Victoria McKinney has some new faces to add to your iTunes
Michael Sheen in Hamlet Page 17
Volume 6 | Issue 5 Friday 27 January 2012 thefounder.co.uk
the independent student newspaper of royal holloway, university of london
Conflicting accounts emerge over Insanity Radio’s intentions to go FM, an application process with years of work behind it. Jessica Phillipson News Editor It has been alleged that, on Monday 9th January, the Insanity Board passed a motion deciding that they were not going to pursue their FM licence, citing a lack of support from both the college and the SU in completing the application. Ofcom becoming much more stringent and opening up Insanity to fines was thought to be the primary reason for the decision. Monday’s regular Board Meeting had the issue of the FM licence put on the agenda and, following a four hour discussion, a vote was taken
‘‘ ’’ “Citing a lack of support from both the college and the SU in completing the application... Ofcom becoming much more stringent and opening up Insanity to fines was thought to be the primary reason for the decision.”
David Bowman Editor From Wednesday the 30th of November to Thursday the 8th of December a group of Royal Holloway students occupied the corridor containing the offices of the senior management team including that of the Principal, Paul Layzell. The occupation was primarily a protest against the governments white paper on education along with demanding that the Principal agreed to ‘The Principals Pledge’, a list of demands including guarantees that there would be no cuts to courses and student services. However the protest wasn’t as simple as that. What began as an occupation with permission given by the college management ended with threats of taking an injunction out against the protesters at the high court, which would have made all political protests on campus unlawful for an entire year. Something that would have oppressed a legitimate cause on campus and would have done irreparable damage to the reputation of the college. The legal costs associated with the occupation came to £13,000.
and the Board voted not to take the FM licence further. At the following General Meeting on Tuesday, the Station Manager, Gunanika Singh, formally resigned, making David Lamb the new Manager. However, Insanity have denied that there was a definite ‘no’ vote regarding the FM licence, stating: “Insanity Radio would like to make it perfectly clear that it fully intends to continue pursuing its FM licence... Discussions regarding Insanity’s efforts to become Community FM station were raised in the Production Board meeting of Monday 9th January 2012, however, despite rumours to the contrary, no final decision not to move onto FM was made at that time...It was suggested in the General Meeting that the Production Board had voted on a final decision to surrender its Community FM licence. This was not, and is not, the case. We would like to reassure all concerned that Insanity intends to continue working towards Community FM and is looking forward to moving to our new frequency of Insanity Radio: Plan B? 103.2FM in the very near future.”
Continues page 5
Andrew Dolan & Jamie Ball are at opposite ends as the Iraq War experiences a resurgence in the media.
Rumour has it, men can’t be feminists... Jack Saffery-Rowe investigates
Jack Gregson reviews Roman Polanksi’s latest outing, Carnage.
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The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org Web www.thefounder.co.uk Email email@example.com 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. 2012, Studio 131, 210 Upper Richmond Road, London SW15 6NP
Staines name change approved by Council Stuart Stone Following from Issue 4, in a wellattended evening session on the 15th December, Spelthorne Councillors approved a motion to rename Staines to Staines-upon-Thames after a formal inauguration to be held in May. Whilst it’s unlikely that any celebratory exclamations of “bookyakasha” came from the councillors, who for years have sought to distance the Surrey town from its most notorious fictional resident and “ghost town” reputation, they were undoubtedly satisfied with the conclusion of the heated debate over the town’s rebranding. 25 councillors opted in favour of change, 4 were against it
along with 6 abstentions. In an official press release, Spelthorne Council outlined its hopes that the measure would improve the standing of the town as a place to visit, live and work. The case was made for the rebranding of Staines on the grounds that it would yield economic benefits for the town and its residents, with the attachment of “upon-Thames” deemed necessary to advertise the riverside position of the town in order to attract potential business and investment. Furthermore, despite comments from neighbouring Runnymede councillors that the name Staines-upon-Thames ‘sounds like pollution’, councillors were keen to pass the motion in order to distance the town and its residents from its
ing together as prostitutes who were students and if anything happened to them they were terrified to come forward …they were worried that they might get kicked off their course or not be able to get a good job in the future”. The government is held primarily responsible for this problem - with the rising cost of education, there is evidence to suggest that women are turning to work in the sex industry, in order to stay in education. The same cannot be said for male students, but other forms are used by men to earn money, such as gambling. A Department for Education spokesman said the government was targeting £180 million a year in financial support to “the most vulnerable 16 to 19-year-olds to help them continue their studies. It is down to schools and colleges themselves to award bursaries to young people who need the most help.”
tf editorial team Editor-in-Chief Jack Lenox
News Increasing number of students funded by prostitution
humorous reputation. In September, 134 people registered their opposition to the change by signing a letter of disagreement written by officials at Staines Town Football Club. However, these objections went unheard, as regulations forbade their formal objections submitted fewer than 5 working days prior to the crucial session. In the wake of the vote, there was questioning of the depth of Spelthorne Council’s interaction with residents on the issue. Councillor Philippa Broom of Riverside and Laleham commented: “I have spoken to hundreds of residents, and have to say it’s clear to us that the Residents’ Association and about 80% of the people I spoke to are in favour provided there are no adverse cost implications”, adding that “the name change puts the Thames where it belongs - at the heart of our community.” Following Councillor Colin Davis’ statement of the need for change, the motion was passed with Staines due to be officially renamed Staines-upon-Thames at a ceremony on the 20th May. The ceremony, to be attended by representatives of the crown, local, and national government, as well as the City of London, will be accompanied by the repositioning of the London Stone boundary stones from their current location in Lammas Park to their original position by Staines Bridge.
Research from the University of Kingston found that the number of university students who knew someone who had worked in the sex industry to fund their studies had gone up from 3% to 25% in the past 10 years. Dr Ron Roberts, senior lecturer in Psychology, described the results as “worrying”. The NUS say that the number of calls to their helpline, regarding this issue. has doubled in the last year. Swansea University has been given a £489,143 grant to enable it to conduct a study into how many students are working in the sex industry in Wales and to try to find out why. Sarah Walker, representative of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECOP), which campaigns for rights for sex workers, said: “I remember there was a group of women work-
No cash on campus ing debit and credit card payments on purchases over £3. As well as a new branch on campus, there are also plans to build a free withdrawal cash point outside of the Students’ Union main building, to the right of the main doors, which should be completed and operational by the beginning of February. For those who regularly use the popular Natwest Student Account, there are Natwest branches in both Egham and Staines, while most other banks also have branches easily reached on foot, or by train, in and around Egham.
Contrary to previous assertions by the university, the cash points that were housed in the old Natwest building are no longer available for students’ use, despite the university’s intentions to have working cash points in the building for the beginning of term. The only alternative on campus is the pay-per-withdrawl machine in Medicine, leaving many students inconvenienced. The university can confirm that another branch will be taking over the building that previously Woody Alle Fi housed Natwest. However, Arts n’s ‘Midni lm ght Julia Armfie in Paris’ as the arrangements for this our lack of ld addresses literary ladi es are yet to be finalised, the earliest we can expect it to free! open is the end of Janu- On c ampus ban k put to Na ary. Until mid-term, stutRest dents will need to manage on cashback and the facilities in Egham for cash withdrawals. In the mean time, the university is encouraging students to make use of their RCS cards and the online top-up system as these are accepted at HARBEN most venues on camLETS HL pus. In addition, The Store on Campus is now acceptReview Page
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Volume 6 | Issue 3 Wednesday 26 October thefounder 2011 .co.uk
Students and stant use of staff alike make conthe Natwest campus as branch on the ing free cash only source of obtainuniversity. withdrawal The most taking finan s and even likely reaso fittingly, is cial advice. n, probably a This is all set to change financial one; with Natw when est’s ber, the branc , on the 9th DecemBank of Scotl owner RBS (Roya h l and) recen The university, will close its doors tly banning all staff Chris . however, is tmas partie assurances dent that the s, it is evithat the closu making finan delicately cial re will be crisis is still causing a handled to significant minimise inconvenie drive for cost cutting and the nce to the the vast numb that make Holloway branc staffing of the Roya ers daily use of l h could conce the bank’s cilities. fall faunder this ivably banner. The most The Assistant prolific issue Finance Direc closure of that the Royal Hollo tor for the branch way, raises is that of whether that she believ Jenny Febry, stated or not the cash will either machines one’s intere es that it is “in every remain or st to be Were the and banking have cash machines Natwest mach replaced. facilities on removed, This of cours campus.” the only rema ines to be e raises the point on camp ining cash of another possibility us would bank in the bar be located ties replacing or alternative faciliof Medicine, Natwest in that charg Term, altho the Spring es £1.50 for a machine ugh the university every drawal. Those yet to anno has in the unive withunce financial rsities The Natwest any such plans. departmen branch will t agree leaving a open until that remain single the end of vice the entire cash point to serthe Autumn Term, with campus woul the major untenable disru d be an losing the arran current cash ption of sult, they have gement and, as a retaking place machines outside of the complete stated that they have in term the Christmas time intention of break and cash point which the during s in the curre providing (due to unive the popularity building for nt found a subst rsity hopes to have the foreseeable Natwest west Stude of the Natitute for the nt Account) In addition future. pervi machines. current as well as su- the matter is merely to this, the Although sing the diffic one of geogr presence of loss of the phy; with Egha the any bank’s ult finan aa ations of presence on future of m town centr Altho various foreig cial situ- proximity manages many staffed branch that mains as campus ree’s close claim ugh those in the to that atten yet unclear, students’ accou university ed that they d Royal Hollon students High Stree campus, and with the reassu ance from nts undo could the t’s rway, not the nume the ubtedly be disclo speci unive will dents rous banks, awkward. are unlikely stu- ing the fic reason for Natwest se ing the cash mach rsity of replacHowever to feel dram leavines prior campus, they cally incon Features to the ati- that the venienced could revea Spring Term ensures by the closu decision to l life shoul that close re. lay with d remain largel campus Natwest rathe the branch ed. Lydia Mah y unaffectr than the on tangles Comment with
discriminati on in the sear media people ch for miss ing
Toby Fuller asks why the against drug country is so legalisation
Harun Mus ho’d reveals the RHUL vying for a students demo with Charlie Hug ULU Music all in the League
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The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
LSE students accused of anti-Semitic violence Jessica Phillipson A group of students from the London School of Economics (LSE) are facing disciplinary action after a video appeared on Facebook showing them playing an anti-Semitic drinking game and making racist comments, which led to violence. The incident took place on the Athletics Union’s ski trip to Val d’Iserre in theFrench Alps, last December. The game involved arranging cards on the table in the shape of a Swastika and required participants to “Salute the Fuhrer.” After making a complaint about the offensive nature of the game, a fight ensued in which a Jewish student sustained a broken nose. The anonymous victim said: “I’ve seen this kind of game before, so it wasn’t so much the game that offended me, as much as the anti-Semitic gibes that went with it.” The LSE Students’ Union and the Athletics Union have both condemned those that took part. President of the LSE Jewish Society, Jay Stoll, said: “LSE Students’ Union Jewish Society (J-Soc) and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) are appalled by a reported anti-Semitic assault that occurred after a Jewish
A video appeared on Facebook showing them playing an antiSemitic drinking game and making racist comments, which led to violence.
student objected to a Nazi-themed drinking game that was being played by his fellow students on a recent LSE Ski Trip in France. Nazi glorification and anti-Semitism have no place in our universities, which should remain safe spaces for all students.” This is not the first anti-Semitic
Students fall victim to housing scams Rosie Pentreath The second term has begun and, as per usual, Royal Holloway is being inundated with adverts from landlords and letting agencies. Firsttime renters will undoubtedly feel the rising panic as they are told to arrange viewings quickly or else miss out on a place to live. This is a myth. Pressure is created, in fact, by the increasing competition between landlords and estate agents in the student-rented sector. Students are warned not to rush their choice of housing, and also to be weary of scams that lure tenants into paying holding deposits on houses that simply do not exist. The National Union of Students (NUS) revealed that an increasing number of students are falling victim to these scams in which fake landlords demand deposits from
individuals who, upon paying, see their money disappear without a trace. Adverts on unaffiliated web pages convince students to undertake a contract that demands an up-front payment to secure the property, or otherwise to prove their financial viability. The NUS stated: “Students are more frequently turning to the web to find properties to rent during their study, but some fall prey to fraudulent adverts which, when students enquire about property, they are asked for proof they can afford rent.” As well as scams involving houses that do not exist, many students lose money to landlords who refuse to repay their deposit. Deposits may be retained by landlords upon breach of contract by the tenant, but there are cases of some who keep money with no proof of wrongdoing, and do so with no resistance. Once lettings
have been viewed and contracts signed, it is important for students to secure their deposit payments in a deposit-protection scheme. Students are targeted for fraud because of their relative inexperience in dealing with private housing. Most universities provide lists of accredited landlords and their properties for the respective year of letting. Advice and information provided by the Student Housing Bureau can be found on the Royal Holloway website. On 10th January the university launched the new official student accommodation search engine, ‘housesearch’, with the added feature of registration for email updates. It allows students to view properties in Egham, Englefield Green and the surrounding area with specific criteria. It is recommended that students make use of this facility to ensure that they commit to legitimate contracts.
incident to occur in British universities. In 2010 the University of Huddersfield investigated claims that two of its students created a Nazithemed drinking game for which they created a Facebook page. Also, last November, four senior members of the Oxford University Conservative Association had to resign
after its members were accused of anti-Semitic behaviour including singing a Nazi-related song. LSE has yet to announce the fate of the anti-Semitic antagonists, but has asserted that disciplinary action will include an educational element along with any punitive actions.
