11th February 2015
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LIFE ON THE STREETS
Homeless Life in Belfast, Captured By Seamus Fegan, Page 4 thegownatqub.wordpress.com
THE GOWN The Gown Team: 2014/15 Editor: Kylie Noble firstname.lastname@example.org News editors: Liam Cassidy Pete Hodson Niamh Mc Govern email@example.com
Editorial Kylie Noble Editor @Noble_Kylie
Features editors: Amy Slack Niall Coleman firstname.lastname@example.org Arts editor: Laura Shields email@example.com Lifestyle editor: Chantelle Frampton firstname.lastname@example.org Opinions editor: Kaity Hall email@example.com Sports editor: Ryan McDowell firstname.lastname@example.org Business manager: Philip Barr email@example.com
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations” –George Orwell.
If you pay a visit to our office on the third floor of the SU, you’ll notice we’ve recently added this quote to our door. Following our interview in the last issue, with Vice Chancellor Patrick Johnston which revealed his belief that pay is a poor motivator for staff, there are those who believed our reporting is over stepping the mark and that it was unfair. Orwell’s words serve as a reminder to them, and us that The Gown’s central role of holding the SU and University to account will not be shied away from. The Gown was founded in 1955 and the SU in 1967; a free and independent press is older than democracy at Queen’s. I’m not surprised by criticism for bold reporting and if anything, it’s proof that The Gown is serving its purpose well. However, criticism of my grammar on Facebook and Twitter updates was not something I anticipated as I sat in Deane’s restaurant last spring with The Gown Trust, pondering over the responsibility I had just taken on in being editor. Unlike criticism of my interview with the VC, criticism of my grammar does get to me. There have been several cases of outrage from people on social media at incidents such as my incorrect use of “begun” and writing “went to print” as opposed to “gone to print.” I have been told that is shameful that a student, let alone an editor of a newspaper, at such an esteemed university could have such woeful grammar. I am the first in my family to attend university. My parents left school at 15 and have worked hard all their lives. An uncle now passed left school at 13 to
work in a quarry. He and his siblings brought most of their wages home to my Granny to help feed the family, which included 9 children by the time my father, the youngest, was born. My mother is the youngest of 13, and grew up in Donegal. Her father was heartbroken to be told age 13 that he would have to quit school to work on the farm, being the only son. He loved reading and maths, loved learning. Friends would remark that if he of had the chance, he could have really done well, could have become an accountant perhaps. I am proud to come from a family which has farmed for generations. My lapses in grammar to me, are a reflection on my roots and I feel an odd fondness for them. Nearly 3 years in Belfast and I am losing my strong Fermanagh twang. I know to become a journalist I must strengthen my grammar but the condescending manner in which it has been corrected gets to me. I cannot help but feel that it is profoundly classist. It is such moments that make me fleetingly feel like I don’t belong in this career, that I am not good enough because of my background. I have entered a world so separate from my family; university will probably be the means in which I enter the middle class, something I struggle with. My grammar mistakes make me think of all those in my family who worked like hell and were denied the opportunity to have a full education. They are a reminder to never forget where I come from and the hardships endured by generations before.
Events Manager: Orry Robinson Design editor: Amy-Leigh Shaw Web Designer: Ronan Rogers
The Hood is the Gown’s anonymous whistleblower cum satirist. Founded in 1976 by a generous donation from the Sir Humphrey Hood Foundation, the Hood has consistently broken news of wrongdoing in the elected officials of the Students’ Union, as well as the wider student movement and the university itself. Loved by people who care too much about SU politics and despised by officers who should care more, the Hood delivers the news and the schmooze on those who waste your union dues. @upthehood
Contributors: David Moore Seamus Fegan Niall McKenna Jessica Galway Laura Fulton Claire Murray Hannah Gowdy With thanks to our printers, The County Down Spectator.
@TheGownQUB /TheGownQUB Letters@thegown.net The Gown Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union University Road Belfast BT7 1NF 028 9097 1057 thegownatqub.wordpress.com
At last, the examination period is over and the stench of AXE and fear can be hosed down from the library by specially qualified decontaminators. The break saw two presents land underneath the metaphorical university Christmas Tree, firstly a higher REF position, and secondly a small remission in the grinding DEL cuts. That said, the second one is rather like finding a wallet wrapped under the tree, which upon opening you realise was once yours. As we begin to expand into second semester, the lengthening of the days also heralds the arrival of the annual banger race of SU democracy. Last year, the elections were hit with two controversies: that the SU’s campaign to encourage participation was woeful, and that only the position of President was contested. It would seem with hindsight that these two things were correlated, but determining the causality is difficult. This year, however, the elections have been dogged by the cuts to the SU, with the equivalent of two officer positions in dollah close to being potentially hoovered out of the officers budget, doubtlessly to pay for another laser for the sciences or some new brick-heap to put on the prospectus. To sort out how the cuts would fall, coun-
cil met and pondered all the options in a meeting that lasted over 3 hours, testing both the patience and bladders of councillors and officers alike. After several rounds of discussion in which many councillors (a significant portion of whom are doubtlessly officer-hopefuls) argued against too steep of a pay-cut for their future selves. Once the absurd solutions such as pouting and demanding more money and rummaging down the sofas were dispensed with, this essentially meant deciding which officer position(s) would be exsanguinated into zero-wage husks and which would keep their financing viscera within. Ultimately it was decided that Community would be for the chop, after the Unionist bloc stopped trying to depose the hated Equality and Diversity and the VP for Clubs and Societies pointed out that he was the only full-time worker in the union who did anything for clubs at all. The post of VP Community has always been a bit of a mutt, because the fun things that Officers would like to do (such as building a community, hosting events and such) get overshadowed by their bi-weekly earful of abuse and fixadent from the residents groups, especially in the run up to the drinkingest day of the year. In any case, the decision was rendered somewhat pointless when it was revealed over Twitter that we have managed to secure the money to fund all of the posts at their original luxuriant salary in exchange for some hitherto unknown demand, most likely that some students will have to bare-knuckle fight at Senate functions, or that the Union will have to stop asking to have their loan payments reduced from ‘horrific’ to ‘awful’. In any case, it seems to be back-patting
all around, oddly enough from some on that council meeting, who are labouring under the delusion that their input matters more than the eruction of sheep. On which thought, we return to the annual elections. It seems likely that the Girls from the Glass Office have made a cross hands pact to run again as officer candidates, with only the VP Education remaining in her current post. Whether or not they’ve managed to scrape together 4 other students to stand by them and make the new monolith remains unknown. In the green corner, certain figures of QUB’s republican community are hoping that they can scrape together another 7 person ticket. Given their stated opposition to the ticket system, it’d be interesting to see how they attempt to vindicate the decision. There seems to be little stirring from the School of Law this year, so either their horse is so dark its only visible under UV light, or they’re giving it a rest this year. That said, many candidates on tickets tend to be dark horses to the political establishment, in much the same way that Kim Il-Sung was a dark horse until he inherited the position from his father. This leaves only the President, and whether he’s seeking re-election, and whether he’ll be successful (like Bill Clinton dressed as a pirate) or unsuccessful (like Gordon Brown dressed as a pirate). Then again, a lot can happen before the closure of the nominations, so it’s possible we could get a whole slew of joke candidates, promising even more ridiculous things, like free knitting lessons, reduction in the price of freddos, or tearing down those migraine-azure filters on the ground floor lights. We may live in hope.
QUBSU Cuts Reversed Kylie Noble Editor @Noble_Kylie
The Gown revealed online, via a leaked email in December, that QUBSU were considering axing two student officer positions to deal with the impact of DEL cuts. This would have been unconstitutional and the leadership of the SU opted instead to consult Council, who voted on Monday 2nd February for a ‘plan B’ option. This back up option was one of 11 proposed at the emergency SU Council. Option 4-elect the seven positions – all posts to receive a stipend of £14,584 except for the position of Vice President Community which will receive a stipend of zero, has been chosen as a ‘plan B’ by Council. All officers will continue to be paid a stipend
of £17500 after the current Executive Committee were able to reverse the proposed cut from the University. Nominations for election to the seven student officer positions in QUBSU have opened and will close on Monday 23rd February, 5pm. Students are able to nominate themselves for the positions of President, VP Welfare, VP Community, VP Equality & Diversity, VP Campaigns & Communications, VP Education and VP Clubs & Societies. This year sees a shift in the marketing of the elections, most likely reflective of the vast criticism directed at last year’s ‘Super Seven’ angle which placed heavy emphasis on the role as most beneficial to individual student’s careers. 2015 sees more of a focus on representing the 22,500 students at QUB and making a positive impact. This year also sees the introduction of various workshops under the collective of the ‘Candidate Academy.’ Students will be able to attend sessions on didate Question Time will also take place, with a date planning a manifesto, women in leadership, ‘run to win’, equality and diversity and a general information yet to be confirmed. A new feature this year is being able to session for the Student Leader Elections 2015. It is recommend a friend to run for office, via QUBSU’s not yet clear who will be taking these sessions. Can-
website. Campaigning will begin on 26th February with polls open on QOL between 3rd-5th March. A results party will be held in the SU on the evening of 5th March.
