Film Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ Review Page 15
Arts Julia Armfield addresses our lack of literary ladies Page 10
Volume 6 | Issue 3 Wednesday 26 October 2011 thefounder.co.uk
the independent student newspaper of royal holloway, university of london
On campus bank put to NatRest Christian Leppich Students and staff alike make constant use of the Natwest branch on campus as the only source of obtaining free cash withdrawals and even taking financial advice. This is all set to change when, on the 9th December, the branch will close its doors. The university, however, is making assurances that the closure will be delicately handled to minimise the inconvenience to the vast numbers that make daily use of the bank’s facilities. The most prolific issue that the closure of the branch raises is that of whether or not the cash machines will either remain or be replaced. Were the Natwest machines to be removed, the only remaining cash point on campus would be located in the bar of Medicine, a machine that charges £1.50 for every withdrawal. Those in the universities financial department agree that leaving a single cash point to service the entire campus would be an untenable arrangement and, as a result, they have stated that they have the complete intention of providing cash points in the current Natwest building for the foreseeable future. In addition to this, the loss of the presence of a staffed branch that manages many students’ accounts
(due to the popularity of the Natwest Student Account) as well as supervising the difficult financial situations of various foreign students that attend Royal Holloway, will undoubtedly be awkward. However
the matter is merely one of geography; with Egham town centre’s close proximity to campus, and with the High Street’s numerous banks, students are unlikely to feel dramatically inconvenienced by the closure.
Although those in the university claimed that they could not disclose the specific reason for Natwest leaving the campus, they could reveal that the decision to close the branch lay with Natwest rather than the
university. The most likely reason, fittingly, is probably a financial one; with Natwest’s owner RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) recently banning all staff Christmas parties, it is evident that the financial crisis is still causing a significant drive for cost cutting and the staffing of the Royal Holloway branch could conceivably fall under this banner. The Assistant Finance Director for Royal Holloway, Jenny Febry, stated that she believes that it is “in everyone’s interest to have cash machines and banking facilities on campus.” This of course raises the possibility of another bank or alternative facilities replacing Natwest in the Spring Term, although the university has yet to announce any such plans. The Natwest branch will remain open until the end of the Autumn Term, with the major disruption of losing the current cash machines taking place outside of term time in the Christmas break and during which the university hopes to have found a substitute for the current machines. Although the future of any bank’s presence on campus remains as yet unclear, the reassurance from the university of replacing the cash machines prior to the Spring Term ensures that campus life should remain largely unaffected.
Lydia Mahon tangles with media discrimination in the search for missing people
Toby Fuller asks why the country is so against drug legalisation
Harun Musho’d reveals the RHUL students vying for a demo with Charlie Hugall in the ULU Music League
HARBEN LETS your oldest and largest private landlord www.harbenlets.co.uk 07973 224125
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
The Founder The Independent Student Newspaper of Royal Holloway, University of London Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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tf editorial team Editor-in-Chief Jack Lenox Editors Ashley Coates & David Bowman Designed by Tom Shore & Jack Lenox
News Editor Jessica Phillipson Features Editor Felicity (Fizz) King Film Editor Nathaniel Horne
Pictures Amy Taheri Joshua Staines Julian Farmer Sport Editor Ben Hine
Arts Editor Julia Armfield
Sub-Editors Mariella de Souza Tarli Morgan
Music Editor Harun Musho’d
Art Director Tom Shore
The Founder is the independent student newspaper of Royal Holloway, University of London. We distribute at least 4,000 free copies every fortnight during term time around campus and to popular student venues in and around Egham. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Editor-in-Chief or of The Founder Publications Ltd, especially of comment and opinion pieces. Every effort has been made to contact the holders of copyright for any material used in this issue, and to ensure the accuracy of this fortnight’s stories. For advertising and sponsorship enquiries, please contact the Business Director: email@example.com Web www.thefounder.co.uk Email firstname.lastname@example.org The Founder is published by The Founder Publications Ltd and printed by Mortons Print Ltd All copyright is the exclusive property of The Founder Publications Ltd No part of this publication is to be reproduced, stored on a retrieval system or submitted in any form or by any means, without prior permission of the publisher © The Founder Publications Ltd. 2011, Unit 6 St Saviours Wharf, 23 Mill Street, London SE1 2BE
Royal Holloway Pearson partnership Victoria Brown This summer it was announced that Royal Holloway and publishing giant Pearson would enter into a partnership that would allow the publisher to offer four vocational degrees at further education colleges across the country. The university would validate and substantiate the degree, whilst Pearson, one of the world’s principal publishers, would develop it. Pearson, which does not have the power to award degrees itself, expects the courses to be available from September 2012 and is in talks with colleges that could potentially teach the degrees. This move comes after the recent publication of a government white paper on higher education written by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willets, outlining plans to “make it easier for new providers to enter the sector”. Although other companies such as McDonalds offer degrees in partnership with universities, this is the first instance with a company that already offers other qualifications; Pearson provides vocational
courses such as BTEC’s and HND’s and owns the exam board, Edexcel. At present in the UK there are five private companies, one of which is for profit, that have the power to award degrees; a status that Pearson ultimately hopes to obtain. In his recent government white paper, David Willets detailed plans to set aside 20,000 places to degree providers charging less than £7,500 a year with it expected that the majority would go to private companies such as Pearson and further education colleges. This has been seen as a move to remedy the fact that many universities will be charging £9,000 a year from 2012. Pearson announced its plans to offer vocational degrees at “competitive” prices after meeting with Willets in December 2010, after the minister also met representatives of the Education Management Corporation (EDMC) and Apollo, two private American companies currently under investigation for improper student recruitment practises. The meetings have attracted criticism from both the opposition and the lecturers’ union. Labour MP Barry Gardiner describes the meetings between Willets, who spoke at a
2010 Pearson conference, and these private companies as “extraordinary and appalling” whilst the general secretary of the lecturers’ union has expressed concern at the idea of ‘for-profit’ degrees commenting: “Events in America have shown the for-profit model is fraught with danger for student and taxpayer alike”. However Rod Bristow, the president of Pearson UK, has stated that the degree would give students greater choice letting them “study closer to home, [and] do some of it online”. The course is expected to cost £7,500 or less in light of the outlined government plans yet currently no fees have been announced and it is unclear whether this amount will be set by the company or the colleges and whether it can be removed from the state subsidised tuition scheme. The deputy principal of Royal Holloway, Professor Rob Kemp, has said of the partnership that: “Our founders, in opening colleges for women in the 19th century, were the first to address the challenge of widening access and we are delighted to continue with tradition today by supporting Pearson in this initiative”.
Sexual Assault in SU Gender Neutral Toilets David Bowman Editor Following Friday nights military themed SU night a male was arrested after a sexual assault allegedly took place in the new gender neutral toilets. The top floor of the union was closed off to all attendees and SU staff were not informed of the alleged incident. The toilets were introduced with the intent to “provide a safer alternative to traditional male and female toilets” according to the SU website. At the time of writing no official information regarding the matter has been released although the police are still investigating the incident. Although a number of students questioned the practicality of the
toilets and many speculated that an incident such as this was inevitable the SU has stated that the toilets are going nowhere.
NUS approves day of protest Alistair Hemmings The National Union of Students (NUS) has given its official approval and support to a day of protest on the 9th November 2011 in opposition to the increase in student fees imposed by the coalition government last year. The NUS staged similar protests throughout November 2010, which ended in violence, rioting, an assault on the Conservative Party headquarters, and an attack on the car of Prince Charles and Camilla. Royal Holloway students from the Anti-Cuts Alliance (ACA) staged a sit-in in the Founders Picture Gallery, but none were arrested or seriously injured in central London. The then NUS president, Aaron Porter, was quick to condemn the violent actions of the protesters last year, so
the decision of the NUS to vocalise its support for this bout of protests is an interesting one that could potentially backfire. An estimated 50,000 people took part in the previous demonstrations, which cost an estimated £7.5 million in policing costs. The figure was taken before the costs of the clean-up operation and compensation claims made due to the widespread damage caused by protesters. This round of protests has been organised in coalition with the more radical organisation, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, raising the question of the potential for more radical consequences as a result. Whilst the NUS only supports peaceful student protests, it seems that there is little that they can actually do to stop the protests from becoming violent.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Record number European G.M. Watch Students in British GM Harder universities, but non-EU students still pay the price David Bowman Editor
Jessica Phillipson News Editor In a new report from Universities UK, it has been revealed that a record 125,000 students from the European Union were awarded places at higher education institutions in Britain last year – 35,000 more than ten years ago. The total number of students – both undergraduates and postgraduates – in the UK has increased by 28 per cent over the last decade to just under 2.5 million. The report provides statistics from over 130 institutions of higher education across Britain. As EU students contribute towards the maximum number of university places, they are in direct competition with UK students. Despite the increasing number of British students applying for university places every year, the percentage in-
crease of those going to university is less than that of EU students, with a 20 per cent increase in British students and a 40 per cent increase in EU students over ten years. In addition, EU students are entitled to the same government subsidised loan as UK students, causing concern as figures show the amount of money owed by European graduates increased from £42m in 2008 to £167m just a year later. However, EU students still only account for 5 per cent of the total student body and many students from the UK are able to enjoy easy access to enriching exchange programmes due to our friendly relations with the rest of Europe. The report also revealed that the largest rise in admissions came from foreign students outside of the EU who do not count towards the cap on places and can be charged much higher tuition fees – in some cases
eight times as much as students from the EU and the UK. Approximately 280,760 international students were admitted to universities in the UK last year, which is more than double the number ten years ago. At Royal Holloway in the 2009/10 academic year, 20% of our students came from outside of the EU, but contributed £22,096,000 in tuition fees, which is more than the £21,882,000 contributed by UK and EU students combined. Royal Holloway is not unique in this respect; many British universities are increasingly relying on the tuition fees from overseas students to make up the deficit in higher education budgets. As university fees in the UK increase and the international university market becomes more competitive, British universities risk losing their global status for academic excellence.
High times on the Green Jessica Phillipson A 36 year old man has been arrested after police raided his house on Elmbank Avenue and found approximately 23 suspected cannabis plants growing in the garden. This ended two weeks in which four raids were carried out in Addlestone, Chertsey, Egham and Englefield Green, all producing similar amounts of cannabis plants. Despite this, police maintain that the incidents were not related and argue that Runnymede does not have a drug problem. Inspector Nield insisted that these incidents were the result of tip-offs from the community which coincidentally came at the same time. Egham Residents’ Association spokesperson, Genna Clark, said: “It’s great that the police are getting results and closing in on these people but it is still very disappointing to have this sort of activity on the doorstep of your community.” Cannabis is used for a variety of purposes, such as for its fibre
flickr/ sillydog (hemp), its medicinal properties to treat illnesses such as glaucoma, and as a recreational drug. Cannabis is a Class B drug – it is illegal to have for yourself, to give away or to sell. Possession is illegal whatever the reason for use, including pain relief. The penalty for possession of cannabis can be up to five years in jail. Supplying someone else can get
you fourteen years and an unlimited fine, and, even if it is given away, it is also considered ‘supplying’ under the law. Allowing other people to use cannabis in your house or any other premises is illegal. If the police catch someone smoking cannabis on any property, they can prosecute the landlord, owner or person holding the party.
