Orbital It’s FREE!
years and counting...
ROYAL HOLLOWAY STUDENTS’ UNION MAGAZINE
FEATURING: Sports & Socs Tom Cats
Regulars RHUL Memes
‘Orbitalk’ HE Fees Debate
Elections Record Turnout
2 1 0 2 y r a ebru
Dan Kelly, Deputy Editor
There are now only a couple of issues to fill before our editorial board bids its fond farewells, wishing luck to the next bunch! It may also be the first time in 3 years I get some decent sleep. It’s not like I’m ridiculously excited or anything, but our lovely Sports Officer, Dan Garbutt, did comment on how I looked...well, to avoid unnecessary profanity, here’s an anagram: ‘tucking fish’. To be perfectly honest, my dwindling supply of university time isn’t a happy thought. Unless I get on that teasing Masters course I desperately desire, I might actually have to go and DO something. It makes me SICK. However, with this in mind, I like to think I have some words of wisdom for both regular readers and those who just rip out the ‘Antidote’ vouchers. Before I preach, imagine, if you will, myself in a long robe, holding a mic with a swaying gospel choir in my shadow... Year after year, a curious swarm of brightly-attired creatures migrate to campus, forcing students to take the ‘long way round’ to reach the Windsor Building and Bedford Library. Often, they fear for their lives, as the prospect of choking on an ocean of ‘VOTE ME’ slips becomes too much. Campaigners are not evil. In fact, I was one of them and had to find my own bunch when running for this position last year. So try not to greet them with a face like thunder. Becoming involved with the Students’ Union is possibly the greatest decision I ever made at university. As my picture above shows me in the centre, it has introduced me to a myriad of lifelong friends and opened doors to a range of new experiences. Having such a supportive, energetic and generally incredible group of people in your life is never going to be a bad thing. My time at Royal Holloway almost came to an end on numerous occasions throughout 3 years. The Students’ Union made certain it didn’t. I urge all of you to, in some way, become involved with university life and take advantage of this precious time we have left. Oh, and WRITE FOR US! Love Dan. xxx
The Orbital is the Royal Holloway Students’ Union publication. The opinions published are not neccessarily that of the editorial board. If you would like to get in touch with us for any reason, or just for a friendly hello, then contact one of the editors below: Editor Julian Farmer firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor Dan Kelly News Emily Pressnell Comment Craig Gent Regulars Shannon Mizzi Lifestyle Elinor Gittins Reviews Rana Banna Sports & Socs Alex Pegler Online Vacant Art Jack Smale Admin Vacant Executive Editor Sarah Honeycombe email@example.com
Ramona Saigol Claire O’Reilly Dedar Mahal Suzie Jasper Helen Groenendaal Toni Toms Isabelle Nicolas Jordan Schiller Dan Warrington Dexter, 2nd year Biology Claire West Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton Tom Watts Dan Costen Hadleigh Harrison Chris Pull Hannah Graveling Danny Taylor Alisha Wadiwalla Hiba Batool Christopher Stewart David Young Laura Webber Jamie Robinson Simon Rawlings Pamela Carralero Annabella Geraghty Manuela Mitevova Dan Garbutt Doug German Thomas Curson Abi Ryan Edward Noon Ben Bayley
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
In this issue... NEWS 04
ULU election results announced
Voting turnout 4% up from last year
The London Lowdown
20 45 www.theorbital.co.uk
What happens after I graduate?
Should higher education be free for all?
Columns Sarah Honeycombe, Dan Costen, Tom Watts
Have you met... Colossus D’Bear?
Film reviews Shame, The Muppets
Prize draw Win tickets for The Devil Inside!
We Love To Boogie Vintage An interview with the owner of the company
The insider’s guide to Toronto
SPORTS & SOCS 43
Tom Cats raise a cheer
Women’s Ultimate Frisbee
o s w Ne
Editor: Emily Pressnell firstname.lastname@example.org
The Big Story: All you need to know about last week’s elections.
London Lowdown: Bringing you the latest from our fellow colleges.
Got a tip off? Drop us a line if you have any sort of hunch. We love a good story!
IN BRIEF 4
4 The Round-Up 4 The Big Story 4 London Lowdown
Photo: KaihsuTai (Wikicommons)
ULU election results announced
4Ramona Saigol reports on the ULU Sabbatical and Trustee Elections for the academic year 2012/13.
s the Royal Holloway Students’ Union Sabbatical and Trustee elections came to a close, campaigning for positions on the more senior University of London Union board commenced. A number of candidates, from various institutions, visited campus and canvassed the RHUL student population to gain their support. Despite being one of the 19 institutions falling under the federal ‘University of London’ umbrella, Royal Holloway ‘s Surrey location means that many students often feel somewhat distant from the University of London label. As such, the number of votes cast by Holloway students in the ULU elections has traditionally been poor. This year, however, three students affiliated to Royal Holloway put themselves forward for positions. Most notably, the current SURHUL President Daniel Cooper ran to become the ULU Vice-President, and overall many of the College’s students felt a greater sense of responsibility to vote. The University of London Union, which has led national campaigns against the recent education cuts as well as working
The number of votes cast for Dan Cooper to become Vice-President of ULU.
towards providing opportunities for students of constituent colleges, prizes itself as a unique organisation run solely by students, for the students. It represents the views of member institutions on both a local and national level, and over 100,000 students from across London were given the opportunity to partake in the elections and indeed vote for who would represent them next year. With election results announced on 10 February, the Orbital would like to congratulate Daniel Cooper, who will serve under new President Sean Raczka (Birkbeck), and current board member and SURHUL campaigns officer Craig Gent, who will become Student Trustee for the union alongside Stef Netwon (University College London). Commiserations to go to Royal Holloway alumnus and current UCL postgraduate Ben Parfitt, who narrowly missed out on becoming the ‘London Student’ Editor - this position will instead be taken up by Jen Izaackson (LSE). The Orbital wishes all those elected the very best of luck for next year!
The lowest temperature (centigrade) reached during the SURHUL Elections week. THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
The big round up...
Drop in university applications continue debate on tuition fee rise
4Claire O’Reilly reports on latest figures released by UCAS.
s many predicted, this year has seen a marked decline in the number of students applying to university. This week, UCAS published figures showing an 8.7% drop in applications compared to last year. Likewise, there was an 11.2% fall in applications from European students who are also subject to the government’s decision to treble tuition fees. The result is that there has been an increase in those applying for Higher National Diplomas and BTECs, seeking more practical skills. According to Sarah Spencer, academic director of Oxford College: “many calculate that these sorts of applied courses will give them faster and more cost-effective access to the relevant skills that will improve their job prospects… it’s years since getting a degree was any sort of guarantee of getting a good job. Now university fees are so high that a three-year degree
course is increasingly looking like an expensive gamble.” The fear is that trebling tuition fees will also discourage applications from students of a disadvantaged background. Shabana Mahmood, the Labour Party’s spokesperson for higher education, accused minsters of overlooking the long term damage that this could cause. She described the government’s decision to raise tuition fees and cut university funding as being “unfair, unnecessary and unsustainable”. However, some argue that the figures do not accurately represent the trend and that a decrease in applications the year after any increase in fees is expected. They also feel that it should not become a long term problem. Yet, a decrease in applications combined with up to 80% cuts in university funding shows a bleak picture for the future of British universities.
Photo: Lifetracks (Flickr)
Celebrity Masterchef comes to The Hub 4Emily Pressnell and Jack Smale write about the mystery filming that went on at The Hub...
Photo: Josephine Kai (Flickr)
n 13 February, The Hub played host to the filming of a mystery prime-time television programme, leading to much excitement and speculation amongst students. Members of the university were first informed of the event by an email which invited them to purchase tickets in order to attend the event, whilst pointing out that spaces were limited. The tickets, priced at £5 each, were to include a two-course meal, as well as access to the filming, which was out of bounds to all others. When students arrived at The Hub at lunchtime on Monday, it was revealed that the programme being filmed was Celebrity Masterchef. Indeed, there were several noted sightings of C-list
Newsflash! Dan Cooper has given his full support to the Save Italian at RHUL
celebrities around the campus by students throughout the day, including the likes of Gareth Gates. However the real suprise came when Russell Crowe revealed on Twitter that he was “riding past Virginia Water”, presumably on his way to the show’s filming. The event does however remain shrouded in much secrecy, to the extent that the College Press Office would not confirm for us the name of the show being filmed last Monday. It is however thought that the decision to bring the show to Royal Holloway was made by alumnus Mirella Breda, who is an Executive Editor for Entertainment Commissioning at the BBC, and currently responsible for overeeing the production of the programme.
campaign, following a letter that was sent to RHUL’s Principal, Paul Layzell, on behalf of all the students who have Italian involved in their degree. Read the letter at www.su.rhul.ac.uk. email@example.com
Turn over for...
THE BIG STORY 5
THE BIG STORY
Voting turnout up 4% from last year
4Alex Pegler gives us the lowdown on the 2012-13 Sabbatical Officer and Student Trustee Elections. From left to right: New Sabbs Kenny Aruwa (VP EdWelfare), Ian Stewart (VP Student Activities), Jamie Green (VP ComCam), and Doug German (President).
Photo: Jack Gordon
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Commentary The sabbatical and student trustee elections this year were fantastic. I have utmost respect for both the candidates and the campaign teams involved in a memorable election. A special mention has to go to my excellent ‘Demok’ team.
oting turnout for the recent Sabbatical and Student Trustee Elections was 4% higher in 2012 than 2011, despite sub-zero temperatures that saw Holloway, like much of Europe, subjected to a barrage of snow that could have put a dampener on campaigning and voting. The elections came to a conclusion on Tuesday, 7 February, when it was announced live on Insanity Radio and to a packed crowd in Medicine, that Doug German would be SURHUL’s next President. The Sabbatical team of 2012-13 will also consist of Kenny Aruwa (Vice President, Education and Welfare), Ian Stewart (Vice President, Student Activities) and Jamie Green (Vice President, Communications and Campaigns). Oli Rushby and Daniel Brewer completed the line-up of those elected as they became Student Trustees. Royal Holloway’s 2012 election season kicked off on the last day of January in the form of Candidates’ Question Time. The event, chaired by the SU’s Democracy Officer Dedar Mahal, gave the 14 candidates the opportunity to show a short campaign clip, make a speech and take questions from the floor. The Student Trustee Candidates were asked how they could better represent the views of students that have been expressed at General Meetings. Such questions were answered by the Trustee candidates with the exception of George Papamagaritis who was unable to attend. Next up to face the assembled crowd were the VP Student Activities candidates. Lydia Heywood, Ed Resek and eventual victor Ian Stewart, were all present to fight their corner and explain how they would fulfil their manifesto promises in the next 12
Dedar Mahal SU Democracy Officer
Turnout was up 4% from last year and the number in total who voted exceeded 1500, which is a great reflection of a brilliant electorate who got passionate about electing their representatives and took part in a well oiled election. The number
this year is a record for us from an online election. From a personal point, I am truly honoured to have been the Democracy Officer in this election and will wish that next year SURHUL has another record turnout!
months. Heywood promised better transparency and accountability, while Resek stated his belief in the merits of securing corporate sponsorship for sports clubs. Ian Stewart’s presentation began with his campaign video featuring a Holloway-specifc version of Cee Lo Green’s chart topping “Forget You”. Louie Woodall and Jamie Green (the VP Communications and Campaigns candidates) were next to make their case to a handful of Holloway’s 8000-strong electorate. Woodall explained that the main focus of his year in office would be a Cost of Living Campaign because, he stated, Surrey is the second-most expensive place to live in the United Kingdom. Green’s video featured him dressed as Superman and later he stressed the importance of a strong Insanity Radio and Orbital Magazine in the overall health of the university. Those standing under the banner “Education and Welfare” were the last of the Vice Presidential Candidates to face questioning. The incumbent, Katie Blow, spoke alongside Carl Welch. The subsequent winner of this election, Kenny Aruwa, was unable to attend but featured in a campaign video that saw him supposedly finishing a phone call to Nelson Mandela. Aruwa described Mandela as an “old friend”. Megan Down, a member of the RHUL Feminists Society and Amnesty International, asked the candidates whether or not they were “pro-choice”. The chairman of the debate, Mr Mahal, rejected such a question stating that it was “irrelevant”. Instead, Down inquired as to what advice the candidates would give a pregnant student, if she approached them. Both Blow and Welch replied that they would give an unbiased and
comprehensive assessment of the options available. The Presidential Candidates concluded the debate. Candidates Burton, German and Nicholson were asked for their stance on the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts that has been championed by current SU President, Daniel Lemberger Cooper in the past six months. All three candidates promised to consult the student body before developing strong views on the subject. Amid a backdrop of plummeting temperatures, voting commenced at 10.00am on Wednesday 1 February on campus. Students were directed to vote at the two polling stations in Bedford Library and Tommy’s. Wednesday also saw the start of official campaigning with the 14 campaign teams being highly visible as they canvassed potential voters for their support. Voting continued until 12.00 midday on Tuesday 7 February. The results were then revealed in Medicine that evening, after the SU’s February General Meeting. Shortly after the announcement of figures that suggested that more students had voted than in any other electronic election at Royal Holloway, Simon Davidan, a Democracy SubCommittee Member spoke to The Orbital. He said “the voter turnout is something that we as a collective can be proud of. The fact that more people voted than last year, gives the winning candidates more political legitimacy and a mandate to carry out their policies.”
We’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this year’s election results. Comment on this article on our website at www.theorbital.co.uk.
NEWS Bursting the campus bubble with the news from colleges across the capital. After all, we are part of the University of London!
