Paid for their poledancing Is the world of lap and pole dancing as seedy as many think?
Catch ‘em all over again Why you’re never too old to play Pokémon.
February 2011 Year 4, Issue 2
News Meet the first dog mascot at the university
Opinion The solution to your housing worries
Culture The ‘video nasties’ they didn’t want you to see
Lifestyle Risking the loan as we look at gambling students
Style The style of the seventies is back on the streets
Sport Lincoln City’s manager Steve Tilson interviewed Updated daily online at www.thelinc.co.uk Follow us on Twitter twitter.com/thelinc Find us on Facebook facebook.com/thelinc Listen to the podcast thelinc.co.uk/podcast
Fully booked Having trouble finding somewhere to live? The University of Lincoln has booked half of the student rooms in the city – but told the companies not to say they were short on space to avoid panic. Continued on page 5
2 Editor Charlotte Reid
Deputy Editor Jonathan Cresswell
The news that the person writing this isn’t Shane Croucher may be a bit of a shock to some, particularly as I did not make a big commotion about my new title, plumping to just get on with it. With Shane’s decision to step down from the top job and focus on the last push for his degree, The Linc has fallen to me, and firstly I want to say good luck to him even though he is still contributing. Already there have been some tough decisions to make, and one being that no matter how hard you shake this publication, unfortunately The Linc Magazine will not fall out. Currently everyone is
News Editor Vacant Sports Editor Bradley King Deputy Sports Editor Calum Fuller Culture Editor Luke Morton Deputy Culture Editor Samantha Viner Style Editor Natalie Littlewood Lifestyle Editor Stephanie Bolton
Be part of The Linc
Pictures Editor Anneka James Readers’ Editor Samantha Pidoux Advertising Editor Natalie Ditchfield Contributors Shane Croucher Joel Murray Emma Greatorex Rebecca Caroline Martin Harrison Sophie Card Steven Lawrence Carly Norton Marcell Grant Tim Long Josh Clark Alex Blackburne Rachael Connelly
Special Thanks Professor Richard Keeble Professor John Tulloch Barry Turner Gary Stevens Debbie Wilson
If you’d like to get involved with Lincoln’s premier student publication, and fancy seeing your work on our website, in the next print editon or on our weekly podcasts on Siren 107.3FM, then please let us know. We’re always looking for new people who are interested, in writing, photography or contributing in any way.
making cutbacks and that means us as well. We have decided to stick to our roots and remain as a newspaper but we have taken this opportunity to make the paper as pretty as possible with a bit of a redesign. When I first started writing for The Linc in 2009 it was during a two– week trial to see if we could publish stories daily on our website and since then we have grown ever more technologically advanced. Not really thanks to me as I am the main audience for those “Technology for Dummies” books. Now we are gaining recognition for this with a nomination for a BBC innovation award for our
coverage of the General Elections in 2010, where we had video interviews, blogs, and of course live coverage of the night. But we haven’t stopped there as we are proud to announce that we have a mobile phone app as well. And if you ask nicely then we may develop an app on other types of phones too! So we may have lost a magazine but we are still working hard to keep you up to date, informed and entertained – and hopefully this issue will be an example of what is to come. - Charlotte Reid email@example.com
Get The Linc on your phone with the new mobile app You can now get the latest updates from The Linc straight to your phone with our new mobile app. Read the latest stories in full, get stories quickly with automatic updating and share them on Twitter and Facebook. Right now it supports most phones that run on the Android operating system. For more information on the app, visit http://www.thelinc.co.uk/mobileapps
Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with the relevent section editor.
To download the app, just search for “The Linc” on the Android Market or scan this QR code with a barcode scanner app or using Google Goggles.
News in Brief
The Linc was printed by Mortons Print Limited, Hornastle, Lincolnshire www.mortonsprint.com The views and opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily the views of the University of Lincoln, the University of Lincoln Students' Union or the Lincoln School of Journalism. All rights in the design, text, graphics and other material in this paper and the selection or arrangement thereof is copyright of The Linc or other third party, unless otherwise stated.Any unauthorised use of materials is prohibited, if you require permission please contact email@example.com We appreciate when readers or people quoted in articles point out any errors of fact or emphasis, and we will investigate all cases. These should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Linc tries to abide to the NUJ’s code of conduct and the PCC.
Karl McCartney, Lincoln’s Conservative MP, was invited by the politics society to be a guest speaker at the University of Lincoln on Wednesday, January 19th. The audience were enthusiastic to grill McCartney on questions about the rise in tuition fees to a possible £9,000, which he voted in favour of back in December 2010. There was also a variety of questions on his stance on the EU, tax avoidance and bankers’ bonuses. The Lincoln MP also recommended that a “credible” student candidate should stand in the City of Lincoln Council elections in order to get more representation. Professor Simon Barker has become the University of Lincoln’s new Head of the School of Humanities. Professor Barker had previously visited the university before in 2006 and was “impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff and students, and by the university that was being constructed around them as they worked”. Since then he has been keeping a look out on recent news to do with the developments at the university such as the work by the humanities sections but also developments such as the School of Engineering.
Semester B’s “Journalists speak out on Journalism” guest lecture series has been announced bringing in names such as Bridget Kendall, BBC diplomatic correspondent, and Angus Stickler, news editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who will both talk about Wikileaks. The BAFTA nominated film producer, Chris Atkins, behind the film “Starsuckers” will be discussing “False news – and how to foil the media”. His team fooled various newspapers in to printing fake celebrity gossip. Several of the talks, which will be presented by Professor Richard Keeble, will be filmed by The Linc and will be available on our website. The University of Lincoln’s library defended the decision to cancel their annual Ebrary subscription claiming it was not cost effective. The library was criticised for not giving students enough warning before the service was cancelled. The annual subscription to the service was around £20,000 and an analysis of usage found that although students had access to 30,000 books only around 400 were being used significantly. Instead the library made the decision to spend the budget outright on book with Ian Snowley, the university librarian, saying: “We realised it costs about the same to buy those 400 titles for forever.”
News Constructing a new Engineering school by Carly Norton
Rag picking communities live off what they can find, like this one in Delhi. Photo: Sven Schiltz
Rag picking an unsual internship... in Delhi by Charlotte Reid A University of Lincoln student has been given an opportunity to go to Delhi to look further into the world of rag pickers. Sven Schiltz, a research student, travelled to Delhi on January 24th to start working with Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, a non-governmental organisation based in India who works for a sustainable environment. Schiltz has started his thesis on global cities, which originally was looking into big cities such as London, New York and Tokyo. Looking into the development of cities such as Delhi, Schiltz became fascinated with “rag pickers” who make a livelihood and a life for themselves by collecting other people’s waste. However, after a lot of academic research Schiltz changed his focus for his thesis to be “far more related to the real world”. On top of that he said that he has always wanted to travel and rather excitedly exclaimed: “I get to go to India.”
Schiltz explained what role rag pickers play in society: “What they do is much appreciated by the environment as obviously they collect waste from the streets and even from the official waste lorries and also on garbage slums as well. “That means there is not as much waste that ends on up on landfills and most importantly all the waste they collect is recycled because that’s how they get their money. “Because actually, even though it seems like it is worthless, as people get rid of it, it doesn’t seem like there is any more value there but actually there is the value of the material. So they send that onto traders and it is recycled which obviously makes a big impact on the environment. “So here there are people living in the margins of society, they just survive day by day by collecting waste that is all they have.” Schiltz has set up a blog which has created some interest because of the topic and his passionate voice. The blog alsohelps him keep notes for his thesis.
