THE ISSUE 219 - FREE
The independent voice of St Andrews students since 1997
ST ANDREWS, 8 March 2018
YOUR CANDIDATEs, your choice
All candidate photos, including those on pages 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, taken by: Sammi Ciardi
Hardware or Software Problems? We Can Fix Them!
1 CITY RD ST ANDREWS
Arts and culture
The independentEditor voice email@example.com of St Andrews students since 1997 Deputy editor firstname.lastname@example.org Web editor email@example.com Production manager firstname.lastname@example.org Video editor email@example.com Illustration chief firstname.lastname@example.org Business manager email@example.com Business team firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Sinclair Joint Editor-in-Chief Olivia Gavoyannis Joint Editor-in-Chief Tom Williams Deputy editor Georgia Anderson Web Editor Annie Smith News editor Max Waller Viewpoint editor Rebecca Feng Money editor Kenalyn Ang Features editor George Wilder Events editor László Szegedi A&C editor Seoras Lyall Sport editor Sammi Ciardi Photography chief Gabby Wolf Illustration chief James Fox Senior copy editor Amy Elliott Senior copy editor Sasha Veliko-Shapko Business Manager Elisa Jockyman Roithmann Video editor
Inside the paper
08 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
GO OUT AND VOTE!
Voting is now open for the 2018 Students’ Association elections. For this issue we’ve devoted our entire news section to covering the elections, analysing the manifestos provided by all the Sabbatical candidates. Our Devil’s Advocate in this issue addresses the validity of having six sabbatical officers. Our approach to analysing the manifestos is simple. Having a close working relationship with the Sabbatical candidates during the year means we understand what is within their remit and what hopefuls for their positions should be able to achieve in their tenure. Sabbatical candidates have a habit of biting off more than they can chew when it comes to promises. We aim to
cut through the noise and give a clear and concise analysis of what is achievable and what simply is not. As in previous years we have not endorsed any candidates, but merely provided our reflections on their manifestos and whether what they have suggested is plausible and has the best interests of students at heart. It is pleasing to see all but one of the Sabbatical positions contested, especially in the cases of the Association President and Athletic Union President. To see five and four people running for the positions respectively is incredibly encouraging and shows that people are not only engaged with student politics in this town, but incredibly passionate about making a
difference. A similar level of competition is found within the SRC and SSC elections as well as in those for Class Presidents. It is important that we all have dedicated students representing our interests and needs, from those within the academic departments closest to us, to those of wellbeing, accommodation and sport. We are privileged to consistently have one of the highest turnout levels in our student elections and with such a broad field this year, every vote will count. Voting remains open until 5 pm tomorrow. Our message to you is simple: go out and vote!
Full List of Candidates Association Association Chair: Matthew Lansdell, Hannah Raleigh, Sneha Nair Alumni Officer: Markus Lee, Sam Huckstep, Olivia Sutton Community Relations Officer: Morgan Morris Environment Officer: Lauren Davis, Lea Weimann LGBT+ Officer: Zelda Tobias-Kotyk Lifelong and Flexible Learners Officer: Sarah Ramage
SRC Accommodation Officer: Jack Rogan, Lucy Allatt Arts/Divinity Faculty President: Gianluca Giammei Loyermening Postgraduate Development Officer: Courtney Aitken Member for First Years: Avery Kitchens, Polina Sevastyanova Member for Gender Equality: James Wearmouth, Sophie Skilling, Isabella Smith Member without Portfolio: Guy Roulstone, Anna Ulanova, Robyn Wells Member for Racial Equality: Tomisin Animashaun, Thea Schiet Member for Students with Disabilities: Emily Muller, Anna Lloyd Member for Widening Access & Participation: Ciara McCumiskey Postgraduate Academic Convener: Jorge Campos, Ashley Clayton Science/Medicine Faculty President: Alisa Danilenko
ssc Broadcasting Officer (STAR): Laura Mueller, Minoli De Silva, Euan Elder Charities Officer (Charities Campaign): Niamh McGurk Debates Officer (UDS): Matthew Singer Member without Portfolio: Shaina Sullivan Student Music Officer (Music is Love): Murray Robinson, Casper Alexander Sanderson Performing Arts Officer (Mermaids): Rowan Wishart Postgraduate Officer: Cameron Rice Societies Officer: Kevin Phelan, Sarah Julia Greenberg Volunteering Officer (SVS): Adam Lord
School Presidents Art History: Meredith Loper, Lara Xenia Mashayekh Biology: Roisin Gendall Chemistry: Simone Gallarati, Ailsa Edwards Classics: Rebecca Hachamovitch, Gemma Goldsack, Joel Moore, Taabish Rayain Computer Science: Sven Struan Finlay, Stacey Izmailova, Martynas Noreika Divinity: Rachel Jane Miller Earth & Environmental Sciences: Evan Margerum, Abigail Robinson, Joshua Grinham Economics & Finance: Christin Schaeffer, Cheryl Chan, Joshua Patrick Kennedy, Rachel Williams, James William Matons, Calum Kennedy English: Jessica Armstrong, Rachael
Murray Film Studies: Lyndsay Townsend, Sophia Hill Geography & Sustainable Development: Sophie Tyler, Rhiannon Potts, Carly Shea History: Sahil Ali, Archibald Batra International Relations: Hyewon Han, Kat Lawlor, Jorgen Borchgrevink, Rachael Herz Management: Philip Caraci, William Higgs Mathematics & Statistics: Timothy Bailey, Kamilla Rekvenyi, Mathew Carson Medicine: Michael Rimicans, Kay McGillivray Modern Languages: Eleanor Black, Amy Bretherton, Ahmed Youssouf Philosophy: Sophia Rommel Physics & Astronomy: Adam McRoberts, Amy Suddards, Cameron Middleton, Craig Wells, Sam Lavery, Mathew Carson Psychology & Neuroscience: Carla Plessis, Winnie Li, Jessica Eva Campbell-May, Sasha Veliko-Shapko, Izzy Haslam Social Anthropology: Rikke Nedergaard, Yasmin Jayne Gray
Language Convenors Arabic/Persian Convenor: Anya Nicole Moffattova Comparative Literature Convenor: French Convenor: Ciara Munnelly German Convenor: Kristel Knudsen, Louise Abigail Cameron Russian Convenor: Chloe Sides Spanish Convenor: Ingrid Vogt, Max Gilligan
The Saint Student Newspaper Ltd Printed by Advertise with The Saint Visit us online c/o St Andrews Students’ Association Discovery Print email@example.com thesaint-online.com St Mary’s Place 80 Kingsway East, Dundee @saint_business Facebook: The Saint St Andrews, Fife DD4 8SL Twitter: @thesaintonline KY16 9UX Tel: 01382 575999 The Saint is an entirely independent newspaper, run by students of the University of St Andrews. It is published fortnightly during term time and is free of charge. The Saint is not affiliated with the University or the Students’ Association. The text, graphics and photographs are under copyright of The Saint and its individual contributors. No parts of this newspaper may be reproduced without prior permission of the editor.
News editor: ANNIE SMITH Deputy editors: Brooke Siegler, Grace Gressett, Nojoud Al Mallees, Samantha Phillipp firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNABELLE VON MOLTKE
TOM WILLIAMS Deputy editor
Annabelle von Moltke undoubtedly has the best interests of students at heart, as her manifesto reflects. She presents many good ideas, some in less depth than would be expected. Nonetheless, if elected Association President it’s possible that these details could be ironed out.
Ms von Moltke has a clear understanding of what her remit is in terms of accommodation. Her experience in organising and campaigning could serve a useful purpose in lobbying the University for affordable accommodation.
Ms von Moltke promises to promote awareness of the rights of a tenant. Although it is an admirable pledge, much of the information and support she describes is already provided by the Students’ Association. Whilst she acknowledges this, Ms von Moltke needs to elaborate on how she would improve the support.
Ms von Moltke asserts that she will encourage student activism by organising a range of “inspirational speakers” to address the student body. Whilst a good concept and plausible in practice, it remains to be seen who these speakers will be and how exactly they will benefit student activism.
TOM WILLIAMS Deputy editor
Dominic Nolan’s manifesto is mostly clear and concise. He comprehends the powers and constraints of the role and his policies are subsequently achievable. However, it remains to be seen how his role as president would be impeded by his job as a councillor. While some may see this as an advantage, it must be noted that conflict of interest would arise in both his roles at some point while president. Mr Nolan will be forced to abstain from the Associations’ democratic process as he already has on University matters as a councillor.
When addressing housing, Mr Nolan seems to understand the powers and constraints of the president. His
knowledge of as well as influence over the HMO ban in town would serve the student body well. Mr Nolan promises to lobby for greater diversity of room-type availability. As the University – particularly Residential Business Services – are not obligated to fulfill this request, it will be difficult to achieve. Previous Association presidents have learned this though their inaction; but not for lack of trying.
Mr Nolan’s widening access promises are somewhat a continuation of the same: supporting outreach and ambassador programmes that currently exist. He suggests we focus some of these programmes in Dundee. Whilst commendable, much of the reason a tremendous amount of outreach doesn’t exist in Dundee is because many students prefer to move further than “down the road” at university.
TOM WILLIAMS Deputy editor
Association Presidential candidate Paloma Paige is undoubtedly devoted to improving student welfare, as evident in her manifesto. Some points may be difficult to achieve, yet they are not completely implausible. Optimism and ambition should be encouraged and expected from her candidacy, but it will be nearly impossible to achieve everything she has set out to accomplish. Many of her promises require further clarification, and perhaps slightly more thought, although for the most part they are adequately explained and sensible.
Ms Paige correctly identifies the is-
sues that the Association President should be fighting for in regard to the issue of Brexit. However, like many prospective candidates, the method by which she would do so is not appropriately addressed. Simply asserting that “Erasmus programs and other study abroad programs should be maintained” unfortunately does not change anything regarding the issue. Ms Paige goes on to say that she will support continued collaborations with the National Union of Students. However, this is slightly perplexing given that the University of St Andrews has not been affiliated with the National Union of Students since 1975. However, Ms Paige does offer an interesting proposal of establishing a forum to create graduate jobs in Europe and in the United Kingdom
Perhaps, these speaking events would be better characterised as student participation, as there is no doubt there will be considerable student interest in these events. Ms von Moltke’s idea to introduce an informal cafe or pub office hour is a good idea and may help the student body to become more familiar with the sabbaticals who represent them. However, for the sake of professionalism and obtaining accurate feedback, hosting these in a pub is not an option that should be considered.
The section of Association President Activism pertains mainly to Brexit. Aside from addressMr Nolan could be more innovative in his methods of tackling access.
Refreshingly, this is a section that rarely appears on the manifesto of any candidate for president. Whilst the Students’ Association is a relatively transparent organisation, access and engagement can be difficult. Any transparency measures would be a great asset to the student body and will likely have widespread support. Mr Nolan’s accountability plan focuses around four key points: (1) to introduce a recall option for Sabbaticals; (2) to create a portal for petitions; (3) to livestream all SSC meetings; (4) to attach minutes of meetings to emails. A recall option would be a difficult to implement and perhaps open to manipulation, nonetheless it adds an extra layer of accountability and may prevent candidates performing a complete U-turn on their manifesto promises. A portal for petitions is a reasonfor international students. This is an ambitious proposal, but it could also be possible with collaborations from the Careers Centre.
In terms of alumni, Ms Paige says that she will be working with alumni to help increase the number and range of scholarships available to students. This is not impossible, but it is slightly optimistic and will be undoubtedly difficult to achieve. However, if Ms Paige can secure a scholarship for those less fortunate than ourselves, it will be an admirable and highly commendable achievement.
Ms Paige further describes in her manifesto that she will work to encourage students to participate
ing students in a quarterly email regarding progress on Brexit, nothing stands out as a new or innovative method of campaigning on behalf of students here, nor is it mentioned. Ms von Moltke must inform her electorate of the means by which she will achieve her objectives. However, it must be noted that Ms von Moltke correctly identifies what she will be campaigning for, all of which are interests of the student body subject to the Brexit negotiations. The sentiment of this section is well founded and has student interests at heart, although does require more work.
The issue of mental health is one that Ms von Moltke has clearly thought about considerably. She proposes that lectures be held on the issue of mental health in collaboration with the University. This may be possible and might offer students a different and perhaps more comfortable environment in which to be educated on the issues of mental health. However, Ms von Moltke also calls for a review of Student Services. Whilst perhaps a good idea, this may not be feasible as, like many other candidates, Ms von Moltke has confused her remit with that which belongs to the University. If her promised review or further training of staff were to take place, Ms von Moltke would have to work with or lobby the University to do so, which is not made clear in this manifesto.
able and attainable promise that would likely serve the student body well. Again, like the recall option, this aspect of transparency may be open to improper use and manipulation. Nonetheless, the positives of its implementation would undoubtedly outweigh the negatives. Turnout at Joint Council and public meetings of the Students’ Association usually consists of the members and a few correspondents for The Saint, with rare exceptions such as the strike motion of last month which demonstrated how unprepared the Association was to deal with student participation. Currently, The Saint acts as the Association’s greatest tool of transparency when it comes to these meetings. Livestreaming these sessions will be easy to implement and only serves to ben-
efit the student body. Lastly, while attaching minutes to emails is a great concept and will undoubtedly work, perhaps the focus should also be on the time from meeting to public release. Often it may take a considerable amount of time before minutes are made available to students.
in the local community with the Community Relations Officer, although this is in part already the role of the officer, perhaps by implication more could be done to raise awareness by encouraging students. Ms Paige also states that she will work with the DoWell to make Raisin and May Dip safer. No further details are offered on how it would be made safer, however.
upon. Presumably, this is a system that allows students to choose which days of the week and which meals they pay for and receive. Ms Paige needs to make this clear and has not put considerable thought into the matter. But nonetheless, a similar system already exists at other prominent universities, such as some Cambridge colleges. Other achievable goals would be the reformation of the wardenial system, or greater postgraduate and undergraduate integration. Increasing the number of stops on the night bus is also a good idea — although Ms Paige implies that the Association is responsible for the night bus, when it is in fact the University. She does not provide information as to where the further stops would be. However, she is right to recognise those who do not live on the route would undoubtedly benefit from the security of the nightbus.
Ms Paige has strong and realistic ideas when it comes to accommodation. All of which she will not be able to accomplish without student support and placing significant pressure on the Residential Business Service. However, many of her ideas, such as a flexible hall meal plan, need to be expanded
Mr Nolan promises to “heal” tensions between town and gown. It must be acknowledged that Mr Nolan, when compared with other candidates, has significantly more name recognition in St Andrews because of his position as councillor. This could help the Students’ Association be more proactive in addressing the concerns of local residents. However, Mr Nolan does not establish policies by which he would do this; further clarification is needed.
TOM WILLIAMS Deputy editor
Association President candidate Pia Szabo has a tremendous amount of experience both inside and outside of the Union, an asset which many would imagine would help her considerably if elected, as it proved to be in the past with previous Association Presidents and other Association candidates. However, the manifesto provided by the candidate lacks coherence, clarity, and, most of all, professionalism. Ms Szabo needs to understand that she is applying for a job with considerable responsibility to the student body and University, one which the students are paying her to do. Within the manifesto, Ms Szabo’s good ideas and points are lost in their lack of development and understanding. Additionally, statements such as “I also have a cool Matric card idea,”
urging people to vote because “she’ll dye her hair back to brown,” and to “stay tuned for a sexy manifesto” have no place in any real world job application - so why should they here? This lax attitude to such an influential position epitomises the negative perceptions students have of sabbaticals. Ms Szabo would do well to develop her ideas more coherently. Although there is no doubt that she is an experienced candidate with a remarkable track record throughout her time at St Andrews, unfortunately this is not reflected in her manifesto.
For what Ms Szabo describes as the “hot topic” of this race, she provides a very brief response on how she would work to tackle the crisis. Whilst she states that she will make paths to pre-existing bursaries more clear — a fair assertion — she provides no methods by which she would do this.
TOM WILLIAMS Deputy editor
Unfortunately, The Saint does not have the word count flexibility to adequately address all 107 points of Mr Groves’ “peoplefesto”. Instead, only five will be analysed because they have serious undertones, unlike the remaining 102 proposals. The election of Mr Groves on his “peoplefesto” — he appears to either be running for a joke or as a protest candidate — would undoubtedly cause a crisis within the Students’ Association. Furthermore, it would call into question the validity of the role of Association President and the ways
by which we elect our candidates, particularly our president.
Asides from renting advice, there is currently little support for those students renting with private accommodation from the Students’ Association. Mr Groves suggests the creation of a page on the Union website where students in private accommodation can report faults they have or find with their property. If the landlord does not take appropriate action, Mr Groves suggests that “the Union will enforce some laws.” While this is a dubious assertion, advice could instead be offered to
Perhaps most worrying is that she states that she will not raise accommodation prices, primarily because the Association President has no direct control over this and the decision instead lies with the University’s Residential Business Services. It is therefore clear that Ms Szabo has not adequately researched the role she is applying for.
Ms Szabo asserts that she will increase accessibility and accountability if elected president. However, some methods that she proposes are already available. One proposal, the introduction of a Sabbatical calendar, is already available on the Association Website. If perhaps Ms Szabo means to make this more accessible through social media promotion, which she mentions later on in her manifesto, this would be a good step forward. The sentiment of this students by the Association in these situations. This policy is undoubtedly not well thought through and is presented briefly. Nonetheless, it is a good concept in principle, although it would take significant time and organisation to implement for it to be successful for students and serve its purpose.
Mr Groves also promises — if enough interest is provided — to welcome more indie bands to the Union for students during Freshers’ and Refreshers’ Week. This is not the mandate of the Association President, as it is more so suited to the Director of Events, but it would be a relatively easy promise to keep. Mr Groves does not assert how he will gauge student opinion either in
08 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com section is highly commendable, although Ms Szabo needs to be more clear in her plan of action.
There are some good ideas here, but as seen with other sections and issues, they are only briefly touched upon. Ms Szabo proposes a “town hall” style monthly session in the realm of making student voice heard. However, much would have to be done on the promotion of this. Student attendance of Joint Council meetings, which students are free to attend, is already low. Furthermore, Ms Szabo suggests adding a poll to the weekly emails of the President. This could be an effective method of gauging student opinion and is a comrelation to these events, epitomising the briefness of his policies and proposals as candidate for Association President.
Mr Groves further asserts that he will increase the budget for STAR Radio. Mr Groves has a vested interest in the matter: as an organisation run by the Students’ Association it has a few problems to solve; audio quality issues leave much to improve upon in terms of listener experience.
Mr Groves says that he is in support of remaining unaffiliated with the National Union of
mendable idea. Nonetheless, as the addition of polls warrants only a brief mention in Ms Szabo’s manifesto, more clarity is necessary here, and it must be said that steps will have to be taken to ensure that this does not fall victim to unfair manipulation.
It is clear that Ms Szabo wants to get alumni more involved within the University. Nonetheless, the methods by which she proposes to do this are legally dubious by her own admission and are therefore clearly not properly researched. Ms Szabo proposes the sale of personal contact information of Universityalumni from societies to the University as one way to improve alumni involvement. Even if the legality of this is permissible, this is an action alumni would undoubtedly find to be an invasion of their privacy, thus making it counterproductive to ensuring good relations. Students, or NUS. Considering that there is no sudden urge to return the University of St Andrews’ membership to this union, and the last time the University held affiliation was 1975, this should not be a difficult proposal to achieve. Mr Groves further suggests making a pie chart, detailing exactly where his tuition fees go. Although the pie chart may be somewhat ambitious, the sentiment of more transparency regarding the distribution of students’ fees is a commonly held wish. Thus, if elected, campaigning for greater transparency would not be unrealistic for Mr Groves.
athletic union president FIONA MURRAY
ANDREW SINCLAIR Editor-in-chief
Having had two years of presidential experience with the Basketball club, Fiona Murray believes she has the experience and passion to be a successful AU president. In her manifesto she says that she wants to provide the same opportunity for all clubs so they can all receive the recognition they deserve and be successful.
Ms Murray emphasises the need to expand face-to-face communication within the AU by having more office hours and making Club Excellent Forums more of an open committee discussion. She also mentions having committee training sessions early on to make sure committees are fully prepared in September. Greater communication should ensure that small grievances are more
easily ironed out, whilst the open committee discussions should ensure all clubs benefit from each other.
Mental health is a key focus for Ms Murray. She aims to provide Scottish Mental Health training for all committee members so they can better help struggling teammates and to set up closer links between the DoWell, Student Services and AU. While positive measures, it is unclear whether Student Services has the resources to provide such consistent support to the AU on top of its current commitments.
Ms Murray feels students deserve more information about finances, performance sport criteria, and recognition for non-BUCS sport teams. She wishes to establish a closer relationship with the Department for Sport. Whilst she mentions being more vocal about these issues, there is no indication on how more information could be provided to students.
Finding a new kit provider is high on Ms Murray’s priorities, and she recognises the numerous factors which influence this. She suggests the decision will be influenced by club presidents and captains sitting on a panel to discuss issues before a final decision is voted on. She wants to choose a provider that caters to “a core group of teams.” The idea of a panel to discuss the new provider would recognise a broad variety of issues, but selecting a provider that would focus on a core group could leave specialist clubs without appropriate gear. While voting on the final decision widens those involved in the decision, if the AU president receives feedback from their kit panel, are they not best placed to make the executive decision regarding kit providers? A vote could leave smaller clubs stranded or result in a heavy financial burden on the AU.
Ms Murray proposes to tackle the issue of transport by making driving
tests available during revision week, pre-season and Freshers’ Week, so clubs will have sufficient drivers by the time the BUCS season kicks off. Getting more drivers is a solution to many transport issues, but it is unclear how Ms Murray would make driving tests available during revision week this year as the current incumbent would still technically be in charge.
Ms Murray suggests creating a more established Varsity with the University of Dundee to further boost the Saints Sport image, reducing transport costs and offering more housing flexibility. Giving fixtures and competitions a rivalry and edge is a great move and gives members of clubs across the University another big occasion to work towards and take pride in, as well as giving fans more to cheer about.
To make the sporting experience more accessible, Ms Murray would put more emphasis on improving recreational sport experiences by promoting and expanding the current options. Making sport more accessible, especially for clubs with fewer facilities and coaching staff, is a positive move for the whole student body.
Ms Murray has a vision for improving the sporting experience, including several well thought-out initiatives. However, some of these ideas lack any real specifics and her policies in regards to kit appear a little short-sighted and potentially risky for smaller clubs who could be left without appropriate attire come the start of her tenure.
08 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
ANDREW SINCLAIR Editor-in-chief
Gabriel Schechter is a fifth year Psychology student who boasts five years of experience in the Ultimate Frisbee club that he believes make him an exceptional candidate for the position of Athletic Union President. Having been Freshers’ reprensentative, tournament and transport logistics representative, and captain during his time in the club, he has seen Ultimate Frisbee grow from a small, recreational club to a competitive one that has won a BUCS championship and been the second highest BUCS scorer last year. Personally, Schechter represented Great Britain at the World Championships this January. He believes that experience is one of his key assets as a candidate and his concise manifesto is broken down into three well thought-out policy areas.
Mr Schechter’s key mission for kit is to make the bidding process as clear
to sports clubs as possible. With the tender coming up for renewal at the end of this academic year, Mr Schechter wants to inform clubs about how the process works and ensure that every club’s individual needs are met when securing a new contract. He stresses the need to balance affordability with the issues of quality and sport-specific kit requirements. Having experienced three different kit providers during his time at St Andrews, it is clear the matter of kit is important to Mr Schechter, and by keeping everyone in the loop, he should ensure the best deal is reached when securing the next provider.
Mr Schechter’s ambitions with regards to accessibility are varied, but all of them have students at their heart. Mr Schechter suggests he would implement an online booking portal, similar to that available for library study spaces, to modernise the booking process for AU facilities, whilst also introducing a gym capacity
ANDREW SINCLAIR Editor-in-chief
AU Presidential hopeful Jenny Ritchie has a vast sporting experience at St Andrews, representing both the swimming and hockey team; it is that experience which she believes will assist her in the position. Having been first XI hockey captain this year, she believes she has the necessary leadership and communication skills to improve the sporting experience at the University.
One of her key ambitions is to improve the promotion of sport within St Andrews, which she hopes will lead to increased engagement from the student body. To do this, Ms Ritchie aims to “promote all clubs equally” and educate on the values of the AU. She also suggests more advocacy for fitness classes and gym sessions. In making
these sessions more well-known, she also wants to upgrade the accessibility of the gym with a “buddy scheme,” where new members are paired with more experienced gym-goers to reduce anxieties and benefit gym experiences. Ms Ritchie also suggests increasing the scope of the Saints’ media team, possibly live-streaming events, which she hopes will create a culture that celebrates all sports clubs. Live-streaming sports fixtures is a excellent means of increasing exposure, although there are logistical issues of covering all 60 clubs on which she does not elaborate. Likewise, whilst the buddy system is a commendable suggestion, it is unclear how this would be implemented.
Ms Ritchie’s experience with two different clubs is evident from emphasis on developing communication between herself, the AU, and individual clubs. She stresses that each club has
ANDREW SINCLAIR Editor-in-chief
Veteran of Trampoline and Parkour clubs, AU Secretary Ruby Wright believes her experience with the AU makes her a suitable candidate for AU President.
Ms Wright’s wishes to Saints Sport more accessible through a close relationship with the new Director of Wellbeing, so the work done by the Students’ Association and AU are more in tandem. She also seeks to emphasise the cheaper “Club Access” memberships to ensure everyone gets good value from the University. Ms Wright vows to take a “stronger stance against sexual misconduct.” To emphasise the importance of preventative action, she suggests implementing “Got Consent?” workshops through Saints Sport.
Such a heavy focus on wellbeingis important and it is clear that Ms Wright has a vision for inclusivity and athlete safety.
Along with introducing a “You Said, We Did” style feedback system at the Sports Centre, she suggests making the AU Executive and Student Sport team more known so when issues arise, people know who to contact. The improved feedback system would let students offer advice, akin to the library’s system, and help the AU improve student experience. By making the AU more visible, it should ensure problems are easier to solve.
Ms Wright cites the need to “prioritise affordable kit” for students without neglecting quality or taking weaker deals. Whilst pricing is a key factor, other issues require addressing. Quality has been a problem for clubs across
tracker. In an interesting step, Mr Schechter suggests analysing the data from the tracker to provide students with data about gym trends, allowing them to plan better the best time to visit the gym to maximise their use of it. He also makes provisions for integrating other student societies into the work that the AU does. Mr Schechter cites the examples of other Universities that do student dodgeball competitions amongst other activities to engage students and suggests that this is something he would strive for if he were to be elected AU President. Indeed, by modernising the booking system it would make external bookings by societies much easier and would open channels for greater cooperation between the AU and interested parties. All of these suggestions for making AU facilities more accessible are student-focused, aiming to provide a bespoke sporting ex- AU perience for the entire
St Andrews community.
varying needs, and to solve this, her door will always be open. She also seeks to develop this through meetings with heads of clubs throughout the year. Being as transparent as possible in communications sounds fairly straightforward but it has been a problem for previous AU presidents. Ms Ritchie’s commitment to maintaining the early meetings could well see those issues alleviated.
tle avail and it is not clear how she would approach this differently.
Ms Ritchie wants to establish a working relationship with Student Services where struggling students are encouraged to do sport or attend the gym as an outlet. She also talks of creating an “established pathway” between the AU, student services and module coordinators so students can enjoy sporting commitments without any anxiety. Creating a relationship with Student Services is a new idea and an encouraging when more students are struggling with mental health issues. However, missing classes for sport has been addressed in the past to litthe University, whilst the lack of adaptability often means smallers clubs have longer to wait. These seem important to Ms Wright as well, but their absence from her manifesto could be a cause for concern.
Booking and transport
Ms Wright aims to offer hourly transport bookings for cars, ensuring people have access to them when they need them so more inexperienced drivers can take them out for practice sessions before driving to away competitions. She also seeks to increase the transparency of booking facilities so that clubs know how slots are allocated and which venues are available. Such a clear idea on streamlining the booking of facilities is commendable and should solve some logistical issues.
One selling point throughout Ms Wright’s manifesto is her experience on
Another broad area of interest for Mr Schechter is making the AU a much more transparent body. He says that as AU President he would attend town hall meetings to make himself a much more visible figure within the community, whilst also instigating the creation of an AU AGM at the end of the year, where clubs would be informed about budget allocations and which decisions were made throughout the academic year. Furthermore, having helped Ultimate Frisbee develop into a performance sport during his time as captain, Mr Schechter has a strong relationship with Assistant Director of Student Sport Pete Burgon. He aims to use this relationship to create a “clear performance sport pathway” for clubs that want to follow Ultimate Frisbee’s trajectory. The final decision would rest with Burgon but this scheme, Mr
Ms Ritchie references the issue of kit, arguing the needs of every club should be considered at the end of the academic year. This would involve focus on those “niche and specialist sports” whose needs are often not met by the typical kit-providing packages. Whilst focusing on specialist clubs is important to creating a collective sporting environment, no mention is made of how shewould involve herself in the negotiation process with the kit providers themselves.
Ms Ritchie concludes her manifesto by discussing transportation, which has consistently been one of the most important issues for the AU President. As the AU now has a fleet of its own the AU board and the continuity she could provide from incumbent AU President Tom Abbott. In a more bold idea, she also suggests evaluating the need for the AU to be accountable to the University Court, because very few members of the Court, in her words, “know our situation.” The continuity from the previous President would allow for the implementation of more long-term measures, but it may also be a slight stifler to imagination. Likewise, her comments regarding the University Court are interesting but there is very little indication of how such a review would take place, or how the AU would be able to extricate itself from the University Court.
Ms Wright also proposes working with the Transition and Environment Teams at the University in order to reduce the AU’s carbon footprint by cutting down
Schechter believes, would show clubs the clear steps they need to take to be considered as a performance sport. Greater transparency for the AU is always a laudable ambition, and Mr Schechter’s desire to make himself a much more visible presence within the town should help to improve channels of communication for clubs that have issues during his term. Similarly, creating more clear guidelines for clubs that seek performance sport recognition should go some way to easing the divides that currently exist between those clubs that are performance sports and those that aren’t.
Whilst perhaps more concise than some other manifestos, every idea in Mr Schechter’s platform is well thought-out and clearly directed at improving the experiences of students. His experience with the issues of accessibility and kit shines through and his passion for improving the sport in St Andrews is abundantly clear throughout his manifesto.
vehicles, she puts her emphasis on streamlining the booking process for transport to make it easier for clubs. Similarly, she also seeks to address issues of student safety by making the driving test easier to apply for and a less daunting experience. Making the tests easier to take and streamlining the booking process are both commendable suggestions for making transport more accessible, but again there is not much clarity of exactly how she would go about implementing these measures.