Life on the Streets
Photojournalism by Seamus Fegan
SU Food Bank Proposed to Relieve Food Poverty
to be processed. This delay in receiving support has led to the demand for a food bank to provide immediate, emergency relief. Recently Sinn Fein MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Phil Flanagan, raised the issue of David Moore monthly student finance payments in the Northern Contributor Ireland Assembly. Currently payments are made in instalments at the beginning of each term, leaving students to budget for up to five months at a time. Following a briefing from the National UnA number of students including the newly formed ion of Students - Union of Students in Ireland (NUSStudent Poverty Alliance Group (SPAG) have inUSI), Mr Flanagan suggested that such a change structed the Students’ Union to facilitate the proviwould relieve pressure on students. The Minister for sion of a food bank for students suffering from food Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry, has poverty. so far resisted a change to match the Scottish system, Councillor Sarah Wright, who is active in citing the need to meet costs at the beginning of the SPAG, proposed a successful motion at Council’s meeting on 4 December, which instructs the Students’ year. SU Council passed a motion earlier this term calling for DEL to implement monthly payments. Union to create a food bank. Reliance upon food banks has soared across It is intended that the Students’ Union Northern Ireland within the past 18 months. StatisAdvice Centre would refer students to the food bank tics released by the Trussell Trust, who run fourteen in addition to offering financial guidance. Although Queen’s would be the first university in Northern Ire- food banks in the province, show that in the 2013/14 land to open a food bank, a number of universities in financial year 11,697 people received emergency food packages, representing a more than 500% increase England, Scotland and Wales have already launched on the previous year. There are thought to be around such a service. Increases in the cost of living combined with 24 food banks currently active in Northern Ireland. Nelson McCausland, the former Minister for Solow incomes and high youth unemployment have cial Development, commissioned research into the heightened the pressures that students face. Those “demand for and the reasons for people visiting food experiencing financial difficulties can apply to the banks” which should be completed this year. student support fund or hardship fund, for financial Ms Wright has previously experienced food assistance. The student support fund is sponsored by poverty and accessed the student support fund. Ms the Department of Employment and Learning and Wright stated that, “It is a disgrace that we should be the hardship fund is sponsored by the University. However, it can take up to 4 weeks for an application considering opening a food bank at all but we have to
provide immediate assistance to those in need.” She emphasised the need for a greater focus on budget management during Freshers’ Week and her motion for monthly student finance payments was passed by the Students’ Union Council earlier this month. SPAG has been co-founded by Paul Loughran and Kyle Heffernan, both students at Queen’s. They are two of several co-founders of 100 Help The Homeless, a charity working to support Belfast’s homeless population. Mr Loughran, also a SU Councillor said that “Student Poverty Alliance Group is a student pressure group set up to abolish; student poverty, fees, education cuts, and class division. Our aims are to actively work towards the abolishment of student fees, to actively reduce student food poverty by the introduction of student food banks, implementing affordable and nutritious on-site non-profit food outlets as opposed to Corporations who pay 0% tax rate, to substantially reduce costs associated with attending University (such as printing, books etc), supporting University Staff in their struggle for fair pay and ensuring all University, and Union, jobs pay a living wage and to empower students into activism to forge a more democratic, equitable and progressive university environment. We believe education is a right for all - regardless of background or social class.” The group aims to be ratified as a society in the New Year and inspire students at other universities to follow their example. The group’s call to abolish fees comes at a time of impending cuts to the University and SU, with fears growing that fees could be increased.
QUB ranked 20th most international University by The Times
International Buddy Scheme, inviting local students to pair up with overseas students in an effort to militate against homesickness and social isolation which can particularly affect those from abroad. Internationalisation is firmly embedded in QUB management’s strategic vision. The University’s Pete Hodson recently appointed Vice-Chancellor, Patrick Johnston, News Editor has outlined plans to entice more foreign students @PeteHodson (currently numbering 1,200 from over 80 countries) through generous scholarship schemes. £1 million has already been set aside for the 2015/16 academic year in order to achieve Mr Johnston’s vision for Queen’s as “an international powerhouse in higher education” University league tables, notably the rankings published in The Times Higher Education Guide, are an – prompting fears that domestic students could face invaluable source of raw data for prospective students increasing funding disadvantages during a period of deliberating the most suitable institution at which to fiscal retrenchment in the education sector. Whilst likely to boost QUB’s international enroll. Recent analysis by The Times has compiled credentials and make the university a more attractive figures concerning the ‘international outlook’ of the place to study for overseas students, the ranking is a global top 400 institutions. purely statistical one – neglecting to take into account Statistical analysis of three elements – each the actual experiences of international students studinstitution’s percentage of international staff, its international student numbers and the proportion of ying at Queen’s. The Gown has been talking to the its research papers published with a co-author from at vibrant postgraduate community at QUB (of which 32% of full-time students are classified as internaleast one other country – saw QUB leap from 258th tional) in order to ascertain whether the ranking is place to 20th place in The Times world rankings. Queen’s now ranks as one of the world’s top universi- reflective of international student experience. Michael Groh, from Germany and currently ties in terms of its global connectivity, surpassing the reading MSc Performance Psychology at QUB, spoke likes of Cambridge, LSE and UCD. of the university as a “very warm, welcoming and QUB’s international connections are numerous, with close links to various institutions across excellent place for international students. QUBSU in particular with its various societies, sport clubs and continental Europe, China, India and the United States. Queen’s is one of a handful of UK universities events is very interested and engaged in making the experience for international students in Belfast the to provide a dedicated international student centre, offering academic and pastoral support for the grow- best possible.” Swedish-born politics student Anika Perup ing body of overseas students. suggested the Welcome Week events organised by QUBSU also aspires to make overseas QUB could be more far-reaching, enabling those students feel welcome. Caoimhe McNeill (VP for setting foot in the city for the first time to gain their Equality and Diversity) has recently re-launched the
bearings more quickly. Michael Groh concurred, adding “for some of us coming here is sort of a cultural shock and often some time is needed to get familiar with this new environment. Some more understanding and support in this regard would be very helpful, especially from the academic staff.” The affordability of living in Belfast also stood out as a major bonus among international students interviewed, helping to offset the significantly higher tuition fees paid by those domiciled outside of the UK. With University management continuing to invest substantial sums in attracting international students, QUB looks set to welcome ever-increasing numbers of people to study from overseas. Planning application for international student halls of residence off the Malone Road at Lennoxvale appears to have reached stalemate after local residents staged protests last year, resulting in greater pressure to uphold QUB’s pledge of guaranteed accommodation for those applying from overseas in existing facilities. The ramifications of the scholarship funds set aside for international students upon those applying from the UK remains to be seen.
