The Ripple VARSITY 2013 WILL TEAM LECIESTER BE VICTORIOUS?
Spring 2013 www.the-ripple.co.uk
FREE VARSITY DOLL! p. 40
RICHARD III UNEARTHED! THE KING IN THE CAR PARK
ROUNDING UP THE BEST FUNNY FOR YOUR MONEY
CENSORED! SHOULD THE VOICE OF STUDENT MEDIA BE RESTRICTED?
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Image: The Cribs Official
02 R I PPL E EXECUTIVE TEAM
Phoebe Rees Editor in Chief: email@example.com Naomi Green Deputy Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org Rhys Williams Deputy Editor: email@example.com Richard Green Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org Hayley Symington Activities Officer email@example.com
Philip Adnett News: firstname.lastname@example.org Emily Gussin Events and Reviews: email@example.com Alexander French Music: firstname.lastname@example.org Jessica Eastwell Arts and Creativity: email@example.com Samantha Tapson Lifestyle: firstname.lastname@example.org Jamie Burton Sport: email@example.com
Ash Davies Online Development: firstname.lastname@example.org Brad Marshall Online Content: email@example.com
Phil Adnett, Mel Agnew, Sam Osbourne, Brad Marshall, Richard Green, Emily Gussin, Dave Spoerry, Megan Carnegie Brown, Jamie Banks, Alexander French, Mike Convery, Patrick Reckitt, Courtenay Forbes, Jasmin Elliott, Rob Ward, Viki Mansfield, Hannah Crane, Katie Masters, Jamie Burton, Michael Frost, George Hudson, Sion Crowle.
GET INVOLVED Join the mailing list to contribute to the next edition of The Ripple! TheRipple@groupspaces.com or email Ripple@le.ac.uk
TE A M EDITOR’S NOTE
elcome to our Spring edition of The Ripple! You may have noticed us on a little thing called the internet lately? The Ripple online has taken off faster than the Harlem Shake (well, almost) with hundreds of you liking and sharing recent articles. The Ripple online team have been working their socks off to deliver the news that matters to you. This term has seen The Ripple’s more investigative side with a number of union exposes, from the scandalous behavior of Sabbatical Officers to sexual harassment on stage at our Student’s Union and a debate that split the student body when over half of the men’s first team were banned from football Varsity. As student journalists this is at the heart of what we do. In this issue, we have opened the debate as to whether student media should be an unregulated body, giving us the freedom to go further into putting issues such as these at the core of student interest. Should media groups remain neutral in key union events such as the Sabbatical Officer elections? Let us know your thoughts via our facebook and twitter pages. This issue celebrates a discovery that recently made history for the University of Leicester: the unearthing of King Richard III in a Leicester car park. The Ripple had the privilege of attending the press conference that announced the discovery, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the BBC, Sky and Channel 4 (you can even see Ripple journalist Richard’s head on the Channel 4 documentary!) Turn to page six for exclusive interviews with the staff who made the discovery as we ask, what does this mean for the future of the University? With Varsity 2013 only days away, this issue features several articles to get you in the mood for the Team Leicester vs. DMU showdown! Turn to page thirty-four for a captain’s prediction of this year’s performance. If that’s still not enough to get you in the sporting spirit, Sion Crowle shows you how to make your very own Team Leicester Fan doll – the ultimate Varsity supporter! Mine’s only 8 AAAA batteries away from action! DMWHO? As ever, a tremendous amount of hard work has gone into this edition of The Ripple and I hope you enjoy reading it. If you’d like to get involved with the next edition of the magazine, we’re accepting article submissions now. Get in touch with the relevant section editor to find out more. Don’t forget, we’re always looking for online submissions too. If you’ve got a story, or want to express something you’re passionate about then make your voice heard! Perhaps you see yourself as a future Ripple editor? We’ll be appointing our new executive members next term. Stay glued to The Ripple website, www. the-ripple.co.uk or get yourself on the mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for all the details. Phoebe Rees Editor in Chief
FEATURE: WHEN RIPPLE MET RICHARD
FEATURE:THE FUTURE OF THE RIPPLE
DAVE’S LEICESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL
ARTS AND CREATIVITY
30 34 38
VARSITY: A CAPTAIN’S VIEW ULTIMATE FRISBEE WITH THE JESTERS
FOR MORE RIPPLE VISIT US ONLINE AT WWW.THE-RIPPLE.CO.UK
04 R I PPL E
E DI TOR : P H I L A DN ET T
NEW SABBATICAL OFFICER TEAM
Image source d from Faceb ook
BY P H I L A DN E T T
Image by Colin Brook s
SABBS’ BLOG PAGE
ith the new Sabbatical Officers recently announced, our five Executive Officers are nearing the end of their term. Here’s what they’ve been getting up to.... Maryna Danny Welfare and International Officer The last couple of months have been really exciting. Firstly, we had elections and I’m happy that I’ll be your Experience Officer for the next academic year. Alongside elections, I was opposing the rise of accommodation fees for 2013/2014 as well as dealing with individual complaints from students. Also I’m currently working with welfare services on the redevelopment of the international students welcome programme, so I hope that this programme can be more engaging than it was before. email@example.com Dan Flatt Academic Affairs Officer The last few weeks have been very election orientated. I love this job and I have loved being able to make some positive changes and
so decided to re run. I am extremely grateful to have been re-elected as an Executive Officer and I cannot wait to do this again for another year! I also managed to get out some of the first Superstar Awards to University staff. Do not forget to nominate your Superstars on firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com!
the time you read this we’ll have launched our Voter Registration drive! With Varsity taking place throughout March the Students’ Union will be keeping you busy right through to the Easter break so make sure you get involved! If you want to get in touch just email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lily Davis Union Development Officer This term, as the deputy returning officer on the exec elections I have been working very hard with a team to ensure the smooth running of the elections. We have had a great turn out and I am very pleased with how it all went and we have a great team for next year and I look forward to giving the handovers for an exceptional 2013/14. email@example.com
Hayley Symington Activities Officer Since the last issue I’ve been doing a lot of work on Liberation, having devised and completed the training of around 100 students. In addition, I’ve been working closely with RAG to look at their role in order for charity work to grow in prominence within the Union as well as hosting Standing Committees which have proven really successful. For the rest of the year I am going to be completing my work on the Student Group Code of Conduct to ensure communication of the expectations of Student Groups as well as re-assessing the way in which we support and fund Student Groups at Leicester! Please feel free to get in touch with ideas, feedback and thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org
James Farndon Campaigns & Involvement Officer This term has seen some exciting campaigns on campus! We’ve had Go Green Week where over 500 students demanded the University place sustainable issues in the curriculum; we’ve seen the election of the new Executive Team, and by
ow the dust has settled and the winners are known, we can look at what happened in more detail. Hereare four things that we learnt from this election: CAMPAIGNING Some of the biggest winners on the night were those who had the biggest on-campus campaigns, while those candidates who were unable to be on campus as regularly, or opted not to, didn’t make as much of an impact. Mike Rubin’s dominating victory was aided by a solid cadre of campaigners who spread his message throughout the University, whilst Sean Kelly-Walsh emerged from a crowded field thanks to a similarly effective campaign. Even those candidates who weren’t successful, such as Daniel Tinkler or Marios Papachristodoulou to but name a few, had very strong and visible campaigns. Undergraduate victor Jay Appleyard, who appeared on stage to dance what might have been Gangam Style or the Haka, and International Officer Anastasia Mamaeva were also beneficiaries of a less intense but equally visible effort. Distance Learner Officer, which has an inherent problem with being on-
campus, had a significantly lower turnout: Harry Wells won convincingly with 1442 out of a total of 1877 votes cast. POWER OF INCUMBANCY Both current Officers running for re-election won against very tough opposition. Dan Flatt beat Nathan Ifill, an experienced presenter and current LUST President, and Marios, a President of two societies and committee member on a third, whilst Maryna beat: Dan Tinkler, one of the most active Union Parliament members in recent history and the Head of Contact,; Zeshan Hussain, Parliamentarian and Pakistani Society Vice and Fern Dyer, Club Captain of the Women’s Rugby team and an Officer in the Sports Association. The pair of victories further illustrate the power of incumbency and the difficulties that any challenger will face when running against a sitting Officer. TURNOUT Increasingly, turnout is the holy grail of any victorious candidate and this year it has remained elusive. The highest vote total in any category was 2846 (that of President), although there were early reports that turn-
out had exceeded 3,000. Without having the exact figures it is hard to tell, but in the event that the voting figures exceeded 3,000 this is still very low. Dan Flatt won with 1491 votes, a fraction of the members of the Students’ Union. It is hard to analyse the results in their entirety without a breakdown of the voters, there is a hope from some that Distance Learner participation will increase, but at the moment it looks like turnout remained as low as ever. MORE OF THE SAME? Most of the successful candidates fit the same mould. Almost all had experience within Union Parliament and two were even consecutive heads of the same Campaign Society. In their interviews many candidates expressed that they did not fit the typical mould of most previous Officers: White, Male and middle class members of Union Parliament. 5 of the 7 winners were male (Maryna Danny and Anastasia Mamaeva being the exceptions) and all were white. This is not the fault of anyone, but for some within the Union it is disappointing that this is the case given the representative nature of the Executive Officer positions.
06 R I PPL E
E DI TOR : P H I L A DN ET T
The University of Leicester recently made an incredible discovery in a Leicester car park: the body of King Richard III. The Ripple reports from the event that re-wrote history.
n Monday 4th February, the University of Leicester announced that ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ they had found the body of King Richard III. It was an incredible announcement, one that has the potential to rewrite the history books and put the university on the map. The discovery was a truly astonishing combination of dedicated work, collaboration between university departments and a fair amount of luck and good fortune. But now, as the dust settles and students get used to the fact that for a short while we had the remains of a monarch in our library, we ask, what are the ramifications for the university? How will the new reputation of the University affect students, especially with onset of higher fees? Did the project involve any students? We asked the university academics involved for their answers.
RICHARD III UNEARTHED
BY RICHARD GREEN Photo cour tes y of T he Univer sit y of Leices ter
Professor Richard Buckley, Lead Archaeologist ‘I certainly hope that it’s going to inspire new generations of students to consider Archaeology as a subject. It is an exciting voyage of discovery, doing research on projects such as this. Without archaeology we would know so little about the history of Leicester. Leicester was an important Roman town. Without archaeology, we wouldn’t know its name, we wouldn’t know where its walls were, its street pattern, that sort of thing. The archaeology research being done is genuinely rewriting
history of places like Leicester. Of course when we get to the discovery of Richard III, to actually be able to analyse the remains of a former monarch is a first. I can’t think of any other monarchs that have been subject to such scrutiny. There were former students involved: Matthew Morris is a graduate of Leicester, he did Archaeology here and a MA consequently. He first worked with me on the student training excavation on Leicester Abbey, which we did for about nine seasons. That was his little practice r u n for
“There were students babysitting the skeleton”
cial organisation. It’s enabled us to build up contact with other parts of the university which will feed in to what we’re able to offer our students in the future. We already have a fantastically good programme in our school of Archaeology and Ancient History and this will enable us to make it even better. We have had involvement from PhD students. Students in the Archaeology and Ancient History school were babysitting the skeleton while it went through the CT scanner, and each scan took around 7 or 8 hours and it had to be supervised at all times. A PhD student in Engineering processed all those micro-CT images for us, so that’s been a huge contribution to the project, and Alison from East Midlands Forensic Pathology is a PhD student who works on anthropological imaging, and she’s worked on the CT images there and produced assessments for us and that’s been incredibly important as well.’
digging up a friary with me in the middle of town. Several other people involved in the project were former students.’ Dr. Jo Appleby, Osteoarcheologist ‘I think it’s fantastic for the university and it’s going to bring awareness of our existence to many students who may not otherwise know what we do. This project has really demonstrated everything the university is about; collaborating between the academic side of the school and the archaeological unit which is very academic in what it does but is also a commerPhoto cour tes y of T he Universit y of Leicester
Follow @UoLRipple on twitter for the announcement as it happened!
