THE SAINT The independent voice of St Andrews students since 1997
ISSUE 172 • FREE 11 April 2013 thesaint-online.com
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First class degree awards doubled in a decade News Sub-Editor Almost nine out of every ten St Andrews students were awarded either a first or upper second class degree in 2011/12, The Saint can reveal. A Freedom of Information request showed that 85% of students achieved an upper second or better. This is compared to only 68% in 2002/03, representing an almost 152% increase over the past ten years. The percentage of St Andrews students obtaining a first class degree has also almost doubled over the same period. Only one-in-ten achieved the top grade in 2002/03 compared with onein-five in 2011/12. A University spokesperson defended the rise and said the results speak to the increased standards of entrants to St Andrews: “The increase is down to two factors - a general increase in our student population during the period, and the fact that the University has also increased asking rates for admission to
Arts & Culture
Blueswater perform at Black Tie Bop a review >Page 27
manage demand for places. “In effect, it means that we have become steadily more selective and our students have more potential and are brighter than ever. In some subjects, it’s as high as 30 applications per place. It means we are attracting and admitting more straight A students than we did ten years ago. “In such circumstances it would be a surprise, and a disappointment, if this was not reflected in an increase in the numbers of firsts and upper seconds awarded,” he said. The University is however following a trend that has seen renewed concerns over the future of the UK’s two-hundred-year-old degree classification system. Results published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveal that within a decade the number of first class degrees has risen from 9% to 15.5% of the total graduating student body. Looking back to 1980 reveals an even steeper climb with the award of Continued on page 7, column 3
The experiences of the global student body - Caitlin Hamilton goes around the world in 21 universities >Page 13
Photo: Lightbox Creative
Tapping into talent: On The Rocks, in its fourth year, has received support from Sir Sean Connery, Dame Helen Mirren and Andy Serkis. It runs until 14 April. Pages 22-25
University slams Moffat for stifling debate Jonathan Bucks News Editor
The Academic Senate, St Andrews’ supreme authority, has asked Alistair Moffat to delineate his University and personal business after the University Rector sent a letter via his solicitors to two scientists at University College London accusing them of committing
libel. In a letter seen by The Saint sent to the two evolutionary geneticists at UCL on 18 March, Professor Louise Richardson, University Principal, said that a specially-convened panel had concluded that the wording of part of the letter was “con-
First consultation free
trary to the principles of academic freedom and honest scientific debate in a matter of public interest.” The Principal wrote: “As freedom of academic inquiry is the core principle of any university the Senate strongly disapproves of
such action.” The Saint has not seen the letter sent by Moffat’s solicitors on 3 September 2012. The condemnation comes after The Saint reported in March that an aca demic dispute had erupted between Moffat and geneticists after the Rector claimed that his company, BritainsDNA, had discovered the grandson Continued on page 5, column 1
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Fight Night is coming to St Andrews: are you ready to rumble? >Page 30
Allen Farrington unpicks the debates surrounding the hot topic of State and same-sex marriage >Page 9
MONEY 8 VIEWPOINT 9-12 FEATURES 13-17 PHOTOS 18-19 EVENTS 20 ARTS&CULTURE 21-27 SPORT 28-32
WEB EDITOR’S PICKS
Arts & Culture
Daily coverage of the best that On The Rocks has to offer over the next few days
Reactions to the death of Margaret Thatcher and opinions on the legacy she leaves
Tamar Ziff fills us in on the chaos currently engulfing the Central African Republic
Summer means the return of cricket, even in Scotland - coverage of St Andrews’ season coming up online
Editorial It’s getting to that stage. The end of term looms, the end of degrees for some (myself included). You could well have been keeping track of this fourth year state of mind through Caitlin Hamilton’s Features column (on page 14). What to do next? I’ve been constantly reminded this year that journalism is an unforgiving field of work and is horrendously difficult to break into. Hooray. Fortunately there are a few shafts of light. The Carnegie Club-organised St Andrews Media Conference that took place earlier this year told us that media employers are looking for evidence of practical experience gained at student publications, such as The Saint. Check. And now that media in St An-
drews has expanded well beyond The Saint (STAR, The Stand and about as many school/interest journals as there are schools/interests), that opportunity is hardly off-limits. The Saint’s Web Editor Elliot Davies ran a CSS/HTML class for those interested in how journalism translates into the online world. A useful skill not to be underestimated in today’s world of online press. Free and freely accessible. The York university newspaper Nouse has also put on an event for students interested in journalism in London on 17 April, which features the likes of John Witherow, editor of The Times. I’m excited at the very least. Basically, it’s there if you want
The rewards are there too, even at this level. News Editor Jonathan Bucks’ pursuit of the BritainsDNA story (the latest developments on pages 1 and 5 of this issue) has gained him – and us – some national recognition via Nature. Journalism: easy. Well, no, it’s not. And equally it’s not for everyone. Even I find sports reporting significantly more comfortable than the rigours of taking on the news, especially when that news is maintaining a Margaret Thatcher death liveblog. Speaking of the Iron Lady, her demise happened on the day we go to print, which was regretful for any one of several reasons. Love or hate Thatcher, you can read what
Jonathan Bucks News Editor
The St Andrews Links Trust, the body that controls St Andrews’ golf courses, has taken steps to trademark the name ‘St Andrews’ and prevent outside companies cashing-in on the prestigious reputation associated with the town’s name. The Trust claims its application to the EU’s Trademarks and Design Registration Office is a reaction to companies using their intellectual property without permission. A spokesman said: “St Andrews Links Trust believes it is not appropriate for these parties to use the renown of St Andrews for their financial gain by wrongfully suggesting they have a relationship with St Andrews Links.” Sir Menzies Campbell, local MP and trustee to the St Andrews Links Trust, defended the bid, telling reporters: “The intention of the Trust is to protect the brand of St Andrews. There are many companies which seek to exploit the good name of St Andrews but make no contribution of any kind to the town.”
Could we soon be attending the University of St Andrews TM? However, the move has sparked anger among local businesses and brought into sharp relief the financial and reputational importance of the prestigious place name. Several businesses likely to be affected have met behind closed doors but Ewan Mckay, Director of the St Andrews International Golf Club which recently won a legal battle against the Trust which had objected to the use of ‘St Andrews’ in two websites the club had registered, spoke out against the Trust. “The St Andrews Links Trust has transformed from a body that looks
after golf courses to a retail conglomerate that is effectively trying to monopolise all aspects of tourism in the town.” A report by Scottish Enterprise showed that the golf tourism industry in Scotland could grow by almost 30% by 2020, creating a potential £300 million for the Scottish economy. Mr Mckay stressed the financial significance of the place name for his business. “The success of our company comes down to our location. If we are denied the right to the name ‘St Andrews’ we are denied the right to a successful business,” he said.
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Saint journalists made of her and her legacy. Say you are good at comedy, or filmmaking, or are musically-gifted (editing a newspaper is a pretty poor attempt to compete with these awful people). Luckily, St Andrews has just the setting for you unfairly advantaged artistic types. This is, of course, On The Rocks. We’ve already had around about a week of it, but it’s by no means over – this evening sees two of the biggest events in the Half Cut Film Festival Awards Gala and the St Andrews Revue to name but two. A place that names more than two On The Rocks events is our Arts & Culture section. OTR is splashed all over pages 22 to 25. It’d be a tragedy if you didn’t check it out.
St Andrews Links Trust looks to trademark “good name” of town Photo: Ben Goulter
11 April 2013 • The Saint
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Robert Jones, a brand consultant at Wolff Olins and professor of Brand Leadership at University of East Anglia, described place-based brands as “gold dust” but highlighted the contentious nature of trademarking a town’s name. “Think of Champagne, Parma ham, Oxford dictionaries, all legally protected in one way or another. But they can be controversial. Doesn’t a place name belong to all the people who live there?” he said. This is not the first time the Trust has taken steps to protect its name. In December 2012, the Trust took legal action against an American retailer, Streetwear, which had collaborated with Saint Andrews of Scotland LLC to manufacture a new line of golf apparel in the US and Canada. Streetwear promised to release its new clothing line in January 2013 but it failed to appear after the Trust’s legal challenge. At the time of the deal, Streetwear President, William Cappiello, said: “There is no stronger, more prestigious name in golf than St Andrews and we’re honoured to have the opportunity to develop this premier brand.”
Are you interested in advertising with The Saint? firstname.lastname@example.org @saint_business 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 Student 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. Any views expressed in the newspaper’s Viewpoint section are those of the writer’s individual opinion, and not of The Saint.
May dip revellers set to brave more than early start and icy plunge
Pim Ungphakorn Online News Editor
Participants in the May Dip might want to think twice before taking the plunge at first light — and not just because of the exceptionally cold weather and the early hour. At the very least, they should steer clear of the sea water if it has rained the day before because of the pollution and human waste that comes with the run-off, experts say. But even in normal weather, St Andrews beaches are only just managing to meet acceptable standards for clean bathing water, while the water quality at Scottish beaches as a whole is reported to be declining. Barely half of last year’s 20 samples from East Sands by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) did better than the minimum acceptable standard and one sample taken after
heavy rain failed completely. Based on SEPA’s data, the latest Good Beach Guide from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) gives both East and West sands the lowest acceptable grade of meeting “mandatory” standards. The fault, experts say, is pollution from farms and towns, with various materials such as baby wipes, nappies and sanitary waste blocking the sewer networks and worsening pollution risks. Robbie Blyth, Fife’s Beach and Coastal Officer, told The Saint: “The last three summers we’ve had have been the wettest on record,” adding that the wet summers were the “main threat” to beach pollution. He said, however, that the results show pollution control had had come on “leaps and bounds over the years”. “Over many years the water companies have invested millions of pounds
Photo: Chris Young
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Maydippers will have to brave more than just the icy waters and early start when they take the plunge on Mayday into waste water treatment and it must be recognised that one of the biggest threats to water quality is diffuse pollution,” he said. When asked specifically about the May Dip, Blyth said that this is outside SEPA’s monitoring season, which is from end of May to September. However, he said: “For any beach, no matter where, if there is heavy rainfall the night before, it is never a good idea to do open water swimming.” Some students, however say the risks wouldn’t deter them in doing
the May Dip because it is an important tradition. Second-year student, Madelaine Martins, said: “I’d still participate in the May Dip despite the higher risks of bacteria, but I would be wary of going into the water for any prolonged amount of time.” For 2013, St Andrews’ East and West Sands beaches only received the minimum “mandatory” grade in the Good Beaches Guide. This means they could potentially have up to 2000 Escherichia coli (E. coli) per 100ml, one of the primary causes of gastrointestinal
and urinary tract infections. The grade is better than “failed” but well below the top grade of “recommended”. St Andrews’ beaches have fared better than some but their low grading in the guide reflects the uneven record in the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s measurements. The East Sands seawater failed to meet even the “mandatory” standard once, on 18 June 2012 after heavy rainfall, when e-coli measured a huge 9,300 per ml, and intestinal enterococci exceeded a massive 10,000 per ml.
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11 April 2013 • The Saint
Principal criticised after saying £9,000 tuition fees are “very little” Laura Abernethy News Sub-Editor
Louise Richardson, Principal of the University of St Andrews, has come under heavy fire from NUS Scotland and Students’ Association President, Freddie Fforde, after she said that annual fees of £9,000 for RUK students is “very little to pay.” In an interview with the Herald, Professor Richardson said: “I’m going to say something that is very unpopular – £9,000 a year is very little to pay for a St Andrews education because it’s worth a great deal more.” She went on to clarify that she was concerned about the marketisation of education, as St Andrews is made up of Scottish students who do not pay fees, Rest of UK students who pay £9,000 a year and international students who pay substantially more. She believes that all students should be treated equally no matter what they pay. She said: “I don’t think that because some students are paying fees we should start treating them somehow as if they are customers. That’s the marketisation of education and that way I think is corrosive. “Right now in our classrooms
we have kids paying nothing, kids paying £9,000 and international students paying significantly more and should we be treating those differently? I don’t think so. We provide the best education we can provide.” Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, lambasted Professor Richardson’s comments. “It’s a bit rich, coming from the head of a university with such an abysmal record of recruiting students from the poorest backgrounds, that £9,000 degrees are in fact a bargain,” he said. “It shows just how out of touch some principals are that they believe students should be thanking them for not charging even more.” Students’ Association President, Freddie Fforde, said that the University should be ca re f u l not
“It’s a bit rich coming from a university with such an abysmal record” Robin Parker, NUS Scotland President
to encourage the elitist image of St Andrews that is presented in the media. He said: “If we want to encourage diversity in young students applying to St Andrews, then we must own the narrative about how we want our university to appear to those students. The reaction to Professor Richardson’s comments sadly obscures the issue. “I want potential students to see the increase in bursaries and the newly created Students’ Association Bursary Fund, not the headlines of an institution at loggerheads with itself over widening participation. Whatever the nuance of the discussion in which the Principal was engaging, the perception that a four figure sum is a small amount to pay for an education is unhelpful to the image of St Andrews and distracting from our efforts to encourage all applications here.” A University spokesman argued that the message that the principal was trying to get across
“A St Andrews education is worth a great deal more than £9,000” Louise Richardson, St Andrews Principal
had been misinterpreted. He said: “Professor Richardson did not say that a St Andrews education was a ‘bargain’ or ‘affordable’ or ‘cheap’ or anything like that. “Her remarks were entirely concerned with what it actually costs to provide an education, and the potentially corrosive effects of marketisation if it caused universities to treat some students differently because they have to pay fees. She’s actually arguing to keep the financial pressures and realities of fees away from the classroom to ensure that all students are treated equally.” Speaking to the Courier, a spokesman added: “It does Scotland a great disservice that the NUS rushes to simplify, misinterpret and criticise, rather than engaging in mature debate on what it actually costs to provide an education, who pays and how we can protect what happens in the classroom and the lab from the corrosive effects of marketisation.”
“The perception that a four figure sum is a small amount is unhelpful” Freddie Fforde, Students’ Association President
Campaigners buoyed after council agrees to study rail link plans Pim Ungphakorn Online News Editor
Campaigners are optimistic that plans to revive the rail link into St Andrews could become reality. The hopes of St Andrews Rail link (Starlink) were raised after it presented its bid to a committee of North East Fife area councillors which has now agreed to study the plan. The prospects of the proposed link have improved with the publication of a study by Tata Steel Rail Division which concluded that St Andrews and Cupar would benefit from the link. Starlink convenor, Jane Ann Liston, said: “This was a significant step forward in the campaign to get St Andrews reconnected to the rail network, and I found the reaction from the members very encouraging. The news that the committee will be considering the matter further is most heartening. “In addition, it has just been intimated that Tay Plan will be embarking upon a revision from next month, so the next step for the Starlink campaign will be to ensure that the railway is incorporated into the revised strategic plan.” The proposed route would follow the Eden Valley, joining the Edinburgh to Dundee line near Guardbridge. The University of St Andrews was one of the organisations consulted by the Starlink campaign. The Starlink website quotes Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Louise Richardson saying: “I would love to see a train service from St Andrews.” The original rail link was scrapped in 1969. Starlink argues that the railway is needed because since then the population of St Andrews has increased from 9,500 to 14,000, and its student population from 2,000 to 7,000. Many St Andreans also commute to work elsewhere.
University founder to be honoured with commemorative bust Erin Lyons
News Sub-Editor The founder of St Andrews University is to be honoured with a new £65,000 statue commissioned as part of the 600th Anniversary celebrations. Chancellor of the University and MP Sir Menzies Campbell will unveil the statue of Bishop Henry Wardlaw on 29 June in a ceremony held during a University reunion weekend. Bishop Henry Wardlaw granted a Foundation Charter to St Andrews in February 1411 which
Pope Benedict XIII ratified in August 1413. The statue will take pride of place on the lawn of St Mary’s Quadrangle, judged to be the closest location to the Bishop’s original 15th century foundation. Dr Barbara Crawford, director of the Strathmartine Trust, founded in 1999 to encourage and support the study of Scottish history, has led a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of the sculpture.
Dr Crawford said: “The Statue is a contribution to the 600th Anniversary commemoration and, at the moment, is in the process of being cast at Powderhall foundry” The statue has been designed by sculptor, David Annand and will be cast in bronze. The Bishop will be in full Episcopal vestments and will be holding the crozier he gifted to the newly founded University and the papal bull which he was instrumental in securing. Left: A current bust of Bishop Wardlaw and a model of the commissioned statue
The Saint •11 April 2013
Rector blasted Continued from page 1
of Eve and nine descendents of the Queen of Sheba. However, what started as an academic dispute sparked threats of legal action from Moffat. When Professor David Balding and Professor Mark Thomas, the two recipients of the Principal’s letter, heard Mr Moffat’s comments about research conducted by BritainsDNA on the Today programme in July 2012, they wrote a letter expressing their concerns over the accuracy of his claims. They told The Saint that, rather than attempting to engage in scientific debate, Mr Moffat had resorted to legal threats to silence the scientists. Dr Vincent Plagnol, also a geneticist at UCL, said: “Any type of legal threat is an ominous sign for an academic debate.” Professor Balding and Dr Plagnol told The Saint that they had felt intimidated by Mr Moffat’s threats and consulted the Provost at UCL. However, Mr Moffat said (as The Saint reported on 7 March) his solicitors’ letter was a reaction to grossly defamatory comments. “It is a complete untruth to state that we used legal action to suppress or inhibit scientific debate in any way,” he said. “Professor Balding defamed our company and we asked our solicitors to ask him not to repeat that defama tion. That is all. We welcome debate,
and while we disagree with Professor Thomas’ views profoundly, he is of course entitled to hold them. What he is not entitled to do is to state untruths, and that is what he has done.” However, a panel convened by the most senior member of the Academic Senate concluded that Mr Moffat was stifling academic debate, a finding that has been accepted by the Senate’s Business Committee. Professor Richardson expressed her “regret” that the University was drawn into the matter, adding: “We wish to make clear, however, that the dispute is between you [Professor Thomas and Balding] and Mr Moffat in his capacity as a private businessman and the university has no locus in this dispute.” She added: “The University of St Andrews expects all members of our community, whether they are staff, students or office holders, to respect fully the principle of academic freedom to promote unhindered academic inquiry at all times.” Recent weeks have seen Mr Moffat and BritainsDNA thrown into the spotlight. Professor Mark Thomas openly lambasted Mr Moffat in a Guardian article and Nature wrote an editorial on libel reform and scientific debate, referring directly to the legal threats received by Professors Balding and Thomas.
St Andrews scientist reveals secrets of Loch Ness Monster Laura Abernethy News Sub-Editor
An ecologist from the University of St Andrews is trying to shed new light on the history of one of Scotland’s most famous myths - the Loch Ness Monster. Dr Charles Paxton, a research fellow at the University’s Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling, has been working on the first ever catalogue of reported Nessie sightings to deduce if they result from natural phenomena. On 6 April, he presented his findings so far to a conference as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. The event marked the 80th anniversary of the first official sighting of Nessie. Drumnadrochit hotel manageress, Aldie Mackay, first reported “something resembling a whale” in April 1933. Dr Paxton explained: “Although the first recorded sighting of a monster-like creature at Loch Ness was by St Columba in 565AD, it was Mrs Mackay’s sighting in 1933 that launched the myth. After the initial reports, there were traffic jams all around the
Loch in 1933-1934, and the Loch Ness monster became a massive global phenomena.” During the special Nessie event, Dr Paxton was joined by Nessie experts from around the world who spoke about the biology of the Loch, the history of the myth before 1933, the post-1933 history and the history of the cinematic portrayals of the Loch Ness monster. Dr Paxton has sifted through old newspaper clippings, reports, books and records from the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau of the 1960s and 1970s, for all recorded sightings that peaked especially after the infamous ‘surgeon’s photograph’ of 1934. He has analysed more than 800 sightings of the monster so far to look for consistencies or patterns which could be explained by natural phenomena. He will publish his final analysis of the data later this year. He said: “I am carrying out a sta-
News tistical analysis of Loch Ness monster accounts since 1933, specifically looking for clusters in terms of what is reported. In some cases there are multiple witnesses, or witnesses giving multiple accounts of the same event, which allow us to test eyewitness consistency.” There have been over 1,000 more reported sightings in the years since 1933 and the myth of Nessie is well known across the world. Dr Paxton continued: “Everyone sees Nessie from aristocrats and celebrities such as Gavin Maxwell and Compton Mackenzie to ordinary folk and children. Professions include cafe and hotel proprietors, chauffeurs, police inspectors, bank managers, students, town clerks, lorry drivers, clergymen, forestry workers, office workers, water bailiffs and fishermen.” The Nessie myth • The first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was in 565 AD by St Columba. In fact St Columba saw the monster twice in that year. •The scientific name for the Loch Ness Monster is a plesiosaur, which is a type of carnivorous aquatic, usually marine, reptile. • Nessie is the most famous cryptid in the world. The word ‘cryptid’ is used in cryptozoology and refers to a hidden creature or living creature which might exist.