Tips for renting private sector housing • Take your time – it is a myth that all the best properties will be taken first, with some even remaining empty throughout the summer months • Start your research on the RHUL website: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/studentlife/accommodation/privatesector/home.aspx • Undertake online searches for property on legitimate websites, such as RHUL’s ‘housesearch’: http://www.housesearch.rhul.ac.uk/ Home • Meet your landlord/letting agency • View the property and ask plenty of questions • Ask if the landlord is part of a tenant deposit protection scheme. • Check through the contract and ask any final questions before signing
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Pearson caught up in Telegraph exams scandal Ashley Coates Editor Pearson Education, the company authoring a business degree validated by Royal Holloway, has become involved in the dispute over alleged exam board corruption following an undercover investigation by The Telegraph. Secret footage showed one of the chief examiners of Edexcel, an exam board owned by Pearson, boasting about the lack of teaching content in their A-Level English coursework and the relative ease of the qualification compared to its rivals. The Telegraph also filmed a chief examiner expressing her disbelief that their GCSE Geography short-course was validated at all: “..in fact there’s so little [content] we don’t know how we got it through. And I’m deadly serious about that. When I looked at it I thought, ‘how is this ever going to get through?’”. The secret footage is only part
of The Telegraph’s findings, which have resulted in accusations of malpractice at all the major UK exam boards, including AQA, the board chaired by RHUL Principal, Paul Layzell. Labour’s education spokesman, Stephen Twigg, has accused exam boards of engaging in “corrupt practices” and the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, described the current situation facing students as “grotesquely unfair.” He has ordered the examinations regulation body, Ofqual, to conduct a formal investigation into Britain’s major exam boards. In a statement, Pearson has rejected accusations that it is putting profits before standards: “We do not see a conflict between our education goals and our commercial success. We believe they are mutually reinforcing. Our commitment to upholding standards and our ability to develop rigorous qualifications are fuelled by our financial performance.”
In July, Royal Holloway announced a partnership with Pearson where the college would validate a new business degree that will be available next September (see The Founder – Royal Holloway/Pearson Partnership). It is hoped that the Pearson partnership will assist in widening access to higher education by providing a cheaper alternative to business degrees following tuition fees increases in 2012. The scheme also allows students to study from home, opening up the possibility of higher education for individuals who cannot make the move to university due to work, family or mobility constraints. The College commented: “Our academic staff have much experience in running validated and distance learning programmes through the University of London so we will be able to draw on best practice that has been developed over many years.” Referring to The Telegraph’s revelations, a College spokesperson said:
“We are aware of the statements made about Edexcel, which is part of Pearson, along with other organisations such as the Financial Times and Penguin Publishing. However, the statements made have no impact on our agreement, since in this case, Royal Holloway is the awarding body. Our safeguards are that we will have responsibility for all quality assurance matters, for ensuring that there are proper procedures in place for approving and delivering the programme and for assessment arrangements. A member of Royal Holloway staff will chair the exam board for each award and we will therefore have ultimate control of who gets a degree.” Last July, Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, warned that private companies might focus on revenue, rather than providing a challenging degree and that academic standards could be compromised. “Private companies are looking to make the best
returns they can and we fear that approach will lead to an incremental narrowing of the curriculum and some students doing inappropriate courses at a greater cost.”v Teachers have long expressed concerns that “competing to be easier”, in order to secure a higher stake in the lucrative UK market for qualifications, is undermining the validity of GCSEs and A-Levels. The growing cost of exam fees is also a concern, as are revelations of examiners providing seminars that appear to reveal how to answer exam papers. In 2003, schools paid out roughly £154 million in fees, in 2010, this had risen to £302.6 million. Pearson derives an annual dividend of £40 million from Edexcel, and has seen profits from the former charity rise tenfold since it acquired Edexcel in 2005. Now the exam boards are being accused of deliberately engineering easier exams for commercial gain.
Outcry over NUS challenges Wonga targeting Clegg and Lib Dem students
policy support Christian Leppich Changes to the higher education funding system after the government recently passed the bill,raising tuition fees, has caused anger amongst students and prompted the National Union of Students to publically challenge the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, to explain why his party supports such actions. The reforms relate to the tuition fee waiver scheme, which the NUS President, Liam Burns, labelled ‘disastrous’, calling for Nick Clegg to attend the NUS Annual Conference in Sheffield later in the year. The scheme encourages universities to allocate money not to scholarships and bursaries, but instead to use fee waivers; a system that the NUS claims will leave students out of pocket. The £150m National Scholarship Programme, seen by many as a means of placating wavering Lib
Dems, will reward average fees of under £7,500 and therefore promote universities to adopt the fee waiver scheme. The NUS, however, claim that this will lead to far less money reaching students and only benefit those who can pay off their debts in less than 30 years. The NUS further asserts that the changes to the Higher Education funding policy has caused a loss of £13.8m from students’ pockets and that by 2015 this figure will rise to £70m. Currently, 25 universities have altered their Access Agreements for students, with many adopting the National Scholarship Programme and allocating funding away from scholarships and bursaries and towards fee waivers. It is manoeuvres like this that the NUS say will ensure students will find themselves out of pocket. Mr Burns declared that: ‘Fee waivers are a con trick that will only benefit graduates who are earning enough to pay off their student
loans within 30 years. They help the Treasury, who have to spend less on loans, but are of no benefit to students whatsoever.’ Burns went on to say that ‘the perverse incentives of the Government’s changes mean that poorer pupils are encouraged towards courses and universities that have less funding; a complete reverse of the “pupil premium” that Mr Clegg has championed for younger learners.’ The NUS aren’t the only organization to critique the National Scholarship Programme; several educational thinktanks, as well as the Labour Shadow Universities Minister, Gareth Thomas, have suggested that the scheme will only complicate the now already convoluted system of Higher Education. It is yet to be ascertained whether or not Nick Clegg will address NUS students, as Burns has requested, and seek to defend his party and policy.
Pay day loan site, Wonga, has been slated for targeting university students and suggesting their one-day loans are a reasonable subsidy for student loans. The “payday loan good guys”, who boast a typical APR of (4214%?), are termed ‘irresponsible’ and ‘predatory’ by Pete Mercer, Vice-President of the National Union of Students. Wonga have amended their website and withdrawn the misleading advertising targeting students. Wonga is accused of manipulating its customers by implying that its high interest rate loans are similarly comparable to student loans, which have a typical 1.5% APR. The short term loan website initially came under fire when Martin Lewis of Moneysavingexpert.com tweeted: ‘Wonga you’re a moral disgrace’ and created a #WongaLeaveKidsAlone thread, in which outraged followers exposed the deceptive claims of the offensive student friendly webpage. One tweet read: ‘I can’t believe Wonga claim that student loans damage credit
rating!’ Wes Streeting, Chief Executive of The Helena Kennedy Foundation for Underprivileged Students, drew attention to the current student financial climate. Recent university cuts, increased tuition fees and reduced support from government organisations leave students more financially insecure than ever. Streeting says: ‘While universities are cutting back on financial support for students it is clear that legal loan sharks like Wonga are moving in for the kill.’ Frighteningly, the NUS advise that Wonga offers a flexible alternative to government student loans, the Guardian reports. Whilst government loans often result in students applying for a larger loan than they need, the short term loan company has an advantage: ‘You only borrow it for a month and pay the loan back on a day that suits.’ Wonga are responding to the assault with the assurance that they ‘rigorously’ assess loan applications and deny two thirds of those received. They maintain that ‘working, adult students should not be excluded from a popular credit option.’
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
thefounder Editorial Feature
»Continued from front page... In order for the protest to have any chance of being viewed as being legitimate by the college management so as to create a valid platform from which to negotiate it needed the support of the students union. The day before the protest a motion was passed at the fourth general meeting of the year, which mandated the Students’ Union to provide legal and financial support to students involved in any occupation along with other ways in which the SU would support any future occupation. In the afternoon of the first day the Principal met the 40 or so protesters and spoke at great length on the white paper and criticised it on almost every level only stopping short of openly rejecting it which was the protesters central demand. Following the meeting the protesters issued a response to the principals statement which laid out their financial arguments as to why they believed the cuts at the university to be unnecessary: ‘Royal Holloway makes a considerable surplus. We have made a surplus of over £1 million a year since 2002. Since 2006, we have made a surplus over 2.2% of our budget, which is the HEFCE recommended target. Currently, our surplus stands at £6 million a year, which is 4.4% of our budget: double the HEFCE recommendation.’
Occupy RHUL Founder editor David Bowman reveals that the reality of the protest is not widely known across campus.
College management issued a statement claiming that at one point there was a minimum of 4 people in the occupation and the number there never exceeded 30 which I can independently verify as being entirely false with numbers easily exceeding 60 on some evenings the coming years’ and admitted that the college ‘doesn’t know how many students (they) are allowed to recruit next year’. It might be hard to understand from this why the principal would then not want to reject the white paper if its clearly going to do so much damage to the university but he argued that the best way to combat the white paper is by engaging with the government, on one day having to miss a meeting with universities minister David Willets in order to deal with the protesters.
Ms Coleman showed me a sample of emails... the majority seemed to indicate that most students who had responded didn’t support the protest. The problem was that most of the arguments made by those who objected seemed not to understand what the protest was about in the first place
there was a minimum of 4 people in the occupation and the number there never exceeded 30 which I can independently verify as being entirely false with numbers easily exceeding 60 on some evenings and the regular headcounts conducted by security missing the board room which during the day usually contained most of the protesters. The protesters refused to attend a meeting with the principal on Monday at ten o’clock in the morning as this was more or less the least busy time for the protest but college Around 30 students stayed for the management stated that this was first night and the SURHUL Vice On the third day Paul Layzell met the only time the principal would President of Campaigns and Com- with the protesters to discuss the be available and neither side were munication, Sarah Honeycombe third point of the pledge which prepared to change their stances. appeared on BBC Radio Surrey to demanded that he guaranteed that Following this, management dedebate with Paul Layzell explaining there will be no job cuts or redunclared that negotiations were closed why she believes that the college dancies. He argued that it would be despite the protesters insisting that should reject the white paper. ‘If unrealistic to make any guarantees they were prepared to continue neone university condemns it, it surrounding redundancies and that gotiating, although at no point were opens the gateway for all the others’. the occupiers weren’t legally emthey prepared to offer any concesOne of the main disagreements powered to represent college staff. sions of their own, even on points between management and the proAt this point it became apparent that many occupiers admitted that testers was the best way to express that many of the protesters dethey never expected to see met. their distaste at the governments mands simply could not or would That evening the protesters were legislation. The principal argued not be met by college management served with legal notices declaring that the college simply wouldn’t get and that the protesters would not the occupation as unlawful. support from other universities in be satisfied until these demands On Tuesday management rerejecting the paper as many univer- were met. quested that the board room which sities stand to do very well from the Simon Higman, a member of the was being used as a study space be new legislation. Removing the cap senior management team came to made available so that a meeting on AAB students means that top his office during the day with a mug to discuss the allocation of RHUL’s tier universities can take as many carrying the slogan ‘shut up and students as they want draining the deal with it’ which one protester number of these students at Royal wryly noted was in effect the colHolloway and other universities in leges message to the students. Simon Higman, a member this ‘squeezed middle’ whilst Holof the senior management loway can expect to see a drop in its After this point things turned sour team came to his office student numbers of around a third as management became increasingduring the day with a mug in the next three years whilst also ly keen to end the protest as soon as carrying the slogan ‘shut seeing a 78% reduction in its teach- possible and the protesters became up and deal with it’ which ing grant. The principal said that increasingly uncooperative. one protester wryly noted ‘the government is doing nothing to College management issued a was in effect the colleges reduce the level of uncertainty over statement claiming that at one point message to the students.
The emails from members of staff who one would hope are better informed as to the reasons for the protest were more keen to allow it to continue although ... some of them might have been as concerned about their job security than the occupation itself £150,000 annual fund could be held. Allegedly, one protester told a member of senior management that the board room would be made available for the meeting. Later the occupiers stated that the board room could be used providing that they were allowed to stay in the room during the meeting which naturally management didn’t agree to, presumably as the allocation of such a substantial sum requires a level of confidentiality that would make it impractical to have the meeting filled with disgruntled protesters. Management then threatened to withhold the funds with the Director of Communications, Helen Coleman stating that ‘If the meeting does not go ahead today then we will not allocate the funds’. The protesters allowed the meeting to ahead unimpeded. Later that day Ms Coleman showed me a sample of emails from students and staff and the majority seemed to indicate that most students who had responded didn’t support the protest. The problem was that most of the arguments made by those who objected seemed not to understand what the protest was about in the first place with very few students making any points that extended beyond a vague distaste to the idea of a group of radicals getting in the way of the running of the college. The emails from members of staff who one would hope are better informed as to the reasons for the protest were more keen to allow it to continue although it would also be fair to extrapolate that some of them might have been as concerned about their job security than the occupation
itself. Despite the occupation not being organised by SURHUL members of senior management insisted on dealing with Sarah Honeycombe who was primarily involved in the protest in a welfare capacity. Many protesters believed that this was in order to put pressure on her personally to weaken SURHUL’s support for the protest and a member of the University and College Union (UCU) referred to the way in which she was singled out as ‘bullying’. Tuesday evening a vote was taken by the occupiers to leave the next day marking the end of a full week of the occupation although this was later retracted following advice from the UCU to stay another day as they expected to be able to get at least 30 lecturers to join them for a walk out the day after forming a very visible split between those who wished to stay and those who wished to leave. Management, presumably unaware that the protesters had decided to leave, threatened to take the protesters to the high court the next day seeking an injunction. In the legal documents there are CCTV images of protesters using a fire door to come in and out of the building. This is a point where these is disagreement as to whether this was pointed out to protesters or not. What’s interesting is that of the hundreds of times that door was used one of very few images that were used in the papers was one of SURHUL President Daniel Cooper, which appeared to be a clear threat from management to the Students Union although the college deny this. Once management were made aware that the protesters were going to be leaving the following morning the legal action was dropped and management agreed not to pursue any further action against any of the protesters. And that was that. At 11:30 on the 8th of December the protest came to a close and a rally was held in the rain outside of the Windsor building which according to one witness was only attended by around 15 people. The way in which the protest ended left a bitter taste on everybody’s tongues as the measures taken by either side became progressively less objective as the week wore on. In the protesters leaving statement they promise further protests ‘to disrupt the unjustified actions of the Senior Management Team’. How this manifests itself remains to be seen but whatever happens next you can expect it to get much less civil, much faster.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
New year, old Left:
The stagnation of the party of change Toby Fuller Comment and Debate Editor At 0005hrs on the 1At 0005hrs on the 1st January 2012, I disengaged from the main body of the party and moved to the garden in order to light my first cigarette of the year. As I gazed over the village, languidly inhaling the warm tobacco in the cool air, one could feel the explosion of fireworks echoing through the night sky. One could have mistaken the location for downtown Homs rather than ‘The Garden of England’. As the bright lights, dinner jackets and champagne welcomed in the dawn of the New Year, all of my expected hope and excitement felt like the half filled soggy ashtray that lie in front of me. Once again we find ourselves in that curious place that one comes across every few decades in the political consciousness of the nation. It takes the form of a vacuum, void of all progressive thought and leadership, and requires definition and substance, completely unconcerned as to whether that substance derives from the right or left of the political spectrum. As in the late 1970s, the left has failed again to provide an alternative, failed as a credible ideology for change and development. On any university campus in the UK, one can find fellow students draped in the Cuban flag, babbling away the usual leftist propaganda. Among the stream of incoherent chatter, one tends to be able to discern the expected words of ‘Palestine’, ‘oppression’, ‘workers’ and ‘rebellion’. In my own particular experience of such people, I find they quickly retreat after informing them that Hamas is in fact a terrorist organisation maintaining power through tyrannical means and eviscerating their political enemies rather than the party of liberation they purport to be. More significantly, we find the purest example of the Che-student- revolutionary, utterly devoted and yet equally ignorant to the cause for which he
‘‘’’ What could have been a stand against a concentrated and defined policy has merely ended in a spurious and halfhearted occupation
fights. The simplicity of these chimeric ideals reflects its childlike naivety. As these students dream of fighting the old battles and selling the Socialist Worker in the 1960s, they forget how the world has evolved into a far intricate and interwoven web of dy politics, liminality now eclipsing the traditional ns of the
flickr/philippeleroyer spectrum. The political establishment of British Left, and indeed their supporting subsidiary groups, have sacrificed their primordial characteristic of change and progression for populist politicking, endeavouring the regain the halls of power. Mr Milliband and the limp wristed palm waving of his shadow chancellor seem more concerned in demonizing the Tory caricature that belongs to the 1950s, than actually fighting to protect the rights and interests of their followers. Just the other day the Ministry of Defence announced that the cuts to the number of servicemen in the British Army would be increasing from 7,000 to 20,000. At the same time unions across the sectors of the economy continue to announce the demands for the protection of
their own pensions and pay. The statue outside the TUC in London depicts a person holding out a hand to a fellow man in need, the embodiment of humanitarian care and solidarity. Perhaps the unions could appreciate that whilst they protect their own pockets, there are others who remain penniless and disengaged from society. Perhaps they could encourage the intrinsic value of people’s work rather than the reward of the pay packet. Even in our own leadership in SURHUL, the student movement has become deluded by the cry to protect fees and facilities, diluting the campaign against university privatisation. What could have been a stand against a concentrated and defined policy has merely ended in a spurious and half-hearted occupation, acting as a generalised
expression of dissatisfaction. Even Comrade Cooper himself, falling into his own grandiloquent obsessions with waging war on Westminster, has abandoned the true needs of his students to the more capable members of the sabbatical administration. Playing the old games of slinging statistics across the floor of the Commons and satisfying the public with figures rather than ideas, remains too easy a tactic for the opposition. Whilst the Labour Party remains inert in its own chaotic struggle for identity, the unions will continue to pursue the eidolon of the revolutionary. Unfortunately, the adoption of a more sophisticated approach to politics does not appear to be replacing the stagnating populism of the British left any time soon.