SU launches ‘Hey Neighbour’ campaign Liam Cassidy News Editor @casdee
A new campaign to improve relations between students and full-time residents in South Belfast has been launched by the Students’ Union. Headed by VP Community, Chloe Patterson, “Hey Neighbour” aims to encourage students to “get to know their” neighbours and “be more considerate of them” during their time at Queen’s. Additionally, participants in the campaign will be encouraged to “shout about all the wonderful things” they do as students and the contribution to community they represent. The campaign has arisen in response to the fact that “residents are often unhappy with the levels of noise, litter, and antisocial behaviour” in South Belfast which is often attributed to the student population. The focus here is placed on maintaining healthy relationships in the residential areas around campus all year round, as opposed to temporary efforts around potentially troublesome periods. In particular, the high density of students is often blamed for anti-social behaviour during the Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day periods in South Belfast. The Hey Neighbour campaign will instead have designated ‘Street Reps’ in each of the key residential areas around Queen’s: the Holylands, Botanic Avenue, Stranmillis, Malone Avenue, and Lisburn
Road. These ‘Street Reps’ will be current students at Queen’s and will be the first point of contact for both students and other residents should difficulties arise. Trained in “mediation and management,” it is hoped these student volunteers will help alleviate any tension between students and full-time residents. Hey Neighbour is also the Student Union’s
environmental aspect to” to Hey Neighbour alongside community relations as Street Reps will “have to take part in litter pick-ups in hotspot areas”. The response to the scheme has been positive so far: fourteen students successfully applied to be Street Reps and have combined with the Environmental and Ethical Committee in the Union to make up eighteen Reps in total. The scheme has also been well received by residents’ associations in South Belfast. As VP Community, Ms Patterson regularly meets with residents’ associations and admitted that “in years past, the VP Community would have come under a lot of fire from residents” over issues with students’ behaviour, but hopes this scheme will help “combat the negative with the positive.” Ms Patterson found that the positive work done by students, particularly volunteer work, was not promoted enough in the past and many residents were not aware of it. The team have met twice already and aim to have their first event this month. Furthermore, they hope to solidify plans for their main initiatives throughout the year and get them off the ground as soon as possible. Students volunteering in this campaign will also be recognised by the Department of Education through Millennium Volunteers.
Green Excellency project for this year. This is enabled by the National Union of Students Green Impact scheme, which Queen’s Students’ Union has participated in for a number of years. Ms Patterson explained that, as a member for so many years, Queen’s SU is allowed to “take a year off ” to expand a larger scale project. She also highlighted how “there is an
St. Mary’s Fights Budget Cuts Niamh McGovern News Editor @mcgovern_niamh
QUB’s affiliate teaching college, St Mary’s in West Belfast, could still face closure from recent DEL cuts, if 30% cuts are enacted. Both Queen’s University and Ulster University face a 10.8% cut from the Department of Employment and Learning. DEL propose a 30% annual budget cut on St Mary’s and Stranmillis College. St Mary’s claim this level of cuts would not only force the college to refuse applicants, but to close its doors. The most up-to-date count for a petition, acting under the slogan Save Saint Mary’s, had 12, 863 signatures in favour of saving the college. Recent pressure by school students and staff, who protested outside Stormont, has proven the specialist teacher training college will not close quietly. Former QUB student, and current undergrad at St Mary’s college, Marty Mathers, said “St Mary’s has one of the highest student satisfaction rates for a university in the UK. For Stephen Farry to think he can close down a landmark of Belfast which produces excellent quality grades and teachers is nothing short of a disgrace”. Marty Mathers went on to say “The level of support for our protest should prove to Stephen Farry there is a need for specialised teacher training in Belfast, of the quality St Mary’s provides.” Sinn Fein MP, Paul Maskey, has vocalised opinion on twitter, tweeting “More than 4 times as many people signed the petition to #SaveSaintMarys than voted for Stephen Farry in the last election
assembly”, and has been thanked by the institute for his efforts to save the college. Maskey said “This is discrimination against St Mary’s. At the meeting I found the minister uncaring and indifferent to the consequences of his actions in withdrawing the funding. He showed little interest when I pointed out to him that unless he withdrew his threat to withdraw the funding St Mary’s faced imminent closure.”
QUB Sinn Fein have also extended support solution for both Stranmillis and St Mary’s. DEL and encourage Queen’s University students to sign have yet to respond with their final decisions for both the petition. QUBSU President Ciarán Gallagher was colleges. present at a recently rally against the cuts alongside NUS-USI President Rebecca Hall. Stranmillis and QUB have been quiet on the proposed cuts to the teaching colleges, despite rumours that a new integrated college could be the
Gallagher appears to shift from election promise of supporting staff disruption to students’ degrees. VP Education, Hannah Niblock, beseeched councillors not to vote in approval of the motion due Liam Cassidy to the disruption it would cause. She also pointed out News Editor that at the time of Council, November 18, talks were @casdee ongoing between UCU and their employers. Some councillors responded that staff and students should stick together, especially after the recent budget cuts announced by the Department of Education and A motion to extend solidarity to staff members taking Learning (DEL). The motion was ultimately defeated, and the part in the University and College Union (UCU) marking boycott failed at a Student Council meeting marking boycott has since been postponed as UCU and their employers resume talks on how to resolve in November. The motion, proposed by Councillor the pension dispute. Kathryn Waller, proved divisive during debate as Students’ Union President, Ciarán Gallagher, councillors were caught between supporting staff abstained from voting in the motion, which is at odds members they had extended solidarity to during last with the stance he adopted during last year’s elections year’s industrial action over higher pay, and avoiding
on the relationship between staff and students. In hustings with two other candidates running for Presidency, Gallagher said “they [staff ] were there for us to help us fight off fees. We should be there for them.” When asked about this perceived change of stance, he said, “I would still say I’m a big fan and a friend in fact of the UCU. I meet the president and vice-president of the UCU branch at Queen’s on a fairly regular basis,” He explained however, “taking into account the part of the presidential role as being a main representative [is] I’m subject to both sides of the argument from a student point-of-view.” Gallagher echoed the concerns of those who oppose the assessment boycott: “various school reps and course reps have shown concern about how their work will be marked” should the boycott resume after a round of talks on January 15. He also explained that
many of these reps highlighted how the last time replacement labour was brought in to assess work due to industrial action, “it wasn’t done to a high standard.” “Another reason I wasn’t quite willing to go all behind it this time,” he continued, is that “pensions is a slightly different issue, it’s a bit more complicated.” While last year’s industrial action centred on fair pay for all employees at universities, this most recent activity is focused on pension schemes pertaining to specific members of staff. Fair pay is an issue that will affect students immediately after graduation; pensions are further down the line. However, he did also state, “I certainly wouldn’t vote against solidarity with the UCU” as no policy has been made one way or the other.
UU VC to be Paid £250,000 Yet Belfast Students Must Voluntarily Run Campus Cafe Pete Hodson News Editor @PeteHodson
Students at Ulster University’s Belfast campus are in the midst of a protracted campaign to pressure University management into providing an on-site café, a facility available at Jordanstown, Coleraine and Magee but denied to students attending the small (but rapidly expanding) Belfast site. Around 15,000 students are expected to attend the Belfast campus by 2018, the completion date for work to expand and upgrade the current amenities. UU Belfast is currently without a dedicated social space where students can convene, the SU bar having closed down a number of years ago owning to a lack of funding. In the interim period the student body has been far from quiescent, establishing a café manned by student volunteers in an abandoned section of the main building. Initially conceived as a one-week pop-up venture, the student-run café has been in daily term-time operation since January 2014. The café has proved a success, generating a previously markedly absent sense of student communality. Known as the Bronze since last September, the café offers basic catering and social space facilities at student-friendly rates and depends entirely on the voluntary labour of the student community. Reflecting on the first anniversary of the Bronze, art student Rosanna McKenna (one of the founding café volunteers) expressed her frustration at the perceived ambivalence of UU management regarding the provision of a permanent social space. The Bronze has developed into a thriving student meeting place and a crucible of student activism. The radical surroundings provide the ideal environment, in the words of Ms McKenna, “to meet, to chat; [enjoy] cheap food, company and freedom of thought”. UU’s Belfast campus is rapidly gaining a reputation for student protest, embracing an activist spirit and airing grievances in a more robust and creative manner than has been the case for several years. A feeling of neglect by UU authorities has
UU Belfast students who voluntarily run Bronze café. VP Belfast Sarah Gordon is second from the left.