In a time of cuts and efficiency savings, perhaps we should be grateful that ‘60 Second Sabb’ is being extended...
I decided to start writing these articles with the intent of them fulfilling some kindv of public service commitment by letting you the readers know what arcane rituals are performed at SURHUL’s general meetings and perhaps encourage some of you to actually go, so the sane proportion of students have some degree of representation there. Well I’m sorry to announce that I have horribly failed in my duties as I left half way through on account of not hating myself. If the Orbitals liveblog (which you should all read) is anything to go by the meeting lasted a grand total of five hours. Five hours! That’s about a terms worth of work for a management student. With the lack of any obvious SU hate figure having emerged yet, unlike last years host of pantomime villains it wasn’t even possible to get angry during the meeting. It was just really really boring. I shed a tiny tear as the final round of 60-second sabb ensued (where the sabbatical officers tell us what they’ve been up to) which is now going to be replaced by three minute ‘Sabbatical Updates’ for the sake of greater accountability. Postgraduate Students Officer David Pavitt made the good point that this motion was perhaps not the best of ideas as it should be in the interests of the students to keep the meetings as short as possible (he’s right!) and that if we want to read about what the sabbs have been up to we can get a full account on their blogs which of course each and every sabb keeps updated and recent (he’s wrong!). VPSA Jake Wells informed us about the upcoming RAG naked calendar, VPComCam Sarah Honeycombe enthused about the lobby outside college council and VPEdWelfare Katie Blow told us ‘I look like a whale, I am so angry’ but she did at least get to be president for the day as the great leader was on annual leave. What President Dan Cooper has
been up to however is outlined in great detail on his blog on the SURHUL website (which is to his credit very up to date) and contains details on the most recent college council meeting (the highest decision making body in all the land) which is well worth a read as the college’s own website appears to have neglected to put the minutes and agendas of any meeting online since January. A number of interesting and indeed uninteresting questions were raised from the floor including one student who noted that Wedderburn recycling is being put in with general waste which ethics and environment officer Ed Resek has promised to get to the bottom of and another student who wondered why Holloway’s excellent Insanity Radio isn’t being played in SU venues. Sarah Honeycombe promised that by the end of the week this goes to print that Insanity will be played in the SU. Hurrah! The second motion of the evening following the sabbatical update motion was put forward and went into discussions for a very long time. It was brutal. It was about what file formats should documents on the SU website be in. There’s literally no way I can make this sound interesting but I am pleased to inform you that it was set as a procedural motion meaning that it will also be discussed at the next meeting. See you there guys! Finally the creation of an information officer was discussed which would involve the handling of data security. This would involve one officer having access to a lot of sensitive data which a number of people in the room found objectionable but MSL who is the company that currently runs the abysmal SU website has proven to be extremely hackable and this was mentioned in the same breath as allegations of electoral rigging at the SU which the chair was quick to dismiss. As the details and implications of the role were fairly complicated the general meeting decided to refer the motion to the executive who will no doubt find the motion equally complicated. And it was at this point that I snuck off home. Following this there were a couple of hours of elections for various representatives and sub-committee positions that were largely uncontested.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Drugs: the victimless crime Toby Fuller Comment & Debate Editor Why is it that in the modern day and, as we are so often told, in one of the most liberal and tolerant societies in the world, are drugs not only classified as illegal but subjected to a degree of social stigma that can be compared to that of an extreme psychological perversion? Recently Jeremy Clarkson described how even lighting a cigarette at a dinner party can produce the same shock and revulsion as ‘publicly masturbating’. Why do we find our ‘progressive’ and ‘modernising’ political leaders of both sides of the house, at the slightest whisper of the legalisation of drugs, clustering behind the back benches and party faithful in order to escape the lip-smacking war cry of the suburban housewife, wildly swinging the Daily Mail above her head? Surely by now we can give up the populist claims of public interest and admit that there is no argument intellectually robust enough to legitimise the complete prohibition of recreational drug use? No doubt people will claim that the undeniable health benefits of marijuana and even ecstasy simply do not outweigh the negative impact that drug use would have on the fabric of our society. Despite the benefits of ecstasy in the treatment of soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress, as shown by the recent conducted by Rick Doblin of the American research group MAPS, one cannot legitimise the use of drugs by the general public. However, the issue is not simply one of medical progression. It is time we fully addressed the impact the drugs trade has on our society, how the black market which is dominated by criminal gangs, fuels violence, theft, extortion and a general reign of terror that grips the most impoverished areas of our towns and inner-cities. When approximately 55% of the prison population enter the system with a serious drug problem, can we really afford to ignore the obvious correlation between the illegal drugs trade and the crime that inevitably surrounds it? If one consid-
flickr/ rhinoneal ers the contemporary issue of gang crime as analogous to the prohibition of alcohol in 1920s America, perhaps the issue becomes clearer. But no, it would appear that the concept of drugs as an absolute moral ill has become so engrained in the collective consciousness of the nation that our image of ‘the user’ has become the emaciated, needle scarred, slurring shell of a being that is nothing more than a drain on our society. Yet here is the most fallacious syllogism that has been repeatedly fed by the educational propaganda for the past half
a century. As I write this article, ingesting the nicotine and caffeinated drinks being used in my desperate attempt to numb the pain of last nights intoxication, I cannot help but think of how many doctors, lawyers, academics and politicians lead their lives as functional alcoholics. Why then, is it is so absurd to think that they are unable to do so when using say cannabis or even cocaine? The image of drug addiction that has been portrayed by both the media and the government is one of poverty. The doctor using the finest
Columbian blend will no doubt be able to fully function in his duties as a medical professional and probably provide the perfect ideal of the bourgeois father and husband. It is the poor and the ignorant, those who are forced to inject the near lethal concoction of heroin and sand into their veins as they shelter on the street corner, perpetually committing petty crime in order to escape their debtors, that we see as the horror of drug use. This is an issue that we can hide behind in the safety of our intellectual microcosm of university
life. Behind these Victorian walls we can romanticise the mind altering state of Coleridge, Wilde, Rimbaud, and from time to time even ourselves, and put it down to foolish experimentation. But there are those for whom this issue is real and is one that has consequences. Let us hide no more, forget the social norms and mores for just one moment, and consider the problem rationally. Can we finally move towards not only a system of greater social utility, but a strengthening of our own moral integrity?
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
A woman’s right?
Joanna Dunmore The news that Conservative MP Nadine Dorries was heavily defeated last month in her bid to pass an abortion amendment in the House of Commons was met, at least by me, with intense relief. The amendment proposed to strip abortion providers with the right to provide
their own counselling and instead encourage ‘independent’ providers to perform the service, such as pro-life campaign groups and multi-faith organisations. Now the problem is, the last time I checked, I didn’t live in the Bible Belt. I was under the impression that a woman’s jurisdiction over her own body has been a guaranteed right in the UK since the Abortion Act of
1967. The absolute right to access termination services, provided the pregnancy is under 24 weeks, is one of the laws which makes this country great. It reflects the liberal, western and democratic values which we have up until now, with Dorries’ attempt to chip away at the Abortion Act, taken completely for granted. Some might argue that as Dor-
ries’ attempts were unsuccessful, one shouldn’t be overly worried about the power of the pro-life voice in the UK. However 118 MP’s backed Dorries proposals. 118 members of Parliament agreed that women contemplating a termination should have to face counseling from potentially pro-life or faith based groups who would undoubtedly strive to deter her. Dorries’
argument that ‘people being paid to carry out abortions shouldn’t be offering pre-abortion counseling’ is completely obscure. Nobody likes or advocates the idea of an abortion and unless I’m very much mistaken, doctors aren’t clamouring to perform these procedures, nor are they paid via commission. Dorries’ argument is a blatant attempt to create another hoop in the system, one which women must jump through to gain access to a right that should be indisputable. Yet this ‘right’ is arguably over regulated; women seeking terminations are often completely at the mercy of doctors’ own opinions on the matter. Whilst I am not disputing a doctor’s right to abstain from this particular area of medicine or the process of gaining a secondary medical opinion, it is horrific that even in 2011, women are sometimes dissuaded from this path by doctors’ ability to obstruct, delay or even veto a woman’s decision by refusing to refer them on to other professionals. Dorries, however, seems to think that women need another layer of bureaucracy to fight through. This reattempt at creating a barrier between women and termination services is undoubtedly reminiscent of the US and its volatile relationship with abortion rights. The American pro-life voice is undeniably louder. However, the difference between the US and the UK is that pro-life politicians such as Sarah Palin are open and honest about their aims. The most unsettling difficulty that I find with Dorries and her attempts is that she hides in the guise of being pro-choice. How can a woman claiming to believe in a woman’s control over her own body also aim to reduce the number of abortions in the UK by 30%. How can she claim to advocate equal opportunities for men and women whilst promoting the need for only young girls to be taught the virtues of abstinence as part of the curriculum? Not only is Dorries clouding the image of pro-choice believers everywhere, but in my opinion she has propelled the country on a downward spiral of anti-abortion legislation. We have worked too hard to establish these basic rights for women to allow politicians (who might I add abortively represent a male opinion) to chip away at them. In Nadine Dorries’ own words: ‘We lost the battle but we have won the war.’ Something tells me that Ms Dorries is wrong; the war is only just beginning.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Jimmy the Djin Sabeen King Once upon a time, in 1633 to be precise, there lived a ten year old boy called Edmund Robinson. He lived in Lancashire with his father and mother, who would send him out each day to do his chores. One day, Edmund decided to do a naughty thing. Rather than bringing home his father’s cattle as instructed, he decided to play truant. He wasted the entire day by playing in the woods. However, on the way home he started to grow nervous. He anticipated the whipping which he knew he would get from his father. Rather than telling the truth about what a naughty little boy he had been, he decided to do the opposite. You guessed it. He told a porky pie. Edmund went straight home and told his daddy a long story about how in the woods, he found two
nasty greyhounds. He tried to fend them off, but they transformed into women from their town, one of whom was their neighbour, Frances Dickenson. The women took the little boy and forced him deeper into the woods where he was made to watch a Sabbath, attended by sixty more ‘witches’. And his story worked! His daddy was so shocked, he forgot all about the whipping. In fact, Mr Robinson was so taken by his son’s story, he went straight down to the local parish churches to see if little Edmund could identify any more faces from the gatherings. The result? Twenty innocent women were accused of witchcraft. Their bodies were inspected for ‘witch-marks’ and seventeen were consequently convicted and imprisoned. Their lives and those of their families were ruined forever more. This is a sad story. But it all happened a very long time ago.
