigs with. Those we liked, we would invite back to play. It turned into a community.” Such acts on the One Taste roster include Newton Faulkner and Polarbear. Through the constant flow of gigs and his involvement with the One Taste collective, Jamie soon became self-sufficient from music. However, the turn that initiated the way towards Jamie’s debut album came in 2006 when he was invited to produce an EP called Wayfaring Stranger through LIVE Recordings, a charity label run by Lewisham council. “The two guys that ran that label, Charlie Dark and Mark Gurney knew their electronic music and wanted to do a 12-inch. They asked me if I wanted to get a remix done and I had one done by a guy called Stitch and another done by Burial. Both versions got played by Mary Anne Hobbes (over the radio) and that got my name out. I was then getting better gigs and not long after that I got a laptop and started working on my own record. Mirrorwriting. “I always wanted to make a studio record,” he admits. “It was the studio that really seduced me to music originally. I wrote most of my songs on my guitar but I had always wanted to record them in a way that had its own kind of style. I had always been into electronic music since I was a teenager, and I tried to put the two things together.” However while many artists had some form of collaborative writing-production team behind them, Jamie chose to go completely solo with the album. Why was that? “I guess I had this sense that I wanted to do this myself,” says Jamie, “to see if I could. Something I admire about the first Lewis Taylor record and Stevie Wonder’s records. There’s something about the sound of one person. You see all their limitations and their strengths.”
The process wasn’t quick or easy as Jamie had to both familiarise himself with the musicproduction software as well as write the songs that would make it onto the final record. “It took me four years in total,” he recalls. “I wrote all the songs in summer 2006 and started in earnest on the laptop in March 2007. I bought it and I was like ‘Yeah, I’m gonna make my album on this laptop!’ So from there I just started mucking around really. I hadn’t really put much energy into production before so it was really just about figuring it out, getting the songs in there and playing around with them. That was the advantage of being independent, I guess: the luxury of time.” He wasn’t totally alone in the process, however. Through a friend of the family he got the idea for the theme to the lead single ‘Night Air’. “John O’ Kane, who’s an old family friend that used to write songs with my mum, and is an uncle figure to me, we were chatting about how we often feel more creative at night. We’re both night owls. It just feels like there are more ideas floating around and that it’s a mysterious time. We started with the title ‘Night Air’, and we wanted to write an old school ode to the night. It came out quite quickly.” ‘Night Air’ had an important influence on the shape of the album. “I played around with it for quite a long time and I kind of knew that it was going to be the cornerstone of my record. I worked on it for two-and-a-half years, production-wise. That was how I worked out the soundscape of the record.” Jamie also had the assistance of a certain dubstep producer. “Burial became a really big mentor to me,” Jamie recalls, “He put in a good pair of ears and was involved with the record throughout its production, sort of like an executive producer. He pointed me towards all these sounds, which really helped. He was very generous with his knowledge and his time.” Living with the Portico Quartet had some influence on the album, albeit indirectly. One of the members, Duncan Bellamy, supplied the cover art and besides that, the creative environment was ever-present. “Last year we had a really great house that had a shed at the end of the garden, where they (Portico Quartet) wrote their second record, Isla. The bedroom where I was making my record was overlooking the
garden, so we kind of had our records wafting over to each other.” Finding an outlet for the record wasn’t too hard either. “I was going to release something in 2009. Polydor Records heard ‘Night Air’ and immediately liked it. I got a good feeling with them – they were very encouraging about me producing my own record and didn’t want to put me in with anyone else. They gave me more time and more resources to complete it.” In October 2010, ‘Night Air’ finally saw the light of day, to great critical acclaim, with Pitchfork Media describing it as “impeccably crafted.” Six months later, Mirrorwriting, was released. With the album finally out in the open, the touring circuit awaits, entailing a string of festival dates for Jamie to showcase his newer sound. “It’s really interesting translating the record to the stage as it’s quite a solitary thing and I’m having to turn it into something which is quite social. It’s quite nice that the songs that I wrote have taken me into this different technical situation.” Is there any festival you’re looking forward to? “Glastonbury. I’m playing the West Holts stage on the Sunday. That’s one festival that I will be sticking around for. Most of the other festivals I will be playing at I will be in-and-out over the summer. We’ll be tenting it. My girlfriend performs in the circus field every year so we’ll be swinging by each other’s stages as well. I’m looking forward to seeing Big Boi, Janelle Monaé, and Cee Lo Green.” Although Jamie’s excited about touring again, he’s not entirely forgotten the song-writing and production side of things, with an EP in the works likely due this summer. As for album number two: “I’ll take it as it goes for the next album. I want to write the songs first, which is something that I didn’t fully do for this record. I want to have a set of songs that I think are finished before I embark on it. I would also like to do it with a different producer. But I don’t want to think about it too much, as I want to concentrate on the live thing at the moment and give myself a bit of breathing space in between.” Jamie Woon will be performing the festival circuit over the summer including Glastonbury Festival, Field Day and the Big Chill Festival. His album, Mirrorwriting, is out now.