The Orbital has teamed up with the London Journalist Support Network (LSJSN), which exists to provide support to student led publications and student journalists within the University of London. By being a part of LSJSN, we are more integrated with knowledge of what’s happening with other University of London institutions. This page serves to keep us in the know with London news.
National Student Survey reveals overcrowding issues Overcrowding in the classrooms of LSE has caused worry over possible low student satisfaction ratings in the National Student Survey. The official recommended size is 15 students per class, yet currently, official LSE figures show that 14.2% of undergraduate classes exceed this limit. The most evident cases of this are in the bigger departments, such as the Department of Economics and the Department of Geography and Environment. Students feel that this is having a detrimental effect on their learning experience and many consider even 15 too high a
limit especially once in second or third year. However, much of the problem lies in the students themselves, in their ability to fluctuate, to choose or change modules as well as classes, structuring their timetables accordingly. Specific effort has been made to Photo: Mosmi (Flickr) combat the problem by Janet Hartley, Pro-Director of Teaching and Learning, as well as a campaign led last year far is questionable but LSE are still determined to boost the by the LSE Students’ Union quality of their teaching and magazine, The Beaver. The thus the satisfaction of their effectiveness of the strategies students. put in place so
KCL Students’ Union to hold sports referendum
UCL Academy construction reaches milestone achievement
Students at King’s College London will be able to take part in the sports referendum which will allow them to vote between 13 and 17 February on whether KCL Students’ Union should continue to support both KCL and KCLMS (KCL Medical Schools) sports teams. The difference was a result of the merge of KCL with the medical and dental schools based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in 1998. According to KCLSU, the proposed suggestion that the two different forms of team representation join under one King’s name is the result of
A construction milestone has been reached in the building of the UCL Academy with the topping out ceremony on January 16. The Academy, which will be based in Swiss Cottage, will accommodate students aged 11-18 years and will open in September this year. According to the website, the aim of the Academy is to “provide an education that actively prepares students to respond to the intellectual, social and personal challenges that they will encounter throughout their future lives and careers.” UCL Provost Malcolm Grant also states the motivation behind
both the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) review of their terms of membership, and the SU’s realisation that they have never before offered students the chance to voice their opinion on this. KCL students must consider that the combination of sports teams could result in gaining higher positions in the league tables, while they must also acknowledge the potential disruption to current community feeling on the different campuses and the loss of years of history and great sporting legacies in the medical schools.
the Academy: “We didn’t think it was right for universities to sit back and criticise the quality of state education in this country without doing something positive and raising the aspirations of kids. We want kids to aspire no matter what their background or where they come from. That is the right of children in this country.” The Academy will provide large teaching space, advanced science laboratories, a science demonstration theatre, suites for engineering science, art, music and drama, and well-equipped performance spaces.
4Brought to you by Suzie Jasper
THE LONDON LOWDOWN 8
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Support and Advisory update: Halls Reps 4Helen Groenendaal from RHUL Support and Advisory services tells us about what they are doing about the poor lighting in the local area. The Residential Support Team is currently recruiting for Residential Support Assistants for September 2012. The RST have three main roles in Halls of Residence: to look after the welfare of students who live in hall, organise a range of social activities and to deal with any disciplinary issues. They are looking for full time PG or UG students who have experience of living in Halls and who are eligible to live
in Halls of Residence. To find out more about the role, go along to the presentation in the Careers Centre, Horton Building on Tuesday 28 February from 5.00pm – 6.00pm or email ResidentialSupport@rhul.ac.uk. As part of our continued personal safety awareness campaign, in conjunction with SU Vice-President (Education & Welfare), Katie Blow we will be hosting a ‘Campus Watch presents Kick Ass’ event on
Monday 20 February from 6pm in Medicine. The evening will start with a talk and demo from Lee, who will be talking about self defence and minimising risk. There will then be an opportunity to buy pizza or curry at half price and them a film from 7.30pm. You’ll also have the opportunity to pick up free personal safety products, complimentary SSHH! bus tickets and try to win an annual pass for the SSHH! bus in a raffle. Why not join us?
Have Your Say: The National Student Survey 4Why all finalists should fill out the survey online today! Last month saw the launch of the National Student Survey (NSS) 2012 at Royal Holloway with a team of students promoting an early bird stand to encourage participation in the library foyer. The NSS is an annual survey of mostly final year undergraduates in the United Kingdom inviting their opinions on what they liked about their learning experience as well as things that they felt could have been improved. An independent research company, Ipsos MORI, conducts the survey from January-April, and the questions allow you to provide feedback on a range of topics, including Academic Support, the Organisation and Management of your course with space to write any positive or negative comments you have about your experience. All responses are anonymised and results
are made publicly available to help prospective students make informed decisions of where and what to study. Universities and students’ unions also use the feedback to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses to help bring about improvements to the student experience for future generations of students. At Royal Holloway a range of innovations and improvements have recently been implemented including extending student study spaces in the library, improving IT facilities and the quality of teaching rooms, refurbishing the Students’ Union and extending our graduate employability schemes. The success of the NSS depends on your feedback so please set aside a few minutes to get involved as it really will make a difference. It may also be worth
your while as Royal Holloway is offering four Summer Ball tickets for completing the survey. The first winner, an English and Classics student, was drawn at the end of January; this means there are three more opportunities for you to win! To enter, print your confirmation email off and drop it in the NSS ballot box, located in the Students’ Union reception or forward your email confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can complete the survey online or via your smartphone at www.thestudentsurvey.com.
theorbital.co.uk We like to keep our website up to date with all the big news from campus, and are on the look out for new contributors. If you’re up for the challenge email online@theorbital. co.uk for more info about getting involved!
It’s always important to stay up to date with news from Royal Holloway. This page should keep you informed about on-campus happenings! email@example.com
o K L A T i b r o
Letter of the week
Editor: Craig Gent firstname.lastname@example.org Sub-edited by Louise Quick
Photo: Studio279 (Flickr)
What happens after I graduate?
Toni Toms comments as the panic of graduate life sets in...
Societies View: Claire West from People and Planet examines Fairtrade.
Gender-what?!: The importance of genderneutral pronouns
4 The Big Debate 4 Your Letters 4 Societies
The Big Debate: Should higher education be free for all?
e’ve all seen it on the news, the apparent impossibility of getting a job after university because of the recession and job cutbacks blah, blah and blah. The prospect of leaving the bubble that Royal Holloway has or will become is somewhat daunting and probably seems a million miles away to you first and second years. However, as a third year the reality has finally hit me. What if, like the other poor souls we’ve seen on the news, I’m unable to find a job after I graduate? Shock. Horror. Tired of waking up in a cold sweat I decided to dedicate myself to the search of literally anything I can do after I leave university. I stared aimlessly at the Google result page of “masters degrees” not knowing what I wanted to do or what I was even interested in and quite unproductively ended up looking at the ASOS mid-season sale instead. I turned to my best friend for some insightful advice who proved to be equally as useless as me: “I haven’t even thought about it,” she proclaimed. Brilliant. You might be one of those fortunate people who know exactly
what they want to do with their lives and how to go about it. For the rest of us however, deciding our futures is truly terrifying. Also, as the newspapers keep reminding us there are more “graduates than jobs”, adding the pressure of fierce competition for the limited jobs available. It appears we’re all doomed. Have no fear; help and support are available. If like me, you don’t know where to begin on the job-searching front and the anxiety attacks are becoming more and more frequent, I strongly recommend paying a visit to the Careers Centre; the advisors are extremely helpful and offer advice on searching for graduate jobs and applying for further education. If not, there’s always milkround.com. So… what’s the moral of the story? Well there isn’t one. That’s not really the aim of this article, but if you’re a final year I suggest you begin dedicating an hour or so a day for job searching or inquiring into further study. Or look into internships both paid and unpaid, they always look good on the CV. It may be a scary time but it’s also incredibly exciting. At the risk of sounding annoyingly cliché the world is indeed our oyster. THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Development Aid vs. Charity Isabelle Nicolas questions the limits of charity in developing countries
ounded in 1981, Ashoka is a non-profit organization which aims to create long-term changes. The company supports the idea that a planned project is more productive than giving out money and sending in people when a crisis erupts. Many agree with their views, stating that development aid is of more use than charity. Some state that as part of globalization poor countries grow richer at the same speed as prosperous ones, therefore conserving or widening the economic and developmental gap between them. On the one hand this idea is contestable, especially from a statistical point of view. For example, Brazil has one of the fastest growth rates ever and according to the United Nations Development Programme its human development index (HDI) is now of 0,718. On the other, it does raise an interesting point; there remains a gap between certain areas of the world. Though India has become richer, its situation greatly differs from that of Finland or Switzerland. Problems remain and these are mainly due to how issues are handled. One such problem is corruption, which remains in many countries ranging from the Lebanon to Rwanda. Money is poured into nations in order to “help” them but often falls into the wrong hands. Though having funds is necessary, handling them properly is crucial. A case study which illustrates this is Libya. Prior to the Arab Spring, Libya’s Gross Domestic Product was of a high value. It relied mainly on natural resources such
as petrol and services. However the country’s HDI was arguably dubious. HDI is measured by life expectancy, education levels, etc. – information provided by the countries themselves. As Gaddafi was a dictator and as Libya was regarded as a country full of corruption, disparities and tension, the veracity of the information released was questionable. Thus, not even a nation which earned its own revenues could deal with its issues. Finally, charity causes dependency. Countries are not helped to deal with situations but are instead made to depend on others in times of trouble. Whilst singing a song was quite touching, it has not helped Haiti in dealing with earthquakes. It has merely raised an incredible amount of money which has not quite reached the population. UNICEF doctors have cared for the injured, but no training was given to Haitians in order to do so themselves. Instead cholera broke out and more help was needed. Thus, Ashoka’s aim is not to interfere in times of distress, but to do so beforehand in order to prevent problems. Development aid aims to teach those in need to cope so that they eventually do well alone. Nevertheless, funds are necessary and so is help in critical situations. In conclusion, the best option is to strike a balance between development aid and charity, supporting organizations such as Ashoka and organizations such as UNICEF, in order to provide poorer communities with both the help and training they need.
Photo: DFID (Flickr) email@example.com
Should higher edu
Fair, reasonable and understandable Jordan Schiller 2nd Year History Student
n life we have to make choices, investments, and take responsibility for ourselves. We look at tuition fees as a burden rather than an opportunity. The government does not require students to pay upfront; only acknowledge that we are making a choice to invest in our future. If a person is unwilling to pay to attend university, should they even be attending? Tuition fees ensure the students who do enrol are ambitious and willing to take responsibility for their education. It would be wonderful if the government could still afford to send everybody to university for free. However, those days are gone. The government is facing massive debts, and cuts have to be made. But nobody wants a cut that affects them personally. Too bad! Everybody in society “Tuition fees is being told to contribute: ensure the police, NHS, and social students who services are all facing cuts; why do students think they do enrol are are exempt? Here are a few of ambitious and their arguments against cuts. willing to take People claim that poor responsibility for students could not attend their education” university because of increased fees. This is simply not true. An additional £150 million in scholarships will be allocated towards maintenance grants under the National Scholarships Programme, and while in university students don’t have to pay a penny in tuition fees. After graduation, if you’re making under £21,000 per year no payments are collected. So if you graduate from university and never make more than £21,000 a year, congratulations, you beat the system and got a free education! Students also protest that fees are unfair. University graduates make more over their lifetime than nongraduates. It is perfectly fair that a person contribute
YOUR VIEWS 12
Photo: Jack Smale
towards their future success. It’s a choice to attend university, not a requirement. “But David Cameron went to university free, now he tells me I have to pay!” Yes, yes you do! Why should a person doing manual labour pay taxes for you to eventually make more than them? How is that fair? If you want to be perfectly fair, here you go. You can go to university and not have to pay anything towards it until you graduate and find employment. The government does acknowledge that not all graduates will earn the same amount after graduation. So to make repayment fair they ask people to make reasonable payments based upon their wages. If you make more, you pay more, and vice ABOUT: With NUS conference -versa. just around the corner, the ‘free The bottom line is that tuition fees ensure that only education vs. graduate tax’ debate is certain to be raised truly motivated students once more. attend university; students Last year, former-NUS President with an understanding Aaron Porter, backed by Labour that they are making an students, argued in favour of investment in their future. a graduate tax, arguing that If a person is unwilling students should be prepared to invest in themselves, to contribute towards the cost why on earth should the in a “progressive” way once in government? l
“I think there should be some sort of contribution, but definitely not as much as we pay now, let alone higher.” - Alexandra, 1st year Psychology
graduate employment. Meanwhile others, including
“If education was free, we’d get more poor people coming here. I expect none of you want that now, do you?“ - Dexter, 2nd year Biology THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
ucation be free for all? Individuals paying society’s debt Dan Warrington Geography Alumnus
Photo: James Black (Flickr)
he argument for tuition fees rests on the principle that those who gain most from a degree should be the ones who pay for it. For supporters of the fees, the one who gains most is the degree holder themselves. To support this is a simple statistic: that degree holders, on average, earn more than those who do not have a degree. Simple! Job’s a good-un. However, no-one is an island, and this is never truer than in the world of money and earnings. Degree holders on average earn more than nondegree holders This is true, but like all statistics it doesn’t represent the whole truth. There are plenty of degree holders who use their but by no means limited to skills to keep our local SURHUL President Daniel Cooper, government, libraries, branded the policy on graduate schools and hospitals tax an “embarrassment”. running smoothly whilst With tuition fees rising this year, earning below average the issue is all the more pertinent, wages. There are also those so in this issue we ask: are tuition who use their degree to earn fees a way of ensuring students huge amounts of money make an honest contribution over their life-time. I will to their education? Or is make no moral judgement funding higher education the here on the relative worth responsibility of the businesses of an investment banker who benefit from a rich graduate compared to, say, a nurse.
pool in making extra profit?
