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4th November - 11th October
UNIONS STRIKE BACK by Laura Muse
The strike on October 31st was the first UK wide joint strike between higher education unions. The strike was planned over the recent row over pay, which was not resolved. Members of trade unions UCU, Unison and Unite protested against their salary. They have been offered a pay rise of “just 1% this year,” meaning that they have “suffered a pay cut of 13% in real terms since October 2008.” Figures on just how many lessons, lectures, seminars and services were shut down by the strike will not be available until Monday. UCU describes itself on the official University of Leicester website as: “the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers,
researchers and academic related staff working in HE and FE in the UK. UCU was formed in 2006 from an amalgamation of NATFHE and the AUT. It has almost 120,000 members nationally.” The union strikes on Thursday attracted an estimated 60 staff, with a maximum of 6 people being allowed by law at one picket station at a time. The strikers distributed leaflets and attempted to explain their motives to onlookers. One activist said that they saw the Arriva buses slow down on University Road in solidarity for the strike. Some protestors made their way onto the Students’ Union balcony overlooking Mayors Walk, and unfurled a 15 foot banner. One protestor on the balcony donned a grim reaper costume as they joined the group in encouraging students to not attend lectures, labs, seminars and tu-
torials, and use the Students’ Union instead of making use of University outlets such as the library café and Charles Wilson cafés. The Ripple has spoken to several students to get their opinions on the strikes. One student said he was “disappointed that my lecture was cancelled, but I do sympathise with the cafe, security workers, and porters whose desire for fairer pay seems to me to have been snubbed.” Another humorously said “I had a heavy night yesterday so I joined the strike in solidarity today.” A spokesperson for the University said that “the impact of the strike had been low-level and we were not aware of any major disruptions.”
In this issue...
Members Leicester “Something a Autumn meeting row and the War bit different” treats
Beyond Muggle bonfire night friendly
Edited by Laura Muse
Societies ‘Stand their ground’ in Annual Members Meeting by Christopher Everett The Students’ Union was in uproar last Tuesday when a series of influential leaders – including several prominent sport and society presidents – failed to approve President Daniel Flatt’s budget report for 2012-13. The report, which is given to all of Leicester’s 170 student group and association presidents every year, was questioned by many, when it emerged that they would not get a say on budget expenditure. The vote ended after the majority present voted to abstain on the matter. Several groups, including Hockey, Rowing and Leicester University Theatre (LUT), voiced concerns about their lack of resources. Rowing used the example of University cuts to their facilities as showing the University’s sport strategy to have failed, and called for the Union to be more active in pursuing the University over their failings. Several attendees were disappointed when it was revealed they would not have a say over the Union’s finances for 201314, and had simply been invited due to old by-laws stating that they must receive information on the previous years budget. A president told The Ripple “it was pointless not to have it vot-
Editor’s Note by Samuel Osborne Editor-In-Chief The Students’ Union Rebellion Last Tuesday, I received excited texts from two friends about a rebellion at the Students’ Union All Members Council, with one informing me that I’d “just missed out on witnessing us break the system. Anarchy!” and another warning me that I was “missing a revolution”! According to Yordan Nikolov (page 3), the annual budget announcement was met with an uproar from the members, who decided to abstain from the budget vote. Hopefully this miniature rebellion will act as a signal to Union officials, and will encourage more students to involve themselves in Union politics. Unfortunately, I had abstained from the meeting myself, as I was “getting my drink on” in Vodka Revolutions, and so missed the opportunity to cover the coup.
ed through. I know the whole point of a democratic system is to allow everyone to have an equal opportunity to express their point, but if it’s a case of formality like this, a little bit of common sense should definitely be applied. “We’re members of this Students’ Union, so we should have a say in where the money goes: in particular the minibus.” Another vice president told The Ripple that he thought the meeting was “rather pointless,” but that the groups’ vocal input proved “that they can still stand their ground” but “the Union still has a lot of work to do.” Speaking to The Ripple, President Dan Flatt, who bore the brunt of last nights criticism, claimed that he was “genuinely quite happy that people were asking questions.” Mr Flatt confirmed that the abstention in the budget report vote essentially “means nothing,” and that the Annual Members Meeting is really “just for information purposes.” Maryna Danny, Sabb for Experience, who deals with Societies and Sports Groups, has told The Ripple that she is currently “having a chat with everyone who has expressed concerns,” and confirmed that she will be working with the Sports PresRemember, remember... It’s well known that the Fifth of November marks the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up the British Parliament, but it also marks the anniversary of my yearly commitment to watch V for Vendetta and set off some fireworks. Distributing The Ripple We’re looking for people interested in working as part of a Distribution Team for The Ripple. If you’re interested, contact Hollie Brookes at email@example.com. uk.
ident, Samuel Rowbotham, to “address the Uni on how to benefit student activities.”
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“Maybe the next step is to get more societies involved.”
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Sean Kelly-Walsh, Sabb for Engagement, who recently caused headlines by increasing the turnout in Union Council elections by 30%, told The Ripple he was “open to the concept” of societies getting the vote, but warned that there was a danger of “small societies” having a bigger say in Council matters, even if they had a smaller mandate. “More distance learners, more women, and I think we have more international students than ever before: we’re including more people around campus than ever.
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When asked if the University’s current level of sport investment would land them a coveted top 50 BUCS league place, a senior Union source told The Ripple “probably not.”
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Have We Found a Cure For Alzheimer’s? by Laura Muse Researchers at the University of Leicester’s Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit have made a ‘significant’ advancement in the study of neurodegeneration, a field of research that hopes to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases. The Medical Research Council (MRC) was founded in 1913 and now invests taxpayers’ money to research across every area of health. Twenty-nine MRC-funded researchers have been awarded Nobel Prizes for their efforts in many different disciplines. The latest advancement made is the discovery and use of an orally administered compound that arrests neurodegeneration in mice by blocking the pathway that leads to brain cell death. The study involved mice with prion disease; this is because
they currently provide the best non-human representation of human neurodegenerative disorders.
excited” to see the treatment they administered “stop the disease in its tracks and protect brain cells.”
Published in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers gave the compound to pri-
The compound could prove to be a huge breakthrough for humans, especially since it restored some normal behaviours and prevented memory loss in the mice. Although Professor Mallucci states that, due to its side effects, the drug is a long way from being usable for humans, the researchers have established that the pathway in the brain can be manipulated to protect against brain cell loss. This discovery is extremely exciting for humans because, according to Professor Hugh Perry (chair of the MRC’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Board), targeting the pathway “might eventually aid the development of drugs to treat people suffering from dementias and other devastating neurodegenerative diseases.”
on-infected mice, which then was able to enter the brain via the bloodstream and halt the disease throughout the whole brain. The compound was not without its negative effects, however, as it produced weight loss and mild diabetes through damage to the pancreas. Professor Giovanna Mallucci led the team, said that they were “very
Edited by Laura Muse
Students’ Union Budget Controversy by Yordan Nikolov It was a rather quiet and sleepy Tuesday evening on the University of Leicester campus, one which did not bear any signs of what was to happen at the annual Students’ Union All Members Meeting. Normally the event is a way for the sabbatical officers to formally introduce themselves, what they hope to achieve during the year and familiarize the societies’ committees and the newly-elected Union Council members with the priority campaigns. The long-term strategy of the Stu-
dents’ Union development also receives a fair amount of attention and is to be reviewed, discussed and voted on with one of the highlights being the breakdown and discussion of the annual budget of the Union which is also approved by vote. However, this year, things were a little bit different… There was a standard start to the evening with the newly-elected liberation officers introducing themselves alongside the sabbaticals and the agenda rolled on as planned. Where things got interesting was when
the annual budget was presented. The good news was that the Union was running a modest budget surplus and which could be seen as financially healthy. The bad news was that there was considerable discontent over how the money was being allocated. Things started to get heated when the floor was open for debate on the budget and the executives were barraged with questions such as why Starbucks’ menu is so pricey, what can be done to tackle this and how can we improve product stock procedures so prices may be lower across the board.