Overall, Ms Ritchie’s manifesto may be a little lacking in concrete details but it is full of enthusiasm and provides a real vision for what she thinks sport should be in St Andrews. Her focus on the wellbeing of students is clear throughout and her experience of sport at this University puts her in good stead to improve the athletic experiences of fellow students. on energy usage and using less paper within the AU. She also speaks of introducing an environmental policy to the AU’s current legislation as one does not currently exist, which she believes will “provide a framework for successful sustainability.” Sustainability is a key objective for the AU to work towards and Ms Wright clearly has a vision for doing so. By introducing legislation and working on group initiatives, it would feasibly lead to the AU making real progress.
Ms Wright’s manifesto is detailed and full of ideas to improve the sporting experience for students at St Andrews. Her focuses on the environment and sexual misconduct are unique and worthy of attention, whilst she has a clear vision for streamlining transport and the booking of facilities. Her focus on kit pricing may be an issue for some smaller clubs, however it is clear through her experience with the AU and her policies within her manifesto that she has the interests of students at heart.
08 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
DIRECTOR OF STUDENT DEVELOPMENT & ACTIVITIES
ANNIE SMITH News editor
Director of Student Developments and Activities candidate James Hall presents a manifesto aimed at helping societies reach their full potential and students getting the most out of the University during their time here. He presents a long list of roles denoting his experience with societies, including Vice President and Box Office Manager for Mermaids, Treasurer for Comedy Society, and Glitterball Convener for Saints LGBT+. He has also worked for the Byre Theatre and as a University Ambassador across Scotland.
Mr Hall wishes to improve two-way communication with students by holding office hours, in the Union and
other University buildings, at times throughout the day, ensuring all students who have queries will be able to attend. He will also work to make all Sabbatical Officers more transparent by organising visits to every University hall each semester and expanding “Free Fruit Friday” to informally interact with students. Mr Hall wants to reconstruct the online events calendar for societies, making it more prominent to benefit them. He wishes to move away from Facebook and email as main methods of communication and utilise other platforms. One proposal for transparency was to use Instagram Stories to show days in the life of a Sabb.
Mr Hall would offer to meet with every society at the beginning of the
ANNIE SMITH News editor
Director of Student Development and Activities candidate Jamie Minns presents a comprehensive manifesto aimed at ensuring all societies and students achieve success. As a member of the Student Services Council (SSC) for two years as Charities Convenor, and a previous member of his hall’s committee, his words highlight his knowledge and experience with society management, fundraising and student opinion and experience.
Mr Minns vows to schedule office hours to answer student queries and
maintain an open-door policy while he is in the office. He also vows to help new societies flourish by working with the Students’ Association to compose a simple guide on how to create a society. Additionally, he wishes to promote the funding available to students from the Students’ Association – another way help societies reach their full potentials. On supporting postgraduate students, Mr Minns seeks to ensure their access to summer activities by liaising with postgraduate students and outlining opportunities and resources available to them during the summer holiday.
academic year to learn who they are and what they do, and to offer them resources and guidance. He vows to create a database of society positions and share this information with committee members to streamline communication. On training, Mr Hall proposes overhauling society training and moving sessions to the end of second semester, so officers will be prepared for the start of the next academic year. He also wishes to make training more comprehensive, including workshops with the Design Team and with the DoEs on event organisation. Though he has good intentions on meeting with each society, and specifies he would likely not meet with all societies given that they would not be obligated to take him up on his offer, this would still be an arduous task considering the University has over 200 societies. Mr Minns wishes to maintain the progress on alternative career opportunities by extending career events to student organisations, planning to work with groups including the Charities Campaign, On the Rocks and the Creative Careers Panel. He plans to expand Careers Week following its inaugural week this year by embedding it into the Students’ Association calendar. Mr Minns also hopes to improve communication between the Students’ Association and Careers Centre, seeing that the Centre adopts student suggestions and advice. Though his ideas for liasing are strong, Mr Minns lacks specificity regarding how he will improve Careers Week.
Mr Minns feels that heads of societies should receive sufficient train-
Mr Hall proposes introducing a “Union Transcript” as a certificate of student involvement with the Union, which could be obtained at graduation. He would also collaborate with the Athletic Union President to improve the Volunteer Recognition Scheme and simplifying logging volunteer hours. Mr Hall proposes more rewards for volunteers who work extended hours during busy periods, including free Bop tickets or complementary food during shifts. He vows to work with the University to create proper archives for subcommittees and societies so current students could learn from previous practises.
For the future
To prepare students for “life outside the Bubble,” Mr Hall would collabing at the beginning of the year through workshops with the DoSDA, Students’ Association staff and Societies Officer and Committee. He plans to work with these groups to prepare these workshops. He also hopes to encourage collaboration between societies so they can learn from each other’s successes and mistakes. Regarding all students, whether or not they hold roles in societies, he wants to continue expanding training initiatives by expanding collaborations between the Students’ Association and CAPOD, holding workshops, and improving student access to the Professional Skills Curriculum.
Mr Minns proposes student recognition by
orate with the DoWell to expand personal development and training available to societies, including first aid and mental health training. He would also work to better represent non-traditional careers and expand the range of subject-specific career fairs. He vows to create a fund for societies to bring in speakers specific to their interests and collaborating with the Careers Centre to introduce society-specific CV-writing workshops.
With his extensive leadership experience and tenures on society committees, Mr Hall demonstrates knowledge on what societies need to improve and how he can best benefit students. However, some of his ideas, including offering to meet with all societies, and the number of new endeavours he has planned, mean his manifesto may be too ambitious for a one-year term. increasing the visibility of Societies Awards, Gives Back Awards and Honorary Life Membership Awards, among others, to highlight achievements and opportunities for students. He also wishes to improve the pilot Volunteer Recognition Scheme by gathering and analysing student feedback.
Mr Minns’ experience with fundraising and SSC makes him a strong candidate, which is clear in his focus on improving society management and student growth. However, he appears vague on some issues of improving existing current endeavours, including expanding Careers Week and increasing the visibility of student awards.
Director of events ADAM POWRIE
GEORGE WILDER Events editor
Director of Events candidate Adam Powrie is a fourth year student with four years spent behind the Union bar and with experience as Head of Events for Szentek. He puts his manifesto forward under three main aims: entertainment, access, and collaboration.
Mr Powrie admits that the small size of our University is an issue in terms of attracting large acts, but he hopes that collaborations with other universities can help fix this and reignite the night life of St Andrews. It remains to be seen if these measures can help bring events back from allegations of a lacklustre Refreshers’ Week, and clarity on specific entertainment acts is lacking. Mr Powrie also aims to utilise the
outside space at the Union by promising to fill it by introducing stalls and activities. Perhaps most importantly, Mr Powrie plans to work with the Director of Wellbeing and Got Consent team to improve awareness of wellbeing and safety on nights out. This would involve training as many of the bar staff, Ents team, and other Union-goers as possible about consent. While his claims are ambiguous, there can be no doubt that as DJ Convenor for the Union, Deputy Head of Events for the Charities Campaign, and co-organiser of the Rugby Sevens After party, Mr Powrie has experience that would be handy in the role of Director of Events.
Mr Powrie also wants to extend training which is currently reserved for only the Presidents and Treasurers of societies to Events Officers for all
societies at the start of each academic year. He argues that this would allow the Union to be used to its full potential through instruction in planning guidelines, timescales for events and health and safety information. Mr Powrie asserts that feedback systems for events should be improved through online forums, quick social media polls, and a voting system. The voting system would allow societies and students a format to have influence over Bop themes, similar to the initiatve by incumbent Hannah Jacobs for week 8, in return for rewards like free Bop tickets to encourage participation and more feedback.
In terms of collaboration, Mr Powrie states how he wishes to form relationships with non-Union affiliated groups and events. He does adequately expand on how this would be done in particular within his manifesto. Importantly, one of Mr Powrie’s aims as Director of Events will be to collate contact details from events officers, as to allow better communication between groups and facilitate new partnerships and exchanges of ideas. Hopefully, this will streamline events culture and allow for greater variety within the Union. Mr Powrie also promises that the Ents Crew will be assisted by a better exchange between societies and events, allowing for a more diverse use of lighting and effects
at such events. He wishes to draw upon the Union’s Design and Public Relations team, along with STAR Radio, to advertise Union events to a higher standard and thus increase turnout.
Mr Powrie’s experience is shown in his understanding of how more consistent collaboration is needed both inside the Union team and with bodies outside of it. Factors such as the use of the outside space of the Union and concern with consent issues are also crucial as a Director of Events. Mr Powrie will inevitably find it difficult to secure large acts for the Union, which he endeavours early on in his manifesto, while keeping prices low enough for all the student body to enjoy. Yet, his ideas of collaboration with outside groups, if they work, could achieve just this and ensure that students get the best experience possible come Freshers and Refreshers Week in the next academic year.
08 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Director of education ALICE FOULIS
NOJOUD AL MALLEES Deputy news editor
Alice Foulis is a third year studying modern history and is currently the school president for history. She hopes to use her experience to serve as a liaison between students and University administration, and to highlight student concerns.
Ms Foulis focuses on improving efficiency in classrooms by streamlining extension policies, coursework feedback, and exam reviews. However, having each school han-
dle its own academic concerns may be a better system, as they would be more familiar with the instructors and modules involved. Ms Foulis mentions working with schools on lecture capture so staff and students are aware of this option. However, there is considerable ambiguity as to what is expected from this promise. Many lecturers do not record their lectures, and this does not address changing this in any way. Ms Foulis would also like to have the University review the effect of class sizes on learning experience for students, specifically at the honours and postgraduate levels. She would like to implement
NOJOUD AL MALLEES Deputy news editor
Christopher Wilde is a third year studying English and management with previous experience representing the Students’ Association. In his manifesto, Mr Wilde states that he has over fifteen years of experience in numerous roles and industries and believes he has the skills and passion to take on this role.
One part of his pledge for transpare-
cncy is to make himself, class representatives, and tutors more accessible to students. Mr Wilde promises to conduct one-on-one meetings with all class representatives in the first four weeks of election. However, this would be severly time-consuming given how many representatives there are, and it may serve him better to meet with school presidents and class representatives by subject or faculty instead. Mr Wilde proposes having the University review December exam
University-wide mentoring programs by utilising the resources provided by CAPOD. Another interesting suggestion in Ms Foulis’s manifesto is having textbook stands in schools where students can donate old textbooks. While this system be ideal, some students may want to be paid for their textbooks, so an incentive may be necessary. As for employment, Ms Foulis hopes to work with the Careers Centre on stalls within schools with subject-specific careers information. Ms Foulis does not address how the University could bring more opportunities to students.
Ms Foulis hopes to work with school diets to ensure there is a sufficient break between exams and Christmas. However, an alternative timeline is not suggested. Mr Wilde also addresses environmental concerns by promising to end paper hand-ins and have coursework handled online. This would serve as a more efficient and less wasteful alternative to printing assignments.
Mr Wilde focuses on making the postgraduate transition to St Andrews smoother by providing mentor-
presidents and class representatives to organise inter-school events. As DoEd, Ms Foulis would implement an open-door policy and would be available to hear the concerns of students, vowing to reply to all emails within 24 hours. In addition, she hopes to work closely with school presidents and ensure class representatives have an active role in their school.
As DoEd, Ms Foulis would ensure that there is sufficient representation of postgraduates via class representatives and that their concerns are ship programs and increasing social events. He also hopes to make the acceptance process timelier to reduce anxiety for incoming students. However, this depends on admissions and visa application processes and may be difficult to change. Mr Wilde says that he would ensure PGRs are given reasonable timelines for marking and are compensated appropriately.
Mr Wilde hopes to increase the number of career fairs that are field-specific, as well as working with the
addressed. She would work with school presidents to create social events to engage postgraduate students.
Ms Foulis’ manifesto shows that she has considered what improvements could be made at the University, and her experience in student representation makes her qualified for this position. She offers suggestions to improve the learning experience for students at St Andrews, but there is less of a focus on how more career opportunities could be brought to the University. Careers Centre to connect students with more internship and mentorship programs. Such improvements, if truly implemented, would be invaluable to students seeking work experience in their areas of study.
Mr Wilde puts a great emphasis on improving communication between student representatives, tutors and students while improving transparecy. While Mr Wilde makes many suggestions for improvements in the student experience at St Andrews, some of his promises seem difficult to implement.
DIRECTOR OF WELLBEING FLORA SMITH GABRIELLE WOLF Illustration chief Ms Smith believes her skills and understanding of a range of issues qualify her for Director of Wellbeing. She aims to “introduce real, positive change to wellbeing in St Andrews.” During her time in St Andrews, Ms Smith has served as President of Sexpression, Member for Gender Equality with Saints LGBT+, and member of the Wellbeing subcommittee.
Ms Smith’s proposals for wellbeing are the most comprehensive of her manifesto. She proposes making mental health and first aid training available to students, providing active listening training for society presidents, running mental health-centered events, and undertaking a “No Problem Too Small” Campaign. Ensuring accessibility for all, Ms Smith’s proposals include academic family-centered events, increased support for those who do not drink
GABRIELLE WOLF Illustration chief
School of English. He also completed an internship with Student Services.
Nick Farrer begins his manifesto with an honest admission of personal difficulties and states that he wants to leave the town in a better condition than when he arrived. Particularly qualified for a Director of Wellbeing candidacy, Mr Farrer has served as Director of St Andrews Nightline; SRC Wellbeing Officer; Chairperson, Interim Chair, and member of the Wellbeing Subcommittee; Peer Support Coordinator; and Wellbeing Representative for the
Mr Farrer promises to campaign for a mental health crisis team based in Fife, additional sexual health provisions, and a Night Bus service during revision and exams. To combat harassment in the Union, Mr Farrer intends to collaborate with the DoEs and Got Consent on a campaign whereby bar and security staff are better equipped to help those in distress. He also plans to combat predatory behaviour by landlords. He proposes
alcohol, and social events out of term time. On sexual health, she suggests the provision of free self-administered STI tests from Union reception and Student Services, increased availability of dental dams, and the arrangement of early training for hall condom reps. Whilst this is a reasonable suggestion, more clarification is needed about funding such services. Ms Smith intends to reform how overly drunk individuals are removed from the Union, train members of the student body with a GotConsent Bystander Intervention, work with the AU President to promote self-defence classes, and increase access to water on Friday and Saturday nights. by inviting Citizens Advice Bureau Outreach into the Union to give tenants specialised advice in fighting illegal behaviour.
Mr Farrer’s vows to promote equal opportunities by supporting the Equal Opportunities Committee and the Cultural Societies Forum, as well as aiming to elevate voices of students from lower-income backgrounds. To support these students, he intends to collaborate on solutions that redirect the Union’s investments and energy to make St
Ms Smith’s aims for establishing equal opportunities focus on supporting the Equal Opportunities Committee and the Member for Widening Access. She also intends to promote “Break the Glass Ceiling” events.
Ms Smith intends to increase transparency by requiring semester reports by all Union Representatives and School Presidents. She also promises to maintain an open-door policy and circulate surAndrews more inclusive. It is unclear though how exactly he plans to do this, or ihow it will bring inclusivity.
Mr Farrer promises to hold councils “more accountable, accessible, and relevant to students” by creating an online channel to facilitate student proposals for motions to the Union, establishing monthly town halls with representatives, and introducing a motion for an SRC Member for Mental Health Awareness. However, this motion was rejected in March 2017, when Nick Farrer was Wellbeing Officer, and
veys to determine student difficulties.
Many of Ms Smith’s proposals for her DoWell candidacy are ambitious and creative. Although implementation of some ideas may be difficult, her ingenuity and temerity may well lead to beneficial reforms. However, her manifesto is severely lacking in its plans to increase accessibility and ensure equal opportunity for all students. This oversight on Ms Smith’s part may indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the hurdles to access that many students face. there is no indication of how this new motion would differ or alleviate the previous issues, and more clarity on this new motion is necessary. To ensure communication with students, he promises that his DoWell office would “always have an open door policy to everyone.”
Nick Farrer appears to be an appropriate and experienced candidate for the role of DoWell, with many ideas based on his own hardships. Whilst some stances for ensuring wellbeing are clearly thought out, others, such as his intentions to assure equal opportunities through increasing inclusivity, are tenuous and imprecise.
Viewpoint editor: Max Waller Deputy editor:Archie Batra, Laurent Belanger, Sasha Gisborne, Lewis Frain, Kaitlin Shaw
On Being mixed race in St Andrews Archie Batra Deputy viewpoint editor
As I’m mixed race, I feel very uncomfortable when people call me white. (It also doesn’t sit well with my mum, either, who I’m to thank for needing less suncream than most.) And yet, it happens. A lot. A lot more than it should, given that most people at St Andrews retain the gift of sight. The amount of times other students have demanded that I justify my beliefs in spite of the colour of my skin borders on the absurd, and many have resorted to dismissing me, my beliefs, or both, as “white”. I remember very clearly the first time it happened: it was at a Raisin house party, and in the middle of an (admittedly very drunken political argument) my opponent histrionically exclaimed that I was “such a white male”. Despite finding it funny and ridiculous at the time, this is a more dangerous statement than it seems, as the clear and undeniable implication is that certain views and beliefs can be ascribed to white people. This also means that certain beliefs can there-
fore be solely ascribed to Asian, Black, or even mixed race people.
As I’m mixed race, I feel very uncomfortable when people call me white Given that I’d never been reduced to the colour of my skin before university (at least, not knowingly) I had to actually think about why people would talk to me like this, because I refused to believe that they were as racist as they sounded. The best I could come up with is that this was a manifestation of “identity politics”, which describes political views shaped by the interests of a particular group. This seems innocuous enough. I think it’s fairly uncontroversial, for example, for working class individ-
uals to advocate and campaign for the interests of other working class people; in fact, it’s been necessary in this country. But what separates campaigns like this from my recent experiences in St Andrews is that they were not exclusive. Should a white man have wanted to march during the 1960s civil rights movement in America, he could have. He would’ve been welcomed. The whole idea was to be inclusive - the entire movement was based upon the fact that as long as a Black American was not free, her fellow white American was not free. But now the it’s swung the other way. Supporters of identity politics, in advocating for equal treatment, have (rather ironically) started to treat people differently and unequally. There is no reason why I or anyone else should be admonished for believing “white” things; in fact, I think the whole notion of a certain belief being “white” is plainly wrong. (And, not to mention, just a teeny bit racist.) And yet, this pernicious ideology is spreading further and further. Identity politics is contentious, and I welcome debate on it, but what really makes it objectionable to me is
that it steals agency from individuals. I had this a lot during the Referendum campaign; most hardcore Remainers I met simply could not (or maybe refused to) understand why someone with an Indian heritage would possibly vote to leave the European Union. I had it all- I was a racist, a xenophobe, and idiot, even a “race traitor”. (The last of which understandably made me very angry.)
I don’t understand what is so special about race It was almost as if these people expected those with darker skin to vote in a block, like we all get together every month to discuss how we can best stick it to “Whitey”. They could
not understand that I was capable of examining the benefits and consequences of voting a certain way on my own, and that I was able to exercise my own free will without being bound by certain, arbitrary features about myself that should not dictate how I live my life, or how people treat me. I think you’ll find that most people, whatever their skin colour, don’t like being treated as if they should act a certain way. I think they’d much rather be treated as what they are; an individual. I don’t understand what is so special about race, especially when they’re self-evidently equal and deserve to be treated as such. And, if it is different, why? Do races need to be treated differently? I wonder what Martin Luther King Jr would think about that. I’d put money on him calling it wrong, or maybe racist. It genuinely is confusing to me, and I hope it’s just as confusing to everyone else. Identity politics looks innocent, but I honestly think that it’s not constructive or helpful. If you’re concerned about fair and equal treatment, I wouldn’t look to identity politics for an answer.
The views in not Viewpoint do the not views represent theSaint views ofare Theindividual Saint but are individual opinions. The views expressed in expressed Viewpoint do represent of The but opinions.
8 March 2017 • thesaint-online.com
Devil’s Advocate Should we have so many sabbatical officers? Lewis Wood
Within the Students’ Association, Management and the Sabbs joke that there exists a “home office” and a ‘foreign office”. The home office consists of the Director of Events and Services, who manages all events and facilities that we offer within the Students’ Association building, alongside the Director of Student Development and Activities, who line manages the majority of our subcommittees, societies, and opportunities for involvement. Until last year, the “foreign office” consisted of the Association President, the remit of which could more clearly be titled ‘Director of External Relations & President of the SRC’, and the Director of Representation. These divisions are jovial, and do not accurately reflect the parameters of our jobs or the diversity of the portfolios that each position encompasses. They do, however, give some suggestion to the diversity of our activity, and the way in which our small team has to compartmentalise all of the activities that the SA offers. This is an important idea, because the Director of Representation was a job that didn’t actually make sense it didn’t compartmentalise well. The remit of the DoRep was Education, Equality, & Wellbeing. Finding an individual that was qualified to head up all of these departments was immensely difficult in itself, and once the individual had the job, giving equal and due attention to all three areas was almost impossible. When the motion to divide the role into the Director of Education and the Director of Wellbeing was brought before SA Board last year, the support for the division was unanimous. The financial investment into a new Sabbatical Officer has been continuously justified by the work put in by Zachary and Claire this year. It’s always hard to judge a Sabbatical’s performance, because our terms are so short, and the fruits of our endeavours do not emerge until years after our term has ended; all that one can ever do is hope to start the wheels turning on the big projects, and represent the ongoing ones. Education, Wellbeing, & Equality have received the sustained level of focus and attention that these serious issues deserve. For example, Claire has developed listening and support skills training with Student Services, tailored specifically to St Andrews, and has been able to personally deliver the workshops to student groups, something the DoRep never would have had the time to do. She has also developed a
full directory of wellbeing and support resources to be launched on the Union website in the immediate future. Amongst other projects, Zachary has had extra time and resources to better support your elected academic representatives, which has lead to an increase in academic events and smoother running of feedback delivery to the University, an important factor in ensuring your voice is heard on the educational experience here. Our priority has been ensuring that the services we already provide are the best that they can be, exploring new opportunities for growth in student support, and ensuring that volunteers, subcommittees, and students that interact with us are all equipped with the skills they need. Zachary and Claire have been a joy to work with, and they have not only justified their new positions, they have dignified them. A review of the divide will take place this year at Board, and I have no doubt that the result will be to solidify these new positions for years to come. Stepping back a little to answer the big question - do we need six sabbatical officers? I think it’s important to note what a sabbatical officer is. They are your elected student representatives, given a mandate by the student body every March, and acknowledged by the Union, the University, and the outside world as your official representatives. They’re held formally accountable by Student Council (which anyone can attend). Sabbatical officers work exceptionally hard to ensure that the exemplary student experience continues, and that all students receive the full benefit of their education. I believe that for people to ask “are there too many sabbatical officers?” comes from a sort of prejudice — an accepted belief that sabbatical officers are not working hard, do not have a function, or simply do not have enough to do. My answer would be to trust in the experts; the Union does not spend money lightly, especially not the cost of a Sabbatical officer on a recurring basis, if we were not secure in the belief that it was a worthwhile investment. Personally, I cannot envisage a scenario in which an additional student officer focusing on wellbeing & equality, or education, could possibly be a bad thing. Student representation is important — I would argue fundamental — to achieving the University that we want. I sleep easier knowing that the Union funds, and will continue to fund, six people to represent my interests. Lewis Wood is President of the student association.
Max Waller Sabbatical officers work exceptionally hard to ensure that the exemplary student experience continues
I call upon the Sabbatical candidates and others running for election to examine how they can offer good value for money
We do not need to have six sabbatical officers each getting paid a gargantuan salary. As a minimum, we need the Association president and the Athletic Union president. I think there is a good case to be made for the director of education and the director of events, but it is unclear to me why we need a separate director of wellbeing and a separate director of student development and activities. I would argue that we merge student development and wellbeing, and that the rest of the welfare brief should be split up between the Association president and the director of education. Now that would be an election campaign you could get behind! The Association president is responsible for representing our views to the University, community and on a national level. It might make sense to directly pole association members when making political decisions; the Union after all has to represent all of its members — not just a vocal minority — and do what is in their members’ best interests in order to fulfill the wider Association mandate to enhance student experience. Where there is a potential conflict, where it is unclear exactly what is in the best interest of its members, the President should be required to directly pole members before coming to a decision, and thus represent our views as a body to the rest of the association council. This, however, is just an extra bullet point needed to clarify what is already assumed in the president’s mandate rather than anything particularly controversial. I would add the remit of the director of wellbeing (DoWell) to this brief. At present the wellbeing officer is responsible for welfare, Saints LGBTQ+, democracy and Stand Together. I was unaware until I started this article that the DoWell was responsible for safeguarding our claim to democracy. I had not realised that such a weight rested on their shoulders — making sure that elections are not rigged must be hard work in a small coastal town after all… Short of abolishing democracy, I would move that remit to the director of student development and activities – after all, they should make sure that societies are being run democratically. Saints LGBTQ+ and Stand Together would also fall under this remit, and could report to the director of student activities and development as well. Welfare and equal opportunities should be overseen by the president, with the day-to-day concerns being managed by the Welfare Committee.
NO As a result, we would have the Association president, the Athletic Union president, the director of development and activities, a director of education and a director of events and services. This might result in a little bit more work for the Association president and the other sabbatical officers, but I think it is doable. Given the fact that each credit taken in a module in St Andrews is meant to warrant 10 hours of work, that would mean that over a term each sabb should be doing 600 hours of work. I would hope it would not be considered a sabbatical position otherwise. Given that the average term length is 15 weeks including orientation week, this averages out as 40 hours a week. Between five sabbatical officers that is 200 hours of work a week each. 240 if we have a sixth. Even taking into account the fact that this an average — naturally, there will be some which will be busier than others, and of course, they are employed over the summer as well — it is still questionable whether we, as students, get value for money by having so many sabbs. They need to ask themselves hard questions about whether their roles really are justified as sabbatical positions. Cutting back one sabb should be the start. The long term goal of the Union should be to have as few sabbatical officers as possible. Perhaps this means creating more committees and officers to split up the roles so that it is possible for more people to get involved and volunteer. Or perhaps they need to change the term length to a semester, rather than a year. This would result in more money being saved by the Union, and thus more money to spend on events and societies. This is surely more in the interests of the student body than paying large salaries. I call upon the sabbatical candidates and others running for election this year to examine how they can offer good value for money for students, and to consider pursuing a long-term plan to either merge or dissolve as many of the sabbatical posts as possible. Instead of a director of events and services, the union could higher an events manager for example. It might be the case that splitting DoRep last year was sensible, but long term we really need to consider whether or not we need so many sabbs. The Associations primary duty is to its members, and to best serve them it needs to make sure that it is offering value for money.
The views viewsexpressed expressed in in Viewpoint Viewpoint do The do not not represent representthe theviews views of of The TheSaint Saintbut butare areindividual individual opinions. opinions.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
How to thrive as an introvert
Laurent Belanger Deputy viewpoint editor Gender equality is, ﬁrst and foremost, a matter of common human decency. For one half of our world’s population to be limited, from birth, is simply unacceptable; it is unacceptable that women face — every day of their lives — oppression, harassment, abuse, and obstacles that permeate our entire social, cultural and political structures. While in the United Kingdom and other western countries it is not as bad as it is elsewhere, there is still work to do — there are still ceilings to be smashed, and this requires the concerted eﬀort of both sexes. Gender inequality is undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues of our time. Granted, we must also reduce socioeconomic inequalities in the west, eliminate hunger and poverty in the developing world, and reform economic, social and political systems worldwide. But gender inequality is an issue that transcends geographical area — indeed, it is one that haunts us not as individual nations, economies, or societies, but as a species. The elimination of gender inequality is also a matter of growth. How can we be expected to develop, to bridge new gaps, if we stiﬂe women’s ideas, talents and ambition? How can we be expected to resolve the world’s issues if half of us are silenced? We cannot. Interestingly, this logic works both ways. For too long, resolving gender inequalities has been a one-sided effort. By its very nature, however, it is two-sided: men live largely without limits because women live with them. And — how can we expect to solve this problem if only half of us are striving to do so? It is unacceptable that women are oppressed; but it is unacceptable, too, that even the men who are not consciously perpetuating the problem do little to address it. It is no longer excusable for men to condone, rationalise or ignore the challenges that women unfairly face, and we must make it impossible for them to do so. Too often, men have felt embarrassed to speak out on these issues; they have felt that it is not their place. This must be overcome. We
must all feel free to discuss issues that are important, and we must all work toward resolving them, together. Many have commented that stating the necessity of men’s involvement is stating women’s inability to surpass the challenge themselves — this is not so. Gender inequality is a two-sided issue, and therefore it requires a two-sided response. We know what we must do to resolve this long-standing inequality, and it is not diﬃcult: we must merely change our mindset, our approach, to the world. Instead of living as passive observers and powerless lamenters, we must simply act. I say simply because, indeed, it is not difﬁcult. All we need to do is look at the world with diﬀerent eyes: instead of a static world, we must see a world that needs changing, a world that we can change, and a world that we are not afraid to change. I say simply, too, because we already possess the tools to do so — indeed, we are the tools. Change has never begun in boardroom meetings or government oﬃces; change begins with us. The sooner we change the way we collectively think about gender issues, the sooner it will be impossible not to resolve them. But, how can we possibly change the way society thinks so easily? Surely it is too diﬃcult and too ambitious a task to change the hard-set minds of billions of people. Again, this is not so. All we need is to start a conversation, a two-sided conversation that will impede silence. And this is exactly why we need eﬀorts like HeForShe on university campuses. Now is when we form and reform our world view; more than any other period in our lives, our time at university is when we are most exposed to new ideas and perspectives — this must be taken advantage of. As students, we are given the unique opportunity to discuss our ideas in a public forum of largely like-minded people. This forum we can put to good use; we can make it impossible for people to ignore gender inequality, and we can ﬁx this issue in the minds of our generation. Laurent Bélanger is the Liaison Oﬃcer at HeForShe St Andrews.