Cooking up a student-friendly storm Barney Evison examines which cookbooks are helpful to the gastronomically enthusiastic student... and which are not
t’s not unusual to find a student who likes to cook, but it can be really tricky to fit a week’s worth of delicious square meals into your budget. How long can a student with gastronomic pretensions really survive on cheap(ish) staples such as spag bol, shepherd’s pie, stir fry and multiple baked bean and cheese variations? Branching out requires some patience and forward-thinking, but most importantly, a really good cookbook. A good student cookbook must be realistic: there’s no point being sent off to university with the latest gourmet guide that’s filled with recipes for crayfish soufflé or truffle-infused wild mushroom bisque. A student needs a book that caters to his or her needs, a book which allows for flavour diversity without requiring expensive ingredients and a fully-equipped chef ’s kitchen. A good place to start would be Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook. Unlike some other publications, this actually does what it says on the cover, with recipes that are not only cheap but appetising and exciting. It really is a comprehensive collection, ranging from recipes for mega-cheap rice and noodle dishes to slightly more complicated curries, pies and puddings, and each dish has a symbol above showing how much it costs. If you can get over his annoying pseudo-laddish style, you’ll find it to be a cookbook that is extremely flexible and will inspire you to adapt and improve dishes for next time. Each recipe has a list of possible additions underneath, which could be made depending on time and money constraints. I was given this book in my second year and wished I’d got it earlier. My first cookbook was The Students’ Sausage Egg and Beans Cookbook by Jane Bamforth. On the cover it claims that it ‘saves you loadsa dosh’ and is full of recipes based around the three eponymous ingredients. While there are a few tasty dishes in there (the pork and bean stew is worth a mention) most are boring or too simple to require a cookbook and some don’t even seem to work (I tried the falafel recipe three times and they fell apart on every occasion). It’s a nice idea – sausages really are a great moneysaver (especially if you can bear to buy them frozen) and team up nicely with lots of different types of bean – but unfortunately, the book limits itself with this initial premise and doesn’t show enough imagination. Students who use cookbooks aren’t just interested in eating on the cheap – that can be accomplished through the application of common sense and financial planning – they want clever recipes that utilise what they have available to them. Curries should form a major part of a student’s culinary repertoire. While spices are expensive, you only need to buy them occasionally (maybe you could time a restock with that first parent-funded shop of the term?) and you really only need a few to get you going. For example, cumin, turmeric and paprika fried off and combined with a decent curry powder will do for an Indian curry. A good curry book is essential for achieving deep, authentic flavour. I personally love Thai cooking, and for that reason I would recommend The Big Book of Thai Curries by Vatcharin Bhumichitr. Thai cooking does require certain ingredients that might seem a bit more expensive than the usual, such as ginger, fish sauce and Thai curry paste. However, things like ginger, lemongrass, chilli paste and curry paste are available pre-prepared in jars from most supermarkets, and they keep for ages in the fridge. You don’t need to fuss about with fresh root ginger or blending your own curry paste. Bhumichitr’s book works well with a student budget, getting rid of huge ingredient lists and avoiding complicated methods.
After you’ve got a few dishes under your belt and are starting to make a name for yourself in your kitchen, you’ll want to broaden your gastronomic horizons, so you might start looking for a fancy gourmet cookbook to further impress your flatmates. You might settle on Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson – a widely acclaimed cookbook from an extremely well-respected chef. It has, after all, been voted “the most useful cookbook of all time” by Waitrose Food Illustrated. And there’s no denying it; it is a great book, filled with mouth-watering recipes punctuated by Hopkinson’s gushing prose and some eye-catching illustrations. However, this is certainly not a book for students. Have you ever walked into a Rootes kitchen and seen someone tucking into deep-fried calves’ brains with sauce Gribiche, or grilled pigeon with shallots, sherry vinegar and walnut oil? I thought not. The ingredients are all far too expensive and many of the recipes require hours of careful preparation. Books like this are useful for ideas – such as the groundbreaking discovery that lamb and anchovies are made for each other – but if a family friend gives you this next Christmas with the words, “So, I hear you’re becoming a bit of a storm in the kitchen!” don’t forget that their kitchen may look a bit different to your grimy student one when you come to use it. The latest addition to my cookbook collection is Rick Stein’s Spain, which came out last week, but I’m sad to say it is utterly useless to a money-scrimping student. I bought the book hoping to find viable recipes for mouth-watering tapas, hearty mountain stews and aromatic paellas. While these dishes all feature in the book, it is hard to imagine a skint, busy student whipping them up from Stein’s instructions. I picked the first three dishes I made – lettuce, anchovy, egg and crouton salad; white bean stew with pork and sausages; hake with clams, asparagus, peas and parsley – for their simplicity and their potential for adaptability (see the results below). The hake was exquisite, but its success lies largely in the quality of the fish and a really good fresh fish stock, both of which cost an arm and a leg. The main ingredients for the bean stew – white beans, streaky bacon, black pudding and chorizo – don’t cost a lot, but the dish
How long can a student survive on baked beans and cheese variations? took close to two and a half hours to prepare, so although tasting good (much like a Spanishstyle Cassoulet) it didn’t merit the time wasted – all I can say is, thank God my exams are over. The salad was crisp and fresh, but it occurred to me while eating it that it really didn’t require a highly detailed recipe – even the dressing is quite simple. This book is all about faff, and I’m all for a bit of faff, but not in the extremes that Stein seems to recommend. As a student cook, it’s important to remember what you’re really trying to accomplish when using a recipe book: a cheap, tasty meal. It’s about using paprika instead of saffron, Oxo cubes instead of fresh stock, frozen meat instead of fresh. A good cookbook should provide you with inspiration so you can cut financial corners while making food that tastes great on a daily basis. So good luck, and in the words of Julia Child, “bon appetit!”
» Cooking at university: new and surprising photo: Photos_Martha, Flickr
A new class of comic book film
Hari Alexander Sethi reviews the latest in the tired yet popular X-Men franchise
Summer film A wide variety of films will hit the screen this summer. Here are a few recommendations: For all those looking to satisfy their never ending hunger for comic book films this summer (and the box office proves that’s a lot of you), never fear, your devotion has been rewarded with The Green Lantern (out now), Captain America not far over the horizon, on the 29th July and the anticipated graphic novel adaptation of Cowboys and Aliens follows them all arriving on the 19th August. All three of these films boast impressively high budgets and are sure to be packed with big CGI action sequences and creatively designed locations and characters, once again attempting to bring their source material to life effectively. Plus for all those girls who find themselves dragged to witness such events, the casting of Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern), Chris Evans (Captain America) and Daniel Craig (Cowboys and Aliens), who’ve all been put through extensive workout routines in preparation for their roles, should help to ease the pain. The final Harry Potter film hits cinemas everywhere come July 15th with plenty of obsessive fans no doubt relishing yet lamenting at their last opportunity to watch this now infamous young cast bring their favourite characters to life.
