THE SAINT The independent voice of St Andrews students since 1997
ISSUE 175 • FREE 3 October 2013 thesaint-online.com
Professional help with Dissertations, Theses and Essays A personal service from a former University of St Andrews lecturer
Dr William Singleton 01333 431 733
All aspects from punctuation, language and structure to consistency of arguments and use of sources
Do you know the sabbs? The results are in
Arts & Culture
“It’s easier to blame the game than it is to blame the national culture.” Alex Harrison takes GTA V’s critics to task
• 74 % do not recognise president Chloe Hill from a photograph • 70% do not know what the SRC is • 60% do not know where they would go to speak to a sabb Laura Abernethy News editor
The Saint’s sabb survey for 2013 has revealed that there is still a lack of recognition about who the sabbatical officers are and what they do. Last year, the survey showed that 46 per cent (162 of 351 students surveyed by The Saint) recognised the then Students’ Association president, Freddie Fforde, but that figure has now dropped to 26 per cent with only 79 of 303 people recognising incumbent president Chloe Hill. Director of student development and activities (DoSDA) Kelsey Gold was the least well known sabbatical officer. Just 14 per cent of students surveyed recognised her and only 10 per cent knew what she did. Last year’s DoSDA Meg Platt was recognised at the time by 26 per cent of students, though only 18 per cent knew what her role was. The number of students who could identify the director of events and services and the director of representation has also fallen. Last year 22 per cent of students recognised DoES Jules Findlay, but this was down to 19 per cent this year for his successor, Daniel Palmer. Previously, 23 per cent identified DoRep Amanda Litherland but only 21 per cent could name current DoRep Teddy Woodhouse. Students were even less clear on the roles of Mr Palmer and Mr Woodhouse. 17 per cent knew what the DoRep does and only 13 per cent were aware of what the role of DoES involves. That so few students recognise
their representatives is surprising as St Andrews has one of the most active student electorates in the UK. It is the only students’ union in the country ever to have exceeded a 50 per cent turnout for Union elections, a record set in 2012 when 4,080 students voted - 52% of the total 7,777. The turnout dipped again in 2013, however, when 4,081 out of 8,089 votes were cast. Although this was one more vote than the year before, it was a lower percentage of the electorate. The latest sabb survey results suggest that many students fail to remain interested in their student representatives beyond election week. Following The Saint’s survey last year, the sabbatical officers launched a number of initiatives to make themselves better known among the student body. They began a weekly radio show on STAR called A Sabb State of Affairs, Mr Fforde kept a blog to keep students up to date with what he was doing, and all four officers attended events in halls and outside the Union to try to improve their visibility. They also set up various Facebook pages for projects such as the redevelopment, to give students an easy way to keep up with what was happening. This year, the sabbatical officers have tried to continue these efforts to become more visible. They have started a sabb diary, which is published in every issue of The Saint, and Chloe Hill, Kelsey Gold Continued on page 4
First consultation free
Late-night smoothies or a burrito bar? Your local business ideas are put to our panel >Page 14
Scramble to the top of the A-list: Charmaine Che on the preoccupation with university rankings >Page 10 Top: Children and adults alike take refuge behind a vehicle during the assault on the Nairobi shopping centre. Above: Patrons of ArtCaffe, the Israeli-owned coffee shop that was the first area to be targeted by the terrorists, hide among the wreckage.
Westgate tragedy exclusive Eyewitness photos from the midst of the Kenyan atrocity and a reflection from the St Andrews student affected Editorial, p2; Features, p15 This article contains graphic images that some readers may find disturbing
Sport Andrew McQuillan and Frazer Hadfield on the Dunhill: when golf and glitz combine in St Andrews >Pages 34-35
NEWS 1-7 VIEWPOINT 8-12 MONEY 13-14 FEATURES 15-19 PHOTOS 20-21 EVENTS 22-23 SABB DIARY 24 ARTS&CULTURE 25-31 SPORT 32-36
WEB EDITOR’S PICKS
Rebecca Gualandi explores St Andrews’ growing male gym culture
What’s going on in St Andrews this week? Keep up to date with all the latest event reviews and previews
Sport editor Andrew McQuillan looks at some of the last remaining football ‘fanzines’
Follow our graduate bloggers as they explore life beyond St Andrews in Edinburgh, Manchester and Thailand
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Shockwaves: the Westgate attack On Tuesday 11 September 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre in New York City. Newspapers everywhere ran supplements in the following days, branding the images of the flaming buildings into the psyches of the nations such that they could never be forgotten. The images were shocking; in one, a man clutched his office chair tightly beneath him as he hurtled to his death, framed by the burning towers. Soon after, the war on terror was launched. All of a sudden, words such as ‘suicide bomber’ and ‘terrorist’ started to become so familiar that, after 12 years, we have been desensitised to the scenes of devastation and destruction beamed into our houses by the media. Productions such as The Kingdom, The Hurt Locker and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare have repeatedly reinforced the horror of ter-
rorism, yet their desire to portray it accurately serves only to desensitise us further. And so, when the events in Nairobi were first reported, many people will not have even looked at the story, perhaps dismissing
choice to use strong images to accompany the Features piece by Vivek Shah, whose family friend was caught up in the violence. It may be deemed insensitive by some to have printed images of the dead so soon after the atrocity. Perhaps the sight
It is The Saint’s duty to present the realities facing our students ... and not shy away from difficult truths it as ‘another terrorist attack’. But this event in a far-off country has been brought to our doorstep: a St Andrews student has been personally affected by what has happened. Some readers may question our
of blood and the wounded might seem too graphic or shocking for a student newspaper. The pictures are not pleasant and they are shocking, and The Saint will not pretend otherwise. It is our duty
St Andrews’ claim to be ‘21st safest’ university in the UK Elliot Davies
Deputy and web editor The University of St Andrews has a claim to being one of the safest universities in the UK, Saint analysis has revealed. Examination of statistics for burglary, robbery and violent crime those offences most likely to affect students - showed that an average of 1.25 crimes of this nature were recorded per 1,000 residents in St Andrews between May 2012 and April 2013. A ranking of 119 universities in England and Wales using similar statistics was carried out by the Complete University Guide earlier this year. It found that the safest university was Aberystwyth, with 0.47 crimes per 1,000 residents. St Andrews’ total of 1.25 would put it 21st in the table, between Sunderland and Chester. The results are not precisely comparable, however, as crime in Scotland is recorded differently from England and Wales. The Saint used data for the whole of St
Andrews over the period whereas the Complete University Guide used only crime recorded in wards or electoral divisions that fell within a three-mile radius of the main university campus in each case. This means that the University of St Andrews may actually be safer than calculated. In total 17 burglaries - recorded in Scotland as housebreakings and defined as offences where a person enters a dwelling with the intention of stealing - were reported in St Andrews over the year-long period, equating to 1.01 per 1,000 residents. This would be the 25th highest rate of burglary in the table, equal to Greenwich and higher than Nottingham, despite St Andrews’ reputation for being a peaceful seaside town. 17 of the 24 universities with higher burglary rates than St Andrews were in London. Four recorded incidents of violent crime - called serious assault in Scotland - gave a figure of 0.24 per 1,000 residents. Only the Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire recorded a lower
rate of violent crime, at 0.12 incidents per 1,000 residents. Violent crime is defined as an “offence against the person,” such as common assaults, grievous bodily harm and sexual offences. No robberies were recorded in St Andrews during the period, the same as 13 other universities. A robbery differs from a burglary in that a robber uses force or threat of force to steal. Comparable data for other Scottish universities was not available, but a separate Complete University Guide report into cities with multiple universities showed Dundee as a whole to suffer 5.5 incidents of the above types per 1,000 residents in an average year - more than five times that of St Andrews. Aberdeen had 4.7 per 1,000 people and Edinburgh had 6.4, while Glasgow saw 7.9. The statistics used by both The Saint and the Complete University Guide include crimes committed against all residents, not just students. The Saint took the population of St Andrews to be 16,870 as reported in the 2011 census.
Editorial Board Editor
Litherland, Rachael Miller,
Deputy and web editor Elliot Davies
email@example.com Printed by Trinity Mirror Print, Barton Road, Riverside Park, Middlesborough Tel: 01912 043390
to present the realities facing our students to the rest of the student body and not shy away from difficult truths. This town is an incredibly tightknit community. We are often claimed to have no more than two degrees of separation between any student here as a result of our academic families, societies and classes. The odds are that you are only a few social steps away from someone who has been directly affected by a terrible event. When the Twin Towers fell, the West was united against the threat from Al-Qaeda, the images in the media heightening the pathos of the situation. The attack on the Westgate Centre has created shockwaves that have reached our small town; it is only by uniting against this horror that we can face it down.
Monica Burns News editor
Carrie Magee, Matthew Tierney Riordan
firstname.lastname@example.org The Saint Student Newspaper Ltd C/O St Andrews Students’ Association St Mary’s Place St Andrews, Fife KY16 9UX
Camilla Henfrey Business team:
Ben Quiligotti, Sophie Kelly
email@example.com Useful Numbers: Nightline: 01334 462266 IT Services: 01334 463333 Police: 01334 418900 ASC: 01334 462020
Feddinch Practice: 01334 476840 Blackfriars Practice: 01334 477477 Strathcairn Practice: 01334 473441
incidents of burglary per 1000 residents
incidents of robbery per 1000 residents
incidents of violent crime per 1000 residents 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 Students’ Association. The text, graphics and photographs are under copyright of The Saint and its individual contributors. No parts of this newspaper may be reproduced without prior permission of the editor.
The Saint • 3 October 2013
international students cannot be surgically separated from the rest of the St Andrews economy. “Proposals that hold negative social and economic impacts on St Andrews’ international students in turn have the same consequences for the rest of our community. The University provides over 2,000 jobs in the local community and employs 60 per cent of the town’s population – a negative effect on the contributions that international students make to the University has a knock-on effect throughout the community. “This impact is similarly not limited to purely economic means. International students contribute in a multitude of ways into the greater community. Our Charities Campaign, which involves international students at every level of its organisation, has raised over £1 million. International students contribute hours of volunteering through the Student Volunteering Service and also through University courses encouraging students to reach out and teach at local schools.” Daniel Stevens, international students’ officer for the National Union of Students, said the proposals would be “disheartening” for in-
New government immigration proposals criticised by Students’ Association News editor
The Students’ Association has criticised government plans to allow landlords to carry out passport checks on international students before offering them private accommodation. The government is currently deciding on policies to force landlords to check passports and biometric residence permits of prospective tenants to ensure that they have the right to be in the UK. This may cause problems for many international students, however, as they would not be able to secure accommodation before entering the country. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) said checking their immigration status using original documents beforehand would be “difficult if not impossible.” Students may also face difficulties as they may have to renew their visas, UKCISA claims, which involves leaving their passports with the Home Office for up to three months at a time. During this period they would not be able to prove to a prospective landlord that they were
in the UK legally, it states. The proposals are particularly relevant in St Andrews as 42 per cent of the student population comes from outside the UK, and 32 per cent come from outside the European Union. These proposals may discourage students from coming to St Andrews in the future. The proposals would be particularly difficult for students who wish to continue postgraduate studies as they may be prevented from securing private accommodation if they have a pending immigration status. The Students’ Association argues that: “These challenges will only go to encourage students to seek less secure forms of housing.” The response from the Students’ Association, written by president Chloe Hill, director of representation Teddy Woodhouse, SRC accommodation officer Scott Taylor, SRC equal opportunities and welfare officer Hibak Mohamud Yusuf, and SRC member for international students Caroline Rhoads, objects to the proposals. It states: “The University of St Andrews, and its student community, has a foundational impact on the local economy. The treatment of
ternational students and would treat them like “potential criminals.” The Students’ Association suggests that if these proposals are implemented, matriculation cards could be used to ensure that there is a minimal burden to students. “The proposed change puts extraordinary trust in landlords to be able to recognise valid forms of documentation. As direct members of their own community, however, many landlords will also be able to readily identify a student’s matriculation card and confirm its validity as well. While a student’s passport, biometric card, or visa may be held during certain periods, including extensions, a student should be able to readily provide a valid matriculation card as a form of identification,” they said. The Home Office is encouraging universities across the country to respond formally to the plans. Other universities alongside St Andrews have already expressed their objections to the new policies. The government is currently carrying out consultations and surveys on the plans and they may be implemented from the beginning of next year.
International students in numbers
of students at St Andrews come from outside the United Kingdom
of students at St Andrews come from outside the European Union
Laura Abernethy News editor
Students have returned to living in Fife Park despite the need for refurbishment. Fife Council has told the University that it must refurbish the properties by 2014 to meet legal requirements. The houses consisted of six residents who shared a kitchen and bathroom, but the council required this ratio to be lowered. Fife Council currently states that in order to gain an HMO licence “there shall be one watercloset for every five persons living in the premises.” Last year, students were moved from the hall to allow for potential refurbishment and it was decided that Fife Park would be taken out of commission in its entirety from the start of the second semester of 2013. The houses are now around 40 years old and according to the University there were a “number of elements that need to be upgraded and replaced.” Most residents were moved to Agnes Blackadder Hall and David Russell Apartments as there was a surplus of rooms during the last academic year. But new students are now living in the Fife Park houses for the academic year 2013-2014. A single house was refurbished over the summer but work has now stopped and a new so-
lution to the problem has been found. Deputy senior student of DRAFP Edward Coombe said: “To comply with the change in HMO, Fife park only has five people living in the sixbedroom houses, with the 6th room locked.” Mr Coombe added: “The plan was to remove everyone and redevelop all the houses in the summer. Students were informed on the website and by word of mouth that this was the plan. “For unknown reasons the money did not appear to be available for the redevelopment and so after one house, it was stopped.” Although the houses now comply with the regulations, there has been little refurbishment elsewhere to update the them. Two students said that some things were broken when they moved into their new homes. Many are also disappointed with the lack of awareness about what will be happening to the buildings. The website states that: “Due to the timing of the works it is possible that there may have to be a rolling programme after the summer vacation, with some students being accommodated in existing pre-refurbished properties and then being required to move to refurbished properties as they become available.” “The purpose of this information is to alert you to the situation and to inform you of the potential implica-
Photo: Sammi McKee
Students move into Fife Park despite it needing to be “upgraded and replaced”
Students are now living in unrefurbished houses in Fife Park and the University is still considering what to do tion for you as a resident of accepting a place in Fife Park so that you can make an informed decision.” Some of the new students said that they only knew about the potential of disruption because they read it on the
website or because it had been spread through word of mouth. Many said that they had not been told directly by the University about the possibility of ongoing work and were unsure if they would face a disruptive move to new
accommodation in the future. The University is still considering what to do with the properties and a long term solution has not yet been found. The University was unavailable to provide a comment.
3 October 2013 • The Saint
The Saint sabb survey 2013
The sabb truth of the matter: most students do not recognise their representatives Continued from page 1
What do they do?
Chloe Hill, President Reponsible for representing student interests to the University, town and national bodies. She is the public face of the association and its media spokesperson. Teddy Woodhouse, DoRep Responsible for representing student interests alongside the President and organising student elections and campaigns. Along with the president he sits on the University Court, the University’s highest governing body. Daniel Palmer, DoES Responsible for the Union’s event programme including Freshers’ Week, weekly events such as the Bop and Graduation Ball. He is also responsible for student input into the bar and other facilities in the Union building. Photo: YourUnion
and Daniel Palmer have also set up personal Facebook pages to give students another avenue to contact them. All four have continued to use the Twitter accounts that were set up by their predecessors. In addition, the Union website has been completely rebranded over the summer and is now updated regularly so that students can find information more easily. In particular SRC and SSC minutes and agendas are now available online to ensure students are aware of any issues that are being discussed and voted on. But despite the sabbatical officers’ attempts to keep students up to date with what they are doing, there seems to be a lack of interest. This year they launched a blog on the Union website, following on from Freddie Fforde’s presidential Tumblr. Last year, 35 per cent of students who were surveyed had heard of Mr Fforde’s blog, though only 15 per cent had looked at it. The new blog has attracted even less attention: 18 per cent of those surveyed had heard of the sabb blog and just 15 per cent had read it. The sabbatical officers have had some success in their first few months in office. Freshers’ Week saw a packed schedule of 11 events, and the activities have continued during the first weeks of term with laser tag, crazy golf and the weekly bop. Meanwhile, Ms Hill has recently spoken out against the attempts to extend the HMO ban beyond the town centre. The SRC has also been busy, passing a number of motions including the introduction of a new employability officer, which was one of the policies Mr Woodhouse and Ms Gold concentrated on during their election campaigns. The survey suggests that the sabbatical officers have been concentrating on these matters rather than making themselves more visible to the student body.
Fom left to right: Chloe Hill (president), Teddy Woodhouse (DoRep), Daniel Palmer (DoES) and Kelsey Gold (DoSDA) Aside from the sabbatical officers, many students were also unsure about their other representatives within the Students’ Association. Only 30 per cent of those surveyed were able to correctly identify the SRC as the Students’ Representative Council, and a low 33 per cent of students surveyed knew that it is the representative body for the Association, voting on legislative matters and representing student interests. The SSC fared worst of all with only 7 per cent of students able to
recall that the acronym stood for the Student Services Council and only 12 per cent able to say that it oversees extra-curricular activities, societies and facilities in the Union. Some results from the survey were more positive. 40 per cent of students knew that they could speak to the sabbatical officers in the Students’ Union, though this figure was down slightly on last year when 48 per cent were able to recall the location of the sabbatical offices. Encouragingly, 27 per cent of respondents said that they would run
Do St Andrews students know their sabbs?
for a Students’ Association or sabbatical position, an improvement on 19 per cent last year, showing that there is a desire among some students to get more involved. In a joint statement Ms Hill, Mr Woodhouse, Mr Palmer and Ms Gold commented: “It’s not who we are, but what we do. We’ve just had a hugely successful Fresher’s Week, despite the building site, and we continue to deal with the redevelopment on a day-to-day basis to limit the impact on students now and ensure it is
Do you know what the SRC stands for?
Kelsey Gold, DoSDA Responsible for the line management of most SSC members and for socieities. She also handles other extra-curricular activites and liaises with the Careers Centre and similar organisations. the best possible space for students when it is finished. We are very happy with how many students have engaged with the Association so far this year: Subcommittees continue to do bigger and better things, we now have 150 societies and growing. Last week’s SRC motions gained popular support and the new Wellbeing Officer and Employability Officer will add even more to what we do.“ Additional reporting by Carrie Magee, Rachael Miller, Perl Li, Matthew Litherland and Cara Wonnacott
Do you know what the SSC stands for?
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Library fines at the University of St Andrews amounted to £75,872 for the academic year 2012-2013, a Freedom of Information request by The Saint has revealed. This follows figures from 2012 that showed UK universities had raised more than £50 million from library fines in total. Last year’s sum represents a reduction in overall library fines at the University from a peak of £80,946 in the academic year 2009-2010, but this year’s figures are still up from 20112012 when fines totalled £75,095. In the last five years library receipts from fines have been remarkably consistent but have always been greater than the 2008-09 total of £73,903. Students can be charged up to £1 per day for long loan books and £0.50 per hour for overdue short loan books. Library borrowing privleges are automatically suspended for users with fines exceeding £10. Teddy Woodhouse, the director of representation (DoRep) and chair of Student Library User Group (SLUG) meetings, says he is committed to reducing what he called the “hidden [library] costs of a University of St Andrews degree.” Mr Woodhouse highlighted the Students’ Representative Council’s
(SRC) Education Committee’s aim of reducing inter-library loan fees. These are loans from other universities or national libraries, and are often crucial for specialist research to be undertaken. Mr Woodhouse highlighted the importance of these loans for fourth-year undergraduate dissertations but said these loans can often result in “substantial costs” for certain students. In addition to this, the SRC’s Education Committee is addressing the feasibility of introducing automatic renewal for items that have not been requested. This would aim at reducing fines for students who are not having a detrimental effect upon other library users. Mr Woodhouse said that these proposals are in their early stages and he could not timetable the discussions with the library. Perhaps most worryingly for the library is an increase in the number of books that have been lost, damaged or stolen in the last four years. 2008-09 saw approximately 25 books fall into this category. Last year this figure reached four times that, at approximately 102 books. Students were charged a total of £4,570 for these items last year. An administration fee of £5 is charged alongside the cost of replacing any lost or damaged books.
Dunhill brings tourists to town Matthew Litherland News sub-editor
Businesses throughout the town are expecting notable boosts in revenue following the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which was held at the self-styled “Home of Golf” from Thursday to Sunday of last week. The Dunhill is a yearly golf championship famous for attracting celebrities and professional golfers to St Andrews to compete in the team competition. There is also an individual professional tournament with a $5 million prize fund. James Lakie, corporate press officer for Visit Scotland, commented: “There is definitely a good buzz in the area,” adding that “clearly it’s a good opportunity for all businesses to capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the competition ... these things are for the economic benefit of St Andrews.” The unique nature of the event, in which leading professional golfers compete alongside A-list celebrities, was also highlighted by Mr Lakie as a key factor in attracting visitors. “The Dunhill is a real big competition - you don’t see events like this anywhere else in the world. It shines the global spotlight on the town; effectively ‘money can’t buy’ advertising.”
But the benefits for businesses may well be tempered by the current structure of the Dunhill. Recent tournaments have been staged over three courses, with Carnoustie and Kingsbarns joining St Andrews as hosts. Patrick Laughlin, manager of the St Andrews Partnership, explained: “Spectator numbers have dropped considerably since the event format changed several years ago ... these days, the number of additional visitors coming to St Andrews for the Dunhill is relatively small.” He did add however that despite this the competition is “absolutely worth having ... it does benefit the hotels and restaurants considerably and brings a lot of promotional exposure to the town.” While businesses enjoy the shortterm economic benefits, Mr Lakie pointed to the potential of the Dunhill to create long-term growth for all firms in the locality. “The key point is the platform which St Andrews is placed upon going forward. Visitors for the championship might well return, whether it be with the rest of their family or on a golfing business trip. The challenge for us lies in using the Dunhill to create a lasting legacy, and these repeat visits are an important measure of that.”
Photo: Sammi McKee
Over £75,000 in library fines collected from students during last academic year
Students have been fined over £75,000 in late fees at the University of St Andrews library Library fines have faced particular scrutiny nationally in the last year. A report in 2012 detailed £50 million in fines collected across the UK’s uni-
versities over the last six years. St Andrews fared well in comparison to other UK institutions, however, such as the University of Leeds, which av-
eraged £300,000 in fines per year. The library was unavailable for comment on any of the matters raised.
Scientists warn of need to protect endangered species Laura Abernethy News editor
Efforts to protect marine mammals are likely to leave the most endangered species entirely unprotected, according to scientists at the University of St Andrews. At the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in 2012, countries pledged to protect global marine biodiversity by fully protecting 10% of the world’s oceans, but the methods employed to select which areas to protect are more contentious. Previous research has suggested that range maps of ‘presence’ and ‘absence’ could be used to identify and protect species-rich areas, and that protecting just 4% of the world’s oceans could ensure the protection of 84% of all marine mammal species. The new study, carried out by scientists at the Schools of Biology and Mathematics & Statistics together with colleagues working in Europe and North America, examines whether these methods are a reliable way of protecting endangered species. In their report, the researchers show that high species richness is not related to habitat quality or
high use areas for each species. Dr Rob Williams, a researcher at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews who is leading the project, said: “Unfortunately it seems that we can’t rely on current methods. Despite best intentions, it seems that range maps alone are inadequate to inform the tough decisions we need to make about priority areas to protect. “Sites with the most species never corresponded to the highestuse areas for any individual species. Protecting those species-rich areas would leave the most important habitats for endangered species entirely unprotected. “There is no substitute for identifying critical habitats of the species most in need of protection, and protecting those. Unfortunately existing methods being used to identify where to put protected areas may not best be serving the species they aim to protect.” The group says that some areas are more useful to animals than others, and all areas of an animal’s range cannot be assumed to be equal. In their paper, published by the journal Ecography, the international team outline practical and cost-ef-
fective ways to improve the quality of data available. Professor Steve Buckland, director of the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling at St Andrews, added: “Too often, lack of adequate data is given as an excuse for taking easy shortcuts, when the real need is to address the minimum data requirement to meet management needs.” Dr Sascha Hooker, a lecturer in the School of Biology, explained: “Although it is tempting to think that any habitat protection is better than none, given the scale of conservation problems globally, it is paramount that we make conservation funds work to best maximise conservation gains for the animals concerned – having parks that do little good is a waste of resources”. Randall Reeves, a co-author of the study and chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Cetacean Specialist Group, added: “We have already witnessed one humancaused extinction of a dolphin species in our working lifetime, China’s Yangtze River dolphin. There is an urgent need for better data and precautionary decision-making to prevent more such tragedies.”