Getting through university can be tough. Whether you spend four years here or choose to continue with additional studies, you will certainly encounter challenges along the way. From disputes with ﬂatmates, heavy workloads, pressure to do well or trying to ﬁnd yourself, it is a time in life that can be undoubtedly strenuous. You spend hours looking through set readings, editing essays and drowning in ﬂashcards, and may often feel run-down from the number of extracurricular commitments or social events you engage with — if we can all agree on one thing, it is that going for a night out on a weekday and returning home the following morning at 4am in order to attend an early morning tutorial isn’t exactly enjoyable. While St Andrews oﬀers us a brilliant spectrum of academic and social enjoyment, it is often hard to navigate these ups and downs.
I’ve also now grown to love and appreciate spending time with others Within this, students are often pulled together into one orderly group and given identical advice. We are both encouraged to be social and to work hard. We may be told to participate in group projects to aid tutorial engagement, or be invited to multiple events a week in order to build social and academic connections. But among this often confusing advice, it is sometimes forgotten that we are all separate, individual people. Those of us who are shy may be given advice only suitable for the bold, or the anxious may be given advice for a budding social butterﬂy. It may be compul-
sory to give a presentation as part of our grade, when in reality many of us ﬂinch at the idea. Today, however, I choose to focus on a group I believe to be widely misunderstood among students — introverts. A term often misunderstood, being introverted generally entails a preference for solitude. Introverts, such as myself, are less likely to spend time in groups and instead savour private reﬂection time alone — like an internal power bank, I choose to charge my battery through time spent by myself and ﬁnd it heavily depleted after prolonged social interaction with others. Moreover, trust is highly important to introverts and we may only have a select group of close friends. We may prefer to observe situations before engaging, and often analyse internally our train of thought before speaking. Social situations involving small talk can also be diﬃcult, with one-to-one meaningful conversation being preferred — as expected, events such as nights out at the Union or group projects can be highly challenging and completely draining. In light of this, I want to oﬀer some personal tips I’ve picked up along the way to ease the university process. You should not have to merely survive as an introvert at St Andrews, but instead thrive. Firstly, focus on setting simple goals. One thing I have learned through my introvertedness is to stop criticising myself for being the way I am - if going to three events a week is too diﬃcult, I opt for one and try to enjoy it the best I can. Set a goal of attending a certain number of events or talking to a certain number of people a week and enjoy the process of development that comes alongside it. While at ﬁrst talking to someone in your tutorial may be diﬃcult, a month later you may feel happy bumping into them for a chat in the library. For me, focussing on slow, accumulative progress is better than throwing yourself in the deep end — just like learning to swim, achieving these small goals may at ﬁrst seem slow, but the eventual result is very rewarding. Secondly, if, like myself, you enjoy interesting and sincere one-toone conversations, join a society or attend a social event that facilitates this. Whether you join a university publication and enjoy meeting with
a small group of writers or editors to talk about the next issue, or attend debate nights in Parliament Hall with the goal of concentrated, focused discussion, try to immerse yourself in a group that celebrates rather than shuns this preference. You never know, you may meet a few like-minded individuals who over time become people you’re comfortable spending quality time with. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, balance is key. While I love being alone with a book and my music, I know that doing so six out of seven days a week would be detrimental to my health. Similarly, forcing myself to attend an event every other day or to speak to ﬁve new people everyday would over-stimulate me. The solution? Balance your movements in and out of your personal comfort zones. Instead of shutting yourself away for the weekend just to re-emerge on Saturday to see friends, try getting into the routine of engaging in small amounts of social contact a few times a week. Whether this is simply sitting with a ﬂatmate and talking about something you both love or going out to dinner with your best friend, normalising social engagement makes the hustle and bustle of St Andrews all the bit easier. While it would be simple for me to ignore messages from friends and stay home alone all weekend, I know that occasionally stepping outside of my comfort zone to study or go for a drink with them will ultimately make everything a bit easier. In conclusion, accepting your introvertedness is key. It doesn’t mean you are weird, it simply means you cherish positive time alone to think. While university may seem highly challenging for the introverted student, I promise it isn’t impossible. By setting small goals and not forcing yourself into anything too stress-inducing, you’ll soon ﬁnd a healthy way to balance alone time and social time. Figuring out when it’s time to leave that party or, conversely, leave your room may be diﬃcult, but it should hopefully become a less taxing feat. For me? While I enjoy being alone, I’ve also now grown to love and appreciate spending time with others while it may not always be easy, it is most deﬁnitely worth it.
Photo: CCLicence -Blue
Kaitlin Shaw Deputy viewpoint editor
The views expressed Viewpoint do not represent the views of The are Saint individual opinions. Diamon Gallery The views expressed in Viewpoint doinnot represent the Saint viewsbut of The but are individual opinions.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Photo: Creative commons
Graduating university, and the fear of growing up
Alexandra Koontz Well, here we are. Another spring, another generation of kids getting ready to graduate from university and go on to... what exactly? For the ﬁrst time in our young lives, the next step has not been predetermined for us. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We’ve heard this question our whole lives. It seems that when you’re a child, all answers are satisfactory. It’s the only time in your life when you can say you want to be a dinosaur, a ballerina, Darth Vader or some hybrid of all three and all the adults smile at you, validating your curiosity in so many diﬀerent areas. At some point as we grow up, that question becomes a sort of litmus test to measure your success as a growing adult. In high school, we were are asked what our majors would be. Strangely, we could only have one answer. If we give a 10-word reply, well-intentioned adults would tell us
that we couldn’t be an artist and an engineer — we’d have to pick one. The scrutiny seems even worse if you want to go into a ﬁeld deemed to be “unstable,” such as music, ﬁlm, acting, etc. And so the nights of anxiety over the choice begins. But why choose? Why are we asked what we dream we could be, but not ALL we could be? The idea of narrowing down all our potential skills and talents into one area is greatly prized in our culture: this idea of a destiny, a purpose in this life that will give us meaning and deﬁne our time on this earth. But not all of us are wired this way. Some us have many diﬀerent passions and interests and committing to one career path feels restrictive and daunting. The truth is that not all of us can ﬁt into this framework, and this mindset only helps us feel like failures. Emilie Wapnick, a career coach, uses the term “multipotentialite” to describe someone with many diﬀer-
ent interests and creative pursuits. A “multipotentialite” will often ﬁnd themselves very interested in a certain project or subject, explore it intensely, and then move on to something else. In our culture’s romanticized notion of “one true calling,” this multi-faceted approach to life and a career can seem like a fault, a certain brand of immaturity one needs to overcome or grow out of. Sure, in our early twenties, we’re considered to be biologically grown — its been hard accepting that this is as tall as I’ll ever be — but it certainly doesn’t mean we stop evolving. Humans are complex beings, why should our lives be reduced to one so-called “calling”? Fear of the future will tempt us to shackle ourselves to a well-worn, pre-approved path. Which is not to say this is wrong, well-worn paths are such for a reason — they can lead to good places, security, and success. But if you know that’s not for you, do yourself a favour and turn right around. If you came out of the womb wanting to be a doctor, do that — if you are a specialist at heart, specialize. The world needs skilled doctors, lawyers and businessmen. I do wonder, however, how many incredible directors, writers and artists the world missed out on because they are too busy hating their “secure” job as a ﬁnancial analyst, something they were never wired to do but chose because it felt like a safe and respectable option. Getting to a point where we accept both how we are wired and the uncertainty of the future is the hardest part.
A lot of us will experience a sort of depression following graduation. Julia Frage, a psychologist based in San Fransisco, who treats young adults, says that “post-grad depression is underreported because graduation is like motherhood: culturally seen as a seemingly joyful time, which makes it even more shameful for someone to admit that it’s not.” Speciﬁc studies about depression following graduation are hard to ﬁnd, as most studies on the 18-24 age group focus on multiple causes of depression. It only takes a ten-second google search, however, to ﬁnd many personal accounts of the struggle of transitioning out of the years of a safe, supportive bubble that was university.
Why choose? Why are we asked what we dream we could be, but not ALL we could be During this complicated transition, the trap all of of us risk falling into is to compare ourselves on social media. There will be that one person who ﬁnds success relatively immediately, but they are the outlier. Most of
us are in the same seemingly capsizing boat, frantically looking around seeing how we are faring compared to our peers. Likely, we are trying to ascertain this through social media. Recent research suggests that millennials have the highest rates of anxiety and depression of any generation. Studies, including one carried out by the University of Pittsburg, found an association between this anxiety and social media use. This is hardly surprising; social media allows us to curate the lives we want everyone else to think we are living. So don’t believe everything you see online, and don’t assume you’re the only one struggling. Remember no one lives fulltime in an X-Pro ﬁlter. Many of us at the end of this semester will be standing there, having reached the end of university, staring into the vast unknown that is supposed to be the rest of our adult lives. We can’t expect ourselves to know exactly what that will entail. There will be many times in our lives where we will need to re-evaluate and ask ourselves “where am I going?” and “what am I doing?” I once read that there are no stable jobs nor lives, but stable people, and that stable people are happy people. It seems like the most important questions to answer are “who am I?” and “who do I want to be?” Once we’ve got those two things ﬁgured out, we can take it from there. The future is undoubtedly terrifying, but hey, we’ve made it this far — we’ll be ﬁne.
Being a Christian in St Andrews: On discovering identity From the ﬁrst week of my existence on this earth, I have been going to church — pretty much every Sunday since then, that’s where you’ll ﬁnd me. So, church and church life has played a large role in shaping me into the person I am today. My Dad is a pastor, and I know he would be understanding to hear me say that although this has been most deﬁnitely a blessing, it has also been somewhat of a burden. Preachers’ kids are often viewed by others as an extension of their parents and their ministry, and this can place a heavy weight of expectation as to where we place our priorities and whom, or what, we put our faith in. I was privileged enough to grow up in an extremely loving home and my parents predominantly sought to teach me the value of being a child of God. However, I was not completely shielded from societal expectations of who I should be because of what my parents do. As I reached my teenage years I felt these pressures and assumptions build up, and this led me to struggle with my identity; both as being labelled as ‘Christian’ and more generally of what I wanted to do with my life, and who I needed to be in order
to achieve this. The expectation that I shared the same faith as my parents often made me feel hesitant about raising questions or doubts whilst in church. This led me to be a child who grew up systematically going to church whilst having, what I can see now as, an extremely underdeveloped faith.
Church shouldn’t be painted as a group of people who are perfect As a late teen I struggled with mental health issues, speciﬁcally social anxiety. Through therapy I was able to understand how some of the negative thoughts that troubled me so much stemmed from these pressures that I felt growing up. Funnily enough, it took this crisis moment for me to begin to make sense of God and religion, the distinction between these
two things and how I related to them. This was really the ﬁrst time that I felt a strong personal relationship with God and His guiding presence in my life. And it was this guidance that led me to this university, St Andrews. Nevertheless, by the time I arrived at university I was somewhat burned out with church. I had been going my whole life, whether I liked it or not. But in ﬁnding a new sense of identity in my relationship with God, I decided to join a church here. I’d been told about a church called Cornerstone, so I rocked up one Sunday morning to the town hall not knowing what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. Firstly, I was shocked to see so many young people, as my experience of church thus far in life had been lots of (lovely and amazing) old people. But this was completely diﬀerent - a room buzzing with chat and friendly faces. Cornerstone has made me fall in love with church again. The reason? I was accepted as Charis, and nobody met me with preconceived ideas of who I was or what I believed, and hence I was able to deepen my faith and explore what my belief in God meant for my identity. In Cornerstone we are given the opportunity to meet in smaller groups once a week to cook for each other, spend time together and talk about God. This has brought my faith alive.
It is an environment in which questions are not only accepted, but also encouraged. For me, there is absolutely no point in believing something if it does not stand up to questioning! We discuss the parts of the Bible that we struggle to come to terms with or accept, and approach these issues and doubts with open hearts and open minds. Church shouldn’t be painted as a group of people who are perfect. We are all aware, and should be, of the mistakes that churches have made and continue to make. The truth is, no church is perfect, but simply a group of people in who are all ﬂawed and broken in our own ways. But this
makes me marvel even more at God’s grace, for He brings together a group of imperfect people and, as a collective,we look to Him for guidance. We are called to mirror Him to the best of our abilities in our attitudes towards others. I have found my identity here at St Andrews. It is not in my parents, or in the label of “the religious friend.” My identify is in my relationship with God. I would encourage and challenge all to go to church, to come for a week and try it out, to challenge what you hear if you disagree with it and to raise questions if you have them. You may just be surprised by what you experience.
Photo: The Saint
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent do thenot views of The Saint but are The views expressed in Viewpoint represent the views of The Saint but are individual opinions.
Adrian Ngiam The question of what is conversation, in my case, brings forth an eﬄorescence of category: the chat, small talk, ‘DMCs’, arguments. All these forms attain circumstantial validity, but some, I think, are more interesting than others, for is not conversation supposed to draw us into some meaningful exchange? We are all individual creatures with unique histories and interests and yet we squander this inheritance with excessive desire to take only from others what we want. Small talk and cheerful chat, whether at the anonymous, drunken shindig, or just for the pleasure of the company of old or new friends, does not really enter into my declaration: on occasion we communicate for only the purest of intentions. But here we can also see our ﬁrst oddity - our inaugural evidence - for the sinister and ugly forms even the most innocuous conversation can take. Think of the last party, before all this snow, and that person who held attention throughout all four quarters of the interaction. We can attribute this to mere charisma and energy, and yes, they can be interesting and spread humour. However, I’ve also had the unpleasant experience of being in a room with a person that just wouldn’t shut up, who appeared immune to any social cue that they were obnoxious, loud, and, most terrifyingly of all, completely uninteresting. There is a pattern of high-status people (either through beauty or social prowess) that continually seek validation, unconsciously usually, for their vacuous and inane personalities, or, if they had suﬃcient time to calcify their behavior, forego the purpose of communication to use others as an audience to their whims. Shifting egos lurk to deprive all of us from this beautiful faculty of conversation, whether through excess or through silence. For those that ego has already consumed, we cannot help but pity them for how pathetic they seem, while also falling in love with their sheer conﬁdence: since there are two breeds in this: the egomaniac who creates a wonderful setting where everyone is heightened; and the one who dominates with imprecision and autoeroticism, destroying any chance that another can speak. Simultaneously, in these occurrences, there is a suppression of our own egos. We are all familiar with the concept that conversation is really a dialogue of power, with each statement qualifying, or disqualifying, appraising highly, or lowly, the other’s words, so we cannot omit the self from this analysis. And I am tempted to see it as an inevitability that we all want the power to consistently express ourselves in a world where norms and structures have enabled certain people to modes of communication and forced others to sulking pleonexia. A world where everyone is able to actively compete for dominance in a conversation would create so much life: diﬀerent perspectives engaged with symmetrical language to truly conceive a dialogue. But I can’t delude myself into believing this.
We have been socialized to believe that conﬁdence and power deﬁne our identities and that they are reproduced by social successes, or failures, within speciﬁc contexts. So the self-proclaimed intellectual scoﬀs at the nightclub, while the socialite dismisses them as lame. And the self-professed diﬃdent yearns to take part in the fearful jungle of interactions, and the conﬁdent tutorial expert cannot approach a potential mate. Bertrand Russell once said “the scientist is respected by everyone but his colleagues.” Parsimony naturally occurs when such dissonance encounters our identity, and without consistency in who we appear to be, we use conversations as a way to reassert ourselves. Someone less able to navigate the social waters will give you an ego rush; and a friend is always there to tell you you’re not an idiot. But I’m being reductive — all my categories can and do intermingle, I just don’t think this happens often enough. In a quest to reclaim conversation, I think awareness of the self is paramount. Insecurity is a strange thing that is honestly a specious neuroticism. Success or failure does not deﬁne a person, only, in Whitman’s words, “mind and spirit” does. Kobe said he would rather miss 20 times than stop shooting the ball. Shut out the voice in your head and stop trying to seek validation. After all, what is the utility of this sort of behaviour? Secondly, conﬁdence can take up so much space that it can redeﬁne a context and turn a party into a philosophical arena; is this power being used for good? Conﬁdence can corrupt an entire interaction and painfully impact others, but in the end, as you lose yourself in the lulling cadence of your own voice, you are only limiting your empathy and, ultimately, losing so much of what life has to oﬀer. It is important to understand your essence, past the persistent hum of others, to achieve Mills’ sociological imagination. A life well-lived is not one of desperate conﬁdence or forlorn insecurity but to know who you really are, and how you relate to others. Then, you can truly converse. Suddenly, their conservatism is not so disgusting — sure enough, we are all “moral beings to some degree” — but something they wrestle with and developed to understand the world. Now adopting common terms, their ideas can be confronted and not laughed at as just a primitive political view. Do you even understand the world? And then when you have a chat you can enjoy each other’s company past simply seeking the dominance over them that someone had over you during that other interaction. If we could understand our essence, and thus the contexts which shaped us, a conﬁdent objectivity would emerge that would allow us to imagine past the zeitgeist to see new possibilities, and therefore change. Then, conversations could leave us “threatened but thrilled” and we could ﬁnally pursue a real communication between minds.
Crest:Unviersity of St Andrews Crushes
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Crest:Unviersity of St Andrews , St Feudrws
Anonymous Pages: Confessions, Crushes and Cruelty Kaitlin Shaw Deputy viewpoint editor It is safe to say that, as students living in 21st century Scotland, we have the ability to practice freedom of speech both inside and outside of university. Whether in the lecture hall, a tutorial or at home with ﬂatmates or partners, as modern individuals we are usually able to express our views openly and conﬁdently. Not only do we all currently live in an environment in which freedom of speech and individual ideas are encouraged by society, but we attend an institution on which this is the basis of everyday studying. Everyday we get to speak our minds and express our ideas – something some people in various parts of the world do not have even today. However, it is undoubtable that in recent years there has been an increasing relationship between this ability to speak our minds and the internet — with a few mouse clicks, we are able to post an opinion for our entire online social sphere to receive. Usually on platforms such as Twitter or personal Facebook pages, these opinions are related directly to us through screen names and proﬁle descriptions, meaning we accept the fact that friends, family or colleagues can see such views with ease. But what happens when this is taken away and replaced with anonymity? Addressing the various St Andrews anonymous pages available on Facebook currently, I consider whether they are a wickedly funny soapbox through which we can have some fun outside of university stress, or if they are something slightly more sinister than ﬁrst thought.
They provide relief, laughter, or discussion as breaks between mountains of history readings To name a few, it is St Andrews Crushes and St Feuddrews that most often appear on my timeline. Providing the ability to post about an attractive person you may have spotted in Taste or vent
about your ﬂatmate who just can’t seem to clean up after themselves, these pages often provide a light relief from the monotonous wheel of tutorials, lectures and 2 am library stints. Students are able to submit an opinion, confession, or message to a potential lover with total anonymity, and then watch as various discussions or incessant tagging to embarrass friends follows. In defence of these pages, our ability to express views anonymously comes as a basic right – we have the ability to use the internet freely, and if ranting about how your roommate hardly ever brushes her teeth before bed gives you peace of mind, go for it. We should be able to enjoy the online freedom we have while at university, and if these pages allow for a discussion of common knowledge then that should be a positive thing. Additionally, these pages have become a half-comical, half-serious environment in which university life is openly discussed. From tuition fees to overcrowding in the library to ridiculously high ball ticket prices, we are exposed to a forum in which we can talk about change. Recently, striking at the university has been a popular topic, and the anonymous pages associated with St Andrews students allows us to voice our support, anger or confusion at the thought of losing valuable lecture time. Moreover, we are able to post about politics and any grievances against political groups at the university, which has often lead to useful debate regarding the different political views we may hold. We are also able to post about social issues, such as LGBTQ+ experiences, and either praise St Andrews’ acceptance of various communities or ask for change when acceptance isn’t deemed to have been met. These pages allow us to ask for x or y, and that’s a good thing, but most importantly it allows for these discussions to be carried around the university sphere and even back home with you. However, the darker side of anonymous posting cannot be ignored. Even though a large majority of the posts on these pages shout objection to issues like sock thieves in DRA laundry rooms, the odd post appears now and then that could be cause for concern. Given the anonymous nature of these pages, students have the freedom to post about anything – but when does this ability over step the line? Reading the odd post about depression, loneliness or even the suggestion of traumatic experiences that have occurred in this little town makes me wonder about how many students are struggling with personal difﬁculties and perhaps need support. It could be argued that, given the usually comedic or debate based nature of these pages, posts about feeling friendless or alone simply get ignored or lost in the hundreds and hundreds of rants or appeals to prospective romantic partners. While
this is not the direct fault of the pages, it could lead you to question whether having such a forum online is productive — given their nature, it would be difﬁcult to ﬁnd the suffering individuals and provide them with help, if accepted. Moreover, these pages can be argued to have created a culture of nastiness among students. While obviously debate and anger is expected on some of these pages, some posts go too far sometimes. From naming and shaming people for sleeping with various sexual partners to exposing a past friend’s most embarrassing or secretive experience or regret, it can be argued that the anonymous nature of these pages makes people forget just how hurtful words can be — in my opinion, if you can’t say it to someone’s face, perhaps you shouldn’t say it at all.
These pages have become a half-comical, half serious environment in which university life is openly discussed In conclusion, the debate surrounding internet anonymity and students is a tricky one. While the above discussed pages are hilarious, interesting, and sometimes quite sweet (adorable posts about that one girl you sit with in Physics or that nice guy in your English tutorial, I’m looking at you) 80 per cent of the time, but they could potentially be damaging. While it’s fantastic to have a forum for discussion or a page to post rubbish on when you and your friends are bored, the nature of anonymous submission inevitably makes it a rocky boat to stand in. Personally, I think the pages should stay. Not only do they provide relief, laughter, or discussion as breaks between mountains of History readings, but I think freedom of speech is highly important. However, I think as students we should keep an eye out — I would like to think we have a duty of care to all people studying here, and if something seems particularly worrisome we should at least talk about it, and try to offer support.
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent do not represent the views of The Saint but are individual opinions. The views expressed in Viewpoint
MONEY Rethinking Charity
Money editor: Rebecca Feng Deputy money editors: Acacia Beaton, David Hallengren, Jolie Minh Tran @saint_ money email@example.com
What can we do at St Andrews to reflect on effective altruism?
JOLIE MINH TRAN Deputy money editor
sources (including time and money) to do the most good in the world?” At Effective Altruism St Andrews, the community has two main focuses – promoting effective giving and effective careers. The former uses evidence and reason to figure out which charities are the most effective, while the latter aims to nudge participants towards searching for the highest-impact careers. When discussing how the idea of bringing effective careers to St Andrews came about, Mr Rogers-Smith happily shared, “Many people [at St Andrews] aren’t sure of their career plans, but know that they want one that is fulfilling and does good. 80,000 Hours is an organisation founded by Oxford students that helps individu-
reers that serve a purpose. He said, “as soon as I decided to pursue a high-impact career, I became super motivated and happy because I now have a direction in life, that is to do the most good that I possibly can.” There have been times when Mr Rogers-Smith thinks people’s altruism is misplaced. A typical example is that many students go to work in non-profit organisations straight after graduating from university. His reasoning lies in the fact that such an option might not be a great way to invest in one’s career capital and build credentials, which means that one won’t be able to maximise his or her impact. Instead, it might be more strategic to start off at a for-profit place to develop one’s personal skills, then move to the nonprofit sector and jump straight into a highlevel position and generate more influence.
Illustration: Rachel Cripps
alking from one end of town to another, one can’t help but notice the charity shops and signs that call out for attention with pride. Stopping by the Union, one will almost always bump into students holding little charity boxes in their hands, asking for spare change. Their smiles are bright, their compassion infectious – it is undeniable that at St Andrews our philanthropic spirit serves as a momentum to drive us forward. Indeed, the long list of societies that are listed under the charity section at the freshers’ fayre demonstrates our commitment to social good. Guest speakers, concerts, fashion shows; these are only a few of the many ideas that students have come up with to raise awareness and funds for charitable causes. As admirable as it is that our minds are occupied with the lives of others, how often do we pause to reflect on the extent of the impact that we have made, or wonder if our efforts have made an impact at all? This article is by no means suggesting that charity is not paying off, but it attempts to reconceptualise the way we think about charity and thus enables us to do so much more.
organisation’s initiative. Amongst the few projects that we could choose to fundraise for, two possibilities were to fund a classroom’s tuition for one year and to build a classroom library in a country of our choice. At first sight, both sounded perfect. Sending about 30 children to school for a whole year and providing books for students to read; what could be more exciting? Both projects aimed towards increasing access to education and improving literacy. Isn’t this, after all, what we advocate for everyday? Upon further analysis, however, my confidence and enthusiasm started to shrink. Coming from a developing country, I know first-hand how underprivileged people live. Most children in rural areas attend
Coming from a developing country, I know first-hand how underprivileged people live I first caught myself being a charity sceptic not too long ago when my friend and I decided to start a fundraising campaign as part of a global
primary school for a few years, some will advance to secondary school, but the majority drop out to work in manual labour or help their families on the farm. Say that I succeeded with my charity campaign and was able to raise enough funds for a class’s tuition for a year, would it still be meaningful or worthwhile if the education these children receive in this short year does not alternate their presupposed life path? And what if I could help build a library for a classroom? Will students really start to read significantly more? Why would they since reading is not prioritised in their community, and all their free time is taken by assisting their families? Although I don’t have any concrete answer to these questions, they planted my first toehold in discovering the concept of effective altruism. Effective altruism strives towards providing the most promising solutions to the world’s most pressing concerns. As stated by Charlie Rogers-Smith, president of the Effective Altruism St Andrews Community, the concept is based on the answer to the question, “How we can use our re-
a l s find a career to help solve the world’s most pressing problems. The idea is that there are 80,000 hours in the average career, and Mr Rogers-Smith believes that
Should we accept something generic like “saving African children” as a satisfying answer it is important to spend a good fraction of that time thinking about ca-
Some other misconceptions regarding charity involve food aid. Many supermarkets encourage customers to give a small donation to their favorite charities. Food aid is by far the more popular one. The question is not whether food aid merits attention, but whether it is being handled appropriately. We normally think that the poor definitely need food and thus the more food distributed, the better. However, aren’t there hidden alternatives that may ease the problem of poverty? As identified by Banerjee and Duflo in their book Poor Economics, key investments need not be expensive. In Kenya, children who were given deworming pills went to school longer and earned more as young adults. By getting rid of the worms that compete with the child for nutrients, we tackle anaemia and malnutrition. These pills cost $1 each. In the same manner, efforts could be directed towards educating households on prioritising their budget towards food that offers more calories and nutrients, which in turn translates into higher work productivity and
earnings. While these approaches sound simple, they are not simplistic.
Charity is a rather intricate problem accompanied by unanswered puzzles and unasked questions The aforementioned examples are strategies well oriented towards social concerns. Where does this leave us and how do we go about making charitable decisions? When we attend events where proceeds go towards charity, should we be questioning how exactly our money will be spent, and what are the impacts it will make? Should we accept something generic like “saving African children” as a satisfying answer, or should we dig deeper into what that slogan means? When we make donations, should we do some research into organisations to see which ones are more cost-effective, or simply give to those with better marketing images that make us feeling charitable? There are many organisations that can give you a headstart in thinking through these questions. GiveWell is a nonprofit that conducts in-depth analysis to evaluate the impact of charities. If you are wondering if you should be volunteering or focusing on your grades; making sacrifices or investing in yourself, Effective Altruism St Andrews also runs discussion groups, career workshops, socials and skillbuilding sessions to further explore effective giving and effective careers. Charity is a rather intricate problem accompanied by unanswered puzzles and unasked questions. The road to more effective giving is still arduous but the earlier we reflect on the way we are doing charity, the earlier we’ll get to the destination.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
The Cost of Hosting Olympic Games Are the prestige and tourism the Games may bring still worth the cost?
As the dust settles on the Pyeongchang Olympics, a decades-long debate on the financial virtues of hosting the Olympic Games is beginning once again. Hosting the Games has always been expensive, but in recent years the cost of doing so has increased dramatically, causing citizens and governments across the world to question whether the prestige and tourism that the Games may bring are worth it any longer. While Olympic Games were not always profitable during the first half of the 20th century, the received wisdom was that any deficit racked up by the city or local government in funding the games would be compensated in the long-term via investment in infrastructure and increased tax returns from local businesses. However, the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics showed that, at the very least, improper planning and oversight could lead to financial ruin for the host city. As a result of the 1976 Olympics, Montreal was left with nearly $1 billion worth of municipal debt that took 30 years of tax hikes to recover from.
Hosting the Games has always been expensive Those in favour of hosting the Olympics argue that the circumstances surrounding the Montreal Games were unique, and are not inevitable for all hosting cities. In particular, they point to the fact that the Montreal government was unable to reign in striking unions, leading to cost over-
runs, and did not receive a guarantee from either the Quebec or Canadian governments. If the Montreal government was able to stop any of these failures and miscommunications from happening, at least some of the cost overruns could have been avoided. Further, supporters of the Olympics often point to the Salt Lake City Winter Games of 2002 as a success story that can be replicated elsewhere. While it suffered a cost overrun of 24 per cent (compared with the 720 per cent cost overrun in Montreal), a successful marketing campaign meant that the Salt Lake Olympic Committee was left with a $40 million surplus at the end of the games. This surplus enabled the government to maintain the former facilities and use them for youth programs. Beyond that, Salt Lake City is used as a role model because much of the cost went into improving and building infrastructure, in particular the TRAX light rail system, which remains one of the most effective light rail systems in the United States. The games also resulted in Salt Lake City becoming a tourist destination for winter sports; whereas previously the city’s Mormon reputation had dissuaded tourists. Complicating the debate is the recent phenomenon of nationally funded Olympic Games, in particular the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. These two Games were the most expensive in history, costing $44 and $51 billion US respectively. Both games were financially unsuccessful in the sense that neither made a profit, but the governments of China and Russia viewed the propaganda and prestige value of hosting an opulent Olympics more important than balancing the books. These ambitious and extravagant state-funded Games have contributed to the rapid increase in the costs of hosting since the 1990s. In order to be considered
a potential host, municipalities in democratic countries are forced into a competition with countries that are gladly affording the opulence with the open wallet of national treasuries. This pressure has led all but the largest cities to withdraw from applying to host the games, especially the Summer Olympics. The competition for hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics came down to only two finalists, Paris and Los Angeles, after medium size cities such as Boston backed out over fears that the city government would be forced to foot the bill for the inevitable cost overruns. Given these fears, how has the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics fared? While not the worst performing Olympics on a financial scale, these 2018 games are expected to cost $12.9 billion, which is far more than the previously estimated $8 billion. If tax intakes do not increase or tourism does not pick up significantly, the regional g o ve r n m e n t could suffer a $9 million dollar deficit per year as a result.
billion Expected cost
billion Estimated cost
cess, Pyeongchang does not seem to be repeating that success. This is in part because the city, compared with Seoul, is small and relatively impoverished. Many of the Olympic facilities are remote and inaccessible to the general public. The city itself also lacks existing tourist attractions to go with these Olympic facilities. In a word, the city is too unpopular for tourism to thrive there. Hopefully at least, the facilities will not suffer the fate of those of Athens’ 2004 Summer Olympics – remaining in a state of disrepair. So long as the cost of hosting the games continues to rise, organising committees will face the task of convincing local residents that their taxes are best used in competing against the financial might of global financial capitals and state treasuries.