“If you don’t pay until you graduate, what’s the problem?“ - Pete, 2nd year Management
I will simply ask whether it is right that they should be subject to the same charges given one has profited from the system so much more than the other. Surely it is fairer to tax actual income rather than make arbitrary charges based on a presumption of future success. There is a reason why degree holders on average earn more than those without. Their skills are valued by their “We all live in a employers. This is because society which their skills make money. benefits from a If funded through general taxation then these employers well regarded contribute back to the system education system” that they profit from; if funded almost entirely by tuition fees, as will be the case from September, then we find ourselves in a situation where private shareholders and CEOs are profiting from a higher education system that they have no requirement to pay into. I would argue this is grossly unfair. We all live in a society which benefits from a well regarded higher education system. Some within our society benefit more than others and it is right that they should pay more to support that system. The best way to ensure this is not through tuition fees which reduce a complex social issue to a single statistic, but through progressive taxation of incomes and profits. If this means actually collecting the tens of billions of pounds worth of corporation tax that currently is allowed to be siphoned out of the country by multinational corporations, or raising income tax on high earners then so be it. It is a contribution that they not only can afford, but owe. l
Want to get involved in the next Big Debate? We’re always looking for people who want to get involved and write good solid arguments for either site of the debate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Asking people from poor backgrounds to take on up to £50K of debt in order to benefit from higher education. That’s half the cost of my house!“ Sarah, 2nd year History 13
How fair is Fairtrade? People and Planet supporter Claire West asks whether Fairtrade has become about stroking our consciences as consumers
hen the Fairtrade Foundation was established in 1992, its market was small, niche, and not particularly mainstream. Yet is has grown year after year, with more people turning to Fairtrade as an ethical source for everyday household and food items such as bananas, chocolate and coffee. Supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s choose to only sell Fairtrade-certified bananas, and The Co-operative has always been one of the leading supermarkets for promoting Fairtrade products, with more and more choosing to follow their example. Whilst the efforts the Fairtrade Foundation and the supermarkets make are admirable, are they (and we) really doing enough to support those who work hard to supply us with products we take for granted? The aim of Fairtrade is inherently good; to get a better deal for farmers in developing countries. To qualify for certified Fairtrade status, the company in question has to prove they are paying farmers higher than standard market value for their product. Great, you might think; the farmer gets more money, the company gets a good image, and we get to feel less guilty about the products
we buy. But if the difference in pay for a farmer who is selling to a regular supermarket and one which is certified Fairtrade is literally a matter of pennies, can we really be comfortable with branding these transactions Fairtrade? The Fairtrade Foundation states that a minimum price is set “based on a consultative process with Fairtrade producers and traders” but doesn’t give any real guidelines as to whether the buyer must pay a certain percentage or amount above the market rate. If this is the case, farmers with small businesses might be tempted into securing a deal with a buyer who in reality will be paying them an insignificant amount more than they would have got in the mainstream market. Of course, any improvement in income for producers in developing countries is beneficial; this isn’t a case of rejecting the entire system because it isn’t good enough. But realistically, the buyer is in a position of power. The farmer needs to sell his produce to survive (at market value or otherwise) so when it comes to a discussion of price, the ball is really in the buyer’s court. Shouldn’t Fairtrade be doing more to ensure that the price
difference between Fairtrade and nonFairtrade goods is more significant? One argument against this is that the supermarkets would then raise their prices for consumers like us in Western countries, which would effectively price some people out of the market. If that was the case, Fairtrade might become less popular, and we’d end up back at square one. But when you consider the amount of profit these companies make annually, an increase in cost price for some Fairtrade products shouldn’t reflect massively on the price we pay as a consumer. (At least, it doesn’t need to, but unfortunately probably would anyway.) Ultimately, if the argument comes down to the fact that the Western consumer market just wouldn’t be prepared to pay any more than they already are for Fairtrade produce, is it a matter of consumers saying “we’re prepared to pay X amount to feel good about our choices, but no more than that”? Has Fairtrade become all about flattering the consciences of Western consumers, rather than really improving the lives of families in developing countries? And if that’s the case, can we, as consumers, do more to change it?
Photo: Fernando Stankuns (Flickr)
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Gender-what?! Your Letters
Gender Equality representative, Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton, on the importance of gender-neutral pronouns
ast month, a motion was passed for the Union Chair to use gender-neutral pronouns in General Meetings. I was on the edge of my seat as the debate unfolded, but the arguments I heard against the motion seemed to not understand the whole picture, which is what I am going to try and paint for you now. Everything I know, I have learned in the past three months. By no means do I know everything, but once I saw the picture I couldn’t ignore it. Something worth clarifying is the difference between sex and gender. You might have been born with certain genitalia between your legs, but that doesn’t mean your gender will match with them. Sometimes, a person doesn’t know which gender they feel comfortable with, and some do not identify as either male or female. “Woah!” I hear you say, “Can’t they just choose one!?” Well, no. Let me ask you a question, reader. When did you realise your gender? I cannot for the life of me tell you when I knew I was a girl and not because of my parts, but I know it. And how lucky are we, those whose sex matches their gender? The people whose doesn’t, the people who are transitioning or genderqueer, have many obstacles. Could you imagine having to tell your family, your friends and the bartender from email@example.com
Photo: Invisible Circus (Flickr)
your local that you are changing your name and pronoun, and then correcting them each time they get it wrong? In reality, it is our fault. It is the fault of people like you and me, who by default assume that everyone is male or female; who by default assume the people we meet are straight. We are, however, open minded, and we’ll change our attitude as soon as we are proven otherwise. But let me ask you this, reader: how dare we ask someone to prove themselves in the first place? This is why making all students feel comfortable is important, because everyone has a voice worth hearing and it is our duty to manage our own default judgements. To clarify, there are many gender-neutral pronouns out there so it can get quite confusing: the motion however asked for the plural pronoun “they”. It just takes trying, and if you stumble (as I superbly did in the proposition by using “he” instead of “they”!) then it doesn’t matter, because you are making an effort to understand. Hopefully this picture has been well painted. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll point you in the right direction, and finally there will be workshops on trans* issues in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled.
o s r a l egu
Editor: Shannon Mizzi email@example.com
Have You Met: an exclusive interview with Royal Holloway’s very own polar bear mascot.
RHUL Memes: some of our favourites that have appeared on Facebook.
28 The Science of... Homosexuality: Chris Pull discusses both historical and recent research.
4 Columns 4Have you met... 4 RHUL memes 4 In your view 4 Science of... 4 Agony Aunt
sabb column 4Vice President (Communications and Campaigns), Sarah Honeycombe talks about elections and Insanity...
here is a special type of statement reserved specifically for the fifth hour of a General Meeting. It occurs when tiredness, hunger and, if you choose to use the bar facilities, gin begin to kick in and the use of the English language is boiled down to basic necessity. Complex political arguments are simplified beyond recognition and the idea of holding the microphone and convincing people why motions matter is a little bit too much. It is for these reasons I found myself standing at the front of the last General Meeting proclaiming “I don’t hate democracy. Democracy is good.” I may as well have reverted to cavewoman status or entered myself into Mastermind with a specialist subject of “stating the obvious.” However, given that I am writing this on the back of that five hour meeting, let us take that statement and run with it. Democracy is good. Representation is good. Elections are excellent. You will have read elsewhere in The Orbital about the Sabbatical Elections taking place, but we have a whole new election
He graduated last year, he works in The Hub, he used to design The Orbital, and his coloumn is here every month... it’s Tom Watts.
to get involved with: the Executive Committee, Orbital Editors, Insanity Station Managers and RAG Chairs need to get elected, and it could be you. If you don’t like what you see at SURHUL and think you can do better, you should be picking up your nomination pack. Head over to The Orbital’s website or www. su.rhul.ac.uk for more infomation on the jobs available. Elections are changing: campaigning has been condensed into one week and voting into just one day. Voting opens midnight on March 9th 2012 and closes exactly 24 hours later, with results being announced just before Antidote (free entry vouchers in The Orbital). You might be bored of hearing it, but it’s so important that you vote: these people will be running your Union. If they’re rubbish, next year will be too. Read the manifestos and cast your vote: it takes two minutes and you have your say. It really couldn’t be simpler. Elections aren’t the only thing that’s changing. Insanity’s going FM. No, really. It’s not just “Insanity’s been given a license,” or “Insanity’s built an antenna.” No, not this time. Insanity is actually going to become an FM station whilst this issue of The Orbital is out. Launch week is kicking off 5th March and finally (finally) Insanity will be available on 103.2FM. March is going to be amazing. Five hour General Meetings (never, ever again) aside, I’m excited.
The last column was a cop out, I’ll be the first to admit that (or the second, or third – depending on who read it first…), but that is about to change. I can guarantee that I’m going to turn over a new leaf. I’ll be reborn, phoenixlike, alert and awake, eager to build myself up in the world and get a decent job, unlike a phoenix, as a phoenix has no concept of economy and material wealth. There’s going to be big changes in my lifestyle. I need to set an example to you all, readers. Today is deadline day. This means I THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
for the 10th Class who are preparing for their oral exams. Sometimes it can be very stressful trying to take on a class, particularly if they’re not interested in either English or the topic of the lesson, but on the other hand it can be a lot of fun and can have a lot of laughs. My biggest qualm has been that the town I’m in is too small for my liking, but I have had Berlin to look forward to. So, if you’re thinking of applying to become an assistant but know you can’t get on in either a small town or a large city, maybe opt for the half year option, just in case! But, apart from that, I’ve really enjoyed my time here and will be sad to leave... but my next column will focus on the lead up to Berlin!
am now into my final two weeks as a foreign language assistant! The time has gone surprisingly fast, looking back, but I think it’s worked out well. I’m pleased I only opted for a half year placement - the town I’m in is... well, not London... not quite Egham, even. So I am only just holding myself back from packing to come to England for a few weeks before heading to Berlin for the remainder of my year! I suppose now is a good time to reflect on working as an assistant. I didn’t want to go into teaching once I graduate, but I did want to
experience it, and I am so glad that I chose it. The good points are: (very) well paid, short hours, lots of time/ opportunities to travel, and getting to sit in on other lessons. I ended up living with three Germans, so I have used my language skills every day and have been able to experience teaching a wide age range. The negative points are: you can sometimes feel a bit lonely if there’s not much to do in your town. You may end up spending the whole day at school but only teaching a couple of lessons because of how the timetable works out. You don’t get to choose in that much detail where you are sent, and can feel like a bit of a spare part because it can sometimes be the case that the teachers don’t really give you much information as to what you’re meant to be doing in a certain lesson. My role has varied depending on which classes I have been in or if I have been taking extra classes. For example, when I work with a class it may be that I am essentially a human dictionary/pronunciation advisor, or a teacher can ask me to prepare a presentation on a topic or just take the class for half of the lesson. In other classes I take a group of 5-6 pupils into a different classroom and do the same work as the rest of the class. I also provide extra help for pupils struggling or
was supposed to have written this at least a week ago. I’m currently sat in bed, drinking tea at two in the afternoon (pretty much working all hours of the day at the moment, aren’t I?), and I’ve come to a conclusion (dare I say, an epiphany?): Ignore what your lecturers say (unless it is actually good advice, in which case don’t ignore it. You think Jesus would have got to where he was had he ignored good advice?), as they spend a lot of time telling you that you’ll never get the job you want, as the industry you want
to work in is already saturated. Screw that. You never know when your luck is going to change, and it is important to remain positive throughout. What use is getting bummed out and melancholy about not getting a job that you want, when you haven’t even finished university yet? It’s common knowledge that there is a direct correlation between unemployment and melancholic sighing. I mean that’s just a scientific fact, isn’t it? As for me? I’ve got fingers in pies
and I‘m keeping myself busy. So what if I haven’t settled myself into some corporate £20k a year job – I want to enjoy my life, and I’ve got plenty of time before I feel the need to settle into a ‘career’ (well a few years at least – let’s say, ballpark figure, 4/5 years. That’s 4 or 5, not 0.8 of a year for all you mathematicians out there.). Why don’t we all just smile and agree with Baz Luhrmann: “Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.”
Dan Costen updates us on his year abroad, teaching English to the Deutsch...
Photo: foxgrrl (flickr)
Have you met...
4Shannon Mizzi catches up with Colossus, Royal Holloway’s polar bear mascot, for an exclusive interview. What does your job entail? #Winning. What is your favourite part of Royal Holloway’s campus? Nobles: where all the sports magic happens. What has your best moment been as Royal Holloway’s official mascot? Winning a crest at the Colours Ball, 2009. What about your worst moment? Being forced to the top of a cheer pyramid! Do you have a favourite sport to watch? And what’s your favourite RHUL Society? Definitely competitve ice fishing. And my favourite society is the MathsSoc - they’re mental! What is your secret to such soft and silky fur? Papaya Extract, of course. (Shhhhhhhh!) What song is your favourite right now? Lonely Island - ‘Like a Boss’.
DID YOU KNOW?
Colossus D’Bear has 1,500+ friends on Facebook - if you haven’t added him already, his username is facebook.com/ colossusbear
If you could switch places with anyone on campus, who would it be and why? Thomas Holloway – it’s about time I got a statue around here... 18
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
RHUL RESEARCH 4Shannon Mizzi brings you the latest news on research being conducted at Royal Holloway, one of the world’s leading research institutions.