08 R I PPL E Dr. Turi King, Project Geneticist ‘I hope it shows the great research the university does, it’s a fantastic place to work and we’ve got expertise in all these different fields, and I hope students can get involved in more of these kinds of things. I’ve been dying to set up an ancient DNA lab now, so I really hope [that this becomes part of the curriculum]. It would be somewhere that students could come and do projects and learn new techniques, and I’d love to do it.’ Talking to the staff was incredibly encouraging. There was a real excitement in the air that the discovery of Richard III would prove a landmark in Archaeology and the fact that our university was right at the centre proves we really are providing both the top level research and teaching that the student recruitment department announces on every undergraduate open day. The university has involved both current and former students which shows that an education here can also provide career opportunities. Both Prof. Buckley and Dr. Appleby are hoping that a new generation of students will be attracted to our university, and with a discovery of this magnitude it is easy to see how they might just be. Additionally, the discovery might aid in the funding of new research ventures, as suggested by Dr. King, expanding our Ancient History and Archaeology department’s capabilities. Looking at the announcement from a different angle shows the impact of the discovery will stretch across many more departmental disciplines than initially realised. The discovery of Richard III’s body dispels depictions of the king in works by the likes of Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More: although the skeleton has a curved spine – or scoliosis – it does not have a hunched back. This calls into
E DI TOR : P H I L A DN ET T
question the accuracy of contemporary accounts of Richard III as a disfigured tyrant, and the discovery will undoubtedly mean there are further calls to examine the reliability of the literature of the period. The Ripple caught up with Dr. Sarah Knight and Dr. Mary-Ann Lund from the English department to ask how English studies will be affected. The Ripple: ‘Are you going to include the Richard III discovery in the Shakespeare curriculum?’ Dr. Lund: ‘Absolutely!’ Dr. Knight: ‘We’ve changed the set text from Richard II to Richard III in the last three years. We take the students out to Bosworth and they practice sword-fighting. With this, we’ve had a lot of student interest already and mentioned it in lectures.’ Dr. Lund: ‘I’m teaching it this week, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. There’s only going to be one topic of conversation, and that’s the body of Richard III. Our own research will feed into the teaching because since this all began, and we got invited on board, it has completely changed the way we do our research and we want to pass this on to our students.’ The Ripple: ‘What do you think the long term impacts are going to be on the University as a whole?’ Dr. Knight: ‘As I understand it, there has been a lot of interest in Ancient History and Archaeology degrees, as you’d expect. We’ve been asked about it a lot on open days and visit days. The indication, from both students and parents, is that all of this is really raising English studies’ profile and we’ll see a difference. It does seem to be known now amongst people that this is what happening here and it’s an exciting place to come.’
Dr. Lund: ‘It’s brought out our strengths in medieval renaissance period literature. It’s come off the back of what we’d already been teaching and we’d gone out to Bosworth and got very interested in the local resonances of the story. Little then did we know that it would come right back to our doorstep.’ The press conference ended with journalists being invited to see the remains of Richard III in person. After signing an agreement not to take any photos or recordings, we were ushered into a room on the second floor of the David Wilson Library. It was a surreal experience; members of the Chaplaincy were in attendance watching over the skeleton, along with two security guards on each door. Out of respect, we were asked to preserve a silence. This brought into sharp focus the reality of the investigation – it was certainly easy to forget at times that Richard III was a living person, not just a historical figure surrounded in whispers and folklore. But seeing the skeleton in person we could see the curvature of the spine and the series of head injuries that killed him, along with the stumps where his feet had been truncated at some point after his death. The university certainly treated the remains with reverence; the chaplains, we were told, were in attendance due the respect of his initial burial as a Christian king. In our more secular age, this might have easily been forgotten, but their presence added a certain gravitas to the situation. The King’s remains will be re-interred in a ceremony in Leicester cathedral in early 2014, and until then, it is clear that the university will be closely looking after his remains.
Photo coutes y of The Universit y of Leices ter
10 R I PPL E
EDITOR: PHIL ADNETT
Image by Flickr user Newspaper Club
SHOULD THIS ISSUE BE
n order for journalism to flourish, it must be free. Without the freedom to debate, opinionate and investigate, journalism is nothing but a pointless recitation of what we’re allowed to know has already happened. This freedom is the lifeblood of journalism, and something The Ripple needs to have if it is to deliver the kind of interesting, controversial journalism that students like to read. This doesn’t mean a Ripple that is belligerent, slanderous or offensive, like some of the worse examples of the tabloids, but a Ripple that can aggressively state opinions and share results of investigations
that some would rather remain hidden.
For example, if a Sabb candidate could be accused of misogyny, shouldn’t The Ripple be allowed to perform the service of showing students that this is the case? Or, shouldn’t The Ripple be allowed to cover the student elections in any way it sees fit? At a recent Sabbatical Officer hustings, every single candidate for Experience officer said that they would support the freedom of The Ripple to offer its support to certain candidates in contrast to the current rules of extreme neutrality. This is a freedom entitled to every other
student group, so it is feasible that The Ripple could have this too. However, this is merely an interesting side note. The argument that this article will try to make is that in order to truly provide a service to the Students of the University of Leicester, The Ripple needs to be able to investigate freely and therefore say things that people might not like. There is a long list of incidents that The Ripple could and should have offered detailed explanation, and possibly criticism on. From the cuts in student group funding to banning student groups from selling Beach Break tickets, an in-depth in-
vestigation by The Ripple would have helped students understand the decision, and then enabled the Union to better communicate with students! The fear here is that journalists could write populist nonsense, slating the Union or University with no firm grasp of the facts. However, this is a case of trust. Trust in the intelligence and honesty of the Editors of The Ripple, and in the sharpness and perception of students. This writing may well offend those who make the decisions, yet it may serve them in helping to explain those decisions to students. It really could be, and should be, up to the writers, editors and ultimately the readers to decide what is of student interest.
ing redundant in the face of these growing platforms. In order to avoid this, The Ripple must be bold and of-
of the New Statesman, which deals with the extremely controversial argument concerning the Iraq war. Within the magazine, many different writers are invited to give their own observations and thoughts on the war. Some write persuasively for the war, others write vehemently against it. The New Statesman itself never states whether it is for or against the Iraq war, and never lends undue support to either position. This not only engenders a debate between writers within the magazine, it also encourages readers to consider both sides of the contentious debate and formulate their own opinions. Furthermore, this isn’t to say that The Ripple’s reporting wouldn’t still remain neutral. This is important, as facts should be kept separate from opinions in all instances of journalistic reporting. In a future format, The Ripple would offer not only reports and informative articles about instances that have happened on and around campus, but also editorials and polemics about contentious issues that affect student life, which would, by their very nature, rely on neutral reporting to collect all the facts and sources unearthed by reporters. This would bolster the integrity of The Ripple as a source of news and information, but also allow an arena of ideas and debate to flourish.
“If The Ripple does not innovate, it could see itself becoming redundant.”
Possibly the best reason to allow freedom of reporting in the Union is that it is coming whether we like it or not. Through a host of websites such as the Guardian’s Student Blogs, students can now access hundreds of sharp and often witty critiques of student life, which used to form the staple of student media, through Facebook and Twitter. Also, more ominously for The Ripple, University specific competition is coming soon in the shape of The Tab, a media phenomenon that focuses on student centric news at Universities around the country, with absolutely no loyalty to the Union or University. New platforms like this risk making the steady yet reliable Ripple extinct. If The Ripple does not innovate, it could see itself becom-
fer news that is of genuine interest to students. The easy option at the moment is to write about national or even global news that bears little relevance to the lives of ordinary students. If The Ripple wants to remain relevant to its readers, it needs to focus almost solely on Student News, and to do this effectively, it needs the freedom to say what it likes. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that The Ripple won’t represent both sides of an argument. This move would allow the writers of The Ripple to investigate events and express their own opinions, while allowing the magazine itself to remain neutral. The best example of this would be the latest edition
BY BRAD MARSHALL AND SAM OSBORNE
12 R I PPL E
E DI TOR : P H I L A DN ET T
CHOCONET BY M E L AGN E W Image by Flick r user John Loo
n Wednesday the 20th of February, three asylum seekers arrived at the University of Leicester. They came for one simple reason: to receive business training from a group of students as part of a new project set up by Enactus and headed by Helena Sokolova. Enactus is an international body that promotes the idea that entrepreneurial skills can be utilised to aid those in need. The University branch of this scheme sets up projects, which are run by students, and aim to help those in the local community. The University of Leicester already runs two schemes; the Farmer’s Market which helps local producers and Project Body which runs healthy living campaigns in schools. Choconet is a welcome addition to the already blossoming portfolio of Enactus campaigns. Choconet aims to help asylum seekers through teaching them business skills by helping them set up a chocolate production business. Put simply, the students want them to gain the experience and knowledge so that, if our government accepts their application, they could set up a business here in the UK. The students conducted a market research survey at the start of the academic year and have since been collating these results. In the meantime, they have established links with the local shelter and two members- Helena and Benjamina Ebuehi- have been frequenting there during drop-in hours to gain rapport with those they aim to help. They both reported on the insight they have gained from attending these hours, Helena explained that ‘it is amazing to see their positive attitude to our campaign. They are so willing to learn’. There have been many chocolate making trial runs to ensure the asylum seekers are presented with the best recipe and ingredients to make an excellent quality product. Emily Raymond,
the project’s treasurer, expands on why these trial runs are crucial: ‘The first few batches of chocolate, well, let’s just say they didn’t go that well. We wanted to perfect the recipe ourselves before giving it to the asylum seekers.’ With the asylum seekers’ input, the students will also choose the best value packaging option. This is a campaign completely run by students, which with advice from a few local business experts, is sure to be a fine success. Nerves were running high on Wednesday evening as the students awaited the arrival of Tariq, Sobhisalem and Nahed. All their efforts in market research and allocating resources had culminated into this two hour session. It was the first time many of the students were meeting the asylum seekers involved, and there were apprehensions that they may not come. Despite these doubts, at 5:20pm three asylum seekers walked through the door, eager to learn. The men were apprehensive at first, believing they were being forced into the chocolate business long term. However, once it was explained they would be learning the skills to form any business, Egyptian Tariq exclaimed ‘now that is why I am here!’ The session consisted of a break down of business skills into four concise areas: market research, the constitution, finance and the business plan. It was explained that while the men would be helping instigate action plans for the last three areas, market research had already been conducted, so the results could be collated and used for the latter stages. Satisfied with this, both social groups sat down to discuss the importance of questionnaires if the asylum seekers need to formulate market research for later businesses. Brainstorming questions and praising each others ideas, some tension did arise over the issue of packaging. Due to language barriers, it appeared the participants could not under-
stand the importance of quality packaging. Luckily, after various gestures and demonstrations, they appeared to acknowledge that it isn’t always just what’s on the inside that counts. The men were asked to reflect on the session, where Tariq (definitely the most confident of the group) said he was looking forward to next week, ‘where they would be doing, not just listening.’ The following Wednesday the asylum seekers began to produce their own chocolate and continued with the business training. The chocolate making is supervised by Benjamina who states, ‘I was really apprehensive. So many things could go wrong, but it ran smoothly. I really hope the guys had fun.’ The training sessions will be run weekly with different aims and targets. Jess Waelchli explains how her friends have misunderstood the motivation behind the project. ‘Many people have asked me if I only joined Choconet so I can put it on my CV. They couldn’t be more wrong. I am part of this project because I want to help people in need. It is such a worthy cause.’ This project is just a pilot run. It is hoped that next academic year, with the same dedication and commitment, the student team can begin to help other groups in need. Laura Harvey reflecting on the project’s progress said ‘though this week’s training session did go well, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the project. Next year we hope to reach the stage where it can be run independent of our involvement.’ All the students hope that once the project is set-up, it can run with the help from independent bodies so that people can partake in it throughout the year without the limits of term dates. This truly is a fantastic project that shows how we, as students, can impact the wider community.