Illustration: Lindsey Wiercioch
While the 1988 Seoul Summer games were a suc-
Men in “Feminine” Fields: The Glass Escalator Theory JENNA LIPMAN There has been much news coverage concerning the concept of the “glass ceiling,” which describes the transparent promotion barrier facing minority ‒ particularly women ‒ workers. But a new, adjacent theory is starting to take hold. It’s called the “glass escalator” theory and it applies to men in traditionally “feminine” fields, such as nursing and elementary school education. In these fields men are in the minority. The theory describes the state of occupational segregation between the sexes from the rare perspective where men are the minority within the field. It focuses on fields where men are statistically under-represented. Often, it focuses on four predominantly femaleled occupations: librarianship, social work, primary school teachers and nurses. To further explore the causes and implications of the glass escala-
tor theory, two questions are crucial: 1. Why do so few men enter these fields, especially since such fields have low barriers to entry? 2. If men are the minorities in these fields, why are they still more likely to be placed quickly into upper administrative roles? In answering the first question, part of men’s lack of presence can be attributed to the differing social expectations for the genders. For example, at a young age boys and girls might be directed to pursue different fields and thus take on different jobs when they grow up. Secondly, since workers in these four particular fields usually earn lower salaries, there is not much incentive to enter these occupations. Thus, this discrepancy in gender representation in these fields might not only be harmful to balance within the workplace, but also be a catalyst for shortages of applicants entering these fields. The greater question of the “glass
escalator phenomenon” arises when one attempts to work out why men in these fields, despite being the minorities, still receive promotions and salary increases faster than women. For example, teaching below university level is predominantly female, but most headmasters are men. Librarianship is considered a traditionally feminine field, but most director positions are usually held by males. In nursing, most applicants are women, but men will statistically be promoted to board positions faster. While there is continuous progress made on incorporating diverse backgrounds into these fields, there does appear to be a tendency to favor men. According to a study produced by University of Texas Professor Christine L. Williams, it may partially be due to socialisation patterns taking hold in the economic workforce. According to her extensive interviews, women entering male-dominated fields would actively try to down-
play their gender, in order to instead focus on their merits. These women are afraid of stigmatized biases working against them. However, men in female-dominated fields would view their gender as an asset and thus could use it to their advantage.
Women are more likely to understate their performance levels Importantly, another factor that comes into play in the promotion process is the widely used practice of self-grading. Initially used to help employees to self-reflect, this practice also
aids employers to gauge “potential growth” for those they are considering for promotion. Although originally designed in good spirit, self-grading is another cause for men being promoted faster. Research shows that women are statistically more likely to understate their performance levels and confidence in comparison to men. If two candidates have the same performance level on paper, but one says in the self-reflection that he or she believes they are high-performing and has more to give to the company, the employer would be incentivised to promote this candidate, who is more likely to be a man than a woman. The lower wages offered by these jobs as well as the stereotype that they are traditionally “feminine jobs” causes the shortages of workers in these fields. Whether the glass escalator phenomenon is more driven by social or technical factors, the reality is that it does exist and demands greater recognition.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Word on the Street: Go to Tanon
Phon McLean is 15 minutes late to her interview with The Saint. She rushed into Tanon, complaining that the snow made her drive from Guardbridge take twice as long as usual. “My brake was not working,” she said as she turned on the heater in the 24-seat little eatery on Market Street. Phon, who welcomed me with a smile, is the owner of Tanon, the Thai street food restaurant founded five months ago in the last week of September 2017. Phon came to the United Kingdom in the early 2000s. She couldn’t remember which year she first landed in London, either 2002 or 2003. She worked her way through school as a waitress in restaurants and bars. “I have a lot of experience of serving and eating in Thai restaurants in London,” Mrs McLean said. However, despite all this experience working in various restaurants, Tanon is Phon’s first attempt to start her own. Before this she worked in a travel agency in Bangkok. “Very different experience,” she said with a grin. Phon’s idea for a Thai restaurant
necessarily rests on it focusing on street food. “I think the Thai street food is more interesting. It is more casual, more like fast food.” Tanon does not take reservations, not because of smart marketing strategies but rather a way of preserving authenticity. “If you eat street food in Thailand, you just bump in. No reservation.”
These Thai dishes are, she says, “from your soul, from your heart” Tanon has five full time members of staff including two chefs, and about 10 part time servers, most of whom are students. One chef has been living in Scotland since getting married to a Scottish man, while the other has been a professional chef here for years. Phon got in touch with her chefs through the Thai community here. “It is a tight community,” said the restau-
rateur. Indeed, Phon seemed to know every Thai student here at St Andrews. Although Phon herself does not have extensive training in cooking, she creates all the recipes in collaboration with the chefs. These Thai dishes are, she says, “from your soul, from you heart.” Balance, detail and variety are of paramount significance to Thai chefs. While Tanon offers a huge selection of curry dishes, wok-fried noodles, and ramen noodle soups, the restaurant pays much attention to the details of each dish it prepares. The noodles for the Ba Mae roasted duck wok-fried noodles are homemade because “dry noodles you buy outside tastes not nice with the duck.” Phon told The Saint that although all dishes are popular, pad thai, lamb and chicken massaman curry are the local favourites. Phon owns the company and rents the building at 58 Market Street. The fivestar restaurant rating on Facebook is a testimony to the quality of Tanon’s food and service. The strong aromatic components and a spicy edge are what attract both students and locals
alike. In term time, 60 to 70 per cent of Tanon’s customers are students.
Paid thai, lamb and chicken massaman curry are the local favourites Phon is also a customof her own restaurant. She reveals that her favourite dish in the two-sided extensive menu is the tofu tempura ramen soup. This heartwarming d i s h is also er
good choice for vegetarians. True to form, Phon moves with cautiousness into the future. She calls this year a “trial year” for Tanon. “[We] don’t have any plans for now. But before this summer, we will have a set [price] menu for appetisers and mains. We try to have a TripAdvisor page.” Phon calls it “destiny” that she first moved from Thailand to the United Kingdom, where she learnt a new language, met new people, and adapted into a new culture. She admitted that although she had learned English at school in Thailand, she learned most of the language in the UK by speaking to people. It was with this persistence and diligence that she was later accepted into the University of Dundee, where she completed her Master’s degree in business administration. “Back home [in Bangkok] life is just go home, go to work, go home. But here, you are something new.”
rebecca feng Money editor
Illustration: Lindsey Wiercioch
Kentucky Fried Chicken - It’s not ideal
DAVID HALLENGREN Deputy money editor A great deal of careful consideration goes into a successful eatery. Location, staffing and decor are just a few items on a long list of necessary factors for an aspiring restaurateur or a franchisee. However, the most important element, the sine qua non of it all, is the food. When a restaurant lacks this last element, there’s no salvaging the situation. If the stars align, hilarity just might ensue.
The internet erupted into nearuniversal ridicule earlier this month as hundreds of UK branches of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the ubiquitous American chain known for its Dixiestyle fast food, were temporarily shuttered for lack of chicken. The chain itself, however, turned what could have been a business fiasco into a series for self-deprecating jokes that transformed potential disappointments from customers into laughter. The closure, some noted, drove business to KFC’s competitors. “Why did the chicken
cross the road?” asked one Twitter user. “To go to @NandosUK.” Some observers took to farce, dressing up as KFC employees and bulk-buying chicken breasts at an ASDA supermarket. One journalist, joining in the mirth, noted that the prank was “ruffling feathers.” Others seemed markedly less amused by the closures, with a wealth of complaints, some unprintable, to be found on social media from angry, deprived customers. Somewhat improbable, they were joined by online activists, vitriolic in righteous-
ness, who capitalised on the malcontent to highlight accusations of animal cruelty against the poultry giant. The chain itself, to its credit, joined in on the fun, running a full-page ad in The Sun. The advertisement featured one of the firm’s iconic chicken buckets emblazoned with “FCK,” a play on the chain’s name, followed by a sheepish apology. “A chicken restaurant without chicken,” the caption read, “it’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who travelled out of their way to find we were closed.” Bemoaning “a hell of a week,” KFC promised that the firm was “making progress” in getting stores back into operation and thanked customers for “bearing with us.” The advertisement seems to have struck the right tone, with members of the public praising KFC for being a good sport about what is undeniably an embarrassing logistical failure. However, just as the chain was returning to near-normal operations late last week, new problems came to the fore. Media outlets reported that the embattled eatery is now facing a shortage of gravy, a popular – and to some, indispensable – accompaniment to KFC’s fast food offerings. The twin incidents seem to point to a systemic problem with KFC’s new distributor in the British Isles, DHL. In mid-February, Yum! Brands – the US corporate parent of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and WingStreet – switched over from Bidvest, a British
The advertisement featured one of the firm’s iconic chicken buckets emblazoned with “FCK” supplier to DHL, causing the closure of a Bidvest facility and the loss of 255 jobs. All indications seem to point to something of a rough transition. Noting that the problem is multifaceted, Wired reports that the shortage and subsequent closures can be primarily attributed to problems at the singular DHL distribution point supplying all Britain’s KFCs. An accident near Rugby, where the DHL warehouse is located, set off a chain reaction of delays, with reports of chicken rotting in the facility. Some observers have reasoned that DHL has only one distribution point whereas Bidvest had several across the country, making such a catastrophic failure of the supply chain possible. Others also cite a lack of planning and good order, with Mick Rix, national officer of the GMB trade union, calling the situation “an absolute cockup” and calling conditions at the DHL warehouse “an absolute shambles.” “We tried to warn KFC this would have consequences,” wrote the GMB in a press release. “Well, now the chickens are coming home to roost.”
Features editor: KENALYN ANG Deputy editors: Catriona Aitken, Julia Bennett, Cate Hanlon, Tas Vamos
The Overseas Series: Henry Roberts For a long time, I battled against a lingering thought that if you wanted to study abroad, there must be something wrong with you. This idea isn’t one widely spoken of, and it’s quite possible that its origin can be traced to the self-defeating cynicism of my own head. But it’s something I thought a lot about, and something I had trouble getting my head around. Don’t get me wrong. I was in no way of the opinion that a desire to travel means there’s something wrong with you, that any kind of wanderlust should be diagnosed so that we all go back to our dwellings, safe and content and in the same place. Rather, given that we’re at university for so short a time, it seems mad that we would voluntarily want to leave this ephemeral setting, the supposed “greatest days of our lives,” and go somewhere new, somewhere we don’t know anyone. More importantly, none of my friends seemed to want to study abroad. They had friends, lovers, engagements, commitments, roots in St Andrews. They were happy here and didn’t want to leave. I wanted to try something diﬀerent and somewhere new. Why didn’t everyone else? I chose to go to Dublin. Not only am I an ignorant prisoner of English and no other language, I ﬁgured being close to home would somehow be a safer option than halfway across the world. I wanted to be a traveller, but a cautious one. I was in the unusual study abroad position of actually being closer to my Lancashire home in Dublin than I would have been in St Andrews. Trinity College, Dublin was the institution of some of my heroes —Wilde, Beckett, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Aisling Bea — and I wanted to join with those momentous footsteps. When I arrived, there was only one meeting I had to go to. I had a whole week with nothing to do except discover a whole city, but I wasn’t feeling excited or adventurous at the time. I was anxious. I was given too much freedom. I had a city to explore and a week to ﬁll. Wandering around aimlessly can never feel liberating if you’ve always got that nagging feeling that there’s somewhere important you’re meant to be. Be ready for disappointment (but make the most of it). It was only once I got there in September that I was able to pick my classes (something rightly shocking and a common complaint amongst us Erasmus students). And, worst of all, to comply with the degree demands of both Trinity and St Andrews, I could only pick three modules out of a choice of four or ﬁve — rather than new wave cinema and Vietnam, I was learning about Irish nationalism and Voltaire. The most dispiriting moment came in my ﬁrst seminar for Ireland and the Great War, in a room full of
eager Irish students, most of whom were a year older than me and all of whom were indoctrinated in Irish history since infancy. The tutor did his best to put at ease any ﬁrst-day nerves: “Is there anybody here who has never done Irish history before?” Nervously, and with palpable reticence, I raised my hand. “Ah. Well, you will be at a disadvantage then.” If starting a new class, in a new university, in a new city, with the added pressure that for the ﬁrst time your grades actually count towards your degree wasn’t terrifying enough, having the tutor tell you in the ﬁrst class that you’re already behind was an introduction I did not need. Location isn’t everything… For those thinking of studying at Trinity College, Dublin, this next bit of advice is directed at you. The university is great in many ways, but don’t expect them to give you any substantial help in ﬁnding accommodation. They do not provide any for foreign students, and searching for a ﬂat yourself — particularly when you’re not there in person — can be intimidating and dispiriting. With the help of my father, I managed to ﬁnd a ﬂat on the city’s north side, walking distance from campus, though even this wasn’t until the tail end of August. I was thrilled to be able to live in the city (most people commute every day and with buses stopping just after midnight, this can be a real problem for nights out). However, my metropolitan bachelor
pad certainly wasn’t perfect. For all the convenience that comes with a ﬂat in the heart of the city and in walking distance to all the main landmarks, living in the basement below a tattoo removal service, with no natural light, paper-thin walls and the distinct lingering odour of gravy proved diﬃcult at times. Day was hard to distinguish from night with no windows, and friends frequently asked after me, sometimes in code, making sure I wasn’t trapped there against my will. And, like with any shared living space, you have to contend with neighbours. Thankfully, the couple with the crying baby lived in the basement next to ours, but my ﬁrst ﬂatmate was a charming gentleman who had a fondness for Doritos and bringing back male prostitutes in the early hours of the morning. My next ﬂatmates after he moved out, a married Christian couple, made for a more stable home environment. One night, at around 2 am, I left my room to get a glass of water only to realise that as soon as I opened my bedroom door, my feet were unexpectedly but unmistakably damp. That’s strange, I thought in the darkness, I hope this situation doesn’t escalate any further. I switched on the light and saw that the whole ﬂat was ﬂooded with murky, brown-water, with an accompanying smell, coming from an overﬂowing drain outside. I awoke my ﬂatmate and rang the landlord, frantically trying to explain that a perfect storm of rainwater and faeces was ﬂowing into the ﬂat whilst apologising for making such a late
call to a half asleep woman speaking in her second language, all while trying to dry the place and protect my newly polished shoes. When you live in a basement, it doesn’t have to rain to pour. The message here is that if you’re living in a city, especially outside the
Remember that things can always be funny, and when something’s funny, it belongs to you context of university accommodation, be prepared for some colourful characters, and inevitable drawbacks, no matter how prime the location may be. Take walks. One of the added beneﬁts of walking in Dublin is that you frequently ﬁnd yourself walking past landmarks of historical signiﬁcance that are easy to miss if you’re looking at your shoes. I was walking aimlessly up past a street of Georgian houses and saw that I was also strolling past the former home of Bram Stoker. On another day, I noticed a blue plaque adorning the side of a house just up the road from Trinity campus, only to realise on closer inspection that it was in fact the childhood home of Oscar Wilde. (A tourist shop sporting a pa-
per cut-out of the witty quote-sayer and playwright just a few yards back should have made me realise I was in Oscar territory.) A popular tourist spot is St Stephen’s Green, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is it very beautiful and in the heart of the city, but it’s also the location of great historical scenes. During the 1916 Easter Rising, the park was on lockdown, a strategic point for the rebels, and the site of much conﬂict and bloodshed. Now, St Stephen’s is a busy public garden, punctuated with benches, bridges and information points about the Rising. The park really oﬀers an informative read. I always feel a walk in the park is improved when you know more about military strategy going out than you did going in. The whole chronology of the Rising is interesting, and if you ever ﬁnd yourself in Dublin I advise you to go and see for yourself. My favourite little tidbit was that, during the intensive lockdown of the park in 1916, there was a twice-daily ceaseﬁre between the rebels and the British so that the gatekeeper could come in safely and feed the ducks. Comedy is tragedy plus time. A funny thing happened one afternoon during a rehearsal for Punk Rock, the play I acted in. I played a boy called Chadwick, a shy nervous type, one who gets teased by his classmates for his social-awkwardness. In one scene, towards the middle of the play, this “teasing” evolves into ﬂat-out bullying. Bennett, my tormenter, tackles my throat with his arm, puts a lighter to my face, and barrages me with a string of profanity-laden insults too extreme for me to share here. This particular afternoon, we were rehearsing in an empty classroom. After that particularly strong tirade of aggression and saliva was thrown at me, a secretary from the neighbouring oﬃce walked in, telling us that those kinds of words were not acceptable for a university building and that
Photos: Henry Roberts
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com we should continue our “discussion” outside, mistaking our rehearsal for a genuine tiﬀ. She left and we laughed at the mishap, before I realised that this woman was clearly hearing the sounds of my distress and, rather than coming to my aid, instructed my “bully” to take me outside, as my beating was proving to be a distraction from her emails. Keep things in perspective. The Ha’Penny Bridge is the most famous bridge in Dublin. It’s also narrow and unsurprisingly very busy, so usually I avoided it and walked across another point along the river. On one afternoon, coming from a coﬀee shop and on my way to a Punk Rock rehearsal, I opted to indulge in this literal walk on history, when I noticed something strange. A man was climbing over the side of the bridge. He looked homeless, and was clearly intoxicated in some form, and was arguing with a woman who stood watching, (presumably his wife) also in a disheve-
led state. It was hard to gauge exactly what he was saying, but it was clear that they were in the midst of a serious spat and he was threatening to jump. This was alarming enough to see, but worst of all was the swarm of people walking past acting like nothing out of the ordinary was happening and not doing anything. Nervous that he would actually jump into the murky waters of the Liﬀey, a stranger and I pulled him down, and he and the women were taken indoors nearby to calm down. I was shaken, and rather upset. My leg was trembling, but there wasn’t much more to do, and I was late for rehearsals. Whenever I thought the city or the university was being unfair on me, I tried to remember that it could always be worse. Life can be irreversibly cruel for some. Classes progressed. Unlike in St Andrews, I got to choose my own essay titles. After a bit of persuasion
and heavy groveling, I ﬁnally got my World War I professor to allow me to write an essay on Irish war poetry and what we as historians can learn from it. He wasn’t much impressed when I eventually came back with my conclusion: not much.
Make the most of disappointments and don’t complain too much I also can now bitterly admit that, despite my initial fears, the module
17 on Irish history turned out to be my favourite. Make the most of the disappointments. And don’t complain too much about them; you may end up eating your words. Despite an overwhelmingly lonely start, after a month or so I truly felt like I belonged, and it was because my new friends made it clear that I was welcome. Dublin for me was much more about the shared moments on buses and in the corners of dark pubs than it was about the Abbey Theatre and O’Connell Street, let alone Irish war poetry or Voltaire’s Dictionnaire Philosophique. Take walks. Work hard for classes, especially those you don’t like initially. Join societies. Do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do, but more importantly, do the things you would normally do. I joined the theatre society, as I had in St Andrews, and met like-minded people and consequently made friends for life. Remember, no matter
how hard things get, you’re in an advantageous position and things could always be worse. But remember also that it’s okay to feel sad, alone, frightened, angry, remorseful, bitter, lonely. Time alone is not only permitted, it’s crucial. Remember that things can always be funny, and when something’s funny, it belongs to you. A trick I like is to think whenever something sad or embarrassing happens, that this, if construed the right way (and perhaps altered or exaggerated ever so slightly), could make a good story. Better still, it could make a funny story. Humans live to tell stories: it binds us together, and gives our embarrassing moments, or better still our failures, a purpose. Hold onto old comforts, but do something new and make new comforts. And even in the worst moments, remember that this isn’t forever and, if you tell it the right way, you might have a good story in the end.
Public Finances in Independent Scotland
On Tuesday 20 February, St Andrews University Students for Independence hosted an inaugural lecture entitled “Public Finances in an Independent Scotland”. It is part of a new lecture series called “Transforming Scotland”, which seeks to tackle the topical issues, challenges, and opportunities that Scotland faces today, as well as present a vision for what an independent Scotland may look like in the future. The speaker, Dr Craig Dalzell, was born in Lanark, joined the University of Strathclyde where he received a MSci in Laser Physics and a PhD in Photonics. He gradually gained a keen interest in politics and spent two years campaigning for Scottish independence. His interests lie primarily in the economic and ﬁnancial aspects of the debate, and he is the administrator of the Facebook page “Yes to an Independent Scotland”, the largest referendum campaign page outside of the two “oﬃcial” pages. He continues to be politically involved, participating as an active member of the Scottish Green Party. He is also involved with the Common Weal project, a think tank and campaigning and advocacy organisation with aims of achieving social and economic equality and environmental
sustainability by the restructuring of democracy and the development of infrastructure. “Through the Greens and the Common Weal project I want to continue advocating the progress towards a better, fairer Scotland which puts all of us ﬁrst,” said Dr Dalzell. His involvement with Common Weal began with a collaborative paper working on reimagining Scotland’s currency options. He said, “This sparked the inspiration to start the White Paper Project, a plan for the essential institutions and ﬁscal policy changes that an independent Scotland would need to become a viable, independent country.” The recent “Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland” (GERS) report in 2015-2016, showed Scotland’s ﬁscal deﬁcit to be in the region of £14 billion per year, thus marking it as a country currently experiencing some of the most challenging ﬁnancial circumstances in Europe. “The very act of independence will result in signiﬁcant redistributions and reallocations of government resources which will likely result in economic beneﬁts accruing to Scotland,” said Dr Dalzell. The paper contains a variety of suggestions to make ﬁnancing Scotland’s independence more feasible. In terms of defence spending, only a fraction
of what the UK spends on defence for Scotland occurs in Scotland. A reorganisation of the defence spending might not only result in a modest economic boost, but also meet NATO’s two per cent defence spending target, if Scotland were to become an independent member of NATO following its independence from the UK.
We’d improve Scotland’s budget, further strengthening its fiscal position
£200 million for Scotland to run it. “Overall, there will be a £2.5 billion savings total, cutting down the current ﬁscal deﬁcit by half if we were to implement it,” said Dr Dalzell. Additionally, decisions on how to establish and govern new Scottish state institutions will also improve Scotland’s budget at the point of set-up, further strengthening the ﬁscal position vis-à-vis that presented in GERS and that of the rest of the United Kingdom. “We’d improve Scotland’s budget, further strengthening its ﬁscal position and make a Scottish Independence much more feasible in the future,” said Dr Dalzell. The talk by Dr Dalzell laid a solid foundation for those curious enough to wonder what a solid plan for in-
dependence in Scotland would entail — whether you are in the “Aye” or “Nay” camp of voters — should a second Scottish referendum occur in the near future. For others, however, practical economics only serve to supplement a very deep dream for freedom embedded within centuries of Scottish history and is woven into the fabric of Scottish pride. As Robert Burns put it in his poem “Scots Wha Hae”: “By oppression’s woes and pains! By your sons in servile chains! We will drain our dearest veins, But they shall be free!” For those interested in the ongoing lecture series “Transforming Scotland”, follow the St Andrews University Students for Independence on Facebook.
To solve the problem of debt, all ﬁnancial models such as the subtractive model, the additive model and the zero option model can all leave Scotland better oﬀ. Since most civil servant work occurs in London, repatriating reserved government would result in £1.3 billion additional revenue aided by the cheaper Scottish rent rates compared to those in London. Other suggestions include a modest
Photos: St Andrews Students for Independence
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
So you want to be a writer? CATRIONA AITKEN Deputy features editor I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was eight years old and I was made the editor of my primary school newspaper. Thankfully, I quickly moved on from word search puzzles and documenting dining hall drama, and continued my interest in writing by submitting articles to my local newspaper, and then seeking work experience at regional publications. As a student in St Andrews, particularly studying an arts degree, I am surrounded by keen student writers with various passions and writing styles. However, I’ve recently been in a couple of situations which have led me to question the term “aspiring writer,” and consider whether it is in fact a problematic notion. How can “aspiring” really be deﬁned? Who’s to say when a person may transition from aspiring to being, and do we too often hide our abilities, of various kinds, behind the notion that we are yet to reach the point that they can truly be considered to represent who we are? I spoke to a number of students who have taken on a range of editorial roles in a wide variety of St Andrewsbased publications, and was eager to hear their views on the concept of the aspiring writer, and their own journeys into the world of words. The ﬁrst issue I came across with the notion of the aspiring writer, was the idea of pigeon-holing, and uncertainty over who is qualiﬁed to decide when that transition from aspiring to be a writer, to actually being one has occurred. I spoke to Annabel McLean and Sarah Jack, two ﬁnal year students and editors of the print and online editions of the magazine Hearing Aid respectively. Hearing Aid is a music-based magazine published three times each academic year, with additional content published regularly online. While their online articles are often responses to albums and gigs the writers have recently attended, their print issues include music-based content, often opinion pieces, and centre around a new theme each time. “I think with anything, the shift from aspiration to being the thing probably comes when you decide it,” suggested Ms Jack. She continued: “‘Aspiring’ for me would probably be linked to profession, like if you wanted to be a music journalist and be paid
for.” However, Ms Jack did also acknowledge that being a professional writer did not always necessitate the ability to make a living from writing, referencing a recent trip to an awards ceremony as an example. “Hearing Aid was nominated two years running for the Stack Awards, which is a magazine award in London with publications from all over the world and we fell into the student category. We went down last year for the ceremony, and we were so interested to see what the real deal was […] We were actually quite surprised by how often these publications aren’t considered a “real job”. A lot of people were just doing it as a sort of side, passion projects. They said you weren’t going to make your money in music journalism. These people aren’t reaping much reward for what they’re doing but, if they’re winning awards, they’re deﬁnitely writers.” Ms McLean agreed that receiving recognition marked the transition away from “aspiring”. “I think it is probably to do with proﬁt, and if you can see that you’re garnering success,” said Ms McLean. She additionally touched on the problem of conﬁdence as a barrier to receiving that feedback, and thus in a person’s self-proclamation as being a writer, “I guess the problem would be conﬁdence in putting your work out there, whether it’s as a writer, or even as a musician or an artist. The problem is that idea of having your work judged, so I think it’s just about having the conﬁdence to put yourself out there.” The issue of conﬁdence was also mentioned by Andrew Sinclair, a third year History and International Relations student who holds the position of joint Editor-in-Chief of The Saint, alongside Olivia Gavoyannis. He began his writing journey in his ﬁrst semester in the bubble, writing for the Sport section and quickly progressing up the editorial ladder. “In my ﬁrst year, I spoke to someone from the riﬂe club which I knew nothing about,” recalled Mr Sinclair. “It would have been easier to say, oh I’m an aspiring football writer or rugby writer and hide behind the sports that I liked, whereas that completely threw me out of my comfort zone. But it got me totally immersed in interviews, writing up an interview, getting quotes, that kind of stuﬀ.” It is this ability to challenge yourself that Mr Sinclair now values in his fellow writers, and he explained
to me why he therefore dislikes the term “aspiring” in this context. “I ﬁnd [the term ‘aspiring writer’] an issue for myself because I think it often becomes a byword for you not being proactive enough. It’s the same thing when I’m trying to recruit people for the teams; it’s not always who’s the best writer that you should hire, it’s who’s the most interested and most ﬂexible.” Mr Sinclair also conceded that not all student journalists are looking to continue writing after graduation, and therefore believes that outside approval weights diﬀerently in each person’s own idea of themselves as writers, further emphasising the term “writer” as a deeply individual label. “I now write for an American website and, over Christmas, I got recruited to write for the UK’s biggest Boxing and Wrestling magazine. So that, for me, was the step where I can actually consider myself a journalist now,” Mr Sinclair said. “But it varies depending on what you want to do,” he continued. “I know some of the people who work for The Saint enjoy doing it in their spare time as a hobby at university, but have no intention of going into journalism afterwards. So, to them they wouldn’t say they’ve made it, even if they were to get that kind of recognition. I think it is a personal thing.” On the other hand, some of the student writers I spoke to found extremely positive connotations with the term “aspiring writer.” Third year student and Gastronome Editor for the online lifestyle magazine Owl Eyes, Sandra De Giorgi, told me that she frequently refers to herself as an aspiring writer, and believed the term to carry “a lot of hope, wistfulness and connotations for the future.” Ms De Giorgi surmised that “you can be both a writer and aspire to be one, dream about your future while making it happen.” In addition, Alexandra Rego, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribe, indicated a particular fondness for the term. “I personally love the term ‘aspiring writer’. The word ‘aspiring’ comes from Latin (ad, meaning to or towards, and spire, to breathe). The idea that aiming high is, and should be, as natural to us as breathing, and the idea that an aspiration is a forward, very alive motion speaks strongly to me.” While their views on using the term varied, all the student writers interviewed agreed that embracing
every opportunity to practice writing was the most important step on the road to pursuing a writing career. Ms Rego is in her third year studying English Literature. She does want to continue writing in the future, but doesn’t view it as entering into an industry or career as such. “I prefer to think of it as a vocation,” commented Ms Rego. “I need to write, so I do write. If I could make some money oﬀ of it, I’d obviously leap at the chance.” Ms Rego credits her experiences with The Tribe with equipping her with valuable skills, and continued by advising other students in St Andrews who are keen to follow a similar path to make use of all available resources and not to “misjudge any experience, large or small, as irrelevant to your chosen career path.”