Royal Holloway and Imperial College receive joint postgraduate Biosciences grant Royal Holloway and Imperial College have recently been awarded a grant of £4.5 million to create a joint Doctoral Training Partnership by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. They are just two of the fourteen institutions and organisations that will be supported by £67 million postgraduate program investment, recently announced by David Wiletts, the Minister for Universities and Science. RHUL and Imperial will be able to accept 45 students in the next three years using this grant. The Head of the School of Biological Sciences at RHUL, Professor Alan Gange, stated: “We are delighted that Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway is part of this successful bid with Imperial and Harwell. It confirms our position among Photo: Juan N Only (Flickr)
the leading bioscience departments in the UK and provides a magnificent opportunity to progress collaborative work with our partners. Futhermore, it will establish us as a leader in the critical areas of food security and biotechnology research.” These doctoral training programmes will take a strategic approach to the education and preparation of the accepted students by taking advantage of interdisciplinary study opportunities and diverse areas of research. Students will also be required to complete a three month professional internship. Ultimately, those who go through the programme will be well equipped to pursue further research in the areas of food security, sustainable bioenergy and renewable materials, and improving lifelong health and well-being.
Royal Holloway paleontologist rediscovers ‘lost’ Darwin fossils Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang, of the Royal Holloway Earth Sciences Department, recently rediscovered a collection of fossils which were thought to have been lost for close to 165 years. The group includes fossils collected by Charles Darwin himself, and was found in an old cabinet during the British Geological Survey. Dr. Falcon-Lang stated: “Inside the drawer were hundreds of beautiful glass slides made by polishing fossil plants into thin translucent sheets. This process allows them to be studied under the microscope. Almost the first slide I picked up was labelled ‘C. Darwin Esq.’ This turned out to be a piece of fossil wood collected by Darwin during his famous Voyage of the Beagle in 1834.” Also found in the cabinet were specimens discovered and prepared
Photo: IITA ImageLibrary (Flickr)
by Joseph Hooker, a very close friend of Darwin’s. Hooker himself was the man who put together the collection in 1846, but because he did not label them using the correct specimen registration method, they were moved to the Museum of Practical Geology and then to the Geological Museum in 1935. It is thought that they were then brought to the British Geological Headquarters in 1985 where they had remained until now. The Executive Director of the Geological Survey, Dr. John Ludden, stated: “This is quite a remarkable discovery. It really makes one wonder what else might be hiding in our collections.” RHUL will be exhibiting the find on the Science Open Day on Saturday 25 February, and you can view photographs of the fossils online via www.bgs.ac.uk/
L U H R s e m e M
4Here at the Orbital we love it when things go viral, and with some 3,000+ likes, the â€˜RHUL Memesâ€™ Facebook page has become the ultimate source of procrastination for students across campus. To the mystery duo who set that page up, we salute you. Here are some of our personal favourites...
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
With thanks to Aishwarya Singh, Alejandro Rodriguez, Alessandro Tridico, Alex Facey, Alex Taylor, Aline Tahmazian, Alisha Wadiwall, Andy Knight, Anna Zarafovam Arif Isam, Azlan Sargeant, Charlie Cummings, Ciaran Smith, Daniel Tzvetkovm, David Young, Erwan Le Ber, Giula Weiss, Imad Salhi, Jack Smale, Jason Anderson, Julian Farmer, Kit Simpson, Louis Thomas, Lucy Hacker, Lukasz Gziut, Nathan Woolley, Peter Hammond, Rojin Jozi, Russ Waite, Sima Chauhan, Tamson Bell and Tristan Dickson. firstname.lastname@example.org
UNIONW Element: Club
He’s one of Britain’s most loved n but since leaving Springwatch in Bill Oddie has struggled to find thought we’d put his bird watchi good use, in an attempt to unco notcturnal wildlife roaming the
The Ents Guide 6th Feb- 4th March
Monday 6th Feb
Thursday 16th Feb
Sunday 26th Feb
Carling Cup Final Screened Live
Best in R&B. Funky House and Hip Hop 8pm - Late, SU Main Building, Price : £3.00
From 8pm, Medicine
Friday 17th Feb
Tuesday 7th Feb
Election Night Results Party 8pm- Late, Medicine, Price : FREE
Wednesday 8th Feb hursday 16th Feb
FIFA Xbox Comp Thirsty Thursday
On the Big Screen. Who’s Got Game? rom 8pm, Medicine From 8pm, Medicine
riday 17th Feb
ESCClassics APE! Element: Club Escape: Top of the pops dress like a diva
ommy’s take over by Photography Soc 10pm get in for free)
Coming up soon...
0pm get in for free) Thursday 9th Feb
Thirsty Thursday aturday 18th Feb
From 4pm, Medicine
APE! Escape: Top of the pops dress like a diva Tommy’s take over by Photography Soc
Sunday 26th Feb10pm get in for free)
Carling Cup Final Screened Live Saturday 18th Feb From 4pm, Medicine
Red Stag Antidote FREE before 10pm, £4 after Stumble InnMedicine, Pub Quiz
With a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo and £50 top prize in SU Vouchers Sunday 19th Feb
8pm, Stumble Inn,Stumble Price: £1 per person to enter quiz Inn Pub Quiz With a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo and £50 top prize in SU Vouchers Monday 27th Feb 8pm, Stumble Inn, Price: £1 per person to enter quiz
From 7pm, SU Main Building, See separate publicity for ‘Love Music, Eat Cake, Change Lives’ Monday 20th Feb details Red Stag Antidote Valentine’s-themed Fundraising for the Futuresense Dub Step & Drum & Bass Medicine, FREE before 10pm, £4 after Foundation- Live Acts 8pm - late, SU Main Building, Price : £3.00 RAG does ‘Take Me Out’ From 8pm, Medicine unday 19th Feb Entry fee: £2, Medicine, See separate publicity for details
Tuesday 21st Feb
Stumble Inn Pub Quiz
With a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo and £50 top prize in SU Vouchers 8pm, Stumble Inn, Price: £1 per person to enter quiz
Monday 27th Feb
From 7pm, SU Main Building, See separate publicity for details
RAG does ‘Take Me Out’
Entry fee: £2, Medicine, See separate publicity for details
Tuesday 28th Feb
8 Ball Pool Comp
Including Speedball Including Speedball, from 7pm, Medicine, £2 per person to enter pool comp
Holloway’s Got Talent
A talent show open to everyone, all skills and perfor-
WATCH Classics 8th Feb
The Ents Guide
nature experts, 6th Feb- 4th March n January 2009, Monday 6th Feb d work. So wePure Best in R&B. Funky House and Hip Hop ing talents to8pm - Late, SU Main Building, Price : £3.00 Tuesday 7th Feb over some rare Election Night Results Party e Students’ Union! 8pm- Late, Medicine, Price : FREE
Wednesday 8th Feb
FIFA Xbox Comp
On the Big Screen. Who’s Got Game? From 8pm, Medicine
Element: Club Classics Thirsty Thursday From 8pm, Medicine
10pm get in for free)
Friday 17th Feb Thursday 9th Feb Escape:
TopThirsty of the Thursday pops dress like a diva
Sunday Saturday 26th Feb 18th Feb
Strictly Come Holloway Red Stag Antidote Carling Cup Final Screened Live Friday 10th Feb Sunday Feb Stumble Inn19th Pub Quiz
Zoo Project With a bit ofEscape: Rock ‘n’Inn Roll Bingo and £50 top prize Stumble Pub Quiz animal inBingo you – and free £50 facetop painting WithRelease a bit ofthe Rock ‘n’ Roll prize in SU in SU Vouchers Vouchers 8pm, Stumble Inn, Price: £1 per person to enter quiz get in forPrice: free)£1 per person to enter quiz 8pm,10pm Stumble Inn,
Up to £100 cash pot 8pm, Medicine
Sunday 12th Feb
Feb ESCAPE! Tuesday 28th Stumble Inn Pub Quiz
Tommy’s take over by Photography Soc
Show Launch Night 8 BallFashion Pool WithComp a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo and £50 top prize in
Medicine, See separate publicity for details Including Speedball SU Vouchers Including Speedball, from 7pm, Medicine, £2person per person 8pm, Stumble Inn, Price: £1 per to enter quiz to enter pool comp 22nd Feb Wednesday
Tuesday 14th FebOrange Aftershock Element: Fizzy Holloway’s GotPool Talent 8 Ball Comp A talent show all skills and perfor10pm open get into foreveryone, free)
8pm, Stumble Inn, Price: £1 per person to enter quiz
Saturday 18th Feb
From 7pm, SU Main Building, See separate publicity for details
Red Stag Antidote
Carling Final Screened Live SundayCup 19th Feb From 4pm, Medicine Stumble Inn Pub Quiz With a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo and £50 top prize in SU Stumble Vouchers Inn Pub Quiz With8pm, a bitStumble of RockInn, ‘n’Price: Roll Bingo and £50 £1 per person to top enterprize quiz in SU Vouchers 8pm,Monday Stumble20th Inn, Price: Feb £1 per person to enter quiz
RAG does ‘Take Me Out’ 8pm, Medicine
Entry fee: £2, Medicine, See separate publicity for details
Fashion Show Launch Night Medicine, See separate publicity for details
Tuesday 28th Feb
8 Ball Pool Comp Wednesday 22nd Feb Including Speedball Element: Fizzy Orange Aftershock Including Speedball, from 7pm, Medicine, £2 per person
to enter pool comp 10pm get in for free)
Holloway’s Got Talent Fifashow Xbox A talent openComp to everyone, all skills and perforWithwelcome. big screen. Who’s got game? mances 8pm, Medicine Tommy’s, See separate publicity for details
Entry fee: £2, Medicine, See separate publicity for details
Tuesday 28th Feb
8 Ball Pool Comp
Including Speedball Including Speedball, from 7pm, Medicine, £2 per person to enter pool comp
Holloway’s Got Talent
A talent show open to everyone, all skills and performances welcome. Tommy’s, See separate publicity for details
Wednesday 29th Feb
Element: Cops vs Robbers Costume party with JAILBREAK: GETAWAY FROM HOLLOWAY before 10pm get in for free)
RAG FIFA 2012 tournament Signed football kit and sports prizes for the winners! Direct questions to email@example.com Medicine. £1 entry fee Thursday 1st Mar 9pm, Medicine, FREE
RAG Late Great & Free Element: Cops vs Robbers Costume party with JAILBREAK: Thirsty Thursday
Friday 2nd Mar
GETAWAY FROMtill HOLLOWAY Bar & beats 2am! 9pm, Medicine, Price: Free before 10pm get in for free)
RAG On-Campus Raid: Superheroes v Supervillains
Love to Make Noise RAG FIFASee 2012 tournament Signed Tommy’s, separate publicity for details
before 10pm get in for free) Thirsty Thursday 9pm, Medicine, FREE
Saturday 25th Feb Friday 2nd Mar Antidote Monster
FreeOn-Campus giveaways and promos RAG Raid:
RAG does ‘Take Me Out’
Thursday29th 23rdFeb Feb Wednesday
CostumeThursday party with JAILBREAK: Feb Best in23rd R&B. Funky House and Hip Hop GETAWAY FROM HOLLOWAY sponsored by Corky’s RAG Late Great & Free d £50 top prize in Thirsty Thursday before 10pm get in for free) 10pm get in for free) Bar & beats till 2am! hock on to enter quiz 9pm, Medicine, Price: Free
With a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo and £50 top prize in SU Vouchers Monday 27th Feb
Including Speedball football kit and sports prizes for the winners! Direct mances welcome. Including Speedball, from 7pm, Medicine, £2 per personquestions firstname.lastname@example.org Fridayto24th Feb Tommy’s, Seetoseparate publicity for details enter pool comp Fifa Xbox Comp Medicine. £1 entry fee Escape: Absolute Filth With big screen. Who’s got game? Filthiest night of the year – live shows on the night Wednesday 29th Feb 15th Feb 8pm,Wednesday Medicine Thursday 1st Mar
Element:Element Cops vs Robbers
Stumble Inn Pub Quiz
10pm get in for free)
Up to £100 cash pot
Tuesday 21st FebMedia Rag ball Societies RAG does ‘Take Me Out’ From 7pm,See Renaissance Hotel Texas Hold’em Poker Entry fee: £2, Medicine, separate publicity for details
APE! Escape: Top of the pops dress like a diva
Texas Hold’em Poker
Monday 27th Feb
er quiz e painting
Friday 17th Feb
From 4pm, Medicine
FromTuesday 7pm, SU21st MainFeb Building, See separate publicity for details
Saturday s’ Monday 20th11th Feb Feb Fashion Show the Futuresense Dub Step & Drum & Bass From 7pm, SUAntidote Main Building, See separate publicity for FREE before 10pm, after - late, SU Main Building, Price£4 : £3.00 details 8pmMedicine,
prize in SU
Carling Cup Final Screened Live
From 8pm, Medicine
‘Lovetake Music, Eatby Cake, Change Lives’ Tommy’s over Photography Soc Valentine’s-themed Fundraising for the Futuresense Dub27th Step Monday Feb& Drum & Bass FoundationLive Acts 10pm get in for free) 8pm - late, SU Main Building, Price : £3.00 From 8pm, Medicine Fashion Show
From 7pm, Main10pm, Building Medicine, FREE SU before £4 after From 4pm, Medicine
Sunday 26th Feb
Medicine, Sunday 26th FREE Feb before 10pm, £4 after
Thursday 16th Feb
Thursday 16th Feb
Medicine, FREE before 10pm, £4 after
Get your club together in costume and compete to raise the most money on campus. The winning team will win a number of guestlist entry tickets to the SU and other prizes. before 10pm get in for free)
Saturday 3rd Mar
Captain Morgan’s Pirate Party Medicine, FREE before 10pm, £4 after
Sunday 4th Mar
Stumble Inn Pub Quiz
With a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo and £50 top prize
Smile Hadleigh Harrison “This was taken way back when, in my first year, and I thought I’d lost it until quite recently! The sun was just setting behind the quad, and caught the midges in the light. A lucky shot, really.” Please send in any photo submissions you have to regulars@theorbital. co.uk with the subject line as “In Your View”.