X-Men: First Class Matthew Vaughan James McAvoy,, Michael Fassbender 132 mins ★★★★ As July approaches and term rolls to a close, those of you who’ve likely been imprisoned in your rooms or in the small dark corners of one of the library’s many competitively occupied floors, will welcome the return of that wonderful commodity us students utilise best, free time. If, like many students, you regard the cinema as a justifiable use of your precious hours, you want to be sure that in today’s world of extortionately priced edible cinema treats with ticket costs to rival them, that the film you choose is worth the effort and money. It’s my pleasure to tell you that you’re in luck, having hopefully missed out on some of the biggest disappointments/predictable popcorn fodder (Hangover 2, The Clone and Johnny and Penelope’s Caribbean Cruise) that has already hit our screens this summer disguised as the entertaining blockbusters we all crave, good films are on the horizon. One that has emerged over the horizon and is now available to start your summer off with is Matthew Vaughan’s brilliant reboot of the XMen series, the prequel, X-Men: First Class. Vaughan has managed to breathe new life into what many regarded as a tired Marvel franchise, which reached a low point back in 2009 with the misguided X-Men Origins: Wolverine. First Class works so well due to the youthful approach and feel to the entire film, with a whole host of young actors fulfilling the roles of mutants and the inclusion of James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto, which helps to add a greater acting
pedigree to the project. It must be said that whilst the film effectively conveys the sense of teenage mutants struggling with their newly developed abilities, the ever increasing number of these young characters are hardly developed, with the film choosing to focus its efforts into the back stories of the film’s protagonists. The film opens as the original did outside of a Nazi death camp, and conveys how Fass-
latest X-men film, I hardly think these incredibly satisfying action sequences will do the film’s reception any harm. Despite McAvoy’s charming turn as the young Xavier, a sometimes bumbling Oxford academic specialising in genetics, the film’s strongest element is the performance of acting revelation Michael Fassbender, whose ridiculously brilliant yet insane performance in Steve McQueen’s (no, not that Steve McQueen) Hun-
If you are wondering what to do after emerging from your academic sentence, X-Men: First Class would be a great place to start your summer of films bender’s character Erik Lehnsherr (not yet Magneto) is separated from his parents and experimented on in an attempt to harness the psycho-telekinetic powers he exhibits displays involuntarily. The film then follows the adult Erik’s obsessive quest to locate the man who tested him, Sebastian Shaw, played with all the usual subtlety you expect from a Kevin Bacon performance. McAvoy and Fassbender’s characters finally meet up when both recruited by the C.I.A. to track down Shaw, who has enabled the Cuban missile crisis to progress specifically to serve his own aspirations of world domination. Once they’ve joined forces however, the film deviates from its depiction of both protagonists’ development and back stories, suffering as a result from a loss of impetus. The film then comfortably reverts back tow the more familiar form of most Marvel summer blockbusters where explosions and elaborately cut shot fights rule the day. However, for most audiences not looking for an exercise in subtle emotive acting from their
ger, has garnered the attention of discerning film critics around the world. Fassbender is brilliant as Erik Lehnsherr, portraying a character consumed with desires of revenge for the murder of his parents, whilst also conveying the autophobic traits created through his perceived failure to have used his abilities to kill Shaw when he had the chance. Vaughan’s portrayal of this complex character is a refreshing element to find amongst an otherwise stereotypical (yet entertaining) comic book movie. His character provides the film’s moments of greatest impetus and his eventual confrontation with Shaw provides it with a riveting finale. If, like me, you too are wondering what to do after emerging, dazed and confused from time served revising in whatever form of prison you’ve been confined to for your annual academic sentence, X-Men: First Class would be a great place to start your summer of films off from, with an entertaining yet refreshingly satisfying take on this heavily marketed film franchise.
The highly anticipated and heavily under wraps sci-fi thriller from J.J.Abrams (Cloverfield) and Steven Spielberg, Super 8, arrives August 5th. It centres around a young group of friends’ chilling discovery, following with unusual disappearances and inexplicable events that begin to occur in their hometown of Ohio. For all those looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy to pass the time, Larry Crowne ( July 1st), directed by and starring Tom Hanks, follows a middle aged man’s attempt to reinvent himself after being fired by returning to college, where he happens to meet a beautiful teacher named Mercedes, played by Julia Roberts. With a storyline you can probably already predict and a great cast, this promises to be as pleasantly harmless a 99 minutes as you could hope to spend in the cinema this summer. For those of you searching for a more demanding experience than Larry Crowne, Terence Malick has returned with what many are calling his masterpiece, The Tree of Life. Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastein, the film features an impressionistic depiction of the life of a 1950s Texan family, complete with surrealist themes and exquisite imagery of the birth of space and of the earth. At 138 minutes, this is certain to provide an unmissable cinematic experience from one of the most revered and critically celebrated directors in the industry (released July 8th).
Hidden China Tash Clark recounts her time on the ‘Study China Programme’: visiting a leading university, learning Mandarin and affirming her career aspirations to uncover the more secretive side to the country
isiting China made me sure I wanted to go into journalism. A bit of a sudden and unpredictable judgement, some might say, but after viewing all that China had to offer, I felt like the only thing I wanted to do was to tell people about it. But what with essays and exams… you know how it is. It only took me three weeks in Jinan, a vibrant city about 200 miles south of Beijing that, until last week, no one had even heard of for me to realise this. You might have heard of Jinan recently though – it’s the capital of Shandong Province in which apparently lie a few computer servers which allegedly tried to steal the email addresses of a range of activists, politicians and journalists. It’s quite a shame it had to be this recent revelation that is dictating the world’s current view of Jinan, as it really is a breathtaking city; nothing beats the feeling of your heart leaping into your chest as you sail through the city at night on the back of a moped… before suddenly you’re almost hit by a bus coming the other
our laptops in a ridiculously overpriced internet café on our return, watching the Royal Wedding on BBC News. Whilst staying at Shandong University in the heart of Jinan, I spent three weeks learning Mandarin, which was the second experience to confirm my career aspirations. Teachers, parents, the government… everyone’s always telling you that studying a language is a really worthwhile thing to do, and I know a bit of French still from good ole’ GCSE days, so I’m usually inclined to ignore them. However, the experience of spending every day learning how to string some small phrases together in a language spoken by over 1.4 billion people really was worthwhile, and who knows, if I keep it up, it could be my way into journalism. Admittedly Mandarin was a difficult challenge; the Chinese have multiple tones and a completely different alphabet which obviously made it harder than any other language I’d ever learnt before. Yet by the end of the trip, even though the furthest our skills had developed was being able to order tofu and rice in a res-