Film editor Nathaniel Horne applauds Steve McQueen & Michael Fassbenderâ€™s latest trist
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
So much for Up 2011... bring And on 2012 Coming reported that the number of albums receiving universal acclaim by critics had decreased in 2011, and Waits’s album was the lowest-scoring album ever to be awarded the The Founder has a good record of Best Reviewed Album accolade. predicting Album of the Year. In The annual “Sound of ” BBC 2010, Kanye West’s My Beautiful poll is usually a good predictor for Dark Twisted Fantasy was hailed success, at least for the poll winner as “genius/masterpiece” in these - only The Bravery, winners of the pages, before being identified as poll for 2005, have failed to live up the highest rated album of 2010 to the prediction. The 2011 winner, by both Metacritic.com, a site that Jesse J indeed was one of the most meta-analyses the album reviews commercially, if not critically, sucfrom newspapers and music media, cessful acts of the year, but the rest and rateyourmusic.com, the biggest of the predictions were less successuser review site for music. ful (Jessie J outsold the whole rest Last year, we called Tom Waits’s of the 15-strong list put together). Bad As Me “the finest album you’ll James Blake, number two, on hear this year.” It has gone on to the list released his eponymous, become Metacritic.com’s best minimalist, musically adventurreviewed album of 2011. But the ous album to critical acclaim, but album didn’t get the accolade as that did not translate into huge convincingly as West’s the previous sales. Additionally, one might have year. Metacritic.com also publish a expected more from the Vaccines “year-end Top Ten” meta analysis from their number three slot than from the end of year reviews pubthe overconfident and ironic What lished by music magazines, which Did You Expect From the Vaccines? West also topped in 2010, but Waits On the whole list, the only other fared poorly this year. The other big name to emerge in 2011 was contender for best album of the Wretch 32. year, then, is P J Harvey’s Let EngAlthough 2011’s conventional land Shake, which topped year-end releases have been relatively disapTop Ten list on Metacritic.com, and pointing, a newer model for music came second in the best reviewed has produced more interesting album category. It also beat Waits results. The Weeknd, the stage into second place on the rateyourname of RnB singer Abel Tesfaye, music.com site and, of course, won produced three mixtapes and gave the Mercury Prize this year (Waits, them away as free downloads. as an American, wasn’t eligible for The first two, House of Balloons that award). and Thursday, were universally Another contender for Album of acclaimed. The third, Echoes of the Year must be the best selling al- Silence, has been reviewed on p. xx. bum that year, Adele’s 21, although, Releasing mixtapes is also how personally, I didn’t care for it much South London rapper Dot Rot(Popmatters.com summed it up ten, one of the more interesting well: “21 feels, on the whole, like an choices on the BBC Sound Of 2012 object lesson in how to indulge in poll, started before getting a more easily avoided mistakes”). Indeed, conventional record deal last year. if, like me, you felt that 2011 overall The winner of that poll is Michael was somehow a lacklustre year for Kiwanuka, an old fashioned soul music, then the statistics may bear singer of the Bill Withers/Otis Redyou out. Metacritic.com, again, ding variety. The other highlights
Harun Musho’d Music Editor
on this year’s poll are: American, London based rapper Azaelia Banks (3rd on the poll); girl pop band Stooshe (who along with Little Mix and a rumoured original Sugababes line-up should finally see off that atrocity, The Saturdays ... and the current Sugababes); bluesy singer/ songwriter Ren Harvieu; and Jamie N Commons, a gravelly voiced singer pitched somewhere between early Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen. The indie music representatives in the poll, Spector and Dry the River, are a demonstration of the current bland state of that genre. A second example is that NME journalists clearly couldn’t agree on any outstanding up and coming acts with the result that their “100 bands you have to hear” instruction is unlikely to be heeded by anyone. We’ve reviewed a couple of new albums in the genre, the Macabees (p. xx) and one of the acts on the NME list, Howler (p. xx). There also appears to be glut of releases from the industry’s ancient régime over the next few months including, ex-Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (separate albums), rockers Meatloaf, UFO and Van Halen (reunited with David Lee Roth, and their first new album for 14 years), Pet Shop Boys, Lambchop, Leonard Cohen (first album for eight years), The Cranberries (first in eleven years), Sinead O’Connor and Paul Weller. Positively sprightly in comparison are Field Music, Air, Rodrigo y Gabriela , Graham Coxon, Leona Lewis, Wiley, Mull Historical Society and Ting Tings (interview on p. xx) all with new albums in the next four months, as well as the long awaited début from Simon Cowell’s only non-talent show signing for the last few years, rapper and singer (and SURHUL performer) Labrinth.
Victoria McKinney reviews new acts worth hearing When Demien Castellano (halfVenezuelan, half-British) moved to London several years ago, he couldn’t have envisaged the popular following for psychedelic rock that is now in bloom. Having already been a part of The Orichalc Phase, he formed The Oscillation, a quartet mélange producing songs that can only be described as ethereal. They’ve been compared to Hawkwind, Salvator and Higamos Hegamos, and have supported scores more. I saw the band in Shoreditch in late 2011. Their performance was exciting and progressive, enhanced by the VJ performance curated by mastermind Julien Hand. One or two tracks stand out from their latest LP Veils. ‘The Trial’ is as mellow and edgy as ‘Veils’ is passionate and moving. Finding Dylan Walshe in Camden was a pleasant surprise. I was blown away by this folk, guitar-playing, harmonica-jingling master hailing from Dublin, who was actually the supporting act. He plunged into a cover of Lyle Lovett’s ‘Loretta’ with passion and vigour before moving onto a song of his own ‘Don’t Let It Be You’. He is clearly a very talented songwriter. The lyrics are powerful, passionate and poetic. “Some will run from what they want. Don’t let it be you”. Interspersed with a fusion of
‘‘ ’’ They’ve been compared to Hawkwind, Salvator and Higamos Hegamos, and have supported scores more.
the harmonica, this was a treat for the Camden music cognoscenti. Though his music is perhaps not made for a major commercial market (he’s yet to release an LP), Dylan Walshe is certainly one to watch as singer/songwriter. Simon Miller and Andy Yeoh met and started producing their own songs back in school. Since then their duet Hot Fiction has slowly risen to become an exciting prospect for the British garage-rock scene. Listening to their tunes, you can draw multiple comparisons in style: a little bit of the White Stripes, a dash of The Who and smidgeon of Jimi Hendrix. Vocally, Andy Yeoh is superb and this is complemented by Miller’s technical skill on the guitar. I watched the guys perform in Camden earlier this month and not only is their music good, but they are true crowd-pleasers. The boys released their debut album Dark Room in 2011 and now working on new material.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Music Album review:
Howler America Give Up Harun Musho’d
Much of what I get is unsuitable for review one way or the other – compilations, singles or albums which are clearly not for the student demographic (the PR company intern that sent me Chipwrecked by Alvin and the Chipmunks before Christmas must be out of his mind!)
Occasionally I get preview CDs of big releases, but most of the rest of it is albums by nascent or obscure acts. The Founder only reviews those that are good, have a connection with the college or are heavily hyped. Howler’s debut America Give Up certainly fits the last category. One of NME’s recent “100 bands you have to hear” and featuring on one of their front covers. Just off tour supporting the Vaccines, they are frontman Jordan Gatesmith, with Ian Nygaard (guitar), France Camp (bass), Max Petrek (keyboards) and Brent Mayes (drums). The album’s 11 tracks are between two and four minutes long – thirty minutes in total, immediately inviting comparison with The Strokes attitude of compiling short albums with tight tracks that don’t outstay
Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures
their welcome. The problem is that the comparisons don’t end there. Indeed if you heard the tracks unlabelled, you might be tempted to check the internet to see whether The Strokes had just released a quick follow-up to last year’s Angles. Opener ‘Beach Sluts’ intros with a jangly guitar riff, drums and handclaps, before bass and Gatesmith’s impression of Julian Casablancas (or Lou Reed, or Iggy Pop) kicks in. It even has the change of pace for the chorus that is one of the distinctive features of many Strokes tracks. That’s not to say it’s a bad album, and indeed it has a couple of likely hit singles, particularly ‘America’ and ‘Black Lagoon.’ The latter in particular showcases a rawer rhythmic punk sound - but the album is too much of a clone to be interesting.
The Weeknd Echoes of Silence Florence Platford
The Michael Jackson cover that opens Echoes of Silence fits into The Weeknd’s catalogue scarily well. It makes you recognize the darkness of the original, not question its place here. Loops of breathy, shuddering sighs reinforce the suggestion that the third part of the trilogy will maintain the lurid atmosphere and thematic concerns of hedonism and intoxication
2004, which serves as a reminder as to how little she did creatively after Back to Black’s release. The fresh sound of ‘Halftime’ reveals a voice uncorrupted by her later ‘live fast’ lifestyle and is a stark contrast to established in House of Balloons. vocals cannot survive intact. The her 2009 cover ‘A Song for You’, in Sure enough, the layers of lyrics beauty of the shimmering synth in which words roll into one another and woozy, faltering synth convey ‘XO/The Host’ must too be temincoherently. the sex and drugs, whilst violence pered by guitar chord sleaze and The sessions for her intended is reflected in recurrently bellicose spidery beats. third album produce only two production; the drum machine beat A jarring skit by Juicy J ending songs here; ‘Like Smoke’ and ‘Beon D.D cuts through the texture ‘Same Old Song’ aside, the fluidity tween the Cheats’. The former has like a gun-shot and ‘Outside’ is between tracks allows for a mixtape a rap from Nas awkwardly inserted intermittently punctuated by blasts long narrative trajectory depicting into Winehouse’s haunting and unevocative of muffled explosions. the lustful, swaggering peaks and mistakable vocals, whilst the latter Tesfaye’s gorgeous falsetto, descent into cynical melancholy. Less than six months after her pre- is in a similar vein to the sounds on the single pure thing about The Echoes of Silence’s impressively mature passing, a selection of Amy Back to Black. Weeknd, is the antithesis of a dark- sustained immersive atmosphere Winehouse recordings have been The quality of the album begs the ness which prevents it from cloying coerces the listener into vicariously compiled into an album by produc- question: would this material have as some saccharine R&B vocals inhabiting the world of its debased ers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi. ever been released had Winehouse can. The contrast creates a frisson protagonist. As with any depiction It’s not a polished masterpiece, not died? There are certainly some when combined with particularly of excess, prolonged listening can more an eclectic collection of sound hidden treasures on this album, ominous lyrics like “baby when become exhausting, but it is also bites coerced into an acceptable ‘Our Day Will Come’ and ‘HalfI’m done with you, why/You ain’t exhilarating in a way that not much formation. That isn’t to say that time’ numbered among them, but it sayin’ nothin’.” There is something else will match this year. ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ is not comes across that there was distinct compelling about the depraved a good album because it is, yet its lack of unreleased material for being depicted in such a beautiful The Weeknd’s trilogy of 2011 mix- poignancy is in showcasing the loss Ronson and Remi to draw upon. way. In the claustrophobic ‘Initiatapes: House of Balloons, Thursday of such a great talent. The timeless quality of Winehouse’s tion’, however, the vocals are comand Echoes of Silence are available The dates the tracks were revoice is a joy to listen to, but this pletely distorted, as if the lascivious for free download on the-weeknd. corded reveal much about Winealbum is tinged with sadness and atmosphere in the ‘two-floor loft’ com and will be released as a remas- house’s increasingly troubled life. loss, as indeed Amy Winehouse’s has become so dense, even Tesfaye’s tered package later this year. Most of the album is from 2002 to own life was.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Midas Fall As Our Blood Separates Have The Ting Tings started something after all?