For more News visit www.the-ripple.co.uk
ould there be a title more intriguing than that? I was curious to know the details of a high-class escort’s high jinks and with every seat in the Firebug full, I was clearly not the only one. Miranda Kane (known as Melody to her clients) is immediately likeable, larger than life and very funny. Although her no-holds-barred material was far from PG, she never crossed the boundary into the vulgar; instead painting a real portrait of the ups and downs of being paid
Image by Flick r user S TE VE JOHNSELLER
LEICESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL a blossoming career. The majority of shows cost under a fiver and some are completely free, which means lack of money is no reason to miss out. The comedy festival brings together all levels of talent, so while we laugh at their jokes, they also benefit a great deal from our reactions and perhaps even end up with some new material in the process. Zoe Lyons explained the benefit from a comedian’s side of the tracks, saying that the variety of audiences makes you a better comedian – ‘the more you do, the more armoured you are, the more you have in your arsenal.’ Comedy is still a very male-dominated arena, but it seems things are moving forward. This year Leicester welcomed the likes of Jenny Eclair, Shappi Khorsandi and Holly Walsh, all of whom had sell-out shows. We hope to see more fantastic comediennes on programme for 2014, the more women out there making us laugh, the better. Quite understandably, the comedy circuit has not suffered in the economic downturn, with more and more people in need of a laugh. Paul Tonkinson told one of our team ‘people like stories and they like to laugh at their lives. It’s a fairly cheap night and it can really
give you a boost.’ So while we students slave away at our degrees, we should keep an eye out for all the fantastic opportunities unique to Leicester, making the most of the diverse variety of venues and shows on offer. Live comedy is a fantastic alternative to the usual bar crawl/O2 routine, and guaranteed to leave you feeling more satisfied. Sadly we’ll have to wait a whole year for the next smorgasbord of comedic treats, but in the meantime, go to that comedy night you’ve seen advertised… who knows, you could be witnessing history.
JOEY PAGE AT THE EXCHANGE BAR (which is charming by the way!) BY DAV I D S POE R RY
BY E M I LY GU S S I N
Image cour tes y of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival
o the Leicester Comedy Festival is over for another year and audiences flocked from all around the world to sample its delights. Since 1994, comedians have gathered here for two weeks in February, making it the longest running comedy festival in Britain and, according to the Guardian, one of the top five in the world. With 520 shows in 17 days and now sponsored by Dave, we predict the festival will only go from strength to strength. All around the city, bars, curry houses and hotels are transformed into comedy venues, our favourites including The Exchange Bar, The Crumblin’ Cookie and Firebug for their quirky, individual atmosphere. It’s bound to be a mixed bag, because for every sell-out performance at De Montfort Hall, there’s someone in a dingily lit cellar with one man and his dog for an audience. Whereas often we’re limited to comedy pre-recorded for TV such as Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, the festival gives us the chance to see a range of emerging talents, some outrageous, some downright embarrassing and some of whom are on the edge of
for sex. She compiled a list of her ten most popular ‘services’ as well as dispelling a few myths of the business, all intermingled with a series of cracking one-liners. It was refreshing to hear someone speak so openly about what is still a taboo and she was adamant that it was a career choice she made for herself, and one she thoroughly enjoyed. At £2000 a night, it seems Melody was pretty good at what she did, and although I paid a fraction of the price for an evening with her, it was worth every penny. Let’s hope she comes back next year!
Image cour tes y of Flick r user toel - uru
14 R I PPL E R E V I E WS
‘THE COIN-OPERATED GIRL – A SEX WORKER’S REAL LIFE REVELATIONS OF FRIVOLOUS BY M EGA N CA R N EGI E BROW N FORNICATIONS’
E DI TOR : E M I LY GU S S I N
arning: The next hour contains a total of two jokes. More sold on the reasonable ticket price than the promise of ‘magical surrealism’, my enthusiasm dipped momentarily as Joey Page bounced into view sporting an infuriatingly indie blazer and hat combo. Comparisons with Noel Fielding – who I like very much but few can successfully channel – never endear me to comics, and Trilbies don’t endear me to anyone. After two minutes of charming introduction patter however, I felt in safe hands, and I believed his reassurance that “I know I don’t look like I know what I’m doing, but I do, trust me”. The aforementioned absence of traditional jokes was in fact replaced by, among other things: a miniature play, an impromptu quiz, two games of rock paper scissors and a
sequence of nonsensical…I would say anecdotes, but that would imply even a flicker of truth graced any one of them. Let’s say absurd hypothetical scenarios. At small comedy gigs you can always pick out one self-proclaimed alpha, arms crossed and doing his best to prove that the skinny clown in the skinnier jeans isn’t funny. Soon though the two potential candidates for this role simultaneously cracked smiles at the idea of a former footballer volleying a butternut squash through a self-checkout machine, and thenceforth the room went gleefully along with Page. The material was fresh: no observational public transport shtick and no OTT sweary-vulgarity to distract from a lack of real comic precision. Invariably beginning with “I was sitting in my room thinking…” his apparent disregard for more conventional structure manifested itself
as an ingenious talent for dragging the audience into surreal but familiar hypothetical situations, where simple wordplay and an adorable faux-idiocy made hilarious what would have been tiresome in anyone else’s hands. His secret lay in his innate likeability – he seemed genuinely pleased to be there – and his full-blooded committment to the particularly unique brand of tomfoolery he was peddling. Behind the chaos he’s clearly worked hard at his routine, and learned to skilfully manipulate structural stand-up staples to tickle parts of your brain so many others can’t reach. I don’t do star ratings as they fail to convey the nuances between many alike acts, but my eventual cheek-fatigue points to a performance that’s well up there with any I’ve seen. Go and see him before he blows up and you can’t afford to.
For more Comedy Reviews visit www.the-ripple.co.uk
16 R I PPL E
R E V I E WS E DI TOR : E M I LY GU S S I N
DANCE IN LEICESTER THIS SPRING
f you fancy a treat this Spring, or you would like to add a spring to your step, Leicester has the dance you need! With some of the biggest British dance companies visiting Leicester on their nationwide tours, local dance celebrations and even dance films, it is the perfect time to watch a dance production. Balletboyz, an all male dance troup, will be performing The Talent 2013 at the Curve Theatre on the 15th & 16th of March. An audio visual world of digital animation, music and movement will culminate in Refugees of the Septic Heart by Tom Dale Company at the Curve on the 19th of March. If you want Leicester based dance
then Desi Masti presents X, a celebration of 10 years as a successful dance school creating some of the best Bollywood talent in the country, at De Montfort Hall on March 23rd. A film screening of the Bolshoi Ballet’s Esmeralda is on at the Pheonix Square Cinema on the 31st of March. There is also a film screening on the 31st of March at the Showcase Cinema de Lux in Highcross. This time it is The Royal Ballet’s wonderful portrayal of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with a tap dancing Mad Hatter and a giant floating Cheshire Cat. It is a fun and enchanting version of the well known story. Matthew Bourne returns to Tchaikovsky with the New Adventures production of Sleeping Beauty, which is at the Curve 9th – 13th
of April. Let’s Dance International Festival returns to Leicester in 2013 from the 29th of April to the 25th of May showcasing professional UK dance companies, hosting a Dance on Film programme and providing educational workshops and debates. As part of the season Blood and V4: The Seasons will be at the Curve from the 22nd – 25th of May. With genres, venues and ticket prices varying, there really is something for everyone this season in Leicester in the world of dance. Don’t forget further coverage of Dance in Leicester is on our website, www.the-ripple.co.uk Check out the review of Balletboyz, online soon.
BY EMILY GUSSIN
‘Curve’ by Flickr user nataliej
Tom Dale Company, ‘Refugee’ - Images courtesy of The Curve.
MATTHEW BOURNE’S SLEEPING BEAUTY BY EMILY GUSSIN
atthew Bourne is Britain’s best known choreographer, with his adaptations of Tchaikovsky ballets at the forefront of his international reputation. Bourne re-interpreted the classic ballets ‘Nutcracker!’ in 1992 and ‘Swan Lake’ in 1995, the latter of which is known for its ground-breaking all male cast. To mark the 25th anniversary of his company, New Adventures, Bourne has returned to Tchaikovsky to re-work the last of the three ballets he composed – Sleeping Beauty. As ever Bourne takes the well-known fairy tale and transforms it into a visually stunning, highly entertaining dance that appeals even to those who don’t normally watch dance. He has charmed the story into a new form that captures the original tale but twists and enhances it into what he describes as a gothic romance. The story spans three centuries, due to Aurora’s 100 year sleep, adding to the production through different styles of costume, setting and the dance itself. The progression of the eras is linked with the characters growing up since Aurora is born in 1890, the time of the original ballet’s creation, she is coming-of-age in the Edwardian 1911 and wakes up in the modern day. Bourne also adds an interesting
and heartfelt twist as the kiss that breaks her sleeping spell is from her teenage love interest, which creates the issue of him staying alive for 100 years in order to do so. The production as a whole is exquisite. it deserves watching it twice since there are endless beauties and intricacies to notice on stage. Lez Brotherston, the set and costume designer, has a talent for the detail in his work that completely transports
the dance to another world. The lighting, projections and conveyerbelt strips of the floor use technological advancement to make the production truly magical and seam-
less. Moreover a highlight of the play is the comedic value brought by the unruly baby Aurora, who is in fact a puppet! Not a creepy, old fashioned, simple puppet, but a brilliantly controlled, animated and really rather hilarious puppet. Yet for all the ingenious design and technology of the production, it is the dance that remains at the forefront of this wonderful piece. Bourne’s blend of classical techniques with his own contemporary style is also developed through the story as the movement progresses from the influence of classical ballet, to waltz with an injection of the ‘new dance crazes’ brought from America, to a free spirited style inspired by Isadora Duncan, to become more modern and bold. The ability of the New Adventures dancers is celebrated through Matthew Bourne’s choreography and together they tell a story so full of detail, even though there are no words. If you only see one dance production in your lifetime, make it one of Matthew Bourne’s. Although it will probably make you want to return to the theatre soon after! If you enjoy the theatre, this is a must see. Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is at the Curve in Leicester from the 9th to the 13th of April as part of its nationwide tour.