St Andrews to get its own currency Laura Abernethy News Sub-Editor
A new local currency has been set up, in conjunction with Transition St Andrews, to help support local businesses and bring both the town and gown communities closer together. Saint Exchange is similar to projects that have been created in other parts of the UK, most notably Brixton Pound in London. It is based on a community-credit system called Local Exchange Trading schemes (LETS) that allow communities to trade and exchange goods, skills and services locally. Spokesman Paul White explained: “It allows members to offer their skills, talents and home-made goods in order to earn ‘Saints,’ which they can then redeem on the things they might need or want, but otherwise would be unable to afford.”
For example, a member may earn credit by doing childcare for one person and spend it later on carpentry with another person in the same network. Benefits include providing a directory of services encouraging members to source help locally to mend broken items, reducing the amount of waste going into landfill, therefore encouraging low carbon lifestyles, and allowing participants to supplement their income or try new things which they might wish to develop into a business. “All of these help to create a more resilient, sustainable community, which is important in times of economic recession,” added White. The scheme is free to join and is open to students and local people in St Andrews. For more information on how to get involved, visit www.saint-exchange.org.uk.
Comment by Elliott Miskin, page 8
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11 April 2013 • The Saint
InFocus: Ruth Davidson, Leader of Scottish Conservatives
“Scots weren’t embarrassed to wave Union Jacks at the Olympics” Freddy Pilkington News Sub-Editor
Ruth Davidson considers herself British. She also considers herself Scottish. She does not, however, consider these two identities mutually exclusive. Indeed, throughout her political career as leader of the Scottish Conservatives, she has constantly emphasised that “people can have the best of both worlds”, as she recently put it at a talk for the St Andrews Conservative Society. Whilst her party does not currently hold a majority in the Scottish Parliament, she remains ambitious and optimistic for its future, since “the proUnion arguments are just stronger”. Her positivity is reflected even upon
meeting us: arriving in the plush surroundings of the Scorecard Bar, fresh from a day’s discussion with David Cameron, she introduces herself casually and amiably to the various gathered enthusiasts of politics. She begins by giving her “pitch” for the Scottish Conservatives, setting out that they are the most “pro-Union” of all the Unionist parties: “we have the highest percentage of ‘no’ [to independence] voters of over 90%”. It is for good reason, apparently: Scotland benefits from, amongst other things, G7 membership, NATO, and the “largest consular and embassy network in the world”, according to Davidson. It is not just for reasons of diplomacy or security that she supports
the Union: culturally, she claims that Scots were “perfectly unembarrassed” to wave Union Jacks at the recent Olympics, and her own openness, even pride, in calling herself both British and Scottish is repeatedly emphasised throughout her talk. It is precisely this division between the two countries, however, that the SNP has made its “raison d’etre for the last 70 years”, and yet, as she points out, they still have not achieved it. Her frustration with this opposition party is palpable, and it does not appear to be limited to simple differences in political ideology. The very credibility of the SNP as a convincing and legitimate political force irks her, and she cites numerous occasions of the “frustrating tactics” of the SNP, often insinuating that they waste valuable debating time in the Scottish Parliament simply to pursue their own political interests. She uses an example of lengthy debate over the Iraq War, which was effectively pointless since “the war had been finished for 10 years already”, as well as the fact that “it was not within the competency of the Parliament” – it was simply to gain political leverage over the Labour Party. She also points to the even less constructive arguing tactics of some of the members of the SNP: “Elected
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, addressed St Andrews’
Any time from May to September
parliamentarians writing on Twitter ‘I want to smash that c*** Cameron in the face’ doesn’t contribute to public discourse.” This mirrors her recent anger, reported in the Telegraph, at some of the comments made by Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP and First Minister,
I’ve spent far more time
locked in small rooms with leaders of the
opposition than I ever would have imagined
who called a BBC executive a “Nazi official”. The latter she portrays as a “self-styled presidential figure” who has achieved a “very well-drilled” balance between the centre-right and centre-left differences within its own ranks: she says that there are “significant questions”, however, as to the future of this tightly-strung machine if they do achieve independence. She adopts a hypothetical address (with a Glaswegian candour) to the assembled Parliament – “If you’re going to build a new nation state, you’ve got to tell us how it’s going to work, lads!”
Amongst these asides about her opposition, however, she remains focused on the fundamental message of her talk – her reply to the SNP’s “protest movement”. Whilst, of course, she does not support full independence, it is interesting that she does value increased responsibility of the Scottish Parliament for the money which it receives from Westminster, for example: “The Scottish Parliament has discretionary spend over around 70% of the money which it receives from the British Parliament, yet is responsible for raising only around 10% of it… This gap is higher than the Australian states!” She advocates the “conservative principle” of the authority which is in charge of spending being held accountable for how it spends it: “If you find a Scottish Parliament stamp on your income tax bill [as opposed to HMRC] you damn well pick up the phone and ask what it is doing with your money.” ‘Fairness’ and ‘common endeavour’ are what drives her ideals, which she feels can only be accomplished by increased accountability of the Scottish Parliament, over issues such as the allocation of health funding: “I’d rather that my sick grandmother can rely on having a nurse to look after her than being able to claim free paracetamol for my headache.” Her main campaign against independence, styled ‘Better Together’, has crossed party boundaries to include the Scottish Lib Dems and even Scot-
Photo: Jake Threadgould
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Conservative Society last week tish Labour politicians - “I’ve spent far more time locked in small rooms with leaders of the opposition than I ever would have imagined.” Yet this regular physical confinement of the
‘Beyond Fife’ kickstarts in Falkirk Raymond Wang News Sub-Editor
The new student-organised project ‘Beyond Fife’ aimed at widening access made its first school visit on Friday 22 March. It is run jointly by the University Ambassadors and the Students’ Association, and is part of a number of widening access projects to inspire school pupils to consider university and higher education through recounting university experiences and delivering Q&A sessions. The school visit, which took place at Falkirk High School, saw Association President, Freddie Fforde, SRC Member for Widening Access, Avalon Borg, and Vice-Principal Ambas-
Photo: Students’ Association
campaign’s proponents belies its wide reach and influence across Scotland. She states that they have received over £150,000 in donations “without really rattling the tin”, whilst she has received support for Conservatives Friends of the Union numbering over 60,000 members. It is a movement which has garnered a wide demographic, from “business groups and charities to those who wouldn’t otherwise take an interest in politics”. Nevertheless, she stoically admits that she is not complacent – “It’s going to be a tough fight.” The future of the Scottish Conservatives lies in the hands of this woman, and she exhibits a calmness which belies her tenacity. She herself has great faith in her counterpart in Westminster, David Cameron, who she regards as exceptionally “astute”, in comparison with his Labour opposition: “I think David has got the measure of Ed Miliband.” Whilst she understands the “incredible constraints” that George Osborne has to deal with in order to cut taxes in a Coalition government – “Should we have cut further and faster? Probably” – combined with a subtle jibe aside at their “Liberal [Democrat] friends” who were responsible for the “disgraceful fuss” over boundary changes, she exudes confidence in the current British government. For the Tories, the next General Election is “eminently winnable”, according to Davidson. As for her own party, their victory seems to necessitate some delicate coordination with other parties, combined with assurance in the strength of their arguments (and perhaps some mismanagement on the SNP’s part), but as she emphatically states, “I believe in Britain”, and there seems little that could deter her unflinching Unionist vision.
The University and Association is working to widen access and diversify the student body sador of Widening Participation, Kerry Campbell, in attendance. The University has committed to provide funding for 15 school visits to high schools outside Fife over the next three years.
Fforde commented: “Our message all year has been to prove that St Andrews, the University and its students, encourage applications from all students of all backgrounds.”
which represents the likes of American Express, Boots and the Bank of England, said: “Over the past decade, employers have become less confident that the degree class in itself tells them what they need to know. “Employers see the growth in academic success rates, coupled with the expansion of higher education, and are driven to develop sophisticated assessment tools that give them better insights into the capability and potential of candidates who apply to work for them. “To some extent, it is an indication that the degree class isn’t regarded now as being the most accurate measurement of what somebody has achieved.” There has been a move in recent years to supplement the degree classifi-
cation system with further measures of University success. St Andrews is one of approximately half of all universities which has instituted the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) which notes students participation in extracurricular activities such as volunteer work and sports club membership as well as a breakdown of academic results. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, has defended the general national increase as a positive indication of improved educational standards. She admitted however that “it has been clear for some time that the current degree classification system is a blunt instrument for assessing achievement, hence Universities UK’s support for the ongoing trialling of the Higher Education Achievement Report.”
Number of firsts on the rise
Continued from page 1 firsts rising dramatically over the past thirty years. Warwick University, for example, only granted 3% firsts to the graduating class of 1980 compared with 23% in 2010. St Andrews total firsts and upper second results are 21% higher than the national average of 64% but do broadly align with comparatively selective universities such as Edinburgh which gave similar degrees to 84%. The national increase has sparked concerns over long term grade inflation devaluing the entire system, a criticism that has similarly been levelled at GCSE and A Level school exam results. Employers have been amongst the most vocal in condemning the current system. Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters
Peter Wood talks wine
SAINTS – the new unofficial currency of St Andrews. After reading the article on page 5, my first thought was that the Saint Exchange must be an elaborate April Fool’s prank dreamt up by the University, but alas I was mistaken. I am entirely in favour of projects that promote cooperation between town and gown in principle, but this ridiculous scheme takes the biscuit. I have some open questions to the lovely people of Transition St Andrews, the masterminds behind this new currency. Can I pay my tuition fees in SAINTS? How about my rent? Why not? Is there an exchange rate between Great British Pounds and SAINTS? Is 1 SAINT the smallest denomination or do 100 APOSTLES make 1 SAINT? How many in a DEMIGOD? Answers on a postcard please. This is certainly not the first time small, local currencies have been tried and tested. In Romania, shopkeepers often use packs of chewing gum as currency instead of small change. This led to crates of chewing gum being stolen and imported from other countries (including the UK), and indeed in January 2012 two Romanian nationals were charged with the theft of £800 worth of gum. Within the UK itself there are more serious local currencies that have had various levels of
success. But who are we really kidding? Anybody running a business understands that even local economies are becoming increasingly global. To survive and compete as a town we have to become more open and international , not more insular. St Andrews is not a kibbutz. We are certainly not a self-sufficient community and pretending so is ridiculous, idle and frankly rather dangerous. Another currency was highlighted this week that I believe holds significantly more promise for helping businesses. For those of you who have not heard of Bitcoin, it is a decentralised currency that exists only on a digital platform. It is regulated entirely by a peerto-peer network that stands in place of a central bank. Although there are plenty of problems with this currency (a barrage of cyber attacks has recently demonstrated its vulnerability), the potential for a currency of this sort is enormous. It is understandable that people are driven by recent financial events, such as the dismal struggle of the Euro and the collapse of several banks abroad, to dream of new and innovative ways to pay for goods and services. I believe that it is imperative that these solutions are approached with an attitude that embraces both new technology and an increasingly global marketplace.
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New independent businesses are tena-penny in St Andrews. Many have come and some have gone. Some have risen admirably to the challenge of running a small business and others have unfortunately not. There are many traps and pitfalls of opening small businesses in our little town, not least the multiplicity of high street chains which can charge lower prices and have the advantage of an established brand name. With this in mind, The Saint went to interview Peter Wood, the owner of the St Andrews Wine Company on Bell Street. A cheery man, it is clear from meeting him that Wood is passionate about wine, undoubtedly a pre-requisite for this ambitious undertaking. Wood has lived in the St Andrews area for twenty years and been in the drinks trade for twelve, so he brings a wealth of knowledge with him to this new venture. He used to run Oddbins in St Andrews (a chain of wine retailers that went into administration in 2011, closing a third of its branches), during which time business increased by over 30%. His philosophy that “people want to spend money on wine, but they don’t want to spend a lot” has focused his range on bottles costing between £6 and £20, aiming to provide quality without alienating students. He remarks that while the supermarkets “do wine costing between £3 and £5 well, and there is a gap between them and the higher end retailers. But supermarkets often deceive their customers with dishonest retailing, brought to light no less by the recent horsemeat scandal. Promotions are proven to be fake, they often raise prices to make a discount look more appealing, rendering the whole thing
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hash Serves 2
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contribute to this idea of creating a business that is about more than simply making money. “People come in just to try the wine and talk to us, and this means that we are in a better position to provide what people want. It would be much better for someone to come in, try the wine, and leave without buying anything, than it would be for them to walk past. If people come in to the shop at least they are learning about wine, what they like and don’t like. If they come in once, they’re more likely to come in again and buy a bottle later. The bottle of wine available for tasting today was a free one from a supplier, and was not even on sale, meaning that even if a customer had wanted to buy it, they would not have been able to.” Wood does not believe that Luvian’s and St Andrews Wine Company threaten each other’s survival. “Although we appeal to different people, there will always be a crossover. St Andrews is big enough to support us both; look at the cheese shops, or even Starbucks and Costa. They all manage to survive even though they are providing what is essentially the same product. Some people may choose to go to one purely because of location and convenience. Some may simply prefer one over the other. If I’m right, I’ll succeed, and if I’m wrong, I won’t.” It is clear that with the right attitude, a sound business plan, and a bit of good luck, great businesses can thrive in St Andrews, and Peter appears to have carved out a niche for himself. His personality and infectious enthusiasm for wine come across easily and make the shop an inviting and interesting place, and true to his word, it feels like “an independent bookshop with bottles”.
What you need: 1 kg Sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed and par-boiled. (£1.44) 1/2 stick of chorizo sausage - not the pre sliced stuff - sliced to the thickness of pound coins. (£2.00 for whole stick so £1.00) 2 red onions- diced. (£0.38) 1 clove of garlic, crushed. (£0.30 a bulb, so about £0.05 for a clove) 2 eggs. (£1 for 6, currently on offer in Morrisons = £0.33ish for 2) 2 tablespoons of tomato puree. (I’m going to assume you’ve already got this somewhere.) 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil - or whatever oil you have to hand.
What you do with it: 1. Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic in a frying pan. Sweat until the onions are translucent. Watch you don’t burn the garlic. 2. Add the chorizo and cook until it starts to give out a red oil and the chorizo is softened. 3. Add the sweet potatoes and fry until brown and crispy around the edges. 4. Add the tomato puree and stir into the ingredients. 5. Crack the eggs into the pan over the ingredients and cook to your liking. Put under the grill if you need to cook further on top.
Feed me for under a fiver Pui June Choi
pointless. I work out what price I can afford to charge for each bottle, while still making a profit. “The problem with some businesses in St Andrews is that they open thinking that it’s an easy to way to make money, but they’re totally misguided. Opening up a convenience store literally 20 seconds walk from Tesco, that’s not exactly a recipe for easy success. Also it’s no secret that landlords can be quite cutthroat in this town, but I’m lucky in that mine’s been very helpful. By focusing on wine that people drink and allowing them to try things and hopefully infuse them with my own passion means that I can turn over stock more quickly and keep profit margins down. This also means that I do not have to commit a large amount of money to stock.’” Wood has big plans for his shop. He already maintains a presence on social media (652 likes on Facebook and 350 followers on Twitter) and uses it regularly to interact with customers. He also has plans to launch a loyalty scheme, which he believes has not been done before in the wine trade. Explaining his approach to wine retailing in St Andrews, he remarks that he is “integrating social media and the internet into a bricks and mortar shop. A lot of wine businesses have websites that are pretty mediocre - essentially a list of their products and the option to buy if you want to. My website looks to contain information about the wine rather than simply a hard sell. The use of social media is vital, business is a two-way conversation, and talking with customers and getting feedback is just as important as merely showing the new products on sale.” The daily free wine tastings also
Total Price: £3.20
This recipe is one of my favourites and easily serves two for dinner. It takes next to no time to whip up. Any leftovers taste excellent the next afternoon for lunch. It’s a twist on the normal hash which is made with ordinary potatoes and bacon. If you’re feeling particularly flush, you can serve this along with a salad. And with your change from your fiver £3.20, I think you can afford to.
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Wall of Separation between marriage and State Allen Farrington
Following oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the challenge to the Constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, the justices were widely reported to have been confused and disconsolate. Even the Court’s official blogger commented that “the Court probably will not have the five votes necessary to get to any result at all.” Reading the arguments of pundits on both sides, it is not difficult to see their frustration with the Supreme Court’s wavering. I cannot recall a social issue with clearer lines of division and equally straightforward and compelling moral pronouncements; the law should not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference; the law should not redefine words and reconstitute voluntary institutions. Fear not readers, for I have carefully crafted a stance on this issue that straddles both propositions, that subsequently nobody will like, and that definitely will never come about. As it happens, I agree with both
of the previous statements. The case for same-sex marriage is so obvious that I do not feel that it needs to be argued any further than my previous proposition, which I would claim is a particular case of the more general principle, ‘the law should not discriminate on any basis’. Onto the dark side… Although the infamous Defense Of Marriage Act excludes same-sex civil unions from claiming Federal benefits equivalent to married couples, and I think this is despicable, many States and indeed countries around the world are in the curious position of barring same-sex marriage, but conferring precisely the same legal benefits to same-sex couples in a civil union. In these cases, are same-sex couples discriminated against? Not in any material sense: only in the sense that they cannot be described in a certain way. Why? Enter the case of the social conservative; ‘marriage’ is between a man and a woman; if you allow marriage between two men or two women, then why not between three men, or one man and
four women, or a man and a child? In these cases, there is little to argue about besides the meaning of a word. I am reminded of the dictionary on my laptop, which tellingly defines ‘marriage’ as follows. 1the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife. 2- a similar long-term relationship between partners of the same sex. In other words, ignore definition 1. Imagine the following definition of a quadrilateral: 1- A polygon in a two dimensional plane with four sides and four angles, 2- a similar shape with three sides and three angles. Something is amiss, and I think the solution is simple. In insisting on a traditional definition of marriage, we are forced to admit that it is exclusive. If it is exclusive, surely it should have no place in the law, because the law should not discriminate on any basis whatsoever. In other words, I do not believe the solution is to promote samesex civil union to the sphere of
‘marriage’, but to demote ‘marriage’ from the sphere of legal privilege. Traditionally married couples should be treated as ‘civil unions’ under the law, just as same sex couples might be. That way, ‘marriage’ is preserved, and yet the law is not discriminatory; we call squares ‘squares’ and triangles ‘triangles’ but only legislate for ‘shapes’. One important consequence of this, the keen reader will have noticed, is that I am not necessarily against same-sex marriage at all. If a religious institution is happy to carry out a marriage ceremony between same-sex couples, then that is their right. If they wish not to, then that is their right as well. It may be that the meaning of ‘marriage’ can be changed in accordance with such social pressures, but the insidious effect of a legal declaration of this change is to compel private behaviour to the adherence of an official doctrine, and censor its opposition by fiat. I believe that a good analogy is to the much-celebrated separation of Church and State, both in a rhetorical
and literal sense. If there shall be no establishment of religion, and if ‘marriage’ is a private and religious matter, as it is so often defended to be by social conservatives, then it should be separated from the State. The way to resolve the exclusivity and unfairness of State-established religion is not to establish more Statemandated religions until everybody is happy, because there is potentially no end to this process – as is rightly pointed out, if same-sex marriage, why not polygamy? The answer is, ‘no reason at all, people can enter into whatever private arrangements they like’, but forcing people to call this ‘marriage’ is dubious at best. The way to resolve such unfairness is rather to ban State established religion entirely. As with ‘marriage’ in the narrower sense, there is nothing wrong with the exclusive practice of religion, provided it is conducted privately. But it is thoroughly wrong to elevate any exclusive practice to the status of legal privilege, and hence there should exist a separation of marriage and State.
Pope Francis represents change (in a few ways) Jacob Jose
In not-so-recent news, a new pope has been elected. He is the pope of firsts: the first Latin American, the first Jesuit, the first Francis. The new pope already symbolises a new direction for the Catholic Church. Faced with scandals over child abuse and finances as well as major disagreements between official policy and the beliefs of followers on matters such as abortion and homosexuality, the Vatican needs a change. Tied to the finance scandal is the issue of the curia, the administrative system at the heart of the Vatican, which drove the pontiff emeritus (as he is now known) into his resignation. Yet Francis embodies the change he promises. In contrast to the lavish luxury that the Papacy can be associated with, he typifies humility: he lived in a
small apartment in Buenos Aires, cooked his own meals, took public transportation. Yet despite modest means of living (or perhaps in part because of it) he was able to bring humanising reforms to his diocese in Argentina, increasing aid for the impoverished and unhealthy. In his first appearance as pope, Francis broke with tradition: he wore a simple white cassock instead of the traditional regalia of a fur-trimmed red cape. Then he did it again. And again, only last week, when he included women in the washing of feet on Holy Thursday - an act historically performed on twelve priests to symbolize the disciples of Jesus. Then in his first public statement, the pope directly addressed the childabuse scandal calling for decisive action.
