Heythrop’s ULU VP? Abs Hassanali runs for Vice President in the ULU Elections
Jonathan Wilkes on the rise of Uni “Smart Drugs”
Heythrop Students’ Union Volume 2 Issue 5 Thursday 2nd February theheythroplion.co.uk
ULU Break Rules Over Sabbatical Elections
Fran Gosling on London’s Most Famous Detective
• ULU Elections face possible recall over “breach over their own regulations” Alex Hackett Editor-in-Chief The University of London Union’s (ULU) election results could be called into question after Senate-approved procedures to form an “Elections Committee” failed to be enacted. This could effectively force ULU to reopen nominations for all positions and invalidate all work done by staff and candidates up to this point. According to the amended ULU Election Regulations, an Elections Committee must be formed before the nominations period begins, being re-
sponsible for approving “all guidance to (potential) candidates” as well as many other regulatory duties. Because this committee is not in place, ULU is effectively in breach of it’s own regulations, which, depending on senate or candidate pressure, could cause a costly re-run of the entire election; some have even said it could be used by losing candidates to appeal against the results. Such contesting of results give rise to echoes of the 2010 elections in which Vice Presidential Candidate Ian Drummond, who is this year re-running for this position, launched legal action against ULU after his election result was overturned. Drummond was initially declared winner of this position after competitor Viktoria Szmolar was
disqualified for breaking election rules, however Szmolar successfully appealed the decision and Drummond was stripped of his proposed sabbatical. A final decision on what to do about the regulatory gap will most likely occur at ULU Senate, where all the elected sabbaticals of ULU colleges meet alongside the three ULU elected sabbaticals. HSU President Gala Jackson-Coombs stated that “I feel like it is impossible to hold an open and transparent election if those that are holding it are in breach of their own regulations. I will be discussing this at the next senate meeting”. For further updates on this story as it develops, visit theheythroplion.co.uk
College Debating Society take on Cambridge University Advertisement
Joshua White News Editor The Cambridge Union have accepted an invitation to attend the inaugural debate of Heythrop College’s new Debating Society, which will be launched at a dinner on Wednesday 14th March. The Debating Society, started by Sam English and Ben McFadyean, intend this event to be “the first of many formal dinners for Heythrop students and staff at the college. In
doing so we may reignite an old college tradition of debating dinners.” The Cambridge Union was founded in 1815 and quickly rose to prominence. It was shut down in 1817 for being “too contentious” before being allowed to reform in 1821 under strict guidelines. In its effort to uphold the right to free speech, the Union disregarded them and continued to debate contentious topics in disguised form. The Society are highly experienced in debating, they have held debates with past guests including Colonel Gaddafi, Richard Dawkins and Julian Assange. HSU Sports and Societies Officer
Ashley Doolan said he was delighted by the news, stating that he was “really excited when Ben and Sam first ran the idea past me and have been really impressed by the level of work and commitment they’ve both put into it. I’m proud that there is still a real grass roots enthusiasm for debate and philosophical enquiry among Heythrop students and wish them all the best in the coming debate. I look forward to seeing Cambridge sent packing realising that Heythrop is still a force to reckoned with in the academic community!” McFadyean states that they have yet to decide upon a team and are now on the
look out for “a plucky and enthusiastic squad of four debaters who are up for taking on these formidable opponents”. The dinner is expected to be candle-lit and be followed by a three-course meal. Tickets are priced at approximately £25 and membership of the society is open to all Heythrop students past and present. For further information on the debating society, dates for the audition or to buy tickets to the dinner please email Sam English or Ben McFadyean (President and Vice President resp.) at heythrop email@example.com
THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY | THE LION
HSU Executive Elect New Vice President to fill Third Position Gap
See our exclusive interview with the Fr. Holman online at: youtube.com/theheythroplion theheythroplion.co.uk
Joey Youll - Ashley Doolan Sports and Societies Officer
Jasmin Khosah - Barrie Nelson Vice President Development
Sam English - Natasha Vaughan Vice President Campaigns
Hannah Nichol - TBC Comms and Pubs Officer
Josh White News Editor
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Please recycle your Lion at one of the many recycle bins around College
Natasha Vaughan, 3rd year Undergraduate, has been elected Vice President Campaigns for the Heythrop Students’ Union Executive. The announcement comes in the wake of Communications and Publications officer Hannah Nichol’s resignation from her position, the fourth such resignation within this academic year. The students’ union executive has not had its full complement of officers since the term has started, having lost both Vice Presidents (Camapigns and Developement) and the Sports and Societies officer. All have cited “personal reasons” in each resignation. When questioned on the number of
resignations, HSU President Gala Jackson-Coombs stated “Unfortunately, many of the officers have found it hard to juggle their academic obligations with their executive role due to this we have had a larger number of resignations than in the past. The role of an executive is now more time consuming than it has ever been before, because of the immensely quick growth of the HSU as a whole. The plans for a second sabbatical will hopefully alleviate the great work load put on part-time officers.” When asked whether these resignations reflected on the running of the HSU executive as a whole, the President stated that “It has nothing to do with the personal or working relationships between the executive officers that we have had resignations, it is purely down to work load commitments and person-
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al circumstances. Any officer or ex-officer you ask will agree with me.” When questioned on the reasons for her resignation, Nichol said “It’s mostly for personal reasons, and I need to make sure I’m on top of my academic work. I have enjoyed being on the union and felt that everyone has done a great job.” Natasha Vaughan’s emerged as the leading choice in the recent bi-election accumulating 52 votes; Claudette Brown came in second place with 22 votes and Edward Jack Kent in third place with 14 votes. Nichol’s position will be the subject of another bi-election to be conducted later in the year. For more information on the HSU Exec, visit the website at heythropstudentsunion.co.uk /executive
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THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY | THE LION
Heythrop Student Runs for ULU VP
Joshua White News Editor Abduttayyeb Hassanali, third-year student of Philosophy, is running for Vice President of the University of London Union. This is a paid sabbatical position and the highest in ULU, second only to the President. Hassanali has been a student trustee of ULU for 2 years and ran for the HSU position of Vice President Campaigns 2 years ago, coming second to Philip Woods. Hassanali is the only Heythrop student in the race for any of the ULU positions with the majority of candidates coming from larger institutions such as UCL, SOAS and King’s. In Hassanali’s manifesto he holds that “ULU has to take a new direction, a new direction that takes on board the views and needs of more students, a new direction that puts students not politics at the heart of our movement.” Hassanali is running against three other candidates: Daniel Cooper, current President of Royal Holloway Students’ Union, Ross Speer, another ULU Trustee and Ian Drummond, who ran for the position two years previously. When interviewed over the lack of other Heythrop Students in the election, Hassanali said he was “not entirely sure” but stated that “I like to see it in terms of how far Heythrop has come in the past few years – before I arrived here we had no sabbatical, and now we’re on the verge of having two, we’ve had our very first ever independent newspaper and coverage with the BBC. And in my first year here, no one had ever thought of running for a position at ULU, let alone actually winning, plus, last year we had two candidates running in the ULU elections – no other college had more. So in the past few years we have come far in terms of recognition at ULU, but there is still more we can do part of my campaign is to reach out and engage with students who otherwise feel they have less representation.” Former HSU President James Philip Johnston, endorsed Hassanali’s campaign writing on Facebook that “I can think of nobody more suitable for ULU Vice President than Abs. His intellect, talent, competence and dedication have never ceased to astound and inspire me, and I know he will help ULU realize so much of its potential.” When asked about the fact that only one candidate is running for the presidency of ULU, a fact that has called some to question the overall relevence of the organisation, Hassanali noted that “I think elections are always more interesting when they are competitive and between good candidates. But in terms of numbers, we have three less candidates running this year throughout all the positions than we did last year, so I don’t think the elections are a mockery in that sense.” The ULU Elections open on the 2nd February at 6pm and close on the 9th February at 6pm.
SCHOLAR CANTORUM: The choir celebrate Christmas with a seasonal vespers service and Carol evening Photo: Charlie Yarwood
New Heythrop Principal Gives First Interview Father Michael Holman SJ Talks exclusively to The Lion about everything from Halls to Higher Education Policy Joshua White News Editor Fr. Michael Holman SJ, the new Principal of Heythrop College, conducted his first interview exclusively for The Lion. The filmed interview, which is available in it’s entirety on The Lion’s website, questions Holman on everything from the rising of tuition fees to the college’s opinion of the HSU’s “sex quiz”. Fr. Holman was a student at Heythrop in the 70s, before the College moved to Kensington Square from Cavendish Square. He went on to study at Campion Hall, Oxford as well as the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and Fordham University, and holds degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Education Administration. Holman was ordained in 1988 and made his final profession in 1997. Apart from teaching at Jesuit schools in Glasgow and Sheffield, Holman has worked as a prison and hospital chaplain in Guyana as part of his final year of training. He went onto become headmaster of Wimbledon College, a position he held for 9 years. Before going on to serve a term as the Superior Provincial of the British Jesuits from 2005 to 2011 at which point Holman prepared to succeed Father John McDade SJ as Principal of Heythrop College. When asked his opinion of the gov-
ernments changes to higher education policy, and whether he would be as vocal in opposition to them as his predecessor, Holman stated he was “against cuts” but was “aware that this country’s economy is not in the best of situations...we need to acknowledge a certain involvement in that and look forward to ways in which we could find solutions.” On the specific increase in fees, Holman explained that he would have preferred a “better balance” between student contribution and government contribution and that he would have preferred student contribution not to have “risen as far as it has and to have some form of government contribution that would match that” The Principal also discussed the lower number of applications this year giving the reason that “we are down on the previous year because in the previous year we saw a lot of people applying who were keen to avoid paying the higher tuition fees; so universities up and down the country would expect to be down on the previous year.” Holman went on to argue that compared to the year previous to that year, Heythrop’s application numbers are only somewhat down and in no way as far down as the national average. Holman solution is to push Heythrop’s offer more vocally, in particular the scholarships at A-Level for students that achieve 2 A’s and a B. Holman affirmed the “We are go-
w ing to do our very best to maximise recruitment for the coming year”. Holman also responded to The Lion’s recent investigation into Halls plumbing standards saying that although he did not know the particulars of the case referenced, he said that “what should happen is when there’s a problem, it’s reported, when it’s reported it’s dealt with as quickly as possible, if it can’t be dealt with immediately or very soon a report is given explaining why and when it’s going to be done”. He continued saying that “if it means helping people live with a problem for the time being that’s what we’re going to do. Whatever the problem frequent information is very important”. Another significant event from this
Full Interview Available on the Lion Website/YouTube Channel year, that of the HSU’s choice to hold a Sex Quiz in the college, was also touched upon in the interview. Holman argued that “In whatever institution one’s aware of traditions. It seems to me that the way in which we make a community is to be aware of those traditions so that whatever we do, and whatever we plan to do, takes into account the opinions, the beliefs the sensitivities of people. It’s unfortunate if something is organised in such a way that it offends or upsets anyone. It’s unfortunate because very often there can be other ways of organising that won’t do that.” The rest of Fr. Holman’s responses are available via The Lion Website (theheythroplion.co.uk) or via the Lion’s YouTube Channel.
THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY | THE LION
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THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY | THE LION
Heythrop & ULU With the Election Nominations for The University of London Union now finalised The Lion turned to Heythrop Students to find out what relevance ULU holds to us. Is it a needless expense or a vital representative body? Sketch: John C Ross © coramshollow.tumblr.com
Candidates in the ULU Elections 2012 President •
Sean Rillo Raczka - Current ULU Vice President
Vice President •
Daniel Lemberger Cooper Royal Holloway Ross Speer - Queen Mary Abs Hassanali - Heythrop Ian Drummond - Birkbeck
• • •
“Is ULU relevant or important to Heythrop Students?” Yes
Chris Nicholson Ex-HSU Vice President Development
Faye West Features Editor
London Student Editor • • • • •
John Bell - UCL Wilf Merttens - SOAS Jen Izaakson - LSE Freya Pascall - KCL Ben Parfitt - UCL
Student Trustee • •
Craig Gent - Royal Holloway Stef Newton - UCL
With ULU Nominations for Sabb Positions almost at a close, how important have you found ULU to be to your Heythrop experience this year?
41% 18% A
A) I use the services regularly/ I’m a keen member of a ULU Society B) I occasionally go up to Bloomsbury for a drink/use a facility C) I flick through the London Student but little else D) I haven’t been since freshers’ week E) I’ve never done anything ULU related/What’s ULU?
This is apologetic in more ways than one. Firstly I wish to extol the very essence of ULU and secondly to apologise for not having voiced my objections to certain aspects of ULU. ULU is based in Bloomsbury and it very much seems to be Bloomsbury focused; this is part of its charm. ULU is an almighty trip across central London and as such has very little influence within our own leafy corner of Kensington Square. The role of a students’ union, as I see it, is to provide a service to students and to ensure that the ‘student voice’ (whatever that may be) is heard. It is in this role that ULU excels yet also finds itself failing the vast majority of students. ULU offers students access to facilities that they would not otherwise normally have access to. Some of the societies that are offered by ULU are either prohibitively expensive (read University of London sub-aqua club) or cater for niche interests (archery) which would not be available at smaller or even medium sized institutions. The Malet Street building also offers the promise of a cheap gym membership, a gig venue, printing and most importantly student priced alcohol. ULU then is, at its best, offering students the chance to partake in activities that they would otherwise miss out on, use facilities that their institutions could not simply afford to offer and perhaps allow them to cast the net a little further in looking for that mythical beast; the hottie in a Star Wars t-shirt. However, as an institution that supposedly represents over 120, 000 students across the University of London
it fails in this task. Whilst the ULU shouts very loud this is not to say that it represents the vast majority of the students that it is supposed to. Much of the campaign literature that I have read during the last three ULU elections has involved ‘promoting a campaigning union’ whatever this means. To most rational people I assume this means taking a stand upon issues that affect the vast majority of the students that it claims to represent. Apparently there has been a dearth of most rational people in ULU’s Sabbatical leadership. With rationality in self imposed exile because of our collective apathy, ULU has become a big shouty tool of the hard line left led by a certain Clare Soloman and Sean Rillo Raczka. ULU now seems to be a pet of certain people who use it to pursue their own political ideologies all in the good name of University of London Students, winning an election does not give you a mandate to decide what every student cares to shout about. ULU has the potential to be great and be a real voice of students but serious change is required, change which I fear is not going to arrive soon (notice who the unopposed Presidential candidate is.) I do not deny that some of the things that ULU have campaigned upon are very important student issues but can’t help but feel that ULU is not representative of the 90+% of people who do not vote, surely you have to represent those students who did not vote for you. In short change at the top of ULU is required and it is required now before ULU goes the way of the NUS and becomes a pricey discount card.
To those unfamiliar with silly sounding acronyms, ULU stands for the University of London Union. The rather desperately tired emoticon the letters ULU could represent is a nice image of how useful it is to students at Heythrop. If you would care to look up ULU on the London Student newspaper, there’s just a big blank box at the top marked “Editor’s choice”. While looking at this grey square I wondered if anyone really cared about the University of London Union. If anyone is interested, the ULU election candidates have just been released and there appears to be someone from Heythrop. I don’t know if this news has been everywhere on the posters that brighten up fire doors or if the news genuinely hasn’t been around. If it is the former, I am grossly unobservant and selfishly wrapped up in my own little head, but does anyone really know anything about ULU? The ULU website is actually pretty cool, all purple and what not, but I clicked on the “Training Pool” link and it took me to what was fundamentally a white square framed with the ULU logo, a purple theme and a Facebook icon. So what does the union have? A pool a gym and a bar. Asking around, it seems that if anyone at Heythrop fancies going to the gym or cheaper drinks than Kensington they tend to go to Imperial College which has both and is nearer/cheaper, so we don’t really need the ULU services. As for a pool, how many of us would honestly say we have the desire to go swimming? We all go to a philosophy college where we can justify sitting about thinking as helpful to-
wards our degree. Personally, I simply haven’t got the motivation to trek across London to swim about and return here. To me, there is nothing that ULU offers that I’m interested in, and I can’t be the only one, can I? How many people reading this went to ULU for freshers’ week and haven’t been back since? Every one of the students in all the colleges of the University of London is a member of ULU and by that logic at least some of us should care about the workings of it. Judging by how many people voted in the last elections for candidate positions, less than 0.1% of students even voted. Clearly, it isn’t just me who doesn’t actually know anything about it. It’s so irrelevant to what I do while I’m here. The former ULU president was a 37 year old lady with a child who used to own a restaurant. Great. Just who I need to represent me. I have nothing to do with ULU and I don’t think it is because I’m a bad University of London student. I see this whole thing of a huge example of peer pressure and I am at nerdy little Heythrop College who is effectively playing by themselves in a corner of a proverbial playground watching the members of ULU play football and pretend they are enjoying themselves. What do you think? Send us your opinion of ULU, it’s facilities or it’s leadership to email@example.com Our Facebook Poll is stil open at facebook.com/theheythroplion
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HSU Sex Quiz and “Right-on-ness” Chris Clarke 3rd year Undergraduate So the HSU’s Sex Quiz didn’t sit entirely well with some elements of the student body and even created some fuss in the (Catholic) press. Hands up who’s surprised. Personally, I couldn’t care less. It is true that the ‘Catholic ethos’ of the College may be undermined by such events. It is also true that student welfare is seen as important and sexual health is a part of this. However, the decision to do a sex quiz depresses me immensely, not for any ethical reason but just because it’s so painfully ‘Right-On’. Right-On-ness is a particularly pathetic part of our modern culture, a part which has decided the best way to get a message across to young people is to patronise the hell out of them, insulting their intelligence on a level that would be inappropriate for an educationally subnormal amoeba. The general premise of Right-On-ness is that young people need to be spoken to in their own way for them to take anything in. Right-On-ness is usually exhibited by older, establishment types who were probably bullied at school and so don’t remember what being a young person was actually like. Gordon Brown’s claim that he was a fan of the ‘Arctic Monkeys’ was a lovely example of Right-On-ness. Pathetic though this sort of thing may
be, it is nothing compared to the horrors of young people being Right-On themselves. I fear that this is what happened with the HSU’s Sex Quiz and it is common-place in many cases when students try to communicate a message to other students. I would suggest that this is because there are two types of student: those who care about their student-ness and those who don’t. I would even go so far as to say that most students don’t care but the ones that do are the ones who stand for positions on students’ unions and end up organising these sort of events. While I would not be so unkind as to attack these folk for their caring, I would ask them if they could achieve their aims of protecting the welfare of their fellow students and providing them with activities without being so Right-On about it. I would like to share a moment from my childhood/young-adulthood with you that illustrates Right-On-ness at its most derivative and mind-numbing. When I was 17, I ran for the ‘Youth Parliament’; unfortunately I lost to a kid from a much bigger school who could clearly rely on a much wider base of support. Still, I wasn’t too upset and went along to a meeting at a local community centre where the newly elected MYP and a few other young people were to discuss what project for young people in the area could be worked on. The MYP suggested ‘a film about the dangers of drugs made for young people by young people’. At this point I real-
ised this really wasn’t for me. My mind went instantly to the early 1980s sitcom ‘The Young Ones’ and their pitch-perfect attack on Right-On-ness. Search ‘The Young Ones - Nozin’ Aroun’ on YouTube and you’ll find what I’m talking about, you’ll also discover how why I found it so painful writing ‘youngadult’ at the top of this paragraph. Right-On-ness appears in many different forms; ‘Teen Drama’ as a TV genre is worthy of a mention; ‘ohhh, they’re confused about their sexuality, how relatable’. But I would like to come back to the sex thing, so often a source of Right-On-ness. The friendly, bubbly and oh-so Right-On attitude of the seemingly ever-present woman asking if you’d mind urinating in a cup for her is frankly ridiculous. She is addressing a potentially serious disease with an amusingly-sloganned t-shirt, perky breasts and free contraceptives. If any ‘young adult’ needs that sort of propaganda before they’ll be tested for a contagious disease then, frankly, they deserve much worse than chlamydia. So, I hope I have done good work here in informing you all of the threat of Right-On-ness. It’s a totally unnecessary ornamentation to communication that is ultimately insulting. By all means run a sex quiz or even just a good oldfashioned orgy or go badger-baiting, but don’t make it about ‘educating’ and ‘informing’ the student body about sex. Just admit it’s a bit of fun, at least then it won’t seem quite as Right-On.