For more Reviews go to www.the-ripple.co.uk
HOUSE OF CARDS
the show’s stand out character is Congressman Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey. Underwood oozes all the charisma, disregard and dislocation of a power-hungry sociopath. Think Patrick Bateman in the oval office. But perhaps the best aspect of Spacey’s character is the fourth wall breaking speeches he occasionally throws in. What may have easily descended into a cheapening piece of script filler actually serves as powerful piece of dramatic irony that helps Underwood be every bit as enjoyable as he is repulsive. While it is true that Underwood’s presence hangs as a spectre across the show, he is supported by a cast of equally ugly yet beautiful people. From Robin Wright as Frank’s ‘frosty at best’ wife, to Corey Stoll as self-imploding Congressman Russo, and Kate Mara as the overly-ambitious reporter Zoe Barnes, Spacey’s supportive cast is strong. But as much as the series tries to give each character depth they all seem to be little more than pawns in Underwood’s grand scheme.
The overshadowing presence of Spacey is not the only issue with the show. The plot definitely suffers from a chronically bad pacing. There seems to have been a huge effort to make a twelve episode story stretch into thirteen. Underwood’s devilish plot also leaves you kicking yourself in the head when you realise how it all comes together, and for the intelligent amongst us (pretty much anyone) it perhaps becomes apparent a little too soon. Plus, making the show available all at once on Netflix doesn’t do it any favours because it encourages you to binge on six episodes at once. That said, House of Cards is still an utterly addictive piece of televsion that will leave you wanting more by the end and the problems of plot and character are only noticeable after a 6 episode binge. The show is a thoroughly engrossing insight into a filthy world of power-hungry politics through the eyes of the unsettlingly likeable sociopath that is Francis Underwood.
ebruary 14th. Otherwise known as Valentine’s Day; an occasion for couples to search frantically for the most romantic gesture they can conjure, often involving flowers, hearts and some form of candlelight. Alternatively a time for singletons to lament their status and thus dive into the nearest box of chocolates. However this year my attention was on V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. It all started in 1994, with Eve Ensler’s play ‘The Vagina Monologues’, which addressed women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse in an entirely new way. Response to the play was incredible and Ensler realised it was not only a moving work but a mechanism to move towards ending violence. In the fifteen years of its existence, V-Day has broken taboos, spoken the word “vagina” in 50 languages, called up stories about violence against women and helped activists across the globe to create and change laws. Yet still it’s not enough. The UN released figures showing that
one in three women will be beaten or raped in their lifetime – that’s over one billion worldwide. These figures stimulated the V-Day movement to create ‘One Billion Rising,’ a call for women and all the men who love them to walk out of whatever they’re doing on February 14, 2013 to strike, rise and dance. This year’s news has been awash with brutal stories of violence against women - Malala Yousafzai shot for demanding girls to be educated in Afghanistan, the death and gang rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi,
the Ohio gang rape – the campaign clearly came at a time ripe for change. What makes the campaign so powerful is that all women involved are linked by the same thing – violence. The campaign is not solely aimed at women, it concerns anyone who has a mother, sister, wife or girlfriend. Which, the last time I checked, is every single one of us. So what difference can hoards of women dancing in the streets make? On February 14th 2013 public spaces were reclaimed and diverse scenes
Image cour tes y of Flick r user Toban B.
Image cour tes y of Flick r user Photo Giddy
NO, IT’S NOT THE V-DAY YOU’RE THINKING OF BUT IT’S THE V-DAY YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT.
BY JAMIE BANKS
t seems that Netflix serves the sole purpose of watching reruns of South Park. This, however, has recently changed with the first Netflix-only series, House of Cards. It would be easy to call House of Cards a slick, sophisticated piece of political drama and it certainly is, but to do so really doesn’t do it justice. Not only is House of Cards an addictive and clever adaption of a study of Thatcherite politics set in contemporary US, it also stands as the first series you can watch back to back on release. The series starts with protagonist, Congressman Francis Underwood, being told he won’t be promoted to Secretary of State because of his ‘usefulness’ as chief whip. It is this rejection that becomes the catalyst for a thirteen episode piece of scheming in which Underwood uses, abuses and discards anything in his path to get what he wants - power, and lots of it. While the series does weave together some powerful, if not clichéd, characters and their stories,
E DI TOR : E M I LY GU S S I N
Image cour tes y of Flick r user Steve Rhodes
E V E N TS
Image cour tes y of Flick r user ginnerobot
18 R I PPL E
of elation erupted all over the world. The act of dance is, in itself liberating and doing so en masse is radical, especially in countries where protest is dangerous. The Rio carnival queen, the queen mother of Bhutan, nuns, zumba dancers, women in the Andes, Iranian teenagers in their bedrooms, thousands of Afghani women dressed in OBR’s scarves, prisoners and people in squares, stadiums and churches. Mass disruption makes people take notice; forcing them to look at the facts and engage with the much-needed shift in the status of women. There is no quick-fix solution for violence against women but VDay must be celebrated for inspiring people everywhere to address this universal and disturbing issue. V-Day happens once a year but the message and the work is most certainly perennial. There are copies of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ in the Library and if you’re interested in learning more or getting involved log onto www.vday.org. BY MEGAN CARNEGIE BROWN
For more Reviews go to www.the-ripple.co.uk
20 R I PPL E
E V E NTS
EDITOR: EMILY GUSSIN kebab outlets. As the name suggests, don’t go in for a chinwag…receive your chicken graciously and retire to a more hospitable location.
THE BIG LEICESTER CHICKEN SHOP REVIEW
Benny’s (Granby Street) Paradoxically too central to be of use to anyone living and clubbing at opposite ends of town. Most useful as a pit-stop on the daunt-
KFC (the world over) A reference point. If you’re dining sober, and therefore haven’t spent your money back at the bar, this is obviously the best choice. Value for money is clearly poor, and occasionally quality may vary from branch to branch. However, the colonel conquered the globe for a reason, in that for 99.9% of meals served, KFC wins all the above categories hands down, and the company’s special spice mix puts the taste head and shoulders above
“...they gauge how hungry you are from the glint in your eye...”
Image cour tes y of Flck r user vander wall
Image cour tes y of Flck r user Jack i
Chicken Run (77 Gravel St) Benefiting from an exceptional location by the bus station, this shop is essential for the post-Republic crowd, and preferable to nearest competitor TJ’s. One strength is the flexible menu which offers even whole chickens in a variety of glazes. Don’t bother with the pizza though, which loses pitifully to our feathered friend on value for money. The star of the show here is the chicken strips, but I give every single item a thumbs up for flavour and what I call ‘crispy-juicy balance’. The staff are warm and smiley, seeming to enjoy the revellers’ simultaneous enthusiasm and lack
perfectly crispy, and mouth-wateringly seasoned, which I imagine is the result of a good deal of love and hard work. Superb meat to fat ratio, but if I had a bone to pick (and conveniently I’ve just purchased one) the larger pieces may seem a tad dry. The chips too are excellent, and could almost be stolen from the McDonald’s opposite. SPECIAL FEATURE: Quantity – It’s as if they gauge how hungry you are from the glint in your eye, tearing up the rulebook to fill up the box to the brim. Outrageous chip generosity and the ‘Feast for One’ represents outstanding quality, variety and value.
IF YOUR FIRST THOUGHT AFTER LEAVING THE CLUB IS, ‘WHERE’S THE NEAREST POULTRY OUTLET?’ THEN WE’VE GOT THE DEFINITIVE
RUNDOWN OF THE BEST PLACES TO GET YOUR FIX!
dream of, one day, being a food critic. I will travel the world, paid to indulge in the finest gastronomy, from Michelin starred sophistication to innumerable backstreet culinary gems. However, in the same way that Sir David Attenborough didn’t, at age 10, leap on a plane and start poking rattlesnakes, instead collecting insects, I must start small. Recently a Channel 4 documentary covered a subject we students know well, The Fried Chicken Shop, in an attempt to explain how these steamy grease-bunkers are bucking the financial crisis. While the phenomenon still largely
remains a mystery, I’m writing in order that you can benefit from it. You doubtless think that it doesn’t matter which of the plethora you visit, that when drunk or too lazy to cook then chicken is chicken. But you’re wrong. I’ve done the research for you, and there is an astounding range; from poultry perfection to the clucking diabolical. Demand quality, and with the help of this guide, you shall receive. The Candidates: In-Out Chicken (London Road) – A simple but effective layout, very clean, with the piles of glistening, golden chicken
visible over the counter. Staff frosty, you’ll get no chit-chat, they’ll snatch your money with a stony grimace and ignore your impertinence in wishing them a happy evening. Years of chip-shovelling have taken their toll. Brilliant batter however, and the spicy wings are seasoned to perfection, not overpowering but enough to warm the cockles. The moistness is impressive, but potentially down to the fat content, and the grease levels verge on unpleasant. Chips are a non-event, potentially soggy and unsatisfyingly chilled. It benefits though from a location near Varsity and The Loaded Dog, and is superior to the neighbouring
of coherence. Topped off by a cosy layout, good hygiene and a good-natured, communal buzz in the atmosphere. Why not eat in and wait for the taxi queue to disappear? Maryland (Horsefair Street) Delightful decor, including a nice big window for people watching and through which the street lamps provide an almost romantic glow. Dangerously efficient but personable staff make for a welcoming and awe-inspiring experience. The well-oiled production line is something to behold. The batter is
ing town to halls trudge. And it is a pit. If you must visit, go big; the only reason to eat here is raw, excruciating hunger to the extent that you doubt you’ll make it home. Service speed varies from tortoise-corpse to athletic snail whether the joint is empty or rammed. In addition what they claim to have on the menu may well be unavailable. While admittedly the faces originally seem friendly, you’re so ravenous from waiting you ultimately just want them to WIPE THAT GORMLESS LOOK OFF YOUR FACE AND GIVE ME MY ****ING FOOD. In terms of quality it matters little to those who survive that far, but the batter could definitely be crisper, and the spicy wings will blow your head off, which ironically is what you’ll feel like doing.
the budget versions we students frequent by night. A more vigorous interview process also leads to a consistency in staff-proficiency that individual outlets just can’t match.