Ting Tings drummer Jules De Martino talks to Harun Musho’d
head) and Dolores O’Riordian (The Cranberries) thrown in for good measure. The EP also features a ‘Bunnk Bed’ remix of their biggest hit to-date ‘Movie Screens’ which featured in the UK Top 20 after being featured on the cult TV series ‘Lip Service’. ‘Movie Screens’ is given a dance-floor makeover, which whilst retaining Midas Fall’s signature dark and eerie tone, manages to give the track a refreshingly original twist. Midas Fall, the post-rock quartet It’s not difficult to see exactly why from Edinburgh who have been Midas Fall are something special. compared to the likes of Mogwai, The band truly come into their own Radiohead and Portishead give us in the 3 new tracks which the EP a glimpse of what to expect from features: the title track, ‘Carnival their next album thanks to their Song’, and my personal favourite latest EP. If it’s anything to go by ‘BPD’. You cannot help but listen in then we can expect a worthy sucawe to just how intricately Midas cessor to their mesmerising debut Fall have woven together a web album Eleven, Return And Revert. of emotional depth, heartbreak, As ever, lead vocalist Elizabeth dynamic vocals, melodic guitar Heaton’s atmospheric vocals are at leads from Rowan Burn and Simon the very heartbeat of this EP. Morgan as well as drumming full Midas Fall’s take of ‘Hurt’ by of musical competency from Pedro Nine Inch Nails proves to be a Pellat. beautifully crafted piece of music, Powerful yet fragile, devastatingly fully making use of Heaton’s haunt- beautiful and beautifully devastating vocals, which at many instances ing, ‘As Our Blood Separates’ is one mirror those of Amy Lee (Evanesof the very finest post-rock releases cence) , Liz Frazer (Massive Attack) put together by one of the most with hints of Beth Gibbons (Portis- underrated bands around.
Katie White and Jules De Martino have come a long way since they tried to break the frustrations of making it in the music industry first as two-thirds of Dear Eskiimo, and then, more successfully, as the duo The Ting Tings. The situation was so desperate that Jules (drums, lead guitar, bass guitar, vocals, piano) and Katie (vocals, guitar, bass drums, bass guitar; and she did not go to Leeds University) recorded an album in their home using a laptop and some instruments, some of which, including the guitar, Katie learnt to play for the purposes of making the record. The result was We Started Nothing in 2008, two million album sales worldwide, a series of hit singles, including the UK no.1 ‘That’s Not My Name’, and an armful of awards and nominations including an Ivor Novella award and Grammy nomination. Why did it take three years to record a follow-up? “Obviously, the approach to recording a follow-up was different,” says Jules. “We couldn’t return to Islington Mill, Salford where we had lived and recorded We Started Nothing. Instead, we went to Berlin to record, so as not to rerun memories of Manchester. Berlin was also the scene of some of our early gigs and we had done residency swaps there, so we knew people and fitted in well. But, the problem with the resulting tracks was that we really liked four or five songs but hated four or five others which the record company loved.” The 2010 Calvin Harris-produced single Hands was an example of the latter type. It is
a very catchy single, and, Jules told me, the Industry loved it, but it is a very commercially pure pop tune and that is not the direction the band wanted to take “so we erased those songs completely to stop them being further exploited.” Katie and Jules recorded the second half of the album on a mountain in Spain, and in Ibiza. Jules says that “we were determined not to make the same record twice. I prefer listening to albums, but when you’re on tour you find yourself listening to iPod playlists and that’s reflected in the music we wrote. The album is very much a playlist. For example, ‘Day to Day’ is influenced by the music Katie was listening to in the nineties, particularly the Spice girls and TLC. Rob Stringer [chairman of Columbia Records], who signed us, was very supportive reassuring us that he wasn’t expecting us to record an album with hits on it.” The titles of both Ting Tings albums, We started Nothing and Songs from Nowheresville both sound negative and self-effacing. “That wasn’t entirely deliberate but we’re not a shiny and spangly pop band. Because we’re a DIYband - we recorded both albums ourselves - writing about our real experiences, sometimes some darkness creeps in. For example, ‘That’s not My Name’ is often dismissed as poppy fluff, but the lyrics are about being totally invisible.” The shared musical influence that initially brought Jules and Katie together was Portishead, “but for this album, we also listened to a lot of Talking
Heads, Beastie Boys and Malcolm Mclaren.” Having listened repeatedly to an advance copy of Songs from Nowheresville in preparation for the interview, I had by the end of the interview formed my own view of the album, and I bound to report that the Ting Tings and the record company are deluding themselves; the band, because this second album is not the departure from the first that they would have you (and themselves) believe, and the record company because contrary to Rob Stringer’s expectations, it’s full of likely hits (he must be so annoyed with himself!). ‘Hang it up’, the lead single released last week, is pure Ting Tings, as are other highlights ‘Soul Killing’ and ‘Guggenheim’. Like the first album, once you get through the obvious singles, the appeals of the album are less obvious. The only track where Jules’s claims to difference are justified is the closing track, ‘In Your Life’, a dark and uncharacteristic venture into torch song territory – as a single it might be risky, but it’s brilliant. My last question to Jules was if there was anything that was reported about the Ting Tings that had particularly annoyed them. “No not really, I mean a lot of it is wrong, and we normally spend the first ten minutes of any interview correcting what journalists have clearly read on Wikipedia or some such.” Oh really, erm, like what? “For example, Katie never went to Leeds Uni.” Sounds from Nowheresville by the Ting Tings is released on 27 February.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
themselves as such to boost their own ego/image. Shame does a brilliant job of showing us that genuine sex addicts are not proud or boastful but sad, lonely people we should be feeling sorry for, not patting on the back. Michael Fassbender has a big dick. The film tells the story of BranIn the new drama from the director don, a single office-worker in his of IRA chiller Hunger (Steve Mcthirties, for whom the orgasmic Queen), he plays a character that feeling has become an obsession. uses this dick a lot...to the point Brandon spends all of his time out where it seriously starts to damage of the office pursuing hook-ups, his personal life and mental health. paying for prostitutes and watching The theme of sexual addiction is porn (in one scene he arrives for one that cinema has understandwork, and only a few minutes later ably chosen to ignore, despite it heads to the bathroom for a wank). becoming an increasing concern His life takes a slight turn when his of the 21st century. The term ‘sex sibling “Sissy” (Carey Mulligan) addict’ generally seems to be a term turns up in his apartment, wanting for sleazy womanizers or currently- to stay there for a while as she gets hot celebrities, who only advertise her life together.
Nathaniel Horne Film Editor
Only time will tell whether or not it will go on to be the defining film of our sex saturated culture
One of the many special things about Shame is that is truly one of the darkest films you will ever see. Even though McQueen fills the screen with a bunch of attractive people getting naked, a worrying, uncomfortable tone imbues the film from start to finish. There are many scenes and moments that are played out fantastically, such as the opening scene in which Brandon begins to seduce a stranger on a train simply by glancing at her (I
thought it was a little unconvincing too, but if anyone can pull it off...). The script develops the complicated relationship between Brandon and his sister in a very gripping yet subtle way (there are obviously hints of incest), before leading us to the film’s extremely hard-hitting climax (no pun intended). The talent here lies not only in the direction and ideas but in the acting. Mulligan continues to stretch herself in a role that will further her already impressive career, but it’s Fassbender that definitely deserves an Oscar for his role. It’s one of those really ballsy (pun intended) performances that is more a great force of human representation than a simple acting job. Complimenting his work may seem a bit obvious considering the dramatic
nature of the role and the fact that McQueen gives him so many closeups, but there is one particular shot in which Brandon stares directly into the camera whilst fucking; thanks to Fassbender, it is one of the most powerful, unique, awkward and heart-breaking moments you will ever see in a movie. Shame accurately portrays the potential emptiness of a love-free sex life, the worrying influence of pornographic videos and the desperation of wanting sexual contact no matter how it is obtained or who it is with. Only time will tell whether or not it will go on to be the defining film of our sex saturated culture, but due to its audacious ambition and its talented cast and crew, it is without a doubt a film that deserves to be seen.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Breaking Dawn: Part 1 Review:
Margin Call Samuel Gridley
Yazmin Joy Vigus
The time has finally come for Bella and Edward to tie the knot in the Twilight Saga’s fourth instalment Breaking Dawn: Part 1. After the woodland wedding ceremony the movie makes a welcome relocation from the rugged Rockies to a secluded tropical island off the shores of South America where the couple finally consummate their love. But there is trouble in paradise when Bella (Kirsten Stewart) realises she is (dum dum dum!) pregnant. Up till this point the movie plays like a Vera Wang campaign but that isn’t a criticism. In fact I would argue that this is one of the film’s strengths. Director Bill Condon’s (Dream Girls) romantic opening brings the audience back to the heart of the film, reminding us that before settling into the vampire flick niche the Twilight series is a romance. After all no one can deny the sizzling chemistry between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Understandably parents of young
viewers may be concerned about the films controversial bed breaking sex sequence but I can assure you that from my seat the message was clear. Rather than screaming ‘lets all have raucous vampire sex’ it appeared to give the message to teenage fans: ‘fall in love people... then sex will be amazing’. One of the big problems with Breaking Dawn is that there is too much material to be condensed into one movie and maybe a tad too little to be stretched between two. The decision to go for two films is a better option in my opinion and while some may find the honeymoon sequence to be tedious and drawn out I would argue it is about time those kids had a bit of a holiday. But don’t be misled in thinking Condon has taken a fluffy approach to the final instalment. Bella’s physical descent is particularly harrowing as her unborn child begins to feed on her body. With music that includes ‘Iron and Wine’ and ‘Sleeping at Last’, Breaking Dawn’s soundtrack has the right balance between dreamy indie pop and Carter Burwell’s epic original score. ‘It Will Rain’ by Bruno Mars feels a little out of place and too mainstream for what is otherwise a beautifully humble yet emotive soundtrack.