A Self-Refuting Pragmatism Rory Phillips 3rd year Undergraduate Reason and its associated claims have shaped the path of philosophy, leading to the Analytic tradition as it is today; a tradition stretching back to the Pre-Socratic era. On what grounds, then, has reason been established as the foundation upon which the mansion of philosophy is built? Some may argue that it is a fallacy to commit to reason anyway, and so wholeheartedly disagree with everything on principle. Others may argue that reason itself is a fallacy, and so any attempt at reasoning is ultimately doomed to failure. This could then be put forward as evidence for humanity’s non-specialness. This contravenes Aristotle’s famous taxonomy that there is a hierarchy of souls with humans at the top (and indeed as does almost, if not all, philosophy!). The implication of this is clear – that there is no way to really and truly suppose that when we are ‘reasoning’ we are actually saying anything meaningful. This criticism of the Aristotelian categorisation leads me into Cartesian philosophy. Rene Descartes was a man for whom the only way to know truth was to use reason. In this sense he is most definitely a rationalist. Cogito ergo sum, ‘I think, therefore I am’ - possibly the most well-known
phrase in western philosophy, stems from this belief. Descartes method of getting to this point was to doubt all supposed truths and all knowledge, even going so far as to imagine some sort of evil daemon deceiving him. He then realised that because he is able to do this very thing, to doubt the axiom that humans can reason, then that must prove that humans can reason. In order to give more weight to this, it is only necessary to consider the nature of the claim. Some propositions refute
themselves by the nature of the claim they make. This is known as a pragmatic self-refutation. To contextualise this with reason, to assert that humans do not have reason is to, presumably, use reason to determine this. This falsifies the original statement, thus showing the proposition “I think therefore I am” can stand up to some criticism at least. This could be, for a Cartesian, a satisfactory answer to the criticism of Aristotle’s taxonomy that humans do not have reason. This fallacy is mir-
rored in many ways, for example, when saying “this is not being said”, you refute yourself by the very means of which you present the proposition. The structure of the sentence is such that it shows itself to be true, when considering the infinitive form of the verb, which is “to think”, it actually comprises of versions of “to be” and “to do” – “to be thinking/to do thinking”. In order for one to be able to think, one must be, in some form or another. Doing, however, requires that one is actively
pursuing the activity. When thinking, one is not just passive, but active, one is being and is doing. To say, “I think, therefore I am” is therefore a purely logical move, in which the being is a pre-requisite of the thinking. Whilst it is available to everyone to see that asserting “I think therefore I am not” or perhaps “I think despite not being” are claims which need far more elaboration, the claim “I think therefore I am” is a rather simple one, and logically sound as far as surface analysis goes.
THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY | THE LION
Brand Obama Joshua White News Editor It has become fashionable to attack Barack Obama, not just from the Right, but from the Left as well. However, we should not lose sight of the magnitude of the election of the first AfricanAmerican to the Presidency, especially as it was slavery which built the White House and provided the material conditions necessary for American capitalism. But the election of Obama was not the fulfilment of the dream that we all pay lip-service to. The ideological goalposts of America have been shifted under Obama in a way which would have been unthinkable under just another white male politico. With that in mind, it is impossible to deny that Obama would be a better President if he had not backed the coup in Honduras or slashed the wages of Haitian workers in the aftermath of the earthquake. The same goes for the way Obama has extended the war in Afghanistan to Pakistan; let alone the drone attacks on Somalia which have been conveniently ignored in the mainstream media. It has been a long and strange trip since 2008 when the first AfricanAmerican became President-elect and the American people were ready to say “Adios!” to George Bush. That year, the Obama campaign team won the award for the Best Marketing Campaign - with commiserations to Apple and Nike. The election was the recipient of an enormous flow of corporate dough and beneficiary of grass-roots campaigning which, together, succeeded in electing Obama. Soon the word was out that the US had finally gotten over its “silly little race problem”; it had become a “post-racial” society overnight. And yet, just around the corner, the ‘birthers’ were on their way to tell the world that the President was a “closet Kenyan”. There had already been attempts to pin the label of Muslim to Obama’s lapel, the point being to call him a “terrorist” without actually saying it. Soon, the favourite substitute for the n-word was “socialist”. Currently, we can listen to the odious Newt Gingrich calling Obama a “food stamp President”. Notice all of this has no relation to reality. There is very little of substance for Republicans to complain about. Obama has conceded on health-care reform (which were conservative changes to begin with), as well as the Bush taxcuts, the National Defence Authorization Act, as well as on the stimulus which was wiped out by cuts at other levels. So, the GOP shout about debt, instead. They would love to run on economic issues, but they can’t win on the economy, because their policies only appeal to the top income tax-brackets. The Republicans need more than just the ultra-rich to vote for them, the Democrats can appeal to ethnic minorities, gays and women to seek refuge in their party. The GOP are in a truly desperate situation. It was most astonishing to see the Republicans take a contorted anti-capitalist position last year, when they tried to block the rise of the debt-ceiling and in doing so acted to undermine the accumulation of wealth. At this point Karl Marx would just smugly remind us that “the contradictions of capitalism work in mysterious ways.” It is common knowledge that the outcome of American elections are basically bought. Back in September, Obama had the lead on funding over Romney with a gap between them of over $50 million. Now we find the Republicans have leaped in front of the Democrats
People: What a Bunch of B*stards!
2nd year Philosophy Student Lewis Walters argues for Fairtrade to be the law, not a choice.
by almost $6 million. In 2008 Obama raked in around $750 million in campaign donations, which was far higher than McCain could muster. The estimates for the costs of the 2012 election are running as high as $11 billion, with about $2 billion poured into the campaign war-chests. The core base of the Obama campaign were the same financial institutions which caused the Crash of ‘08. The small donors to Obama’s campaign should not be ignored, but they amounted to $300 million at most, which still leaves $450 million on the table. Large donors have been donating enormous amounts of cash in small chunks as to appear as small donors in the accounts. This is something the Obama campaign encouraged from day one and probably still does. It is corporate interests which shape American politics, yet every so often there is a convergence with workingclass interests. The Obama health-care reforms were designed to drive down the costs entailed by the private system on manufacturing companies. It costs General Motors $1,000 more to produce a car in the US than it does in Canada because of their differences in health care. A system of universal provision would have a significant impact on the deficit, it would reduce it heavily. This is why a national health service is an inevitability. In fact the Republican Party put forth these proposals when Clinton pushed for health-care reform in the 1990s. The former draft-dodging pothead Newt Gingrich is still a defender of the individual mandate and Mormon vulture Mitt Romney imported the same reforms in Massachusetts. Both Gingrich and Romney have been attacked for this by the ultra-Right for whom there is no “pure” conservative. These are the people who want to reduce the deficit through cuts and no tax increases, but insist on a “strong military” which costs $1 trillion. The deciding factor could be turnout in this election. There is an extreme disillusionment in the electorate and
both parties could feel the brunt of this. But it isn’t just apathy in this situation which could affect things. The GOP are well aware that the White House could be seized if they the opposition simply doesn’t vote against them. Remember George Bush only came to power because the GOP managed to disqualify black voters in Florida. On average the Americans who earn less than $100,000 lean towards the Democrats; that accounts for 75% of the population. The forces of reaction are well aware of this, thus the Republicans have opted to make it as difficult as possible for Americans to vote. It was conservative Paul Weyrich who told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980 “our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Almost 40 states have introduced measures to deliberately hinder voters. The voter is now expected to provide proof of citizenship before registering in some states, ex-felons have been barred from voting, in some states you’ll need to produce a governmentissued ID before you can vote. This would exclude that 10% of American voters, 18% of the youth and 25% of black voters. This is comparable to the use of poll taxes and literacy tests to prevent blacks from voting out the racists in the South. Ironically, the Republicans have pulled this off on the grounds that there needs to be tighter guidelines to eliminate “fraudulent voters”. Naturally, the same billionaires who bankrolled the Tea Party are in the shadows, seeing to it that the cogs in the machine are well-oiled. This could be the divine - or should that be satanic - intervention to save the Republicans futilely grabbing at political power. It’s even possible that the GOP are looking towards 2016 at this point. With that in mind, we should remember the words of Hunter S. Thompson: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to those who see it coming and jump aside.”
Lewis Walters 2nd year Undergraduate On Saturday I was shopping in Morrison’s and came across the sugar aisle. I picked up the first packet of demerara sugar and just as I was about to put it in my basket I stopped to read the packaging. When I saw it was not Fairtrade I put it back and started looking for the Fairtrade demerara but there wasn’t any. This means I will have to go without the sugar I like. No big deal really. Another first world problem, yes? No. This is definitely counts as a fundamental human problem. The problem is how we choose to treat each other and the implications of these choices. We’ve alienated ourselves from our responsibility while still reaping the benefits of overwhelming choice. It may seem like the only choice to be made is in brand, price, taste, quality etc. But really it’s a choice whether to exploit someone or not. I don’t understand why we are even given this choice. I’m happy with having the choice between different types of sugar, that’s not the problem. I’m not happy that I get to decide the way in which another person lives and is treated in order to get a product I want. Why can I choose to
save 30p and underpay someone or pay more to give someone what they have worked for? It’s f*cked up that we need Fairtrade products. In this current context, I am effectively given the choice to underpay and exploit someone toiling for sugar but I don’t get the choice of exploiting a chef in restaurant, the driver on a bus or the workers in Morrision’s by paying less for their services. There isn’t an option to pay a hairdresser the “exploitative” price or the higher “Fairtrade” price when getting a haircut; so why do I get the choice to underpay someone just because they’re far away and I don’t have to deal with them in person? Why are we okay with treating someone badly so a company can profit or I can save money? It’s not worth making other people suffer just so I can have tea the way I like it. Increasing my freedom and choice by decreasing another person’s is something I can’t justify. Looking through history I shouldn’t be surprised, as this is the same bullsh*t people have been doing to one another for hundreds of years. The idea of getting paid for doing work has finally caught on. Hopefully the idea that people get paid fairly for the work they do will eventually, catch on too.
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Just For Kids Marc Crosby takes issue with Stephen Fry over the importance of enjoying children’s entertainment .