Although highly relevant all of this seems a bit trivial in comparison to what was unleashed by members of the committees of several sports societies. As the Q&A went on it became increasingly apparent that although the sports societies are one of the cornerstones of our Union and student life, their funding has been consistently kept under strain despite the sound financial shape of our Students’ Union. To add to this they have taken cutbacks to their facilities even though there was a recent investment in a new gym. The executives were making an effort to stay afloat in the wake of these revelations but it was increasingly clear that the vote was in jeopardy. When voting finally commenced it was not a surprise that the budget was not passed and that the majority had abstained. Normally this would be quite worrisome had it not been for the fact that the voting was apparently on last year’s budget which was already implemented, and by the Union’s constitution students would have simply acknowledged that they were given a presentation on this had the budget been passed.
It would be understandable that something like a million-pound budget cannot simply be left to the hands of several hundred students, but then one may ask what the point of even having a vote on this is? Having done away with last year’s budget it was time to dig into the long-term development strategy for the Students’ Union. Gladly, or not, it was spared the voting axe but it was again made apparent by several sports clubs that as far as the strategy for sports goes there has, unfortunately, hardly been anything implemented. Had the strategy not been passed it would have gone back for review by the executives and Union Council, and wouldn’t have had the same fate as the budget. With this in mind one may wonder whether the best route was taken, given what has happened to the previous long-term development strategy… All in all this year’s All Members Meeting has been highly successful in exposing the rift between the needs of societies, students and the management branches. Starting with the extortionate prices of food, drinks and stationary at the Union being in sharp contrast with what
it should stand for in principle, going through the sky-high prices of single-night Halloween tickets, as was noted that night, and perhaps finishing with one student’s statement made during the meeting that not many people even know what the Students’ Union is and does. All of this may be a signal that amendments need to be made to the constitution of the Union itself in order to ensure that the student experience and satisfaction remain at its heart. Having said this, one cannot simply look away from the successes and efforts of the sabbaticals but it is also increasingly apparent that students would like to see more accountability and transparency in their Union in order to feel confident in fully engaging with it. With awareness being high on the agenda yet again maybe this time the ball is in the hands of Union Council to act accordingly. This would remain to be seen but what is certain is that the students have spoken and hopefully will not keep quiet. Image by flickr user epSos.de.
The Well-Deserved Democracy? The Outlook For This Years SSC’s by Mona O’Brien According to George Bernard Shaw, “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve,” in other words the successes of democracy are directly proportionate to the effort made on its behalf by the participating citizens. In our university there is a considerable range of democratic systems, from committee elections to the Union Parliament and the Student-Staff Committees (SSCs). SSCs offer students one of the best ways of making positive changes to their university. By becoming a course rep students can bring forward the issues and suggestions raised by their individual cohorts. Furthermore SSCs are not simply a token institution; according to Dr Harry Whitehead, the chair of the English department’s SSC, the committee forms a “formal
part” of the School of English’s decision-making process. And this is not just an individual case; across the University SSCs give students the opportunity to affect how departments are run as well as their visions and teaching. This is the time in the year when departments are running their elections for Course Representatives and in the College of Arts, Humanities and Law things are widely divergent. In the LLB second-year nominations there are four candidates competing for the same position, in BA English things are also looking good with representatives running for every year, including seven second-years. In other courses though things are not looking so positive; in BA History, BA Archaeology and BA Italian and Spanish there is just one candidate running for one position; for example in the case of BA Italian and Spanish there
is just one second-year running for the course rep position. So, overall, things are rather varied. This year saw the introduction of the online voting system for course reps in the university’s four colleges. Under this new system nominees did not just have to put forward their names but also 100 words on why they ought to be elected. The Students’ Union’s Education Officer, Michael Rubin, believes that this “should lead to more engaged course reps.” Despite the success of the small scale trial last year, the online system has caused several issues this year. For instance, when voting opened and a student clicked on the link to vote for BA Contemporary History course reps on the main page it led straight to the BA History page, despite nominations existing for the Contemporary History course.
Though this was rectified in time this and other problems have not aided voting or student confidence. Though the new system may bring improvements, once technical issues have been overcome, it is perhaps right to treat it with a certain measure of scepticism. A number of questions remain to be answered: Will students be deterred by a faulty voting system? Is 100 words enough for nominees to show their true levels of enthusiasm and potential, and for voters to base their decision on? Despite the glitches with the system the Vice-Chancellor remains optimistic about the positive contributions that SSCs and course reps make to the university. Last year the number of course reps increased by 24.7% and the Vice-Chancellor doubled the number of course rep lunches he hosts in each semester. Professor Burgess told The Ripple
that he is constantly impressed with the enthusiasm of the university’s students and he believes that if certain cohorts are missing course reps this is “not a consequence of apathy” on behalf of the students pointing to the multiple and varied commitments that students make to the Union, committees, societies and sports teams. As regards filling vacant spaces on SSCs, the Vice-Chancellor has suggested arranging co-options, possibly allowing students to come to represent their cohort by speaking with their department after the elections have closed. The fact remains that the ball is very much in the students’ court now. The Union and University can only do so much to encourage participation and voting. If course issues remain unresolved, if departmental flaws are left to fester, if good ideas remain as just ideas, during this
academic year, then much of the blame will sit squarely on the heads of the student population. Ultimately, like George Bernard Shaw said, the students of this university will get the democracy that they deserve.
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Edited by Tejal Shah
A Time to Remember: Leicester and the War by Tejal Shah
Every year at 11am on 11th November, Britons observe a two-minute silence to commemorate the moment when the First World War finally ended. The first two-minute silence took place on 11th November 1919 when King George V asked that ‘the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent rembrance of the glorious dead’. Since then the day has been used to remember those who have died in battle from the Great War onwards.
This Remembrance Day feature looks at work being undertaken by the Centenary News, as well as two of Leicester’s very own researchers.
Poppies have long been associated with Remembrance Day as they grew on the battlefields when the war ended. The Poppy Appeal is run by a charity called The Royal British Legion. Money, often raised by volunteer sellers, is given to servicemen and women whose lives have been affected by war. Poppies are available to buy from the Li-
Dr. Sally Horrocks from the School of History, and Colin Hyde from the East Midlands Oral History Archive at the Centre for Urban History, have been selected to research and present some of the 1, 400 stories planned to be broadcast on television and radio as part of the BBC’s ‘World War One at Home’ project. We spoke to both of them about their involvement. Colin, can you explain what work you’ll be doing with the BBC, and how they chose you? “The Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) put out a call for researchers to work
with broadcast journalists in the BBC Regions in England between September and January 2014 to source, select and showcase stories related to the First World War. Recently the AHRC has been putting money into a variety of schemes that encourage academic researchers to work with non-academic groups. In the School of History we have had some success in applying for these funds and have mainly been working on community heritage projects. The idea with the current BBC scheme is for us to advise on the war’s impact on the regions and highlight links with broader national and international events and themes. This support will help the BBC journalists to place their local stories into a broader context.” Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn about the First World War? “The impact of the First World War is still being felt today, although many people don’t realise this. For example, on an international level there are still many tensions in the world that have their roots in changing national boundaries and political decisions made after the war; on a national level the war spelt the end of the Liberal party as a political force for the rest of the 20th century, and gave added impetus to social changes (such as votes for women, social housing) that had their roots in the pre-war years and eventually came to fruition after the war. On a personal level many families and communities suffered loss and hardship, and the many memorials across the country bear witness to this.” What’s the most memorable story you’ve come across so far in your research? “For me, the most memorable story is that of Alice Wheeldon
Pro Bono: Free Legal Advice This Week: Landlords From Hell by Elysia Patel HELP! My landlord is coming around and investigating the house without informing me! Unfortunately landlords from Hell should be a thing of the past, with the introduction of The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, but they occasionally pop up. If your landlord is being rather intrusive, just remember that they can’t call whenever they like. A landlord has to give notice that they are going to visit as you, the tenant, have ‘exclusive possession’ of the property.