Is there a line between film and theatre? Could any good play be adapted to the big screen and viceversa? Carnage, the new film from infamous director Roman Polanski is an adaptation of the multi-award winning play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza (who co-wrote the film’s screenplay with Polanski). The film centres on two sets of parents who come from two very The Twilight series is a franchise different life styles coming together to discuss a fight that their sons that critics generally seem to suck have been involved in. Michael and dry with their pretentious faff Penelope Longstreet (John C. Reilly about what an ignoramus Steph& Jodie Foster) are your typical anie Mayer is and how the films down to earth New York yuppies lack credibility. Well I have one who seem to have a lot to say but question for ya tough guys... If the Twilight Saga is so goddamn awful rarely have a point to make whilst Alan and Nancy Cowan (Christoph how come Breaking Dawn: Part 1 Waltz & Kate Winslet) are your raked in 138 million dollars in the upper class business types who like USA on its opening weekend? If it is so lame then why are people nuts to think they are down to earth like the Longstreets but have become about it? If it is overrated why has far too detached from reality to the number of viewers increased notice the world around them. The since the first film was released? film takes place in the Longstreet’s Maybe the fans hold the key. humble apartment (mainly in the After all, the experience of watching a Twilight film on the big screen living room) and we never leave, we are stuck with these four incredibly is pretty similar to watching a live fake and vapid people for the better sporting match. The audience part of 90 minutes and honestly, are so pumped: the wooping, the you couldn’t find better company to cheering. Team Jacob verses Team spend your time with! Edward. Brilliant! The film is a riot from start to finBreaking Dawn: Part 1 manages ish. Having four of the world’s top to deliver precisely what it adveractors locked in a room together tises on the can. If Taylor Lautner and allowing them to be as crass didn’t take his shirt off that would and dark as possible is an absolute be false advertising now wouldn’t delight, we get to see them really it? While the film might not be stretch their comedic chops (someOscar worthy it certainly succeeds thing actors like Winslet and Foster in dishing up a healthy portion of rarely get to do). It’s a wonderful romance that still has enough bite examination on human nature, to keep fans happy. seeing how far one’s false politeness can actually go until an all out war For (non film related) musings begins. It is Waltz who really steals check out Yaz’s blog aliljoy.com
the show here though, from the beginning he is the one who has the least pretentious attitude and as an audience we probably latch on to him the most despite the fact that he is rude, inappropriate and slimy (though deep down, we all are) and so are the rest of the cast but it is Waltz’s character who relishes so much in it that we can’t really tell if he’s a an arsehole or a sage. The cast fire on all cylinders, working exquisitely well of one another and they hold a mirror up to an audience who sadly know the characters being represented on film all too well. Can this really be considered cinema though? Is it not just a filmed play with a set and camera angles? Having not seen the play myself I cannot judge on the differences between the two. Despite the films lack of visual scope it still feels widely cinematic, possibly due to the sheer amount of talent on screen, there’s something about a scene in the film which includes projectile vomit that would possibly lose its humour on stage. The film does suffer from moments where it does feel slightly stagey (the reasons for them being trapped in the apartment, some of the line deliveries) but being so caught up with these characters and the laughs that you barely notice its flaws. This is definitely one of the funnier films of recent times, a strong character piece with excellent dialogue and performances from some of the greatest living actors. Is it necessarily something that needs to be on film? No, but this allows people the chance to see one of the greatest modern comedic works on a larger scale, and unlike some awful stage to screen adaptations (The Producers, 2005 & Tape, 2001), everyone involved here is at the top of their game, crossing the bridge between stage and screen with a touch of class.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lead and supporting actors. For the couple of you who haven’t read the book/seen the film, disgraced political journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), is invited by mysterious industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to solve the disappearance of a relative It certainly seemed like an odd that he has been obsessing over decision. David Fincher would be for forty years. At the same time, making a re-adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling novel The Girl computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is hired by her with the Dragon Tattoo, just two security company to investigate years after the release of the very Blomkvist for the Vanger Corporasuccessful Swedish film version. tion. As Blomkvist’s investigation Unsurprisingly, critics throw their arms up in the air and declared that becomes more and more complex, this would be yet another unneces- he approaches Salander to help him sary, watered down Hollywood ver- solve the case. Stylistically, this is a Fincher film sion of a great foreign film. But they through and through and starts were wrong. This version actually with a bang, with Trent Reznor outshines the original with a tight, and Atticus Ross’ pitch perfect witty script, often stunning visuals score accompanying a bold, gothic and great performances from the
subversion of a James Bond opening credits sequence. This material seems made for Fincher, gelling with his style as a director in a way that hasn’t occurred since Fight Club or Seven and his auteurial presence is felt in every frame. The decision to keep the Swedish setting was absolutely the right one, as not only does the frozen bleak landscape make for an incredible backdrop, but it is also integral to the plot itself. The Sweden we know today is a free, socialist and gender equal country yet is a society that was built during a dark and violent period in history and much of the story involves uncovering secrets of the past, secrets that relate to Nazism, corruption and murder. The Girl in question, Rooney Mara, who we last saw in The Social Network as Mark Zuckerberg’s ex
Erica Albright, is superb. Emotionally, and at times, physically naked, she completely immerses herself in the role. Comparisons between hers and Noomi Rapace’ supposedly definitive performance was inevitable, yet Mara manages to incorporate a new, surprisingly vulnerable side to one of the most fascinating and complex female characters in recent years. In playing opposite such a captivating role, Daniel Craig had a tough job to do. In the film, Blomkvist is an everyman, defeated but struggling to do the right thing despite possessing a moral compass that does not always point north. But there is a quiet brilliance to Craig’s realistic performance, and one gets the sense that he is relishing shedding the 007 suit that he never seemed fully comfortable in. Flaws? Well for those who have
read the book/seen the Swedish film version the inevitable reveal of the killer will come as no surprise. However Fincher does offer a slightly alternate ending guaranteed to keep even those most well versed in the plot on their toes. Also, towards the end of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the film takes a turn into a crime caper style sequence which does not really fit with the rest of the film. Yet, nit-picking aside, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is some of David Fincher’s best work, an edgy, fast paced thriller. The scenes of sexual violence are graphic, and at times, pretty disturbing, so this is by no means a date movie. But go if you want to see a director and cast working at the top of their game, in particular a career defining performance from Rooney Mara.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol development so sorely missed from most modern day blockbusters. The film never slacks in pace and although the third act seems to be a slight anti-climax after a thrilling stint in Dubai, the suspense of the Following on from the solid third mission at hand is handled expertly instalment of the Mission Impossi- whilst never forgetting to remind ble franchise, Ghost Protocol boasts audiences of what’s at stake. The rethat blockbuster feel somewhat sult is a film that feels smarter than lacking in the cinematic calendar the average big-budget affair whilst as we head towards awards season. keeping its crowd-pleasing action With a box office friendly cast com- sequences gripping. prising of an ever-dependable Tom Performances are well-judged Cruise, the comically adept Simon and believable all round, and whilst Pegg and newcomers Jeremy RenPegg gets the best lines and Patton ner and Paula Patton, all headed up and Seydoux provide more than by the former Pixar stalwart Brad enough scene-stealing seductiveBird, Ghost Protocol seems to have ness, it’s straight-shooters Cruise a team almost as constructed as and Renner that keep the action the film itself to square up to Oscar rolling, as a newly buffed Cruise heavy weights and kids’ Christmas owns his career-defining role of competitors. Hawke better than ever, and Renner Although it’s arrived a few shows off his ability to match his months too late be a summer hit, co-star’s hard man sensibilities with audiences should be tempted by cool comic timing ahead of his role the mixture of solid action, believ- as Hawkeye in the well-anticipated able characters and unbelievable The Avengers later in the year. plotlines that the MI franchise has It’s understandable that the probecome known for. In this case, ducers didn’t place the ‘Part IV’ laEthan Hawke (Cruise) and his bel on Ghost Protocol, because feels team of special operatives must like a bigger beast than its predeprevent Swedish thermonuclear cessors, both in terms of scale and war extremist Hendricks (a suitably emotional commitment. However maniacal Michael Nyqvist) from with director Brad Bird holding the launching Russian nukes with reigns, what could have been a malnewly acquired launch codes cour- formed and disappointing repeat of teously of femme fatale Moreau last year’s The A-Team has become (Léa Seydoux). In true Mission a bigger, yet tauter reinvigoration Impossible fashion, Hawke’s team of the MI franchise. Ghost Protocol are framed for a terrorist attack serves as excellent example of how on the Kremlin, forcing them to franchise films should evolve as the launch a ghost operation without action is satisfyingly well-executed, government support in locations as the performances well-rounded and exotic as Dubai and Bombay whilst although the plot contrivances of settling a few personal scores along the third act will have you questhe way. tioning the exactitudes of nuclear After a slightly disorientating war, the suspenseful pace of the opening segment recounting a film carries the story through to its failed mission in Budapest, the emotional pay-off at the end, and hand of director Brad Bird becomes will leave audiences awaiting a fifth apparent, as he draws upon the instalment of what could so easily slick plotting of his The Incredibles have become a franchise dead in to blend well constructed set pieces the water. with the rudimentary character
ence who sadly know the characters being represented on film all too Is it necessarily well. something that needs to Can this really be considered be on film? No, but this cinema though? Is it not just a allows people the chance filmed play with a set and camera to see one of the greatest angles? Having not seen the play modern comedic works Is there a line between film and myself I cannot judge on the difon a larger scale theatre? Could any good play be ferences between the two. Despite adapted to the big screen and vicethe films lack of visual scope it still versa? Carnage, the new film from you couldn’t find better company to feels widely cinematic, possibly infamous director Roman Polanski spend your time with! due to the sheer amount of talent is an adaptation of the multi-award The film is a riot from start to fin- on screen, there’s something about winning play God of Carnage by ish. Having four of the world’s top a scene in the film which includes Yasmina Reza (who co-wrote the actors locked in a room together projectile vomit that would possibly film’s screenplay with Polanski). and allowing them to be as crass lose its humour on stage. The film The film centres on two sets of and dark as possible is an absolute does suffer from moments where it parents who come from two very delight, we get to see them really does feel slightly stagey (the reasons different life styles coming together stretch their comedic chops (some- for them being trapped in the to discuss a fight that their sons thing actors like Winslet and Foster apartment, some of the line deliverhave been involved in. Michael and rarely get to do). It’s a wonderful ies) but being so caught up with Penelope Longstreet (John C. Reilly examination on human nature, these characters and the laughs that & Jodie Foster) are your typical seeing how far one’s false politeness you barely notice its flaws. down to earth New York yuppies can actually go until an all out war This is definitely one of the funwho seem to have a lot to say but begins. It is Waltz who really steals nier films of recent times, a strong rarely have a point to make whilst the show here though, from the character piece with excellent Alan and Nancy Cowan (Christoph beginning he is the one who has the dialogue and performances from Waltz & Kate Winslet) are your least pretentious attitude and as an some of the greatest living actors. Is upper class business types who like audience we probably latch on to it necessarily something that needs to think they are down to earth like him the most despite the fact that to be on film? No, but this allows the Longstreets but have become he is rude, inappropriate and slimy people the chance to see one of the far too detached from reality to (though deep down, we all are) and greatest modern comedic works on notice the world around them. The so are the rest of the cast but it is a larger scale, and unlike some awfilm takes place in the Longstreet’s Waltz’s character who relishes so ful stage to screen adaptations (The humble apartment (mainly in the much in it that we can’t really tell Producers, 2005 & Tape, 2001), living room) and we never leave, we if he’s a an arsehole or a sage. The everyone involved here is at the top are stuck with these four incredibly cast fire on all cylinders, working of their game, crossing the bridge fake and vapid people for the better exquisitely well of one another and between stage and screen with a part of 90 minutes and honestly, they hold a mirror up to an auditouch of class.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
The Fairytale Hangover Felicity King Features Editor Once upon a time, in a land not that far away- Hastings in fact -there lived a young girl. Now, if you genuinely can’t see where this article is going, you obviously don’t read enough newspapers, “for Inow, of course”, said young girl “and when I was younger, absolutely loved Fairy Tales”. In fact I was pretty much raised on Disney films and James Bond. I would say this diet clearly hasn’t done me any harm but I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Regardless of any negative future consequences, I devouredFairy Tales on a daily basis. I’d love to say I quickly grew out of this but that would be a huge lie. However, I don’t think my obsession is that unusual, nor is it unexplainable.It does, to my mind, make an awful lot of sense. James Bond films and Disney movies may seem at opposite ends of the scale; however they do have onecrucial similaritythe happy ending. Not just a happy ending, but a glorious triumph of good over evil, the young and the pretty over the old and the ugly. They are a wonderfully unrealistic indulgence. Saying that, indulgences are rarely good for us, as my post-SU hangover is proving this very moment. Not only am I suffering from the huge amount of alcohol consumption required to make a SU night bearable (I’m joking, I do actually love the SU); I’m also burdened with a different type of hangover, the ‘after-years-of-taking-onceupon-a-time-shots-I’ve-realisedit’s-all-a-load-of-crap’ one. It’s the equivalent of downing two bottles of vodka and it’s made me very sad. I woke up this morning with my head at the wrong end of the bed and this new sleeping position must have promoted new thoughts because I suddenly realised: What messages are we actually giving our children in Fairy Tales? Well, not our children, not many of us have children yet. But ‘our children’ in the symbolic sense, you know, the way the Prime Minister says it. ‘Our children’, meaning the next generation, but said using more personal
language so we feel guiltier for screwing them up so badly. Cinderella teaches us to endure injustice silently and to wait for a Fairy Godmother to come along, wave her magic wand and make it all ok. It teaches us to marry men who steal our shoes and to leave parties at midnight. Snow White moves in to a house full of people with names like ‘Dopey’, which is hardly sensible, and I don’t remember reading anywhere that she bothers paying them any rent. Red Riding Hood is just plain wolf-ist, writing them all off as evil Granny-eaters, and as for Sleeping Beauty, well, as in Snow White, we return to the idea of kissing girls who are sleeping as an appropriate method of proposal. An idea which, when stripped of its fairy tale fancy, is actually incredibly shocking. Another striking thing about Fairy Tales is the complete
lack of wrinkles. I wouldn’t be surprised if Garnier, and all the other wrinkle-free cream companies, hadn’t invented Fairy Tales as an advertising campaign. If ever there was an incentive to buy ‘Ultra-liftyou’ll-look-as-young-as-you-didin-the-womb’ cream, it would be in a Fairy Tale. Being able to remember the sixties, a single grey hair, and that’s it. You couldn’t possibly be genuinely selling an apple, you have to be up to something bad. And that’s the good option, the rest of the over forties in Fairy Tales simply cease to exist. For all their absurdities, they are dressed up so nicely that we can’t help but like Fairy stories. I can’t help but like them. I shall show the Disney films to my children because they are, in the most, harmless fun. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is actually rather profound and any film with a talking teapot
is automatically a winner to me. In ‘Mulan’ we have a heroine who finally kicks some ass and Mary Poppins’ sugary critique of the English Banks couldn’t be more apt than at the moment. I’m not suggesting that it’s time we got rid of these Fairy Tales as they are such a lovely part of childhood and believing that things can be ‘okay in the end’ should never be discouraged. However, maybe we should just remember to take them with a spoonful of sugar, or a pinch of salt. Alternate them with the Erin Brockovich movie or the six o’clock news. There is nothing wrong with girls and boys growing up dreaming of being Princesses, hoping to be rescued, or aspiring to marry a Prince. What is important is that we all have the choiceand children, boys and girls alike, know that it is equally acceptable for them to dream of saving the whales, or becoming a teacher,