Yet for all his firsts and his humility, it takes no great historian to note that the Roman Church knows a thing about theatrics. Many believers will be wondering when the real changes will come and, in this regard, they may be left to wait. As a bishop he raised tensions when he publicly opposed legislation for both same-sex marriage as well as abortion. This stringent (he directly confronted the Argentinian president over these issues) defence of values is no surprise considering that Francis aligns himself with the most socially conservative faction of the Catholic Church. However, Francis is called a reformer for his commitment to social justice. In the age of globalisation and capitalism, Francis’ determination to fight inequality and poverty, as much
as to promote frugality, may be his biggest asset to change the Papacy from the inside out. The mishandling of Vatican finances linked with the fractious curia – a complex system of cardinals, bishops and secretaries that centrally govern the Roman Catholic Church – remains top among the pope’s priorities. Many saw Pope Benedict’s resignation as stemming from his limited power over many officials more deeply concerned with the state of their individual careers and coffers than that of the Church. Last year, the Roman cardinals in the curia came under allegations of corruption for their management of the Vatican bank. These are the same cardinals that fought against the election of Francis at the meeting of the College of Cardinals earlier this year. As someone who has never
before worked within the walls of the Vatican before, Francis faces disorder, division, and a defensive bureaucracy, which is both the object of and road to change. Considering this governing body beneath him may well be in opposition, whether Francis has the impetus to reform this or not, he simply may not have the power to. The past five popes have been labelled as reformers upon their election yet failed to ring any lasting change to the organization or management of the Church, much less its millennia-old policies. When Francis was elected president, one Italian newspaper ran with the headline ‘Revolution in St. Peters’. While Francis may be rebellious, humbly so, Catholics will have to wait if they expect total overthrow.
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent the views of The Saint, but are individual opinions.
11 April 2013 • The Saint
Self-censorship might be a good thing Raymond Wang
benefit of the doubt, in that its intentions are probably benign. After all, this visual barrage of limp bodies sends a clear message. War is bad. War kills. Unfortunately there seems to be some worrying unintended consequences. Think back to the Vietnam War, famously called the ‘The Television War ’. It was the first time the horrors of war were brought to the TV screens of the average American household. The effects were seismic. Lyndon Johnson went so far as to say that America might have been able to continue the war effort had the media not shown the American public the harsh reality. Now think about how we reacted to the Wikileaks video of a chopper gunner shooting and presumably killing civilians on the ground. Yes, there was outrage and protest; but there was no longer a concentrated response with the same degree of unity and power that the photos of Vietnam provoked. What this means is that, thanks to the continuous audio-visual barrage depicting the consequences of war, we have moved from one end of the ‘shock spectrum’ to another. Before Vietnam, war was an abstract concept for those who
weren’t involved in it. Nowadays, we are exposed to it so often that we have become desensitised. To quote the Joker, ‘Nobody panics when things go according to plan’. Or, to quote a non-fictional character, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek said in an Al Jazeera interview that ‘we don’t notice some violence because it’s part of the system’. The image of a torn up body may evoke disgust or sadness, but as a driving force for a popular response, it might as well be a smashed up mannequin. How should the media react? It’s helpful to think of the problem as one of declining utility. The utility of the ‘shock factor ’ is declining. In my opinion, it’s a bit like we’ve entered a country that accepts two currencies, one of which has a horrible exchange rate. It just so happens that we only have the currency with the bad exchange rate. What are our options? Well, we could either save our money so that we can use it when we really need to, or we can find ways of switching over to the other currency. Self-censorship is the equivalent of saving money. The ‘shock factor ’ isn’t completely useless
yet, but the more we use it, the less powerful it becomes. Now before a lynch mob comes at me with pitchforks, hear me out first. I’m not saying that governments around the world should censor the media— that would be a violation of the press’s first order freedom. However, self-censorship of some graphical material motivated by the need to preserve the ‘watchdog’ capabilities of the media is an expression of second order freedom. With tensions rising in the Korean peninsula and the Middle East, I think this is what a responsible media should do - chances are they might need to use the ‘shock factor ’ in the near future. This is obviously a short term solution. The long term solution would be to get access to the currency with more utility. I don’t know exactly what this ‘currency’ might be, but the spoken word could be an option. It’s more direct, more personal, and easier to share. Look at the impact the Palestinian spoken word poet Rafeef Ziadah had with her performance of ‘We teach life, sir ’ - if the mainstream media starts tapping into resources like this,
they might be able to forge a new ‘currency’. We live in a century where the value of human life and dignity is supposedly extolled, yet we grow increasingly desensitised to the death and suffering around us. I don’t know about you, but that scares me.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Although most of us are fortunate enough to not be personally involved in conflicts around the world, we are definitely exposed to reports of its graphical consequences. Think about it. When was the last time you saw a dead or maimed body in the media? Whenever I go on a news website or even just Facebook, I am exposed to pictures or videos of limp, lifeless bodies. Just yesterday a photo of two dead Palestinian children appeared on my newsfeed at least four times, staring at me with their still-open eyes. It’s not only the conventional media. Think about all the films and video games that show us the ugly side of war. The frighteningly realistic blown off limbs in Saving Private Ryan, the child’s body stuffed with explosives in The Hurt Locker, the showering blood spurts in Call of Duty and Battlefield…The list goes on. Ironically, in an era where conflicts are less frequent and more regionalised, we have a higher exposure to the consequences of war than ever before. The initial effects might be positive. The media deserves the
Playing the game: Life after university David Earnshaw
Over the break I had dinner with one of those people that give off the overwhelming impression that they are going to achieve more than you in later life. It was horrible. Not because I lie awake at night, relegated to insomnia from the thought of someone beating me at the game of life. Rather because rarely is it so blatantly obvious who those people are going to be. Thankfully, life likes to throw us these little curve balls that leave even the smartest kid in class struggling to pay for his second divorce while starting his imminent redundancy package straight in the face. Events well beyond our own control tend to level the playing field. They also offer a means of fanciful justice. Whenever someone I dislike insists on slipping into the conversation the latest from their ever growing list of achievements, I like to think of one of these curveballs knocking them flat on their arse. Now I’m not saying I walk away from such conversations imaging every variation of AIDs they could contract, I’m simply saying it makes me feel a lot better knowing that at some point in the future, life will not go their way.
Anyway, the person I was having dinner with was one of those family friends who you are thrown together with as a child because your parents decided that the two of you should be friends. Apparently if you insist on spending eight hours a day rearranging your Thomas the Tank Engine collection with a rigidity that smacks of autism, you should at least be doing it in the company of other children. He had recently graduated from Oxford with a first class degree in economics and had since begun a Masters at LSE. Already impressed by his golden education, I wrongly decided to ask him about his career prospects. “So do you have a grad job lined up?” “No, I have two.” This is where my thoughts began to drift towards variations of contractible AIDs but even this guilty pleasure couldn’t last long. The bastard was just too charming. He told me witty anecdotes about his days at Oxford and pretended not to be bored when I sheepishly offered my own from
our auld grey toon. I could feel myself falling under the same spell his prospective employers clearly had. I wanted to employ him. After dinner I was shattered. I felt like I had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. This is the kind of competition we are up against as graduates. Erudite, intelligent, good looking young men and women with degrees coming out of their arses faster than last night’s doner comes out of ours. Those are exactly the type of crude jokes that mean I won’t get a second interview while my competition strolls into the career of his dreams, starting at a cool 40k a year. The more I thought about it the scarier it seemed. We are constantly reminded of how difficult it is these days for university leavers to get the jobs they were after and how the value of our degrees is diminishing by the day. While the University’s marketing team like to tell the fee paying parents of would-be students just how exclusive and sought after a St Andrews education is, is this really the case? Yes, our education might put us into the upper percentiles of the global employment market, but
that just means we’re better than those people a few percentiles lower than us at getting jobs none of us really want anyway. Too many years of being told how exclusive we are has left us unwilling to settle for anything less than the Bud Fox lifestyle of cocaine and limousines. The worst part of it all is how ruthless we seem to have become in our efforts to get the edge over our peers. Sad as it seems, at universities across the country it is not unheard of for wannabe hacks to have sold student scandals to the national press in return for the assurance that their name will be remembered. Who is to say the same sort of behaviour isn’t going on under the carpet at our own university? It took less than a day for a video of a bunch of freshers pouring cava over their heads to reach the front page of the Daily Star. Would it really come as a surprise to any of us if it came to light that this was the result of an over-zealous student journo and their bid to get a job come graduation? The same sort of cutthroat behaviour can be seen during exams. I can’t tell you how many people I know who will readily ad-
mit to taking the extra 25% time allowance afforded to them when they know they don’t warrant it. Everyone is well aware that in America, Adderall is prescribed like it’s going out of fashion by trigger-happy doctors who diagnose little Hunter/ Walker/Parker with ADHD simply because they can’t concentrate for three hours at a time. Is it fair that where you went to the doctor’s as a child could be the difference between a first class degree and a 2:1? Whenever I’ve questioned the morality of their decision I always get the same response. Talk of “playing the game” and “manipulating the system” is used to justify their undeserved advantage. After all, there are no pictures on a scorecard and employers won’t know whether you got your first from hard work or from having an extra forty minutes to write your exam. The sad truth is that as this sort of behaviour becomes the norm, the question we must ask ourselves is not whether or not this is fair, but rather how we can best get a quick advantage ourselves. It’s time to get thinking.
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent the views of The Saint, but are individual opinions.
The Middle East real estate stalemate Tamar Ziff On 2 April 2013, Maysara Abdu Hamdiya, a retired Palestinian Authority officer imprisoned in Israel, died of throat cancer. He had been arrested in 2002 on attempted homicide charges after he sent a suicide bomber to a café in Jerusalem. Following his death, Gaza violated the ceasefire negotiated in November and fired two rockets into Israel. Israel responded with an airstrike, bombing an uninhabited field in Gaza. So far, almost every statement I have heard concerning the tumult in Gaza follows the same formula: “The [Palestinians/Israelis] are callous aggressors! They just bomb [Israel/ Gaza] with no regard for civilians! The [Palestinians/Israelis] just want peace, but the [Israelis/Palestinians] want war. And the [Palestinians/Israelis] have a right to defend themselves, doncha know!” Some orators go beyond national identities and venture into religious territory, invoking sensitive words such as ‘jihad’ or ‘Jew’ and asserting that the current situation in the Middle East is one of “ideological warfare.” I assure you, it is not. The crisis between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is not centered on something so abstract as ideology; it is based on something banal yet fundamental: land. To paraphrase famed Israeli author Amos Oz, the Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in a dispute over real estate. There is little more to it. There is a piece of land - now Israel, formerly the British colonial territory of Palestine—which both the Israelis and the Palestinians have legitimate claim over; though different, each of their claims is equally
viable. The problem that both factions face is that of extremism. Extremists (from both parties) adulterate and corrupt any attempt at the successful negotiation of this battle over land. On the Palestinian side, there is Hamas. It is no secret that Hamas, the terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip, purposely and unabashedly aims its missiles at Israeli towns, purposely targeting civilian hubs. Hamas does not recognize the existence of an Israeli state, referring to Israeli citizens as ‘occupants’ of Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, the Israeli government struggles to simultaneously defend its citizens and deflect accusations of human rights violations from the international community, stemming from Israel’s blockade of Gaza following the election of Hamas in 2006. The blockade served to prevent the construction and deployment of missiles toward Israel by Hamas; it was thought that, with fewer military resources, Hamas would be weakened, and the moderate Palestinian National Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, could return to power. So far, in part due to the blockade, Hamas has not been able to develop modern and accurate weaponry - many of the missiles it fires either do not reach Israel or are intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. The inequity between Israeli and Hamas’ weaponry has attracted criticism from the international community, which claims that Israel should not retaliate against a weaker foe. This is a spurious claim; no country should tolerate continuous missile attacks and a perpetual threat to its citizens. However, Israel could
certainly do more to mitigate the justified indignation of the Palestinian people. Over the past few years, Israel has defiantly violated international law by constructing settlements in the West Bank, and even the legality of its blockade against the Gaza strip is suspect. The current centre-right government under Netanyahu is intransigent and unwilling to even negotiate the possibility of a twostate solution. Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister, is a nationalist fanatic, whose policies and political perspective border on the xenophobic. Israel receives a lot of criticism, and deserves a good deal of it. Hamas deserves a good deal of criticism, but does not receive nearly enough. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – there is only peace, which cannot be achieved until both Israel and Hamas receive censure for the current status quo. Not every Palestinian is a member of Hamas, and not every Israeli is Avigdor Lieberman. It is these ideologists that make the Palestinian-Israeli conflict into an ideological one, when it does not have to be. The demagogues at the keel of both Israel and Gaza rile up both the population and the media, stratifying Semites into ‘us’ and ‘them.’ The moderate ones, those that support a nonviolent discussion, a two-state solution, an atmosphere of tolerance, they are silent. For, as Bertrand Russell wisely said, “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.”
it. But, I do want to talk about the way giving works in places like St Andrews and the way we think about charity. RAG week is just the tip of the iceberg; it’s difficult to find a social event that doesn’t support some worthy cause or other. There’s RACE2, bake sales and everything in between with charitable societies and individuals burrowing away at the cold hard rock-face of injustice all throughout the year. From experience organising this sort of event, you quickly realise that, at least to a certain extent, we’ve reached saturation point and anything more will be competing for a fixed pot of donations. Innovation and growth are of course possible but there are limitations on how
much folk are willing to give and how much it is possible to raise. The phenomenon is most obvious in the elections which determine the six good causes to receive the vast amount of funding produced by the Charities Campaign. You should vote; it’s arguably more important than the Union Elections. (Well, it was on 7 April… but you should vote next year!) But how do we decide which charity? Probably just like everything else; my friend’s housemate is involved with this group and told me to vote for them. How should we decide? Why not rationally? 80,000 hours is a really interesting open-source organisation started by a philosopher in Oxford which aims to promote rational, evidence based do-gooding.
Stirring the Pot Nick Cassella There are two sorts of sufferers in life: those who suffer from a lack of life and those who suffer from an overabundance of it. St Andrews suffers from the latter. We are a town that is littered with wealth, with the pursuit of wealth, the hope of power. I’m a part of it. So are you. You can see it in our desire to impress. We are in a constant state of one upping one another. I got this internship, I got this grade. We are immersed in this mad game of leap frog, forced to accept this world where there is a systematic idea of what constitutes success. The familiar, it seems, is all that we desire. Those who diverge from its path are left off the guest lists. What are these barriers that stop us from seeing this? Most of us that came here went through a school that programmed us to think this was the way to success. Get A stars, volunteer, get a boyfriend before university. We look through our own egos to contemplate life - that is how we are taught to see the world - our perception, our knowledge, our goals. It’s little wonder, therefore, that for two years in a row, the position of Volunteer Representative has only had one person running. It certainly wasn’t me. How unsurprising it is that all of us seek ways to escape this monotony. The late nights of this town are littered with those who try to escape this system by allowing alcohol to take over their decisions. Drugs are our alibi. In beautiful irony, these reality-escaped nights are usually how we create our
relationships in the real world. We’re too in control in our normal lives to take the risk of actually establishing the most exciting and remarkable moments of our lives. Make love to the person that you’d normally look longingly at in the Library. Confess to your friend how much you value his companionship. Cry at the loss of a loved one. Things we have been told that if we profess to in real life, are too emotive. So, instead, we mask our actual emotions behind the veneer of narcotics. I’ve always wondered what our habits in this town would appear like to someone looking ‘down’ upon us. Imagine looking at an ant colony. How strange our patterns of behaviour would seem. During the days we’d all converge, more or less, at the Library. We’d be quiet and study. We’d talk to friends. Then night would come. We’d descend upon the various pubs and club in town. We’d then drunkenly take back someone to our house to sexually reproduce with. Perhaps it was with a person that you pleasantly spoke to at the Library. But then the sun would rise and in a little time, everyone would go back and do it all again.
We each have 80,000 hours of productive work in our lives, so how can we make the best use of that time? One interesting answer is to become an investment banker and donate a small but significant part of your salary. In terms of charitable donation, there’s a lot of talk about competition. If, like in St Andrews, there’s charity saturation, when you run a bake sale or Race2 Prague or do whatever, to some extent you’re competing with another charitable individual. But (and it’s a fairly massive but) if your worthy cause is less worthy than your competitor’s, then your benevolent well-intentioned actions are actually doing harm; taking money from a more worthy cause and giving it to a less worthy cause.
The economics-type language and cold logic of a group like 80,000 hours is a bit unpalatable but there’s no reason why we can’t think rationally about charity whilst acting compassionately. If we’re taking charity seriously as a tool to rebalance the injustices in the world instead of a fuzzy warm nice thing to do, then we should make these decisions seriously. There’s a group called GiveWell which reviews charities and provides a handy list of the worthiest causes chosen on the basis of costeffectiveness and lack of popular attention and funding including the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative which treats parasite infection in the developing world. Why not choose the charities we support and donate to according to this sort of rationale?
Charitable giving in St Andrews Michael Forde
Charity is a fairly big deal in St Andrews. In RAG week alone, £22,115.32 was raised. That’s a fair wee bit, especially when compared to Glasgow’s £3,000 RAG week total. No disrespect to Glasgow; £3,000 is a lot of money and we probably do have a big advantage in the form of a demographic with money to burn sating their conscience even after sating their desires for champagne and Nahm-Jims but you can’t get away from the vast amount of money that St Andrews students are willing to give to charity. Good job guys. Genuinely, good job… I’m not trying to lampoon or mock the folk involved with these campaigns; they are dedicated, generous people who see injustice in the world and want to change
Illustration: Monica Burns
The Saint • 11 April 2013
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent the views of The Saint, but are individual opinions.
11 April 2013 • The Saint
Media Blurs Line Between Victim and Criminal
The reporter’s face looks distraught: “These two boys’ lives,“ she says, “are falling apart right in front of their eyes.” You can hear the sympathy in her voice, as if she earnestly identifies with the plight of these kids. Two star football players with their careers ruined, tears in their eyes, dreams shattered. Given this maudlin introduction, one would never have guessed that Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmonds’ lives are ‘falling apart’ because they have just been found guilty of rape. For repeatedly (and drunkenly) sexually abusing a young, semi-conscious, sixteen year old girl, these two boys were given a judicial slap on the wrist and sentenced to one and two years, respectively, in a juvenile detention center. If the act alone is not enough to make the reader cringe, the controversy surrounding the trial will cause a stir. Following the night of 11 August 2012, pictures of the girl, as well as a video of some football players talking about (and laughing about) the sexual abuse circulated through social media. Horrifyingly, the victim found out about the crime that way: she had been too intoxicated while the at-
tack occurred to remember. To the outrage of citizens around the United States, residents of the small town where the crime took place – Steubenville, Ohio -- have openly expressed doubt about the innocence of the girl. Some have gone so far to say that she was looking for sexual interaction, promiscuous; the words ‘asking for it’ have been used. Both of the accused were football champions, the pride of their small town and subjects of no small amount of adulation. For their part, they maintained their innocence throughout the trial and much of the town supports them. If you were watching the TV coverage of this trial, it is probably you would also support them. Reporters often emphasize the bright futures of the boys, and refer to the rape as a ‘tragedy’ rather than a crime; they often fail to mention the victim. The focus on these boys as objects of sympathy is ludicrous, as though the severity of their heinous crime is mitigated by their athletic prowess or potential. It excuses the boys actions, reprieving them of what was immature, irresponsible, and, to quote the verdict, “profane” and “ugly. When the media sensationalizes a case like this, it fails to recognize
the real issue is not legal guilt or the controversy surrounding the trial, it is the sexual mistreatment of a young girl. Ignoring it will not make it go away; the media seems to think that by focusing on the apparent respectability of Trent and Ma’lik, their crime will fade and dissipate. Perhaps, for them, after serving their time in a juvenile facility, it will; however, the girl was still very much violated – physically and in her treatment by social media users. The life of the boys is still very much intact; it is this underage girl who suffered a tragedy, at the malignant hands of the ‘promising’ young men. The cringe-worthy media coverage and the general controversy surrounding the story keeps the wound fresh, both for the girl and her family and for the perpetrators. Now is a time for healing. Steubenville should step out of the dark shadow cast by these two delinquents and move on. The girl should be cared for, and given a chance to continue with her life - after all, it is just beginning. The actual events of crime may be a mystery but turning a controversial trial into a parable solves nothing.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
What is the media doing to our understanding of and attitudes towards the line between victim and perpetrator?