Nothing like this would happen nowadays, right? Let me tell you another story. Fiza Chohan is a twenty year old young woman. She comes from a good Muslim family in Manchester and has attended the local mosque with her parents, brothers and sisters since she was a child. She is ambitious and intelligent, but her family is set on determining her future for her by arranging her marriage and hand picking a nice young Pakistani gentleman for her to spend the rest of her life with. Fiza does not refuse. She wants to make her mother happy, so she gives her trust, agreeing to hand herself over to whoever her mother deems the most appropriate suitor. Everything seemed to be going along smoothly for Fiza’s parents until one day, they heard her talking to herself in her bedroom. Her mother entered. ‘Who are you talking to, Fiza?’
‘Jimmy’. Fiza told her mother that she was possessed by an evil djin called Jimmy. He would repeatedly cause Fiza to act in unexplainable ways. He made her talk loudly each night when she was alone in her room and during the day, her eyes would glaze over and she would make snide remarks to her parents. Fiza being my cousin, I naturally grew rather concerned when I heard about this. Her mother had been carting her all over Manchester to see various psychiatrists, and even to Pakistan where Maulvis would read religious texts in an attempt to release her from Jimmy’s influence. Eventually I found the stomach to confront her. I rang her up and asked what on earth was going on. And to my surprise, she burst out laughing. She had been making the whole thing up all along. Jimmy was a scapegoat. An excuse for anything
flickr/ halderman that ever went wrong. Jimmy would allow her to stay up late into the night and talk on her mobile. If she ever let anything rude slip out to her parents, it was Jimmy’s fault! Not hers. Jimmy bought her time, and he acted as a distraction. It was impossible for her mother to find her a husband; her family had much bigger fish to fry. Just like Edmund Robinson, Fiza used the knowledge of her religion and abused her parents’ belief in it to invent a story, thereby escaping their control. For a number of years now, Fiza has been telling her parents that she is being possessed by a djin called Jimmy, finding the whole thing hilarious. On the surface, such a prank may seem like fun and games. But what my cousin does not realise is the danger behind what she is doing. Edmund’s story started as an equally harmless little tale, but it escalated and grew out of control until the lives of innocent women were put into jeopardy. Religion is a powerful thing. It is not a thing to be taken lightly, and to use someone else’s beliefs for personal gain is one of the most dangerous things which one can do.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Insanity rocks student union
of music chosen by an establish Student Union DJ. The offending song was ‘Everyone has Aids’ from the film Team America, which hapThe title of this article may mislead pened to make some students feel people into believing that Insanity ostracised within their own Student Radio has recently produced a fan- Union. Should this minority view tastic night of entertainment at the command the attention it has been Students’ Union, but in fact nothing given? We say no! It has become of the like occurred. Contrastingly, increasingly apparent that student the ongoing pressure to get the politics has fallen into to the hands SU-backed radio played in the hall of a boisterous, belligerent minoritself is as likely as the Students’ Un- ity that believes the loudest voice ion responding well to this article. should dictate policy. The song The real story behind this increasin question, while on an unusual ingly irrelevant title-head ocsubject, caused a complaint by one curred a couple of weeks ago with person. A complaint that probably took longer to articulate than this an outburst from some students who were offended by the choice light-hearted and self-mocking
Toby Bromige & Greg Goss-Durant
song. This in turn has ‘snowballed’ into a political nightmare for the ever-silent majority, eroding away the democratic value of the freedom of expression, replacing it with a fascist agenda which threatens to silence anybody that could offend another member of the Union. Isn’t the ability to offend a pinnacle of British humour anyway? To put it into perspective could you take away the right of massive national newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, to publish controversial articles that could lead to offending subsections of society? In condemning this song a figure close to the SU President, described it as having a ‘base’ sense of humour, forgetting
entirely that humour is subjective and possibly causing offence to the vast majority who, according to the DJ, received it well. While this entire topic is very trivial, as we must all remember that our Union’s primary function is an entertainment’s venue, the fact is the Union is being hi-jacked by a select few, who strikingly resemble Napoleon’s committee of pigs in Animal Farm. We offer to create a ‘B****list’ (censored in accordance with new SU laws on the Freedom of the Press) of songs that could possibly offend the rainbow of diversity that our Student Union Constitution so militantly protects. Any str**ght thinking individual must suddenly
realise that the Union’s playlist would be shortened to anything without lyrics, or loud noises. We hope that our logic has prevailed to the majority over this attempt of censorship that our Student Union feels entitled to implement at its will. In an attempt to reassert the point we must reminds ourselves that it is just a song, and more importantly we must hold to account the Student Union in its attempts to censor our democratic freedom from which they get their authority. In the words of Augustus Caesar: “Cooper, give me back my Union!”
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Steve Jobs: just another capitalist? Jessica Wax-Edwards The recent death of Apple computer’s co-founder Steve Jobs has spawned a swell of media bile deifying the vman as some kind of paragon of human achievement. Something needs to be said about to this. Although an excellent entrepreneur, innovator and public speaker, Jobs was a run-of-themill capitalist exploiter of Eastern poverty. I am sure this article will seem poorly timed to some but the message intended is just as important now as it ever has been. The 56 year-old multi-millionaire once said “being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.” So what, we have to ask ourselves, does Steve Jobs mean by something wonderful? He can’t possibly be referring to the thousands of Chinese workers exploited in making the iPod and other Apple products. I would also doubt he means the suicides committed by the overworked Foxconn employees, the company that makes the much loved iPad. Nope. What he means is a remarkable and innovative list of technological advancements that multiplied the stock value of the company 65-fold in ten years. Despite the impressiveness of this feat it is overshadowed by the huge violations of human rights and labour laws that go with it. It was only after the ninth employee suicide in May of last year that iPad production company Foxconn erected 3 million square metres of yellow netting around the building. The working conditions in these factories are so severe that many workers either die or kill themselves as a result: minimum twelve hour working days (not counting hours of unpaid overtime to reach Western demands); thirteen consecutive workdays before a rest day; verbal and physical abuse for
so much as not standing still. One of the workers said, “We are like livestock”. Holocaust survivors have used the same words to describe their experience and the situation can just as easily be likened to that of the concentration camps. These people are literally worked to death. How is this an acceptable consequence for products that are essentially superfluous? This year there have been more than 126,000 strikes in China against the exploitation and viola-
tion of labour laws but, for obvious reasons, American corporations, particularly the Chamber of Commerce, have been leading a massive lobbying campaign to pressure both the Chinese and American governments to prevent the formation of trading unions. Costs must remain low and profits high, whatever the consequence. And yet I write this on my Hewlett-Packard computer, most likely made in one of these Foxconn establishments or similar.
These days every bit of plastic or piece of clothing we own comes from exploiting others. So why do I target Apple? Why Steve Jobs? Apple is the world’s leading brand in the electronics industry. If Jobs, both the pioneer and public image of Apple, had advocated publicly the improvement of labour conditions the filtering effect through the electronic industry as a whole would have had enormous potential. Steve Jobs was the trailblazer; the others just followed. Unfor-
tunately, as capitalism dictates, profit is more important than fair labour conditions. A company won’t change for moral reasons, stockholders will only implement a reform when their profits are at risk. Of course the most powerful impetus for change is pressure from the consumers, but as long as we don’t care, why should they? So instead of lamenting the passive advocacy of this tycoon we venerate his memory, as if his death eclipses those he indirectly caused.
Guy Ferrett reviews Noel Gallagherâ€™s latest album inside!
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Literary Ladies: They don’t make ‘em like this any more Julia Armfield Arts Editor So here’s the thing. My telly has rather been letting me down, just recently. This is not to say, by any means, that I have yet resorted to watching less of it (because hi, there’s a proportionate reaction and then there’s lunacy) but nonetheless, the sheer scale of what I can only describe as the Lady-Fail that has been going down on my TV screen this season is certainly beginning to prompt me towards more drastic measures. It’s a question that I think bears some serious head-scratching. Where have all the great TV girls gone? A year ago, I would have laughed down the quivering nose of this question and asked it to look no further, please, than Amy Pond in the brand new Steven Moffat Doctor Who. But this season? The girl was a holographic projection of herself; in reality stuck in a box waiting to go into labour all season, while her husband was dragged to the forefront and she faded into wailing obscurity. Amy Pond, not to put too fine a point on it, became little more nor less than Amy The Mother, and it’s an instigation of the kind of damaging stereotype that I’ve been seeing on every channel of my tellybox just recently. Merlin, of which I never exactly held as a paradigm of female empowerment anyway (and/or plot), has fared no better, dividing its female characters squarely into the cover-all camps of evil witch and domesticservant-with-breasts, both of whom are about as useless at getting anything done as each other and just as lacking in the dialogue department. Other channels are providing similar cause for concern, with various of ITV’s favourite imports, such as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, providing us with little more than flat-ironed heroines from the Bella Swan school of “Stand There And Look Aroused At Your Own Distress”, whilst Channel 4 has Hollyoaks: The Wedding going on right now, which I don’t even have the strength to address. Meanwhile, over on my dubiously-acquired American TV channels, even my ardent love for Zooey Deschanel
Julia’s list of exceptional literary heroines and all the things they can teach us Bertha Mason (Jane Eyre): Penelope So what if he didn’t take proper (The Odyssey): note of your milder eccen-
tricities circa your first date? He Patience is a virtue. made his choice. He married you. Fry the bastard.
Eowen Cassandra (The Lord the Rings): (The Illiad of One woman truly can do what et. Al): five million men can’t. Namely,
Nothing says self-belief like killing the chief Ring-wraith sticking to your story when the without crying, falling over or entirety of Greek Mythology is whining for a loo break. calling you a liar.
cannot quite mask the Dirty Dancing-obsessed flatness of her character Jess in new sitcom, New Girl, and the less said about the latest season of Glee’s leather-skirted attempt to address feminism, the better. These days, it can hardly be denied that TV is our foremost medium. Able, simply by virtue of its format, to be both more topical and more involved than either literature or film, it is a means of beaming attitudes and opinions into our houses daily and weekly, whilst reminding us of the broader views in the outside world. With this in mind, if the women we are currently being presented with via TV are really the recognised norm - the best we can aspire to be - then what kind of an outlook is that? To put it another way, when one’s best friend turns to one over a gin-fuelled ‘Made In Chelsea’ party and states in tones of mild despair that “Caggie’s not so bad. She did tell Spencer to shut up that one time”, you know your female representation has truly slid beyond the point of no return. Perhaps it’s just me, and yes, I admit that even I
don’t have time to watch all telly, so who knows what shining beacons of feminist hope I’m missing on Channel Five or Starz (although God help us if Camelot is all we have to pin our hopes to), but as far as I can tell from my own viewing proclivities, we’re in dire straits just now, my girls. Or at least, we are until Miranda comes back. And so it was, that I, having sat through the last episode of Doctor Who with a gently-forming rictus on my already decomposing Postgrad face, slammed the TV off with an air of aggressive mourning and sat down with a glass of dodgy Merlot and a pile of well-thumbed books, to try to remind myself of all the fictional female firebrands who still existed in another, much older medium, and who could most certainly show their telly-bound sisters a thing or two about getting things done. Or, to put it another way, I got drunk and wrote another lazy list article. Because there was a time when these girls were what we had to aspire to. Take notes, telly girls. Take notes.