Some of the student writers found extremely positive connotation with the term “aspiring writer” The transferrable skills reaped from their times spent with student publications was something reiterated continuously among the interviewed students. Mr Sinclair began his involvement with The Saint before even arriving in St Andrews, by striking up conversations and gaining crucial contacts. “It’s increasingly diﬃcult to get into journalism, there aren’t the same opportunities anymore. But having the ability to say ‘I write for one of the biggest independent student newspapers in the UK; here’s all the stuﬀ I’ve done, you can see it all, I’m pleased with this; [that] would be the main thing [I would recommend to others].” All of the students spoke of their own publications as perfect training grounds for writing careers. “The good thing about The Saint is that it is
Illustration: Olivia Hendren
what you make of it. So, if you really want to be something with it you can, but if you just want to write every now and then, you can,” said Mr Sinclair. Ms Jack noted the rare platform Hearing Aid provides for student writers with quite speciﬁc interests. “A lot of the writers we have, although they’re few, are really keen on music, and it’s really nice to have a place for them to express that I think, because in St Andrews there’s not a humongous music scene. Being an international university as well, you get people from all over the place with diﬀerent tastes and diﬀerent inspirations. The most interesting content we get is over the holidays when people go home and experience the music [there].” With so many platforms for such a small town, St Andrews is undeniably a fantastic starting place for writers, aspiring or otherwise. I was only able to take a glimpse at just a few of the many newspapers and magazines seeking fresh ideas and creative contributions, and didn’t even touch on other styles of writing going on here aside from journalism, such as creative writing. With such a vast choice of places to get yourself published, the advice of the interviewed students is certainly achievable. “There are loads of publications here that you can get involved with. I think I would say write as much as possible and have conﬁdence. If you are a writer, and you know that you have a way with words, then do it as much as you can, because it’s like anything, the more practice you get the better,” advised Ms McLean. “Being in university is like a trial run for real life, isn’t it? You’re practicing at being a journalist and you’re practicing at having a household which doesn’t always go very well! Everything’s like a little test run,” joked Ms Jack. She continued, “If you’re going into creative industries, you often don’t really know what you’re looking for until you get there and it will be changing around a lot. So maybe being an aspiring anything isn’t really [how to view it] because you’re just aiming for an industry, or to develop something, or to see where it goes, rather than having a set goal.” Personally, I am, and likely always will be, aspiring to something, but I think that’s quite healthy. As writers, it’s about owning our abilities and ensuring that aspiration doesn’t become an excuse for inaction.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Transport into the Bubble Scotland’s oldest university, St Andrews, was founded in 1413 and has long been a mecca for students from all corners of the globe. St Andrews staﬀ and students represent over 120 nations making the university the most international in Scotland. Since its foundation, St Andrews has had strong international ties, with links to Europe, the Americas, and beyond. In fact, many of America’s founding fathers and leading statesmen had links to the university. In 1759, Benjamin Franklin received an honorary doctor of laws; fellow constitutional signatory John Witherspoon was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity in 1764; and James Wilson attended the university from 1757-1761. However, for much of the University’s long history, modern modes of transportation did not exist. Whereas today students from Sydney, Frankfurt and London can make their way to St Andrews with varying degrees of ease, previous generations of students were more limited in their geographical scope. While they may not seem like two concepts that go together, the 1903 invention of the modern airplane and St Andrews’ cosmopolitan community are intrinsically linked. The Wright brothers’ experiment at Kitty Hawk Beach in North Carolina resulted in the advent of a new age. As the 20th century progressed, ﬂying became an increasingly commercialised endeavour and its accessibility skyrocketed. Today, many St Andrews students and faculty rely on sky travel to ferry them back and forth from home to university between terms. The cost and time involved in ﬂying varies greatly depending on where St Andrews students are looking to go. For students from the UK, ﬂying to cities like Manchester, Cardiﬀ and London is doable at moderate prices and short ﬂying times. However, as
one student noted, “many of the inexpensive ﬂights are on budget airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair. And they only let you bring one small bag and they charge you a ridiculous amount of money if you go over.” Students looking to ﬂy into and out of other European cities note the same dilemma. Trips that should be relatively inexpensive and eﬃcient end up costing a fortune in baggage fees or upgrades, taking much longer than necessary.
As many students noted, the most tedious part of their journey is from Edinburgh airport back to town This problem is even worse for students from outside of continental Europe who rely on transatlantic and long-haul ﬂights to make their way to St Andrews. As a result of the challenges outlined above, some St Andrews students prefer to take the train instead. In 1758, Britain’s ﬁrst railway line, the Middletown Railway in Leeds, was established. The following railroad boom of the 1840s connected isolated tracks such as the Middletown Railway, and created a vast national network. Today, that network serves St Andrews students well. While St Andrews itself is without a train stop, nearby Leuchars is only a 10-minute
taxi or inexpensive bus ticket away. And train travel to St Andrews may become even easier in coming years as current rector Srdja Popovic ran on a campaign proposing the establishment of a train stop closer to St Andrews itself. Transportation-wise, the luckiest St Andrews students among us live within driving distance of the university. This makes moving in and out of halls in ﬁrst year especially easy. For the price of gas money, students can make their way to St Andrews in commutes, which are generally quite short. Additionally, they can travel with the ease of limitless luggage size and weight allowances! Students from Dundee, Perth and Glasgow and even as far aﬁeld as Skye, Nottingham, and Surrey have attested to making the drive. To get a better idea of what transportation into the Bubble is like for current University students, The Saint sat down with students whose hometowns included anywhere from Edinburgh to Seattle to better understand the time, cost and planning that goes into their commute. Psychology student Margaret Crawford stated, “I’m from Dallas, Texas so getting to St Andrews takes quite a bit of time. I book a ﬂight as far in advance as I can, but the usual cost is around $1500.” Ms Crawford’s advanced planning helps her keep ﬂight costs as low as possible. Furthermore, Ms Crawford explained that she “ﬂies from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport to either JFK Airport in New York or to Heathrow and then…[hops] on a connecting ﬂight to Edinburgh.” Long-haul ﬂights plus connections are time-consuming. She said, “The trip takes around 15 or 16 hours all in, when you factor in car rides, bus transportations or shuttles to ﬁnally make it back to St Andrews.” Ms Crawford’s trip to and from St Andrews requires advanced planning, half a day of travel, and a costly airplane ticket. Like many students, she chooses to ﬂy into Edinburgh Airport and relies on The St Andrews
Shuttle service to make her way to town. Maddy Alley of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts has a time-consuming and complicated commute. Ms Alley explained that it takes her about 20 hours door-to-door to get from her house to St Andrews. Martha’s Vineyard is an island oﬀ the coast of Massachusetts, necessitating a 45-minute boat ride to get to Cape Cod, followed by a two-hour drive to the airport. Ms Alley’s journey from home to university is particularly unusual because of her reliance on a ferry, the only way on and oﬀ her hometown island. Furthermore, Ms Alley states that she, “usually either ﬂies from Boston Logan International Airport or T. F. Green International Airport in Providence, and into the Edinburgh Airport.” She personally prefers ﬂights out of Providence because she can then catch a direct ﬂight. She said, “The plane’s usually around seven hours, more if there’s a layover.” Like Ms Crawford and many other students who ﬂy into Edinburgh International Airport, Ms Alley utilises Gordon and Wendy’s direct shuttle service to get her through the ﬁnal distance to St Andrews. Olivia Budde of Belfast recounts how what should be a quick trip can end up taking her an entire day. Ms Budde states, “It takes me the majority of a whole day to travel. I have had many diﬃculties in the past getting a bus from Edinburgh Airport — they don’t run very late, they are often cancelled and sometimes they just don’t even bother to show up. The ﬂight from Belfast to Edinburgh takes 30 minutes, but it takes me over two and a half hours to get from Edinburgh to St Andrews due to the poor transport links from the airport.” In order to prevent being stuck at the Edinburgh airport without transportation back to St Andrews, Ms Budde comments that she tends to leave a lot of extra time to ensure that she makes it back to St Andrews on the same day.
The Saint spoke with yet another frequent ﬂyer, Samantha Philipp of Seattle, Washington. Ms Phillip stated, “My trip begins with about a 25-minute car ride to STAC International. Then usually I will either ﬂy from Seattle to JFK or O’Hare, or I will ﬂy to Heathrow. From my layover location, I will then take a plane to Edinburgh.” Ms Philipp commented on the long duration of her trip from Seattle to St Andrews and vice versa, she explained that in total it usually takes her 15-20 hours. She usually gets a one way tickets each way, which often costs $1,000 to $1,200, and she concludes with the £20 St Andrews shuttle directly to her ﬂat. Loui Marchant of Edinburgh admits one of the beneﬁts of attending St Andrews is its close proximity to her hometown. Ms Marchant said, “I feel like my story’s a bit boring as I just get the bus from Edinburgh for £7.50 a time and it takes just over an hour from my house!” Unlike Ms Budde, Ms Marchant’s journey from Edinburgh to St Andrews is made easy by the use of local public transportation. The cost, time and planning that goes into individual St Andrews students’ trips to and from university vary greatly depending on where they are from and on personal preferences. While some students live as close by as a £5 bus ticket from Dundee, others rely on four-digit ﬁgured plane ticket costs to make their way home. St Andrews students utilise every mode of modern transportation to make their way to this small university town nestled by the North Sea. Everything from ferries, to trains, planes, hired cars, buses and shuttle services are used to get students back to St Andrews. As many students noted, often the most tedious part of their journey is from the Edinburgh airport back to town. Although the bus, tram and train are also viable options, without a direct streamlined form of public transportation, many rely on private shuttle services.
Illustration: Cosette Puckett
JULIA BENNETT Deputy features editor
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
CO1002: We’ll cry for you, Argentina For all of the learning we do, the gaps in our knowledge are - unbelievably overwhelmingly vast. We are the most educated generation in history, but there is so much that we don’t know, and so much that we will never know. We like to overlook our ignorance, but that can be a very dangerous thing to do. My degree subject is IR, but I also study Management and Comparative Literature. This semester in Comp Lit, we’re studying political plays from the 20th century. Each week, we study a play from a diﬀerent culture. There are a couple of big names — Arthur Miller and Bertolt Brecht, notably — but many of the plays are rather obscure. In week four, we read Antígona furiosa, Argentinian playwright Griselda Gambaro’s short adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone. The plot follows Antígona, a girl imprisoned by the empty shell of King Creon for attempting to give her brother a proper burial. Though only 22 pages, Antígona furiosa covers the themes of pride, freedom and power. It is also completely bewildering without context. We walked into our lecture on Monday hoping that it would clear some things up - namely, why a Greek tragedy was being put on in a coﬀee shop, with three actors playing ﬁve characters. We walked out of that lecture with a completely diﬀerent outlook on Argentina, and on our own knowledge - or lack thereof. People - especially musical theatre kids - may know of Juan Perón, President of Argentina from 19461955, and his wife Eva. Perón championed a distinctive political ideology which came to be known as Peronism, involving political sovereignty, economic independence, and social justice. Unable to cope with an unstable post-WWII economy, Perón resigned in 1955, leaving Argentina with nearly twenty years of successive military coups and authoritarian regimes. In 1973, Perón returned to politics and won a landslide majority. Nine months later, he had a series of heart attacks and died, leaving his second wife, Isabel, in charge. Isabel was
vastly under-qualiﬁed (she was an exotic dancer before marrying), and the strings were mostly being pulled by self-declared warlock José López Rega. Things started to look a little bit fascist, and the public’s love for Perón was no longer extended to his wife. In 1976, Isabel was deposed and exiled to Spain. The new leader of Argentina was Jorge Rafael Videla, a senior commander in the coup that deposed Isabel. Videla disbanded trade unions, implemented mass censorship, and strove to promote “western Christian values” (read aggressive nationalism, xenophobia and sexism). He also begins the “Process of National Reorganisation”: state-sanctioned kidnapping, torture and murder of suspected dissidents. People were taken from their homes in the night, never to be heard from again. Because of the secretive nature of the disappearances, the numbers are unclear, though 30,000 is a commonly suggested ﬁgure. 30,000 people became los desaparecidos - the disappeared.
Comparative literature can offer students access to texts through translation, with their accompanying contexts The period of 1974-1983 was called The Dirty War - supposedly between the military junta and guerilla warriors supporting Peronism. It wasn’t a war, it was a genocide. Those taken were framed as “left-wing terrorists”, but were anyone who might have
cause not to support the regime: students, militants, trade unionists, writers, journalists, artists. Vanished people were taken to one of hundreds of concentration camps and tortured, predominantly by tasers. In the lecture, we were given a handout of testimonies from a few of the survivors who spoke about what had happened to them, and what they saw happen to others. (Trigger warning: torture, sexual violence.) ‘The guards began to have a BBQ and drink wine, and get drunk, and then it occurred to them to torture the prisoner and so they began to torture him once more. This time they didn’t even want any information, Mr President, they were enjoying it in a cacophony of shouts and cries…” “They tortured every part of my body, especially my breasts, my vagina, my clitoris, my abdomen, my arms and also my eyelids. Afterwards, they began to pour kerosene and petrol in my ears, nose, and mouth.” After being tortured, many of the prisoners were taken up in planes, stripped, drugged and thrown, alive, into the Atlantic. Naked, drowned bodies started washing up on the beaches. The lecture theatre was silent and rigid. We were one mind: horriﬁed, heartbroken. Democracy, in its most basic form, returned to Argentina in 1983. The perpetrators, including Videla himself, went to trial, facing overwhelming evidence of war crimes. Under pressure from the military, a set of “amnesty laws” were put in place to ensure that they were acquitted. They were acquitted. They went free. Videla was put under house arrest in 1998 for baby kidnapping. It was not until 2005 that the amnesty laws were repealed and those responsible went to prison. 2005: the year Harry Potter and the HalfBlood Prince was published, the year YouTube was created, the year of Hurricane Katrina. The lecture theatre was silent and rigid. We were one mind: furious. Argentine naval oﬃcer Adolfo Scilingo, who has publicly confessed his participation in the Dirty War, said “[We] did worse things than the Nazis.” We know about the Holocaust, we know about Stalin’s Russia, we know
about the atrocities of Rwanda, but no one I’ve talked to knows about this. Of course, history classes in school cannot be completely comprehensive. We cannot learn about every period of time in every part of the world. There’s far too much, and curricula developers have to cherry-pick what they think is important for the general populace to know about. Even at university, when our education becomes more speciﬁed, there is simply too much material to cover in a few years. At St Andrews, we study three subjects at the sub-honours level, which allows us to have a more generalised education than most of the UK, but at most North American universities, students take classes across a wide variety of subjects. Those in charge of shaping the education system are left with an impossible choice between breadth and depth.
When our education becomes more specified, there is simply too much material to cover in a few years The students of CO1002 walked out of that lecture theatre shellshocked at their own ignorance about humanity’s capacity for pure evil. The idea that such atrocities were committed so recently in what is now a relatively prosperous country — one we associate with tango and football — is utterly unnerving. Equally unnerving, however, was our own complete obliviousness. It was a cruel reminder of how little we really know. Our year is the ﬁrst comparative literature class at St Andrews to study Antígona furiosa, though Spanish
students learn about the Dirty War through a ﬁlm, La historia oﬁcial. “We are most fortunate at St Andrews to have comparative literature to oﬀer students access to texts of international acclaim from across the globe through translation, as well their accompanying contexts, such as the Dirty War in the case of Antígona furiosa, via subject specialists,” says Dr PJ Lennon, who gave the lectures on Antígona furiosa. “A Latin American student thanked me for broaching the topic in such a lucid manner and thought the use of victims’ own testimony of the atrocities apposite.” In addition to broaching an area of history that many of us had never studied before, comparative literature teaches history in a much more human way than you would likely get in a history class. There’s no real pressure to memorise the dates or the names of the political parties - it is learning for the sake of knowledge, for the sake of context. We read the work, not of the leaders or of scholars looking back at what happened, but of a writer who lived through the Dirty War and who risked her own life to get her message out. I’d hazard a guess that quite a few people taking ﬁrst year comp lit are taking it as a second or third subject, myself included. They signed up for the class thinking that reading plays from around the world would be interesting. It has been so much more than interesting. In the course of 50 minutes, over one hundred people were completely changed. Our eyes were opened to our own remarkable naivety. We were talking about the lecture for days afterwards, unable — unwilling — to forget. In my tutorial for that week, we talked about the theme of memory in Antígona furiosa. Antígona, facing her death, says that “memory... makes a chain.” You can steal people, but you can’t steal memories. Every time someone tells their story, it grows stronger. Knowledge radiates outwards, passed from person to person: a burden, a gift. The students of CO1002 were added to the chain, and with this, I add you. We strengthen the memory, and with that, we may ﬁnd some semblance of hope.
Photo: The Detroit Bureau
CATE HANLON Deputy features editor
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
No Alternative Facts: Science in the Era of Fake News “Climate change is a hoax.” “Evolution is just a theory.” “Vaccinations cause autism.” These are just a few of the claims that have been made in recent years by those seeking to discredit decades — in some cases centuries — worth of meticulous scientiﬁc research. In recent years, more and more denunciations like these have been espoused by those in the highest positions of government and society. The result has been a worrying trend of public distrust in science. In a world where “alternative facts” and “fake news” abound, it has become diﬃcult to know what is real and what is made up. We’ve become accustomed to a political and social landscape that changes on a monthly, if not weekly, basis, and we live in a time where spreading online rumours has become basic political strategy. Against this backdrop, science and objectivity are under attack as subjectivity and bias become the new norms. The “fake news” phenomenon that has gripped the world for the past two years has lead to people being wary in distinguishing between whether the information they receive is true or a fabrication. The sheer vastness of information available through the internet and social media seems to have caused many to adopt a kind of tribal mindset, where people pick the “facts” they like and accept them as dogma, no matter what contradictory evidence later comes to light.
Effective communication is essential to dispel the rumours that swirl around scientific research Although it has only been labelled as such in the past couple years, what we now call “fake news” is not an entirely new concept. Propaganda that distorts, embellishes or outright denies the truth has been around for centuries. But in the current era of social media, it has become a more salient force than it was in the past. Fake news has both sprung from and resulted in scandal and rumour in all parts of society, becoming a favourite phrase of the current US president. But of all the drama that fake news has caused, the denial of science and the perpetuation of pseudoscience are most worrying, as they represent an attack not on a speciﬁc ideology or movement, but on hard scientiﬁc evidence and objective thinking.
Why has science come under attack? One reason is that many of us — particularly young people — no longer get our news from conventional newspapers or public broadcasters, who, while certainly biased, have fact checkers and are held accountable for blatant lies and contradictions. According to the Oﬃce of Communications, 63 per cent of people aged 18-24 in the UK get most of
Fake news is an attack on not only scientists, but also objectivity, logic and reason their news from social media rather than from established sources. On the internet, there are no safeguards against misinformation or outright lies. Indeed, websites focused entirely on fake news — often for political reasons — are booming in popularity. This anarchy of information has been used opportunistically by political groups, social movements, corporations and governments to push their messages and inﬂuence internet users in the way they consume, vote and even act in their day-to-day lives. This manipulation of information has also been used to inﬂuence people into distrusting science and to perpetuate myths of pseudoscience that may ultimately be even more harmful. Fake news is particularly damaging to science because when it is attacked, it is not only an attack on scientists — it is an attack on objectivity, logic and reason. The unbiased, apolitical approach that science allows means that its ﬁndings don’t always align with what people — particularly those in positions of power — want to believe. A popular quote by Neil DeGrasse Tyson goes, “The good thing about science is it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” If those truths contradict what people — particularly those in positions of power — want to believe, it can make them want to suppress it. The role of science in today’s world, then, is as a politically neutral voice of reason – something to which we can turn to when our arguments reach a stalemate, and when we need to solve the world’s great problems of hunger, poverty and disease, among others. It works because unlike political ideology or religious dogma, science has a universal set of unchanging rules called the scientiﬁc method. In order to establish something as a fact, one need only follow a simple procedure: think of an idea, come up with a testable hypothesis based on this idea, and test it by trying to disprove this hypothesis. If your hypothesis doesn’t hold up, it’s back to the drawing board. If it does, then you can accept it as a fact. Facts can be collected and in-
Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons
TAS VAMOS Deputy features editor
tegrated into theories that explain the way the world works. If new evidence eventually comes to light disproving an earlier ﬁnding, you replace it and modify the theory accordingly. The beauty of the scientiﬁc method is that it can be applied to almost any ﬁeld, no matter how unrelated: from astrophysics to biochemistry, from sociology to ecology; all use the same basic concepts to further their ﬁelds. No analytical tool is as fundamental or universal. Our entire society is based on scientiﬁc innovation. The medicines that keep us alive are synthesised through knowledge of biology and chemistry. The crops we eat are selectively bred, often genetically modiﬁed, and
Education is the first and last line of defence of scientific thought are grown using fertilisers and pesticides that allow for crop yields to be large enough to feed the world. And, ironically, the very medium through which science is disparaged owes its existence to science: all of our technology, from communication to transportation, is due to feats of science and engineering that are the culmination of millennia of scientiﬁc progress. With science so inseparable from society, denying it has more than just philosophical consequences. The current anti-vaccination movement, which was popularised on social media, uses pseudoscience to link childhood vaccinations to autism and other disabilities. Declining vaccinations in the US and Europe have already resulted in outbreaks of measles and other formerly controlled diseases that have killed dozens, and resulted in time, money, and resources being invested in curing a disease
that could have easily been prevented with vaccinations. An even more global issue that aﬀects not only our species but nearly every species on earth is that of human-caused climate change. More than 97 per cent of climate scientists are in agreement that our planet is undergoing rapid climatic change due to the release of greenhouse gases by human activities. But the public is much more reticent, with some polls showing that British and American public opinion is hovering below 60 per cent consensus that climate change is a serious problem. There is obviously a disconnect between the research that scientists conduct and publish, and the way in which is it relayed and received by the public. This disconnect has enormous implications: the consequences of ignoring the problem of climate change include natural disasters resulting in enormous economic costs, food and water stress, and all the associated social problems that go with a planet in environmental ﬂux. The consequences of dismissing science as “fake news” clearly have the potential to be catastrophic; how can they be prevented? Education is the ﬁrst and last line of defence of scientiﬁc thought. Science only matters if it is understood, and to be understood
A lack of objectivity has led to societal decay in the past by the public it must be communicated eﬀectively. There is a common perception of science as something that is arcane and only comprehensible to those who have trained for years, gained a degree, and devoted their careers to research. The endless jargon of scientiﬁc papers and the perception of academia as elitist have helped perpetuate this view. The Pew Research Center in the US has found that in the
past decade, people have generally become more critical of science, with nearly 20 per cent of adults believing that science has a negative impact on society, an eight per cent increase in ﬁve years.
Science and objectivity are under attack as subjectivity and bias become the new norms Eﬀective science communication is essential to dispel the rumours that swirl around scientiﬁc research and to explain it to those who don’t have the time to decipher complex academic language. This is something that universities like St Andrews can take a leading role in – breaking down the barriers and tearing down the ivory towers that currently separate the world of academia and the “real” world. Both scientists and the institutions that fund them should make an eﬀort to explain their work and its relevance to the world. Science is of little value if it isn’t appreciated by a wider audience than the ones aﬀorded by academic conferences. A lack of objectivity has led to societal decay in the past. In his critically acclaimed book Cosmos, astronomer and science communicator Carl Sagan credited the decline of classical civilisation and the onset of the Dark Ages with the failure of the great thinkers of the time to popularise their discoveries. “Science never captured the imagination of the multitude. There was no counterbalance to stagnation, to pessimism, to the most abject surrenders to mysticism.” What we stand to lose in the era of fake news is objectivity, and our best defence against the current backlash against science is a concerted eﬀort to make it more understandable and accessible for all.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Photo Story: St Andrews Winter Wonderland
St Andrews was blasted from “The beast from the East” and our photographer Henry Memmott was able to capture the beauty left behind.
Photography editor: SAMMI CIARDI Deputy editors:, Mika Schmeling and Ranald Dinsdale thesaint-online.com/pictures
Events editor: GEORGE WILDER Deputy event editor: Bri Paterson @saint_ events
Fight Club 2018 Interview
Illustrations: Edward Emery
Bri Paterson meets the minds behind ‘St Andrews’ newest staple event’: Fight Club
bri paterson Deputy events editor This April a promising event is launching for the first time in Kinkell Byre. One of St Andrew’s newest societies, St Andrews Fight Club, is hosting the first annual Fight Club night. On Tuesday 17 April, 600 students will descend on the venue to watch their nearest and dearest (or at least vague acquaintances) throw punches at each other in official boxing events. That’s right – the fights that you will be watching will be fought by students, and what’s more they will be fought by students who have only been fighting for 12 weeks. I sat down with Fight Club’s committee: Josh Hopkins, Joe Murray and Harry Bremner to pick their brains and find out exactly why they think this is the must-see event on the St Andrews calendar. The Saint: How did you come up with the idea and was it a group effort? Harry: A friend of mine knew about an event in Edinburgh that was similar and he suggested putting it on the St Andrews scene. I visited the coach in Dundee and saw some venues and sort of formed the plan. Josh: Pretty much every university has something like this. TS: How long has this been in the pipeline? Harry: The idea came in March and that’s when I started putting the ideas together. Josh: Logistics started in September, but it’s been in the pipeline for a while. TS: What kind of training do they
receive and from whom? Josh: We get trained twice a week in Dundee at Navarro’s Fitness and Fighting Gym and there are two of three coaches helping out each session. Primarily Marc Navarro trains us. Just trying to get well equipped for the fight as well as all of us getting stronger and fitter. It’s pretty heavy stuff and requires a lot of commitment. Nobody has dropped out. Joe: The coaches offer private sessions as well. Harry: Having only beginners means that it’s really easy to see progress and that keeps people motivated. TS: Why is it exclusively for beginners? Harry: It means everyone is of the same standard and easier for the coach to evaluate progress of everyone. Joe: We always match people to someone of the same ability. Josh: Yeah, every fight is individual and the coach puts them together. TS: As a fighter Josh what inspired you to get involved? Josh: I’m the only one on the committee fighting on the night and I started doing box fit in the summer. I’ve never been good at self-exercise and having something to work towards has given me a sense of fulfilment. It was sort of a no-brainer from my point of view, but other people are also taking it as seriously as me. I can’t wait for it. Joe: Harry and I have been going to a few sessions and it’s so much fun. TS: How many applications did they have to fight? Harry: We had close to ninety people applying so around 70 got turned down. TS: How are you encouraging membership change for New Year?
Harry: Josh and I are leaving but we’ll be looking towards the group and recruit from the fighters. Josh: Since its our thing and we came up with it its our responsibility to continue it. Having a three person team is so much better because it means we can pass things really easily rather than going through a ton of people – this will make it easier to continue. Joe: Yeah I’ll still be here so I can run the show but I’m not worried about continuing the legacy. We have plenty of people interested. TS: did you think of collaborating with different societies? Harry: No because this is a completely different event, it’s not university affiliated and it’s beginners rather than people have been doing this for years. Josh: We’re kind of sidestepping the bureaucracy of things. It was Harrys’ idea and we were here and able to do it and so far it’s been successful. Joe: we have a game plan TS: How long will the actual fighting be and what are people meant to do for the rest of the night? Harry: The event is 3 rounds of 2 minutes per fight. We’ll have breaks between rounds so the last fight will be at 12:30/1 and we wont have an after party but we’ll keep the bar open and DJs on. It’s predominantly a boxing event rather than just a night out in Kinkell Byre. TS: What is the difference between VIP and normal – will normal be seated? Harry: Normal is not seated; normal is standing in the raised area of Kinkell. Joe: Kinkell Byre is perfect because the raised area means that everyone gets a good view. We’ve been very
lucky with the layout; we’ve made sure everyone will be able to see. Harry: Since it’s our first year we’ve been very conservative with selling tickets –we could sell 200 or so more but we want everyone to enjoy the event and not be overcrowded.
This is a completely different event TS: How do you intend to revolutionize a somewhat overdone venue? Joe: It’s a completely different event in St Andrews. I haven’t seen my friends fight in an intense boxing match with 600 people watching before. Josh: A lot of people are trying to find new venues with the same old event. We’ve gone the other way with a new event with a commonly used venue. TS: Will this event be boring for people who don’t necessarily have interest in fighting? Harry: Would you like to see your friends fighting each other? We do this for the entertainment of the events. One way or another people all know each other in St Andrews. However at the same time we’ve put these people through a course to ensure it’ll be a good fight to watch. Josh: We’re close to the brink of selling out and its two months away so clearly there’s interest. It comes down to the crux – it’s a novel event that people are keen to see something new.
Joe: What we can guarantee as well is that the atmosphere will be intense – it’s going to be such an entertaining night. You don’t go to a ball to dance: you go for the atmosphere. Of course we’ve prioritised the sport but still it’ll be a good night for everyone involved. TS: For a boxing beginner who’s afraid of blood – exactly how violent will it get? Harry: There’ll probably be black eyes and bruised noses but there are safety precautions. It’s not bare knuckle fighting. Joe: We have professional referees and the fights will go on record with the WKA. How did you come up with the nicknames for the fighters? Josh: We come up with them ourselves. For example mine is based on a boxer called Anthony Joshua who I’m a fan of and it’s a reference to his rivalry with another boxer. TS: Will there be betting on the events? Harry: Strictly off limits – we don’t have a betting license and we don’t want any betting on the premises. TS: Why should someone buy a ticket to this event? Joe: It’s the most unique event in st Andrews this year by a mile. Buy a ticket to respect the effort the fighters have put in. Harry: Because it’s an event that’s been spoken about in weeks before and will be spoken about for weeks after – you don’t want to miss out. So there you have it – a fresh new take on a St Andrews night out that promises to be entertaining in every sense. Be quick though: tickets have almost sold out.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
george wilder Events editor As deadlines began to loom you could be forgiven for thinking that students would crawl into their holes, praying for inspiration as the dim light of laptop screens and notification redundant phones continued to offer no help for either a social life or academic future. And surely, even if students were to come out of their flats and halls, they would doubtless be going to some kind of drinking event, something to drown their sorrows. Yet, I remain willing to be surprised by this University, as my entrance into the annual St Andrews Africa Summit proved that not all Students are deciding to shirk the world for yet another bowl of cold supernoodles. The room was bustling with event goers, all talking excitedly as they awaited the start of the conference. This year’s theme, ‘Identity and Empowerment: An African Evolution’, was epitomised by the first speaker, Dr Mamphela Ramphele. She discussed how her exposure to the realities of apartheid in South Africa caused her to pursue involvement in the struggle for racial equality in the continent. Her current role in the World Bank as managing director for human development put her in a unique position to offer insight on what Africa really needs if it is to grow. I saw how Africa is well and truly capable of empowering itself, if only outside restrictions and stereotypes are no longer applied. Providing a pragmatic edge to proceedings was Tim Zajontz, who as cofounder and chairperson of the Germany-based, non-profit Freundeskris Uganda e.v., was able to draw upon his knowledge to inform the audience about the influence of transport infrastructure in Africa. His talk was highly varied, with him talking about the empowerment associated with large rail and road links, both in terms of encouraging large corporations to invest in Africa, and the socio-economic empowerment associated with helping small African businesses. Quick to keep a balanced opinion however, Mr Zajontz also commented on the issues related to the vast amounts of debt racked up by countries in choosing to develop their infrastructure, issues that cause some African nations to spend vast quantities of their GDP on loan interest. The impact of some projects on informal industries was also shown
to be relevant, as the pace with which countries are being pressured to develop transport can bulldoze existing small industries, giving the upper hand to larger corporations. It was interesting to note the contrast between Mr Zajontz’s talk, which referred to entrepreneurs in Africa, and the talk given by Jean Bosco Nzeyimana, who is himself an African Entrepreneur. His story of empowerment was a personal one, where the borrowing of two eggs led to him becoming the founder of Habona Ltd., an affordable and sustainable biofuel producer in Rwanda. As I listened to Mr Nzeyimana it was interesting to note how humble he was regarding his success. The empowerment he gained for himself and has given to so many people in one of the poorest areas of Rwanda is simply passed off as the simple decision to act on a problem in his community. He saw that they struggled with firewood as their main supply of fuel, so he set up an alternative. In 2014 he was recognised internationally as Rwanda’s top young entrepreneur, a prize he proved well-earned in his speech, as he proved that empowerment in Africa can be as simple as seeing a problem and trying to solve it. Lastly we were spoken to by Samba Gadjigo, the renowned Senegalese Director of ‘SEMBELE!’. After discussions of economic empowerment, it was interesting to note how Mr Gadjigo had undertaken risks to try and break the western monopoly on expression in film. As an arts student, I was roused by the concept of someone making it their life’s work to bring a form of ex-
pression to those who had not had the privilege of it before. It is interesting to reflect that barriers to empowerment in Africa lie not only in the form of poverty or famine, but in the less measurable world of expression that is the right of all human beings. Visitors were left thinking at the start of the speech that they had gained a handle on what the theme they were being presented with was, only to have an entire new dimension of the debate introduced to them. After the talks we were given a break before the Q and A, where committee and audience members alike were able to ask a range of questions about empowerment and identity both in the lives of the speakers, and in the wider world. One particular audience member even sparked debate by questioning whether some accountability for problems in Africa should not be taken up by the corrupt governments that exist in some African states, an idea that reinvigorated the discussion. A few minutes later I found myself outside once again, pulling up by jacket as I read a note online about something called ‘The Beast from the East’. ‘Probably nothing’ I thought, and prepared to walk back. SAASUM have, once again, managed to put on one of St Andrews’ most informative events, providing diversity of opinion, and strength of knowledge in debate. As I have already told one committee member I’ll spend next year eying my calendar, looking forward to what they offer in 2019.