F EATURES thesaint-online.com/features
Editor: Caitlin Hamilton
Sub-Editor: Saeunn Gísladóttir, Cyprien Pearson, Tamara Eberhard
Around the world in 21 universities
Caitlin Hamilton Features Editor
AMERICA Harvard College (Julia Mason, Bachelor of Arts, Environmental Science and Public Policy) One of my favourite traditions is Housing Day. The abundantlyspirited don costumes of our house mascots, which include noble creatures such as penguins, gorillas and codfish. In the morning, throngs of jubilant upperclassmen parade to the yard, carrying stereos and blasting vuvuzelas. We chant and cheer about our house’s supremacy, dance, bound about the yard and heckle the other houses while freshmen peer out of their windows in anticipation (and some degree of trepidation). It is one of the most joyful events of the year - a chance to let our school spirit and house pride shine, make fools of ourselves jumping around and come together.
that earns the honour of being the most expensive school in the US! The school year is marked by a virtually endless Maine winter, but with our monthlong ‘Short Term’ in May, long days sunbathing at the nearby beach make you forget all those cold winter nights. University of New England, Biddeford Maine (Michelle Forbes, Medical Biology/Environmental Sciences) It is situated among pristine forests and wetlands that serve as outdoor laboratories - it’s truly quaint, picturesque and blessed with the beauty of four seasons in New England. CANADA University of Alberta (Scott Schilds, Bilingual B.Sc Molecular Genetics) Our greatest tradition is ‘The Wildcat‘ (a super-jumbo donair with triple meat,
four months of degree-related, paid work. Every faculty has its own sense of spirit and will defend against one another at great lengths. There is nothing greater than having a science student yell: “Hey Science, how do you feel!?!” to the whole-hearted reply: “We feel so good! Oh we feel so good, oh!” accompanied by a very aggressive hip thrust.
AUSTRALIA University of Queensland (Olivia Hoppe, MA Social Anthropology) As an exchange student from Edinburgh, coming to Australia has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I study on a beautiful sandstone campus and I travel to and from the university and my apartment on a catamaran. Brisbane is a small city with a big heart, one that I will love forever.
surf beaches and a wide assortment of wildlife, including penguin, seal and albatross colonies. One complaint I have is the weather, which is not as balmy as my native Australia. I am quickly toughening up as local Kiwis already enjoy teasing us Australians far too much… FRANCE Sorbonne, exchange student from University of Bristol (Jemma Boon) Paris is a great city to be a student in as there are so many higher education establishments with thousands of international students from all over the world. There are always planned events for international students and often you can take some classes designed specifically for international students.
Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland (Ainsley Boynton, Anthropology) I like that my school allowed me to play soccer for my college whilst allowing me to focus on my work as well. It is a close-knit campus, so you get to build great relationships with the professors in your department.
James Auburn (Natalie Mancini, M.Ed. Higher Education Administration) In the deep south, we love college football more than life itself. Before each home game, a live, untethered eagle is released to fly a few circles around the stadium. We are the Auburn Tigers, but our battle cry is “War Eagle”, and so as the eagle flies, we hold a nice, long “Waaaaaaaar Eagle!” until it lands. Bates College, Lewiston (Blake Schafer, ME Chinese and Economics) Bates is a small liberal arts college
UK Oxford (Claire McFadden, MSc Biodiversity, Conservation & Management) Highlights from my time include: studying in Duke Humfrey’s Library, cheering and competing for the Oxford University Athletics Club against Cambridge and punting to the Victoria Arms for cream tea. Edinburgh (Andrew Mason, Biological Sciences with Evolutionary Biology) As one of Britain’s top institutions, the Science and Engineering campus at King’s Buildings has cutting edge technology. I have been able to access genome sequencing and high throughput analysis, which has inspired me to continue in genomics in a PhD starting this year. Dundee (Jack Bruce, Medicine) One. Pound. Jaegerbombs. Need I say more? I could tell you how it’s been voted best union in the UK, but y’know, we don’t like to boast. When exam time comes round, the university offers puppy therapy. You get to play with puppies for an hour to de-stress. Who wouldn’t want that?
Photo: Flickr Commons
State University of New York College of Environmental and Forestry, Syracuse, NY (Jessica Bartik, Natural History & Interpretation) My major focuses on informal environmental education at places such as nature centers, zoos, museums and aquariums. The best thing is how much time is spent in the field, truly preparing all of us here for our futures. University of California, Davis (Elena Daggett, B.S. Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity) My favourite place on campus is the arboretum, a three-mile loop full of plant species from all over the world and teeming with birdlife.
of the hall and interviewed in Italian for forty minutes. When I didn’t know the answer, I pretended not to understand and waited for my professor to think of another.
triple cheese, and no veggies). It is tradition that first-years attempt to eat one, a feat accomplished by roughly 5% of those that attempt it (you happen to be hearing from one of the few). At the end of their tenure, they then attempt ‘The Tombstone’ - expanded with pitas and a pound of poutine (fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy. Seriously, how have you guys not adopted this yet?). If you finish a ‘Wildcat’, you become a hero. If you finish a ‘Tombstone’, you die a legend. University of Waterloo (Mackenzie Kinney, Biology) Located an hour west of Toronto, Waterloo is unique in having the world’s most extensive co-operative work program, with students rotating between four months of classes and
James Cook University, Townsville (Maddie Emms, Marine Biology) The lecturers were so passionate; it was infectious. The Life history and Evolution of Reef Fishes was my favourite class to date. It included looking at the functional morphology of their jaws by rebuilding the skull of a 75kg tuna! And after a day’s work, we relaxed with friends with a typical Aussie beer. NEW ZEALAND Otago (Joshua Mayo, MA Natural History Film Making) My course has been very challenging and intensive, but fantastically interesting and informative at the same time! The city of Dunedin is surrounded by extinct volcanoes, great
SPAIN Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Michaela Schickel, Biology) Studying in Barcelona was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only did my semester drastically improve my Spanish, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn Catalan. It posed a bit of a challenge, but with extra reading and lots of caffeine before class the language barrier was manageable. ITALY University of Padua (Olivia Acland, Philosophy & History of Art) Initially the wise words of my lecturers swept over me, all I heard was an incomprehensible babble. Things have since improved, although I live in fear of exams, known as interogazioni. Last semester I was called to the front
Glasgow (Emily Rafferty, Geography) Being a reservist in the Royal Air Force is a huge commitment, but completely worth it: I have met many wonderful people, travelled all over Europe on adventure training and learned how to fly from Glasgow International Airport! University of Cumbria (Hannah Murray, Fine Art) Every year without fail, during the degree show period, a painting of a woman’s screaming face turns up. No one knows who painted it, or where it lives for the rest of the year, but it always manages to freak us out. University of Leeds (Nathan Chrismas, Ecology & Environmental Biology) My favourite society was the University Union Conservation Volunteers. There may be a certain madness in taking enjoyment from cutting down hawthorn bushes on top of a hill in the Peak District during a horizontal hail storm, but it is a madness that several of us shared and made university life all the more colourful for it.
11 April 2013 • The Saint
Emerging travel destinations Caitlin Hamilton tells you about life as a fourth year.
For those closest to me, my opening revelation will come as quite a shock: I am writing this newspaper column from the confines of our University Library (ground floor: through the gates, turn right, and weave left to the corridor by the windows – you know where I am). Yes, I am spending my Easter break ploughing through the discussion of my dissertation, sharing the building with a handful of other monochrome figures, each with their own larger-than-life work space; typing furiously at computers, headphones plugged in and caffeine on hand. That’s beside the point. I have spent so may hours in the Library this week that I have most certainly surmounted the previous sum total of hours spent here during my entire university career. In fact, I couldn’t sign on to the Library internet, and upon approaching the IT help desk, the perplexed assistant opened with, “Mmm strange, have you managed to log in successfully in the past?”. A wall of red slapped me across the face as I make the horrendously embarrassing admission that I had never even attempted to sign in. Masking a knowing smile, he subsequently tapped on a few magical buttons and enabled my first ever Library internet browsing experience. Yikes. I felt so defeated that I did not even dare to try and persuade him that I do actually study, but just from the comfort of my own sofa. From my desk I can glimpse through a break in The Scores to the grey North Sea. I am reminded of a quote by Olivier Sarkozy which goes: ‘One of the things I learned to love while staying in St Andrews was the colour grey’. I could not agree more with the Frenchman’s words, as my week long stint with a sea-view seat has certainly accustomed me to the colour. The grey interior décor of the eggshell walls complements the speckled carpets and is mirrored outside by the wet sleet raining down from the supposed spring heavens. The grey distraction soon becomes hypnotic and focuses my attention on writing an impressive chunk
of my dissertation. It seems like forever ago that I was sitting amongst the folds of the Canadian Rockies, watching the fluttering of minute hummingbirds as they worked effortlessly to complete my scientific experiments. The month-long hiatus that has marked the The Saint’s Easter break has possibly been the most reflective time spent during my life as a fourth year. On occasion, the grey abyss rises, revealing moments of light. The sun shone for approximately 47 minutes the other day, allowing for my mind to wander from the page; my thoughts flickered between memories of past summers, to the start of my last academic year and thinking I had all the time left in the world, right through to the more recent graduate applications and graduation day bookings think gown hire, hotel stays, and dinner reservations. My mind was on overdrive as I attempted to imagine where I shall be a year from now. My internet browsing (thank you, IT desk) had open several dozen web pages full of exotic and wonderful gap year opportunities ranging from teaching English in the most remote corners of Asia to spending a year on horseback in the Australian outback, mucking in with gruelling ranching work (where perhaps I’d finally find my Hugh Jackman). Inevitably the sun becomes engulfed in a grey mist, and my mind reverts back to dissertation mode.
An update: For all of the woes of past column entries, my plans for life after graduation are at long last beginning to take shape. Upon my qualifying with a TEFL degree over the summer, I have been accepted onto a teaching internship in the Kanchanaburi province of Thailand, beginning August of this year. Having never really considered Asia as a gap year destination, I am beginning to get excited at the thought of exploring such an interesting, diverse and novel continent. And if teaching cute kids whilst on my way comes as part of that deal, then sign me right up. Dividing up the remainder of my year, I hope to return to Africa and begin work with a handful of the fantastic charities and organisations set up there, before finishing my time further devouring South America (Mia, be sure to save me a room wherever you settle!).
Holidaying in emerging destinations offers the unique opportunity to experience the authenticity of a place before it is overrun by tourists. Yes, there are trade-offs: lack of infrastructure, below-par hotel service and sometimes political instability. But, with an adventurous attitude, the benefits of exploring new places usually outweigh the struggles involved. Ready to lay claim to the next holiday destination? MALAWI: Malawi is not just Madonna’s on-again offagain philanthropy project - it’s a progressively steady presence on the African continent with a liberal president (the second female chief of state in sub-Saharan Africa). The landlocked Rift Valley nation boasts Africa’s third largest lake, a varied landscape of misty peaks and rolling plains, and all the big game you came to know and love in The Lion King. SRI LANKA: With the civil war over, it is on the cusp of a major tourism boom. A mixture of idyllic seaside resorts, World Heritage Site rainforests, white water rafting and beauty of the highlands, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience. The diversity and cultural heritage make it a truly special place. If you want to see Sri Lanka as it is now (think
pre-broom India meets pre-1990s Thailand), you’d best be on your way. MONGOLIA: One of the most sparsely populated countries on earth, it is a land of undeveloped beauty. However, with tourist numbers tripling in the last decade, Hilton and Shangri-La Resorts have announced plans for new hotels in the capital Ulan Bator. The capital is a great base for those wishing to discover the country’s grasslands, national parks and the Gobi Desert. LAOS: Yes, it was The New York Times’ number one destination in the world for 2008, and Wanderlust Travel Awards’ winner for top country the past three years - but nobody seems to be listening. Luang Prabang, the former royal capital of the ancient
kingdom of Lane Xang (‘the Land of a Million Elephants’), has long been a backpacker’s favourite, but has recently transformed into a worldclass destination with boutique hotels, riverside restaurants and Buddhist serenity. LATVIA: Not exactly topping any student’s list of must-see destinations, Latvia has become a nation with vibrancy unmatched in Eastern Europe. A stately city of Gothic red-brick buildings, artnouveau apartment blocks and cobbled lanes, the city lives up to its wild reputation when darkness falls. Offering both history and culture (occupied by both Soviets and Nazis) and boasting incredible medieval architecture, it promises to be a fantastic experience.
Photo: James Gordon, Flickr
Let’s get ready to Rhuuuumble! Katrina Statham
IT HAS FINALLY HAPPENED. I don’t know how and I can’t tell you precisely when, but at some moment in recent months it was decided that a respectable amount of time had passed, making it now socially acceptable to broadcast the following statement: the 90s are having a comeback. We have waited 13 long and boring noughty years, but at the time of writing, PJ and Duncan are back ruling the charts once more, right where they belong. QUICKLY, help us celebrate - put on your jelly sandals and favourite Gap hoody (pale blue fleece - yes please) and I’ll meet you with my yo-yo and funfax at the school gate. Oh and bring your pogs. And can I get my Space Jam
video back? Thanks. This piece is a slight indulgence for me – I fear that I’m enjoying trawling through the Buzzfeed lists of ‘35 ways to tell if you’re a 90s kid’ a little too much. If my three elder brothers were reading this, they’d probably smack the Blo Pens from my hand (my artistic attempts were straight up terrible), and tell me that, born in 1990, I’m too
young to comment on the wave of 90s nostalgia taking the UK by storm. What they forget, however, is I spent much of my childhood playing with their 90s throwback toys: my brother
Keenan and Kel were not valuable? Or that Beanie Babies and ‘rare’ shiny Pokémon would not one day make your fortune? Or, heaven forbid, that light-up Sonic the Hedgehog trainers
won a Sega Mega Drive in a newspaper competition - an achievement yet to be topped in our family history. Add to this a decade of enjoying a variety of outstanding films including Richie Rich, Kindergarten Cop and (most importantly) The Mighty Ducks. I think I’m set. Quack. It may seem kind of surprising (read: depressing) that we’ve reached a point
were not timeless? As I flick through the ASOS magazine beside me, I see an article on how to imitate Cher’s look in Clueless, and an alarming display of plaid, denim and tiny backpacks (the perfect accessory to store your Gameboy and the latest Goosebumps book). We have Steps to thank for opening the 90s music floodgates, a feat revisited in the recent TV series, The Big Reunion, which sees much loved bands such as Atomic Kitten and 911 reunite to celebrate the good old days. So please, channel your inner 90s child! While you may not have secured a job upon graduation, embrace the fact that you can rely upon good topics of conversation such as the turbulent tabloid tales of Billie Piper through to the difficulties of trying to jam a pen into a cassette tape. And most of all, don’t be ashamed about occasionally listening to the dulcet tones of the dial up internet sound on YouTube as you fall asleep. We all do it.
in time where we can already become nostalgic about the 90s. In my youth, as I was kicking back on my inflatable chair in full length dungarees, watching Live and Kicking gunge another hapless member of 5ive, it seemed absurd that this was not the defining pinnacle of both fashion and human achievement. But in my defence, who could have anticipated that hours spent watching
11 April 2013 • The Saint
A ‘not love marriage’ in southern India
A poem, by Sean McLaughlin A grand door, a homely core, Far from the madding crowd. Cobble galore, a pure shore Ruins, high and proud. Yet high and proud, as the gowns go through, Irrelevant seems old and new. The foam fights still rage, The past is saved, transcendent, immune to age. From afar you stream, the females, straight dreams, A little you read, in debauchery you’re a King! In comfort you sit with exceeded means, Far from Skye it seems. Yet your future work will not be so kind And soon to you will come death, So here in this unparalleled realm You must now seize this breath.
on a stage. Their faces wore tired smiles as colourful wedding guests queued up to congratulate and bless them. Babu grabbed our wrists and made a beeline for the father of the bride. “This my great friend,” he said, fondly patting the father ’s bulging belly. “And these: My new friends from England.” We shook hands and were whisked to the front to meet the bride and groom. Heads all around turned to look at us. Babu led us past the queue and directly onto the stage. We congratulated the nervous newlyweds who continued to smile self-consciously. Families of the bride and groom were invited to the stage to pose for photos with us and their son and daughter. Completely undeservedly we appeared to be the guests of honour. As the camera flashed for the fifth time and I felt the stiff, awkward arm of the bride around me I recognized another unearned privilege: I had been born into a situation which granted me the freedom to choose whom to marry. Appreciating that this was not the case for the girl beside me, nor for fifty five percent of the world’s men and women, all at once I realised how lucky I was.
Photo: Olivia Acland Photo: Olivia Acland
The naked insides of my camera lay on the desk between us. Babu shook his head regretfully. “There is nothing to be done Madam.” He hesitated. “However, I can offer you something in the way of consolation.” He opened his desk drawer and took out an envelope, turning it thoughtfully in his hands before passing it to me. I pulled out a square of cream coloured card with two long Indian names written above each other in pink calligraphy. “Wedding is tonight, friend’s daughter will marry rich man.” He paused. “It is not love marriage - wedding day will be their third meeting.” I asked how many people married for love in India and he sat up proudly and said: “Not so many madam, maybe five percent. I am one, I choose my wife from love. You English peoples are knowing about this.” He gave me a conspiratorial wink. He invited me to join him in celebrating this “not love marriage” and instructed me to arrive at his camera shop two hours before the wedding reception so that I could be “prepared in Indian style.” I was
starting to feel like a Christmas turkey being trussed up for the oven. I shyly asked if I could bring my friend Seb with whom I was travelling. I was told: “More people, more fun.” At 6pm that evening Seb and I gingerly entered Babu’s shop to find it seemingly deserted. We called for our new friend, and he emerged from a back room where he said he had been preparing our clothes. There was a splendid red and gold sari lying on the chair, a cream blazer hanging on a clothes rail and a timid girl holding a box of jewellery. “This is Anushi, she will help preparations,” Babu told us. An hour and a half later we were ready. Anushi had combed my knotted hair with gritted teeth, thrust a multitude of gold bangles onto each of my arms and painted my finger and toe nails red. Babu was summoned to admire us. He seemed pleased, and we three posed together for a photo before climbing into a rickshaw taxi and heading to the wedding celebrations. Outside the town hall a row of topless men banged drums. Inside an anxious bride stood beside her wide-eyed husband
The First Wives Club Emma Freer
China has a new president in Xi Jingping, and with him comes a new first lady. Peng Liyuan, an iconic pop/folk-singer in her own right, has largely been viewed as a political asset in her husband’s nascent presidency. The Chinese Communist Party has long struggled to gain popular favor internationally, battling against a reputation for being elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Ms. Liyuan, however, is credited with humanising her husband as he navigates his new job. With her successful career as a singer, Ms. Liyuan has established herself as a modern woman. And with her charming personality and fashionable tastes, many in China are happy to liken her to the everpopular Michelle Obama. However, despite progressive moves such as her work as an ambassador of the World Health Organization for AIDS (a sensitive subject in China), she has met criticism internationally. As her husband climbed the Communist Party’s ranks, she retreated from the spotlight and became markedly more conservative in appearance.
While this is a distressingly common trend amongst first ladies everywhere, in the case of Liyuan it perhaps emphasizes the markedly patriarchal traditions of the Chinese single-party state. Contrarily, Valerie Trierweiler, the girlfriend of François Hollande
is welcome to keep house at the Élysée Palace instead. But the paragon first wives are, of course, Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama. Since her marriage to Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has charmed her subjects and the
and France’s unofficial first lady, is largely regarded as France’s first working first lady. A twice-divorced mother of three and well-respected journalist, she has committed to keeping her job even though she
international media with her poise, relevance, style, and compassion. She has also handled the constant tabloid focus on her life with grace. Such fascination with first ladies
Photo: Photo:Flickr FlickrCommons Commons
has only grown in recent years. In fact, Vogue published a glowing profile of the first lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad, in 2011, to much criticism. In the article, the Assad family was described as “tolerant and peaceful”, even “democratic” - editorial decisions that have since been contested for obvious reasons. Michelle Obama, by contrast, recently graced her second cover of Vogue to the usual applause. As a Harvard-educated lawyer, she certainly holds her own in the White House. After her outstanding speech in support of her husband’s reelection bid at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, she was met with cries of ‘Michelle 2016’ – proof of existing support should she run for president herself. The role of first lady in any country is a poorly defined role, perhaps even more so in our modern age. Besides championing charities and presenting a fashionable front for their husbands’ administrations, first ladies are limited. If they are seen as too involved with their husband’s politics, they lose public appeal (see Hillary Clinton, circa the 1990s). However, if they seem too passive or frivolous, they are criticized for capitalising on their husband’s successes. Nonetheless, here’s to the current generation of first ladies: navigating their domains with class and ability.