This means you have the right exclude others from the property - including the landlord. The minimum ‘reasonable’ notice to be given for visiting the rented property is 24 hours. Whatever tenancy agreement you have signed, the landlord has a duty to carry out certain repairs. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 obliges a landlord to repair the structure and exterior of the premises. Housing advisors often refer to Section 11 of this Act, since this is the section that outlines the landlord’s duty to repair. The Act
also covers disrepair to the heating, water supply and toilet system. If mice have gained entry to the property as a result of disrepair (e.g. there is a hole in the brickwork), then you could argue that it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay for their control. However, if they have only appeared two or three months into the tenancy, the landlord could argue that this is due to your “untidy” kitchen, e.g. food and drink being left out or bin bags that have yet to be removed.
in Derby. This story touches on suffragism, conscientious objection, poison, spies, court cases, and imprisonment. Wheeldon was active in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) until the outbreak of the First World War when she disagreed with the WSPU’s strong support for the war. She and her family were all charged with conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister Lloyd George and Labour Party member Arthur Henderson, but MI5 had infiltrated their household and had put them up to the idea of poisoning guard dogs, not the Prime Minister. After a remarkable court case, possibly the first to feature evidence from government spies, Wheeldon served time in prison. Now, there is a blue plaque about her, there is a campaign to clear her name, and the story is still going strong nearly 100 years later.” Colin Hyde’s fellow researcher, Dr Sally Horrocks, explains Leicester’s involvement with the war: • “The University itself is a war memorial. Locals Dr Astley Clarke, Frederick Bennett and their friends started a fund for a University College – later to be known as our very own University of Leicester. They did this on the first ever Remembrance Day. The date they chose and our university motto ‘Ut Vitam Habeant’ (‘so that they have life’) proves that the University College was intended as a ‘living memorial’ to locals who had lost their lives during the Great War. The Fielding Johnson building used to be the Leicestershire and Rutland Lunatic Asylum and then a Field Hospital during the war. It was bought by a local entrepreneur, Thomas Fielding Johnson, as a gift to the council with the aim of creating a new University College and Grammar School. Gradually, Remember, if you have a repair that you need to report to the landlord, it is always best to put this in writing (e.g. email), after having contacted him or her by phone. When reporting repairs, make sure you give as much information as possible to avoid any potential delays when arrangements arebeing made for the repairs to be carried out. Please remember to contact the Free Legal Advice Clinic if you are experiencing any problems concerning your landlord or employment. You can book an appointment by sending in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Pro Bono legal advice clinic opens from November 6th!
university funding became a public priority and state financing became available. During the Second World War, scholarships were offered to refugee students – ‘elite but not elitist’! The university is emblematic of Leicestershire’s compassion: it was originally funded by donations and would not exist had there not been those that sacrificed their lives in hopes of a better future.” • “Leicester’s cultural diversity existed long before the immigration boom of the 1960s. Numerous fundraising events took place in a bid to collect money for Belgian refugees – for whom there was no official government support.” • “The Leicester Memorial that you can see in Victoria Park is particularly unusual since it doesn’t feature any names of deceased soldiers. The architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, is most famous for the Cenotaph in Lon-
don, where the National Service of Remembrance (attended by the Queen and other officials) takes place. Up until relatively recently laws forbade architects to produce buildings within the vicinity to be taller than the memorial – which is why so many of the university buildings are so small!” • “Several monuments dedicated to the Leicester Regiment feature a tiger - paying homage to members who carried out work in India. This is why the local Everards Brewery make ‘Tiger Beer’ and why the Leicester rugby team are called ‘The Leicester Tigers’.” To learn more about Leicester’s involvement in the war and to see real archives, visit Special Collections in the basement of the David Wilson Library.
Remember, Remember... by Abbi Gore Among the hype of bonfires, fireworks, sparklers and toffee apples, it is easy to forget the reason behind all of the frivolity that takes place every year on November 5th. Bonfire Night, also known as ‘Guy Fawkes Night’, celebrates the successful interception of an act of terrorism which was planned for November 5th 1605, and targeted King James I. Guy Fawkes and his accomplices - who were motivated primarily by their religious ideals - filled a cellar beneath the Houses of Parliament with explosive material in order to kill the Protestant King James.
The “Gunpowder Plot”, as it became known, never took off as the men were caught in the act, detained, and later hanged, drawn and quartered for their treason. Since then, Guy Fawkes has become an historical figure who we all love to hate (he was even named the 30th greatest Briton in a BBC poll!). It sounds strange when considered in sincerity but, in reality, it is a great excuse for another autumnal celebration with a bit of British culture thrown in. Let’s be honest, Halloween is over and done with, and Christmas is still over seven weeks away, so why not?
Edited by Jamie Burton
Pick of the Week
Recommended by The Ripple: Literary Leicester
Monday 4th November to Sunday 10th November by Jamie Burton
Tuesday 5th November
A message to those who are sad that the fun and frolics of Halloween are over: Don’t be! As well as the obligatory firework display, there is plenty of stuff going on in Leicester and its surrounding areas in the coming week.
For those of us who think it is important to look after the planet, there’s a fascinating public lecture taking place at 5:15pm in St. Martins House. Dame Julia King will speak about the different methods of sustainable transport that can be used to create a low carbon city. Entry
drew Motion in action. The former Poet Laureate will be reading a sequence of war poems from Laurels and Donkey and from The Cinder Path. Performance starts at 7:30pm. Alternatively, you could head to De Montfort Hall to listen to the Philharmonia Orchestra. Today it can justifiably claim to be the UK’s national orchestra. Thursday 7th November Those interested in the supernatural should head down to De Montfort Hall where Sally Morgan, one of the country’s most famous mediums, will be performing. Her show will combine a balance of her bubbly personality and communication from beyond the grave to create an enlightening experience. Show starts at 7.30pm.
Monday 4th November It’s not just the University of Leicester taking part in Black History Month. Dr John Martin, Reader in Agrarian History at De Montfort is presenting a special lecture, titled Kampala to Leicester, exploring the emergence of Leicester as a leading multi-cultural city, a transformation which can be traced back to the expulsion of the Asian community from Uganda in the 1970s by the dictator Idi Amin. Also continuing at 3pm in the Square is the Coffee House Sessions tour. This week’s visitors are Ooberfuse, a dark-wave lush-pop band from Woolwich, London who are ‘unafraid to deep-sea dive into the deepest oceans of human emotions’.
Image by Flickr user Stephen Gunby
is free but booking is necessary. If you still want a fright now Halloween has come and gone, go and see Blackeyed Theatre’s production of Bram Stoker’s timeless gothic thriller Dracula at Loughborough Town Hall. The production blends gothic with the contemporary, drawing eclectically on a wide range of forms of popular entertainment that were established or emerging at the time. Tickets are just £7 for students with an NUS card and the performance starts at 7:30pm. Wednesday 6th November Fans of poetry will be flocking to Leicester Grammar School on Wednesday to see Sir An-
bike champion James Toseland, this will be their first headline tour. Second, a trip back in time might be in order with all sorts of tribute bands performing around Leicester, including the Cream of Clapton, Fred Zeppelin and An Intimate Evening with the Rat Pack. Saturday 9th November If a trip back in time doesn’t suit you on Friday, then take a trip to Loughborough on Saturday afternoon. From 10am-4pm, Loughborough Town Hall is holding the Fair Trade Fayre selling a whole range of things such as crafts, gifts, jewellery, fashion, and foods. For those staying in Leicester, Never Mind the Buzzcocks stalwart Phil Jupitus is performing his show, You’re Probably Wondering Why I’ve Asked You Here... It’s a three-part performance unlike anything you’ve seen before.
by Oliver Wright On November 13th the University of Leicester will embrace its love for the literary with the commencement of the Literary Leicester Festival. This year, organisers of the Festival have some real treats in store with several globally acclaimed writers due to give talks and do book-signings. As well as this, some of Leicester’s own academics will lecture on interesting topics which break away from the content typically taught to undergraduates. In anticipation of the event, The Ripple would like to highlight three talks that really cannot be missed!