Should Students be Taking Smart-Drugs? Jonathan Wilkes discusses the increasing of use of Modafinil in the UK Marc Crosby 2nd year Undergraduate Christmas time has now come and gone, meaning we’ve got a whole other year to wait until Turkey Slaughter Fest 2012 (I always wonder what turkeys did to Christmas. Why couldn’t we kill a more annoying animal, like a beaver or something?) The time for peace and goodwill is now behind us, and frankly, we’ll be lucky if we make it to the next time we’re seasonably obligated to be nice; I saw a very compelling documentary made by Roland Emmerich proving that the world will end this year, so make the most of it! Still, Christmas was fun while it lasted, I suppose, what with all the family coming around and the free time you have to gather with your friends, by the time it’s finished you end up realising what’s really important in your life…The television. Let’s be honest, that idiot lantern is one of the few things that can make drunken grandparents remotely bearable; allowing yourself to be emersed in realms of pure fantasy to escape the misery of your own existence and giving you a place where you can compete with soap characters to see who is having the more miserable Christmas. Generally the TV is pretty good at Christmas; repeats of family favourites like ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Shrek’, plus Christmas specials of TV shows - My highlight always being the ‘Doctor Who Christmas Special’. Yet in watching these things I began to ponder something nagging in my mind left over from miserable old quotes from miserable old men; aren’t these things for kids? The nagging began when my antagonistic sister took great glee in reading out a tweet posted by Jorma Vik, drummer in the punk band Bronx (to be honest I’ve never heard of them, but my taste in music is utterly grotesque. I enjoy Aqua songs…enough said.) In his tweet he made two claims; firstly that ‘Lord of the Rings’ is lame and secondly, that Harry Potter is a children’s book. Whilst I should have discarded his thoughts immediately upon hearing his absurd evaluation of ‘Lord of the Rings’, his claim that Harry Potter is a children’s book made me think. He’s right, they are children’s books, but he seems to be implying that as this is the case, adults shouldn’t enjoy them. Shortly afterwards, I came across
a quote by Stephen Fry which read ‘The only dramas the BBC will boast about are Merlin and Doctor Who, which are fine, but they’re children’s programmes. They’re not for adults. And they’re very good children’s programmes, don’t get me wrong, they’re wonderfully written … but they are not for adults.’ Well, I enjoy both Harry Potter and Doctor Who…What does that say about me? Should I really be enjoying something that is aimed at nine to twelve year olds? Well, after much pondering my answer is a categorical yes, I should be enjoying them and I find the suggestion that I shouldn’t utterly ridiculous. The two miserable assertions above make an unjustified move from claiming something is written for children, to asserting that only children should enjoy it. What they’re perhaps forgetting is that many of the greatest stories ever told are aimed at children. The wonderful C.S. Lewis novel ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’; aimed at children. Star Wars, the birth of the modern blockbuster; primarily aimed at children. Sure, Doctor Who is meant for kids, but it’s also the BBC’s flagship show, getting some of the highest viewing figures of any TV programme at the moment (although let’s be honest, series six was a bit of a mess. The Doctor didn’t actually die because he was in a robot doctor? Seriously? A robot doctor that throughout the episode grew facial hair and started to regenerate upon being shot… it might as well have been a dalek in a tweed jacket with a perception filter draped over its eyestalk for all the sense that plot resolution actually made). Harry Potter was written for children, absolutely, but the series also can boast of having the fastest selling books in history and being the highest grossing film franchise of all time (‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ managed to survive Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘acting’ to end up being a genuinely good film!) What does this mean? Adults love stuff written for kids, and so they should. In kids’ fiction you get an enchanting school of witchcraft and wizardry, a magical world inside a wardrobe and a time machine disguised as a police telephone box that is bigger on the inside. I couldn’t imagine growing out of this stuff; it’s brilliant and to me is far more appealing than yet another gritty crime thriller or po-faced period drama. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly
need fiction for adults that challenges us intellectually and emotionally, but at no point should we disregard the power of children’s fantasy, or feel guilty for delving into its magical worlds. Take, for example, the works of Disney. Disney movies are kids’ movies, but many of them are magnificent. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a touching love story with a great message, that despite being for kids, is richer, more accessible and more emotionally engaging than the vast majority of romcoms for the adult audience (plus the adults can reflect upon whether a sex life, which must have crossed the characters’ minds, is truly appropriate given the circumstances). ‘The Lion King’ is a powerful coming-of-age story which maintains its rough edges despite being aimed at the younger audience; I defy anyone to watch Mufussa’s death without getting a slight tear in the eye (or not feel slightly disturbed at the animals lower on the food chain seeming to tacitly consenting to being devoured by the lions should the time come). Equally Pixar’s ‘UP’ opened at the Cannes Film Festival; a film so delightfully joyful, emotionally involving and generally uplifting (no pun intended) that many people questioned if it was a kids film at all. Yes, it certainly is. It’s about an old man going on an adventure by attaching hundreds of balloons to his house whilst meeting talking dogs and other lovable animal sidekicks along the way. Its power to move and entertain entire families is a testament to what children’s stories can do. So to conclude, simply because something is written for children in no way means we should feel shame for enjoying what it has to offer. Kids’ stories are often deep, powerful and magical; illuminating deep human convictions, sometimes just in virtue of their beautiful simplicity. We absolutely need stories for adults (I mean how else are we going to see a movie about people being tortured and mutilated so they can form part of a human centipede?) But those who snobbishly claim that because something is written for a child it isn’t worth an adults time…well, they’re totally wrong. As Steven Moffat, head writer of Doctor Who, once said ‘People who grow out of children’s stories are people who never understood them in the first place.’ He’s absolutely right. So it’s cool I’m going to go and watch the Teletubbies now…right…?
Jonathan Wilkes 3rd year Undergraduate The most valuable lesson I will take from my three years at university will be the vital importance of time management. Student handbooks will tell you that each 30-credit module requires 300 hours of input, which for full-time students amounts to 1200 hours per year. The sensible student will spread the 1200 hours fairly evenly across the year with a generous weight towards the end to prepare for exams. As the final deadlines approach and the period of exams beckons, there is a threat of heightened anxiety for students who struggle to deal with towering workloads. A quick look at Internet forums reveals that a staggering number of students are talking about so-called smart-drugs. The most popular cognitive-enhancer among UK students is Modafinil, which has been prescribed for narcolepsy in the UK since 1997. Many students report that taking a tablet in the morning will shake up their focus and the result is their productivity skyrockets. Modafinil is not caffeine or amphetamine based and students who use the drug say that unlike coffee and energy drinks there is no equivalent crash after the effects wear off. Some users say they experience nausea, headaches and difficulty sleeping at night. Ole Martin Moen, a student doing a PhD in ethics at University of Oslo told me that he tried Modafinil after a friend of his, a neuroscientist, recommended it to him. He says that when he used 200mg of Modafinil, it enabled him to maintain concentration for up to 12 hours and Modafinil made him "a bit more intellectually active". Accounts like this are widespread, and seem to present a good advert for responsible use of the drug. In the UK, Modafinil is only available to adult sufferers of daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, but it can easily be bought from many online outlets. All the evidence presented by Internet self-reports suggests that Modafinil is a safe and effective drug that can help students. I contacted a number of neuroscientists asking about the nature of these smart-drugs; Doctor UIrich Muller, a lecturer in neuroscience at Cambridge, said, "Modafinil
does improve cognitive functions in sleep-deprived individuals. The situation is more complicated in healthy people or students who are not sleep deprived…We do, for example, not really know if Modafinil improves cognitive functions of students preparing for an exam. Self-reports that you can find on the web and in the media may be confounded by placebo effects." Because Modafinil has only been used since 1997, the long-term effects are unknown. Some neuroscientists have suggested that youths who use Modafinil may be at risk of a number of consequences, such as the premature decline of their mental capacities in later life. Other neuroscientists deny that Modafinil presents a significant risk to student's long-term health and say that it carries a stigma just because it is a drug. Some people argue that the use of Modafinil should be banned in universities and that students should be tested for it before exams as it gives its users an unfair advantage. This argument doesn't convince me that such drastic measures should be taken to ensure fairness; if that argument were run to its logical conclusion then universities would have an enormous job on their hands rigorously assessing students for whatever advantages they may have over their fellow students, from having a more privileged background with greater access to resources, or being genetically more suited to academic study. I have chosen not to use smart-drugs, because I haven't been able to find an online outlet that I feel I can trust. The obvious danger with buying drugs online is that you can't be sure the contents are as advertised. I asked Ole Martin if he would recommend smartdrugs he said, "I certainly would not advise daily use of Modafinil. Regular exercise, proper sleep, and good working habits will get you much further. If you occasionally have to stay awake and be intellectually active after little or no sleep, then Modafinil might be of real help in those situations." My intuition is that many of the students on the forums extolling the virtues of Modafinil are magnifying its effects and I don't believe these pills have the power to make you any smarter, sharper or more alert than a sensible diet and a responsible attitude towards work.
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Christina Aguilera’s Period... Almaz Messenger Culture Correspondent You’ve probably heard about this by now. If not here are the simple facts: 1. Christina Aguilera was giving a tribute at Etta James’ funeral 2. Something ran down her leg which she tried to wipe away 3. It looks like it could be period blood, though it could be something else like wet fake tan streaks. I’m going to stick with the option which has caused the most comment because it is the more culturally taboo choice of explanation. I don’t need to tell you what that is. If that is what happened, what are the first words that spring to mind? Disgusting? Careless? Sickening? Highly embarrassing? If so, at least for the first three words, it isn’t Christina that is any of those three things. I’ve seen comments like she should have been more prepared, how could she let that happen and on one particularly repulsive blog which you can see here, it questions whether she was high or in possession of her faculties. And so I got annoyed. I got annoyed that people I consider to be at least a little intelligent decided that what may or may not have happened was something to be
poked fun at, labelled as repulsive and as an object of ridicule and deep shame. And then I realised...if that had happened to any woman in a public place, the same kind of reaction would have happened whether out loud or in heads. As a normally functioning woman I have periods. And sometimes, they aren’t very reliable in their behaviour. Myself and most of the women and girls I know can recall a time when they have leaked or had a mishap, and have even witnessed some. Even to admit or say that is something that is deemed highly embarrassing.When did it become such an awful, shameful thing? Something that if seen, whether that be through tampons falling out of a bag all the way through to a leak, is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a woman? Here’s the thing. Women have periods. Every month in fact. Get over it. Sometimes, though they usually go unnoticed or unmentioned to our peers, especially our male peers, they get noticed. Get over it. It’s not something to giggle about as if a naughty word has been said or looked upon in utter disgust...it’s a normal part of what it is to be a woman and be able to bear children, men especially, but women too - who should really understand. In the 480 or so periods that we have in our lives we shouldn’t have to be constantly worrying about whether someone will see or
guess that we are bleeding and if we see someone else we shouldn’t be shocked. We shouldn’t have to feel like if a mishap were to happen we would feel mortified and unable to show our faces. I’m not saying periods are pretty. In fact I can’t say I love mine like some women can...they can be pretty awful. Tampons fail. Pads leak. Periods can start unexpectedly and become irregular. You may see a bit of menstrual blood once in your life, gentlemen, or someone else’s, ladies. Deal with it. Periods are nothing to be ashamed and no-one should be made to feel cripplingly ashamed by a mishap or an indicator that they are, in fact, ‘on’. Back to Christina and the alleged blood drips down her leg. For her at least, some things are bigger than a period that is-shock horror- slightly visible. She carried on. She did what she had to do. Obviously no women wants her period to drip down her leg in the view of millions of people, but she sang instead of cowering away. Yes she wiped her leg, but if you were so very disgusted by what happened would you want it on the floor and/or in her shoe too? She didn’t dirty the carpet with a massive volume of blood, and it could easily have been wiped away by a tissue when she had access to one. Two tiny drops of blood and today’s culture recoils in disgust and ridicule. Oh dear.