11 April 2013 • The Saint
An interview with the Fellowship of St Andrews The Saint gets the inside scoop on the Fellowship of St Andrews, the nonprofit organisation wholeheartedly dedicated to the Bubble. Four executive members gave us a look into the nascent organisation, which, despite its relative youth (one year old), is well on its way to becoming an influential part of St Andrews’ life and development. What is the FSA? What does it stand for? What are its core values? Founded in 2012, The Fellowship of St Andrewsisanot-for-profitorganisation dedicated to strengthening the unique character of St Andrews by promoting its shared history and traditions, serving the local community, and engaging a wider body of St Andreans in pursuit of these goals. How many members are there in the FSA? To whom is it open? The Fellowship is made up of an over 200-person volunteer base and 20 ‘fellows’ who serve as directors of the organisation. However, we’re about to take on more fellows to meet our growing needs, which is a great position to be in! Additionally, we are supported by numerous partners - other local organisations that work within the local community.
What has the Fellowship achieved so far? We are proudest of the volunteers; we have had an outstanding turnout and hope to only build on that in the coming year. As far as some of our projects go, we’ve undertaken a restoration of the so-called ‘secret garden’ which sits behind St Regulus Hall and has been closed off for many years. Additionally, we ran several dramatic tours, which were well received by local families and tourists. And most weeks we’ve participated in the efforts of our partners, ranging from poppy collections to constructing gazebos at the local orchard. We also have just launched a website, evertoexcel.co.uk, which we hope will spur more people to get involved. Do you have anything big planned for the near future/ the long run? We have numerous projects in the works at the moment, including an opening party for the garden, a local business fayre and a second hand gown market to name a handful. Additionally, we have just named Families First our ‘charity of the year’ and are excited to see how that partnership will grow. We have a few surprises up our sleeve for the upcoming year, so watch this space.
Online this week Follow us @saint_features
CARnage: Rebels seize a ‘Phantom State’
Read Tamar’s account of the update from the Central African Republic, as their capital is seized by rebel groups, causing their President to flee to Cameroon.
Easter travel tales Arriving back from the Easter break, read up on several travel stories, written after whirlwind trips abroad. Ever wondered how to make the most of 36 hours in Barcelona? Needing to narrow down the must-sees in Paris? And from further afield, Olivia writes of her time spent in Colombia.
Niall McCann: Adventurer. Biologist. Explorer. Re-read The Saint’s interview with Niall McCann ahead of his visit to St Andrews on 16 April (see page 20)
Where/when do you meet? What is achieved at the meetings? We have a weekly general meeting on Monday nights, where we discuss our progress on current and upcoming projects. Additionally, we hold smaller meetings thoughout the week to discuss everything from publicity to the nuts and bolts of our events.
How is the Fellowship organized? We have an handful of administrative positions, much like many of the union societies (treasurer, secretary, etc.). Each of our ‘fellows’ has a unique responsibility, whether it’s one of the aforementioned positions or serving as a project manager. They do this in addition to the same work as our other volunteers; everyone from a first-year
What would be the characteristic that defines a member of the FSA? Drive - a love for St. Andrews and a dedication to giving back to our home. What is the best part of being in the Fellowship? Being surrounded by people who are passionate about what they believe in.
Photo: Photo:Sammi SammiMcKee McKee
volunteer to the President gets their hands dirty.
From left to right: Tori Rainbolt (Secretary), Pat Mathewson (President), Liv Wall (Co-Head of Marketing), and Jon Ramsay (Press Officer)
Russian smoking ban to usher in a new era of society? Cyprien Pearson Features Sub Editor
For the first time in Russian history, a cultural stronghold is being brought low by new government regulations: a recently signed ban on smoking in public. It’s been many years since America and several European countries have all put smoking bans into action; now Russia follows with a multistep plan to gradually phase out a national habit. It is estimated that roughly 40% of Russians smoke and their overall health reflects that. It is the hope of Russian legislators that the ban will crack down on huge numbers of lung ailments in the country, leading to decreased spending on unnecessary medical expenses that could be used elsewhere. Therefore, Putin’s signature on the legislation officially brings the first stages of the Russian smoking ban into effect on 1 June 2013. This initial stage will outlaw smoking in certain locations including airports, metro stations, entrances to train stations and apartment blocks and beaches, as well as playgrounds for children. One year later, smoking in
further confined public spaces will become illegal. This second phase will include transportation modes and vehicles such as trains and ships, in social areas like restaurants and bars, and in shops, small cafes and hotels. Additionally, the law will raise the price of tobacco by introducing a minimum price of sale to the general public. It also calls for a cut-back of
individual rights In any case, the newly signed legislation is in line with the World Health Organisation’s wishes after a 2011 smoking report on Russia was published. It is a step towards cooperation on a global level. It is an acknowledgement that Russia as a country cares what the rest of the world thinks of them. It is a change towards a healthy national
The law will raise the price of
tobacco... among Russian citizens,
there is a general feeling of unhappiness.
advertisement by tobacco products in order to halt potential new smokers’ awareness of availability. Among Russian citizens, there is a general feeling of unhappiness. Alcohol has already been banned in restaurants after 11pm, causing restaurants to shut down early. Some believe that the ban on smoking will impact other social areas in the same way. Many others simply feel that the government should have no say as it is an infringement on their
community. In this way, while Russia’s smoking ban will attempt to change the habits of nearly 70 million smokers, it is impossible that it will not change the culture in some way. Moreover, what this change in Russian society could mean on a more tangible international and political level could spell out the beginning of a new Russian era. That is, if the Russian people will abide.
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Previously unpublished Darwin letters go on display Features Sub Editor
An extensive and revealing collection of letters written by Charles Darwin has now been made available to the public by Cambridge University. Much of the naturalist’s emotional life is revealed in the correspondence, and it gives readers newfound access into his relationships, both personal and professional. Almost the entire collection of letters, about 1,400 in number, 300 of which have not been previously seen by the public, have been published by Cambridge University’s Darwin Correspondence Project. The letters, many of which take place between the naturalist and his long-time friend, botanist Joseph Hooker, reveal details about Darwin’s personal life as well as the early development of his thoughts on evolution, human nature, religion and geology. The letters also expose how important Darwin’s family was to him and include details of the death of his daughter-in-law Amy. He wrote: “It is an inexpressible comfort that she never
suffered and never knew she was leaving her beloved husband for ever.” He added: “I never saw anyone suffer so much as poor Frank. He has gone to north Wales to bury the body in a little church-yard amongst the mountains and I do not know when he will return.” Darwin goes on to express his affection for Amy, writing that she was “a most sweet, gentle creature, with plenty of mind beneath.” A spokesman for Cambridge Digital Library says the letters are “a connecting thread that spans 40 years of Darwin’s mature working life from
Photo: FAPS Museam, Flickr
36 hours in London
1843 until his death in 1882”. Many of the letters, while including personal details, also reveal the professional relationship between Darwin and Hooker. Darwin sought advice and feedback on Hooker’s thoughts and the seeds of what would become his most controversial theory were entrusted to Hooker. His ambivalences over his discoveries are evident in these sections of correspondence, revealing that: “At last gleams of light have come, and I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable,” he wrote. “Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a ‘tendency to progression’ ‘adaptations from the slow willing of animals’ etc, - but the conclusions I am led to are not widely different from his – though the means of change are wholly so – “. The correspondence is proving invaluable to Darwin scholars and fans alike, providing increasing insight into both his personality and his own feelings about the progression of his work. For those interested in reading the letters, they are accessible on the Project’s website, darwinproject.ac.uk.
the Lords. When you’ve exhausted Westminster, you are not far from Downing Street and, although you can no longer have a picture taken outside the door of Number 10, you can still get a picture of the street. From Westminster head for the South Bank; you can walk over the bridge but it might be kinder on the feet to jump on the bus or a tube to Waterloo Station. There is always something to see here, from second hand book sales to the famous Globe Theatre. There
the huge variety means that there is something for everyone. Your second day in London can be the perfect time to head to a museum, entrance for which tends to be free. There is so much to choose from it might be worth picking one in advance; from the V&A to the Science Museum to the Imperial War Museum, you will always find something of interest. And if it turns out you are just too knackered to look around them properly, then museum cafés are a great place for a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. The London Underground is convenient and easy to use but so are
are also so many restaurants and cafés along this stretch that it is the perfect spot to refuel. An evening in London is when the theatres come to life, but a trip to Leicester Square ticket booth can prove the ideal way of getting some cheap tickets (and some good seats) for various shows and plays. There is always something worth seeing, and
the buses, and outside the tunnels you get to see the parts of London you are actually travelling through. If after your 36 hours you are heading for a station at a busy time of day, bear in mind that the public transport can be packed and almost impossible to get on, so it might be worth leaving a little early so as not to miss your train.
This week: The Little Mermaid Olly Lennard spins a dark web of comedy nonsense around your favourite cartoon characters. Ariel, the youngest daughter of King Triton, lived in the magical underwater kingdom of Atlantica, which was next door to but legally distinct from the copyrightprotected kingdom of Atlantis. As well as a wonderful singing voice, Ariel also possessed the power to convert electricity into radio waves. Her distinctive red hair and six sisters have led some historians to believe that she may have been a distant ancestor of Ron Weasley. Just before her 16th birthday Ariel ventured to the surface with her friend Sebastian the crab, where she instantly fell in love with a handsome prince, Prince William. Resolving to become human and win Prince William’s heart, she traded her voice to Ursula, Witch of the Sea, and in return was given the legs and voice of Danny DeVito. Ursula had previously been banished from Atlantica for asking King Triton why there were no black mer-people. After the magical deed was done, Ariel went forth onto the land and Ursula went forth to the Trading Standards Agency once she realised that a singing voice was utterly useless underwater. Ariel sought out Prince
Image: Ruairidh Bowen
As it turns out, quite a lot can be seen in a 36-hour period, and although London is expensive, with a bit of planning there are lots of attractions that allow you to see some of the best spots in the city free of charge. Keen to see some of the royal traditions but not so keen to pay the £17.50 student entrance fee to Buckingham Palace, we instead watched the Changing of the Guard. A foot guard soldier stationed in a sentry box with a scarlet tunic and tall bearskin cap has become iconic of Buckingham palace, the British monarchy and British character. From Buckingham Palace we headed to Hyde Park, as it was one of those relatively rare instances where there was not rain. Covering 142 hectares, Hyde Park can provide the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you are looking for something amusing or have some opinions of your own that you want to share with the world, head to Speaker’s Corner, where every Sunday since 1872 people have gathered to listen and to heckle speeches about anything. This spot has been used by the likes of Marx and Orwell, but ordinarily the speakers are not quite so high profile. There is a good chance that you may have had enough of politics after Speaker’s Corner, but if you like the idea of anything remotely political then head for the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. If you are willingly to queue then you can sit in the public galleries in both the Commons and
Where are they now?
Photo: Flickr Commons
William, having washed up on Castle Sands. Ursula tried to stop her but was ultimately foiled by Prince William and Johnny Depp using an armada of ships carved from Orlando Bloom’s wooden acting. In 2012 the French paparazzi published pictures of Ariel in her seashell bra and, as William’s wife, she was never again allowed to see her family or speak in public. Meanwhile King Triton’s kingdom was in turmoil after it was revealed that Atlantica burgers were 60% seahorse. Ariel’s six sisters (Attina, Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Anthony Hopkins and Adele) were all killed in the BP oil spill. Shortly afterwards UN weapons inspectors deemed Triton’s trident a WMD (Weapon of Mass Drenching) and invaded Atlantica by sellotaping rifles to turtles. Triton made a rousing speech promising to “fight them on the beaches” but was captured and turned into sushi. The documentary Jaws is based on his life. Ursula left the sea, lost a lot of weight and is now Eddie Izzard. Olly Lennard is a second year comedian and actor. You can follow him on Twitter, @OllyLennard.
Week in Pictures
Sitara - see our review of this unique student fashion show inspired by Eastern culture by Tasha Cornall on page 23.
11 April 2013 â€˘ The Saint
Chief of Photography:
Celeste Sloman, Jake Threadgould
Follow us on Twitter @saint_photos
Photos of Sitara by Renee Paula Horster and Hannah Raval
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Editors Pics: St Andrews photo alphabet Photos: Jake Threadgould, Celeste Sloman, Toby Renouf and Katherine Parish
For the next and final issue the editor’s pics theme will be ‘creme de la creme’; please send your best shots from 2012-13 to email@example.com before Friday 19 April.
11 April 2013• The Saint
The Events of the Week
Check out the Events section online at thesaint-online.com/events Half Cut film festival Thursday 11 April
A day for all you budding film makers out there! Half Cut is putting on both a masterclass and hosting an awards gala. As Half Cut’s signature class, the ‘99 Minute Film School’ promises to be interesting. The challenge is set: explain film making, plans and tips in just over an hour and a half. Tickets are £7, half the regular price. After, to celebrate “the best in Scottish student film”, why not come along and see films from all over Scotland, as well as some of the work produced during the 60 Hour Film Blitz? Standard tickets are £5, premium tickets are £7, and both can be bought from the OTR Box Office. Dress code is black tie. Masterclass: School II, 16:15 Gala: New Picture House 19:00
On the Rocks: Castle Ceilidh
Sunday 14 April In conjunction with OTR, St Andrews Celtic Society is hosting an outdoor ceilidh in the castle grounds. There’ll be dancing, crispie cakes and a torchlit procession, so we’ll be there hoping for good weather! Entry is £7 (or £5 for members of the Celtic Society). St Andrews Castle, 17:30
Moving Forward in the Eastern Congo
Saturday 13 April The Eastern Religions Society is celebrating Holi this year on Castle Sands. The Hindu festival of colour welcomes in the new season by dressing in white and “throwing colourful powders and paints”, so wear white clothes that you don’t mind getting messy! Paint and powder will be provided. Entrance is £3 for members and £5 for non-members. Castle Sands, 14:00-16:00
Charities Campaign Skydive Saturday 13 April
The Charities Campaign is offering one of the most exciting challenges of the year to raise money for the six nominated charities: jumping out of a plane over Fife and St Andrews! The skydive is £199, which those of you that skydive will know is a great deal. Tickets will be sold on a first come first serve basis.
Burt Memorial Lecture: Niall McCann Tuesday 16 April
Niall McCann - biologist, adventurer, researcher, explorer, traveller, scientist, climber, biker, rower, groomer, ukulele-ist - is coming to St Andrews for the annual Burt Memorial Lecture. Come and hear about some of his amazing experiences! To give you an idea, he has cycled in the Himalayas, canoed the River Yukon and rowed the Atlantic Ocean. The free talk will last around 90 minutes, with refreshments served afterwards in the lobby. Biological and Medical Building, Main Lecture Theatre, 19:00
Friday 19 April
The Coalition for a Conflict-Free St Andrews is hosting a conference on the issues surrounding the trade and mining of various minerals in areas such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The conference opens with speeches from Prof. Peter Donnelley and Prof. Mario Aguilar, followed by the keynote address of Dr Gerard Prunier. A panel of four of Europe’s leading experts on the DRC and a wine reception will wrap up the first day. Tickets are £10, and will not be available on the door, so be sure to get yours beforehand! Medical and Biological Sciences Building, 19:00
Wednesday 17 April
AstroSoc, Quantum Soc and SUMS are hosting their annual collaboration, the Star Ball, this week. One not to miss (even if you’re an arts student!) as there will be a jazz band, a ceilidh, and a DJ for entertainment, whilst Janettas will be on hand to provide sustenance. Tickets are very reasonable at £10 for non members and £8 for members. Best Western Scores Hotel, 19:30
If you’ve got an exciting event coming up get in touch with our Events Editors, Devini Pabari and Caralina Wonnacott, at events@thesaint-online. com or @saint_events on Twitter!
ARTS & CULTURE On The Rocks 2013 Sitara Half Cut Film Gala St Andrews Revue Art On The Rocks Sugar Syndrome Music On The Rocks Music The Blueswater James Blake The Flaming Lips Young Man
Photo: Maria Faciolince
Film Danny Boyleâ€™s Trance
Editor: Stephen Jenkins Sub-Editors: Lewis Camley, Tasha Cornall, David Hershaw, Emily Hill, Polly Warrack twitter: @thesaint_arts thesaint-online.com/reviews
On The Rocks 2013
22 Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture Editor
Unless at some point during the last week or so you managed to trip over an empty bottle of Moet from the night before whilst attempting to simultaneously pull on your red corduroys and Barbour Jacket, causing you to tumble over like a enormous plank, only for your head to lodge itself plumb square into a poor, unsuspecting Hunter welly, leaving you helplessly isolated in a tangle of bright red and swamp green, and you have no one to save you because your flatmates are off skiing in France, and you’ve been living off whatever Ferrero Rocher crumbs you can scrounge within the 3 feet radius that has become your little universe of woe, then you’d probably be aware that On The Rocks is happening this week. The festival has become a stalwart in the St Andrews events calendar and as a result has gathered attention from some estimable figures in the arts world. The Saint spoke to the festival’s press co-ordinator Rachel Neely about the past achievements and future ambitions of On The Rocks and asked what we can expect to find in this year’s programme.
The Saint: On The Rocks will be taking place for one week only, but how much of the year does the committee dedicate to planning the festival? Rachel Neely: Planning the festival actually takes the entire year, from hiring a committee to advertising for events to apply to be part of OTR, to confirming the programme and printing all our merchandise & advertising, the committee end up putting in a lot of time… it’s really easy to forget it’s all for a single week! TS: How has the closure of the Byre affected the planning of the festival? RN: Unbelievably, we heard about the closure of the Byre about 30 minutes after our Head of Programming had emailed round everyone to say we finally had our programme decided and all the events had a home and a date set! Cruelly ironic - if it wasn’t such awful news it would have been hilarious. Seriously though, the Byre was such an important place for the community and all the students, and I know the loss will continue to be felt by many. The Byre closing was a very sad time and while nothing can really replace it, we were able to relocate everything to a new home
11 April 2013 • The Saint
and nothing had to be cancelled. We were luckier than a number of other groups in that respect. We hope the festival will prove that St Andrews has a vibrant, and resilient, arts scene and that this is a town where it is worth investing in drama and art and music. TS: On The Rocks is a relatively young event in the St Andrews calender, with the first year of festivities in 2009. This said, it has gained some support from patrons such as Sir Sean Connery, Dame Helen Mirren, Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. What more can you tell us about OTR’s success? Why has it gained such interest? RN: We as a committee were lucky to inherit these great patrons, though
this year Andy Serkis (Gollum from Lord of the Rings) actually got in touch with us to ask if he could be a patron, which was really exciting! We are lucky that the University, in addition to the Union, really supports the festival and we work with the Development Office to correspond with our patrons. OTR is maybe the only event that literally everyone in the University could be involved in… it’s for anyone and everyone; you can get involved with the committee, volunteer at the events, put on an event or just come and enjoy the performances. I think the patrons really respect the size and scope of the festival and that this is entirely run by students for the benefit of the community. It’s great to have gained such
notoriety with our patrons, but what I found last year was that the festival, despite its size, wasn’t all that well known across the University, especially with people who aren’t involved with societies like Mermaids or ArtSoc. This year we have tried to make the festival a lot more visible around town so that hopefully it does have a sense of notoriety amongst the students too. Keep a look out for custom festival bunting and our free canvas tote bags around town! TS: Many people have a conception that St Andrews lacks a strong ‘scene’ in terms of art and music. However, ask anyone in a society like Music is Love, Inklight, or ArtSoc and they’d disagree. Do
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Arts & Culture 23
Sitara 2013 Tasha Cornall
Photo: On The Rocks
Photos: Rennee Paula Horster and Hannah Ravel
you think the town lacks a strong ‘scene’ or does it just need more events like OTR to offer a large celebratory platform for student art? RN: I think in a town as small as St Andrews it isn’t always easy to build up a large ‘scene’ and I think relatively speaking we do OK. We all have degrees competing for our attention so I think sometimes its difficult to find the time to devote to things you really enjoy. I think On The Rocks is good because its only one week of the year, and though you may have deadlines, the majority of people are getting involved or going to see a show, so you feel a little less guilty taking time off to see a play or go to an acoustic set. At least I hope so… the
stack of books on my desk is getting taller, the deadlines are looming closer and I’m spending most of my time making posters… TS: Do you think that part of the problem with maintaining a strong sense of an arts/music/theatre scene in St Andrews is the fact that students come and go in a four-year window? How do you envisage the future of OTR’s in this light? Do you think that it will continue long into the future? RN: I think the constant cycle of students coming and going is part of the problem, but I also think it’s a massive asset - the town every year gets a fresh injection of creativity and new ideas and I think we need to view it as an opportunity
to capitalise on fresh talent rather than as a negative. It’s always sad when people leave, and we do have a lot of fourth years involved with the festival, but we hope that this year the student body will become more aware of OTR, so that there are people who want to get involved and carry on the festival. Speaking of which, we will be hiring a new executive committee between now and the end of the year, so if you’re interested keep an eye on Facebook! TS: If you could only attend one On The Rocks 2013 event, which one would it be? RN: What a PR nightmare of a question! I will be attending as much as possible, and there are annual favourites like Sitara and
Younger Hall is a venue I expect more people associate with sweaty, examinduced panic than a host of gorgeous models and performers. The Sitara team had done a sterling job in transforming the building into something worthy of a fashion show: colourful drapes, beautifully-decorated VIP tables, pounding music and a huge, dominating catwalk in the centre of the room. The runway wasn’t in a conventional line or even a U shape; it had sections sticking out at various points so the models could walk on in pairs or groups and everyone could get a good view of the clothes no matter where they were sat VIP tables or not. While the models’ walks were at a slower pace than at other St Andrews fashion shows, especially in the first half, they were never tedious. Thanks to the unusual runway layout and Creative Director Ruoyang Zhang’s diverse choice of designers, the fashion aspect of the show was an absolute joy. The first walk by London College of Fashion menswear student Hera Wan was a personal favourite - colourful and playful, with plenty of patterns and layering - and all the designers, from LCF graduate Upasna Prasad to Lebanese designer Nour Najem, exhibited something completely different to anything you could usually expect to find in St Andrews. But the last walk was something else. By this point all the VIP ticketholders had abandoned their tables and were crowding round the edges of the runway; the music was pumping and the show had reached its crescendo. The models - wearing clothes by Indian designers Rohit Gandhi, Rahul Khanna Half Cut, but I’m really excited this year to see a lot of independent events arranged by individuals or small groups of friends who have some really unique ideas. Three examples would be Unfolding Entrances, an exhibition exploring artistic representations of wounds and healing; Daughters of Dolma, a documentary filmed by a small group of students from St Andrews who traveled to Tibet to make a film (wish I could have volunteered - it looks incredible!), and ReScore, a showing of No Country for Old Men with an original score played live by student musicians to accompany the film, which is a really cool and original idea. Plus there’s free popcorn. TS: Can you tell us if the patrons
and Gaurav Gupta - came out in pairs, singing along to the music and dancing their way down the catwalk, waving and giving high-fives to the audience. They were obviously enjoying themselves; choreographer Maya Farr said that Sitara’s approach - an emphasis on fun, not taking themselves too seriously - means that the models can show off their personalities and have more input into the show. Of course, Sitara isn’t just about the models and the fashion: there’s a huge emphasis on the acting, the dancing and the other elements that make up the event as a whole. The models’ walks were interspersed with short performances that built up into a storyline and segued seamlessly with the fashion elements. I had been unsure what to expect from this part of the show. Acting Director Peter von Zahnd had described the story as “like the Odyssey but better”, and while it didn’t quite match up to Homer’s majesty, there was certainly plenty to enjoy. The tussle between love and war, between good and bad, was at the heart of the plot: two brothers fought for a girl’s heart, with their conflict played out by martial arts, sword-fighting and breakdancing. The actors and dancers were superb, and I was surprised to find myself enjoying this part of the show just as much as the fashion. Sitara is not your typical St Andrews fashion show - these aren’t pouty, ‘too cool for school’ models, but ones you can knock back shots and dance until dawn with. Sitara defies definition: this cannot be simply dismissed as another fashion show, it’s a performance. The playfulness and approachability of everyone involved lift it above other events in St Andrews and make it an unmissable experience. will be attending any events? Sean Connery performing a number at the Open Mic Night perhaps? RN: Sean and Judi haven’t actually been in touch to let me know what they’ll be going to, but you never know. St Andrews is a popular destination for a weekend break and the weather is finally a little less apocalyptic, so I’ll live in hope. On The Rocks has been taking place all week and will continue long into the weekend. Hopeully you’ve been doing the wise thing by neglecting your degree and attending various events across the town. With an absolute feast of student filmmaking, theatre, music and artwork on offer you’d need have a pretty good excuse to miss On The Rocks 2013.