With China’s record on human rights, censoring and uncertainty about the government, I was expecting some of this. But was no-one going to talk to me about it, at all? way, beeping furiously at you, but the sound is somewhat lost amongst the hundreds of other honking vehicles surrounding you. This was my first experience of the true Jinan on my first evening in China; loud, breathtakingly stunning and absolutely packed. But honestly, it really is stunning; the campus of Shandong University (my home from home for those three weeks) filled with trees, park benches, flowers and monuments, the city lights twinkling amongst towering skyscrapers as you walk downtown at night. It was even a little bit like Warwick; a beautiful rural campus in the middle of the urban capital of the province. The travelling was the first aspect of the trip which enabled me to confirm my choice of career. Despite a 28 hour journey there and a 36 hour trip home where a number of people lost their luggage and the choice of films available on Air France was appalling, I loved the experience. Flying halfway across the world wasn’t just exciting, it was thrilling, scary, and the only time I’d ever flown alone. Give me that anyday. I know, I know, journalism isn’t always about flying all over the world, but it could be; foreign correspondents are literally everywhere. I mean, I didn’t even mind the plane food. Even missing my second connecting flight and running around Guangzhou airport at 2am was pretty interesting now I think about it, and I’ll never forget the group of us huddled around
taurant or tell the taxi driver to go straight on, it was still a massive achievement for the sixty or so students and I who took part in the ‘Study China Programme’. But what really made my trip was when I finally met someone who wanted to talk to me about politics. The first man I asked, a thirdyear Law student clearly was interested but felt unsure of how much to tell me. It was my first night and I was pretty jet-lagged, maybe I was pushing it a little. The three female journalism students I asked after that simply giggled and plainly told me “we don’t talk about that…” When would you ever find that in Britain? Journalism students who don’t want to talk about politics? Obviously with China’s record on human rights, news censoring and general uncertainty about the government, I was expecting some of this. But was no-one going to talk to me about it, at all? It was two weeks into when I finally met a History and Politics student who had recently travelled abroad to the USA and was willing to tell me everything he knew, whilst a friend and I scribbled furiously, listening in such awe. Everything is very different; the government, the voting systems, the officials, but there were a few small similarities to be made. Even the journalism students who were listening to the conversation appeared interested at the man’s extensive knowledge, which made me wonder how much they really knew about it. I bounded
» Shandong University in Jinan photo: Tash Clark back to the hotel grinning with the knowledge and experience I’d gained in that half an hour seminar with the Chinese students. Despite my excitement, I was slightly apprehensive about sending emails home for fear of the words being flagged up on some watch system leaning to my arrest, being hauled into some high security prison with lights flashing in my face until I admitted to using the word “democracy”, which apparently is banned from being used in text messages in China. The second morning after I arrived even, my friend Young met me for breakfast to nervously announce that two human rights activists had gone missing – presumed arrested – the previous day. The fact that the group of girls knew so little about what was happening in their own country made me sure that it was journalism that I wanted to pursue. The travelling, the new culture and the language was all an incredible experience, but it is only when I was finally reunit-
ed with my beloved newspapers, daily dose of local news and Twitter feed that I realised just how strongly I felt about freedom of information. I honestly couldn’t cope without them; it was only through a daily dose of media updates from those back home and the BBC News website that I think got me through. If you ever get the chance to visit China, do not hesitate for a second. It’s the largest growing superpower in the world, is one of the largest exporters after the USA and is the world’s leading power in global technology and business. They are even trying to incorporate renewable energy into their economy and reduce their carbon footprint, and through this there are some who say that democracy really is coming to China, slowly but surely. The culture is incredible, the food, albeit nothing like a takeaway in England, is magnificent and the people some of the most friendly, intelligent and engaging I’ve ever met.
How to shake up your summer Toby Steinberg offers you his recipe for sophisticated intoxication
Putting money where our mouths are
h, summertime. I remain in a gladsome mood despite exams, because this season is also the harbinger of the summer cocktail, perhaps the world’s happiest beverage. While silky smooth Manhattans and Martinis may drip with class, the great ‘boat drinks’ – the Mojito, the Caipirinha, the Mai Tai – have an insouciant, ever so slightly candied edge that cannot help but bring a merry blush to the cheeks of even the gruffest pint jockey (Hemingway, the toughest bad writer ever, adored his frozen daiquiris). Though much abused in nightclubs and dive bars the world over, the original, well-balanced versions of these tipples are the perfect fusion of simplicity of ingredients and complexity of flavour. However, before you start shaking up your very own hangover, you’ll need a few stand-bys in your larder. First off: limes. Lots of limes. But hey, that’s ok, we all need vitamin C. Secondly, you’ll want to make a simple syrup, essentially just a solution of sugar stirred in water. Sugar tends not to dissolve well in cold liquids, so unless you enjoy sucking grit through a straw, use syrup. Gently heat sugar and water in a 2:1 ratio (e.g. 100g sugar: 50ml water), allow to cool and bottle. Third, for most of these drinks, you’ll need crushed ice, but luckily, you can make that too, merely by wrapping up cubed ice and smashing with a saucepan, rolling pin or revision textbook. You should note that your hall mates/house mates will probably complain at the admittedly terrible racket, but this can be
easily solved by glaring at them and doing it anyway. Finally, unless you already have some bar tools, you’ll probably need a few of those too.
crushed ice. Add the rum and more crushed ice and stir. Finish with a dash of soda and garnish with mint (clap to release the aroma).
The Mojito Almost ubiquitous nowadays, but so rarely honoured, the three most important tips are to muddle the mint gently, to use fresh-squeezed juice rather than lime wedges and to keep the amount of soda small. If you’re commendably obsessive about authenticity, use a blend of lime and lemon juice to ape the flavour of Cuban limes. As for products, the availability of most white rums in the UK is shameful, so your choice may be a little limited. Most serious rum connoisseurs will decry the flagship Bacardi as undrinkable. In truth, it’s not bad, but it is pretty bland and for the perfect drink, it’s out. Havana Club, either the 3 year or the Anejo blanco, is the gold standard for the classic mojito and will make a qualitative difference. Matusalem Platino is a richer, more challenging rum, but also an excellent option.
The Mai Tai Despite all evidence to the contrary, this drink is not a random mix of liqueurs and pineapple juice but an elegant ‘tiki’ punch, flavoured with orange and almond syrup, courtesy of the great Victor Bergeron, AKA Trader Vic. The original 17 year old Wray Nephew he used has been long exhausted, but the fruity Appleton rums are a fair approximation (unless you fancy the £500 version at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, which possesses one of the last remaining bottles). Both the Appleton VX and the 12 year old are widely available. If you can find a rhum agricole from Martinique, try pairing it with one of these Jamaican rums.