But Schiltz admits that writing his blog has a much more “selfish” reasoning as he can keep in touch with home easily: “It is mainly for my friends because I won’t have time to write many emails. So instead of writing like five, ten best friends an email I might as well just put it on a blog and they can look at it.” He does say that when he talks to his friends about his internship that “they smile and they nod, but let’s face it, they don’t have a clue what I am talking about”. Although he was certainly excited he has entered the internship open minded: “I haven’t got any expectations. I have never been to a developing country… I hope I will just get a different perspective. I don’t want to say ‘I am going to go find myself’ and I think it will help put my own problems in perspective. “Most importantly I want to see how it works, it’s all good reading but you can only get a certain idea of what it is like.” To read his blog, go to http://ragpickers.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/
Following the opening of the Faculty of Law and Business in January, the School of Engineering is now the focus of construction efforts as the University of Lincoln’s multi-million pound investment continues. The School of Engineering is the first to be established within the UK for over 20 years, and is currently in phase one of construction, with completion anticipated during the summer of 2013. The first phase is expected to be completed in July 2011, despite a two week delay in December due to poor weather conditions, which is when the engineering programmes will be relocated to the new building. Phase two is scheduled to begin in the summer months of 2012 and will take approximately 12 months to complete. The skills shortage in engineering is something the £37 million School of Engineering aims to redress, whilst forging links with the industry. The Engineering School currently focuses on mechanical engineering, but the new building will allow the university to diversify the number of courses available to include electronic and electrical engineering. The School is optimistic that the expansion will continue after the completion of the building. Professor Paul Stewart, founding head of the School of Engineering at the University of Lincoln, says: “The building is a hub from which we can interact with the industry, providing industry ready, highly employable graduates, and addressing the research and development needs of companies from one-man-bands to multinationals like Siemens.” The School of Engineering is part of the government Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) scheme. Under government proposals, university funding will not be cut in these areas. The development of the School of Engineering is expected to have a positive impact on both the University of Lincoln and the industry, and help the university to progress. Professor Stewart says: “Engineering is one of the pillars of a top university, so the building as a whole is an important part of the development of the university, and in particular it’s aspirations to top 50 university status.” Noodle Stewart, a three-year-old Labradoodle, is the school’s mascot, and a “core member of our ‘Dogs into Engineering’ scheme,” according to Professor Stewart. About his appointment as school mascot Noodle said: “I’m proud to be part of this significant development at the University of Lincoln, but am disappointed at the lack of dedicated kennel facilities in the new building.” The School of Engineering is currently the only department to have a dog for a mascot.
Noodle Stewart is the mascot of the engineering school. Photo: Paul Stewart
Former Lincoln vicechancellor returns to open new building
Bishop John Saxbee with his cards from many well-wishers. Photo: Charlotte Reid
by Shane Croucher Ordinarily you may think a man who has a fascination for buildings is odd. But when you see the results of Professor David Chiddick’s “unholy desire” for an old newspaper building, you can’t help joining in. “It was terrible really... I was almost coveting it. I used to walk around [the building] in the morning and imagine what it could be,” says Professor Chiddick, who retired in 2009 after nine years as vice-chancellor of the University of Lincoln. Urban regeneration and recycling buildings is his passion, which is why when the old Lincolnshire Echo building became of no use to the newspaper, he saw his opportunity to turn it in to what has become the newly opened Business and Law building, which has been renamed after him. “In fact, while we were buying it and in the negotiations I actually used the print room to stage a final year exhibition for an architecture project I was involved in. “It's better than I imagined it, and I did imagine it plenty of times.” The building is right next to the Brayford Campus which Professor Chiddick finds “fantastic” because “it connects the university to the city”. His belief in the re-use of old buildings for new purposes is evident by a number of hallmarks he left behind at the university after his era. The Engine Shed, a 137-year-old listed building bursting with Lincoln’s railway heritage, was a vast, dilapidated shed. Now it’s the biggest music venue in the region, a nightclub, offices, and a bar. The Great Central Warehouse was once an industrial hub in Lincoln – but now it’s the university’s library and from the outside it’s a mix of striking and domineering black, metal walls, with modern glass extensions protruding from the sides. On the inside there are subtle nods to its former industrial glory, with the original brickwork intact and iron girders running through the building. Similarly, the David Chiddick Building has acknowledgements to its past - ink stains from the splatter printing presses can still be seen inside the building’s atrium. There’s also a metal winch, high up in the ceiling, which was once used to put ink in the printers and lift newspapers out. Despite the tough climate for higher education, Professor Chiddick has confidence in his replacement, Professor Mary Stuart, and believes that Lincoln is well equipped to cope in the future: “I do think Lincoln is in a very strong position – academically, financially, and in Lincoln. It's got great staff, it's got tremendous students, and it's now reached the position where it can really fly, even in these difficult circumstances.” Professor Chiddick admits that it was hard to let go saying: “I think probably I thought that I had let go in the first three months, and at the end of the six months I realised I hadn't properly.” “It's like a bishop really, you should get out of town when you've been vice-chancellor, and you shouldn't hang around.” Professor Chiddick stands with the plaque commemorating the new building. Photo: UoL PO
Lincoln’s retiring bishop on defending students over fees rise by Charlotte Reid The recently retired Bishop John Saxbee felt “overwhelmed by people’s kindness” and likened his retirement to “a reverse pregnancy” as he needed to give nine months notice so it felt as if it took him “nine months for me not to be born but to gradually fade away”. Reminiscing about his nine years as the Bishop of Lincoln he called his job a “kaleidoscope of brief encounters” varying from when the Archbishop of Canterbury came to visit the city to receiving unexpected gratitude for writing to members of his diocese. That in a sense adds up to a highlight composed of a myriad of other highlights. In December 2010, the campaigning students found a somewhat unlikely associate as he stood up in the House of Lords to challenge the rise in tuition fees. He said he felt “obliged to stand up and roundly condemn the implication that educating a young generation of people only benefits those young people so they should pay” Comparing the usual “sober, very gentlemanly and very courteous” atmosphere of the House of Lords more like the House of Commons, the discussion that day justified to Saxbee why bishops are in the House of Lords “because we can speak not out of our party political outform not out of a financial imperative we speak on moral grounds”. When he was being considered for the role, thanks to the
mysterious process of choosing a bishop, he was “getting on with my other job”. It was not until he received a letter from the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, “telling me more than asking me, I think, to become the next Bishop of Lincoln” did he know that the position was even vacant. For a man who grew up in the West Country and had spent his time serving in Bristol, Shropshire and Devon he “would have struggled to have located it [Lincoln] on the map”. Even though it was a huge change Saxbee is appreciative that he got to discover an area of England that was new to him. But on a serious note he says that when he was appointed in 2001 that Lincoln had become a bit of a by word for bad news: “In the 1990s there was quite a lot of bad feeling in Lincoln, for all kinds of reasons involving the Cathedral and the diocese and the Dean. “I think they said: ‘Why not appoint someone who has no knowledge of any of it at all who can begin again and just take the diocese forward on a new path’... and to the enormous credit to the people of Lincolnshire they have risen to that and said ‘We want to go forward not on the basis of the past but with a new kind of future beckoning’.” After causing a stir the former bishop is looking forward to retirement – where he will be exploring another part of the country west Wales. There he plans to relax and “give a bit of time to my wife who has given an awful lot of herself to my job – now it is my job to give myself to her”.
Blackboard’s not perfect - but it is here to stay by Charlotte Reid The University of Lincoln’s education system Blackboard may be unpopular amongst some students with calls of it being “unreliable” and “inconsistent” but it appears to be here to stay. There are “no other competitors in the market”, says Professor Howard Stevenson, the deputy director for the Centre for Educational Research and Development (CERD). There is one other system called Moodle which the university decided was not the product for them as it is lacking in technical support. Preliminary results from the Students’ Union Big Conversation survey shows that students do use Blackboard regularly but have expectations that staff will use it more as well. Dan Derricott, the Students’ Union
vice-president for Academic Affairs who has started making conversation with the university over the current use of Blackboard, says that there needs to be a “culture change” and the SU are keen to “push a positive reinforcement campaign, good practice campaign, showing what is possible so technology can enhance learning”. As Blackboard has only been used across the University of Lincoln as a whole since the academic year 2008/09 it has taken a while for people to adjust to it, with Steveson saying people have “certainly become comfortable with it”. Derricott is planning for some improvements this semester but it will not be a quick change. There have been concerns about what students should do when Blackboard goes down, particularly after the system
could not be accessed for several periods over January just before deadlines. Currently there is no policy for when the system is down and work needs to be submitted but it would need to be dealt with by individual tutors. But the amount of downtime does not seem to be of concern as it is mostly overnight, but Stevenson says no student would get penalised if they were unable to submit work thanks to Blackboard. As the university has only been working with the system for three years Stevenson says that we are “maturing as an institution with Blackboard” as there is a push towards encouraging staff and students to not just use the system for storing lecture slides but for submitting work as well, with plans to upgrade to Blackboard version nine sometime in the near future.
