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EDINBURGH’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER

ISSUE VIII

WEDNESDAY 23 APRIL 2008

STUDENT THEATRE AT THE FRINGE » 27

Lucy Jackson explores what student theatre has to offer to the world’s largest arts festival

7-PAGE RECRUITMENT SPECIAL » 13

Want to write for TV, become a journalist, enter academia or teach? The Journal talks to the people who made it

Council planning chief calls for ‘student ghettos’

The Catacombs of Paris » 25

» HMO restrictions to drive students towards corporate landlords » Drive for student-free communities ignores residents’ concerns

Helen Walker helen.walker@journal-online.co.uk

STUDENTS MAY BE forced to turn to expensive purpose built accommodation rather than renting normal residential flats, if current plans to further restrict HMO licenses go forward. The Scottish Executive’s ‘Planning For Housing Consultation’ suggests: "Where such a policy does not already exist, and where it is considered appropriate, local authorities should develop policies relating to the maximum proportion of HMOs that should exist in any defined area." Comments by Alan Henderson, the council’s head of planning, have lead to concerns that the Council is turning to accommodation offered by companies such as UNITE to help solve the conflict between demand for student accommodation and community opposition to students. Mr Henderson told The Scotsman that "The provision of purpose built student accommodation is considered more beneficial to local residential amenity than the use of existing residential accommodation for such purposes." Mo Ford, founder of the group ‘Save the Meadows’, which is against a proposed development by the company UNITE for a complex of 81 student flats near the meadows, said: "The Scottish Government's plans to

severely limit HMO properties and the corporate takeover of student housing and public space are inextricably linked." UNITE currently have three developments up and running and two more that will be functional for the 08-09 academic year. The company propose to provide an additional 1400 student beds by 2010 to meet demand for student accommodation in the capital. The cost per person of UNITE rooms ranges from around £500 to £700 per month. Even taking into account the fact that these prices include utility bills and internet access it still far exceeds the average price paid by students in the city, which Crichton Stuart Management placed at £300 a month. The President of Edinburgh University Student’s Association, Josh MacAlister said: "Students should be able to live where they want to. If they are fed up after first year of living in ‘hall-type’ accommodation, then they should have the freedom to live amongst the community." Adding “For a lot of people being a student is the first taste of independent living and so a lot of students want to live in communities side by side with residents.” These sentiments were echoed by Edinburgh University first year, Liz Black. Miss Black stressed that: Continued on page 2

IN BRIEF

HMO RESTRICTIONS

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is the official term for a unit of accommodation shared by three or more unrelated adults and requires, by law, an official license. HMO properties are required to be registered and must conform to centrally set standards of quality. In 2006, the Edinburgh City Council formulated plans to use HMO licenses to restrict the numbers of students living in certain designated "sensitive areas" which included Marchmont, Bruntsfield, Tollcross and certain parts of New Town. It was decided that no more than 35 per cent of available housing was to be used for HMO purposes in these areas and plans were drawn up with the intention of reducing the number of HMO flats available. Since then, the Council has supported development by the private housing company UNITE which specializes in student housing, seeing it as a quick fi x solution to community cohesion problems.

GRADUATING INTO A RECESSION

The credit crunch keeps graduates off of the property ladder » 5

flickr.com/eole

Demian Hobby visits the subterranean underworld hidden below the French capital


2 News

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

This week in The Journal... Council planning Northern Ireland » 21 A decade after the Good Friday Agreement, much work remains to be done, writes Shadow Northern ireland Secretary Owen Paterson

Bay City Strollers » 28 Under your Skins » 16

Want a job in the music industry? Just start your own record label. Tomlin Leckie did just that.

Miles Johnson speaks to the writing team behind the hit Channel 4 drama

Scallops at Rhubarb » 29

chief calls for ‘student ghettos’ Continued from page 1 "there’s nothing wrong with these flats if they are where students want and can afford to live but students shouldn’t find themselves forced into them because of restrictions imposed on other types of accommodation." Miss Black, who will be moving out of university halls next year stated: ‘if Edinburgh had been known to be a place where it was difficult to rent normal residential flats then that would greatly have affected my decision to study here.’ A uNiTE spokesperson said: ‘The company’s existing properties and our plans for further developments are designed to ease the shortage while increasing the choice of quality, welllocated student accommodation and hospitality services that are available at affordable prices. This, in turn, will alleviate pressure on the traditional rented sector.” The company argue that: “Purpose built student accommodation helps to facilitate sustainable communities and alleviates the pressure on local housing stock that could be freed up for families or first time buyers.” Speaking to The Journal, Mr Pike, uNiTE’s Acquisition and Development Manager said: “it’s understandable that communities don’t want

large numbers of students in the area. Clearly, when you get them together in one space, there’s less chance of friction.” However Ms Ford argues: ‘People who complain about HMO tenants are primarily concerned with a desire to see more community involvement. Shoving students in one massive complex of buildings and in effect babysitting them doesn’t really encourage that in my opinion.’ Despite support from council officials, uNiTE has also encountered resistance to some of its proposed developments. Permission for a £22 million development on MacDonald road was denied after local opposition and the Chalmers Street development, although still due to go ahead, has recently suffered set backs. Mr MacAlister told The Journal, that this is what he sees as part of a wider problem with student accommodation and relations with the community. He commented: “When it comes to working with the community to ease tensions there is no easy answer. it requires a strong and open dialogue; students need to take some responsibility for the running of their community and residents need to be understanding about the changing demographics in Edinburgh.”

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Just pack it up, we’ll come collect it, then we’ll return it to your new flat or halls when you want it back in September! Logon to www.edinstore.com to find out more and reserve your storage space.

EDiNBuRGH’S STuDENT NEWSPAPER Editor Ben Judge Deputy Editor Hannah Thomas Art Director Matthew MacLeod Deputy Editor (News) Paris Gourtsoyannis Deputy Editor (Comment/Features) Evan Beswick Deputy Editor (Sport) Tom Crookston Photo Editor Eddie Fisher Chief Illustrator Lewis Killin Copy Editors Alex Reynolds, Gavin Lingiah, Kasmira Jefford, Katia Sand, Sarah Galletly Designer Shaun Guyver Sales Manager Devon Walshe Sales Executives Katherine Sellar News Investigations Miles Johnson General News Hamish Fergusson Edinburgh News Graham Mackay Academic News Neil Bennet Student Politics Sarah Clark National Politics Helen Walker National Student News Nick Eardley/Joanna Hosa Features George Grant Profile Alison Lutton Entertainment Chris McCall/Lucy Jackson Eating & Drinking Nana Wereko-Brobby Hockey Emily Glass Football Dominic Moger Rugby Jack Charnley

The Journal is published by The Edinburgh Journal Ltd., registered address 52 Clerk Street, Edinburgh EH8 9JB. Registered in Scotland number SC322146. For enquiries call 0131 662 6766 or email info@journal-online.co.uk. The Journal is a free newspaper for and written by students and graduates in the City of Edinburgh. Contact us if you’d like to get involved. Printed by Mortons Print Limited, Horncastle, Lincolnshire. Copyright © 2008 The Edinburgh Journal Ltd. Elements of this publication are distributed under a Creative Commons license - contact us for more information. Distributed by Ben, Matt, Evan and Paris in a van/car. Our thanks to PSYBT, Scottish Enterprise, and all who make this publication possible.

FOR ADvERTiSiNG iNFORMATiON call our sales department on 0870 919 4909 or send an email to ads@journal-online.co.uk


News 3

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Ramsay emerges from controversy to become new student president Ben Judge ben.judge@journal-online.co.uk

ADAM RAMSAY WAS fi nally declared the winner of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s presidential elections last week, almost two months after the elections were held. Mr Ramsay secured a sizable victories over his rivals, winning 2271 first-choice votes (49.77 per cent of the first round) and only narrowly missed out on avoiding a second round of voting. In the following round, after Nick Ward—who secured only 12.86 percent—was eliminated, Ramsay was awarded enough votes under the single transferable vote system to triumph over nearest rival Gabriel Arafa who took 23.45 percent of first-choice votes. Harry Cole won 13.68 per cent of the vote and fi nished third. In total, 4563 votes were cast in the presidential election, representing a total turnout of approximately 19.24 per cent of eligible students. Turnout fell some two hundred votes short of last years record of 4750. The election results had been withheld for six weeks, while Mr Ramsay appealed against his disqualification from the race after being accused of cheating. It was announced on 29 March that Mr Ramsay had won his appeal, following a decision by the elections appeal committee, which consisted of the university secretary Melvin Cornish and Prof Douglas Brodie, Dean of the Law School. The appeal itself had been delayed for several weeks after wrangling over who was allowed to sit on the committee, which usually consists of the sitting EUSA president, the vice president (services) and the rector of the university. Complaints were received about perceived conflicts of interest and all three were withdrawn

from the committee. The announcement was delayed a further three weeks until it was made certain that none of Mr Ramsay’s rivals were to challenge the appeal committee’s decision at an extra-ordinary general meeting. On 5 March, the second day of voting, Mr Ramsay was disqualified from the election by the students’ association’s returning officer, Graham Boyack, after two supporters were found to be campaigning at the University of Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls of Residence out-with permitted hours. Mr Ramsay told The Journal: “I am very much looking forward to taking up the position of President over the summer. In particular, I am looking forward to working with the three Vice Presidents – George Thomas, Naomi Hunter, and Guy Bromley; and the whole team at EUSA. "I am delighted that the appeals committee found in my favour. I did not personally break any rules in this election. The only rule that was broken was by my supporters had almost no impact on the fi nal result.” Harry Cole, who suffered in the polls as a result of revelations that he had mislead the electorate over his involvement in the now-infamous attack-blog EUSAless, said at the time of Mr Ramsay’s disqualification: “Nobody wants a cheat as president and nobody wants the EUSA elections process dragged through the mud.” Losing candidate, Nick Ward, also said: “I really do not think that the students want a cheat as a President and I cannot see how he will be able to form any relationship of trust with any other elected officials or members of staff.” Next year’s sabbatical team will be made up of Mr Ramsay, Guy Bromley as Vice President (Academic Affairs), Vice President (Services) George Thomas and Vice President (Societies and Activities) Naomi Hunter.

Moose let loose in highland reserve Ben Judge ben.judge@journal-online.co.uk

FOR THE FIRST time in nearly 1,000 years, wild moose are roaming the highlands of Scotland thanks to the efforts of one determined landowner. Paul Lister, who owns a 23,000acre estate near Inverness, is attempting to build Europe’s first wilderness reserve in the North of Scotland. The reintroduction of the two wild moose is the first stage in a controversial plan to bring back lost species which include lynx, brown bears and wolves. Mr Lister, whose father founded the furniture chain MFI, is spending millions of pounds in a bold attempt to create a 50,000 acre nature reserve, in which the animals are free to live. He told BBC News: “What I'm aiming is to create a wilderness and wildlife reserve similar to those that exist in Southern Africa; something that is controlled, managed and fenced.” However, while lauded by wild-life conservationists, Mr Lister will have to face formidable opposition from lo-

cal farmers, who fear damage will be done to their livestock, in addition to plenty of red-tape. If Mr Lister is to introduce large predators such as bears or wolves, by law they have to be enclosed by electric fencing. However, such fencing conflicts with the “right to roam” enjoyed by Scottish ramblers throughout the country. Mr Lister said: “"We have covered our countryside with motorways, highways, buildings, golf courses and so on to our own benefit and satisfaction to the detriment of every animal that has ever lived there. "I get quite angry when I think about the fact that when we want to put back just 1% of the Highlands, we get potential resentment from some quarters. "When someone wants to come along and do something good for the native flora and fauna, we ought to put our hands up and get on with it." He believes that the reserve will have the capacity to bring in tourism and money to the local economy in addition to supporting over 100 jobs.

“I really do not think that the students want a cheat as a President and I cannot see how he will be able to form any relationship of trust with any other elected officials or members of staff” Losing candidate Nick Ward


4 News

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Caledonian chiefs quash rumours that Deuchars will lose its traditional quality Graham Mackay graham.mackay@journal-online.co.uk

ReAl Ale loveRs in scotland have voiced concerns over the future of edinburgh’s Caledonian Brewery, most famous for its production of the muchloved Deuchars IPA, after its recent buy-out by scottish & Newcastle and are particularly worried that it will soon run the risk of failing to life up to its slogan “brewed by men not machines”. scottish & Newcastle, who bought the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the Caledonian brewery in 2004, are soon to complete the purchase of the Caledonian Brewing Company, thus owning all aspects of the brewery in its entirety. Many real ale drinkers, including famed scottish novelist Ian Rankin, have expressed major concerns that the process of brewing Caledonian ales will become mechanised once the deal is complete, especially as the company is set to fall into Dutch hands when scottish & Newcastle’s UK operations are taken over by Heineken. last week, Rankin, creator of the fictional Deuchars-loving Inspector Rebus, stated: “What IPA drinkers will be worried about is that it keeps on coming and they keep brewing the beer. It's a very successful product and hopefully they will keep it going. “They would be foolish to change a system that works. They're awardwinning beers and they are much loved in scotland.” However, chiefs at Caledonian Breweries and scottish & Newcastle have dispelled rumours that any changes will be made to the beer-

making process. speaking exclusively to The Journal, Caledonian Breweries Managing Director stephen Crawley made it clear that there was no intention to change the method of beer production for any of the ales in the Caledonian range, which includes 80/-, Golden Promise and XPA. “It’s going to very much be business as usual,” said Mr. Crawley, “scottish & Newcastle have owned the Caledonian Brewery for the last four years and it is a world class ale. The beer has never tasted so good and consistent, and that’s the biggest challenge – consistency. “Investment from scottish & Newcastle has made the brewery a safer place, but the traditional brewing methods will always be maintained. Men will continue to brew the ale and we will also preserve the various other qualities that make the brewery unique, such as our use of whole hop flowers and the last direct-fired open coppers in the UK.” “Caledonian is a niche brewery and is the only remaining brewery in edinburgh of the 40 that were built in the 19th century. some things survive, whilst others fall by the wayside; Caledonian Brewery is a survivor. “I have no worries whatsoever; we’ve got a great set of guys working on the ale and the best way to run the brewery is to keep producing the same high quality products which will maximise the availability of Deuchars and our other beers.” “There is no way that the acquiring of shares will change the process of brewing our ales. The production of Caledonian ales is not about pushing

a button.” Mr. Crawley went on to highlight further companies in the food and drink industry which have benefitted since being taken over by multinationals. He said: “Green and blacks chocolate has maintained the quality of its products [since its purchase by Cadbury-schweppes in 2005], and Pret A Manger has done very well out of its involvement with McDonalds. Both are still run as separate companies by their respective owners.” Mr. Crawley’s comments were echoed by Robert Ballantyne, head of corporate communications for scottish and Newcastle. speaking to The Journal, Mr. Ballantyne explained how the current ownership of Caledonian breweries came to be: “since the closure of the Mcewan’s brewery in 2004, scottish and Newcastle has invested heavily in the Caledonian Brewery, which it coowns with a number of private shareholders. over the last few weeks, these private shareholders have wanted out, paving the way for a whole-sale takeover. “Deuchars has always been marketed separately and we have no intention of changing this. likewise, there is no intention to change the way that Caledonian ales are brewed.” Mr. Ballantyne added: “We all like the beer and it’s a 150-year-old gem of a brewery. The quality is fabulous.” Caledonian has won a number of awards for its products since the brewery was founded in 1869, and produces various popular seasonal ales such as six Nations, Nectar summer Ale and santa’s little Helper.

Ben Askins

ladyfest Poll shows swing in favour of independence set to hit edinburgh in May Josh Barnes

josh.barnes@journal-online.co.uk

Neil Bennet neil.bennet@journal-online.co.uk

THe INAUGURAl eDINBURGH ladyfest is set to take place this May, showcasing women’s art, music, film and comedy and featuring debate and discussion on feminist issues and workshops on arts and creativity. The event—organised by local women activists, artists and performers—is the first of its kind in the city, and only the second ever in scotland – following a much smaller, 3-day event in Glasgow in 2001. This year’s festival spans almost the whole of May, with events spread across the city centre, including the Forest Café, The stand comedy club and the Cameo cinema. The festival opens on sunday 4 May with a launch party at The Ark on Waterloo Place, featuring performances from edinburgh band sellotape, Jake Cogan and the PM Tea Trio. While many of the events are focused on encouraging the talent of women and girls, they are all open to everyone, and organisers are keen to make sure both women and men attend and make the latest addition to edinburgh’s festival calendar a success. Any profits generated by the events will be donated to Zero-Tolerance, an edinburgh-based organisation campaigning against domestic violence.

THe sCoTTIsH NATIoNAl Party’s fight for independence received a timely boost last month, when a poll commissioned by the Sunday Herald found more scots are in favour of a break up of the union than are against. In the TNs system Three poll, 41% of scots questioned favoured the scottish Government negotiating an independence settlement with Westminster, compared to 40% against. This is one of a very small number of surveys that position support for independence ahead of support for the union. In previous TNs polls, conducted in August and November 2007, support for independence has stood below that of the status quo. In their first survey, 50% of respondents did not agree with scottish Independence, compared with 35% who did. scottish political commentators have put the change down to a strong period of successful governance by the sNP since their election victory in May 2007. such success in power is a central pillar of the sNP’s attempts to win over the scottish people to the thought of independence. TNs managing director Chris eynon said: "This represents a very dramatic turnaround over the period of eight months since August 2007. The poll suggests that, based on the sNP's performance in power since the May election, public confidence in the ability of scotland to run its own affairs as an independent state has increased." First minister Alex salmond said: "The poll is further and dramatic evidence that as the sNP delivers good

government in the devolved areas, so support for scotland to be governed equally well in all areas with independence is surging. And the poll clearly indicates that Westminster attempts to bully scotland and the scottish Government is also boosting support for equality for scotland, and a parliament with full powers. "People want a government that will speak up for scotland - not shut up for london. It is a tremendous boost for the sNP in the run up to our conference - it will have our opponents choking on their cornflakes." Comedienne elaine C. smith, who convenes the sNP’s Independence Convention said: "This poll is welcome, but the support for independence is something we have known about for some time. The scottish people must now have their right to speak in a referendum." Conventional wisdom has long suggested that, should a referendum be called, scots would ultimately vote against it, with many independent surveys suggesting barely more than a quarter of the population supports a break-away. Whilst this poll is encouraging for the sNP, it still lacks the parliamentary majority to call a popular vote. The scottish Government currently face staunch opposition from labour, the Conservatives and the liberal Democrats. labour MsP Jackie Baillie said: "There is no doubt that the vast majority of scots don't want an end to the Union, and the sNP are well aware of that. scots want to walk tall in the Union, not walk out." TNs polled 977 respondents between 26 March and 4 April.


Edinburgh News 5

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

mortgage market keeps graduates off property ladder

Council to introduce tax rebate for green homes

Malcolm Crowley

Benjamin Edwards

malcom.crowley@journal-online.co.uk

benjamin.edwards@journal-online.co.uk

GrADuAteS Are fACInG one of the worst housing markets for first time buyers in decades, with a number of economic factors stemming from the credit crisis combining to keep young people off the property ladder. mortgage lenders have virtually shut up shop, with some providers halting all new lending of any kind. those seeking finance for their first home who do find a lender willing to take on new business are faced with the prospect of having to produce a deposit worth 25 percent of their desired property’s value, or accept punitive interest rates. rises in the cost of mortgages have wiped out any relief for borrowers granted by the Bank of england’s cuts to the base interest rate. Speaking to The Guardian, a spokeswoman for a major lender said: "Our costs of funding are higher and like all lenders we have to adapt to changes in the marketplace." In the wake of the current lack of liquidity between major lending banks, prime minister Gordon Brown has called on financial institutions to disclose the level of bad property loans they have in their portfolios. Halifax, Britain’s largest mortgage lender, has increased the cost of its

In An Attempt to improve the city’s green credentials, edinburgh City Council are to offer reductions in council tax to environmentally friendly households. the council are set to negotiate with the Scottish Government to allow lower home and business rates for those who make an effort to lessen their environmental impact. the plans, put forward by Council Labour leader ewan Aitken, would see significant cuts in council tax for those

two-year deals by half a percent - adding £1,000 a year to a £200,000 home loan. 16 buy-to-let mortgage lenders, including natWest, have withdrawn all their products from the market. the government has been forced into providing further aid to struggling banks; a program by which banks can exchange risky mortgages for stable short-term government bonds is expected to pump up to £50 billion of government money into the sector. meanwhile, house prices in Scotland have failed to follow the national trend, with 37% of local property surveyors reporting a rise in prices despite a national fall of some 4% - the worst such decrease for three decades. the number of first time buyers has fallen to a record low, with the

Council of mortgage lenders reporting only 50,300 mortgages being taken out at the beginning of 2008. Only 18,000 of these were taken out by first-time buyers, the lowest figures since records began. the national Association of estate Agents (nAeA) reported that the average number of new home buyers per month, by its calculations, has fallen from 276 to 243. Stewart Lily, president of the nAeA, said: "the figures reported in february echo the current climate of confusion that is clouding the property market at present. "Invariably, the global credit crunch, especially the uS situation, has had a knock-on effect, which coupled with consumer inflation, is placing continuing pressure onto the property market."

who have put in developments that reduce their household’s carbon footprint or who have purchased a house in a carbon-zero development. mr Aitken said: “I was delighted this got universal support at committee. I think there are some issues, like the environment, which transcend politics. this is about giving people another incentive to do something about climate change, where they know their choices are reducing emissions but also bringing them a personal benefit. "We now have local emissions targets so we need to the powers to achieve this.” this proposal is in line with existing city targets to make edinburgh a carbon-zero economy by 2050. the council has also agreed to carry out environmental impact assessments on all new building projects in the city. Green party councilor, Steve Burgess said: “Creating incentives for people to take action on climate change would be welcomed, and I think this would also help to show the impact that individuals' actions can make.” Council leader Jenny Dawe, said: "Climate change is acknowledged by many as the single biggest threat to our planet. "As a council we have set exacting targets to ensure that good environmental practice is at the core of all of our policies to preserve resources for future generations."