Student filmmakers aim to make the Cut
out if their work has been recognised and rewarded. Following last month’s 60 Hour Film Blitz, which showcased over twenty three-minute films to a jam-packed Buchanan Lecture Theatre, organisers of Half Cut can expect another healthy turn-out from local students and national entrants. Ré Pictures, and particularly Festival Coordinator Hillevi Gustafson, a fourth year Film and IR student at the University, have
managed to draw out some incredibly interesting ideas and projects not only from local students but from young talent right across Scotland. Entries have come from Edinburgh College of Art, the University of the West of Scotland, The Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow School of Art, Aberdeen University and of course St Andrews; making this truly “Scotland’s only Short Film Festival dedicated to student films” across the nation. Awards are not the only feature of the festival however. Last night Half Cut screened ‘What is this film called Love?’, the poetic and immersive documentary from renowned director, historian and critic Mark Cousins which begins as a paean to Sergei Eisenstein and develops in to a personal exploration of travel, memory, home and joy. The event was capped with a Skype Q&A with the director himself, allowing students the unique chance to speak with this fascinating lover of film. Before tonight’s gala, Half Cut have
organised yet another opportunity for budding filmmakers to learn from those already in the industry. Together with the Raindance Independent Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards, Half Cut are offering students and locals the chance to attend Raindance founder Elliot Grove’s highly-demanded, Londonbased ‘99 Minute Film School’. For half the regular price, St Andreans can learn the skills needed to begin a career in the industry (or simply learn a little more about the filmmaking process), in the comfort of St Salvator’s Quad. But for those who have already tried their hand behind the camera, tonight’s Awards Gala is the main event; a chance for them, as well as the winners at the Film Blitz, to have their films shown on the big screen of a working cinema. This may be prize enough for some, but the chance to have their work viewed and judged, not only by the audience but by a panel including Raindance’s Elliot Grove, University Rector Alistair Moffat, Dr Tom Rice
of the Film Studies department and Film Blitz winner Maia Krall Fry, is something to be savoured. The films chosen for competition are of a very high standard, both in their conceptualisation and their execution; ranging from explorations of loneliness and isolation to slapstick comedies. There are touching documentaries about family connections and the past, and even an emotional rollercoaster of a stop-motion animation set entirely in a kitchen. These films are testament to the quality and originality of student filmmaking across the country, showcased in a week which celebrates the vast breadth of student creativity. They may inspire viewers to take up the camera too, or indeed challenge those with pretensions to the craft to get involved in future. While a small selection of winners will finish the night triumphant, it is clear that filmmaking and the audiences of the future will also emerge as winners when events like Half Cut come around.
a week. I spend countless hours reading awfully tedious books for my Modern History degree, so it’s lovely to have a creative outlet that takes my mind off dry academia. TS: Do you enjoy being part of the OTR Festival? How important do you think OTR is for the Revue? JF: Absolutely. This is the Revue’s third year performing at the Festival. Aside from the Edinburgh Fringe in August, it’s the highlight of the group’s calendar. I’m really looking forward to seeing Blind Mirth’s sketch show two days before ours. We have a gentle rivalry, which motivates us to put on the funniest show possible. We also happen to share a member, the unrelentingly charming Ed Fry. TS: You’ve had great reviews for student and Fringe press, so we know you’re good - but what is special about this show? What can we expect? JF: The beauty of quick-fire sketch comedy is that audiences never know what’s coming next. For instance, in the space of just a few minutes during ‘The Crass Menagerie’, last year’s On The Rocks show, I went from playing a stuffily formal adjudicator to staggering onstage in high heels, fishnet tights and a skimpy dress. Therefore, I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises. Just wait and see. (Fortunately, I won’t be appearing in drag this time.) Two of the original members of the
Revue, Amanda Litherland and I, will be leaving university in June. This is our last sketch show in St Andrews, so we’re determined to end on a high. There are also four brand new faces in the group - Ed Fry, Ollie Carr, Mark Jones and Olly Lennard joined the Revue last semester after triumphing over forty other auditionees. The Revue will definitely be in capable hands once Amanda and I have gone. TS: Have there been any difficult moments in preparation for this show? JF: ���������������������������������� Choosing sketches for the show is always difficult. The nine of us wrote about 40 sketches this year, which had to be whittled down to 20. We ����������������� all have very different senses of humour, which makes the decision-making process tricky and compromise inevitable. One person’s meat is another person’s poison. I love self-deprecating wordplay, whereas other members of the Revue would hate an hour-long barrage of deadpan puns. The diverse tastes of the group should mean that there’s at least one thing in the show that every audience member will really enjoy. TS: Is this show a precursor for a potential Fringe run? I know you were incredibly successful with critical acclaim last year. JF: We haven’t received Fringe funding from Mermaids this year, which is frustrating and perplexing considering our successful debut. Despite this major
setback, we’ve decided to cover the costs ourselves. We’re hoping to become a Fringe institution, like the Cambridge Footlights and Oxford Revue, and missing a year would bring us almost back to square one. �������������������� I expect that we’ll have a bucket at the back of Venue 1 to collect any loose change audience
members may have at the end of our On The Rocks show. Any donations to our kitty would be hugely appreciated.
Photo: Joe Philipson
Lewis Camley Film Sub-Editor
The tenth annual Half Cut Student Film Festival culminates tonight in a flurry of sharp suits and even sharper shoots. A perennial highlight of the On the Rocks festival, the filmmaking extravaganza ends with a black-tie awards gala in the New Picture House tonight, at which budding moviemakers from across Scotland will find
Stage Sub-Editor Over the past few years, the St Andrews Revue has become a highlight of On The Rocks, and this year will be no exception. With an ever-changing lineup of gag-merchants, the Revue has managed to establish itself as one of the leading student comedy troupes in St Andrews, as well as further afield with a run of sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Ahead of this year’s On The Rocks show, ‘Minstrel Cramps’, we spoke to Revue veteran Joe Fleming to find out what we can expect from tonight’s show and the future. The Saint: How long have you been involved with the Revue? Joe Fleming: ����������������������� We started writing the first Revue show, ‘Jestation Period’, at the start of my second year, in October 2010. It was performed on the Byre theatre’s main stage in April 2011, to a full-capacity audience. Since then, we’ve done two more sell-out shows at the Byre, received four-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, supported WitTank in Venue 1, and made a thousand a cappella fans chuckle as hosts of the Voice Festival competition. TS: What do you enjoy most about working with the Revue? JF: I get the opportunity to be very silly with eight of my best friends a few times
11 April 2013 • The Saint
They’re funny... honestly
Photo: Jake Threadgould
24 Arts & Culture
TS: Give me a final three words to convince our readers to come to the Revue tonight. JF: �������������������������� We’re funny, honestly.
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Arts & Culture 25
Art On The Rocks Technology meets reality THE
Art & Design Sub-Editor La vie est faite de petits bonheurs. This means that life is made of small instances of happiness. It also means that I don’t want to write my essay so instead am Googling French quotes. But that it’s the little things in life that are important is a familiar concept to us all. However, when it comes to art it seems to be the case now that bigger really is better. The bigger the work and the bigger the reputation of the artist, then the bigger the splash it would seem. A Bigger Splash was even the name of a recent exhibition at the Tate Modern, considering the relationship between performance and painting. When did art become so attention seeking? At least the Mona Lisa is sly about it, coyly grinning away whilst the rest of the Louvre wonders what it has to do for all the guards and mobs of crazed fans, resentfully muttering that she doesn’t even go here. I obviously don’t own anything that would be considered ‘art’ by a curator or auctioneer; if I did I would be rich and on a tropical island rather than staring at a giant SILENCE sign on the top floor of the Library. However, this doesn’t mean that my postcard reproductions can’t bring me pleasure. They’re familiar sights to me, they bring a little bit of colour to the walls and create a bit of atmosphere. This is why most people hang ‘art’ in their homes. And this is why I think ‘Art on the Rocks’ is so great. It consists
of student artworks in various locations around the town, promising to add “a splash of colour to your usual watering holes”. It’s neither dramatic nor imposing, and it does not scream for attention and critical engagement. In venues such as Taste and Mitchell’s you almost don’t notice it. Instead it made me want to sit down and stay in this welcoming atmosphere rather than go to the Library. In this role, art can stop a space from feeling clinical, instead evoking mood, mind-set and memories. You may look with your eyes, but you respond with your whole being.
The combined efforts of ArtSoc, PhotoSoc, Anthropology Society and ST.ART work to bring a flourish of feeling and awareness to your day-to-day life, and pleasantly break up the monotony of lectures, Library and your preferred source of caffeine. ‘Art on the Rocks’ will culminate in a gala at the Vic on 12 April. Work can be viewed all week at Zest South Street, Zest 2 Go Market Street, Con Panna, Aikmans, The Vic, Mitchell’s, Taste, Luvian’s Ice Cream Parlour.
The Sugar Syndrome by Lucy Prebble Dir. Tamsin Swanson ***
With smart-phones, i-Pads and tablets,
technology is at our fingertips all day, everyday and so Lucy Prebble’s The Sugar Syndrome has only grown in resonance since its debut in 2003. This play depicts a group of people involved though ‘Chatarama’, an online network. Dani (Coco Claxton), 17, a recovering anorexic teenage girl, enters the cyber universe from her broken home with mum Jan (Sandra Koronkai-Kiss), 45, and tries to fix those she encounters; sleeping with Lewis (Peter Swallow), a lacklustre virgin at 22, and befriending paedophile Tim (Alex Levine), 38. Our emotional responses are turned upside down as we feel excessive sympathy for a pervert and unjust animosity towards a misused lover. It is a play that confronts and undermines taboos in a striking and original way and the cast and directors really rose to this challenge. An outstanding performance was given by Alex Levine, playing the most stigmatised part of the paedophile. His manipulation of the role was superb; in every gesture and delivery he encapsulated this posh, intelligent man and made him appear like normal man. I felt an incredible empathy with his character, his hopelessness, almost forgetting the reality of his perversions. There was a particularly touching scene in which he and Dani had returned from a night out and are laughing, chatting and dancing to old records. For a moment we forget their disparities, then they kiss and the spell his broke. Tim leaves her and she makes herself sick with salt water. The harmony never
Sax and violins
Over the last two weeks, On The Rocks has provided local music fans with Jazz Quartets, Music Cafes and a cappella concerts, as well as The Big Band Opening Bash. As the festival is about to crescendo into its final weekend, the noteworthy live music events keep on coming. Tonight at Aikman’s Fergus Halliday, Tara Cunningham and Caillin Campsie present ‘Carachd’. The night will be composed of “red-blooded, foot stomping, traditional Scottish music. A trio of young musicians from across Scotland playing music for the love of it. Funky rhythms and tunes to dance the
night away to.” On Friday the 12th of April ‘The On The Rocks Open Mic Night’ will take place in Venue 2. The Trad Soc event will be “an eclectic open mic night fettering a wide variety of genres and talents. Any
and all kinds of music are welcome, so whether you play folk, rock, classical, soul, gospel, pop or techno you are invited to come along to perform or just to listen.”
Also taking place on Friday will be ‘The Late Night Music Cafe’ presented by Music is Love. The event will take place in the Old Union Diner and will be the final instalment of the Music Cafe series. Music is Love and On the Rocks, in association with Your600th, say that the night will be “an alternative way to end the evening” and that you should “bring your own mug, fill it with something warm and wile away the evening to the soundtrack of live acoustic music.” So, there is still plenty for live music lovers to hear and enjoy over the next few days. However, if you are easily offended you should be careful. You may be exposing yourself to scenes of sax and violins.
Photo: Lightbox Creative
lasts long. The dichotomy of teenage hormones was another challenging area and one which director, Tasmin Swanson, should be praised for. The staging of both Lewis and Dani conveyed their youthful confusions. Lewis’ sexual awareness was palpable when Dani was on stage as he constantly sought reasons to touch her. Similarly Dani’s unresponsiveness after they’ve had sex the first time disrupts his possessive endeavours. However, despite this direction there was a slightly limp feeling to scenes between Claxton and Swallow and a total lack of sexual chemistry. The play opened with the young couple’s first sexual encounter, which without conviction contributed to a rather slow start. This was not the only instance of a lack of commitment, as it came out again in the argument between mother and daughter. The verbal fight lacked energy until Koronkai-Kiss’ rather pathetic slap, which somehow seemed to recall actual aggression to the scene and it then ended on a high. This was the trend throughout; any weaker moment was closely followed by stronger one, so these fumbles could
be forgotten. The overall production also made up for slower moments, with clean cut lighting and set reflecting a blank typebox on a chat-room site. The highlight, however, was the use of sound, with the familiar computer noises, such as the windows loading jingle, and the robotic voice-overs, used for chat rooms, voicemails and the internet. As this was occurring on stage, the technology infiltrated the external reality and undermined its convictions. This was demonstrated by the emotive final scene, in which Dani opens Tim’s laptop and we hear a boy being raped. The inhuman noises the computers have emitted previously are replaced by this one, heart-wrenching human cry. The play symbolically ended with Dani destroying the laptop by pouring squash across the keyboard - simple humanity triumphs over technology. With such a striking close, some wonderful direction, thorough presentation and acting highlights, The Sugar Syndrome gave a sound performance, provocatively bringing out the conflicts of modern day technological and societal taboos. Emily Hill
Online this week Follow us @arts_thesaint Half Cut Film Gala
St Andrews Revue
Film Sub-Editor, Lewis Camley, will be suited and booted for a night of student made films in the New Picture House. Check out his review of the event and the films online.
Laura Abernethy attends the St Andrews Revue and well... reviews it. Check out what the verdict is online and get all the low down on the puns and gags.
MiL & ArtSoc Installation
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Last night in the Barron, Music is Love and ArtSoc joined their creative forces for a night of visual arts and audible treats. Christian Manley reviews for us online.
Every year On The Rocks puts on a performance of one of the Bard’s plays. This year they’re tackling the tragedy of Julius Caesar. Our Stage SubEditor Emily Hill will be reviewing.
James Blake Overgrown Republic Records 9/10
11 April 2013 • The Saint
26 Arts & Culture S
In a recent attempt to enlighten a troglodytic acquaintance of mine with some current culture, I played to him James Blake’s latest single ‘Voyeur’. The only words I managed to decipher from the ensuing grunts spewed out of said acquaintance’s prehistoric gob were these: “I’ve never really been too excited about his stuff, but this could be a grower”. As much as it pains me to admit it, he was kind of right; as a maestro of the melancholic, James Blake is a musician who won’t make you want to go jumping on the bed, or skidding around on your knees, or whatever it is people do when they’re excited. And he definitely takes a number of sitthroughs to appreciate. That said, if the London-based producer and singer-songwriter’s new album - aptly titled Overgrown - requires even a second spin to grow on you, then consider yourself doubly blessed. Unremarkably enough, Blake’s remarkable vocal talents provide the lifeblood of the record, whether they are set in the roots of songs
– as with the melodious hummed background of ‘Retrograde’ – or heard unfurling in the likes of ‘To The Last’ and ‘Overgrown’. The album also sees a collaboration with Wu-Tang member RZA on ‘Take a Fall For Me’, in which the album’s recurring theme of sadness in love is most fervidly expressed. Blake’s own vocals croon of solitude, states of constancy, and a desire to become part of the dusty rubble in the cosmic garden.