Mojito Recipe: 50ml Havana Club 12.5ml lime juice 5ml lemon juice 12.5ml sugar syrup 10-12 mint leaves Sparkling water Gently muddle the mint in the bottom of a tall glass, add the juices and sugar and half-fill with
Mai Tai Recipe: 50ml Appleton VX 25ml lime juice 12.5ml Orgeat (almond syrup) 12.5ml Cointreau 5ml sugar syrup 1 dash orange bitters 60ml Sagatiba Pura
Want to see more delicious cocktail recipes? See the full article at theboar.org/lifestyle
s students, we truly do appreciate the financial pain of the weekly shop. Many of us would go free range, organic, fair trade and (dare I say it?) Tesco’s Finest if only it weren’t for the value options offering us the same thing (with added salt and injustice) for three quid cheaper. The caravan of students trailing home from Cannon Park can’t hide their 50p pizzas and BOGOF deals from the world – we’ve all got them in our bags. We get our thrills from finding meals for under a pound, regardless of how it tastes or what it contains, and half price Ben and Jerry’s frequently causes foaming at the mouth. Having said that, a cheeky £5 trip to the Dirty Duck for lasagne and chips certainly doesn’t go amiss every so often. At the other end of the food buying scale sit the willing customers of another Duck – the three Michelin-starred Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, where a tasting menu will set you back around £150. So what, then, is the true cost of food? As a Masterchef fan (don’t deny it – Greg and John have a place in everybody’s hearts) and self-confessed foodie, I can totally see the appeal of haute cuisine and would rather spend money on that than, say, a haircut. But when one in 12 people in the world is malnourished, shelling out multiple tenners for ‘Onion Three Ways’ seems like a crime against humanity. A bag of onions in Tesco costs 95 pence and lasts until you find them growing shoots in the back of your cupboard, but somehow a little chopping and caramelizing from a chef with designer glasses warrants a huge price hike. Although you might be ‘paying for the experience’, £150 in the Fat Duck is money that could be spent elsewhere. On the World Vision website, the same amount will feed five families in Sudan for a month. Preachy, but true. On top of the price, there’s the issue of waste. According to a Sustainable Restaurant Association survey, nearly half a kilo of food is chucked away per diner. One third of this comes from their unfinished plate, but the remainder comes from the preparation stages, where unwanted scraps are tossed into a bin bag. Restaurants always keep an eye on profit but the same survey showed that only 5% of jettisoned food was out of date or inedible. 600,000 tons of food is binned every year in restaurants across Britain. I don’t know about you, but these figures are certainly enough to put me off my onion. What I’m getting at here is the huge moral minefield that now surrounds our every western world-sized mouthful. On the one hand, we have charities and campaigns constantly struggling to save lives in the third world, and on the other, we have this extravagant celebrity chef culture, with pretty plates of food costing obscene amounts. Then, somewhere in the middle, we’ve got the space most of us fill – the ‘spend a little and eat a lot’ mentality. Bonkers, isn’t it? Polly Gregson
Summer ‘11: Seven steps to fashion heaven
Jessie Baldwin gives you the lowdown on how to stay on-trend and in-pocket this season with these summer must-haves
ith the sun shining and exams finally drawing to an end, summer is in full swing and it’s time to hit the shops for post-exam party outfits, holiday essentials and clothes that reflect the new, relaxed you. Many of us will be on a bit of a budget, however, at the end of our final term loan. To counter this minor setback, we have compiled a list of seven essential items every girl should own to be fashion fabulous this summer. ANYTHING DENIM – Denim made its comeback in 2010 and this summer it’s bigger than ever. Boyfriend-style denim shirts and denim jackets are both comfortable and stylish, and are perfect for dressing down a maxi dress for a laid back summer style. For the more daring fashionista, dungarees are a must have for tomboy or festival chic. Wear with sky-high wedges and accessorise with boho bangles for a glam look with absolutely no associations with toddlers or 1970s pregnant women. THE MAXI – Sophisticated, summery and stylish, maxi dresses are an absolute must have for any occasion, whether it be cocktail parties, dinner dates or even casual beach or shopping trips. Team with sunnies and strappy sandals for a daytime look or wedges and statement jewellery for an evening occasion. Topshop have a great range of plain and patterned maxis (in petite as well as regular size range) starting from £26. THE WEDGE – The time has officially come to throw away those black stilettos that you religiously wore through the winter months in exchange for some brightly coloured, insanely comfortable platform wedges. Love or hate them, you cannot deny the comfort factor, not to mention the versatility: tan, taupe or nude wedges can be worn with virtually any summer outfit, daytime or nights out. Cameron Diaz has been seen sporting Chloe wedges but for the cheapskate student, Dorothy Perkins stock an excellent range.
THE PRINTED TROUSER – Known as ‘power pants’, printed trousers are a key statement piece this summer. From leggings to high-waisted palazzo trousers, with patterns ranging from polka dot to urban aztec, you’re certain to make your mark sporting one of the guaranteed hottest fashion trends. Wear with a simple vest and understated accessories and work your strut, knowing your sexy slacks will be catching the eye of every passer-by. River Island has an excellent assortment ranging from paisley to floral prints. THE STATEMENT NAIL POLISH – Let your hands (or feet) do the talking with one of summer’s hottest styles: neon bright nails. Natalie Portman and Katy Perry have been seen sporting banana yellow nails, whilst Rihanna is a fan of tangerine orange. Vivid indigo, bubblegum pink, fuchsia, turquoise and mint green are also bang on trend for noticeable nails. Barry M have over 50 shades, in metallic pearls, mattes and shimmering finishes to suit every mood and taste, all priced at £2.99. THE CROP TOP – Crop tops are huge for the summer; however, they are also a rather restricting trend as the majority of body-conscious fashionistas don’t dare to bare their stomachs. If you’ve got it, flaunt it and embrace the trend in a bralette (Republic have a pretty Navy checked one). However, if in doubt do not fear as there is a solution: high waisted skirts, trousers or shorts keep belly baring to a minimum and expose only the waist. THE PLAYSUIT – On a par with the wedge for versatility, the playsuit serves a variety of fashion functions: perfect for wearing over a bikini at the beach, with wellies and a straw hat at a festival or with platforms and statement jewellery for a night on the town. From floral prints for the cute factor to tribal patterns for boho cool, many different styles and cuts can be found to suit different shapes and sizes. H&M have polka dot, floral and nautical playsuits from £14.99.