The Debate On Assisted Suicide
Daniel Cote and Alice Heans Heythrop Ethics Soc A recent report headed by Lord Falconer has called for a change in the 1961 Act which makes it an offence to encourage or assist in suicide. As the law stands anyone found guilty of this could face a sentence of up to 14 years. However, the campaign to make assisted suicide legal has been mounting in recent years. In 2011 the director of public prosecutions set out new guidelines to rule on cases in which a person assisting a suicide may not face prosecution. The guidelines stated that the victim must have reached a ‘voluntary, clear, settled
and informed’ decision. Also it must be clear that the suspect was motivated by ‘wholly compassionate’ reasons. However, many in the medical profession have grave concerns about how this ruling is open to abuse. Many express concern about vulnerable, disabled and ill people being pressurised into taking their own life. Particular concern has been raised around the dignity of disabled people. Many fear that this will be a ‘slippery slope’ that will in end in non-voluntary euthanasia, whereby a second party decides whether or not the ill person should continue to live. Assisted suicide must be consented to and carried out by the victim who may require assistance from a second party. In the Netherlands, where euthanasia
became legal in 1984, ‘mercy killings’ are carried out on disabled children, especially those suffering from spina bifida. Simone Aspis of the British Council of Disabled People said: "Euthanasia for disabled newborns tells society that being born disabled is a bad thing. If we introduced euthanasia for certain conditions, it would tell adults with those conditions that they are worth less than other members of society." The Lord Falconer report has been spearheaded and funded by writer Terry Pratchett. This year Pratchett presented a programme exploring euthanasia, in which he visited a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The film showed Peter Smedley drinking a cocktail of poisons and dying on film. The procedure costs
around £10,000. Pratchett, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, says he is still is ‘undecided’ about whether he would take his own life. However, he has expressed a wish to die in ‘England and in the sunshine.’ He believes that the current law unjustly forces people to die abroad in countries like Switzerland. The Swiss clinic Dignitas states on their website, ‘Membership of DIGNITAS endows members with confidence: in the event of a hopeless situation, a member can say “I have had enough now, I want to die.” This feeling of security is of exceptional importance to mature human beings.’ Dame Cicely Saunders, who set up St. Christopher's Hospice in 1967 said: 'Anything which says to the ill that they are a burden to
their family and that they are better off dead is unacceptable. What sort of society could let its old folk die because they are in the way?' The Heythrop Ethics society will be hosting the first of its debates in the Marie Eugenie Room on the 21st Feb @7:30-9:00pm. The motion is: ‘Assisted suicide should be legalised in Britain’. The speakers are; For - Dr Clayton Littlejohn, KCL department of philosophy Against – Anthony McCarthy, Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child.
THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY | THE LION
Edited by Fran Gosling email@example.com
People: Sherlock “Homies”
Life: Your London
Fran Gosling Culture Editor The 2009 release of Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of Sherlock Holmes finally brought much deserved attention back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous creation and the world’s most loved fictional detective. Robert Downey Jr. gave a passably apt performance, portraying Holmes as a seemingly comical and often playful character but still with that slight undertone of a mysterious past beneath the banter. Impossibly intelligent but useless in social situations. The second movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which brings together the stories involving Holmes’ arch nemesis, Moriarty, was then released late last year and, following the success of its predecessor, has already been hugely popular and positively reviewed. Yet, while the film itself was set in its original world of late Victorian London, the growing Sherlock Holmes fan-base has brought Doyle’s stories into all sorts of contemporary niches. In Spring 2010, D&G launched their own “Sherlock Holmes Chic” collection, taking inspiration from the internationally recognisable deerstalker and Inverness cape to introduce a new type of classic, suave edge to Milan fashion. Then, in the summer of the same year, BBC One’s first television drama series of Sherlock graced our screens and accrued an impressive 8 million strong audience across the country. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gattis it is, perhaps, unsurprising that we saw something of the 21st century Doctor Who character in Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as the detective. Uninhibited by the Hollywood requirement for an aesthetically pleasing and ultimately loveable protagonist, the BBC drama series allowed for the more raw and cynical (aka British) character, much more reminiscent of Doyle’s original hero. Whether that makes him more or less engaging remains in the eye of the beholder. The much anticipated second series recently concluded after re-adapting possibly three of Doyle’s most well known Sherlock stories: “A Scandal in Bohemia” “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Final Problem”. Yet unlike its original equivalent, the last episode (renamed “The Reichenbach Fall”) did not conclude with the death of Doyle’s hero, leaving the story board open for future series’; plans for which, Moffat has revealed, are already in the pipeline. Naturally. But how is it that those 19th century magazine stories have made such a phenomenal resurgence into the hearts and minds of today’s entertainment industry? As with most trends and promotions in our contemporary world, social media has proved itself, once again, to be the ultimate oracle.
Transport for London...and you!
Daniel Tripp Culture Correspondent One of the defining features of the fine city of London is its size. It’s really big. If this fact has escaped you I would be a little surprised, but it sets me up nicely for an article about getting around it. While a lot of people live on campus and get to escape the annoying and tiring woe that is coming into college, a lot of us don’t have this luxury so please take time to pity us having to actually wake up at reasonable times. During my first week at Heythrop I mainly used the Underground and let me stress now that if you need to travel half way across London then, let’s face it, the tube is probably your best option for speed to price ratio. It’s also probably a better option late at night - before they stop, at least. However, I’d like to champion that most noble of transports…walking! No, don’t run away just yet, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can get to places by walking at a brisk pace and the health benefits are obvious. Remember that when you are walking, four important things that every student should care about are automatically happening: Following the release of the first Guy Ritchie film, Warner Brothers actively partnered with mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and online blogs to gauge the first post-launch opinions and monitor the proceeding trends which effectively promoted the movie on the producers’ behalf. Statistics from Position show that, when broken down, 71% of media chatter following the movie release was comprised of online social mediums (the largest proportion from online blogging) whilst only 29% came from official news broadcasts. Gone are the days of fervent marketing strategies; just set up the ambiguous “Sherlock Holmes” account, kick off the debate with a mere sentence on the release and let just about everyone else do the rest! Who needs to conduct actual research when you can hashtag? Of course this tactic is of infinite value to the industry as it means ideas and plans for related promotions can be steadily leaked, testing the waters of response pre-launch and eventually ensure that the next release will satisfy our every expectation. But are we really satisfied? Yes, we have indirectly contributed to what
we want to see, but does this ultimately detract from the magic and mystery that these classic stories used to bring us? Is it important that, despite the well known storylines, we continue to have our expectations upturned by innovative adaptations? Of course there are benefits to this kind of transparency. By opening up dialogues with the main users of social media (the 20-35 age demographic) you primarily access the audience that is likely to be less familiar with Doyle’s Holmes of the Strand magazine articles, opening the original character up to whole new worlds of creative interpretations and nuances. Furthermore, on a cultural note, the Sherlock fad has indeed drawn attention to the resurrection of some of our most classical literature which, until 2009, had been practically forgotten about by the entertainment industry for about fifteen years. ITV has also jumped on the bandwagon and is currently playing older dramatisations that tended to stick more to the original context of the stories. However, whether the shiny Hollywood superhero or the British tragic hero is more palatable is still a matter of choice (and, generally speaking, intellectual taste). So we needn’t give up on humanity’s cultural capacity just yet. By 2010, the original Sherlock Holmes stories had shot to number 6 on the Amazon bestseller list and continued, during that year, to increase in
sales by about 53%. This has naturally (though on a sadly small scale) redirected attention to some of Doyle’s other literary landmarks, including The Lost World – the original Jurassic Park story – and Beyond The City. Personally, I have nothing but curious enthusiasm for re-adaptations and dramatisations of classical literature, especially if it means keeping them alive in our fast-paced cultural world. BBC’s adaptation of “A Scandal in Bohemia”, for instance, incorporates the darker side of the aforementioned social media phenomenon and its ability to betray the intimate secrets of even the most powerful. I would argue that it is only when their original context and colour are forgotten in order to satisfy the unadventurous (and unthinking) masses that their value fizzles out. Type “Arthur Conan Doyle” into Google, for instance, and it’s a little disheartening that the first name that comes up is “Benedict Cumberbatch”! True, the deerstalker and alabaster pipe are parodied in the BBC series, but they are still there, reminding us that the drama of the controversial but ingenious detective is nothing new and it is to that one intriguing and inspirational lateVictorian novelist (and, incidentally, heavy-weight lifting beefcake) that we owe our admiration. That much, my dear Watson, is elementary. Insert Photo: liits/Flickr.com
1. You are exercising without realising it! Well you might realise it now I’ve told you, but if you can substitute a tube journey there and back for a forty minute walk that’s one hour and twenty minutes of physical exercise that you wouldn’t normally get. 2. You’re saving the planet! Don’t feed the carbon monster. I have no idea what the logistics of this actually are, but I guess every little helps. 3. You get to see London! Let’s face it, when your non-Londoner friends come to visit you for a day trip they’re not going to want to spend all day on a tube. Knowing your way around London’s streets is an incredibly useful skill to have. 4. You are saving money! A single Zone 1 tube fare now costs two pounds. That’s four pounds for a return. I personally save about an average of twenty pounds a week by walking instead of taking the tube to places such as Heythrop, Oxford Street and Soho. I would hesitate to recommend walking home from Soho past midnight - but then that money you saved can go towards a taxi. Worries about getting lost? Hey, if I’d never got lost I wouldn’t now know where Notting Hill, Regent Street or New Scotland Yard are - just to clarify, I was only walking past, I wasn’t arrested. So allow yourself to emerge from that stuffy stressful tube and get some fresh air.