On a lighter note, Hal Cruttenden is showcasing his standup at Loughborough Town Hall. A star on Mock the Week, Cruttenden will provide no shortage of laughs in his new show, Tough Luvvie on Tour. Friday 8th November This is definitely a night for music fans. First, Toseland will be coming to the O2 Academy ahead of the release of their debut album, Renegade. Fronted by former double World Super-
Ending on a sombre note, it is the time of year where we remember those who fought so bravely for our country. There will be a number of remembrance services taking place in Leicester so make sure to pay your respects and wear your poppy with pride. The largest remembrance service takes place at the Victoria Park memorial: A parade from De Montfort Hall to the war memorial begins at 10.30am, followed by a wreath laying ceremony. The service begins at 10.55am, and centres around the 11am silence.
Amitav Ghosh is an Indian-born novelist whose books
Image by Flickr user Asian Society
have won far-reaching critical acclaim. Ghosh’s heritage has a strong influence on his novels which are often set around historical events that actually occurred in Asia. Having studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, Ghosh is now a prominent intellectual who works innovatively with fiction.
From the Societies Pub Quiz
On the 7th November in The Scholar there is going to be a science pub quiz. At 7pm the battle to crown the champion society commences. The Chemistry society has joined forces with the Biological sciences, Physics Astrology and Zoology societies to bring you the science quiz to end all science quizzes.
On top of the science based questions there are non-science based rounds such as sports and general knowledge. Its a £1 per person with all profits going to Ian Read for the air ambulance. Both science and non-science societies welcome.
Medsin would like to invite you to their Annual Charity Auction, a big annual event with lots of free food and drinks. This year we’re raising for the Meningitis Trust, LOROS and Kenyan Orphan Project. If you’d like to help us raise money for these causes the details are as follows... Wed 6th Nov, 7.30pm Doors open at 7pm Queen’s Hall, SU Hosted by Dr Ron Hsu Dress Code: Semi-Formal
Prizes to be won include: - Super Grand Prix Indoor Karting Taster! - Signed Leicester Tiger’s Shirt - 5x £150 photo shoots - The rugby team! - Lots of expensive jewelry - Riley’s night out for 4 - Globetrotter travel cases - Gourmet food membership card - A mystery prize! AND a raffle including lots of free meals, hampers & beauty vouchers £6 members £5 non-members
Michael Frayn should prove a very interesting speaker as a writer whose career has spanned nearly half a century
Image by Flickr user Chris Boland
(his first novel was published in 1965). Primarily a novelist and playwright, his works often consider the power of individuals to influence the world that they live in. On top of this, Frayn has dabbled in travel writing, philosophical writing, and wrote a memoir of his father. All the evening events are ticketed so you should book in advance to avoid disappointment. However, several of the afternoon events are not, so feel free to be impulsive and just turn up to those on the day. In an interview with The Ripple, Corinne Fowler, one of the Festival organisers, aptly summed up what makes Literary Leicester such a great opportunity for students: “Where else, even in later life, would you get the chance to see all these top writers absolutely free? Some of those sessions are so memorable because these are people who have got things of real substance to say in a very colourful way.”
(Membership fee is £5 for life) Contact email@example.com for ticket reservations We are also looking for volunteers, certificates of participation are provided, contact the above address if you’re interested. Hope to hear from you soon! Medsin Leicester x
Michael Frayn (Saturday 16th November, 7:30 pm)
Amitav Ghosh (Wednesday 13th November, 7:30 pm)
Sunday 10th November Image by sallymorgan.tv
of France’s iconic yet ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette, was adapted for a film which starred Kirsten Dunst. Many of her works have been international bestsellers and she has received a number of literary awards. In 2011 she was made DBE for her services to literature.
Image by Flickr user Chris Boland
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Antonia Fraser (Friday 15th November, 7:30 pm)
Find out more about us at www.facebook.com/medsinleicester & www.medsin.org
Antonia Fraser is a successful writer of history books and crime fiction. Her biography
So whether you would like to hear from a leading writer firsthand or attend a talk on an historical literary figure, Literary Leicester has much to offer. For a student, the fact that it is all free of charge is simply the icing on the cake. For further information on Literary Leicester please visit the following web page: www2.le.ac.uk/institution/literary-leicester/litleic2012
Edited by Patrick Reckitt
As Good as New?
Absolute Filth unsuited as this style is to the more intimate moments that take place early on, it succeeds in all other areas, particularly in showing Robbo being so bad so very well.
Misfits is back for a fifth series, but can it survive a cast change? by Theo Beecroft
Perhaps, as a disclaimer, it might be worth mentioning that I haven’t watched Misfits since Season One, back in 2009 when I was a rosy-cheeked ragamuffin. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it revolves around a group of troubled adolescents forced into working at a community centre but whom are all, inexplicably, given superpowers in a freak electrical storm. Luckily enough, the original cast have all left or been killed off and the show’s writer purports to have made the fifth season as a “renewal”, making this review marginally more valid. This is the perfect time to see if season five of Misfits is a bold stride into new themes or just an exercise in muddling around
in a previously succesful premise. The plot of the première is suitably mad, focussing around Boy Scout Satanists indoctrinating the cast and a sub-plot exploring one character’s new-found ability to remove superpowers with his penis. None of this is ever really backed up with any additional information, but as we’ve accepted that electrical storms can grant people the ability to use telekinesis, the writers seem to have just assumed that we’ll take their word for it that this sort of thing makes sense. There’s also some semblance of the beginnings of an overarching plot to this season but it’s as if important developments are being rationed in order to spread the plot out over all eight episodes. That’s not to say that things don’t happen. In fact, you’re effectively bludgeoned with events that are designed to be provocative. Blood sacrifice, sex with a recent car crash victim, bar fights and an anal sex themed exorcism that, realistically, could have used a bit more lubricant, are all thrown in for good measure. All of this smacks of a show
that’s frantically trying to make a name for itself, but as it stands the plot comes across as a little too desperate to be shocking. As a comedy, Misfits can charitably be described as dark, but this never evolves beyond indifference to the horrific. Moreover, the cast don’t seem to have been told whether they’re in a comedy or a drama, so some scenes are devoid of levity whilst others just seem redundant. What we’re left with is a show that’s trying to delve into both comedy and drama, but fails to mark itself out as proficient in either. The more bizarre superpowers are the strong point of the première, but there’s always a feeling that the potential of these to be used for comedic effect or to drive the plot is being wasted by the shows inability to decide what it wants to be. Despite its best efforts to be different, the disparate tones of Misfits and the insipid attempts at uniqueness just make it bleakly inoffensive. Misfits airs Wednesdays at 10pm, on Channel 4 and on 4OD.
Single Review: The Vinyls Peter Gilber reviews The Vinyls’ new single, ‘Hurry’. By the title of this track one would imagine a fast, upbeat track that might finish almost before it even begins. Not here though. Indeed, this song is almost an antonym of hurrying. This single by the Brighton quartet is a song that could easily soundtrack a chilled and lazy Sunday on a summer night or a winter afternoon. To begin with, I really enjoy Hal Cleverdon’s vocals. It reminds me of a mix between The Enemy, Razorlight and slight tinge of Beatles era Paul McCartney. The song builds slowly, supported by the melodic groove of a very cool baseline. Moreover, the chorus is catchy, fun and easily danceable, made evident by some extremely ‘interesting’ dancing in the single’s video.
The only part of the single that I’m not entirely convinced by is at the beginning of the bridge, where the vocals unfortunately clash with the backing track to sound like they’ve been accidentally sped up. Other than that, this is a perfectly good indie tune that is about as easy to listen to as a cat purring.
Image by Tessa Kerrs
The Vinyls will be playing in Leicester on December 8th at The Shed. ‘Hurry’ will be released for download on November 18th.