Scapegoats, flame-throwers and you: The lad’s holiday
t’s summer, exams are over, and most humanoids therefore want to while away their hard-earned freedom by engaging in some form of stereotypical foreign excursion. If you happen to be reppin’ the Y chromosome, then a “Lads’ Holiday” signifies the very best of such overseas adventure. As a general rule, I’ve never really understood this: the experience itself seems akin to avian migration; travel, preen, breed, indulge in gluttonous hedonism and repeat. Anyway. Each to their own. If you must go, just remember to follow Aunty Boar’s guide, lads. Caution: all events and characters appearing in this guide are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead – even those based on real people – is purely coincidental. DO take a scapegoat. This may seem a bizarre suggestion but every group needs a friend whose sole worldly purpose is to serve as a metaphorical conduit for the group’s collective abuse, japes and jokes. The role itself is open to transferral and can be assigned or removed based on merit. Remember that casual bullying builds character and aids social development. DON’T construct a flamethrower out of highly-incendiary toilet roll, cheap lighter fluid and deodorant. If this was based on a real life event (which it isn’t), experience would say definitely do not then direct said fire at a toilet facility occupied by the aforementioned (fictional) scapegoat. Such childish behaviour could result in seriously singed eyebrows.
(Which it didn’t.) DO be adventurous. Go on, try something new. Go on, do it. Pussy. Listen to that voice in your head which, in the real world at least, you would otherwise suppress. Scientists have proven that the brain’s frontal lobe – responsible for assessing risks – continues to develop throughout the 20s. Your own brain is programmed to make you try new things. Do it a favour and live a little? DON’T become “the victim” though. We’ve all seen him: tanked up on cheap vodka and borderline illegal energy drinks, tottering between
bed-wetting lethargy and erstwhile-latent psychosis. In this state the young gentleman is a danger to himself and others. Sure, this is funny during the first five minutes, but surprisingly enough it becomes instantly unfunny the next morning when you awake with a Mohican, your ex-girlfriend’s name tattooed across a buttock and smelling like shame and undigested onion. DO chip in equally. Most people do so but occasionally it becomes blatantly obvious that one foolish cretin thinks they’re getting away with short-changing the rest. The logic behind this is unfathomable, the process itself doesn’t
even work, and oh yeah, you’re not getting away with it. DON’T ever, ever, ever take your top off on a night out. In this situation you’re just a massive prick jabbing into the eye of the universe’s collective consciousness. Men’s Health Magazine hasn’t come calling for a reason; no one cares about your rock solid one pack. Also, you don’t need NASA to prove that the moon doesn’t give out tans, so cover up and shut up. In fact, on that note... DO use sun cream. There’s no joke there; seriously, cancer is as much fun as a clown gate crashing a close relative’s funeral, one who proceeds to drop a warm one on the casket before punching the vicar. Depressing mortality notes aside, even on an aesthetic level tanning is utterly pointless, leaving the face confused and incapable of deciding whether it’s David Dickenson or badly weathered clay. And it takes ages to build up. And in the early stages you become a human lobster. Nom, attractive. DON’T be ignorant and trash the hotel. I know it’s all vaguely rockstarish to do so but then so too is dying in plane crashes. Not that we’re resorting to parental scare tactics or anything. Sure, be a little bit cheeky: why not line a whole box of Cheerios along the balcony “in case the birds get peckish”? The point is though, don’t make damage permanent. Poise gents, poise. Jordan Bishop
Cult Heroes: Garrincha - Anjo de Pernas Tortas Viral Shah takes a look at the weird, wonderful but ultimately tragic life of Brazil footballing legend Manuel Francisco dos Santos
hen Manuel Francisco dos Santos was born on the 28th of October 1933, the midwife noticed that his left leg was curved outward (it was six centimetres shorter than the right leg during his career) and his right leg curved inward. In the modern game, this Brazilian genius would have been shunned for lacking the physique of an athlete. Not that he thought football should be taken seriously. The playwright Nelson Rodrigues said of the man rumoured to have lost his virginity to a goat: “He is considered a retard, but we are the retarded ones – because we think, we rationalise. Next to him, next to the prodigious instantaneity of his reflexes, we are luggards, bovines, hippopotamuses.” He was born in the idyllic town of Pau Grande, 40km from Rio. Nicknamed Garrincha or little wren by his elder sister Rosa, his carefree attitude made sure the name stuck. He had a natural talent for football, but little else. He could accelerate brilliantly his ability to change direction whilst his dribbling was unrivalled in the town. He was kept on at the local textile factory where he started work at the age of fourteen just so he could play for the company’s football team. He was an awful employee, lazy and unambitious. But when he took to the pitch, noone cared. His ability to constantly humiliate his marker totally compensated for the lack of a work ethic. He
work after just forty seconds and set up Pele with barely a minute gone to also shoot against the upright. The opening onslaught summarized the style of Garrincha to the watching world. The game ended in a 2-0 victory, marking a partnership between Pele and Garrincha that saw Brazil remain undefeated when the two legends took to the pitch together. The partnership led to Brazil’s first World Cup victory. The 5-2 win against Sweden is remembered for Pele’s brace but it was the wing-play of Garrincha and crosses to striker Vava that created both of Brazil’s opening goals. In 1962, Brazil went to Chile with a similar squad. Four years older, most of the side were now nearing the end of their careers. Only a 21 year-old Pele (having scored 111 in 75 appearances the year before) and a little wren coming into his prime could provide the youth the national team required. Pele was injured in the second game and missed the rest of the tournament. It was up to Garrincha to inspire the Selecao, and until Maradona in 1986, no one player had ever had such an influence in a victorious World Cup campaign. He was sent off in the semi-final against Chile for kneeing an opposition defender in the bum, but due to heavy political interference (even the president of Peru got involved), he was allowed to play in the final. Away from the national side, he scored an astonish-
Barely literate, he often signed blank contracts... Garrincha had hard cash stashed in his cupboards in his Pau Grande home. The two-time World Cup winner was still living in a slum.