been extant among students at the Belfast campus for several years. The café has become located at the heart of an array of grassroots student protest movements. According to the café’s Facebook page (Student-run café), the ethos of the Bronze encourages UU Belfast students to “claim their space back and make a stand against the lack of consideration given to them by their University”. Protestation has had minimal impact on UU policy thus far. UU directors remain largely silent on the issue, serving only to embolden the small but spirited team behind the café’s operation. A sense of unease has, however, overshadowed the regeneration project currently underway at UU Belfast, with student volunteers fearing the thriving social hub and all it has come to represent will be
swept away resulting in the erosion of the collectivist spirit fostered by the café. UU Students’ Union VP for the Belfast campus, Sarah Gordon, has pledged her wholehearted support for the initiative. Ms Gordon spoke of a “feeling of collective anger at decisions made [by UU management] which Belfast students feel very much exclude them. As a sabbatical officer I regularly talk to students about what the plans are for the Greater Belfast development and I always here the same thing back, a sense of injustice and annoyance at what has been allocated to the Students’ Union”. Reflecting on the perilous funding situation facing the education sector, Ms Gordon stated “the institution simply must address the stark imbalance now forming surrounding
financial investment. Professor Paddy Nixon will be paid £250,000 plus benefits when he succeeds [the incumbent Vice-Chancellor] Richard Barnett”. On his appointment in March, Professor Nixon will rank as Northern Ireland’s highest-paid public sector employee, a position previously held by QUB’s Vice-Chancellor Patrick Johnston who is on a wage of £249,000. A UU spokesperson commented that “As for your query, a student/social space is already available on the Belfast campus. There is regular engagement with students and the University takes the needs of students very seriously”
Broadmoor Asylum: What we don’t know about mental health of their illnesses. Daniel creates art in order to express the emotions he can’t convey in words, and Michael explains he has worked hard to ignore the auditory Niall McKenna hallucinations that would bid him to harm others. Contributor There are many misconceptions surrounding the issue of mental health. Most people who experience mental health problems recover fully, or are The recent story of a 16 year old girl held in able to live with and manage their problems. This is especially true if they get help early on, but because of police custody because there were “no beds available the attached stigma surrounding mental illness, many in the UK” makes evident that there is still much to be done on the issue of mental health. The recent ITV do not get the help they need. This belief is in part perpetuated by negative stereotypes in film and teldocumentary ‘Broadmoor’ aims to shed light on this evision, particularly drama; within a 3 month period difficult issue by letting the hospital’s patients share their stories, and in doing so hopefully dispel some of researchers found that of 74 programmes portraying mental health issues, 33 were instances of violence the myths surrounding mental health. against others. The mentally ill are depicted as dan The title refers to the infamous high-security psychiatric hospital in the south east of England. gerous when, in fact, they are more likely to harm themselves than others. Regardless of public percepApproximately 210 men reside within Broadmoor tion mental illness can affect anyone. Daniel was a at any one time, with many suffering from severe schoolboy when he was diagnosed, whereas Anthony mental illness, and many having committed serious only began to exhibit symptoms at university. crimes. Clinical Director of Broadmoor, Dr Amlan Many patients inside Broadmoor are able to Basu, reminds us that “it’s very easy to see somebody as either the perpetrator or the victim. It’s much more begin recovery once they accept that they are unwell. difficult to understand that somebody might be both.” Outside, however, we are embarrassed by mental illness. We view it as shameful to admit to being menThe men interviewed in the documentary are aware
Broadmoor- The Road To Recovery
tally ill when it is in fact no less serious or debilitating as a broken bone. It stops those suffering from living a normal life – the mentally ill are among the least likely of any group with a long-term health condition to find and keep work or maintain healthy relationships. This stigma has been claimed by some sufferers to be as much of a burden as the illness itself. With 1 in 4 experiencing a mental health
problem at some point in their lives, it is an issue that affects us all, be it in the form of a friend, co-worker or even ourselves. Fortunately, with the rise of campaigns such as Time to Change and QUB’s Mind Your Mood, it is apparent that a greater awareness and acceptance of mental health issues is growing.
Gerry Adams Against the World: New study confirms biased media agenda treatment Niall Coleman Features Editor
Sinn Fein’s delicately chosen PR team have made the party the “Teflon Don” of Irish politics. Indeed, the party’s steady growth across the 32 counties reflects that the party is largely impervious to any criticism – all the recent allegations levelled at Sinn Fein have so far failed to effectively stunt the growth of a party gaining massive political momentum. Adams can revel in the fact that his party is now stronger than it has ever been in the North since the formation of the State, while a massive rally in Dublin proved that the party is certainly not a one-trick pony.
has been solidified in fact. A recent study published by the academic confirms that the views released in Southern media outlets are representative of the polit This display of growth is perhaps what is ical and corporate establishment. causing so much of the Southern establishment to A close study of articles on the topic of ausquake in its boots. Recent statements by Sinn Fein terity published since 2008 in the Irish Times, Irish condemn the politicians and media of the South for Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday Business their attempts to stem the growth of the party in how Post and Sunday Times found that support for fiscal they “employ any dirty trick, any slander, any lie, any consolidation was overwhelming: only 10% of articles insinuation, any insult or any hopeless accusation”. on the topic were against it. 58% supported it, and Adams continued his attacks on the Southern estab32% didn’t voice a clear opinion. Reportage of stimlishment: they “opposed our efforts at peace-building ulation of the economy was a no-go area: only 2% of 20 years ago and continue to attack us today”. How articles suggested the idea of increasing government much of this really is “dirty tricks” and “slander”? spending. The elites dominated the discourse: 77% of Adams’ attempts to defend his party are now second commentators came from elite political or economnature. However, the Southern establishment has ic institutions (29% mainstream economists, 28% continuously proved his claims to be true: that they financiers and 20% from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and hold a conservative, populist agenda. The Labour Party). This paints a meagre picture of The concept that the media outlets of the the representation of a voice of opposition. AcademIrish Republic uphold a conservative agenda has been ics (9%), advocates for social justice (7%) and trade one which has often stated, yet without real factual unionists (3%) were represented as a mere whisper in substance. Thanks to UCD’s Julien Mercille, this idea the voice of the Irish media.
Whether Sinn Fein is a ‘progressive’ party is largely open to debate. Regardless, the party has successfully garnered a progressive image which has the Southern establishment looking behind their backs. Recently speaking at Friends of Sinn Fein event in Manhattan about his media protractors, Adams told an audience (£500 per ticket) at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan of the approach taken by Michael Collins to similar concerns: “They held the editor at gunpoint and then dismantled and destroyed the entire printing machinery!” After laughter and applause, he quickly added: “Now I’m obviously not advocating that…” Condemned by politicians and journalist groups, it could at least be said that Adams’ comments were inappropriate. Regardless, they paint a completely appropriate picture of the frosty relationship between the Republic of Ireland’s media moguls and the leadership of Sinn Fein – a relationship that will prove to be an interesting watch in the coming years as the party continues to grow.
Society focus: QUB Children in Crossfire
working in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Gambia. Their programmes range from providing cancer care and treatment for children, disability care and inclusion to nutrition programmes. The QUB Children in CrossJessica Galway fire Society are looking forward to an exciting year, Contributor filled with fundraising events including cinema nights and street collections. The Society’s President, Sarah, has said, “I am really pleased with the response so As of the 18th November, QUB Children in Crossfire far for such a worthwhile cause. We’re really looking received its official society status. The society, set up in forward to the semester ahead and getting students partnership with the Derry/Londonderry based char- involved in QUB Children in Crossfire.” The first goal of the charity was to fundity, aims to fundraise money that will go directly to raise for Children in Crossfire’s 2014 advent appeal Children in Crossfire and raise awareness of the work Water For Life. This appeal aims to build six wells in it undertakes. Children in Crossfire was launched in Ethiopia, giving access to clean water to thousands of 1996 by Richard Moore who, at age 10, was blinded people. Each well costs approximately £6,000. by a rubber bullet fired at point blank range into his Children in Crossfire Christmas Gifts can face. The charity’s patron is the Dalai Lama. The society meets every Wednesday in the also be purchased on www.childrenincrossfire.org/ Children in Crossfire has had great success, Students’ Union. More information can be found on gifts
Facebook and Twitter at @QUB_CIC
Video Skills for Beginners: QUB Video Services “delighted” to offer new course Aside from the enjoyable practical side of Video Skills for Beginners, the course goes into some detail on the basics of ethics and copyright law. The maximum number for each course at one time is 8 students. Students can avail of the opportunity to lend equipment of the department if required for video projects, including cameras and editing laptops – a must for Film Studies students. QUB has extended its selection of short If students wish to take up this opportunity, courses with its latest addition: “Video Skills for they are advised to approach their Head of School Beginners.” The new crash course offered by Video or tutor, and the School can arrange a course with Services at the University offers an intensive experiAmanda McKittrick in Video Services. Speaking to ence for any Queen’s student and who is considering a Amanda, she was pleased to see the course taking off: future in the media or journalism, or simply wants to “Video is becoming part of everyday life, including develop another key employability skill to accompany the workplace, with many companies having an online their degree. video presence. This course enhances the employa The three day course allows both students bility skills of students. Feedback from students has and staff to develop key skills in the planning, been excellent, and at Video Services we are delighted shooting and editing of video. Basic camera skills are to contribute to a positive student experience. For demonstrated thoroughly, with light settings and auresearchers, video can be a very useful tool both as dio levelling covered in a high paced, enjoyable group part of their research and to disseminate research environment. Participants are schooled in the profesfindings. Many online journals now ask the researcher sional editing of their own recorded pieces, in a day of to provide video material themselves.” cut-away insertions, interviews, voice over-recording and titling.