The science of...
HOMOSEXUAL Our resident scientist, Chris Pull, explains the science behind sexual orientation.
s a gay biologist, I have pondered the cause of my sexual orientation many times. Was it the fact that my parents used to let me carry around my dinosaurs in a ladies’ handbag (to the dismay of my grandparents), or allow my action man to give up a rather successful career in saving the world to open up a veterinary surgery? Could it be down to something inherent in my biology, out of the control of external factors during my childhood and caused by genetics? As you may have guessed, I’m getting at the nature vs. nurture debate, which has now largely been put to rest by a wealth of studies and experiments that all point to homosexuality and lesbianism being caused by biological factors. As it’s LGBT History Month, let’s have a look at what makes someone bat for the other team… For many years, homosexuality was considered a mental illness. This was the case right up until the mid-1970s in America (it was legalised in the UK in 1967); This, 26
however, is still believed by some. Homosexuality is now considered a normal variant of human sexuality, along with heterosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality. I would like to point out at this point that, in the majority of the world, same-sex marriage is not allowed (including the UK), civil unions are not recognised (these are allowed in the UK), and in 75 countries, largely in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, homosexuality is completely illegal, with varying penalties that range from fines to execution. Even in countries where homosexuality is legal, homophobia is still rife, with three in five of the UK’s 3.6 million gays and lesbians having experienced a hate crime within the period 2005-2008. One third reported they were likely to alter their behaviour to fit in and avoid homophobia. Interestingly, one study has found that many men who are “uncomfortable” around gay men are actually sexually aroused when shown gay porn, and researchers surmise “homophobia is apparently associated
with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies”. Now, off my soapbox, I want to look at what scientists believe are the biological causes of homosexuality. Some of the largest studies conducted on trying to reveal this cause have been carried out on twins. It is very common for one twin to be gay, whereas the other is straight. A study of all twins in Sweden found that sexual orientation was likely down to biological and individually specific environmental factors including time spent in the womb, social environments and sexual experiences. Environmental factors contributed to between 0-17% of cases, genetic 18-39% and the unique environment of one twin being the likely cause in 61-66%. This ‘unique environment’ is a combination of the amount of time spent in the womb, physiological trauma, and peer groups not shared with the other twin. Given the large amount of data used, it is likely that homosexuality is not purely based on genetics, as sexuality may differ, even THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
The science of...
Photo: Guillaume Paumier (Flickr)
LITY in monozygotic (from the same egg; genetically identical) twins. However, it has been revealed that monozygotic twins can be different due to the unequal distribution of hormones, namely the male hormone, testosterone, (due to sharing the same placenta and blood not being evenly distributed) which could lead to differing levels of masculinisation of the brain. The ‘gay gene’ was ‘found’ in 1993, where a study revealed that gay men had more gay uncles and brothers on their mother’s side of the family, due to an X-linked gene (an X linked gene is one that is only found on the female, X chromosome), and a high proportion shared a genetic marker (a gene or DNA segment that varies from the norm), termed “Xq28”. This study has been repeated multiple times, with some finding no sign of an X-linked gene and others managing to replicate the original results. A Korean research group managed to remove a gene in female mice that caused them to exhibit masculine behaviour and sexual email@example.com
attraction to other female mice. Full genome studies have revealed multiple markers that are likely to contribute to homosexuality. We know that genes interact with one another and one gene rarely controls one trait, meaning it is likely multiple genes will control sexuality. A 2004 study by Italian researchers also found a significant link between female fertility and amount of homosexual siblings, and the authors again suggested the existence of a gene(s) on the X chromosome that increases fertility in sons, and also increases the chances of homosexuality in sons. Another theory states that with each son that is born, the chances that the next will be gay increases by 33%. This is down to the female immune system rejecting male proteins that enter her blood stream during birth, causing an immune response in the womb, which gets stronger if subsequent sons are conceived. This immune response supposedly reduces the effect male proteins have on the baby, altering brain development and resulting in a less masculine son. This theory has largely been criticised because of the rarity of these events compared with the relatively high number of gay men. The ‘Exotic Become Erotic’ theory, conceived by Professor Daryl Bem of Cornell University, suggests that biological factors present during childhood can affect sexuality. Growing up, a child’s temperament will drive what activities they enjoy, and temperament is inherently influenced by their genes. As children go through puberty, they are sexually attracted to the sex they are most different from, and in the case of a girl who has always been ‘one of lads’, she will become sexually attracted to other girls, who are more foreign to her than boys - hence ‘exotic becoming erotic’. This theory has gained a lot of weight given the huge number of lesbians and gay men (63% out of a 1000 asked) who
enjoyed childhood activities usefully preferred by the opposite sex, and nonconformity in children is the most reliable predictor of sexuality. Though I wouldn’t consider myself particularly effeminate now, as a child I would happily play with toys aimed at girls, more than I would those aimed at boys. This is true of many a gay and lesbian. Another theory is the effect of hormones in the womb. Differing levels of testosterone during gestation is thought to affect brain development, and parts of the brain have been found to differ between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Generally, a gay man’s brain is more similar to a female’s, and a lesbian’s has more masculine characteristics. Additionally, a pheromone from a male’s sweat gland triggers activity in the same part of the brain as it does in straight women. Here is where the finger ratio ‘trick’ comes in. If you look at your flattened hand and your ring finger is longer than your index, then you were exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb, and the opposite is true if they are more similar. A 2010 study by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology has found a significant correlation in finger length and sexual orientation, reinstating the theory that if you are gay, your two digits will be roughly the same length. In conclusion, sexuality is considered to be largely due to genetic and biological factors, with the influence from social and environmental factors, though playing a role, having a lesser impact. A person cannot control their sexuality any more than they can control the colour of their skin. The fact the LGBT community still does not have the same civil rights as the rest of the population (and indeed are punishable by death in parts of the world), given the wealth of evidence supporting the uncontrollable nature of sexuality, is shocking. 27
Photo: photosteve101 (Flickr)
Agony Aunt Our resident Agony Aunt, Hannah Graveling, has the answers to all of your problems...
Dear Auntie Hannah, I broke up with my boyfriend two weeks ago, but today he emailed me Celine Dion’s Titanic song “My Heart Will Go On”. What does this mean? Diane x Well Diane, this is clearly a coded message in two parts. Firstly, his song choice is clearly related to his sexual preference and, I’m sorry, this is likely the reason why you broke up. Secondly, this song appears in the film after the relationship has crashed and died. Looks like he’s glad. I’m so sorry. x Dear Auntie Hannah, why is a woman expected to give up her career to follow her husband but it’s not expected the other way around? Betty x Well Betty, in a working family relationship it’s best that only one spouse works so that clashing workloads don’t cause arguments and isolation. Everyone knows that women are a lot stupider than men so it makes sense that the man would keep his job as it’s probably a lot better paid than yours. Plus, what’s the harm? He likes working, it keeps him busy and out of your hair while you have time to cook and clean. Enjoy your favourite hobbies in comfort. x
Dear Auntie Hannah, a friend asked my friend to ask his friend to ask me to ask you about a rather prickly problem... bit of a touchy subject (if you know what I mean). Anyway, he was researching ancient British foreplay and he came across one which he thought he was able to do quite easily involving a hedgehog and cat food. How does he explain how the hedgehog got stuck up there when he goes into A & E? Tom’s friend of a friend, of a friend x Well Tom, I wouldn’t be so concerned about the A&E questions - they see cat food stuffed up bottoms all the time! If I were you, I would be more worried about getting that hedgehog to a vet and think more carefully about your sexual exploits next time because that hedgehog’s therapy will cost you a bundle. Happy healing x Dear Auntie Hannah, How do I tell my mum that she needs a facelift? Craig x Well Craig, have you tried gagging when she walks by? Maybe leave botox by her toothbrush? If she’s really not getting the hint knock her out and get it down as a surprise! She’ll love it! x
Dear Auntie Hannah, I need some creative costume ideas for my rabbit. Maybe something topical... Any ideas? Nadia x
Dear Auntie Hannah, What would you do if you wanted your boyfriend back but he’s got a new girlfriend? Miranda x
Well Nadia, winter is a good theme to use, and rabbit is popular at this time of year. Have you tried an oldfashioned rabbit stew with carrots and green beans? Dress your rabbit in flour, thyme, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes. I promise you won’t be outdone. Good luck x
Well Miranda, it’s a difficult situation and you have two options. You can either hire an assassin and get that cow put down Assassins Creed style, or- and this is the option that I really recommend- you could just suck it up and let him go. Yes it’s going to be tough and for a while; seeing him will really hurt, but you have to remember - men do grow on trees. So get dressed up and go pick up a few. This too shall pass x
Dear Auntie Hannah, recently I’ve been getting a very loud screeching noise in my left ear when I try to go to sleep. Do you think it’s serious? Cuthbert x Well Cuthbert, I most certainly do! Looks like your girlfriend has decided to wait until you’re at your most vulnerable before attacking you with her own issues. Time to lose her! In advance, you’re welcome x P.S. Cuthbert? Seriously? 28
Submit your questions on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/pages/Ask-AuntieHannah/297885750232702 or email your query to: firstname.lastname@example.org THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Medicine Manager, Danny Taylor, gives you the heads up on our much loved bar at the bottom of the not so much loved hill.
Photo: Julian Farmer
ell, well, well! By my reckoning, which may be wrong, it’s about halfway through the academic year! It seems like only yesterday I was prepping for a crazy Freshers’ week with only half the staff needed. But now we have had two new recruitment drives, so there are fresh smiling faces behind our bars. A word of warning though: just like the previous staff they don’t take kindly to being abused / screamed at / spat on. “Surely nobody would do that at RHUL,” I hear you cry! Well, just remember they are your fellow students with all the same pressures as you. A smile with the odd “please” and “thank you” will get you a lot further than anything else, and would be greatly appreciated. Since last edition, we have also had the Sabattical Elections; a night of cheers and tears was had at Medicine on results night. Medicine wants to say ‘welcome’ to the new Sabbatical team (nothing like getting in the bosses good books early!) They will
be hitting the ground hard come September… good things to come, I’m sure. Now, it appears not many people know this so I thought I’d make sure to tell as many people as possible: in a band? Want somewhere to practice and / or rehearse or play? The Stumble Inn is here for you. Get in touch with me and it is yours! We’re not opening till 7pm in Terms 2 and 3 due to the cold, darkness and ohmygodgotsomuchworktodo-ness, so it’s free for use. If you want to practice your skills in public we can let you in there in the evenings as well, come and have a chat! (And bring biscuits, preferably Crunch Creams!) We’ve also been letting the Insanity DJs loose on Medicine’s decks during the day so they can hone their skills and you get a personal, intimate gig. Not in a band? How about a sports team or society? Want to hold a fundraiser, social or launch night? Again, I’m up for almost anything, as long as you bring a high quality
biscuit to the table I will listen! Rich Teas may have ‘rich’ in their name, but I will look at you with disgust. I would rather go hungry than eat a Rich Tea… well for 5 minutes, and then I would eat them whilst being disgusted with myself. Oh, and Summer Ball plans are underway, but obviously so secret that I can’t divulge a thing... but there will lots of live music to dance to!
Winter Warmers A couple of cocktails to keep you warm until the snow melts... Toastie - Fill 3/4 of a shot glass with amaretto and top up with cinnamon schnapps... yum! Prarie Fire - Add a couple of drops of Tabasco Sauce to a shot of tequilla... fiery!
9pm-2am Free entry with this voucher email@example.com
9pm-2am Free entry with this voucher 29
o s w e i v e
µAlbum Review Old Ideas by Leonard Cohen
Editor: Rana Banna firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue: The Trubadour
Write for us: All you have to do is get in contact and pitch an idea, or even come along to one of our regular writers’ meetings. 30
4 Album 4 Film 4 Book 4 Venue 4 Theatre
Book: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.
t the age of 77, Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen returns with his 12th studio album ‘Old Ideas’. The ten track album sees Cohen return to his familiar theme of exploring the human condition and all the fragilities that come with it through deep and meaningful lyrics. Cohen delivers the tracks exquisitely in a minimalistic musical assemble. His lyrics sound more like poetry than songs, accompanied by layers of sheer mastery and complexity to draw the listener into his world. There really isn’t a single standout track in the whole album, simply because each track in its own right offers the listener something rather special. Darkness is brutally frank and full of selfregret; as Cohen confesses: “I know my days are few ... I thought the past would have lasted me, but the darkness got that too.” In Show Me The Place Cohen yearns for a sense of completeness. In the album’s final track Different Sides Cohen shows just why his work
deserves to be cherished for years to come, as he gives a master class of lyrical imagery in his bittersweet recollection of a fragmenting relationship: “We find ourselves on different sides of a line nobody drew.” Throughout Old Ideas Cohen counterbalances his musings on anything from religion to broken relationships to death and bitterness, with the help of dark humour and irony to create a truly thought-provoking record. Leonard Cohen’s work is truly a lost art which needs to be cherished and Old Ideas proves to be a perfect testament to such a legendary songwriter. Alisha Wadiwalla
Get Involved We like to keep our up to date with all the latest relesases, so if there’s something that you’ve seen lately and would like to give your opinion on please contact reviews@theorbital. co.uk for more information on getting involved! THE ORBITAL FEBRUARU 2012
µAlbum Review Voltage by Skrillex
ennifer Donnelly’s young and ambitious novel Revolution takes the reader on a diabolical journey across two continents and through two very vast eras. From present Brooklyn, New York to the turbulent Paris of the mid 1700s, the novel connects the stories of two very gifted girls at two very unique times. Revolution is narrated through the sardonic voice of teenager Andi, a troubled musical genius who blames herself for her family’s grief. Set in present day Brooklyn, the reader follows Andi’s life as seen through her eyes. The extremely gifted but troubled teenager finds solace in music, whilst having to deal with a distant relationship with her mother and her struggle with high school life, all aided by a tragedy in her past. Then we have Alexandre, a one-time Paris street performer, who is plucked from a life on the streets to being in charge of young Louis-Charles, son of the doomed Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. What connects both girls together is Alexandre’s diary which Andi happens to stumble across when forced to go on a vacation with her father. Both young women are each going through their own kind of hell, Andi finds salvation in Alexandre’s diary and little by little is motivated to embrace life and rekindle her love for music which she previously neglects...