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6 Edinburgh News

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

students spot strange lights in night sky Oliver Farrimond oliver.farrimond@journal-online.co.uk

The BrAid hills area of edinburgh played host to some unusual visitors on saturday night. A crowd of eye-witnesses, including several University of edinburgh students, reported seeing strange lights hovering in the sky around 9pm. lyle Brennan, 19, said: “We were trying to find our way home when we saw a series of orange lights rising very slowly into the sky. They appeared to be coming from behind the hill, drifting to a high altitude and eventually extinguishing.

“i’d like to think i’d have fought them off or taken a Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but i’d probably just hide in a bush and weep.” Air traffic controllers from edinburgh Airport noted nothing unusual in the area, and an Army spokeswoman tentatively offered an explanation. "We did have Territorial Army troops carrying out training at dreghorn on saturday, and while we don't know if they used flares, that would be one explanation. "Of course, i can't say for certain. it could have been a genuine UFO sighting." This is the fourth such sighting in the lothian area, according to de-clas-

sified documents recently released by the Government. in 1998, witnesses reported a series of flashing lights over Costorphine hill, and similar incidents have been recorded in leith and east linton. The subject of extra-terrestrial life is a vogue area of scientific research at the moment, with numerous recently published articles devoted to the subject. A fourth year physics student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “Astro-biology is an active area of research. i think there was a planet discovered last year that seemed to show similar conditions to earth so who knows what might be lurking there.”

INVASION: Could we soon be seeing visitors in Edinburgh?

‘intrigue, deception, cross-dressing...’

students to ‘intrigue, deception, cross-dressing...’ be offered subletting options by high-street store Benjamin Edwards benjamin.edwards@journal-online.co.uk

FALSTAFF FALSTAFF All the world’s a joke, but sometimes it’s just not funny. All the world’s a joke, but sometimes it’s just not funny.

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sTUdenTs WhO leAve edinburgh over the summer but are forced to pay rent on their empty flats are being offered a solution by a leading high-street retailer. edinburgh’s landmark department store, Jenners, is offering students who own or rent a flat in the city the opportunity to profit from the massive tourism market over the summer months by organising subletting options with reputable national and international businesses. ed Thomson, chief executive of Jenners Property letting told The Journal: “students are often forced to sign 12-month leases when they are only actually in their flat for ten. The vast majority of student housing, which is in ideal locations such as Marchmont, sits empty for large parts of the summer. “Our initiative will allow students to cover the cost of their rent and also make a profit.” Jenners Property letting are offering to arrange subletting leases for students, allowing them the option to sublet their flats with minimal risks as 95% of their clients are business organisations that arrange accommodation for their staff. Jenners also take care of legal proceedings and their corporate reputation has made property letting agencies more comfortable with allowing their tenants to sublet. Mr Thomson said: “rents during the edinburgh Festival can go for up to three times the regular monthly usual. if the student owns their flat, or are subletting a rented flat, they can make a killing. “students [that rent their accommodation] who are looking to sub-let must get written permission from their landlord/agent. if their landlord/agent is unsure then we will happily discuss the process with them to put their mind at ease.” during August, approximately 70% of festival-goers come from outside the city of edinburgh and demand for accommodation is high. £49 million was spent on accommodation during August last year.


Edinburgh News 7

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Private security patrols proposed for Princes Street Hamish Fergusson hamish.fergusson@journal-online.co.uk

A ProPoSAl to place private security guards on shopping streets in central Edinburgh is being considered by hundreds of local businesses as a means to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. ten uniformed 'Visitor Guides' will offer assistance and information to shoppers while also targeting troublemakers, should a new initiative to establish a Business Improvement District in the area between Princes Street and George Street be implemented. through a number of measures the BID scheme, known as Essential Edinburgh, aims to improve the area’s security, for shoppers and businesses, as well as to improve its appearance, accessibility and commercial profile. the wardens will be among the more visible components of the initiative and are to have a variety of responsibilities. Elinor Jayne, the project’s development manager, told The Journal: “the emphasis is on them being visitor guides but they will have quite a number of roles. they’re to be a welcoming face to the area to welcome visitors and point them in the right direction. But they will also work with businesses and the police to cut down crime.” the wardens would observe activity on the streets and liaise with the police, informing them of individual crimes as well as longer-term patterns of anti-social behaviour. the proposal is closely modelled on the introduction of security personnel to central london six years ago, known as the 'red Caps' on ac-

count of their distinctive headgear. the scheme has met with broad success on regent, oxford and Bond streets, where crime has reportedly fallen by over 12 per cent and businesses are joining waiting lists to set up in the area. As well as providing a helpful and reassuring presence, the red Caps are expected to tackle criminal activity directly by making citizens’ arrests, and have also been charged with asking beggars and homeless people to move out of the area. As yet, these tasks are not part of the responsibilities of the Edinburgh wardens. Ms Jayne told The Journal: “they’re just eyes and ears on the ground at this stage. "It’ll be a matter of seeing how it works and potentially the service will be adjusted as we go along. No-one can move a beggar just for begging, it’s only really for causing a nuisance or being aggressive. If that’s the case then they will work to resolve the problem either directly or by being involved with the police.” the initiative has been put to a vote of 570 businesses in the area, which have until May 23 to make their decision. the BID will then be implemented if 25 per cent of voters agree to the scheme, each of whom will pay an additional levy of 1 per cent of their rateable value. the BID proposal has received a significant amount of support from leading companies and smaller businesses in the area. the managers of the St James’ Centre and Edinburgh branches of House of Fraser and John lewis have urged their neighbours to vote with them in support of the BID. Steve Hudson, director of Digisnaps in Hanover Street, said: "Ed-

Properties urgently required for the Festival Jenners Property Lettings has performers and industry professionals looking to rent furnished accommodation in Edinburgh for the whole of August. We provide a professional and personal service. All types and sizes (3 or more bedrooms in high demand) of properties required. Central locations such as City Centre, Old Town, Pleasance, Holyrood, Meadows, Marchmont, New Town, Brunstfield and Tollcross with close proximity to main Fringe Venues preferred. For more information please contact Ed Thomson.

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inburgh's city centre is special and justifiably famous all over the world. A vote in favour of the BID will be an extremely positive step and will help make the most out of what is a unique resource." Although the scheme is billed as a partnership between local businesses, the council and the police, it has been suggested that the needs of the area should be met by existing business rates rather than with private-sector finance or initiative. Nathalie thomas, writing in Scotland on Sunday, said: "the business zone idea is a good one but only if the services the BID provides are a supplement to, not a substitute for, services that should be provided as standard." However, Enterprise Edinburgh has highlighted the efficiency of a private enterprise of this sort, stating on their website: “A BID is a way of securing sustainable investment for additional services and projects over a 5-year period, without the red tape and bureaucracy that is often associated with public-sector investment. Funds raised are controlled and spent in line with business priorities. Business rates are spent on existing services across the city – they are not ring-fenced to the area in which they are raised.” Nevertheless, further concerns have been raised about the ability of independent businesses in less welloff areas of the city to compete with the attractions of the BID. If approval is received in May, the BID arrangements will be implemented in June. Contracts to operate the Visitor Guides are yet to be put out to tender, and a uniform is still to be designed.

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Student News 9

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

PM faces mutiny over abolition of 10p tax Paris Gourtsoyannis paris.gourtsoyannis@journal-online.co.uk

A BACK BENCH revolt is brewing over the Labour government’s plans to abolish the 10p tax band. Originally put forward in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s last budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2007 the proposals have drawn fierce criticism from Labour MPs who feel that the move penalises low income workers. Led by prominent Labour Party figures, such as former Welfare Minister Frank Field, back benchers are threatening to embarrass the Prime Minister when the measures come to a vote on Monday 28 April. “We have never had a measure where we are being asked to vote for a package that makes 5 million of the poorest people worse off, who are doing exactly what the government has asked people to do, that is work,” Mr Field told the BBC. “It looks to me like this is a train wreck going to happen. I didn't come into politics to make my constituents

who earn £6,000 a year worse off,” one Labour MP told the Guardian. Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs will join any Labour rebels in opposing the government, heightening the chances of a defeat for Mr Brown and the Chancellor, Alastair Darling. The Prime Minister was forced to take time out from the schedule of his trip to the United States last week to avert the resignation of a senior parliamentary aide, Angela Smith, and avoid the embarrassing headlines that would result. While no frontbenchers have yet broken ranks over the policy, the prospect of further resignations remains. Two further aides working under Cabinet Office minister Ed Milliband, have written to the Prime Minister to "to express [their] concerns over the effect that the 10p tax rate abolition will have on [our] constituents.” Proposals to appease dissenting voices within the Labour Party are being leaked to the press in advance of Monday’s debate, with suggestions that the minimum wage could be raised or the tax credit scheme widened attracting most attention.

What the tax changes mean for you Abolished to help pay for tax credits for economically vulnerable members of society, the eradication of the 10p tax band will hit students and pensioners hardest, as they miss out on government benefits for young families or single parents. A student earning anywhere up to £430/month is free from all tax save nominal National Insurance contributions – which themselves have fallen as a result of other measures in the budget currently being debated. However, during the summer months, when students often take on more working hours to help save to cover debts accrued during term time, young people will feel the pinch of the new tax code. A student working full-time at minimum wage earns around £880 per month. Of their income, slightly over £450 is above the taxable threshold. Under the old tax code, their tax burden would be £45, however under the new system, the same student would pay over £90 – put simply, their tax costs have doubled. As this generation of students prepare to graduate into a recession, with a fraught housing market, rising inflation and poor mortgage provision, a 10p increase in taxes will hardly be welcome.

What £45 could have bought you: Two weeks worth of groceries Gas and electricity in a shared four-bedroom flat 56 tracks downloaded from the iTunes store A full tank of petrol for a 1L VW Polo Half the price of a one-night city break in Brussels, travelling by Eurostar from London 25 pints of Carlsberg – £1.75 at the Three Sisters with a student card

What the government says: "We are listening to people's concerns." Angela Eagle, Treasury Minister, speaking on BBC radio “You’ve got to get it into perspective. The basic rate of tax has been cut from 22 to 20p. People will notice that.” ‘Senior government source’ quoted in The Guardian

Student complaints up by 25% Benjamin Edwards benjamin.edwards@journal-online.co.uk

THE NUMBER OF official complaints made by students against their universities has increased by 25% and complaint lawyers rather than universities are to blame, according to the chief adjudicator for higher education. The rise in complaints made to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for universities has been most acutely seen among disgruntled foreign students and older post-graduates. "Barristers and solicitor firms who actively seek to represent students who have a complaint have con-

Five die in gap-year bus crash Martin Howard martin.howard@journal-online.co.uk

FIVE BRITISH WOMEN travelling in South America were killed after the bus they were travelling in crashed in Ecuador earlier this month. The group, four gap-year students and their guide, died after a lorry crashed into their bus on a road between the Ecuadorian towns of Manta and Jipijapa. 12 other Britons were injured in the collision alongside a French national and their Ecuadorian driver. According to local police, the lorry driver fled the scene. Indira Swann (18), Rebecca Logie, Emily Saddler, Lizzie (all 19) and their guide, 26-year old Sarah Howard, were killed on 12 April 2008 after the collision at around 6.30pm local time. The group were travelling from the Ecuadorian capital Quito and the

small, Pacific-coast village of Puerto Lopez. The bus had been travelling all day and was approximately 30 minutes from its destination when the accident occurred. They were three weeks into a 15week “Inca and Amazon venture” run by Warwick-based gap year organisation VentureCo which was due to take them through Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Mark Davidson, chief executive of VentureCo, was surprised that the accident occurred on what is a comparatively safe road. “By the time you get to the coast the terrain is much more undulating, the roads are straighter and the roads are newer," he said. "It's most unexpected to have an accident there. This was an Ecuadorian driver who was reliable, and he was on the home run. We have used that company for many years.”

Ecuadorian police have begun an investigation into the crash which has been welcomed by the acting British Ambassador to the South American country. According to the World Health Organisation, Latin America has some of the world’s highest rates of road fatalities. A disproportionate number of the 1.2 million road deaths per year happen in South America, which is typified by poor roads, dangerously maintained vehicles, excessive speeding and a high instance of drunk driving. One survivor, Sarah Martin, said that she hoped the accident would not stop young people from taking a gap year before university. "I think a year out has a huge amount of benefits, and I think a tragic accident shouldn't be stopping people from travelling," she said during a press conference.

tributed to the rise," said Lady Deech, the chief adjudicator, who blamed a “litigation culture” for the increase. She told The Guardian: "The rise in the number of complaints is due to many more students challenging their degree and exam results. This is probably because there are so many more graduates emerging onto the job market now that graduating with, say, a lower second, is insufficient for success. They want very good marks in order to stand out." "Older students might have given up a job and will be more focused on the employment prospects than the life experience that 18- or 19-yearolds get at university." At present, 6 out of 10 complaints are made by students over the age of

25. Last year, £173,000 compensation was recommended to be given out following 732 complaints. That list is 148 complaints longer than in 2006, when 586 were received. However, Bill Rammell, the higher education secretary, said: “The six hundred complainants represent less than two hundredths of 1% of the student population. "And only a quarter of the complaints received were upheld. That's about 150 cases out of almost three and a half million students in the system." Lady Morgan, the minister for students, said: "We need to hear students' views so that we can help improve the university experience for them and future learners."


10 Student News

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Family speaks out ahead of Kercher hearing

Gumtree scams continue to target international students

Relatives of murdered student voice their disgust as leaks hamper police investigation

Paris Gourtsoyannis paris.gourtsoyannis@journal-online.co.uk

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS HAVE begun in Italy for the case of murdered British exchange student Meredith Kercher, with members of her family in attendance. Ms Kercher, 21, from south London, was killed in the Italian city of Perugia in November while participating in an Erasmus exchange from Leeds University. The graphic details of her murder have shocked the public in Italy and this country: the student was found by police in the flat she shared, naked and with her throat cut. After an initial flurry of accusations between the various suspects, four people were arrested: Ms Kercher’s American flatmate, Amanda Knox; her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito; a Congolese local bar owner, Diya Lumumba; and Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian citizen who was extradited back to Italy in December after fleeing to Germany following the murder. Mr Lumumba has since been released, but remains a suspect. The others remain in custody after being denied bail. Ms Knox originally suggested that

Ms Kercher had been killed while resisting the sexual advances of Mr Lumumba, telling the media that she heard her flatmate screaming after the bar owner had entered her room. Further investigations by Italian police uncovered evidence that Ms Kercher may have been killed as part of a forced violent group sex ‘game’ involving Mr Sollecito and with the full knowledge of Ms Knox. However, the investigation has been rocked in recent weeks by rev-

Meridith Kercher: murdered in Italy while on the ERASMUS European exchange program elations which undermine both the suspects’ alibis, as well as the official case against them. In January, an Albanian man approached the authorities in Perugia claiming that Ms Knox had been in the company of her co-accused—despite the fact that Sollecito and Guede claim never to have met—when she threatened him with a knife following a car accident. On 16 April the police case was undermined by the release of the report from a second autopsy on Ms Kercher’s

body, which suggested she had engaged in sexual intercourse, but had not been raped. Most damaging to the police investigation, however, has been the steady trickle of leaks to the media of details pertaining to the case, culminating in the broadcast on local Italian television of a police videotape of the crime scene which shows Ms Kercher’s dead body. Addressing the media ahead of the hearing in which it will be decided what charges can be brought against the suspects, Lyle Kercher, the victim’s brother, spoke of his family’s displeasure with the unfolding controversy. He said: “We have been a bit disappointed with some of the information that has been leaked, both with the frequency and the content of the leaks; none more so than the images and the photos that were leaked a few weeks ago. “Of course this was, in our opinion, in poor taste and unnecessary. “All that we can hope is that we can work together to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. Despite attempts to discredit evidence and undermine the process, we have confidence in the police and the forensic experts, our legal team and Italian justice.” All four suspects deny murdering Ms Kercher.

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PURPOSE To assist and support the Communications Team with the successful achievement of events, marketing and communications outcomes. Must have new media skills (e.g. Facebook, bebo). Apply in writing to: HR Department, Victim Support Scotland, 15/23 Hardwell Close, Edinburgh, EH8 9RX.

For an application pack please contact the HR Department, Victim Support Scotland on 0131 662 5441 (24-hr answer machine) or e-mail jobs@victimsupportsco.org.uk

Closing date for applications is May 8, 2008.

Matthew MacLeod matt@journal-online.co.uk

STUDENTS IN EDINBURGH continue to be targeted by fraudsters offering to rent flats which do not exist. Japanese research student Jun-ya Shoji recently paid a £700 deposit to secure a tenancy in a shared flat, but upon arriving in Edinburgh found that the property did not exist. The microbiology student is understood to be the latest victim in a spate of fake accommodation scams targeting international students coming to Edinburgh. The Journal reported on a similar case in November 2007, where five Napier University international students were tricked out of hundreds of pounds. The 28-year-old found the flat after posting an advert on the Edinburgh Gumtree website from his home in Tokyo. A woman responded to his request, asking for a deposit of two months' rent to be transferred through Western Union. Mr Soji became suspicious when the woman asked for an additional three months' rent to secure the tenancy—which he was unable to pay—and cancelled the agreement. However, it was not until he arrived in the city that Mr Shoji realised the degree of the swindle, when he was unable to contact the woman or reclaim

his money. Mr Shoji is currently living with an acquaintance—Mrs Purnima Kaura— in Newington, while he searches for another room. Mrs Kaura said: "I went to look for this flat and it doesn't exist. We went to the police and there is a big hoax going on." A police spokesman confirmed they were investigating the matter. The International Student Advisory Service (ISAS) advises students to refrain from paying deposits until they

Gumtree: one of the most popular websites in the UK, urges safe practise online have viewed the property and ensured it is up to standard. International students are at a greater risk of being targeted by fake rental scams, due to the difficulty of arranging viewings. In November, A spokesperson from Gumtree told The Journal: “Unfortunately we are aware, despite our best efforts, of this kind of fraud being attempted from time to time on Gumtree. We advise users against the use of Western Union because in our experience these forms of money transfer are favoured by fraudsters."

Our vision is A Scotland where the needs of the people affected by crime are at the centre of the justice system To improve the wellbeing of people in Scotland who are affected by crime by providing the best possible service. We provide free and confidential help to all victims and witnesses of crime We are proud of our volunteer force which helps to deliver services to our Victim and Witness sectors. Last year we had more than 100,000 referrals to the Victim Service and more than 80,000 referrals to the Witness service.