Film review: Filth (dir. Jon S. Baird) by Dan Jordan Hot-footing between cartoonish humour and the horrifically shocking, Filth delivers a shot of pure, maniacal, energy that is neither tiresome nor overwhelming. The undiluted glee of the film gives an exhilarating glimpse into the crumbling psyche of the corrupt and depraved cop at the centre of the film. Assigned to the case of a murdered Japanese tourist, Bruce ‘Robbo’ Robinson (James McAvoy) is charged with tracking down the assailants and nothing will stop him before he
gets his man, except booze and cocaine binges, affairs with his colleague’s wives and his maligning of society. Robbo won’t let anyone, including himself, get in his way as he manipulates his way to a promotion that will get him back in his wife’s good graces Just as nothing is sacred in the world of Filth, nothing is held back. There are dizzying jumps between the drink-and-drugs strewn day to day work of Robbo to theatrical and threatening hallucinations which push us face first into chaos and corruption. This purposefully noisy mess prevents the false intellectual posturing of certain other modern crime dramas. Even
McAvoy takes a break from his usual victim roles to become the ultimate victimiser as Robbo, a downright certifiable nutcase who captivates through boyish enthusiasm and psychotic aggression delivered one after the other. The allure of Robbo’s amorality and fearlessness breeds a desire to run through a storm holding a lightning rod, hoping to be struck by the same electric energy this performance gives. Even faced with the teeth-clenching terror that is built in both the hallucinations and equally nightmarish reality, Filth tempts and entices irresistibly. It’ll take you on a ride you’ll never forget, if you’ve got the money. Filth is now showing in cinemas.
Our Man in Tazbekistan The Ripple takes a look at the latest Mitchell and Webb outing TV review: Ambassadors by Peter Sayce As modern comic double acts go, only Simon Pegg and Nick Frost can compare to the power, dynamic and success of David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Having appeared on the nation’s comedy radar in Peep Show back in 2003, they have gone from strength to strength, starring in a host of comic roles. Given their track record, their new collaboration may surprise some of their long-term fans. Ambassadors tells the story of the staff at the British Embassy in the thankfully fictional country of Tazbekistan as they try to do the impossible and promote British interests in an extravagantly corrupt ex-Soviet Republic. The embassy is headed by Ambassador Keith Davis (David Mitchell): a slightly bumbling but intelligent career diplomat who has to balance Foreign Office demands with the reality of dealing with a shady government with a sketchy human rights record. He is aided in this task by Neill Tilly (Robert Webb): the competent and long suffering second-in-command whose idealism and friendly personality mask a shrewd and secretive mind. The cast is rounded off by a number of well conceived and formed characters including the arrogant Foreign Office official in Whitehall, Jennifer, Keith’s
wife, and various members of the consulate staff, each with their own sometimes conflicting agendas. Indeed, it seems to be that Ambassadors’ biggest strength lies in its effective casting, with believable and likeable characters facing realistic challenges. Or at least what I assume to be realistic challenges; my knowledge of the Foreign Office is understandably thin. The overall style of the show is difficult to pin down. The presence of Mitchell and Webb would have you believe that it’s a comedy; a belief that is simply not true. Yes, there are jokes and some of the scenes are laughout-loud funny, but these are products of the storyline rather than being the driving force behind it. Probably the best way of viewing Ambassadors is as a satire; a genre that many feel has been woefully neglected since The Thick Of It in favour of happy-go-lucky sitcoms. You may recall early in the article that I said that the show took place “in the thankfully fictional” Tazbekistan. However, whilst the country itself does not exist, it is clearly influenced by some of the central Asian -stan republics. This setting and theme sets the foundations for a surprisingly thought provoking opening episode involving a huge arms deal, questionable human rights and a pride of Britain festival. An interesting mix to be sure, but one that
somehow seems to work in an efficient, yet cosy way. Timing-wise, the show could hardly have been released at a better time, as the news seems to be filled with tales of diplomatic conflict and dispute. One of the more unusual aspects of the show uncannily references this, with the scene changing to show two intelligence officers listening in on the conversations between staff and offering candid observations. The fact that we see this and that the relevant characters seem to be at least mildly aware of this makes you wonder just how many of the present diplomatic scandals are caused by politicians at home underestimating the difficulties on the ground and overestimating their influence, rather than by any diplomatic failings at the sharp end. Overall, Ambassadors is a funny and intelligent drama; a show that does justice to both is comic roots and satirical setting; inevitably meaning that it will be compared, probably unfavourably, to both Peep Show and The Thick Of It. While understandable, these comparisons are unfair as Ambassadors admirably fills its own niche, making it an enjoyable if not outstanding show that will grow on you over the hour. Ambassadors airs on BBC 2 on Wednesdays at 9pm and is available on BBC iPlayer.
A Phone Call with Mr. Nice
Bevan Edwin talks to writer, campaigner and former drugs smuggler Howard Marks about drugs, politicans and his new live show.
Upon his release in 1996 he became the bestselling author of Mr Nice, his autobiography, which was subsequently immortalised in the film in 2010. He is currently touring with his spoken word show Scolar, Smuggler, Prisoner, Scribe and is a keen campaigner for the legalisation of recreational drugs.
The self-professed scholar, smuggler, prisoner and scribe, projects not only commonly held views upon the current legal state of marijuana, but also embodies the contradictions of the substance’s current status as an illegal substance and widely available commodity. Image by Iron Man Records
The Howard Marks story is a rare and strange one. Born in 1945 in a Welsh coal-mining village, ‘Mr Nice’ went on to attain a degree in nuclear physics at Oxford University. As if that wasn’t enough achievement for one lifetime he went on to become one of the most notorious marijuana smugglers of all time. After the authorities finally caught up with him in 1988 he served seven years in Terre Haute, America’s toughest federal penitentiary.
“So, Mr Marks, what would you consider to be the single biggest obstacle to the legalisation of recreational drugs?” “Politicians.” A man with a no small reputation for straightforward answers to complex moral questions, Howard Marks certainly left an impression upon me of a man who has been about and seen a fair bit. After a brief however, enlightening phone conversation with ‘Mr Nice’, I came to a better understanding of the cultural significance of Howard Mark’s whole story.
While Mr Mark’s recent tour dates have included “rather well received dates in Europe catering for a largely expat audience”, he defines his British audience as comprising “18 to 25 year old dope smokers”. A hell of an audience, one would think. Are there cookies and warm milk available at the interval? Is there likely to be audience members ejected for unremitting, uncontrollable fits of giggling? It is after all, a standup comedy event combined with (as I was assured) “something a bit different”; what will this included I wonder? I must confess my intrigue; Mr Marks wasn’t giving too much away. Will this something “a bit different” involve a live raid conducted by Leicestershire Police? One could imagine a sizable spike in reported incidents of marijuana possession for the month of October. Regardless of the cards Mr Marks decided to hold tight to his chest regarding the contents of his spoken word show, during the interview, what was promised was that anyone who attended would not have to be familiar with the entire background of the Howard Marks
The Benefits of Being Australian Alex Thompkins finds psychedelic harmony in Cut Copy’s latest offering Album review: Free Your Mind by Cut Copy
Did you have a good summer? Was it filled with fond memories of lazy days by the river, drinking cool beer and taking long drives across the desert? Well, in Australia summer is just beginning and with summer comes summer albums. I mention this off the bat because until my housemate informed me it’s summer in Australia I found it odd that Cut Copy would release an album full of psychedelic harmony and electro beat under an umbrella theme of “freedom” when the weatherman is reporting we have an 80mph storm on the way. Yet Free Your Mind has a lot to offer you if you can think back to about four months ago. It opens with an intro I can only describe as trippy be-
story. Having been informed that his shown is presented from the “assumption that nobody knows” his show’s title certainly seems to bear testament to this claim. There are also, I was assured, a few interesting little extras to keep the die-hard fan interested. These little extras apparently include “further details of smuggling operations” along with expanded tales from his time in prison.