Niall Coleman Features Editor
Destructive Creations’ Hatred: should the gaming industry draw the line at serial killing? Laura Fulton Contributor The gaming industry is saturated with graphic images and violent plotlines, the first of which provoked controversy as early as the 1970s. Back then, it was Death Race, a game in which the player knocked down gremlins with a speeding car. As 2015 slowly rolls in, the debate over violent video games continues, with Hatred being the new point of interest. The synopsis for this isometric PC shooter is rather straight forward: pick up your controller, adopt the persona of a serial killer with an unbiased hatred for humanity, and begin the slaughter of any civilians you come across. No grace, no charm; just chaotic game play and an onslaught of noise. The graphics are nothing special, unless you count the Sin City-esque colour scheme of black, white, and the occasional splash of colour – namely, red. Whether the game is actually any good or not is not the real issue. The question everyone is asking is if the gaming industry has just gone too far in the name of supposed entertainment. Destructive Creations is making no apologies or excuses about their content. They put it most simply on their website when they owned up to the frank nature of Hatred, saying “yes, it is a game about killing people.” No pretentious excuses; Destructive Creations knows what it’s selling. When asked about the morality and propriety of having this kind of material on the market, CEO Jarosław Zieliński said that “it’s just shooting virtual characters, and if anybody has a problem with distinguishing reality from a game, he should turn off his computer and go for a long walk.” Many people hold this attitude. Youtube gaming series The Tara Show, for example, boasts
the opinion of “it’s just a game.” Lawrence Sontag of Inside Gaming Daily shared this view, saying “video games are a medium of art [...] and as such it has a right to exist, even if you don’t like it.” However, some people consider a game based on the murder of the innocent a sick display of human depravity that should not be passed off as pleasurable. Other games, such as Grand Theft Auto, deal with mature themes and violence, but there is rarely a game in the industry in which the core purpose is to murder people. GTA may showcase a range of corrupt activities, but not for misanthropic purposes, and committing virtual murder comes with the virtual consequences of police chasing you down. One
game enthusiast, Danh Hoang, was not impressed with the trailer, stating that “video games should be about simulating adventure, not murder.” Furthermore, this begs the question: if mass murder is not where we draw the line, then where is the line? Will game developers continue to push the boundaries in order to sustain this level of shock? What other unsavoury topics will hit the market in years to come? As one commentator asked, if it’s just a game, would a rape simulator be appropriate, or a game based around ethnic cleansing? Obviously, these topics are absolutely abhorrent and there would be no way to draw pleasure from a game based around such
ideas. Therefore, in the same way, it should be questioned whether it is possible, or appropriate, to enjoy playing a serial killer who preys upon innocents. It was obvious from the outset that this game would ruffle feathers and there are few in the gaming community who are expressing their excitement about its release. Rather, Hatred has provoked discomfort and revulsion across message boards and forums all over the internet. Perhaps Jake Baldino, of Gameranx, put it best when he described the game as a “tasteless pander for attention.”
Gown About Town by Laura Shields
The Gown provides reviews of the must see theatre, cinema and music events for the coming weeks
Loud and Local - Rebekah Wilson
Theatre God of Carnage: 3rd-21st February at the MAC. Death of a Comedian: 7th February – 1st March at the Lyric Theatre. Over the Wire: 10th -14th February at the MAC. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing: 17th – 21st February at the MAC. Stitched Up: 17th -21st February at the Lyric Theatre.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: 25th February at the Millennium Forum, Derry.
Films Inherent Vice: 30th January- 11th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. A Most Violent Year: 30th January – 5th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. Amour Fou: 6th – 8th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. Selma: 6th – 19th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. The Interview: 6th February at major cinemas. Jupiter Ascending: 6th February at major cinemas.
Laura Shields Arts & Entertainment Editor @LauraShields86
Getting your music out there can be difficult for any up and coming musician. However, when you are under 18-years-old you have age as an additional complication. Not that this has stopped 16-yearold singer/songwriter Rebekah Wilson from rising to prominence. With a powerful voice and more instrumental skills than most people 3 times her age, she is proof that age does not dictate talent. I caught up with Rebekah to talk about all-ages gigs and her blossoming future in the Belfast music scene. As a musician under the 18+ age restriction imposed by many venues, what has your experience of the Belfast music scene been? A few years ago I had no clue Northern Ireland had a music scene. I was introduced to [it] by friends who were in a band and it sprouted from
I don’t think I sound specifically like another artist and I don’t consciously take influence from anybody else. I just get into a mood to write a song and do it. I mainly listen to alternative and pop-punk stuff and the acoustic guitar comes from listening to folk and indie. My music taste stretches across genres so I just pick up bits and pieces from all over. I tend to randomly come up with a lyric and try to incorporate it into a tune that I’ve written before. Actually, that sounds an awfully disjointed way to write! [But] it seems to work otherwise the song wouldn’t leave my bedroom! Do you feel it is more difficult to be a solo performer than perhaps a band? I’ve been making my own music from I was no age and always wanted to be in a band, but when bandmates seemed hard to come by I decided to start showcasing the music I had. I played my first gig in March and it wasn’t even planned. Volume Control there. I still complain about the number of gigs and was running an all-ages open mic and I decided venues I can’t attend due to my age, but I often find myself asking; “Are there more all-ages gigs [now]… to take the opportunity. [It] was so good I’ve been actively gigging and writing since! I still find myself or am I just becoming more aware of them?”. If you look in the right places you realise how many oppor- looking for a backing band because that’s the mutunities there actually are. Open mics are a great way sic I want to write. I need that full band sound and there’s only so much I can do myself. I play all the to get involved and have been my main resource for getting my voice heard. Also, Volume Control and the instruments on my demos but I can’t play [them all] simultaneously live! I hope there will be developments Oh Yeah Music Centre have been ineffably valuable to me. The individuals involved have been fantastic in in my live sound over the coming months. So while we are on the topic, have you any other advising and supporting me. plans for the future? Do you feel people often underestimate you Music is my main goal - it’s the thing I’ve albecause of your age? ways wanted to do. [My immediate] plans are exciting I’ve been overwhelmed with the support and me to no end! I recorded with Mike and James from encouraging words I’ve had over such a short period Mojo Fury in Millbank Studios before Christmas and of time. I certainly don’t believe I deserve it. I still the months following that I’ll try to organise [an EP] doubt myself all the time but I feel like I’m proving release, hopefully for April 2015. that age doesn’t matter as long as you’re passionate. There are so many young people involved in music here and I feel we’re working as a team to get our feet in the door and make a mark. Find Rebekah Wilson on Facebook, Twitter and So, who or what would you say influences your Soundcloud for music and news. music?
Project Almanac: 6th February at major cinemas.
Gig Review: La Roux. Limelight, Belfast
Love Is Strange: 13th – 19th February at Queen’s Film Theatre.
Claire Murray Contributor
Birdman: 13th – 19th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. Boyhood: 13th – 19th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. Fifty Shades of Grey: 13th February at major cinemas. Backhat: 20th February at major cinemas. The Gunman: 20th February at major cinemas. The Duke of Burgundy: 20th – 26th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. The Philadelphia Story: 21st-26th February at Queen’s Film Theatre. To Kill A Mockingbird: 22nd February at Queen’s Film Theatre.