We need volunteers to help support our work, and help with fundraising Anyone interested can apply to: info@victimsupportsco.org.uk or write to Victim Support Scotland, 15/23 Hardwell Close, Edinburgh, EH8 9RX. Tel: 0131 668 4486


Academic News 11

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Diabetes twice as common Edinburgh researchers create among poor, study finds synthetic human chromosome Graham Mackay graham.mackay@journal-online.co.uk

THOSE LIVING IN poorer areas in Edinburgh are as much as twice as likely to contract diabetes than those from wealthier areas, according to a study conducted by academics from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. According to the study, 4.2 per cent of those living in the most deprived areas of the Lothians have diabetes compared to 2.4 per cent in more affluent areas. Surprisingly, the Edinburgharea also has a worse debetes rate than deprived areas of Glasgow, where 3.2 per cent are sufferers. Speaking to The Journal, Dr Sarah Wild, senior lecturer in epidemiology and public health at Edinburgh University, said: "The key message of the paper is that risk factors for heart disease among people with diabetes that can be treated with tablets such as blood pressure and high cholesterol are at similar levels regardless of deprivation, showing that health services appear to be equitable, but lifestyle risk

factors such as smoking and obesity are more common in deprived than affluent populations and are much more difficult to address." Type-2 diabetes, the form of diabetes that tends to develop in adulthood and may not require insulin treatment, is the most common form of diabetes and accounts for 85-90% of all cases of diabetes in the UK. The largest contributory factor to the disease is obesity, and patterns of diabetes generally correlate with areas where the population is overweight or have poor diet. “This is the major concern," said Dr Wild. "Fantastic improvements have been made in heart disease but that is now starting to level off, or even increase, because of higher diabetes prevalence. "If children are starting to develop diabetes – it used to affect people during middle age – they will be living with it for longer, and will have more time to develop problems such as heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. "So it is a concern that we are seeing more and more people with diabetes."

Neil Bennet neil.bennet@journal-online.co.uk

SCIENTISTS FROM THE University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences have created a synthetic human chromosome, it was revealed last week. In research published in the journal Developmental Cell, the team, working with other researchers in the US and Japan, used the synthetic chromosome to study properties of dividing cells. Chromosomes are the large continuous pieces of DNA that house the genetic material in the nucleus of the cell. During cell division chromosomes must be split exactly equally between two new cells – a process facilitated by attachment to a centromere, a region in the middle of the chromosome from which it can be pulled apart. The Edinburgh researchers have succeeded in creating a synthetic centromere whose components can be turned on and off, allowing them to

study its effects in isolation. Most cases of Down’s syndrome are caused when chromosome 21 fails to split evenly, and the sufferer ends up with all or part of an extra copy of the chromosome. Other such occurrences can lead to miscarriage, birth defects and to cancer in children and adults. It is hoped that the synthetic chromosome will give researchers greater insight into the mechanisms of cell division and why it can sometimes go wrong. The research, conduced alongside the National Institutes of Health in the US and Nagoya University in Japan, was funded by the Wellcome Trust. Professor William Earnshaw, from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, part of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “This is a breakthrough – for the first time we can grab hold of this important part of a chromosome in living cells and study how it works in great detail. This research has potential importance in many areas, most notably in cancer research.”

News Shorts :: wear them PAIN-T BALL A woman was shot in the face by a paintball-gun toting thug on a car showcourt in Portobello last week. The 34-year old was wandering around the Arnold Clark showroom on Seafield Road East when she was hit from close range by a pink paintball pellet. The woman was taken to hospital by paramedics. Arnold Clark Motorstore manager Paul Brown said:

"Kevin was showing her round the cars when she all of a sudden collapsed. The paintball had hit her in the face, and if it had been a few centimetres higher it could have taken her eye out.

WIKI-AYE, WIKI-NAW A UK-based web development, entering it's public betatesting, is looking to become the next big thing online: a social debating website.

David Crane, CEO and founder of Debatewise.com, said: "The aim of Debatewise is to further debate and to start where Wikipedia ends.

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Aiming to be the "Wikipedia of debates", Debatewise. com offers people the chance to do intellectual battle with others all over the world on a wide range of burning issues from the news cycle.

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Recruitment

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Recruitment 13

Students in a smarter Scotland Scottish Education Minister Fiona Hyslop makes the argument for a better-educated Scotland

A

LBERT EINSTEIN ONCE said we should never regard study as a duty, but as an enviable opportunity. It’s a statement that is undoubtedly true, and to university students battling to cram in lectures, tutorials, essays and other study, it must be easy to forget. University can be a fairly hard slog. We often hear about the vibrant social life of Scotland’s students, and I know the brimming study calendar is more then enough to keep anyone busy. People’s student days are often referred to as the best of their life, but rarely are they labelled as quiet. In amongst all the hustle and bustle of university life, students also face the daunting question of what they will do when they leave. It’s a natural apprehension, wondering how the skills and knowledge learned will transfer to the workplace. I want to reassure Scotland’s university students that their efforts are central to this government’s vision of creating a smarter, more successful county. People and their potential are any nation’s greatest asset. That’s why we are working to expand opportunities for all Scots to succeed, through university access, and by developing a lifelong learning agenda so everyone gets the chance to improve their skills. For Scotland to be all it can be, then all our people need to develop skills, in the widest sense, so they can fulfil their potential. By increasing sustainable economic growth, we can create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish. Our university graduates have a crucial part to play in all of this. We know that our levels of research, innovation and the higher education system in general are regarded as world class. Yet that doesn’t mean we will be complacent and by continuing to cultivate strong economic conditions we can create more opportunities for highly skilled graduates. University is all about fostering and stretching ambition. In Scotland, we have a proud egalitarian tradition and I want to build on that, removing barriers that hold people back and giving more people the chance to realise their potential. Education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. We know the fear of debt can be a real deterrent, discouraging many promising students from going to university. That’s why this government has moved swiftly to scrap the unfair graduate endowment fee, ending the £2,289 charge for tens of thousands of students. I firmly believe everyone should be given the chance to share in Scotland’s success. Fee costs can also be a particular barrier for part-time students. So, in December, we announced a package of £38 million in grants to help ease their

debt burden. Not only will it relieve pressures on part-time students on low incomes but it will open up new opportunities for people considering part-time study to retrain or build their skills for the changing needs of our economy. We are determined that opportunity should be extended as widely as possible. Scotland can be proud of its diverse, vibrant student community and we are building on that – providing opportunities for young asylum seekers and the children of asylum seekers to go to university and exploring better support for students who are disabled. There are undoubtedly challenges facing universities in Scotland

over the coming decades. We must ensure Scotland continues to be at the forefront of higher education provision, which is why we have set up the Future Thinking Taskforce to ensure the contribution of universities is optimised. Making sure everyone can invest in and apply learning will also help to generate the attitudes, ideas and technologies to improve health, wellbeing and the environment. Such achievements will help drive wealth creation and fairness by putting opportunities to succeed within everyone's reach and making full use of people's skills. This has to be about change in the system. Society has moved on

from the days when people had to accept what they were offered. We must open learning and our institutions up to a new and wider range of learners. Learning to learn will be essential in the new knowledge economy. Candidates demonstrate their ability to exhibit intellectual ability and learning skills to a standard, depth and level which gives employers confidence in their ability to perform. My vision for success in this area is very simple. I want to ensure that what you know matters more than who you know, that what you can do overrides what you can’t do and that where you’re going matters more than where you have come from.


14 Recruitment

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Recruitment Special

Networking your way through the recruitment minefield finding the people who can help you into the job you want is the biggest favour a graduate can do for themselves, says Phaedon Gourtsoyannis

L

ooking for A job as a recent graduate – a task that a university education does not necessarily prepare you for – can be fairly daunting. Having recently been through the process of deciding where i wanted to work, applying and interviewing with those companies, i was surprised to discover how helpful it was to “network” through each phase of my job search. it is probably worth mentioning that “networking” is one of those overused corporate terms that every job seeker frequently runs into. in this instance, by networking i mean simply the act of seeking out and speaking to people that have some connection to a potential employer. Before embarking on my own job search, i remember doubting that i would be able to find contacts to speak to who would actually prove to be helpful. i was pleasantly surprised not only by the ease with which i did

find people to get in touch with, but also their willingness to provide assistance and advice. in my case, the best source of contacts was my university’s alumni network, which provided me with names and details of individuals with links to almost every company i was looking into. Many of my friends and acquaintances were also able to find me helpful people to speak to at companies i was interested in. Though i personally didn’t call on them, i know many people who found valuable contacts through their parents and other family relations as well. The importance of networking quickly became apparent to me during the first phase of my job search – figuring out what i wanted to do. Job descriptions can be remarkably poor at conveying any real sense of what one will actually be doing day to day. i found that talking to as many

people as i could about what they were doing and what i wanted to do really helped me start to clarify what industries and companies i should be looking at. When i began sending out applications, talking to people who worked or had worked at the companies to which i was applying was also incredibly useful. Most potential employers are looking for specific qualities in job applicants and i found that through networking i was able to get a much better understanding of what those criteria were. This helped me tailor my CV and covering letter to each specific company as well as helping me identify the companies i was best suited to. Many organisations want to see that you have an understanding not only of what they do but of what their specific values are. By gaining an understanding of these and demonstrating this understanding in your

application, you are much more likely to be invited to interview. it is also worth mentioning that current employees at many companies may be willing to act as a referrer for your application. While the impact of this on your application is debatable and no doubt varies depending on the company in question, being referred by an existing employee will definitely not do any harm. As is the case for most people, i was only invited to interview with a few of the companies to which i had applied. Having spoken to others who had been through the interview process with the same organisa-

tions proved very helpful. While you are unlikely to be able to reduce the amount of time spent preparing, having a good sense of what the criteria you will be evaluated on are is invaluable. At the very least, speaking to past candidates will ensure that you don’t find yourself surprised by the interview process. While at first i was reluctant to reach out to people with whom i had no previous contact, i was surprised by how willing the vast majority of people i spoke to were to provide advice. i would encourage anyone starting a job search to try to network if for no other reason than to ensure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Phaedon Gourtsoyannis, a 2005 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, has recently been hired by a leading global management consultancy firm.

Extra-curricular activity Work experience is almost as important as your degree in finding a graduate job Devon Walshe devon@journal-online.co.uk

“P

roCrAsTinATion is THe art of putting off until tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday”. of the many conventional images that we find levelled against students, few are as widely observable amongst the glut of things we get up to as the art of getting up to

absolutely nothing at all. As laundry, revision and personal hygiene can seem unconquerable beasts in the early stages of a degree, a much more fickle beast looms as we finish our degrees - our careers. Unfortunately the heady days of dirty undergarments and 1PM starts to the day do ill to prepare some for the frothing mad competition that can be faced as a graduate. According to the Association of graduate Careers Advisory services, the most important aspect to your

candidacy after your degree qualification is work experience and additional skills attained while studying for your degree. But getting experience can be a challenging chicken and egg scenario without a starting point or personal connections. Carol Matthews, chair of the Chartered institute of Public relations scotland suggests that one of the best ways to overcome this issue is to get involved with a professional body. “The trade organisation of your

chosen field will not only provide valuable advice to help with your studies, but may also provide a mentoring service or open doors to future employment. Many professional bodies offer students help with finding placements during their studies or for a year out in industry” she says. An encouraging example of how this can work in your favor is given by student Bill ranatunga, who in february used support from CiPr to carry out a successful networking event involving students from across

edinburgh and training sessions from industry professionals. “i really recommend doing as much work experience as possible while you’re at University, even if it’s for free. it’ll look great on your CV and you’ll be more certain whether, whatever industry it is, is the right move for you. “You have to manage your time a lot better, but if it’s something you enjoy, it just becomes a part of being you.”


Recruitment 15

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

How hairy armpits can get you a job at The Guardian British Press Awards nominee, Helen Pidd, talks about her career in journalism

I

AM PRETTY SURE I have my armpit hair to thank for my journalism career. If I hadn’t decided to let it all hang out during my second year at Edinburgh – and write about it in a double page spread in Student, complete with photos – I would quite possibly not be a reporter at The Guardian now. The resulting article won me Student Journalist of the Year at The Herald’s student media awards and runner-up Best Feature Writer at The Guardian’s gongs in 2002, and I was off. Within months I was writing regularly for The Herald and The Guardian, and the summer I graduated (with a first in German – not that it ever made any difference to my career. Nobody ever even bloody asked) I received a call from the editor of G2, The Guardian’s feature section, offering me a job. So that would be my first piece of advice to any budding journalist – produce one, brilliant, shameless article that gets everyone talking. Do something a bit weird, or brave (I’m not saying that shunning the razor for a year was in any way courageous, by the way, though strangers did stop me in George Square after the article came out and whisper how “brave” I was), and you stand a better chance than most at getting noticed than if you spend your whole time writing match reports of the intramural hockey. Witness Johann Hari, the Independent columnist, who hit the bigtime in 2002 when, still a student, he wrote a piece for G2 about how he infiltrated the far-right by shagging a neo-Nazi. Shamelessness generally is a very important quality for journalists. I’ve done all sorts of stupid things for my job at an allegedly serious newspaper – spent a day being rude to people in Perth the day it was voted Britain’s most polite town, come to the office dressed as Madonna for some ill-

advised fashion feature and written a 2000-word piece on my favourite places to have a wee, to name but three. While I’m on the topic, can I just say that it’s also important sometimes to say no. I once refused point blank to try to sneak into the Sun’s offices with a fake bomb for a media story. And the other week I had a tantrum when the newsdesk wanted me to wear a stab-proof vest on the mean streets of Peckham, south London, to prove some tenuous point about knife crime. Anyway, I digress. Once I had won an award, I decided it was about time someone paid me for my genius, so I started spending a lot less time in the Pleasance basement messing around with my Student chums and concentrated my energy on freelancing. This I managed through a combination of bare-faced cheek, luck and two good work experience placements at The Herald and The Guardian. Work experience is pretty essential for all journalists, even those hateful, all too numerous sods whose mummies and daddies already have a column in a national newspaper. Just don’t let any media organisation take you for a ride. No one should work for free for more than a month. I did a fortnight. And when you get a placement, don’t mess it up by being an arse. When I did my stints, I didn’t think I was doing anything extraordinary, but having watched numerous “workies” flounder at The Guardian and generally make everyone want to kill them, I realise the tack I employed was a good one. All I did was make sure I had read all the papers in the run-up to my placement, then turned up, bombarded the editors with ideas, offered to make tea and do just about anything to make everyone’s lives easier without being annoying. Gross, I know. But the result was that while I did spend one long morning opening competition entries for some tedious Education Guardian competition, I

did end my placement with loads of articles with my name on them for my mum to cut out. And, just as importantly, contacts. One other thing I did, prior to all the awards stuff, was get in touch with the journalist I admired most at that time, The Guardian’s chief interviewer, Simon Hattenstone. I think I wrote him an email saying, “I think you’re great. I do interviews for the student paper. Can I call you for some advice?” To his immense credit, he replied. He still helps me today. What also helped was setting up and running my own magazines. I did a music fanzine for a while, and in the second year of university set up Fest, a publication covering the Edinburgh Festivals that is still going strong six years on. Sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk at The Guardian, writing some boring story about the weather or something, I think back to my time in Edinburgh and think, ahhhhhhh, those were the days. Then I remember

that I was broke and had to go to lectures and read Goethe and stuff, and realise I’m quite happy where I am, thank you very much. So what’s it like being a reporter for The Guardian? Well. I love it. For someone with a hint of attention deficit disorder, it can’t be beaten. Monday might see me in court covering some horrible rape trial, Tuesday I might be knocking on doors on an estate trying to gather information about the latest teen murder, Wednesday I might be writing something frivolous for G2, Thursday I’m in the office tracking breaking news and Friday I’m working on an investigation. What other job would offer that variety? That’s a typical week as a news reporter, anyway. My first two years at The Guardian were spent writing and editing on G2. Then I decided I had had enough of being in the office too much, so lobbied my bosses to move from features to news. By some mir-

acle, they let me, and even seconded me for almost a whole year to retrain. They sent me to Sheffield University to do their excellent print journalism course, where I learnt shorthand, media law and other extremely useful things I would never have paid myself to gain. People always ask me whether it’s worth doing a post-grad journalism course and I would say it depends. If you want to be a news reporter, it will help. If you’re interested in sport, features or arts, it might not be worth the money. You’d be better off working to fund your work experience placements. But it worked for me. A month or so after finishing my exams, I got a job on news. Does that answer everything? Hope so. One last thing: I shaved it off. Helen Pidd is a reporter for The Guardian. She was nominated for the 2008 Young Reporter of the Year award at this year's British Press Awards

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16 Recruitment

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Recruitment 17

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Recruitment Special

Getting under your I

N A SMALL central London room a fiery debate has just erupted. “I just think it’s not that simple,” says Lucy Kirkwood, 24. “Female friendships are more complicated than that.” The rest of the group she is sat within sits up from their coffees, waiting for the reply of the middleaged man chairing the meeting. “Lucy,” he says with a hint of frustration, “for me female relationships are about power, are about control. That is what all the girls we talked with have said.” There is a pause. Everyone sits back to think again and takes a swig of coffee. On first appearances it could be a particularly engaged university tutorial. Over ten people are stuffed onto sofas, most of them in their teens and early twenties, and each has been passionately arguing their position for several hours. But there are a couple of mature students sat among the youngsters, one of whom looks suspiciously like the comedian Robin Ince. There is also a kid in the corner sipping from a juice carton who, from a different angle, could be the spitting image of Posh Kenneth from Skins. Just as everyone is about to leave a cheery announcement comes from the chair that settles any lingering confusion: “Congratulations on the Bafta nomination guys!” If you haven’t seen or even heard of Skins yet you are presumably a resident of a particularly out of touch old people's home, or might have had your cable connection accidentally switched to North Korean state television. In two seasons the show’s chronicling of the trials and tribulations of a group of sixth form students from Bristol has gone from a semicult hit adored by its target audience of under 25s to one of Channel 4’s triumphs of the last five years. Where most depictions of British teens fall somewhere between gun-toting hoodies and bleach blonde proto-WAGs, the creators of Skins pride themselves on having crafted a show about young people that neither shirks from controversial issues, nor paints a overly rosy picture. Indeed, with awards, high ratings and a new season in the pipeline it seems things could not be going better. “It’s not usually that heated,” says 23 year-old Skins co-creator Jamie Brittain an hour after the writers meeting, seemingly more relaxed now away from the creative coalface. “This time round was a little more intense than normal as we are obviously all excited about making the new series.” It would certainly be hard not to be excited in his position. Not only does he have to sort his laundry for an award ceremony later that night but his phone has been ringing constantly with mysterious calls from Japanese numbers. “The explanation for that is a bit strange really. When we were filming one of the online bits I accidentally left my phone number in one of the scenes after the edit. Now I am getting constant calls from Japan from people there who watched it.” Being ‘big in Japan’ is of course a measure of success in any field. But it