This all sounds a bit bleak, and if you were to believe me when I say that the underlying instrumentation provides some light-hearted and uplifting comic relief, then you’d probably be feeling a bit silly now, wouldn’t you? Truth is, this is a atmospherically heavy album, but for all the murk and mire there is a stubborn sense of beauty which perennially emerges to outshine the gloom. In the two years after his selftitled debut, Blake has been hanging
The Flaming Lips The Terror Bella Union 4/10
Young Man Beyond Was All Around Me Frenchkiss 9/10
The Flaming Lips were the weird success story of 80’s alt-rock. Ardently psychadelic from the start, even in the face of criticism the Oklahoma group have created more than ten albums and have undergone several line-up shifts since their formation in 1983. Having peaked in the mid-90’s with the fantastic Transmissions From The Satellite Heart, it is clear now from their latest production, The Terror, that these giants are regrettably (or thankfully, depending on your attitude towards their unique soundscapes) at a dangerously low point in their impressive and important career. Although the album provides intrigue because of its seamless trackto-track transitions, it never seems to climax or gain momentum as their more dynamic albums have done in the past. Songs melt into one another, and the constant bed of white noise does little to vitalise the music in the place of an effective bass line. The album begins with “Look… The Sun Is Rising,” a kind of choral trance soundtrack that does more to put the listener to sleep than is perhaps intended. It ends in a
On Beyond Was All Around Me, an extravagant atmosphere can be found that allows a listener to get lost within the spacious soundscapes that the band supplies. Above all, Young Man is driven by a singer who uses the band as a tool to implement what appears to be hours upon hours of contemplation. There are songs like “In A Sense” and “Waterford” that show a journey from boyhood to adulthood. There are songs like “Being Alone” that supply beautiful arrangements accompanying thankfulness that the singer has made it to his present state of maturity. Songs like “In Time” and “Unfair” present both of these ideas in a final form where the man in his prime has found himself bursting with euphoria and the strong confidence that future will be equally as triumphant. Young Man is a strange concoction of the indie sound of Bombay Bicycle Club and perhaps the outer space feel of Pink Floyd. Once again “In Time”, the best track on the album, is an example of this blend with its
similar way with “Always There, In Our Hearts.” There are hundreds of boring
albums around at the moment, but few are as actively frustrating to listen to. The fact that the full feature plays twice if the album is listened to from start to finish seems pointless (the last track is just a repeat of the entire work – what’s all that about?) and despite clear efforts to create a wacky vision of futuristic voids or some kind of spatial ambience, the lyrics are bizarre and dull. Maybe The Terror is only for diehard Lips fans. It certainly seems, however, that the album lacks ability to grip the attention of audiences, and it is unimaginable that it would make for good radio. For people of our generation, The Terror sounds like a poor record by Foals, but with less Oxonian charm and a little more complacency. Jonny Elswood
around with a few godheads of electronic music production - the likes of Brian Eno, Bjork, and, em... Kanye West - all of whom helped the producer to craft and conceptualise his follow-up. As such, Blake has nurtured his brand of slumberous post-dub minimalism into a more full-bodied sound without losing any of the original twilight tones. Incorporating a set of deeply rooted bass melodies throughout the record upon which soft percussions flit, and through which klaxons rise up like sirens, Blake’s production and composition exhibits a dreamweaver like quality which is at times vibrant, at times consoling and at times chilling to the bone. Where his debut was often swamped in monotony, Overgrown expresses a dexterity of forms which suggests Blake is not content to be the modest mope who would park the piano in front of the microphone and rest on his laurels. The album dabbles in and around RnB, hip hop, soul, but always within safe distance of Blake’s own backyard of electro, house and dubstep; proof that it’s not necessarily a bad thing to allow wider musical influences, as well as some awkward emotions, to emerge in an album which outgrows the singer-songwriter’s comfort zone. Stephen Jenkins
seven minute song implementing a structure moving through different levels of arrangements without breaking from breathtaking emotion. Thus, it is almost incapable of having one moment of boredom. In truth, this is what Beyond Was All Around Me is: an album from start to finish that seems like rock music but could easily pass on paper as an arrangement for orchestration. Every note is mathematically structured to the mind of the singer. He comes in expressing to you that he’d “like to be a better man in time”, but he leaves with a smirk on his face, knowing that this pursuit has been claimed. Beyond Was All Around Me is one of the best albums of 2013 so far. An album needed for anyone who values the importance of self-evaluation. Christian Manley
The Saint playlist
The National - ‘Demons’ On Monday, the Cincinnati band released the first taste of material from their much-anticipated new album, Trouble Will Find Me. It’s as lustrious and as deliciously dismal as you might expect. Mount Kimbie - ‘Made to Stray’ The second album from this producer duo, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, will feature collaborationfrom teen singer-songwriter wizard, King Krule. This song should be served very loudly on headphones. James Blake - ‘Voyeur’ Klaxons, bass, flittering synthesiser and a nice dollop of cowbell on top, - a triumphant return for Blake. The Knife - ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me’ The Swedish electro twosome released their fourth studio album, Shaking The Habitual, on Monday. This track is a terror stomp of crashing drums, eerie moogs, and Karin Dreijer Andersson’s haunting vocals. Lulu James - ‘Closer’ This 21-year-old from North East England is bringing Soul back to it’s natural Northern home. Spinning velvet Motown vocals with dubstep, tribal beats, and electro, James threatens to shake up the charts and indie-kids’ hearts.
Edwyn Collins - ‘Dilemma’ Arguably the hero of all heroes in the indie-music world, the exOrange Juice maverick is back with his 9th solo record, Understated. He remains his usual charming self on this trumpet-bolstered leading single. Lapalux - ‘Guuurl’ Stuart Howard from Essex is a self-proclaimed ‘bedroom producer’, but there’s nothing small about his music, releasing his debut LP, Nostalchic, on Flying Lotus’ record label. The Besnard Lakes - ‘People of the Sticks’ Husband and wife duo from Montreal have their 4th album, Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO out this month.
The Saint • 11 April 2013 M
Arts & Culture 27
Uncharted waters for the blues at the Bop
The Saint: It is unusual to see a live band playing at the Bop, how do you think it went? Felipe Schrieberg: We made sure to
Trance Dir. Danny Boyle 2/10* The initial premise seemed interesting enough. James McAvoy sat, in a suit and tie, his big blue eyes directed at the audience as he recited – in an adorable Scottish accent – security protocol for an auction house during an art heist. Naturally, I thought that the movie would concern art theft in general, and I was intrigued – not many movies have dealt with the subject. The first five minutes fulfilled my expectation: three thuggish men, including famed French actor Vincent Cassel, orchestrated and executed an infiltration of an auction, ostensibly nabbing Goya’s “Witches in the Air”, priced at £27 million. However, when Cassel reached his home to open the briefcase in which he thought the painting was located, he found only an empty frame. I leaned forward in my seat. So far, Trance intrigued me; the
cater for the Bop appropriately, we got our pop tunes going and made sure we did them justice in a venue such as this. I thought it was great fun. Playing St Andrews is always excellent, the energy is vibrant. Its great to take advantage of it and harness it. In a way, the only thing we have to do is just try to have fun. Sometimes you have to work hard to get an audience on your side and to enjoy the ride. In St Andrews everybody is just ready to go. Everyone’s ready to have fun so you can just go for it.
place and that’s always enjoyable.
think any bands you bring in should be able to do that to some extent.
TS: How do you feel about playing in Venue 1? FS: Its great that this can happen in Venue 1. We played in Venue 1 many years ago. Back when we were young and sillier. It can definitely be tricky to play Venue 1. Sometimes the sound is not quite right, sometimes things go wrong but this time everything seemed to click into
TS: Do you think there should be more live music at Bops and would you do it again? FS: We’d definitely be up for doing it again Charlie Wild: I’ve seen it before with half live bands, where its been DJs with instrumentalists and it always went down really well. FS: I have to say when I was approached by a member of the ENTS crew to do it - when we were both a bit tipsy after a gig at Aikman’s - I was like ‘Yeh, lets just do it.’ But when you think about it, what we do and the Bop, I’m not sure how great a fit that is. So we had to make sure that we knew what the audience was about and what the Bop was about. Because even although the Bop has a weird, let’s say, controversial, legacy, it has a reputation that you need to respect as a performer. I think we did that appropriately and I
TS: When can the people of St Andrews hear you next? We have an Aikman’s gig on 27 April. We do Aikman’s every couple of months, it was where the band was born. Aikman’s is insanity, its probably one of our favourite gigs to play ever, somehow there is just a special kind of vibe there and every time we go there it’s absolute insanity. We hope to see everyone there. TS: I hear that you are going to debut a new guitarist that some local music fans may recognise. Are you able reveal who the latest member of the band is? CW: We were just talking about this today. FS: Yeh at the Aikman’s gig we are going to bring on our special guest Dan Halasz who you play with yourself in The Dirty Hemingways. We are very excited to start working
following hour and a half, I thought to myself, would be an action-packed depiction of three mobsters after a famous piece of art, protected only by the brave protagonist, McAvoy. How wrong I was. Following the theft, the film’s true plot was revealed, and it was bad. Very bad. McAvoy had apparently been a part of the heist, contacted by Cassel to aid in the illegal acquisition of Goya’s piece. He had cut the painting out of its frame prior to inserting it into the briefcase, for no apparent reason. When questioned on the whereabouts of the painting, it was revealed that he had contracted some form of amnesia – a cinematic trope pervasive in C-list soap operas – and did not remember where it was. So, Cassel decided to hire a hypnotist (really?) to extract the suppressed memory. For about half an hour, the audience was subjected to a pop-psychology lecture, in which the four thieves
(including McAvoy) sat in armchairs and asked banal questions that were calmly answered by the hypnotist (who, surprisingly, had no moral compunction about abetting a crime.) Subsequently, there was an hour of confusion, scenes that could or could not have happened, where the line between reality and the imagination blurred (think Black Swan, if the screenwriters had been inebriated). These scenes were punctuated by moments of unnecessary gore or nudity that did not fit in with the convoluted storyline and seemed to have been inserted as either means of provocation or a halfbaked attempt to make the movie more compelling for the audience. Furthermore, Trance felt essentially like a nonsensical commercial for Apple products; half of the dream-like sequences were played out on iPads, and the crux of the plot seemed to rest on a text message received by the
protagonist’s iPhone. Though, to be honest, I would rather watch the real Apple commercials. Halfway through the film, I was bored. Twenty minutes later, I was disgusted. Throughout the entirety of the movie, I was confused and somewhat outraged at having spent my time and money on this farce of a film. The end tried to tie all of the disparate scenes into one absolutely ridiculous explanation, hanging on an abusive relationship for which the valuable painting was to be
with Dan because he is going to be with us throughout the month of August at our Fringe show. CW: He’s played with us before. He led the band once at the Andrew Melville Ball. It’s strange because he is actually quite a short man but on stage he seems like he is 10 feet tall. TS: Why did you decide to play a show completely naked in 2011? CW: It was about character building. FS: Yeh, we had a gig during the 2011 Fringe at the Forest Cafe. It is a big enormous venue and in the upstairs area they have this church hall and it was packed and it was great and it was sweaty so we just took of some clothing. CW: I mean it is easy enough if you are a guitarist because you have got something to cover your ‘necessaries’. Gordon only had a harmonica, though, and I think he didn’t enjoy it very much. FS: Yeh, that was interesting.
A rather forgettable film Photo: WikiCommons
Last Friday a rare thing happened. On such a time of the week, and in such a place, you would expect to find lurking in the dark recesses of the Union a baffling creature called a Bop, which runs around wailing to the tune of Lady Gaga, Blink 182, and Bon Jovi, and emits a lingering smell of alcopops and disappointment. But, on this Friday night the beast was slain. The Blueswater, a rock-folk-soul-blues fusion outfit from Edinburgh who regularly play in St Andrews made history in Venue 1 by becoming the first band in recent memory to play a live set during a Bop. It’s no surprise that of all the options, The Blueswater were the natural choice of band to make this momentous leap in Friday night history; this is a band who claim that they “exist to make you dance”, and who regularly threaten to cause the collapse of Aikman’s cellar bar during their raucous, packedout performances. David Hershaw caught up with lead vocalist Felipe Schrieberg and lead guitarist Charlie Wild to discuss the importance of live music, and the Bop in St Andrews.
Photo: Ryo Yanagida
compensation for the emotional pain Macavoy had wrought. The absurdity of the plot, concomitant with bad, emotionless acting on all parts, made Trance possibly one of the worst films I have ever seen. *These two stars are only due to the directorial decision to keep McAvoy’s original Scottish accent, which suits him better than the English one he adopts for other films. Tamar Ziff
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Saints triumph on penalties to secure cup
The University of St Andrew’s Women’s 1st team have won in the club’s first ever BUCS Conference Cup, after edging out local rivals Dundee University in the final on penalties despite being two goals down at half-time. The heavy snow which fell before kick-off seemed to have an adverse effect on the Saints as Dundee University raced into a 2-0 lead, both goals coming from corner kicks within the first 20 minutes. Further opportunities fell to Dundee as the Saints struggled with the heavy surface, and they had goalkeeper Ellie Welton to thank for only being 2-0 down at half-time. However, the girls came out with a renewed sense of determination not to give up on the trophy so easily. Swedish striker Anahit Mkrtchian pulled one back with 25 minutes to go with a neat finish when one-on-
Photo: Scottish Student Sport
Back row (l-r), Catriona Campbell, Elizabeth Johnson, Anahit Mkrtchian, Ulrika Nilsson, Gulia Melchiorre, Rachel Hassall, Katherine Shanae, Sophie Elder, Ellie Welton. Front row, left to right, Luisa Lopez, Marie Morison, Matilda Af Hallstrom, Collette Olly. one with goalkeeper. Mktrchian then played a big part in the equaliser, allowing Ulrika Nilsson to score from outside the box leaving the goal-
keeper stranded. With the Saints level, the team seemed resolved to find a winner, and with one minute left captain Marie Morison danced
past two defenders before striking the ball across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner. Joyous scenes ensued as this extraordinary comeback seemed complete; however, deep into stoppage time, there was heartbreak for the Saints as Dundee managed to pull one back, after a free-kick pumped into the area resulted in a last gasp goal for the side which had appeared beaten. The final whistle blew, and both teams now faced the prospect of a nervy penalty shootout to decide the match. Up stepped Rachel Hassall, Lizzie Johnson, Ellie Welton, Catriona Caprice, and Marie Morrison for the Saints. With goalkeeper Ellie Welton, who won man of the match for her performance, saving two penalty kicks, the trophy seemed to be in the Saints’ grasp. However, two misses for the team led to the unbearable tension of sudden death. Both teams scored their next kick, with Anahit
Mkrtchian converting for the Saints, and when Dundee University missed the target it was left to Matilda Af Hallstrom to hold her nerve and slot home the winning spot kick for the jubilant Saints. An unbelievable fight back from everyone involved ensured the trophy was going to St Andrews. The manner of the victory made it all the sweeter for the girls, who showed incredibly resolve, not just to overcome a two goal deficit, but to hold their nerve in a penalty shootout after the frustration of just missing out on a win in normal time. The girls now turn their attention to the Scottish Student Sport Cup Final taking place in the next two weeks in Edinburgh, where they will come up against either Strathclyde University or Edinburgh College. You can follow the club’s progress on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ USAWFC) or Twitter (@StsFootballW).
Online Sport Editor The St Andrews Women’s Basketball side defended their title in the Scottish Conference cup over Easter with a close 59-56 victory against Heriot-Watt. On Cup Finals Day in Aberdeen, the Saints rounded off a hugely successful season in the BUCS competition, having already won their league, which grants them promotion to the top division in Scotland, a deserved reward for a team which has won 10 of their 12 BUCS games this season. Having already defeated Heriot-Watt twice this year in the league, most recently with an impressive 82 points to 18 demolition job, the Saints went into this match as favourites. However, that old cliché about ‘the magic of the cup’ must have at least some truth behind it, as the final turned into a much tighter affair than St Andrews would have liked, with a mere three points separating the sides. In fact, this was probably more down to the fact that St Andrews had just eight first-team players available, due to the final being played in the middle of the Easter break. The player shortage was a
problem from the outset, with their opponents taking an early lead and St Andrews struggling to find their rhythm. An early time-out helped to galvanise the team and from there on in, the Saints hardly looked back. They enforced their own tempo upon the game, and despite determined defence from Heriot-Watt, managed to score consistently for the whole match, maintaining a lead over their opposition throughout, with their fast passing allowing for incisive breaks. There was a brief scare when Eloise Cotton injured her head after hitting the ground hard, but it soon became apparent that this had done nothing to quell her enthusiasm and energy. A few Saints players had played in last year ’s cup final, and this experience showed through. With their determination and hard work, St Andrews began to open up a wider gap on the scoreboard. However, Heriot-Watt never let them get too far away, and towards the end of the game, fatigue began to set in on the Saints. Their opposition, due to their larger squad on the day, were fresher and could get within striking distance of the Saints’ score. With just a matter of minutes
Photo: Sammi McKee
Basketball women edge final in Aberdeen
St Andrews first team in action earlier on in the season against Edinburgh, whom they beat to secure the league title to play, Heriot-Watt were just one basket from levelling the game. Nonetheless, the Saints kept playing the way they had all day, with calm and with quality. And three points up at 59-56, they managed to prevent any further scoring, winning the cup for the second
year running. Hannah Rogers described this cup win as “the icing on the cake” after their BUCS league win. More was to come for the Saints, as they also claimed the Fife and Tayside league and cup double, beating BUCS Division 1 side Dundee in
the final of the latter. Rogers went on to thank the supporters who travelled with the side to Dundee, while expressing the side’s pride after their success. The team can expect ever-growing attendances if they continue to win next year and collect trophies on a regular basis.
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Photo: Kiko Llorens
Hot Wheels: Formula One throwing up surprises
Martin Saarinen Sport Sub-Editor
Rarely in Formula One have the first two races provided so much room for speculation as they have this season. Five different men between four teams have reached the podium in just two races. There have been controversies between and within teams, strategic errors have been made, and a general gloom exists over the issue of the 2013 tyres. Here’s how the storm’s been brewing with the big names of the sport. Red Bull Red Bull were at the centre of attention in Malaysia. Webber who had been assured that his position would not be challenged by Vettel, became the victim of Vettel’s cruel sense of authenticity and desire to win. The cause of this incident found its catalyst far from Vettel’s desire to win, but rather from the difficulty that the new tyres and regulations have imposed on all of the teams. The 2013 Pirelli tyres have proven more than difficult to deal with and Red Bull alongside Mercedes were some of the first teams to complain about the new tyres to Pirelli. Tyres currently dictate almost all aspects of the race from car design to race strategy, and thus it is no wonder that teams experiment with different settings. Webber, due to a different strategy, turned down his engine settings to preserve fuel and tyres, while Vettel, with a different set-up, had more grip and fuel to perform the daunting overtake. Pirelli Motorsports Director Paul Hembery has confirmed that Pirelli are set to review their tyres after the Bahrain GP. This could be good news for Red Bull and Mercedes.
Lotus Lotus came out with a surprise victory in Australia. Kimi Raikkonen drove a brilliant race with a strategy that allowed him to cruise to victory 12 seconds ahead of everybody. Lotus, it seems, have built a car that manages its tyres extremely well in the dry. If weather permits, the Chinese Grand Prix could be pocketed by Lotus. Lotus drove a two pit stop strategy in Australia, whilst most teams had to make three. With the Chinese GP ahead, it will be interesting to see how many teams have managed to set their cars so that they only need two pit-stops. Ferrari The men from Maranello have managed to produce a competitive car right from the beginning of the season. Felipe Massa seems to be in fantastic form, whilst Alonso is looking as strong as last season, which should make the title fight even more exciting than last year. What is disappointing is Massa’s admittance to backing Alonso’s fight for the title, meaning unless Alonso is out of the race, it will be unlikely to see him on top of the podium. McLaren Having scored just four points in two races, McLaren is struggling to find pace and consistency. It is unclear as to how severe issues are with McLaren. Known for their ability to develop the car throughout the season, McLaren have shown little signs of improvements since Australia. If they are struggling with aerodynamics; the amendments should not take too long. If problems persist in the chassis and suspension it could take months to fix such problems. The next few races will determine the degree of problems that McLaren are having. If they show
signs of improvements in China and Bahrain, the problems can be attributed to set-up, whilst if their poor performance continues, problems lay deeper in the foundations of the car. Toro Rosso Normally, not a contender for big points, and unlikely to be this year, but, what needs to be looked at is the internal competition between Ricciardo and Vergne. While the boys at Red Bull are likely to behave tolerantly the next few races to make up for the incident in Malaysia, the gloves are off at Toro Rosso. With Webber ’s future in a state of speculation, the race seat in Red Bull is eyed by both Ricciardo and Vergne. Ricciardo has vowed to “blow Vergne apart”; meaning racing between the two should be highly entertaining. Mercedes-Benz Mercedes are 33 points ahead of McLaren in the constructors’ championship, and have shown signs of improvements from last season, which must be putting a smile on Hamilton’s face. Nevertheless, Mercedes needs to focus on getting the race strategy together. They showed in Malaysia that they had the pace to keep up with Red Bull, but their tyres and fuel wore out too fast for them to properly challenge Red Bull. The rest of the grid is populated by new drivers and the comeback of a former-driver-turned-barfighter Sutil. Competition between Marussia and Caterham remains as always, and Sauber alongside Williams and Force India are starting to take in some important points. Keep up with all the Formula One action with Martin Saarinen’s regular blog Hot Wheels on The Saint Online, or tweet us your views on Hamilton’s move or Vettel’s overtaking @saint_sport.