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Deputy and web editor A study by psychologists at the University of St Andrews has found that playing a musical instrument may help stall the decline in mental ability caused by age or illness. The research, led by Dr Ines Jentzsch of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience and published in the journal Neuropsychologia, showed that musicians have sharper than average minds and can spot and fix mistakes more quickly than those without musical skills. Dr Jentzsch’s study compared the cognitive ability of amateur musicians - who had had varying levels of instrumental practice - to that of non-musicians in carrying out simple mental tasks. She found that the musicians were able to recognise and correct mistakes more quickly than the non-musicians, indicating that playing a musical instrument even at an amateur level improves the mind’s ability to catch errors. The musicians were also able to adjust their subsequent responses more effectively. The work expanded on previous findings that had demonstrated a posi-
tive link between mental abilities and musical aptitude. Dr Jentzsch said: “Our study shows that even moderate levels of musical activity can benefit brain functioning. “Our findings could have important implications as the processes involved are amongst the first to be affected by aging, as well as a number of mental illnesses such as depression. The research suggests that musical activity could be used as an effective intervention to slow, stop or even reverse age- or illness-related decline in mental functioning.” She continued: “Musical activity cannot only immensely enrich our lives but the associated benefits for our physical and mental functioning could be even more far-reaching than proposed in our and previous research. “Music plays an important role in virtually all societies. Nevertheless, in times of economic hardship, funds for music education are often amongst the first to be cut. “We strongly encourage political decision makers to reconsider funding cuts for arts education and to increase public spending for music tuition. “In addition, adults who have never played an instrument or felt too old to learn should be encouraged to take up music - it’s never too late.”
Photo: Luisfi/Wikimedia Commons
Playing music University scientists find can help the mind right or left handed genes
Laura Abernethy News editor
Scientists at the University of St Andrews have been involved in a study to identify a biological process that influences whether we are right handed or left handed. The work was led by Dr Silvia Paracchini of St Andrews alongside scientists at the Universities of Oxford and Bristol and the Max Plank Institute in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Dr Paracchini said: “The genetics of handedness have been investigated for a long time, but this is the first study that show robust results at both statistical
and biological levels.” Dr Paracchini and her team were interested in understanding which genes might have an influence on handedness, in order to gain an insight into the causes and evolution of handedness. Humans are the only species to show such a strong bias in handedness, with around 90% of people being right-handed. The cause of this bias remains largely a mystery. The researchers carried out a genome-wide association study to identify any common gene variants that might correlate with which hand people prefer using. The most strongly associated, statistically significant, variant with handedness is located in the gene PCSK6,
which is involved in the early establishment of left and right in the growing embryo. “The genes are involved in the biological process through which an early embryo moves on from being a round ball of cells and becomes a growing organism with an established left and right side,” explained William Brandler, a PhD student in the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford. The researchers then made full use of knowledge from previous studies (done elsewhere) into what PCSK6 and similar genes do in mice to reveal more about the biological processes involved. When genes responsible for left-right defects were disrupted, there was increased likelihood of an association with relative hand skills than you would expect by chance. While the team has identified the role of genes in establishing left from right in embryo development, they say that the results do not completely explain the variation in handedness seen among humans. The research was supported by the University of St Andrews, the UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Max Plank Society and the EU 6th Framework Programme, using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
*** HAZELBANK HOTEL*** www.hazelbank.com SPECIAL DISCOUNT B&B RATES OCTOBER TO DECEMBER SUNDAY to THURSDAY PLEASE CALL 01334472466 OR EMAIL QUOTING REF:SAINT113
Hazelbank Hotel 28 The Scores St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AS. Tel/Fax (01334) 472466 www.hazelbank.com email: email@example.com
The Saint • 3 October 2013
InFocus: Patrick Mallon, principal ambassador
“We’re not all toffs and rich boys – it’s a great university, and a really cool place to be”
Photo: Legg Henry Legg Photo: Henry
Patrick Mallon is the principal ambassador for 2013-2014
Of the many people who could claim to be the ‘face’ of the University, Patrick Mallon (4th year, history and English) is better qualified than most. As principal ambassador, he oversees the University’s efforts to cast aside the mystical visions of ivory towers, archaic traditions and haughty elitism that still prevails among school pupils thinking of applying to university; physical proof that there are, indeed, some normal, down-to-earth people at St Andrews. He fits the mould perfectly: with a well-spoken, distinctly Scottish accent (he hails from Falkirk), jeans and a blue jumper, the first impression he gives off is friendly and candid. I ask what his biggest challenge is. “Admin,” he states with a weary deadpan. He is in charge of over 300 ambassadors and helps coordinate the intricate network of tours, workshops and summer schools that the University has set up to promote itself. It is no menial task: seven visiting days annually, around 10 widening access schemes (with names ranging from the simple, enthusiastic, playground-focused ‘Space School’ and ‘Science Camp’ to the more mature ‘Sutton Trust Summer School’), along with numerous other talks and presentations at schools. One particular project he enthuses about is the Teachers Together conference - which he found “really really interesting” - described on the University website as a partnership between Scottish state schools, Local Education authorities and St Andrews, with guidance teachers coming from all parts of Scotland. “We found a lot of [the pupils] had so many misconceptions about what St Andrews was, what kind of people come here... We were able to chat to them and convince them that we’re not all toffs and rich boys – it’s a
great university, and a really cool place to be.” This delicate balance between promoting St Andrews as a “cool place” and encouraging high academic achievement forms the essence of his work. I ask about the type of pitch he delivers to pupils in the Outreach schemes: the “first and foremost” thing he will always say is that “St Andrews is one of the best universities in the UK, and the best in Scotland, arguably.” The primary target in these talks (unsurprisingly) is to work against the stereotypes that surround St Andrews: “We have a really diverse group of ambassadors, some from Scotland, some from the rest of the UK, some international…We can have a laugh about things like ‘Champagning’ [the infamous Youtube video of students pouring champagne on themselves] – that’s not what St Andrews is like, it’s just what the media picks up on.” He has, in the past, directly confronted the media itself, commenting on the online Guardian article about ‘Champagning’ in 2012 that “widening access programmes are the way forward, but they are undermined by our elitist image entrenched by these kinds of antics.” Despite these occasional setbacks, however, he seems pleased about the progress that the Widening Access team have been able to make. “We have so many kids coming through summer schools who end up applying to St Andrews, making it their first choice university.” One new project, Access to Rural Communities (ARC), seeks out the students from the farthest flung depths of the Highlands and other areas – “the places that most universities miss out on… We try and pick up the kids who have been left behind.” The Ambassador team has been closely involved with the 600th anniversary celebrations. “We were there
to make sure events were running smoothly, and did it for free. The vice ambassadors were there for every event.” I ask what effect the celebrations might have had on the University’s image – could they possibly hinder the Ambassadors’ efforts in promoting the right sort of perception? “It can be a challenge, especially when people are in their gowns and fancy hats; it may put some people off who are looking for a simple and modern university. Personally, though, I think they’re what make St Andrews so great… They’ve been really exciting.” He adds that in the past it was mandatory for ambassadors to wear gowns during student tours, which is no longer the case. Moving from the past to what the future has in store, I ask what his current plans and goals are. “We’re looking to expand the Ambassador Scholarship, which has been in the shadows for a couple of years now. It’s £2,000, raised by Ambassadors themselves, which can go towards an incoming student over the course of their four years of study. With more fundraising from the Ambassdors, we can extend this to multiple students.” He is also looking to “join forces” with the Union, who have their own widening access scheme that could complement their own efforts. Patrick’s job seems to hold immense satisfaction, in both forming a crucial part celebrating the best parts of the University’s history and promoting its image as a thriving, diverse and “cool” place for pupils across Scotland, the rest of the UK and indeed the world to aspire to. While he has only a year left here, he and his team’s contribution to the University’s affairs, in persuading otherwise sceptical pupils to aspire to study at a flourishing and sought-after institution, will have positive effects for many years to come.
SRC round-up: new members, trans* toilet policy and signing the ‘see me’ Scotland pledge Deniz Ozkardas and Laura Abernethy
The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) met on 24 September to co-opt new members and discuss motions on a trans* and intersex bathroom policy, sign the ‘see me’ Scotland pledge and adopt a zero-tolerance policy on harassment in the Students’ Union building. Avalon Borg was co-opted as the new wellbeing officer and Lonie Sebagh as the new employability officer. The new positions will cover a huge variety of student related topics. The wellbeing officer will cover issues such as mental health, and
will chair a nine-person wellbeing committee including representatives from Student Services, Nightline and Mental Wealth. The employability officer will focus on issues between students and the Careers Centre, the Knowledge Transfer Centre and CAPOD. Teddy Woodhouse, the director of representation, said: “As the sponsor of the new changes to the SRC, adding an officer for both wellbeing and employability, I’m really excited to see the Students’ Association take on these incredibly important issues with firmer direction and increased ambitions. Having worked previously with both the officers now in post, I think we’re in for a great year of activ-
ity from these two!” The SRC also passed a motion to adopt a trans* and intersex bathroom policy. This would allow these students to feel free to use the bathroom that correlates with their gender idenity. The motion, which was proposed by Association LGBT officer David Norris, also means that the SRC will encourage the University to adopt a similar policy and an Associationwide campaign would be held in order to raise awareness of the issue. The SRC will also look into the possibility of introducing a gender-neutral bathroom as part of the Union redevelopment. The motion was adopted with 20 members for and one member
for against. A vote was also held on whether the Association should sign the ‘see me’ Scotland pledge after a motion was proposed by Mr Woodhouse. The pledge aims to stop the stigma that surrounds mental health. With the motion passed unanimously, the SRC wellbeing officer and the director of representation will now undertake a campaign to empower students to control their own mental health, to increase awareness of access to support services for students and to break the stigma on mental ill-health. Finally, Association president Chloe Hill proposed a motion to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on harassment
in Students’ Association venues. The motion stated that: ”The defining characteristics of sexual harassment are that it is unwanted, persistent and of a sexual nature. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include: unwanted sexual comments (including comments about your body or private life), unwelcome sexual invitations, innuendoes, and offensive gestures, wolf whistling, catcalling or offensive sexual noises, groping, pinching or smacking of your body, such as your bottom or breasts, having your skirt or top lifted without agreeing and someone exposing their sexual organs to you without consent.” The vote was carried unanimously by the council.
V IEWPOINT thesaint-online.com/viewpoint
Editor: Tamar Ziff Sub-editors: Jacob Jose and Thomas Quarton
Is St Andrews an elite university, or a university for the elite?
Our university has been painted by many different brushes with as many differing strokes of intention as an ‘elite’ university. The term is as loaded and volatile as a bootleg firework, and as with all explosive (rhetorical) devices it places those who should deploy one under immediate scrutiny. It is for that reason that this prompt, positing whether our university is an ‘elite’ one, or one for the ‘elite’, presents a stumbling block that places one at risk for a tragic instance of miscommunication. More than that, though, it presents a false dichotomy. Both clauses are, in fact, true: our university is an ‘elite’ one, populated by students who are ‘elite’ by virtue of their academic achievements. A certain proportion of these students are also the children of a more traditionally defined ‘elite’. It is the presence of this aforementioned demographic – the conventional ‘elite’ – that has led a number of local organisations, including the Scottish National Union of Students, to criticise St Andrews. Last year, the NUS blasted the admissions policies of the University for inviting what it considers to be too few students - 14 out of 11,000 - from economically deprived backgrounds. The arithmetic does indeed seem unfair, perhaps indicative of foul tendencies or class-conscious favouritism. But the paucity of severely disadvantaged students at St Andrews has nothing to do with any sort of bias on the part of admissions; rather, it hinges on multiple variables that have to do both with the accomplishments of the University and those of its students. The first variable is to do with the achievement of the University as a whole. St Andrews has a highly prestigious academic reputation, both as a research institution and as a place for undergraduate education. It has most recently been ranked by the Times as the fourth top university in the United Kingdom, and number one in Scotland. Almost 89% of students at our school gain a first-class degree or 2:1, and 80.5% land professional jobs or go on to graduate-level further study. These kinds of rankings, although not
Students of the highest class
gospel, attract a great number of highly qualified applicants. The second variable is a natural consequence of the first, and that is one of selectivity. The University of St Andrews accepts slightly fewer than one of every ten applicants it receives, making it comparatively as selective as some of the world’s most recognisable heavyweight schools. Dartmouth University admits about 10.5 percent from its applicant pool, Johns Hopkins 17.69 percent, Brown 9.6, and Princeton 8.9. So what, then, do we make of the
[The question] presents a false dichotomy...our university is an ‘elite’ one, populated by students who are ‘elite’ by virture of their academic achievements charges by the NUS? The picture becomes clearer when it is revealed that only 200 Scottish students from the bottom quintile, 11,000 in total, made the minimum grades: three As at Higher Level exams. This is not an issue that is unique to Scotland, nor to St Andrews. Extensive research has drawn a strong statistical correlation between low socio-economic status and educational difficulties. To address the red-trousered elephant in the room, yes, St Andrews is an elite university – but not elitist. The socio-economic makeup of this university is no different from that of many other top universities, reflective not of a malign favouritism but of a need for educational reform. Thomas Quarton
Design and logo by Olga Loza
St Andrews is elite - but not elitist
Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, University College, Edinburgh, London School of Economics, Manchester, Kings, Bristol, Durham, and York. The Times Higher Education rated each of these schools higher than St Andrews in its latest global rankings. With a score of 56.5, St Andrews ranks at 108th in the world, narrowly beating the universities of Sheffield and Sussex by a third of a point. Despite the list of schools of ahead of it, it is not uncommon to hear students - particularly those from the UK - casually rating St Andrews as third right behind Oxford and Cambridge. While the latter two may be centres of the academic world, St Andrews has much more to it than a mere gathering of intellectuals. The Times Higher Education ranking reflects the nuanced charm of our university. The score is based on an index of five ratings (teaching, international outlook, research, industry income, and citations), which are given on a one to 100 scale. While the categories of teaching and research receive a somewhat low mark of 43 (a full 48 and 52 points lower than Cambridge, respectively) the University receives an outstanding 86 for its international outlook, which is higher than Cambridge and nearly equal to Oxford. Isn’t it deserved? Our little Scottish town hosts a university that draws 40 per cent of its students from overseas. As such, this university holds the cosmopolitan reputation for educating some of the most elite young ladies and gentlemen from all over the world. Is there any other school where you can go out every night of the week and have your cocktail bought for you by a friend from a different county each time? At one (or any) of the numerous balls or other formal soirées in St Andrews it is quite nice to lean back in one’s chair and, while tightening one’s black bow tie with one hand and sipping one’s cool champagne with the other, gaze around and see Brits, Americans, Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, French, and Italians all laughing and drinking together.
When one steps out of the library on a Sunday afternoon there is a certain romance to hearing the average St Andrews student complain of deadlines that are too close to fit in before the next fashion show not in one, or two, but any number of languages. Only in St Andrews will you cover each continent in the seven-person queue at the cash point. Still, there is so much more to St Andrews than simply being international – it is a bulwark of British his-
There is a certain romance to hearing the average St Andrews student complain of deadlines that are too close to fit in before the next fashion show tory, having educated numerous government officials and even a member of the royal family (and his wife). In addition, the University is celebrating its 600th anniversary, with each weekend’s event superior to the last. At the academic summit, principal Louise Richardson commented on the odd fact that, despite the current state of the economy, many students in St Andrews continued to pursue degrees in subjects such as classics and art history. This is no coincidence, however: while the school may lag behind in the provident departments of science and medicine, the teaching of archaic humanities is of the highest quality. Is St Andrews an elite school? Rankings can never tell. An education can never be quantified, however much it may be qualified. One can be sure, however, that the students of St Andrews, regardless of their nationality or major, are of the highest class. Jacob Jose
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent the views of The Saint but are individual opinions.
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Our brave new world
Sam Mills augurs in a new, paperless era, claiming that we should not mourn the death of the traditional newspaper
It won’t be long before the practice of holding a newspaper dies out completely Circulation of the printed news has faced a steady decline for the last decade and it seems that every month another story breaks heralding the ‘death of the newspaper’. The most recent and perhaps poignant example is the sale of the Washington Post. For more than sixty years, the Post was owned by the same family, the Grahams. During that time the paper became a national institution in the US, famous for its coverage of
such national scandals as Watergate as well as quality international reporting. The sale marks the end of the Graham era and leaves the future of the paper in considerable doubt. The Post has been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose area of expertise is evidently in the electronic sale of consumer products rather than print media. The sale is indicative of a greater trend: tech-savvy men like Bezos are coming to rule the news in-
dustry, a business that will soon exist only within the optical fibres of the World Wide Web. What will a world of online-only news look like? The website appears to be a far more urgent place than the paper, refreshing constantly and demanding a concision from its online writers unnecessary in print. While paper news allows for lengthy editorials, the nature of the Internet is not conducive to intensive reading, so if a news story cannot be summarized within 140 characters, it can often become irrelevant. The two-page spreads the printed paper dedicated to the most complex issues of the day will die out. It is easy to fear that they will be replaced only by the myriad ‘top 10’ lists that characterise up-and-coming news websites such as the Daily Beast. One wonders if there is any place for a paper like the Washington Post in this new, truncated world. It’s hard to imagine exactly how a Twitter update could have broken a story as complex the Watergate scandal. Despite such critiques, however, online journalism has already witnessed and aptly reported on news pieces as significant, and perhaps even more so, as Watergate. Social networking sites and citizen reports through the blogosphere helped catalyse the Egyptian revolution, just as
Washington Post reporters incited the downfall of the Nixon administration forty years prior. Enough has been written about what will be lost when the printed paper disappears; not enough has been written about what will be gained when electronic news rises to full prominence. Online journalism represents a number of positive changes. First, it creates a communal form of news impossible in the days of the printed paper. If a person were to read this article online and disagree with it, they could immediately voice their discontent (see: comments). Many
Not enough has been written about what will be gained when electronic news rises to full prominence
The summer of (their) discontent
news websites make use of a ‘Most Read’ table of the most popular articles on the site, which ensures that readers have some power over what news is promoted. In print, what is prominent is decided by a selected – and highly selective - few. The online community brings writers down from their ivory towers onto the readers’ plane, making them more responsible to their audience and thereby ensuring the accuracy of their pieces. Today, information travels faster than it ever has. Readers now have the opportunity to learn about major events as they happen, not days afterward. Online news gives the reader an enormous amount of choice – with the variety of news outlets, readers can choose articles written from almost any perspective, with any style, and by individuals of every nationality or political inclination. There’s always a sense of anxiety when something as old as the newspaper reaches its end. The online world where news happens fast and fits in Twitter-sized white boxes can seem like a dystopian replacement of the familiar newspaper. Still, one cannot deny the overwhelming advantages of the online newspaper. My advice would be to relax, turn on your iPad, and embrace the brave new world.
Caroline Magee reveals a pattern amid this summer’s protests: the preponderance of young people tionally different political climates long before the eruption of unrest. If one looks closely enough, however, there is a link between these roiling nation-states. The overarching trend lies in demographics. Several of the countries affected have a population that is characterized by a surplus of young people, which may well be the central ingredient to outbursts of country-wide political discontent. For evidence of this, one must only look to Egypt and Brazil, two countries where protests have dominated the political landscape this year. 57.2% of the population of Egypt is under 25. When Egypt’s most recent president, Mohammed Morsi - a member of and ex-spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood - became the target of protesters’ ire, he was facing a large and vibrant portion of his population propelled by youth and dominated by a passion for change. The protesters detested his archaic – and strictly religious – notions of law and order, as well as his inability to improve the nation’s economy and infrastructure. So, being young, energetic, and the undisputed majority, Egypt’s under-25s simply removed the president, and to this day the acting president remains the chief judge of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt.
On the other side of the planet, Brazil also had massive protests in June and July, though based on entirely different reasons. A hike in public transportation fares in São Paulo incited rancor among Brazil’s economically struggling public, anger that has since expanded to cover all of the injustices Brazilians are forced to face. Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians gathered during the summer months to denounce everything
from more expensive bus tickets to a flawed judicial apparatus. As the 2014 Fifa World Cup drew near, Brazilians condemned the allocation of government funds toward the building of stadiums instead of improving living conditions. Government corruption was also a target for sharp criticism, especially after the decision of the Brazilian Congress to allow one of the statesmen to retain his seat even as he serves time in prison for embezzling
Image: Wikimedia Commons
When protests sparked in the Middle East two summers ago, they were widely attributed to the perpetuation of extreme poverty by dictatorial regimes. In 2012, when more discontent became manifest, many considered it to have stemmed from the demonstrations the year before. Now, most of the way through 2013, our pale blue dot hosts protests on five continents on a multitude of different issues – we can no longer cite only destitution and autocracy as the reason for rising up. The protesting bug has spread farther and deeper than anyone could have anticipated. Looking for the sources of global disgruntlement is difficult. Recent finger-pointing has been aimed at everything from global warming, which may have caused the drought in Egypt immediately preceding the revolution in 2011, to the widening wealth disparity in many nations of varying stages of economic development. Citizens have boldly spoken out against the status quo both in industrialized nations – take Spain’s ‘indignados’ – and developing countries. Some believe that the catalyst for protests is distinct in each case – to a certain extent, this is true. Identifying a single blanket cause for global protests is nary impossible – all of the aforementioned countries had excep-
Riot police in the Brazilian province of Bahia try to hold back a mass of protesters
from the government. Brazil’s protesters didn’t overthrow their government, nor did they approach the institution of fundamentally necessary change. What does this have in common with Egypt? 62% of Brazilians are under 29. A number of high-profile rape cases that sent their victims - in one case, a five-year-old girl - to their graves sparked massive protests in India, with much of the country’s engorged population flooding the streets and demanding women’s rights. With over a billion inhabitants, the average age in India is 25.1 years. In Mexico, where teacher protests swept the capital in the wake of an education overhaul bill, nearly half the population is under 25. This is more than a coincidence; it’s a trend. The bulge in youth populations in these countries is remarkable and signals a changing of the guard. These are nations that withstand great inequalities of wealth, education, opportunity, and much more, and the new generation is not plagued by the inertia of older generations. These young protesters are invested in the maintenance of justice and welfare in their countries, and are not going to let a dictator, corrupt government official, or even crumbling state infrastructure stand in the way of a better life.
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent the views of The Saint but are individual opinions.