Yes, the rumours are correct, La Roux, the electro pop band, performed in Belfast on 19th November at the Limelight. The much anticipated gig saw the band’s first Belfast performance, an event fans were itching for. But it is fair to claim that neither La Roux nor fans anticipated the night that was to follow. The simplistic stage and lighting setup works much like a time-machine. A central disco ball fills the room with scattered spinning light; the cosy venue promises an intimate performance for the diversely aged crowd. An extremely enthused group of youths were to my left and to my right, stood a relaxed middle-aged couple. The venue is quickly filled. La Roux’s supporting act, Meanwhile, literally jump on stage and without hesitation grasp, even seize, the audience’s attention with their lively dance pop tracks. Meanwhile’s Tom Andrews demonstrates impressive vocals and cutting-edge dance moves. He howls out the lyrics to “Luvletta” and “Bigger City” in a similar style to Bowie or Prince. The Guardian have described Meanwhile’s tracks as pleasantly “over the top ‘80s pomp pop” which virtually “erupts” the listener “with joy”. This is much the case tonight. It would be difficult to picture a more suitable supporting act. The band exhibit such energy and musical that is sure
to leave many a gig-goer tonight to leave Limelight set on obtaining their own copies of Meanwhile’s debut EP The Element Yes. Then it finally happened. For the first time since they began their musical career back in 2006 La Roux appear on a Belfast stage amidst a menagerie of neon lights and erupting screams. Elly Jackson, the red-headed wonder, comments on the delight in audience members faces and pinpointing an individual fan she decides, “Especially you, you look like you want to kill me.” Subsequent to a five year break from the music scene La Roux kick off with “Let Me Down Gently”, a track from their latest album Trouble in Paradise. Elly Jackson described Trouble in Paradise as a “weird pop hybrid”, inspired by, “that point after the party when there’s just balloons on the floor and there’s a weird emptiness in a place where such joy happened”. Tonight however, the party is quickly in full swing once more. The band demonstrate great artist-crowd interaction which making for a more personal and memorable experience. Normally a reviewer keeps a certain distance from their article but that needs to be abandoned for a moment; Elly Jackson actually touched my hand! Jackson asks, “Do you want to go back in time?” Her question is well-received and prompts performances of hit singles from 2009’s selftitled album, “In for the Kill” and “Bulletproof ”.
La Roux boast a characteristic which is often lacking in bands with such a charismatic and forthright vocalist as Jackson; they have cohesion. Each member bounces off the other. Jackson is keen to share her spotlight as she engages in a guitar battle with her lead guitarist before switching to play synthdrum alongside her drummer. La Roux have burst back into the music scene but their absence from it does not seem to have impacted negatively. The incredible crowd response tonight speaks volumes for the flawlessness of their performance. There is nothing else to be said other than that La Roux is a must-see act. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 - Lionsgate (2014)
Mockingjay is the lastest installment of ‘The Hunger Games’
Niall McKenna Contributor Things are changing in Panem. Having been rescued from the events of Catching Fire Katniss Everdeen ( Jennifer Lawrence) is taken to District 13 and enlisted to play ‘The Mockingjay’. The Mockingjay figure becomes a symbol of defiance around which the Districts can rally in their fight against the Capitol and its leader, Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland). But the Capitol have a figurehead of
scenes we wouldn’t see much of the world the rebels are fighting to reclaim. It is when we leave the stark claustrophobic setting of District 13 that things become more visually exciting; headsets glowing red against the gloom as the rebels abseil down the inside of a gigantic skyscraper and Katniss running for her life as an industrial chimney collapses through the roof. The film is packed with great actors all of whom are on form. Lawrence’s Everdeen is a candid balance of strength and trauma, as confused and untrusting of the political intricacies of Panem as she is protective of those around her. Hutcherson as Peeta is excellent in his limited screen time, driving home both the cruelty and allure of the Capitol. Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays his role well as the benevolent Plutarch Heavensbee; his scene directing Katniss in a propaganda video is one of the few light-hearted moments in the film. These videos allude to a larger theme however; what we can see versus what we’re being shown. This is embodied by Crescidda (Natalie Dormer) and her dystopian camera crew. The decision to split Mockingjay into two their own; Katniss’s fellow tribute Peeta Mallark ( Josh films seems to have been a business rather than a creHuterson). Mallark urges the rebels to lay down their ative decision, and for a film about an uprising there arms, reminding us of how humanity almost went is surprisingly little conflict. This vacuum is filled by a extinct once before; will this war finish the job? more political tone, and while compelling in its own Mockingjay, Part 1 is a quieter film than right and bolstered by good performances it is not others in “The Hunger Games” series with much of it entirely satisfactory. unfolding in subterranean District 13. This is a shame considering the revolution truly sparks above ground. The storming of a dam to the ghostly sound of “The Hanging Tree” and watching lumberjacks scamper up trees amidst cries of “if we burn, you burn with us” are highlights. If it weren’t for these few gripping
Theatre Preview: God Bless the Child at the Lyric Theatre Laura Shields Arts & Entertainment Editor @LauraShields86
On March 11th, God Bless the Child will begin its run on the Lyric Theatre’s Danske Bank stage. Director and producer Patrick Talbot has adapted a number of short stories by Cork born writer, Frank O’Connor to create a stage show equally comical and moving. Drawing on three of these stories in particular, ‘My Oedipus Complex’, ‘The Genius’ and ‘First Confession’, Talbot has produced what the Irish Examiner has dubbed “a highly entertaining adaptation of three of O’Connor’s funniest stories”. God Bless the Child introduces audiences to Michael, Larry and Jackie. We follow Michael as he goes into mortal combat with his father when he returns from the First World War. Larry is presented as a genius who can’t understand why the world can’t keep up with him while Jackie has the grim task of preparing to make both his first confession and communion. His situation is made worse still as he must simultaneously deal with a very obstreperous grandmother. God Bless the Child has already proved successful in O’Connor’s birth place; the play premiered in Cork city last year to packed out audiences. In regards to the plays previous success, Talbot has
Gown About Town by Laura Shields
Gigs Dusky: 13th February at Limelight. Orla Gartland: 13th February at Bar Sub. His New Atlas: 16th February at the Oh Yeah Music Centre. Echo and the Bunnymen: 17th February at Mandela Hall. Rumer: 19th February at Limelight. King Charles: 20th February at Limelight. Death From Above 1979: 21st February at Limelight. Hudson Taylor: 21st February at Mandela Hall. Placebo: 26th February at the Waterfront. A Plastic Rose: 26th February at Mandela Hall. The Bonevilles: 26th February at the Oh Yeah Music Centre. Halestorm: 28th February at Limelight.
Arts Textile Accounts of Conflict: 6th February – 7th March at the Linen Hall Library. Belfast Ukulele Jam: 17th February at the Oh Yeah Centre. The Age Of Liberty: 13th June -19th April at the Ulster Museum. Uneasy Beauty: 12th December – 26th April at the Ulster Museum. Order and Revolution: 27th June – 26th April at the Ulster Museum.
“God Bless The Child”
stated; “the reactions we had were terrific, people have really enjoyed the way these wonderful stories have come to life on stage; Frank O’ Connor’s writing is so deliciously insightful. And now we’re very excited to bring the production to Belfast. It’s an entertaining and uplifting night of theatre.” Richly evocative of Ireland in the early decades of the 20th Century, God Bless the Child is funny, moving and will feature memorable from an all-star cast: Ciaran Bermingham (Game of Thrones, Killnaskully, Bittersweet, and The Tudors), Shane Casey (The Republic of Telly, The Wind That Shakes the
Barley) and Gary Murphy (Love/Hate, The Tudors, The Clinic, Ripper Street, Moone Boy, and The Vikings) take to the stage to enact Talbot’s vision of O’Connor’s short stories in a unique way. God Bless the Child will be a performance which can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. The play will run from 11th-21st March in the Lyric Theatre. Ticket prices will range from £18-£22. All Danske Bank card holders are entitled to 20% discount off tickets for all Lyric productions on the Danske Bank Stage.
Answer the Call: First World War Posters: 23rd May – 10th May at the Ulster Museum. New Art New Nature: 10th October – 28th June at the Ulster Museum.
2014 Album Round-Up
With 2014 behind us, we here at The Gown have been reminiscing about some of its greatest musical outputs. Here are our own personal top albums from the last twelve months.
Honor Is All We Know - Rancid. 2014 saw East-Bay punks, Rancid release their first album in five years. It was a long wait, which seems to have been felt by fans and band alike; Tim Armstrong growls “I’ve been gone for way too long” in “Back Where I Belong”. Honor offered up a bit of everything we have come to love about Rancid; occasional ska beats, melody and, of course raw vocal stylings. Indeed, Matt Freeman’s vocal performance in title track “Honor is All We Know” single-handedly made the five year wait for this album worthwhile. Honor is All we Know is not only one of the Rancid’s great records, but one of 2014’s. – Laura Shields, Arts and Entertainments Editor.