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CULTURE Literature: The Bloody Chamber: A Frightfully Great Collection of Stories Sam English 2nd year Undergraduate I recently re-read ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter - the first time around I hated it. The feminist reworking of traditional fairy tales, “my childhood ruined”, I lamented. I’m hoping the reference in the title is now clear; in fact the title was one reason I hated the collection. “I don’t need an author to allegorically reference a Vagina with their title”, I thought to myself. Nonetheless I was pleased that the fifteen year old Sam understood the reference and feminist overtones. I was, however, totally wrong about this collection of short stories. Firstly, they are NOT re-workings of classic fairy tales at all. Carter clearly has extracted the latent content from our traditional fairy tales but, crucially, she took traditional fairy tales to craft new ones. For that I now think she should be highly commended. The collection of stories starts as it means to go on - if we accept its premise as gothic fairy tales which relate to the experience of female sexuality. The metaphorical title instantly suggests a distinctly visceral sexual nature but, thankfully, Carter has somehow avoided being over-powering despite the graphic sexual imagery of the title story (which owes its existence to Bluebeard). Through tactful choice, the title story is followed by her virginal version of Beauty and the Beast. The well chosen contrast is enough to create a significant bond between the first two stories and the third tale in the collection further contrasts the Beast scenario. In Carter’s primary Beauty and the Beast (The Courtship of Mr Lyon), Beauty tames the savage beast while, in the second re-working of this tale, (The Tiger-Bride) Carter’s Beauty makes a considered and measured decision to yield to the seemingly savage Beast; though ultimately basks in the revelation of her true nature. Vitally, for Carter’s purposes, in neither story is the female protagonist passive; the bride of the tiger, in one sense the least proactive of the two, appears to participate in the
more satisfying textual metamorphosis. The fourth story (once again involving cats to a degree...though I do like Cats too) is titled ‘Puss-in-Boots’. I liked this story the least but here Carter could be at her best as there is a clear change of pace and language within the text. Puss is a fun loving exponent of the picaresque, with a mass of bawdiness at his command. This story’s focus is Puss’s musings on the subject of intercourse with his lover: ‘So we resume the sweetest part of our conversation in the dusty convenience of the coalhole and she promises me, least she can do, to see the fair, hitherto-inaccessible one gets a letter safe if I slip it to her and slip it to her forthwith I do, though somewhat discommoded by my boots.’ Bawdy, dark humour is a distinctive feature of the story whereas, in The Snow-Child, for instance, Carter’s writing is distinguished by a repetitive, staccato style reminiscent of the traditionally told folklore. The ease with which she switches style is a testament to Carter’s skill: ‘Midwinter – invincible, immaculate. The Count and his wife go riding, he on a grey mare and she on a black one, she wrapped in the glittering pelts of black foxes; and she wore high, black shining boots with scarlet heels, and spurs. Fresh snow fell on snow already fallen; when it ceased, the whole world was white. “I wish I had a girl as white as snow,” says the count. They ride on. They come to a hole in the snow; this hole is filled with blood. He says: “I wish I had a girl as red as blood.” So they ride on again; here is a raven, perched on a bare bough. “I wish I had a girl as black as that bird’s feather.” All this might seem a little too much, but I haven’t mentioned wolves, ‘were-’ or otherwise, at this point and I could go on quoting indefinitely, but I won’t as it seems lazy. Carter deals with the werewolf, vampire and virgin in ways the author of the Twilight saga wishes she could. Carter’s skill is clear. Topics that become oh so cringeworthy with ease are dealt with in an engaging and fascinating manner. The styles of the ten shorts are wildly divergent and yet the themes and mo-
tifs are largely homogeneous. Vampires, werewolves, cats, white roses, blood stains and/or fangs all make frequent appearances throughout the book and I’m sure the virginal references and significance of the red don’t need explaining here. Nudity is also readily available which, in itself, creates a challenging dichotomy between vulnerability and strength. As must be obvious by now, the primary theme is sexual; mainly sexual politics from a multitude of female perspectives. It seems to me that the controversy surrounding this collections publication will always lie in the overt suggestion that sex is a woman’s currency, leading to two vitally important implicit questions from Carter. Foremost is the question of any woman’s right to dispose of her currency as she sees fit - impeded as a woman might be by the levying of parental taxes, the frugal attitude of society and the risk of theft from the swathes of bandits (a.k.a men) she will meet throughout the course of her life. The second question relates to the woman’s ability to spend her currency with wisdom, and (I’m labouring the analogy here) this is seemingly wholly dependent on a woman’s ability to take a firm hold of the purse strings. I do not wish to give the impression that this collection is full of a kind of sexed-up feminism which derides men merely for deriding men’s sake. Carter does not offer a one size fits all, male perspective in the text. On occasion, while we are within her gothic landscape, the sexuality of men is too painful, confusing and pungent a force. ‘Poor, wounded thing…locked half and half between such strange states, an aborted transformation, an incomplete mystery, now he lies writhing on his black bed in the room like a Mycenaean tomb, howls like a wolf with his foot in a trap or a woman in labour...’ In many ways ‘The Bloody Chamber’, that strange thing, provides a well written celebration of sexual desire. It is a magisterial collection also celebrating the fairytale. The symbolism and interlinking story lines render Carter’s book a well polished
one; but I believe that if one strips beneath this gloss one finds a set of dark yet moving tales, focusing upon the most primitive of human concerns.
N.B. ‘The Bloody Chamber’ would NOT have been nominated for the “Bad Sex in Fiction Award” so that should be enough for you to want to go read it.
the “Drinking Song” or “Brindisi” it touches the souls of opera lovers and laymen (myself included) alike. Since its very first opening, in 1853 at La Fenice opera house in Venice, productions of La Traviata have been repeatedly staged around the world from Italy to New York, despite its initial negative receptions. The production I went to see, however, was a little closer to home. Richard Eyre’s outstanding version has been at London’s Royal Opera House in Covent Garden this winter, boasting an international all star cast from the opera world. As the supposed start-time came and went, I admit I gradually began to feel a little unenthused and fidgety and turned my attention instead to trying to pick out the regular opera-goers from the audience. But, as those first haunting minor notes of the Prelude began to trickle through the room, all thoughts of middle-society scandal evaporated.
The music from the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House was flawless and the voices of Ermonela Jaho (Violetta) and Stephen Costello (Alfredo) were unbelievable. The English subtitles and restricted balcony view were forgotten within the first few bars as the acting and theatre that poured through their song told the story as powerfully as any spoken script. Whether it was one of the flamboyant and colourful demi-monde party scenes, hopelessly romantic love arias or painfully touching scenes of conflict, no emotion was held back and through song, body language and direction, I could not help but completely lose myself in the story. Yet, having said that, Bob Crowley’s designs were similarly extraordinary and perfectly complemented the performance at every level. The costume was of contemporary style and absolutely stunning, from Violetta’s white and indulgently bejewelled opening party
dress to her poignantly contrasting angelic nightshirt in the final scene – not to mention all the matador, gypsy and even servant outfits in between. The set design was equally as enchanting, demonstrating various tricks of perspective that added to the realism of the show. So, when it comes to theatre, I cannot recommend a trip to the opera enough and will absolutely be going again before the year is out! For this particular performance I was treated by a friend – to whom I am now very much indebted – but don’t automatically be put off by the price stigma. With standing tickets available for single figure prices and stalls and balcony seats for under £20, seeing a full opera is unbelievably good value for money, a cultural experience must and definitely high on the list of things to do before you leave London! For information on shows and tickets at the Royal Opera House, visit www. roh.org.uk
Theatre: La Traviata Fran Gosling Culture Editor For anyone unfamiliar with Romantic opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi’s, La Traviata (literally translated: “the fallen woman”) is undoubtedly one of his greatest masterpieces. This three-act libretto puts music to the heart-warming and heart-wrenching tale of a courtesan (Violetta Valery) forced to abandon her true lover (Alfredo) by the social pressures of 1850s Paris. After scenes of public humiliation and huge sacrifices on her part, she is to spend the rest of her short life awaiting his return to her until, in his arms at last, she dies of tuberculosis as the carnival passes by her window. It is a story reminiscent of both Pretty Woman and Moulin Rouge and so, with its musical script of internationally recognised pieces - namely
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Tipsy Hippo Theatre Reviews written by John Arthur Craven Ord firstname.lastname@example.org
Noises Off Perhaps one of the most celebrated backstage comedies of all time, Noises Off returns to the West End for the first time in about ten years at the Old Vic under the expert guidance of Lindsay Posner. The concept is simple; the action is anything but. A farce evolves around a theatre company trying to stage a farce and chaos, unsurprisingly, ensues in utterly ridiculous fashion. This is one of the best nights I have had at the theatre all year and I sincerely urge everyone to book a ticket now and go whenever you can. From even before the play begins the Old Vic has put everything into it. The music that plays develops into a dynamic all its own and works very well indeed. In addition to this, I particularly liked the inclusion of a short programme for Nothing On in the actual programme; it really gave the play within the play a feeling of authenticity that allowed us to believe from the off that these characters were real and struggling. This may not be a necessary touch for farce but it lifted it to a higher level. The first act is hilarious but it’s the second act where it really steps it up a gear and accelerates to raucous laughter with the onstage and backstage confusion mounting and multiplying. There’s not enough duct tape in the world to hold this group together and watching it all fall apart with their simultaneous best efforts to hold the show together and sabotage each other gave an experience that is doubtlessly one of the funniest I have ever had in the theatre. It’s what A Flea in Her Ear was trying to be. It must be unnervingly difficult to make sure that everything is in the right place, that the timing of all the events is as perfect as it was when they were on stage. The rehearsals must have been exhausting but I can thankfully report that it was worth it. The comic timing of not only the lines but also all the physical comedy was perfect. The second scene in particular requires the actors to all keep a great deal in their heads at once to make sure that everything meets up in the way it needs to and everyone succeeded brilliantly. It’s a textbook example of great farcical theatre. To single out any one of the actors for praise over and above the others is impossible. They are all, every one, outstanding. They have mastered the physicality required of such an energetic farce and often their physicality alone is enough to make you laugh out loud. The confidence that the actors have in their lines is remarkable for a script so easily confused and muddled. Each character has a distinctive comedy and a recognizable humanity, a keen balance to be struck in such a demanding play. The quality on stage here is some of the best I have not only seen all year but ever. It’s not hard to see what has made the script so lauded over the years. Apart from the meticulous attention to detail that is necessary for a successful farce (let alone a farce within a farce) it offers so much more than that. Every line is comedy. Every line is either a joke or a setup for a joke, either physical or otherwise. The intelligence in the
structuring of the acts is noticeable as we see onstage then backstage then onstage again as the run progresses. It’s a truly magnificent piece of writing. The direction from Lindsay Posner is skilled. Holding everything together, making sure that all the little things that need to be there are where they should be and that the characters are as relatable and haphazard as they are is no easy task and he succeeds in making it all it could be. The set is strikingly magnificent for one that is moved around so easily. The speed with which the set is turned around in both the interval and second short break is impressive and even when you’ve seen the backside you believe there’s a whole house behind the numerous doors that litter the stage and are slammed throughout to perfection. As the action slowly accelerates and any semblance of unity in the play within a play collapses, the set holds up to the demands of people falling down stairs, breaking doors and everything else. It’s a brilliant set, functional as well as able to enhance the overall show. Often in these reviews I mention balance being the key to great performance. When everything is in a harmonious balance with everything else there is nothing out of place, there is no prop that doesn’t have a reason for being there, no line that is skipped over, no character ignored and the result is a fantastic show. This is one such show. Everything has been orchestrated and engineered to bring the best out of everything else and it tells. A five star piece of theatre should be a piece that you want to go and see again and again. If I could, I’d never leave. Noises Off is a classic piece of English theatre and should never be missed. A rendition this good shouldn’t stop, though it will have to at some point. Make sure you don’t miss it.