Skins Miles Johnson speaks to the writing team behind the hit Channel 4 drama

It seems more of the British television-watching public are beginning to awaken to the fact that Skins is not merely a fancy exercise in new media or empty pandering to a ‘youth demographic’

is not only the show’s ‘conventional’ success of good ratings and awards that have seen television industry types get their pantaloons in a twist. Targeting a teen audience notoriously difficult to pin down, the show’s new media promotional tools of blogs, Myspace profiles and podcasts – a development now referred to as ‘360 degree marketing’ by those in the know – has had executives across the land weeping with envy. If, for example, you felt the need to get closer to the show’s young Asian character Anwar you could check up on his Myspace page. There you would not only discover his penchant for Lethal Bizzle but would also have access to a webexclusive video diary with the character discussing his girl problems. Head to Posh Kenneth’s page and the fans can enjoy a loving Wordsworthian ode to Jal interspersed with his signature brand of street patois. If your appetite for all things Skins were still not sated you could switch to iTunes and download the podcast presented by Daniel Kaluuya, the actor who plays Posh Kenneth and who is also a writer on the show. Including phone in questions from audience members and interviews with the cast, the ‘Skinscast’, as it has been termed, was at one point the most downloaded podcast on the iTunes playlist. Alongside the overall quality of the programme itself, it seems clear that the multi-platform ingenuity of Skins has enabled it to reach and hold onto a loyal audience in ways previous shows could only dream of. It is, in its own way, the defining televisual project of the British YouTube generation. But at a point in television where television executives and producers are increasingly heralding the possibilities brought by new media platforms, do the writers of the show ever feel their creation is being distorted by the marketing men? “There is obviously a gulf between what the show says and how Skins is marketed,” says Lucy Kirkwood, one of the writers on the show. “But I think there is something quite fun about the marketing. I really like this season’s advertising campaign. It captures the spirit of the show and is quite dark.” Ben Schiffer, another writer agrees: “I think it would be really churlish of us to complain about the marketing as it brought us an audience and that’s great.” Schiffer, however, sees the significant noise made about Skins’ various multi-platform tentacles more as a generational issue than as something specific to the show. “Whenever I mention Skins to people it's always the people who work in the media who are interested in the multi-platform stuff. They are always the people who are like, ‘Skins, oh yes, it’s the big multi-platform thing and you guys have done this, this and this.’ They are the people that seem to find it so new and interesting. But for the audience I think it somehow feels natural to them. They don’t find it particularly remarkable and that is why I think it is successful. We are communicating with them on a really natural level

which isn’t new or strange for them.” Daniel Kaluuya also sees the success of the podcast he presents and the Skins blogs and Myspace presence as being a natural progression to suit an audience that has grown up with the internet, rather than a novel marketing ploy. “The important thing to realise is that all the online stuff helps the fans get more into the characters. We just take the characters seriously. On the podcast its not like we just say, oh these are make believe characters, this is a make believe land and these things aren’t really happening. It is a TV show that quite a few people really care about and so we always take it quite seriously whether it's online or not.” Schiffer agrees: “that is why Skins is perceived to be such a success – we are the only show which has really captured that audience. Advertisers are desperate to hit the audience that we’ve captured. And we work because we don’t condescend to them.” In a suitably 21st century take on the creative process the writers also recognise the possibilities medialike blogs allow them for character development. While pre-internet shows simply relied on scripts in the traditional manner, the creation of Myspace pages for the characters places a new developmental tool into the hands of the writers. “If you looked at Chris’ Myspace page last year he actually became much more fleshed out because of it,” says Lucy Kirkwood. “You see that he likes Adam and the Ants and can find out much more about his character than would normally be possible. Skins is about a group of friends and the whole appeal in the first series was about meeting a group of people you would have wanted to be friends with if you knew them. When you first make friends you sort of do what a Myspace page does by saying, 'do you like this or that,' what are your top five bands? ‘Do you hate cheese’, ‘yeah I hate cheese’. It’s like an electronic friendship. It allows you to show a side of the characters that might seem forced if it were in the show.” Each of the writers contributes to the online features by writing blogs and video snippets for the characters, a side to the show that allows a young pool of talent to cut their teeth away from the glare of terrestrial television before graduating to penning hour long scripts. But the writers are also quick to emphasise that they don’t see the online material being in any way less important than the show proper. “All the online material comes from the same place as the show comes from so we all try and aspire to the same level,” says Schiffer. “No one ever goes, 'oh it's just for the internet so we’ll just bang it out.' We are trying to broaden out the universe of the show rather than just providing lame ancillary storylines just because we heard it was a good marketing tool.” But are they ever worried about the potential for the online content and podcast to become a gimmick and distract from the more serious side of the show? “The audience doesn’t view

Targeting a teen audience notoriously difficult to pin down, and the show’s new media promotional tools of blogs, Myspace profiles and podcasts has had executives across the land weeping with envy

it that way,” says Schiffer. “I don’t think our audience makes any qualitative difference between watching something on Myspace and watching something on telly. It’s not worse or immediately lower status because you watched it on the internet, its just the same thing so I don’t think it is seen as a gimmick.” Jamie agrees: “I don’t think that is the case,” he says. “The podcast did very well so it obviously reached a lot of people who don’t view it as a gimmick. All the material is very well read and very well commented on and discussed. It seems to do well in getting people talking about the show and contributing to it through competitions and that can only be a good thing.” While they are rightly confident that the multi-platform approach has helped rather than hindered Skins' aim of portraying British teenage life

in a realistic but entertaining way, the first series’ pre-air marketing campaign (featuring a bunch of handsome actors looking elegantly wasted) gave some the wrong first impression. The Guardian’s TV critic Charlie Brooker said that the first episode had him “harrumphing like a four hundred year old man”. Since though, Brooker and many others have repented, and now recognise the greater levels of depth the writers have strived to instil into the characterisation of storylines. Skins is now well-known for featuring delicate issues in its plot lines such as anorexia, drug consumption and race. “The first ever episode did have its faults but I think we have since shown we can deal with complicated issues and entertain young people,” says Jamie. Another writer on the show Atiha Sen Gupta agrees: “I think that the Skins philosophy is really, taking

a character that could be a stereotype but doing it well. In Series One we had an anorexic girl but we subverted it. That is what gives the show its strength and what makes it work.” There has also been the odd critical voice attacking the show for glamorising drug consumption and casual sex, an argument the writers feel is unjustified. “People are going to take drugs and throw big parties whether there were Skins or not,” says Sen Gupta. This is also a point Daniel Kaluuya feels particularly strongly about: “I think is was Eminem who said something about people not being able to handle looking in the mirror and not liking what they see. Skins isn’t trying to glorify drugs, people just take them. People do drugs and have sex so if we are trying to write something realistic why can’t we put them in the show?” Puritans aside, it seems more of

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the British television-viewing public are beginning to awaken to the fact that Skins is not merely a fancy exercise in new media or empty pandering to a ‘youth demographic’, but is actually a show that could stand the test of time. On that matter Jamie, for whom the show’s characters were once merely vague ideas, is philosophical: “I think it would be arrogant of us to think we impact upon people's lives in any major way, but its clear this show means a lot to the people who watch it. We aren’t sure how long it will go on for but we are definately going to do another series after the next. It means a lot to us and we just want to keep it running for as long as feels right,” And with a talented and passionate gang of writers, an innovative approach to new media, and of course all those calls from Japan, Skins could probably continue for as long as they wish.

Trinity College Dublin The University of Dublin

Trinity is one of the world’s leading universities, ranked 13th in Europe and 53rd in the World (Times Higher Educational Supplement global rankings 2007). Trinity’s strategy encompasses all major academic disciplines, and is committed to world-class research activities in key areas across science, engineering, medicine, arts and social science. Full details of all our postgraduate taught courses and information on research opportunities are given in the Postgraduate Prospectus which is available online and from the Graduate Studies Office, Arts Building, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.

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Dean of Graduate Studies

Email

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www.tcd.ie/Graduate_Studies Undergraduate and Extramural

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18 Recruitment

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Recruitment Special

Consider teaching first Katie Mort, from UK charity Teach First, explains why teaching may be the best option for you

A

RE YOU LOOKING for a challenge? Do you want to give something back? Do you want a job with direct responsibility from day one? Do you enjoy your subject? Do you want to develop business skills? If you have said yes to any of these it is worth considering Teach First. Set up five years ago, the charity has already opened the eyes of thousands of children across the UK, released a policy document, been graded outstand-

ing by Ofsted - the board of schools inspectors - and substantially raised the attainment of children in complex urban schools in the UK. Teach First is an independent charity launched in July 2002. Its mission is to address educational disadvantage by transforming exceptional graduates into effective and inspirational teachers and leaders in all fields. As an organisation, our aims are: to recruit over 350 additional teachers a year by

recruiting, training and placing graduates for an initial two years in challenging secondary schools throughout London, the North West and the Midlands; to attract exceptional graduates from leading UK universities who would not otherwise choose to teach but, with the right training and support, relish the opportunity to make a difference to the life-chances of pupils in the most challenging schools; and to build a new generation of leaders committed to advancing education beyond their two-year commitment to Teach First, regardless of whether they remain in teaching. On the other side of the coin, you will complete a bespoke leadership development programme at Tanaka School of Business and the Institute of Education at Imperial College. The leadership course is supported by more than 80 of the UK’s most prestigious employers all of whom recognise and value the skills and experience developed in teaching. These organisations include; Capgemini, Capital One, Citigroup, Clifford Chance, HSBC, KPMG, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, Shell, Credit Suisse, First Boston, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Goldman Sachs, and UBS. You are encouraged to take part in one of our fantastic internships in any sector after your first year. Not only will you explore that field but you will also learn about how other organisations are run and enjoy an experience to weave into your rich tapestry of life. Alongside

those internships offered by our supporters you could work in any organisation from social enterprise to the Government, from banking to Teachers TV. There are also skills training sessions (such as ‘How to manage your manager!’ sometimes a crucial workshop if you want to get things done in a school) and chances to be paired up with a mentor, a professional from any sector. You will attend lectures in Marketing, Strategy and Finance to help with a role in school management or another career choice. Overall you will build towards your Teach First Diploma certificate. Upon graduating from the programme, you will become an Ambassador of Teach First. This glorious title is not to make for a mere talking point, more to support you in the positive impacts that you can still make in education. Roughly half our ambassadors move out of teaching, to lead in other fields. You will have the opportunity to use the experiences and insights you have gained in teaching to inform future decision-making in a way that will positively impact education. Our 70 Edinburgh ambassadors have already paved their way at Unilever, the Council of Economic Advisors, Deloitte to list just a few. Already this year, 22 budding Edinburgh graduates will be starting on their Teach First journeys. Each of these individuals will have a different adventure interacting

with hundreds of children, their families and their colleagues on a daily basis. Teach First encourages graduates to recognise teaching as one of the few professions where they can really make a difference in society through improving the life chances of young people, while also developing transferable skills in a highly challenging environment. Pedram Parasmand, a Physics graduate from Imperial College describes the experience: “When you know that you’ve got through to someone and helped them understand, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.” Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost, UCL comments: “At UCL, we set out to provide our students with an education for the challenges of global citizenship: to encourage them to develop academically, but also personally and socially. Teaching is an ideal career for our graduates: a chance to work directly with young people, to contribute to their development, and to channel academic knowledge into a tool which encourages others to be ambitious for themselves and to achieve their full potential.” Jo Owen, a former partner with Accenture and Capgemini explains: “Future leaders learn early on the tough skills of managing people, leadership, initiative and entrepreneurialism. Teach First helps graduates gain these skills – skills for a lifetime that lead to the top.”


Recruitment 19

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Ascending the Ivory Tower PhD student Sam Friedman muses on pursuing a career in academia

C

OMING FROM A family of academics, one of the earliest promises I made myself was never to follow in the dreary footsteps of my parents. Locked up in a darkened room for most of the day and wheeled out only for the occasional conference or lecture, most of the academics I met in my youth were socially awkward, patronising and violently uncool. It was therefore not much of a surprise that when I began looking around for career ideas it was the glamorous world of journalism that attracted most of my attention. For three undergraduate years I threw myself into all kinds of writing, rising up the ranks of the Edinburgh Student, running my own Fringe publication and gaining experience everywhere from The Guardian to The Big Issue. I was sure it was the life of a fast-paced, high-energy hack that I craved and with graduation approaching, things were going to plan. However, one day in the summer before my final year, things suddenly changed. After an incredibly stressful shift running around with a Canadian TV journalist, I started to see a few cracks in my masterplan. Staring at this underpaid, undervalued and probably quite unwell 42-year old, I suddenly saw a terrible caricature of

my chosen profession. I was also beginning to feel increasingly frustrated with the temporal limitations of journalism, where I was usually expected to master a topic in a matter of hours and where the kind of substantial investigative work I loved was few and far between. It was also around this time that I began researching for my undergraduate dissertation, looking at the bizarre world of online gamers. I was struck by the time and freedom I had to breathe life into the project and slowly saw how outside reading enhanced the clarity of my thoughts. Put simply, over the following months I became a geek, a full-blown nerd, and my entire final year was spent in pursuit of that elusive first. I'm not sure you strictly 'need' a first to go into academia but it certainly helps. A lot. Midway through my final year I decided to start looking for Masters courses. I knew I wanted to follow the herd to London, but with my subject being sociology good postgrad options were scarce. I finally decided on London School of Economics, mainly due to reputation, but also stupidly because I was seduced by the fact they demanded a first. Thankfully, I got my first and trotted down to The Big Smoke, full of en-

thusiasm and ambition. Eight months later the ambition remains but the enthusiasm has taken a bit of a battering. London is not the place to be an impoverished student and LSE not the best academic environment. Crammed full of the world's future elite, egos jostle for position throughout the tiny campus. And then there are the fees. LSE is a powerful international brand and somehow gets away with charging extortionate tuition fees. Thankfully, a combination of savings, grandparents and a very supportive father has helped me through. But it hasn't been easy. I currently live in "Britain's gun-crime capital" in South East London and I think our house is the only one in the borough which hasn't been burgled. Only last week our next door neighbour’s was broken into. The burglars were so enthusiastic they knocked the front door down so hard it completely came off its hinges. The poor old lady had no front door for the next week. A bit of a contrast from the tame utopias of Bruntsfield and Marchmont, anyway. The other thing to remember about the 'academic route' is that a Masters is less about indulging intellectual whims and more about learning the craft of research. In the case of 135087a (Unilever) sociology, this has meant courses and

courses of statistics. For those wishing to go further, a large part of a Masters is also taken up agonising over a PhD proposal. And the big issue is funding. Again, you don't 'have to' get funding to do a PhD but from my experience it's not a pleasant affair otherwise. Over the last few months I've talked to a number of PhD students, some funded, some not. Those with funding appear almost normal, bar the customary weirdness mentioned above. However, it's the unfunded students that you can't help but worry about. Usually trying to combine full-time study with 25 hour-a-week jobs, most wear permanent looks of wild-eyed desperation and report 4, 5 and 6 year PhD terms. As you might imagine, I was keen to avoid such a scenario so locked myself in the LSE library for months getting a funding proposal together. Convincing yourself you can actually do a 100,000-word piece of research is pretty hard, but convincing a bunch of academics is even tougher. I advise staying on safe ground and picking something you already have some awareness or experience with. I have been lucky to be involved with the Edinburgh Fringe for the last four years, so picking my topic x180.qxd 18/6/07 16:50 Page 1 wasn't too difficult. Still, it still took

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reading about 40 books to feel I had a vaguely innovative angle and months of editing to cut my thoughts down to a three-page proposal. You also need to think about where you want to do your PhD, who is going to supervise the project and where you have the best chance of funding. In my case, my project and academic performance suggested Edinburgh as the only realistic choice. Even then I had to contend with the reality that Edinburgh receives over 200 sociology PhD applications every year and there are only two fully funded ESRC places. Although the odds are better in the physical sciences, fierce competition is pretty consistent throughout academia. If you get the funding, however, the financial reality isn't bad at all. As well as paying £3,000 a year in fees, the ESRC will also give you about £13,000-a-year tax free, as well as about £1,000 for research expenses. Combine this with a couple of hours teaching a week and you're looking at the equivalent of a job worth well over £20,000 a year. Suffice to say I probably wouldn't be writing this article if I hadn't been one of the lucky ones. Who knows, I might even have a real job by the time I'm 30.

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EDINBURGH’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER

ISSUE II

MONDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2007

Guards! Taking Liberties

EUTC works Pratchett’s Discworld magic 20

David Blunkett talks about life on the back benches 15

New stem cell research advances cancer treatments Cameron Robinson cameron.robinson@journal-online.co.uk

Safer clubs: the Unight initiative will help to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour and violent attacks David Cheskin/PA Wire

SNP breaks student debt promise Alastair Sloan & Sarah Clarke newsdesk@journal-online.co.uk STUDENTS IN SCOTLAND have expressed dismay after the SNP shelved plans to scrap student debt. Nationalist finance minister John Swinney announced last Wednesday that the government would not deliver its manifesto promise to eliminate the debt accrued by students. The news was delivered at Holyrood as part of the SNP’s first budget since the party came to power in the elections last May. The conference saw the government drop a number of key election promises which had comprised their manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary Election. While funding for free prescription charges, a tax cut for smaller businesses and NHS waiting list guarantees were approved, the SNP’s pledge to cancel student debt was relinquished. The SNP had previously promised

Scottish students that the £1.9 billion package of debt held by the Student Loans Company Scotland would be cancelled. Student leaders in Scotland expressed deep concern for this turnaround in government policy that will see the £1.9 billion debt remain unaffected. They claimed that the SNP’s failure to deliver the promised financial support will have a damaging impact on Scottish students. James Alexander, President of the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland said: “Promises of more support for students, which formed a central part of the SNP’s election campaign, have not been met. “The SNP’s costed manifesto promised £236 million to cover graduate debt payments, to transfer student loans to grants, and to abolish the graduate endowment.” He continued: “Large proportions of students from Scotland experience high

levels of debt and endure extreme hardship. They need the endorsement of the Scottish government to assist in resolving these difficulties.” Edinburgh’s student unions have been working with NUS Scotland on the Final Demand campaign, designed to put pressure on the government to improve student support, drop student debt, cut course costs and improve access to further and higher education. But in a speech to the Scottish Executive, John Swinney said: “I know there is insufficient parliamentary support for student debt servicing for loans to grants and we must therefore prioritise funding on policies that we can deliver and which will be supported by Parliament. “I am therefore not allocating funding for student debt servicing in the period of the Budget. “However, despite the constraints we face, we will deliver funding for a phased transition from student loans to grants,

starting with part-time students.” Despite the short-term reduction in funding for the sector, the SNP emphasised that Scotland’s higher education institutions remain a priority for the party. Fiona Hyslop, Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary, outlined the SNP’s long-term plans for higher education funding. In a statement last week, she said: “Scotland’s universities and colleges are central to that sustainable economic growth. “We will invest £5.24 billion in total in Scotland’s further and higher education, with an extra £100 million capital funding package in 2007/08. “We will deliver support for students of £1.55 billion over three years with £119 million to end the graduate endowment fee and a phased transition from student loans to grants starting with part-time students.”

Continued on page 2

THE DISCOVERY OF a cancerous stem cell by scientists from the University of Edinburgh could change the way in which certain cancers are treated. Researchers from the New Cancer Centre at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the university, working in collaboration with others at the University of Wisconsin have discovered a rogue type of stem cell involved in bone cancer. The team, headed by Professor David Argyle, successfully isolated stem cells from osteosarcoma in dogs; the canine equivalent of a type of human bone cancer most common in children. Referring to osteosarcoma, Professor Argyle commented: “This aggressive disease is the most common primary bone tumour in children, leading to more than 80 per cent of patients having to undergo surgery which can include limb amputations or reconstructive limb sparing operations.” The research, published in The Veterinary Journal, adds weight to a novel hypothesis concerning the structure and workings of cancer, dubbed Cancer Stem Cell theory. The classical view of cancer is a lump of genetically flawed cells that replicate indefinitely. However the premise behind Cancer Stem Cell theory is that the vast majority of tumour growth can be attributed to a small population of flawed cancerous stem cells. The majority of their progeny become regular tumour cells, while a small population of the cancer stem cells are maintained and continue to drive the growth of the tumour. This has major implications for the treatment of cancers like osteosarcoma as stem cells are particularly resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the standard treatment methods employed. As a result standard treatment may kill off the bulk of the tumour, but fail to destroy the small population responsible for the growth of the cancer. Professor Argyle and his team concluded that there is now “a need to identify therapeutic targets specific for this Cancer Stem Cell population in order to effect longer remissions, or even cures.”

happy Keeping the US

Also in The Journal this week... The SNP had previously promised dent debt was relinquished. approved, the SNP’s pledge to cancel stuand NHS waiting list guarantees were charges, a tax cut for smaller businesses While funding for free prescription the Scottish Parliamentary Election. which had comprised their manifesto for drop a number of key election promises May. The conference saw the government party came to power in the elections last as part of the SNP’s first budget since the The news was delivered at Holyrood debt accrued by students. its manifesto promise to eliminate the that the government would not deliver Swinney announced last Wednesday Nationalist finance minister John plans to scrap student debt. pressed dismay after the SNP shelved STUDENTS IN SCOTLAND have ex-

newsdesk@journal-online.co.uk

students from Scotland experience high He continued: “Large proportions of dowment.” grants, and to abolish the graduate enpayments, to transfer student loans to ised £236 million to cover graduate debt “The SNP’s costed manifesto prombeen met. the SNP’s election campaign, have not students, which formed a central part of land said: “Promises of more support for National Union of Students (NUS) ScotJames Alexander, President of the Scottish students. support will have a damaging impact on failure to deliver the promised financial fected. They claimed that the SNP’s see the £1.9 billion debt remain unafaround in government policy that will pressed deep concern for this turnStudent leaders in Scotland excelled. Loans Company Scotland would be canpackage of debt held by the Student Scottish students that the £1.9 billion

transition from student loans to grants, face, we will deliver funding for a phased “However, despite the constraints we riod of the Budget. ing for student debt servicing in the pe“I am therefore not allocating fundment. and which will be supported by Parliafunding on policies that we can deliver grants and we must therefore prioritise for student debt servicing for loans to is insufficient parliamentary support utive, John Swinney said: “I know there But in a speech to the Scottish Execther and higher education. course costs and improve access to furstudent support, drop student debt, cut pressure on the government to improve Final Demand campaign, designed to put been working with NUS Scotland on the Edinburgh’s student unions have ing these difficulties.” Scottish government to assist in resolvship. They need the endorsement of the levels of debt and endure extreme hard-

Continued on page 2 part-time students.” student loans to grants starting with ment fee and a phased transition from £119 million to end the graduate endowof £1.55 billion over three years with “We will deliver support for students funding package in 2007/08. tion, with an extra £100 million capital in Scotland’s further and higher educa“We will invest £5.24 billion in total economic growth. colleges are central to that sustainable she said: “Scotland’s universities and tion funding. In a statement last week, SNP’s long-term plans for higher educalong Learning Secretary, outlined the Fiona Hyslop, Education and Lifeparty. institutions remain a priority for the sised that Scotland’s higher education funding for the sector, the SNP emphaDespite the short-term reduction in starting with part-time students.”