Verdict: Ultimately, I realise your choice will remain largely dictated by location. However, the shrewd among you have been given a gift, and if you have the choice I highly recommend the breath-taking efficiency, quantity and craft offered at MARYLAND, or CHICKEN RUN’s easy charm. BY DAVID SPOERRY
For more Reviews go to www.the-ripple.co.uk
22 R I PPL E
EDITOR: ALEXANDER FRENCH
Image by Flickr user Donetts
The Ripple catches up with The Cribs frontman Gary Jarman to talk greatest hits, Johnny Marr and why some fans don’t understand the meaning of their songs.
ince emerging with their self-titled debut album in 2004, The Cribs have gradually become one of the best-loved British guitar bands around. With five albums to their name and a best-of collection, Payola, being released this month, The Cribs are bigger than ever before. The Ripple spoke to singer/bassist Gary Jarman to hear his thoughts on where the band stands after a decade of existence. The band’s fifth album In the Belly of the Brazen Bull, released last year, was the first to be recorded by the three-piece Cribs line-up Gary and his brothers Ryan (singer/ guitarist), and Ross (drummer) - since the departure of former Smiths gui-
tarist Johnny Marr after just one album (2009’s Ignore the Ignorant). Jarman is enthusiastic about how the album was received, saying how happy he was with the critical reception and its entering the Top 10. It becomes apparent, however, that one of the most positive aspects of the album for him was returning to the three-piece line-up. Did the recording process feel different as a three-piece again? “We never used to think that – when people used to ask when Johnny was in the band, ‘Was it weird making this record?’, we’d be like, ‘No, it was just like any other record.’ But actually, once Johnny left, the writing of this record felt exactly like when the band first started. So I think what it did was add context to what the fourth re-
cord was, which was a collaboration record.” Jarman emphasises that he enjoyed working with Marr and respects him as a friend and musician, but the abiding impression is that he felt liberated by the return to a Jarman-only line-up. His response to a question on how the live dynamic differs is hugely revealing: “When Johnny was in the band Ryan was set-up in the middle of the stage... [so] Ryan had this new dynamic with Johnny, which I didn’t have, because I was over on stage-left and there was Ryan between me and Johnny. Obviously Johnny got a lot of attention and Ryan gets the majority of the attention in the band anyway, so for me it was such a weird situation as the lead-singer – which I am on at least
half the tracks we play live – I was seen as almost an auxiliary member at that point. Now that Johnny’s not there it makes more sense because I have that dynamic with my brother again. I also have, for want of a better word, my ‘status’ back within the band – I’m the singer again.” Speaking with Jarman, it is apparent that he’s not your average rock star – more thoughtful, erudite and principled than most. Marr recently spoke of his anger at the political apathy of today’s musicians and this is in keeping with his status as a former member of The Cribs. The Jarman brothers stand apart as a band with clear principles – as well as their anti-commercialism, they have spoken out on feminist issues. Jarman explains, “Our politics are to do with ethics really. It was hard for us, particularly when the third record (2007’s Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever) came out and we started to cross over... The genre had become more commercially viable and I found you started getting people in at the gigs who we didn’t have a great deal in common with. We toured with a lot of all-female bands and I would see displays of sexism or chauvinism towards them from factions of the audience, people who wanted to show up to our gigs and get drunk and slam-dance. You do feel a degree of guilt and responsibility as if you’ve brought it on by your actions and that somehow we’d started to attract that yobbish element. The thing that we always tried to give off was a very different message to that.” Do you feel your songs are sometimes misunderstood by fans? “Definitely – I’m not trying to paint myself as a protest singer, but there’s a certain degree of irony, like with the sort of audience that would heckle a band like The Slits [all-female punk/ reggae group who supported The Cribs in 2009], and then we would come out and play ‘Men’s Needs’ and
have a chorus of these people singing, “Men’s needs are lost on me.” And you’re just like, I don’t think you have necessarily paid a great
on quite an underground level, so Edwyn was the first person who tried to make us realise that it’s not too bad to look outside that.” This progression continued on Men’s Needs, produced by Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos: “He took it further because he’s had massive mainstream success. Alex had a great deal of belief in the band and he wanted us to have the same sort of mainstream success as he had. I don’t like saying it because it makes it sound like you’re blowing your own trumpet, but he thought we were a good pop band that hid behind noise a lot of the time, so he tried to peel away those layers and let the songs shine through.” Reflecting on The Cribs’ discography, Jarman selects their debut as the one he’s most proud of, “because it felt like the most perfectly realised record. We made exactly the record we wanted to make at the time. I feel like the second record is the one the fans like the best. I know the third record is probably the one that’s most popular, it sold the most, but to me it’s possibly my least favourite because of that. I just got so used to the songs at that point.” But, he decides, “the new one [In the Belly...] is my favourite one. I always feel like the new one’s the best because otherwise I wouldn’t keep doing it.” Asked for any memories of Leicester, arman recalls playing at now-defunct venue the Charlotte, revealing that the band once shot footage for a video there. The band’s set at the O2 Academy shortly after we speak epitomises the appeal of The Cribs: full of the band’s trademark energy, passion, and, of course, fantastic songs. That they are now a band so established that they have released a best-of is a fact to warm the hearts of those who still want their favourite bands to be something they can believe in. Long live The Cribs.
“The perversity is kind of entertaining in a way. It’s better than being mundane”
Image by Flickr user ~1ts
deal of attention to what you’re singing right now, you know? But the perversity of that is kind-of entertaining in a way. It’s better than it being mundane I suppose. It keeps us from being complacent”. These progressive principles have also impacted on the band’s sound – initially their anticommercialism fed into their determination to record albums in as lo-fi a manner as possible. It has been remarked that in terms of production the first album sounded like it was recorded in a tin can. It was only with second album The New Fellas (2005), and, particularly, third album Men’s Needs that their sound became more accessible. This was largely due to their choice of producers. The New Fellas, for example, was produced by Edwyn Collins, former lead-singer in Orange Juice: “He was the first person who tried to make us believe that we could do more than just be a lo-fi band. A lot of the bands we looked up to were very obscure and
Payola is available now via Wichita Recordings.
Read more from The Cribs at www.the-ripple.co.uk
24 R I PPL E
E DI TOR : A L E X A N DE R F R E NC H
incredibly long gestation, for better or for worse, m b v has finally made it into the hands of fans. Thankfully for those who might have worried that Kevin Shields would fall to temptation and make the follow up to Loveless simply louder can rest at ease; m b v is a superlative album which predictably goes against
Image by flickr user ~1
what people expected. Sitting at the confluence of Isn’t Anything and Loveless, m b v effectively takes off where the latter left off and builds on the My Bloody Valentine noise by incorporating (limited) drum and bass and jungle music, albeit with a one foot in an alternative universe approach. m b v is an astonishingly good album on par with its predecessors and represents the golden product which results from relentless perfectionism and a desire to push the dynamics of noise in as many different directions as possible. At twenty two years in the making, fans (depending on whether you understand Kevin Shields as notoriously intransigent when it comes to releasing new material) will be either expecting more or less from the group. But the album isn’t better or worse, only different to its predecessors. m b v will most likely be unpalatable to any newcomers but represents an outstanding proposition to anyone who’s previously listened to the band and has been eagerly awaiting its return.
Atoms for Peace AMOK
hom Yorke’s latest effort with his new supergroup Atoms For Peace is basically a means of following up his debut album with his excellent latest work AMOK. It’s an album full of the expected Radiohead staples; glitchy electronica, cryptic lyrics and, depending on which Radiohead album you compare it with, a sense of relaxation and ease with oneself. The King of Limbs disappointed me somewhat, considering how In Rainbows achieved the undeniable vulnerable human charm that the former became lost on. So it’s therefore reassuring to hear that AMOK is
BY M I K E CON V E RY
My Bloody Valentine m b v his review (like the album in question) is extremely late and abruptly short for the work that went into it. Kevin Shields has spent a long time doing not very much, so it is heartening to see that after an
NOTTINGHAM BlOC PARTY LIVE CONTEMPORY GALLERY
achieving a sound that represents a bunch of musicians performing and having an all round swell time. The album is complimented and augmented by the excellent guitar and bass work of Nigel Godrich and Flea (who was probably shirtless for the duration of recording). Thom Yorke’s latest is an album which, more than ever, borrows from the parent material like Can, Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk and Neu! than any Radiohead material postOK Computer. It provides easy (but layered) listening and simple (but complex) background listening, and is also a wider part of Thom Yorke trying to embrace the more human aspects of songwriting and construction that was so success-
fully mastered on In Rainbows. The album also represents an excellent way of exploring the material that built the band post-Radiohead with its superbly layered electronic textures-meets rock. AMOK is a really excellent work that may finally represent the end of a ridiculously long gestation process of Thom Yorke trying to be comfortable with Thom Yorke.
Following a two year hiatus, Bloc Party returned with their fourth album Four, in August last year. Patrick Reckitt witnessed the indie giants peform their biggest headline show to date, finding the four-piece reinviograted.
arls Court is packed; there are people crammed into every nook and cranny of the exhibition centre, all 19,000 of them waiting to see the last night of Bloc Party’s European tour. As I struggled, and failed, to find a place to stand that wasn’t a mile and a half away from the stage it was hard not to wonder whether or not the sheer size and scale of the crowd and venue might not be such a good thing. After all, there’s only so much indie angst a band can summon when you need opera glasses to see the stage. Luckily for me and the small town present, however, Bloc Party did not disappoint and the darkly anathematic opening duo of ‘So He Begins to Lie’ and ‘Hunting for Witches’ but paid to any doubts about the band lacking to force to play such a large venue. If anything, Earls Court seemed just right for their renewed posthiatus power; any trace of the more retiring art-rock of their 2005 debut Silent Alarm and 2007 follow-up A Weekend in the City has been distilled into something altogether more sinewy. Nowhere
is this more apparent than in the satisfying crunch of ‘Coliseum’ or the more melodic ‘Real Talk’, both from last year’s release Four, but even older material has taken on a harder edge. This came out in even newer material too, with ‘Ratchet’’s stream of talky lyrics backed by a guitar riff so sharp you could have cut yourself on it. The classic ‘Banquet’ sounded altogether more powerful than I remember from the record, especially when combined with a bulked out Kele Okereke asking the crowd if it had any fight left in it. More importantly, though, there was a sense of playfulness throughout; a cover of ‘We Found Love’ used as a launch pad into the exuberant dance number, ‘Flux’, turned the gig into something more approaching a rave with accompanying laser show. Not that the gig was completely without a softer, more melodic, side; the penultimate ‘Truth’ provided a welcome touch of sweetness that balanced out the relentless drive of some of the other material. All in all then, a sweaty, exuberant and immensely enjoyable return for the revitalised Bloc Party.
Image by flickr user ~1
Image by Flickr user ~1
To read the full article please go to www.theripple.com
MUSIC E DI TOR : A L E X A N DE R F R E NC H
AMNESTY AND BAGSOC HOST ‘FREE PUSSY RIOT’ GIG
Courtenay Forbes teams up with Amnesty and BAGsoc as they continue to pressure the Russian government for the release of Pussy Riot.