In Alexandre, the reader finds a marvelous young woman who has absolute love for a young child with whom she has no social equation with, yet in many ways LouisCharles is her salvation. And when the young Dauphin is incarcerated in a tower and treated with intolerable cruelty Alexandre puts her life on the line by lighting fireworks – which Louis-Charles loved – in the troubled city of Paris, all in hopes of shining light into the young soul’s heartbreaking fate. Donnelly skillfully traces links between Baroque and Contemporary music, whilst writing about real artists and fictional ones. My only complaint with the novel would probably be one time-slip episode towards the end of the book, however, Donnelly more than makes up for this with a strong mix of intellectual characters and an excitingly fast-paced narrative. A very difficult book to put down and quite heartbreaking, Revolution addresses universal issues of, owning up to guilt, accepting compromise, and finding redemption through love and music. Students who are music lovers and history buffs will be thoroughly entranced by the novel; although a long read it is entirely engrossing.
Playlist #7 µWhat you can expect to hear blazing out of headphones in the Bedford Library this month Flo Rida feat. Sia Wild Ones Whiney Houston I Will Always Love You Drake Take Care Nicki Minaj Starships Goyte feat. Kimbra Somebody That I Used To Know Emily Sande Next To Me Cover Drive Twilight Adele Rolling In The Deep David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj Turn Me On Lil Wayne Mirrow DJ Fresh feat. Rita Ora Hot Right Now Alyssa Reid Alone Again will.i.am feat. Mick Jagger and J-Lo T.H.E (The Hardest Ever) Maverick Sabre Let Me Go Coldplay Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall The Black Keys Lonely Boy M83 Midnight City Skrillex Bangarang
Photo: lejamksca (Flickr) email@example.com
REVIEWS µFilm Review Shame
he fascination towards Michael Fassbender’s penis in the film Shame has led to a slurry of wilfully misrepresentative reviews of Steve McQueen’s latest film. Critics’ crass use of ‘cock puns’ and sex jokes indicate that some reviewers are so enthralled by the sight of a penis on the big screen that they remain impenetrable to the integral issues of the film. It addresses the complex nature of depression, and how psychological traumas in one’s life can manifest in ways that are widely misunderstood
and often misrepresented in film. Limiting a review to adolescent quips about climaxes and balls, whilst simplifying an uncomfortable narrative of repressed emotional issues, is entirely misleading. Shame depicts human isolation, and the impact of an addiction that perpetuates loneliness through enforcing upon the subject an inability to emotionally connect with others. Fassbender’s character, Brandon, uses sex to emotionally distance himself from others, brutalising himself in the eyes of the audience
with his religious dedication to appeasing his addiction. In contrast to Brandon, his sister Sissy, superbly performed by Carey Mulligan, appears to assume that sex will allow her to find love, made clear in her reaction when a partner leaves her over the phone in a scene that is genuinely heartbreaking. The unspoken past of the two siblings that led them to use sex as a release is a deliberately unaddressed focus of the film, but there remains an overbearing presence of some unspoken trauma. If you find depression and sex to be dark and terrifying subject matters, then some publications may well be right in saying it will be the darkest film you will ever see. If, however, you can avoid going giddy at the sight of a penis or some breasts, then Shame offers an original and daring insight into the life of someone unable to cope with what has happened in their past and has plunged into the depths of addiction. A worthy and challenging watch, essential for any student who can appreciate the artistic integrity behind the films overexposure. Christopher Stewart
anniversary trip to LA so that he can visit the Muppets’ broken down studio. Here we discover that a rich oil baron has bought the studio in order to tear it down and mine for oil. This sets in motion a Muppets reunion that will inevitably save the studio. Although the plot is clearly nothing to write home about, the presentation is sublime. In good Muppets tradition, the movie is full of cheesy jokes, cliches and silly musical numbers. That may sound like a criticism but, really, it’s what makes the Muppets good. With Flight of the Conchords member Bret McKenzie behind a lot of the music, it’s no surprise that the various songs are delightfully catchy and hilariously self-aware. The feel-good family style of the movie may be off-
putting to some but embrace it and there’s a lot of fun to be had. At no point do any of the characters take the film seriously and the writers seem to simply forget about the fourth wall all together. There are celebrity cameos left right and centre, but mostly in a subtle “Where’s Wally?” style that doesn’t break the flow of the film. There are plenty of shout-outs for fans with just about every Muppet featuring at some point, many with amusing, if brief, backstories that will also introduce them to a new audience. “The Muppets” isn’t a deep, emotional experience but it delivers the laughs and proves that the franchise is far from dead. David Young
µFilm Review The Muppets
The Muppets have finally made it to the UK with their creatively titled new feature The Muppets. It’s been 13 years since we last saw the once absurdly popular puppet troupe, and many fans have been eager to see them get back together - but is this latest incarnation, now absent of creator Jim Henson, worthy of the Muppet name? The film opens with an introduction to a new puppet called Walter. For fairly obvious reasons, Walter has trouble fitting in amongst a predominantly human society and becomes the Muppets’ number one fan during his childhood. Now it’s 2012 and the Muppets have long since split up but that doesn’t stop Walter from hijacking his brother’s
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Book & Film
Win tickets to a special screening of The Devil Inside To celebrate the release of The Devil Inside, at cinemas March 16 (cert 15), we have teamed up with Paramount Pictures UK to offer you the chance to win a pair of tickets to a special screening of the film at the Round Chapel in Hackney on March 15th. Inspired by true events and from the Executive Producer of ‘Paranormal Activity’ comes The Devil Inside, the US number one box office phenomenon. In 1989, emergency responders received a 911 call from Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) confessing that she had brutally killed three people. 20
years later, her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) seeks to understand the truth about what happened that night. She travels to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Italy where her mother has been locked away to determine if her mother is mentally ill or demonically possessed. When she recruits two young exorcists (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) to cure her mom using unconventional methods combining both science and religion, they come face to face with pure evil in the form of four powerful demons possessing Maria.
Many have been possessed by one; only one has been possessed by many. To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 11th with the subject line “The Devil Inside”. Join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/ thedevilinsideuk and book now at www.odeon.co.uk. The Devil Inside is at cinemas March 16, cert 15. “This is the film the Vatican doesn’t want you to see”. - Naibe Reynoso Caracol Radio 1260 © 2012 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
1. This draw is open to UK residents only excluding employees or agents of Paramount Pictures or anyone professionally connected with the promotion and their immediate families. 2. No purchase necessary. 3. Closing date for entries is March 11th. 4. The prize is for a pair of tickets to a special screening of The Devil Inside on the evening of Thursday 15th March 2012 at Hackney Round Chapel in London. 5. Full name of winner and guest must be given on request and will be added to the event guest list. ID will be required to gain entry. 6. The first prize winner will be notified to check their availability and if they cannot attend or cannot be reached on contact another name will be drawn. Paramount pictures are under no obligation to pick a second replacement winner. 7. Winners will be notified via email or telephone. The sending of an email to the email address registered by the winner will be sufficient notification for this purpose and the Promoter will not be responsible for any failure by a winner to receive that email. Please note it is essential that you provide the correct email address, otherwise we may not be able to contact the winner for this prize draw and therefore the entry will be considered null and void. 8. At least one of the attendees must be over 18 yrs and both attendees must comply with the certification restrictions of the film. 9. Paramount Pictures cannot be held responsible if the event is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances which are beyond their control. In this event the winner will receive tickets to another Paramount Pictures film screening, of which date, time and location will be specified by Paramount Pictures. 10. These prizes are non-transferable, non-fundable and there is no cash alternative. Prizes cannot be sold on to a 3rd party. In the unlikely event this prize should become unavailable the Promoter reserves the right to substitute for a prize of equal or greater value. 11. Recording equipment may be taken off you and put into safe possession whilst you are in the screening. 12. For the avoidance of doubt, the prize excludes all other costs including but not limited to accommodation, travel, any inoculation and/or vaccination costs, hotel supplementary charges, excursions, spa treatments, telephone calls, room service, mini-bar goods, alcohol, programmes, souvenirs, incidental costs, taxes and any insurance, including but not limited to travel and medical insurance, unless otherwise stated.
REVIEWS µVenue Review The Trubadour
Photo: Laura Webber
fter a short train journey to London standing outside what appeared to be a café, I faced the worrying prospect that I’d made a mistake. However, though it is not apparently obvious what lies within The Troubadour at first glance, it is actually the location of a rather good music venue found in the equivalent of its basement. With its intimate atmosphere (something which might sound offputting at first) it allows you to really get engaged with the music, and fully experience the up-and-coming artists on offer. The night began with the acoustic vocal talent of Hannah Clive, who eased the crowd into the evening with a taste of her new material. Songs such as Fistful of Sand contained soulful guitar riffs and emotional lyrics intertwined to create a great, relaxing
set. The second act contrastingly brought the room to life. Andrew Balkwill demonstrated his amazing piano abilities with some fun jazz pieces, involving and energising the crowd. Brother and sister duo, The Luck, took to the stage. Max and Esmay put passion into all their songs stretching themselves to their vocal limit, and evidently thoroughly enjoying themselves. Finally, the most eagerly awaited act of the night hit the stage. Many supporters of The Pigott Brothers (two Canadian brothers: Sebastian and Oliver) rushed eagerly to the front of the crowd. The duo demonstrated an excellent ability to perfectly harmonise in their acoustic tracks and both put heartfelt emotion into every song, and despite Oliver having almost lost his voice, their dedication could not be
doubted. Their best known tracks, Alien Like You (which is featured on the E4 show Being Erica in which Sebastian is also a cast member, playing the part of Kai Booker) and Crazy In Your Heart received a welcomed approval. A few extras including a cover of Dark Horse (which Sebastian also performed in his appearance on Canadian Idol, where both brothers made the finals in 2008) were just as captivating. The vocals from this pair complement each other perfectly, to produce easy listening and meaningful pieces. Currently finishing their European tour, The Pigott Brothers are one to watch out for. So, it’s worth taking a trip to The Troubadour, just outside Earl’s Court, to see if you can spot some emerging talent... And definitely check out the mentioned artists! Laura Webber THE ORBITAL FEBRUARU2012
µTheatre Review Corpus Christi by The Student Workshop
s we were ushered into the Boiler Room, a dark odd-looking building almost hidden in Royal Holloway’s campus, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of this play, since the only information I had received prior that it was about a ‘Gay Jesus’. Whilst technically true, Corpus Christi is in fact a dark portrayal of the conflict between religion and homosexuality. Directed by James Potter and based on the original controversial passion play by Terrence Mcnally, Corpus Christi depicts Jesus and his twelve apostles as gay men living in modern day Texas. It starts with the birth of Christ and sporadically jumps through the major events of his life through short disjointed scenes, finally ending with the inevitable
betrayal of Judas Iscariot. During this, questions are raised about Christianity as a system of faith, and whether or not the traditional, old-world organised intolerance remains relevant in today’s more liberal world. The talented cast of thirteen, all barefoot and dressed in plain white shirts, managed to give the play a sense of dignity whilst maintaining a sense of humour. However, the play seemed to be split into two very distinct, slightly incompatible acts. The first act, whilst starting off as a lengthy and repetitive introduction to the cast through the medium of baptisms, eventually built up pace and painted a fairly humorous picture of Jesus as a social outcast growing up in a society that mocks
homosexuality. The second act I felt was considerably better, as the humour took a backseat to deal with more serious issues. Sophie Kisilevsky in particular gave a moving performance as Jesus during the final crucifixion scene. But even so, there were certain moments that left you feeling confused, a dance to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way or the impalement of a plastic doll with nails for instance. The message that it was meant to expose was perhaps lost in translation to the audience, or at least to me. In total, however, the play was certainly worth seeing if only to make you question the morality of society today, which it did exceedingly well. Jamie Robinson
Photo: Student Workshop email@example.com
e l y t s e f i L
Runway Life is a
Simon Rawlings picks best dressed student
Editor: Elinor Gittins firstname.lastname@example.org
Toronto: An insider’s guide.