When I asked Howard Marks which particular part of his life story - Scholar, Smuggler, Prisoner or Scribe - was his favourite part, I expected a direct sort of answer. His answer however, was far more direct than I had anticipated. “Smuggler, because of the rush and the money,” was his response in as many words. Now this response many people would consider problematic as it essentially condones criminal behaviour. A fair point, perhaps, but it is the unapologetic and sincere nature of Mr Marks’ response which highlights what I would consider to be a good reason to attend a date on his current tour of Scholar, Smuggler, Prisoner, Scribe. The lack of gloss with which he paints his picture is refreshing. Nowhere was this
fore moving into the title track ‘Free Your Mind’ which to new listeners will immediately conjure images of 80’s discos and everything that comes with it. The retro synth beats and use of backing piano are refreshing to the point I almost found myself donning some guy-liner and cranking up the volume. This kept up right to ‘Let Me Show You’ which showcased a lot of the variety in keyboard and ended with a huge pay off in the last minute or so. It’s not so much a drop as it is an ascension. From here the album reaches a plateau which is both euphoric and unfocused. The tracks
Image by Flickr user NRKP3
Image by Cool Delta
‘Into The Desert’, ‘Above The City’ and ‘The Waves’ all offer little trippy breaks in the music. This might turn some listeners away, but they’ll be brought back with tracks like ‘Dark Corners of Mountain Tops’ bringing in a gentle rhythm and introducing us to the saxophone for ‘Meet In A House Of Love’. As a rule of thumb any dance track that uses a saxophone is getting a thumbs up. Having said that, some of the later tracks I completely lost track of, not out of boredom but because I couldn’t focus on anything. Listening again I suspect this is done deliberately. You have to be in the right state of mind to fully enjoy this album which for UK listeners might be hard to manage when we’re battling gale force winds. But if you can find somewhere cozy to warm yourself, then this album is certainly worth your time. Free Your Mind by Cut Copy will be released on November 4th via Modular Recordings.
more evident than his response, in that warm Welsh accent, after asking him whether or not crime pays; “Yes… before you are caught”. This, for me, highlights the Howard Marks contradiction. His story is one which essentially centres on his illicit criminal lifestyle, yet it is a celebrated and widely available in the form of text, film and now a live spoken word show. Does the increasing popularity of the Howard Marks story mark a watershed in the debate on the legal status of marijuana and other recreational drugs? According to the man himself the way to enact change, which-
Image by Chris Boland
ever side of the fence you are on, is to “vote for the party with the best drugs policy”. Given that he perceives politicians as the biggest single obstacle to a more common-sense stance on recreational drugs, I have to conclude that debate on this issue should be encouraged. Who better to head this debate than a man who has gone full circle? Tour dates for Scholar, Smuggler, Prisoner, Scribe can be found at howardmarks.name
The Late Great Lou Reed The Ripple pays tribute to the massively influential songwriter by Ash Sandys
by Alex Thompkins
It’s worth everyone paying a small tribute to the late great Lou Reed, who died on Sunday. Massively influential to pop and rock music, particularly in his early years with The Velvet Underground, Reed actually played our own De Montfort Hall in September 1973 (which was surely the highlight of his career), playing a mixture of solo material from his then-new albums Berlin and Transformer, as well as some old classics originally written with his band The Velvet Underground.
The album’s front sleeve featuring Andy Warhol’s famous banana pop-art has come to be synonymous with 60s culture, and rightly so. The Velvet Underground and Nico was the beginning of the late 1960s backlash against censorship. The legacy associated with the work of Lou Reed with The Velvet Underground, and indeed during his solo career, explains perhaps why celebrities have been queuing up on Twitter to
pay tribute to him – condolences came from throughout the entertainment industry, with Ricky Gervais, rapper LL Cool J, rock band Weezer, and Samuel L. Jackson all acknowledging the star’s legacy. Although his later solo work fell away - the legacy of his early work has had – and will continue to have – a large impact on rock music for years to come. Cheers Lou!
Many have praised Lou Reed for his boldness – his songs with The Velvet Underground on their 1967 album The Velvet Underground and Nico’s straight-talking subject matters of drugs and sex were massively controversial at the time of their release and were banned by many American radio stations. The album was subsequently dubbed to be a failure by the media. However, in the years following the album’s release, the reviews grew stronger and stronger, as did the admiration for the record’s audacious subject matter, and by the time of the beginnings of Lou Reed’s solo career in 1973, the album was considered revolutionary – and still is today. Image by Jean Baptiste Mondino
Edited by Samantha Blundell
Fashionistas on a Budget Nia Phillips shares her tips on looking great without stretching the bank balance If you’re a relentless student shopper who prioritises every penny of your bank balance until you reach a sale, then don’t worry; I share your pain. As a result of my decreasing social life and bursting wardrobe, I’ve scouted out a couple of events and offers that may make you feel slightly happier about shopping less – it is possible!
Leicester Vintage Fair Firstly, one of the most popular events which is great for students is the Leicester Vintage Fair that is held in the Cathedral, centred in town. Due to be back with us on November
30th, you don’t want to miss this event! The Cathedral is filled from front to back with fabulously vintage clothes at affordable prices ranging from the 60s-90s – it’s a thrifter’s heaven. With brilliant discounts on high quality leathers and accessories, the vintage fair has become a favourite event in Leicester. Being in the beautifully mysterious setting, the vintage fair lets you feel slightly retro just by stepping foot inside. With incredibly chirpy sales assistants and a general murmur of happiness spilling throughout the venue, the atmosphere alone makes you feel excited! Just swinging by and soaking up the ambience is enough in this bustling event. Maya Rose Boutique Whilst you’re strolling around The Lanes this November, pop into a beautifully quaint boutique that goes by the name of Maya Rose. Run independently and filled with frilly fancies, make-up and treats, the boutique is perfect for girls who like to pamper every now and then
without the extortionate price tag. Maya Rose Boutique will be running a great student incentive towards the end of November giving 10% off in store dur-
ing the student-only event. This fabulous evening will be very exciting, offering free makeovers from a well-known, loved make-up brand and a chance to exclusively shop in the boutique without non-students. You can find the lovely boutique down Loseby Lane or track them down on their Facebook page which is filled with delightful updates.
If you visit the Maya Rose student evening, you’re sure to be in for a treat. Event date: coming soon. The Wardrobe
For a more regular dose of vintage, head down to The Lanes in Leicester where you will stumble across The Wardrobe. This traditionally vintage shop is brilliant when it comes to timeless pieces such as quality Levi Jeans or printed shirts. With affordable prices, it gives you a bit of a ‘Brick Lane’ vibe. Pop in when you’re around the area, you won’t regret it. There are a couple of vintage shops around the Lanes, so take a stroll around when you find the time and grab a bargain.
If you’re more about saving money than spending it, take a look at a couple of the deals and incentives we found this month: H&M Garment Collective and 25% off Let’s face it, most students who are into high-street shopping, will have raided H&M on a regular basis. You can understand my excitement when I learnt about their garment collective. All you have to do is gather a bag of unwanted clothing items and take them into your nearest participating store to be recycled. In return for this gesture you will be provided with a £5 voucher to redeem off a shop over £30 (easily done!). If you have neglected garments lying unappreciated at the back of your wardrobe, then you know that this incentive will benefit you – every little helps. Why are H&M doing this you may ask? The brand wants to consciously reduce the environmental impact of the fash-
ion industry, by limiting the amount of waste and reusing or recycling the clothes that are donated by their dedicated fashionistas. It’s a nice way to support your bank balance during a shopping spree, whilst partially helping the environment along the way! It’s a win-win. H&M has also partnered up with Student Beans to offer you 25% off an item of your choice during an online shop when you sign up to their newsletter. So as well as receiving handy fashion and style advice, you’ll also receive a tasty little discount! Highcross competition Our favourite shopping centre, Highcross, is kindly offering a lucky winner a Highcross gift card worth £250! Whether you decide to treat yourself this Christmas or get ahead with Christmas shopping it’s a great prize. Enter on the Highcross website to start your Christmas early!
How To Make a French Halloween Treat: Memo Board Toffee Apples by Leonie Parry
by Laura James Have you got loads of memories or notes that you want to keep safe? An old ticket stub from a movie you liked or your freshers’ wristband? Why not try making a cute French memo board to display them? What you need: •Stretched artist canvas or old pinboard •Batting or old cloth remnants •Fabric of your choice •Stapler •Ribbon •Pins •Buttons •Glue
Instructions: 1. Take the canvas or old board and cover with the batting or old cloth remnants, leaving just a small border around the edge. 2. Next, drape the fabric over the canvas, ensuring there is enough fabric to wrap around the edges. 3. Carefully turn it over and staple the shorter sides thoroughly, making sure the fabric is tight and smooth. 4. Then fold the corners in carefully and staple the other sides. Make sure the corners are smooth and everything is pulled tight. 5. Turn it back over and then lay the ribbons across in a diagonal
pattern. Make sure the ribbons are straight and evenly spaced. (You can pin them in place to keep them still.) 6. Flip the canvas over and staple. 7. Flip back and then weave ribbons going the opposite way, over and under the first ones. 8. Flip and staple the second set of ribbons. 9. Glue some buttons at each ribbon intersection. 10 Staple a ribbon to the back to your required length for hanging. (You can add a little bow if you like.) You now have a beautiful memo board ready to fill with all your important memories!