Illustration:: Gabrielle Wolf
SAASUM informs and delights with news of the rising continent
“Beast from the East causes events chaos” But is there anything to be salvaged in the aftermath? george wilder Events editor It is well known in the minds of many students what happened on that fateful night last year, one that left gownclad guests and fashion fanatics left, quite literally, out in the cold. Yet, those who do remember (I struggle) what happened when FS was cancelled in 2017 will put forth a tapestry of debauchery enough to make any first year wish they’d gone without the Gap Year. I can still see the windows of Greyfriars’ flats wide open, arms eagerly accepting guests as crowds thronged between pres, parties, and afters with the sole aim of not letting a gust of wind ruin their night. Yet this time, this was no simple case of sporadic high winds. This was the Beast from the East. The cold front from the East that rendered us cut off from civilisation for days, leaving Tesco’s out of bread, the Library closed, and not a tub of hummus left in town. Once again it seemed the student population would be facing insurmountable odds, as Glitterball’s marquee was flattened and Octoberfest’s all important Bavarian import remained stranded to the South. Temperatures had dropped, snow and ice still lay all over town, and there seemed to be nowhere forthcoming to soothe the wallets of those who would not be going to one of last weekend’s big events. And yet, dirndls remained bought, booze remained in ample supply, and the pent up energy of so many students so soon after deadlines seemed to thaw away at the ice that kept them from day of drinking and amnesia. Soon reports of a replacement event at The Vic were confirmed, though whether it was needed was doubted, as a mixture of replacement house parties once again materialised. The beast may have struck in Fife, but
St Andrews wasn’t ready for hot chocolate and Bridget Jones just yet. In fact, as I ventured outside, it seemed Octoberfest had merely changed location, with several of the towns pubs more reminiscent of Munich rather than Scotland.
Leaving Americans and Scandinavians alike clueless as to how we still operate as a nation Brightly coloured day drinkers joined the fray, and together they managed to nearly wipe clean my entire memory of the day’s proceedings. As I often say the town we live in is our gift and our burden. And what happened last weekend is testament to that. Sure we were shut down by a few inches of snow, leaving Americans and Scandinavians alike clueless as to how we still operate as a nation. Driving out of town on Sunday, its incredible how a great deal more snow has produced far fewer problems in areas such as Dundee, which can hardly be called far afield enough to warrant such an improvement. However, despite this, it is also true that event culture here is student driven, meaning even if the ticket in our hand no longer means something, or if Kinkell is left unserviceable, one need only grab a phone and, with a little bit of Dutch Courage, make something completely spontaneously.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Ma Bells: Rose Tinted Spectacles or the End?
Bursting the Bubble: BALLADS
If you peeked into Club 601 most Sunday afternoons or Tuesday evenings, you would likely see students in suede-soled heels all attempting the same set of dance steps in pairs to loud counting. This, if you hadn’t guessed, is when the Ballroom and Latin Society (BALLADS) has its weekly lessons. On the last weekend in February however, the BALLADS competition team traded Club 601 for the Blackpool Tower Ballroom (if you’ve ever watched Strictly Come Dancing, it’s kind of a big deal). If someone had told me two years ago, I’d be dressing up, putting on a full face of makeup (fake eyelashes and everything), and turning my hair plastic with hairspray to participate in a ballroom dance competition I would have sworn he or she had the wrong person. I was about as dance oriented as a sheep. And yet, here I am having just returned from competing in one of the biggest annual UK student ballroom dance competitions. Within the society, this sort of acceptance for beginners seems to be the standard. According to team captains, Pim Ungphakorn and Tom Schnabel, this year saw ‘the biggest St. Andrews team yet at Nationals [the Blackpool competition], with eight new beginner couples.’ Aside from the team
HamletHeforShe Prince of Denmark
n Thursday 8 of March HeforShe will be hosting a launch party.
dancers, the Tuesday beginner classes in both ballroom and Latin almost always have at least 20 people learning the new steps and sometimes almost 30 or 40. Pim and Tom (whom the group sometimes refers to as ‘Pom’) teach the hour of ballroom (doing several weeks each of waltz, quickstep, tango, Viennese waltz, and foxtrot), while Frazer Chan teaches the hour of Latin (cha-cha, jive, rumba, samba, and Paso doble). A classic compliment from Tom after trying the new steps in pairs for the first time is, ‘that didn’t look too bad.’ After a few more tries we can sometimes get up to ‘that looked decent.’ The Sunday lessons are slightly different because the society brings in a professional couple to give more instruction on exact technique. The society labels the first two hours of these professionally led classes as improvers classes while the next two hours are designated competition training. The instructors, Nuno Galante and Frederico Ribiero, are two Portuguese dancers based in Edinburgh who have both represented Portugal in international dance competitions. The pair plays around with the group, teasing us about being so quiet or flirting with each other while teaching (especially in the Latin dances), but they also will not sugar coat criticisms on dancing technique. A week before Blackpool, I distinctly remember practising the
basic cha-cha step over and over until we all kept straight legs and outward pointed toes (‘ballet feet everyone!’). As for the Blackpool competition itself, aside from how long the day actually was (waking up at 5 a.m. for makeup, starting dance at 8:30 a.m., and staying at the dance hall until almost 10:30 that night) it was such a great experience especially watching the advanced dancers compete. They had such confidence on the floor and their costumes, hair, and makeup were so over the top it was hard to believe they were almost all still university students (so many sparkles!). Even among the St. Andrews group, everyone looked like completely different people. While the actual dancing was a big part of the experience, the ‘strong team spirit,’ as team member Kostas Ntolkeras describes it, really made the weekend unforgettable. Pim also points out, ‘the fact that we had past members who had graduated come back to dance for St. Andrews or to support the team […] shows how close knit we stay as a group even when people leave St. Andrews.’ Similar to many other societies and sports teams, BALLADS also branches out from dance, becoming one big friend group. After spending long hours in dance practice together, there’s something to be said about everyone making time to see each other even more on top of that.
Int. Women’s Day
n Friday 9 March, the Union will announce the results of the student elections, before Club 601 descends into its usual anarchical state on Friday night.
n Thursday 8 March the Feminist Society of St Andrews will be putting on an event to celebrate International Women’s Day.
george wilder Events editor We are an old university, ancient in fact. Everywhere you look our hallowed town is coated in references and indications to historical relevance. Be it the ever present, infamous PH or annual event such as the Gaudie, legacy is there to be found. It makes me wonder, what will be the legacy of my years at this institution? Will denizens of St Andrews look back in centuries time, inevitably still wondering why they don’t have a nightclub, and mull over what the ruins of Kinkell Byre used to look like? Maybe they’ll query life before the instant bibliography, or even what Pret actually was and why it seemed to command the love or hate of so many students. One thing is for certain, if I were telling a member of the future about my initial time at St Andrews, Ma Bells would make the cut. During my first year every Tuesday, without fail, would lure in hundreds of drunken students ready for anything. While it is true that to sober up in the middle of Ma Bells was also considered a common source of trauma for those unlucky enough to experience it, it is also true that its the only place students would be remotely
happy to drown in sweat and yet keep on going. Whether a resident DJ was pumping out house music that rendered me confused, or a playlist of throwback induced deafening renditions of ‘Mr Brightside’.
Maybe they’ll query life before the instant bibliography But there is something terrible happening dear citizens of St Andrews, as despite attending several Tuesdays at this mainstay of old I find myself wondering what went so horribly wrong? The venue is often near empty, and commands no way near the regular attendance it once had. Perhaps this is a case of rose tinted specs, as I have heard the hallowed floors where I spent some of my best nights was, in fact, even better before I arrived. Yet, regardless, as I once again think about the idea of legacy, one thing is clear. We can afford to lose our Law Faculty, and for our Cathedral to be burned down but, for all our sakes, we cannot afford to be losing a night out.
Illustration: Lucy Robb
Illustration: Flo McQuivvan
n Saturday 10 March Catwalk will be putting on it’s annual fashion show, expect a huge variety of pieces from one of the university’s best creative outlets.
n Friday 9 March Bacchanalia // Reimagined will bring debauchery to St Andrews once again.
n Tuesday 13 March Snowball will bring friends and steak to the students of St Andrews
n Friday 9 March Jungle Ball comes to the Old Course Hotel, seeking to invigorate the tired ball scene of St Andrews.
Taste of Asia
n Sunday 11 March seven cultural societies have combined to bring you St Andrews’ first Asian Food Festival.
ARTS & CULTURE
Arts & culture editor: LASZLO SZEGEDI Deputy editors: Zeb Baker-Smith, Toby Symonds, Marianna Panteli, Aimee Rutherford, Gabrielle Holliday, Sam Huckstep, Olivia Hendren firstname.lastname@example.org @saint_arts thesaint-online.com/arts-culture
Photo: Pixabay Illustration: Olivia Hendren
A positive review ZSOFIA BAJNAI
”If I spoke about it, if I did, what would I tell you, I wonder?” The Shape of Water – which won four of its thirteen Oscar nominations, including Best Picture – begins in true fairytale fashion with a raconteur giving a cryptic introduction to what we may expect: a “princess without a voice”, a monster, love and loss and the threat of an unhappy ending. The tone is set for an enchanting thriller-cum-melodrama, oﬀering the best of director Guillermo del Toro’s treasure house after the successes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone. It places the beautiful, mythical story of its daydreaming Amélie-esque protagonist against the backdrop of Cold War tension in 1960s America. The ﬁlm draws most prominently from the 1954 horror Creature from the Black Lagoon, and bears resemblance to many classics (The Shape of Water ﬁlm-makers are currently being sued for plagiarism). However, its uniqueness lies in its ability to bring together fantasy and real human emotion by combining mythical elements with the all-too-real issues of sexism, workplace sexual harassment, racism and homophobia, which – despite being set somewhat sixty years ago – gives the ﬁlm a sense of timeliness. The plot follows Elisa (Sally Hawkins), who is mute, an outcast, and peculiarly soulful. By day, she works as a cleaning lady in a research facility alongside her tongue-in-cheek “fairy-godmother” companion Zelda (Octavia Spencer). At night, she spends time with her next-door neighbour, an older, unsuccessful gay gentleman, Giles (Richard Jenkins) with whom they can only rely on each other to ease their loneliness. She escapes the pains of being “incomplete” by seemingly ﬁnding amusement in the odd or sometimes perfectly mundane routines she strictly abides by. Water shapes Elisa’s life with elements that function almost as Easter eggs leading up to the ﬁnal climax; she was found as a baby “in the water”, with mysterious scars that later clarify her inability to speak. Her erotic fantasies are essentially linked with water and so it is no surprise that when the research centre brings in a creature who looks half-ﬁsh, half-human and is rumoured to be a god of water, she is immediately drawn to him. In fact, her ﬁrst instinct is to share her dinner of hard boiled eggs with him and soon seems as comfortable as no one else in the ﬁlm. As neither can talk, their communication is represented in the ﬁlm’s music – and the soundtrack of this ﬁlm is oh-so-wonderful – and very soon it seems like they were always made for each other. Does del Toro believe in predetermined perfect soulmates which only the cheesiest of Hollywood movies dare to suggest? Or is it the elemental recognition of like to like? She is mute and “incomplete” and imperfect, diﬀerent from others and so is he. They ﬁnally ﬁnd acceptance and adoring eyes to submerge in. Both interpretations may be correct, but the little clues about Elisa suggest more evidence to the former; they are longlost soulmates and they are meant to be together. Still, what del Toro’s genius and Sally Hawkins stunningly
expressive eyes can achieve is to present it without drawing scepticism or immediate rejection of this romantic silliness. It made me think that there is something more to the magical and grandiose – true love and destiny and genuine raw human emotion. And for that I treasure this movie; I feel like I know more about human emotions after having seen it. Could you wish for more when you walk out of a cinema? Michael Shannon’s antagonist is the perfect apparent villain partly due to being an enormous cliché as an archetypical soulless monster contrastable to the protagonists and partly because he is allowed a perfectly minor amount of pitiful background story that his cliché-ness demands. He is also a product of his time, a caricature of the strong American man who acts tough because otherwise he is “nothing”. He’s a bully to the outcasts and he is ﬂawlessly disgusting and scary at it. The supporting cast is altogether excellent; their stories are powerful and individually captivating, each embodying an important aspect of being oppressed and unaccepted in some way. They all combine into a collage of social and political tensions which ﬂow uninterrupted through the magical atmosphere created by melancholic music that would still be wonderful in any French café, and the gorgeous cinematography that blends lights and shades of blue into a bewitching game with the s e n s es; the whole picture feels underwater. The atmosphere mirrors the soul of Elisa and it is what makes up the perfect balance to the mela n cholic tension a n d makes it a delight to watch.
ARTS & CULTURE
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
A sceptical review
“Oh it’s about this girl working for the CIA that falls in love with a water monster.” When one thinks about a “girl working for the CIA” being the main character of a movie, one does not immediately assume that her job consists of scrubbing mould from the ﬂoors of a hangar, or mopping up bodily ﬂuids from a dank, algae-green toilet, or doing piles of laundry for American scientists. The focus on the underdogs of society is classic del Toro, and an orientation that is freshly needed in the monopoly of superheroes and extensive weapons in sciﬁ movies today. The silent underdogs of society are contrasted with the big dogs — the gloriﬁed military and scientists furiously researching ways to overtake the Russians during the 1962/63 space race. The unconventional heroes take power in their weaknesses. Elisa is the exact opposite of Wonder Woman — she doesn’t need to be an Amazonian to be a strong female character. Instead, her powerful refusal in allowing her muteness to deﬁne her allows her passion and empathy to ring loudest in the ﬁlm. Even the characterisation of Elisa being a “princess without a voice” completely subverts the fairy-tale tradition of what a princess is. She openly reclaims her sexual agency through her daily masturbation routine, her intercourse with the monster, and through doing the saving, instead of being the damsel in distress. Her fellow underdogs, Zelda and Giles, similarly show their power by subtly rejecting the oppression placed on them by society. Zelda, a black female, is subjected to downgrading by her racist and misogynistic boss, Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon), as well as to subtly sexist remarks by her husband. However, she stares down the face of oppression with humour and strength. Giles is a struggling gay artist in a world w h e r e photography replaces paintings, and Illustration by Reuben Morriss-Dyer
where eﬃciency replaces hard work. Giles is constantly rejected and isolated, his balding head symbolising the loss of his identity. However, he is still unabashedly himself, as he takes all this with dignity and unapologetic humility. The Russian spy/ scientist, Robert Hoﬀstetler, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, portrays one of the most compassionate characters in the movie, brilliantly showing his dilemma between listening to the government(s) that he works for and giving into his empathy by allowing the creature to live.The colour scheme of the ﬁlm took my breath away, being both as seamless and as outstanding as its cinematography. Diﬀerent shades of green are the dominant colours in the ﬁlm. To me, it represents two sides of the same coin — the future and the past; hope and despair; companionship and loneliness. However, despite its beauty, I am currently undecided about whether I liked the ﬁlm or not. Before watching, I read claims that The Shape of Water is a contender to surpass Pan’s Labyrinth as del Toro’s best work. Going into the theatre thinking, “There’s no way in hell that’s possible,” I came out of it with my suspicions conﬁrmed — The Shape of Water deﬁnitely does not hold a candle to Pan’s Labyrinth. I was a little confused by the movie, feeling as if there were too many issues and themes that del Toro wanted to incorporate, which at the end felt a bit too underdeveloped. The issues of racism, sexism, toxic masculinity, homophobia, human arrogance, the pointlessness of war etc. were squeezed into a 120-minute movie, leaving their development rather stunted. Only a few characters received closure, but there were a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions, such as how Giles’ and Zelda’s lives were changed or were unchanged from the point of the ending. The genre of the movie was also unclear. Yes, it’s a monster movie, with del Toro’s shout-out to classic monster movies such as Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon. It is also a love story, reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, if we can excuse the interspecies intercourse going on. I also saw semblances of it being a superhero movie, a musical, a war movie and a parody of pop culture (speciﬁcally with the ending). The two or three scenes of tap-dancing and one song-and-dance routine seemed like a venture into a musical, yet their purpose was not clear. Some of the script seemed a bit satirical to me, such as Strickland dropping the line, “Did I stutter?”, leaving me awkwardly chuckling at this meme reference, yet also being very unsure of its symbolism. Perhaps I am being too inﬂexible in my expectations and assumptions. Being a die-hard fan of del Toro, I sometimes strive to pigeon-hole his works into a ﬁxed genre, but I must realise that he doesn’t have a ﬁxed style and can be very experimental, giving meaning to the meaningless. With society’s obsession with labels and genre, it is reasonable to be focused on one’s pre-conceived notions of what a speciﬁc genre of movie should consist. Hence, the blend of so many diﬀerent types of genres in The Shape of Water transcends the idea of following a standard rule-book.
Full reviews on thesaint-online.com
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
ARTS & CULTURE
The Great Gatsby in St Andrews: A preview
AIMEE RUTHERFORD Theatre editor
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . .” Get ready for drama, decadence, and debauchery as the Mermaids breathe life back into the Jazz Age with their electrifying production of The Great Gatsby. With a stellar cast and crew taking on a critically acclaimed script, Mermaids are set to hit The StAge full-force with all the glitz and glam of the Roaring Twenties. Within a world of reckless extravagance and moral decline, the mysterious Gatsby, a prosperous young man with an impoverished past, is reunited with Daisy, a beautiful debutante who is far above his station. Their poignant love aﬀair is destined for tragedy. For all its wild parties, fast cars, and glittering opulence, the 1920s remain darkly tainted by the corruption of the American dream. This famous tale of romance and social criticism made for one of the greatest novels of the 20th century and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning ﬁlm in 2013. The narrative translates eﬀortlessly across both page and screen, and yet there is something additionally spe-
cial about bringing the exquisite spectacle of The Great Gatsby to the stage that makes this Mermaids production a must-see. Using Simon Levy’s script, which critics have called ‘beautifully crafted’, a ‘masterpiece’ and a ‘classic hit’, Mermaids intend to bring their unique vision to Levy’s play to fully do this story justice. I met up with ﬁrst-time director Madison Hauser, who has been a part of over twenty shows in St Andrews, to chat about the show. The Saint: What made you decide to direct The Great Gatsby? Madison Hauser: I love The Great Gatsby. I’d studied the book under a regional expert who taught us all these hidden metaphors, and it gave me a whole diﬀerent perspective on the book. I gained a greater appreciation for it; there are so many levels to the characters. I had the script, I could bring all of this knowledge, and it’s something I’m so passionate about. To sacriﬁce all this time and life and sanity — I couldn’t picture doing anything but Gatsby. It’s the only one I’ve felt that passion for. This is my last year at St Andrews and there’s no other theatre community I’ve experienced quite like the one here – we’re allowed to put on so many shows, there’s such unlimited talent, everything we have access to - if I was going to do any sort of show, it would be here. TS: How does the script compare to the book and the ﬁlm?
MH: What’s so amazing about this particular adaptation is that it’s not quite the book and not quite the movie. It has a lot more of the metaphors and symbols and lines from the book than the movie did, but there are also these fantastical, absurdist elements too. The script is really interesting because it has a more narrative than visual emphasis…it has abstract stage directions and hazy, dreamlike moments, and past those transitions the scenes themselves are very narrative focused. This is where my vision really came from, this abstract almost wistful script - our goal is to really showcase the story itself, to delve deeply into these characters and their personal struggles, more than just the pizazz. To emphasise the jadedness and haunted aspect. The interesting part of what we’re doing with this production is that the script is memory-based. Nick, the narrator, is looking back at past events from the future. We get snapshots of Nick’s interactions and moments of experience that ﬂow really nicely together. We wanted to run with the idea of him picking his memories apart. The stage is a bit cluttered with objects, and as Nick remembers each piece, he’ll uncover more of his narrative, stage by stage. It’s this crazy, vibrant spectacle image we’re uncloaking. What this story is ultimately about is that not everything is what it seems. We’re merging these two different visions, the classical realism of
the 1920s and the hazy, atmospheric, dreamlike tone of Nick’s memories. It’s a mix of antiquity and modernity — we’ve got 1920s costumes, 1920s jazz with a bit of a spin, electro-swing, whereas the tech is modern. And it’s all ultimately an illusion — we want to remind the audience that this story is biased, because Nick is telling it, and centre on his interpretation. There’s something about experiencing a story like this one, of lost love, loneliness, Nick’s identity as he realises he’s growing older… There’s something about experiencing it ﬁrst hand, to see and feel, to see people doing it in real time that is totally different and special. TS: Was the process ever challenging? MH: It’s my favourite thing that I’ve done so far, just because it’s challenged me so much. It’s a cast of twelve and a huge production team, and it’s a position of leadership I’m not quite used to, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it and I’ve worked with incredible people who’ve made it so much easier than I thought it was going to be. TS: What’s it been like working with the cast? MH: They’re the most talented hardworking group of individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with — their excitement and the enthusiasm for the show itself, and us all working together, has been so supportive in the best possible way.
They’re always there for me and so dedicated and committed and determined to make this the best it can possibly be. I think this kind of show’s storyline of loneliness and loss can either bond or create distance between people, and we’ve been able to take it lightly and just have fun with it. I really wanted to form a family unit together and that’s exactly what’s happened which is so, so nice. We laugh at every rehearsal. I think the best part of directing has been being able to take on people who so good at what they do, and to see them have a platform to express themselves and be creative. For a show like The Great Gatsby, it’s necessary to pull out all the stops, and Mermaids are certainly bringing their best. With Charleston moves choreographed by Phoebe Houghton, a performance from The Blue Angels and original jazz numbers recorded by members of JazzWorks, the collaborative force of this production will capture the atmosphere of the vibrant and opulent 1920s with imagination and style. The absolute enthusiasm and passion of the cast and crew proves that this is a story and a creative vision to be excited about, and I can’t wait to see it come to life. The Great Gatsby is showing on The StAge on the 14th and 15th March 2018.
Outside Chance: A stand-up show preview
University comedy scenes are well established as the proving grounds for many of the most renowned and celebrated of British comedians. The Cambridge Footlights Revue, as arguably the most famous example, has given us a list of comedians as diverse as John Cleese, Richard Ayoade and Emma Thompson, to name but a few. They make up part of a list that is so large that it is futile to try and write it out here. St Andrews itself, however, is no exception in producing great comedy. Our own Comedy Society provides an abundance of events and opportunities for would-be entertainers; on Tuesdays potential stand-up comedians have a chance to showcase their talent at Sandy’s Bar in Sundown Stand-Up, the satirical magazine Salvator News publishes regular articles which mock aspects of St Andrews life, the improv group Blind Mirth perform every Monday night 8 pm at the Barron Theatre and the St Andrews Revue perform regularly at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Now Tom Caruth, secretary of the Comedy Society, is performing live at Aikman’s bar on 8 April as part of the On The Rocks Festival. As an experienced stand-up regular of Sandy’s
Sundown Stand-Up, Tom’s show promises to be a culmination of all the talents he has displayed so far as a comedian. Speaking to him recently in Aikmans he told me some of what is in store for his show, entitled Outside Chance. “ T h e show focuses on issues in my life, dealing with depression and the being open about it,” he said. I’m assured that the show is not a long monologue, but a more light-hearted take on doubt and adversity. Mental h e a l t h awareness is something that is important to the performance — although the event is open to anyone and everyone and is guaranteed to be relatable and funny regardless of your awareness of the issues raised. Indeed, the title of the show itself —
Outside Chance — is supposed to reﬂect the ethos of the performance, carrying on despite the odds stacked against you. Uncertainty and reservation are feelings that everyone will experience at some point in their life,
and the show taps into those feelings. Talking about his inﬂuences, Stewart Lee, Simon Amstell and Maria Bamford are cited as inspiration for his style of comedy, and in particular Amstell’s Numb tour of 2012 shares
something in common with the kind of tone of comedy that Outside Chance hopes to convey. From a short YouTube clip of Amstell’s tour, this brief quotation showcases something of that character: “I live alone, Photo: Tom Gardiner and that’s ﬁne. You just have to make plans. That’s the key […] if you live alone and you don’t make plans, here’s what happens. You wake up… and it just gets darker.” As with all stand-up comedy, it is not the writing that is the most important. It is the timing, tone, and inﬂections that really produce the comic eﬀect, but the subject on which Outside Chance is based hopefully comes across here. Performing in and enjoying sketch comedy at St Andrews is also another big interest of Tom’s, having performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival himself with other members
of the St Andrews Comedy Society. In the back of an Edinburgh pub along with other members of the Comedy Society he performed a 15-minute slot which he describes as one of the most entertaining experiences he has had doing stand-up comedy and only wishes he “could do more of it”. Looking to do a career in teaching computer-science as his future occupation, he also wishes that he had more time for comedy. “It’s time-consuming,” he explains. “Though comedy is a dream of mine, unfortunately very few do make it”. Tom hopes that Outside Chance will appeal to a wide audience and with many other forward-looking and enterprising undergraduates at this university it is certain that the theme of the show will resonate with them. Taking place in the vibrant and atmospheric surroundings of Aikman’s bar is about as good a stage as any student comedian in St Andrews could hope for, and excellent place to market such an event. This event is a deﬁnite must for those who are wanting to get stuck into On The Rocks events this Spring, so if you are free on 8 April, come down and spend your evening enjoying what is sure to be a great night of comedy. Who knows, one day you might be able to look back and say that you witnessed one of the ﬁrst gigs of a future star of British comedy.
Spotlight: BoxedIn Theatre
It never fails to amaze me how much some students can ﬁt into their working week. It’s very easy for sleep to take precedence over extra reading or going to the gym and yet some students do indeed do it all. The level of creativity in St Andrews is truly astounding, you only need to have a look at the programme of weekly events to see that. This week we are shining the spotlight on BoxedIn Theatre and its artistic director Oli Savage. Oli is a regular on the St Andrews theatre scene, whether that is gracing the stage or behind the scenes. Last year, after acknowledging that the kind of work he wanted to do stretched beyond the realms of Mermaids, he took inspiration from previous student-led groups and set up an actual company: BoxedIn Theatre. “Theatre is dying. I want to explore unusual ways of making theatre that will enable us to reach a wider audience.” The global theatre scene is starting to see more and more innovative productions. Punchdrunk, a name that
we should all take note of, wowed London audiences in 2013 with their immersive promenade production housed in Temple Studios. The audience wore masks and made decisions about which character’s story they wanted to follow, both physically and mentally, which meant that everyone’s perception of events was different. It was a special experience to be a part of, one that I will never fully understand but can appreciate for its risk-taking.
I want to explore unusual ways of making theatre In this vein, BoxedIn Theatre’s ﬁrst production was an immersive retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a masked audience split into Montagues and Capulets in the StAge. From there, they toured Wood over the summer and are now working on Lobes which
is going to be performed in the Med Lab as well as a tour of the UK and Ireland this summer. There’s lots of projects to come for this group of talented creatives. Theatre is about more than putting on a show and turning a script into a production. Frantic Assembly, a name that may not be particularly well-known, is a theatre company which explores storytelling through movement and music. This company was founded along much the same lines as BoxedIn Theatre by students from Swansea University. They have since gone from strength to strength with one of their biggest co-operative productions winning a Tony Award in 2016 for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. There are of course some more classical inﬂuences on BoxedIn Theatre’s work such as Michael Chekhov in accessing the unconscious self. A lot of the time as an audience, we forget the amount of work that goes into a production and the faces and names that we remember upon leaving a performance are the main characters, never really the creatives behind it. “It is a hard industry to get famous in but that is not necessarily a bad thing.”
Rehearsing Lobes, Photo: Anastasia Rak
Mr Savage has been interested in theatre for as long as he can remember and takes great pleasure in discovering new practitioners and groups. Oli has a keen interest in site-speciﬁc theatre as I discovered when interviewing him for the Lobes preview. “It’s not about building an elaborate set or working against the space but using the space for what it is.” This is an idea that is also played with by Jethro Compton.