There’s no place like home. But there’s no places left. by Jonathan Cresswell with contributions from The Linc news team Finding a house in Lincoln is normally difficult but there have been more problems this year as the University of Lincoln has booked half of the rooms in privately owned student halls in the city. Most housing was made available on January 26th, the day of the Students’ Union’s Housing Fayre - but within hours the major accommodation providers in Lincoln had no places left as they were reserved for the expected increase of new students in September, without warning that spaces were tight. A University of Lincoln spokesman explained: “Including the Courts, there are approximately 4,000 student rooms in the various university-approved developments in Lincoln. “In addition to all of the rooms in the university Courts, approximately 50% of the 3,000 rooms in private sector developments have been reserved.” This means that around 60% of the 2,500 new students who need housing will not be living in university-owned rooms - but with 1,500 rooms booked many existing residents of private halls have been unable to rebook. Approximately 700 rooms have been reserved in the Ruston Way based accommodation Pavilions, leaving many students unable to rebook where they currently live for the next year - and 200 people are on the company’s waiting list. Residents used the official Pavilions page on Facebook to vent their concerns, with some students explaining how despite reserving a room, as they did not get the tenancy agreement signed with guarantors in as quickly as required, their room had been sold. A Facebook group titled “Pavs Stole My Home” also contained many complaints, particularly due to the complete lack of notice that the company gave. Digs, the company that owns Pavilions, responded in a statement saying that they “decided, in line with the university's policy, to not cause panic by telling our current residents that spaces within The Pavilions were limited”. Instead, in December they started promoting their standard re-booking scheme, saying: “We did carry out plenty of promotion on a
Many accomodation providers are turning people away due to block-booked rooms. Photo: Jonathan Cresswell
variety of platforms to advise you to book early. “We were informed by the Accommodation Office at the university that most students do not consider their accommodation option until the January Housing Fayre that took place on the 26th, so we felt that we had informed our re-bookers with plenty of time.” The situation is similar with the other accommodation providers that the university works in partnership with. All rooms at Brayford Quays went within seven hours, and Junxion is also full after the university booked
180 rooms – although originally requested 260 rooms – but only around 10 people are on their waiting list. Park Courts have had 180 rooms reserved by the university for incoming students leaving 99 rooms available for those re-booking. Hayes Wharf could not confirm to The Linc whether they were full before this edition went to print. In previous years, the University of Lincoln approached the partnership providers later in the year to reserve rooms for first years after returning students have had a chance to book
places. The number of rooms booked by the university fluctuates each year according to the number of expected applicants. The University of Lincoln has said that they are making plans to improve what they describe as the “well publicised” pressure on accommodation in the city. “The university is currently reviewing its student accommodation strategy to ensure that the availability of high quality student accommodation continues to be in line with our ambitious plans.” However, no details were given as to what the plans involve.
Opinion: Shoved out of your home? Make your own. Welcome back to Lincoln – it’s time for a bright new term of opportunities, creativity and promise. Oh, by the way... you’ve got nowhere to live. There, that brought you back to the grim heartless reality we live in. Many students are outraged that they’re being forced out of their beds because the providers got in bed with the university. The plan was to stop panic by not saying that places were limited, but somehow revealing that they’re all full on the same day is supposed to be better? The attitude is like saying: “Well we didn’t want to scare you about AIDS by telling you to use a condom,”,which isn’t particularly good advice. Things aren’t as bad for the incoming
freshers, but when 60% of them aren’t in the university’s own accommodation it’s clear things haven’t been thought through well. Or at all. As the university has an obsession of expansion with new buildings, forgetting to build anywhere for the students who use them to actually live is a bit of an oversight. Then again, avoiding Courts is possibly a blessing in disguise as they consider heating and hot water an optional extra – subject to availability. The relationship between the university and the company that manages Courts, Santuary, feels more like the Chuckle Brothers as responsibility can get passed to me, to you, to me, to you...
But if rooms weren’t put aside, returning students would be fine but then people new to Lincoln would have nowhere to go. It’s like a game of “Deal or No Deal” where somebody has to get shafted. With all the rooms in private halls taken, many students are now forced to get a house with a company like Lighthouse, and those sorts of houses can be described at best as... nope, they can’t be. If you’re still looking for a home then you could try a more inventive solution – occupy a room at the university! The beanbag room in the Main Admin Building has been well tested, so you get nice furniture, warmth and more reliable facilities than most places that charge. It’s a brilliant idea, as you can
by Maken Eetup
simultaneously protest against the lack of rooms and be part of the solution! If that doesn’t take your fancy, why not take some inspiration from everybody’s favourite television show of the moment, “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings”. There’s plenty of green space in front of the Architecture building that the University of Lincoln hasn’t yet managed to stick a new building on, which is perfect for a little caravan congregation. It’s surrounded by a bunch of shops so you’re never too far from everything you need. And if all else fails, just budge up between the turkey ducks and set up camp alongside the Brayford – and students can truly all be in this together.
Lifestyle Are many students gambling their tight funds away? Photo: Anneka James
Playing your cards right by Martin Harrison with contributions from Sophie Card and Stephanie Bolton Betting on sport is the most popular form of gambling in Britain today, closely followed by casino games such as poker, roulette and blackjack. Aside from the millions of people who play the lottery, the most prolific gamblers are the ones visiting gambling stations or websites in order to place a bet. James, a second year student at the University of Lincoln, has been gambling since he was 16-years-old. He would visit betting stations with older friends, and as long as he wasn't asked for proof of age, he was more than happy to place a bet. James says that his games of choice are casino favourites, with a preference for roulette and blackjack. He says that he enjoys the game pace and the skill required to be successful, despite the fact they are both very high risk games, where luck outweighs skill. The UK Gambling Commission has released reports detailing the social groups most likely to develop problems through gambling: “Problem gambling is more prevalent among men and younger age groups; and significantly associated with being Asian/Asian British, Black/Black British, separated/divorced or having fewer educational qualifications,” it states. James fits three parts of the demographics that the Gambling Commission set out. Years of experience has allowed James to develop a game-play style, which has created a system of favourite numbers and mathematical strategies that he believes work in his favour: “[In roulette] there are certain numbers that come up more frequently than others, so if you keep betting on that number, you
are bound to win eventually,” he says. are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem This trial and error approach to gambling gamblers typically deny or minimise the probhas cost James throughout his gambling ca- lem. They also go to great lengths to hide their reer. At one point he had amassed £3,200 in gambling. one sitting but he would not comment on Callum*, a law student at the university, is whether or not he won the total amount over- a professional blackjack player who got into all. James says that in the past he has won gambling by accident. “I started playing at a thousands, and subsequently celebrated by casino locally and after about a year got suptaking his girlfriend on a romantic weekend port from other people.” away, complete with a shopping spree. Now Callum often plays on team bankrolls: Gambling for James is not a source of in- “You share information with each other, come. The thrilling nature of winning drives places where to go and you can travel with him therefore his casual approach to the value people and split costs and expenses,” he exof money results in plains. spending any winWhat makes Callum’s nings in celebration, gambling different to Once you’re playing and those who play online rather than saving for winning a game, you’re in the poker, and take chances future gambling. James is fully aware that his mind-set of card counting on roulette tables at profit margin is greatly casinos is that he does where you’re trying to beat card out-shadowed by his counting. the house. The knowledge is loss margin, but still It’s a legal practice but doesn't show any there. A gambler couldn’t one that, if the player is signs of regret or stopgood enough, can mean play blackjack; you have to be that ping. they beat the casino a certain type of person. In terms of gambling every time they play. It’s addiction, James says for this reason that casithat he is in control. nos ban players found to However, there have been instances in the be card counting, and because of this, Callum past where he admits to have put gambling has been banned from playing in houses first, highlighting the addictive qualities and owned by a large casino group. behaviours of a gambling life. Despite the practice being frowned upon, Government research differentiates differ- card counting is a skill that Callum has ent forms of gambling and concludes that worked hard to develop: “I think most people “problem gambling” is gambling to a degree would fail at it. It took me a long time to get that compromises, disrupts or damages fam- the hang of it... It’s not complicated maths, ily, personal or recreational pursuits. you just need patience.” Though he states that he is fully in control, It may be this hard work and thorough gambling addiction is sometimes referred to knowledge of the game that makes Callum reas the “hidden illness” because there are no alistic about his chances of winning as he says: obvious physical signs or symptoms like there “You lose 45% of the time, your wins tend to
be as big as your losses. You have to turnover a lot to make a little.” The hard work has paid off though. Callum now travels around Europe playing in casinos, but he is hesitant to say the most he’s ever won, just that it’s in the ball park of university tuition fees, confessing that “I’m now so far ahead that I’ll never be down again.” But Callum would not classify himself as addicted saying that it is not “the right word”. “Once you’re playing and winning a game, you’re in the mind-set of card counting where you’re trying to beat the house. The knowledge is there. A gambler couldn’t play blackjack; you have to be a certain type of person,” he says. But he has seen the effects of gambling on people who frequent the same casinos and have become addicted. However, he says that the casinos don’t care; they just want their money. Callum decided against becoming a professional blackjack player full time saying: “You wake up once you start to get banned from places and you can’t get games forever.” James has advice for all gambling beginners that in order to be successful in the high risk world you have “to be willing to be bold and brave and bet big and be prepared to lose if you want to win.” Both gamblers know that the risks they take are high, and James knows only too well what can happen when those risks don’t pay off. What can start as a low bet on one game can be the beginning of a serious addiction, where friends and family, as well as money, are lost For help and advice with gambling addiction, visit www.gambleaware.co.uk * Real name has been changed