would have remained an amateur, had he not been taken reluctantly to trials at the big sides. He was turned away by Vasco Da Gama and Fluminense because he hadn’t brought any boots, while he left his trial at the latter earlier to catch the last train home. It changed in a trial for Botafogo, where he was placed on the wing against Nilton Santos, a member of the Brazil squad. He dribbled past the international defender as if it was a kickabout back in Pau Grande, nutmegging him in one dribble. He won a contract and promptly scored a hattrick on his full debut for Botafogo. There was an air of predictability about his ability, but that took nothing away from the sheer brilliance of a player who unfathomably stood upright when logic dictated that he should fall every time he ran. And he only fell when scythed down by desperate defenders. After showing fantastic form for his club, he was called up to the 1958 World Cup squad along with a certain 17 year old called Pele. He didn’t play in the opening two games (a win against Austria and a draw with England) but the Anjo de Pernas Tortas (the angel with bent legs) revealed his talent to the world against the USSR. Following a mesmerising dribble, he hit the wood-
ing 232 goals in 581 appearances for Botafogo, winning the state championship three times. 1962 was the most successful year in Garrincha’s career but it was the beginning of a tragic end. His knees could not take the pressure of his unique dribbling style as he put his whole body weight on one foot before feinting and changing direction to evade a defender. His cartilage was wrecked, but he decided against an operation after taking advice from his faith healer. He was called up to the 1966 squad despite a loss of form in the four years since his acts of brilliance in Chile. Brazil won their opening game 2-0 against Bulgaria with Pele also playing. He missed the second match versus Hungary, which Garrincha and co. lost 3-1. It was Garrincha’s final game for Brazil and the first he had lost (the others being 52 wins and seven draws). Pele returned to face Portugal but was kicked out of the match as Brazil limped home with a successive 3-1 loss. The simplicity of his character was exploited by many. He was one of the lowest paid players at Botafogo despite being the symbol of the club. He was never fiscally prudent like his team-mate Pele – barely literate,
» Garrincha takes a corner for Brazil in the 1958 World Cup final he often signed blank contracts. Pele trademarked his own name, invested his money and ran his own sports marketing company. Garrincha had hard cash stashed in his cupboards in his Pau Grande home. The two-time World Cup winner was still living in a slum. But with the genius on the pitch, there was controversy off it. He got a local girl pregnant during the seminal World Cup victory in Sweden, while his wife Nair Marques was back home in Pau Grande, tending to their daughters (she was to eventually give birth to eight in total). There were affairs and more children with other women too, including Elza Soares, a famous samba singer. Not to mention the heavy drinking and many car accidents. Garrincha was a notoriously bad
driver, running over his father whilst drunk after the 1958 World Cup. Elza Soares had some teeth knocked out during another bender, but the worst happened in 1966. Having returned from England, he was driving Elza’s mother to Pau Grande to see his children. According to Brazilian author Alex Bellos, he hit a lorry at fifty miles an hour, causing the car to flip over. Elza’s mother died. The accident caused Garrincha to fall into a state of depression, which was compounded with his heavy drinking, which increased once his career was effectively over. The couple moved to Rome and had a child together, but with a baby in the house, Garrincha’s drinking and mood got worse, as he started beating his wife. Elza left and Garrincha remarried for a third time. His ways did not change
and there were a number of suicide attempts following the death of Elza’s mother. The demise continued as Garrincha fell into an alcoholic coma after spending one morning drinking heavily. He died of cirrhosis of the liver on 20th January 1983. His bloated body was unrecognisable from the nimble athlete he once was. He was just 49 and left behind at least 14 children. They call Pele O Rei (the King) in Brazil, but Garrincha is known as Alegria do Povo ( Joy of the People). Garrincha’s story therefore appeals more to the typical Brazilian than that of Pele’s. It is one marred by tragedy where the protagonist, playing football just for fun, is exploited by the establishment and falls into a spiral of personal crisis. It is a human story.
Wimbledon: Will Federer claim No.7?
Alex Riddle previews Wimbledon, with several strong contenders in both the men and women’s tournaments
o once again, we return to the lush lawns of W18, for one of the undisputed highlights of the summer sporting calendar, Wimbledon, and a bill that includes the sport’s four brightest stars. There’s Roger Federer – arguably the greatest player to have ever played the game; Rafael Nadal – the man the rest argue for; Novak Djokovic – a player with only one defeat in 43 matches; and Andy Murray – the Brit with the expectations of a nation on his shoulders. The world’s top four players have gone head-to-head with one another numerous times over the last few years, but never has a Grand Slam seen them all in such form. Many observers felt Federer’s star was on the wane following a disappointing 2010, where he took just the one Grand Slam and relinquished his world number one spot – an almost unimaginable fall from grace for the most decorated man in the sport’s history. Yet the great Swiss remains the man to beat in a tournament that he has an almost spiritual connection with and an incredible dominance
over. The sight of the Blazer-sporting Federer lifting the famous trophy has become a staple of the British Summer – he will surely not be satisfied until he matches Pete Sampras’ haul of seven Wimbledon titles, a record he is agonizingly just one short of. His defeat of a seemingly unbeatable Novak Djokovic at the French Open proved that on this day he is just as brilliant as he ever was. Once derided by purists as the antithesis of Federer’s graceful pedigree tennis, Rafael Nadal has established himself as the most consistently ruthless player in the game – a position reinforced by his claiming a sixth crown at Rolland Garros (and a tenth Grand Slam in total) – a stunning feat for a man only recently turned 25. A master of all surfaces, combining brute physicality with audacious topspin and a tenacious will to win, the Spaniard is at the peak of his powers: the world number one, and reigning Wimbledon Champion, he hasn’t lost here since 2007. He begins as deserved favourite. Blessed with the best return of
serve in the game and incredible selfconfidence, great things were expected of Novak Djokovic. Yet this time last year he looked in danger of never quite fulfilling that awesome potential. His shock Semi-Final defeat to unfancied Thomas Berdych saw the Serb at his lowest ebb, but in the resulting year he has been spectacularly revitalised – a heroic five set win over
A master of all surfaces, combining brute physicality with audacious topspin, the Spaniard is at his peak Federer in the Semis of the US Open seeming to shatter a previously troublesome inferiority complex when up against the best on the biggest stages. He reaped the benefits of this shift in mentality during his remarkable 41 match winning streak from the beginning of 2011 – defeating all his major rivals, eventually brought to a halt at the French Open just one win
short of claiming the world number one ranking for the very first time. Victory here will put Djokovic on the top of the pile – a place he will feel he belongs. Following defeat to Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open, and a dismal run in the next few months, it was tempting to believe that Andy Murray had hit something of a glass ceiling in his career. Yet a career-best Semi-Final placing at Rolland Garros and his second title on the grass of Queens (in a run which included a stunning 59 minute demolition of perennial Wimbledon contender Andy Roddick) gives credence to a renewed sense that he is on the verge of his maiden Grand Slam, and that backed by the partisan W18 support, that long-awaited dream of a British Wimbledon winner might finally become a reality. However, being British, we should probably expect a heart-breaking Quarter-Final exit, and the sound of a million people losing interest in tennis for at least another year. While you’d be hard pressed to see
anyone else in the men’s draw overhauling those four players, the women’s draw on the other hand looks a lot more open. The Williams sisters will once more be in the running, and Maria Sharapova’s upturn in form suggests she is in with a real chance of reclaiming the title she won as a 17 year old. Caroline Wozniaki will be under pressure to deliver a first Grand Slam to merit her position at the top of the rankings, but has thus far underwhelmed in the prestige tournaments. If anyone looks likely to claim a maiden slam it is Vera Zvonareva, last year’s losing finalist, whose consistency and form over the last 12 months should see her go far. Finally, on a sad note, Kim Clijsters has had to withdraw from the competition with a foot injury. She has been a revelation since her return from retirement, and the woman recently named 16th on the TIME magazine list of the top 100 most influential people would have in with a real shot of her elusive first Wimbledon title.