or writing a book. Dreams don’t have to come true, they are the only part of our lives where we don’t have to be rational or realistic, what they mustn’t be however is harmful, either to the way we see ourselves or the way we see others. There are a few, harmful details Fairy Tales could do without; the rest may be old fashioned but as long as we recognise it as such and don’t take it as an accurate portrayal of the life we should lead, they’ll be safe in our dreams. So here I am, slowly starting to recover from both my hangovers. In true student fashion I will be going out drinking again tonight. I advise you all to adopt the same attitude towards Fairy Tales. We’ve woken up with the Fairy Tale hangover, we see through them now, however that won’t stop us hitting the ‘happily ever afters’ again in the future.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying featuring Darren Criss (of Glee, A Very Potter Musical and my own private brain theatre) in the lead role. What’s a girl to do? The show itself, it really must be stated, is a marvellously silly confection. Following Finch through his disingenuous and often downright sleazy ascent through the World Wide Wicket Company, the show’s unfailingly humorous and deeply ironical tone manages to keep you rooting for him throughout as a still-preferable hero to the pantomime of incompetence and So before you say anything – no I idiocy that surrounds him. This did not buy a £500 ticket to New revival (the first on Broadway since York purely for this reason. I didn’t. 1995) manages to retain this frothy I needed a holiday and New York sense of fun by steering clear of seemed a good a place as any to go. any awkward attempt at focusing Honestly. its satirical sting on current affairs. Alright, so admittedly, the very Yes, the story is about business and fact that I even have to clarify this is finance and the idiocy often inherprobably a greater indication than ent within them and yes, now of all any other that I’ve already written times is certainly a period rich in far too many articles about Darren obvious parallels, but director Rob Criss in the last six months and Ashford has wisely kept his producshould consequently put my laptop tion rooted firmly in the late 1950s, aside right now and seek profeswith any parallels the audience sional help and/or a cold shower, wishes to draw left to them to smirk but whatever. I don’t care. over in private. The production is I don’t have to impress you certainly the better for it, unburpeople. dened as it is by the sobering onus How To Succeed In Business of its current day implications and Without Really Trying (or H2$, allowed, instead, simply to revel in for people with word limits), first its own colourful silliness as a misopened on Broadway in 1961 to chievous but good-natured satire widespread acclaim and a slew of that doesn’t strike too deep. Tonys, even picking up the 1962 As a production, H2$ plays Pulitzer Prize for Drama. With out with great style and visual music and lyrics by Frank Loesser campery, relying heavily on a Mad (of Guys and Dolls fame), the Men-esque aesthetic to compliment show follows the satirical story of the signature blend of orchestral J. Pierrepont Finch, a young New lushness and rockabilly undertones York window cleaner who uses that characterise so many musicals a self-help business manual to of the 1950s and 60s. Ear worms climb to the top of the World Wide somewhat abound in this show, Wicket Company, only to find that with songs such as “Rosemary”, the business ladder can be about as “How To Succeed” and “Been A stable as a window cleaner’s stepLong Day” proving particularly ladder when pushed. hard to bash out of one’s head once The current 2011 revival origiyou’ve heard them, and the chorus nally starred Daniel Radcliffe as line are wittily electric in even Finch, but as my friends and I blew the most throwaway of numbers. into town on the third of January “Coffee Break” is a particular gem, with our heads still buried in the taking place right after two big metaphorical sick bags of New Year, opening numbers and managing to it just so happened that that very keep up the frenzied energy needed weekend would mark the changeo- to see the audience through any ver from Radcliffe’s ten month amount of establishing dialogue. run to a limited three week stint The company is universally
Julia Armfield Arts Editor
The Al Hirschfield Theatre – Times Square, NY
and giving many a smug glance to the audience whenever his plans become clear) is unfailingly funny. His voice, for one who has made a career singing Katy Perry songs better than Katy Perry (not hard, I will grant) is surprisingly strong and his range likewise, the only iffy moment occurring in the big final song, “Brotherhood of Men”, when his solo was admittedly rather dented by being clearly out of breath after a complicated dance routine (although his dancing, just by the by, is cheesily flawless). He is not, as I say, a Michael Ball or a John Barrowman, but neither is he a Martine McCutcheon, and for that we must all be grateful. There are, of course, certain elements of the show that aren’t perfect. The feminist flag is hardly flown high by the swooning Rosemary and her secretarial counterparts and various songs such as “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm” and “A Secretary Is Not A Toy” are problematic at best, However, this revival does attempt to treat these things with enough of a satirical side-eye to make them amusing, rather than depressing, and the staunchly period feel certainly helps. In general, this is a show that absolutely delivers, as long as what you ordered was good fun and www.playbill.com not too much in the way of heavy realism or Sondheim-esque meloexcellent; Christopher Hanke giving previously been tentatively prepar- drama. God knows Daniel Radcliffe the turn of the night as Bud Frump, ing to make excuses for (Because gives me the feelings in his own Finch’s pathologically useless arch- that’s what love is, kids). He is not, deeply specialised and troubling nemesis, whilst the understudy we it is true, anything in the way of a way, but Criss, to me, is a gem of a happened to catch as love interMichael Ball or a John Barrowman leading man and one who would est Rosemary was as entertaining and was consequently mic-ed for only improve and improve if only and secure as any lead I have ever the whole performance but this, to he were playing longer than his seen. Beau Bridges, meanwhile be honest, I had expected. What three week run. As it is, however, (of “being Jeff Bridges’ brother” I had not expected was the sheer he is shortly to be replaced by Nick fame) puts in a fine performance unbridled energy and detail he Jonas, the musical fugitive wanted as J. B. Biggley, the President of the managed to bring to a role which, for crimes against Marius, Les company, whose Old Boy nepotism whilst admittedly funny, might have Miserables and my eardrums, and I and benignly lecherous relationrung slightly hollow if played for can only thank God that I won’t be ship with continually sozzled office laughs alone. Criss does a praisearound to witness that. bombshell Hedy La Rue (Tammy worthy job of imbuing Finch with As the more philosophical among Blanchard; magnificent) are again actual depth, approaching comus have been known to say: “There’s treated with humour rather than paratively low-energy songs such as being Harry Potter, there’s being revulsion in a musical that seeks to “I Believe In You” and “Rosemary” on Glee and there’s being a Jonas poke fun rather than to rip anyone with believable emotion, whilst his Brother. All men are created equal, to pieces. portrayal of Finch’s ever-present but some are most definitely more Criss, meanwhile, is a revelation sneaky side (faking having fallen equal than others.” in a performance that even I had asleep working all night in his office
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
The Young Vic Michael Sheen is one of the best actors around and “Hamlet” is one of the best plays around. Sheen playing the Dane should be a great theatrical moment. So, in this production at the Young Vic, what went wrong? Well, Sheen and director Ian Rickson (whose play “Jerusalem” is one of the best I’ve ever seen) aimed to make the play “difficult and jagged again”. They succeed, with emphasis on “difficult”. It’s just a shame they didn’t aim to make it “enjoyable”, “interesting” or “good”. An old adage claims that if you throw enough mud at a wall some will stick. This seems to be the philosophy behind this overegged, muddled production. For
starters, here Elsinore is not a castle in Denmark but a psychiatric institution in which Hamlet is, seemingly, a patient and Claudius in charge. Whilst this might have been a clever psychological interpretation, it just raises issues; why would a troupe of actors do Hamlet’s whim? Why would Hamlet be able to wander around at night ghost hunting, or carry a knife when visiting his mother, or command Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s murders? For an institution, there’s little authority, undermining a play about kingship entirely – after all, if Hamlet is not heir to any throne but just son of an old pen-pusher, so what? Rather than fresh, this is gimmicky to the worst degree, and the dull set, more resembling a rehearsal room than a leading theatre, does little to help. The company play fast and loose with many other areas. Horatio and Guildenstern are both played by women, and Hamlet’s father’s ghost is played by Hamlet
himself; the latter successfully, the former unnecessarily. Minor roles later in the play are represented by dead characters – Polonius and Ophelia rise up needlessly, saving money for more actors. Throughout, it questions how much is real and how much is in the insane Hamlet’s head, but Sheen’s Hamlet is (rightly) too nuanced in his madness for this to work. And totting up the contrivances – Hamlet is constantly monitored yet commits multiple murders, Claudius is just chief psychiatrist yet able to order Hamlet’s assassination in England, Hamlet is the prince of an institution – it’s just confusing. On top of all this, it’s very, very long. And feels it. The cast is a mixed bag. The audience feels Ophelia’s (Vinette Robinson) every emotion; indeed, her near-perfect performance is marred only by the baffling issue the (rather nice) PJ Harvey songs she sings raises – why would a psychiatric institution
own wheelchair-bound zithers? As Gertrude, Sally Dexter is good, but bizarrely for a production so steeped in psychological mumbojumbo, the oedipal relationship is hardly there (the bedroom scene isn’t even in a bedroom – I’m no purist, but really!). James Clyde as Claudius and Michael Gould as Polonius, however, commit perhaps the worst theatrical sin – they are one-dimensional and simply boring to watch. But of course “Hamlet” revolves around the central performance, and the real tragedy is, in the midst of this mess, just how truly superb Michael Sheen is; he deserves better. In the soliloquies, Sheen makes the play feel new. In dialogue, he is almost painfully superior to practically everything around him. Manic yet never too wild, hilarious and heartbreaking, his incendiary performance, out of context, is dynamite, and almost makes the whole over-the-top ballyhoo worthwhile. Fantastic,
complex and captivating, he would be a Hamlet to remember, if not for the failings around him. And finally, after Hamlet’s last swordfight, the tragic and redemptive ending is not enough – ruining any pathos for the sake of being “difficult and jagged”, they cock it up entirely by giving “Hamlet”, that most enduring of plays, a twist ending… So go as a Michael Sheen fan and you’ll be stunned by his powerful piece of work. But go as a “Hamlet” fan and you’ll be bitterly disappointed at this cluttered, unfulfilling production. 10/10 for Sheen and 10/10 for effort, it’s just not the sum of its parts. With far too many gimmicks and not enough focus on character, somehow Shakespeare’s triumphant play is a messy failure. Next year the Globe is staging an innovative Lithuanian “Hamlet”, and that will still be more comprehensible than this.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Drama department raises the curtain on new theatre plans The College’s Drama and Theatre Department have been given the green light to build a brand new state-ofthe-art theatre. The new theatre will be of great benefit to a wide range of students at Royal Holloway. Not only will it dramatically improve the learning and theatrical environment for those studying drama; it will also significantly enhance audiences’ enjoyment. Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the project at the local planning committee meeting this month. The existing studio theatre, based at Sutherland House, will soon be demolished to make way for the new industry-competing theatre. Dr Gilli Bush-Bailey, Director of Theatre Development, said: “The department is delighted that Runnymede has recognised the importance of the new theatre to future generations.
The design by award-winning theatre architects Foster Wilson recognises the cutting edge performance work and research of the department and its innovative theatre space will be a launching pad for future young theatre makers following the successes of acclaimed alumni companies includ-
ing Analogue and Non-Zero-One.” The new theatre will include a curved gallery overlooking a central space which can be configured in many different ways. It is linked to the Regency elegance of Sutherland House by a glass foyer. The backstage space offers a workshop, design space,
accessible dressing rooms and two new rehearsal rooms. The college will finally have a platform that reflects the high level of talent and commitment in the department for students and spectators to enjoy. Adam Penny, President of the Student Workshop, said: “We – the society - are extremely privileged to be gaining this exciting new performance space. The future of the Student Workshop looks incredibly bright.” The theatre will provide an excellent stage for successful graduates to return and show off their post-university theatrical achievements. In addition, it is expected to attract theatre companies and visiting artists from further afield. This exciting new project will undoubtedly step up the vast array of entertainment available on campus to another level.
Update from Support & Advisory Services Helen Groenendaal Together with Sabbaticals Katie and Daniel and Jasmine (Feminist Society) we are looking at the lighting both on and off campus as it is often raised by students as an issue of concern. A recent survey conducted by the Feminist Society, asked questions about lighting to gauge current student opinion and suggestions for areas which could be looked at and several areas were identified as having
faulty lights or possibly inadequate lighting. To better assess this we conducted an evening walk in these areas to resolve the identified concerns. The walk showed lighting is in fact good throughout Egham & Englefield Green on the main roads surrounding the campus and the areas where lighting was felt to be poor are actually alleyways and shortcuts we always advise students to avoid as common sense personal safety advice. We identified a number of streetlights out in Engle-
field Green which are now reported to Surrey County Council for repair. Good street lighting on campus & around the local area is reliant on people reporting these faults with lights and the website (see below) has links to the relevant reporting pages both for campus and community lights faults. The Surrey Police Englefield Green SNT has produced maps advising the safe, well lit routes to use when walking locally; you can download copies from the personal safety pages www.
New Year, new improved Library The Library Service at Royal Holloway has taken advantage of the Christmas vacation to make a number of improvements for students. On Monday 9th January, the first day of term, an extra 90 study spaces were available on Level 1 of Bedford Library, along with an additional 28 PC’s. Level 2 of the library has also been much improved. An open plan office for the library staff has released space for small study rooms and reconfigured and much improved the toilet facilities. Following feedback from
students, the library has also provided 10 adjustable height desks to ensure all students are comfortable in their study environment. The changes to the library are the latest in a number of improvements made in 2011. In October, 25 new spaces were created and 18 computers revamped to provide students with flexible working options. Not only is the Library providing more space for study, but also longer opening hours, more than 100 hours per week in term time and 24/7 open-
ing in the Spring term, from April 6th-25th May. Academic registrar, Simon Higman, said: “The new and improved study environment provides Royal Holloway’s students with more space and flexible study options. We thank Library users for their patience over the Christmas vacation and the Library staff for the adjustments they have made to make this possible.” The official opening of the refurbished area comes hand in hand with the College’s ‘Discover Your Library’
rhul.ac.uk/forstudents/support/ personalsafety/lighting.aspx. We suggest you familiarise yourself with the well lit routes throughout the campus which are available on flyers from the Security Control Office. Well lit routes on campus are also covered by CCTV cameras and patrolled regularly by security officers. To discuss lighting further please email us: SupportAndAdvisory@rhul.ac.uk
Love to Learn week. The week will run from 23rd-27th January and involves a number of events for students ranging from sessions about Inter-Library loans to practical sessions on how to research assignments. The week also includes study skills sessions, exhibitions of rare books and concludes with the return of library fine donation day. In March last year, the day raised £4525.30 for the Royal Holloway Rainforest project through Library fine donations alone. For a list of events during ‘Discover Your Library’ week visit: www.rhul.ac.uk/library/ events/discoveryourlibrary.aspx
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
A response to ‘The The Case for Iraq’
the Iraqi people were subjected to over a decade of sanctions and protracted misery as punishment for the existence of Saddam’s government, which ‘the West’ had all By defying but endorsed in failing to remove. international law and The estimated death toll in relation to these economic sanctions ranges illegally invading from 100,000 to 1,000,000. To make Iraq, the U.S and matters worse the civilian death Britain demolished toll in the Iraq war is over 100,000. any credibility the U.N As Rumsfeld suggested the Iraqi appeared to posses people were indeed induced into a state of “shock and awe’” in the face of U.S military might, yet they I found Toby Fuller’s article parwere also brutally murdered in the ticularly agitating and such was its face of its incompetence. Operatone that I almost began to believe tion Iraqi Freedom indeed. Such it was parodic in nature. Maybe it linguistic obscenities only serve to serves to settle the author’s conmask the true nature of this illegal science by justifying the illegal war and brutal war and provide much in Iraq as a sacred mission to deneeded justifications for supporters liver peace, liberty and democracy, like yourself. Iraq is not stable nor but it certainly does not serve the is it democratic, and you will not truth. What right do we, ‘the West’, find anyone with any knowledge of have to intervene in the affairs of the situation telling you otherwise. others, particularly those located on What’s more if you want to talk the sites of former colonial domiabout profits one only has to look at nation, where Western imperialthe 17.2 billion dollars that Halism was and still is a significant liburton generated in Iraq related contributor to the morbid state of revenue between 2003-2006 to see affairs that has one of the potenwho the real benefactors are. Of tially richest areas of the world, course, I am not an advocate of broken, backward and torn apart by tyranny, torture or despotism, yet conflict. It is well known to anyone by defying international law and possessing the ability to locate and illegally invading Iraq, the U.S and dissect the appropriate literature Britain demolished any credibilthat ‘the West,’ in particular the U.S, ity the U.N appeared to posses. If has exhibited no real interest in you believe the bastard son of the spreading democracy. The ‘tyrancorporations and the man who sold nical despots of the Middle East’ to Labour’s soul, both of whom overwhom the author refers, are largely saw the constitutional and technothe result of Western, in particular logical erosion of the liberty of their U.S, foreign policy, in which as respective country’s citizens, are the Thomas Carothers a former memharbingers of liberty and democber of the U.S state department’s racy then it is no surprise that these ‘democracy enhancement’ program criminals enjoyed such sustained explains: ‘Washington sought only political success and ultimately, limited top down forms of demoremain unprosecuted. Colonial cratic change, that did not risk up- history has shown us that ideolosetting the traditional structures of gies such as democracy cannot be power with which the United States successfully integrated into a socihas long been aligned, it sought to ety when delivered down the barrel maintain the basic order of quite of a gun. Bringing death and war to undemocratic societies because promote peace, disrespecting sovof the deep fear of populist based ereignty to preach its importance, change with all its implications for promoting agency yet supporting upsetting established economic neighbouring regimes that deny it, and political orders, heading off in will not work, least of all in the eyes a leftist direction.’ Saddam should of the Iraqi’s, who throughout the have been removed after his defeat 90’s were the victims of their would in the Gulf War: the U.S led coalibe liberators’ foreign policies and tion had the power to do so. Yet to this very day suffer the conseSaddam remained in power, and quences.