It’s about using the space for what it is A typical day for him is planned to the hour and he even has a weekly food diary to keep him up to date. His directorial style relies heavily on communication and patience, which can sometimes be diﬃcult. “I don’t like sitting down in rehearsals, I like to be active and putting the same amount of eﬀort in as my actors.” However, none of the successes of the company
R+J, Photo: Louis Catliff
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
would have been possible without the BoxedIn Theatre Team: Oli, Emily Hepher (Stage Manager/Executive Producer) and Sarah Chamberlain (Producer). There is a massive beneﬁt of being able to operate the company within St Andrews. The student scene is great for trialling new techniques and having many talented actors at their disposal. On the other hand, looking to the future, St Andrews is a microcosm and very much a safety net for the company and the team must remind themselves of this as they begin to plan for after graduation. So, what can we look forward to from the company in the long term? Well, Oli has a highly detailed ﬁveyear plan which he delved into during our interview and it seems like there are big things on the horizon for both him and for BoxedIn Theatre. There is going to be more original content from Henry Roberts, more Shakespeare and even the possibility of owning a theatre and writing a book. Although this seems like a long way oﬀ, the motivation is there: “The biggest thing I’ve learnt since taking on this project is that things only happen if you make them happen”.
WOOD, Photo: Andy Russell Photography
ARTS & CULTURE
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
ARTS & CULTURE
In regards to the details participants need to know before submitting, the co-founders clariﬁed, “The artworks will be on display for a whole day on the 4th of April in the Byre. Depending on how many ﬁlms are produced by the deadline, we will reserve a time slot for them accordingly in the Byre studio. Once the audience and the judges have watched the ﬁlms, they will all vote for their favourites, just like last year.” Once again, there are third, second and ﬁrst prizes and an audience choice award for short ﬁlms. Naturally, there will be distinctions between ﬁlm and art awards to separate the two. As a ﬁnal note, Ms Nicolae clariﬁed, “Technically, our registration day was the 16th of February, but if there’s further interest in participating, they can email us and we will reconsider the application.” Culture Y will be held on 4 April in the Byre. Submission deadline is 28 March, with an entry fee of ₤10. For further details, email culture2018@ gmail.com, or ﬁnd the team online: https://www.facebook.com/culturey/, or https://culturey2018.wixsite.com/ culture-y.
Still from Third Culture Kid, dir. David Mackenzie & Aneurin Howorth
As an up-and-coming project ﬁrst organised in 2017, Culture Y is still going through development and has plenty of potential to expand. The name is a reference to Generation Y, and addresses the ongoing global processes of the past 30 years. When asked about the source of this idea, Ms Gostelow said, “It began when Alexandra approached me in September 2016, and asked ‘Do you want to do a ﬁlm festival?’ and I immediately jumped on the idea, there was so much to think of all of a sudden. We started talking about what would be relevant for the University of St Andrews. We were driven by the idea of international students, who all come from diﬀerent cultures, different places and interact with each other here.” This interaction inspired the two students to lay their focus on the concept of cultural inﬂuence over identity. “I volunteered at a short ﬁlm festival in my hometown in Romania – it was partly organised by the French Ministry of Culture. It was an exciting project where I got to see how
Last year’s lineup proved to be representative of culture’s influence on identity
Still from Go Where the People Dance, dir. Dylan Howel
We thought about how we could keep last year’s cultural dialogue going
year, they mentioned two major plans they would like their successors to bring to fruition: a potential expansion beyond St Andrews, and the inclusion of digital art in the show. Time constraints stood in the way of inviting artists from all over Scotland to participate, but Ms Nicolae remains hopeful for the years to come: “We thought about trying that this year, but with the timing being as it is, we thought it best to just focus on St Andrews. There’s always next year, and we might invite artists from Scotland to contribute.”
Still from Chicken Party, dir. P. Ahana Alam, Mado Gianni, Laszlo Szegedi, Indre Tuminauskaite
In the long list of art events lined up for the rest of the semester, Culture Y stands out as an opportunity to engage in free dialogue about ideologies, changes and global issues. Focusing on the signiﬁcance of space this year, the festival continues to encourage participants to raise questions about their surroundings. What is there to know about the spaces we inhabit? How does space acquire meaning, and how do we denote it? How do spaces preserve cultural heritage? To discuss the updates Culture Y has gone through since last year, The Saint sat down with co-founders Alexandra Nicolae and Alexis Gostelow.
diﬀerent elements of culture can be mixed together in ﬁlms, such as music, social aspects and even political commentary,” Ms Nicolae told The Saint. Sharing and interest in art history with her co-founder, they believed a local ﬁlm festival could provide an ideal setting to combine these elements. Motivated by the mixture of mediums and their creative results, Ms Nicolae and Ms Gostelow aimed to use themes that could be approached from diﬀerent perspectives. “In both years we tried to be as broad as possible,” inviting participants of various backgrounds to share their points of view on the matter. While Culture Y was incorporated into On The Rocks last year, they are expanding to an independent event in 2018 with their own art show. From performance to material art, a wide range of submissions are accepted, as long as their subject is this year’s theme, “spaces”. When asked about the choice of theme, Ms Gostelow explained, “We wanted something diﬀerent. We thought about how we could keep last year’s cultural dialogue going – choosing spaces after culture’s inﬂuence on identity seemed like a natural progression.” In light of major news stories of the past year, especially those addressing the refugee crisis, conceptions of space cannot be thought of as a reference to stability, but rather movement. Various spaces undergo constant change – as Ms Nicolae continued, “We got attached to the ideas of what it might mean to be constantly on the move, to constantly interact with things and develop connections with the spaces we engage with.” The co-founders look forward to this year’s entries with enthusiasm and excitement, and there’s good reason: last year’s lineup proved to be surprising and most importantly, aptly representative of culture’s inﬂuence on identity. “We were really impressed, we got a lot of diﬀerent projects with various themes and styles,” Ms Gostelow said. These entries ranged from comedy to travel vlogs, and led an overall success for the new festival. “All ideas were very diﬀerent from what we expected people would produce. It was all a pleasant surprise,” Ms Nicolae added. As a ﬁnal question, The Saint asked the co-founders about further ideas they would like to see realised in Culture Y’s future. Being in their ﬁnal
Still from Renatus, dir. Glen Kennedy
LASZLO SZEGEDI Arts & culture editor
Still from Oil + Ink, dir. Sarah Park & Vienna Kim
Culture Y: What to expect in 2018
ARTS & CULTURE
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
An interview with alum David Caves Editor-in-Chief Andrew Sinclair and actor David Caves discuss he road from St Andrews to the film industry
ANDREW SINCLAIR Editor-in-Chief Studying French and German at St Andrews isn’t your stereotypical path into an acting career that has so far spanned over a decade, but it’s exactly the route that David Caves took. The Northern Irishman, who attended the University between 1997 and 2002, is known to many up and down the country for his performances in the BBC’s forensic pathology drama Silent Witness, which just ﬁnished its 21st series. However, his career could have easily taken a completely diﬀerent trajectory. Talking to him a couple of weeks ago I discovered both his very dry wit and that St Andrews wasn’t his ﬁrst choice, with the Belfast native originally preferring Edinburgh. When pressed on the subject he said, “I had my sights set on Edinburgh until I went to St Andrews. I happened to go there with a friend of mine and it was his ﬁrst choice.” “I just loved it, you know what it’s like, it’s easy to fall in love with. It seemed to click for me that that was the place to be and I never looked back”. Coming from a family of teachers, David had initially appeared keen to follow the same track, saying, “I think being a teacher was in the back of my mind somewhere.” “I’d always loved doing French and German. Simple as that. I just loved it, especially French. I loved speaking it, I loved doing the accent and I was always fairly decent at it. And German similarly at school, I was never as strong but I really liked doing languages.” As with all language students, he spent his year abroad in France teaching, and whilst he admits he enjoyed it, by the time he returned to St Andrews he’d grown a little disillusioned with academia and decided he wanted to pursue something else. And that something else was acting. Upon his return he “threw himself” into musicals and plays at the University and began to consider whether acting was a career he could pursue long-term. He cited the support he received from his parents as important as he began to look at drama schools in his ﬁnal year here, and upon graduation he headed down to London to study at LAMDA, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After completing a postgrad course he managed to pick up a lot of theatre work, which kept him busy before he joined up with Silent Witness in 2013. With the programme such an institution of the British small screen, you’d think that he was nervous before auditioning for the programme, but that was far from the case. He said, “[It came about] just like any other acting job really. I was lucky I’d been acting at the time, doing a play at the RSC and I was in a good place, both mentally and physically. I had a great time doing that so perhaps psychologically that had something to do with my frame of mind at the audition as I’d never done any telly!”
“I [then] forgot about it to be honest! It was one of those ‘it was fun but it won’t happen’ kind of things so I didn’t worry about it. Those are usually the ones you get bizarrely. It’s usually the ones you pin all your hopes on and think if I don’t get it the world will end that don’t materialise.” Since being on the show he has drawn plaudits for his performance as the occasionally abrasive forensic scientist Jack Hodgson, and from speaking to him it’s clear just how much he has enjoyed his six series on the show thus far. Every episode of the most recent series, which aired during January and February and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer, clocked over 8.5 million viewers.
Since being on the show he has drawn plaudits for his performance “It’s a thrill really. I have to remind myself that it’s got such a following. We all really enjoy doing it precisely because it’s got such a big fanbase and when you’re in a show like that it’s a lovely feeling and it’s quite rare because not every job is like that.” David explains that ﬁlming the show takes seven months, beginning in April and running until November, meaning that there’s very little time between ﬁnishing and it actually airing on our screens. Although that schedule is very taxing both mentally and physically, it also oﬀers a regularity that very few roles do. I asked him whether that was something he enjoyed. “I do enjoy the regularity, absolutely. It’s like a “proper” job in that sense. Acting’s often very stop-start,
you don’t know when the next job is going to be, so in that respect I really like the regularity because you can have a life a bit more. You can save a bit of money and plan to do things.” Whilst recognising the consistency the role oﬀers, he does acknowledge that it can lead to things getting stale and people thinking that it might be time to move on and try something diﬀerent. For him though, the current plan seems to be focusing on Silent Witness, which was recently recommissioned for a 22nd series, meaning that he’ll be back ﬁlming again in a matter of weeks. Talking of regularity, one of the most consistent features in all of our lives is social media. From documenting our every movement on Snapchat to sharing our thoughts about our favourite TV shows and ﬁlms on Twitter, our phones are full of social media apps. When setting up the interview between David and myself that seemed like the most obviously channel to follow, although I was soon met with a series of dead ends. Caves, who is in his 30s, is notably absent from social media aside from a few fan pages, that he jokingly quipped he was behind. When I asked him why he was absent from social media, he was very clear. “Basically the simple answer is that I’m not a big fan of it. I ﬁnd it a little bit terrifying. “I think it can be useful simply as a means of promoting work that you’re in but inevitably it can get personal on there and I don’t like that”, he said. He admitted to having Facebook until a few years ago and that when he began on the programme he did look at the feedback people gave on Twitter and other platforms, but he no longer has any time for it. “Occasionally I’ll get stuﬀ from her (co-star Liz Carr, who plays Clarissa Mullery) saying so-and-so said this or whatever and it’s usually nice, kind of ﬂattering, but you sometimes get people just being mean and it hurts.
You always remember the bad ones, you never really remember the good ones.” He added, “It can be really damaging and hurtful and people hide behind keyboards and just say whatever the heck they like”. The interview then took a more St Andrews-oriented direction as I posed to David questions about his favourite memories of studying in this quaint little town on Scotland’s east coast. Unsurprisingly they were mostly focused on his experiences with dramatic productions, but he also recounted his enjoyment of staying in Sallies in his ﬁrst year, and his surprise of having a roommate.
You’ve got to commit to it and then your things will fall into place Appearing alongside his oldest friend in a production of Grease was the ﬁrst memory that sprang to mind, before he then revealed that he had been a member of the Alleycats, an acapella group at the University. After asking me whether the group was still in existence, he then went on to reveal that he was amongst the group’s founding members back in 2001. He said, “We were the ﬁrst ones. It was a friend of mine that created the whole thing, there were seven or eight of us, back in the day. That was great craic. I mean again it was daft but we thought we were brilliant and we weren’t. We used to play the balls and pubs and sing there and people really liked it, or seemed to.” He then added that the group had a made a CD during his time of their
Photo: BBC Worldwide
work and he had recently enjoyed listening back to it, even if the quality of the singing wasn’t quite as good as he remembered it was. Engaging in dramatic pursuits was obviously important to his tenure at the University and therefore it seemed ﬁtting to ask him for any advice he had for current students here and for any of the current student body that might be considering a career in acting. To both he was quite coy, suggesting that he was perhaps not in a place to be giving anyone advice, but he did impart a few words of wisdom. For students currently studying here it was very simple: “Savour it because it was the best time of my life — the times I had there, the people I met and the lifelong friends I made. But also, don’t take yourself too seriously, just lap it up. It’s wonderful. I wish there were more places like it.” As for acting, his advice was a little more complex. He seemed to have reservation about giving specific guidance as everyone’s path in the industry is diﬀerent and his journey was in no way conventional but what he did say was very realistic. “Don’t have any illusions about it — it can be really trying and there can be times of just not working and you’ve got to pick yourself up and keep going and think ‘what’s the next thing?’ You’ve got to hustle a bit initially, you know, you’ve got to commit to it and then hopefully your things will fall into place. He talked about the need to stay committed to the cause because it can be a very frustrating industry to work in, stressing the importance of just practising and “keeping your hand in the game.” “Try and keep practising and doing things, even if it’s just reading things aloud, reading plays, screenplays aloud. Just keep busy, keep your hand in because it’s a funny old mentality we have in Britain about acting where we go to drama school and then the training stops. Then you’re expected to be brilliant whereas actually it’s like a muscle, you have to keep working on it to get better.” After a thoroughly entertaining conversation I noticed that over 30 minutes had gone by and thought it was best to let David go on his way as he is a very busy man. To wrap up I asked him two last questions — what his plans were for the future outside Silent Witness and how he’d describe his time in St Andrews in just one word. He found the former considerably easier than the latter. It was very much a case of him wanting to just do as much as possible, be it ﬁlm, television or going back to the theatre where his career began over a decade ago. Given the aplomb to which he took to Silent Witness and his part in the 2016 Oscar-nominated ﬁlm Jackie, anything could be possible for this St Andrews graduate. He did hesitate when it came to describing his experience here, as though he was reaching for the perfect word to encapsulate a period of time that clearly meant a lot to him. In the end he settled on something — sensational. After spending seven-and-a-half semesters here myself, I couldn’t agree more if I tried.
ARTS & CULTURE
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Milan Fashion Week: Fall 2018
sage between high fashion and the starting point of Italian ready-towear; and 2001, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York set in motion a tectonic change on many levels. Alessandro Michele’s latest exhibition for Gucci saw models walking in a trance-like state through operation theatres. With surgical equipment all around, Michele thought it to be an ideal setting to identify the need of self-regeneration in today’s age of technology. He wanted to represent the lab working in his head and explained his collection by saying that “We are the Dr. Frankensteins of our lives.” Imagine the glitter and sparkle of the 1980s, the ‘70s rock music glam vibe, tweed, leather and faux relics. David Bowie circa 1970. The catwalk saw a couple of models holding replicas of their own severed heads in their hands. Some were seen holding baby dragons and lime green snakes like a newborn baby. Quite a few of them had headpieces from turbans to burqa-like veils. It was an electrifying retro theme discovering what was happening to humans in the world of Instagram. Michele perceives this an opportunity to be liberated from the obstacles we have faced since birth. Versace decided to pay a catwalk tribute to Gianni by bringing together the original supermodels clad in the signature metal
dresses — Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiﬀer, Helena Christensen and the former French ﬁrst lady Carla Bruni, to mark the 20th anniversary of his death. Donatella Versace used prints from her brother’s collections between 1991 and 1995 as the basis for this collection. The ﬁnale saw the readaptation of one of the most iconic moments, back from 1991 when four supermodels walked hand-in-hand. Top designers from Gucci and Saint Laurent were seen attending the tribute. The ‘Queen of Hearts’ collection by Dolce and Gabbana saw a ‘90s pop theme with 13 models in black corsets opening the show. They were superseded by ball gowns made of cabbages and soup cans for shoes. Corsets and briefs in the likes of Madonna and Beyoncé were popular on the catwalk. They even played “Crazy in Love” in the background. Dolce also closed the fashion week by showcasing bags and other accessories. The bag collection was revolving on drones. Seriously, drones. With a motor-racing rage theme, Tommy Hilﬁger once again showcased the sports gear he usually associates with the Formula One Mercedes Benz team by sponsoring them. Curved racing stripes, swimsuits, biker shorts, racerback tanks, visors, denim boiler suits and leather biker jackets were covered on the runway. The collection also included the hugely popular Tommy x Gigi
six or seven, when scrolling through my dad’s iPod Classic and seeing the name down from Nick Cave, I asked who this was. The response from my father was unmemorable apart from the added remark, “Grandpa taught him at Cambridge — very cool.” Cool indeed, but back to my repeated listening of ‘Henry Lee’ and ‘Red Right Hand’ I went, and I promptly forgot all about it. Eight years later when iTunes Home Sharing arrived — how exciting that was in those halcyon days before streaming services! — the name Nick Drake presented itself once again when I purloined his ﬁrst album Five Leaves Left (1969) from my dad. From the ﬁrst track ‘Time Has Told Me’, my strict diet of Cohen and Dylan was challenged by this blasé-sounding contemporary of theirs from the folk world’s ‘wrong’ side of the pond. The orchestral element of the accompaniment lends itself to the fresh-faced optimism and (for the most part) balmy, sultry mood of an artist not yet aﬀected by the drudgery of the recording industry in songs like ‘Thoughts of Mary Jane’ and ‘Saturday Sun’. The lyrics possess an unfading and classic tendency towards nature and the metaphysical, unsurprising given Drake’s fondness for the verse of Blake (in particular among the Romantics), W. B. Yeats and Henry Vaughan.
His curtailed career at Cambridge bum, the world should be thankful has been well-documented — he my grandfather (and indeed Drake’s had studied English Literature at father) failed in his task. But, had he Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge from listened and postponed until gradua1967-8, where my late grandfather, tion, perhaps Nick Drake would have Dominic Baker-Smith, was his subecome a larger name than he did in pervisor. Asking him over forty-ﬁve fact become. Not one of his three alyears later, he couldn’t remember bums could be called a commercial much of his pupil — supposedly he success nor were their productions was quiet, clearly bright, but otherat all easy. Drake’s shyness and unwise disinterested and unenthused orthodox songwriting never lay well by the whole Cambridge experience. I with audiences. am sure my grandpa had not listened The middle album, Bryter Layter to a huge amount of what Drake sub(1970)- the album to which I hitchsequently produced — it does not hiked around Tasmania after school cry out to me as the kind of music he — is by far his most listenable, a jaunwould have appreciated or taken sety, upbeat record, more reminiscent riously at the time. In fact, in 1968, as of jazz and pop than its predecessor, his tutee mulled over whether he with blatant psychedelic reference should take the record deal to his heroin and cannabis use in he had been oﬀered, my the pair of ‘Hazy Jane’ songs. grandpa eagerly attempted Joe Boyd, the highly-rein vain to persuade Drake garded Pink Floyd proto see out the year-and-aducer, of whom an early half he had left at univerproject was Drake, was sity — clearly, despite the certain of this sophomore third he had received in eﬀort’s success, but again his preliminaries as seen it was not to be and began in the record that my aunt the bout of depression found clearing my grand(and resulting drug abuse) father’s desk, the staﬀ at in the artist that he would Fitzwilliam saw somebe unable to shake for the thing in this sullen, distant remaining years of his life. twenty-year-old. Pink Moon (1972), his ﬁClearly, given the nal release, a fragile collecPhoto: Wikimedia greatness of the debut altion of short, stripped-down
capsule collection designed by supermodel Gigi Hadid, who walked with Hilﬁger for the ﬁnale. This is Hadid’s last edit for the brand, having fulﬁlled her four-season contract. Moschino’s director celebrating the 20th anniversary of his own label explored his creative side with a ﬂoral theme-models were dressed either like ballet dancers in tutus or wrapped as ﬂoral bouquets and sculpted in ﬂower dresses. The Alberta Ferretti Fall 2018 contrasted their delicate Spring 2018 ﬂoral collection. This time their theme was far from summer dresses with printed ﬂowers. The catwalk saw models in cowboy hats in elegant jumpsuits — a femme-fatale-meetsTexas-ranch vibe. If only the collection actually reached a real ranch! One can hope. As expected, Fendi screamed class. Cosy ensembles with fur, leather, suede, and camel trench coats, all with the double F logo. Lagerfeld and Fendi never disappoint. The models had interesting makeup with white shades along their tear ducts while their hair had a middle or side parting. Prada, experts in craftsmanship, attempt to outdo their own collection in every single show. This time was no exception with tech-inspired prints and neon colours marking the
runway. To add to the wow-factor, supermodel Amber Valletta reappeared on the runway after a long break. The show was opened by Anok Yai, only the second black model to do the opening act in the history of Prada since Naomi Campbell. The need to eradicate racial discrimination and be open to diversity of diﬀerent cultures spoke loud and clear. And that’s all about Milan. If you love fashion the way I do, don’t you worry — “Ciao, Milan” means “Bonjour, Paris!”
Nick Drake: A personal pilgrimage
ZEB BAKER-SMITH Music editor
Much is made of the legendary 27 Club in musical circles — from Robert Johnson to Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison to Amy Winehouse, the tragedy of creative output halted prematurely grants a strange sense of what-mighthave-been romanticism to a career. One name among a few who fell short of that fabled age is the hugely-inﬂuential Nick Drake. Such an epithet is often bandied about carelessly, but there is little doubt surrounding the amount of sway that the British folk singer, who died virtually unknown in 1974 aged 26, holds across genres to this day. From titanic names like Bob Dylan to towering ﬁgures like REM’s Peter Buck and the former guise of Father John Misty, J. Tillman, Drake’s intricate ﬁnger-picking, his frail tenor over sometimes stark, desolate guitar, sometimes ﬂorid, sumptuous string arrangements have shaped and impacted many. On a personal note, aside from a two-and-a-half-year mediocre attempt at sporting his haircut, which has sadly just come to an end, Nick Drake has always been a source of fascination to me, not least because of a certain familial connection. The ﬁrst I ever heard of the name was aged
Da Vinci referred to Milan as the ‘Capital of Fashion Capitals’, and the last week of February once again saw the city turn into the sartorial hub it is known for. The retrospective start of “Italiana, Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971–2001” showcased the initial years of the fashion industry in Italy. The exhibition involved nine rooms: Identity, Democracy, Logomania, Diorama, Project Room, Bazaar, PostProduction, Glocal and the Italy of Objects. The time frame is set between two symbolic dates: 1971, which marks a sort of pas-
tracks, display Drake at his most vulnerable and pessimistic, his voice more dulcet and faltering than before, the struggles of psychosis and nervous breakdown not diﬃcult to discern in ‘Things Behind The Sun’. The aestival warmth of earlier songs evaporates into a bleaker, wintrier chill — not dissimilar to the day in January on which I visited Drake’s village Tanworth-in-Arden, the picturesque Warwickshire village on the outskirts of Birmingham, where in a state of serious clinical depression his life came to an end in November 1974. It is still unclear whether his death was self-inﬂicted or a tragic accident, but the overdose of antidepressants brought to an end a deeply painful two years of retrogression for him, a struggle with mental illness that had forced an incapacitated version of himself to live at home. His grave in the village churchyard is still paid visits by many fans still, and it was on the way back up to university this term that I made the stop having listened to all three albums that morning. Some would say it is an unusual thing to go to the grave of somebody one has never met, but it seemed a necessary thing to do, a making peace and a paying of compliments from professor to student, but due regard to a giant of my musical experience and that of many others.
ARTS & CULTURE
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
What to wear during spring break Halfway t h r o u g h spring semester one of the biggest mass migrations of the year takes place: the Friday afternoon dash to Edinburgh airport. With “The Beast From The East” thoroughly covering most of Europe, it seems as if, rather than ﬁlling their suitcases with shorts and sundresses, many stu-
dents’ suitcases will instead be ﬁlled with jeans and sweaters. Historically cold temperatures have hit places such as Madrid, Rome, Paris, and London, leading to unusual snowfalls, as well as many students planned vacations taking an icy turn. But rather than fret about the loss of a tan, here are some outﬁt ideas for wherever your spring break takes you. Madrid: With the high temperatures hanging around the low 60’s (F)/high 50’s, this may be seen as a relief from our lovely Scottish weather, but will still be cold non-the-less. Take this opportunity to layer wisely, while also using a jacket as a statement piece. And rather than alternating between three pairs of boots, throw some ballet ﬂats, sneakers, or smoking slippers into your suitcase to either dress up or dress down one’s outﬁt. For the ladies, I would suggest a pair of platform sneakers (Steve Madden, Axel Arigato, or Superga), distressed jeans (Express, Paige, or Lucky Brand), a light sweater (Banana Republic, Asos, or J. Crew), and a denim or leather jacket to lie it all together
(Helmet Lang, Levi, or your mom’s closet from the 1970’s). Rome: Rome is expected to be slightly warmer than Madrid with its average never slipping below 60 degrees (F). Even though this isn’t a huge temperature jump, one may be able to get away with not wearing a jacket. Due to the majority of students having acclimatized to the brisk St Andrews winter, 60 degrees may seem like the perfect opportunity to abandon one’s old and reliable jacket. And this excuse is much better than just not wanting to lose it at the Vic. For men I would suggest a pair of desert boots (Clarks, Johnston & Murphy, or Ted Baker), khakis (Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, or Brooks Brothers), a button-up shirt (Vineyard Vines, Polo Ralph Lauren, or Robert Graham), and maybe a light blazer on top to round out the look (Madewell, Vince Camuto, and Nordstroms). Paris: Ah the city of love, or in this case the city of freezing rain. If you’re planning on heading down to Paris, I would deﬁnitely add a rain jacket and a pair of wellies to your suitcase. Now this doesn’t mean that fashion needs to be sacriﬁced for comfort, due to many companies releasing fashion forward rainwear. With the high hovering around the low 50’s (F), I would suggest wearing multiple light layers, allowing for one to stay warm and cozy, no matter what the weather throws at you. For ladies I would suggest a pair of rain boots (Hunter, L.L. Bean, or Ugg), leggings (Lulu Lemon,
Victorias Secret, or Fabletics), a chunky sweater (Tommy Hilﬁnger, Talbots, or Rag and Bone), and topped oﬀ with a heavy rain jacket (North Face, Columbia, or Barbour). London: London rounds out the list with the lowest temperatures, with a high in the low 40s (F). For anyone planning on spending their spring break walking along the Thames, deﬁnitely plan on bringing a parka. With rain being predicted as well, I would expect nothing short of your standard Scottish weather. I would suggest wearing your regular wardrobe, but maybe adding a pop of color, due to the fact that you might actually see the sun. I would deﬁnitely suggest bringing along a pair of warm boots, as well as many quarter zips as one’s suitcase will hold. Now if you are one of the lucky few heading beyond Europe and to a more tropical location, than you may have a bit better luck weather wise. If you plan on heading down to the Caribbean, expect highs in the 80s (F) and plenty of sunshine. I would suggest looking into brands such as Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, or Triangle Bathing Suits to prepare oneself for the sudden shock of heat and humidity that will hit anyone deplaning near the Prime Meridian. A s your
l o c a l Floridian I would also plan on stocking up on sunscreen, as the last thing that anyone wants is an 8 hour ﬂight with a brutal sunburn. No matter where you plan on jetting oﬀ to this Spring Break, I have no doubt that our students will stay stylish and warm for their two weeks outside of the Bubble.
GABRIELLE HOLLIDAY Fashion editor
Beast from the East Frozen Margaritas OLIVIA HENDREN Food editor
In honour of the gorgeously tropical weather that the UK has been blessed with recently, treat yourself to a raspberry frozen margarita!
Illustration by Olivia Hendren
Blend: 1/2 cup of raspberries 175 ml orange juice 120 ml tequila 2.5 tbs honey 60 ml lime juice 1 cup of ice
*as delicious as it might look, please don’t use real snow.
DO NOT WRITE ON THIS PAGE
Sport editor: SEORAS LYALL Deputy editors: Harry Dean, Joel McInally, Gus Portig, Jason Segall email@example.com
nitially this column was meant to be about Elise Christie and her disastrous Winter Olympics. The cruelty of her exit from all three events in Pyeongchang was devastating for a Scot who is clearly one of the best skaters in the world. However, today’s subject is not her, but it is about Scots. More specifically, it is about 23 heroes who got exactly what they deserved on Saturday 24 February. If you live south of Berwick upon Tweed, you may want to turn the page. I will be honest with you, I was apprehensive to say the least about the Scotland-England game in the Six Nations. A nervy win over France hadn’t quite banished the demons of an embarrassing defeat to the worst Wales team in the last 10 years. Although we were at fortress Murrayfield, we were going up against an England side that had lost only once under Eddie Jones. A glance at the England bench showed two Lions in George Kruis and Jamie George ‒ the finishers ‒ along with Ben Te’o. A pre-match message to my Dad got a response, “if we get within 15 points I will eat my hat.” Promising signs. Coupled with that, there was the prospect of having to stare at the faces of Dylan Hartley and Mike Brown for 80 minutes, as well as having to listen to the repugnant Jeremy Guscott and John Inverdale. Then there was the traumatic idea of what would happen post-match, having to turn up to class and have to listen to the usual “Scotland don’t deserve to be in the Six Nations,” “you’d give Georgia a good game,” “Swing low.” Against all better judgement, I sat down and watched. Hoping for the best; fearing the worst. Spurred on by the usually bombastic “Flower of Scotland,” things started scarily well. Scotland seemed fired up, so much so in fact that there was an apparent ruckus in the tunnel pre-match. The game began and, all of a sudden, Finn Russell teased the little grubber and Huw Jones collected to score. Stunned silence hit the living room. It was less out of shock and more surprise and disbelief. But celebrations were definitely muted. For as all Scottish sport fans have been taught, it is the hope that kills. Surely now England would wake up and return to their normal selves, but no. Finn Russell continued to
kick superbly and dictate the game. Captain John Barclay destroyed the breakdown, with Scotland getting turnover after turnover and penalty after penalty. The men in blue charged yet again as Russell flung a pass out wide. England’s Jonathan Joseph looked ready to pounce; images of Ali Price versus Wales flooded back. But no, judged to perfection, Jones burst through again. It looked as if the opportunity was gone, but then Russell with a looping pass out wide found Maitland in the corner. Surely not. Again, pandemonium did not hit the room. It is the hope that kills you. The English were surely hoping at this stage to see out the rest of the half only partially scathed. But the Scots said no and went for the kill. Once again Huw Jones, surely due a knighthood, burst through the gap. Now we were screaming, the gap seemed to be closing. Brown and Anthony Watson looked to be catching him. But Jones wanted it more, he had the hunger and desire. 10 years since we had last won the Calcutta Cup, 14 years since we had scored a try at Murrayfield against the Auld Enemy, and now we were set for three in one half. Jones crashed over, and Scotland were leading 22-6 at half time. “Could we end the game now?” Dad was still not sure if he would be eating that hat. Surely England would come out flying, desperate for the grand slam that eluded them last year? Indeed they did. Owen Farrell broke through and it was game on. In the grand scheme of things, 40 minutes is not a long time. But those 40 minutes were the longest, most intense, exhausting of my life. I think I aged 40 years in that time. A combination of Danny Care’s interception and Farrell’s kick-andchase sent me into a medical condition that should have sent me off to Ninewells. Yet somehow, against all the odds, we did it. At the end of the day, we can get into the nitty gritty of whether it a deserved result or not. Were England bad or Scotland good? John Inverdale hopelessly tried to pin it on Nigel Owens the referee. At the end of the day, I couldn’t care less if we deserved it. So we march on to Dublin with renewed hopes of our first Six Nations title. It is the hope that kills.