Image by f lick r user maitea 6
Image by Tom
n August 2012, three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot were charged with ‘hooliganism’ and inciting ‘religious hatred’ and were sentenced to a term in prison. Pussy Riot are known for their performances in public locations and for their political music. It was their performance in a Moscow Cathedral, criticising the Orthodox Church’s support of Putin’s government, that caused such hostile reactions. Amnesty International’s take on the situation is that these three women were wrongly charged and imprisoned, and are prisoners of conscience. Amnesty’s ongoing campaign to release them continues to put pressure on the Russian government. In support of this cause, the University of Leicester’s Amnesty society, in association with the Band and Gig Society (BAGSoc), organised a gig at Leicester’s Firebug bar. The night consisted of a lineup of various genres of music. First up was an acoustic set from Ashley Chittock. His relaxed set created a folky feel and was a great start to the evening. His cover of Take That’s ‘Back for Good’, dedicated to Pussy Riot, induced the perfect ambience. Next up were This Way Up, a rock band which brought lots of energy to the stage. The fourpiece delivered a set of loud, classic rock that pleased the crowd. Following them were Bengal Lancers, a popular local band who made the whole room dance. Frontman Harry Sullivan said about the night: “Being able to take part at any event is always wonderful, especially one that has a message against the restriction of music - something everyone can agree on.” The headliners of the night were Victory Gin. Think Jamie T crossed with Arctic Monkeys. Their high-energy set brought the perfect end to the evening. By the end of the night, it was clear that the gig had been a success. BAGSoc president Adam King said about the night: “We’re really happy with how the gig has gone. The turnout was excellent and the bands were great. We’ve got a sheet full of signatures in support of Pussy Riot and a fun night all in one!”
JUST FOR THE LULS BY JASMIN ELLIOT
ecently praised for “doing exciting things” by Zane Lowe, Luls have quickly made a name for themselves as some of the most talented and the least sulky indie boys you could ever hope to meet. Luls’ songs deliver an interesting mix of delicate melodies paired with anthemic heavy rock choruses, and it is this intoxicating combination that has fuelled their ever-growing fan base. Here’s what happened when The Ripple caught up with them before their gig at the O2 Academy 2. How did Luls start out? Adam Prendergast (vocals/bass): “Well, we knew each other through other bands of friends, really…” Shaun Paterson (guitar): “I’d seen Adam playing bass in a friend of mine’s band. I’d seen them before and I thought they were good, but I was told to go and see them again because apparently now they were so much better with this brand new bassist in town, so I went along to see them and I needless to say I was very underwhelmed. But a few years later, here we are…” AP: “I took pity on Shaun, that’s how it happened!” SP: “I’ve lived a very sheltered and sad existence and fortunately Adam brought light into my life! I invited him back to my bedroom to make sweet, sweet… music.” How did you come up with the name Luls? SP: “Well, we felt like we haven’t achieved very much in quite a long time, so our lives are a bit of a lull… You’re obviously not going to like this, you’re studying English, right? So you’re like… incorrect spelling. But obviously all the kids listening will know that spelling things incorrectly is f***ing cool. So, we thought drop the extra “l”, the kids will like it – get down with the kids! - and then
it went from there.” Are you aware that “Luls” is also an acronym for Leicester University Law Society? AP: “We actually are! If you Google it, it comes up first.” SP: “And, yeah, because of our love for Leicester University…” AP: “That inspired it initially! That’s why we’re majorly excited to be here.” Who would you say your biggest musical influences are? SP: “Well, we’re big fans of bands like Alt-J and Palma Violets, so sounding like them is no bad thing. But initially we were inspired by bands we heard on the radio – people like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were really big at the time, but the more we tried to sound
squirm…” AP: “The pressure was on!” Can you give any advice to students who want to break into the music industry? AP: “I suppose the most important thing is not to give up. It’s quite a difficult industry to become a success in so many people feel as though they should move on. If we’d have done that we wouldn’t be here, although we came close to it several times.” SP: “One good piece of advice I got was to not go crazy putting all your songs up online straight away or playing millions of shows unless you’re fully confident they’re the polished final versions. If we’d have done that I think we would have regretted it! After that you just have to cross your fingers and hope people like it.” Do you find it hard to believe that you’ve made it sometimes? AP: “I wasn’t aware we had made it!” SP: “Seeing as we started off making music in my bedroom, every now and then I do think “Am I deluded? Is someone humouring us by inviting us to come on tour?” ‘ What’s next for you after you finish the tour? AP: “We’ve got a new single coming out, and then, who knows? Stadiums!” SP: “Stadium tours, that is. Like seeing the canteen, changing rooms, being shown where Rio Ferdinand stood once…”
like them the less we did! So our style kind of developed on its own.” You’re touring with Spector, Splashh and Swim Deep at the moment; how is that going? SP: “Great, they’re all lovely lads. Spector came down to watch our acoustic set in the Square earlier – they did it under the guise of moral support but I think it was more to watch us
Are you big football fans then? AP: “Not really…wait, who’s the local team?” SP: “Leicester City! We’re massive Leicester City fans. And what’s the uni team called? [Turns to man working in the corner] Do you know? [The man replies: “I have no idea, I don’t work here.”] Team Leicester will cover all of them, I think. AP: “We love them! They’re our favourites. Go Team Leicester! Luls’ new single ‘Never Let It Go’ is out now via Killing Moon Limited.
For more Music go to www.the-ripple.co.uk
Image by K ate Wilk inson
26 R I PPL E
E DI TOR : J E S S ICA E A ST W E L L
A RTS A N D CR E ATI V IT Y
Ut Vitam Habeant By Rob Ward
Smoking in the Communal Back Garden
She spoke for half the class about a man Whose name she mispronounced, but she thinks she can Understand, because we are elite.
By Richard Green
Then swanned out with her phone in hand to call
It’s really very cold today. I mean very.
This lad she’d met at first year’s summer ball
I’m tickled by the wind unaffectionately.
To plan the night ahead, and that’s okay.
I’m carefully placed to miss drips from the drain, but soon it’s redundant as it starts to rain.
Still on the phone in Starbucks she explained
My phone is inside, too much effort to fetch.
That being poor she’ll have to drink unnamed
I’m left to observe the rough two-by-eight stretch
Gin, which is fine because we’re not elitist.
that is my back garden. I’ll paint you a sketch:
While walking home she handed flyers out To boys persuading them that they should vote
Tiles are arranged like a badly-drawn Escher -
For Tris, her friend, to prove we are elite.
industrial bricks thrown in for good measure.
Her friend (she’d heard) to make sure that she won
A hole in the artwork sprouts British-sourced weeds -
Had slept with her opponents (or led them on)
and is that an onion producing those seeds?
And made them throw the match, and that’s okay,
The gateway is growing the start of a tree
‘Cause Tris is truly best for the job, she thought,
which stops it from closing. Well, lucky for me,
The tactic’s common, and Tris is nice when not
That no-one’s concerned for the flats’ privacy.
A f***ing bitch, and we are not elitist. When she got home she ate some take-out food,
Y’know, when I asked ‘flat four’ he replied ‘back in the day there was this homeless guy –
Updated Facebook with her current mood
‘bit of a waster between you and I -
And skimmed a book, because she is elite.
living down there - past those stairs on the right!’
The lad had told her he’d been working long.
So maybe up there that’s his sock I can see,
In truth he’d left his Mac on a desk and gone
dangling somewhat unapologetically
Downstairs to talk with friends, and that’s okay.
from cut-up wire cables wrapped round a dead tree.
After a nap she emptied out her purse And stuffed (having donned her outfit - ‘Slutty Nurse’)
(The original phone-line, a technician said,
Her cash en bra, for she is not elitist.
which some scally has nicked - for strong Wi-Fi in bed).
They drank ‘til twelve with fifteen others or more
The garden’s alright - though Sam broke the alarm -
Then serried taxis took them to explore,
so I will stop moaning my middle-class qualms.
Uncowed, the night, because they are elite,
I’ll borrow a rake and I’ll sort out the scrub.
But rather than see some sight they’d never seen
But wait, what is that, hanging there up above?
They spilled into a club where they had been
Nailed next to Sam’s window there’s a rusty saw
Some twenty times before, and that’s okay.
that has yet to plummet down from storey four. Image by Flickr user chakchouka
They sang the songs they’d sung before and drank The drinks they’d drunk before and didn’t thank Image by Flickr user Djinn76
28 R I PPL E
Their stunning luck that they were not elitist. She slipped her hand inside the boy’s white toga, Shouted that she’d demonstrate her yoga, Then threw up on his feet, and that’s okay. Because we are Elite, but not Elitist.
30 R I PPL E
veryone is aware of the mitigating circumstances form. It gets sent out along with timetables and is always mentioned when the enforcement of strict deadlines is brought up. To qualify as a mitigating circumstance, the issue must be ‘a serious or significant event which is unforeseen and unpreventable and could have significantly impaired the academic performance of a student’. One of the examples of a mitigating circumstance is a ‘psychological illness’. So if you suffered from an illness which meant that you could not manage your day to day life, surely this would count? Well, apparently not. I recently heard of an instance where a student went to explain their absence to a tutor, based on these issues, with the intention of filling out a mitigating circumstances form. They offered to provide evidence from a professional. However, this turned out to be unnecessary, as the tutor in question proved to be so unsympathetic and dismissive, that the student felt too humiliated to bring attention within the department to their illness again. I feel that this response is wholly inappropriate, and as a result I would like to provide here some very brief information about depression. First of all, around 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in a year. 1 in 4 women will be affected by depression at some point in their lives, along with 1 in 10 men. Secondly, mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain: almost 9% of people meet the criteria for diagnosis. These statistics suggest that this is
L I F E ST Y LE
EDITOR: SAMANTHA TAPSON Image by Flickr user canonsnapper
STUDENT RUN SELF HELP BY HANNAH CRANE In February 2010 the Student Run SelfHelp (SRSH) group was set up to help those who suffer, have suffered, or know somebody who is suffering from an eating disorder. With the help of a local eating disorder charity, Nicola Byrom set up the group whilst studying at Nottingham University, having gone through the ordeal herself. Anorexia nervosa most often emerges at the age of 16 or 17 and affects approximately 1 in 250 women and 1 in 2000 men. Bulimia nervosa is even more common than this with roughly five times as many people suffering from it in comparison to anorexia, 90% of its sufferers being female. Eating disorders are commonly misconceived as deriving from a desire to be thin. However biological, personal experience and other influential factors can all contribute to a person’s perception of eating habits. The death of a loved one, sexual/ emotional abuse, family history, stress and difficult familial relationships can all be attributed to the development of eating disorders.
VIKI MANSFIELD WORKS THROUGH THE FACTS an issue which cannot be ignored. Some of the symptoms of depression include: continuous low m o o d ; low self-
“1 IN 4 WOMEN WILL BE AFFECTED BY DEPRESSION... ALONG WITH 1 IN 10 MEN.” esteem; feeling guilt-ridden; feeling irritable; and
feeling anxious. There are physical symptoms such as change in appetite/weight, and socia symptoms such as neglecting hobbies and contact with friends. Other related mental disorders often share these symptoms to a varying degree. One of the main problems concerning mental disorders is that they are not fully understood by professionals. It is unclear why people are affected, although there are biological factors which often play a role. Furthermore, some mental health diagnoses are controversial, as they can result in people being described and treated as a result of their label, rather than their individual conditions. Despite the issues however, I hope that it is clear that mental
disorders are an illness. I now have two important points to make. The first point is that it is clear that mental disorders can be debilitating, and I request that you treat anyone who is suffering from such an illness with compassion, as you presumably would with anyone suffering any other illness. The second point is that if you are suffering yourself, there are ways to get help. The Student Counselling Service can provide a wealth of support, from directing you to different resources to offering actual counselling. Their page is: http://www2.le.ac. uk/offices/ssds/counselling. Depression is real, and support is available.