Housing: Picking the right housemates
4 Fashion 4 Travel 4 Student Housing 4 Listings
We Love To Boogie Vintage: An interview with the owner.
ogo Hiraiwa. He’s a first year student studying Management and he is the Orbital’s best dressed student of February 2012! For this article I spent four long weeks searching for a student that boasted individuality and style (of course, I was tempted to choose myself ) and it certainly didn’t take me long to spot Sogo. He has the skill of piecing together outfits that are not only stunning but also reflective of his unique personality. In the photo Sogo wears: bespoke jacket with faux snakeskin detail from a boutique in Japan (Lady
Gaga is a customer of this store!), dropped-crotch trousers with cuff detail also from Japan, vintage glasses and faux leather shoes from Camden Town. Finally, Sogo’s statement gloves are from a small boutique in Brighton. There is an air of richness to this outfit; the many contrasting shades of red evoke a regal feel, yet this is met with contrast from the informal silhouette created by the droppedcrotch trousers. In a brief interview during our mini photo shoot Sogo explained that he is “against following the trends” and doesn’t care for what Topman and other high street stores fill their window displays with. It is this rare attitude that has allowed him to stand out from the crowd and to appear as a bright light in the foggy mist of ‘chilets’ and murderous fur on campus... I would like to allow the stunning photograph taken by one of Royal Holloway’s own talented students to do most of the talking in this article. However, I would like to offer one pointer inspired by Sogo’s philosophy on fashion. With each stroll to the Founders Building for lunch and each mildly intoxicated stagger from the SU in the early hours of a Saturday morning, remember that at all times you have the opportunity to evoke and inspire thoughts in those around you. Your clothes are your identity; your life is a runway.
Pitch an idea to email@example.com
OR... you can get in touch with the lifestyle team and join our mailing list, from which articles will be frequently commissioned, as well as having the opportunity to pitch your own thoughts. You’re also welcome to attend our regular writers’ meetings.
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
What on earth next?
We Love To Boogie Vintage 4Pamela Carralero interviews Greg Milne about his company and the fashion industry.
How would you define WLTBV?
I would define WLTBV as a company for both men and women’s designer vintage. The pieces are handpicked by myself and my business partner Natalia Codona. We have both worked extensively as stylists and by referencing current trends which we blend with classic vintage staples. Alongside our vintage collection we have a range of customised vintage pieces, bringing them up to date or embellishing them, or giving them a whole new life. In the last year we have started our own capsule collections for men and women, and a range of screen-printed tees and sweatshirts. Since we launched we have always wanted to be almost a lifestyle brand, for people who want the quality and design of high fashion and to avoid the repetition of the high street.
What inspires you?
Our inspirations are the catwalks from all the main fashion weeks, but mostly the street style from around the world and the people outside the fashion weeks. They may not have a ticket for the show but the love of fashion makes them go anyway, and it shows in the clothes they wear.
What is the main concept fueling your designs?
The main concept of our designs are grungy glamour. That does sound a little cringe, but while we love our punk biker jackets we both love to get really dressed up. For me, I like to wear a full tux look with my spiked and painted biker jacket. Natalia can be seen in huge heels, a floor length gown and a biker jacket with the shoulders covered in spikes… I should point out this is an average Saturday night. firstname.lastname@example.org
What message do you attempt to convey through your collections?
With the collections, we aren’t conveying a particular message; we don’t have a particular “mission statement”. We want to create things that are different, make you look and feel like you have spent a fortune, but that you can afford (what is going on with the price of designer clothes these days, it’s like they just pull a number out of thin air). And a lot of fun, in particular our tees and sweats have a good bit of fun about them, and that’s the way it should be.
What is the clientele WLTBV has recently catered to and are you planning on expanding your clientele base with new designs?
Our clientele is very wide ranging, we honestly couldn’t limit it to one group, in terms of expanding it we can only hope more people discover our website (www. welovetoboogievinatage.com), and we are shooting a lookbook in the next few weeks for the tee and sweat collections, so we are going to be looking to sell that wholesale in the next few months.
In your opinion, what are the challenges of being an up-andcoming designer in the 21st century?
The major challenge for anyone in any business at the moment is money. We are trying to grow organically which can be very frustrating when you have all these big ideas, but getting a backer would probably be impossible, and do you really want someone taking your independence? I don’t know.
What word of advice do you have for any aspiring designers out there?
A great piece of advice I would give people is collaborate! Photographers, models, events organisers, other designers... as a creative community you can make a much bigger mark than trying to go it alone.
In light of the current 2012 London Fashion week, what is WLTBV offering in its next collection that will be unique, contemporary, and irresistible?
Well, for the coming year our unique take on current trends, our restructured vintage and the never ending stream of ideas that me and Natalia bounce off of one another ensures that every week or so there is something new from us.
to n ro o T to e id u g s r’ e d si in e h T
4Annabella Geraghty has some traveller’s secrets to share.
Photo: Francisco Diez (Flickr)
hen Europe met America, the byproduct was Toronto (or so some of the Torontonians claim!) But jokes aside, Canada’s most vibrant and multicultural city is fast becoming a hub for culture, business and tourism. And with its easily navigated grid system, vast array of sites, activities and superb cuisine and with return flights from £318 (canadianaffair.com), you would be mad not to consider it. For the most hopeless of map readers, the city is divided into different areas and even has its own ‘mini countries’. Little Italy, Little China and Little India (amongst others) all provide rich grounds for culture and authentic food sampling. Whilst in Little Italy, visit The Fish Store and Sandwiches; run by an endearing Japanese couple, this tiny place has people coming from far and wide to try
fresh fish in the most delicious and inexpensive baguettes. And while we’re on the subject, Brick Street Bakery specialises in gourmet sandwiches and makes a chocolate tart to die for. The bakery is situated at the heart of the Distillery District which provides a great day out for browsing galleries, artisan shops, sampling sake or taking a Segway tour of the old industrial buildings. If you’re in Downtown Toronto, why not try your hand at water sports or ice skating (season depending) at the lakeside Harbourfront Centre on Queens Quay. From festivals to the latest exhibitions, this dynamic venue always has something on offer. For shoppers, Toronto really does cater to all. Queen Street West brings you the quirky and trendy finds whereas Eaton Centre and Yorkdale offer the ultimate mall experience. For lovers of high end
designers, Bloor Street/Yorkville is the place to be and if it happens to be the beginning of September (during Toronto International Film Festival) you will undoubtedly spot a few A-listers in your midst. Come nightfall, the city transforms into every young person’s paradise. Although the choices are endless, I would recommend a walk down King Street West where you will find an array of select bars and clubs to choose from. However, if you are feeling indulgent the upscale 180 Panorama (on the top floor of the Manulife Centre) will give you an unbeatable night view over the city. And when you eventually tire of the city scene, remember that everything from ski resorts and national parks to the renowned Niagra Falls are but a drive away. If you want to learn more about Toronto be sure to check out toronto.ca/visitors. THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Manuela Mitevova reveals how Vienna’s opulence and architectural grandeur combine to provide a natural state of ‘down to earth magic’.
ienna, the capital of Austria, has a reputation. The years of the Habsburgs governing an empire from this city have left their mark, and walking through the UNESCO historic centre even today is like going back in time, complete with the horse carriages and the stunning building facades. Added to the intoxicating mix are the many theatre and opera ticket sellers scattered around the streets, all dressed in Mozart fashion, inviting you to oneoff concert experiences all around town. Vienna does indeed have the reputation of a cultural capital of the world to uphold. Kärnterstraße, the historic shopping street lined with shops selling Mozart’s liquor, his famous chocolate balls or souvenirs, will take you straight to the crowned jewel of the old part of town, the magnificent, Gothic Stephansdom cathedral, dating back to 1147 AD and welcoming thousands of visitors from all over the world. The cathedral may give you a neck strain however, as it is 137m high. If you’re up for the exercise, you may climb up to the top and indulge in the unforgettable far-flung
Photo: Luiz Fernando (Flickr)
views of the city. Taking a carriage ride to the Hofburg imperial residence and peeking into the private chambers of Empress Sisi, complete with a gym, is an unforgettable experience. Oozing with magnificence, the rooms get you just that bit closer to the legend that Sisi is. Sisi’s museum, also on site, includes a wonderful selection of her amazing dresses, jewels, handwritten notes, and - crime lovers pay attention - the small knife her killer used for the assassination. Relaxing in the form of cake eating and coffee drinking is also a Viennese cultural treat, so stopping by Julius Meinl for their famous coffee or the Sacher Hotel for their world renowned torte is a must. Strudel-making shows in the Schönbrunn castle café are another highlight, and when followed by a visit to the castle itself and a walk in its stunningly beautiful gardens, it doesn’t get any better. Whether it’s downright cultural overload, a shopping spree or an epicurious experience you are looking for, you will always get much more than you bargained for in Vienna.
Get in touch with email@example.com
W A N T T O W R I T E F O R L I F E S T Y L E ?
We want as many writers on our mailing lists as possible and to have as many students contributing as our magazine and website page can handle! There’s something for everyone, so don’t be shy!
The Curse of the student house
A sad truth is that the majority of student houses aren’t happy families. Most students have at least one housemate that they’ve fallen out with, drives them insane or just isn’t as close anyore. So why is it that so many student houses don’t work out? You pick your housemates after 3 months when you arrive in the scary world of university, stranded with no friends. Your first port of call is to get some cheap alcohol and head down to the kitchen to socialise. You bond over the fact that you’re young, don’t know anyone and want to get smashed, and instantly become best friends. Fast-forward to second year, and those people aren’t your best friends anymore. During Freshers’ Week, your entire floor was inseparable; by the end of the year, there are some who you have nothing in common with. Plus, you’ll have new friends you’ve really connected with. Trouble is, you signed the papers and put a deposit down before Christmas. Living with others is hard work. University is a strange place. At uni, you’re pressured into getting a house with people you’ve just met. A house is completely different from the camaraderie of halls. You share bathrooms, living space and cleaning responsibilities. The honeymoon period is over, true colours come out, arguments over rooms and the washing up ensue. You fall out. You drift apart and get bored of each other. So, here are my top tips for a happy house: DO make sure you’re 100% happy with your housemates. If there are issues already, living together will make them 100 times worse. DON’T live with someone because you feel sorry for them or feel like you have to. It’s unfair on both sides - they’ll end up feeling unwanted in their own home. DO choose a mixed house. Girl houses get bitchy. Guy houses get messy. DON’T worry if you’re not sharing a house with your best friend. Visiting their house keeps things fresh. DON’T live with your girlfriend or boyfriend. This one is self explanatory. DO ensure your housemates have good living habits. The wild party girl who brings a guy back every night may be great fun but do you really want to live with her? DON’T worry about it too much. You can always change houses in third year, and you’ll spend most of your time round your friend’s house anyway.
Until 15 Dec
Billy Elliot, The Musical, Victoria Palace Theatre, London
Watch the stage version of your alltime favourite ballet film. Follow Billy in his attempt to prove the world wrong; instead of pleasing his father and becoming a boxer, he applies to the Royal Ballet School. The musical opened in 2005 and has aready won several awards. Book your tickets today! from £20
Photo: London Theatre
Week #1 Vault, 9-26 Feb, Old Vic Tunnels, Station Approach
Lorca’s all-female play. It’s a modern, adapted version by Emily Mann who puts A quirky, an Iranian twist on underground the Spanish favourite. arts festival that Featuring a house lasts three weeks. full of veiled women, It covers music, the play discusses film and theatre, the treatment of satircal puppetry, women as objects cabaret, comedy to be hidden or and live music. The flaunted. Bernarda highlights include a Alba is played by reproduction of ‘La Bohème’ as a silent Shohreh Aghdashloo, disco and the B-Movie a beautiful Oscarnominated actress. Ball. For more information see www. £8-£32 thevaultfestival.com Picasso and FREE
The House of Bernarda Alba, until 10 Mar, Almeida Theatre, London A production of Federico Garcia
Week #2 Great Britain? The exhibition includes over 150 works. Find out about his controversial effect on other modern artists. Have a sneak peek on the website: www. tate.org.uk £12.20 concs
Modern British Art, until 15 Jul, Tate Britain, Millbank, London Fancy a day finding out more about Picasso’s many connections with
3-week LISTINGS 40
The Big Egg Hunt, from 21 Feb, London
Join the rest of London in the hunt for 200 ceramic Easter eggs. They have been created and incorporated by designers, architechts, jewellers and artists such as Vivienne Westwood, Mat Collishaw and Henry Holland. The event will be raising money for Elephant Family and Action for Children. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and look for large eggs hidden around the city. Have a look at the website www.thebigegghunt. co.uk FREE
Shark Reef Encounter, London Aquarium
It’s a new attraction at the London aquarium. Have a safe look at about 20 sharks, including brown sharks and black-tip reef sharks. The tank reaches a depth of almost 20m, and is visible from several levels. Also visit the Shark Academy and learn all about the 450-million-year development of the shark. £18
Kew’s Tropical Extravaganza 2012, until 4 Mar, Kew Gardends, Richmond
Visit Kew Gardends for the annual flower
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
4British Swimming Have you been struck by Olympic fever? Why not visit the Olympic Park Aquatics Centre amd watch them test the venue for summer 2012. If you want to know what to expect, find your tickets quickly before they’re all gone. £varied
Photo: Jim Bahn (Flickr)
Until 10 June
Dickens at The Museum of London Photo: Mskadu (Flickr)
Check out rare manuscripts by Dickens; discover what Victorian London was like at the time. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth, the museum is presenting the first major exhibition on his life. They have put a large range of objects on show, including the artist’s desk. FREE
Week #3 festival. There are beautiful collecitons of exotic plants on display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. The theme is the elemets: air, fire, water and eart. The exhibition shows how plants depend on and affect these elements. See the website for full details www.kew.org Concs £11.90 Photo: USFWS Pacific(Flickr)
Rock Britannia RHUL Fashion Show, 25-27 Feb, SU Main Hall
Come and support the fashion society at their annual Fashion show. This year, the theme is Rock Britannia, and will incorporate the 2012 olympics. All proceeds go to the charity BEAT, against eating disorders. £5
whether animal art has any merit. The art is shown alongside documentation explaining why some works by animals are considered art and others are not. FREE
All money raised goes towards their main charities: Teenage Cancer Trust, VSO and East to West. £2
RHUL Does Take Me Out, 27 Feb, Medicine
The first event of RAG week, Royal Holloway presents it’s very own personalised Take Me Out! They’re Art by Animals, still ooking for guys until 9 Mar, Grant Museum of and girls interested Zoology,University in being part of the singletons or the College London one showcasing Are you interested their efforts to get in an exhibition of a date. Or just be a paintings by apes part of the audience and elephants? This and cheer on those project discusses hopeless romantics.