Lap-dancing uncovered by Stephanie Bolton Walking up to the bar, it looks just like any other club. Music is blaring from the speakers, there’s sophisticated lighting and large mirrors. But this is no ordinary club. This is one of over a hundred lap- and poledancing clubs in the UK that are now seen as part of the sex industry. Beyond the bar, a girl in a tight black dress and thong begins to twist and twirl herself around the pole. This is 19-year-old Pixie* and this is the first of many dances she’ll do tonight. Pole-dancing’s popularity has become more socially acceptable as it is seen as a great form of exercise, but lap-dancing still has a very negative stereotype. There is a common assumption that girls have to be desperate for money to take on this work. But even though the girls all cite money as the main reason for starting work here, they weren’t desperate – Pixie says she just wanted money for a social life. It’s easy to see why money is the biggest incentive. Unlike other clubs, the dancers aren’t required to pay a ‘floor fee’ for working here, and so they take home 70% of everything they earn - and they can earn a lot. Private dances cost from £10 for a three-minute strip tease, to £200 for an hour, but the girls’ earnings vary from one night to the next. For 25-year-old Layla, who also works full-time, 30 dances is a good night. Pixie tells me she did 34 dances last week but by midnight tonight she’s only done three. Aside from the money, the girls have more personal reasons for working here. One of the girls, a 21-year-old who has been dancing for over a year, says dancing was an opportunity for her to rebuild her confidence around men as well as earn muchneeded cash. Past relationships left her with low self-esteem and she didn’t like the way she looked which, she admits, makes lap-dancing seem an odd choice. But rather than learn to develop her confidence from one guy, “Why not learn it from a hundred?” she asks. Working the floor in a bright pink bra and matching G-string, with pieces of material barely covering her mid-drift and lower body, it appears that dancing has made her much more confident. All the girls agree that working as a dancer is a great confidencebooster: “I used to have mega body issues but [now] I just don’t hate myself as much body-wise and get on with it,” says Kitty. She also finds lap-dancing empowering for women: “You come to a club like this and men are paying money just for a bit of female attention,” she says. Most male customers don’t see it that way, though. Sam, who works
at one of these clubs, says that men often come into the club and think that they are the ones in control, but that couldn’t be further than the truth: “They come in and they feel like they have the power because they’re going ‘you, dance’…but the girls always have the choice,” he says. Kitty admits that she has refused dances in the past, but that she always has a reason: “They’ve either spoken to me like I’m a piece of meat and I’ve turned round and gone ‘no, speak to me properly’, or they’ve been too drunk,” she says. Some guys can be nice: “I had this guy come in and it was his birthday and he asked me to go home and have a meal with him and his Mum,” says Pixie. Despite having the alter-ego of a stage name, Sam says that new girls are warned that they need a thick skin because of the negativity facing them and the industry they work in.
Safety first Whilst money and empowerment are main reasons for lap-dancing, the dancers stress how safe they feel when working. Those wanting a private dance are taken upstairs, through silk drapes to a room lined with mirrors on one side and booths on the other. Another set of drapes leads through to the champagne lounge where clients sit and talk to a girl for up to an hour. Despite the £200 cost, it’s popular. Both areas, like the rest of the club, are closely monitored with cameras placed to ensure that the no touching rule stays strictly in place. It’s this rule that makes the club legal. Sam explains: “A club that allows touching is a club that’s allowing extras. Touching is illegal. If the girls here accidentally touch a customer, they all know [to] step back, hands up, wave to the camera and carry on.” This rule is just one reason why the dancers feel safe. From health and safety to risk assessments, all regulations are heavily focused on the girls, and some also have to be adapted due to the nature of the job. Fire drills are difficult because “the girls can’t just run out” says Sam, so an exception is made for them. “We’ve got a letter from the fire brigade saying that we can perform a fire drill to the front door but then no further, because obviously the girls can’t just run out,” says Sam. “Our risk assessments include the girls being escorted to their cars, going on the pole, being upside down,” he adds. Last year, the introduction of the new sex industries licence meant that lap dancing clubs are now seen as part of the sex industry which, despite it being expensive, Sam welcomes: “We’ve now made the industry safer for girls and for door staff and better for customers and a better experience and we take our hats
Is it just for the money? There are many reasons why women start pole- or lapdancing. Photo: Alex Thompson
off to the council.” Layla says that the safety of the club is why her Mum is happy for her to dance here, but for most of the girls, their job is a closely guarded secret. Tonight, one of the girls has told her family that she’s working extra hours at her other job. But for another girl, her whole family know and are fully supportive. There’s a strict no-boyfriends rule at the club which goes for all of the staff, and for the girls’ partners, it’s hard to be supportive. “I was with someone when I first started and I told him and he wasn’t impressed, because people have got their own opinion of what goes on,” says Layla.
Sam’s fiancé was a pole dancer, although it wasn’t how they met, and he admits that such situations can be difficult: “You go through some serious emotional roller coasters,” he says. The girls all agree that ‘squaddies’ are the most common customer, but the demographic is varied, from students in university sports societies to men on stag nights and even girls. Pixie says that she thinks girls are just appreciative of the female body, but Kitty says that they’re curious, too: “Women generally are intrigued, they want to see ‘Does my body look like that?’, ‘am I normal?’ ‘What’s it like’,” she says. Watching one of the girls hang upside down from the pole, the ef-
fort and hard work this job requires is evident. These girls work from nine at night until four in the morning, where they dance on the pole, do private dances and talk to the customers. Due to the hard work, they are encouraged to work no more than three shifts a week. The negative assumptions about gentlemen’s clubs may be widespread, but there are many positives. From the women feeling empowered through what they do, to feeling safe and in control, not everyone can say that their job makes them feel good about themselves. *All names are the girls’ stage names.
The Under by Luke Morton
Despite the costs of a student lifestyle, some are still keen to have their big day. Photo: Anneka James
Royal or student: why get married? by Joel Murray Back in October whilst on holiday in Kenya, Prince William proposed to his long-term girlfriend, Kate Middleton with the ring of his late mother, Princess Diana. After practising for 10 years, the couple are expected to become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the eve of their wedding in Westminster Abbey, which takes place on April 29th. Although security for the day will be paid by the tax-payer, ‘Wills’ and Kate’s family will be footing the bill for the actual wedding, which is believed to be in excess of £50m. With Britain enjoying a Bank Holiday to celebrate the nuptials, it will be one of the most widely covered Royal events with live, online broadcasts going out around the world. However, it’s not the only wedding of 2011. Although the number of weddings in Britain are going down, figures from 2008 show that there were still over 200,000 of them a year. It’s the way many British people live today and, it might not be the typical choice for young people, but even students are choosing it as their lifestyle. “After over four years together, it seems that marriage is the most natural step for us as a young Christian couple in love,” says Bethan Murray, soon-to-be Mrs Anness, a third year criminology student. She will marry her fiancé Karl, this summer back home in Norfolk, but she insists that it will not get in the way of her last year at university: “It hasn’t been stressful so far, in fact it’s taken my mind off studies in the ‘down-time’ away from essaying and revising,” she says. The average cost for a British wedding is reported to be over £20,000 today, including such things as a honeymoon wardrobe, pre-wedding gym memberships and the infamous stag and hen nights. Despite the high costs, Bethan says that the day can be afforded by a student who works hard with supportive parents: “Karl’s got a full-time job, I've got a part-time job and both sets of parents are very generously contributing to the costs.” Working hard in order to raise the money for the special day seems a popular choice, as Sarah Warren, a third year psychol-
ogy student, explains: “My fiancé works full-time in the RAF and I will also have a year of work to help pay for it. Our parents are both wonderful in their help – whether it is time, money or both.” In the 21st century it’s unusual for couples to get married so early in life. In fact, studies show that the average bride is now 30, delaying the big day by pursuing a career, wanting to save money – or waiting for ‘Mr Perfect’ instead. A third year, media production student, Darren Mitchell agrees with waiting to exchange vows in order to save money. He and his finance, Gemma, “plan on getting married when we can both afford it... not until we’re settled down and have an income and a place of our own”. However, Bethan says that there’s no such thing as too early: “I don’t think you can put limits either way and it’s no different to an older person leaving it ‘too late’.” According to a study by Bradford University’s Simon Duncan, in the past, the three main reasons for marriage were sex, co-habitation and children, but that is not the case anymore. His study revealed that it is now “a way of publicly showing your commitment and social success”. This may be true for the Royal couple, who even match the average age of marriage, being 28 and 29. For Darren and Gemma, age didn’t come into it. Darren’s reason for a proposal at university? “Because I love my girlfriend,” he says. The Royal Family look set to make around £44 million on merchandise to help with the upkeep of the Queen’s Royal Collection, including a new £5 coin, the standard china collection and even a set of toys for the Early Learning Centre. Some of the memorabilia made, such as T-shirts and aprons were all rejected as ‘poor taste’, but the Royals did change their mind on tea cloths. The wedding is also sure to gain support for the Royal Family not only in Britain but globally; there have even been orders for commemorative mugs from as far as Japan. There are many reasons why people get married and it’s a lifestyle that many people choose to follow, both Royal and student. Although without the money available from merchandice it might be much more of a struggle for students.