Matilda Amy Dorrit Dorrit): (Matilda): (Little No one ever said poverty and
There’s nothing more badass than being brainy. borderline dwarfism was a reason to not get what you want. And just by the by, if you do ever find yourself of a mind to marry someone with a disturbing resemblance to your father, you go ahead and do it. They’ll remodel See above, with knobs on. him as Matthew MacFadyen in the TV movie anyway and no one will be able to tell.
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter):
Isabella (Measure For Jo March Measure): (Little Women):
See above, with aggressive If you don’t want him, say no. Christian knobs on. Everyone who ever reads your story will scream at you for doing so, but it’s your life and you should be free to save yourself for whichever old German dude you so choose. But make copies of your manuscripts. For God’s sake make copies.
Violet Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events):
Keep your hair out of your eyes, girls, this is serious.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Arts & Music
Students battle it China Miéville out to represent The Scar Royal Holloway in Uni Music League Book Review:
Harun Musho’d Three acts from Royal Holloway are amongst the 59 from 21 London Higher Education institutions battling for the first Uni Music League prize. Jess Kinney, Elena Mowgli and Third Conduct will initially compete against each for the chance to represent Royal Holloway in this music competition. Only one will go through to the second league stage with a chance of performing at the ULU venue in Bloomsbury London. The winner of each league will compete in a final concert to win the main prize of recording a 3-track EP with Florence + the Machine and Kaiser Chief producer, Charlie Hugall. Singer Songwriter Elena Mowgli (real name Elena Barnard) is a first year Italian and Spanish student who sings to an acoustic guitar accompaniment. She says “Having had my heart kicked about I wrote lots of songs about heartbreak and what it’s like to live in my brain... Now I’m happy I write slightly haphowever, ‘Tthe Scar’ is a book that Tarli Morgan pier songs” (It’s not clear to which is engaging and unique. Miéville category the song on the Uni music takes the wheezing fantasy genre Every so often there will come a and beats the dust out - the book is league website belongs). Elena’s book both good and bad. Good gritty but not contrived, emotional been writing songs since the age because it’s, well, good. Bad because not melodramatic and epic without of eleven and performing around after that no other book will do. Egham for the last year. This is her being cliché. Moreover Miéville’s Like a difficult breakup after which naming scheme is, refreshingly, var- first music competition. everything is compared to an Music undergrad Jess Kinney is ied without feeling like a jumbled ex-lover, this book has been my another singer songwriter, with a box of Scrabble pieces. personal standard for a ‘good book’ piano accompanying her soprano Without spoiling the plot, ‘The ever since I was forced, sighing, to voice (or is it alto? Jess would Scar’ is a book about the sea. close the final page. Beginning on a river with a cynical know). “I like to try my hand at all This book is ‘The Scar’ by China heroine, the book evolves into a sorts of music,” says Jess. “From Miéville. It is the second book of phantasmagoria of locations: a city rock to baroque. I write my own the Bas-Lag series, though still a songs as well as doing various covmade of boats lashed together is standalone book. ers.” the main stage though there are Of course, no book is perfect. At glimpses of others such as a subYork rock band, Third Conduct, times Miéville labours under the aquatic city populated by the ‘Cray’ consists of third year Psychology weight of his own prose. Usually undergraduate Sarah Feehan (bass, – crayfish-mermaids. beautiful though often flabby, the keys, lead vocals) and her two At times febrile in its intensity, convoluted syntax and thesaurusat others chilling and solemn, ‘The sisters, Hannah (guitar, vocals) and munching vocabulary can become Scar’ challenges fantasy tropes on Kate (drums. vocals). They’ve been tiring. Most of us enjoy learning a band since 2003, have done well every page. In the world of specunew words but running back and in a number of other music compelative fiction, China Miéville is forth between war and a dictionary certainly a name to look out for – a titions, gig regularly and supported is not ideal. the Wombats in 2007. man with a distinctive voice and Despite these shortcomings, The Uni Music League was some powerful stories to tell.
The league winner will record a demo with Charlie Hugall who has produced for Florence and the Machine and the Kaiser Chiefs started by recent graduates Karol Severin and Daniel Zawadzki of Fatter Lane Productions, in partnership with ULU, to give musicians studying at university an opportunity to break through with their original music. “Our aim is to support healthy competition between universities in areas other than academics or sport. We also want to encourage universities to support their student talent to bring out their best in music.” The contest consists of three rounds. The, first, local round from now until December, will involve Jess, Elena and Third Conduct competing against each other with
original songs (covering songs by other artists is banned). You can listen to one of their tracks online and will soon be able to vote for the act that should represent the university at the League stage either online or at a special gig to be organised by SURHUL. The League stage, from January to April, will feature only one Royal Holloway act in a league with other universities and compete against each other at the ULU venue. The winner of each league is decided through public online voting. The final takes place later in 2012 and is again decided by a public vote at www.unimusiccontest.com
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Music Live review:
Labrinth cally as he made his way on stage to perform a mixture of well-loved songs and new material coupled with dubstep remixes of other artist’s work. Londoner Labrinth (a.k.a. Timothy McKenzie) became the first non-talent show artist to be Despite the wait to get in and the signed to Simon Cowell’s label Syco even longer wait for Labrinth to appear on stage, the crowd were not in six years, and has since risen to fame through both his own solo left disappointed as he delivered work and collaborations with Tinie well-known hits such as ‘Let The Sun Shine’, ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’ Tempah and Professor Green; he with passion and gusto. Initially has also worked with other artists warmed up by the SU’s resident on lyrics and songwriting, includDJ and a ready supply of cheap ing Pixie Lott and JLS. His debut drinks, the audience made it clear single “Let The Sun Shine” reached they were ready to be entertained, number three in 2010. Although Labrinth was first and foremost a and greeted Labrinth enthusiasti-
SURHUL 30 September
producer, Cowell marked him out as a singer from the beginning of his career and signed him to his label as a performing artist in his own right. If Labrinth’s performance can be measured in terms of the crowd’s response then it is beyond doubt that the crowd was hooked on his trance-pop beats and infectiously catchy lyrics. Labrinth’s shout of “I love you Royal Holloway!” was met with a barrage of noise and thunderous applause as the audience showed their appreciation for his performance, demonstrating that despite the limited amount of time he spent on stage, a thoroughly enjoyable night was had by all.
Tom Waits Bad As Me Larry Taylor on four tracks, one of which, ‘Satisfied’, is a response to Richards and Mick Jaggers own Back in 1985, Sounds (like NME ‘Satisfaction’ (“My ass, you can’t get but far better) reviewed Waits’s no satisfaction”). Rain Dogs. The standout claim was The album as a whole spans many that Keith Richards, who played on of the styles that Waits has adopted several tracks, was playing with the over his 40-year career, and does so best band in the world. I, therefore, in 13 roughly three-minute tracks. bought the album – and hated it. It ‘Kiss me’ is one of the most beautiwas my introduction to Tom Waits. ful love songs ever recorded, and is recorded with minimal guitar, It was not until I happened to piano and bass accompaniment hear Paul Young’s cover of Waits’s ‘Soldier’s Things’ a year later which in the style of his 70s classic ‘Blue Waits had originally recorded for Valentine.’ ‘Hell Broke Luce’ is a Swordfishtrombones that I gave percussiony, handclapping chant Rain Dogs another chance. The common of his later recordings, latter is now one of my favourite with pithy couplets (“Big fucking albums, whilst the former is the ditches in the middle of the road/ album I would have recommended you pay a hundred dollars just for as an introduction to Tom Waits – filling in the holes”). Best of all is until now. the title track which combines the dramatic twangy guitar with Waits’s Bad As Me, Waits’s first album most dangerously wailing voice and of new songs since 2004s excellent but difficult Real Gone, is probably his sharp, surreal but non-judgeas commercial an album as Waits mental observations. has released since the early 80s. Not his best record perhaps, but Richards rejoins Waits, his regular the finest album you’ll hear this guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist year.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
In other news... Harun Musho’d
Patrick Wolf into ‘House,’ the second track on his newest album, Lupercalia. The crowd stood silently appreciating his classically trained voice. Not only does he have incredible stage presence but is skilled in a variety of instruments. Wolf would play a more mellow song then balance them out with his fast-paced anthems - ‘Bloodbeat’ balances Going to a concert is always a beautiful experience. One can even ‘Who Will,’ a beautiful melancholic find the beauty in the grottiest and song from his album, ‘The Bachdingiest places in Camden. Patrick elor.’ When the intro to ‘BloodWolf ’s concert in Madrid was very beat,’ erupted from the speakers, the crowd changed. From being a different but nonetheless beautiful. The venue, Sala Penelope, has a respectable crowd of late twentysomethings, they turned into a pack unique vibe. Usually, concert venues are dark places where the focus of hyenas, screaming and dancing and singing along to the song. is on the stage but ‘Sala Penelope,’ Wolf disappeared for a bit whilst reverses that. As I walked in the a hybrid of the intros to ‘Accident light and airy venue, pumping out & Emergency’ and ‘Magic Posiclassical French music, I knew we tion,’ started to emanate from the were in for a beautiful intimate show. Seeing your favourite British speakers. As the crowd got riled up, he appeared dressed in a cow-patartist abroad will always be better than seeing them at home. Not only terned all-in-one and played his last three anthems to the roaring crowd. are the venues cleaner and nicer, they’re smaller and will always pro- After ending the set with, ‘The City,’ and modifying the lyrics to suit vide a more intimate show. Madrid, he left the stage triumPatrick emerged from the fog phant knowing he had conquered a la Stars in their Eyes, sporting a sparkly red velvet number and another city on his ridiculously without an introduction launched long tour.
Sala Penelope, Madrid 15 October
Stone Roses are to reunite to perform two gigs in Manchester’s Heaton Park on 29 and 30 June before embarking on a world tour. Ian Brown and John Squire have patched up their differences and joined drummer Reni and bassist Mani to reform the band. They have been in the studio together and there are rumours of a new album. They would probably forge an even tighter bond, one of joint rage, if I suggested that this is the biggest Manchester music reunion after Take That, so I won’t. Radiohead announced that they were finally going to tour the King of Limbs album. Guitarist Ed O’Brien told BBC 6Music that the delay was due to the fact that the album was totally studio conceived and it took the band a while to figure out how to play it live. The good news is that the tour, from February to November next year, will mostly be in indoor venues. The potentially bad news is that the band will mostly focus on playing the songs from their last album and its predecessor, In Rainbows, at the expense of the rest of their repertoire. In the meantime, Radiohead will be back in the studio in December and January to start work on a new album. Soul singer Syl Johnson is suing Jay Z and Kanye West for the alleged illegal sampling of his song ‘Different Strokes’ on their recent album Watch the Throne. Johnson has experience of this kind of thing having sued Michael Jackson and Cyprus Hill, among others, for similar offences with varying degrees of success. Morrissey is also suing, in his case the NME and its former editor, for libel. Morrissey claims that an interview published in November 2007 was defamatory and portrayed him as a racist. He is not, however, understood to be suing the Guardian or poet Simon Armitage who interviewed him last year, for quoting him as saying, “Did you see the thing on the news about [Chinese] treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.” And, at the time of writing, Steps are at number 1 in the album charts! They will hopefully have been overtaken by Evanescence’s eponymous third album by the time you read this (oops, or Noel Gallagher).