Scramble to the top of the A-list
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Charmaine Che criticizes the preoccupation with arbitrary university rankings
Image: Wikimedia Commons
“Reputation” is one of those fancifully nebulous words that people often throw around, especially with regard to academic institutions. But few seem to be able to cough up a worthy definition as to what it really is. No need to worry, though - Times Higher Education, a weekly magazine published in London, has figured it all out for us. To the Times, reputation is not only measurable, but defined by an “invitation-only survey of academic opinion – a truly unique piece of research”, which crudely tallies the universities of the world into a red carpet list of 50 tertiary education institutions. Lauded, according to its publisher, as “the world’s definitive index of academic prestige”, Times Higher Education boasts of a wonderfully wordy but essentially vague methodology of targeting “experienced, published scholars who offer their views on excellence in research and teaching within their disciplines at institutions with which they are familiar.” More worrying is its claim of promising a “balanced distribution of the demographics of world scholarship”, in which it stakes 33 per cent of scholarly responses from North America, while only 12 per cent come from East Asia and 5 per cent from the Middle East. African universities are entirely in absentia. Though academic rankings have existed for decades in the United States, international rankings are a more recent development. But while these rankings may not have as much currency in Europe as in the US, they, like Miley Cyrus, are increasingly becoming impossible to ignore, much though one would want to do so. For
Once upon a time, before Times Higher Education rankings were the be-all and end-all of a university’s career, this is how Miley Cyrus looked at the Video Music Awards universities, reputation is money: more applicants, more talent, more tuition dollars, alumni donations, and even government-funded research grants. In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)
rankings, a London-based company that got into the rankings business in 2004, reputation accounts for 50 per cent of a university’s QS score, while Times Higher Education includes reputation as 33 per cent of the overall score in its World University Rankings. The appeal of an arbiter of educational quality, however subjective, has spread across the globe. As students become ever more mobile, education becomes more commercial and universities look even farther beyond their borders for legitimacy and clout. Among UK universities, the ordeal is played out like an awkward dinner conversation between Oxbridge, Imperial, LSE, Durham and us, during which we all pretend to be staid British gentlemen and talk about the weather in unnecessarily flowery language while secretly wishing someone or the other would accidentally stain their shirt with a slippery Bolognese meatball. On the world stage it gets even uglier, the dinner devolving into a brawl between the Big Six: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford and Cambridge, who have occupied the top places in varying order since reputation rankings were first published in 2011. Besides ‘reputation’, other rankings by the Complete University Guide or the Times and Sunday Times determine a university’s standing using a selection of criteria ranging from student satisfaction to research output. Counting publications and prizes tends to slight social science and the humanities, however, while the focus on research means liberal arts colleges don’t figure at all. A recent report by the New York Times put QS under fire for “offering universities the opportunity to highlight their strength” by paying a fee
Amongst UK universities, the ordeal is played out like an awkward dinner conversation between Oxbridge, Imperial, LSE, Durham and us, during which we all pretend to be staid British gentlemen and talk about the weather in unnecessarily flowery language while secretly wish someone or the other would accidentally stain their shirt with a slippery Bolognese meatball
to be rated on a scale of one to five stars. This could essentially provide an opportunity for universities to be featured for 5-star ratings across various areas of teaching. Even Louise Richardson is kowtowing to this fad, as displayed in her recent smug email about St Andrews’ standing as best in Scotland and fourth in the United Kingdom. What the email didn’t mention is that, according to the Times Higher Education global rankings, St Andrews ranks 108th, below the University of York and far, far, far away from the likes of Oxbridge or Durham. Fourth in the United Kingdom but 108th in the world? Such disparities show the ultimate aribtrariness of the university ranking system. There is certainly a place for university rankings in highlighting the
merits of different institutions across a standardised system, but it is nevertheless dangerous to think of them as an accurate or even fair adjudicator of how students should judge a university. It seems grossly diminishing to reduce the wealth of knowledge and opportunities offered by tertiary education to a few sterile indicators about how good a given institution supposedly is. The influence of international university rankings is likely to grow with the globalization of higher education. We need to be careful, however, about making broad generalisations that make people insecure, and instead carefully dissect each league table and its objective or even subjective criteria before making informed decisions about which university best caters to one’s interests and talent.
Online this week Follow us @saint_viewpoint
Do you even lift, bro?
Trials and tribulations
Through the looking glass
The booze and bust
Madeline Inskeep assesses the qualities and flaws of e-learning at a distance
Freddy Pilkington determines whether or not the UK government has the right to decide for its citizens
Rebecca Gualandi explores the motivation behind St Andrews’ growing male gym culture
Mira Boneva reports on the status of the Indian rape trial and its effects on students
The views expressed in Viewpoint do not represent the views of The Saint but are individual opinions.
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Testing, testing, one two... A room Luisa Hill with a view
Caffeine, insomnia, highlighters, hand cramps, the lonely glow of a desk lamp, the competitive silence of the library: the last two weeks of the semester are hardly the most enjoyable. It is difficult to find anybody who relishes the thought of course examinations, so the news that the last decade has seen an increase in the number of coursework-only courses offered in UK and US universities would, at least initially, appear to be a good sign to the many students who, like me, begin hyperventilating at the daunting thought of exam time. Eliminating exams means that universities base module grades on coursework and class tests only, spreading grading over a wider range of work done throughout the semester rather than having a substantial part of the overall mark depend on a few hectic hours at the very end. Students’ performances are judged by essays, reports, projects, presentations, and quizzes or tests, spaced evenly throughout the academic year. Although such methods of assessment are already used in modules that include exams, the abolition of exams entails that these assignments count more towards the final grade. This not only allows for a more diverse variety of opportunities for students to demonstrate their competence, but also removes a significant cause of anxiety. In November 2012, however, the Telegraph reported that the national doubling of first-class degrees since 2000 has less to do with more students meeting a certain standard and more to do with the decreasing rigor and lowered expectations of modern university systems. Many critics of the non-exam assessment system claim that by eliminating exams, or having them count for only a slim percentage of the final module grade, degrees have been “dumbed down.” Abolishing exams could be a mistake that makes courses less demanding. Though perhaps hidden to the untrained eye, the anxious few days of the exam period do have significant benefits. The fact that exams remain
unseen until opened to the unsettling sound of “the time is now 09:31. You may begin” compels students to review and make sure they comprehend all of the material covered throughout the semester. Students are expected to apply this material without any guidance, answering complicated essay questions or solving intricate problems on the spot and with no academic crutch. This requires a profound and thorough understanding of the subject matter for success. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, exams are one of the only methods of assessment that guarantee independent work from the student. In fact, the increasing number
Many critics of the non-exam assessment system claim that by eliminating exams, or having them count for only a slim percentage of the final module grade, degrees have been “dumbed down”. Abolishing exams could be a mistake that makes courses less demanding
of coursework-based modules is surprising, considering how the internet has, arguably, devalued the take-home test, or the class essay, as a method of testing understanding. Coursework, despite the incentive it gives to examine a particular subject in depth, is not reliably reflective of a student’s learning: the vast range of available online resources means that essays do not necessarily demonstrate that a student has internalized what has been taught, nor do they serve as any measure of comprehensive or analytical ability, especially given the alarming selection of websites selling tailored essays. Yet what, one may argue, is the point of using exams to ensure that students produce their own work when it is rarely a their best work, and often some of their worst? In a study conducted by Dr Ravi Chinta, it was found that “as a consequence of their emotional reactions during tests, the level of achievement of many students is substantially lower than would be expected on the basis of their intellectual aptitude.” This is not surprising, as I am sure that most students are all too familiar with the numbness felt after turning over an exam paper, a feeling that does not entirely subside throughout blurred minutes of scribbling, followed by doubts and multiple “I should have written that!”s upon leaving the hushed examination hall. It would seem that coursework provides better opportunities for students to present their highest standard of work and demonstrate their full academic potential, assuming they do so honestly. Yet examiners do take this into account when marking tests. Brief lapses in coherence, eloquence and structure are frequently forgiven and attributed to stress. It is precisely the challenging nature of exams that makes them such a useful tool in separating the firsts from the 2:1s, the 2:2s and so on. A middle ground between exams and coursework would result in the most accurate reflection of a student’s capabilities in the final grade. Universities should decrease the weight of exams in the final grade to a level at which they are still taken seriously, but do not entirely determine a pass or a fail. This would preserve their substantial benefits while eliminating unhealthy, unnecessary pressure. For a student to learn effectively, it is vital that he or she feels comfortable with their educational system; it should not be perceived as threatening, but rather guiding. The trials in life outside of education are not easy, and in the working world one rarely gets five weeks, or an equally comfortable period of time, to complete an assignment. Exams provide a valuable opportunity to learn how to produce work of a high standard under extreme time pressure and under conditions in which much is at stake, which is an important skill to possess once out of the enclave of academia. Get used to them.
“On October 3, he asked me what day it was.” So said the 18-year-old Lindsay Lohan in her role as Cady Harren in Mean Girls. Today, October 3, is thus the unofficial Mean Girls day – a day dedicated to whole-hearted appreciation of what, in my opinion, may be one of the best comedies of all time. It is a day to bake a cake made of rainbows and smiles. A day to butter your muffin, or perhaps assign someone to butter it for you. If it were a Wednesday, it would be a day to wear pink. Jokes aside, however, Mean Girls not just an amalgamation of hilarious and ubiquitously applicable quotes – it is an icepick satire, cleverly and candidly deriding the concept of social hierarchy in American high schools. Though at face value it may appear to be another vacuous depiction of the interpersonal trials of an adolescent girl, it is much, much more. Mean Girls, besides being convulsively hysterical courtesy of Tina Fey’s comic genius, is a social commentary. It subtly but surely exposes divisions and group dynamics that are present at all learning institutions around the world, St Andrews included. Though hyperbolised, the strict delineation of cliques at North Shore parallels that of many real high schools, and the portrayals of practices such as social climbing, inter-group rivalry, and a certain kind of charismatic hegemony are jarringly realistic. The idea of individuals that – fabulous, but evil – manipulate others into conforming to their will through a mixture of abuse and endearment is perverse, perhaps only because it is frequently manifested off-screen. How does this relate to St Andrews? The characters in Mean Girls are meant to be farcically exaggerated versions of different aspects of the stereotypical female persona, but their actions are accurately reflective of those of real girls, both
in high school and in university. Underhanded cattiness, shifting alliances, the appeal of gossip and the devastating fear of a breach of trust: these are only a few of the relational characteristics touched upon in Mean Girls, and all of them have bearing in our interactions at university. Mean Girls is based on a book called Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, which identifies itself as a guide to the understanding of social conflict between adolescent girls. In St Andrews, are there queen bee-like figures (BNOCs)? Are there – as featured in the movie – ‘desperate wannabes’ that seek to emulate the latter in order to move up a social echelon? Is St Andrews a social hierarchy, or are the students at our university too diverse, too tolerant, too mature to propagate such a restrictive system? Mean Girls reveals that our perception of importance, attributed to social status, is utterly baseless, founded on a self-perpetuating cycle of (reputation) haves and have-nots. Gently, this film pushes us toward the understanding that implied social rules of behavior – like not being able to wear jeans or track pants on Fridays – aren’t real, but a construct of either our own or someone else’s distorted world view. Groups are not set in stone – it doesn’t take getting hit by a bus to meet new people and expand your friend group according to new and changing proclivities and perspectives. I’m getting ahead of myself – more than anything, Mean Girls day is about honouring the production of a cinematic classic. It is about appreciating those loyal to you and their various talents, be it aptitude in maths or being able to put their whole fist in their mouth. It is about forgiving faults in others, accepting them in yourself, and realising that, when
it comes to human compassion, the limit does not exist.
Image: Paramount Pictures, Ltd.
Illustration: Monica Burns
answers the question of why exams are, ultimately, necessary
How the hall did I get this hall?
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Jessica Steinberg questions the mysterious method of hall allocation and seeks to unveil it
...? St Andrews’ accommodation page leaves you hanging, neglecting to provide a link or a location for where one can acquire “essential information regarding your Residence”
Photo: Sammi McKee
When studying at a place over half a millennium old, it seems imperative to live in one of the buildings steeped in the University’s history. This is why, every year, there is an overwhelming demand for accommodation in the old, beautiful St Andrews halls such as St. Salvator’s, University Hall, McIntosh or St Regulus. In addition to their catered lifestyle, the buildings’ locations are prime. Of course each hall has its pros and cons, but it all boils down to personal preference.
The beautful stone facade of University Hall
The University offers five different types of accommodation preferences: standard catered, standard self-catered, en-suite catered, en-suite self-catered, or Andrew Melville. The accommodation webpage asks that parents “ensure [their] son/daughter is happy with all four of their choices.” With only five total residence options, you essentially have to list all possibilities save one as your “preferences,” which essentially precludes the necessary element of choice. It is rather difficult to be satisfied with all options, given their striking differences. The accommodation office, nonetheless, is not prepared to amend an offer. Furthermore, students who reject their offer are left to find housing on their own in the St Andrews real estate bubble. From my experience, it seems as though residence allocations are the luck of the draw. Originally, my first preference was standard catered. For months I thought I would be living in one of the gorgeous, centrally-located halls.
In order to increase my chances of getting one of those halls, second and third years told me to mark standard catered as my first preference and be willing to share a room. I filled out the personality form generically: considering the international reputation of the university, I expected a suitable roommate that would expand my cultural awareness. To my great surprise, accommodation services allocated me a self-catered en-suite hall and my roommate hails from just outside my hometown. How could I have ended up in a living situation so radically different from my first preference? I was not alone in questioning the accommodation process - multiple people posted on my hall’s Facebook page asking how to change their accommodation. They too were given one of their last preferences. Unfortunately, there is no other way to change your offer once you have it, unless you describe a “personal situation” that requires allocation of your first hall preference. Why was I, and many others like
me, given a hall not of my choosing? Perhaps it was due to randomisation, distinction between acceptance offers, angry parent e-mails or politics. I fully understand that there are a limited number of rooms in each hall. Obviously, when the available space is full, no other students can fit. With that said, how is it decided which students receive their first preference versus their third, or fourth? Why are the standard catered halls stuffed with Americans, with a large majority of international students relegated to halls on the margins of town, paying far more for en-suite accommodation they do not want? Maybe there is something us student outsiders don’t know about accommodation allocations. My investigation of this longstanding question proved fruitless. The accommodation officials, smiling nervously and averting their eyes, said they were unsure as to what information they could provide to me. There was an air of anxiety in the room, the vestigial tension from
Are lectures a waste of time?
years of student dissatisfaction. Prior to even telling me that they could not supply any additional information, accommodation services had to consult their colleagues to discuss what could leave their doors – transparent as ever. When I asked what they would tell a prospective student, they directed me to the accommodation website’s FAQ page, residence explanations and the prospective student page. What is St Andrews’ accommodation hiding? If all is done honestly, and accommodation is allocated absolutely at random, why will the accommodation office not release information about its practices? After speaking to a number of students who received their second or third preference, I’m quite skeptical of their methodology. ‘Random’ doesn’t seem to fit the bill, considering the homogeneous demographic of most standard catered halls. Things don’t match up. Will St Andrews’ accommodation rise to fix them?
Kathryn Nielsen carefully weighs the pros and cons of faithfully attending university classes As freshers finally begin to settle into life here at St Andrews, we’re beginning to realise that there is, suddenly, a lot of work to be done. As much as we long for the return of the carefree Freshers’ Week, the hazy memory of those frenetically social days is beginning to fade and everyday life choices are beginning to crop up. Will you be a faithful lecture attender or will you opt to stay in your flat and get the notes online or from a friend? For some skipping a lecture is out of the question, while for others it is a way of life. So, what’s the verdict? Is your attendance at lectures important? Although any university lecturer would vehemently deny it, there does seem to be justification for just skipping the lecture and getting notes later on. According to a study done at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, there is no correlation between the number of lectures a student attends and how well that student performs on the final exam in that course. At first, the majority of responses I got from other students suggested that they would believe this claim.
“Lectures are impersonal, often redundant, and take up time we could really use for more sleep,” mentioned one recently enrolled St Andrews student. “I’d rather just go to tutorials.” Since the majority of lecturers post slides online after class, a student is conveniently able to get the same information he or she would get in class on his or her own time. Tutorials, with fewer students and the ability to question and interact with an authority on the subject, seem much more deserving of dedicated attendance than lectures. Though the incentive to attend tutorials is external – miss more than three and you are out of the course – they are nonetheless worthwhile in their own respect, giving students the opportunity to discuss topics they are interested in with a group of attentive peers and receiving individualised attention for their views. Students have also begun recording lectures to listen and watch later in case they miss anything. Although they are probably not re-watching entire lectures, recording can be a useful tool for jogging your memory later on. No doubt those who are
recording lectures are also sharing them with friends. The other day I overheard some students discussing the logistics of Skyping during a lecture so while one friend attended the class, the rest could be back in their flat watching along. Students are always be coming up with more creative ways to skip class, convinced that they are missing nothing by forgoing the experience of physical presence in the lecture hall. There is still a contingency of students who believe lectures are an
“Lectures are impersonal, often redundant, and take up time we could really use for more sleep... I’d rather just go to tutorials.”
essential part of university life, however. Some reason that, considering the price of a St Andrews education, one cannot blithely eschew what is essentially your education here. This raises a fair point: in order to get your – or rather, your family’s – money’s worth, shouldn’t you participate in everything that St Andrews has to offer? Others note that lecturers always have more to say than what is written on the slides, and that it’s important to hear their opinions. Considering that St Andrews has a world-renowned faculty in many subjects, don’t some lecturers have any sort of wisdom to impart beyond the PowerPoint? After all, slides are only a skeletal outline of any given lecture. Furthermore, not all lecturers use slides as a means of teaching. Not attending class and remaining up-todate on the material, would then require relying on a friend to take notes for you, which is both patently unfair and usually unreliable. Attending lectures is also beneficial for time-management purposes. Going to a class at a certain time forces you to think about the structure of
your day, and keeps you alert and on top of things. This reason for lecture attendance holds true for many students, myself included. Through lack of foresight, I ended up with a 9am tutorial, and upon entering the first session expected to walk into a room filled with tired, recalcitrant students who - like me - were allotted the time by ill chance. To my surprise, however, some of the other students had chosen that time slot on purpose in order to help kick start their day. Lectures, although at times monotonous, quite literally force you out of bed and into the day’s activities. They provide a setting for meeting like-minded students, thereby giving you the opportunity to converse with, question and perhaps even get inspired by the people in your course. Going to lectures involves a certain degree of discipline and forces you into probably well-needed social interaction. Next time you’re lying in your onesie deciding if going to class is worth it today, think about all you stand to benefit from just a few hours of your time. Or just roll over.
Editor: Elliott Miskin Sub-Editor: Alice Ralston @saint_money
Post graduation decisions Market Should you take a graduate job or a year out? Street Photo: Caitlin Hamilton
Graduation can be a daunting prospect, but there’s no need to panic.
Money sub-editor If you are a final-year student, this time of year can be particularly fraught; not only are you starting new modules (and very often a dissertation), but there is the added pressure of thinking about your future, something which, although over the past three years it may have seemed very far away, is now looming large and can seem overwhelming. There are so many choices, so many people giving you different pieces of advice. Is it better to dive straight into a graduate job or give yourself a well-earned year out and use it to decide exactly what you want to do? The application process for graduate jobs can be long and arduous. If you want to go for the big schemes, applications open in September (and some even earlier) and often involve four or more steps including verbal and numerical reasoning tests, application forms, situational judgment tests, e-Tray exercises, interviews and assessment days. Considering the fact that these must be done in strict time frames, many people will find the stress of this alongside their degree work too much to handle. Remember that as important as applications seem at the moment, they are not worth letting your work slip; you’ll need the 2:1 for that job you worked so hard to get. Another mistake people make is to spread themselves too thinly and apply to anything and everything they can think of in a panic that they should have secured a job already. This can mean that the individual applications suffer and they end up wasting valuable time. So should you instead ditch the applications for now and concentrate on getting the best grades you can? It’s worth thinking about the real reason why you are applying for jobs now. Is it because you are passionate
about your chosen career path (be that consulting, retail or law) or because all of your friends are applying and your parents think it’s about time that you should get a ‘proper’ job? If the latter is true, think about taking a year off and re-evaluating what it is you really want to do. When you think of how long your working life could be (perhaps as long as 50 years), will one year make much of a difference? By not worrying about applications, you leave yourself free to both concentrate on your work and, more importantly, enjoy your fi-
A graduate job does not have to be a lifetime commitment; our parents’ generation had on average more than 11 jobs before the age of 45 nal year of university. Giving yourself a year off also means that when you do come to applying, you have more energy and time for those applications and so will (theoretically) have a better chance of success. The year off itself can be anything you make of it - teaching English in Austria, Vietnam or India, learning a new language or just working in a bar to earn money to go off and see the world. After all, when are you next going to be young and free of ties, able to go wherever you’d like, when-
ever you want? For some people, however, the siren song of the working world is just too appealing. If you feel like you’re ready for a steady job and, even better, a real salary, then there is a lot to be said for launching straight in. If you go into a job straight from university, you can start building up your career immediately. Even if you do decide you’d like to take a year out later, this isn’t necessarily impossible. Yes, it may be difficult to leave a job once you’ve established yourself for a couple of years, but you have the added advantage that you’ll probably have been able to save up some money. Going straight into a job also means that your future is, for a couple of years at least, more certain. Most importantly, remember that just because it’s an office job that doesn’t mean that it won’t be fun or interesting. If you manage to secure a place on a graduate scheme with a top employer, it will most likely be wellstructured, sociable and give you amazing and balanced experience. Often forgotten are jobs in smaller and less well-known companies, and even start-ups. These roles can often give you more responsibility than you may have in a larger organisation, as well as the chance to gain seniority more quickly. Even if you decide not to remain in the job, or even the same industry, it could be the key to bigger and better things. A graduate job does not have to be a lifetime commitment. Our parents’ generation had on average more than 11 jobs before the age of 45, and many were entire career shifts. Nothing is set in stone; nobody is going to force you to stay. So what’s my point? Everybody is different, so remember that there are more options avawilable to you than you may think. Your life won’t end if you don’t have a job next September, and it’s not a life sentence if you do. Besides, if all else fails you can always do another degree... or seven.
This column will to do nothing to combat my cultural stereotype, but I am about to vent my anger over seven pence. The story starts with my unashamed love of one of the Middle East’s finest and most well-known delicacies – hummus. I love hummus and, as I have discovered recently, it is a fantastic way to improve the taste of raw vegetables. As it happens, I am not alone in my appreciation of hummus. In fact, it is so popular in St Andrews that the leading supermarkets stock multiple varieties of hummus, including a low-fat version and one made with caramelised onion. Now hummus is not considered a particularly expensive delicacy. At the time of print, Tesco are selling 300g pots of regular hummus for £1. As with many Tesco products, however, the supermarket also offers an alternative from their ‘Everyday Value’ range. Tesco’s ‘Everyday Value’ hummus is also offered in a 300g tub, albeit with less fancy packaging. In my experience, products in this ‘Everyday Value’ range fall into two categories: some products I wouldn’t give to my two dogs, and those that are indistinguishable from Tesco’s standard range. All of these products usually have one thing in common though, in that they represent a less expensive version of a similar product in the Tesco range. The words ‘Everyday Value’, as with their counterparts from rival supermarkets, have come to represent the recent age of austerity, with families all across the country being forced to cut back on their weekly food expenditure. They are also well suited to a significant portion of the British student population, who have to carefully manage a budget based entirely on student loans and part time jobs. The range has become
a powerful brand that resonates with millions of consumers, which is why I was shocked to see it being abused. As I was attempting to cut back my spending post Freshers’ Week, during my weekly shop in Tesco I automatically opted for Tesco Everyday Value hummus. I checked the date, but never thought to compare the price. When I looked at my receipt, I discovered that I’d actually spent more on the hummus than I normally spend. There were no special offers on, no discounts or anything of the sort that I had missed out on. It was only 7p, but even so I thought it strange. Apparently I was not the only person to have made this mistake. After Jeremy Hipps noticed this discrepancy, he spoke to a member of Tesco’s staff who admitted that they were confused about why this product was more expensive despite being from their ‘Everyday Value’ range. Pricing does vary from store to store and region to region, so I can’t be certain that the same is true in every region. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m making mountains out of very small hummus hills. But maybe the seven pence isn’t the issue, but the fundamental abuse of a brand by a supermarket that has the trust of millions of people. The horse-gate scandal illustrated the level of absolute blind trust we, as consumers, place in large supermarket chains. Tesco’s ‘Every Little Helps’ should be more than an enticing slogan. It should, ideally, represent a culture of providing a better value shopping experience for their customers. I’m sure this was nothing more than a centrally managed pricing mistake, but Tesco should realise that it is one that leaves some of its customers feeling slightly cheated.
Application Tips Each issue, The Saint’s Money team will be offering tips and tricks to help those applying for graduate positions, internships and work experience programmes. Whatever you’re applying for, these tips just might be the difference between securing that interview and missing out. For more tips, make sure you follow us on Twitter @saint_money.
Tip number 1: Start early It’s not too late to start early. Many employers recruit on a rolling basis, meaning that once they have filled their programme they won’t even consider your application. Don’t delay, don’t procrastinate, just get it in. The sooner your application is submitted, the sooner the testing or interview process can begin.