During the ‘70s, punk was it its peak. Everyone wanted to pierce their face, put on some tartan and form a band. There were groups popping up all over the place, all waiting for their big break, that one moment that takes you from the corner of a dirty pub to stadiums across the world. The Undertones had that break, thanks to John Peel latching on to their smash hit “Teenage Kicks”. “If John Peel didn't get behind that song I wouldn't be talking to you,” laughs Undertones guitarist Damian O'Neill. “At the time when we recorded the EP we were breaking up all the time, I think we'd broken up a couple of weeks before we recorded. “It was our last stand it was like ‘Ah well, here's our testament to prove we existed. We'll put this out on [record label] Good Vibrations and maybe in years to come people will think 'Oh that was a good little song wasn't it?’ We never expected anything would happen. All that was due to John Peel loving it and playing it on his radio show,” Damian admits. Despite being best known for “Teenage Kicks”, the band have released six studio albums and are gearing up to re-release “True Confessions: A's + B's” in April. As well as the greatest hits package, the band are also going on tour and performing their debut album, “The Undetones”, in its entirety. “We've decided to do the first album in its entirety live because there are some songs we haven't done since way back in ‘79. It's kind of a celebration of that really.” The re-release and mini-tour also coincides with The Undertones’ 35th anniversary of playing live. “The first ever show I think was hilarious,” recalls Damian. “We played some little Scout hut to a bunch of Scouts aged from seven to 12. At that time Fergal [Sharkey] was assistant Scout leader or something like that of a Catholic Boy Scout group in Derry. That was our very first performance in this tiny little Scout hut. I definitely didn't think we'd be doing this 35 years later.” The band are also eager to meet with the members of their former fan club, the Rocking Humdingers Club. “We were thinking of ways to make it more interesting, and I think it was Mickey [Bradley, the bassist] who said ‘maybe we should contact the people from the fan club days?’ and we thought it was a good idea. “We're curious to see if people would still want to come and see us, and if they do we'll get them in for free.” Thirty-five years is impressive for any band, especially one of the 70s punk batch. However, Damian believes it is the punk movement that means his band are still here today. “That whole kind of punk ethos, anyone can do it; ‘Here's three chords now form a band’”, Damian laughingly admits. That really appealed to us because we weren't at that time very good musicians and we didn’t want to be good musicians back in the olden days. Especially in the late ‘70s the music was crap, it was awful, it was
The first Pokémon gam of characters who wou faces to a generation. P
rtones: Success from a Scout hut
Still young enough for the “Teenage Kicks”? The Undertones celebrate their 35th anniversary this year. Photo: Pomona PR
stale. You had to be a fantastic musicians to get noticed.” Not only did the band get noticed, they have been a staple part of any punk fan's music collection for over three decades. But can they keep going? “Ten years ago when we reformed it was only meant to be for a few shows and we're still doing it. I don't see why not? For the foreseeable future anyway. “It’s really good live, I think we're value for money. It's not corny either, it's not just a bunch of old blokes having a bit of fun. We really still feel passionate about playing these songs. ‘Teenage Kicks’, I'm nearly 50 now so it's kind of ironic, but I
mes introduced a range uld become familiar Photo: Nintendo
still have the same passion playing. “There's really good chemistry between all of us when we play. I just love playing with my brother John, we kind of share rhythm and lead, I love it. It works so well with John, it's great.” Over the band’s illustrious career, Damian has experienced many highlights. One of which was performing “Teenage Kicks” on “Top Of The Pops”. But he admits that one of the other high points in his career was going to America with punk legends The Clash in 1979, just as they'd recorded “London Calling”. However, this tour also led to one of Damian's biggest regrets.
“Mick Jones and Joe Strummer wanted to come on stage and jam ‘Teenage Kicks’ with us because it was the last date of the tour. I really wanted them to do it but Mickey had this thing about bands jamming together, it was the sort of thing heavy bands used to do in the past, he refused so it didn't happen. “I always always regretted that. I could have shared a stage with Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, even if just for three minutes, it would have been good.” The Undertones will embark on a 10 date tour in April across the UK.
Never too cool for the Pokéball by Jonathan Cresswell At university, the phrase “gotta catch ‘em all” is the unofficial slogan for Freshers’ Week and tends to be the unfortunate result of incidents behind the back of nightclubs. But count back 11 years to a more innocent time and the “Pokémon” catchphrase was engraved in to the minds of most eight-year-olds – and with new versions of “Pokémon Black” and “Pokémon White” set to hit the Nintendo DS in March, growing up just simply isn’t an excuse to ignore them. The world of “Pokémon” beautifully captured the imagination of many young people – providing them with a vibrant world to explore, a challenging adventure and importantly the chance to discover over a hundred fascinating creatures
to love and train, before making their beloved pets fight to the brink of death in battles that were like a socially acceptable form of dog fighting. With the amount of merchandise which comes in the forms of T-shirts, toys, CDs, movies, and of course, the card game it might as well have beencalled the Early Learning Centre’s “My First Consumerist Brainwash”. The influence of the franchise is undeniable. The closing song of the TV show, “The Pokérap”, is said to have inspired a generation of musicians. Who can forget such major artists of the last decade like the Black Eyed Butterfrees, Jay Drowzee and Cee-Lo Goldeen? There have been rumours that the card game could actually be played competitively and even had rules beyond needlessly swapping pieces of paper
with fictional worth, but this has yet to be confirmed. It might sound like nothing’s changed since the early days of Pokémon in Red and Blue, but that isn’t a problem. Besides, “Football Manager” and “Call of Duty” are just the same game released each year and people still buy those – and this series is actually good. The last two games in the series, “HeartGold” and “SoulSilver”, included a “Pokéwalker” pedometer that allowed you to train your team by walking around – meaning you could pretend to yourself that playing games is good for you. Although regular trips to McDonalds can undermine this. With a university work load it might not feel like the place to pick up something that’s so easy to sink hundreds of hours of practice into it, but you can eas-
ily apply the same skills to a game of “Pokémon” as you can a dissertation. Both of them take an extremely long time with seemingly impossible task if you want to collect everything – with 649 creatures in total there’s too much to consider getting bored. Both will cause you to spend hours staring at a screen, so you might as well make it fun. There’s an MA available in The Beatles, so why can’t you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of which Pokémon can only be caught at night? For what’s commonly perceived as a kid’s game, there’s an astonishing amount of complexity and mathematics behind it ready to be discovered and used... or do what most people do and just copy everything from Wikipedia. It might seem Farfetch’d, but there’s nothing to Fearow by trying it again.
The rise and rise of ‘New Folk’
Mara Galeazzi performing in “Giselle”. Photo: Bill Cooper
by Steven Lawrence Over the past decade it appears that pop music has become more manufactured. Artists and bands have been tactically placed together with arranged songs, beguiling in heartbreak and love in conjunction with choreography and stylists. But when Mumford & Sons had their debut album “Sigh No More” elevated to platinum status in March last year, some saw it as a reaction against the lack of authenticity in music today, as ‘New Folk’ continues to increase in popularity. Popular folk music is not a new phenomenon. Many of the great heroes of modern music hail from this genre such as Bob Dylan and Nick Drake – known for the simple poetic nature of their lyricism, accompanied by few musical instruments and are able to convey many musical messages. The great troubadours of folk music have had a profound influence on the popular folk artists that have cropped up during the late noughties. Many of these musicians met at the Notting Hill Arts Club in London, created by Winston Marshall from Mumford & Sons. A number of artists exchanged ideas and indulged in making music with one another. This led to Ben Lovett from Mumford & Sons, Kevin Jones and producer Ian Grimble establishing Communion Records. One band that has come from Communion Records is Matthew and the Atlas, who have recently released a new EP titled “Kingdom of Your Own”. Vocalist Matthew Hegarty said: “It’s nice to release something new. We are currently writing for an album.” Hegarty explained how his sound developed: “The process really changed for me when I got a 12 track, I’d just been writing simple guitar songs, the recorder allowed me to layer more vocals and I started trying different instruments on my songs like piano and banjo. This really helped me develop my ideas and sound.” Although American influence is deep-seated in folk consciousness, many of Britain’s ‘New Folk’ pioneers are something of a community. Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Mumford & Sons, and Noah and the Whale not only feature upon each other’s records but also rose out of their own communion. Perhaps the rising popularity of ‘New Folk’ is more of an aesthetic than a belief; but whatever it is it has definitely struck a chord. People look to be a part of a ‘communion’ of people as times are tough as they look for more authenticity. Hegarty said: “A lot of music is manufactured for a mass market and when there is too much of one thing, I guess people start looking for something else, I suppose ‘New Folk’ is an alternative to that.” Although Matthew and the Atlas are fairly new and have a lot to thank Mumford & Sons for; hopefully they can break away from the shadow of their predecessors and be acknowledged for their own brilliance. Despite still being quite a way from Bob Dylan and Nick Drake, ‘New Folk’ is clearly something special and as more people become attracted by these acts, it continues to rise.