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Noel Gallagher High Flying Birds I Had A Gun...’ is a nice ballad but easily forgettable and Noel’s lack of singing range really shows through Silence, talking, random noises, or on the higher notes. coughing as intro to an album is ‘The Death Of You And Me’ is a not arty or clever and we as a fan clear highlight of the album and is base tolerate it but don’t enjoy it. the kind of song that suits Noel’s Please stop doing this! Once this voice perfectly, mostly chorus stupidity is out of the way the open- with some nice brass accompaniing track ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ ment and a jangly tune. With the actually has something so say.... I’m rest of the album he experiments Back! This demonstrates his “vocal with different tempos and genres ability” as best it can with a good to some surprisingly good results. backing beat and memorable lyrics. ‘AKA...What A Life’ has beats alThis is followed by ‘Dream On’ and most bordering on slow dance and ‘If I Had A Gun...’ which are two of ‘Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks’ has the weaker tracks on the album. ‘If an opening riff reminiscent of The
Kinks. The album as a whole is very chorus based and lyrically catchy, just like Oasis; is very ‘Britpopy’, just like Oasis; and has very simple and paced guitars, just like Oasis. As the creative force behind Oasis you can understand why it’s just like Oasis; only now Noel gets to be the centre of attention and is off the leash, both musically and literally. This album is definitely not a ‘Definitely Maybe’, but it’s nice to listen to, if not slightly forgettable. I do get the feeling that this may be the best we’re going to get from Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds.
James Morrison Feist The Awakening Matt La Faci Coming straight out of left field and in a move that is likely to alienate his entire fan base, James Morrison has for his third album The Awakening, recorded a titanic dubstep behemoth that would make Skrillex or Nero blush. Discarding his trademark whisky gravelled vocals and acoustic guitar, Morrison has released an album designed to liquefy brains and tear down clubs… Oh no wait. Yeah, no, James Morrison has actually just released a James Morrison album, my mistake. Housewives second favourite floppy-haired singer songwriter (Next to Sir James Blunt), Morrison did not make things easy for himself when he released his debut single ‘You Give Me Something’ way back in 2006. Trying to surmount a song that good would be a challenge for anyone and whilst there are moments on The Awakening where he comes close - opener ‘In my Dreams’ and closer ‘One Life’ are both lovingly
Metals Harun Musho’d
Metals, is Leslie Feist’s first album since The Reminder four years ago. To start negatively, lead single ‘How Come You Never Go There’ and ‘Bittersweet Melodies’ are pleasant enough, but it is only the rhythms that stay in the mind long after the unremarkable lyrics and dull tunes have fizzled out in both cases. Even worse is ‘The Circle That Married the Line,’ a countrycrafted pop songs - there isn’t a set of songs that lack any tangible ish ballad with forgettable, well moment that transcends the middle emotion, an odd occurrence given everything. ground that Morrison has treaded the passing of his father and birth Those duff notes aside, the album since releasing his duet with Nelly of his child that took place before opener ‘The Bad In Each Other’ Furtado ‘Broken Strings’. The album the recording of the album. This is typical of the strengths of the also finds Morrison wearing his is exemplified in the track ‘Up’, album, strong percussion rhythms, influences squarely on his sleeve, where the effects laden voice of melody that is both dramatic but tracks such as ‘Slave to the music’ Jessie J sweeps in to remove the last suits a lyric that is more obviously and ‘Beautiful Life’ find him doing drops of sincerity from an already bittersweet than in the track with his best Michael Jackson and Stevie emotionless song. To summate, ‘bittersweet’ in its title. ‘Graveyard’ Wonder impersonations and the only purchase this album if you are is less bittersweet than death-life – song ‘Forever’ has him sounding a diehard fan – for a more earnest that may not even be a word, but it curiously similar to Cee Lo Green. account of contemporary soul look was it would describe a lyric such However hard he tries to channels up a man called Michael Kiwanuka, as “The graveyard, the graveyard these artists, he is let down by a you won’t be disappointed. all full of light.” and others in that
song. The album’s two standout tracks are ‘A Commotion’ and ‘Comfort Me.’ The insistent one-note piano opening of the former, along with the lyrics (“It stalked through the rooms/And then it tore the sheets off the bed”) and chanting of the title gives the impression of fear before all is revealed (“If it rips you all apart, the grudge has still got your heart”) as the after effects of an emotional trauma. The bluesy ‘Comfort Me’ starts with a contradictorily powerful lyric “When you comfort me/And doesn’t bring me comfort actually/When you comfort me” and then continues in haiku-like verses throughout (well, she calls them haikus – only in a very loose sense of that format) accompanied by a childishly but misleadingly sweet melody. Metals doesn’t have any songs as catchy as the iPod-nano advertising -‘1234’ or the utterly classy ‘My Moon My Man,’ from The Reminder, but overall it’s a more even album than its predecessor.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Midnight in Paris
his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and know-all Paul, hoping for inspiration to dawn on him, he feels the need to escape the pretence of the pseudo-intellectuals he is surrounded by and suddenly finds himself partying with his idols, Woody Allen’s new film Midnight amongst whom are F. Scott Fitzgerin Paris, which screened at the 2011 ald and Hemingway. Cannes Film Festival (his second The dialogue is full of references, film to be given this honour after a result of Mr Allen’s sharp wit, Hollywood Ending), introduces which we have witnessed in many Gil (Owen Wilson), a Hollywood of his previous films but this time screenwriter who has now deit seems that all of his references cided to give ‘real’ literature a try. come to life over the course of the However, as he roams Paris with film, taking the shape of icons of
the 1920s - Gil’s idea of Paris, where meeting those you aspire to is possible just like in The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). All of these symbolic figures are presented to us by no less known faces - Tom Hiddleston as Scott Fitzgerald and Allison Pill as Zelda Fitzgerald, Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein, Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali, Marion Cotillard as Adriana, the muse of a very famous painter, whose name we shall not reveal in order to preserve some of the mystery of the plot, all flicker through the screen to portray the script’s constant allusions.
Owen Wilson delivers his jokes quickly enough, keeping up with the rhythm of the comedy but is a slightly toned-down version of what could have been the director himself. He lacks the neuroticism that Allen’s bespectacled persona added to characters, making them so charming to the audience. Michael Sheen’s Paul is similar to that of Alan Alda’s Lester (Crimes and Misdemeanors) in that he annoys Gil with his dubious knowledge about French culture, art, architecture and everything else while impressing everyone and especially
Gil’s bride-to-be Inez. Ultimately, Allen’s new film doesn’t present anything we didn’t expect from its writer/director other than an elegant addition to his previous work. Midnight in Paris strikes as the director’s attempt to indulge everyone’s desire to be magically transported to their own Golden Era and meet their idols, eventually leading to the realisation that one should stay in the space-time continuum in which he belongs.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Love struck... Studying for that exam in Bedford library, running for a lecture in the Windsor building, grabbing a coffee in Café Jules or sipping a cocktail in Medicine...love can strike at anytime at Royal Holloway. Email email@example.com and tell me a little bit about the gorgeous girl or super-hot guy who you just can’t stop thinking about since your chance encounter about campus. Let me play cupid and help you find your true love...or crush!
Abduction Yazmin Joy Vigus
Directed by John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood), the story is about teenager Nathan (Taylor Lautner), who realises that his parents aren’t his real parents when he recognises his own face on a missing persons website. Boom! Next thing we know a Russian terrorist has planted a bomb in his oven, murdered his fake parents and he is being chased by the FBI. He is suddenly metamorphosised into a teen Tom Cruise. I wish. The biggest problem with Abduction is that it assumes its target teen audience are a bunch of idiots. Instead of the plot being a woven tapestry of suspense, intrigue and intelligence every situation seems to happen out pure convenience for the story. Written by newcomer Shawn Christensen, the script is plagued with cliché after cliché. Let me put this into context. Nathan and Karen (his love-interest played by Lilly Collins) are trying to cross a river without being detected by the FBI helicopters that are rapidly closing in. There is a very brief moment of tension when we think all is lost as the couple look hopelessly at the vast expanse of open river that leaves no place for them to hide... game over right? Wrong. Lucky for them a big pile of floating logs conveniently bobs past
just at the right moment and shields them from view. Phew! The film’s casting was a tad questionable. Although it seemed logical after the success of the Twilight Saga that Lautner should headline as the leading star in his own movie, the rest of the cast, although talented, are painfully misplaced within the film. The premise is based on identity, but how this dark, chiselled, smouldering Latino looking teenage guy, manages to live seventeen years without noticing that his fair, Caucasian parents look nothing like him is just inconceivable. If we can’t count on the hero to pick up on this, how can we realistically expect him to defeat a terrorist group and outwit the FBI? Then there is the disappointing lack of chemistry between the two young leads, Lautner and Collins. Lots of doe-eyed locker lingering and implied sexual tension. (Munch munch munch... this was the point I dived into my popcorn!) Every encounter felt contrived and predictable. And if there was any chemistry it was shunted by the clunky, cringe-tastic dialogue. Acting legend Sigourney Weaver surely can’t be this desperate. Although I do believe she is well cast as an ass-kicking matriarchal psychologist it is difficult to decipher why she found the character of Dr Bennett appealing. There is a hilarious moment when she turns up in the middle of the night at a hospital to save Nathan from the bad guys with half a dozen balloons. Bal-
loons? Despite being against the clock I am very surprised she had time to find a gift shop after dark. Unless she had already bought the balloons for a sick relative but had not delivered them yet. Yes, the teen audience will certainly invent a justification, nawwwwt! Koslow, the movie’s resident Russian bad guy is played by Swedish star Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo). A Russian villain... not that old chestnut. There seems to be no valid reason why the Russians got involved in this movie except for the fact that the writer thought they seemed like a convincing scapegoat. Despite casting, plot and dialogue the film’s pacing keeps the audience engaged. I was appalled yet mildly entertained. Despite the issues I have mentioned above, the film had the swagger of a decent blockbuster; fast car chase scenes, big explosions, Lautner in leather, star studded cast. I think the biggest mistake the production makes is selling this film as an action thriller. If the big cheeses at Lionsgate had only re-defined Abduction as a slap stick comedy I am pretty sure it would have broke even in its opening weekend. The biggest joke lies in the fact that although the movie is called Abduction at no point does anyone get abducted. Hilarious. Yazmin Joy Vigus’ blog can be found at aliljoy.com
Pretty blonde girl in the black and white Converse kicking some guy in the groin outside Imagine for “giving her an objectifying look”. You really made that high kick look gorgeous. And I say that in the least objectifying way possible. Date sometime? I’LL WEAR A CUP To the manic-eyed girl I went home with after Friday night SU. I’m going as you for Halloween. You were that scary. Please never contact me again. GUY WHO’S JUST HAPPY TO HAVE GOT OUT ALIVE You: Dark-eyed guy with the buzzcut cutting across the football fields by Gowar after last orders at Stumble. Me: Chilly girl with no coat who asked you for a cigarette. Drinks and cigarettes in a less freezing environment? RED-HEADED SMOKER Dark-haired, porcelainskinned History girl; please change courses immediately to French Single Honours so I never have to direct you away from my general presence ever again. The floral pattern on your bra was frankly exquisite. BESPECTACLED BROWNHAIRED HORTICULTURALIST
flat who dragged me inside on my walk home for an impromptu Thursday night party because I looked, and I quote, “stressual”. Not that I didn’t appreciate the camaraderie, but I’m never taking that route home again. You guys drink like immortals CURLY-HAIRED GUY WITH A HEADACHE You were the beautiful Asian girl drinking coffee in Café Jules and reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. I had the same book in my bag, but it just seemed like too clichéd a conversation-starter at the time. Book date some time? TALL BLONDE GUY WITH GLASSES You were the girl I met at Liquid in Windsor who kept telling me you were so drunk you felt like a meatball sub. I went and bought you one and you told me you’d meant you felt like you were a meatball sub, but that you appreciated the effort. I feel there might be more to this relationship. DRINK AND A HALF-EATEN MEATBALL SUB?