Would it work?
Your local business ideas are put to our panel Jonathan Weitzmann In the last four years St Andrews has witnessed much change, with many new shops and restaurants opening in the main town, giving students a greater choice of places to shop, wine and dine. Yet despite the improvements to variety, St Andrews is still a town that has a curfew, with most establishments closing whilst the night is still young. Although the Students’ Union has recently extended its licence to 2am for every night of the week, there is currently no option for students who wish to grab a late-night drink that’s not necessarily alcoholic. With Beanscene proving to be the current late night coffee house (a closing time of 10pm) I believe St Andrews is in need of a more student friendly caffeine hit, one that doesn’t involve Red Bull. My proposition for the Bubble is a late-night coffee and smoothie bar – one that offers both hot and cold drinks, and perhaps even some food that doesn’t only involve the deep fat fryer. With the library cafe shutting nightly at 8pm, students would thrive from the option of having an environment to work, and where conversation doesn’t solely involve shouting across the Lizard dancefloor and being drowned out by the current UK top 40. With coffee and smoothies being served in those good old large American mugs, and perhaps a range of bagels, pastries and paninis
on offer – along with access to wireless internet being included when purchasing food or drink, I believe this would be both a low cost student option and a lucrative business opportunity. As well as providing competition to the current chippies of the Bubble, this would draw a new market of students who wish to relax in a truly ‘late-night’ coffee house – and maybe even do some work in an cafe that keeps its doors open beyond 10pm! After all, there’s only so much Dervish one can take after a night out – perhaps it’s time to challenge the current ‘Empire’ on late night St Andrews life.
Caleb Kress I heard talk in the few weeks before I came to St Andrews from people (admittedly people who don’t actually live here) about this being the “perfect college town.” In a lot of respects I’m inclined to agree with that; the amount of bars, house parties, and the like that we have going on at all hours, combined with the relative sizes of the town and student population, make for a really nice experience. That said, there is one thing which is definitely missing from our “perfect college town.” We’re missing a dietary staple of any student who doesn’t feel like cooking/going through another meal at hall: the quick, easy burrito. It’s a formula which has been perfected in the US at restaurants such as Chipotle, an assembly line-style preparation proc-
ess designed to get as many customers through as quickly as possible. Burritos are not difficult to make throw together some rice, beans, meat, cheese, and maybe a few other things if you’re feeling adventurous, into a giant tortilla, wrap it all up and serve. People are willing to pay much more than those ingredients would cost, so there’s room for a good profit margin, especially if the restaurant is in a central location. In addition, there’s virtually no competition in town. While there are places like the noodle bar or Subway to get a quick takeaway meal, nothing offers the same blend of the delicious taste of TexMex and the convenient efficiency of a Ford plant. Grill House will do in a pinch if you find yourself craving Mexican, but it’s a decent investment of both time and money. The University has enough international students familiar with the sacred tradition of on-campus burritos to support a restaurant at the start and, as others realized how great it was, the popularity of it would explode. Were it to stay open late, it would even bring some excellent variety to the honestly fairly drab late-night food scene we have currently. While delicious, the usual trip to a kebab shop loses its lustre pretty quickly, and eating something should never feel like a chore. So for variety’s sake, for the sake of opening a good business, and for the sake of working to create the quintessential student experience, let’s bring burritos to St Andrews.
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Our panel have their say Camilla Henfrey
Camilla is the business manager of The Saint and has worked at Superdrug for the past three years. She knows everything about how businesses work in St Andrews, from budgets to staff turnover.
Elliott is the editor of the Money section of The Saint. He has interviewed many local business owners and seen many start ups come and go in his four years in St Andrews.
Jonathan: What confuses me is the timings. How many people actually want to go for coffee after 10pm? Call me old-fashioned, but if I’m having a night-in doing work and not drinking, it tends to go hand-in-hand with early bed; brain activity and caffeine consumption cease at about 9pm. We already have two places open until 10pm – my theory is that if the demand was there, they would have already done it. For this reason, I’m out.
Jonathan: I disagree with Camilla on this one. I think that this idea really has legs. Students working in the library until 2am often have cravings for something more than the vending machine could offer. I think that, especially around exam time when the library opens for 24 hours, it would be very popular. I’m not convinced that outside of these times the demand is high enough, but you’d do very well to open either a pop-up or a food truck. I’m on board.
Caleb: An interesting idea, and I am particularly drawn in by the late night aspect of it. St Andrews is somewhat lacking in the fast food department, and the ratio of students to kebab shops means the post-bop 2 am hunger pang must be dealt with with military precision in order to avoid ending up at the Shell garage with a Pot Noodle. I can see an element of sense in this business plan, so I’m completely on board.
Caleb: I think the late night food market in St Andrews is already a crowded one. On the other hand, your idea is as fresh and welcome as the guacamole I’m imagining on these burritos. Again, the key would be to keep costs really low. Business rates and licenses can be incredibly expensive, but if you could sell from a food truck rather than an expensive high-street unit, saving a fortune on rent, then you could well form a small, successful business. I’m on board.
How to succeed at interviews without really trying Elliott Miskin Money editor
I would consider myself a fairly confident person – I have no trouble meeting new people or speaking in public. I’m the sort of person who should thrive in a job interview scenario, but for some reason when I enter that room I feel like John Terry taking a Champions League final penalty; the pressure of doing something that ordinarily comes naturally to me becomes too much. Just as it feels unnatural and strangely difficult to consciously focus on breathing, social interaction is such a natural process that many of us who would otherwise feel comfortable suddenly disintegrate when that normal interaction is placed under a microscope. In my opinion, it’s not the tricky questions that throw us off track as much as the perceived pressure of the situation. Many people feel the same in a first date scenario, where knowing what is at stake turns a friendly conversation over dinner into a mammoth-sized ordeal. Our hearts race, our palms sweat, our speech suffers. Remember that your interviewers are just normal people: they probably went to university, they probably like going to the pub, and they probably have a family and a life outside work
(just like you). Most interviewers would much rather that the whole process be as easy, comfortable and altogether painless. They are usually not even slightly nervous, and most often they won’t be trying to make you nervous either. If you convey overwhelming anxiety, this will appear strange or unnatural, leading to a horrible conversation and an interview from which you’re much less likely to be successful.
There is a tendency to be either debilitatingly modest or repulsively arrogant in an interview scenario. The idea of picturing your interviewer naked may work for some people, but I feel that this leaves me slightly ill at ease (and sometimes just ill) throughout the interview.
Many adopt a ‘fake it till you make it’ approach, but the flaw in this lies with the fact that the majority of people find it incredibly difficult to fake emotion well, especially when it comes to confidence. There is a tendency to be, entirely unintentionally, either debilitatingly modest or repulsively arrogant in an interview scenario. A desire to impress, a fear of seeming overbearing and the undeniable nerves of the situation can transform even the kindest, most genuine person into a complete arse. Even if we prepare answers to every conceivable question, we still may be undone: it is estimated that only around 7% of what we communicate is what we actually say. Besides, it is very unlikely that your words will speak of confidence if you don’t genuinely feel that way. So what’s the solution? Of course it’s important to prepare properly, but once you step inside that interview room, the best thing to do is to forget why you are there. Stop trying. Pretend you’re at a party or in a bar, and you’ve started talking to a friend of a friend. Don’t try to impress – just be honest. The chances are that if you’re right for the position it will come across from your natural enthusiasm. As pathetically simple as it sounds, just keep calm, relax, and, most importantly, be yourself.
Caleb’s burrito bar
Jonathan’s late-night coffee house
Online this week Follow us @saint_money
Feed me for under £5
Alice Ralston gives the lowdown on loyalty cards in St Andrews; competing businesses’ schemes are pitted against each other.
PJ Choi returns by popular demand to cook up a storm for under a fiver and shows it is possible to eat well on a budget.
Want to write for us?
Are you stuck in a gift rut? Want to buy something impressive without breaking the bank? Read our guide for fresh ideas on gifts for friends, family and loved ones.
We’re always looking for new writers. If you’re interested, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. Dont forget to follow us on Twitter @saint_money.
Editor: Miles Adams Sub-editors: Maximilian Curtis, Ellen MacPherson, Emma Freer and Nandita Nair
Reflections on the Westgate tragedy
“Despite catastrophic acts of terrorism happening during my lifetime, never before had an attack felt so real... Having visited the city so many times and only as recently as two months ago, I found myself shaking to the core.” pers fleeing and turning into hostages. What made such scenes so poignant and terrifying was the knowledge that people we knew were put into this unimaginable situation. They were the ones trapped during the siege and sustaining a whole host of injuries while all we could do was helplessly watch their plight from afar.
such a living hell? I also don’t remember being more relieved in my entire life after receiving the news that my aunt had left the Mall only half an hour before the Al-Shabaab militants stormed in. When people have asked how I am, I just can’t help explaining how surreal it feels when something of
I’ve been so used to walking through the Mall, sampling its excellent variety of foods and admiring the products of its famous Maasai Market that news of explosions, gunfire and smoke was too much to digest
Contestants from the Junior Masterchef contest, which was taking Victims of the Westgate terrorists are taken away from the scene place on the rooftop of the mall, receive medical attention ism happening during my lifetime, never before had an attack felt so real. Although born and bred in London, Kenya and especially Nairobi is somewhere I consider my second home. My parents both grew up there and many members of my extended family still live there. With such familial ties coupled with the country’s extraordinary and dynamic natural beauty, I’m always trying to find an excuse to return whenever the chance arises. Having visited the city so many times and only as recently as two months ago, I found myself shaking to the core. Seeing photographs and videos taken inside the Westgate Shopping Mall really homed in my sense of shock. I’ve been so used to walking through the Mall, sampling its excellent variety of foods and admiring the
Parmashu Jain, an eight-year-old Indian national who died in the attack
As much as I have criticised the Bubble for curbing my awareness of current affairs in the past, in this case, it has definitely served as a mixed blessing. The “isolation” has proved therapeutic, preventing me from being in the throes of grief Centre, by contrast, is remarkable in its openness. You can see such diverse groups of people interacting with each other, from foreign expats and diplomats to local Kenyans. This melting-pot effect held such great appeal to me that I often frequented the Mall just for the people-watching. Now all I could see from the recent news images was this cosmopolitan and ornate mall being transformed into a warzone, with innocent shop-
Worst of all has been listening and speaking to the people who had to undergo and experience such a gruesome ordeal. A family friend of ours was forced to spend three hours along with his aunt hiding in a staff locker room in a delivery depot warehouse beside Westgate. When sending him a message, I just didn’t know how to be of consolation to him. After all, what do you say to someone who had to clamber over dead bodies to escape
pastries. Only a ten minute drive from my grandmother’s house, I’d spend many a happy morning there with my laptop, a good book and a cup of coffee in hand. It seemed that my palette was the first to take the news hardest! As much as I have criticised the Bubble for curbing my awareness of current affairs in the past, in this case it has definitely served as a mixed blessing. The ‘isolation’ has proved therapeutic, preventing me from being in the throes of grief. Despite regularly receiving updates from my parents, the impact hasn’t struck me as much as it probably would have done so back at home. I’ve also been lucky to receive a lot of support from
Photo: Vivek Shah
Photo: Vivek Shah
With the famous bubble-effect of St Andrews, I often find myself learning about news of the outside world through Facebook and Twitter. Turning to my trusty social media sources as usual this past Saturday, I noticed that they were flooded with unusually high levels of traffic. As I navigated my way through posts and tweets alike, I came to learn that, much to my horror, the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya was at the mercy of a terrorist attack led by Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based Islamist group. Despite catastrophic acts of terror-
products of its famous Maasai Market that news of explosions, gunfire and smoke was too much to digest. In my mind, Westgate has always been Nairobi’s bastion of cosmopolitanism where everyone is welcome. Despite so many places in the capital visibly segregating the haves and have-nots with gates and barbed wire, the Westgate
Photo: Vivek Shah
such a magnitude happens in so familiar a location. The bizarreness of it all left my initial thoughts verging on the irrational. After getting the news, I remember being more concerned as to where I’d get my next coffee and brunch fixes when visiting the Kenyan capital. ArtCaffé, the Israeli-owned café on the ground floor where the attackers began shooting, used to be my source of escapism, spent ogling the marvellous displays of French
those around me. Busy schedules and activities have kept me busy, leaving little time to wallow in the sadness of such a tragedy. There’s no doubt that the Kenyan nation will be affected by this recent terrorist attack. Retail, recently a top investment area throughout Kenya and indeed Africa, and tourism will certainly be hit. A cousin back in Nairobi, who runs a travel agency firm, explained that in the attack’s aftermath a number of tourists understandably cancelled trips to Kenya for the forthcoming months. Al-Shabaab many have struck at the consumerdriven heart of the country but I rest assured that the compassion and positivity of the Kenyan people will see their nation overcome this hump on its road to development.
I have spent the last two weeks contemplating what I would write about for my column and have managed to put it off until the last possible day. In my contemplating, I’ve considered writing about a lot of different topics, but in the end I kept coming back to the feelings of shock and horror that I felt when I looked through the photos from the atrocity that took place last week at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on a plan to conduct interviews for every issue, but when a senior member of the University administration was in London during the time frame of getting an interview for this issue, I was worried that I would not have a captivating story for the front page of Features. Even as a student journalist, I am constantly thinking of the stories I would like to include in the next issue and online. While talking to my friend Vivek Shah last Monday, I was stunned by the close connection he had to the attack in Nairobi and wanted to help in any way I could. By Wednesday, knowing the terrorist siege of the Mall was finally over, I asked Vivek if he would consider writing an article. The precarious situation I was in was to balance the need for a story with the horrific events playing out only an eight hour flight away. I felt like this was my first taste of ‘real’ journalism. Having watched many documentaries and interviews with journalists, I’ve always heard of this struggle to balance emotions with the need to cover a story. When is something too sensitive to publish? Where is the line on graphic images? The Saint and I have been ‘blessed’ enough, if I can even use that word, to receive this dramatic reflection on the events in Nairobi and the exclusive photos that accompanied them from a close friend of Vivek’s uncle who experienced the ordeal first-hand. During the process of layout the editor, deputy editor and I could not believe the photos we were viewing. We were incredibly fortunate to get the exclusive on these and spent over an hour discussing the legality and sensitivity of each photo prior to publishing. This process included reviewing journalism ethics
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Republican Party divided over actions on Obamacare Maximilian Curtis
International politics sub-editor
Miles Adams and legal books to make sure we published ‘appropriate’ photos. In the end, this did result in us withholding certain photos from publishing owing to their graphic nature. I continually thanked Vivek for providing us with his story, but each time I made sure to choose my words carefully since the entire situation is difficult. In the future, I hope to compliment some more ‘standard’ interviews with provocative and electrifying stories like the aforementioned one covering the Westgate tragedy. My relief for getting such an incredible story also makes me wonder: am I in the business of bad news? Is it awful that my first response to a tragedy is the desire to get insiders to share their own accounts and get an exclusive for The Saint? I am sure that over the course of the year I will be better able to handle the challenges of covering sensitive stories and improve my radar for obtaining new stories. I am greatly enjoying my tenure thus far as Features editor and with each new issue I’m learning significantly more about what it means to be a journalist. Over the next several issues I plan to include many exclusive interviews with both Univeristy of St Andrews administrators, professors and student leaders, along with figures outside of the St Andrews community. Furthermore, as with the Nairobi story, I am working on connecting events with students in the St Andrews community. The University has a very diverse student body and so, while searching for connections to stories can be challenging, the final results always provide for a more exciting read and superior quality student journalism. So finally, when you pick up the paper and flip to Features on page 15, know that you will be able to read national and international stories with only a few degrees of separation from many students with very close knowledge of the events detailed. Additionally, travel and lifestyle stories that directly involve students has always been a staple of Features and will continue to be this year. Great student journalism does require strong writers, so if you have ever considered writing, please do join our team.
Republicans in Congress are divided over two strategies to dismantle Obamacare. Senator Ted Cruz hopes to defund it by provoking a government shutdown, whereas House Speaker John Boehner hopes to convince Democrats to delay phasing in some of its key provisions by threatening a global financial crisis. Rather than approve spending for the entire federal budget, which has only happened four times since 1977, the House and Senate must agree on a temporary budget to keep the government running until midNovember. This stop-gap measure, or “continuing resolution,” must be passed by the end of September or else large swathes of the federal government will simply come to a halt. In a 21-hour-long speech, Senator Cruz fought to keep the US government unfunded so long as Obamacare is part of its spending budget, but Boehner is expected to put his weight behind a Senate bill that includes healthcare spending. This would allow Republicans to delay their attack on Obamacare by instead preparing for the far more dangerous debt ceiling battle. The debt ceiling is the point at which the Treasury department cannot borrow any more funds to pay for deficit spending that Congress has previously approved. The Treasury is expected to reach the debt ceiling sometime after 18 October. If Mr Boehner refuses to raise the debt ceil-
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In the business of bad news?
United States senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Values Voter Summit ing unless Democrats agree to delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year, then the US government could to default on many of its bills. The collapse of the debt ceiling could raise interest rates and reduce global confidence in the US dollar. No matter how damaging or irresponsible a government shutdown would be, the United States defaulting on its debts would be far more disastrous for its long-term recovery and the global economy. Over the years, Republican opposition to Obamacare has played well with voters, who return to the polls in 2014. Recent opinion polls, however, have shown that the American public would overwhelmingly blame Republicans for a government shutdown. As a result, a shutdown could diminish the party’s prospects for retaking the Senate and strengthening its majority in the House.
Meanwhile, many Republican congressmen face primary challengers from the far right. Even though a government shutdown over Obamacare may damage the Republican Party’s prospects overall, it is still in the political interests of individual congressmen to support a hardline strategy against President Obama’s signature health care law. The real danger is that Mr Boehner could avert the political consequences of a government shutdown by instead convincing his divided colleagues to prepare for a heated debt ceiling debate in October, with Obamacare as his key leveraging tool. The political costs of Mr Cruz’s government shutdown may be too great for the fractured party to bear, but the economic costs of Mr Boehner’s debt ceiling collapse would be too much for the recovering country to weather.
en’s networks. We collected 236 surveys from the Scottish youth and 88 from Muslim women. All in all, I explored three main stereotypes in Scottish youth’s views of Muslim women: 1. Muslim women as necessarily foreign. For instance, the Scots used words like ‘accent’, ‘India’, ‘Pakistan’, ‘Afghanistan’, ‘Asian’, and ‘dark skin’, as well as the more misguided ‘sari’, ‘bindi’, and ‘pygmy’, to describe Muslim women. On the other hand, 61 per cent of the Muslim women who were surveyed answered that they were not likely to be foreigners. Some of them also explicitly defined themselves as ‘British’ or ‘Scottish’. 2. Muslim women as necessarily oppressed. Staggeringly, about every tenth word the Scottish youth associated with Muslim women denoted oppression. Words like ‘bullied, ‘abused’, ‘depressed’, ‘scared’, ‘second to husband’, and ‘slave’ were only a few of these. Some also saw the hijab as a sign of
oppression, which the Muslim women themselves, in contrast, associated with words like ‘dignity’, ‘empowerment’, ‘liberation’, ‘strength’, and ‘pride’. 3. Muslim women as a potential threat. When the Scottish youth were asked whether they believed Muslim women to be terrorists or extremists, over 16.5 per cent of them answered affirmatively. Many young people associated the face veil with a sense of danger as well, while most of the Muslim women respondents did not even wear the face veil (only one of the 88 admitted to doing so), and others had very mixed opinions about it in general. The whole research was an enlightening experience, showing just how far Islamophobic misperceptions have seeped their way into young people’s minds. It was also a great experience, as it helped me take my head out the books, step out of the library, and do a kind of research I’ve never had a chance to do before as a university student.
Examining attitudes towards Muslim women Maryam Ansari Shirazi
This summer, I did a research internship at Amina, the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre in Glasgow (MWRC). Defining Muslim Women, as my research project was called, aimed to gather views from Scottish nonMuslim youth on Muslim women. These views were then contrasted with how Muslim women in Scotland defined themselves. My main task was to compose two sets of surveys - one aimed at the Scottish non-Muslim youth (ages 1124), and the other aimed at Muslim women in Scotland - and then to write a report analysing and evaluating the results from both sectors. Questions ranged from both the easier, more ‘tickable’ answers, to others that required more protracted responses. I was also in charge of distributing the surveys (with some help, of course), whether on the streets (Haribo usually convinced kids to participate) or online, where we exploited the links the MWRC had with secondary schools and Muslim wom-
The Saint • 3 October 2013
plex and intensely heated conflict. Chemical weapons constitute a horrific, inhumane and ultimately illegal weapon of war. But the conflict in Syria transcends the current Western debate about chemical weapons that has overshadowed much of the complexity of Syria’s civil war.
US and Russia deal on chemical weapons shifts debate over the Middle East Under last week’s US-Russia deal addressing the use of chemical weapons near Damascus, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must account for his country’s chemical weapons and hand them over to the international community for destruction by mid-2014. Questions still remain over the use of military force against the regime if another chemical attack occurs. The deal has been praised by a large contingent of the globe, although not by Syrian rebel groups, as a win for diplomacy over military intervention. The Obama administration has, perhaps, crumbled under the pressure of Congress, Russia and the American public all demanding nonintervention, while many Syrians and some politicians such as Senator John McCain were demanding military action. President Obama only
just avoided congressional humiliation, familiar to the likes of David Cameron, through an accidental triumph in poolside diplomacy by John Kerry and Vladimir Putin. Russia seems to be the real winner from the deal. Its successful diplomatic bargaining has meant that in a month, Russia has gone from one of the most condemned states in the international system to one of the most praised. News about Russia’s brutal human rights abuses, particularly against its LGBT community, has largely been forgotten in light of praise for Putin’s anti-interventionist piece in the New York Times. Former White House advisor Pat Buchanan argued that “Vladimir Putin made a better case against US strikes in Syria than the president of the United States did.” For Syria itself, dealing with the issue of chemical weapons hardly scratches the surface of this com-
The UN estimates that upwards of 100,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war. 6,000 of them were children, many of whom were subjected to torture. 1.7 million Syrian refugees have now fled to neighbouring countries, displaced by the violence of war. Many rebels have made
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Domestic politics sub-editor
A soldier aims his AK-47 during a firefight in Syria. Over the past two weeks the Obama administration has worked with Russia to settle the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons
the point that chemical weapons are not the issue. “Removing the criminal tools is one matter, and holding the criminal accountable is another,” said Salim Idriss, head of the rebel Supreme Military Council. That is even assuming that all criminal weapons have been removed from the hands of those who should be held accountable. Whether attacks are employed with chemical weapons, conventional bombs or guns is irrelevant - the sheer number of people being killed in the conflict is what matters and what needs to addressed holistically by the international community. The US-Russian deal on chemical weapons does not end the Syrian war. It simply dictates which weapons may not be used, to which the answer from those carrying out killings is: there are plenty of other weapons that can, and with very little response from the international community.
President Rouhani of Iran Syria and the signals thawing with West UK’s ‘no’ vote Hamish Docherty
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in his official state photograph dent reiterated a long-standing position that any agreement must involve the West’s recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium, he also stressed his own personal stance that “every issue can be resolved through moderation and rejection of violence.” Currently, neither Britain nor the United States maintains a diplomatic presence in Iran, though British prime minister David Cameron and US president Barack Obama have responded positively to the newly elected Iranian administration. Both Washington and London see the transition of power as an opportunity to improve relations with Tehran. Since taking office on 3 August 2013, Mr Rouhani has made an effort to demonstrate his commitment to “flexibility and friendship” in foreign policy. In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, he acknowledged the need to develop strong relations with the West. “I am committed to fulfilling my promises to my people,” wrote Mr Rouhani, “including my pledge to engage in constructive interaction with the world.”