Bringing ballet to bumpkins by Rebecca Caroline Dancing may have been part of British culture for many years, but it is now becoming more prominent as it dominates the television schedules with shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Pineapple Dance Studios” showcasing just some of the the UK’s talent. Although you’re more likely to see the Cha cha cha or the quickstep across a ballroom floor, ballet dancing is set to break out and become the new trend. You’d be forgiven for assuming that the audience at the theatre shows are mainly upper-class people, but this misconception has recently been dispelled. With ticket prices ranging from £10 to well over £100, The Royal Opera House has seen thousands more people coming through its doors than ever before. Mara Galeazzi, one of the principle dancers from The Royal Opera House, has noticed this trend: “I’ve definitely seen more people coming to the ballet and they even come and see the more modern works. Shows like Wayne McGregor's new pieces for The Royal Ballet seem to bring in a younger audience.
“At the moment, we are preparing a new production of ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ by Christopher Wheeldon, and I think that will bring a lot of new people as well,” she says. Ballet has also branched out into films with “Black Swan”, Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed film based around a production of “Swan Lake” and stars Natalie Portman as a veteran ballerina. “At the moment everyone is talking about the new film, ‘Black Swan’,” said Galeazzi, who believes that this is just one of the reasons that more people are now interested in the dance. It’s one of few films focused around the dance form with others including Stephen Daldry’s “Billy Elliot” and Thomas Carter’s “Save The Last Dance”. As for the music industry, Pixie Lott is performing ballet in her video for “Cry Me Out” and American rock band Shinedown have a plot about a ballerina running away from home in their video “Second Chance”. The Pet Shop Boys have an ambitious plan as the ‘80s electronic dance duo aim to produce their own ballet called “The Most Incredible Thing” set to in-
clude electronics and strings and will be performed at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London later this year. The piece will be based on a Hans Christian Anderson story and the pop duo will be helped by the Venezuelan choreographer Javier De Frutos. Performers from the Royal Ballet will be performing their own version of Shakespeare’s classic “Romeo and Juliet” to a crowd of over 13,000 people in June as ballet stars join a host of names who have previously performed at the prestigious O2 arena in London. “It will be the first time The Royal Ballet will be performing at the O2 which will hopefully bring a lot of people to the ballet who have never been before. It's going to be great opportunity for everybody,” said Galeazzi. With it only being the start of the year, there is still time for plenty more opportunities to arise and there is no doubt that they will. Mara Galeazzi will be dancing in “Giselle” at the Royal Opera House and also in “Romeo and Juliet” at The O2. For more information, see online at www.roh.org.uk
Theatre in the cinema: the curtains open on the silver screen by Emma Kay
More and more theatre productions are being brought to to the big screen. Photo: Rudi Riet
There is nothing like the anticipation of waiting for curtain up at the theatre. Being there, in the moment with the characters, is an amazing feeling that is certainly difficult to beat. Over the past few years, screenings of theatre performances, both live and pre-recorded, have been shown at cinemas across the country. It’s now normal to walk into your local cinema and see adverts for the latest theatre productions straight from the West End on a screen near you. But does seeing a theatre performance at the cinema take anything away from being there? Michael Billington, professional theatre critic for The Guardian argues that it doesn’t: “What’s not to like about this revolutionary way of making work available to a larger audience?” Cinema performances of theatre productions does help to bring in a bigger audience and solves the problem of works being sold out at the actual venue due to famous actors performing. As it is in their local cinema it encourages those who would not usually buy theatre tickets to give it a try and at a cheaper price. This is a key aspect, as it is gets
more young people engaged with the arts and keeps people interested in an underappreciated genre. Billington even went so far as to say that sometimes cinema showings are better than the real thing: “The National Theatre’s showing of ‘Phedre’ succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations. I even thought the production looked better on the screen than it did on stage.” This goes to show that in this ever changing world even the oldest traditions must adapt, and although theatre will be with us for a long time this is the next stage, as it were, for getting productions more accessible and to appeal to the masses. “Few people can get to see [Derek] Jacobi in ‘King Lear’ at the Donmar Theatre, London. But it will be shown on screens up and down the land in early February. The same goes for all the Metropolitan Opera transmissions from New York,” Billington enthused. This shows that the reach of this new approach has no limits and will enable tens of thousands of people to experience a once in a lifetime spectacle. It seems that this phenomenon is going to do nothing but grow over the coming years, and many people cannot wait for new performances to be shown in a much more accessible way.
Q&A: Steve Williams
Welsh comedian Steve Williams has written for “Russell Howard’s Good News” and after appearing on “Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow” he’s about to head out on his debut tour. Questions by Samantha Viner. How did you get into the comedy business? I was watching a friend performing at a club and he was so bad that I thought: “Wow, I think I can do that.” So I got up and that’s how it all started. Obviously, I don’t name my friend by name but he was pretty bad. What advice do you have for hopeful stand-ups? Just go for it. You live life once. We’re all going in the ground, we’re all going to be worm food so just go for it. It’s a form of expression in the same way painting or swearing or theatre is. Maybe not swearing as much as theatre or painting, probably less artistic of the three examples, but just go for it. The older, rawer horror films paved the way for modern gorefests today. Photo: Bill Hicks / Jonathan Cresswell
The dark age of the ‘video nasty’ by Ryan Peters Something dark was brewing in video rental shops of the UK during the mid1980s. Something controversial, rough and, some argue dangerous enough to cause uproar in Thatcher's Britain. That something was the ‘video nasty’. Almost anybody with an interest in horror films will at some point either have watched or have heard about a ‘video nasty’. They were films that were considered too violent or disturbing that they were banned from public consumption upon release. A selection of the banned titles includes “The Evil Dead”, “Driller Killer” and “Cannibal Holocaust”. While many of these films could be considered almost comic by today’s standards in terms of their poor acting, awful dialogue and laughable special effects – they were considered lethal to the 'upstanding' members of the public. Rewind to the 1980s and you’ll find there wasn’t much to laugh about. Life was pretty miserable for the average disillusioned Brit, with the country in the grip of extended violence from the Falklands war, unemployment figures topped three million and the miners' strikes causing masses of problems. Amidst all this misery, video technology was gradually finding its way into homes. As the popularity of the VCR began to grow, so did the number of rental shops in the country. They stocked every type of film from
romance to horror and unlike today, where we have a rating system for films ran by the British Board of Film Classification, there were no ratings. This allowed gory, low-budget flicks to spread across the country, leaving the young and old offended, outraged and entertained. In an attempt to pull back public support, Thatcher’s government led a moral crusade against these newly emerging videotapes that had already offended various religious groups across the country. Regulation agencies were established and over 70 films were placed on the now-legendary 'video nasty' list and banned from rental shops. Shortly after the films were named and shamed in Fleet Street as papers such as the Daily Mail printed stories on an almost weekly basis that blamed everything from minor thefts to the rise in childhood violence on these videotaped horror fests. What Thatcher and the Daily Mail didn’t anticipate, however, was the boost in popularity the 'video nasty' list would give to small budget films. In most cases, a film classified as a ‘video nasty’ was independently released and had almost no advertising budget. The list only helped to create an aura of danger and mystique around the films, which led to many dedicated movie buffs searching for copies of the tapes to see what was causing all the crazy controversy. The producers of “Cannibal Holocaust” even wrote a fake letter of outrage
to the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, famously led by Mary Whitehouse, in an attempt to prompt debate and ultimately increase sales. Fast forward to today and the ‘video nasty’ has outlived the controversial era with almost every film on the list being re-released on DVD, completely uncut. Audiences are now able to see for themselves what made these movies so ‘dangerous’. Notorious films such as “Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” have even been treated to the Hollywood remake treatment all thanks to the vast amount of interest the originals have generated amongst film fans. At one point, they were considered one of the biggest threats to Britain’s youth; but now the collection of once banned films are seen as classics. Twenty years later the films are now applauded for their low budget, DIY aesthetic and for trying to do something interesting with the horror template. In the modern era of big budget special effects and cookie cutter plotlines, watching a film from this ‘dangerous’ genre gives the audience a chance to see how horror was once about genuinely scaring people, challenging their boundaries and, in the case of “Cannibal Holocaust”, making them vomit. Even if you aren’t a horror fan then these tapes are still entertainment for all the family as you can at least laugh at how bad some of the acting was in some of these films.