To the random strangers from the Runnymede ground floor
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Ancient music books accessible to all
Fragile treasures of 16th Century music are now freely available online, thanks to a partnership between Royal Holloway, University of London, the British Library and JISC. The Early Music Online project has digitised more than 300 books of the world’s earliest printed music from holdings at the British Library. Some of the books date back as far as the 1500s
sung and played. For the first time, musicians now have immediate access to more than 9,000 individual compositions.” Dr Sandra Tuppen, from the British Library, added: “It’s wonderful to be able to share such fantastic musical treasures at the click of a button and make the works available to anyone in the world.” Dr Rose explained that the British Library had worked with the College’s music department on previous database projects and they were keen to make use of the College’s expertise again. The project was funded by JISC, the and, due to their fragile nature, would musicians Thomas Tallis and William UK’s technology consortium for higher Byrd; drinking-songs from Nuremberg and further education. not be freely available to researchers, but thanks to this digitization project, and love-songs from Lyon; lute music Paola Marchionni, programme from Venice and organ music from musicians from around the world can manager at JISC, said: “The project Leipzig. now source the original music free of has put great effort in opening up the Dr Stephen Rose, from the Departcharge using the Early Music Online background information, or metadata, ment of Music at Royal Holloway, said: behind the individual pieces of music, website. “This is an invaluable resource for any thus ensuring that researchers can Highlights of the collection include musician as it offers many insights into more easily discover these internationchurch music by the Flemish composer Josquin des Prez and the English how these early works were originally ally significant compositions.”
iPhones revolutionise scientific research Researchers have tapped into smartphone technology to carry out psychological experiments, allowing them access to millions of participants at the touch of a button. Instead of bringing people into laboratories to study the internal mental processes involved in how humans remember, think, speak, and solve problems, researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London joined an international team to launch an iPhone / iPad app that people can download for free in seven languages as part of the biggest international experiment of its kind. With the number of iPhone users
worldwide expected to exceed one billion by 2013 the researchers wanted to find out if they were able to utilise this market to revolutionise research in cognitive science. The scientists used an original lab-based experiment and adapted it for use on an iPhone. The results are published in the journal PLoS One. Professor Kathy Rastle, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, explains: “We wanted to find out if we could harness the precision of these mini computers to conduct experiments on a global scale that involve unprecedented numbers of participants. Results collected so far
are strikingly similar to those obtained in laboratory conditions, demonstrating the potential for capitalising on this technology in the future.” She added: “It could change the way research is conducted because it allows us to access vast numbers of individuals from a range of demographics relatively inexpensively. We managed to test almost 5,000 participants in a period of three months, which would have taken years in a lab and incurred very substantial costs.” The app, called the ‘Science XL: Test your word power’, tests the participants word power by asking them to decide whether each word presented
is a real word or a non-word. The application measures accuracy and importantly the time taken to make such decisions, i.e reaction time. This task has historically provided considerable insight into the cognitive processes involved in skilled reading as well as reading impairments such as dyslexia, through measuring millisecond-level response time and accuracy in deciding if a letter string is a word or not. The app is free to download from iTunes AppStore (search for “Science XL”) and is non-profit making.
Student Internships at Mercedes-Benz Royal Holloway, University of London is partnering with Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy to offer students internships to help them stand out in the job market once they graduate. Mark Gould, a Psychology postgraduate student became the first to benefit from the new internship programme and will begin his placement next month at their offices based in Weybridge.
He said: “I’m delighted to have been offered this opportunity with Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy and am looking forward to testing my research skills within an applied driving environment. I feel that the PhD program in Psychology here at Royal Holloway has enabled me to gain the skills and confidence necessary to fulfil this position and in the long-term I am hoping that this internship will
assist my transition from academia to employment in industry. “ The new scheme has been championed by the School of Management and the College’s Recruitment and Outreach Team and is part of a broader policy to strengthen links and develop lasting partnerships with the business community. Internships offer students at Royal Holloway a unique environment to learn about the world of work,
acquire new skills and knowledge and provide an opportunity for businesses to invest in the employees of tomorrow. Nick Sanders, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Program Manager, said: “We are delighted to establish formal links with Royal Holloway. We very much look forward to working with Mark and I’m sure this will be the first of many projects.”
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Sarah Honeycombe: Yes we ComCam Sarah Honeycombe SURHUL Vice President (Communications & Campaigns) I thought that, as I have now completed my degree, I would no longer have the last minute deadline rush and that horrible, stomach-turning realisation that there are too many things that need doing and not enough time to do them in. How fabulously naive I was. I have spent the last few weeks in a ridiculous haze of rushing to plan campaigning weeks, running in and out of meetings, running in an election and, somewhat memorably, lobbying outside the Management Building in a toga. All interspersed with having quiet giggles at SU Corner in this very publication, which parodied officer blogs rather well in the last issue – even if I do say so myself. It’s been a rather hectic time – College’s proposals regarding our academic departments have changed fairly significantly, prompting the Students’ Union to organise our first lobby of College Council. Cue lots of people in bed sheets gathering outside of the Management Building we so proudly watched grow. It was rather cold but appears to have been worth it, as we stopped and spoke to most of College Council and pointed out just how little consultation there had been. One World Week, by the time you are reading this, will have kicked off. We’ve got film nights, a club night in Medicine, International Evening, the Study Abroad Fair and our Critical Debate (How to fight the far Right) as well as a whole lot more. It should be a really interesting set of events, so have a look around campus for our posters and leaflets and on our website (www.su.rhul.ac.uk) for the full schedule. Whilst I have not had the privilege of seeing this issue before it goes to print, I can only assume that somewhere in these pages there is a highly critical comment on our General Meeting. Yes…it actually did last five hours. Yes, this is altogether too long. However, in our defence, not only did the Union Chair wear a rather fetching shirt, we also elected more than 50 people to the committees
Sarah speaking at the five hour GM
Union Chair Joe Rayment. Photos: Joshua Staines
and senates that will be running everything from events to sports to campaigns for the next 8 months. I can absolutely promise that the next one will be shorter – though you will have to rock up to the SU Main Hall at 6:30pm (with ID!) on November 8th to see if I’m proved right. If the thought of procedural motions doesn’t float your boat, I should point out the bar is open for the duration… It hardly seems fair to mention
November 8th without mentioning the day that comes immediately after. As many of you will be aware, November 9th 2011 has officially been designated “Demo Day.” The Students’ Union is supporting the demo, as is ULU and the NUS and we’re planning on going down to protest against the White Paper and the Government’s response to a perceived crisis in education. We’ll be taking coaches to and from the demo and will be working to make
sure that all of our students who come are safe. Once again, head to our website (or “like” us on facebook.com/SURHUL) for the latest information. Union elections have been and gone and were really successful – though I guess I would say that, as I did successfully run in one of them... We now have a full Exec as well as a First Year Representative and a full team of NUS Delegates so SURHUL’s ready to go. If you have
things you think we aren’t doing, don’t just constrain your comments to articles in The Founder or chats on Facebook – tell us. I can’t change things if you don’t tell me what you want me to look at. SURHUL started the year with a bang, and we started as we mean to go on. This year’s only just beginning, so bring on 2011-2012. Best year at Holloway so far? I hope so.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
SURHUL sabbatical officers’ respond to last edition’s ‘GM Watch’ Katie Blow SURHUL Vice President (Education & Welfare) Hi there. As your Vice President of Education & Welfare I felt I should clear up some of the confusion regarding the new sponsorship policy. Now, I am not ever going to tell students not visit another venue or nightclub in the local area or further afield - that would be stupid and would make me a massive hypocrite as I personally I love Liquid even if professionally I can’t. Why then (I hear you cry) can’t we just allow you to get sponsorship from any and every pub, club and drinking establishment in the Surrey county? You get cheap nights out and sponsorship & the aforementioned business gets a regular custom - surely that makes sense?! Unfortunately it is not ever that simple, aside from them being rivals to the Lovely SU, as a welfare sabbatical I have a duty of care to each and every one of you which basically means I am a single mother to over 8500 students (remember to use a condom everyone!). This also means that if your team/club/society/production etc. are sponsored by a nightclub called say ‘Highlighter’ and they have really cheap drink deals, no welfare provisions and little consideration to get you anything but really, really drunk and then heaven forbid if something terrible happens to you during your weekly social there.. I’ll have to answer questions to you/ the college/parents and local press about why we felt this establishment behaviour was appropriate & why we’ve allowed SURHUL representatives (which you would be if you went as a team social) to be sponsored by such a place. By saying yes to sponsorship deals we are saying yes to the nightclub chain attitude of not caring where you end up and this is something that as your mother, I cannot do. And yes, the SU is a bar and yes a nightclub too and yes we do sell alcohol and encourage people to have a good time. But we also provided welfare services alongside that, we have the SSHH bus to take
Should we allow one of them to be sponsored by a nightclub whose primary concern is profiteering then we are by association saying that we endorse and fully support our students being targeted by these organisations who will not, and do not, care what effect their profiteering has on students – whether that is their health, well-being, or their degree.
you home to your door for a pound (£20 for an annual pass), water warriors were out in force during Freshers and now Club Mission who are based inside and outside the SU on nights out, we also don’t have ridiculous drinks deals - the drinks are cheaper this year but it’s the soft drinks that have gone down, not the alcohol encouraging people to dilute their drinks and provide non-drinkers with a cheaper alternative! Also if you are a regular who often gets asked to leave for drinking too much, maybe you’re consistently vomming due to too much booze or falling asleep on the dancefloor. You are likely to get an email or meeting request from myself or Tina to double check that everything is okay and that you’re aware of the harm excessive drinking can bring. I am sorry if I sound like a party pooper, I know the new Venue Managers regularly think I am, but really I am just looking out for you. If heaven forbid one of you were to be raped or attacked as you stumbled around trying to find a way home or choked on your sick in a hedge - no money, no matter how much you were being given for your team, would make up for that. And that’s a risk as your Welfare Sabb and surrogate mother I am never willing to take. If you’re partying hard make sure you’re playing safe.