In the recent Syrian crisis, the president encouraged dialogue between the Syrian government and rebel forces, though many are still sceptical of Rouhani’s attempts to differentiate himself from past leaders. Iran remains a major ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and president Rouhani has continued to supply Assad’s regime with financial support and military aid. The enduring Iran-Syria alliance has led opposition groups to scoff at Rouhani’s offer to broker talks, deeming the proposal “laughable” and “lacking credibility.” The question still remains whether Mr Rouhani is sincere in his pursuit of international diplomacy. Is his moderate stance a facade, or is he truly open to negotiation and cooperation? Another factor to consider is the role played by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s most powerful figure. Rouhani’s success at bringing about real change will largely depend upon Khamenei’s support. Over the next few months, Rouhani will have the opportunity to demonstrate his strength and influence as an international leader.
On the eve of Thursday 29 August, the British prime minster David Cameron faced political humiliation as his proposed motion for military intervention in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, was defeated by 285 votes to 272. Assad’s regime has ignored several international laws and warnings in using chemical weapons against its own people. So what now for both Syria and the UK? Cameron said that he would respect and “act accordingly” with the MPs verdict not to provide the United States military support in Syria. This decision not to enter into a military partnership with the US breaks a long-standing tradition in the two powers’ ‘special relationship’. Following the vote, chancellor George Osborne told BBC Radio 4 that he hoped this wasn’t “the moment where we turn our back on the world’s problems.” Opinion polls show that the British people are still painfully aware of the messy aftermath and consequences of Iraq. Despite voting to take action in Libya two years ago, they don’t want to become embroiled in more UK-US action in the Middle East. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Following eight years of international controversy and domestic turmoil under the reign of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s recent elections may indicate a forthcoming era of transition and change. In June of this year, 62-year-old cleric Hassan Rouhani was elected president, winning by a narrow margin with 50.7% of the vote. President Rouhani ran on a platform of “prudence and hope” in which he promised to address critical issues such as the desperate state of Iran’s economy. To solve his country’s economic woes, the new president must consider Iran’s extreme isolation from the global community. International sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear weapons programme have severely damaged the Iranian economy and may impede any future initiatives towards recovery. Owing to his seemingly moderate and conservative approach to politics, Rouhani has inspired many Iranians with confidence in his capacity to thaw relations with the western world. He formerly acted as a nuclear negotiator under president Mohammad Khatami, suggesting that he may be more willing to compromise than previous leaders. On 24 September, the president travelled to New York City to attend the opening of the UN General Assembly. In his first appearance on the world stage since this summer’s elections, Mr Rouhani agreed to a new meeting on Thursday 26 September to continue nuclear negotiations with six world powers. But these meetings did not end up occurring owing to disagreements over the nature of the meetings. Although the new presi-
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
UK prime minister David Cameron meeting US army general David Rodriguez
The UK will now take a lead in diplomatic peace talks whilst awaiting the verdict on chemical weapons use by the UN weapons inspectors. Despite MPs voting against immediate military action in Syria, however, if the UN Security Council finds Syria guilty of using banned chemical weapons then the UK may be legally obliged to undertake military action as stated by Article 43 of the UN charter: “All Members of the United Nations…undertake to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with a special agreement or agreements, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.” There will be continued debate within the UK regarding its role in Syria following the vote. While the world awaits the report by the Security Council on whether chemical weapons were used, the UK can only provide diplomatic and humanitarian aid, which has limited success. Keen to be seen taking action, Nick Clegg has announced a boost of £100 million in aid to Syria, taking the UK total up to £500 million. Meanwhile, a recent poll by the Telegraph suggested that 16 per cent of the British public wanted ‘no military action’, and for the UK to stop providing aid to Syria. Nonetheless, the UK signed the ‘Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention’ in 1975 banning the use of chemical weapons, and so to ignore this the UK would break its contractual agreement with the international community on chemical weapons as well as its global aid responsibilities, leading to the ethically unbearable decision that the UK can ‘pick and choose’ its battles.
3 October 2013 • The Saint
The party conference season undoubtedly marks the zenith of Britain’s political calendar. Last week, it was Ed Miliband’s turn to enjoy the media limelight. From my centre-ground perspective, it seems that Mr Miliband has thus far failed to set out a clear, well researched, or original agenda. Opinion polls suggest the same perspective, with many people still asking: which course would he set sail for were he to become captain of the great British ship of state? Although Mr Miliband’s speech satisfied Labour ’s activists to some extent, the Labour leader is struggling to reach out and connect to those who only take a passing interest in political phenomena – a group he will need to entice prior to the election. Perturbingly for him, only 17% of the population has any idea of what Mr Miliband stands for, and a whopping 67% are clueless about his ‘vision’ for the country. Problematically, Mr Miliband resembles Neil Kinnock more than
Tony Blair. This is an unwelcome curse for any Labour leader, since Mr Kinnock’s fatal flaw was that he simply did not fit into the country’s idea of ‘prime ministerial material’. Similarly, Mr Miliband lacks the vivacity which characterised Tony Blair ’s reign as Leader of the Opposition. Blair was able to attract voters who didn’t usually vote Labour. By the mid-1990s, it was ubiquitously assumed that the New Labour brand would soon be holding the illustrious reins of power. In contrast, a Labour victory in 2015 is nowhere near inevitable. Mr Miliband’s predicament is that the public associates Labour with the stringent cuts being made across the board. The Coalition has successfully painted a picture of itself being forced to clear up the mess bequeathed by Labour. Moreover, if the public were convinced by Mr Miliband’s rhetoric on Britain’s surmountable malaise, the ‘cost of living crisis’ and genuinely thought he was a ‘One Nation’ politician, then Labour would be steaming ahead in the polls.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Labour party conference concludes in Brighton
Leader of the Opposition Ed Milliband speaking at the 2010 Labour party conference
Perhaps one of the reasons Mr Miliband refrained from criticising Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats was because he is astute enough to realise that they may be his coalition partners one day. Adding to the woes of the Labour party is the feeling that Miliband’s policy proposals are not being enthusiastically received in politically friendly circles either. Many former Labour ministers have come out with criticisms against the policies. Lord Mandelson has called Labour ’s new energy policy “backwards” and believes the party’s new direction is disagreeable. Labour lies unsteadily on the crossroads of history. Should Mr Miliband carry on the New Labour project or should he revert back to his party’s socialist leanings? The ‘One Nation’ brand has proved a PR disaster. Perhaps it is a sign that he should have avoided a phrase inextricably associated with Disraeli’s conservatism. If there is anything we can take away from the conference, it is that Labour still has substantial work to do.
City guide to Edinburgh, “Athens of the north” Edinburgh is only an hour’s train ride away and is by far one of the best day trips from St Andrews Domestic politics sub-editor Bout of Bubble fever? Birthday weekend? Getting the travel itch? Don’t fear! One of the UK’s finest cities is just an hour and a half away and has a lot to offer for both first-time visitors and returnees. Below are just a few of Edinburgh’s finest attractions. The views I have lived intermittently in Edinburgh for the past three years and I still can’t get enough of the beautiful views available everywhere. Just standing at the statuemarked intersection on George Street gives a stunning view of the Firth and Fife. For a first-timer, the first stop would be Arthur ’s Seat and the Castle (prepare to be startled by the one o’clock gun), both of which are must-sees. I often find, however, that getting views from major landmarks can be frustrating since the major landmarks are never in your view. This is an easy problem to solve in Edinburgh as places such as Calton Hill are perfect spots to see all the major landmarks like Arthur ’s Seat and the Castle, as well as getting the perfect shot of Princes Street (featuring the Scott Monument and the Balmoral Clock). Calton Hill has the added bonus of having several famous landmarks itself, but as the hill is quite big they can still be featured in photographs. For other options, both the National Museum and Camera Obscura have panoramic terraces.
The rain options If it’s raining and you can’t head to the Botanic Gardens, Princes Street Gardens or up Arthur ’s seat for some connecting with nature, Edinburgh offers plenty indoors. The National Gallery has fantastic exhibitions on all the time. The National Museum is a rare gem. Free and extensive, you can spend an entire day wandering through the history, inventions and culture of Scotland and other world civilisations. Camera Obscura offers some mind-altering visual spectacles with a bonus history lesson (with a view, so rain or shine it’s a winner), and if all else fails, there’s always shopping (hello Topshop, goodbye bank balance)! The history The Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House are obvious destinations for fans of history. The Royal Mile has a lot to offer for those who want to venture beyond the history of royal monarchs. The Mile’s attractions range from tours down the famous closes that cover both the historical and supernatural past of Edinburgh to a police museum that features a purse made out of human skin, (definitely not for the squeamish). Wandering down some of the closes can reveal hidden gardens, cafés and museums. Slightly further afield into Midlothian, Vicky Rines, director of the Edinburgh Little Black Book, recommends Rosslyn Chapel, a fascinating and beautifully preserved fifteenth-century chapel (conspiracy theorists and fans of the Da Vinci
Code might recognise it). She also recommends one of the city’s many ghost tours if you’re interested in finding out about Edinburgh’s rumoured spooky past. English students should note down the Writer ’s Museum as a definite destination. It features original artefacts from the likes of Walter Scott and Stevenson.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
St Stephens Church in New Town, Edinburgh
The nightlife Not looking to Hive Till Five? Don’t worry. Edinburgh’s got plenty of amazing pubs if you want a slightly less fluorescent night and Revolution has a club vibe without the pressure to push yourself until unthinkable morning hours. For quieter nights, there are some great pubs around the University pof Edinburgh (Sandy Bell’s, Malones) that offer Irishtinged live music. If you get stuck (unlikely) there’s always the Standing Order on George Street cheap, cheerful and classier than a Wetherspoons has a right to be. The top of Leith Walk (opposite John Lewis) also offers a selection of Edinburgh’s finest and friendliest gay bars. Living so close to Edinburgh is a blessing. It’s the best cure for the occasionally overwhelming bout of Bubble fever. I’ve highlighted a few options for you, but the most fun comes from discovering things for yourself, so take your time to get to know and appreciate the city. If you move on from St Andrews to another corner of the world without immersing yourself in Edinburgh at least once, you’d have missed a great historical and cultural opportunity.
The Saint • 3 October 2013
American teaching English in China
To be perfectly honest, I signed up to teach English in China over the summer almost on a whim. I went to a presentation, sent a few emails, went through the interviewing process and I was all set. But after the whirlwind of deciding to run off to China, suddenly it dawned on me that I would be leaving for Suzhou in less than a month’s time. At first, the realisation was slightly daunting as I wondered how I would become an authority figure to 86 bright young minds. I was tasked with teaching writing to two classes of children aged 14 to 17, all very brilliant and fascinating in their own right. Things did not begin so smoothly, however. My first day on the job will forever live on as one of the most frightening moments of my life. The level of shyness of Chinese students is unmatchable. As I tried to ask them questions and find volunteers, I was met with dead silence and the piercing stares of teenagers. I kept fearing the worst, that somehow I was hated by them all or that I wasn’t being understood, but as the days passed the barrier was broken and the classes became lively and a joy to teach. As narcissistic as it felt, what interested them most in the beginning was learning about me: I received
Photo: Katie Fontes
Katie Fontes (middle) pictured with the Chinese students to whom she taught English over the summer endless personal questions ranging from the colour of my skin to my marital status. I tried to answer all of them honestly, because I was more interested in having them find a safe space for discussion rather than building a wall between teacher and student. In return, I was just as interested in learning about them. I asked them to teach me Chinese and to discuss Chinese festivals and food. They would laugh whenever I looked confused and the naughty
boys in the back would playfully mock me for my ignorance. I think they enjoyed that sense of openness, something they rarely got out of school classes during the year. The students were aching to show their own personality in their writing, and many submitted work that blew me away both in its creativity and its structure. Teens are teens, no matter where they live. The lessons they loved most revolved around everything
that we loved as high schoolers. They loved discussing their obsession with The Vampire Diaries or dissecting the lyrics of Taylor Swift songs. When they heard I was from Boston, every boy wanted me to tell them about the Celtics. There was nothing exotic about them. Sure, they also loved watching Chinese movies like Tiny Times and longed for Mid-Autumn Festival to arrive so they could eat moon cakes, but despite these minute differences the
best thing I learned while in China was that they were teenagers in every way. I still keep in contact with nearly all 86 students and I am working hard to go back to teach again someday. My experience in Suzhou was invaluable and I would encourage anyone with the drive to go out there to teach, not because teaching in foreign lands highlights differences, but because it highlights many more similarities.
City Guide: in August, Milan doesn’t want you James Leech discusses the largest-scale vanishing act in Europe Milan is full of museums, upmarket restaurants and classy boutiques run by dedicated fashionistas and artisans – a vibrant thriving city. The problem is, they’re all on holiday. Like many cities in Italy, Milan shuts down for almost all of August. This protracted vacation is centred around the Catholic festival of Ferragosto on August 15. For most of the year, Milan has 1,200,000 residents; during Ferragosto - a large chunk of August - the population drops to just 400,000 people. As a result, Milan is left an industrial city with little need to cater for tourists during the hot summer months. The tourism hub of Milan is the grand cathedral, Duomo - a gothic masterpiece over 600 years old. Inside, visitors will find every surface adorned with pictures of saints and the rooftops a forest of tiny marble busts (each with the same haircut). Also fascinating are the cathedral guards on ‘prude-patrol’ at the entrance, stringent about banning all sexiness from their cathedral (denying entrance to people in hot pants, with exposed shoulders, or a vague understanding of the word ‘twerk’). No trip to Milan is complete without getting lost in the vibrant side streets, except in August the streets are deserted. Many muse-
The tourism hub of Milan is the grand cathedral, ‘Duomo’ - a gothic masterpiece over 600 years old ums and attractions are shut, as are most restaurants and cafes. Finding dinner is challenging for the tourist unwilling to pick up half-empty crisp packets from litter bins. The city is a ghost town, inhabited only by desperately bored tourists, usu-
ally starving, hovering around the Duomo like wasps around the last rotten apple of summer. Milan boasts a thriving criminal sub-culture. Ubiquitous in Milan are packs of men offering ‘free’ bracelets, dangling them like a fishing
line. When a gullible tourist bites, they tie the knot tight and demand 10 euros for the bit of string. They constitute about 300,000 of the city’s 400,000 summer population. Short rail journeys from Milan, to places such as Lakes Garda and Como, offer a much more tourist friendly experience. With ample food, attractions and ice cream, the lakes are the Italy you thought you were visiting. Como and Garda are not ‘must-sees’, but they should be
your escape plan. Italian railways are extremely cheap, and even if you don’t buy a ticket all the conductors are all on their holidays - at the lakes. If you must to go to Milan in August - if you’re kidnapped and bundled into a suitcase bound for Malpensa airport - go to the Duomo and then get on a train. If you are given a choice, don’t go to Milan. During August, Milan doesn’t want you.
Online this week Follow us @saint_features
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A railcar going through central Milan, where James spent part of his August
Apple’s new iPhone isn’t so new
City guide to Amsterdam
Isabelle Bousquette explains why Apple’s new 5 series iPhones have not included any strikingly new technologies, but only minor adjustments that keep Apple devotees coming back to buy new devices.
Genevieve Yam details her favourite restaurants and cafes, places to stay, and tourist destinations while visiting one of her favourite cities, Amsterdam.
DC navy yard shooting
News details of the Westgate tragedy
Emma Freer helps to put the Washington, DC Navy Yard shooting in context and explains the mental issues surrounding the shooter.
Claire Nellist details the major facts of the attack for those who did not follow the events as the tragedy was playing out last week.
Week in pictures
Photo: Ellen Shaw
Photo: Sage Lancaster
Photo: Amy Thompson
Photo: Amy Thompson Photo: Sage Lancaster
Photography chiefs: Maria Faciolince, Sammi McKee
Photo: Raphael Benros
Photos from Milton Jones, Sinners Sport, Bubble Bath and STAR Launch Party. For the next issue, the editors’ pics theme will be ‘Shapes’, please send your submissions to email@example.com by Friday 18 October
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Photo: Jenny Lindsay
Photo: Sammi McKee
Photo: Sage Lancaster
Editors’ pics: ‘Yin & Yang’
Photo: Jessica Biggs
Photo: Maria Faciolince
The Saint • 3 October 2013 Photography 21
E VENTS The events of the week
Editors: Caralina Wonnacott and Devini Pabari
Race2 Launch Thursday 3 October The countdown to the annual hitchhiking race kicks off with a party in the Vic. There’s a free meal for the first team to sign up with proceeds from the race going MSF, Maggies and Macmillian. Last year Race2 sold out in an hour, so why not come along to find out more and sign up? The Vic, 19:30
Live and Loud Thursday 3 October RockSoc is putting on a night of live music, bringing together bands from both town and gown. Acts include Karmataus, TheseFadingPolaroids, Atom Tan and Clench. Entrance is £3 if you’re a member, or £4 if you’re not. Venue 1, 21:30
IDEAS Conference Friday 4 October
KKC Opening Ball Saturday 5 October The Kate Kennedy Club’s Charity Opening Ball is yet another of those don’t-miss St Andrews experiences. Tickets have already sold out, but if you’re desperate to go there are still some resales floating around on Facebook. As you may have guessed, dress code is black tie, and for more information on the acts check out our sneak preview opposite. Lower College Lawn, 21:00
The student-run Carnegie Club’s annual conference always draws esteemed speakers and panelists, and this year is no different. CEOs, MEPs, MPs and professors are all coming to discuss the energy sector, and there’s also a workshop on getting your dream graduate job. For more details, check out our interview across the page. College Hall, 09:15
Entrepreneurship Workshop A Night at the Casino Wednesday 9 October Think you’d make a good James Bond? Then Mary’s Meals invites you to join them for a night of “chance, excitement and fun!” Tickets cost £7 and include entry, a martini and some chips. With prizes including tickets to Mermaids’ Christmas Ball and proceeds going to charity, this is a must-attend event! Dress to impress: suits and cocktail dresses please! The Scores Hotel, 20:00
If you’d like your event to feature in the paper or online, then get in touch with us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @saint_events or send us a Facebook message. We look forward to hearing from you!
Tuesday 8 October Bonnie Hacking, the Careers Centre’s enterprise and employability adviser, is holding a free workshop on how to find a great business idea. The perfect talk for all you budding business people, examples cited include Virgin & Richard Branson and Innocent Drinks. Places are available now via the St Andrews Entrepreneurship Society. School 1, 15:00
EcoSoc Presents the Bank of England Friday 11 October The Bank of England’s deputy agent for Scotland and a graduate recruiter are coming to speak in St Andrews. Alex Brackfield will follow Mr Duff’s talk on monetary policy giving an insight and overview into the Bank’s recruitment process. This is a great opportunity if you have ever considered a career in central banking or just have a passing interest in economics. School 1, 15:00
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Events-Off: KKC’s Opening Ball vs Carnegie Club’s IDEAS Conference
This House Believes...
Every week we’ll put two events head to head. But we want to know what you think! Vote online for your favourite event and see who comes out on top... Devini Pabari Events editor
Advertised as the first black tie ball
of the year, the Kate Kennedy Charity
awkwardness of those hazy nights at
‘Power Politics and Revolution’, wel-
was the perfect time to hold this an-
Tomorrow, St Andrews will welcome
He continues to talk about the oth-
it sees all year, courtesy of the stu-
the Union had been dispelled, so now nual spectacle.
Opening Ball is an institution in St
er attractions - one being the Buffalo
getting swept up in the champagne-
ple of special things they’re putting
Andrews, with hoards of keen freshers
induced excitement of one of the most anticipated balls in the Bubble. I spoke
Food Truck, which might have “a couon for the Ball.”
When asked to compare it to other
the “strongest line up of speakers”
dent-run Carnegie Club. This cred-
ibility was admittedly assured by James Penn, the president of the Club,
coming names such as Sir Menzies (former
Liberal Democrats and chancellor of
the University of St Andrews) and Roger Cabrera (advisory director and former student of St Andrews).
Each speaker will be given seven
the issue of ‘The Energy Sector: A
in the industry. The conference itself
the stage more great speakers includ-
be two highland pipers in the arches and you’ll walk down the steps to Lower
I attended the Ball in my first year,
College Lawn, to the free champagne re-
and was duly amazed at the cham-
The venue itself will consist of a bar
live music and the glamorous tent
ception as always.”
area and a “massive dancefloor,” and
he’s promised a wider range of acts than last year, “which were just DJs and stuff,” with the full line up being a “more eclectic mix.”
So the second question is: who are the
mysterious acts? Chris reveals: “We have
That Swing Sensation, who will provide jazz and swing music during the champagne reception, The Hurricanes, who
pagne and bagpipe reception, the on Lower College Lawn. As a fourth
year though, I’m beginning to find it a bit repetitive and dull, so hopefully
the KKC will surprise us this year. If you’re a fresher, go: you won’t regret
The Carnegie Club describes itself
business world,” and hails this event and speak informally with leaders
is not the first of its kind, following a
number of similar past events which also hosted an impressive line-up of
guest speakers. This year the theme is
energy, allowing a wide range of aca-
will be open to questions and debate
which will cover a different issue and
from the floor. The first will discuss
Date: 5 October
Date: 4 October
who is a mash-up DJ from Edinburgh
Ticket price: £36
Ticket price: £18
who will get everything a bit more dancy.
Convenor’s reason as to why to go:
President’s reason as to why to go:
“A big party to start off the begin-
“Never before has St Andrews had
are an interesting one, mixing dance mu-
ising and dancing the night away”
ligent, awesome individuals”
sic and DJ with live drums and a saxophone, so should be good. Then finally Alex Bryson will be closing off the show
- he was a hit at Starfields and will be a
ning of the year... focused on socialCapacity: 1000
USP: Fresher-centric ball that’s a tried and tested good night
such a high concentration of intelCapacity: 125
USP: Large focus on Q&A and audience interaction
Rifai as well as John Ferguson, direc-
cists are also encouraged to attend the
the end of week 2, he argued that the
convener for St Andrews Model United Nations.
The floor was then opened for
a brief final summation by the first
opposition, the motion was put to a vote. With a result of 41 in favour of the motion and 62 against, the motion fell.
Can’t get enough of debate?
UDS will be debating the motion Has Failed” in conjunction with the Economics Society.
A much-anticipated event, the
debate will feature four incredible
to attend a coffee reception with all the
the proposition is Ann Pettifor,
The £18 ticket includes the chance
guest speakers before the panels take
place and a full networking lunch af-
terwards in Lower College Hall. Here, students will have the chance to talk to the speakers “in a more informal at-
mosphere.” For third and fourth year
ple at your university, right across the
What seemed clear to me from the
Illustration: Monica Burns
When I pointed out that it was now
Don and Max Wirka, the debates
power the world.
street from your classes.”
come freshers,” Chris commented.
were UDS co-chief whip Alex
“This House Believes Austerity
at arts students - chemists and physi-
Start, a local charity that works with
“It’s just an informal ball to wel-
Johnson paired up with Marco Biagi
The conference is not just aimed
facilitation and ideas company.
James commented: “It is fantastic
disadvantaged families, focusing on
Arguing in favour of Britain’s
This coming Thursday, 3 October,
to have that kind of high calibre peo-
year the proceeds will go to Home
tor of a Scottish-based environmental
and make valuable contacts.
Chris is also keen to emphasise
at the University.
of nuclear weaponry outweighed
speakers of the proposition and
the charity aspect of the Ball. This
help raise awareness of their presence
who debated whether the benefits
neering at the University of Glasgow.