SNP breaks student debt promise Alastair Sloan & Sarah Clarke

Safer clubs: the Unight initiative will help to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour and violent attacks David Cheskin/PA Wire

page 24

SPORT

facing the world issues and challenges the modern international reform if it is to tackle creation, the UN needs that, 62 years after its George Grant argues

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page 16

George Grant argues that, 62 years after its creation, the UN needs reform if it is to tackle the modern international issues and challenges facing the world

42 egap

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There’s trouble brewing...

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Also in The Journal this week...

effect longer remissions, or even cures.” Cancer Stem Cell population in order to tify therapeutic targets specific for this cluded that there is now “a need to idenProfessor Argyle and his team confor the growth of the cancer. stroy the small population responsible off the bulk of the tumour, but fail to deAs a result standard treatment may kill standard treatment methods employed. to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the as stem cells are particularly resistant treatment of cancers like osteosarcoma This has major implications for the tumour. and continue to drive the growth of the of the cancer stem cells are maintained tumour cells, while a small population jority of their progeny become regular flawed cancerous stem cells. The mabe attributed to a small population of the vast majority of tumour growth can behind Cancer Stem Cell theory is that licate indefinitely. However the premise lump of genetically flawed cells that repThe classical view of cancer is a Stem Cell theory. and workings of cancer, dubbed Cancer hypothesis concerning the structure erinary Journal, adds weight to a novel The research, published in The Vettive limb sparing operations.” clude limb amputations or reconstrucing to undergo surgery which can inmore than 80 per cent of patients havry bone tumour in children, leading to sive disease is the most common primasor Argyle commented: “This aggresReferring to osteosarcoma, Profescancer most common in children. nine equivalent of a type of human bone cells from osteosarcoma in dogs; the cavid Argyle, successfully isolated stem The team, headed by Professor Dain bone cancer. ered a rogue type of stem cell involved University of Wisconsin have discoving in collaboration with others at the erinary Studies at the university, workCentre at the Royal (Dick) School of VetResearchers from the New Cancer which certain cancers are treated. of Edinburgh could change the way in cell by scientists from the University THE DISCOVERY OF a cancerous stem

REACH OVER 70,000 STUDENTS EVERY FORTNIGHT cameron.robinson@journal-online.co.uk

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Comment 21

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Comment editor: Simon Mundy simon.mundy@journal-online.co.uk

Comment Discussion&Debate

The Belfast Agreement:

Ten Years On A decade after the Good Friday Agreement, much work remains to be done, writes Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson

T

EN YEARS AGO this month, the world watched one of the most crucial developments in Northern Ireland’s long peace process. The Belfast Agreement was a turning point, and we should not forget today the hideously difficult decisions taken by a number of courageous Conservative Secretaries of State, Tom King, Peter Brooke and Patrick Mayhew. With the support of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, they did much of the political heavy lifting before the arrival of Tony Blair on the scene. It would be churlish not to give him credit for concluding the negotiations but we should also remember with gratitude all who were involved, particularly the American and Irish Governments. The Agreement was not perfect. Conservatives had substantial misgivings about the lack of any linkage between the early release of terrorist prisoners and the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. The Democratic Unionist Party also had strong objections which it sought to address through the St Andrews Agreement of 2006. However, the 1998 Agreement remains the basic template for the accommodation that we see today in Northern Ireland. So how has it worked? Reaching the Agreement was one thing; implementing it was another. From the very outset it was bedevilled by what were called ‘constructive ambiguities’, particularly over weapons. This vagueness was probably vital to having an Agreement in the first place. Enabling both sides to interpret key passages in their own ways inevitably made it more difficult to put it into practice. Perhaps those who hail the Northern Ireland peace process as the blueprint for conflict resolution worldwide should give more attention to this.

Most people involved in negotiating the Agreement believed that the core of any new Northern Ireland government would be the Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP. Yet republican intransigence and over indulgence of them by Mr Blair, simply pulled the ground from under both parties. As a result, Blair and Ahern had to make a second agreement, at St Andrews, in 2006. Following belated action by the IRA on arms and eventual acceptance by the republican movement of the police, devolution was finally restored in May 2007. The relationship between the First Minister, Ian Paisley and the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has defied all expectations; the “Chuckle Brothers” have sent a spectacular message around the world that Northern Ireland has changed. Next month, though, Ian Paisley will bring the curtain down on his remarkable political career. Northern Ireland will have a new First Minister. Having spent much of its first twelve months undertaking reviews, the Executive will need to start bringing forward concrete proposals to tackle some of the long-term problems facing Northern Ireland. Politicians of all parties complain to me of gridlock in the system of government; decision making needs to be faster. We should also not forget that the Civil Service has held the ring on day to day matters for many years. It will take time for Ulster’s politicians, who have all grown up in opposition to something, to learn the techniques of making difficult executive decisions. The recent compromise on new local government arrangements was welcome. However, whole areas of government activity have been bogged down in disagreement –

education, water, rates and the sports stadium. As I know from weekly visits to Northern Ireland, there is still a huge amount to be done. Parts of Northern Ireland also remain more divided than ever. I have seen peace walls being extended in contentious inner city areas; the number has increased to 46. The threat from dissidents remains real. So-called ‘loyalist’ paramilitaries have yet to decommission and remain involved in criminality. The public sector accounts for around two-thirds of the Northern Ireland economy. Everyone agrees that this is far too high. Concerted action needs to be taken urgently to accelerate the growth of the private sector, which deteriorated through the Troubles. There needs to be a 25-year programme to expand the private sector. This is the only way to deliver the sustainable prosperity that will underpin a peaceful and stable society. Ideally, all Government announcements and decisions should be economy-proofed. The Belfast Agreement served a vital purpose in getting bitter opponents to work together. Yet the institutions set up by the 1998 Agreement were dictated by politics, not

London Elections:

simon.mundy@journal-online.co.uk

T

O FATHER TWO children within weeks of each other, while conducting simultaneous affairs with three different women, might strike many as impressively energetic for a man of advancing years. If Ken Livingstone is to be believed, however, these exploits should have no bearing on his professional standing as the build-up to the London mayoral election gathers pace. Contrasting his habitual silence on personal matters with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s eagerness to share the details

of his thirty bedpost-notches, Livingstone claimed: “Voters are not interested in who I slept with years ago... it's only the media that is interested in my private life.” The problem with Livingstone’s argument, of course, is that this media interest in the private affairs of public figures is contagious. Two thousand years after Plato declared that justice means minding one’s own business, the notion that those in positions of authority should be held accountable for every aspect of their behaviour has become a cornerstone of modern media ethics – feeding a ravenous public appetite for the salacious details of the lives of society’s most eminent

voluntary one, with a real opposition to hold the Executive to account. That would be a significant step on the road to ‘normalisation’ of politics. None of this is to decry the efforts of Northern Ireland’s politicians, or the civil service. Not so long ago entering political life in Northern Ireland opened up the very real possibility of being murdered. We should be thankful that this is no longer the case. Nor are any of these ideas designed to exclude any part of the community from playing its full part in politics. I want all people in Northern Ireland to have a shared future. The Belfast Agreement was a remarkable achievement. Not least it settled Northern Ireland’s constitutional status as part of the United Kingdom based on the consent principle. Yet, as St Andrews demonstrated, it can be improved; the next stage in the process is to refine the institutions. The proposals I have set out would make for better government in Northern Ireland, while remaining true to the core principles of the 1998 Agreement. Owen Paterson MP is Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

As leading figures come under ever closer scrutiny, many have still to learn the importance of maintaining a flawless public image

Public Property Simon Mundy

administrative efficiency or good government. There are eleven government Ministers for a population of 1.7 million people; under direct rule there were five. All Assembly Members have to designate themselves ‘unionist’, ‘nationalist’ or ‘other’, reinforcing sectarian divisions. The Executive is a compulsory coalition of four political parties. There is no provision for a party to adopt the role of official Opposition even if it wanted to. I do not believe that this is right in the long term. Of course the evolution of the institutions is primarily for Northern Ireland’s politicians to determine. Recently, one of the architects of the Agreement, Seamus Mallon, argued that the time has come to look again at the system of designation. I agree. There are other ways of ensuring that measures in the Assembly have to have broad cross-community support. For example, weighted majorities are better than labelling people. As the Assembly beds down, politicians should examine whether there is really a need for the size of administration that we have in Northern Ireland. In addition, it would be much healthier for democracy if we could move from a compulsory coalition to a

individuals. This is something that Max Mosley, president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, would have done well to remember before embarking on a sadomasochistic, allegedly Nazi-inspired sex session with five prostitutes. Unmasked, so to speak, and utterly humiliated by a News of the World exposé, Mosley was in defiant form this month as he insisted that the scandal was “not relevant to my work”. Granted, the furore should not affect Mosley’s ability to turn in a decent day at the office; but as the leading figure in international motor racing, his indiscretion has gravely tarnished the image of his

sport. Sir Jackie Stewart has warned of the danger of sponsors deserting motorsport as a result, and Porsche has already cited Mosley’s disgrace as the key reason for its decision not to enter Formula One. The crucial importance of image extends far beyond the world of corporate sponsorship to the very highest echelons of politics: despite widespread approval of her conspicuous political aptitude, Hillary Clinton’s run for the Democratic presidential nomination has been dogged by what has been termed her “likeability problem”. The watershed in this field could perhaps be placed at 1984: the year that saw the courageous, fantastically

unsuccessful bid for the US presidency of Walter Mondale, described by his biographer as the last major political figure to have resisted television. His campaign team desperately tried to persuade him to spruce up his public image, but Mondale held firm. “I didn’t like it, and I told them so,” he recalled in a recent interview. “I said, ‘Look, I’m all I’ve got. I can’t be someone I’m not.’” A thumping 49-state defeat later, one can only hope that Mondale had learned his lesson. For today’s most prominent people, simply doing a good job is no longer enough. Simon Mundy is comment editor of The Journal


22 Comment

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Zimbabwe:

Democracy is all you need? As the contrast between Zimbabwe and Bhutan shows, the road to democracy is more important than the final destination

Dr Nitasha Kaul

Centre for the Study of Democracy nitasha.kaul@journal-online.co.uk

M

ANY ELECTIONS AROUND the world have been making news recently. The international community, in particular the West, confers congratulations upon every country that enters the hallowed halls of democracy, or renews its membership there. Democracy and free markets are seen as the indispensable ingredients to the mantra of progress. Against this background, consider the example of political changes in Bhutan and Zimbabwe: a comparison of apples and pears, given the vast differences in almost everything concerned with these two landlocked countries. Both the Eastern Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and the southern African country of Zimbabwe had elections recently, yet the contrast could not be starker. Bhutan’s path to democracy was gradual, dictated at its own pace, suited to its own needs, and in line with its own interests. The vast majority of the Bhutanese would have preferred to continue with the monarchy because they have seen stability and wellbeing under the 34-year long reign of the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, of the

hereditary Wangchuck dynasty that was established in 1907. Nonetheless, the King himself initiated the decentralisation of power, and the electoral institutions, regulatory mechanisms, legal constitutional frameworks were put into place over several years. There was extensive voter education, mock elections, careful formulation of candidate criteria, scrutiny of the political parties at every stage, and a rigorous effort on behalf of the Election Commission of Bhutan to ensure clean politics. The political parties—DPT (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) and the PDP (People’s Democratic Party)—voluntarily decided to refrain from rallies due to their divisive aspect, and the elections went ahead in a decidedly peaceful manner. A voter turnout of 79.4% for the National Assembly elections on 24 March 2008 resulted in 45 of the 47 seats for the DPT, and its leader Jigme Y. Thinley promised that it would govern responsibly. The foreign media lauded Bhutan briefly before moving on to other ‘more happening’ stories of elections held hostage to rigging, violence, strife, deaths. To the world, Bhutan is a forgotten tiny ‘Shangri La’, an exotic destination for high paying tourists – people just aren’t that interested in knowing the political landscape there. Contrast that to news stories about Zimbabwe that have at-

tracted huge media interest: Robert Mugabe, the 84 year old who cannot bring himself to give up power, his Zimbabwe African National UnionPatriotic Front (ZANU PF) that will use any tactic possible to manipulate the first round election results where the opposition MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) led by Morgan Tsvangirai did well enough to pose a credible challenge, an electoral atmosphere that is far from free and fair, and a wider agenda of deciding which leaders, African or others, are the best mediators in this situation. It would seem from the news reports that the panacea to all Zimbabwe’s ills is to vote or shove Mugabe out of power. The high degree of Western interest in Zimbabwe is indicative of the belief that rogue rulers must be ousted by pushing democracy as a cure-all solution. While Mugabe’s exit will make good news and the British media among others will again be able to report from Harare, will the poster President Tsvangirai be able to heal a country torn by repression, suffering, and acute deprivation? Democracy will surely help, but it isn’t a magic wand that can be waved everywhere alike. In a context that is already tension-ridden, democracy can also create more divisions, work solely for the victors, and exacerbate the conflicting interest groups. The point

The Internet:

The Future's Bright Talk of the web grinding to a halt by 2010 is mere scaremongering, insists Internet guru Marcus P. Zillman Marcus P. Zillman zillman@virtualprivatelibrary.com

T

HE FUTURE OF the Internet is truly exciting, as new developments continue to gather pace. We will be looking forward to a wholly unprecedented range of possibilities: online searching, for example, will really work, not only bringing us what we request, but also predicting what our request will be. The Internet is also embracing multimedia, with voice and video applications growing at an exponential rate. YouTube and similar resources are making short video clips available to the world, with no or very little cost. This has led to bandwidth utilization increasing at a phenomenal rate, fuelling recent speculation that the Internet could become over-utilized and come to an absolute halt. These fears are unfounded, however. Experts are currently working on numerous ways to make the bandwidth more efficient, as well as new methods in compression and caching that will actually allow us to do more with less bandwidth. Future technology will also allow us to search through videos, as well as audio files, to discover when keywords are said, and to bring back a particular phrase or section within

the video or audio. Will convergence of television and the PC occur? The jury is still out on that question, and the future will tell us the result; one, I would hope, that will benefit all. The coming years will see more utilization of the .tv domain to broadcast educational videos that are much more than clips, and professionally created. We will also be observing the utilization of mobile and cellular devices to access the Internet to watch videos, audios, and web surfing. With the global count of mobile and cellular devices in the billions, this is another exciting method to access information on the go using wireless bandwidth. Will the .mobi domain name be the new .com? I wanted to have the latest financial closing prices available to my cell phone, so I started developing a site called ClosingPrices.mobi to allow my cell phone to access the daily closing financial prices. It is in alpha stage – but shows the potential for convergence of the Internet and mobile devices. The future, as I see it, will also have low powered “bots” and intelligent agents searching on an ongoing basis on our behalf, keeping us up to date with current developments in our business, profession or special interest. These low-powered bots and intelligent agents will actually help to lower bandwidth utilization. Of

course, as they really catch on they will also require additional space, simply due to the sheer number being used. Encouragingly, however, research has already enabled them to use less bandwidth, using new programming techniques. The future of the Internet will see the entire web become far more efficient, and with applications being used online we will see many new secured virtual databases to house our documents. The Internet has become “the application” – meaning these are interesting times for traditional applications and computers. As the Internet continues to evolve, and updated protocols become more readily available, we will learn how to manage our information overload more effectively, through improved methods of knowledge discovery and retrieval. This, of course, will allow us to use the bandwidth in a more efficient and productive way, creating additional resources that will be available to all. The positive signs for the future of the Internet far outweigh the negative. Marcus P. Zillman is an internationally renowned author, keynote speaker and corporate consultant on internet technology, and is the executive director of virtualprivatelibrary.org

is that democracy isn’t in and of itself always the right or the only answer. It depends on what kind of democracy, where, with what genesis, motivating factors, preparation, and political culture. The average life expectancy of a Zimbabwean is about half that of a Bhutanese. The current issue of the Bhutanese national newspaper Kuensel reports concerns over the possibility of inflation crossing the 6 per cent mark, in Zimbabwe the inflation stands at 165,000 per cent with the Bank issuing notes of ten million denomination. In the Bhutanese elections, voting was promoted as a ‘sacred right’ in order to build a ‘vibrant democracy’ – the vote was a precious jewel, a ‘norbu’, that must be exercised in order to actualise the ‘gift’ of democracy that came from the throne. In Zimbabwe the voters are cheated and disenfranchised by the ruling party, and the opposition calls for strikes impose further livelihood hardship and violent clashes. The daydream of Bhutan and the nightmare of Zimbabwe both exist contemporaneously in the present day world. The poisonous colonial legacy in Zimbabwe, the absence of a political leader with an inclusive nationalist vision, the failure of post-colonial state building, and the polarising influence of partisan Western criticism have all contributed to

the messy elections in Zimbabwe, and the country is sure to remain divided regardless of the outcome. There may only be one Bhutan in the world— where democracy was not grafted but grown from its seeds, seen as a means to the end of creating a GNH state, a state that privileges Gross National Happiness alongside traditional growth indicators—and there is much to learn from it. Democracy is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for progress. It is a particular governing mechanism that is least bad in most places. Democracy promotion through elections cannot be an end in itself. Political cultures, historical trajectories, internal and external socio-economic dynamics are some of the factors which shape governance expectations and people’s participation in a democracy. Democracy as a concept must be pluralized meaningfully to accommodate the experiences and ideals of a wider non-western community of world nations. As always, it isn’t the destination but the road to democracy that is more important. Dr Nitasha Kaul is a writer and academic at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London. Her next book Snapshot of a Changing Kingdom: Democracy and Identity in Bhutan is forthcoming


Comment 23

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Loud Sex

RandaLL MunRoe

http://xkcd.coM

Building a church in a post-Christian culture Pastor Peter Anderson contact@destinyedinburgh.com

s

Tesco:

Every Libel Helps supermarket giant Tesco stands accused of intimidation and bullying tactics after launching a £16.6m libel suit against a Thai politician. Leading free press advocate roby Alampay gives the view from Bangkok. Roby Alampay roby.alampay@journal-online.co.uk

F

or TEn yEArs now, Tesco Lotus, a subsidiary of Tesco PLC, has been operating in Thailand, dominating the local retail industry as it does anywhere the Tesco footprint lands. For just as long, it has trodden less than lightly upon the same trade and consumer issues that have dogged it from Europe to the Us and China. small retailers in Thailand have lobbied to rein in Tesco Lotus' expansion, and commentators and advocates have scrutinized every aspect of its behaviour – from how (or whether or not) it pays its proper taxes to how (or if at all) it gives anything back to the community. Because none of this is new to the Tesco family, of course, Tesco Lotus has, with greater resources and savvy than “mom and pop stores anywhere”, typically invested in media and public relations to sell Thais on the virtues of the impersonal, monolithic, allegedly culturally disruptive shopping experience. one of its newest concepts in Thailand, for example, is that of the "Green store": an environmentally-friendly mall, its website explains, with "70 energy-saving initiatives [that can] reduce energy consumption in a normal store by 30 percent…and carbon emissions by 40 percent." Laudable. But in winning hearts and minds, or at least silence, nothing saves on hot air (or methane) quite like the decision finally just to shut up, and compel everybody else to do the same. Thaksin shinawatra, the former Thai Prime Minister who bought Manchester City, figured as much when his satellite and telecommunications conglomerate demanded $10 million in defamation damages

against four Thai journalists and an nGo researcher who looked into shin profits that skyrocketed on the first year of Mr. Thaksin's premiership. Taking a page from shin, perhaps, Tesco has now filed four libel suits in a span of five months, seeking total damages of more than $40 million. The latest of those suits, filed this month in Britain, targets The Guardian for a story questioning Tesco's tax filings. The three other defamation charges were all filed between november 2007 and March 2008 in Thailand by Tesco Lotus, and hail to court a consumer advocate and two columnists who all railed against the company's aggressive expansion in the land at the expense of small retailers. At least one of the columnists also raised questions about Tesco Lotus' accounting and tax filing procedures. That the company would seek staggering damages against advocates and media practitioners signals to observers a resolve finally to abandon the civil discourse, and instead simply, by making examples of a few stunned souls, to stifle discussions and criticism altogether. The hopeful view among free speech advocates in Thailand is that none of these cases will prosper in court. shin Corp's case ultimately did not, and the fact is that Thai judges in the past have acknowledged a reasonable bar on defamation where public interest matters are concerned. But the heavy handedness demonstrated in such "mega defamation suits" arguably isn't about winning in court, but simply about showing one's heavy hand. In a developing country such as Thailand, especially, where journalists can earn less than $8,000 a year, $40 million in damages is staggering but also plainly ludicrous – yet undeniably there is enough of a chilling effect that comes