Iraq War: a worrying consensus to divide Iraq. Understandably Shia Muslim’s have used their freedom since 2003 to try and avenge their Iraq, and our long war for a peace- friends and families for the years of ful and burgeoning society within repression and misery they faced, it, re-earned its place in Britain’s while the rump of Saddam’s Sunni headline news this Christmas; the elite are still searching for a return burst of publicity coincided with to their former power and privilege. the official departure of the U.S Once one understands that military from Iraq. sectarian violence was inevitable in The purpose of this article is to a post-Saddam Iraq, one also sees address what struck me most about that the only way such sectarian this burst of media coverage in violence could have been completeDecember: across both the national ly avoided would have been for the newspapers and TV channels, there West to do nothing to attempt to was an untrammeled and worryend Saddam’s tyrannical reign. Now ing consensus that the war should is this really a morally defensible be written off as an utter disaster. view to have? Remember (or perThe media justified such an assess- haps you don’t?) that Saddam was ment by implying that the western a man who had, with considerable invasion-occupation in 2003 had vim, consistently tried to acquire created the violent sectarian war nuclear warheads, and had also, that has, since then, ruined Iraq. with equal gusto, sought to cleanse Now this accusation, that it was the Iraq of her Kurdish population. Western invasion-occupation that But Saddam was a busy man, and caused the bloody sectarian war, he also attempted to expand Iraq’s must be refuted. One can do this by boundaries into the territory of contextualizing it with a historical Iran and then of Kuwait, in what perspective of Iraq under Saddam were two frenzied attempts to gain Hussein. a monopoly of the world’s foremost The observation that Iraq has, oil supply. Between 1979 and 2003, since 2003, suffered from sectarian the machinations of this genocidal violence is key but to make it as part of the argument that the war has been a disaster is desperately Let us ponder the misplaced. likely outcome if The ongoing sectarian violence the governments of in Iraq since 2003 was never a war against the Western invasion of the US and Britain Iraq; it was an inevitable consehad endorsed the quence of the removal of Saddam Hussein. During his 30-year tenure, view that to do nothing about Saddam had given a great deal of privilege to the Sunni Muslim Saddam was the minority but he had also, and for right thing to do. just as long, repressed the Kurdish population and the Shia majority. For example, he deported around two hundred thousand Shias in the mindset led to the deaths of at least 1970s, and killed tens of thousands 1.5 million people. more over the course of his rule; Despite this moral imperative to we know this as their bodies were act, let us ponder the likely outdumped in mass graves that were come that if the governments of discovered across Southern Iraq in the US and Britain had endorsed 2003. the view that to do nothing about It was this repressive 30-year rule, Saddam was the right thing to do. not the western invasion in 2003, With no invasion from the West, that fostered the hatred that created when Saddam did eventually die the sectarian violence , continuing and the all-controlling fear he cre-
ated disappeared, the world would have still been faced with an anarchic and violent Iraq. Now, when this would have occurred, with no Western invasion, Iraq would have experienced far greater sectarian violence and disorder; without the power and wealth of the US military to provide some level of security and stability, Iraq would have imploded. It is not likely that the Iraqi army could have been relied upon as a source of control; without Saddam it would have been torn apart by a power struggle, led enthusiastically by Saddam’s two amoral and irreconcilable sons Uday and Qusay. In this state of affairs, with Iraq free from Western intervention and experiencing a hapless civil war, is it not conceivable that Iraq’s ambitious neighbors would have thought it wise to get involved militarily in Iraq? The Iranian theocracy would come from the East in order to protect Shia interests, the Saudi Arabian dictatorship from the South for the Sunnis, and Turkey would have come from the north to prevent Kurdish independence. In that case, there would not only have been a sectarian war confined to Iraq, but there would have been one that poured out onto the entire Persian Gulf region. So there you have it, it is not such a good idea to suggest the sectarian violence experienced in Iraq, since our war there, has made the entire campaign as disaster. If you do so, you perhaps unknowingly, but inevitably, pitch your tent in the camp that suggests it would have been a good idea to do nothing to end Saddam’s murderous reign. Moreover, and as I have already said, the fact that the sectarian violence was an inevitable outcome of an Iraq after Saddam, makes it a desperately misplaced, and invalid point in the argument against the western invasion-occupation. Unfortunately, this is exactly the case the British media made last December. Such a case must be disregarded, in doing so we can begin to undermine this worrying media consensus that condemns the 2003 war in Iraq as a disaster.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Inequality and how to escape bubble capitalism Ana Martinez In the aftermath of the 1930s Great Depression in an attempt to convince people that they were “suffering from a bad attack of economic pessimism”. Keynes wrote one of the most amazing articles on the topic of economic crises, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren”. He predicted that in 100 years (that is 2030, 20 years from now!) the economic problem would have been solved and people would be free: “to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue”; and would recognize “(…) that avarice is a vice, that the extraction of usury is a misdemeanour, and the love of money is detestable…. (and) once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful.” Today on the aftermath of 2008’s Credit Crunch with unemployment reaching historic levels in developed and developing economies it is worth asking: Are we suffering again from a bad attack of economic pessimism? Is Keynes prediction
still a feasible one? Are we capable of escaping the ‘bubble-capitalism’ we have relied on for decades? In order to answer these questions, first we need to understand the basis on which Keynes predicted our successful escape from the “Economic Problem”. It is very likely that he got to the 100 years figure by calculating the increase in wealth given the “interest compounding” and the experience of Britain in the XIX Century. But he also based his conclusion in a key assumption. In contrast to theclassical economic theory. that treats all human needs as insatiable, Keynes differentiated human needs in two categories: “those needs which are absolute in the sense that we feel them whatever the situation of our fellow humans beings may be and those which are relative in the sense that we feel them only if their satisfactions lifts us above, makes us feel superior to, our fellows”. It is only relative needs that are insatiable. Keynes believed that the key to solving the economic problem was to achieve a more egalitarian society that will lead us to the satis-
to find the correct rate of accumulation and therefore equilibrium between global production and consumption. In fact, the increase in inequality in developed and developing countries in the last decades has deepened such disequilibrium by producing a shift in resources from those whose absolute needs are not yet satisfied to those that have theirs satisfied, thus depressing faction of the absolute needs of all human beings and as a result of the aggregate demand and therefore economic growth producing high relative needs. According to him levels of unemployment around the the key determinants of the speed in which we were going to reach the world. Without the willingness to solution of the economic problem achieve a better distribution of were: a) our power to control resources the global economy has population growth, b) our deterrelied on the creation of asset bubmination to avoid wars and civil bles to foster economic growth for dissensions, c) our ability to foster science and scientific developments almost three decades (i.e. the dot. and, d) our ability to reach an equi- com bubble in the 90’s or the houslibrium between global production ing bubble that broke in 2008 creatand global consumption. While we ing the Credit Crunch). Moreover, have more or less successfully man- the high concentration of income aged to control population growth, that has deepened the disequilibrium between aggregate demand the destructive effects of wars (not and the global productive capacity everywhere though) and we have has at the same time increased the continued to innovate at a fast speed, it is clear that we have failed dependence of governments and
Are the current economic problems the effect of our inability to recognize the central role of equality in the last decades?
families on credit to satisfy their “relative needs”. The prospects for the Global Economy in the New Year are alarmingly negative. Does this mean we are suffering from a bad attack of pessimism again? Or, are the current economic problems the effect of our inability to recognize the central role of equality in the last decades? I believe if we want to “solve the economic problem” by 2030 as predicted by Keynes, governments need to regulate better the accumulation of resources and to channel at least the same amount of resources they have spend in bailing out the Financial System to improve the purchase power of the low income families around the world. The real question is not: How long will it take us to solve the economic problem? But rather, how long will it take us to realize that the only way to solve the economic problem is to achieve a better distribution of resources? How long until we understand the only way is the common good?
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
State of Declinism, it’s not even a word anyway the Union
always heading regardless of the blunders that have been made. Britain attained its world position by for the first time I can remember Sarah Honeycombe being in the right place at the right I was sitting in General Meetings SU VPComCam time, namely, the victorious end of that didn’t last 4 hours. The website, the Napoleonic Wars and occupycause for great pain upon my eyes, We did not ‘let go’ You know the mass exodus that ing a stretch of land that was rich I can finally confirm, is on its way of the Empire, our occurs at weekends? When campus out. A new site map, new layout, in the materials and skills needed seems to become infinitely smaller better content is on its way in. economy disintegrated for industrial ‘take-off ’. Similarly, as huge numbers of people leave America emerged from WWII with 2012 looks to be even better: The and the cost-benefit to pastures allegedly greener than an economy the size of the rest of second term is always busy and beanalysis inverted. Egham? the world combined. There was tween the essays, labs, dissertations You know you do. Even if you are and recovering from the shock nowhere to go from that position, a regular participant in the exodus ending of Sherlock you should get There has been a lot of talk in other than decline. Britain excelled (incidentally, never try and get a America recently about ‘declinism’ . in the years 1815 to 1918 because it involved at the Union. train out of Egham between 4-7 on Most notably it is Obama that has had no equivalent competitor. Real Just in the first half of term, we a Friday. You will get battered by been accused of having a ‘declinist’ competition emerged after the Long have: suitcases) you will at some point agenda, particularly with regards Depression of the 1870s, in form of Go Green Week! We’re going have been stuck here and forced, to the global role of the United Germany and the USA and much meat-free, we’ve got talks, screenalong with the rest of us who States. Unfortunately for America, like America today, Britain became ings and, obviously, a massive remain, to take shelter in either the party: we’re taking over the Union Obama is everything but declinist, awash with warnings of impending libraries or the pubs. decline. for Under The Sea on 25th January his primary objective on coming Imagine, if you dare, this pheinto office was to, effectively, up the The two countries have paral(it’s going to be huge), We’ve got nomenon stretched out over a US health budget, at a time when leled themselves almost exactly, Late, Green and Free in Medicine month. This was the fate we (the the country was in serious economy both emerged as world powers on the 26th as well as free entry Sabbaticals) were subjected to for jeopardy. Admittedly, the jeopardy off the back of a war that left the to Antidote for anyone dressed in most of Christmas. Even those who green on the 28th. was not as extreme as that expericompetition in ruin and both have had remained in Egham for the enced in this country at the same had a run of about 100 ‘Golden’ Running simultaneously will month long break began to emerge, be Volunteering Week (they’ll be time but if there is one thing that years. Both countries have also blinking, onto a campus filled with litter picks, the Big Spring Clean can be learnt from the upheavals engaged in long and costly conflicts people. To say it was a relief to have and much more – just check www. that are going on in the UK now, it at the height of their power. At the human contact again is a rather is that decline needs to be ‘mantime Royal Holloway was being rhul.ac.uk/CommunityAction for large understatement. aged’ . built Britain was half way through details) as well as the Love to Learn Whilst living in boredom, I Britain’s relative decline in world the Second Anglo-Afghan War “Discover Your Library” week, figured that I’d reflect on my 2011. political and economic power post(1878-1880) – I believe the curlooking to promote and demonThe entire SU building was finally 1945 has felt a bit like the country rent one would be the Fourth if we strate all of the facilities available refurbished and the black-andhas been falling down a flight of chose to acknowledge the colonial on campus. bright-pink décor of old finally stairs, bumping into each new wars. It was hugely unpopular, not Sabbatical and Trustee Elecdied a well-deserved death. The problem as we go along. Part of least because it forced the Disraeli tions will be kicking off on 31st Union underwent its rebrand after January with Candidate Question the problem is that we have never government to increase income tax. we voted to get rid of the indeciaccepted the fact that decline was 100 years later, Vietnam consumed Time. Campus will be flooded with pherable “three people hugging” inevitable. It is no one’s fault, not a large portion of America’s 60s hundreds of people in white t-shirts logo of old. Insanity Radio finally, Anthony Eden’s for invading Suez, wealth and did considerable damtrying to convince you to vote for finally, announced they were able to their candidate. Be nice to them – not Harold Wilson’s for devaluage to their international image move onto FM. After years of work, I’ve done it four times before and ing sterling, not even Brown’s, for as, like Britain in Afghanistan, it Ofcom cleared us a frequency and treating the economy rather like lost. America benefited from a it’s cold. All the manifestos will be 103.2FM is ours for keeping. The an exuberant 18-year-old might wartime economy but the position posted online (www.su.rhul.ac.uk) Orbital turned 25 and relaunched treat a new credit card or a student it attained relative to the rest of the along with an explanation of all its website whilst revampingits overdraft, except of course unlike a world was never sustainable unless of the roles. Make sure to check it layout to celebrate. We took more student overdraft the nation’s debt it rejuvenated overseas economies, out – whoever wins will be running than 100 students to the November your Union for a year. has a huge interest bill attached to it through Marshall Aid amongst 9th national demonstration to pro- £50 billion/year, or the equivalent other policies, and that inevitably RAG Week is fast approaching, test against cuts, privatization and meant relative decline. The only with two Union nights, RAG Raids, of the entire defence budget. student fees as part of this year’s It is partially a problem in other option was an overheated Take Me Out and Get-A-Way Education Campaign – already public discourse, we often talk of wartime economy or a system of From Holloway – RHUL’s very successful in reducing the cuts at the ‘Golden Age’ (this seems to be inter-state communes trading with own Jailbreak. Anyone wanting to Royal Holloway and still working to get involved just needs to email everything since the Black Death each other and both those options eliminate them.. We ran campaigns firstname.lastname@example.org. up until WWII) and how we are would have also brought about dearound mental health, One World, going to become ‘an insignificant cline. So when people moan about In summary, I suppose, welcome SHAG (Sexual Health Awareness little island’ but in all reality, that American, or British decline, as if it back. and Guidance) among others and is exactly where this country was is something that has been brought
Ashley Coates Editor
about by the failure of politicians, or as if it is anything we can actually prevent, it is perpetuating a convenient national myth that has no place in reality. Starting this year, the US is going to reduce its defence budget by the size of our whole defence budget every year for ten years and at the end of those ten years it will only be the same size as the defence budget inherited by the Bush administration. Obama has consequently been labelled ‘declinist’, a word that doesn’t even exist but this is a President that is finally facing up to the reality of his country’s position. People talk about the rise of China as if it is a recent phenomenon, or some sort of historical anomaly, but China has been a world economic power for several thousand years, compared to Europe’s 300 years and it is merely resuming the semi-global role it had before the early modern period. Our decline relative to Asia is a demographical necessity, Europe’s current population would have to be at least 10 times more productive in order to keep up with the emerging Asian economies. The point I really want to make is that the decline of the Western world is an inevitable change and that being aware of it and responding to it doesn’t make you declinist. American decline has been happening since 1945, for the reasons outlined above and British decline was inevitable for the same reasons. We did not ‘let go’ of the Empire, our economy disintegrated and the cost-benefit analysis inverted. The recent fashion for viewing Britain’s imperial period as a ‘Golden Age’ neglects the extent to which Britain benefitted from preferential conditions and it is also vastly disrespectful towards the many millions of people for whom empire caused so many problems. Moreover, we need to stop viewing Anglo-American decline as something that needs to be fought against, rather, we have to adapt and do things differently if we are to keep up with the world around us. As Dorian Gray says in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: ‘Empires crumble, there are no exceptions’.