Younger, a professor of energy engi-
portunity to get career-related advice
hotline, is manning the cloakrooms to
featured four engaging speakers,
speeches from the audience. After
students, this could be a crucial op-
great home grown talent to round off the
Fife. Nightline, the student support
Lower Parliament Hall the debate
Renewables, Niall Stuart and Paul
event, as the key question is how to
Location: Upper College Hall
The headliners are Seedy Sound System who have played at May Ball before; they
ing John Purvis MSP, CEO of Scottish
with CEOs Colin Welsh and Dima
The guest speakers have been
Week then it may be better to give this
Location: Lower College Lawn
Fossilised Monopoly?’, bringing to
to share their thoughts.
of banking, consultancy and politics
are a 4 piece rock and roll cover band -
very good quality! - and then John Marr,
The second panel will address
third panel will discuss ‘Fuelling
organised into three panels, each of
one a miss.
interact with the guest speakers and
demics and key names in the worlds
it. If you’re a returning student and
still have a headache from Freshers’
and top-notch speakers. Held in
MSP. Speaking for the opposition
as an unmissable chance to network
and casinos to detract from the main
another full of exciting speeches
directly address points made.
aren’t any gimmicks like dinners
the PH (unless you’re too drunk). There’ll
Abolish Its Nuclear Weapons” was
nuclear disarmament, Dr Rebecca
as “a bridge between academia and the
“You enter through Sallies’ Quad, around
“This House Believes Britain Should
ing students an invaluable chance to
a question and answer session, giv-
location - the change from Kinkell is
“refreshing.” He also notes that there
recent public debate on the motion
guests participating are not of consid-
First on the list is what to expect. Chris
walked us through the standard layout:
The Union Debating Society’s most
minutes before the floor is opened for
balls, such as Mermaids’ and May, he says that the main difference is the
but that is not to say that the various
to Chris Kunkler, the ball convenor, to find out what the night is all about.
interview and the president’s general excitement was that of all the Carnegie
expert speakers. Speaking first for a director of policy research in
macroeconomics and fellow of the New Economics Foundation. She will be joined by Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary for Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. Prominent speakers include
director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Dr Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith
Institute. Doors open at 19:30, with a port reception until the debate at 20:00. As always, gowns are encouraged but not required.
The UDS is also hosting a pre-
Club’s annual conferences, this one
debate dinner at Zizzi’s for speakers
Tickets for the past event were of such
come, first-served basis. If interested,
has the potential to be the best yet.
high demand that the Carnegie Club
had to up capacity by 20%, so I would be sure to purchase yours now.
and is inviting students on a firstcontact Alyssa Muzyk at email@example.com for more information and to reserve a seat.
24 Sabb diary
3 October 2013 • The Saint
Sabb diary: SRC motions and Union events Each issue your sabbatical officers keep you up to date with the latest developments In the first SRC of this year we passed three motions that are the first steps in our plan this year of making the Students’ Association more accessible to all students. In the weeks after we were elected, the four of us spent many late nights in a study room in the library trying to finish our dissertations. Honestly though, we spent most of those late nights discussing what we wanted to achieve this year and it became clear that, in part, we all had a similar agenda: to make the Students’ Association – your Union – more accessible to students. For Daniel this meant making events much more varied to cater for different tastes and interests. For Kelsey this meant improving the societies’ training by getting societies to think about accessibility needs, whether it be always providing a non- alcoholic drink option or being mindful of people who don’t speak up but might want to contribute to debate. The motions passed last Tuesday go some way towards our team’s be-
lief in accessibility: • A Motion to Adopt a Trans* and Intersex Bathroom Policy – allowing Trans* students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, and efforts to include gender-neutral bathrooms in the redeveloped building, so they feel comfortable in their Union. • A Motion to Have the Students’ Association Sign the ‘see me Scotland Pledge’ to End the Stigma on Mental Ill-Health – the first step in Teddy’s big campaign on mental health; the issues, ways of looking after one’s health and the stigma around mental ill-health. • A Motion Regarding a Zero Tolerance on Harassment in the Students’ Association – a policy that defines harassment, and explains to students that they do not have to put up with harassment as a part of their nights out and that the Students’ Association will not tolerate it within our building, because our buildings are meant for all students to enjoy. It all sounds like serious stuff, but it’s important that we think about the serious stuff to make sure the Union is a welcoming place for all its members – you.
Director of events and services Saturday nights are now very different at the Union. Events aren’t as repetitive so we can entertain as many students as possible. Our student body is incredibly diverse, and we can’t assume they all want the same thing. It makes my job very difficult, but also more rewarding. It’s fairly unique that our Union’s events are student-managed so I want to retain that student focus. That’s why I’ve tried to put on something on for everyone, so far featuring comedy, a cappella, laser tag, ceilidhs and crazy golf, as well as numerous varied dance nights. The concept is best explained with our Saturday cycle, which runs through four monthly events. The first is Rewind, a cheesy night of 90s music and guilty pleasures, as showcased in Freshers’. We all know someone who is secretly listening to these classics in the library, so, once a month, this one’s just to go out there and enjoy. The second are special events, such as week 1’s Silent Disco and week 5’s Roller Disco. These popular club
Photo: Maria Faciolince
The sabbatical officers
The recent a cappella concert was one of several alternative events put on by the Union concepts mix up our nights, so keep your eye out! Live music is third in the cycle. Now with a proper home in our entertainment schedule it includes events such as Music is Love’s fantastic Electro night last week. Last but not least is our night by Ministry of Sound – Unitrash – bringing up a Ministry DJ for an epic night from the
real experts. It’s going to be a great night and starts this Saturday. If Saturday nights aren’t for you, we have free live music every Monday at 1pm in the main Union bar, from Coffee House Sessions – bringing live music to St Andrews for you to enjoy over a coffee or your emails, so come and try it!
The views expressed in Sabb diary do not represent the views of The Saint. The Saint is not affiliated with the Students’ Association.
Best of the blogs: from Thailand to Edinburgh Read more from The Saint’s online bloggers and columnists at www.thesaint-online.com/blogs
Saint Features editor 2012-13 I have now been in Thailand for 61 days (at time of writing), which I believe qualifies me to utter the following sentence at any future parties, social gatherings, job interviews, etc, with total conviction: I once lived in Thailand. 61 days has seen me through two calender months, several full / half moons (as quantified by the infamous moon parties that have passed during my time here), two official seasons (we are now amidst the rainy one – it’s like being back in Scotland) and countless novel Thai experiences. It is with this knowledge tucked firmly into the waistline of my trusted harem pants that I feel I can begin my attempts at conveying to you, dear reader, about living life in the Thai way. First, the Thais are really rather friendly. Suitably labelled “the land of the smiles,” its people are genuinely caring and eager to help the ‘farang‘ (the term used to label us foreigners). The moment you look remotely lost, dazed or confused – whether that
my most favourite coffee stall would be open to provide me with my vital caffeine fix. I fear that some individuals can become so laid back that they expose themselves to the risk of becoming horizontal – pun very much intended, because Thai people sleep anywhere and everywhere (on street benches, upon train platforms, on temple stairs, in the back of moving tuk-tuks, under restaurant tables…). Go online to read the rest of this article and more of Caitlin’s adventures in Thailand.
Photo: Caitlin Hamilton
be while standing in a train station queue, attempting to order from a delicious array of street food cuisine or merely resting your wearied feet atop the steps of a temple – you are bombarded by a handful of locals who, combined, use their few words of broken English to aid you on your way. Remaining true to the belief governed by the Buddhist lifestyle, the people live ‘cool heartedly’ (jai-yen), in stark comparison to the ‘warmheartedly’ (jai-rawn) nature of western cultures. This means that they do not allow themselves to become overwhelmed or hot tempered when faced with challenging situations, and instead maintain an ever-calm and rational mind and heart. Schedule. A word that has been known to strike fear into the heart of any disorganised individual. Sadly, I suffer from a spectacular case of OWS (Organisational Withdrawal Syndrome); in other words, I get incredibly stressed and frustrated when living in world with no organisational structure. Thailand is such a place. Buses run when enough people fill the seats, hostel rooms can only be checked into when the maid has eventually made her rounds and, despite having structured timetables, children wander into their classroom lessons whenever the mood moves them. Having said that, the most distressing example of this complete lack of structure was the daily battle I had in hazarding a guess at what time
Caitlin Hamilton teaches English in Thailand
Richard Browne Saint editor 2012-13
In my inaugural graduate blog post, I told of how I had flown back from Russia and was working in the National Galleries of Scotland as gallery attendant and Press Office volunteer. On the face of it, not a great deal has changed – NGS takes up four to five days of my week on average. As for the rest of my time, it is generally being dedicated to BUCS planning and learning to drive. More on those later. The gallery attendant job is ticking along, a steady wage my reward for standing in a room watching people and gesturing at tourists in search of Greyfriars Bobby. As for the Press Office, I find that I am learning quite a lot. Not only what a press office does (at least on a Friday afternoon) and how it interacts with journalists and filmmakers, but also about the art world and how it is reported in the media. This has come as something of a surprise to me. I make no claims to be-
ing an authority on the arts; my musical knowledge barely stretches beyond 1985 and my main contribution to The Saint’s Arts and Culture section during my four years in St Andrews was ten Game of Thrones episode reviews. But now I’m going through articles comparing Francis Bacon to Henry Moore (Bacon wins) and evaluating German funding for the arts (it’s increasing, in stark contrast to the UK). I’ve also seen how different outlets cover art, be it the Guardian, Edinburgh Evening News or culture24.org.uk. Before I get carried away, I should stress that I still know far more about van Persie than van Dyck and so I doubt I’ll be making my debut on The Culture Show quite yet. Nonetheless, it is an interesting experience and one that I hope to build on. One way I intend to do just that will be by working for BUCS once again. Having managed to not make a complete hash of media tasks in Kazan, I have been fortunate enough to be entrusted with being media officer for Great Britain (Team GBR) at the Winter Universiade, which takes place this December in Trentino, Italy. At the moment this role translates as contacting relevant winter sports publications and websites and researching sports about which I knew very little... Read the rest of this article and more of Richard’s graduate exploits online.
ARTS & CULTURE
Photo: Jenny Lindsay
Editor: Ross Hamilton Sub-editors: Ruairidh Bowen, Marina Carnwath, Joseph Cunningham, Saeunn Gisladottir, Keegan Hudson, Stephanie Irwin, Joe Ives, Samantha Marcus
6 Arts & Culture
3 October 2013 • The Saint
DONT WALK announces partner charities T
Ariana Brighenti On Thursday 26 September, DONT WALK announced its affiliation with the School of International Relations Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS) in an event that also celebrated the launch of a new CPCS interactive website. To mark the website’s launch, the presidents of three world conflict charities hosted a panel discussion. The charities that DONT WALK supported in this panel included The Coalition for Work With Psychotrauma and Peace (CWWPP) and the African Network Against Illiteracy Conflicts and Human Rights Abuses (ANICHRA). The first speaker on the panel was Dr Willibroad Dze-Ngwa, the founder and director of ANICHRA. ANICHRA’s goal is to reduce illiteracy and conflict in Cameroon through providing easy access to free education and scholarships. According to Dr Dze-Ngwa, increasing literacy in Cameroon is essential to reducing conflict because “Cameroonians are sitting on a time bomb that could explode at any time.” Before Cameroon gained its independence, the country was a European colony divided between the French and the British. Once Cameroonians gained their independence in 1960,
a divide between francophones and the anglophones arose. The United Kingdom forced the anglophones living in Cameroon to choose between joining Nigeria or French Cameroon. Once the anglophones joined French Cameroon, they faced severe oppression, which in turn generated conflict. Ultimately, ANICHRA aims to use education as a tool to elevate Cameroon’s people out of poverty and to promote peace in the country. Dr Dze-Ngwa expressed great concern that, “In any case of serious conflict, the country will degenerate.” Following Dr Dze-Ngwa’s speech was a speech from Dr Charles Tauber, the leader of the The Coalition for Work With Psychotrauma and Peace (CWWPP). Dr Tauber has led this organisation in Croatia for 18 years, a charity that aims to mend the spirits of mentally scarred trauma sufferers in order to prevent future traumas from occurring. Dr Tauber spoke of many Croatian issues, in particular highlighting the segregation and conflict between Serbians and Croatians. While this racial divide has always been prevalent, communist rule under Tito and the promotion of nationalism made the racism even worse. Once Tito died in 1980, Croatia fell apart as families competed to gain power, playing on nationalist tendencies which only fueled the ethnic hatred. As the years progressed, the anger between Serbians and Croatians grew, forcing many citizens to flee. In 1991, The
Serbians decided to break out because they believed the police were invading their part of Croatia, sparking the War of Independence. This resulted in the deaths of thousands. Conflict only settled down in 1995 when the UN finally got involved. While Croatia has come a long way since then, the CWWPP is working on resolving many of the issues that still exist in Croatia and aiding people that are still suffering from trauma as a result of the war. The event concluded with DONT WALK announcing their association with ANICHRA and the CWWPP
through speeches by DONT WALK’s Creative Director Alina Abouelenin and head of charity Hannah-Mei Andrews. Ms Andrews spoke about DONT WALK’s previous charities and how DONT WALK came to support ANICHRA and CWWPP. Meanwhile Ms Abouelenin discussed how DONT WALK uses art to raise awareness about issues around the world proclaiming, “art that doesn’t impact doesn’t matter.” Through supporting these charities, DONT WALK is able to use art to make a difference in the world.
Both the ANICHRA and the CWWPP are working to create a better future for those suffering from conflict and DONT WALK has shown great enthusiasm to be working with these charities. ANICHRA and CWWPP have shown progress in reaching their goals and are spreading awareness on important international issues. Since DONT WALK is one of St Andrews’ largest events, money put towards these charities will greatly better the lives of others, reminding St Andrews students that helping others never goes out of style.
Photo: Ariana Brighenti
Dr Willibroad Dze-Ngwa speaking at last week’s event, held by DONT WALK and the School of International Relations CPCS
What to wear: Opening Ball
Style sub-editor Stephanie Irwin gives her fashion recommendations ahead of the first ball in this year’s academic calendar Style sub-editor
St Andrews’ Kate Kennedy Club will bring every girl’s Cinderella fantasy to life with an Opening Ball on 5 October. For freshers, this ball will be the first on their St Andrews social calendar. Black tie attire for men usually consists of a suit, bowtie and dress shoes, but selecting a woman’s gown is a far more complicated affair. The haute couture shows for autumn 2013 showcased elegant and ethereal gowns that can inspire even the most fashion-shy student. At Elie Saab, a favourite of Mila Kunis and Angelina Jolie, gowns in rich jewel tones, such as the opening sparkling ruby stunner with translucent sleeves, fluttered across the stage. Gowns from other haute couture shows were predominantly in a similar vein: sheer, light dresses fit for a fairy tale princess. Zuhair Murad, a favourite of Taylor Swift’s, showcased gowns with rich embroidery and jewels. Dior’s collection featured flouncy fabric, sheer panels, and nudes contrasted against bright colours. As beautiful as these couture gowns are, most students don’t have £5,000 floating around to spend on Opening Ball. Fortunately, the trends for fall gowns are prevailing beyond the runway, and St Andrews’ local dress shops have taken notice. According to Jo, a sales associate at
Phase Eight, the dresses available for autumn 2013 are very much “Downton Abbey meets Great Gatsby.” While St Andrews shops like Phase Eight can usually ship in dresses within a couple of days, ordering online is often the better option if you can’t find what you’re looking for in-store. Designers such as Asos, Topshop, Jovani and Sherri Hill offer dresses of high quality with a reasonable price tag. Opening Ball’s central location makes wearing heels a possibility and coat check unnecessary. The event will be located at St Salvator’s Quadrangle, so most students won’t have far to walk and those in David Russell Apartments or Andrew Melville Hall need only take a quick cab ride. Second year student Ariana Brighenti described the attire for last year’s opening ball as “fairly conservative,” so breaking out six-inch heels and a sexy dress would not be sensible. Instead, pumps with a solid heel of no higher than three inches would be a more appropriate option. Stilettos are not advised because they notoriously plant girls in the quadrangle’s grass and cause far too many cobblestone-related injuries. According to Jessica Findley, another St Andrews student, it is important to “take flats or your feet will get sore.” Although Opening Ball is a formal event, wearing a long dress isn’t recommended by attendees of earlier
years. A second year that attended the event in 2012, described wearing a long gown as inconvenient given the “nature of long trains and the exceptional capability of every drunken girl with the highest stilettos to find your train and step on it.” Most students
agreed with this statement, especially if one is planning to get quite intoxicated or partake in any dancing. Opening Ball is a great way for St Andrews students to show off their personal style. Thanks to the lady-like elegance of the runways, using high
fashion as inspiration for Opening Ball attire is now easier than ever. Taking into consideration the trends and practical advice from former ball attendees will make Opening Ball far less daunting and more of a Cinderella fantasy instead.
Photo: Sam McCulloch
An example of the range of styles on show at Opening Ball in 2011. Stephanie’s recommendations are to avoid heels and long dresses
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Arts & Culture 27
Richard Curtis’ directorial swansong F
Richard Curtis’ most recent cinematic offering comes in the form of About Time, a film about time travel. Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), our quintessentially British lead, is informed on his twenty-first birthday that he has been bestowed the gift of time travel, a power he frequently puts to use to replay many of the scenarios in his life where his Curtisesque awkwardness has prevented him from excelling with the opposite sex. As the film unfolds the viewer is gradually introduced to the object of his affections, Mary (Rachel McAdams) and it is their relationship that serves as the narrative crux of the film. About Time contains many of the traits of a Richard Curtis film that have made him a staple of British cinema throughout the last two decades. However, the film lacks the sharpness of his previous endeavours in the romantic genre. As a filmmaker, Curtis’ directorial style has never been particularly innovative and the key to his success lies in both the standard of his central performances and his skill as a
Image: Universal Pictures
About Time Dir. Richard Curtis
Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy in Richard Curtis’ latest film, time-travelling romantic comedy About Time, out this week. screenwriter. In About Time, however, the dialogue is not only overly sentimental, a trait we expect from his films, but unconvincing. It is true that Curtis is credited with perhaps the most catastrophically awful line in cinematic history: “Is it still raining?
I hadn’t noticed” during the climactic scene of Four Weddings and a Funeral, but the strength of his dialogue has been responsible for the enduring affection people have for his films. The travesty of Andie MacDowell’s iconic line is actually surpassed in
this film, when Tim’s sister, Kit-Kat (Lydia Wilson), a character who is even more irritating than her name would suggest, declares in a moment of amazement “Oh my arsing God in a box.” Tim Lake’s characterization has
been a source of much criticism since its release, it essentially serves as an amalgamation of every role Hugh Grant has ever played and could easily be dismissed as a poor imitation. Gleeson’s performance is one of the strengths of the film, however, capturing the bumbling Britishness distinctive in a Curtis picture with charm and apparent ease. The familiarity of all the characters presented on screen, for the first hour at least, makes the film border on appearing as a poorly executed parody of some of Curtis’ earlier classics. The last 40 minutes of the film arguably salvages the intrinsic flaws of the first two thirds. The final half-hour feels like a totally different film, abandoning the exhausted romantic framework and placing greater focus on the family dynamic between Tim and his father. The beauty and genuine profundity displayed in the dwindling relationship between father and son as Tim embarks on making a family of his own allows the film to transcend the expectations of its genre. It acts as a moving reminder of the limited time we have in our lives to spend with those we love, and how even with the assistance of time travel it is impossible to hold onto them forever. Curtis’ film is undeniably flawed, but it demonstrates a desire to impress upon his viewers some of his final words of wisdom – and one can’t help but be charmed.
Affleck and Bridges’ latest is dead on arrival RIPD struggles to reconcile action with comedy - Isabelle Bousquette examines what went wrong
inability to be realistic. One does not mind suspending one’s disbelief to enjoy monster movies and the like. However, in scenes of universally simple human encounters, one expects and desires realism. And that can’t be found through RIPD‘s melodramatic
The basic plotline of RIPD is quite simple. A happily married police officer, Nick Walker (played by Ryan Reynolds), is killed in action. He is thus recruited by the ‘Rest in Peace Department’, an organization dedicated to returning the dead to purgatory. The audience is never offered a concrete explanation about how these deceased souls have managed to avoid crossing over. The only explanation is a short sentence is about how ‘the system doesn’t always work’. This shortshrifting of major points becomes characteristic of the entire film. Initially Nick is in a moment of moral weakness: he has just stolen valuable crime scene evidence with the intention of selling it. The viewer develops some sympathy for him as the film progresses; observing encounters with his wife and the betrayal of a friend. Yet this initial sin is never amended. He even defends himself when asked about it. The creation of this basic mistrust prevents him from stepping into the hero role, which he so desperately attempts to fulfill. Miraculously, every single other character seems to fit a cliché. Roy Pulsipher (played by Jeff Bridges) is Nick’s RIPD partner. He is the department’s oldest and most experienced officer and reveals himself as the ‘I
Image: Universal Pictures
RIPD Dir. Robert Schwentke
Jeff Bridges glares at the camera while Ben Affleck looks mildly uncomfortable with a gun in paranormal action romp RIPD. work alone’ type, though he derives so much enjoyment from teasing Nick, one wonders why he preferred working alone in the first place. In a normal context, Bridges would be severely overacting. Yet because the film itself is essentially ridiculous, we almost fail to notice it. His continual irritating
commentary is eventually accepted as necessary for the film’s ‘comedy’ designation. Nick’s wife, Julia (played by Stephanie Szostak) is beautiful and sweet. However she seems more of a prop than a character, having no legitimate personality or identity outside of her marriage. Hayes (played by Kevin
Bacon), Nick’s former partner and the film’s central villain is likewise onedimensional. He expresses absolutely no remorse for the multiple murders he commits; further he has no real motive for attempting to destroy the world. The central failure of RIPD is its
The film toys with deeply serious and emotional subject matter whilst attempting to be a comedy
over-acting and trite dialogue. The film toys with deeply serious and emotional subject matter whilst attempting to be a comedy, and in doing so it doesn’t seem to treat issues of life and death with the weight and respect they deserve. This uncomfortable proximity of endless bad jokes and bitter death is enough to severely disorient the viewer. Even if the film did offer some kind of profound message, it would certainly be hidden by this overwhelmingly unsuccessful juxtaposition.
28 Arts & Culture
3 October 2013 • The Saint
The Bones of What You Believe Chvrches Virgin Chvrches, the up-and-coming Glaswegian trio with strong synthpop sensibilities, have gained immense attention from both trendy internet bloggers and large media outlets alike. Working off the strength of their contagiously catchy first single ‘The Mother We Share’ and a few EPs, the band has travelled the world touring but had yet to release an album. The Bones of What You Believe, the trio’s debut LP, is really just a more fleshed-out version of Chvrches’ previous releases. The powerful 80s-inspired synths, strong, infectious melodies and dance-beat tempos are all still present, and ‘The Mother We Share’, ‘Gun’, and ‘Recover ’, all previously released, all make their way onto the album. A refreshing change of pace is the inclusion of vocals from Martin Doherty, who takes the lead on two
tracks, giving the listener a brief break from the beautiful – but occasionally wearing – soprano vocals of Lauren Mayberry. The highlight of the album, and the final track, ‘You Caught The Light’, is actually sung by Doherty. The song’s ominous bass line, and chiming guitar sounds, mixed with Chvrches’ staple synthesiser noises, create a sound reminiscent of something from The Cure’s masterpiece Disintegration, or the dream world created by M83 on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. In a recent interview with the Scottish culture magazine, The Skinny, Chvrches addressed some of the acts they are often compared to: those who also share their retro-futuristic sound. While lauding contemporary synth-pop act Grimes, the band spoke of the importance of releasing albums, and the elusive nature of the synth-pop scene. The trio consider themselves more of an international, nomadic act, as they didn’t come through as part of a scene, which is commonplace for rock musicians. Like so many bands that draw on retro sounds, they are truly a product of the internet age, and gained their stardom from online releases. Chvrches have succeeded in their mission to create a strong, instantly infectious collection of songs which establishes them as a band who can go beyond simply making radio hits. They may not have come from a scene, but anyone, anywhere, with a love for pop music will enjoy these tunes.