Film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Sartaj Singh Film Reviewer Film remakes are often heavily stigmatised, especially when translated into other languages, and can tend to encourage pessimistic expectations from experienced film fans. However, if you can get a well established and esteemed director with experience in the genre, then there is still hope for something more than just a contrived exercise in getting cash fast. I loved the Swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and so, when I heard that David Fincher- one of my favourite directors - was going to do an English version, I was optimistic. But how does this version compare to its Swedish counterpart? And, more importantly, does it hold up on its own as a good movie? While the English film does have a few flaws here and there, ultimately, I think it proves itself a great movie in its own right. The first thing that has to be absolutely commended about the film is that it did not compromise on the tone, character portrayals or plot of the original story. From the start, Fincher succeeds in making the film dark, intense and appropriately paced. Following his similar work on films such as Zodiac, Seven and Fight Club, again Fincher does not disappoint. He seems to be a master of pacing be-
cause, despite an extensive run time, he makes every moment interesting even when little is actually going on. The storyline moved along quickly making me, as an audience member, feel forced to keep up with the details of the investigations, even when they were coming at me at lightning speed. The setting and visuals of the movie are breathtaking, from the snowy plains of Hedestate to the flashback sequences that evoke feelings of 60s nostalgia. The only criticism I can make of Fincher’s direction is that some scenes felt a bit muddled, especially towards the beginning, and not edited as well as they could have been. Also, some of the scenes that really resonated with me in the Swedish film, here felt rather lacking in emotional impact. The protagonist, Lisbeth`s, past was not adequately recounted, which is disappointing from Fincher. Upon hearing that Daniel Craig was playing Mikael Blomkvist, I was sceptical. Blomkvist, played by Michael Nyqvist in the Swedish version, is a normal and vulnerable character, not the action man that Daniel generally portrays. However, within the first five minutes of the film, my reservations were put to rest. Through his slow speech, gruff voice, and body language, Craig successfully presents Blomkvist as a tired and weakened, yet learned man with whom we ultimately sympa-
thise, despite his questionable morals. However, Ronny Mara completely steals the show as Lisbeth Slander, providing an impressive improvement after her dull performance in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (which was, admittedly, more to do with the overly experimental direction). Teamed with Fincher, she delivers an absolutely amazing performance at least deserving of a BAFTA. Through her posture, speech and general physicality, Mara portrays Lisbeth as smart and self-sufficient yet also vulnerable with an unstated tenderness that is revealed in short spells. As for the score, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross reteam with Fincher and, in my estimation, create a far superior score to that of their Oscar winning The Social Network. I loved the even more experimental quality. The recurring use of clocks, for instance, brought a great sense of edginess and tension that permeated the picture even when not much was going on. It was also great to hear the score in isolation which lasts a full 2 hours and 53 minutes. While Hans Zimmer is considered one of the greatest movie composers, I feel that Reznor and Ross are well on their way to surpassing him with their incredible work; I look forward to hearing what they have planned in the future.
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S T UD
Game: Bargain BAFTAs Toby Fairclough Game Reviewer It’s cold, miserable and wet. Back to boring exciting lectures and three deadlines all for the same panic-loaded day. Christmas seems so long ago it’s almost as though it were last year and all you can think about is how many days left until reading week and Mass Effect 3 (or is that one just me?) But fear not. With the new year comes January sales and for us gaming types there’s plenty to be gleaned from this winter harvest. So, rather than highlight 2011’s most impressive top 10 releases, or even look forward to 2012’s guaranteed bestsellers, I thought I’d begin the year by rounding up the top 5 games of 2011 you can now pick up, either used or new, for under £20.11. Unfortunately, this does leave out some of the biggest and best games of 2011, most of which came out last term; but for any of you who still have a few Christmas coins rattling around in your new wallet from Gran, I hope this helps. So, without further ado, the Bargain Baftas go to: 1. L .A. Noire (5/5) If you ever played cops and robbers as a kid, this game is for you. Set in post WWII America, L. A. Noire follows the life of Cole Phelps as he goes through the ranks in the L.A.P.D. chasing jewellery-thieves, interrogating arsonists and investigating crime-scenes. The game is set out in 30 minute chapters, reminiscing American crime thrillers of the ‘40s. Everything about this game pays homage to a time gone by, with the game-world being a near perfect recreation of a 1947 Los Angeles. If you can move past the slightly creepy looking faces and occasionally repetitive case solving mechanics, L. A. Noire had one of the best and most detailed stories to tell of the year. 2. Dead Space 2 (4.5/5) Definitely not for the faint hearted, Dead Space 2 (funnily enough) continues the story of
Piece of Pudding Ann Fig-rols Spatula Thief
Several weeks later and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve run out of Christmas treats and, though still suffering a little from the January blues, you draw the line at buying from that one sad little shelf in the supermarket trying to shift those last chocolate tree baubles. Even if they are now reduced to 11p. But the weather is still gloomy and money is still tight so I like to try sneaky, economic ways of getting a sugary comfort fix. This Nigellainspired pudding is so easy, completely satisfying and, best of all, is a great way to make use of leftover baked goods.
2008’s Dead Space, with Isaac Clarke finding himself this time stuck in a futuristic city on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. With the contemporary horror genre becoming more reliant on gore and blockbusting explosions, this game is a breath of fresh air, harking back to the terrifying times when heroes tasked with saving the world from imminent zombie induced genocide were so bad at multi-tasking that they couldn’t side-step, let alone move and shoot! Perhaps ironically, Dead Space 2’s strongest point is its atmosphere. The original had a lot of scares, but the sequel has a lot of memorable ones. 3. Portal 2 (4/5) Not to be confused with the infamous Postal 2, Portal 2 is the long awaited sequel to 2007’s surprise classic, Portal. Equipped only with a gun which shoots (you guessed it) portals, you’re tasked with solving puzzle after puzzle of block moving, light bending, physics shattering proportions to find out why you’re here and who this mysterious
GLaDOS is. With genuinely funny moments, thanks to the superb voice acting of Stephen Merchant (Wheatley) and Ellen McLain (GLaDOS), Portal 2 is not just a game for those seeking intellectual stimulation. Though reasonably short (depending on how big your brain is, or how much you cheat), this game is a welcome relief from the usually morbid affair of gaming. 4. Gears of War 3 (4/5) Marcus Fenix is back, in full chainsaw-ing gory glory. The third and final chapter to this epic trilogy needs little introduction and is essentially more of the same. You play Marcus Fenix, a big burly man who has an unhealthy affinity for alien guts. Time is running out for you and your squad to wipe out the Locust and Lambent enemies and save the remaining dregs of humanity. Gears of War 3 is one of those games which proves you don’t need a deep story to have a good time. Anyone who gives me a chainsaw machinegun and endless aliens to mutilate and decapi-
tate is okay in my books. Split-screen storyline co-op and updated hoard modes make this an easy purchase and a blast with a friend. 5. Sonic Generations (4/5) Sonic has not fared well in current generation gaming. To be fair, Sonic and Mario at the Olympics was fun and Sonic Unleashed had speed (occasionally), but they didn’t have that Sonic feel of the original Mega Drive classics. Sonic Generations marks the blue hog’s 20th Birthday and sees the blue-streak go back to his roots, sort-of. Combining the best bits of the latest Sonic games with the platforming goodness of Sonic classics, Generations tells the story of a collapsed multi-verse bringing two Sonics into one game. Yes, the tale is weak, but re-visiting old favourites such as Green Hill Zone (Sonic 1) or Speed Highway (Sonic Adventure) as both old and new Sonic is fantastic. Fat Italian plumbers who like to chase the dragon and taste the mushrooms, beware, Sonic is back.
Gig: Henry Rollins - The Long March Tour Josh Ferguson Senior Editor I will not deny that I am going into this review a little bit biased; Henry Rollins is one my heroes. For those of you as yet uninitiated into the wonderful world of Mr. Rollins, he made his name as the singer of the truly seminal punk rock band Black Flag. After their break up, Rollins formed his own band and started doing poetry and spoken word shows, which have evolved into the manner of show that I saw at the Royal Festival Hall on the 20th of January. Henry Rollins’ stage show is almost impossible to define in any meaningful term. It’s part spoken word, part travelogue, part motivational speaking, part stand-up comedy all put together by a 50-yearold punk-rock raconteur and Renaissance Man doing what he does best. Henry’s energy and focus throughout the show is amazing. He stands, rooted to the spot, speaking without pause or interval for two and a half hours, never breaking flow, always managing to
HOB T N E
200g stale bread/brioche/croissant (or a mixture) 100g value milk chocolate 50g value plain chocolate 2 eggs 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar 100ml double cream 300ml semi-skimmed milk 2 tablespoons liqueur (coffee, vanilla, hazelnut or Irish) 2 tablespoons granulated sugar Preheat the oven to about 180 and place the bread/pastry into an ovenproof bowl. Bash the chocolate into chunks and mingle it evenly with the bread. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, along with the soft sugar, and pour it over the bread and use your fingers to squish it down until all the bread is soaked. Leave it for about half an hour to absorb properly and then sprinkle the granulated sugar all over the top and bake for about 40 minutes, by which time the middle will still be soft but the top should be golden and crispy. You can also use the same bread foods to make a fruit pie crust by using half the amount with half the amount of cream, milk and egg: Fill the ovenproof dish with your favourite raw fruits mixed in with 5 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons on soft brown sugar. Mix together the cream, milk and egg and slice the bread into triangles. Dip the triangles in the mixture until well soaked and lay across the fruit until it is all well covered. Again, sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for around 30 minutes at 180 until browned and crispy. It might destroy your January diet, but at least you saved a pound somewhere else!
make you think, make you laugh or raise awareness of serious issues. The range of subjects he talks about is dizzying; just trying to remember them is tough. He covers everything from a hilarious recount of his first trip to CostCo, a harrowing (but strangely moving) account of his experience in Tibet, the way he and a friend inadvertently caused a riot in Haiti by handing out soap and soccer balls, terrifying Dennis Hopper in a parking lot in front of Matt Groening, his Government-baiting trips to North
Korea and Vietnam and myriad other subjects with such intense fervour and charming sincerity that you can’t help but stare at him and be swept along. I realised near the end of the show that my cheeks hurt from laughing and grinning broadly for the entire show. You can’t help but be inspired by the way in which Henry Rollins energetically tells his stories, about where he’s been, what he’s done and how he feels about it. His absolute sincerity and humbling lack of pretentiousness or
self-important posturing is the thing that makes him such a joy to listen to. He’s mastered the art of turning a travel story and brief encounter (possibly with a moral lesson) into a rattling good yarn that makes you (or at least made me) laugh uproariously and secretly vow to at least try to be a better person. For more information about Henry Rollins, visit his website at henryrollins.com
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Societies Sports and
Edited by Joe Walsh | email@example.com
Heythrop 1st Football Team: Match Report The Heythrop Football Team After a prolonged Christmas break, the Heythrop team plunged into their first match of the Lent term. The away match against the Imperial Medics had all the ingredients for a great football match; clear weather, slightly damp but perfect pitch and the Heythrop squad’s excitement at playing competitive football again. However, the lack of natural centre midfield players and lack of any training in the New Year, combined with the ever digesting Christmas turkey caused a disjointed performance. There was clearly a lot of rust that needed
to be worked off, as well as accompanying nerves. However the Imperial Medics team should be credited for their dominating midfield play and desire for the ball, and ultimately deserved the win at the end of the day. The score finished 5-0 and Heythrop were left frustrated. Importantly though the team lost the match due to simple lack of practice and players, which can easily be rectified in matches to come and should not be a reason to be disheartened. Heythrop are still very much a team to beat in the league, and our excellent past performances, self belief, team chemistry and enjoyment of the game provide us with a reason to bounce back stronger. Just need to run off that Christmas turkey!