Spread the word Meetings: Alternate Thursdays, 6-7pm Attenborough Tower, Room 204 starting on Thursday 7th Feb. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us on: Leicester@srsh.co.uk. For more information: www.srsh.co.uk
Starting university is one such instance of a stressful environment, especially for those who are unaccustomed to living away from home, not to mention with new people. This displacement can make settling into a routine difficult and may leave some feeling that their diet is the only thing that they have control over. Regardless of the cause, the SRSH exists to help those who are struggling with an eating disorder and need a friendly, safe and non-judgmental environment in which they can discuss their concerns and any issues they may have. The SRSH is organised by volunteers who offer the necessary help that people require to take the first steps to recovery.
For more Lifestyle go to www.the-ripple.co.uk
32 R I PPL E
L I F E ST Y LE E DI TOR : S A M A N T H A TA P SON
CHOOSING A CAREER PATH BY VIKI MANSFIELD
WHAT CAN DEADLIFTS DO FOR YOU THAT TINY PINK DUMBBELLS CANNOT?
In the current economic climate
you’re applying for a job. If you can find examples of when you used your strengths, and try and work on your weaknesses, this will really help you when it comes to talking about yourself. For instance, if you find public speaking difficult, and you join the public speaking society, not only is that something to talk about but it also shows an employer that you were willing to take initiative. If you are one of these “wellrounded” individuals previously mentioned, then I guess this is irrelevant for you. However if you are like the majority of people, and you don’t know what to do with your life, then hopefully this is of some use to you.
The image that most have in mind when they think of women lifting weights is that of the steroid-taking, vascular female bodybuilder. The fact is, unless you’re getting ‘hormonal help,’ you aren’t going to put on massive amounts of muscle from strength training if you’re a woman. You simply don’t have enough testosterone. Zoë Smith, an Olympic weightlifter, holds the British record for clean and jerk.
it is not enough to
Image by Flickr user photologue_np
have a 2:1 degree
at the same time as giving you experiences to write about on your CV that will make you sound like that elusive “well-rounded” being we’re all supposed to aspire to be. Log onto my careers to find opportunities. https://mycareers.le.ac.uk/student/login.html 5. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. It sounds stupid but don’t write it off; self-reflection can be invaluable when
hen it comes to women’s fitness, many think the only way is cardio; or, at a push, high repetition arm exercises with dumbbells the weight of soup cans. Many women are afraid that the moment they touch a barbell, they’ll morph into something resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger in his heyday. And given that even celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson is peddling this myth with her “no woman should lift more than 3 lbs,” motto, it’s hardly surprising that so many women shun heavy weights for fear of getting bulky.
That’s right, this woman can lift 121kg overhead – over twice her bodyweight! I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t describe her as ‘bulky’: quite the contrary! While so many women are afraid to go near weights, lest they turn into The Incredible Hulk, the irony is that weightlifting can cause the reverse! The coveted ‘toned’ look is actually the appearance of muscle beneath a thin layer of fat. To obtain this look, one needs to build muscle and lose fat. It’s a simple as that. Training with heavy weights builds muscle. What’s more, muscle requires more energy to merely exist than fat does; once you have it, you become a lean, mean, fatburning machine! And that’s not the half of it. Weightlifting is amazing for preserving bone density: good news for women in particular, as declining oestrogen levels as we age increases the risk of osteoporosis. Gwyneth Paltrow is an example of this in action, as she was diagnosed with osteopenia, potentially a precursor to osteoporosis, at age 37. Inter-
estingly, Ms Paltrow is/was one of Tracy Anderson’s clients. Make of that what you will. Now it’s not all about how you look. Undue attention is often paid to women’s appearance and while this is old news, it can be a contributing factor to poor body image and self-confidence. Weightlifting induces a shift of focus. You’ll find that you think less about how you look and more about what you can do. When you lift more than you thought you ever could, there’s a sense of power and a feeling of “I can do anything!” Your body is no longer the enemy but becomes your ally in beating your most recent personal best. Those legs that you weren’t such a fan of before? Those are the legs that let you squat! So, back to those tiny pink dumbbells. In the words of Fred DeVito: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” If you’re genuinely struggling with them, that’s fine, everyone has to start somewhere. Otherwise? Put them down and pick up something heavy!
Image by Flickr user Garen M
some idea, or an exact idea about what you want to end up doing. Despite the fact that the careers centre masquerades as a dentist’s waiting room, the staff are friendly and they will actually help you. They also do practice interviews, which are useful to everyone. 4. Volunteer. It’s one of the best ways to work out what you do and don’t like,
t’s true: eventually we will have to leave the safe haven of University of Leicester, with all its quirks, (such as the hand-dryers in the library cafe toilets being placed before the toilet roll, which is surely helpful to no one) and make our way in “the world of work”. An irritating phrase, yet this description points out the fact that one of the reasons we go to university is to become more employable. Whether or not you have an idea of the career you want, here is a short list of things to do which will hopefully help you out. 1. Visit www.prospects.ac.uk. There is a chance that, like me, you will be told that you are well suited to being a waste disposal officer. However, at least that’ll give you a heads up that unless you have a burning passion for this career, you might want to change the way your life is heading! In all seriousness though, the website gives you entry requirements, a detailed job role description and an average salary for many job roles- some of which you might not have considered. 2. Go to the careers centre and pick up some of the resources they’ve got there. Whilst I do (unfairly) begrudge the careers service for taking the place of the second-hand bookshop, there are perks: they are giving away free books! Admittedly the books are on careers, but free stuff is always good, and the books are handy too. 3. Book an appointment to see a careers adviser. Talk about having no idea,
Image by Flickr user NS Newsflash
BY KATIE MASTERS
34 R I PPL E
E DI TOR : JA M I E BU RTON
VARSITY: A CAPTAIN’S VIEW The Ripple caught up with the Boat Club, Lacrosse and Men’s Rugby Union to find out how they plan to spearhead another successful Varsity campaign for Team Leicester. By Jamie Burton Jonny Pryce: Men’s Rugby Union First Team Captain
“We are deep into a training programme which is designed to cover all aspects of fitness from weight sessions in the gym to sprint sessions on Victoria Park as well as some aqua-aerobics! I think some of the lads are enjoying the pool a bit too much!”
“The event is as much for the university and the students as it is for the players, and to make the evening a great culmination of the Varsity fixtures against De Montfort it is important to get as many people to Welford road as possible. We have been working with Leicester Tigers to promote the game to some of their fans and have been invited to a quiz night as well as, most re-
“The expectations for varsity never change: a win at all costs. The lads were devastated about the defeat last year and we are determined to make amends. The manner in which we lost was not acceptable and has been the main driving force behind our success this year. It will not happen again.” “There are a number players in the squad who have the ability to light up the pitch and excite the crowd; the big boys upfront don’t get a lot of attention (and in most cases rightly so) but failed medic Andy O’Sullivan has showed this season that even at prop he can pull the strings. Alex Wilson is a flyer on the wing and has the ability to score some sensational tries.” “For me Varsity is all about the university coming together and showing support for each other. It is a great occasion to crown the end of the sporting season, where all teams and the whole of the student body can unite and support the university against our sworn rivals!” Laura Beardsell: Lacrosse Club Captain “Having been promoted to Midlands 1A after the 2011/12 season, the Men’s team have performed well against more challenging teams and are currently third in the table. The Women’s team are also third in their league and outside of BUCS our mixed team are second in the Midlands.”
“This will be the first ever Lacrosse Varsity in Leicester due to DMU’s club being relatively new. Unfortunately DMU are unable to source enough players for a Women’s or a Mixed Varsity, but the whole of Leicester Lacrosse Club will be supporting the Men’s team in the build-up, and cheering them on come the 16th March.” “Although we are quietly confident, the two teams have never played against each other before so anything could happen! It promises to be an exciting match and whom better to watch go head-to-head with DMU than Men’s Lacrosse - University of Leicester’s 2011/12 ‘Team of the Year’?” “Due to most members never having played Lacrosse before university, our top goal scorers tend to be third and fourth years, with Jacob Cuddeford, Dan Atkinson and James Burgoyne often appearing on the score sheet. Conceding as little as possible is also crucial, this responsibility falls to senior defenders Hugo Franklin, Sam Pritchard Smith and Jack Laughlin, who have consistently put in an overall good performance this season.” “My favourite thing about Varsity is the wide variety of sporting events taking place. It’s a fantastic opportunity to watch sports that you might not otherwise experience. I would definitely recommend watching the Lacrosse Varsity. Men’s Lacrosse is a fast paced and physical sport and I can guarantee there’ll be plenty of goals to watch; fingers crossed they’re scored by Leicester.”
Mark Jeacock: Boat Club Captain “We have had a mixed season so far. The novice crews have been doing very well with their training and are coming to grips with the difficult technique involved in rowing. They are now focusing on their fitness and strength ready for Varsity. The senior crews had a frustrating time at BUCS head, with both the men and women just coming one place from being in the top eight crews nationally (the requirement for BUCS points). However, the intense training program is going well and all crews are preparing for the rest of the season, including Varsity of course.” “All crews; Men/Women, Novice/Senior have intense training programs that keep them all busy every day. We are now selecting the crews for the races and practising racing starts.” “We have won for the last three years in a row, the expectations are to make it four.” Image courtesy of Chris Milsom
“Due to last season’s success (both the first and second team were promoted), this season’s expectations were about consolidation and survival in the new league; however both teams have exceeded expectations and are fighting it out at the top of the table. The team has put in some strong performances against
the likes of Warwick and Nottingham who are traditionally some of the best sides in the country.”
cently, walking on the pitch at half time of the Saracens match which was a great experience for some of the new lads to get on the pitch for the first time.”
“The Senior Mens 8+ is always the big event of any rowing race. But, the Novice crews are always exciting to watch, as anything can happen. Races start at 2pm on 13th March on the canal in Leicester (the Soar).” “The rivalry and competition between the two universities makes the races all the more exciting. Varsity is one of the best races to compete in and win during the season and is the highlight for the novice crews especially. The celebrations after are always something to remember too (although most forget).”