Kiss Land The Weeknd Republic It’s difficult to believe that it’s been two years since The Weeknd emerged, unheralded and remarkably fully formed, with an immaculate trilogy of electro R&B mixtapes: House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence. Since then, the shroud of secrecy surrounding Abel Tesfaye has dissipated somewhat, with the 23-year-old Ontario native guesting on a number of high-profile tracks, signing to Republic, and touring extensively throughout Europe and North America. Now, after a long gestation period and a significant boost in production resources, the long-awaited Kiss Land has finally secured a release. Terrible name aside, the album is an unexpectedly familiar affair, eschewing big-budget bombast in favour of the same thematic and stylistic beats of its predecessors. While this is a welcome artistic choice, in practice Kiss Land struggles to build on the foundations laid down so convincingly and comprehensively by The Weeknd already. An opening half that’s light on highlights doesn’t exactly thrill in the same way that ‘Lonely Star’ or ‘D.D.’ did in 2011, but it serves to set the tone. The abrasive, rushing percussion on
A trip to Tennessee
‘Belong to the World’ offers a welcome change of pace from the early drudgery of ‘Adaptation’ and ‘Love in the Sky’, but single ‘Live For’, a collaboration with regular associate Drake, is disappointing; coming across as little more than a tired retread of last year’s also underwhelming ‘Take Care cut, Crew Love’. There’s also the issue of The Weeknd’s attitude. ‘This ain’t nothing to relate to’, croons Tesfaye repeatedly at one point, and he’s right. Kiss Land, like much of his previous work, concerns the lecherous, misanthropic ruminations of a talented but conceited young man, and that’s a hard sell, even if you do boast arguably the most impassioned, urgent falsetto since Michael Jackson. For all its faults however, there’s value to be found in Kiss Land for those willing to overlook its protagonist’s shortcomings, and the trio of closing songs in particular represent the best of what The Weeknd can offer. The album’s title track is a glittering, two-act anthem that dissolves into a throbbing maelstrom of wailing synths and siren moans. It’s followed by ‘Pretty’, itself a gorgeous, unsettling and spectacularly vindictive opus. And then there’s album closer ‘Tears in the Rain’: a lusciously packaged lament that’s every bit as hokey as its title would suggest, and all the better for it. A strong finale can’t paper over Kiss Land’s cracks, but it does manage to act as a reminder of how compelling The Weeknd can be when production and personality are working in harmony. Ultimately though, whether or not the album works will depend on the listener’s ability to stomach Tesfaye’s intoxicating combination of narcissism and nihilism.
The Saint Playlist
Joanna Gruesome - Sugarcrush A new, high-energy single from the Welsh noise-pop outfit; imagine a sugary-sweet version of Sonic Youth. Swearin’ - Watered Down An excellent Pavement-inspired track off the Brooklyn indie pop four piece’s upcoming album.
Just Friends – Avalanche (Shlohmo remix)
Shlohmo’s deeply melancholy remix of Nico Jaar and Sasha Spielberg’s side project.
The Saint talks to student playwright Joanna Alpern about her upcoming play
Kanye West – Bound 2 (live on Jools Holland)
t h eatre
The Saint: What inspired you to write the piece?
Yeezy does a raw, intimate version of the most elaborate cut from his recent masterpiece, Yeezus. It’s personal and perfect.
Over my time at the University of St Andrews I have had the pleasure to see a plethora of wonderful student written productions. Now one of our most prolific writers, Joanna Alpern (Echo, Bitter Root) talks about her new production, A Rattle of Keys. Joanna Alpern: A Rattle of Keys is a gritty three-hander about violence and submission in the army and beyond. It follows a day in the life of a post-traumatic stress therapist Florence Travis (Cara Mahoney), who treats returning British soldiers. Her own son Nick (Sebastian Carrington-Howell), bitter about having given up teaching piano in order to join, has been ‘difficult’ since coming back from Afghanistan. On top of this, Florence’s new patient Alice (Kuffase Boane) is a feisty young female soldier with problems all too mysterious for her to handle, which seem to tap into Florence’s most secret suspicions about her
JA: Partly it was studying post-traumatic stress disorder in psychology last year. Partly it was watching The Invisible War documentary about female rape victims in the US army, (who experience post-traumatic stress twice as potently as the average male soldier). But really these things more helped with research. I’ve wanted to write on the themes expressed in ARoK for a while, those of enforced masculinity and dangerous femininity. TS: Do you owe any debt to other authors? JA: Tennessee Williams, Tennessee Williams, Tennessee Williams. Bit of Phillip Ridley. Bit of Ella Hickson. And a lot more Tennessee. TS: Would you say that ARoK bears similarity to your previous work? To what extent does it diverge from themes you have explored before?
TS: How do you feel you have developed as a writer/director?
tures and ways of moving around the stage. I love if it they come up with an idea that I like - it gives me more faith in my characters that they can be interpreted in different ways, and more faith in my cast. Be sure to catch A Rattle of Keys at the Barron Theatre on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 October and see the talent St Andrews has to offer.
JA: I don’t think I’m so sensitive anymore. You have to develop an emotional distance between yourself and your work and not get upset if actors don’t interpret your words immediately how you wanted them to be interpreted. Often the way your cast interprets the character or the script can be more interesting anyway. TS: Your writing must be very precious to you: how do you work with the actors to create the best compromise? JA: I like to think that I) always encourage my actors to come up with some of their own mannerisms, ges-
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Photo: Joanna Alpern
JA: I’d say that while ARoK certainly has a grim psychological focus at its core, (as did Echo and Bitter Root) [however] its setting is not so domesticated. It deals with issues beyond families and relationships, although they do feature, and I had to do a lot of research, which was new for me.
Joanna Alpern, director of A Rattle of Keys
The new single from Arcade Fire is a must-listen. The James Murphy produced track continues in the vein of previous album highlight, Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), with an innate disco vibe. Check out more of what The Saint is listening to on Spotify. Search ‘saintartsculture’.
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Arts & Culture 29
Don’t shoot the messenger
Alex Harrison takes aim at the controversy surrounding Grand Theft Auto V, and tells the game’s critics why they’re wrong G
You know, I miss Jack Thompson. A ‘lawyer’ who made his name in the Columbine-era witch hunt against violent video games, now rightly disbarred for displaying a truly spectacular degree of idiocy, Thompson hated Grand Theft Auto with a burning Christian passion. A lot of the uninformed media agreed with him. GTA taught kids to be murdering, carjacking sociopaths with no respect for the Ten Commandments; America didn’t like that. That kind of stupidity was at least overt. These days, we have to deal with something more insidious. In 2013, the gaming media will tell you GTA is a satire. Ding-dingding! We’re getting somewhere. Unfortunately, said gaming media (on no account call it ‘games journalism’, because there’s not a shred of journalistic quality or integrity in any one of those corrupt, incompetent hacks) doesn’t quite seem to understand satire. There are two major points of contention surrounding the latest iteration, GTA V: its undeniable sexism, and the already infamous player-controlled torture sequence. The reaction to
Image: Rockstar Games
GTA V has garnered criticism for its violent content and its depiction of women, but is this just the game’s satire hitting home? both has spectacularly missed the point. The torture sequence in particular is so nakedly critical of the practice and the government which uses it that it beggars belief that people could think otherwise. Honestly, this one isn’t even worth discussing. These are the same people who think Starship Troopers (the film) advocates
fascism, or that Jonathan Swift loves him some other other white meat. The sexism makes for a much more interesting conversation. Is it there? Yes. Is it obvious? Yes. Is there a more nuanced discussion to be had about internalised patriarchal mindsets and ingrained institutional sexism? Absolutely. But is GTA V’s sexism a straightforward reflection
of its designers’ views? Not in a million years. The gaming press, drunk on its white-knight wannabeintellectualism and the medium’s recent (and breathtakingly hamhanded) feminist turn, queues up to condemn such grotesque misogyny, without stopping to think about what GTA really is. Its women are marginalised.
They’re shrews or sluts; bitches or victims. None of this is up for debate. The question is why it depicts women like that, and the answer to that is the key to understanding GTA’s satirical angle. The truth is that GTA V’s satire is so broad, so cynical, so nihilistic that it almost isn’t satire at all. It is quite simply a funhouse mirror held up to America, which proceeds to get very very angry at its own exaggerated reflection. It’s a brilliant conceit: when you criticise GTA V (from a nontechnical standpoint), all you’re doing is criticising America – and America hates itself. GTA V completely lacks originality by design; in fact, it’s as close to politically neutral as possible, purely so that its ruthlessly accurate cartoon of America can take centre stage. Castigating it is like blaming the mirror for how ugly you are. All the sexism, racism, homophobia, oppression, corruption, greed, insanity and hatred – the American Dream, in other words – is on display, and people can’t handle it. It’s easier to blame a specific violent video game for Columbine than it is to blame a national culture of violence, and it’s easier to splutter that GTA V is awful than it is to acknowledge that it’s just a reflection of something worse still. So don’t shoot the messenger because he’ll shoot you right back.
Revisiting the future: How I Live Now
With its big screen adaptation imminent, Charlotte Grove looks back at Meg Rosoff’s popular novel l iterature Charlotte Grove Critically acclaimed and internationally recognised, How I Live Now, is a narrative exploration of a romantic affair that becomes a victim to circumstance in the outbreak of a new World War. The 2004 Young Adult novel written by London-based American author, Meg Rosoff, received the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize after its original publication and has continued to garner awards. Although the novel falls within the Young Adult category, How I Live Now is filled with the subtleties of a story intended for a more mature audience. With a film adaptation set for release this month, hitting cinemas on October 4, the novel is back in the spotlight. How I Live Now begins with the angst-filled Daisy, an American teenager, arriving in England from the United States. A 15-year-old girl, Daisy is sent to live with family due to a tumultuous relationship with her stepmother, and her inability to deal with her father. As narrator, Daisy’s prose is akin to that of J. D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the
Rye. Both Daisy’s prose and her tone are reminiscent of Caulfield, as she rejects societal norms and speaks in broken, conversation-like jargon. However, this aspect of the novel has garnered some criticism due to the extent of the narrator’s narcissism. Parts of the book lack detail, as Daisy chooses to divulge what she deems important and declines to provide other information pertinent to the plot, such as the unknown antagonists of the war. For a wartime novel, there is ambiguity about exactly who the enemy is, and the protagonist fails to provide any details on the basis of the conflict. Similarly, Daisy is consistently distracted by her infatuation with her romantic interest, Edmond. Even in moments where she is fighting for her life, Edmond is always in the back of her mind. Nevertheless, as the novel’s focal point, Daisy keeps the reader entertained with her spunk, use of nonchalant hyperbole, and general lack of connection to the real world. Continuing the theme of detachment from reality perpetuated throughout the novel, Daisy’s time in England is depicted as if she is on a sojourn. The image of her initial relaxation at the farmhouse under a blanketed sky provides a brilliantly sharp contrast to the plot’s
denouement, and the sudden switch from utopian bliss to a struggle for survival is an unexpected twist. Cliffhangers throughout the novel keep the reader engaged, particularly in anticipation of the state of Edmond and Daisy’s postwar relationship. The novel’s futuristic setting has led many to question Rosoff’s choice of timing. How I Live Now fits perfectly into popular literature’s hip post-apocalyptic society trend, although a notable distinction that sets Rosoff’s novel apart can be seen in the author’s decision to retain the semblance of nationhood in Daisy’s world – that and the fact that none of the citizens are fighting zombies with far-fetched lasers. In contrast to the ever-popular genre Zombie literature, the reader finds prose expressing nuances akin to that of an earlier World War. If you are keen for a more Sci-Fi or UFO centric work, How I Live Now is simply not for you. However, if you’re in the mood for a multi-faceted work of emotional and military conflict, definitely give it a read. Don’t forget to catch it in the cinema early this October, staring Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan. If it’s anything like the book, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat.
30 Arts & Culture
Breaking Bad: going out on a high
3 October 2013 • The Saint
[SPOILER WARNING] The most talked-about show of the last decade, Breaking Bad has become a phenomenon. As the final season draws to a close, Molly Curren explains why it was such a success television
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as meth-cooking odd couple Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Both actors won multiple Emmys for their performances in the acclaimed series. have been of a consistently high quality from the start, and things begin at fever pitch and never let up. Even as it streaks through its five seasons at a phenomenally high speed, the characters evolve believably within the ever-thickening plot, lies are piled atop lies, and the show becomes ever more complex and the writing more layered. It’s a delightfully rich show, rife with symbolism, foreshadowing and parallels. As Walt and his sister-in-law, Marie, put his infant daughter to bed, they make sure to turn her on her side, tucking a towel behind her with great care, just
in case she spits up. Later in that very same episode, Walt looks on as Jesse’s girlfriend Jane rolls over on her back, and chokes to death on her own vomit. Creator Gilligan masterfully weaves little moments and parallels like these, both subtle and pronounced, in individual episodes as well as through the entire story. Like most great shows, it also repays the viewers’ efforts, with the exception of a few contrived plot points. However, these moments are few and far between, and generally the story flows believably and smoothly. There are very few dropped plotlines and things left
Breaking Bad has been heralded by many as the best TV show ever. While my view is somewhat more restrained, I certainly believe that it is one of the best live-action dramas currently on television. Set in the desert city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad follows the increasingly dark story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who, when diagnosed with lung cancer, goes into business as a crystal meth cook with his former student, Jesse Pinkman. Things only go south from there, as Walt struggles to hide his new job from his pregnant wife, Skyler and his DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank. Soon Walt has become a new person entirely, travelling a slow path from victim to victimiser, beginning the long and painful journey from good to evil. It has its shocking moments (I can guarantee you will never be able to look at a child on a bicycle again without getting at least a little bit sad). It has a surprising number of funny moments, although as the characters sink deeper and deeper into despair, things that were once played for laughs, like dissolving bodies in acid, gradually become more somber occurrences. As your affection (or loathing) for certain characters increases, episodes become more intense and stressful by the minute. For a programme that revolves around the idea of metamorphosis and change, there has been remarkably little shift in the show’s quality during its five series run. Breaking Bad, from the beginning, has been a wonderful fusion of tight writing, interesting cinematography and phenomenal acting. The episodes
Cranston’s Walter White, under his pseudonym Heisenberg, has become one of the most iconic characters in contemporary television.
unexplained in Breaking Bad. There is no lazy writing, no sudden and unexplained disappearance of characters or problems. Story arcs are set up and have satisfying payoffs. In addition, the show’s visuals are as fascinating as they are gorgeous; the beautiful New Mexico desert is a perfect backdrop, and cinematographer Michael Slovis uses it to great effect, giving the show a sort of modern-day John Ford western feel. Even the most mundane scenes are shot in interesting ways, using angles that give them a feeling of significance. On the other hand, however, as the show goes on, the cinematographer seems to enjoy using quirky point of view shots just a touch too much. There are probably ways that you could argue their artistic or metaphorical significance, but in general they feel gimmicky and distracting. As fine as the writing and the cinematography are, they pale in comparison to the acting. The cast have managed to breathe such life and force into their characters that you can’t help but think of them as real people, struggling to survive and protect their families. Bryan Cranston is pitch-perfect as Walt, exceptional in his portrayal of a man who deludes himself into believing what he is doing right, that evil isn’t wrong when in service of something good. I’ve never loathed a character in quite the way I loathe Walter White. My contempt for him can be predominantly credited to Cranston’s portrayal of Walt’s grotesque manipulation of everyone around him, his arrogant sneer and the ever
blurring line between him and his malicious alter ego, Heisenberg. His ability to snap back into his role as a bland, bumbling suburban father, as if he himself believes his lie, is, in a word, terrifying. Aaron Paul is no less convincing in his role as meth-head drug dealer Jesse, bringing an unexpected air of innocence to a character to whom that word should not apply. Playing the unexpected moral compass of the show, Paul provides a constant foil to Walt’s depravity. Anna Gunn, who recently won an Emmy for her portrayal of Walt’s wife, Skyler, inhabits her character with a believable motherly strength, while still capable of being terrified, lost, and unable to escape Walt’s machinations. The entire cast has such chemistry (pardon the pun) that they feel like real families, friends and enemies. From avoiding Twitter at all costs in the hours immediately following an episode’s release, to holding viewing parties with your friends, watching TV is a social experience. Sure, you don’t have to compare theories with other fans, or scream your head off for hours after the episode finishes, raging blindly about Walt’s latest abusive antics, but it’s more fun that way. As Breaking Bad comes to an end, it leaves in its wake tearful viewers and empty (although slightly less intense) Sunday nights. One can only hope that its artful storytelling and loyal viewership will inspire others to create characters and worlds that people can engage with to the extent they have done with Walt and his chaotic existence.
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Van Gogh ‘missing link’ identified Ruairidh Bowen
Art & Design Sub-Editor Earlier this month, a previously unknown landscape painting by Vincent Van Gogh was identified by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Lost for more than one hundred years, it was brought to the attention of the Museum by a Norwegian private collector, who had banished the work to his attic after being informed it was a fake. After two years of technical research, which involved investigation into the materials, canvas type, pigments, layering technique, structure and application of paint onto the work, museum experts confirmed its authenticity. The painting is not mentioned in any literature on the Dutch artist’s life and career, but has recently been traced in the family inventory of 1890, upon Van Gogh’s death, and in the artist’s own letters. The painting, Sunset at Montmajour was created in 1888 and depicts a rural landscape of trees, shrubs and fields, with a pink-blue sunset. It was at this time that Van Gogh moved to Arles in the south of France, to benefit his mental health. He became particularly influenced by the light of the area, and experimented with colourful
It resonates a calmer feeling than some of the artist’s later, more anxious works
tones in his work; this is very evident here, with colourful rays of sunshine illuminating the Montmajour abbey ruin. It resonates a calmer feeling than some of the artist’s later, more anxious works, but involves his thick and spontaneous application of paint, which Van Gogh would later be renowned for. It is the first discovery of a Van Gogh work in the Museum’s history, and the first full-size canvas by the artist to be newly confirmed since 1928. What makes this work so remarkable is that it was executed in the last two years of Van Gogh’s life, the period when he created some of his most famous works: Sunflowers, Starry Night and the Portrait of Dr Gachet. Sunset at Montmajour is on display from 24 September in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
A r t & D esign
Arts & Culture 31
Vincent Van Gogh’s recently-discovered masterpiece, Sunset at Montmajour, the artist’s first piece to be newly confirmed since 1928.
Jack Vettriano retrospective at Kelvingrove Recently, whilst informing someone of my degree, their immediate response to Art History was “so you know the value of paintings”? Perhaps rather flippantly, I insisted to them that the monetary value of art is of no concern to me, but rather the beauty and meaning. Indeed, the world of auctioneering is essential to the continuation of the art world, but I find it rather distressing that people today obsess over monetary values, as opposed to cultural values. Ultimately, society responds to money, hype and controversy; just look how rich and successful the YBA’s have become. Last summer, Damien Hirst’s retrospective at the Tate Modern was the most popular solo exhibition in Tate history, bringing in over half a million visitors. Did the visitors attend to contemplate how a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde resonates something profound about life and death, or simply because it is (supposedly) worth $12,000,000? North of the border, an artist renowned for his mix of controversy and outrageous wealth has this month opened a major retrospective exhibition. Over one hundred works by self-taught Fife artist Jack Vettriano are now on display at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, spanning twenty years of his career. The artist, famous for his glamorous, heavily theatrical and erotic paintings, in now one of the most successful
commercial artists in the world, and Scotland’s richest. His wealth originates not solely from great sales at auctions, but mostly from royalties generated from endless postcards, posters and merchandise embossed with his work. His most famous work, The Singing Butler (1992), one of Britain’s best-selling images, supposedly earns Vettriano several thousand pounds in royalties each year. Counter-intuitively, the more Vettriano merchandise sold around the world, the higher original works are sold for. The subject material, style and artistic talents of Vettriano, however, have faced fierce criticism for
much of his career. A former director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art famously remarked that Vettriano was “an indifferent painter”, whose fame relied on “cheap commercial reproductions”. Critics have also argued that Vettriano’s art is woefully unoriginal and that his works are irregular in quality and. in some cases, unfinished. Feminist groups have also attacked Vettriano, claiming his art objectifies women, who are often depicted in heavy makeup and stilettos, clinging to a man. So why has this seemingly untalented artist made such a name for himself? Perhaps it is the strange,
uplifting, nostalgic fantasy that Vettriano presents to us in his work that appeals to some older generations; those who wish to hearken back to times when men and women behaved and dressed in a certain defined way. Vettriano himself does not believe in monogamous romance, so the romantic illusion in his art is heavily ironic. His vision of an ideal woman is clear across his work: a slender Ava Gardner-esque brunette, complete with scarlet lips and nails; Vettriano is an outrageous eroticist, offering borderline
soft-porn to a sex-obsessed world. We can’t deny it, sex sells. The artist has defended his overt eroticism, arguing that he is making a statement about human desire and the power of sex. Vettriano is indeed a man open to sharing his fetishes with the world. His talents may be questionable, but who am I to criticise a man who has made millions from selling postcards? The Vettriano Retrospective is on display at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove from 21 September to 23 February.
Online this week Follow us @saint_arts
Jack Vettriano’s most famous work, The Singing Butler is exemplary of his style
Kings of Leon
Christian Manley reviews the new release from the Nashville rockers, Mechanical Bull, their first new LP since 2010’s Come Around Sundown. Expect grungey guitars and croaky vocals.
In case you weren’t aware, the latest edition of EA’s FIFA series was released this week. Callie Cowdery offers a female perspective on the student obsession with the lifeconsuming football game.
Everyone’s favourite early 20th century period drama returned last week. Find out what Olivia Whitting made of the developments at Downton at the opening of season four.
Oliver Hirschbiegel’s biopic of the iconic princess has been getting mixed reviews since its release last week. Find out what Celia Coll thought online.
Editor: Andrew McQuillan Sub-editors: Hayden Taylor, Martin Saarinen, Hugo Porter, Olivia Richey, Matthew Gibson and Frazer Hadfield
From the editor
The king is dead Martin Saarinen Sport sub-editor
Welcome to issue 175 of The Saint. As ever, the paper as a whole, not just this little corner that will forever be sport, is full to the brim of the finest and most incisive student journalism St Andrews has to offer. Standing outside the library hawking The Saint to those who eagerly gobble it up or to be politely declined by those gripping a copy in their hand already is a reasonably reaffirming experience; it shows that people are giving your efforts at least a modicum of interest and due deference. Yet when you have been standing in the chill Fife air with the rain peppering down on you as the droves are striding past, your faith in mankind and indeed why you do this begins to waver. Yet, as Margaret Thatcher once said to an American president, this is “no time to go wobbly.” In a great book on football photography called A Casual Look there is a picture of a teen, equipped with bad haircut, Rudolf-esque nose and anorak, selling a fanzine outside a ground somewhere. For those of you not aware, in the 1980s football underwent something of a revolution with fans beginning to articulate their beliefs in a more coherent fashion than previously experienced, mainly in the form of print fanzines. Challenging chairmen, the football authorities,
dodgy left backs and the somewhat questionable quality of pies on offer, they were available outside most grounds across Britain. Some were indifferent, some were bad and some were fantastically witty and insightful publications that campaigned to change their clubs for the better - but each and every single one of them was put together with a great amount of dedication, care and emotional investment. Sadly the internet, high printing costs and, dare I say it, real life have killed off many of these publications. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover in a newsagents in Manchester this week that it stocked several Manchester United and Manchester City fanzines (including the incredibly well put together and oft controversial Red Issue). I bought a copy of each one and I must say they were still an engaging, funny and thoughtful read. In an era of the tablet and internet they might be the last of the dinosaurs but they are very welcome dinosaurs. Nothing feels better than sitting down with a paper and absorbing something that has had so much effort poured into it. The population of St Andrews seem to recognise that and I applaud them. Enjoy the issue and I look forward to seeing you all picking up a copy outside the library come rain, hail or shine.