Photo: RHUL Fashion
This is where we pick out the cultural highlights on and off campus, ensuring there will always be something for everyone! firstname.lastname@example.org
t r Ian’s Mammoth o p S ocs Mission &S Photo: Ian Stewart
Editor: Alex Pegler email@example.com
Men’s football: shock victory to end KCL’s unbeaten run
4 Dan Garbutt on what should be expected from the new VPSA
Ultimate Frisbee: read about their performance at the South East Universities Women’s Indoor Regional Competition
Men’s Rugby: catch up with the First XV’s return to winning ways
ost people roll their eyes at the prospect of campus politics, but it’s really not that bad when you see what’s on offer. So what of the future for sport at the Students’ Union? Ian Stewart has been elected the new Vice President for Student Activities, and it won’t be long until he takes up his new role and has to face the challenges that lie ahead. This year has been up and down within the Students’ Union, with heavy external politics on the menu. The current VPSA has done a sterling job in keeping his eye on the game. The Student Activities department is an extremely busy place, often hectic at times. Each week a multitude of different scenarios can occur that have far ranging effects on the recreational abilities of nearly 3,000 students who participate in some form of Students’ Union-based activity. Does the new VPSA have the time to
take their eye off the ball? Does our Vice President for Student Activities have time to become the Vice President of Student Activism? Clearly the answer is no, talking with some insight. What should we expect from the new VPSA? Ian’s dedication and work ethic is of paramount importance, and of course he’s already convinced the majority of the student body of his credentials to be elected. However, Ian must remain objective, focused on the mammoth task of keeping Student Activities on track; he must offer solutions that resolve the constant barrage of issues that arise, some of which will be very obscure. He needs to be a people’s person to deal with numerous society presidents, all of whom can be very demanding. And finally, he must be able to manage projects suitably, to delegate appropriately and with sound trust and judgement, although some may say this is essential of every Sabbatical THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Tom Cats raise a cheer 4 Doug German reports on the latest cheerleading successes
he weekend of 19 February saw over 60 of the Tom Cats meet at 5.30am to make their way to Loughborough University for the Saturday Night Fever competition. Over 40 different universities brought their teams to compete across divisions of cheer, stunt and dance, and Holloway contributed two cheerleading teams, hip hop and jazz dance teams and three different stunt groups. With over 2,000 cheerleaders attending the competition, the hall was packed, but if you’ve not been to a cheerleading competition before you might be surprised by the atmosphere. Despite the fact that competition for first place is fierce, there is so much support for every team from their competitors that you can’t cross the hall in your uniform without being wished luck, being congratulated by a member of another squad or seeing a familiar
face. When a team takes the stage they’re always met with applause and cheers, if a stunt looks like its falling the shouts of encouragement begin, and if it’s saved people feel a real sense of pride for that team. One of the best moments of the competition for me was the moment when a team’s music stopped, the team carried on with their routine and it took only seconds before the entire hall began to shout encouragement, coming together to count for the team in unison and help them finish their routine. That’s the kind of support you get at cheer competitions, where everyone wants everyone to do well and perform to their very best because of love for the sport. This isn’t to say that the Tom Cats weren’t out to win, and the hours of training and practice really stood out when we took
Cheerleading. A ‘gay’ sport?
the mat. On the first day of competition, Hip Hop, Jazz and the three stunt teams each took the stage. Every team performed to their very best and met an amazing reception from the floor. On Sunday the All Girl and Co-ed cheer teams took their part, and every Tom Cats team performed a routine free of any falter or falling stunt. When results came, the Tom Cats showed once again that Holloway boasts one of the very best cheer squads in the country, Jazz and Hip Hop each coming away with first place trophies, the coed stunt groups each earning a first and all girl coming away with an incredible routine and a well deserved second place. All girl cheer came away with second place out of 14 teams, and coed achieved a first place out of 15 different teams. But the Tom Cats didn’t stop there, with Hip Hop dance earning the overall dance grand champions trophy for the weekend and Co-ed cheer beating over 60 cheer teams to walk away with the cheer grand champions trophy. Suffice it to say, the Tom Cats had a pretty good weekend. If you want to see the routines that earned the Tom Cats all these trophies, as well as everything our recreational team has been up to this year, make sure you make it down to the Sports Hall on 19 March for the Annual Showcase!
SPORT & SOCS
Men’s Football defeat KCL
4Thomas Curson, Football Club President, reports on his side’s recent victory.
oyal Holloway Football’s first XI maintained their good recent form after a superb away win over a previously unbeaten King’s side. In a game played in sodden and blustery conditions, Holloway started much the better, camping out in the King’s team’s half and playing some wonderful football in the meantime, whilst a steadfast defence successfully kept the Kings attackers at bay. Captain Olly Amos seemed determined to put a dire performance midweek behind him and was a rock at the heart of defence, as was Lewis Morris, who was prepared to put his boyish good looks on the line as he won header after header. Holloway’s pressure paid off after a corner was won from the left. The ball eluded everyone in the box and fell to
Alex Blyth at the back post, bouncing up, hitting the winger on the head, and findings its way into the net giving RHUL a score of 1-0. Before half time, Holloway doubled their advantage. After some neat passing between the defence, veteran Tom Curson played a delightful, pinpoint cross field pass to Blyth, who beat his man for pace, then adopting a tactic perhaps more commonly found in the NFL, excellently handed off his marker before scoring his second. Blyth was perhaps fortuitous that he did not give away a foul, and also that his tame finish was not saved by the keeper. The teams switched ends, as did the balance of play, with King’s starting off the second half on the front foot, soon finding their way back into the match. On the rare occasion the Holloway defence
found themselves at sixes and sevens, they parted like the Red Sea to allow a King’s midfielder, playing the role of Moses, to waltz through to finish expertly past a helpless Bilal Khan. The remainder of the game was a tight affair, with few chances to speak of; however, there were numerous mentionable incidents. The match will perhaps be best remembered for the persistent ball switching, which got repetitive, or for Bilal Khan’s tomfoolery in his own box, which fortunately for the warriors clad in black and white was not punished. Holloway have three tough games remaining in Men’s Weekend One but will go into those games full of confidence after winning another game against a tough opponent with a final score of 2-1.
Christian Union’s Mission Week 4Abi Ryan reflects on another succesful week for Royal Holloway’s Faith societies. You may have noticed some strange things going on around campus recently. Maybe you’ve walked past Windsor building and for once haven’t been yelled at by campaigners trying to get you to vote for them, but instead have seen some people with a whiteboard with a question about God on it. Or perhaps you went into Rialto to grab some lunch and saw people eating free food whilst listening to some guy talking about Christianity. If you saw those things, or anything else out of the ordinary happening and wondered what exactly was going on, then the answer is: Uncover. This is the Christian Union’s week of mission and outreach: a bunch of social events that are open to everyone where people can come along, relax, enjoy themselves and, at some point, hear about Jesus.
Here’s a little bit of what we did over the week: every lunchtime in Rialto, Neil Richardson ran a series of talks for our ‘lunch bars’, looking at everything from money to sport. That’s where the free sandwiches, as I mentioned earlier, come in: they were provided for us by the lovely staff in Rialto for the people who came along to listen and ask questions about what they’d heard. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night saw the return of Dial-A-Donut for those living on campus and at Kingswood, where you could text in a question about God, Christianity or the Bible and get an answer and a doughnut in return. Then in the evenings, we held a variety of events including a debate with the Debating Society about euthanasia; an Open Mic
Night where people could show off their talents, ranging from singing to elbow licking; a movie night and an international food night to celebrate all the different cultures that we have here at Royal Holloway, along with some very moving stories of what God has done in people’s lives. There was also a time to grill some Christians with all your questions about God and Christianity. It was an incredible week, and we hope that if you came along to any of our events you enjoyed them as much as we did! I’ll just end this article by saying that as great as Uncover Week was, our involvement in Royal Holloway life doesn’t just happen for seven days a year. We’re here to love and serve this University every other day of the year as well, so keep a look out for us! THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Absolute Harmony & Squash
Women’s Ultimate Frisbee have pride in battle
Photo: Edward Noon
4Edward Noon reports on how Holloway Ultimate’ Frisbees women bravely held off seeded opposition at the South East Universities Women’s Indoor Regional Competition.
n unfortunate outbreak of illness within the team on Friday night reduced the squad to just seven players for the entire weekend: having only two subs meant every player had to work hard for numerous points at a time and nobody could afford to be lost to injury. The opening game saw RHUL pitted against their pool’s top seed (second in the tournament) Chichester. A close encounter saw our girls fall just short in a tight match which ended 5-4 to the opposition. First match nerves and a lack of competitive experience were possibly to blame for the score line not falling the other way. RHUL’s following two matches saw them play the seeds below themselves in the group, and some very competent play from every member of the team brought two consecutive victories, causing the team’s confidence to soar. The final two group games were also close run affairs, but unfortunately on both occasions the firstname.lastname@example.org
girls fell just short, narrowly losing to Portsmouth 1 and KCL 1. However, the first day must be deemed a huge success as RHUL held seed and ran the top teams hard. Day two threw up an opening fixture against close rivals, friends and also top seeds, Kent 1. The girls faced an impressive cup zone which Kent enforced all tournament, but both swiftly and impressively played through it to score some early points. Kent’s offence was also very impressive though, and in the end they were just a little too hot for RHUL to handle. At this point the girls still had a shot at getting that ellusive fourth spot for Nationals. A rematch against Portsmouth 1 inevitably saw another tight series of points. An exchange of points scoring up to 3-3 turned this game into an enthralling affair, but a disastrously timed injury to team captain Erin, which sidelined her
for the rest of the tournament, caused RHUL to lose some momentum allowing Portsmouth 1 score a few points in quick succession and hold out for the win. The dream for Nationals was over, but there was still a chance to exact revenge on King’s 1 in the final game of the day. Yet again, an intense and hotly contested fixture but unfortunately, yet again, RHUL were on the wrong side of the result and due to tired legs (having only one sub for the final game) and tired minds, the team succumbed to a third defeat of the day. Nevertheless, the style in which the team played, the spirit they all showed and some fantastic catches, defensive interceptions and technically sound throws showed just how much this team has improved since the start of the year. I for one was proud to support them the entire way and they all deserve a great deal of praise for their efforts. Better luck next year, girls!
SPORT & SOCS
Men’s Rugby win close encounter with Portsmouth 4Ben Bayley reports on another victory for the Rugby Club’s First Team On 8 February, Royal Holloway 1st XV travelled away to play the University of Portsmouth 2nd XV. After a bitterly cold week, there was some doubt that the game would go ahead, with the fixture confirmed only the night before. The Royal Holloway team had up to eight first-team player out injured, including influential Fly-Half Dom Matthews, who concussed himself playing kiss chase with a brick wall during Tuesday night’s training. The team made the long trip down the A3 with a number of freshers and second string players making their first team debuts. On a hard pitch, Holloway played against the wind, and the opening exchanges were cagey and fraught with errors by both sides. However an excellent run by Michael ‘Postgrad’ O’Riordan led to Oli King burrowing his portly frame over the try line for his first try of the season, which was duly converted from out wide by Kyle Heath. With both defences looking weak, the Portsmouth inside centre, who was outstanding all game, scored
a soft try through the midfield which was converted for a 7-7 scoreline. But never being a team to give up easily, Royal Holloway responded with one of their best phases of play of the game. The ball was crashed up by the ever impressive Anthony Kent, before a switch in play led to O’Riordan crashing over in the corner, meaning that at half time the scoreline was 12-7 to the men in green, white and purple. The second half remained tight, until a lackadaisical defence allowed Portsmouth in for a second try and brought the scores level with 20 minutes to play. Playing out of position, Heath held his nerve to exchange penalties with the Portsmouth fullback for a scoreline of 15-15 with just 10 minutes to play. Having had somewhat of a miserable season thus far, Heath then made a remarkable try saving tackle, holding the ball up over the line. In the final few minutes, several driving mauls were collapsed close to the Portsmouth line, and Holloway’s forward power became obvious. Lock
Guy Hennings-Haahr was sin-binned, along with the Portsmouth Captain, as tensions between the two sides began to mount. Holloway regrouped, and won another penalty, which was calmly slotted home giving them an 18-15 lead. There was to be one late scare for Royal Holloway though, as the referee awarded a penalty against Holloway for holding in a ruck with just 20 seconds of play remaining on the clock. As the ball was spread wide, Captain Ben Bayley managed to rip the ball from the attacking player and hacked it into touch. An ugly 18-15 win was perhaps not the most attractive scoreline, but for an away game with so many injuries played in freezing conditions, the victory was all that mattered for the Holloway Rangers. Honourable mentions go to new boys Alex Payne, Bryn Madden, Alex Troeller and Andrew ‘Varndell’ Dawes, all of whom performed well upon stepping up to the 1st XV at short notice.
Photo: Nahom Shewaybel
THE ORBITAL FEBRUARY 2012
Want to help run the publication next year? You could be the... Editor Deputy Editor News Editor Comment Editor Regulars Editor
Reviews Editor Lifestyle Editor Sports & Socs Editor Art Director Admin Director
(scan this if youâ€™re a cool kid with a smartphone)