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
A New Kind of Childhood Lydia Mahon
Rumour has it… men can’t be feminists
ment, in order to erode patriarchy from the inside. Simply by having Opposite sides of the world are women in positions of power (MPs, once again teetering on the balance The clue’s in the name, right? Femi- CEOs, editors-in-chief, etc.) is not and it’s horribly ironic. nist, from the Latin femina, means enough when the whole system is The BBC has announced woman. Right? Wrong. geared towards the interests of men. a £25 million boost to children’s “Feminism is the A further problem with television to accompany the entouradical notion that women are getting women into traditionally rage of first rate comedians hosting people”Kramarae and Treichler male positions in society, some recent shows. We are assured that famously said. So what is so radical feminists have argued, is that these this investment in UK children’s about the idea that men can believe women are forced to become men television will result in good quality that this is true? Feminism, in and somehow lose their ‘femininity’. programming by these performers, the broadest sense, is simply a This, I think, is farcical, as it rests otherwise known for racial, sexual statement that men and women on the assumptions that, firstly, and class jeering, amongst other should be viewed equally. This there is a certain social character things. has branched out into Marxist about women which makes them Meanwhile, the U.S. and liberal feminism – the former womanly. I would argue that this is Agency for International Developemphasising formal, economic and a social construct, based on the trament pulls funding for the Palessocial equality; the latter merely ditional view of women as domestic tinians’ Sesame Street sister show, equality of moral worth. slaves and dictated by biology. SharaaSimsim. you up your mum and dad, they all media for children less than two The only branch of Secondly, this belief sets SharaaSimsimis heralded may not mean to but they do. years of age. This follows research feminism which rejects any male up the idea that to overcome opas an “educational tool to foster di- This arrangement is, however, very that found inhibited brain growth involvement at all is the radical pression, one must become like versity appreciation” by Danny La- comic. David Baddiel, guest starin infants who lack direct interacbranch, which sees men as innately one’s oppressor. This we see in parts bin, TV executive for the Israeli TV ring in the BBC’s Horrible Histories tion with parents and caregivmisogynistic. As a man, I would of the socialist movement - the channel. In such a pluralistic, war series, boasts a stand up set that ers. For older children, the AAP argue this is not the case. As a man, working class must climb the ecotorn country it is both a disgrace includes wisecracks about his porn recommends less than two hours of I believe in the emancipation of nomic ladder to free their comrades to think that children may only see collection. I suppose that is adult screen time per day. women, equal rights for both and from the shackles of capitalism. exemplary behaviour in the form of humour. Increasingly illusive for women to have equal material This is nonsensical, because to do puppets and a travesty to see that It is also laughable that the television shows are now broadcast wealth to men. This is not a radical so, one has to take part in the very this asylum is no longer available. BBC feels the need to invest fundfor children who expect, demand notion – this is feminism. oppressive system which one is Despite maintaining what seems ing in what is arguably a thriving and depend upon regular media However, through the patriarchal fighting. Surely the best way to fight an evidently inappropriate imindustry. Children interact with stimulation. Few seem to consider media (that run in the interests of your oppressors and the oppressive age, David Baddiel, James Corden, digital media excessively. Studies the implications of our children’s men, to perpetuate the exploitation system is to struggle against the Harry Hill and others have been show that 10 per cent of babies less addiction. After all, the computer of women) and socio-economic system, not take part in it. recruited by the BBC to stimulate than 12 months old and 52 per cent geek stereotype, as with all stereostructure, feminism has been For men, patriarchy means children’s programming. Presumof children aged five to eight use types, founds itself on fact. “It’s viewed by many as purely this that they are born into a posiably the funding is a necessity to mobile media regularly. funny ‘cause it’s true”, any comedian radical female-only branch. When tion of social privilege. By taking boost dwindling popularity or There are, of course, adwould say. someone says ‘I’m a feminist’, many part in the feminist movement, ratings – the possibility of a motive vantages to mobile, interactive, and Comedians’ careers are automatically think that they want men abstract themselves from the not grounded on financial gain is digital media and technology. The spent satirising and criticising to kill all men and raise children in patriarchy and abdicate their social too baffling to consider. cost of an iPad 2 costs £399 from human errors that will never be lesbian colonies in Oregon. This is advantage, not for noble, elitist In fact, it seems that come- the Apple website. In addition, corrected. In much the same way, nonsense. motives (though radicals would say dians have been drawn to children’s the device, its rechargeable batthe force of technology and media It’s clear, therefore, that otherwise), but because it is selfprogrammes as recent surveys tery, and all accessories come with is a rolling stone that no one has you can be a man and a feminist. evident to them that they are not show that children are in fact the a one year warranty as standard. the power to slow. Perhaps the BBC Issues are complicated, however, superior and so should not present larger proportion of their fan base. A babysitter costs roughly £5 per has the right idea. If technology is when one tries to act on those con- themselves as such. Feminism dicSuch findings have served as a hour and therefore over the course the future it is our responsibility to victions. Cis-men, trans-men and tates that there is equality between financial incentive for the BBC and of one year is far less economical. It embrace it and prepare our children trans-women are often sidelined the sexes, therefore men should be the comedians involved – nothing is also worthwhile to bear in mind for it. within the feminist movement for treated equally to women within is more exciting than an uncultithat whilst being significantly less As Bob Holness the host not being able to empathise with the feminist movement, othervated niche market. reliable than an Apple product, the of Blockbuster dies aged 83, we the oppression caused by patriarwise the basis of the movement is However, the dark side babysitter also requires a lift home mourn both the man and the simchy, and can be seen as part of the hypocritical – this hypocrisy then to this discovery is the notion that at the end of the evening. pler technological past which his exploitative regime. This is also a damages further developments. children watch a significant amount It also goes without saying naff trivia game show represented. product of the feminist movement Men, being equal to of adult comedy. Although not that a Wii Fit-induced simulation In response to the news, senior being seen externally and internally women, should have a place in the apparently any cause for concern, of a ski slope is a far superior form Labour frontbencher Ed Milliband as a radical feminist movement. feminist movement. Simply being controlling the exposure of inapof exercise than actually kicking a tweeted: “Sad to hear that Bob The other more popular (and more born into a position of social privipropriate material to children ought ball and as for this overrated “fresh Holness has died. A generation realistic) factions are ignored and lege doesn’t equate to being unable to be the responsibility of the BBC. air” which we hear so much about, will remember him fondly from the radical ideas dominate. to fight the very system that put you No one has any expectations for the less said about that the better. Blackbuster”.I don’t think that many A better, more effective there. That is why I’m fighting with parents any more. After all, in the The American Academy of Paedichildren today would make such a strategy is to include and promote my sisters against patriarchy. words of Philip Larkin, they fuck atrics (AAP) discourages the use of tech boo boo. men (cis and trans) in the move-
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
Because fact, into doubt, won’t go
Paul Layzell turns out to be the evil mutant twin of Paul the alien At the end of last term students and lecturers were shocked at revelations that Evil Paul had cancelled plans for a campus monorail. “He has done it again, mercilessly cutting back on essential student services at a time when it is needed most.” said a spokesperson for all the students on campus. An explanation for this extraordinary act of cultural vandalism was found when Evil Paul swallowed an entire lecturer during a heated public debate earlier this month. A spokesperson said: “It is now clear that Evil Paul was sent here by aliens to destroy Royal Holloway. His attempt to cut back on the Classics Department is only the beginning of a scheme to drive eve-
ryone out of the college. Once it is empty, he will use his mouth-parts to begin the process of slowly digesting the college which we expect will take at least 10,000 years. At the end of this process, what remains of the college will be ground down for use as fabric softener. We regard this as a Conservative act. Clearly Evil Paul is trying to get an OBE from the Conservative establishment and take it back to his solar system for use as an ashtray”. These allegations come at a particularly bad time for Evil Paul who has been reeling from recent allegations that he receives a salary. In a statement a spokesperson said “We believe from having been on the college website that it is
Founder Editors resign to join the Student Media Resignees’ Society Following the trend set by the Students’ Union, the Co-Editors of The Founder have resigned, joining Orbital and Insanity Radio resignees. It is not clear why David Bowman and Ashley Coates resigned but it is suspected that it may have something to do with the extraordinary perks offered by one of SU’s least well known societies: the Student Media Retirees Society. Here at The Founder we have been given exclusive access to this elite club. I met up with
former Insanity Radio Station Manager, Gunanika Singh in the plush out-of-town spa that constitutes the bulk of the society’s physical presence. “Would you like a mint?” she says to me, as we glide effortlessly into the business suite. “I love it here, I can while away my time and write my memoirs in peace!” Gone are the bean-bags, empty beer bottles and dying computers of the Insanity Studio, today G lives a life of permanent luxury. I ask her what she makes of
altogether probable that Evil Paul is paid. We would like to stress at this time that only union leaders and the unemployed deserve to be paid. Why aren’t we paid like Evil Paul? I will tell you why – he has used his alien feelers and mind powers to hypnotise the College Council into paying him the same as principals at other universities. The revelation that he is in fact an alien explains why he thinks he needs to make these cuts. Clearly on Paul’s planet you can’t spend more than you earn, where as here on Earth money supply originates from The Fountain of Money that Provides All.” Over the summer, it is alleged that a student videotaped Evil Paul grounding down Greek monuments for use in an elite variant of his fabric softener. “Fabric softener has its place in the university experience”, said Evil Paul, in an over-length tweet early this month, “..I am determined to maintain the provision of worldclass fabric softener for all our students”. It is not clear exactly what Evil Paul intends to do with the fabric softener but one thing we can all be sure of is that it will be very evil indeed. the contrast “in many ways it is the same as being at Insanity because I get to do whatever I like (laughs)”. David and Ashley left The Founder because “we are heralding a new era of student multimedia journalism. It’s the age of the digital society and it is what the people want. From now on The Founder shall only be available via Teletext. That and of course Ashley is running for President of the Students’ Union so that he can shamelessly pursue his own political career”. Asked whether the Student Media Resignees’ Society fitted into the SU’s long-established anti-snob agenda the Vice President for Liberation and Solidarity said: “it has been brought to our attention that some of our members are indulging in such activities as eating in nice places and wearing decent clothes. Rest assured that we will clamp down on these fascists and as of today will begin to make inappropriate comments amount them on our SURHUL Twitter accounts”.
This week we take a break from our usual sabbatical update to fill you in on graduate life from The Founder’s former Colours and Pull Quote Editor.
As I sit here deciding what to fill you dear readers/fans in on this week about my life as a graduate I thought I’d make a list of pros and cons about living out in the real world. Yes, it might sound clichéd, but by acknowledging this fact I’ve transcended the confines of the medium and averted the risk of this all sounding a little self indulgent. Subversive ey? Pros: 1. Living on the green. To anyone that says that its not graduating gracefully to stay in Egham I say consider this. Where else can I go about securing myself a graduate job whilst still being able to go to Monkeys Monday. Nuff said. 2. Making time for introspection. Having so much free time means that I can find plenty of opportunities for personal growth. For example I can name all the special correspondents on This Morning. If that’s not time well spent I don’t know what is. 3. Not having a drug problem. They say that people take Heroin in prison to make the time pass by faster. Well I’d by
University of London Union Elections Royal Holloway’s own Daniel Cooper, Craig Gent and Ben Parfitt are running for the positions of ULU Vice President, ULU Student Trustee and London Student Editor. Voting opens on February 2nd at http://www.ulu.co.uk/elections/
lying if I said I hadn’t considered chasing the dragon and it would certainly add a bit of colour to my evening ritual of eating beans on toast whilst watching The One Show, but I haven’t. Well done me. Cons: None. Well that’s not entirely true I suppose. But the best thing about being an unemployed graduate is learning to replace the nagging dread of failure with boundless optimism. You say being on the dole. I say weekly trip to see my buddies at job centre plus. You say having to sponge off the rents. I say bonding with the fam. You say diminishing employment prospects with each passing day. I say fuck you, its not easy being unemployed you know. I have a recurring nightmare where I’m locked inside the Founder’s building, unable to escape whilst hordes of students unrelentingly try to push me out of the front door whilst telling me that I need to move on. Well they’re wrong I tell you! Wrong! It’ll be my time soon and I’ll show them! I’ll show them all! You can follow our columnist on twitter: @WillDanceForPennies
The Founder | Friday 27 January 2012
tf Britain’s premier student newspaper is looking for a new team. The following positions are open to all students at Royal Holloway. Could you be the next…
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Published on Jan 27, 2012