Anyone who spends enough time around motorsports will come across the axiom of ‘cash is king’, probably being muttered by Bernie Ecclestone as he lurches away from another lawsuit and prison sentence. Spending by F1 teams is an abyss equivalent to the Cypriot banking crises. Don’t ask where the money came from or where it disappeared to. It appears F1 is a lost cause; even with regulations and reforms, you need to either own a bank or rob one on a regular basis to play the game. Unfortunately the same principle applies to all top tier motorsports – aside from the skill behind the wheel it is the level of spending that separates the amateurs from the pros. But surprisingly, it seems that blokes who drive around dirt tracks in the middle of nowhere have figured out a way to eradicate unnecessary spending in one of the most competitive racing series in the world. The M-Sport WRC team has created the Fiesta R5 rally car, which contains the ideological panacea for motorsports. WRC cars are some of the most hard-core racers currently built. Aside from Baja and Dakar there aren’t too many races in which cars endure similar punishment in terms of performance required and the one dealt by the environment. WRC cars cost millions to develop, hundreds of thousands to build, and each crash on a stage shoots another bullet of zeros through the chequebook. The reason WRC cars – and most
factory racers in general – are so expensive is the ludicrous amount of money spent on R&D. The search for lighter and faster components, more enduring transmissions and those ingenious ways of cutting seconds from the stages are what drive up the price of participating. The R5 avoids the dilemma of developing custom parts to suit its needs by utilising stock components produced by a number of different car companies. The reason for this is that the FIA have finally begun an assault on overspending by teams. They have introduced a price gap on components along with a minimum weight category, to ensure a more stringent approach to racing. 90 per cent of the R5 was developed from scratch, and M-Sports cost optimisation shows that the alternator, rather than being custom made costing thousands, was taken from Volvo. This utilisation of current parts and products is what brings the price of an R5 down by as much as 40 per cent. It costs just over £180,000 but is only a second slower per km than a WRC and is much easier to maintain and run. The engine and gearbox has been designed to cover over 2000km of rally driving before requiring a rebuild. The timing of the R5 couldn’t have been better. Volkswagen had to freeze their WRC development programme to allow teams such as Citroen and M-Sport to remain competitive. VW was expected to spend over £3 million to develop further their Polo WRC, but such an investment would have meant the end for M-Sport’s participation and left Citroen hanging from the cliffs. While
VW showed a great sense of sportsmanship, the fact this took place signals that either a general increase in investment is required across the rest of the teams, or that the direction of the sport has to change. Given the current economic climate it isn’t too hard to figure out which one seems more realistic. This is why the R5 is so appropriate and why teams such as Volkswagen and Mini are rumoured to be building their own versions of the R5. Currently the R5 races in the WRC2 category, but in a few years’ time when VW and Hyundai have settled in as regulars in WRC the R5 base could become the norm. Malcolm Wilson, managing director of M-Sport, highlights that “…to any spectator, watching on the stage, you would not be able to tell the difference [in comparison to a WRC car]. I personally think that this is where rallying needs to go, and I think, because already of the interest we’ve seen in this car that this will bring a lot more people back into rally. Maybe from 2016, 2017, this is probably the formula we should be looking at for WRC.” The Fiesta R5 has been created with reform in mind, and WRC has to embrace this. For those concerned with brand image of slower cars and a lack of technological development, a reality check is in order. Given the current financial climate and the emphasis on downsizing, even the roughest forms of motorsport are bound to take a few punches to their bravado. What this all boils down to is making the sport more accessible to enter and enjoy, and if ‘cash is king’ then the king is dead.
Online this week Follow us @saint_sport
The British teams are off to a variety of starts in this season’s UEFA Champions League. Follow our team of experts to follow every twist and turn.
Join us online for the best reaction from the Sports Centre as the University’s teams get into the swing of things this season.
Check out our website for the best interviews with some of the biggest celebrities at this year’s Alfred Dunhill championship. Not to be missed.
The sport editor takes a look at some of the remaining British football fanzines. In this edition, Manchester United’s Red Issue falls under the spotlight
New kid on the stage: the new Fiesta R5 is making waves in the world of rallying
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Building up a sweat: a tour of the gym
The Saint visits the Sports Centre’s new gym facilities Sport sub-editor
American students. The University has a keen interest in attracting them not only for their higher fees but their tradition of copious donation to their “Alma Mater.” In order to compete with elite American universities for students, the athletic aspect of the University had to be heightened. Evidence of the University’s interest in American students can be seen in the sizable donation towards the renovation by the University’s American Foundation. In terms of reactions to the renovation, for most students the addition of the core and stretching room is the most appreciated change. Many expressed satisfaction at the prospect of not being run over by other fitness enthusiasts while stretching or exercising, and there are plenty of mats making it more pleasant to perform exercises on compared to bare carpet. Another alteration receiving rave reviews is the extension of the cardio room to add several more treadmills, bikes, elliptical and even ergs. Oz Adari, a second-year regular gym-attendee, said “the availability of
Photo: Ellen Shaw
“We want to be the best in Scotland!” That’s director of sport and exercise Stephen Stewart’s goal for the University Sports Centre. In pursuit of that goal, the University spent £250,000 this past summer to convert four squash courts into a performance suite, a free weights room, a fixed weights room and an extra room for cardio. They also converted the old fixed weights room into a new stretch and core room. All with a goal of both improving the facilities and expanding their capacity by 25%. Mr Stewart describes the prior state of the Fitness Centre in one word: “Horrendous.” It was a common scene to see people stretching in the doorway, waiting awkwardly behind treadmills and half-heartedly using fixed weight machines until the one they wanted became available and then running to snatch it. It was also not uncommon for people to have to wait long periods of
time to use the gym, and on occasion gym goers were even turned away. For a university that boasts around 8,000 students along with 1,200 staff members, a gym that could only hold 60 at a time was unacceptable. Jess Walker, the current Athletic Union president, admitted that the gym was so awful that when she was choosing a university she almost didn’t attend St Andrews because the Fitness Centre was in such poor condition. The disconnect between the University’s aim to be world class and the quality of its fitness facilities was jarring. Ms Walker is not alone in her desire for improved and expanded university fitness facilities: Mr Stewart referred to the poor student satisfaction ratings of the University’s facilities as a major impetus of the refurbishment. St. Andrews prides itself on being on the top of the student satisfaction surveys each year and such a low rating had a strong effect on the decision to rennovate. Another less official motivation for the renovation could be the increase in
running machines makes it so I want to go the gym more because I actually know I’m going to get one.” Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams was right: “If you build it, they will come.” The reaction towards the weight rooms has not been met with the same enthusiasm, however. Schwarzeneggeracolyte Matt Salas commented that “the weight rooms are essentially the same, just more spaced out. And what’s up with only one bench press? How am I supposed to ‘get my swole on’?” The renovation has done essentially nothing to solve the problem of congestion with the weight machines; it is still very evident that having one leg press and two bench presses for a university boasting over 60 sport clubs is insufficient. The strength and conditioning manager says that there is a four-stage plan that involves increasing the number of sport courts in an effort to increase the multi-purpose nature of the Sports Centre, along with far-off plans to add a swimming pool. The sport department staff emphasised their plan as an evo-
Photo: Ellen Shaw
lution, stating that even this summer’s renovation is not in its final form, with plans to add three more mats in the core and stretch room along with the addition of another squat press. The final question remains as to whether the money spent on fitness facilities will be worth it for the wider university population, not just the few gym junkies and student athletes. By numbers alone, last summer’s renovation appears a success: last year in the first week of classes 1,980 people used the Fitness Centre versus the 3,180 that ‘hit the gym’ in the first week of classes this year, a 62% increase. In an informal survey, students who hadn’t attended the gym last year were asked whether the new gym renovation made it more likely for them to attend the gym. Jogging enthusiast and second-year Will Gray said that the increased cardio aspect didn’t attract him because “I can go outside and run for free,” whereas another student, Edward Byrns, admitted that “I didn’t even know it had been redeveloped.” And many more when asked what they thought about the new gym stated they hadn’t gone and didn’t really plan to. This suggests that the increase in gym attendance may be a niche group. Overall, while there is still a large portion of the University population that expresses apathy towards this and other university expenditures , the continuing development and improvement of the Sports Centre is essential for the University if it wants to compete with other institutions for fee-paying students. One need only go to the Stanford, Cambridge or Harvard websites to marvel at the quality and quantity of fitness facilities made available to their students. Which raises the question: is aiming to be “the best in Scotland” good enough if the goal is to be a world-class university? As they say: “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.” Any opinions on the new gym? Tweet @ saint_sport if you have something to get off your chest.
In defence of tradition Andrew Williams
St Andrews is an institution steeped in tradition. This grand old establishment is a testament to the power of history. The very essence of this University is its age, its grandeur and its links with the past. You only have to look on the floor outside St Salvator’s quad to find a tradition grounded in martyrdom. There one finds the initials ‘PH’ that, if you wish to pass your exams, are never to be trodden on. It’s fairly simple: St Andrews is a highly traditional university and that is what provides this wonderful place its uniqueness. Now, you may wonder why this column is in the sport section and not on the front of the University’s propaganda pamphlet but bear with me,
there is a point in this. St Andrews is rooted in history - that is what provides this awesome place with its attraction, and the game of cricket is no different. It is seen as a chivalrous game, played between the nobler men of a generation. Like the University the game is also upheld by long standing traditions; it is so rooted in history that the tree that is cricket should be immovable. But, unfortunately, a devil driven by money and greed, by television revenues and players’ wages, by short-termism is trying his best to rip this great game from its foundations. Before I proceed, I’d like to make one thing clear. The game of cricket I described is true of test cricket, a game played between only a select few nations of this world, but it is not true
of the One Day Internationals and Twenty20 competitions that have come to infect this age old game. The problem is that the newly developing countries, across the subcontinent especially, don’t agree with me. There, the game of cricket is highly commercialised and the opportunity for making money is massive. Thus the authorities are sacrificing games of proper cricket - or to be politically correct, test cricket - for the more frequent games of Twenty20 cricket, which increase turnover exponentially. This is great for cricket fans in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka where the sport attracts the same interest as the Premier League here, or even in New Zealand and the West Indies where players have the opportunity to earn more money play-
ing as journeymen in different domestic leagues than proudly representing their country in the test arena. But for die-hard traditionalists like myself and others in England, Australia and South Africa the chimes of Jerusalem on the morning of a Lord’s test match are priceless. They don’t just contribute to cricket, they are cricket. We need test cricket. The sport as a whole is based and founded on test cricket. The rules and traditions of the sport all have their roots in the longer format of the game and we need to keep it alive. Reducing the quantity of test match cricket would rip the soul out of the sport and alienate millions of fans. It would, in essence, destroy the sport. No longer would new rules be an adaption of an old-fashioned game,
they would be an invention, a modern-day rule created out of the ashes of cricket. Even in a practical sense the sport would be diminished. There would no longer be official test match rankings by which one could definitively rank the greatest cricketers on earth. I know I keep repeating myself but the equation is very simple: the sport needs test match cricket to survive. It is the lifeblood of the game. Twenty20 and One Day Internationals purely put a gloss on the body and make it aesthetically pleasing. Just imagine this university without Raisin Weekend or academic parents or May Dip. It wouldn’t be the same place would it? Taking test matches away from the game of cricket would be even worse than that.
3 October 2013 • The Saint
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship: a Dunhill diary, 24-28 September 2013
The Saint was a near-continuous presence at this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Every birdie, eagle and spilled pint in the press bar was documented by our erstwhile team of Andrew McQuillan and photographer Frazer Hadfield. This is their story of when golf and glitz combined on the coast of Fife
Tuesday 24 September The mist was slowly enveloping the auld grey toon as I sauntered down to the Old Course to pick up my media accreditation for this year ’s championship. I will hold up my hands right now and declare that I am not the biggest golf fiend on this planet of ours. But one cannot help but become dewy-eyed when the sight of the clubhouse and Swilcan Bridge slowly come into view. This tournament, and I know some very keen golf types hold Dunhill in dubious regard, is not as old as the bricks and mortar which seem to embody the game of golf. The current incarnation of Dunhill appeared in 2001 as a ‘Pro-Am’
tournament combining a professional and amateur in the one team. It seems very St Andrews to garnish some extra glitz and glamour on proceedings and it would appear this glamour has disgruntled some of the more ‘traditional’ golfers. It does seem a fairly attractive way in which to draw new interest into the sport, however. Peaks and troughs. Or should that be bunkers and greens. I am losing myself in a land of mixed metaphors. The media centre, much like the library, was humming with activity and basking in some overly-bright lighting as Frazer and I picked up our passes. This was very much the calm before the club swinging/ freebies in the press bar storm that was heading our way.
Morten Madsen celebrates with his caddy after a succesful putt
Sir Bobby Charlton, former caption of Manchester United, plays a cautious approach shot in front of the Royal & Ancient clubhouse
Wednesday 25 September
This was practice day for a number of the amateurs and pros, many of them tussling with the winds that were blowing across the course. Cocooned within the bowels of the media centre – with enough biscuits and cans of Fanta to last several days – the press pack were deep in conversation with last year’s winners Branden Grace and Paul Lawrie. Some press conferences can be relatively dull affairs and Grace’s certainly was. Stock phrases such as “it’s a great course” and “I’m feeling confident. I had a good practice round yesterday” abounded. Paul Lawrie, however, provided the waiting hacks with something to nibble on. This year’s Dunhill, unlike last year’s which came off the back of Europe’s swashbuckling comeback at Medinah, was lacking the big names that have taken part in the past. Indeed, on the celebrity front, a journalist I was speaking to from the Mail on Sunday said: “That’s the problem with Dunhill. It has been drawing the same celebrities for the past seven years. It needs to spark things up.” Lawrie, however, aimed his ire at the number of stay-away golfers who are not attending the Seve Trophy in Paris next week, organised and hosted by the family of
the one and only Seve Ballasteros. “For so many of our boys not to want to play in an event that not only carries Seve’s name, but you get handsomely paid to play in, I don’t understand it,” he said. “It’s disappointing for everyone involved in it: for the Tour, who have done a great job putting it on, and for Seve and his family.” It certainly sparked things up, the proverbial verbal Molotov cocktail thrown into what had been a fairly humdrum morning. One could sense the disenchantment in Lawrie’s voice that an opportunity to pay tribute to a truly totemic figure in golf was being passed up by so many of his colleagues. Lawrie was certainly more loquacious than Darren Clarke, proud Ulsterman and winner of the 2011 Open at Royal St George’s, who brushed aside any request for an interview as he set off on his practice round in conditions that might give Port Rush, his home course in Northern Ireland, a run for its money. An amusing moment came about when the intrepid reporter from STV asked if Clarke was anyone worth speaking to. Novices abound even in the professional ranks it seems. Jesper Perniak, a Swede who chews volcanic ash in his spare time and is known as “Spaceman” for
obvious reasons, spoke to The Saint about the course later in the day. “It’s absolutely beautiful here, I don’t know anyone who does not like this course,” he said, with no sign of ash emitting from his mouth. “The wind made it a bit awkward today but yeah, you just go with it. I’ve not been here for a few years but it is always outstanding to come back to the home of golf.” Anticipation was mounting. The highlight of the day, however, was, without question, the press dinner, put on for the benefit of the malnourished scribes covering the tournament. Your correspondent, having sprayed himself liberally with Lynx Africa, headed off for an evening of wine and song. I was sitting beside Phil Goodlad, the golf correspondent for BBC Sport Scotland, when he opined “that this is a fantastic tournament. It is the ideal thing to get people into golf. Plus there’s always a great atmosphere in St Andrews, it makes a real difference to have it on during term time. The students add such a buzz to the place.” The highlight of the evening – aside from a free bar – was our table’s victory in the quiz. Shelly’s Heroes’ place in immortality and a Dunhill pen costing $350 was secured with no use of any smartphones to scour the internet for answers. I swear.
The Saint • 3 October 2013
Thursday 26 - Saturday 28 September Sore heads abounded in the press pen. Your correspondent, who was feeling about as fresh as a daisy that had been trampled upon by an elephant, was braving the elements to speak with some of the glamorous amateurs who were cutting around the Old Course. Ruud Gullit, the mercurial Feyenoord, AC Milan and Dutch national team star spoke with The Saint and seemed in low spirits. “I didn’t play very well today. The wind was awkward and a few shots didn’t come off which was disappointing. But this is the home of golf so it’s great to play the course. Playing with Johann [Cruyff] is fun; he knows his stuff when it comes to golf.” Over the years St Andrews’ bouncing night spots have caused certain celebrities to fall foul of press and the desires of the town’s nubile beauties. Sadly Hugh Grant was not speaking to the press after a particularly awful Saturday, but on Thursday James Nesbitt, of The Hobbit and Cold Feet fame, made the comment that when he visited Ma Bells “it made me feel about thirty years older.” He too was effusive in his praise of the town, the course and the tournament but would sadly not divulge any details about his upcoming adventures in Middle Earth. A slightly more renowned party animal, Shane Warne, Liz Hurley’s boyfriend and occasional cricketer, reminded me that he had “five kids with him” when I asked if he would be hitting up The Lizard anytime soon. His England counterpart, Michael Vaughan, who was wearing a pair of trousers only to be rivaled by Sir Ian Botham’s rainbow effort, said: “Shane’s probably going to be the only Aussie player to win something this year! He was really strong out there today. Plus since I’m at the home of golf I thought I should wear a classy
outfit (of flat cap and white and black tartan trousers) to do the place justice.” That’s the sense one gets about Dunhill. Sir Ian Botham, whom I spoke with briefly before he set off for his round, said that this was “the first thing he put in his diary” each year. It is not merely lip service; this town in a truly special place for golfers and students alike. Two wonderful panoramas of our town summed it up for me. Standing on the rooftop terrace of the Hamilton Grand at night taking in the view after a press reception, I was offered an unparalleled view of the town’s skyline at night and a truly sumptuous view of the most-storied final stretch of a golf course in the world. Then on Saturday afternoon, while speaking with the legendary Sir Steve Redgrave, who was pensive as to whether he would make the cut or not, I caught sight of the warm sunlight gilding the Royal and Ancient clubhouse and realised yet again that this is a truly special place. Sir Steve summed it up: “There’s no better place for golf. I had a frustrating round out there but this is the best place for golf by far. Matthew Pinsent was texting me on the first day, since he hadn’t been invited, and was gutted at missing out. Everyone loves it here.” As I stood watching the fireworks on the final night, I reflected on what had been an interesting week. Standing only yards from Sir Bobby Charlton or Johann Cruyff took some getting used to but it was an absolute pleasure to cover an event which does the town of St Andrews proud. While all golfers are competitive, to a man they are all sure about one thing. That this, as Martin Kaymer said, “is the ultimate.” As fitting a term for golf in St Andrews as I could think of.
David Howell drives towards the 18th fairway over the Swilcan Bridge in the second hole of a tense play-off with Peter Uihlein
Oliver Wilson lines up a long putt
Brett Rumford undertakes some light landscaping as he escapes the ruff on Friday
Runner-up Peter Uihlein narrowly missed out on victory on the last day of the champioinship
Hugh Grant suffered setbacks early on
S PORT thesaint-online.com/sport
David Howell wins tense play-off against Peter Uihlein to lift title at the Dunhill Links Sport sub-editor
Englishman David Howell won a thrilling play-off against Peter Uihlein to record his first European tour win in over seven years. At the start of the final day, American Uihlein, ranked 100 in the world, lead by two strokes and was being chased by a pack of six, which included Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els and eventual winner Howell. Celebrities and professional golfers descended on St. Andrews for the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The tournament, which is played on three courses over four days, is one of the flagship events of the European tour. With a prize fund of $5,000,000 the competition attracts the top names in the golfing world. The conditions on the final day proved to be the toughest of the tournament. 2011 Dunhill winner Michael Hoey said: “It was a lot colder today and the humidity was totally different.” Tom Lewis, who carded a strong round of 64 to finish one stroke behind the leaders, said that the wind on the back nine was “always going to play tough.” One thing became evident very early on: predicting the outcome was going to be near enough impossible.
Thomas Levet started with five birdies over the first five holes which thrust the Frenchman into a two shot lead over Uihlein and Howell who were both on -19. At one point Tom Lewis was only one shot off the lead, however, as Howell and Levet were making the big early moves. Both men were striking the ball well from the tee and swiftly climbed the leader board to -22 and then simultaneously to -23. Shane Lowry was also in contention and briefly opened up a one shot lead to go -24. All the while Uihlein remained calm and played sensible golf, keeping him within reach of the leaders. As the day moved on towards late afternoon the real drama unfolded. Holes 14 and 15 were causing some big problems for the golfers. The wind was rattling in from the North Sea and pulling tee shots into the heavy, unforgiving rough. It was these holes that ended both Lowry’s and Levet’s contention. There was, however, a silver lining for Levet as he and his amateur partner, David Sayer, went on to win the team pro-am event. Lewis was the early clubhouse leader on -22. However, speaking exclusively to The Saint after his round he confided that he was “maybe just one short.” Another Englishman, Tommy
Fleetwood, almost joined Lewis for the clubhouse lead but missed a very inviting birdie chance on the 18th. The 22 year old, however, was happy with his final day 67. Uilhein and Howell confirmed Lewis’ previous suspicions and both finished at -23, forcing the tournament into a two hole play-off. Both men made par on the first, which meant that they would come up the 18th for the second time. The unforgiving hole location on the 18th made birdie opportunities hard to come by on the final day. The two men opted for aggressive approach shots. Uilhein’s second shot was safe and left him with a long birdie putt. Howell then hit a fantastic approach shot, landing his ball 10 feet inside Uilhein’s. As Uilhein missed his putt the door was left ajar for Howell, who in turn sank his putt to make birdie and claim the championship. Elation swept through the galleries, but the biggest celebrations of all were on the green. Addressing the crowd, Howell remarked: “You think you’re happy? You’re not nearly as happy as I am!” Howell, a man who was part of the 2004 and 2006 Ryder Cup winning teams but is now ranked 176 in the world, was clearly ecstatic about the win. He referenced the hard seven years he has had on and off the course but was optimistic that “this could be
the start of something big.” As the competition winds down for another year, “What about Hugh Grant?” I hear you ask. He made the cut as Howell’s playing partner. Howell
from Edinburgh and Dundee Universities, Freuchie Cricket Club and two teams from St Andrews. This competition was divided into a round robin format, with each team playing the other once (after University of Aberdeen didn’t turn up on the day). What ensued was a typically high octane and excit-
ing display that saw Edinburgh and Freuchie finish the day with 3 wins apiece and thus equal on nine points. As the minibuses of rolled into University Park after traversing the Tay and the Forth, Dundee and Edinburgh respectively set up for ﬁxtures versus the two home teams.
It was to be a promising start for the senior of the two home sides, as St Andrews 1, pleasingly made up of a plethora of talented freshers, cruised to victory over Dundee by 15 runs on the first XI pitch. Sadly it was an altogether more predictable affair on the second XI pitch where Edinburgh, resplendent in their glorious green one-day pyjamas, destroyed St Andrews’ second team (resplendent in tracksuit bottoms) by ten wickets. This was to be symptomatic of the day for Peter O’Boyle’s men, who were crushed in all three matches they played; notable highlights of which include Dundee hitter Chris Burns creaming the ball into DRA about eight times. Indeed the ﬁrst game was to be the only success for St Andrews’ first team as well. In a re-run of the perennial division 1A title decider, Sam Holland’s gentlemen were easily beaten in the end by Edinburgh, losing by six wickets. At this point the first pitch was invaded by a troupe of fat blokes chasing an egg around (to quote a notable St Andrews cricketing hipster) or, as they prefer to be called, the Men’s Rugby Club, and so all games had to be held upon the deteriorating second pitch wicket. We are reli-
joked that “I used Hugh for my own benefit today; I laughed at his bad shots.” Grant was clearly happy with the final outcome, posing for pictures with the winner on the Swilcan Bridge.
Photo: Frazer Hadfield
David Howell poses for photographers on the Swilcan Bridge after winning the Dunhill
Cricket’s the winner at Seagull’s Twenty/20 Sempre Segullium
Photo: Alastair Stokes
Saturday 14 September saw yet another edition of the Seagulls’ Twenty20 cricket tournament, the premiere university cricket festival in the country. On this occasion the action comprised teams
The St Andrews First and Second XI played against Edinburgh and Dundee universities and Freuchie Cricket Club
ably informed that, along with the cathedral ruins, the crease on the second pitch is the only piece of land the University owns that is just as it was 600 years ago, and so it can possibly account for the rather shocking nine wicket hammering that DUCC endured at the hands of a very clinical Freuchie side. The ﬁnal match of the day was played between Dundee and Edinburgh in very questionable light conditions. But safety ofﬁcer Max Arthur deemed that if the questionable ﬁve-for-a-pound burgers hadn’t hurt anyone then nothing would, and so the game was started. In a close affair, that was affected by more than a little dubious umpiring from O’Boyle, Dundee ruined EUCC’s perfect day with a thrilling four-run victory, leaving the tournament a threeway tie. It remains for me to thank all of the teams for making the long trip to Fife for the event and for TJ Beattie and his crew for making it happen. The men’s cricket club trains in the Sports Hall on Fridays, 5-6:30pm and on Sundays, 11am-1pm. All abilities welcome.