Team GB end Olympics with record medal haul
SEORAS LYALL Deputy sports editor
After two weeks in South Korea, the Winter Olympics concluded at the end of February. 92 nations participated in 102 events in 15 different sports, making it the biggest games ever. While the time difference certainly made viewing a challenge, there was plenty of coverage for some remarkable moments from Pyeongchang. Before delving into the sport, it is important to note the political context that dominated the run-up to these Olympics. Following North and South Korea’s act of unity at the opening ceremony when they walked out together, the two nations actively competed as one in the women’s ice hockey. While they may have conceded 20 goals in three games, they did score a famous goal against Japan. The North Korean ice skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik justified their qualification with a solid performance in the figure skating pairs event, finishing 13th out of 22. From a diplomatic perspective, the Games have had a mixed result. The initial feel-good vibe has carried through Pyeongchang, with there even being whispers of potential talks between the North, South and the United States of America. However, as of the time of writing, that all seems to be up in the air. With South Korea indicating that talks were close to being agreed in principle, the US announced a new set of sanctions on the North, who described it as “an act of war.” Washington also said that any talks would have to include the long-term aim of denuclearisation, which is hardly something that Kim Jong Un will even remotely consider. Regardless, these Olympics have cer-
tainly been a period of relative piece on the peninsula, but due to the volatility of events it is hard to judge the impact overall. Closer to home, Team GB enjoyed its most successful Winter Olympics ever, collecting five medals, meaning they finish 19th in the table. The big success story was Lizzy Yarnold: she successfully defended her Skeleton title to claim back-to-back gold medals. In that same event, Laura Deas collected a bronze medal, which was the same kind that Dom Parsons got in the men’s event. Skeleton, therefore, appears to be the British winter sport. This only further perpetuates the idea that Brits are only any good at sit-down sports, although in this case we are going one step further and lying down on a board hurtling head first down the mountain at nearly 75 miles per hour. In other sports, there was an incredible bronze medal for Snowboarder Billy Morgan in the men’s big air event. In an extremely tight field, the flag-carrier missed out on silver by just 0.75 marks. Izzy Atkin also claimed a stunning bronze medal in the ski slopestyle. At the age of only 19, she won Britain their first ever skiing podium place. Yet while there were great triumphs and successes for Team GB, there was also some heart-wrenching disappointments. Elise Christie was a certain favourite to bring home gold for Britain in the short-track speed skating. After her unbelievable three disqualifications in three events at Sochi in 2014, surely this was her time to prove why she was a triple world champion. In the 500 metres she made it to the final, only to crash out after what appeared to be a push from behind. In the 1000 metres she was disqualified in the heats, while in the 1500 metres she crashed out in the semi-finals and had to be stretchered
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A Birdseye View Andrew’s column
off with suspected ligament damage. After all this, surely, she deserves the title of the unluckiest olympian of all time. One olympian who appeared to have no such problem was Czech Ester Ledecka. Typically a snowboarder, she won the women’s super G by an incredible 0.01 seconds on borrowed skis. Then later on in the Games she won the parallel giant slalom, meaning she claimed two gold medals in two events. This was the first time this had happened since 1928, immortalising her into Olympics history. Other individual brilliance could be found in Norway’s cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen. She retires after these games with an astonishing record haul of 15 medals. Pyeongchang alone she won five medals: two golds, a silver and a bronze in a variety of both individual and team events. At the age of 37, she leaves the sport as the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. Her nation of Norway also finished top of the pile by winning 14 gold medals and 39 overall. They were followed by Germany, who benefitted the most from Russia’s absence to take 31 medals and 14 golds. Their men’s ice hockey team stunned defending champions Canada in the semi-finals, before losing to a team of neutrals made up predominantly of Russians in the final to a goal in overtime. Overall, while the time difference may have made the Games difficult to engage with live, it certainly produced the moments of brilliance and skill that we have come to expect from the biggest show on Earth. In 2022 the Winter Olympics will be hosted by Beijing, which is interesting as they hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, making them the first city to host both Olympics. Looks like it will mean more sleepless nights staying up for the Nordic Combined ski jumping K90.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Cup Glory: What can the English learn from Scotland?
LEWIS FRAIN Deputy viewpoint editor
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
We Scottish football fans are often ridiculed by our English counterparts for the apparent sorry state of our league. Yes, our football isn’t quite as flash as down south nor is it great having a league won by the same two teams every season since 1985. However, Scottish football has something I believe the English game is beginning to lose: our cup competitions are still vitally important. This may seem to be a controversial statement; the FA Cup is the oldest tournament in world football after all and has countless iconic moments from brilliant players in great teams. Who could forget Wimbledon’s “Crazy Gang” defying the odds against Liverpool in 1988, Ryan Giggs’ mazy run against Arsenal in 1999 and not to mention the numerous giant killings that happen year after year. These are truly great moments, but it seems it is the smaller teams keeping the magic of the FA Cup alive. Arsenal are a good example. The Gunners have won three of the last four FA Cups but despite this the fans aren’t satisfied and Arsene Wenger cannot avoid speculation over his future. In previous eras, disappointing league campaigns would be quickly forgotten by an FA Cup victory, particularly one that included victories over other top-class teams including the league champions, like Arsenal’s successful campaign last season. However, the diminished importance of the FA Cup means that it is no longer seen as comparable to a strong league position. The only other team to win the FA cup in the last four years is Manchester United, who after their victory in 2016 sacked their manager Louis Van Gaal. Of course, there are other factors for fan disappointment with the state of Arsenal or United but it shows how the FA Cup, once perceived as almost equal to the
league, nowadays doesn’t come close. Continually we see managers playing far weaker line-ups and often cup success is dismissed if a team has struggled in the league. Arsenal again is the perfect example; it’s a real shame to see. This contrasts heavily to the situation in Scotland. Both the League Cup and Scottish Cup are taken just as seriously as the league campaign. Inverness’s Scottish Cup win and Ross County’s League Cup victory in 2015/16 showcased the great progress the Highland teams had made in that period. St Johnstone also backed up their recent strong record in the Premiership with tangible cup success in 2014. Going back further, Kilmarnock’s defeat of Celtic in the League Cup in 2012 is the stand out moment in their recent history. As is the victory of Fife’s own Raith Rovers, who shocked Celtic on penalties in 1995; an incredible upset. As Scotland’s Premiership winners are often so predictable, the two cups offer the other teams a chance at glory and are vitally important to a club’s season and history. It isn’t just for the relatively smaller teams though. Aberdeen celebrated their Scottish Cup win in 2013 wildly as they hadn’t tasted cup victory in many years. My team Hearts’ best moments have often come in the cup, with the 1998 victory against Rangers and the 5-1 drubbing of city rivals Hibernian standing out most especially. However, even I must concede that one of the best Scottish Cup stories belongs to Hibs. 114 years of hurt, 10 finals losses, including the aforementioned humiliation at the hands of their greatest rivals, but all forgotten in 2016 when they finally reached the promised land and won the Scottish Cup in an absolute thriller against Rangers. Hibs’ Championship season had actually ended in a failure to return to the Premiership that year but I don’t think they cared one bit. Even the giants Rangers and Celtic place great importance on the cups.
Given that the league has been dominated by the Old Firm for decades, the cups offer the team losing the league a chance of earning some bragging rights over their Glasgow rivals, particularly if one of the plethora of great cup fixtures between the two teams happened along the way. Given Rangers’ recent history as well, their fans and players would give anything for cup success this season. Even in recent years where league victory has been assured Celtic have considered the cups as crucial to their season. Alongside their struggles in Europe, Ronny Deila’s failure to repeat Celtic’s league form and dominate in the cups ultimately cost him his job. Cup victories have also been considered extremely important as part of Celtic’s development in the hugely successful reign of Brendan Rodgers. There seems to be a clear reason why the cups have maintained their importance in Scotland but have diminished somewhat in England. The importance of money and a fixation with the Champions League. Qualifying for the Champions League has become the paramount goal of the larger teams. For this reason, both Spurs and Liverpool have been hugely praised for their recent record in the Premier League and for qualifying in the top four, rightly so. However, neither ever truly challenged for the title and haven’t enjoyed a great day at Wembley like Arsenal, United, Man City or Chelsea have recently. Fourth place is great but surely winning a tournament should mean more? The League Cup may not have the same history as the FA Cup but it’s arguably harder to win due to its two-legged semi-finals. Wouldn’t it have been great for Spurs or Liverpool to add to their fine league form with some tangible success? Man City and Chelsea have great records in that tournament and their fans should look back fondly on their Wembley victories alongside their recent league successes rather than for them to be dismissed as minor achievements. City’s win over
Arsenal on 25 February clearly meant a lot to the players, Vincent Kompany in particular, so it definitely still holds worth but it just doesn’t seem like the priority anymore. Even bottom half Premier League teams sometimes view the cups as a distraction in their battle for survival. Birmingham City won the League Cup in 2011 and Wigan won the FA Cup in 2013 but both were relegated the same season and have continually struggled since. If you ask any of their supporters if they’d trade their day of glory for another few years in the Premier League, not one of them would take it. To these fans winning a cup meant the absolute world. It’s a great shame that some groups of supporters, large parts of the football media and several managers don’t place the same importance on these cup competitions. I think a large part of it is down to a damaging obsession with the Premier League and Champions League’s financial rewards. Football is about winning trophies. Nobody remembers the team that came third several seasons running but winning a trophy etches your teams’ name in history. In Scotland the cups still really matter whether you’re trying to dominate like Celtic and Rangers, whether you’re working to find material success like Hearts, Hibs or Aberdeen or if you’re the plucky underdog looking to have your day in the sun like Raith or Ross County. The English cups certainly still have their moments and it means everything to a Birmingham, Wigan, Wimbledon, Swansea or Portsmouth fan. I think the fans, managers and owners of other clubs could learn a great deal from these teams as well as from their Scottish counterparts. All teams should give the cup competitions the respect they deserve and push to win one at every opportunity. It’s all worth it to one day be able to call your team the champions, these are the moments we watch football for.
Snow causes major BUCS disruption
JASON SEGALL Deputy sports editor
A blast of frigid air from the continent, dubbed “the beast from the east” in many circles, saw Wednesday 28th of February, the last day of meteorological winter, bring its icy vengeance upon the UK. As the town was put under an extremely rare red weather warning, signifying that “risk to life is likely” according to the met office, and with the air temperature maxing out at -1°C over the course of the day, it was inevitable that the day’s BUCS fixtures would face the chop. Speaking on the 28th, Athletic Union President Tom Abbott, said “We took the decision yesterday to call off our outdoor fixtures due to the weather. This would be due to a variety of reasons, but would mostly be due to the ground being frozen and therefore unsafe” “This morning, having seen the weather, we cancelled every fixture, as we didn’t think it was safe for other university clubs to try and get here. Pretty much every other Scottish institution has done the same as far as I’m aware.” This was echoed by Director of Sport Stephen Stewart, who said, in a statement, “The current spell of adverse weather comes at a very busy time of the year for Sport, with many of our clubs and athletes coming to the crux of their BUCS/SSS leagues or knockout competitions. Whilst we strive to do everything in our power to ensure fixtures are fulfilled, our students’ safety is paramount.” “Following advice from Police Scotland against travelling in the most affected areas, we made the decision to cancel all fixtures and sessions at St Andrews, as well as preventing our teams from travelling, until the weather has sufficiently improved. We will endeavour to get all fixtures rearranged and we look forward to a successful end to the sporting year.” Those teams whose away games were cancelled will not be charged for their booked transport according to Abbott, who said “We have cancelled all of the vehicle bookings we had, and we won’t charge the clubs for bookings. In some cases, Arnold Clarke etc. also cancelled them.” Not all teams were so lucky, however, with some teams stranded south of the border by the snow. In his statement, Stewart remarked “Our women’s water polo team, and our fencing team had both flown to Bristol before the severe weather alert and they are now unfortunately stuck due to the adverse weather conditions. We are using our best endeavours to get them back as soon as possible and are arranging hotel accommodation as necessary We are all hoping for a speedy and safe return.”
Football club runs ‘kick-upathon’ charity event
A cursory Google search will reveal a whole host of articles detailing the indiscretions of university sports clubs across the world. It was therefore refreshing to witness the “Kickupathon” organised by the University of St Andrews Football Club in order to raise money for the Charities Campaign. From noon until midnight on 22 February the footballers graced the hallowed turf that is the outside of the Students’ Union and undertook the challenge of ‘beating gravity for 12 hours using only the martial art of Keepy Uppies’. Given that St Andrews seems to have more charity 6-a-side tournaments than an uninspired PE curriculum, the fundraiser was a refreshing and novel way to raise money. For those whose footballing knowledge is as limited as that of Garth Crooks or Paul Merson, “keepy uppies” involve attempting to keep the ball in the air using any part of their body except for their hands and arms. While the less gifted footballers among us are happy to keep the ball in the air for anything longer than 10 seconds, the current world record stands at a staggering 26 hours. Still, the task facing the participants was a daunting one, only exacerbated as the event was taking place the afternoon after Sinners. Fortunately, the footballers responded enthusiastically, with many players volunteering to fill the designated time slots, with two players participating per half hour, and some players even multiple slots. Rory the Lion kept the spirits up during this long slog with his antics, and hopefully even inspired a few passers-by to donate to the cause. The fundraiser itself proved to be
a success, with £250 being raised in support of the University’s Charities Campaign. This money will go towards the three charities that the Charities Campaign supports: Save The Children International, the Scottish Refugee Council and Families First. While the event may not have raised as much money as one of the numerous charity balls that dominate the St Andrews’ social calendar, the money will be gratefully received by the charities. Daniel Pilley, the president of the Men’s Football Club, spoke of the importance of students giving back to society. “Students at the university are in the privileged position of being able to help those less fortunate than themselves, and sacrificing half an hour of your time or a few pounds donation is a small price to pay to help those in need,” Mr Pilley said. Greg Cox, a key organiser of the fundraiser, was effusive in his praise of both the Men’s and Women’s clubs, without which the event would not have been possible. “A large contingent from both the Men’s and Women’s Football clubs helped to fill the time slots throughout the day and help with the organisation of the event,” said Mr Cox. The event was demonstrative of the ability of societies in St Andrews to support charity campaigns, as they are easily able to mobilise their membership to give up their time and money to support worthy causes. This is something that has been done consistently across the University’s sports clubs and societies, be it through bake sales or food donation drives. It is important that students do not forget the importance of using the means at their disposal in order to help others. Let us hope that events such as this continue to be commonplace on the streets of St Andrews for as long as there are students in the town.
Photo: Jamie Minns
JOEL MCINALLY Deputy sports editor
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Can Joseph Parker topple AJ, or will the Brit’s star keep rising? ANDREW SINCLAIR Editor-in-Chief
South Auckland is a proud place. Characterised by its large Polynesian and Maori communities, many have depicted it as a crime hotspot. But the area around the former Manukau City is on the rise and has a rich sporting lineage. The late great Kiwi rugby star Jonah Lomu, UFC and Kickboxing legend Mark Hunt, four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and three-time Olympic medallist Valerie Adams are amongst those who can call the region home. Likewise, the region can also boast mountaineer Edmund Hillary and former Prime Minister of New Zealand David Lange amongst its most famous sons. The next in that lineage? The current WBO Heavyweight Champion of the world, Joseph Parker. In a little over three weeks Parker defends that WBO strap for the third time since winning it in December 2016. But the prospect that will stand across the ring from him in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium is no Razvan Cojanu or Hughie Fury. Parker will take British boxing’s biggest star, the currently reigning and defending WBA and IBF Heavyweight Champion of the world, Anthony Joshua. “AJ”, now 28, stands unbeaten through 20 contests, with all ending inside the distance. Joshua is a different challenge for Parker for a variety of reasons. Despite having four less fights in his career, this will be AJ’s sixth bout for a world title, and for him Parker is perhaps the third most difficult opponent he’s faced to date, behind Wladimir Klitschko and Dillian Whyte. Yet for Parker, whose best win so far is his points victory over Carlos Takam in May 2016, AJ is on another level. The man from Watford is one of the division’s heaviest hitters and has developed a level of ring generalship that makes it difficult for anyone to push
the pace. Add into that Parker’s ever-increasing weight and dismal performances against Cojanu and Fury, and it looks like it should be an easy night for AJ, allowing him to move onto bigger things later in the year. A fight with the hefty Jarrell Miller has been mooted for the summer, whilst a unification bout with Deontay Wilder is the one that all boxing fans want to see. It doesn’t have to be a write-off for the man from New Zealand though. He looks as though he’s taking this fight very seriously and should be in considerably better shape than he has been for his three title bouts to date. Looking back on his more impressive performances against the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko and Takam, it was Parker’s footwork and ability to dictate the pace that secured him victories. He has all the basics in order; he wouldn’t be a world champion without them and he does pack a punch. Indeed, Parker has a bit more than the proverbial puncher’s chance. AJ’s past few appearances have shown that he can get clipped and, perhaps more importantly, rocked, and that his rippling muscular physique leaves him prone to gassing if the fight goes long. If Parker is in shape and can hang with the 2012 Olympic champion, he could well makes things interesting in the final four stanzas. If Joshua is looking past the fight to the bigger fights and bigger paydays that await across the Atlantic, Parker is good enough to spring the sort of surprise this sport is full of. That’s a lot of ifs though. There is a gulf of skill between the two men and Joshua really should beat him inside the distance, just as he has all his previous opponents, but Parker is not as much of a no-hoper as many pundits and betting outlets are making him out to be. And if the proud sporting lineage of South Auckland is anything to go by, he certainly won’t go down without a fight come Saturday 31 March.
Illustration: Edward Emery
The star power of Joshua is such that any venue he fights in will sell out without any undercard announcements, a luxury I’m sure Eddie Hearn is very grateful for. An upside of that is allowing the Matchroom promoter to feature some of his other stars and build their brands up with the vastly increased exposure that an AJ fight brings. It’s promoting 101 and he does it well. Northern Irishman Ryan Burnett will defend his WBA Super World Bantamweight title against veteran Venezuelan Yonfrez Parejo in the evening’s other world title encounter. Burnett had an exemplary 2017, winning both the WBA and IBF straps with wins over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov, and this really should be a formality of a defence. Parejo is tough, with his only losses both coming in world title encounters against Zhakiyanov and Hugo Ruiz, but Burnett is the faster, more accurate and younger fighter and should secure a relatively straightforward decision. In the other standout undercard bout, 2008 Olympic bronze-medallist David Price has his last chance at securing that big world title shot. In a career blighted by drug cheats and underperformance, the Liverpudlian has consistently been seen as failing to realise his potential. In Cardiff he has the chance to right that against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin. The former WBA champion has consistently fallen foul of the sport’s doping authorities, leaving many questioning whether he should even be allowed to fight, but since returning last December he has beaten Christian Hammer and is technically the mandatory challenger for AJ should he overcome Parker. It’s a bold decision by Price to fight someone like Povetkin given his history, but it could be exactly the spotlight he needs to prove why he was awarded ESPN’s Prospect of the Year award in 2012. Also featured on the undercard are Joe Cordina and Sean McGoldrick.
8 March 2018 • thesaint-online.com
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
2018: a big year for two of golf’s most revered superstars
GUS PORTIG Deputy sports editor With the four major championships and a Ryder Cup in the space of six months, 2018 promises plenty of drama in the golfing world. It is hard to pinpoint an era in which the game has found itself in such a healthy state; the sheer quality and quantity of competition is entirely unprecedented. Better still, 2018 marks the return of the two biggest names in golf following their recent injury layoffs, and with it, a couple of all-important questions need to be examined. First of all, can a reinvented Tiger Woods defy the odds and compete at the highest level once more? Secondly, can a rejuvenated Rory McIlroy reproduce his best form and bring his quest for that elusive green jacket to an end? It has got to the point where Tiger’s name cannot even be murmured without an ensuing debate regarding his fitness, or lack thereof. A decade of setbacks ‒ a torn ACL, Achilles injuries and backs spasms to name a few ‒ has culminated in spinal fusion surgery and an unrecognisable golf swing. Any notion of a remarkable comeback appeared utterly unfathomable in May 2017 when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, admitting himself that he didn’t know whether or not he would play competitive golf again following a fourth back operation. However, having entered three tournaments since the end of January and playing consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour for the first time since 2015, golfing fans could be forgiven for a renewed sense of optimism regarding what 2018 holds in store for the face of their beloved sport. As for Rory, his time out of the game has been much shorter, and the pressure on him to perform has shown no signs of relenting. Returning to the sport having been absent since the Dunhill Links Championship in
October, his followers will certainly hope that 2018 proves more successful than the dismal 2017 season. It must be said that there were a number of discernible factors involved in this uncharacteristic showing, which saw him drop to number 11 in the world rankings. The first and primary reason behind a three-month winter break was the recurrence of troublesome rib and back injuries, which were proving detrimental to his performances. 2017 also saw him split with long-term caddy JP Fitzgerald, the man who had carried his bag for all four of his major championship victories. With the addition of a wedding and an enforced change of club manufacturer, it is clear that a combination of on and off-course issues played a large role in the Northern Irishman’s first winless season since 2008.
2017 was McIlroy’s first winless season Nonetheless, the golfing world now seems to be looking forward rather than backwards. Both have seemed comfortable on the course in recent weeks, albeit with varying degrees of success. Tiger’s first outing this year at the Farmers Insurance Open ended with a very respectable top-25 finish against a strong field, only to miss the cut at the Genesis Open a couple of weeks later. Most promising, though, was his most recent performance in Florida’s Honda Classic, played at the challenging PGA National course. Half way through his final round, Woods sat three shots adrift of the leader, only to succumb to the perilous “Bear Trap” stretch of holes. Most evident since his long-awaited return has been success with the putter: he
still seems vulnerable off the tee, but his short game certainly looks in fine order. Finishing in 12th place at a tournament where only eleven players finished under-par is bound to provide a much-needed confidence boost so early in the season. Whilst he is yet to officially commit to the tournament, we can next expect to see Woods in action at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on 12 March. Whilst Tiger’s most recent performance in Florida sent shivers down supporters’ spines, McIlroy’s performance at the same tournament certainly did not. A nine-over-par finish left him languishing in 59th place following a performance which could be described as erratic at best. As always with Rory, birdies were plentiful, but costly errors at crucial moments led to 21 dropped shots throughout the course of his four rounds. This is not to take away from his tied-third place and second place finish at the Abu Dhabi Championship and Dubai Desert Classic respectively, but his consistency is certainly a concern, no matter how early in the season. The common consensus is that on his day, McIlroy is second to none, and in committing to a busy schedule, he will hope that his best form is only around the corner. This brings their prospects in the upcoming majors into question, with the Masters at Augusta only a few weeks away. Woods can boast some quite remarkable success at the venue ‒ with four green jackets to his name ‒ the first of which came as a freshfaced 21-year-old. This being said, he has not competed there since 2015, let alone contended. Lacking a PGA Tour victory since 2013, and without a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, it would be one of the greatest success stories in sporting history were he to collect a fifth green jacket this year. For that matter, the odds of him adding to his major tally at all do not seem in his favour; despite what you may read, golf is becoming an increasingly
young man’s game, with more than three quarters of major winners since 1960 aged 35 or younger. Legends of the game, such as Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson, have all tried and failed to add to their major tallies after this age. As such, we should manage our expectations accordingly with Tiger, even though someone with such raw ability has never graced this Earth. The fact that he is swinging a club at 120 mph again is in itself quite remarkable, so we should err on the side of caution for the time being. Frankly, Tiger winning a PGA Tour event this season would be considered an extraordinary achievement.
More than three quarters of major winners since 1960 have 35 or younger Fans should also combine optimism with caution when it comes to McIlroy. Much has been made of his ongoing pursuit of the career grand slam at Augusta, with victories in the other three majors already to his name. As we are painfully aware, he came agonisingly close in 2011, having led by four shots going into the final round, only to implode and open the door for South African Charl Schwartzel. Standing in his way this year is an apparently endless list of young Americans: the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are deservedly ahead of McIlroy in the golfing pecking order at the moment, as are European
counterparts Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood. Combine this with the fact that he hasn’t won a tournament since September 2016, or a major since 2014, and it is hard to construct a compelling argument for him winning the first major of the year come April. In many ways, one can draw parallels between McIlroy’s search for a green jacket with Andy Murray’s long wait for a Wimbledon title, with the expectation of a nation of his shoulders. One thing is for sure though: McIlroy adding to his current major tally, and winning at Augusta for that matter, is surely a case of “when” and not “if”. His aggressive and long-hitting style of play is tailor-made for Augusta, and it is surely only a matter of time before he navigates Amen Corner as a Masters champion. It may not happen this year, but it will happen eventually. Last but not least is the upcoming Ryder Cup, which will be played at Le Golf National, France, from 28-30 September. The USA team has not won on European soil since 1993, but the plethora of talent in their ranks is likely to cause great concern for the Europeans. McIlroy’s role in the tournament, fitness-dependant, is an undoubted one: Thomas Bjorn will hope that McIlroy’s return to form comes sooner rather than later in order to avenge the defeat at Hazeltine in 2016. Woods’ role is less clear cut, however. Jim Furyk has already named him as one of his Vice-Captains in France, but Woods insists that he wants to represent his country in a playing capacity too. Furyk has said that “If he could be valuable as a player, I’m sure we would want him playing on this team, but I’m anxious to see how he plays this year.” Should he play in Versailles, it would be his first time as part of the USA team since the Europeans pulled off the “Miracle at Medinah” in 2012. If his remarkable comeback continues, though, he could qualify for selection automatically and take the decision out of his captain’s hands.
Page 37 Gus Portig looks at why 2018 should be big for Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods @saint_sport
Photos: Emily Silk
Superb Saints stifle Glasgow fightback for vital league win
HARRY DEAN Deputy sports editor The Sports Centre was the place to be on Sunday evening if you’re a fan of high-intensity, high-tension volleyball. It played host to the St Andrews Men’s first team as they saw off Glasgow firsts by three sets to two, the hosts having squandered a two-set advantage only to win the deciding fifth set in a thrilling climax to resuscitate a meandering season as the Scottish 1A League reaches its conclusion. The Saints came into this encounter having seen their autumnal promise give way to something of a winter of discontent, having lost five of their last six matches. With their opponents also better placed than them in the league, it would have been easy for the Saints to buckle early, yet to their credit they began this clash magnifi-
cently, bursting out into a 14-8 firstset lead with Glasgow perhaps taken aback by their intensity, with the outside hitters heavily involved and responsible for many of the Saints’ scores. Although the visitors did manage to belatedly string together some impressive points, St Andrews’ dogged defence ensured the hosts were able to secure the first set in surprisingly easy fashion 25-18. Looking to continue their impressive performance, the Saints started the second set where they left off in the first, leading 9-5 when the first time-out of the set was called, albeit with a measure of quality from both sides lacking; the amount of serves that either hit the net or didn’t even make it into play undoubtedly being a point of frustration for the coaches and players of both teams. Yet despite the deficit, Glasgow weren’t deterred and remained in touch as the set continued, the increase in the length of time for individual points also reflecting an
upturn in the quality of the set. At 1716 to the hosts the set was poised for a thrilling denouement. The visitors subsequently drew level three times and got their noses in front for the first time at 23-22. But they then spurned three points to seal the set and it was the Saints who ultimately held their nerve, scoring three points in a row to decide this nail-biting set 27-25 and put them within sight of victory. However, if one was expecting a demoralised Glasgow to simply melt away they were very mistaken. The visitors jumped out into an 8-4 lead early on in the third set. Aided however by their intricate formations as well as a dubious call by the referee, St Andrews clawed their way back into the set and at 12-12 it seemed as though the set was destined to mirror the close finish seen previously. Much to the disappointment of the hosts however this prediction would prove inaccurate. Glasgow, perhaps sensing that it was now-or-never in the con-
test, again restored their four point lead at 19-15 and helped by some careless mistakes in the St Andrews ranks, the visitors ultimately strolled home and halved the deficit with a 2518 triumph. The fourth set began with both sides somewhat more reserved with their tactics, perhaps sensing this was the key set. This was reflected in the close score line to begin with, the first 20 points of the set being split evenly. Despite the back and forth continuing for a period, Glasgow looked to have swung the set in their favour with six consecutive points taking the score to 19-15 in their favour. However the Saints once again came roaring back with four points of their own in succession to draw level much to the frustration of the travelling team. Despite this rally, at 24-21 the visitors had a chance to force a deciding set and although the hosts attempted another turnaround, Glasgow weren’t to be denied, ultimately winning the
fourth set 25-23. The deciding set was only a firstto-15 points affair and despite having lost the momentum of the contest the Saints registered the first four points of the set, only to see Glasgow respond with three of their own in a row to bring the score line closer once again. The Saints found themselves at a crossroads, yet unlike the previous two sets, this time they seized the initiative, boasting a 10-5 lead when a Glasgow time-out, designed to try and drag them back into the set, was called. Yet despite the best efforts of the visitors, any potential comeback never materialised as the Saints stormed on to claim the final set 15-8. Despite the fifth set being somewhat anticlimactic for the neutral, this will not have phased St Andrews in the slightest, as this nerve-jangling victory ensured they closed the gap on Glasgow in second place to just three points heading into the final two games of the year.
Published on Mar 7, 2018