‘‘ ,,

with the hard and immediate costs of hiring a lawyer and attending hearings over a case that can drag on for years. supinya Klangnarong, the researcher sued by Thaksin's shin Corp. in late 2003, estimates that her two-and-a-half-year legal expenses cost her (and her supporters) more than $30,000. It's worth noting that Tesco Lotus' defamation suits will have that much more of an intimidating edge as it tests a new law in Thailand that ironically seeks to protect and empower editors and publishing companies, but that apparently may also leave individual journalists feeling more vulnerable. Thailand's Press registration Act of 2006, among other things, protects newspaper editors and publishers from automatically sharing in defamation suits brought against their writers. Under the 1941 law the Press registration Act of 2006 replaces, the editor (and/or the publisher) had to share liabilities with the author. now entities filing defamation charges have the option to sue just individual writers – which is exactly what Tesco Lotus has done. The strategy will no doubt resonate with individual journalists, while sending the signal to their principals and companies not to get involved. It is as calculated and divisive, in other words, as even just a wounding attack on the isolated and the weak. Tesco Lotus’ actions in Thailand constitute harassment, pure and simple, not only of consumer advocates and civil society actors, but of journalists and commentators in general; of free expression and press freedom. The attack is on individuals, but the costs and reaping are, as it were, wholesale. Roby Alampay is executive director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

DEBATE WITH THE ExPErTs on THE joUrnAL’s WEB ForUMs VIsIT WWW. joUrnALonLInE. Co.UK

CoTLAnD, WHICH WAs once famous for sending out missionaries across the world, is today faced with dwindling attendances at Churches nationwide. our own missionary journey began in 1998 as an informal Christian Bible study group in our flat at Haymarket. It wasn’t a very impressive beginning and for the first year we had a typical attendance of about 5 people. But as we near our 10 year anniversary, we’ve just purchased a former 1000 seat Cinema/Bingo Hall in Gorgie, through the generous and sacrificial giving of a congregation who are passionate about making a positive impact on this great city. Why have we made such progress? We present a timeless message in a timely way. We have found that while many have stopped attending church in scotland, their desire and need to seek God was still there. our approach has been to communicate the ‘old school’ Christian message in a way that modern culture can understand. so we have a great rock gospel band, we make and screen short films, we communicate the message through dance, rap and acting, and when I preach I aim to relate the Bible to real life. We acknowledge, however, that the way we "do church" won’t appeal to everyone. Therefore, we count it a great honour to be serving our city alongside other great churches, all varying greatly in outward style yet carrying the same core message. We’ve realised that people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. In scotland there is a saying: “it’s better felt than telt.” For us, authentic Christianity isn’t merely about a message that can get you to heaven, but also a message that challenges us to love others and to take responsibility for the world around us. st Francis of Assisi put it well when he said: “preach the gospel wherever you go, and when necessary use words.” While sunday services are important, we also place high priority on our mid week community activities. on a typical week we connect with between 150-250 people, most of whom don’t attend our services. We run three mum and baby groups and are about to start a fourth for mums and babies with special needs. We run youth work, we offer a free counselling service and we offer free English classes for the growing Polish community. recently we’ve launched a help line (www.destinyangels.org) through which we can help people who don’t have any where else to turn. We also have a food store from which we give out food parcels to those in need. We welcome everyone. jesus was a very controversial figure in his day. The religious leaders hated the way that he would spend time with anyone no matter their lifestyle, their religious persuasions (or lack thereof), social class, or race. He did this without compromising his message or his challenge. jesus, unlike the religious leaders of his day, was known by what he was for, rather than what he was against. Unlike jesus, many churches today are hostile environments for the “unchurched”; they are cold, unwelcoming and judgemental, lacking in authenticity and credibility. As a result, attendance dwindles. As a church we work hard at welcoming everyone to our services and as a result we have an incredible mix of social classes, races, religious and philosophical backgrounds and histories. It’s ironic that today I’m a pastor, because as a kid my parents had to drag me to Church; it was the last place I wanted to be. My disinterest continued until I was 15 when one night in an alley in Glasgow I met God. From then on I had a new vision of how exciting and creative church could be.


24 Editorial

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Letters

letters@journal-online.co.uk Edinburgh’s studEnt nEWspApEr | issuE Viii

Abolishing the 10p tax band:

robin hood-ism in reverse ALthough it mAy be hard to believe, given the wall-to-wall coverage of the last two weeks, gordon brown had almost gotten away with it. For over a year, his last budget as Chancellor was characterised as a mercurial example of clever bookkeeping, lowering the basic rate of tax while maintaining public-service spending and still managing to abide by his self-imposed “golden rules” on public borrowing. perhaps the media was too caught up with blair’s imminent departure? the painting of gordon brown as the all-conquering hero arriving to save us from the shallow, empty aestheticism of blairism was well under-way, and analysis of the 2007 budget would have been denounced as plain, old-fashioned party-pooping; an irony lost, it would seem, on her majesty’s press. despite having been on the table for a year, it was only as d-day approached that the media noticed that abolishing the 10p tax band was robin hood-ism in reverse. indeed, it was only two weeks ago that we collectively noticed that gordon brown had completed the transition of new Labour into not Labour long before he had

even assumed power. how inconceivable it seems, even five years ago, that a Labour government would have passed a budget that took from over five million working poor—of whom students funding their increasingly expensive degrees through increasingly necessary mcJobs are a significant minority—to fund tax cuts for the comfortable. this is gordon brown’s legacy, the man touted as the courageous and principled egalitarian who in reality has shown nothing but cowardice in the face of issues of moral and political gravity. having caved into the Catholic lobby over embryonic research which has the potential to save lives and relieve the suffering of countless millions worldwide, having made the wrong choices on id cards and the extension of police powers to detain without charge, having bankrolled the iraq war without whispering a peep of dissent, and having now shown complete disregard for the cornerstone principle of progressive taxation, brown is proving himself a far more dangerous figure to the Labour movement than any champion the tories may send into battle.

timing has seen to it that such a policy can’t simply be swept under the carpet. An economic crisis looms as the financial markets struggle to recover from the sub-prime fiasco and world food prices are sky-rocketing. these are not the days when even the most ardently thatcherite neo-liberal can turn a blind eye to the plight of the british labourer, although brown must wish this to be the case. While in 2007 brown allayed fears of being seen as “too socialist” for middle England by the base-rate of tax by 2p, having done so at the expense of the poor and not the super-rich is mortifying. the Labour back-benches are fuming, talk of revolt is buzzing around Westminster and revolt on such a flagship policy will spell the end for brown, long before he has the opportunity to lose the next general election. rightfully, then, his approval ratings have fallen faster than any prime minister since neville Chamberlain in 1940 – who, as hitler invaded norway, had much bigger problems to contend with than a dip in house prices and a yes/no decision on whether to hold an early election.

hmo Quotas:

the right to decide For morE thAn two years, the Edinburgh City Council has been hell-bent on ghetto-ising the student community and in-so-doing embarking on a policy of social engineering that could end up with the city centre being open to only the wealthiest of house-owning residents and leaving students to the mercy of a potentially monopolistic housing corporation. the hysteria of a small number of city residents over the presence of students in certain areas of the city, such as the popular marchmont and bruntsfield areas, have been exploited as political capital by councillors such as Alan henderson – who professes to believe that the overly expensive, halls-of-residence style accommodation provided by such companies as unitE is the best thing for students. As if worried that paying around £115 per week for a single room in a purpose built complex—when the average price to rent in a shared flat is between £75-85—may not be seen as the best thing by students, the Coun-

cil have long had in the works plans to limit the housing stock available to students, serving to limit the options of some and raise the cost of living for others. through regulating the number of hmo licence approvals, the council are effectively able to determine how many students are able to live in a given area. this misguided policy does not only affect students, but young professionals and those unable to afford the heavily inflated prices of a citycentre apartment. the rental sector is crucial to any city, and the hmo quotas will do nothing but damage Edinburgh’s economy and socio-economic diversity. it is true that anti-social behaviour among Edinburgh’s more transient population must be tackled, but to do so in such a manner that effectively tars all students, indeed all those who don’t own their housing, with the same brush is foolish, and— according to several legal experts— will not stand up when challenged in court. nuisance neighbours are just

that, a nuisance, and must be dealt with on an individual basis. official warnings and anti-social behaviour orders are powers councils have at their disposal to deal with inconsiderate students keeping young families and elderly neighbours awake at all hours, and they are effective. to set aside “student areas” is really not the ideal way to deal with a relatively straightforward issue. the president of the Edinburgh university students’ Association, Josh macAlister, is right when he says: "students should be able to live where they want to. if they are fed up after first year of living in ‘hall-type’ accommodation, then they should have the freedom to live amongst the community." students are so often maligned as loud, lazy and obnoxious, exploited by landlords, universities and employers and attacked by point-scoring politicians but let’s not forget our contribution to the local economy and the diversity of the city. We deserve the basic dignity of being allowed to decide where we live.

the Wednesday poem

the Crabhouse by Lucy baker i remember golf carts and squashed icecream sandwiches a dark glittering pool covered with deer footprints. Fishingnet hammocks, boat bathtubs, velvet curtain sunlightwaking to shadowed stairs, maybe a fall showers outside, dead crabs. i remember muddy afternoons, cold tea, boats, a pair of waterskis that caused splinters.

the poptop, with holes for errant toes and fingers, a waterlogged blue t-bird. i remember losing races in brittle summergrass, sponging spicy crabmeat from our afterdinner mouths. honeysuckle cocktails and pleading for a ride in the back of the oldsmobilethe freedom in our swinging legs. i remember treasure hunts on paper in

dEAr Editor, i’ve been an old reader of The Journal since i came to the university of Edinburgh. i am a student coming from the people republic of China and put up with a lot of articles that heavily criticize the Chinese government in The Journal. there are some thoughts that went through my head after i read the article titled “tibet: A cultural tragedy” by niema Ash from the 26 march edition. i simply cannot bare the rude and offensive attack towards Chinese people silently. niema Ash has stated her ideas of Chinese people killing the tibetan culture in some outrageous ways. she blamed the Chinese for all the existing problems in tibet which happened to be seen or even just heard from her trip there 20 years ago. the Chinese have been vividly described as an evil destroying the tibetan culture and accused of having the intention to wipe out all the creatures there. that is totally exaggerated. i do realize that there is the freedom of speech in western society. however, this does not put people in a position that allows them exaggerate the facts in my motherland. As a Chinese student, i read a lot of Chinese history books written by our ancestors rather than current government. during the long history of ancient China, there was a very complex relationship between Chinese feudal dynasties and tibetan ruling regimes. As with the so called current spiritual leader of tibet, dalai Lama, was first officially named by the king of Qing dynasty. And the title has been lasted for 14 generations. put the political argument aside, in a historic point of view, beyond all reasonable evidences, how could people say that tibet is not subordinate to China, especially when their spiritual leader was appointed by a Chinese King? if so, do you find it more controversial to call Alaska a part of usA simply because it was brought from russian? personally, i found it astonishing that general public here never accepts that tibet is a part of China, only because of an unrecognized tibetan exile government based in india. if every region in China’s wide landscape has to be independent to show its cultural identity, there can be no China at all! All we have are a bunch of hateful small

states which will battle against each other to destroy the peace in my motherland. think about former yugoslavia. think about ancient England and scotland. i do have a strong faith in the freedom of speech. Living in this world which fulfills governments’ propaganda and politicians’ promising speeches, i try to identify the truths and expose the lies. As you heard or watched from the mass media, there are tons of problems in currently rapid-developing China. i will not look for excuses to deny those problems. however, as a nation with a profound history, China has no fear to face all the untruthful exaggeration. me, as a student in this great university, as a member of young Chinese generation, i feel proud to stand up and defend my country. Yours sincerely, Tuo Gong University of Edinburgh

dEAr Editor, i very much enjoyed reading professor perez’s article on the Castro succession in The Journal. i have just returned from a holiday in Cuba and i agree with all of your comments, but would like to add one further. orwell's 1984 also brought out the importance having an enemy. thatcher benefitted greatly from the 'war' against Argentina, winning the following election on a 'hysteria' vote. the usA policy on Cuba has provided Fidel, and now his brother, with a perfect, long-lasting enemy. the Cuban people continue to support rationing and low wages because they believe (and who can argue) that they are suffering deprivation due to the embargo of their neighbouring aggressor. it is questionable if the Castro dynasty and the communist government could last 12 months if the next president of the usA simply lifts the embargo. With no 'enemy' to fight, the Cuban people will no longer put up with the deprivation they are currently enduring. Finally, The Journal has raised the standard of student journalism in Edinburgh. Well done. Professor Bill Easson School of Engineering and Mechanics University of Edinburgh

Editorial Contacts got something you want us to cover? get in touch and let us know. Editor ben Judge ben@journal-online.co.uk news Editor paris gourtsoyannis newsdesk@journal-online.co.uk Entertainment Editor Chris mcCall chris.mccall@journal-online.co.uk

longgrasses glassy rocks staring, our walks into town. bonecrushers and running naked old ducks buoyed- floating plastic smiles.

sports Editor tom Crookston tom.crookston@journal-online.co.uk

i remember us, sharing bikini’d falls from the boat trailer, bossiness and icecream fingers, sitting oldestprotector at the head of the stairs, our unfermented sisterhood.

The Edinburgh Journal Ltd., 52 Clerk Street, Edinburgh EH8 9JB T: 0131 662 6766 F: 0870 123 1984 E: info@journal-online.co.uk

For more information on joining The Journal’s team, contact Ben Judge at the address above


Features 25

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

The catacombs of Paris Demian Hobby tours the myriad passages which lie hidden under the streets of the French capital

Demian Hobby demian.hobby@journal-online.co.uk

T

his MAy MArks the 40th anniversary of the radical student riots of 1968, when thousands of students backed by ethnic minorities rebelled in a series of anti-government protests worldwide. Whilst student movements led to varying degrees of political change in Europe, the Us and south America, the uprising in Paris which eventually led to the collapse of the De Gaulle government is widely regarded as the most significant revolt of May ‘68. The demonstrations coincided with the wider General strike, and - at its worst - saw pitched street battles with police in the Latin Quarter. The rioting forced the creation of a military headquarters in the city to control the violence. Most recently riots in the Northern suburbs of Paris, after two youths were killed in an accident involving a police car, led to reprisal by youths armed with air rifles and shotguns. But whilst the rioting sporadically surfaces, an unseen youth rebellion manifests itself underneath Paris. it’s 11pm on a Friday night, and i’m standing in an abandoned train tunnel, clad in Wellington’s, waterproof trousers, an anorak and a head torch- the light from my brow illuminating a hole in the hard clay where the tunnel wall meets solid ground. And this hole, i know, is but one humble entrance leading to one of the largest networks of underground tunnels in the world. The system dates back to the 12th century, when limestone was quarried to build the Louvre, Notre Dame and other notable edifices. Bones began to accumulate by the 17th century in quarry’s now known as the Catacombs But these bone galleries, now open to the public, are just a tiny slice of the true extent of underground Paris. The intersecting tunnel network is estimated to cover 300km; these being used for military operations and police training. With graffiti dating back to the 1700’s, the spirit of rebellion is historically evident; when the French resistance used them as a base to sabotage the Nazi occupation in the second World War. And now i’m standing here waiting for the Catephiles to arrive, an infamous name referring to urban explorers who navigate the system of tunnels, tombs and bunkers. small pockets of light appear in the distance, with the accompanying sound of trudging boots becoming louder and louder. They move quickly, and don’t look at all surprised when they see me there waiting, uninvited, for them to descend. “Excuse me,” i say in my limited French, “i am looking for the Catacombs.” They look me up and downprobing further before my assimilation into their group can be completed. After crawling through the gap in the wall, our feet splash into the trickle of water that lines a small clay passage and we descend through a series of small tunnels that twist and turn into obscurity. i am introduced to the guide who calls himself ‘Cosmo-Flow-Flow’. he leads the small group and they all shout lyrics to a lively, clan song, characteristic of Cataphilic groups to assert their identity- and to let everyone know they’re coming. Cosmo-Flow-Flow estimates a rough figure of around 400 explorers in the tunnels with us, with Friday night being particularly busy. Whilst ‘the Cataphiles’ is a catch-

in 2004 the police discovered a bar and cinema complex under the river seine, complete with professionally installed electricity and telephone cables

all term used to describe the many different, mostly young groups of teenagers who traverse the tunnels, other more notorious groups use names like the Perforating Mexicans or Les UX. in 2004 the police discovered a bar and cinema complex under the river seine, complete with professionally installed electricity and telephone cables. Les UX claimed responsibility, and when the police returned three days later to assess the electricity installation they found a note that simply read ‘Don’t try to find us’. The construction of the tunnels varies wildly from area to area in terms of size and shape, as well as materials. some are large concave, red brick tunnels whilst others are damp, and made from clay tunnels with low ceilings that seem to constantly come into contact with my head. As the ground begins to level, and the descent seems to be over, we enter a long tunnel lined with concrete foundations. Wide gaps in the big grey pillars open up into intersecting clay passageways of varying sizes. Cosmo-Flow-Flow points to a big opening on the left. We all stop to shine our torches into a massive hole filled with luminous, clear water that sits just beneath the tunnel floor. Though mesmerizing, the incalculable depth of the hole is frightening. Then there’s the shouting. i can’t hear what’s being said, just the muffled, barks coming from ahead. Cosmo-Flow-Flow is nowhere to be seen, whilst a younger member of the group next to me says “Ah merde! Les Cataflics!” (Oh shit, it’s the police!). Two plain clothed men run straight for us, one of them continuing past us, while the other stops and round’s us up. They demand identity cards, taking them from my three acquaintances. A third police man joins us; he is in full uniform, with a powerful torch that is blinding in the darkness. i pretend to not speak any French, and say as badly as i can “Je suis Australian.” We move quickly, one policeman behind me checking every intersection, whilst another in front snaps questions at Cosmo-Flow-Flow. The one thing they want to know most is what group we are, and who the guide is. since November 2, 1955, access to the tunnels has been forbidden and now a special police task force known as the Cataflics patrol the tunnels looking for trespassers. The police group is made up of 16 officers, and are well known amongst the Cataphiles and other groups, with some of them intercepting police radio’s to check their location as well as mapping out areas where police patrol. We are taken to a room where, along with around 50 other Cataphiles, we are routinely searched for weapons and drugs. The police want to know if we are associated with other notorious groups, and once they realise we aren’t they become more relaxed. We are then led up a ladder shaft, where on the surface we are made to line up and receive fines of 60 Euro. Myself along with five other Brits are let off as we do not have iD on us. As we are released and walk through the Paris streets en masse, covered in mud and sharing anecdotes, it soon becomes clear exactly where everyone is going. Back at the train tunnel, and slipping into the hole it occurs to me that it would take a lot more than a slap on the wrist and a 60 Euro fine to keep these enthusiasts from unlawful trespass. it may not be the of the political kind, but this is a sure sign that the anti-authoritarian spirit of 68’ persists in the youth today.


26 Arts & Entertainment Interview

Broken Records Broken records were once edinburgh’s best kept secret, but now they are gaining the wider exposure they deserve. Chris McCall stopped to chat with the folkindie stars.