Ingredients: 4 apples 2 cups of white caster sugar ½ cup of water 2 teaspoons of red liquid food colouring (or indeed any colour you wish) Method: 1. Push lolly pop sticks, skewers, forks or anything else you can think of into each apple. 2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. 3. Place sugar and water into a saucepan on low heat until sugar has dissolved. 4. Bring to the boil at this point however tempted or however unnatural this may feel DO NOT STIR under any circumstance. 5. Still not stirring at the food colouring. 6. Reduce heat to a low simmer for around 20 minutes until the toffee reaches hard crack stage. (To check simply drop some
toffee in cold water remove and bend if it cracks you’re there) 7. When the toffee cracks remove from heat immediately. 8. Once the toffee has stopped bubbling coat apples completely and stand on the lined baking tray. Allow to set at room temperature. (Serves: 4. Cooking time: 35 Minutes)
Image by Fickr user Betti
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The Land of the Living
Sarah Williams on university’s many inevitabilities Probably one of the best things about first year is the bubble you inhabit. Booze, sleeping and fun are the only things that matter. Yeah, read a little bit and do your essays but knowing it doesn’t count for anything means you feel minimal guilt when shenanigans present themselves. The shock of second year is immense. Somehow your reading multiplies by five and you realise you went to university to get a good grade, so actually studying is paramount. First year has its blissful ignorance but the rest of your degree will be a harsh snap in to the land of the living; the real people. The ‘adults’. Most second years and onwards opt to live in student housing. Turns out this has numerous problems. Whether you’re weakening daily by cold exposure (no one can afford heating) or using umbrellas inside because a pipe has come loose in your shower upstairs and now your kitchen is raining, there’s never a dull moment. When you get your first disaster – and trust me, it will come – you’ll discover which of your housemates is actually good in a crisis and who turns in to an irrational headless chicken.
But in ways, the terrible living standard only brings you closer together; you can laugh about your housemate who is in the toilet when the power cuts or the week you spent trying to open your own backdoor for your mates mum to do it first time. Tensions can rise, as is natural with individuals living so closely together but try to remember you chose to live together for a reason. Take things with a pinch of salt and try to just laugh instead because the great moments will easily outweigh the bad. Through paying bills, dealing with landlords and remembering to change all your postal addresses, life can seem a bit overwhelming. Relax. You’ve never had to do it before. No one expects you to be amazing right away. Beginning in second year is the chance for several opportunities that will benefit your life after university. Internships are vital for many careers and getting a head start never hurt anyone. Also consider a job. Yes, studying should come first but a job gives you the edge on your CV, you get to meet some wonderful people and whoever complained about
getting money? Whether you need extra cash during term time or you save some for some travelling, earning something will make you feel proud and confident. The land of the living has a lot to give. Volunteering for a charity or care facility (or anything in your field) is worthwhile. Goodness is doing something for someone who can never repay you; so go and enrich your life. After first year you’ll no doubt know the interiors to all the great clubs in Leicester. But now you have the chance to explore anything and everything: The Phoenix, the Curve, the Lanes, Belgrave Road. Go and discover the city you live in. Did you know Leicester has a river? I dare you to go and find it because it’s beautiful. Students somehow find time for movie days and committee roles in societies. They party hard. They write dissertations. Secret? They give up the only thing they can lose – sleep. And so, they’re welcomed into the zombified existence of the working world.
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California Dreamin’ by Courtney Mower
eral Orange County area Balboa Island offers a wide range of beautiful beach houses that work out very reasonable for a large group. If you get six of you together you should be able to find a nice enough place in off peak season for £225 in total per person for two weeks. Things to do There is simply so much to do you will have a hard time fitting it all in. One must is the beach, even if you’re not a fan of lounging around tanning all day. A walk or bike ride from Balboa peninsula up to Huntingdon beach or beyond will take your breath
So we’ve just started the sixth week of university and already we’re snowed under with reading, deadlines and stress. Here’s a little American Dream you could plan for next summer… Southern California It will always have a special place in my heart. I’m lucky enough to have been able to visit my family out there twice now. Although on a student budget California may seem like a distant fantasy, some of things I learned out there could help you save some money on the trip of a lifetime!
Flights These aren’t something it’s easy to save money on, but there are a few things you should do to make sure you get the best deals. (However you should budget £700 for the flight.) 1. Book early - I mean now for next summer early 2. Go off season - Going in the middle of August is going to mean the prices are at their peak, so be smart about when you plan to visit. 3. Shop around - the internet
means you can literally search thousands of prices for the best deal 4. Keep track of prices; don’t book straight away. I have heard however you should use incognito mode on your browser as travel sites increase the price if they see you visit their site again, thinking you’re more likely to buy. Places to stay Sadly my aunt and uncle’s house isn’t for hire! However if you are looking to stay in the gen-
away. For fans of theme parks, there are four within easy driving distance: The Original Disneyland, Disney’s California adventure, Knottsbury Farm (the first theme park in America which has a Peanuts theme) and for adrenaline junkies Six Flags’ Magic Mountain – a paradise of rollercoasters and nothing else. There are oodles of malls, both outlet and regular, for shopaholics and the favourable exchange rate means you can make substantial savings on big brands like Vans, Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and Levi’s, so make sure to pack light when you go!
Where to eat It’s America so there are almost limitless restaurant options, from more pricey chains such as Red Lobster and Black Angus to cheaper options like Wendy’s, Denny’s and many other fast food chains where you will be able to eat well whatever you have left in your budget. It is worth eating out a few times just for the experience but if you go for a beach house you will probably have access to a kitchen, so should shop around for cheap groceries. El Metate in Costa Mesa does great groceries for a very reasonable price.
Edited by Samantha Blundell
Bears, Skiing and Coffee: My Year Abroad in Vancouver by Samuel James I was recently walking across Victoria Park to reach campus when I suddenly had a feeling of déjà vu. When I strolled along the path past the squirrels I thought bears. When I walked past the playground I thought athletics track. When I walked past the green flat space that occupies the park I thought North Shore Mountains. You may have guessed from the title of this article that the following piece is going to be a rendition of my Year Abroad in Vancouver, Canada. So the smarter ones
amongst you (have a gold star) may have worked out that these everyday Leicester University experiences have an equivalent Simon Fraser University (SFU) experience. But that’s the thing, to a Canadian studying in Vancouver, seeing a bear munching from the garbage compactor is equivalent to seeing a squirrel nibbling an acorn on the Charles Wilson steps. Hence the déjà vu. SFU has the luxury of being located in one of the most beautiful parts of Vancouver, which then has the luxury of being one
of the world’s most majestic cities. Located on top of Burnaby Mountain, SFU affords sweeping vistas of the North Shore Mountains, the Burrard Inlet, and the Gulf Islands if you’re fortunate enough to look on a day when it isn’t raining. I’ll reiterate that: you’d be very fortunate. Rain aside (I can take it, I’m from the North) my first impressions of SFU were boding well. Huge American Football players taking my hefty bags to accommodation were welcomed and my new housemates were friendly and amiable. I lived in an area of Halls called Townhouses, named simply because that is the style of the building. Orientation (Fresher’s Week) was pretty poor, I’ll be honest: playing games that my fourteen-year-old brother would have felt too mature to get involved in wasn’t exactly how I was expecting to make friends, but you know, when a lot of the students can’t legally drink, who doesn’t want to play ‘Move Your Butt’? Clubs’ Days (Freshers’ Fair) was far more encouraging. I signed
up to both the Outdoors Club and the Ancient Forest Committee (AFC). Outdoors Club is a collaboration of people, all getting involved in different outdoor activities; thus including sports such as hiking, rock climbing, skiing and kayaking. AFC is an environmental activism group dedicated to the protection of Old Growth forest in British Columbia. Now, both these clubs are good examples of the typical interests of a standard young Vancouverite. Vancouverites care about their natural environment, and strive to protect it. Because they love it so much, they like to be in it as much as possible, and they do this by getting involved in a multitude of outdoor sports. That doesn’t make me a West Coast hipster just yet, however: I’m not vegetarian or vegan, I don’t insist on buying organic food and I am not addicted to coffee. Caffeine and animal welfare are also big on the agenda for this part of North America. In terms of academics, I felt the classes were similar in difficulty; SFU students tended to be far more studious than myself,
but then maybe I was too busy having fun. However, the academics may be seen to be bigger partiers. I remember going to my professor’s house party with all of his postgraduates which was awesome. There is also a resounding memory of me going to a Downtown nightclub that was managed by the Geography Department’s lab technician. He even got me and my buddies a couple of rounds. Living so close to mountains, I was afforded the opportunity to learn how to ski, and I certainly grasped it. I went skiing at Big White ski resort for a week at Christmas, and quite frankly loved it. I learnt how to rock climb, and snowshoe, as well as taste actual pumpkin pie at an actual thanksgiving family meal. I even got involved in Hillel, which is the Jewish society on campus, and I’m not even Jewish. I learnt how to bite my tongue when moaning about country music, and appreciate that Canadians do love their pickup trucks. I also learnt that seeing a bald eagle and racoon is not really that big a deal.