For more Varsity coverage visit www.the-ripple.co.uk
36 R I PPL E
SPORTS E DI TOR : JA M I E BU RTON
MAKING A RACKET
MICHAEL FROST SERVES UP HIS THOUGHTS ON THIS YEAR’S TENNIS VARSITY.
s we near the end of February the butterflies creep in, the excitement begins to brew, and the anticipation starts to become unbearable. Varsity is fast-approaching, and for the tennis club, this fixture is bigger than ever. It is fair to say that this season has been difficult for all three BUCS teams. The men’s firsts have struggled to cement their position in the Midlands 2B league, a league filled with high quality teams from a number of great sporting universities. But the fight is far from over and the firsts have proven that they belong in the league, the highlight being a 10-2 demolition job of Cambridge second team. So as a club we are fully confident that the spirit of captain Rob Humphries will lift the team out of a relegation battle. The man himself was pretty honest when giving his views of this campaign, while also predicting the team would finish in the bottom two in the league: “It has been a frustrating one; we started the season with
camaraderie in the team, the ability and the fighting spirit will be enough to pull them out of danger and as a club we will be backing them the whole way. Despite mixed results on the court, Joint Club Captain Umutoni Thuku-Benzinge is positive that the club have made big strides this academic year: “There have been some tremendous changes made this year, performance wise with the separating of recreational and performance based training being one of them. It has made it easier for our members to come to sessions that best suit their level of play which is great and more convenient for everyone.” The view that the switch in training focus has benefitted the club was seconded by other club captain Martin George who believes that this decision has provided the club with “an increasing number of dedicated performance players to choose from for our BUCS matches.” Therefore Varsity is a massive part of the season for all three of our university teams as we all feel that we have something to prove. We will not only see it as a way of venting the frustrations of a difficult season, but a way of proving that we are still the number one university tennis club in Leicester. The importance of Varsity is summed up perfectly by George: I am not sure if I can describe how important it is. It is a case of pride for the club, and affirming that a superior standard of tennis occurs at the superior university! For Humphries, there is also the added personal motivation that comes with the clash: “I see this Varsity as being the pinnacle of my sporting career and my defining moment as captain.” As far as our rivals are concerned, the men’s first team are bottom of Midlands 2B, and having drawn with our second team earlier on in the season
they will believe that they can put up a good fight against our very own first team. We on the other hand, think otherwise. We are also eagerly anticipating the rematch of the Leicester women’s first team vs. De Montfort women’s first team with the latter currently excelling in the same league. However, this simply enhances the desire of our women’s team to get revenge over our rivals for their victory earlier on in the season. The tennis club as a whole has been extremely successful in the Varsity fixtures of recent years. Last year the men’s first team drew on a technicality, the second team won comfortably and the women’s team were narrowly beaten. Will we beat De Montfort in this year’s Varsity? Well, to quote the great Theo Bird, the best social sec the club has seen for many years, “Tennis first, questions later.” Predictions: Rob Humphreys – “12-0 of course, do you really need to ask that?” Umutoni Thuku-Benzinge – “Team Leicester to win all the way! I am going to be a bit biased so the better Uni and team will win. I am sure there will be some great tennis though. I know on the women’s side DMU have a few strong players on their team so things could get a bit heated. Martin George – “I am quietly confident, with the men’s seconds having had a very competitive match with DMU firsts earlier in the year. I would not be surprised if we whitewashed them, although we should not be complacent- they may have some extra players up their sleeves!” Myself – “Comfortable Leicester Win.”
GET INVOLVED WITH UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER TENNIS CLUB! MARTIN GEORGE What would you say to anybody thinking about joining the club when they arrive at university? “Do it! We cater for players of all students, and have coaching sessions to suit all levels. There are extensive opportunities to play at a range of competitive tiers, and the chance to participate in a thriving social scene. The doubles teams have given members of an intermediate standard a chance to play competitively; an opportunity that has increased member participation throughout the year.” What do you have planned for the club for the rest of the year? “In addition to Varsity we have both our annual singles and doubles summer tournaments lined up, and a few more socials which will hopefully be combined with the other university racquet clubs.”
“It’s a case of pride for the club...affirming that a superior standard of tennis occurs here”
a fantastic win, but have struggled since. We were missing our star player for a couple of games with clashes with seminars which hurt us and we had an unfortunate exit in the cup in horrible weather conditions.” As second team captain, I am proud to say that we have undergone somewhat of a revival in the second half of the season. In the lead up to Christmas things were looking bleak, with a number of narrow and unexpected losses we sat rock bottom of the Midlands 3B league. However, the faith was always there and we knew we had a team capable of competing at the right end of the table and this has begun to shine through in our recent performances. 10-2 wins over one-time league leaders Lincoln firsts and most recently over Northampton firsts have added to our momentum as we aim to finish in the respectable mid-table position that we currently hold. The women’s first team have also struggled in Midlands 2B but in a tight league they find themselves in a position where picking up a few wins would see them climb the table quickly. We are once again confident that the
UMUTONI THUKU-BENZINGE What would you say to anybody thinking about joining the club when they arrive at university? “Don’t hesitate, join it! We have a vast range of opportunities to get involved in from representing the club in BUCS matches, gaining a tennis qualification and even joining our socials. Our new Facebook group page has been a hit with regular updates and makes interaction with our members pretty frequent, we even have a twitter account! Follow us @UoLTennis”
For more Varsity coverage go to www.the-ripple.co.uk
E DI TOR : AJAMIE L E X A NBURTON DE R F R E NC H EDITOR:
BY GEORGE HUDSON
ltimate Frisbee came over to the UK less than half a century ago. It showed up like an awkward, new kid with a weird name shows up to their first day at school. Firstly, it is probably best to point out that ‘Ultimate’ is the worst name for a sport I have ever heard. Secondly, people that can’t play other sports, often think they can play Ultimate (they can’t). Throw in the fact that it’s American and that hippies freaking love it and you’ve got a pretty hard reputation to shake. I will start off by saying that I have played for around five years. I have been a fresher, club captain, open captain and a coach at University of Leicester Ultimate. During my time playing I have learnt that: un-athletic and badly co-ordinated people are not good at Ultimate. I have also learnt that d-bags don’t fit in with the sport or the club. Before I talk about the University of Leicester Ultimate team I will make a prediction: if you have been at this university for more than a year you will know an Ultimate player, be it your friend, housemate, girlfriend, boyfriend, LUSH radio presenter, Ripple writer, or your team mate on another sports team.
Images courtesy of Edd Carmichael
38 R I PPL E
The University of Leicester Ultimate (Frisbee) Team was founded roughly twenty-five years ago and has been through many transformations since. It started as the “Leicester Lions”, quickly became the “Leicester Lemmings” (which is a terrible, terrible name) and somewhere along the line settled on the “Leicester Jesters”. As the sport grew rapidly across the UK, teams emerged from every university; however Jesters would only start becoming known to the rest of the UK Ultimate scene at the turn of the Millennium. The Jesters current character probably owes itself to the 2008/2009 committee. Henry Lau, Greg Mackenzie, Millie Parker, Josef Holden and Alex Talbott were the key figures in a generation that saw the club get serious and competitive, taking the club to Mixed and Open Outdoor Nationals, which are the pinnacles of UK Ultimate for university teams. Furthermore, they encouraged emerging key players
to take the club to the next step resulting in Alex Charlton, Tom Crane, Robert Harland, Oliver Radini and myself making a big push for new recruits. Like any sport there are peaks and troughs when it comes to the turnover of good players against
“If you have been at this university for more than a year you will know an Ultimate player...” university matriculation and graduation. However, unlike other sports it is unlikely that anyone arrives at university with much knowledge of how the game is played. Jesters have only in the last year had a coach and so it has always been up to the captains to bring fresh faced, non players, up to a standard where they can compete at national competitions against the best teams in the UK. For those of you that have read this far and still do not know how the sport is played, I urge you to Youtube it. In the meantime, it might crudely be described as a non-contact (like basketball is noncontact) sport that requires players to move the disc into the opposing endzone in order to score, without moving while holding the disc.
cle predicting Jesters not only to do well, but to easily qualify for a Division One spot. This means being one of the top three teams in the strongest region of the UK. Loughborough, Warwick and Nottingham are among a few teams that regularly qualify but there is a certain amount of confidence within the club that, having beaten all these teams this season, they can do it again when it counts. Open Coach William Withall, when asked about chances of qualification said “I do not think that anyone will be accepting anything less than Division One, for me it isn’t even an option at this point” and that is good enough for me. Winning, whilst fun, is not everything for the club. As most competition takes place at weekend tournaments as opposed to week day leagues, there is a lot of socialising that comes with competing. When you travel with, stay with, drink with and play with a team over a few days you quickly go from strangers to seriously good friends. Whilst I know that the Jesters team resent the hippy stereotype that comes with the sport: it would be safe to say that there is a lot of love in the club. Alumni remain very close to the team and graduates regularly play together at tournaments throughout the year. The take-home message is simple: The University of Leicester Ultimate team are a good bunch of people that always beat DMU and represent the university at the highest level as often as any other team at University of Leicester
In 2008/2009 the club grew from being able to field a fairly successful single team at tournaments to having a roster of over fifty players. Quickly the Jesters became one of the top six teams in the Midlands which meant regular qualification for nationals in a number of divisions. In the last year Jesters finished seventh at ‘Open (mens) Indoor Nationals’ and second at ‘Mixed Indoor Nationals’. The outdoor season has just got under way and UK Ultimate Outlook has already released an arti-
For more Sport go to www.the-ripple.co.uk
40 R I PPL E
E DI TOR : JA M I E BU RTON
NEW! TEAM LEICESTER DOLL
Sick and tired of your old tattered DMU doll? Well, good news, The Ripple has the answer. For a limited time only, turn that action figure into our new, special editon University of Leicester Varstiy Supporter! Yes that’s right, it’s back by popular demand! In anticipation for Varsity, your Student can now be transformed from a toy that’s running low on batteries – into a high intensity, loud and passionate Action Man! Brand New Head! Any original student action figure features a head that can quickly get crowded with boring course work. So try this replacement! Simply unscrew the original head, and replace it with a new shiny patriotic Supporter Head - complete with positive mindset and oodles of enthusiasm to help shout The University of Leicester to victory.
Make Some Noise! University of Leicester’s Student Action Figure now comes with BRAND NEW clapping function for extra noise. No longer will your Student have a mobile phone glued to their hand. Now *with the
IMPORTANT REMINDER! To make Student Action Figure compatible with Lecturer Doll, please remember to wash off before the next morning.
Accessories such as drums or air horns - sold separately) Show Some Style! Apply NEW costume accessories to give your action figure a special Varsity mode finish. Costume changes NOT ONLY keep your action figure warm, BUT ALSO transform your Action Figure with Authentic Supporter’s Uniform, using official University of Leicester’s colour scheme and branding. (Guaranteed to make your Student Action Figure the envy of other action figures. Like Barbie and Ken… Or anything DMU )
NEW FEATURES include... A switch that activates popular catchphrases, such as: Leicesterrrrrrrrr” and “Who are ya?” (Taunting optional). Plus Eagle Eyes that swivel from side to side, keeping up with pitch action! Colour It Up! Accessorize your Student Action Figure - Transform it into a patriotic fan through use of Maroon and Green face paint - located in your box (beneath shot glasses and Pro Plus).
TEE that this feature is louder than all rival manufacturers! (Pro-DMU chants will NOT be supported with this model.
press of a button* your Student will activate rhythmic clapping to accompany your figure’s catchphrases.
On Your Feet! No longer will your Student action figure be ‘bed bound’. NEW stable legs allow our Supporter model to go from sitting to standing in a split second. PLUS legs also switch to ‘Stamping’ mode to add extra cheering.
University of Leicester GUARAN-
BY SION CROWLE
Photo courtesy of University of Leicester
For more Varsity coverage visit www.the-ripple.co.uk
Get more Ripple online! the-ripple.co.uk
The Spring 2013 edition of The Ripple!