sentatives of SURHUL. Should we allow one of them to be sponsored by a nightclub whose primary concern is profiteering then we are by association saying that we endorse and fully support our students beAs the proposer of the policy I feel ing targeted by these organisations that your readers, and the students who will not, and do not, care what who weren’t present at the General effect their profiteering has on stuMeeting, deserve to have explained dents – whether that is their health, to them the rationale behind the well-being, or their degree. decisions taken in writing the The second area which David policy. seemed to contest in his article was Firstly, the reason that Liquid was the decision surrounding comspecifically targeted was due to its mercial leisure organisations. As proximity to campus and the issues he correctly ascertained the Sports which there has been surrounding Centre which we have here at Royal Liquid in the past but as the word- Holloway is not run by the Stuing in the policy itself details, this dents’ Union; so why should we be is extended to all nightclubs as well concerned if our sports teams are as pubs which aren’t part of the Pub sponsored by other providers of Watch scheme. This policy is not this service? aimed at being ‘anti-Liquid’, nor are There is very good reason for why we trying to stop students from go- we strive to maintain a good working to Liquid as we frequently visit ing relationship with the Sports it ourselves! Centre, and will always continue to David’s article raised the viewdo so. The Sports Centre provide us points that as students go to Liquid with pitches, facilities (both indoor anyway; shouldn’t their clubs try and out), and ground staff without to make some money out of it? As charging us for using any of them. VPSA I wholly endorse and supIf we have any of our sports teams port our clubs and societies seeking sponsored by these commercial sponsorship so they can fund leisure providers then it is a safe themselves better in these times assumption to make that part of of austerity when we don’t have as any deal will involve the club using much money to give them. Howtheir facilities as their gym rather ever, it is important to remember than the one on campus. This that our clubs and societies are part would mean that the Sports Centre of SURHUL and as such are repre- would be facing a fairly severe loss
Jake Wells SURHUL Vice President (Student Activities)
of revenue, and would probably lead to us being charged by the Sports Centre for all the fantastic services which we currently get for free. As a result our clubs would be facing a much higher running cost, one which wouldn’t begin to be covered by any sponsorship which they had managed to obtain. As a simply logistical point of view, the claim that this has “added some red tape to the process of getting clubs and societies sponsorship” stands to be refuted and disputed. Clubs and societies already had to draw up a contract with the external party who was sponsoring them. This hasn’t been added as a burden on those seeking sponsorship, rather it is there to protect and safeguard those who enter into sponsorships. With the presence of a signed contract it means that the respective club or society is guaranteed to receive that which they are owed by the other party who they have entered into this agreement with. Ultimately we designed this policy with the aim of allowing our affiliated bodies the widest scope possible to gain sponsorship, without compromising our Students’ Union aim and our charitable responsibilities. I think the fact that the motion was passed without even needing to be put to a vote shows we have managed, hopefully, to achieve this goal.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
News flash: pretty white girl goes missing
Lydia Mahon The parents of Madeline McCann are to speak out in court as victims of the recent phone hacking scandal alongside Chris Jeffries, the former landlord of Jo Yeates. This recent exposure of the News of the World’s phone- hacking antics confirms the need for an investigation into UK media conduct. The UK mediaand The News of the World in particular, seized hold of these cases and provided the public with detailed coverage. In the upcoming case, Lord Justice Leveson will scrutinise the methods used by these newspapers to obtain information about the investigations, but not the motives behind running such extensive coverage on these particular girls in the first place. The media functions to keep the world connected and although it is incredible that the privacy of
vulnerable people is abused for a business initiative, we are reminded bythis that media is still a business. The disappearances of Madeline McCann and Jo Yeates created a lot of revenue for Rupert Murdoch – although the reader is morally obliged not to interpret media coverage of a young girl’s disappearance in terms of financial gain. When Madeline McCann went missing in 2007, Murdoch’s News of the World hogged the media spotlight with an exclusive, announcing a £1.5 million reward for Madeline’s safe return – the paper even donated a lavish £250,000 to the cause. It is a shame to think that all this effort fell to waste. Before the figure was finalised, a “mistaken” text message was sent to thousands of people confirming the reward total, and the phone number provided to call with information was that of News of the World, not Scotland
Yard. The News of the World may have bought a good reputation, but like all material things, that reputation has now perished. The cases of Madeline McCann and Jo Yeates are sadistically sweet to the media because they qualify as newsworthy in every way imaginable. Girls at the centre of such cases share similar case studies and are typically vulnerable, middle class and beautiful - in a young, blonde, Caucasian sort of way. There is a term for this discrimination: Missing White Woman Syndrome. A paper published in 2007 by Sarah Stillman discusses this media trend: “These messages are powerful: they position certain sub-groups of women – often white, wealthy and conventionally attractive – as deserving of our collective resources, while making the marginalisation of other groups of women, such as low-income women of colour, seem natural.”
Discrimination becomes a frightening issue when the attitude of the media toward a missing girl directly impacts upon her fate. Days before Jo Yeates’ disappearance on 17 December 2010, 14 year old Serena Beakhurst was also reported missing. Media interest in Jo Yeates was fierce, and subsequently there was a frighteningly pathetic level of police involvement in Serena’s case. Her family and friends were forced to take matters into their own hands, using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to find Serena themselves. We can only speculate on the police and media motives for favouring Jo Yeates but to an onlooker the only distinction between the girls is that whilst Jo was a white, blonde, university graduatewhereas Serena is a mixed race girl from South East London. Four years on and awareness of Madeline McCann still gushes into
the realms of the retail world where an online shop boasts t-shirts, vests, bracelets, stickers and luggage tags under the new brand name “Find Madeleine”. Kate McCann’s new book is also available in any supermarket. The Sun remains on the case as the voice of Madeline and her parents, pleading to the nation: “Never Give Up”. The notoriety of Madeline’s disappearance has sparked Prime Minister David Cameron into action as he insists the case be re-opened, a flicker of hope for the parents of Madeleine. With enough effort and time from the police, the public and the government, their daughter may one day come home. Hundreds of children are reported missing every day, the power of media discrimination is terrifying.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
Let us eat cake
flickr/pinksherbet on my cucumber that I realised the television was talking to me. No really, it was. Pretty much every other advert involved a skinny, attractive So there I was, sitting on the sofa girl telling me, me, that it was okay, in my student house, quite content. that she had the perfect solution to Our sofas are wonderful, if also in- those weight worries I obviously credibly dangerous. Once you sit on had. If I did as she said, if I ate them you’re pretty much set up for Special K for two of my three meals the rest of your life. Only despera day, I too could ponce around in a ately needing a wee, or somebody red swimsuit and look fantastic. Oh telling you Johnny Depp - dressed really? That’s great. Except I don’t as Captain Jack - is at the door, can like Special K and I didn’t really get you out of them. They’re just too think I was that fat to begin with. comfy. So there I was, comfortable, As for Weight Watchers, they’re attempting to educate/permanently punching even higher. According depress myself by watching the to their advert they can make my dreams come true. Excellent, they news whilst eating a salad. I know, throw me out of university, I let the can obviously pull some strings in unhealthy, pizza-fuelled student the musical business and get me that part as The Teapot in ‘Beauty image down completely. and the Beast’. Ever since I was It was as I lay there munching
Felicity King Features Editor
small I have dreamt of being that Teapot. However, to the relief of West End directors if nobody else, I’m afraid to say that I will not be taking that role anytime soon. It turned out, as the advert played on, that the dream Weight Watchers was referring to was the one that ‘clearly’ all women have, the dream where I’m not fat anymore. Except the problem is, most of us aren’t fat in the first place. The majority of us do not need to go on a diet. I’m sure there are some people out there concerned about their health, and if Weight Watchers and Special K work for them then that’s great. But these adverts are not aimed exclusively at those kinds of people. I acknowledge that men are also under a lot of pressure to look a certain way but there is a
particular obsession in our society with women losing weight. Weight Watchers and Special K do not know who is watching the television at any one time, they cannot bank on their audiences always being unhealthy or overweight and therefore these are not the only traits they appeal to. What these companies sadly can bank on, is that the television will be watched by women, and so they play on the vulnerabilities, insecurities and doubts that many women have; they remind us of the need to be thinner when they should be reassuring us we’re beautiful as we are. As far as I’m aware, men can eat Special K too. My brother always did. I’m pretty sure the reason he started buying it wasn’t because he wanted to look body-beautiful
Features in a red swimming costume, but because, shock horror, he actually liked the taste. Losing weight has become an activity absurdly associated with perfectly proportioned but insecure women; losing weight organisations therefore target them in particular. But Weight Watchers is not exclusively about losing weight, or at least it shouldn’t be. Losing weight in itself is not necessarily a positive thing; for most people it’s at least unnecessary, at most, dangerous. Instead of focusing on the ‘losing weight’ aspect of these diets, we should focus on just being healthier; Weight Watchers should be called Health Watchers really. Plenty of us do not need to drop a dress size but we do need to cut down on the vodka, yet what does society make us more concerned about? Losing weight has become an art, a habit, a pastime and just like football, which is absurdly linked to masculinity, there is a distinctive link between being on a diet and being a girl; as if weight insecurities were innate inside that second X chromosome, along with pillow fights, wearing heels, and not being able to put up shelves. Let me make this clear, there is nothing innately feminine about losing weight, nothing predominantly female about going on a diet and yet I’ve never seen a man on the Weight Watchers advert telling his success story. All of this might seem hypocritical coming from the girl eating the salad and I’m not going to lie, I too spend about 80% of the time thinking I’m fat and in my depressed moments I do genuinely believe that if I was only that tiny bit thinner the whole of the world’s problems would be over. But as I sat there with my celery and found myself still being sold the idea that I needed to watch what I ate, I realised how cheeky these adverts actually are. Hello, skinnyslimmingworldgirl on the television, I’m eating a salad, can’t you see? And so I ranted on until I wanted to throw my lettuce leaves at her which would of course be counterproductive as she clearly sees enough of them. What she really needed, what we all really need, is a slice of cake. Just have some cake. Girls, boys, whoever, just have a slice of cake. We’re all told we should look a certain way and be a certain thing, I say eat cake. Unless you don’t like it, in which case eat something else, Special K if you want to. But for goodness sake eat it because you like it, not because you’ve been deluded and brainwashed into thinking a size 12 isn’t acceptable. After all, you could lose all that weight, get the swimsuit, and find out red isn’t even your colour.