I’m sure some of you here are considering perhaps an ERASMUS year, or Year Abroad, or living abroad post-graduation. Let’s put it this way: you have so very much to gain, and hardly anything to lose. Living abroad is not ‘travelling’. On a personal level, I dislike that word; it gives connotations of going around and observing other people and cultures like they’re in a zoo. Gap Yah and all that. Challenge yourself, climb over the fence, and live in the zoo with them. Now that’s rewarding. To find out more about exchange and summer programmes, come along to the Study Abroad and Erasmus Fair 2013 on Thursday 21 November, 10am -3pm in Queen’s Hall, Percy Gee Building.
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Study Abroad & Erasmus Fair Thursday 21 November 2013 Queen’s Hall · 10.00am - 3.00pm Your passport to a trip of a lifetime! Study abroad as part of your Leicester degree
Edited by Alistair Robinson
Leicester University Host Blind Football Awareness Day by Marko Vranic The Ophthalmology Group at Leicester University held an event to promote and raise awareness of blind and partially sighted football, on Friday 1st November 2013 at Holmes Park, Dog and Gun Lane, in Whetstone, Leicestershire.
The event, which started at 7:00pm, gave both children and adults the opportunity find out more about blind and partially sighted football with hopes to raise awareness of the game for blind players and those with the eye condition Nystagmus. Nystagmus is a condition of involuntary eye movement, ac-
quired in infancy or later in life, that may result in reduced or limited vision. Due to the involuntary movement of the eye, it is often called “Dancing Eyes”. The reason for the event was to improve the lifestyles of those who suffer from Nystagmus. Hopefully, promotion and awareness will result in more funds raised to use for research and a better understanding of the condition. Mateen Rahman and other players from the England squad will be in attendance offering advice and support. Blind Football has become significantly popular with people of all ages and backgrounds since its introduction in the early 20th century; with Brazil and Spain the most prominent
pioneer countries. The sport has progressed so rapidly that it now features at the Paralympic Games and has its own governing body and worldwide tournament. Information regarding the event is also available from the Ophthalmology Group and will include games and prizes to be won. This event is one of many worldwide initiatives organised to promote Wobbly Wednesday, which takes place on Wednesday 6th November 2013. Wobbly Wednesday is the first international Nystagmus Awareness Day and will introduce the public to Blind Futsal. This is very similar to normal football but is more skill-orientated and is for performers with impaired vision.
Ladies Hockey 2nd Team Smash Lincoln to Go Top by Samantha Blundell On Wednesday 30th October Leicester’s Ladies Hockey 2nd team played their third BUCS match of the season against Lincoln’s 3rd team. The week before Leicester had played Lincoln’s 2nd team in the same league and won 5-0 – a great result considering it was 0-0 at half time – and so we were eager to continue our winning streak. With an increase in strength and depth in the team this year, Leicester was able to field a strong team even with the early 2pm pushback time. The first few minutes of the game were a bit nervy on either side with Leicester controlling possession but unable to get that first goal. Finally, after about ten minutes of near misses Leices-
ter found the backboard with a great goal from Sarah Warren. From this point onwards it was goal after goal with a flick given as well in the first half. By half time the score was 9-0, so not yet double figures but still very impressive! Our aim for the second half was to match league rivals, Derby 1sts, score against Lincoln 3rds of 19-0. This was a big stretch, hoping for 10 more goals, but we really went for it anyway. Five minutes from the end of the game we reached that target! We then decided to go for 20-0! But this was one goal too many. The final score was 19-0, a great result for us that maintains our joint spot at the top of the league table.
BUCS Results and Fixtures
For all the latest match reports, fixtures and results, and for more expert analysis from our seasoned Sports team, visit www.the-ripple.co.uk/sports
Is This A Dream-World? Is This Just Fantasy?
NO, IT’S LEICESTER!
by Yushi Luan
Have you ever heard about Quidditch? People who are keen about Harry Potter may be extremely familiar with the sport in the world of magic, an imaginary game where wizards fly on broomsticks. However, have you ever watched a Quidditch game in the real world? If not, don’t worry! Let me tell you about my incredible experience watching Quidditch.
About the balls; they are greatly different to balls used in more common ball games. There are three different kinds of balls being used, firstly one called a Quaffle (in this case a volleyball), the Bludgers (three dodgeballs) and lastly, the Golden Snitch. The most unbelievable and funniest thing is that the Golden Snitch is a person running fast around the court with a tennis ball attached to their waist and packed into a long yellow sock, instead of a small golden metal ball with a pair of wings flying across the sky.
I had previously heard about the University of Leicester Quidditch team back home in China on the ‘Micro-Blog’, China’s version of Twitter. This was even before I decided to study abroad at all and the reason I chose Leicester. Since then it has become one of my dreams to watch a real-world Quidditch game, and now I have achieved my dream! On a lazy Sunday afternoon, with the sun shining off the grass in Victoria Park, the University of Leicester Quidditch Society’s members were divided into two teams doing their practice drills. There were roughly 20 people in each team, carefully but enthusiastically passing the balls to the next person. Although they were only quite simple, boring practices, many people of different ages gathered together to sit on the grass watching and waiting for the match to be held about an hour later.
ALSO IN SPORT THIS WEEK... Ladies Hockey Smash Lincoln
You may feel confused about how a flying sport can be held on land, however, that is exactly the most intriguing and attractive point about real-world Quidditch. Actually this Quidditch is almost the same as the magic one, except the players are not able to fly. There are altogether seven players in each team, including three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper and finally one Seeker. Also a set rule is that there should be more than two players of different gender in each team. It appears that in real life Quidditch players care more about gender equality than their magical (fic-
The Chasers’ responsibility is throwing or kicking the Quaffle through the opponent’s goal to get 10 points. And the task of the Beaters is to protect the players of their team from being attacked by the Bludger, and they have to beat the Bludger away from their players as far as they can, of course, it would be much better if the ball was able to magically attack their opponent players. As for the keepers, they are very similar to the keepers in a football team, whose task it is to protect their goals. The seekers are the most important players of the whole match, because they are supposed to catch the running Snitch. Once the game begins, the Snitch will appear on the court after 10 minutes. If a seeker of one team catches the Snitch, it means their team is instantly victorious, winning the entire match regardless of the previous scores of each team. There is no doubt that the seekers are the targets of the Beaters, which are often beat by the Bludger. Throughout the whole game, all players should hold the broomsticks tightly, though obviously they cannot ride them and fly away. Every one of us can be a hero like Harry Potter and play Quidditch. Just imagine how cool it would be if we could fly on the broomsticks. Come and watch the magic game in the real world!