Meditation Soc: The Ever-Hungry Mind Monkey Zac Phoenix Meditation Society ‘Meditation’. It’s a word that I’m pretty sure you could find in a thesaurus as a synonym for ‘boring’, right? Sitting in a chair or on a silly cushion on the floor, cross-legged, with your eyes closed and trying to stop all thoughts while you silently look down at your belly in dismay at how pudgy it’s starting to look since Christmas and that New Year’s Eve party you barely remember. “I’ve got way too much stuff to be getting on with. How is this helping me at all? What a waste of time.” It sounds even less exciting than watching paint dry. Meditation is actually really quite fascinating, and ties in so nicely with all the weighty things we read and write about here at Heythrop. It is not a religious practice in and of itself, unless you want to make it one (although I doubt it would mix very well with Satanism). Meditation comes in lots of different varieties. At it’s heart it is about experiencing the present and how often do we actually do that? We are very past-dwelling and future-focused beings. Rarely are we not chasing the next experience or trying to do all those things we have to get done
by the end of the day and just taste the moment that is called the present. In meditation, we watch the mind to see what it is really like without any artificial additives, colorings or preservatives. It is surprising how alien and out of control your mind can seem when you first meditate. You try and focus on one object to concentrate on like your breathing or a physical sensation such as your feet touching the floor. Every time your mind wanders away from the meditative object, you gently steer the mind back towards resting upon it. And you will do this over and over again. Times a billion. Times the amount of X Factor winners combined. (Now that’s a scary thought.) Starting to get the immensity of how difficult this actually is? It’s a far cry from watching paint dry. It’s more like you’re engaged in an epic war against an adolescent monkey that’s trying to hijack your brain’s steering wheel, and the monkey is on a cocktail of speed and caffeine pills. It’s not until you become aware of this pesky little trickster that you realise he is in control most of the time, always seeking something new to play with out of the terror of ever encountering the B-word mentioned at the start of this article. Is it so terrible to experience the present moment, free
from dressing it up in crazy costumes to entertain our ever-hungry mind monkey? Some might even go so far as to say that we rarely experience reality as it actually is, given that we seem not to pay attention to what is in front of us and what it feels like without adding to it in an elusive manner. If you stop fighting against the monkey, and just sit and watch it silently, you’ll find it gives up trying to take
control of the wheel. It was only ever interested in making sure you took notice of it in the first place and like a stroppy toddler, the second you stop playing the tug-of-war game it gives up trying to divert your attention away from the present moment. As philosophers and theologians, we spend a lot of time trying to understand what the big Truth with a capital T is.
We could do a lot worse than to start with right where we are, learning the very nature of our mind and how it operates as the filter through which we experience the world. At the very least, it’s somewhere to begin. /The Heythrop Meditation Society meets for 15 minutes in the Other Room in the basement of the main building every Tuesday at 2pm during term time.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE HSU’S SOCIETIES, VISIT THE NEW HSU WEBSITE
THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY | THE LION
Heythrop Islamic Society
SOCIETIES Fighting against the Dreaded Heythrop Apathy
Newly elected HSU Sports and Societies Officer Ashley Doolan welcomes back Heythrop’s clubs
Islamic Society President Heythrop’s very own Islamic society hosted a week of exciting events at the beginning of December 2011, allowing both students and staff to experience the Islamic faith where misconceptions were overcome and peaceful unity was promoted through various events. At Heythrop our first event kicked off with a movie night in the common room, where ISOC showed an excellent documentary of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) which BBC had hosted a couple of years ago. There were speakers from various Universities, including SOAS who contributed and were a part of the documentary. This immediately followed by the film Mooslem, which focuses on life in America after the 9/11 attacks. Tuesday was an inspiring, creative and messy art/poetry day. On a large white sheet we had drawn an outline of a Garden of Eden tree and filled the tree up with hand prints with paint and sponge stamps! John from last year’s poetry society had also shared some wonderful poems and Tolu, former isoc vice president and isoc’s temporary continuity officer, taught some of us origa-
Vegan & Veggie Society Katie Whiteley-Maguire Vegan Soc President Hello! I just wanted to make you all aware that a new Vegetarian and Vegan Society has just started. To celebrate this we’re going out for dinner before Reading Week (Probably on the 10th but we’re not certain of the date yet) at blahvegetarian.com - a vegetarian restaurant with a ‘bring your own booze’ policy in Shepherd’s Bush. Main meals are £7.95 so it’s great for students, it should be a really cheap, fun night out. Following Reading Week, we’re going to be doing some really cool stuff including cooking classes twice a month - one vegetarian, one vegan (if you’re a meat eater but have veggie friends this might be really helpful, too), Campaigns including (hopefully) changes to the dining hall menu, guest speakers and some debates, Recipe of the Week being sent out to the society members and Healthy Eating Advice if you’re thinking of becoming vegetarian/vegan or are already one but want to freshen up on what you should be eating. We’re always up for new ideas too; so if you have any, just let me know. If you want to take part, help organise or just keep up to date on what we’re doing, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org from the e-mail you’d prefer I contact you through. It’s also probably worth joining our facebook page through which we’ll share good websites, articles and generally discuss matters of interest.
mi! He is a talented gentleman indeed! Wednesday, which was the biggest day of awareness week, was a success! The bazaar raised £200 for the East Africa Appeal via Oxfam. Many things were sold; halal kebabs, samosas, cupcakes, drinks, jewellery. There was also the magnificent chocolate fountain with halal marshmallows and a henna stall where people had beautiful patterns of henna painted on their hands and fingers.
The last event ended with a trip to London Central Mosque which provided answers to why and what the purpose of a mosque is, and to actually see the holy place where Muslims pray and how they pray. London Central Mosque also happens to have an excellent new exhibition of the main elements of Islam including the life of the prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), World’s first mosque, Science and Islam and Islamic history. A truly memorable week! Photo: zawtowers/Flickr
Ashley Doolan HSU Societies Officer When I first took up the post of Sports & Societies Officer in November I must admit to a feeling of apprehension. Sports & Societies in Heythrop are famous for struggling and the dreaded “apathy” that all of us refer to in our manifestos and see around campus everyday was a major concern for me as I was now the one responsible for ensuring that this did not become the case this term. Looking back I’m really not sure what all the worry was about because I can honestly say that this term has possibly been one of my most rewarding at Heythrop as I have gotten to work with a number of fantastic people and see many societies, which many people had written off, grow and develop into viable groups that can continue for years after Heythrop is but a distant memory to us all. I’d like to start off by thanking each and every Society president. You guys are amazing and the amount of effort you put in, whether it’s organising a Ceilidh, baking cakes til the crack of dawn for jumble sales or just generally kicking the sh*t out of each other in the Loyola Hall is the kind of thing that keeps Heythrop ticking. Let’s be honest we’re in 6-8 hours a week if we’re undergraduates and even less if/ when we get beyond that point so there really isn’t much impetus to have anything to do with Heythrop for the other 160 hours of the week. And yet we have this year possibly the largest and most diverse amount of societies the college has ever had ranging from the Heythrop 1st Football Team to Meditation Society and even a Hip Hop Dance Society for those of you who can actually “pop and lock”, or those of you who, like me, think they can after enough vodka. There are a few societies in particular that I’d like to praise this term for the work, dedication and effort they have put in. First of all I’d like to congratulate the Heythrop Folk Society and their President, Ben Lund-Conlon, for holding their most successful Ceilidh to date. Everyone had an amazing time from what I could see from my vantage point at the money desk and they made a record amount of money from a Heythrop Ceilidh. I’d also like to congratulate ISOC on their fantastic Islamic Experience Week, from
what I could see every event was well attended, at the documentary played at the Film Night was amazing! Talking of film I’d also like to thank Sybilla Pereira and the new Blow Up! Film Society for hosting some brilliant film nights and being a generally visible sign that Heythrop societies are very active. Finally I congratulate HeADS for their continued existence; possibly the longest they’ve been running since their inception, well done Alice and Olivia. Chris Nicholson, Head of Budo Society, provided me with a rundown of the stuff they’ve gotten up to this term and I’d like to share that with you to show you just how much a Heythrop Society can get up to: “The society continues to grow with several new members (lured in by our new t-shirts no doubt). We went fighting in Belgium and to an Aikido course in Bristol in November. Congratulations also to Kyrie Phimster who received her 4th Kyu. We are planning a day course this year and preparing for the Easter week long course”. Finally I want to remind you all that information on existing societies as well as information on how to set one of your own up can be found at www.heythropstudentsunion.co.uk , or alternatively on the Sports & Societies Board in the Common Room. The Union is always looking for more ways to enrich your time at Heythrop and I personally want to see as many successful societies as possible carry on through t h i s year.
VOTING OPENS Thursday 2nd Feb - 6pm
VOTING CLOSES Thursday 9th Feb - 6pm
Your Students’ Union is here to represent you. Elect the best person to support and represent you! Check your college email address for your voting username and password and vote at www.ULU.co.uk/elections All usernames and passwords have been emailed out from the ULU Elections website. If you haven’t received a username or password, then visit the same website or email email@example.com for more information about how to get one. But don’t leave it until the last minute, get in early to avoid disappointment. TO FIND OUT MORE VISIT WWW.ULU.CO.UK/ELECTIONS