My Favourite Faded Fantasy – Damien Rice. As a loyal Damien Rice fan since O dropped in 2002 I couldn’t wait to hear his latest effort My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Album track, “The Greatest B*****d” has the unembellished honesty and tenderness of Damo’s best work. Despite being produced by the loudness warrior himself, Rick Rubin, tracks “I Don’t Want To Change You” and “Colour Me In” subsided any fan concerns that Rice’s sound would be compromised. With a healthy mix of fine drawn and more intense string arrangements, My Faded Fantasy was a return to form after 2006’s somewhat disappointing 9. 2014 saw Rice return to the musical scene in force. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another eight years before seeing him again! - Michael Smyth, Contributor.
What Else Can You Buy For 13p 11p? within education, hospitals and neighbourhood re-generation projects. However, as a result of the recent cuts many of these projects could be in jeopardy. The November campaign also highlighted the positive impact the arts have on our economy. The aforementioned Regularly Funded Organisations generated a total of £48.1 million prior to the recent funding cuts, yet now, these profitable organisations are under threat. Prior to their implementation McDonough claimed that “[the proposed 13p won’t get you a lot. 11p will get you cuts were] the biggest threat yet for the arts and culeven less. In fact it is difficult to think of anything tural sector and we are asking all those who value which this pocket change can purchase. In the good the arts to support our petition and ask the Finance old days you could satisfy that chocolate craving Minister for no more cuts to the arts budget.” within this budget with a Freddo and have some Yet despite an overwhelming response to pennies left over, but sadly, that is no longer the McDonough’s pleas, it was announced on the 26th case. January that the cuts were still to go ahead. The It came as a shock for many then when the Arts Council affirmed that approximately 17,000 Arts Council announced that in 2014 the governresponses campaigning for no more cuts to the arts ment only spent 13p per week per head on the arts budget were received as part of the 2015/16 Budget in Northern Ireland. To put this into perspective, the Consultation, making it the largest submission of Arts Council stated that this funding would have public support. The Arts Council have stated that only sustained the Health, Social Services and public the news is “bewildering” and that they are “deeply safety sector for only 1 day. More shocking still is disappointed” by the government’s decisions. that despite only 0.1% of the Northern Irish budget Nonetheless they were keen to thank the being spent on the arts annually, a cut of 11.2% huge numbers of those who did support the “13p” (£1.38m) has been implemented for 2015/16. campaign with the plea that “As the arts face an The Arts Council of Northern Ireland increasingly uncertain future we would ask you to launched a campaign with the tagline “What else continue to take every opportunity to showcase the can you buy for 13p” back in November when these value of the contribution the arts make to our local cuts were first proposed. The campaign received politicians and decision makers”. monumental support which included notable figures such as “The Hobbit” actor, James Nesbitt. He stated that; “Theatres, along with the likes of the Ulster Orchestra for example, are the cultural heartbeats of our towns and cities and without them we are much poorer for it.” The Council were keen to highlight that if a cut was to be implemented, Northern Ireland would be poorer both in terms of culture and economics. The Arts Council regularly fund 109 organisations which reach across all levels of our society. Prior to the recent cuts, 79% of the Council’s investment was spent in the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland. In fact, much of their spending went to arts
Laura Shields Arts & Entertainment Editor @LauraShields86
Sonic Highways – Foo Fighters In 2012 Dave Grohl announced that rock legends, the Foo Fighters would be going on hiatus but in we saw that status change. In Grohl’s own words, Sonic Highways was “a love letter to American music”. Each song represented a city influential to American music through the years; from jazzy New Orleans to the 1980’s punk rock of Chicago. Each track is a collaborative effort seeing the Foo’s work with different music icons from each respective city. Despite influences from a wide variety of genres, the album managed to maintain the classic Foo Fighters rock sounds. Sonic Highways was perhaps one of 2014’s most ambitious albums, but it certainly paid off. - Layla Cunningham, Contributor. Diploid Love - Brody Dalle In 2014, former frontwoman of The Distillers, Brody Dalle, announced that she would launch a solo career. In a move away from the aggressive sounds of her previous work, Diploid Love seemed more contemplative. “Meet The Foetus” saw Dalle experiment with musical complexity in ways which she had never considered before. The uplifting harmonies provided by Garbage singer, Shirley Manson mark this single as something entirely different from the raspy vocals of The Distillers. That said, where this album truly triumphed was in its tone which can be described as nothing short of badass. Diploid Love maintained the attitude and some of the sound of Dalle’s previous, well-loved projects but saw musician stretch her possibilities in exciting new ways. - Rónán Rogers, Contributor.
Top Tips for Renting in Belfast Chantelle Frampton Lifestyle Editor @frampy_93
So it is that time of year again where we all have that final push until summer begins. It is also the time that students scout Belfast for the best and cheapest property for their student housing. This can be an extremely daunting task if you are new to the Belfast property market. However, not to worry, The Gown has compiled a handy and concise list that will make the task of finding your student home that little bit easier.
Choose your housemates carefully
Whilst the idea of living away from home with your friends is exciting and new, it is vital that you are certain that you wish to live with them. It is important that you communicate with each other and talk about important issues such as budgeting. Money disputes are a common subject matter of arguments. One possible way to avoid this is to talk about how you wish to split bills and budget for the house. It is also important to ensure that all tenants wish to have a similar lifestyle within the house. If one tenant wishes to have continuous parties whilst the other wants peace and tranquillity then compromises need to be made so that everyone is happy. Nobody wants to be paying administration fees for pulling out of a tenancy agreement.
Location! Location! Location!
This brings me on to my second point which is to thoroughly check the neighbourhood and ensure that it is somewhere that you want to live. If wild parties
and a buzzing atmosphere are right up your street then the Holylands may be the place for you. Whereas if you wish to have a quiet and relaxing area then up the Malone Road may be more suited. It is important that you take your time and do your research into an area. Decide what factors are important for the student lifestyle you wish to live and choose your area accordingly.
dent. Ensure that you thoroughly check the property for any damp, smoke alarms, fire doors and the type of heating it has. You are perfectly within your rights to flag up any issues that you may have with the house to the landlord. Don’t forget, just because you are a student that does not mean that you have no tenancy rights. To read your rights as a tenant and the rights of a landlord go to http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/landlordand-tenant-obligations
minute. It is a much better idea to start looking for accommodation early and get it out of the way. This not only means that you are more likely to get the house in the area that you want; but it is also a huge weight off your shoulders.
Despite all of the stress that comes with house hunting, don’t forget to have fun with it. Moving in with your friends is one of the most enjoyable experiences that you will have as a student so don’t get too stressed 3. Thoroughly check the property out. For more advice on house hunting you can go to It is no secret that student houses have a reputation www.qubsu.org.uk/advicecentre or alternatively you can for being stereotypically, let’s say less than desirable 4. Don’t waste time visit the second floor of the Student’s Union for some living spaces. However, you do not have to live in a Whilst this may seem like an obvious tip, it is surpris- face to face advice. damp and dirty property purely because you are a stu- ing how easy it is to leave house hunting to the last
From Nairobi to Belfast, Women March to Claim the Streets as Their Own Chantelle Frampton Lifestyle Editor @frampy_93
Nearly 1000 women took to the streets of Nairobi on November 17 in protest of the recent ‘slut shaming’ incident that was filmed and shared on the internet. The Kenyan woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was stripped down and beaten in broad daylight by dozens of men for ‘tempting them’ by wearing a mere miniskirt. This repulsive act led to a mass protest in the city of Nairobi, as well as a viral social hashtag of #mydressmychoice. The My Dress My Choice campaign demands a woman’s right to wear whatever she pleases without the fear of male harassment or violence. The Kenyan President, William Ruto, called the incident “barbaric” and stated that Kenya is not in fact a primitive country, and that these attackers must be brought to justice, urging the woman in the video to come forward. Rachel Shebesh, a Kenyan politician, has gone on to say that “When it comes to violence against women, there are no grounds for tolerance and no tolerable excuses. I hope that investigations will be carried out and the culprits charged for assault.” Conservative Kenyan groups have countered this campaign with the misogynistic statement of “women must dress appropriately.” The female protestors took to the streets with their banners and miniskirts in an attempt to destroy the oppression that is being forced upon them. They seek to embrace their womanhood and show Kenya that sexual violence will
Sexual violence and harassment is not an issue that is only occurring in Africa. It is a prominent problem within our own society. On the November 29, the feminist organisation Reclaim the Night organised a march in Belfast to raise awareness of street harassment and gender violence. The organisers stated that “we march to demand our right to be free from the fear and reality of rape, street harassment, stalking and all other gender violence that can affect anyone, with women and members of the LGBTQ community particularly impacted.” Women and men marched through Belfast with anti-violence statements such as “harassment is not a compliment” and “My Body My Choice.” Women of all backgrounds were out supporting one another, showing that we are all together with one common objective.
not be tolerated. Not all people have welcomed the protest and feel that Kenya is becoming too ‘Westernised,’ and that women should have respect for themselves. The counter social media hashtag ‘#NudityIsNotMyChoice soon emerged. With opinions like “Nudity is a form of sexual violence. #NudityIsNotMyChoice” being tweeted, it is clear that there is a definite split
between those that want equal female rights and those that reject such an idea. A petition has been circulating since the emergence of the filmed attack, entitled ‘Violation against Women Will Not Be Tolerated.’ The petition has 4000 signatures and continues to gain more as the social media hashtag gains more recognition around the world.