50 Shades of Gray Hope springs eternal at the Ricoh, writes James Gray... Who doesn’t love an underdog? British tennis fans sure do. And boy, we’ve got plenty of underdogs. This weekend, a little under the radar perhaps with the Grand National dominating the headlines, a couple of low-ranking tennis players achieved something marvellous on a temporary tennis court just off Junction 3 of the M6, at the glorified service station that hosts the Ricoh Arena. Flashback to Friday night. Those of you who missed Blueswater Bop may have been watching Britain’s latest Davis Cup fixture. They were taking on Russia in a pre-play-off play-off. A win, which seemed unlikely with Andy Murray preparing for the claycourt season elsewhere, would give them the opportunity to make it into the World Group play-offs, leaving them one tie away from returning to the Premier League of tennis, something they have not achieved since 2008. It looked to be a familiar British underdog story on Friday night. The capacity crowd certainly got their money’s worth as Daniel Evans and James Ward, ranked 324 and 217 in the world respectively, and neither of whom has ever made the top 100, were beaten in 5 sets by Russian players both in the top 80 – Evans’ conqueror Dmitry Tursunov has been in the top 20. The word “plucky” dominated almost every news report, and at 2-0 with 3 to play, the tie was written off. On Saturday, reigning Wimbledon doubles champion Jonathan “The Other” Murray joined Colin Fleming to win the doubles match in straight sets to keep the tie alive. As Auroras Encore roared to an unlikely victory, maybe Evans and Ward took comfort from seeing such an outsider win on
the biggest stage. Coventry isn’t such a big stage as Becher’s Brook, but 661 would have been about the price a bookie would have given you for both Brits players to win on Sunday. Even after Ward had recovered from two sets to one down to level the tie, no-one could quite believe that Daniel Evans, whose greatest achievement to date was taking a set off Florien Mayer in the first round of Wimbledon two years ago, could bridge the gap of 245 ranking places to complete the ultimate comeback, and far less do so in straight sets. Quotes from the team camp however, seemed to indicate that it was never in doubt, and that they never lacked that which all sportsmen require: unshakable, constant self-belief. In life, hope can keep us going, but false hope can also destroy a man. However, this was the best kind of hope, the flame of self-belief that got captain Leon Smith, and Evans, and Ward out of bed on Sunday morning, and that is what separates the winners from the losers. They never gave up, and never believed that they couldn’t win. The doubles team from Saturday dedicated their victory to Fleming’s regular partner, Ross Hutchins, a former Davis Cup player who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer in January. He wasn’t in the crowd having undergone another dose of chemotherapy the previous Thursday. He will have to hold onto hope and self-belief through a test far tougher than any late-night 5-setter. We all wish him the very best, and I for one believe that watching Sunday’s miracle comeback might just have fanned his flame of belief, at least a little.
Online this week Follow us @saint_sport
Team in Focus
After Rory McIlroy’s return to form in Texas at the weekend behind Scot Martin Laird, and Tiger Woods’ apparent renaissance, this year’s Masters from Augusta could be the most exciting in years. Read our daily Masters blog for all the updates. Tweet us you your prediction for the Masters winner for a chance to win a spcial prize. We will feature the best tweets online, and all tweeters will be entered into a random draw at the end of the semester for the biggest prize of them all.
Summer is, slowly, arriving, and that means one thing for University sport: the cricket season kicks off. We’ll be following the Seagulls every step of the way on their quest for silverware.
After Ben Hook on Bradford City, our latest new feature continues as Andrew McQuillan looks at the downwards spiral of Dunfermline Athletic.
11 April 2013 • The Saint
Round 2: Fight Night is back on the bill Andrew McQuillan Since the dawn of time man has never enjoyed anything more than knocking seven bells out of his fellow human, or at least watching it happen. From the gladiatorial melee of the Romans to the pavement dancing exhibited outside the kebab shops of Great Britain on a Saturday night, pugilistic tendencies are often at the forefront of many a red-blooded male’s thoughts. To satisfy our craving for such rough and tumble, the University of St Andrews Boxing Club are hosting Fife’s answer to the Thriller in Manila on 23 April in Venue 1 of the Union, after its success two years ago. Rachael Millar, a tireless force on the organising committee, says: “A lot of hard work has gone into the event, but we are sure that it will be a night to remember for those inside the ring and outside”. Speaking with some of the fighters, they seemed to be in the midst of tense anticipation. Due to the somewhat restrictive facilities at the University Sports Centre, which the club “make the best of” (their President admits), training
Low Back Pain Do you experience low back pain? You are not alone. Almost everyone has or will experience low back pain at some point in his or her life. For those living with low back pain, every day tasks can be challenging thereby affecting quality of life. The Spine The main support structure of the back is the spine which allows for stability and mobility. The spine is made up of 33 bony vertebrae between which spongy discs of cartilage provide cushioning. Ligaments and muscles surround and support the spine, which aligns to contain the spinal cord. Major nerves pass through spaces in the vertebrae to connect the spinal cord to other parts of the body. The lower back region is most commonly affected by pain and injury. Addressing the probable cause and learning proper ways of performing daily activities that affect the lower back, however, will help minimize risk of low back pain. Causes
Photos: University of St Andrews Boxing Club
at a specialised boxing gym takes place in Glenrothes, where members of the club are put through a series of gruelling paces and get a chance to perfect their upper-cut. Perhaps due to not being part of a league system per se with bouts on a regular basis, boxing perhaps swoops under the radar in comparison to other sports. However, it should be noted that the club has achieved success on a regular basis at BUCS and Scottish National level, and it would appear that the hope is that, by providing a high class boxing event, people’s eyes will be opened to boxing as a sport
within the University. It is, after all, as one of the fighters (Alfie) jokingly asserted, “showbiz for ugly people”. An upside to potentially having your nose distorted to such an extent that it left shaped like a dodecahedron is the glamour associated with boxing. A range of walk-out tunes were bandied about by fighters, with “something mean and angry” being advocated by the lone woman amongst the troupe I spoke to (Hannah) to the slightly more prosaic and peaceful theme from Power Rangers. The tagline used to promote the event - “blood, sweat
Most of the time low back pain is not related to a disease or injury but is caused by the inability of the back’s muscles, ligaments, and joints to work as they should. Muscle strength and flexibility are essential to maintaining neutral spine position. Most of us carry out activities over an extended period of time; for example, many people spend hours a day sitting. Gradually, some muscles, tendons and ligaments shorten and tighten whilst others lengthen and weaken leading to muscular imbalances which can lead to physical dysfunctions including low back pain. For instance, when sitting, the hip flexor muscles are shortened and therefore become tightened while
the gluteal muscles are lengthened and weakened leading to a forward tilt of the pelvis. Additionally, the hamstrings can become shortened and pull back on the pelvic bone further increasing abnormal curvature of the lower back. If either the lower abdominal muscles or the low back muscles are weak (as they commonly are), they are unable to counter balance the pull of the hamstrings and hip flexors. This results in the hips being abnormally tilted causing the spine to compensate by curving unnaturally upward placing stress on the lower back. To begin to address this, the tight muscles need to be stretched and the weak muscles need to be strengthened as a part of daily routine. Provided below are two stretches which address hip flexor and hamstring muscle tightness. Hip Flexor Stretch To perform this stretch, kneel with your right knee on the ground. Your left knee should be out in front
and beers” - will no doubt draw a crowd into the Union to take part in one of St Andrews’ most raucous events. Yet, despite the decadent trappings of ring girls and bright spotlights, it cannot be forgotten that the centre point of this event is an exhibition of the skills and hard work of those involved in the club, from those on the committee who have invited fighters from across Scotland to take part in a range of weight categories to the fighters themselves, who will be putting their nose on the line in the quest for greater glory. While primarily a sporting event,
of you at a right angle with the floor. Keeping your pelvis square, slowly move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg. Hamstring Stretch Stand in front of a sold structure such as a bed. Bend your right knee up and place your foot up on the bed. Make sure you are balanced on your left leg and keeping your chest on your right thigh, straighten your right leg out until you feel a stretch in your right hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the left. Other common activities may result in low back pain – wearing heavy backpacks, poor posture and improper biomechanics when carrying out tasks such as lifting. Although low back pain is a
the proceeds from the event will go to Families First as part of the University’s charitable contribution in this our 600th year, an act described by the committee as “giving something back”. As Edmund Bennett, a 2nd year taking part in the event opined, “this will be a chance for us to make a positive impact on behalf of the University”. Therefore, if you wish to witness a sporting spectacle par excellence, with added blood, then I cannot think of an event more suited. Tickets are available from Rascals Bar on Friday (tomorrow) from 1-5 pm, costing £8.
common problem, it doesn’t have to be a common part of everyday life. If low back pain persists, book an appointment to see a physiotherapist who can screen you and provide tailored treatment to aid in recovery and prevention of further low back pain. While most back pain is nonspecific in nature, sometimes back pain can indicate a more serious problem. Rare symptoms that may accompany low back pain include incontinence, poor balance, numbness or weakness in the legs; in this case, you should see a physician immediately.
The Saint • 11 April 2013
Photo: Gemma Bradbury
Three St Andrews students have been awarded sports scholarships totalling up to £16,000 by the SportScotland Institute of Sport. Gemma Bradbury, Gabrielle Macdonald and Ailsa Summers, all golfers, will receive the scholarships in addition to support already provided by the University Golf Development programme. Winning Students scholarships, which have been awarded since 2009, are designed to give students performing at the highest level a platform to excel both on an academic and sporting front. Scholarships of up to £5,500 are awarded each year, with investment in services being tailored to the individual requirements of the athletes involved – the students themselves design the scholarships to make sure that the money is put to the best use possible. There are ten core scholarship sports, of which golf is one, and athletes can be nomi-
Photo: Ailsa Summers
Photo: Gabrielle Macdonald
Three University of St Andrews golfers net up to £16,000 in sports scholarships
(l-r) Ailsa Summers, Gabrielle Macdonald, and Gemma Bradbury hope that the award will give them the chance to make golf their careers nated by their governing body, with a strict set of criteria underpinning the process. These scholarships provide additional support over and above that provided by the University Golf Development programme and, in some cases, compliments the support received from the SportScotland Scottish Institute of Sport. For Ailsa Summers, a Maths and Chemistry student at the very beginning of her university career, the ability to control her own training and funding is ideal, as she knows precisely what she wants to do with her game. “I want to improve my playing
skills by using the excellent courses and weather conditions to learn new ways to play and therefore have a wider range of shots available. In order to be able to do this, the foundations of my golf swing must be solid, something I am and will be working hard on to benefit in the future. I would ideally be at a level to contend in the highest level of amateur golf after university and maybe turn professional if my ability allows.” Debby Sargent, Performance Sport Manager at the Sports Centre, says of the award, “Both competitive golf and university are expen-
sive ventures in the current climate and maintaining financial stability to allow students to excel at both is increasingly difficult. The Winning Students scholarships provide additional income to individual golf athletes, which compliment University of St Andrews scholarships and bursary opportunities. This allows them to embrace all the opportunities that the ‘Home of Golf’ and university golf affords.” Gemma Bradbury has received the scholarship for the last three years, and after graduating hopes to take her game to the highest level.
“Next year, I intend taking a year out to play golf full-time - without the distraction of exams or a degree - and hopefully this will enable me to reach the top level of the amateur game which I hope would be a Great Britain and Ireland cap.” Home Nation representation is not a requirement of the scholarships, but successful scholars must “demonstrate a capability of playing in future major international events and tournaments”. It is certainly high up on the agenda of Gabrielle MacDonald. “Developing my golf throughout my time at university is one of my main priorities. Continuous improvement for me in golf will hopefully lead to gaining a full international cap on the Scottish Ladies team.” Like Gemma, she aspires to greater things in the golf world after St Andrews. “I would like to take time out to compete as a full-time amateur and eventually to gain my tour card for the Ladies European Tour.”
Marathon Man on music
AU Exec calling
I have been given a lot of time to think about the theme for this week’s article. Indeed, whilst running there is scarcely anything else to do. This made me realise that exercise, though ‘wonderful’, life-affirming’, and all, can in fact be very, very dull, and jogging especially lonely. For instance, on a typical jog I usually spend around an hour along West Sands with nothing to accompany me other than my thoughts. As such I decided to buy some jogging headphones to entertain me during my hour a day of isolation. This in itself was a
An announcement on the University website signalled the opening of the application period for the newly-created and controversial Athletic Union internships, after the constitutional changes to the AU were ratified by the Governance and Nominations Committee. This is the first time that the confirmed details of the internships have been available after the heated debate of the consultation period. Internships will last for a twelve month period, commencing on May 1, with “some limited engagement also expected during holiday periods”, to go alongside the seven hours each week during the twenty four weeks of termtime. Interns will be remunerated at a generous rate of £7.83, which totals £1315.44, and will be provided
with mentoring support and professional training by the Athletic Union. Such support is to include “training appropriate to support the Executive Officers in the fulfilment of their duties”, as well as monthly meeting with a mentor to discuss guidance and any development issues both on a personal and organisation-wide level. Further information on all the roles available, which include the newly created Communications Officer, and job descriptions can be found at www.saints-sport.com in the news feed. Applications containing a one page covering letter, CV, a statement by the candidate confirming that s/he is in good standing with the AU and the University, and the names of two referees should be emailed to Peter Burgon at email@example.com no later than April 16 at 5pm.
Course. Rocking out to the lyrics of ‘Killing in the Name’ as I roll past some ageing golfers focusing their mind on the next key shot is probably not what would be considered appropriate behaviour. To tackle these problems I have altered my playlist somewhat, adding the relaxing melodies of Elbow and everyone’s favourite Californian surfer Jack Johnson. Though ‘Cocoon’ is hardly energising it does actually help me pace myself somewhat. Furthermore singing choruses such as “Where did all
the good people go?” is probably more publically acceptable than Rage’s “F*** you I won’t do what I told you!”…probably. As such I’d like to know if you suffer from any of my aforementioned problems (If not, it’s ok; you can lie to make me feel better). Furthermore I’d love to hear any recommendations for running music from The Saint readers, either by comment on my blog online or tweet me your recommendations @saint_sport.
and over again. The ability to listen to music while jogging has, rather surprisingly, provided me with a few new issues. What should one listen to whilst
Embarrassingly, I can’t help but
sing out some of the lyr-
ics of these power anthems as I jog along
bit of a nightmare, especially on a student budget. In the end I just settled for a rather cheap pair of so-called ‘Radiopaqs’. Although they’re no Skull Candy’s they just about do the job, even if the right earphone has made it its life ambition to fall out for no apparent reason several times during the jog. On the bright side, at least this gives me another thing to do whilst doing nothing other than moving my legs over
jogging? At first I assumed that a mix of high energy Rage Against the Machine (RATM), Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) and Prodigy would be the answer. To some extent, it worked; very few sounds can spur one on in the final few kilometres like RATM’s heavy metal crescendo in “Calm Like a Bomb”, or QOTSA’s hammering riff in “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire”.
However, this new injection of energy soon proved to be both a blessing and a curse: though these tunes do make you want to run at a million miles an hour, something which is highly useful in the last and hardest stretches of the jog, the rest of the time this energy boost becomes a a real issue, often spurring me on to waste all of my energy in a few ‘lightning’ sprints during the first few kilometres. It also provides me with a far more embarrassing problem, one which I am not sure whether is caused by the good endorphins released into my brain from the exercise or my inner illusion that I am some sort of rock god. Either way, I can’t help but sing out some of the lyrics of these power anthems as I jog along. For the most part this is ok if I’m running along a secluded West Sands. The biggest issues arise when I’m jogging through public places such as Grannie Clark’s Wynd which crosses the Old
Football and basketball teams arrive home with silverware from the frozen North p 28
After a successful 2011-12 season, which saw the Saints promoted to RBS Caledonia 1 for the first time in 15 years, the Rugby Club has backed this up with a memorable 2012-13 season. In their BUCS league, Scottish 1A, the Mens 1st XV finished a respectable third. Winning five and losing three, the team was able to repeat their standing from last season. Both captain Robert Davidson and coach David Ross described this as a “mixed season.” The Saints completed an impressive double over Dundee, last year’s champions, and beat a strong Aberdeen team at University Park. A 50-0 victory over Edinburgh Napier highlighted the team’s attacking flair and the ethos of the club as a whole. However, Davidson remains disappointed at the two close losses to Stirling, a team the 1st XV beat in the cup competition. These defeats unfortunately held the Saints back from progressing higher up the league. Looking forward Davidson suggests: “The focus for the coming years has to be to gain promotion so that we are consistently playing against top quality opposition.” With strong performances against Durham 2nd XV and Edinburgh 1st XV, the team have already shown that they are capable of being competitive with those further up the leagues. The 1st XV have exceeded expectations in RBS Caledonia 1, where they compete on a Saturday, only one tier below the national leagues. Finishing third is a real achievement in a league where many would have expected the Saints to struggle. Greater speed and fitness has enabled the team to frequently defeat older and significantly larger opposition. Recent victory over the league champions, Aberdeenshire, was proof that the Saints really belong at this level. However, important lessons have also been learned, particularly on the trip to Orkney, where the team received an 80 minute lesson in forward play. Ross believes that the lessons learned in the league will be of great benefit: “I am confident that the tough matches experienced in this league have made our players better and ulti-
On Wednesday 13 March, 10 of the University’s sports teams took on their counterparts from RAF Leuchars in the 5th annual Tedder Challenge. The Tedder family occupy an important place in the histories of both the RAF and the University and the event seeks to commemorate this through sport. This year ’s event was the biggest to date, as the Challenge expanded from 6 events to ten, namely rugby, football, golf, clay pigeon shooting, cross country, netball, squash, climbing, show jumping and volleyball. Gary Brankin, event organiser and University Sport Development manager, referred to the event as a “huge success” which has “helped to further strengthen the links that we have with RAF Leuchars”. It was a sentiment that was echoed by Air Officer Scotland and Station Commander of RAF Leuchars, Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew, who said, “the Tedder Challenge reinforces the excellent relationship we enjoy with St Andrews University” and he emphasised that event reflects “many of the best aspects of the RAF.” Honours were even in the 2012 event, held at RAF Leuchars, and this provided extra incentive for the teams preparing to contest the 2013 Challenge at the University. The Saints were in dominant form from the outset and raced into the lead by picking up victories in netball and cross country. The initial trickle of success became a flood, as the University took what would prove to be an unassailable advantage, claiming the spoils in the clay pigeon shooting, rugby and climbing. However, the team from RAF Leuchars refused to give in and picked up victories in golf, football, and squash making the score
mately that is one of our main aims.” The Mens 3rd XV have had a difficult season competing in Scottish 4A. Decent first-half efforts were all too often undone with sluggish second-half showings. Away losses to Aberdeen 4th XV and QMU 1st XV, were symptomatic of this. The season picked up after Christmas, an unglamorous 3-3 draw with Aberdeen securing the Saints’ first league points. And in the final match of the season they finally produced the goods. A tenacious defensive display and some clinical finishing resulted in a 20-5 victory over QMU and secured the team’s position in 4A for next season. While ruing the results that went against his team, captain Sam Ummat reflected positively on a season that has seen a number of freshers developing both on and off the field. For David Ross, meanwhile, “The main success this year has been the Women’s team.” Having merged with the men to form a unified Rugby Club, the Women’s team has gone from the brink of obscurity to title challengers. With 30 plus attending training and a group of dedicated coaches, the team have been working hard on
learning the game, developing skills and improving fitness. For captain Jude Telford it’s not just a numbers game: “These aren’t just numbers, the most amazing part is how well the team has gelled and how talented our inexperienced team is.” The hard work has not gone unrewarded, with the team finishing second in a competitive Scottish 1A league. Victories over Aberdeen and Glasgow were particular highlights of this breakthrough season. Despite leading the way for most of the season, they were pipped at the post by Dundee. The future looks bright, with Telford confirming that: “St Andrews will definitely be looking to bring home silverware and expand the club further.” “Quietly satisfied” sums up Ross’ thoughts on the season. Next year will see new squads come together; all that is promised is that: “we will be playing in true St Andrews style every time we walk on the pitch, and that is to win.” The Saints now look forward to the 44th annual St Andrews Sevens tournament to be held at University Park on 20 April.
Photo: Kirstie McMillan
Photos: Chris Reekie
Photo: Kirstie McMillan
1st XV secure third in University wins debut top league season Tedder Challenge
5-3. This resurgence gave the RAF a slim chance of replicating the 2012 result, as with 2 events remaining the score stood at 5-3 to the University. The threat of an RAF comeback promised to produce a nail-biting finish in the final events, volleyball and show jumping. The volleyball match had been won by the University team for the past two years and the RAF captain’s pre-match confession that the RAF team lacked match practice suggested that this was a trend that was unlikely to be reversed. Despite the odds being stacked against them, the RAF contributed admirably to a closely contested first set, the University narrowly securing it 25-21. In the second, the Saints stormed ahead, racing to an 8-0 lead, mainly as a result of some strong serving. The RAF team responded strongly and whittled the Saints’ advantage down to just 3 points; however, in the end, experience prevailed and St Andrews took the set 25-19. A 25-10 victory for the Saints in the final set confirmed the whitewash and consigned the RAF to overall defeat in the Challenge. Kevin Dibb, President and captain on the day, said “the volleyball club had a great time at this year ’s Tedder Challenge, winning in straight sets and continuing it’s unbeaten record”. He added that the team “featured a real mix of players from our women’s 1st and 2nd teams, as well as a number from the men’s team. Although we rarely play with a mixed team, everyone came together, had a great day, and won the match quite decisively”. St Andrews rounded off this year ’s event in resounding fashion by securing a further victory in the show jumping which confirmed a 7-3 victory for the University.