‘If The neWs MAKes You sAD, Don’T WATCh IT’ Is ouT noW on Young TurKs Chris McCall

chris.mccall@journal-online.co.uk

There's reAson To be cheerful when considering the health of edinburgh's music scene. several new venues have opened in the city in the past year, and there's an abundance of exciting, quality local bands playing them. Perhaps the most exciting of these are Broken records, a seven piece ensemble whose use of traditional instruments, added to their own diverse influences, create a unique and invigorating sound. The band have been working hard, making sure their music is heard the old fashioned way: by gigging relentlessly. They've played numerous support slots for bands like Idlewild, sons & Daughters and The Twilight sad. Their own shows in edinburgh tend to sell out rather quickly. At their first gig in London, the queues to get in stretched around the block. In short, they are a band in demand. relaxing in a café near the Bongo Club, where they will perform later to promote the launch of their new single 'If The news Makes You sad, Don't Watch It', guitarist Ian Turnbull and drummer Andrew Keeney reflect on what has been a hectic year for them. “The past few weeks have consisted of lots and lots of London, and seeing the service stations of Britain,” says Ian. “And spending a lot of time in a van,” adds Andrew. “Although I think we're beginning to get the hang of it, the hours just seem to fly by!” What makes Broken records different from the dozens of other bands who are similarly slogging it up and down the M1? “Probably just being a little bit different to the standard sort of guitar, drums and bass lineup. We're more.... interesting,” says Ian. Andrew chuck-

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

les, “There's more instruments, so it's more interesting.” Broken records utilise a cellist, a fiddler who doubles up as an accordionist and a keys/trumpet player. Ian however plays down the idea that that they are heavily influenced by folk music. “I think it's the choice of instruments we play always seem to be associated with folk. The idea was that we wanted to be able to play all our stuff unplugged as well, with acoustic guitars.” “And no microphones or power cables,” adds Andrew. This gets Ian thinking. “Which is kinda folky in itself,” he laughs. “It is kinda folky,” agrees Andrew. “You know, just crowding into a bar and playing.” Who does influence Broken records then? Andrew ponders. “I think the main sort of collective influences,

the sort of stuff everyone likes, is stuff like nick Cave.” Ian nods sagely, “Pink floyd, there's always classical, I like jazz.” “But there's a mix,” Andrew notes. “everyone's influenced by someone else in their own style of playing.” It's a reflection of the times that despite their success to date, Broken records are still without a long-term record deal. “We've had interest,” says Andrew, “and spoken to a few people, but it's difficult in this day and age, there's nobody waving cheque books any more. The record labels are..” he pauses for thought. “Cagey,” Ian interjects. “Yeah, definitely. I read somewhere that so far only three bands have been signed to major record labels this year. But if that is true, it's testament to the cageyness of the record companies at

the moment. so we'll wait and see.” regardless of whether the cash strapped record industry decides to get involved or not, Broken records are in it for the long haul. “We'll still be releasing records in five years anyway,” Andrew states matter-offactly. If they continue to maintain the quality of their early releases, there's little doubt of that. As well as their musical output, it appears their practical attitude will see them good. When asked what advice they have for other aspiring musicians in the city, Andrew takes on a serious look. “Don't be scared of playing a Monday night in front of four people, you've gotta do it. Be punctual! Be nice to your promoter. Be nice to your sound man. Don't smash up your hotel room.” he grins widely. “Always wash your mugs in the Travel Inn.”


Arts & Entertainment 27

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Feature

student theatre at the Fringe Lucy Jackson explores what student theatre has to offer to the world’s largest arts festival

Lucy Jackson

lucy.jackson@journal-online.co.uk

music

New Found sound  CABAret VOLtAIre 30 mAr

If you want to see the bands of tomorrow perform today, new Found sound is the night for you Chris Hammond

chris.hammond@journal-online.co.uk

It Is exAm time. Central area is eerily silent, as across edinburgh thousands of students sit hunched over their files, books, laptops and kettles like worker bees in a city-wide hive. On the outside, however, strange things will soon begin to happen. scaffolding will mysteriously appear for a matter of hours, only to disappear with equal stealth. We will no longer be allowed to use the society rooms in the Pleasance. A matter of weeks later, George square Gardens will become the most expensive bar in edinburgh, a large purple upsidedown cow will dominate Bristo square and there will be good food in Potterow. Ladies and Gentlemen, forget your woes, leave your troubles by the door, roll up roll up! For it is time for the world’s largest festival of the arts! the edinburgh International Festival programme is already out, the Festival Fringe programme entries have all been sent in and the Bedlam theatre already smells of fresh paint. so just what are students doing in edinburgh this summer? they are working, writing, reviewing, performing, producing, directing, or being part of the huge technical team at one of the hundreds of venues around the city. Year-round, the Bedlam theatre is run by members of the edinburgh University theatre Company. During the festival, it is handed over to the student Fringe team. When asked about the Bedlam summer programme, Venue manager for Fringe 2008 Colleen Patterson says: “We try to have a good variety of shows in our programme which fit together well; this year we've got some great student shows from universities and schools around the UK, as well as two shows from eUtC. I love the Fringe because it provides such an even playing field for different types of shows, and it's a great place to take risks and push boundaries.” One of the eUtC shows on at Bedlam theatre this summer is eight, DerICK mACKInnOn HAs a keen ear for a good upcoming artist; his new Found sound project has been instrumental in showcasing some of the best groups in the country. tonight is no different, with those in attendance at Cabaret Voltaire treated to three diverse and talented young bands. From the Highlands there’s theatre Fall, who join Glasgow based We Were Promised Jetpacks along with local boys epic26. epic26 seem perfectly at ease in the gloomy surroundings of edinburgh’s favourite underground venue. this may have been in no small part down to the impressive crowd, there it seemed almost entirely to see them perform. their lively set is made up of lyrically witty 90’s Brit rock influenced, high temp dancefloor fillers, with the partisan crowd loving every minute of it. We Were Promised Jetpacks also hit the ground running. neat, instrumentally polished and most of all good fun, you couldn’t help but wonder where these guys have been hiding. It seems new Found sound have unearthed yet another gem. Finished articles they are not, but with a name as memorable as their tunes you’d be hard pushed not to want to hear more from the foursome in future. As good as the afore-mentioned were the star performers tonight have to be the ever confident, swaggering, electro-indie upstarts theatre Fall. returning to edinburgh after their brilliant performance earlier this year at the Wee red Bar, the band had expectations to live up to and duly set about making sure that the crowd would go home with their infectious synths and spiky vocals lodged in their head. If there is a better unsigned act in the country right now it’s hard to believe.

a new piece of writing by edinburgh student ella Hickson that uncovers the strange kinks of life beneath the moral façades of modern life. Hickson has been coming to the Festival since her sixth form years and says: "the Fringe is unparalleled in the diversity and experience it offers for anyone wanting to go into the arts world:” adding that “the new-writing scene in edinburgh is really exciting at the moment.” the Festival Fringe is often a starting point for a theatrical career. there are thousands of shows of all genres vying for press and audience attention, the competition is high and the audiences are opinionated. As a result, up-and-coming theatre companies are forced to raise the quality of their productions and make sure they bring their best work. As Hickson points out, “great actors, writers, directors and producers have to start somewhere." edinburgh alumni have been known to make their names at the Fringe, most recently comedy sketch troupe the Penny Dreadfuls and new playwright Al smith, who is set to return to this year’s festival with new material. Up-and-coming hopefuls include Pangolin’s teatime, a puppet theatre company directed by Jeremy Bidgood, a fifth-year art student. Having achieved success at the festival in 2006, they will reside at the Pleasance Dome this year (or, as most edinburgh University students will know it, Potterow) with their new dark fable The Last Yak. Also bringing their special brand of humour to the late-night audiences are resident improvised comedy troupe the Improverts. As producer Alex Hall admits, “the all consuming, exhausting, giddying theatrical and comedic whirl of the Fringe is hard to summarise. People are free to experiment, either to progress up the career ladder or simply for a laugh.” sleekit Productions, set up by students

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and ex-students from Queen margaret’s and telford College in 2007 found success at last year’s festival with their show A History of Scotland (in 60 minutes or less), and are going back to the rehearsal room in preparation for their 2008 run. most important at the Fringe is to make sure you drink your bodyweight

each night, take a gamble on a piece of interpretative dance and gain on average three hours sleep per night. It is great, however, to see the weird, wonderful and varied projects being undertaken by students, and to see the city at its most flourishing. enjoy the Festival.


28 News

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Trumpets and Raspberries  RoyAl lyceuM TheATRe unTil 10 MAy

Tony cownie and the lyceum present a brave attempt at intelligent farce Lucy Jackson & Christopher Payne lucy.jackson@journal-online.co.uk

once AgAin, Tony cownie produces a well-made play- this time in the farcical mould. Dario Fo did not look kindly upon artists who made unnecessarily light work of his political drama, but cownie has not erred on the side of caution in this respect. From the off, jaunty music plays while the surgeons begin the mistaken transformation of factory magnate John lamb into the identical twin of one of his workers, Tony Brodie. Taking a political satire from the 1970s and updating it to modern day Scotland is always dangerous. The technological progress of our age and particularly the film industry makes the improbable scenario of the play, slightly more real than when it was first performed. The references to iraq, Tony Blair, nuclear warheads and the edinburgh tram system however, do not aid this concerted effort at intelligent farce. of course, the comedy is underwritten by social commentary on politics and government response to terrorism; a topic which is as relevant now as it was when the play was written. Jimmy chisholm takes the lead and shines as both Tony Brodie and Sir John lamb, and there is good ensemble work from the supporting cast, in particular Steven Mcnicoll as the Dr. Strangelove-esque doctor. The set contributes well to the quasiabsurd, farcical nature of the play, and cownie has used the space and set creatively. There is no need to update the obvious, neat Marxist finale that proves that society’s foundations are truly rooted in capital, with the symbolic god/Adam pose of the magnate and the inspector of Police. The ending, however, feels rushed through almost as if the director or the cast are slightly embarrassed by this simple, moralistic wrapping up of events. cownie’s production is an enjoyable evening’s happenstance, but without the depth to make it memorable.

Feature

Anna isola Crolla

Music

Bay City strollers Want a job in the music industry? Just start your own record label. Tomlin leckie did just that, as Chris McCall finds out.

FoR MoRe inFoRMATion on STRolleRS, conTAcT: PeRuviAn_BuTTeRFly@ hoTMAil.co.uk Chris McCall

chris.mccall@journal-online.co.uk

ToMlin leckie iS a man with a vision. Fed up with what he saw as a lack of opportunities for bands in edinburgh, he decided to ignore the traditional career path of an edinburgh university graduate and instead set up his own record label. As much an entrepreneur as he is a music impresario, leckie established Strollers Records with Michael Thornton-Jones early this year, in an attempt to fill what they saw as an obvious gap in the market. chatting to The Journal, leckie explained what he hoped to achieve with Strollers. “Many great bands in edinburgh are being denied opportunities to get their music heard either through recordings or gigs. So we aim to become a sort of 'super-label' which mixes the roles of promoter, distributor and label and works closely with the bands to develop them at a more relaxed pace.” The label's first signings were local funk heroes Sup-opt, a band who despite their obvious talent, were never going to have a commercial enough sound to attract interest from larger labels. “When i first saw Sub-opt just over a year ago, i felt that they were making the music that i would like to be making” leckie explains. offering bands a chance to better promote themselves isn't leckie's only aspiration. like many others, he believes that edinburgh has a music scene that it should be proud of, and that endlessly comparing it to glasgow is pointless. “it mustn't be forgotten that glasgow was city of culture in 1990 and that investment gave a real advantage to them, but edinburgh is catching up quickly. People

Music

scottish Chamber Orchestra  DvoRák - SeRenADe FoR STRingS DvoRák - SeRenADe FoR WinDS BRAhMS - violin conceRTo 19Th APRil 2008

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The Scottish chamber orchestra perform a showstopping selection of Brahms and Dvorak Sarah Mitchell sarah.mitchell@journal-online.co.uk

say that edinburgh is a club city, and its true to an extent, we always get top DJs playing here but not so many high-calibre bands whereas glasgow has a lot more venues and promoters, that actively work to help local artists out, such as king Tuts and Rockers. i know of some amazing local bands though who just won't play in edinburgh.” So is it possible for bands to become successful without having to relocate away from edinburgh? leckie is convinced. “Absolutely, location should not be important any more and the edinburgh music scene has so much potential plus you are a mere stone's throw away from so many great music scenes like glasgow, newcastle and Manchester.” it would be easy to be cynical about Strollers chances of success, but leckie is by no means the first edinburgh graduate to establish a record label with the intention of developing talent across the city. Sl Records, home to the likes of ballboy and Misty's Big Adventure, and a long-term favourite of the much missed John Peel, was set-up by former edinburgh student ed Pybus, and last year celebrated its 10th anniversary. With the music industry as we know it rapidly collapsing, it takes a brave man to stand up and dedicate his efforts to promoting bands in a city that is often ignored in favour of its larger neighbour. To individuals such as leckie however, this is is irrelevant. All that matters to them is to ensure that the wealth of great music available right on our doorstep isn't ignored. An unFoRgeTTABle PeRFoRMAnce? i think so. To seasoned concert goers, there is an unavoidable danger that a number of recitals become blurred in one’s mind. i can safely say that there is no danger of such an occurrence tonight, which will surely be remembered for a number of reasons. Partly because of the audience’s premature applause halfway through Dvorák’s Serenade for Strings, partly because of the two stunning encores, but mainly because of an all round outstanding performance. i wont lie. it was the lure of Brahms which drew me to this concert. once again however, the Sco’s cleverly selected programming has resulted in two new additions to my list of favourites, namely Dvorák’s Serenade for Strings and Serenade for Winds. conductor Joseph Swensen revels in a mixture of radiant music and passionate performers in both works, in which subtle contrasts are intricately accented. As always, the strings present a united front and bring out flowing counter-melodies as well as the rich main themes. The Wind Serenade is a contrast in itself, opening at times with an almost funeral march impersonation, before branching seamlessly into a more pastoral rendering. once again, players breathe ample life into the music, with opposing instruments trading themes smoothly and effortlessly. Special mention should go to the horns in this case, who play through Dvorák’s less than simple writing endlessly, and at times bring an almost jazzy feel to the work As far as the genius of Brahms goes, this performance may never be topped. From the minute soloist henning kraggerud took the stage, his presence and obvious connection with the music stole the show. his remarkable tone fitted the music perfectly, particularly in the intensity which he brought to the opening, and it’s contrast in the second movement’s singing melodic lines. The dance-like third movement brought the work to a soaring end, with amazing treatment of the contrasting rhythms with which the dance motif is presented. indeed, a memorable experience.


Eating & Drinking 29

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

The hotel-restaurant Nana Wereko-Brobby samples hotel food that little bit more sophisticated than Quality Inn's breakfast buffet

H

otel-restAurAnts HAve to work that bit harder to win our custom. offering an enclosed environment in which one can eat, sleep and drink to one’s content without stepping foot outside, it is often hard to distinguish whether they are fully-booked on the basis of merit or on the basis of proximity to bed and bath. Are the satiated looks coming from dining couples the result of a truly memorable culinary experience or the anticipation of an imminent bedroom liaison upstairs? We view with suspicion tables of six or more, wondering whether the jovial group have opted to spend a collective birthday/anniversary/promotion celebration in a memorable place or if, in fact, we are witnessing one of many conference groups getting a convenient night-time bite before tomorrow morning’s meeting. there is also the prevailing sense that if an out-of-towner is to make a trip to the city and book himself into a hotel, the cultured and cosmopolitan thing to do would be to explore the area, seek out a restaurant and make a night of it. there is a genuine reluctance to restrict one’s dining experience to the hotel building. As a result, such restaurants really have to offer something exquisite in order both to maintain the custom of its hotel clientele and to entice outsiders into its secluded world. With the exception of the infamous oriental offering at london’s Dorchester hotel, a large proportion of hotel-restaurants in the uK choose to play it safe with some sort of hybrid european menu. Big players like Gordon ramsey’s Claridges restaurant, the london Hilton’s Galvin, the Berkeley’s Petrus, the ritz and, somewhat ironically, the Mandarin oriental’s Foliage, all offer classic French/British fare with ‘innovative twists’ which cleverly obscure the fact that the same stock options appear on every menu. starter choices cater for the staunch meat eaters with a terrine/paté/foie gras creation, the pescatarians with the unfailing scallops offering, the vegetarians with a cheesy tart and the slimmers with a fancy soup. Main meals follow the pattern of a safe meat (steak), a controversial meat (venison/game), a sea bass/halibut dish, a grilled or roasted chicken and a veggie option. Business-savvy enough to make sure chocolate features at least once in the dessert menu, the meal should end on a well-presented but uncontroversial high. Far be it for me to deride what is essentially the product of great market research but one does have to question where the decision-making process comes in when privileging one hotel-restaurant over another. sampling some of the more infamous hotel-restaurants in edinburgh, the selling point seems to be atmosphere, tone and service over food. Whilst it is unlikely that the menu will either shock or gravely disappoint, it is the duty of the restaurant to reflect the character of the hotel and, in doing so, reiterate the lifestyle choice associated with that sort of establishment. In the case of the glitzy tigerlily, the restaurant is all about beakers of wine, mood lighting and trendy-looking menus, extending the image of the tigerlily franchise with every sexily lit booth. With the Prestonfield’s rhubard the focus is on opulent reds, low and comfy antique chairs and separate pre-drinking living rooms, perpetuating the country-house feel of the place. With the Bonham, the focus is on promoting the townhouse company’s philosophy of classic victorian style. Dining in the enclosed environment of a hotel-restaurant demands choosing the make-believe world you want to enter for the evening, getting into character and letting the hospitality masterminds work their Pr magic.

Above, scallops at Rhubarb. Below, the Prestonfield’s opulent dining room

Rhubarb

Tigerlily

The Bonham

nestleD In A baroque building surrounded by extensive grounds and with an impressively dramatic driveway, the Prestonfield is clear about the tone it intends to set. With its lashings of rich rouge fabrics, its gilded detail, its antique furniture and its traditional art collection, the hotel manages to be both unashamedly opulent and rather tasteful. A dining experience here is neither a casual nor a quick matter. rather than being seated on entrance, one is wafted upstairs to a pre-drinks destination, one of many country-house sitting rooms, and provided with drinks and a selection of nibbles whilst musing on the menu. orders are taken from the comfort of the sofa and diners are encouraged to come down to the restaurant at their discretion. From this point on, having already been pandered to by two waiters, a third appears and dishes out the bread, freshly baked on the premises and with a sun-dried tomato offering that demands a second ‘try’. For starter, the langoustine and foie gras were both beautifully presented and appeasing, and for main, whilst the sea bass with fennel pesto was reasonably tasty, the pork belly and scallops was the only dish that met the level of the service and décor. Preventing the meal from being exceptional was the overenthusiastic salting, at times masking what were without a doubt good quality ingredients. Whilst the polenta desert was fresh and simple, it was only with its chocolate gateau accompanied by an unbelievable caramel ice cream that the decadent vibe of the restaurant really came through. the problem at rhubard is not the quality of the food. It is the fact that the service and surroundings raise the expectations to a level that would be very difficult for most dishes to meet. Whilst the experience itself leaves one feeling spoiled and very unwilling to re-enter the grey world outside, the less than ethereal performance of the food makes re-integration into society that bit more manageable.

tHe restAurAnt At the infamous tigerlily on George street is an obvious choice for those already acquainted with the adjacent swarming bar. nestled in a table under a dark canapé, the dining experience is at once intimate and exposed, as boozed up diners can make the step from private meal to packed bar within seconds. the staff are exceptionally friendly and informal enough to counteract the tone that the prices set. With an atmosphere that seems to beg the customer to overindulge, the beakers of wine and the meat heavy menu appeal to a post-work crowd who crave a dining experience that will both satisfy and encourage to extend the night afterwards. Fitting the boutique-restaurant mould, the menu provides some stock and generously portioned options. With scallops on a parsnip puree, crab cakes and a foie gras terrine to start, and steak béarnaise, roasted lamb on sweet potato mash and corn fed chicken in serrano ham for mains, the food plays it safe but appeals with rich flavours, hearty ingredients and appetising colour combinations. However, adding an air of informality that other hotelrestaurants lack, it is the sharing platters on the menu that appeal to the playful clientele. Whilst the Mediterranean and Mixed platters do exactly what they say on the menu, it is the concept of sharing dessert platters that pushes the overexcited and, let’s face it, a little tipsy diner to distraction. Without a doubt the triumph of the menu, the dessert plates offer either a marshmallow, fruit, cookie and profiterole fondue kit or a ‘Chocolate’ platter filled with a range of choccy desserts including a cheesecake and a variety of chocolatedipped fruits. Certainly the most fun of the dining options, the tigerlily restaurant is a dangerous option for anyone who isn’t completely prepated to let themselves go.

tHe BonHAM restAurAnt is by no means an exciting destination for those who expect an atmosphere of pomp and decadence. Its layout is sharp, with polished wooden tables and floors, crisp white napkins, a spacious layout and good lighting. there is nothing overstated about the décor – it is just pleasantly perfect and symmetrical; despite a very ‘proper’ tone, the staff are wholly unintimidating. no doubt the result of its ‘townhouse’ character, the general dining tone is neither overly exciting nor terribly exclusive. the setting neither impresses, nor offends; it has resigned itself to a sort of vanilla infallibility. However, extending this bland perfectionism to the food results in a culinary triumph that surpasses its competitors. the restaurant offers a similar menu to its competitors—scallops, rabbit terrine, sea bass, steak—but cooks it that bit better. With scallops that quite literally melt in the mouth and a rabbit ballotine that, due to its chill, lets the blend of flavours play beautifully on the tongue, the food lives up to the two AA rosettes it has received. the steak was cooked to perfection and accompanied by an unusual pesto which was bold and tangy. the grilled sea bass balanced a brilliantly crisped top with very tender flesh and sat on a bed of gnocci which, rather than having a doughy texture, was almost puréed in the centre and firm on the outside; a sort of glorified, delicate croquette. the dessert peaked with a home made rum and raisin ice-cream which accompanied the chocolate dish and could quite easily have stood on its own. At the close of the meal, the ethos of the Bonham becomes more clear. It doesn’t need to bother with excessive style and tactical furnishings; the food speaks for itself. Furthermore, whilst the prices match its high standard, the restaurant caters to lower budgets by offering a Boozy snoozy deal at weekend lunchtimes.