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
An Carters Steam Fair: a blast from Englishman Abroad the past A tale of (not told with) efficiency, precision and punctuality Felix Clutson I’m currently tapping away at my laptop in Germany where I have arrived bright eyed and very English. I’m a third(ish) year Royal Holloway student and for the next nine months will be working as an English Teaching Assistant in the Saxon city of Leipzig, which is in the old East Germany. Following a lovely send off from Heathrow and a moment of wonder when my bag was actually one of the first off the conveyor belt at the other end, I checked into my hostel in Cologne for the night and went off in search of grub. In compensation for my unadventuring that young children, not used and the carts roll into action with Owen Collins ous choice of Burger King from the to such heavy lifting, will still leave a bump, as the intentions of each train station, I happened upon the with a curiously pleasing mixture driver is revealed. Some are adept most romantic of locations and sat The hottest October weekend of contentment and delusion. Over at weaving their way through the on the steps of Cologne’s enormous on record – what better time to at the Shooting Range, a housemate rabble, others have boarded with cathedral watching the sun set over spend the afternoon on the kind of is displaying extraordinary skill the sole ambition of dispensing the skyline. It was beautiful. pitch-perfect village green that Ray with an air rifle, the pellets pinging the maximum possible amount The next day the Saxony-bound Davies and The Kinks hymned so off the targets at surprising speed. of whiplash. A swerving circle is assistants, as well as those set for beautifully back in 1968? And this Mental notes are swiftly logged: do brought to a swift close by way of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, afternoon there is more reason than not steal her cheese again. Further a head-on collision with a young were whisked off to a remote little normal; the old-fashioned wonders down the booth another housemate child, no more than seven, and his of Carters Steam Fair are in town, is not so lucky, frantically shootfather. The child looks positively ill, village called Altenberg to underand the green is quite literally ing tiny holes in all of the prizes on the father is howling with laughter take a three-day training course. bustling. offer. The deceptively happy cuddly at the hit. It is clear, on observation This consisted almost entirely of lions, already bristling at their There is a thin cloud of the of all the father-son partnerships, planning a lesson… and then delivcaptivity, suddenly have to contend which driver is getting the most eponymous steam rising from a ering it. I, for my part, got my ‘class’ funnel in the middle of the Carou- with an accidental Big Game Hunt- pleasure out of this motoring adto play a stereotype guessing game venture. With shaky legs we vacate and drew an awful, awful gingersel, the golden horses are galloping er. Then, with pellet-ridden prizes clasped in hand, more excitement to try in vain to dislodge a coconut bread man supposedly representing nonchalantly in a never-ending cyclical Grand National, the impos- generated than one might expect or two, we fail. Always next year. the stereotypical Briton. Naturally, ing figure of the Helter-Skelter, from the reward of a small hippo An ice cream, a recline on the grass, we ended up singing ‘heads, shoulbrightly painted, rises against (later revealed to have had one eye a futile search for clouds in the ders, knees and toes’ a lot and askthe sapphire sky, and against the shot out by a wayward sniper), it is sky. There is palpably something of ing each other if we had pets. I can’t whimsical organ music, there is a over to the Dodgems. old-fashioned England about this say I left feeling overly prepared to sporadic ringing. Further investiThe Dodgem cars we find curiafternoon, a marvellous remnant of take on the youth of Germany but gation reveals this to be the Test ously bearing the names of difa bygone age. It would no longer be it was great to meet other assistants Your Weight Tower, where malletfering Fifties’ rock & roll stars, a surprise to see Queen Victoria on while I was there. wielding locals take it in turns to Chuck Berry regaining popularity the chair-o-plane, Sherlock Holmes I’ve been placed in two schools; try and hit the button hard enough as the people surge onto the arena investigating the candy floss, or the first, a vocational school for to send a victory peal across the to claim their car. As ever, Cliff George Formby causing chaos on pupils who wish to become pharfields. The cheeky attendant, stick Richard, parked up, remains largely the bumper cars. God save Carter’s maceutical, veterinary and medical in hand, reaches up to strike the ignored, the proverbial fat child Steam Fair. Long may you continue. assistants (my degree is in German bell personally at times, thus ensur- on Sports Day. The siren sounds and Drama…) and the second,
a specialist secondary school for blind and visually impaired children. I’m visually impaired myself which may well account for that placement. Naturally, in my application, I applied for primary schools. Still, following a sleepy early morning coach ride and a few inevitable train dramas – one train was cancelled and another delayed by an hour – the oh-so-efficient railway got me to Leipzig on Thursday evening in one piece and ready for an early morning start at the vocational school the next day. As luck would have it, my first lesson was in with the veterinary assistants, who were learning body parts and naming things that I’d never heard of in English, let alone German. Suffice to say, there were some I had heard of that raised a few titters from the pupils. It could be an interesting year. Luckily they didn’t ask me to help them with their pronunciation of ‘testicles’. Currently I’m homeless. This is partly due to unfinished renovations. It’s also due to the fact that, with somewhat spectacular timing, the lady I was going to live with has become pregnant within the last week. I am, for the moment, staying with one of the English teachers but I have had one day pretty much to myself. I started by getting up to watch the calamity that was the rugby (England-France), going into town to have a look around, having a sausage, and getting hideously lost - standard Englishman abroad banter. Leipzig seems like a lovely place though, and there’s some cracking Renaissance architecture floating about if that’s you’re thing. Having ‘work on Monday morning’ seems an odd proposition after two years at Royal Holloway, but we’ll see how it goes. Felix’s blog can be found at http:// felixclutson.wordpress.com/
The Founder | Wednesday 26 October 2011
LiesRound Satire with Liezo Mzimba
SU to Install Royal Holloway on Twitter On Cuts Gender UnNeutral Toilets @SURHUL Guys! Remember it’s Holloway Hygiene Day! So get that soapy water flowing!!!!!!! #studentlife
After a prolonged consultation, the Students’ Union has finally settled on the design for its new ‘Gender Un-Neutral Toilets’. The plans, available on the SU website, show that the new facilities include boobshaped soap dispensers, a selection of free Lynx products and toilets that congratulate the user during use. In a statement, the Vice President for Inclusion and Outreach has said: “It is hoped that with these new toilets, the heterosexual male can once again feel comfortable using the loo.” The Executive Officer for Salvation and Emancipation reiterated these views: “SURHUL in-
tends to treat any opinions contrary to that of our beloved Commissar of the People (the Vice President of Liberation and Solidarity) as acts of extraordinary rudeness towards disadvantages members of Royal Holloway. It is bad enough having to watch the heterosexual male wonder around Egham fruitlessly trying to find somewhere to watch Sky Sports.” The SU promises users of the toilets an immersive experience, with mirrors shaped to “give the impression of boob”, televisions showing F1 highlights and toilets that go “wahheeey” during the deposition of solid waste.
@RHULPrincipal Silly me! Keep mixing up the car’s ashtray with the lever that drops carpet pins out the back during my high profile drug runs!
@SURHUL #OMG! We’ve got #beanbags in the office!!! All we need now is #sleepingbags because we’re so busy at the moment #we’llhaveto sleephere!!!
@SURHUL_VPLS How am I ever going to solve poverty in #Sheffield with all this noise around me!
@SURHUL_VPLS There is a #fascist at reception. He @SURHUL_VPIO is distracting me from some impor- Massive solidarity with our beloved Commissar of the People, tant campaigning. the VPLS, who is currently fighting a #fascist at reception. @RHULPrincipal @SURHUL Just wanted to forewarn you that the next of my statements @RHULPrincipal on #saverhulclassics shall be issued Needs some ideas for lunch. #Osprey or #goldeneagleeggs? as a riddle in binary.
Closure of RHUL SU Corner Press Office In a final statement, the RHUL Press Office has announced its intention to close and post all future statements via the Save Classics at Royal Holloway Facebook group. “The RHUL Press Office recognises the unique ability of social media to connect with students in this digital age. It is in this spirit, and following the example set by College Management and the Principal, that we intend to shut down the RHUL news page and issue all future statements via Save Classics at Royal Holloway. Please direct all future enquires regarding the restructur-
ing of Classics, or indeed anything else to do with the College to this Facebook page”.
In an official tweet, the Principal congratulated the press office with this move: “@rhulpress gd work re: closure #moremoneyforflatscreentvsinthemanagementbuilding”. It is widely suspected that plans for the departmental restructuring will be issued 120 characters at a time via Twitter. The Press Office was not available to comment on this.
Fire at Insanity Radio There was a different kind of hot air coming from Royal Holloway’s Insanity Radio last Friday, when a fire broke out in the production office. It is thought that the team behind ‘Jessy and Big Loz playing the Latest Snoz’ attracted an all-time peak audience of ten listeners, causing the studio equipment to burst into flames. “We had told Jessy and Big Loz in an email that they weren’t
allowed more than five listeners. If they checked their RHUL accounts more often, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. That having been said, we are grateful to Jessy and Big Loz for giving the studio the smell of burnt carpet, which has resolved Insanity’s lifelong problem of smelling like the bedroom of a rather odorous teenager.”
Salutations from our Vice President of Liberation and Solidarity Your Students’ Union Vice President of Liberation and Solidarity
Salutations comrades! It is with great joy that I write to welcome our newly elected officials to the Central Committee who were chosen during the General Meeting of the Secretariat. This week the Secretariat bravely met for five long hours to discuss essential changes to the constitution that will affect the lives of each and every one of you. Firstly, 60 second sabbatical where we elected officials tell you what we have done to free the proletariat from the shackles of capitalist oppression has
now been restructured into the much grander 180 second sabbatical allowing us to educate our members for three times longer! Secondly, the Secretariat discussed the type of file formats that should be used for its proclamations to the people. We are strongly of the belief that we should stop playing into the hands of the greedy corporations who seek to control the workers through their use of .docx and .pdf files which funnel the sweat from the brow of every worker into the pockets of big business. From this day forth all documents can be accessed at the request of each union member who will have the required information read aloud to them allowing us to escape from both the ties of materialism and the tyranny of the corporations. Thirdly, the Secretariat discussed the creation of a new Commissar for the People’s Information. This would allow one union member to have access to information about
A thought-provoking poem from the Students’ Union’s highly successful ‘Love Holloway, Hate Having to Pay for Things’ evening. I applied for a loan, with a moan. I wondered where all my money had gone. Then I remembered. Microsoft Office and Adobe Reader, have stolen my petty cash. Those fascists! Now how do you uninstall things, on a MacBook Pro?
all other union members. Of course the union is renowned for it’s extreme competence in handling information and has never lost data on its members in the past….. The Secretariat wisely decided to send the motion to be approved by us in the Central Committee who are of course much more qualified to make decisions regarding the welfare of the people than the people themselves. Surely a victory for common sense! Finally I would like to remind you that the union has a broad anti-fascist agenda and in recognition of this has decided to make this Catch-AFascist Week. Whichever lucky unionite is able to uncover and apprehend a fascist on campus (of course neglecting those in college management, we wouldn’t want to make it too easy!) will be awarded the great prize of one ticket to Love Holloway, Hate Market Oppression night at the union. Hint: try looking in the department of management. Good hunting comrades!
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