Do you think there are any boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed in comedy? I think comedy is probably about flirting with rules. I think that certainly for me, I think people have their own codes don’t they? I certainly steer clear of anything racist definitely. People flirt with sexism much more so now than they ever did. I mean I also don’t like people who bully people you know so there are definitely boundaries. You seem to have a much more family friendly approach to comedy than say, Frankie Boyle. Certainly, but then you know, that’s why there’s whole different colours, different people, different colours, different parts of the spectrum you know? Frankie Boyle – he’s a wonderful comedian. Just because I’m not like him is probably because what he does so excellently I go do my own thing you know. He has his own code, things he says he’s happy to live with, so good on him. What’s been the best moment in your career? Probably doing “Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow” or writing “Russell Howard’s Good News”. That was just a really cool thing and had a really good laugh writing that. I remember the last week before he finished series three Russell threw a dart in the radiator, by accident obviously, which coincided with the coldest December on record. It was funny man, this radiator was just leaking all over the writing room, snowflakes were hitting the tarmac outside and we were shivering trying to finalise the last episode. What’re you looking forward to on your debut tour? Just enjoying going out and performing to people all over the country really. Where else do you do a job where you get to go to Swansea, Manchester and Glasgow and these huge cities and have a laugh with such wonderful people? Not that Swansea needs entertaining, they’ve got enough going on in their own High Street, I’m surprised they even use comedians in South Wales. Do you find it a bit daunting knowing that you’ve got to go and do all these dates? I find it exhilarating it’s exciting. These are things that you want to do when you’re a comedian, you want to go and perform in front of people. I mean, have you ever tried making furniture laugh? It’s impossible, so these are the things you want to do, it’s exciting. What does the future hold for you? I know definitely this year Russell’s got two more series of “Good News” so that’s the immediate future. Beyond that hopefully I’ll get to tour again next year around the country, and then beyond that hopefully I’ll write, do a sitcom that’ll make people smile in their living rooms. Whether it happens or not – probably the reality is I’ll end up being like a drug dealer in an alley way somewhere.
Vintage floral bouse New Look - £25 Tan suedette Shorts Miss Selfridge - £32 Headband - Model’s own
Blue dress - Miss Selfridge - £36 Pink belt - Vintage
Black floral wide leg trousers Topshop - £15 Floaty cape blouse - Topshop - £33
Spring 2011 is the season of the ‘70s. For a flair of 1970s Bohemia or glamour think wide leg trousers, maxi dresses, midi skirts and blouses. Fall for flowing fabrics, headscarves and flares, and refresh winter's camel colours with colour-block brights. Take inspiration from the decade gone by and tap into spring's oldest new trend.
Floaty cape blouse - Topshop - £33 Tobacco belted wide leg trousers - Topshop - £42
Photoshoot by: Natalie Littlewood Kirsty O’Connell Rachael Connelly Anna Edwards - hair Laura Brandon - model Anneka James - photography Penny Britcliffe - makeup
Sheer pocket chiffon shirt New Look - £22 Blue scallop hem shorts Topshop - £34 Brown lasercut shoes - Primark - £16
Sport Playing in the same city as the Imps, Lincoln United find they are often ignored. Photo: Lincoln United FC
12th man in ‘help your club’ plea by Bradley King
Living in the shadow of their city rivals by Alex Blackburne For some football clubs, it is often a mere pipedream to become a professional – they find themselves a million miles away from the Manchester Uniteds, Chelseas and Arsenals of this world, and wallow in the achievements of their neighbours. For one Lincoln based club, even sharing their city with a League Two side is often tougher than it might seem. Lincoln United, the city’s ‘second team’ behind professionals at Lincoln City, play in the Northern Premier League First Division South, four leagues below their fellow city co-habitants and on level eight of the football pyramid. “I think you have to start with a mind-set that you’re never going to pass Lincoln City,” John Wilkinson, the Whites manager, admits. “You’ve got to assume that, right or wrong. People say, ‘You’ve got to be more ambitious than that,’ but you’ve got to be realistic as well. You can’t expect to oust them. All you can aspire to is to be as good as you possibly can.” Wilkinson who could be described as “Mr Lincoln United” after occupying one role or another at the club for 16 of the last 20 seasons. He’s been at the helm in his current
spell at Ashby Avenue since November 2009. Without the luxury of television rights and high-profile advertising that professional clubs can boast, Wilkinson explained how it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a club like Lincoln United to stay afloat: “The one thing that is a big thing for clubs like this is pre-season friendlies because they put a lot of funds in your bank… and it makes a heck of a difference. “Obviously FA Cup prize money can help and hopefully you get the odd lucky draw where you’re away to Northwich Victoria in the FA Trophy [United took Northwich to a replay in this season’s competition]. “Other than that, it’s a wing and a prayer really. We sell programme adverts and the usual things, but it’s harder and harder season on season.” The club’s financial woes do not help when it comes to bringing in new, experienced players either. “One of the hardest things for this club a t tracting ex-professionals is finance,” Wilkinson says. “When you tell most of them what you can afford to pay them, they fall through the floor.” Three ex-pros who luckily didn’t fall through the floor, though, are Terry Fleming, Steve Melton and Stuart Reddington.
At 37-years-old, Fleming is the oldest of the three, but carries with him bags of experience, having made over 400 appearances for a whole host of Football League clubs. He even spent five years at rivals Lincoln City, notching up nearly 200 games for the Imps. Sadly for Whites fans, a Manchester Citystyle takeover is not on the cards, as it becomes progressively more challenging to finance a football club in any league. “I really think that this club can comfortably achieve the next level,” Wilkinson says. “After that, we’d have to have Elton John or somebody invest, and I’m not sure that’s good anyway because it’s very much a temporary thing. “If you get a private individual who takes you two divisions up, when he leaves, you’re back probably four down.” This isn’t to say they don’t take football seriously at Ashby Avenue. Everyone involved at Lincoln United will strive for success at the club, from the tea ladies to the ground staff, and none more so than Wilkinson himself. Sometimes being realistic is not only encouraging, but refreshing as well. In the not-too-distant future United and City, but not of the Manchester variety, might just get to face each other on equal terms.
In the dog-eat-dog world of lower league football, club owners are often found delving under their sofas to find a few coppers to put towards a new striker. Late last year, Lincoln City announced a loss of £200,000 in the previous twelve months. In comparison to similar clubs it might be a small amount, but is still a burden as City try to attract the talent. Since 2009, the ‘12th Man’ have been generating finance for Lincoln City through various fundraising events and all donations to the club, however small, are gratefully received. Julian Burley, co-founder of the 12th Man said: “In our first year, after an up and down start, we managed to raise over £2,000, which is a figure we hope to smash in our second year.” Indeed, that target looks to be more than achievable. Within the first few weeks of 2011, more than £1,000 had already been donated by Imps supporters, eager to hand over their leftover Christmas cash to the club they adore. Andrew Helgesen, who founded the 12th Man with Burley, thinks that, despite tough economic times, fans have been no less generous with their cash. Instead, he believes donations are linked to how well Steve Tilson’s team are doing on the pitch: “I believe if the team are doing well, and we are getting more supporters in, people would be more willing to donate their money, so it’s more results based than anything.” The 12th Man team do not lack ambition. Their ultimate aim is to sponsor the home shirt – which is likely to cost around £50,000. Burley continued: “A lot of the time I will be just sat there and an idea will come into my head, and if I think it’s a good idea, I will contact Andrew [Helgesen] straight away.” In the short term though, 12th Man are looking to raise enough money to purchase an advertising board at Sincil Bank, which will earn the club around £1,500. The next target will be sponsoring the GoCar stand before eventually attempting to raise the £50,000 necessary for the shirt sponsorship. The 12th Man also raises money by other means. Supporters can visit websites such as Amazon through the 12th Man website, with the team receiving a fee for referring the customers. Imps supporter Billy Jarish also managed to raise over £300 by cycling to City’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match in Rotherham. The team have recruited their newest member in Gary Hutchinson, a training advisor in the construction industry – or, as Lincoln fans may know him, City mascot ‘Poacher the Imp’. Hutchinson says: “I’ve been an Imps fan for over 24 years now and I’ve been performing the role of ‘Poacher the Imp’ for over 12 years. The ideas process [at 12th Man] is ongoing and the work done before I joined has been superb. All ideas and input are welcome from all corners.” If any Lincoln fans wish to join the 12th Man, they are encouraged to contact through the website, or speak to one of the team on match days at Sincil Bank. With the 12th man an ever-growing outfit, maybe it won’t be too long until they raise enough money to purchase the sponsorship of the Lincoln home shirt. City fans, get rummaging behind your sofas. For more information on the 12th Man, visit www.the12thman.blogspot.com.