Priestfield Road 0131 225 1333

125 George Street 0131 225 5005

35 Drumsheugh Gardens 0131 274 7400


Property

Abbeyhill Tytler Court, 1000, 3, 3D G, 0870 062 9332 Tytler Court, 675, 2, 2D G, 0870 062 9332

Balerno Deanpark Avenue, 800, 3, 3D G PG P, 0870 062 9522

HOW TO USE THE LISTINGS Old Town

Area

Lawnmarket, 900, 3, 2D 1B G, 0870 062 1108

Agent phone number

Barnton Barntongate Drive, 1000, 4, 4D G PG P, 0870 062 9522

Bedrooms

Blackhall

Monthly Rent

Marischal Place, 775, 3, 3D CG Z, 0870 062 9308 Craigcrook Place, 550, 1, 1D G O, 0870 062 9314

Location

Bedrooms: Heating: Garden: Parking: Furniture:

S Single D Double T Twin B Box G Gas Central W White Meter E Electric PG Private CG Communal Z Zone O On-Street P Private UF Unfurnished

Bonnington Bonnington Road, 590, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9460

Broughton Montrose Terrace, 600, 2, 2D G, 0870 062 9332 East Parkside, 560, 1, 1D G, 0870 062 9332 (3F1) Cornwallis Place, 550, 1, 1D 1B G CG Z UF, 0870 062 9434 Broughton Road, 525, 1, 1D G, 0870 062 9332 Broughton Road, 495, 1, 1D E, 0870 062 9332

Bruntsfield Gillespie Crescent, 1350, 4, 4D G CG O, 0870 062 9522 Viewforth, 1280, 4, 1S 3D G, 0870 062 8252 Bruntsfield Gardens, 1240, 4, G CG O, 0870 062 4830 Montpelier Park, 1100, 3, 3D G CG Z, 0870 062 9592 Barclay Place, 1050, 3, 3D G Z, 0870 062 4830 Forbes Road, 1050, 3, 3D G CG Z, 0870 062 9592 Montpelier Park, 950, 3, 3D 1B G CG Z, 0870 062 9312 Montpelier, 900, 3, 3D, 0870 062 9308 Bruntsfield Place, 800, 2, 2D 1B G O, 0870 062 8252 Viewforth, 750, 2, 2D G CG, 0870 062 3780

Canongate Canongate,Edinburgh, 900, 3, G Z, 0870 062 5696

Carrick Knowe Carrick Knowe Terrace, 600, 3, 3D G PG O, 0870 062 8252

Central South Bridge, 1750, 5, 5D G CG O, 0870 062 9478 Cumberland Street, 1500, 4, , 0870 062 9308 Hillside Crescent, 1500, 4, 4D G Z, 0870 062 9464 Cornwall Street, 1100, 3, 3D G Z, 0870 062 9314 Drummond Place, 1080, 3, 3D, 0870 062 9308 Great King Street, 950, 3, 3D G Z, 0870 062 9334 Dundas Street, 750, 2, G O, 0870 062 6604 Grindlay Street, 750, 2, 1S 1D G PG Z, 0870 062 9424 Morrison Street, 725, 2, 2D G O, 0870 062 9522 Niddry Street, 650, 2, 2D G Z, 0870 062 9324 Lochrin Terrace, 500, 1, 1D W O, 0870 062 9362 Elliot Street, 495, 1, 1D O, 0870 062 9314

Comely Bank Learmonth Crescent, 995, 3, 3D G CG Z, 0870 062 9312 Learmonth Court, 650, 2, 2D CG P, 0870 062 9522

Corstorphine Forrester Park Loan, 600, 2, 2D G CG O, 0870 062 9478

Currie Palmer Road, 700, 3, 1S 2D G, 0870 062 9332

Dalry Downfield Place, 1000, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9558 Northcote Street, 850, 3, 1S 2D G, 0870 062 9332 Murieston Terrace, 590, 2, 1S 1D G CG O, 0870 062 9302 Murieston Terrace, 590, 1, 1D G Z, 0870 062 9302 Caledonian Place, 585, 2, 1S 2D G CG O, 0870 062 9434 Downfield Place, 475, 1, 1D E O, 0870 062 9312 Downfield Place, 450, 1, 1D G CG O, 0870 062 9334

Duddingston Duddingston Park South, 650, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9522 Cleekim Drive, 600, 2, 2D G PG O, 0870 062 9522

East Craigs North Bughtlin Brae, 575, 1, G PG O, 0870 062 9478 Bughtlin Gardens, 525, 1, 1D G CG P, 0870 062 3768 Bughtlin Gardens, 495, 1, G CG P, 0870 062 3768

Easter Road Hawkhill Close, 700, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9522 Bothwell Street, 500, 1, 1D G O, 0870 062 9320 Elgin Terrace, 470, 1, 1D G CG O, 0870 062 9522

Edinburgh Lauriston Park, 1875, 5, 5D, 0870 062 3700 Melgund Terrace, 1700, 5, 5D, 0870 062 3700 Albert Street, 650, 3, 3D, 0870 062 3700 Stenhouse Gardens North, 475, 1, 1D G CG O, 0870 062 9334

Ferry Road Telford Drive, 700, 3, 3D G CG, 0870 062 9522

Fountainbridge Angle Park Terrace, 1240, 4, 4D G CG O, 0870 062 4830 Gibson Terrace, 475, 1, 1D E Z, 0870 062 3768 Murdoch Terrace, 450, 1, 1D E CG Z, 0870 062 9312

Gilmerton Dinmont Drive, 600, 2, 2D G CG O, 0870 062 9558

Gorgie Sinclair Place, 875, 3, G CG P, 0870 062 3768 Gorgie Road, 850, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9558 Stenhouse Drive, 850, 3, 3D CG O, 0870 062 9522 Wheatfield Road, 850, 3, 2S 1D G CG O, 0870 062 3768 Sinclair Place, 675, 2, 2D G, 0870 062 9332 Stewart Terrace, 545, 1, G O, 0870 062 6604 Wheatfield Road, 525, 1, 1D G O, 0870 062 3768 Downfield Place, 495, 1, G, 0870 062 9456 Stewart Terrace, 495, 1, 1D W CG O, 0870 062 9424 Wheatfield Street, 495, 1, 1D 1B G CG O, 0870 062 6458 Gorgie Road, 475, 1, 1D G CG O, 0870 062 9238 Stewart Terrace, 450, 1, 1D G CG O, 0870 062 9384

Grange West Savile Gardens, 675, 1, 2S 2D G P, 0870 062 9424

Granton Saltire Street, 550, 1, 1D G, 0870 062 9332 Granton Road, 475, 1, 1D, 0870 062 9332

Grassmarket Websters Land, 525, 1, 1D W Z, 0870 062 3768

Haymarket Morrison Street, 1360, 4, 4D, 0870 062 3700 Haymarket Terrace, 950, 3, 3D E O, 0870 062 1108

Hillside Wellington Street, 1000, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9558 Hillside Street, 950, 3, G CG O, 0870 062 9558 Hillside Street, 900, 3, 3D E CG O, 0870 062 9558

Holyrood Canongate, 1000, 3, 3D G CG Z, 0870 062 9558

Joppa Joppa Road, 525, 2, 1S 1D G, 0870 062 9332

Kingsknowe Kingsknowe Court, 600, 2, 2D G CG O, 0870 062 9302

Leith Kirk Street, 1600, 5, 5D, 0870 062 3700 Smith’s Place, 1550, 5, 5D, 0870 062 3700 Bonnington Road, 1400, 5, 5D, 0870 062 3700 Brunswick Terrace, 1350, 5, 1S 4D G PG O, 0870 062 9468

Portland Gardens, 1050, 3, 3D G P, 0870 062 4830 Breadalbane Street, 995, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 3768 Bernard Street, 930, 3, 3D, 0870 062 3700 Timber Bush, 930, 3, 3D G P, 0870 062 9302 Dalmeny Street, 825, 3, 3D G O, 0870 062 9508 Mcdonald Road, 750, 2, 2D G CG O, 0870 062 9522 Pattison Street, 700, 2, 2D G CG P, 0870 062 9522 Alemoor Park, 650, 2, 2D, 0870 062 3700 Duke Street, 650, 2, 2D G, 0870 062 9332 Giles Street, 650, 2, 2D E CG P, 0870 062 9558 Hawkhill Close, 625, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9384 Elbe Street, 595, 2, 2D G CG O UF, 0870 062 9430 Prince Regent Street, 575, 2, 1S 1D G O, 0870 062 9460 Elbe Street, 550, 2, 2D, 0870 062 9332 Gordon Street, 550, 2, 2D, 0870 062 9332 Salamander Street, 550, 1, 1D G, 0870 062 3768

Leith Links Johns Place, 575, 2, 2D E P, 0870 062 9468

Leith Walk Rosslyn Crescent, 1500, 5, 5D G, 0870 062 3920 Leith Walk, 1200, 4, 4D G CG O, 0870 062 9486 Leith Walk, 1200, 4, 4D G, 0870 062 9332 Leith Walk, 1100, 4, 4D G O, 0870 062 9460 Stead’s Place, 1090, 4, 1S 3D G O, 0870 062 9334 Mcdonald Road, 695, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9460 Dicksonfield, 690, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9302 Iona Street, 475, 1, 1D G CG O, 0870 062 9460

Liberton Howdenhall Drive, 475, 1, 1D G PG P, 0870 062 9234

Longstone Longstone Avenue, 730, 2, 2D G, 0870 062 9522

Marchmont Spottiswoode Road, 1400, 4, 4D G CG Z, 0870 062 9558 Thirlestane Road, 1380, 4, 1S 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9322 Marchmont Crescent, 1300, 4, 1S 3D G CG Z, 0870 062 9322 Roseneath Street, 1050, 3, 3D 1B, 0870 062 9308 Spottiswoode Street, 1020, 3, 3D G CG Z, 0870 062 9322 Arden Street, 1000, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9320

Meadowbank Wishaw Terrace, 725, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9558 Waverley Place, 610, 2, 1S 1D G PG O, 0870 062 9234 Dalgety Avenue, 490, 1, G O, 0870 062 9558

Meadows Melville Terrace, 1500, 5, 5D G CG Z, 0870 062 2304

Merchiston Rochester Terrace, 1250, 4, 4D G CG O, 0870 062 9558 Colinton Road, 800, 2, 1S 1D G PG P, 0870 062 9478

Morningside Craighouse Park, 915, 3, 1S 2D E O, 0870 062 8252 Falcon Avenue, 900, 3, 3D E CG Z, 0870 062 9558 Comiston Road, 850, 3, 1S 2D G CG O, 0870 062 8252 Falcon Avenue, 750, 2, 2D G PG Z, 0870 062 9558 Canaan Lane, 675, 2, 1S 1D 1B G CG Z, 0870 062 9478

Musselburgh North High Street, 840, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9478

New Town Albany Street, 1600, 4, 4D G PG Z, 0870 062 9578

Henderson Row, 1500, 4, 4D G O, 0870 062 4830 Scotland Street, 1500, 4, 4D G Z, 0870 062 9314 Scotland Street, 1500, 4, 4D G CG Z, 0870 062 9464 Hillside Street, 1400, 5, 1S 4D G Z, 0870 062 4830 Cumberland Street, 1340, 4, 4D G Z, 0870 062 9314 Antigua Street, 1300, 4, 4D G Z, 0870 062 9508 Eyre Crescent, 1300, 4, 1S 3D G Z, 0870 062 9314 Drummond Place, 1150, 3, 3D Z, 0870 062 9308 Brunswick Street, 1030, 3, 3D, 0870 062 9316 Logan Street, 1005, 3, 3D 1B G Z, 0870 062 9314 Royal Crescent, 990, 3, 3D Z, 0870 062 9308 Howe Street, 775, 2, 1S 1D Z, 0870 062 9308 North West Lane, 725, 2, Z, 0870 062 9308

Newcraighall Whitehill Street, 625, 2, 2D G P UF, 0870 062 9424

Newington Bernard Terrace, 1850, 5, 5D, 0870 062 9302 Parkside Terrace, 1850, 5, 5D, 0870 062 3700 Parkside Terrace, 1700, 5, 5D G, 0870 062 8252 Rankeillor Street, 1700, 5, 5D G CG Z, 0870 062 9312 Dalkeith Road, 1650, 5, 5D G CG O, 0870 062 4830 Dalkeith Road, 1500, 5, 5D G CG Z, 0870 062 9558 Dalkeith Road, 1450, 5, 5D G O, 0870 062 8252 Dalkeith Road, 1300, 4, 4D G CG Z, 0870 062 9558 West Preston Street, 1250, 4, 4D G O, 0870 062 9322 Newington Road, 1230, 3, 3D G Z, 0870 062 9314 Dalkeith Road, 1200, 4, 4D, 0870 062 3700 South Clerk Street, 1200, 4, 4D G O, 0870 062 9522 South Clerk Street, 1200, 4, 4D G CG, 0870 062 9558 Lutton Place, 1140, 3, 3D G O, 0870 062 9302 Causewayside, 995, 3, 3D G CG, 0870 062 2304 Brown Street, 975, 3, 3D G P, 0870 062 9302 Brown Street, 975, 3, 3D G P, 0870 062 9302 Dalkeith Road, 975, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9558 West Crosscauseway, 945, 3, , 0870 062 9308 Mayfield Road, 925, 3, 1S 2D G CG O, 0870 062 9334 Savile Place, 900, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9558 South Oxford Street, 800, 3, 3D G CG Z, 0870 062 9334 Dalkeith Road, 780, 3, 3D G CG O, 0870 062 9322 Grange Court, 675, 2, 2D W Z, 0870 062 9312 Parkside Terrace, 650, 2, 1S 1D G CG Z, 0870 062 9326 Parkside Terrace, 575, 2, 1S 1D E P, 0870 062 9320 West Newington Place, 525, 1, 1D G CG Z, 0870 062 9558

Old Town Greyfriars Place, 670, 2, 2D G, 0870 062 9474 Pleasance, 525, 1, W CG O, 0870 062 9444

Oxgangs Oxgangs Drive, 550, 2, 2D G CG O, 0870 062 9430 Oxgangs Crescent, 530, 2, 2D G CG O UF, 0870 062 9434

Peffermill Drybrough Crescent, 650, 2, 2D G P, 0870 062 9522

Pilrig Balfour Place, 625, 2, 2D E, 0870 062 9332

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Sport 31

The Journal Wednesday 23 April 2008

Barbour and Blondes gather to celebrate Accies' 150th birthday Rugby

Edinburgh Academicals 0 Barbarians 43

Paris Gourtsoyannis paris.gourtsoyannis@journal-online.co.uk

EvEn if it failed to offer a spectacle of rugby worthy of the occasion, the 150th anniversary of the founding of Edinburgh Academicals RfC, marked by an exhibition match between the club’s first Xv and the equally venerable Barbarians, presented a rich tableau of all the best qualities of the sport in Scotland. the capacity crowd at the club’s Raeburn Gardens home in Stockbridge boasted the full spectrum of the club’s wide support within the community, and beyond. the concentration of Accies old boys—thickest on the approaches to the beer tent— made for a tapestry of tweed and Barbour, seasoned with salt-and-pepper beards, poor comb-overs and flat caps. Almost as numerous were the genuine ruggers – overlarge lads whose youth, fitness and tracksuits seemed in contempt of the old men trying to remember match days gone

by over third and fourth pints. the real colour in the crowd, however, was offered by the girlfriends. they were easy enough to spot – peroxide blonde, tans fresh from the chemist, giant sunglasses in spite of the unbroken covering of cloud, and tight-fitting jeans topped by furtrimmed jackets, the ease with which they glided over the soft ground in their four-inch heels betraying a wealth of sideline experience. Most heartening was the number of youngsters present – Edinburgh Academy students in ties and jackets recalling the club’s links to the school from which its founders hailed rubbing shoulder with local kids in tracksuits and trainers. One day, not far in the future, they’ll meet on a pitch and class won’t matter; sporting competition will, as it always has been, serve as the ultimate equaliser. there was, unfortunately, little equality to be had on the field of play. Despite the Barbarians side being tailored to be representative both of local rugby heritage and the youth of the opposition, the all-star team ran their hosts ragged from the starting whistle. the first half was all one-way traffic, with a disorganised Accies defence frequently being caught out of position, allowing the sprightly

Baa-baas flanker Gennaro fessia – a prospect for both Argentina and Sale Sharks – to run in two virtually unopposed tries with a handy overlap. faced with insurmountable odds and playing only for pride, the Academicals came out for the second half clearly determined at least to entertain, if not to thrill their massed supporters. their defensive display was vastly improved, with brave and desperate tackles preventing their more gifted opponents taking route one down the middle of the pitch. the hosts were nonetheless physically outmatched: at the breakdown the Baa-baas forwards, led by former Scotland captain Gordon Bulloch and backed up by the quick hands of Worcester scrum-half nick Runciman, repeatedly turned over Accies ball, and the Barbarians’ attacking rucks were impregnable. in the loose, too, the visitors stamped their authority, with Accies lock Edward Stuart paying the price for his willing carries as he was repeatedly upended by vicious tackling. the sympathetic gasps from the crowd can’t have done much to lessen the pain of his numerous impacts with the ground. nonetheless, what the Scottish side lacked in impact they made up for in industry, and by the end of the

match they were able to string together long periods of possession thanks to daring handling which at times owed more to luck than intent. never can so many behind-the-back and between-the-legs passes have found their mark. When you’ve played every home game in your 150 year history at the same ground, you must come to expect a certain amount of good karma. Whatever the reason, the limited pressure the Accies brought to bear on their opponents proved fruitless, winger David Rattray’s held-up drive over the line being their best effort. the 43-nil scoreline against the hosts did little to dampen the spirits of those watching – not least those of Scotland head coach frank Hadden. “this is a great day for the Accies,” he told The Journal: “they’ve got an illustrious history and are celebrating it well today – i just hope they get a try! “My sons have played rugby for Boroughmuir, so i often find myself at games at this level – all flights of rugby in Scotland are equally important to the game in this country. “Rugby really is the best team game in the world – there really should be more people involved,” Hadden concluded. He has a point. When it is played by local lads in

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front of a crowd drawn from the local community, on a ragged pitch bounded by rickety stands packed with baying supporters, rugby is quite simply the greatest game on earth. Despite the best efforts of the bean-counters at Murrayfield and twickenham, the sport retains an authenticity and earthiness that owes as much to the those that stay clean on the sidelines as it does to the boys getting their faces shoved into the cold mud. “for the love of the game” is one of the clichés of sport which retains the least truth in today’s era of professionalism – the start of which brought to an end the competitive relevance of matches involving Scotland’s local club sides. Yet it is precisely because Scotland’s struggling professional teams and players have largely abandoned the passion and loyalty which lives on in clubs such as the Edinburgh Academicals that this country’s surviving franchises will continue to labour on in front of small crowds scattered sparsely within cavernous stadia. Meanwhile, the Accies – on the evidence of this month’s festivities – can count on generations of vocal support to prop up Raeburn Gardens’ ramshackle stands, not to mention its bar.


The Journal - Edinburgh Issue 008  

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