Inequality and violence is a huge issue for women around the world. With regular protests calling for women’s rights and harsher punishment for crimes such as rape and assault, one can only hope that these protests will become a thing of the past and women will in fact be able to dress how they please without the threat of being attacked or publicly ridiculed for the satisfaction of men.
OPINIONS Still Taken from “Miss Congeniality”
eminism and Beauty Pageants Are Compatible By Felicity McKee, contributor
I am an activist, a fundraiser for charity, a public speaker, a lover of animals, an actress, a pageant contestant and a feminist. Yes, I did say feminist. Many people, a lot of whom define themselves as feminists denounce pageants and yet they themselves do not know the reasons a person enters or the reality of being involved. They would rather loudly denounce the flaws and not acknowledge the good pageants can do. Before I was involved in pageants I would have assumed that it was simply a case of men ogling women and giving into patriarchy, the reality is far different. The pageants I have been involved in give me a sense of sisterhood, we all get a long, we become lifelong friends and we are there because we want to be. It is our choice and this is a choice that needs and deserves to be respected. The main audience members are family and friends who are there to support us, not merely to view our bodies, our appearance or our opinions on ‘world peace’. I actually like dressing up and performing, if not already displayed by my acting jobs. I admit I was hesitant about swimwear rounds, and not because of men viewing me, but people viewing me in general, as I am in recovery from an eating disorder. However despite my nerves and worries, I found it an incredible boost to my self-esteem and went on to win the swimwear category! I didn’t win that round merely on my body size and shape but on my accessorising and poise at that moment, it wasn’t based on a European ideal of beauty but on the confidence I managed to exude in that moment, to show the world that this body is worthy of love and that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Before anyone suggests that my eating disorder was related to the media and the images they convey of the ideal woman, let me assure you that this is not the case, eating disorders have been shown to have a genetic and biological basis and while this may contribute to some peoples development of an eating disorder, it was not the case with me and to assume or give this one reason the major emphasis is perpetuating a dangerous idea. Now I’m not saying there are no flaws to beauty pageants, but there are flaws in many things and while they can give a false ideal as to what is considered beautiful, this isn’t really always the reality but a commercial outsider view of pageantry. Pageants can give women (and men!) access to opportunities to gain skills in public speaking, champion causes close to their heart and gain access to education via scholarships. My involvement in the Rose of Tralee, as Miss University of Ulster and now as Ms Ulster and Miss Queens University Belfast has given me opportunities and the ability to champion causes that I find important in areas I might not otherwise have had access to. I personally use my pageantry to show that disabilities aren’t always visible but can be physical, mental, and sensory or learning related and I’m not afraid to wear my heart monitors along with my ball gowns. I do not compete for men to stare at me; I compete because I want to and because I choose to. I compete because of the opportunities it opens up for me and for the causes I want to raise awareness for. I want to know why it is deemed ok by many feminists to say I should be able to choose my own path, and then denounce the path I choose to take. As women we are constantly told we need to be either more or less feminine, such as less feminine for certain roles or jobs or more feminine and wear certain clothes and yet despite this being an issue, who should define my gender identity and how I want to define it other than myself ? Society and the opinions of others should not pressurise me into some ideals held by others when it isn’t something that I can relate to.
Freeze frame from Sainsbury’s ad, aired December 2014
ainsbury’s Christmas Ad – Was It Appropriate? By Kaity Hall, Opinions Editor
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s recent Christmas advert for 2014 was created in partnership with The Royal British Legion. In a poignant attempt to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First World War, the narrative is centralized on how ‘Christmas is for sharing’ as the two opposing battalions of soldiers forget their differences and play football together on Christmas day (the Christmas Truce of 1914). Two of the soldiers in the advert even exchange gifts. It raises the question of whether it is ‘right’ for the supermarket chain to represent war in a Christmas advert, for it is, at its very essence, a bid to promote their company with a narrative and theme they know is close to the hearts of so many. In a highly emotional, verging on mawkish plot that skips out the blood, guts and death that war is so unavoidably synonymous with, we are presented with an advert that attempts to show us a ‘U’ rated version of war, which doesn’t really exist. The Guardian’s Ally Fogg has argued how it strives to make war ‘beautiful’ and this I would also argue is spot on. Attempting to make war beautiful is a delusional and more accessible attempt at engaging with the supposed goodwill that Christmas is meant to be about. The advert can make us feel both emotional and as though we are doing the soldiers justice by engaging with their supposed realities through this advert. Indeed, the advert might be touching to watch if you didn’t remember that its very existence is for the trivial purpose of selling Sainsbury’s goods during the extremely competitive Christmas period. It is for this reason that the advert has been met with a large amount of complaints from the public. It has a very jarring effect when the Sainsbury’s logo appears at the end and the idiosyncratic paralleling of Christmas shopping with war becomes evident. The advert, obviously, isn’t a true representation of war, because really, that wouldn’t be appropriate for a Christmas advert aiming to sell Christmas groceries. It is simply a corporate bid to package war nicely and aesthetically into something that is easy to understand and interpret, without any of the harrowing realities. Sainsbury’s feed us a watered down version of war that presents it simply in terms of the humanity of soldiers beneath their opposing uniforms. It’s true – Christmas day would quite undoubtedly be one of the hardest days in the trenches for any of the soldiers, but to understand war only in these terms doesn’t do it any justice or true understanding. It simply gives us a blinkered view of the First World War that is more easily consumable for the public, when war is something that runs so much deeper than a reminder of where to purchase your turkey at Christmas.
Rugby loses all time great in Jack Kyle Ryan McDowell Sports Editor @dowelly_
Jack Kyle, widely regarded as one of the best Irish rugby players of all time, died on November 28, aged 88. A talented fly-half, Kyle made his international debut in January 1947 while a student at Queen’s, and went on earn 46 caps for Ireland and a further 6 for the British and Irish Lions during his career. Kyle is also famous for helping Ireland to win multiple five nations championships and triple crowns between 1947 and 1958. In recognition of his distinguished career, Jack Kyle was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2008, and in 2002 he was named the greatest Irish rugby player of all time by an IRFU poll. Jack Kyle was also famous off the pitch. He completed a degree in medicine at Queen’s University and, upon his retirement from club rugby, went on to take part in numerous humanitarian endeavours before relocating to Zambia where he became a consultant surgeon for over three decades. A memorial service was held Tuesday December 2 at Fisherwick Church, Belfast, and was attended by close friends and a number of current and former Ireland players.
Brian O’Driscoll honoured by Queen’s Hannah Gowdy Contributor
Irish Rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll was awarded an honorary degree by Queen’s University Belfast in recognition of his contributions to sport. Brian O’Driscoll won 133 caps for Ireland (83 times as captain) and was also the captain of the British and Irish Lions during their 2005 tour of New Zealand. During his illustrious career, O’Driscoll scored 46 tries, making him the highest try scorer of all time in Irish rugby. Before receiving his degree, O’Driscoll said: “I am delighted to be receiving an honorary degree from Queen’s University Belfast. Queen’s has a great sporting tradition and as one of the UK and Ireland’s leading Universities, they have always been at the
forefront of sporting provision and opportunities. To receive this recognition from such a prestigious university is a considerable honour. I very much look forward to sharing this special occasion with students who will be graduating on the same day.” O’Driscoll is in distinguished company in receiving his honorary degree. Northern Irish footballing icon George Best received his degree in 2001 whilst former Northern Ireland and Celtic football club captain Martin O’Neil was honored in 2005.
Published on Feb 11, 2015