The University of Lincoln rugby team have had a great success this season. Photo: Josh Clark
Rugby team on course for promotion by Josh Clark Over the last few months, the University of Lincoln’s rugby union team have been competing tirelessly for their ultimate goal. Halfway through the season, Lincoln sit top of the league table with only six games between them and a dream promotion. Lincoln’s performances this year have been extremely impressive, and the captain, Jacob Dobson, is pleased with his side’s form. Dobson says: “The team has performed at an extremely high level. We are still currently unbeaten in the league which is something I haven’t experienced here during my three years playing. “We have been blessed with a large intake of freshers this year, and they’ve really
stepped up to the plate. We’ve had some extremely impressive performances from some of the senior boys too.” With all this hard work and success, ambitions must be high and goals must be set. Last year, Lincoln missed out on promotion by a single point. Dobson says that this year they hope to go one better: “This year we hope to win the league and gain promotion. [Not winning promotion] has, particularly amongst the senior boys, provided a work ethic throughout the club to make sure the team gains the accolades they deserve” Currently top of the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Rugby Union Midlands Conference Men's 2A group, Lincoln’s target of promotion is well on course. Dobson, who has taken over the captaincy
in his final year, continued: “We know as a team that we have the skill and the players to gain promotion this season. It is entirely in our power to do so. “We just need to make sure that we keep producing the results. The league this season has proven very competitive, and each team poses a real threat. To put it simply we need to take each week in turn and not get carried away by our own hype.” Every team needs a leader who is expected to act as the man who unites the team and leads by example. Dobson describes his role of captain as the “greatest honour”. He says: “I enjoy the responsibility of leading the team on field and the interaction with every single member of the society.” For the club and society to function though
characters other than Dobson are needed. As such, he has highlighted how he is not a lone figure in running the successful team. “I must say that I am blessed with the assistance of my president Louis Mann who, along with being a great player, pretty much runs the club, allowing me to take charge of the boys on the field.” Dobson is also quick to praise the “brotherly” atmosphere of the Lincoln rugby team: “It [the team] creates a brotherhood amongst the boys where your teammates are also your best mates. “When this is put in place you get a team that lives and breathes the shirt, and is willing to put their bodies on the line for their fellow players. It has been the greatest experience of my life.”
Lakers look to net LBBA Plate by Tim Long
The Lincoln Lakers are playing in the LBBA handicap tournament for the first time. Photo: Leila Fitt
The University of Lincoln basketball team, the Lincoln Lakers, are competing for the first time in the Lincolnshire Basketball Association (LBBA) handicap tournament, aiming to match the best teams in Lincolnshire. The competition sees teams from all across the county competing with a handicap, meaning they begin every game on a certain number of points according to their ability. The Lakers have started the tournament with a zero handicap, which led to a defeat to the Spalding Devils 48-38 in the opening round, as Spalding started with a 30 point head start. Lakers captain, Matty Barwell, was proud of the team’s performance but not surprised by the result. “All the players performed really well. We kept our heads, got on with the task as best we could and played a lot of really good basketball, both
on offence and defence. Most basketball games finish with just a few points difference, so to have to make up a 30 point margin was going to be a near impossible task.” While the defeat means the Lakers miss out on the LBBA Cup, the format of the competition means that they move into the quarter-final of another cup – the LBBA Plate – with a chance of winning it in April. Barwell says the Lakers wanted to play more and test themselves against new opposition: “A lot of the players are a fair bit older so I think we have the edge on most teams when it comes to physical fitness. “On the other hand, their age makes them a lot more experienced so they tend not to make many mistakes or bad decisions like younger players can. It’s a different challenge but the aim is the same as anything we enter – to win.” Barwell has mixed emotions on the Lakers being awarded a zero handicap, saying: “In one way it’s
nice because it indicates that we’re one of the most respected teams in the tournament. But, the way the handicap system has been organised it was always going to make things very difficult for us.” The Lakers are due to play the Grimsby Gators who were unable to overcome a massive 60 point handicap deficit at the start of their first round game. The Gators also have a zero handicap meaning their game will start 0-0 and Barwell is eager to get back to a level playing field: “It will certainly be a relief after the last game. Hopefully it will make for a much more entertaining game of basketball. “I’m really confident about the game. We’ve been playing some fantastic basketball recently and the whole team has gelled really well. We’ve become a very solid basketball unit with great strength in depth too – we have several good players for every position now.”
SPORT Match previews and reports at thelinc.co.uk
Positive Tilson says ‘sky is the limit’ by Bradley King and Calum Fuller When Steve Tilson took over at Lincoln City in mid-October, the Imps sat in 20th position in League Two and were staring non-league football in the face. Previous manager Chris Sutton’s reign ended sourly after just one win and three goals in seven matches— leaving City the lowest scoring team in English professional football. Tilson’s arrival sparked of optimism at Sincil Bank but just over three months later City still remain in danger of losing their league status: “It’s been a tough first half of the season, no doubt about it. It was always going to be a tough job. I don’t think that has been any different but I wouldn’t have got the job if things were going well.” Before arriving at Lincoln, Tilson had a successful stint at Southend United, gracing the Championship for two years and famously knocking Manchester United out of the League Cup in 2006. In July last year, after a sevenyear spell as Shrimpers boss, Tilson was placed on gardening leave. Despite being the fans’ choice to take the hot seat at City, a few onlookers raised eyebrows at the fact he had barely managed or played outside of Essex in his 22-year football career: “Obviously, I played at Southend for 10 years and I’d been in the area all my life. I probably had a couple of opportunities to go elsewhere as a manager and didn’t take that opportunity. Now I’ve come here and I’ve loved it. I love the area, and the people are really nice. I’m really enjoying it.” Tilson’s appointment might not have improved the Imps’ league position yet— but there is the December weather wipeout to consider. However, he has ended Lincoln’s goal drought as the once misfiring front line has scored 13 goals in January alone. The goals have been flying in at both ends in City’s recent matches, but Tilson thinks the fans can play a vital role in inspiring defensive resilience. “We’ve been a little bit nervous at home and our home form hasn’t been fantastic.The more negative the fans are, the more negative the players are. Our message would be to get behind the players rather than
After a series of losses Steve Tilson has managed to start turning Lincoln City around. Photo: Leila Fitt
be negative.” Tilson admitted he has yet to fully assess much of the young talent at Sincil Bank, but reserved special praise for talented forward Andy Hutchinson, saying that he “is a good lad. He has a great attitude and he wants to do well”. Hutchinson is currently out on loan: “Giving him experience at a first-team level which I think the young lads need. He’s one that wants to do well for Lincoln. “As for the younger lads, we have to keep monitoring them until the end of the season. I haven’t seen loads of them. We haven’t had too many reserve games, so we’ll keep our eye on them and see how they progress.”
At his first press conference as Lincoln City boss, Tilson announced that the “sky was the limit” for Lincoln City, comparing their modest budget with those of Blackpool, Scunthorpe and his former club Southend. Tilson confesses, though, that chairman Bob Dorrian has allowed him to exceed the budget given to him, saying: “The chairman has been excellent. I know they’ve gone over budget. As we are, in an ideal world we’d like one or two players to go out on loan or permanently just to try and balance the money up. “That’s not been the case, and the chairman’s still backing me and let me get loan players in, which has been a big help for us. Realistically,
we’re not going to able to sign them, but they’ve come in and done a really good job and shown a fantastic attitude.” Regardless of his mixed fortunes since taking over, Tilson remains positive: “After the last couple of results, it breeds a bit of confidence and hopefully we can press on. A bit more belief and spirit in the side and we won’t be far off.” Whilst the current Imps side are close to what Tilson is looking to establish, he warned that the loan players that have made such a difference are likely to return to their parent clubs by the end of the season, leaving him to rebuild over the summer. “If I could keep this side until the
end of the season and have it next year, I’d probably be only two or three positions away, but I know that next year, they’ll all be back. We won’t be able to sign them. It’ll be a clean slate and we’ll start again.” Despite that stumbling block, the former Southend chief sees no reason why the Imps should not aim high: “I think continuity is a massive thing right through from players to the management. If you keep chopping and changing, it costs the club money. If you’re trying to build a team, you need time. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but I think in time, there’s no reason why we can’t be pushing for promotion to League One and go from there.”