Warwick Men’s Rowing pre-qualify for Henley
Alex Owen previews the chances of the Men’s VIII and reflects on the performance of women’s team at the famous regattas
s exams start to end and term three comes to a close, drinks start flowing and thoughts turn to festivals, summer sun and returning to the comforts of home. However, for Warwick Rowing, this is on hold. They have one more hurdle to overcome. It’s the big one. The one the whole summer season has been building for: the Henley Royal Regatta – the pinnacle of our summer season. Henley is set on one of the best known stretches of water in the world and each summer plays host to competitive racing between the world’s best international crews. Set in the historic town in South Oxfordshire, crews battle it out in a one-on-one knockout system, where only victory is enough to take you through to the next round. Henley Royal Regatta is held over five days, Wednesday 29th June - Sunday 3rd July, with each day representing a new round. The banks on both sides of the river are packed every day of the regatta, bringing the rowing world the closest it will ever come to an arena. If the rowing isn’t for you, then the socialising certainly is. Imagine Notorious Monday’s but replacing the vodbulls for Pimm’s and your Vialli’s kebab for a riverside picnic, and you are on your way. All are seen fully embracing the opportunity to indulge in a five-day long quintessentially English affair by making the most of the opportunity for the gents to don their rowing blazers and the ladies to show off their new summer dresses. However, for the men of Warwick rowing, the Pimm’s has to wait. To compete at Henley, rowers don’t prepare in halves. To be alongside the best, you have to train like the best.
For the club’s senior men and women, this means a gruelling schedule of land training including rowing machine, weights and running as well as kilometre after kilometre of water time. Henley is the one regatta that university crews yearn to win above all others. For every stroke taken down the 2168 metres of the Henley course, 7 hours of preparation has been done. Warwick Men’s rowing has a varied and exciting history at Henley Royal Regatta, where they have mostly competed in the Temple Challenge cup, in which only eight-man boats can compete. However, the Men’s 1st VIII had their most successful campaign competing for the Prince Albert Cup in 2002, a race with fourman boats plus a coxswain. Current British Olympian, Tom Solesbury, led the boat to the third round (Friday) before being knocked out by Harvard University, the eventual winners of the event, in a closely fought contest. Since 2002, Warwick have attempted to qualify for the Temple Challenge Cup seven times, and have been successful qualifiers in five of those attempts. In 2009, Warwick posted the 2nd fastest qualification time with current University of Warwick Boat Club’s President Ivan Indilo, Senior Men’s Captain Jamie Palmer and Ben Ellison, who was part of Oxford’s winning boat in the 2011 Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race. This year promises to be another successful year for Warwick Rowing. For the first time in university history, the Warwick Men’s 1st VIII has pre-qualified. The calibre of prequalifying crews is exceptionally high, including universities such as
» This year’s men’s rowing team have pre-qualified for Henley photo: Alex Owen Nereus, Durham A, Florida, Harvard, IC, Newcastle A, Brookes A, Queens, Reading, R.S.V.O.U Holland, Trinity Dublin, Bristol A, Berkeley, Groningen, UL, Virginia and Yale. The Warwick Men’s 1st VIII at the main tournament will consist of: Oliver James, Dan Garside, James Cooper, Ivan Indilo, Damir Rasidovic, Jure Jerić, Jamie Palmer, Alex Owen and Pete Holloway. The eight have been coached by ex-Warwick student and previous Men’s Captain James Webb. The Men’s 2nd VIII will also be attempting qualification on the 24th June and have posted some promising results in the pre-Henley events,
resulting in a confident crew heading into the qualifiers. The women competed last week at the Women’s counterpart of Henley Regatta, impressively reaching the quarter finals. Women’s rowing has come on leaps and bounds since it began at Warwick, with the dedicated work of their current coach, Ross Martin. Sadly, after nine years’ service to the club, the women’s squad say goodbye to Ross as he starts a new adventure with a job in Australia. However, with the appointment of Rob Fellowes, another ex-Warwick student, as Ross’s successor, they look set to progress even further on
what has already been a great year for women’s rowing at Warwick. This year’s Henley Women’s Regatta has proven to be to be a really good opportunity for the female rowers at the club to prove their worth amongst the best oarswomen in the country. We wish luck to the men, who also have high expectations, hoping to match the achievements of the women’s team in reaching the quarter final. Results of Warwick’s performance will be updated through the Warwick Rowing Twitter feed @warwickrowing and their Facebook group ‘Warwick Rowing’. Further information about the club can be found at www.uwbc.org.